Tag Archives: Russia

Sweden is no longer neutral; drones are ‘totally illegal’

7 Feb

In part 2 [ Download] of an interview with the Voice of Russia, Agneta Norberg, Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council, Member of Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau and a member of the board of directors of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space discusses the facts surrounding Sweden’s non-neutrality and the country’s involvement in NATO and Western military expansion. Ms. Norberg gives her views on drones which she calls “murder machines” and the development and testing of drones in Sweden, including a new drone being developed in a joint European project.

Part 1 of the interview

Robles: How does Sweden officially explain that they allow these installations? And do you think all these maneuvers are designed to intimidate Russia or to try to exercise sovereignty on the Arctic?

Norberg: Well, when we drift to Arctic, I think there are two things going on here. When they are interviewed, those who are in charge of these maneuvers, they always answer that this is for the Arctic, they openly express this – these maneuvers are for the Arctic and the resources which will be available when the ice is melting.

But the NATO maneuvers are so seldom covered in the news, in media, specifically not here in the south, I live in Stockholm, up in the north, in the local newspapers they are covered rather extensively. And they used to send quotes from the newspapers for me, otherwise I wouldn’t have known it, because the media doesn’t cover it in the south, in Stockholm, where most of the people live.

So, it is, a sort of: secretly hidden from the public to understand what is really going on. But when they are asked, they say: this is for the Arctic.

And also one thing I think you’ve mentioned is that Sweden is neutral. Forget that! We are not neutral! We have for long abolished the neutrality. We are not non-aligned; we are nothing, because we are openly conducting war games with NATO.

But there is one difficulty because the people in Sweden and in Finland are against. It is only about 19% of the Swedish population that accept NATO, the others don’t. So, they have that problem here.

But I can see the lust, how they try to form an enemy out of Russia, and you should understand this: how Russia now is demonized, again. And I’m so old, so I remember how they were demonizing the former Soviet Union, always, and almost on daily basis. And now we are there again.

So, we have here in one of the latest (Names Swedish newspaper in Swedish) a picture of Putin and Russia is arming, here, and how the Russian bear now starts showing its muscles. So, at the same time, as you have these military maneuvers and military flexing of muscles, you seldom get information to the public here.

I was speaking in Norway last summer and they didn’t know about these things. I’m very often on speaking tours in the north. I was in Finland last autumn and they didn’t know about these military maneuvers either. They were really shocked when I told them.

So, here we are again, from the Cold War days, gradually Russia is the threat. And when I talk to Russian people they are not aware of this. It is like when I was travelling in the former Soviet Union, they were not aware of how you were depicted and described as a big-big threat. And I think we are there again, hiding what the NATO is doing in our country and in the north, and describing the threat of Russia coming. There we are again.

Robles: Would you say it is worse than it was in the Soviet times?

Norberg: It is about the same now. We are in square one, we are back in the Cold War sentiment in a way. But it is even worse now because during the Cold War, at least Sweden had a posture that we are non-aligned and neutral. Not anymore! We have left our neutrality, we have left our non-aligned posture.

Not openly, the neutrality we have left openly, but not the non-aligned posture. I can give you an example: they are now training in the North America (for) war in Nevada.

They were training together with the US in 2006 in Alaska. They went with 6 or 7 war planes to Alaska and made a huge maneuver outside North Korea together with the US.

So, we are actively joining in different parts of the world. Of course we are in Afghanistan now.

And so I think you have to start to understand that Sweden has quite another position now and we are a NATO country. It is only a document that is left to be done. That’s the situation now in Sweden.

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about what you think the US and NATO’s plans are for the Arctic?

Norberg: I can see that they are making a lot of war games together up in the north.

And I also know that the US and Canada are the same, I mean they are in the same organization. Canada has lost much of what they had before. I have a map in front of me where I have all the installations, and the North American-Canada Command had merged together.

So, up in the north you have a very strong militarization from Canada’s point of view and they are building up their military as never before.

And one thing that I think is important to mention is the drones. Canada is planning for a huge drone fleet, and so is Sweden. Now we have one of the world’s biggest drones which is ready in the North European Airspace Test Range which is one of the biggest in Europe for training drones.

Robles: What’s your opinion on drones?

Norberg: They should be banished, abolished or banned because they are terrible murder…, we call them “murder machines”. They are conducted from Nevada test site. They sit there in front of computers and kill people in Yemen, in Pakistan and many places.

We have a huge training area: as big as Macedonia, called the North European Airspace Test Range in the northern part of Sweden where they train these drones. So, we are in this arms buildup, it’s rather dangerous I think.

The newest one is Neuron. It is a cooperation between Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland on one of the world’s biggest drones Neuron. That is a prototype that is now ready this year.

Robles: What is your opinion on the legality of drones because the users face no risk?

Norberg: They are totally illegal. You sit in a bunker, you don’t see anything, you just sit in front of a screen and see the target. We call them “murder machines” because these are murders. They “say” they kill Al-Qaeda.

Agneta Norberg is the Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council, a member of the Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau and on the board of directors of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

Voice of Russia.

Chechen Paper Closed After Question to Putin

21 Dec

Chechen authorities shut down a local newspaper after its editor-in-chief asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question – although they maintain it was not censorship.

Belkis Dudayeva, who heads the Put Kadyrova (“Kadyrov’s Way”), got the floor for a couple of minutes during Putin’s 4 1/2-hour-long press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

She managed to squeeze in two questions, one about the cause of unrest in the North Caucasus, which is plagued by Islamic insurgency, and the other about cuts at the state-owned Kavkaz radio.

Although Putin offered plenty of headline-grabbing comments on Thursday, his replies to Dudayeva were unremarkable, as he noted the decrease in terrorist attacks and praised local media for their contribution.

The high point was when he snapped at journalists snickering at the seemingly sycophantic name of the newspaper, which he said had been named after Akhmad Kadyrov – the former Chechen rebel who became the republic’s president under Putin, pacifying it with an iron fist until he was killed in a bomb attack in 2004.

Putin was, however, soon upstaged by the Chechen authorities, who announced within hours that Put Kadyrova had been closed by its publishers, the Itum-Kalinsky district administration.

The paper used Kadyrov’s name without permission, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov – son of the late Akhmad Kadyrov – was cited as saying by the Chechen government’s website.

Dudayeva also asked “provocative questions” unrelated to district affairs, her paper’s area of focus, the report said, without elaborating.

Officials at the Itum-Kalinsky district – a swath of mountain terrain with a population of 7,000 – could not comment on Friday, a deputy district head admitting he learned about the closure from the RIA Novosti reporter. Paper representatives could not be reached for comment.

But a spokesman for Kadyrov Jr. told RIA Novosti that the paper was, indeed, shut down on the order of the district head.

Put Kadyrova was not authorized to use Kadyrov’s name, Alvi Karimov confirmed on Friday.

But even worse, the paper squandered its chance to put a question to the Russian president on an “insignificant” radio station where Dudayeva is moonlighting, Karimov said.

“She should have asked instead about plans to construct a ski resort in Itum-Kale…or about how to solve regional problems,” he said.

But Karimov denied the allegations that the closure was censorship.

“This wasn’t censorship. We simply have our own laws and traditions, and we act based on what is sensible,” Karimov said.

He tried to defuse the situation somewhat by saying the paper – which he called an “irregular rag” that mostly reprinted district administration’s directives – would likely reopen under another name.

But Dudayeva said on Friday she has no wish to re-launch Put Kadyrova under another name.

She added that Chechnya was no worse than other Russian regions in terms of media freedom.

Russia ranked 172nd of 197 countries in the 2012 Freedom of the Press report by US watchdog Freedom House.

Chechnya was rebuilt under the Kadyrovs, who forced local insurgents out into neighboring republics. But critics accuse Ramzan Kadyrov, 36, of building a regime riddled with rights violations and of establishing a “cult of personality” that is a significant drain on federal funding, which accounted for 87 percent of the republic’s budget in 2012.

Ramzan Kadyrov was implicated in the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, his ardent critic, though he denied the allegations, which were never raised in court.

Kadyrov Jr. is also known for his flamboyant lifestyle and provocative statements: his parties feature Western celebrities such as Seal, Hilary Swank and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and he has called for the people who attended opposition protests in Moscow earlier this year to be jailed.

RIA Novosti.

Two Russians, Italian kidnapped in Syria

18 Dec
Russian Italian Kidnapping Syria

EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed today that two Russian citizens and an Italian have been kidnapped in Syria late on 17 December.

According to the available information, the three men were abducted on the way from the town of Homsa to Tartus, in the western part of the country.

The ministry announced that one of the kidnapped men had a dual citizenship: Russian-Syrian. It also said that the three men worked for a private company, named ‘Hmisho & Co’.

The unknown abductors of VV Gorelov, Abdessattar Hassoun and Mario Belluomo demanded over the phone ransom whose amount was not specified by the Russian MFA.

The Russians concluded by saying that their embassy in Damascus ‘has immediately began taking the necessary proactive actions and was in contact with the Syrian side’ in order to accelerate the rescuing of the kidnapped Russian and Italian citizens. New Europe.

Russia reports at least 11 militants killed during specops (video)

25 Apr
North Caucasus regions within the Russian Fede...

North Caucasus regions within the Russian Federation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russian security forces kill at least 11 militants during special operations in Chechnya and Dagestan. The Russian National Antiterrorist Committee has reported 11 militants were killed in Chechnya and Dagestan amid five special operations by security forces on Monday.

Reportedly, two security officers died during the mission in the Gudermes Region of Chechnya, where a huge concealed armory was discovered and destroyed.

At the same time, an illegal armed group consisting of three militants was wiped out at the Caucasus‘ federal highway despite fierce resistance.

Other militants were killed in Dagestan’s forest area, three kilometers from Kakamakhi village. Some of the armed group escaped and are being pursued by the law enforcement services.

Special forces’ officials say no civilians were hurt amid the operations.

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