Is Germany trying to distance itself from NATO's sabre-rattling?
This article originally appeared at NachDenkSeiten. Translated for RI by Mihajlo Doknic
The German Chancellery has accused NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove of "dangerous propaganda". The question: what to think about this critique coming from a government that uses this kind of propaganda technique itself. Jens Wernicke, media scientist and author of several books, talked with the renowned Swiss peace researcher and NATO expert Dr. Daniele Ganser.
Mr. Ganser, the German Chancellery accuses NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove, of "dangerous propaganda". Breedlove exaggerates Russia’s military involvement in East Ukraine, for example. What is going on here? Is the German government just accusing NATO of war propaganda?
The German Chancellery is right with its critique. In my opinion, something dangerous is happening right now: US generals like Breedlove are trying to provoke a war, where Germans and Russians would kill each other in order to weaken both countries. This is a cynical, actually a diabolical plan. But this is exactly what US strategist like Georg Friedman, director of the Stratfor think tank, are suggesting. United, Germany and Russia are the only power that could threaten the US, Friedman said in a speech in February 2015 in Chicago.
"Our primordial interest [preventing a German-Russian alliance] is to ensure that will never happen," said Friedman.
"The US, as an empire, cannot intervene in Eurasia all the time," he explained. Therefore they must turn countries against each other, so they don’t build close alliances. "I suggest something President Ronald Reagan used against Iraq and Iran: He supported both war parties!" Freidman stated. The war between Iraq and Iran between 1980 and 1988 claimed at least 400.000 dead, so from the point of peace science it is frightening what Friedman suggests. "So the Iranians and Iraqis fought against each other and not against us," explained Freidman in his speech. "That was cynical and amoral. But it worked."
The USA cannot occupy Eurasia. The same moment we put our boots on European soil, we will be outnumbered due to demographics. In my opinion the radical US generals like Breedlove are trying to implement this strategy, where in future German and Russian Soldiers kill each other in Ukraine, thus destabilizing and weakening the whole of East Europe. That would be a catastrophe. Therefore a peace movement needs to encourage an alternative solution, like the neutrality of Ukraine. No NATO membership and friendship between Germany and Russia.
How is NATO trying to fuel this conflict?
NATO General Breedlove often sticks out by spreading exaggerated and untrue claims. This is how NATO is fueling the war. This is dangerous, because the situation is very tense, as we know. On the 12th of November 2014 Breedlove claimed that Russian toops and tanks have marched into Ukraine! But that wasn’t true and it wasn’t just a little thing. Literally the NATO general said: "We have seen that Russian troops, Russian tanks, Russian artillery and air defense systems have moved into Ukraine." BBC and other mass media spread that worldwide but it was a lie.
And US General Ben Hodges, commander of the US troops in Europe, also pushes for war by supporting the Ukrainian army. In January 2015 he visited a military hospital in Kiev and handed over a medal for bravery of the US Army to a wounded Ukrainian soldier! That, of course, increases tension.
However, the US General Hodges shows symbolically: The US is an "active party of war" in the Ukraine. It stands by the Ukrainian army that is fighting the Russian supported separatists in East Ukraine. Because Germany is a NATO member, there is a danger that German soldiers are dragged into this war by the US. Similar to Afghanistan after 2001. If that happens, then we have exactly the situation Friedman is asking for: Germans and Russians shooting at each other in the Ukraine. Of course I hope that this won’t happen. However, a peace movement needs to raise this and warn of such dangers in order to avoid them.
Is this a very common thing, I mean, that NATO lies, exaggerates or deceives?
Yes, regrettably NATO has, on a regular basis, combined lies and war. In my book NATO’s secret armies in Europe. Staged terror and clandestine warfare I show how, during the Cold War, NATO had built in Western countries, supported by CIA and the British secret service MI6, secret armies, of which existence the governments and population didn’t know anything.
Especially the US generals are dangerous, because they have been continuously fighting wars in different countries during the last 70 years. As representatives of an empire they are not only used to kill but also to deceive. General Lyman Lemnitzer, for example, who served as SACEUR of NATO (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) between 1963 and 1969, so one of Breedlove’s predecessors, suggested in the 60s that the US should stage a war against Cuba by destroying an American ship at the military base in Guantanamo and by staging terror attacks in Washington, and then for both crimes accuse Fidel Castro in order to get the American public behind the war. John F. Kennedy, however, stopped the operation [Northwoods]. But it shows, how dangerous the officers in the Pentagon are.
Is only the US pushing for wars or are other countries also involved?
NATO has 28 members and unfortunately other NATO countries are involved in war propaganda as well. For example, the Brits! In March 2003, before they attacked Iraq, Tony Blair, the then prime minister, said: "Iraq is in possession of chemical and biological weapons. Its rockets are ready for use within 45 minutes." That was a lie! The attack on Iraq by USA and Great Britain started, nevertheless, without an UN mandate. So it was illegal!
It was also an illegal aggression when NATO, on the 24th of March 1999, started bombing Serbia. Because NATO didn’t have a mandate of the UN Security Council. Back then it was Germany under the Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping and the Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, that actively took part in the aggression [War on Yugoslavia], together with the US. In the run-up to the aggression lies were spread to get the people behind this war. Later, in 2014, Schröder admitted that NATO violated International Law. "When the question came up how to deal with developments in Yugoslavia and Kosovo respectively, we sent our planes, our Tornados [German warplanes] to Serbia together with NATO and bombed a sovereign state without a Security Council Resolution," admitted Schröder self-critically.
How come that in those cases nobody raises its voice and we only read the same NATO statements with their arguments?
The mass media in Germany are pushing people into a direct confrontation with Russia, in a way the radicals in the US, like Stratfor director Friedman, are asking for. It means, they fuel animosity towards Russia. And very rarely there is a critical discussion about NATO or about the strategic interests of the US, those powers that are fueling the war in Ukraine.
Many journalists don’t even call the US an empire fearing for their jobs and other things. But it is apparent that the US is an empire of our times, the most powerful nation that, of course, is pursuing its national interests. This fact is rarely raised by the mass media. So many people watching TV don’t even know the term ‚US Empire’ or the strategic interests of this empire in Eurasia. Therefore, critical people disappointed by the TV and Newspapers are trying to inform themselves through alternative media on the Internet.
So, do you think the critique by our [German] government is a sign that they finally try to break the global spiral of violence and distance itself from propaganda in favour of respectful dialogue with Russia? And, is our government more credible than NATO itself?
I am from Switzerland, whicht is not part of NATO. So I do look at the German policy and Chancellor Merkel from the outside. And I see that many people are concerned with the situation [war] in Ukraine, because of its proximity. And most of the Germans that I know, they don’t want a future, where German soldiers and Russian soldiers shoot at each other! But I am not sure what the German government wants. They move in a zigzag course. One day, as a NATO member, they fuel, together with the US, the war in the Ukraine by increasing tensions with Russia. And sometimes they try to keep the friendship or at least the respect with Russia by publically criticizing NATO war-hawk Breedlove. So which line will be predominant in future its hard to tell.
What is your assessment of the departure of the hawk Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO General Secretary? Will Jens Stoltenberg establish himself as a peaceful successor? To put it differently: How much influence has a Secretary General actually on NATO policies?
If you study the history of NATO it is easy to notice that the post of Secretary General is always staffed with an European, now Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, and before that, Rasmussen, a Dane. But the Europeans should not be mistaken as to who is calling the shots in NATO, it is the US! Secretary General is not the most important post. It is actually the one of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, because here lies the military command. An American, now Breedlove, always holds this position.
Has Stoltenberg publically criticized Breedlove or tried to stop him? No, he is not able to. His job as Secretary General is primarily to give NATO an European face. This is better received in Europe, than having a US diplomat appear all the time.
So I don’t believe that Stoltenberg is able or willing to transform NATO into a peaceful organization. Also because of the track record of NATO in the past two decades: NATO wars and the technique of ‚Regime Change’ have left countries in ruins and traumatized people, in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. So I hope that Ukraine won’t be put on this list too!
Thank you for the interview.