Daily Archives: June 21, 2014

Putin orders surprise drills to check combat readiness of central Russia forces

All Russian forces in Siberia, the Urals and beyond have been put on combat-ready alert, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after President Putin ordered surprise drills.

Over 65,000 of Russia’s troops in the Central Military District have been put on alert to verify troops’ combat-readiness during massive war games of all branches of the armed forces. The exercises involve the relocation of military personnel and hardware, firing training and complex inspections.

“In accordance with president’s order, today starting from 11:00 Moscow time [07:00 GMT] all troops of the Central Military District have been placed in a state of full combat readiness,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at staff meeting.

The drills will last for a week, from June 21 through 28, Shoigu said.

Up to 5,500 military vehicles, 180 airplanes and 60 helicopters will participate in the drills, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov said, Interfax reported.

During the first 24 hours, the troops’ readiness for immediate deployment on a combat mission will be checked.

After that, military units will switch to tactical training, marching in battle formation to firing ranges for practice, Shoigu said.

Air Force units in the district will relocate planes to operational airfields to check their readiness for action in new locations. In particular, the 98th Airborne Division will be relocated from the Ivanovo Region of the Volga Federal District to the Urals for paratrooper jump exercises at the Chebarkul firing range.

The minister specifically ordered units to avoid any possible damage to civilian installations and infrastructure during the military drills, and to ensure the safety of military personnel, arms and hardware.

The June 21-28 drill is the second stage of general exercises in the Central Military District, Shoigu said. A special commission has already verified the general situation in the district and now the war games will give the picture of combat readiness of the troops stationed on a swathe of huge territory from the Volga River through the Urals Mountains to Siberia, and from the Kara Sea in the Arctic to the steppe on Russia’s southern border with Kazakhstan.

Shoigu said that the 28th and 35th Motorized Brigades began the training June 20, when both units were put on alert ahead of the rest of the military forces in the region.

The Russian army has staged a number of military drills this year. The most recent exercises took place less than a fortnight ago, when on June 10 the Russian military launched drills by its assault forces in the enclave of Kaliningrad in answer to the double war games being conducted by joint NATO forces on the territory of the three Baltic States.

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UN warns Britain over child voodoo rituals, pedophile sex tourists

Hundreds of children are being kidnapped in Africa and bought to the UK for voodoo rituals, a UN watchdog said, also voicing alarm about the number of British pedophiles who prey on children abroad.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged Britain to do more to stop this brutal form of people trafficking.

“We’re concerned about reports that hundreds of children have been abducted from their families in Africa and trafficked to the UK, especially London, for religious rituals,” Kirsten Sandberg, head of the CRC and a former Norwegian Supreme Court judge, said Thursday.

She said that trafficking for rituals was part of a wider problem where thousands of minors are brought to the UK, who end up being child prostitutes or being sexually exploited.

The CRC advised that Britain should “strengthen the capacity of law-enforcement authorities and judiciary to detect and prosecute trafficking of children for labor, sexual and other forms of exploitation, including for religious rituals.”

There have been numerous cases of children who have been brought to the UK from Africa and suffered torture and abuse, often as part of witchcraft rituals, AFP reports.

Victoria Climbie from the Ivory Coast was killed by her own relatives in 2000, who thought she was a witch.

More recently, in March 2012, Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu, both from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who moved to London, were found guilty of murdering Magalie’s teenage brother, Kirsty.

The prosecution argued that Bikubi had a “profound and disturbing” belief in witchcraft and although the defense said that Bikubi was suffering from schizophrenia, the judge sentenced both defendants to life in prison.

A year later the Metropolitan Police found the dismembered corpse of a Nigerian boy in the River Thames, who they believed was a victim of a ritual.

The CRC also warned about the number of British pedophiles who travel abroad – most notably to Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia and Thailand, for sex with children. Orphanages were a favored destination where sex predators could pick on vulnerable kids.

“There are continued reports that United Kingdom citizens, including some convicted sex offenders, set up charities or travel abroad, where they sexually abuse children,” Sandberg said.

She called on the British government to get its act together to toughen identification, investigation and prosecution of British citizens involved in such crimes, as well making sure convicted and known pedophiles do not travel abroad.

The UK government has said that new orders can now be applied to individuals who are deemed to pose a risk of sexual harm, even if they have never been convicted.

A national group led by the Home Office will look at ways the police and other agencies can better detect and combat sex offenders.

“Our two new civil prevention orders will make it easier to restrict the movement and activities of anyone who poses a risk of causing sexual harm to children and adults – not just those who have been convicted of sexual offences,” Norman Baker, the crime prevention minister, said in a statement.

A BBC journalist posing as a children’s trafficker trawled the bars and cafés of the Kampala underworld in Uganda in 2011. He found a kidnapper who boasted he could “offer as many children as required” without the police knowing for $15,600 a child.

‘In Iraq the US is getting exactly what it wants’

Iraqi Shi’ite Turkmen fighters take part in an intensive security deployment in the town of Taza, south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, June 19, 2014.

by – Caleb Maupin

The US wants no stable force in the Middle East, no opposition, no basis for anything that could become a stable economy, exporting oil and competing with it on the world markets, political analyst Caleb Maupin told RT.

RT:Obama said the US troops won’t be going back into combat on the ground in Iraq. Will he keep his promise?

Caleb Maupin: Many US military adventures began with so-called military advisors. The classic example is Vietnam. In recent history we have seen many examples of the US using so-called military advisors to advise local officials who actually do the fighting on behalf of the US. What’s very clear in the Iraq situation right now is that the US is attempting to form a sectarian war, not only in Iraq but in the entire Middle East. ISIS/ISIL is an organization that receives support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that ally with the US and have worked to form and fund this kind of extremist terrorist organization and send them to Syria, engaging in civil war, and now they are in Iraq. This fighting is very helpful to the US because it makes sure that there is no stable opposition to the US and there are no stable competitors in the world market. The US wants chaos in the Middle East and this latest episode with the ISIS and sending advisors is an example of the US achieving its aim of chaos, fighting and leaving instability in the Middle East in order to remove competitors in the oil market.

RT: Around 300 so-called military advisers have been sent by Washington to Iraq. Are they really just advisers?

CM: Military advisors in Africa and different parts of the world that the US sends, they generally play the role of organizing proxy forces, forces that do what the US wants to be done. They kind of play a central role in directing them, telling them where to go. 300 military advisors could get quite a bit done in order to achieve the aims that the Pentagon would like to achieve. They work with local forces and give them a direction, that’s what generally the military advisors do.

RT: The US President also stressed the Iraq crisis should be solved politically… Hasn’t the situation already passed that point?

CM: Absolutely. The US is attempting to ferment a sectarian civil war throughout the Middle East and it is achieving it very effectively. The support for ISIS from Saudi Arabia, the fighting now between the ISIS and the Maliki government – this is exactly what the US wants. It wants no stable force in the Middle East, no opposition, no basis for anything that could become a stable economy, exporting oil and competing with the US on the world markets. This is the US getting exactly what it wants.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst who lives in New York City, and is an activist with the International Action Center and Workers World Party. He was part of the Occupy Wall Street mo