Monday, August 31, 2009

Marcury Maine Refuses Contract Vote

Mercury Marine Refuses Second Contract Vote; Moves forward with plan to move jobs to non-union plant

A second contract vote proposed by workers at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has been rejected by the company. As a result the company will move forward with plans to move 850 jobs currently held by union workers out of Fond du Lac to a non-union facility in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Workers had previously rejected the contract offer and on Saturday employees gave the International Association of Machinists a petition that asked for a second opportunity to vote on the rejected contract. However, the company refused the offer. The contract had called for a seven-year wage freeze and a pay cut of 30 percent for new hires and employees who return from being laid off. Oklahoma offered to cover the company’s moving costs if it would bring the jobs to the state. Union representatives said they believed Mercury Marine would have moved the jobs no matter the outcome of the vote. The company will slowly move the jobs over the next 36 months and during that time will make a decision on the future of the white collar jobs at the company’s headquarters also currently located in the city.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Occupation War Deaths: August 16th - 22nd

4334 in Iraq. In Afghanistan: 802 US -- 538 Other

Those who died in Iraq from Aug 16 to 22:

Spc Matthew Hastings 23 Claremore OK
Pvt William Vanosdol 23 Pinson AL

245 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

In Afghnistan were killed.

Cpl James Fullerton 24 England
Cpl Louis Carter 19 England
Cpl Simon Annis 22 England
Cpl Nicholas Roush 22 Middleville MI
Sgt William Woods Jr 31 Chesapeake VA
Sgt Jose Crisostomo 59 Inarajan Guam
Cpl Leopold Damas 26 Floral Park NY
Sgt Clayton Bowen 29 San Antonio TX
Pvt Morris Walker 23 Chapel Hill NC
Spc Troy Tom 21 Shirock NM
Pvt Jonathan Vanney 20 Litchfield MN
Sgt adam Benjamin 34 Garfield OH
Spc Paul Dumont Jr 23 Williamsburg VA
Pvt Brian Wolverton 21 Oak Park CA
Pvt Jonathan Young 18 England
Sgt Paul McAleese 29 England
Spc Justin Pellerin 21 Boscawen NH
Sgt Matthew Ingram 25 Pearl MS
Sgt Andrew Lobosco 29 Somerville NJ

182 Afghanis and Pakistanis were killed.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good News from NoSpray Nashville

The director of the Health Department has recently verbally confirmed that the threshold for spraying has been raised this year. He stated that because of the low incidence of West Nile virus (WNv) transmission to humans, they will not spray for positive mosquitoes. (He didn't mention the fact that their spraying didn't reduce mosquitoes in Antioch last year but he knows it.) He said they would need to have diseased mosquitoes, a human or a horse with WNV, and something that made them believe the ill human or horse was infected by diseased mosquitoes in the area before they would spray. Davidson County has never had the conditions he describes.

There have been some small improvements in their preventative actions when they find diseased mosquitoes (like they did in June). I also believe my continued requests to obtain their 2009 data has helped. I've been told that they are currently making improvements to their record keeping.

The next new mosquito-borne disease that rolls in town and looks the least bit frightening could put us back to square one. We MUST keep the pressure on them and city leaders to improve their response so that the least toxic solutions are being used when they need to try to manage mosquitoes. Last year, they took no non-toxic actions for weeks on end after finding multiple pools of diseased mosquitoes in Antioch.

Be warned that companies who sell insecticides for mosquitoes are well-aware of the changes we have fought so hard to get. You may have noticed "Mosquito Squad," "Buzz Off" and a number of other companies cropping up. They want to sell your neighbors systems that will spray pesticides at the push of a button or on a timer in their yards. (Some state attorney generals have outlawed these systems.) Mosquito Squad also offers to come to you house and spray every 21 days "to control mosquitoes." Mosquito Squad has been aggressively posting signs on telephone poles and on busy streets in upscale neighborhoods. This signage is a illegal - a violation of Metro Codes. BURNT has turned them in to Codes and sent the owner of the company a warning letter to cease. If you see signage for this company, let us know where they are posted. We are taking them down and noting the date and location of the sign.

See our website for updated information on mosquito management and companies like Mosquito Squad.

BURNT's PO Box 128555, Nashville tn 37212
Citizens working together to bring science, ethics and responsible mosquito control to the Metro Public Health Department's Mosquito Control Program in Nashville.

No Spray Nashville an outreach of BURNT.
BURNT 501C organization and a member of Community Shares

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grassroots Summit on Racism Sept 19th


SEPTEMBER 19, 2009


· If not now, when will we stand up and be counted? How many death threat signs directed to the President and to his family must we see before we stand up and say enough?
· How many Black boys and men must be dehumanized, brutalized, incarcerated and murdered by police before we stand up and say they are our brothers too?
· How much hate talk can we tolerate before we stop it? How long will we let the red state politicians and their allies destroy this country and create a racial climate in states that uses fear, terror and White supremacy to ensure their power as their predecessors did at the close of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century?
· How many more howling and enraged mobs do we need to see to connect them with White America’s long history of mob violence whether during lynching, red riots or during the Southern Freedom Movement /Civil Rights Movement?
· How long will we stand by and let white supremacists use health care to hide behind?

With these questions ringing in my heart and mind, and I am sure in yours, I invite you to be a co- sponsor and/or attend a grass roots emergency summit on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 10am until 5pm in Columbus, Georgia. We will discuss and plan a collective Southern strategy that addresses the dangerous rising tide of racism which is creating an environment for oppression, vigilante violence, and White backlash against people of color, especially African Americans.

If you want to be a part of the summit committee, please contact me as soon as possible. Additionally, help shape the summit by suggesting speakers. This work does not belong to one group or organization. It is ours to do together. United we stand, divided we fail. We are still looking for the best venue. Please contact me for information about the location of the venue. I look forward to hearing from you.

Many of you know that I am a long distance peace and justice activist who began my work during the Southern Freedom Movement in Lowndes County, Alabama as a student volunteer. While working in Lowndes County, Alabama, Jonathan Daniels, a White peer worker and seminarian saved my life by taking a bullet that was headed toward me by a White supremacist who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. I know first hand the devastation and deadly dangers of White hate groups. I know that they move from a position where they rationalize that they are the legitimate rulers of America and heirs to all of its benefits. I also know that our silence “does not protect us.” It is imperative that we speak out now! To quote the poet June Jordan, "who will join this standing up?" I hope you will. Our future depends on it!

The SpiritHouse Project is a national organization that brings diverse peoples together to work for economic and social justice as well as non-violence. SpiritHouse expanded its work into the South and has a southern regional office in Columbus, Georgia. Although we are in the midst of rebuilding our website, you can check it out at

It is time for us to move outside of our lethargy and fragmentation to form direct grass roots coalitions and working networks that provide sane alternatives to the explosive racism that percolates throughout every artery in American society. It is time for people of all colors, classes, genders, physical conditions, religions, ages, and sexualities to call out and question red state politicians who use race to obscure the role they play in promoting economic and social misery among the very people whom they claim to support and represent. Additionally, it is time for us to smoke out the fact that they use the race card to hide their burning desire to re-establish White power through state's’ rights while simultaneously the people of color of our rights by assaulting and weakening the federal government's responsibility and ability to guarantee the benefits of democracy to all people.

A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that the majority of White supremacist hate groups reside in the south-red states. Florida leads the way with 57 hate groups, South Carolina follows on Florida’s heel with 45, and Georgia is next with 40. Clearly the election of President Barack Obama has unleashed the racism that is still a burning fire in the hearts and minds of many southern White Americans.

As I travel throughout the South, in my role as Director of The SpiritHouse Project, I see signs of chronic racism. It scars everyone and everyplace that it touches. I see its devastating consequences in the Black Belt South where the Southern Freedom/Civil Rights Movement took place. These 110 counties are more than fifty percent African American. However, with the reorganizing of White southern power through White supremacist populism, Empire Christianity and economic injustice, these counties are the poorest in the United States. Economics drives racism, and racism drives economics. Many of the Black residents in the Black Belt live in substandard housing. Some communities, such as Ruleville, Mississippi and Wilcox County, Alabama, still do not have running water or indoor toilets.

This is the real truth that the proponents and architects of racism try to hide from the entire world through lies that aggrandize Whiteness while demeaning and slandering people of color, especially African Americans. Within this plan, Whites supremacists flip the script and Blacks become the racial predators and Whites the racial victims. Rather than dealing with their long history of racism, they shift the burden of proof to Black people. Consequently, they hide and obscure their real history as White supremacists as well as abdicate responsibility for this history.

Today, far too many African Americans turn our gaze elsewhere in the face of these disturbing facts. Instead, we focus on individual gains rather than our collective welfare. We do this despite the racial unjust landmines that we individually and collectively confront and navigate everyday. An article in the New York Times says that “66% of African Americans feel that the races get along with each other.” We must move beyond this illusion to truth telling that places us side by side with others who work for racial justice. If we do not stand up for ourselves now, then when? Paraphrasing Bernice Johnson Reagon, "where will we be standing" in the 21st century as White supremacists move the pendulum back towards racial injustice and White supremacy?

Finally, this call for an emergency summit on racism starts with the understanding that our nonviolent movement for racial justice must build up the world, not tear it down. I believe that we can appeal to the best in ordinary people. Unlike the White supremacists elite who forge their movement in racial hatred, we must ground our movement in love and mutuality. An organizing plan for racial justice allows us to find pathways to each other by remembering when all of our ancestors were strangers and stood outside of the gates of power in America. Our common suffering and struggle that led to gigantic victories are the common threads that connect us all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health Care Now Nashville

By Warren Duzak

Susan McCay’s article “Perfect Never Comes” (in the Nashville Free Press) last month suggests that demanding a Single-Payer health care system like Medicare for all Americans is utopian pie-in-the-sky. We must instead, she warns, accept the crumps that are offered.

“The choice is quite simple: do nothing and wait for a perfect that will never come, or support imperfect reform,” McCay wrote.

I would point out to McCay that those are not the choices. Health care activists, including Physicans for a National Health Program, battling for Single Payer are doing quite a lot as they fight for a system that has worked very well in Canada and most European counties. “Perfect,” which McCay predicts “will never come” seems to have arrived there.

Even if a Single Payer system here were created there would be anything but perfection. The medical system would still have problems moving in the direction of preventive medicine. The old method of creating doctors emerging from years of training with huge debt and a desire to make lots and lots of money would remain and eventually need to be addressed. But as Medicare has proven, the Single-Payer system works and works well.

As for Utopian, McCay and company are the ones out of touch with reality if they believe we can work with the profit-hungry insurance companies to create “affordable health insurance”.

Instead of pushing from the Left and demanding Single Payer for All, the reformists try to adapt to the twist and turns of the Democratic Party. They lobby and try to appear reasonable as they go time and time again, hat-in-hand, to the rich and powerful. It is the same strategy that was tried and failed in the fight over TennCare. Every defeat was followed by more concessions. Who can forget those sad lines of health care activists at Legislative Plaza chanting Bible versues as “Amazing Grace” echoed from the boom box, all the while Phil Bredesen and the State Legislature driving nail after nail into TenneCare’s coffin.

The fight for health care for all should become the mass movement its potential suggests. But like all mass movements there must be central demands or even one demand that is non-negoitable.

I would ask McCay if the Civil Rights struggle asked for front-of-the-bus privileges or lunch counter service just on Tuesday and Thursdays?


Did the Women’s Suffrage Movement ask just for voting rights in municipal or state elections, believing that voting in federal elections would be too close to perfect?


Did the fight for the 8-hour day settle for 10 hours?


Did the Anti-War movement of the 1960’s and 70’s ask for withdrawal from Vietnam at some time in the future? Was “Out Now!” just too perfect.

I don’t think so.

There is so much pressure on the reformist and they have moved so far to the right that McCay appears comfortable with lines like “Our health care system has become a national security threat, with it’s ever-increasing costs continuing to spiral…..”

Admittedly health care costs are going up, but if the society can spent $50 billion a year on pet care and fill places like Cool Springs and Green Hill Mall with an endless variety of consumer good, we are hardly in danger of going bankrupt. If a society can allocate resources for dialysis for dogs, teeth-cleaning for cats and animal day-care and hospices, the resources are there to provide for our health care.

The trick is to build a mass movement to demand it. But first you must get rid of the idea that a Single Payer system is demanding perfection.

Occupation War Deaths: August 2nd - 8th

In Afghanistan were killed:

Sgt Severin Summers III 43 Fayatteville NC
Cap Ronald Luce Jt 27 Bentonia MS
Tec Anthony Lombardi 21 England
PO Anthony Garcia 21 Tyndall FL
Sgt Jay Hoskins 24 Paris TX
Cpl Christian Rivera 21 Homestead FL
Cpl Travis Babine 20 San Antonio TX
Cpl James Argentine 22 Farmingdale NY
Cpl Kevin Mulligan 26 Scotland
Cpl Dale Hopkins 23 England
Pvt Kyle Adams 21 Wales
Cap Matthew Freeman 29 Richmond Hills GA
Sgt Jerry Evans Jr 23 Eufaula AL
Cpl Dennis Burrow 23 Naples FL
Pvt Jason Williams 23 England
Spc Matthew Swanson 20 Lake Forest CA
Cpl Javier Olvera 20 Palmdale CA
Sgt Tara Smith 33 Nashville NC

90+ Afghanis and Pakistanis were killed.

Was killed in Iraq from Aug 2 to 8:

Pvt Keiffer Wilhelm 19 Plymouth OH
145 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

4331 in Iraq. In Afghanistan 779 US -- 525 Other.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

To Gaza With Love - Part 2

by Rose Crockett Davis

"You people come and stare at us and you say you are going to help, and you do nothing," a young Palestinian man was heard saying in Arabic to me and others in my group. His eyes were sad and determined and he spoke with passion and conviction. His right arm had been amputated from a wound sustained in the recent attack on The Gaza Strip by Israeli Military Forces from Dec 27, 2008 to Jan 18, 2009. I noticed him as my delegation of international peace activists filed into a clinic at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City lined with young men sitting in chairs. Each one of them had been severely injured during the attacks. They had been waiting for us.

The young man rose from his chair and with our cameras rolling, continued, " I am a man. But I never would have taken a wife if I had known I was going to be like this. I would never have had children. I cannot work to support my family. This breaks my heart. My children sometimes make fun of my arm, and sometimes they act as if they are afraid of me, as if I am a monster. But what is the worst is that I cannot hug my little child." He told us to look around the room at all the amputees and see that what they all needed were prosthetic arms and legs. He pointed out his friend who was missing a leg, " and he would love most of all to be able to protect his child from running out into the street, but he cannot." He asked us to please help them get what they need so they can be whole again.

During my visit in Gaza I visited its one speciality rehabilitation hospital, Al-Wafa Hospital near the northern border. Surrounded with palm trees bending in the breeze, it is also feeling the stress and strain from the damage sustained in the attacks. We toured the building, carefully walking up stairwells and along corridors littered with concrete and tile fragments and broken glass. Sunlight gleams through gaping holes of the outer walls, and through the twisted metal window frames. This state of the art new building contains Gaza’s only hydrotherapy pool. This hospital which was almost at the point of completion, now bullet ridden and bombed, has never been used. It was due to be opened just days after Israel launched its operation.
There is one shop in The Gaza Strip that makes prosthetic limbs. While in the shop, among the finished products, I see small artificial arms with hooks at the ends for the children who have lost their own. The shop has orders for more than 250 prostheses. But there is a problem; there always is a problem. There are some 1,000 different components to the manufacturing of these limbs, which are imported from Germany. The difficulty is in keeping all of these components in stock. Some shelves are completely empty, like the one for R26, an average-sized man’s foot. The shop’s manager, Hazim Shawwa, said that "even if you are short one screw for the foot, you can’t continue making the prosthesis."

The United States has state- of- the- art artificial arms which can move electronically through brain waves. The young man in the clinic could use one of these arms. But for one of these arms to work, a chip would have to be surgically implanted into his brain, and there is no brain surgeons in Gaza trained to perform such an operation. So he waits.

Everyone is Gaza waits. They wait for the siege to end. They wait for the blockade to end. They wait for the occupation of their air and water space to end. They wait.
Please help raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinians and the inhumanity with which they are being subjected. Please write President Obama and Congress, asking them to place sanctions against Israel, and boycott the sale of their products. Please push for the boycott of the sale of American made products that help in the war effort against the Palestinians. Maybe we can help end their waiting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Short History of the Farm

How is the Farm Community collective?
by Douglas Stevenson

From 1971 to 1983, The Farm (in Summertown, TN)was perhaps the largest "commune" in the United States. Its members held all things in common, which meant no one held personal money and the fruits of all labors where shared. Every job and task, no matter how menial or glorious, was considered to have equal status, because we as human beings were all equal and each person's labor was given respect for their contribution to the whole.

However by the fall of 1983, that system was beginning to crack under its own weight. Shared medical expenses, shared business losses and a struggling economy in the midst of the country's first oil crisis, threatened to put the community into bankruptcy with the land lost to satisfy the many debts that had accumulated over the previous decade.

To remedy the situation , the leadership within the community instituted a grand new plan, known to this day as "The Changeover." The new economic system put the collective burden of supporting the operating costs of the community more directly on the shoulders of its members. It also returned the responsibility of basic living expenses to the individual or to the family.

It was a shock to the system and over the next two years hundreds of people abandoned ship. By 1985, the population had settled to a core group of about 100 adults and 150 kids. These core members paid off all of the debts, secured the land, and began the long journey of emergence into the community as it is today.

While many aspects of the Farm's communal system were forced to change and adapt, at its core The community remains one of the most unique social and collective systems found anywhere in the world.

People often ask, "How is the Farm still collective?" Below you find some of the answers. Every system has its pros and cons and ours is no exception. The Farm continues, based on a foundation of mutual trust and a shared future.


TN Sales Tax Revenue Slide

Loophole Could be Fueling TN Sales Tax Revenue Slide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - New statistics show that for the fourth straight month Tennessee sales tax revenues are 10 percent below the figures for the previous year. Contributing to the shortfall are said to be many national corporations that avoid paying their appropriate share of Tennessee sales taxes; under current law, the companies can report their assets in states with lower tax rates. It's a loophole the group Tennesseans for Fair Taxation is trying to close.

Dick Williams, a board member of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, says the state should enact legislation calling for combined reporting.

"Combined reporting would require them to report all of their income and to pay Tennessee its fair share of that."

Combined reporting mandates multi-state companies to apportion their profits according to formulas which consider how much of the firm's property, payroll, and sales are in each state. Tennesseans for Fair Taxation is preparing to lobby for the change during the next state legislative session.

Williams says that, not only is the state losing revenue from national companies under current tax law, but state companies would benefit under combined reporting.

"It's also more fair to Tennessee companies that cannot shift some of their tax burden otherwise."

Some business groups argue that making the companies pay more will eliminate jobs in the state.

Combined reporting has been successfully adopted in a majority of states and has held up to legal challenges.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories:

NATO Builds History's First Global Army

Afghan War: NATO Builds History's First Global Army
By Rick Rozoff

Two months before the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
and the beginning of NATO's first-ever ground war the world is witness to a
21st Century armed conflict without end waged by the largest military
coalition in history.

With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia,
Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Montenegro are to or may
join those of some 45 other countries serving under the command of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations on five
continents and in the Middle East serving under a unified command structure.

Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war
theater, much less the same country.

By way of comparison, there were twenty six (higher, and looser, estimates
go as high as 34) national contingents in the so-called coalition of the
willing in Iraq as of 2006. In the interim between now and then troops from
all contributing nations but the United States and Great Britain have been
withdrawn and in most cases redeployed to Afghanistan.

In 1999 NATO's fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. welcomed the
first expansion of the world's only military bloc in the post-Cold War era,
absorbing former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland,
in the course of conducting NATO's first war, the relentless 78-day
bombardment of Yugoslavia, Operation Allied Force.

Two years later, after the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington,
D.C., NATO activated its Article 5 - "The Parties agree that an armed attack
against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered
an attack against them all" - for the first time in the bloc's history and
launched a number of operations from deploying German AWACS to patrol the
Atlantic Coast of the U.S. to launching Operation Active Endeavor, a naval
surveillance and interdiction program throughout the Mediterranean Sea which
continues to this day.

But the main effect, and the main purpose, of invoking NATO's mutual
military assistance clause was to rally the then 19 member military bloc for
the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the stationing of troops,
warplanes and bases throughout South and Central Asia, including in
Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Flyover rights were also
arranged with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and newly acquired airbases in
Bulgaria and Romania have since been used for the transit of troops and
weapons to the Afghan war zone.

If the 1999 war against Yugoslavia was NATO's first "out of area"
operation - that is, outside of North America and those parts of Europe in
the Alliance - the war in Afghanistan marked NATO's transformation into a
global warfighting machine. In the years intervening between the October
2001 invasion of Afghanistan and now NATO officials and advocates have come
to employ such terms as Global, Expeditionary and 21st Century NATO.
Afghanistan provided the Alliance the opportunity to add to its previous
expansion to Eastern Europe with its attendant military operations in the
Balkans into asserting itself as the world's first global military force.

As the U.S. State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
European Affairs Kurt Volker (later U.S. ambassador to NATO) said in 2006,
“In 1994 NATO was an alliance of 16 [countries], without partners, having
never conducted a military operation. By 2005, NATO had become an alliance
of 26, engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents with the
help of 20 partners in Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranean, four in the
Persian Gulf, and a handful of capable contributors on our periphery.” [1]

The updated details of what he was alluding to are these:

From 1999 to this year NATO has added twelve new members - Albania,
Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - all in Eastern Europe, nine of them
formerly in the Warsaw Pact and three former Soviet and two Yugoslav

All of the new members were prepared for full NATO accession under the
Partnership for Peace {PfP) program, which first demands weapons
interoperability (scrapping contemporary Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in
favor of Western ones), increasing future members' military spending to 2%
of the national budget no matter how hard-hit the nation is since the
collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the purging of "politically unreliable"
personnel from military, defense and security posts, training abroad in NATO
military academies, hosting U.S. Alliance military exercises, and
instructing the officer corps in a common language - English - for joint
overseas operations.

With a dozen PfP graduates now full NATO members who have deployed troops to
Afghanistan - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland and Romania were also levied for troops in Iraq - the partnership
still includes every former Soviet Republic not already in NATO but Russia -
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan - and ten European nations
that had never before been part of a military bloc: Austria, Bosnia,
Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia,
Sweden and Switzerland.

All of the latter but Malta and Serbia have been tapped for soldiers in
Afghanistan. The 28 full NATO members all have troops there also.

Of the former Soviet republics, troops from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine served in Iraq
under PfP obligations. At the time of the South Caucasus war last August
Georgia had the third largest national contingent in Iraq - 2,000 troops
deployed near the Iranian border - which the U.S. rushed home on transport
planes for the war with Russia.

NATO also upgraded its Mediterranean Dialogue, whose partners are Algeria,
Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, at the 2004 NATO
summit in Istanbul, Turkey with the so-called Istanbul Cooperation
Initiative, which also laid the groundwork for military integration of the
six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The last-named is the only Arab
state to date with troops in Afghanistan.

The Afghan war has led to another category of NATO partnership, that of
Contact Countries, which so far officially include Australia, Japan, New
Zealand and South Korea.

The Alliance also has a Tripartite Commission with Afghanistan and Pakistan
for the prosecution of the dangerously expanding war in South Asia, and
defense, military and political leaders from both nations are regularly
summoned to NATO Headquarters in Belgium for meetings and directives.

Afghan and Pakistani soldiers are trained at NATO bases in Europe.

Though not members of formal partnerships, nations with troops serving under
NATO in Afghanistan like Singapore and Mongolia have been pulled into the
bloc's global nexus and necessarily adopt military doctrines and structures
in line with NATO standards.

Another component of the 2001 decision to activate the Alliance's Article 5
provision was to deploy NATO forces to the Horn of Africa, primarily to Camp
Lemonier in Djibouti, where they have conducted maritime surveillance and
boarding operations ever since. Last autumn NATO deployed its first naval
task force off the coast of Somalia.

In addition to the five African nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO
has expanded its penetration of the continent over the past eight years: An
Alliance naval group has docked in Kenya. NATO has held military maneuvers
in South Africa. Even Libya has begun cooperation with NATO in the

With the launching of the Pentagon's Africa Command (AFRICOM) last year -
and AFRICOM is the personal project of retired Marine General James Jones,
from 2003-2006 top military commander of NATO and the U.S. European Command
where AFRICOM was incubated and now U.S. National Security Adviser - the
distinction between Pentagon and NATO operations in Africa will be a largely
academic one and all of Africa's 53 nations except for Eritrea, Sudan and
Zimbabwe are potential Alliance partners.

The central focus for the operationalization of NATO's worldwide plans is
Afghanistan and adjoining nations.

In calendar year nine of the war in that nation and now with its expansion
into Pakistan NATO has built upon previous and current joint military
deployments in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait,
Jordan, Sudan and off the coast of Somalia and secured a long-term, indeed a
permanent, laboratory for molding history's first international rapid
deployment, combat and occupation military force; a 650,000 square kilometer
firing and weapons testing range; a string of airbases in the center of
where Russian, Chinese, Indian and Iranian regional interests converge; a
boot camp for breaking in the armed forces of dozens of nations slated for
NATO membership.

As such, discussions about the "winnability" of the current war are beside
the point.

Although there are currently over 100,000 troops serving under U.S. and NATO
command in Afghanistan, many of them so-called niche deployment special
forces, mountain and airborne troops and other units ordered by NATO from
member and candidate nations, on August 7 the newly-installed Alliance
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued an "open call for more
troops" which "was perhaps the clearest indication yet that a major
escalation ordered this year by new U.S. President Barack Obama is far from

In Rasmussen's words, "Honestly speaking, I think we need more troops." [2]

Two days after being sworn in as NATO chief on August 1 Rasmussen "ruled out
setting a deadline for the withdrawal of international forces from
Afghanistan, saying the western alliance will stay there 'for as long as it
takes.'" [3]

The new secretary general hadn't time to begin to settle into his new post
when he and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis flew into Kabul on
an unscheduled visit two days afterwards "in order to get a comprehensive
view of the international effort." [4]

On August 7 British General David Richards, who will become Chief of the
General Staff on August 28, stated that "There is absolutely no chance of
Nato pulling out" [5] of Afghanistan and that his own nation's role there
"might take as long as 30 to 40 years." [6]

Eight days earlier the British ambassador to the U.S., Sir Nigel Sheinwald,
anticipated Richards in saying of the British - and by implication NATO -
role in South and Central Asia that "This is going to be for decades...."

In late July the Afghan ambassador to the U.S. also revealed that any hopes
for an imminent deescalation of the war in his country, not to mention its
eventual end, were non-existent by revealing that "NATO countries will
provide 8,000 to 10,000 additional troops to allow Afghans to vote securely"
[8] in this month's national elections. The official explanation by the U.S.
and NATO for their increased deployment of troops to Afghanistan is that it
is an ad hoc effort to insure the elections there proceed without
interruption, but past elections have occurred and the fighting has
increased with the introduction of more and yet more Western soldiers, tanks
and other armor, attack helicopters, warplanes and large-scale military

In fact August is a good month for a NATO summer offensive and concerns over
elections are a public relations ploy.

The day before the British envoy to the U.S. acknowledged the decades-long
plans of his country, his host country and NATO, British Foreign Minister
David Miliband held a joint press conference in Washington with his American
counterpart Hillary Clinton at which he stated that despite polls in both
Britain and America showing majority opposition to the continuation of the
Afghan war "I want to be absolutely clear that we (the UK and the US) went
into this together and we will work it through together, because we are
stronger together." [9]

That the British and American publics are as anxious for NATO troops to
leave Afghanistan as the Afghans themselves means nothing to Western
political elites for whom much more is stake than the fate of Afghanistan,
about which they couldn't care less.

As a reflection of the urgency the Pentagon and NATO attach to the
deteriorating security situation in the nation, an emergency conclave was
held on a U.S. airbase near NATO Headquarters in Belgium with American
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Mullins, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan
General Stanley A. McChrystal, deputy commander of U.S. forces in
Afghanistan General David Rodriguez, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral
James Stavridis and Central Command chief David Petraeus.

Two days later NATO's governing body, the North Atlantic Council, announced
plans "to reorganize the alliance's command structure in Afghanistan by
setting up a new headquarters" to be named Intermediate Joint Headquarters
and commanded by U.S. General Rodriguez.

A news account of the NATO decision said that "It is similar to the model
used in Iraq, where overall command of the multinational forces was under a
four-star American general, while a three-star general ran daily
operations." [10]

Afghanistan is not the only battleground in the South Asian war theater.

From July 20-24 senior leaders of the American and Pakistani armed forces
met in Atlanta, Georgia at a counterinsurgency seminar.

The director of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center,
Colonel Daniel Roper, said of the proceedings: "This week we presented some
lessons learned in counterinsurgency. We used those lessons to stimulate
conversation and took our previous experiences in Iraq and applied them to
our current status. We exchanged our viewpoints on the challenges in
Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia at large."

South Asia at large includes not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but India,
Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Another U.S. military official present at the four-day workshop said,
"Pakistan is a pivotal country in our current operations. The Pakistan
military actually just came out of fighting the insurgency over there to
bring their knowledge to us and for us to talk about certain practices we
have used both historically and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan." [11]

In early August commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan Stanley
McChrystal and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard
Holbrooke spoke with Vietnam War scholar Stanley Karnow in an "effort to
apply the lessons of the earlier conflict to the fight against the Taliban.

"Holbrooke confirmed to The Associated Press that the three men discussed
similarities between the two wars. [Karnow] says envoy Richard Holbrooke
called him and passed the phone to Gen. Stanley McChrystal." [12]

Not only is "South Asia at large" included in the West's Greater Afghan war
but so is Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin. In both instances nations
already involved in providing bases for U.S. and NATO forces (Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) and those supplying troops and ancillary services
are being pulled deeper into the NATO web.

This past January U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus visited
Kazakhstan which like Mongolia, about which more later, is among only three
countries bordering both Russia and China, North Korea being the third.
Petraeus pushed for his host country to open up its air bases for transit to
Afghanistan and it was later revealed that discussions concerning the
recruitment of Kazakh troops for the war front were also held.

Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty
Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) along
with three of its four Central Asian neighbors [Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan), Russia and China.

It is also the Caspian nation with the largest oil and natural gas deposits
and a key nation in Western plans to dominate the transport of hydrocarbons
to Europe and Asia.

The penetration of Kazakhstan, a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace, by
the Pentagon and NATO will simultaneously insert a hostile Western military
presence on Russia's and China's borders and undermine the very existence of
the CSTO and SCO. Part of the purpose of the war in Afghanistan, which was
started four months after the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization in June of 2001, is precisely to install U.S. and NATO military
forces in Central Asia to sabotage attempts by China and Russia to develop
common security, energy, transportation and other projects.

On August 7 American ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland met with the
nation's defense minister to expand military collaboration.

"During the meeting Kazakh Defense Minister Dzhaksybekov paid special
attention to the increased number of actions under the plan of military
contacts...[and the] study of advanced experience and organization of the
U.S army, as well as the exchange of experience." The sharing of experience
has already included "over 320 Kazakh military men...trained within the
program of international military education and training in educational
centers of the U.S armed forces." [13]

Also on August 7 Pentagon chief Robert Gates expressed his gratification
that Kyrgyzstan, which earlier this year evicted U.S. and NATO troops from
the air base at Manas, had proven susceptible to bribery and allowed the
U.S. military to conduct transit again through the same base. The new
arrangement "will enable the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan to continue their highly
productive military relations created earlier...." [14]

Kyrgyzstan like Kazakhstan is a member of the CSTO and SCO, though it's not
certain for how long.

In Kazakhstan's Caspian neighbor to the south, Turkmenistan, the Pentagon
has been no less active of late. At the end of July Under Secretary of State
for Political Affairs William Burns announced plans for what was described
as an intergovernmental commission for regular consultations with
Turkmenistan which "marks progress in...the contribution to stability in
Afghanistan and across the region...." [15]

A news report two weeks earlier revealed that "Turkmenistan is quietly
developing into a major transport hub for the northern supply network, which
is being used to relay non-lethal supplies to US and NATO forces in
Afghanistan. The Pentagon has confirmed a small contingent of US military
personnel now operates in Ashgabat to assist refueling operations." [16]

Similar processes are occurring on the western end of the Caspian with
Azerbaijan and its neighbors in the South Caucasus. With the massive
increase of troops and equipment and the escalation of combat operations in
Afghanistan, NATO partners are being drafted into not only providing more
troops but making their airspace and air bases available for the transit of
soldiers, weapons and supplies. Plans are underway to employ air bases in
Bulgaria and Romania acquired in recent years as forward operating bases for
the U.S. and NATO alike to connect with bases in Georgia and Azerbaijan and
thence to Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Last month the world's first global strategic airlift base, at the air base
in Papa, Hungary - "the biggest NATO project in 40 years" [17] - was put
into operation for the war in South Asia and future conflicts in the East.
The twelve participating nations are NATO members Bulgaria, Romania,
Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and
the U.S. as well as two Partnership for Peace states, Finland and Sweden.

After the meeting of the Russian and U.S. presidents in Moscow last month,
Russia agree to permit the Pentagon up to 4,500 annual military flights over
its territory without fees, saving the U.S. up to $133 million a year in
total transit costs.

An analysis by an American writer, Alfred Ross, in Russia Profile several
days ago warned of the consequences of Russia's accommodation of American
war plans in South Asia:

"Under Obama, the U.S. military presence on Russia's Central Asian flank is
proceeding at a ferocious pace. The appointment of Richard Holbrooke, the
former NATO Ambassador who orchestrated NATO's attack on Yugoslavia as envoy
to the region is indicative of Obama's intentions. No area is more
strategically important than the 'Af-Pak' project, which positions U.S.
troops within the zone fronting on Iran, China, and Russia's Central Asia.

"For the new American irregular warfare approach, it is the ability to map
small terrain, analyze civilian traffic patterns and read local radar
systems that will be key to the next round of U.S. operations across
Russia's southern flank, from the Crimea to Kyrgyzstan." [18]

To further demonstrate the accuracy of his concerns it was recently
announced that Mongolia, which directly abuts Russia as well as China, was
sending an initial contingent of 130 troops to serve under NATO in

A news report of the offer stated that "Mongolia's involvement in Iraq and
Afghanistan has helped cement its alliance with the United States" and that
it will facilitate the nation's "third neighbor" policy to "reach out to
allies other than China and Russia." [19] Along with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the South Asian war is being
exploited by Washington and Brussels to intrude their military structures
into nations neighboring Russia and China, reorganize their armed forces as
well as shift their interstate allegiances and further encircle two of the
West's main competitors in the region and the world.

South Korea is also discussing sending troops back to Afghanistan. Singapore
now has a unit serving with NATO's ISAF and the possible next defense
minister of Japan, the Democratic Party's Keiichiro Asao, recently affirmed
that his nation would consider sending ground troops to Afghanistan for the
first time. [20]

The Afghan war has also allowed the West to consolidate the creation of an
Asian NATO, with armed forces from the above-mentioned countries to join
those of Australia and New Zealand already there.

With regards to the other end of Eurasia, the former Soviet Union, in
mid-July a Moldovan helicopter operating under contact with NATO was shot
down in Afghanistan, killing the six Ukrainian crew members on board.

In the South Caucasus, Armenia announced two weeks ago that it planned to
send troops to Afghanistan "by the end of the year." An analyst from that
country said that "In addition to the Americans wanting Armenia, Armenia
also wants to play a greater role, a role in Afghanistan that also builds on
the strength of experience of Armenian peacekeepers who've served in Iraq
and Kosovo." [21]

Armenia, like all the former Soviet Central Asian nations except for
Turkmenistan, is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization
with Russia and Belarus, and like the four others is being enticed by the
West to shift its loyalties to NATO.

Georgia just announced that it has assigned a battalion of US-trained troops
to Afghanistan and neighboring Azerbaijan has recently doubled its troops

Regarding the first nation, "Georgia has been involved in NATO operations in
the Balkans for nine years, and for five years in Iraq, along with the U.S.
and other NATO members.

"Georgia has proven its loyalty to the West by its actions since 1999. More
than 10,000 military personnel have participated in peacekeeping operations
first in Kosovo, then in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan during 2005-06."

The same source remarked that "[T]he participation in real combat operations
along with the military units of such powerful countries will enrich
Georgian soldiers with substantive operational experience."

Combat experience that was put to use a year ago in its five-day war with
Russia. Three days ago the deputy chairman of the Georgian parliament's
foreign affairs committee, Georgy Kandelaki, told reporters that his
government would derive two major benefits from sending additional troops to

"First of all, our servicemen will gain combat experience because they will
be in the middle of combat action, and that is a really invaluable

"Secondly, it will be a heavy argument to support Georgia's NATO
aspirations." [23]

Gaining wartime combat experience in the Afghan campaign for action on its
border with Russia is not unique to Georgia.

A former commander of Finnish troops in the country, which in the past weeks
have been engaged in active combat operations in the north of Afghanistan,
said that "This is a unique situation for us, in that we will get to train
part of our wartime forces. That part will get to operate as close to
wartime conditions as is possible." [24]

Finland has a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia and is in the process of
moving toward full NATO membership despite the opposition of a majority of
its citizens. NATO is progressively encroaching on Russia's borders from
most every direction and the Afghan war is training the armies that may one
day engage in combat much closer to home.

The war in Afghanistan and on the other side of the border in Pakistan has
reached its highest pitch of intensity to date with Afghan civilian deaths
over 1,000 this year and the U.S. and NATO experiencing their highest death
tolls in almost eight years of warfare.

Britain has announced that it is sending 2,000 more troops and additional
Predator drones, Chinook and Merlin helicopters and armored vehicles.

Italy, France, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, new NATO members
Albania and Croatia and Contact Country partners Australia and New Zealand
have deployed and have been pressured to provide more troops, including
special forces units, warplanes, attack helicopters and armored vehicles for
the war.

A war that expanded into a 50-nation military campaign and that has fanned
out to include U.S. and NATO military incursions into South and Central Asia
and the Caspian Sea region.

A war that serves as a furnace to forge an integrated, battle-hardened
international military force that can be employed wherever else in the world
Brussels and Washington choose to use it in the future.

The Afghan war, then, is no ordinary war, as abhorrent as all wars are.

It is only going to expand in width and in the amount of blood shed, but
already it is distinguished by several developments:

It is the U.S.'s first war in Asia and its longest one anywhere since

It is NATO's first ground war and its first military campaign in Asia.

The German army has engaged in its first combat operations since the defeat
of the Third Reich in 1945.

Finnish soldiers have engaged in combat for the first time since World War
II and Swedish forces in almost 200 years.

Canada has lost its first troops in combat, 127, since the Korean War.

Australia has registered its first combat deaths since the Vietnam War.

More British soldiers have been killed, 191, than at any time since the
Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982.

A nation that borders Pakistan, Iran, China and two Central Asian nations
has been thrown into turmoil. The world's seven official nuclear nations are
either in the neighborhood - China, Pakistan, India and Russia - or are
engaged in hostilities - the U.S., Britain and France.

The only beneficiary of this conflagration is a rapidly emerging Global

1) Washington File, U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
2) Reuters, August 7, 2009
3) Bloomberg News, August 3, 2009
4) NATO International, August 5, 2009
5) BBC News, August 8, 2009
6) The Times, August 7, 2009
7) Boston Globe, July 30, 2009
8) Zee News (India), July 24, 2009
9) Press TV, July 29, 2009
10) Associated Press, August 4, 2009
11) United States Army, Army News Service, July 30, 2009
12) Associated Press, August 6, 2009
13) Trend News Agency, August 7, 2009
14) Interfax, August 7, 2009
15) Trend News Agency, July 24, 2009
16) EurasiaNet, July 8, 2009
17) Hungary Around The Clock, July 28, 2009
18) Russia Profile, July 31, 2009
19) Trend News Agency, July 22, 2009
20) Stars and Stripes, July 21, 2009
21) ArmeniaLiberty, July 23, 2009
22) Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 20, 2009
23) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
24) Helsingin Sanomat, June 19, 2009