Thursday, November 27, 2014

1621 : A Historian Looks Anew At Thanksgiving

The record partially corrected; there was nothing "religious" about pilgrim exploitation, genocide of Native Americans   

SAIL 1620
By Dr. Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Ph.D

"A Thanksgiving for plenty. O Most merciful Father, which of thy gracious goodness hast heard the devout prayers of thy church, and turned our dearth and scarcity into cheapnesse and plenty: we giue thee humble thankes for this thy special bounty, beseeching thee to continue this thy louing kindnes unto vs, that our land may yeild vs her fruits of increase, to thy glory and our comfort, through Iesus Christ our Lord, Amen"

This prayer of Thanksgiving was not used by the Pilgrims in 1621, but with these words we must begin, if we want to assess the claims that, "The 1621 gathering in Plymouth was not a religious gathering but most likely a harvest celebration much like those the English had known in farming communities back home,"1 or that the Pilgrims' rejoicing together in 1621 was a harvest home best described as a "secular event."2 The Pilgrims did not use that specific prayer of thanksgiving for a plenteous harvest for the reason that its words are found among those "stinted prayers" prescribed in the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer and thereby required by state authority to be used by all Englishmen. Although the Pilgrims preferred extemporaneous prayer, these words from the Book of Common Prayer are exactly what "the English had known in farming communities back home," repeating them year after year in celebrations where, by the combined authority of state and church, a harvest home simply was not a "secular event."

Edward Winslow, in Mourt's Relation, has given us a brief description of the colonists' first harvest celebration. Wheat and Indian corn had grown well; barley he described as "indifferently good"3; but pease were "not worth the gathering."4 Winslow continues: "Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent foure men on fowling; so that we might after a more speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labours. 

They foure in one day killed as much fowle as, with a little help besid, served the company almost a weeke. At which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some nintie men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. And they went out and killed five deere, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not alwayes so plentifull, as it was at this time, with us, yet by goodnesse of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."5

Governor William Bradford, in Of Plymouth Plantation, reported that fishing had been good all summer, and, in the fall, "begane to come in store of foule, as winter approached [...] And besides water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many, besids venison, etc."6 One would suppose that Bradford's text justifies the assumption that turkey was included when the four Pilgrim hunters returned with "much fowle." James Deetz, an archaeologist and anthropologist who enjoyed making iconoclastic pronouncements about Pilgrim history, opined, however, that, "As for turkeys, it is less than likely, though not impossible, that some may have been taken as well." How does he arrive at "less than likely"? Deetz surmises that the plentiful presence of migrating waterfowl made shooting turkeys inefficient. (Forget Bradford!) Besides, writes Deetz, "Bradford distinguished between fowl/waterfowl and turkeys, and while turkeys are fowl, the fowl mentioned by Winslow were almost certainly ducks and geese, and, therefore, fall into Bradford's fowl/waterfowl category." Bradford's text mentions fowl, then divides that general category into waterfowl, on the one hand, and land birds, on the other, specifically naming turkeys, "of which they took many." Bradford does not place turkeys over against a "fowl/waterfowl category." Ignoring the careful practice of categorization that characterizes much seventeenth-century thought (influenced by the philosopher Petrus Ramus) and is here in a simple form expressed by Bradford, Deetz stretches a quasi-analytical examination of Bradford's use of vocabulary to reach a non-sensical conclusion, whose only purpose seems to be its denial that today's Thanksgiving turkey dinner has even a remote origin in the festivities of 1621.

"The most remarkable thing about Winslow's brief account is that it makes no mention of giving thanks," writes Deetz, who is clearly the inspiration for Grace and Bruchac's version, that, "The English never once used the word 'thanksgiving' in association with their 1621 harvest celebration." How are we to understand this omission? Does it mean there was no Thanksgiving?

Despite the nearly total absence of any mention by the Pilgrims of witchcraft (a topic noticed explicitly only twice in all their colony's court records — inconclusively and without any convictions), the Deetzes' book devotes an entire chapter to the subject of witchcraft in Plymouth Colony. "There Be Witches Too Many" is the misleading title. Magical beliefs and superstition having been common in England and obviously present in other parts of New England, "It is not possible that the men, women, and children who settled in Plymouth Colony would have been free of such influences," write the Deetzes; "[...] such beliefs would be taken for granted, part of a popular culture that did not need to be detailed." Well and good — but how is it, then, that one must assume that the Pilgrims, whose history was called into existence by a shared religious conviction and vision, were "free of such influences" (religious influences) when it came to their harvest celebration?

A more careful examination of Winslow's vocabulary and of the specific cultural context in which he wrote will illuminate the implications of the words he did choose, indicating the assumptions of that culture "that did not need to be detailed." Among many examples of the contextual meaning of Winslow's words, his assertion that, "the Civill Magistrate is the Minister of God, a Revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil," typifies the implications of his vocabulary. It also reveals Winslow' expectations of his audience. He did not need to state in so many words that he was referring to Romans 13:4. St. Paul was commenting on "the powers that be [and that] are ordeined of God," when he wrote in that verse that, "he is the minister of God for thy wealth: but if thou do evil, feare: for he beareth not the sworde for nought: for he is the minister of God to take vengeance on him that doeth evil." The Pilgrims and others in the Puritan and Separatist tradition used the Geneva Bible translation of 1560, where a marginal note explains that, in the Greek text, the verse reads "a revenger with wrath." Winslow obviously knew that, and he could presume that his readers knew it, too.

When Winslow described the Pilgrims' intention, "after a more speciall manner [to] rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labours," he was alluding to John 4: 36 and to Psalm 33. The first is, "And he that reapeth, receiueth wages, & gathereth frute vnto life eternal, that bothe he that soweth, & he yt [that] reapeth, might reioyce together."

Psalm 33, verses 1-5 and 18-22:
Reioyce in the Lord, O ye righteous: for it becometh vpright men to be thankeful.
Praise ye [the] Lord with harpe: sing vnto him with viole & instrument of ten strings
Sing vnto him a new song: sing cheerfully with a loud voyce.
For the worde of the Lord is righteous and his workes are faithful.
He loueth righteousness & iudgement: the earth is ful of the goodness of ye Lord.
Beholde, the eye of the Lord is vpon them that feare him, & vpon them, that trust in his mercie,
To deliver their soules from death, and to preserue them in famine.
Our soule waiteth for the Lord: for he is our helpe and our shield.
Surely our heart shal reioyce in him, because we trusted in his holie Name.
Let they mercie, O Lord, be upon vs, as we trust in thee.

The upright, whose souls will be delivered from death and who are preserved from present famine, are enjoined by the Psalmist to be thankful. The marginal interpretation in the Geneva Bible, however, explains that the specific form described is no longer literally required: "to sing on instruments was a parte of the ceremonial service of the Temple, which doeth no more apperteine." What was appropriate, now? The established, traditional forms of Anglican liturgy, or of recurrent Catholic festivals — obviously not! Puritans had not yet become dominant in England and had not yet reformed England's calendar of medieval superstition, so Calvinist days of thanksgiving or penitence had not yet taken shape there. Radical Protestants like the Pilgrims looked for Christian, biblical precedents. Games and feasting were biblical. Everyone was familiar with the rhymed version of Psalm 33, by Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins. "Our soule in God hath ioy and game / reioycing in his might: For why? In his most holy Name / we hope and much delight." "A day of feasting and ioye" was the biblical precedent provided by the celebration of Purim established in Esther 9: 18-22. The Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16: 13-14) was a harvest festival lasting "seuen daies, when thou hast gathered in thy corne, and thy wine. And thou shalt reioyce in thy feast, thou, and they sonne, and thy daughter, and thy servant, and thy maid, and the Levite and the stranger, and the fatherles, and the widow, that are within thy gates." The biblical injunction to include the "stranger" may have led to the Pilgrims' inviting their Native neighbors to rejoice with them.

Their exile in Leiden, Holland, had provided the Pilgrims with an even more explicit pattern for how a Reformed people could express its thanks to God. "Every year throughout the city a General Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving [was] held and celebrated on the Third of October, to thank and praise God Almighty that he so mercifully had saved the city from her enemies," wrote William Brewster's friend, Leiden's mayor, publisher, and historian, Jan Orlers, describing the celebration of the lifting of Leiden's siege in 1574. In Leiden, bread and fish brought in to revive the city's starving survivors (half the people had died) gave a parallel with the New Testament story of the feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14: 13-21; Mk. 6: 34-44; Jn. 6: 5-13). The celebration included feasting preceded by prayers of thanksgiving. Festivities lasted several days, with games, militia reviews, and general jollity, besides a free market fair. Leiden's Thanksgiving on October 3 is not the only source (all agrarian communities have harvest thanksgivings), but it is one of the important sources for understanding how the Pilgrims chose to give form to their thankful rejoicing together in a more special manner. They thanked God for their preservation during their first year in Plymouth, where, as in Leiden's siege, half the community had died, leaving the survivors to hope for and depend on divine protection and providence.

Returning to the historical sources for a contextual understanding of Winslow's words brings no shocking revelations. The Pilgrim leaders undeniably conceived of their lives in religious ways. A thankless or secular harvest festival was unthinkable.

The interpretive obtuseness indicated by the recent revised version of the 1621 Thanksgiving is not, however, isolated. "The colonists thought they had a right to help themselves to whatever they pleased," we are told. Never mind that Winslow details the efforts, ultimately successful after several months, to locate and pay Native owners of corn removed from storage baskets — to provide compensation for what must have looked like theft. He repeatedly expressed the Pilgrims' desire to make it clear that those particular colonists would neither practice nor condone theft from the Indians. Grace and Bruchac also proclaim to their audience of school children that the Pilgrims robbed Indian graves, despite Winslow's explicit statement to the contrary. Obviously one must assume that the Pilgrims were self-serving liars. Winslow writes that coming on "a bow with rotted arrows" in a mound Pilgrim explorers were investigating, "we supposed there were many other things, but because we deemed them graves, we put in the bow again and made it up as it was, and left the rest untouched, because we thought it would be odious unto them to ransack their sepulchres." The Pilgrims later removed some objects from the grave of a European sailor but avoided disturbing what they recognized as Indian graves. Contrasting with the grossly insensitive, lying, thieving Pilgrims, the Indians are presented as neo-Romantic idealists who "considered themselves caretakers of this land [...] owned by none, but held and used with respect by all." (In point of fact, Native land tenure in the 17th century was personal and hereditary; see my book Indian Deeds, Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony, 1620-1691, (Boston: N.E.H.G.S., 2002). Communal use appears in the 19th century as a response then to new circumstances.) Sentimental photographs of high quality continue the maudlin iconography of Indians as last representatives of a fine and more noble pristine past, oppressed by crude invaders.

What is most remarkable is that the National Geographic could get it so wrong! (A few years ago The National Geographic Magazinerepeated the fantasy that the so-called Mayflower Barn in England was built with timbers from the ship, even though that myth was expertly demolished more than eighty years ago.) Grace and Bruchac do not pretend to be professional historians and their reliance on the anonymous contribution represented by the phrase "with Plimoth Plantation" did not save them from repeating stereotypical myths that arose in the 19th century as a response to the dominant and equally unrealistic glorification of the Pilgrims as the embodiment of all virtue.

Our knowledge of the 1621 Thanksgiving comes from Winslow and Bradford. Winslow's choice of words, understood by his contemporaries, implies to us that the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for their preservation and for the plenty that gave hope for the future. Winslow specifically tells us that the colonists sat down with their Native neighbors and enjoyed several days of peaceful rejoicing together. It is a history with potent symbolism, and it needs neither apology nor distortion.

Jeremy Bangs (Ph.D. Leiden, 1976) writes about Dutch cultural history, the Pilgrims, and Plymouth Colony. Among his books are: "Church Art and Architecture in the Low Countries before 1566" (1997), "The Seventeenth-Century Town Records of Scituate, Massachusetts" (3 vols., 1997, 1999, 2001), "Indian Deeds, Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony, 1620-1699" (2002), and "Pilgrim Edward Winslow, New England's First International Diplomat" (2004). He is the author of articles about the Dutch "Remonstrants" and the "Pilgrim Fathers" in the "Routledge Encyclopedia of Protestantism" (Hans Hillerbrand, ed.). Bangs' many publications on Pilgrim topics began with articles in "The Mayflower Quarterly."


1. Quotation from "Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac, with Plimoth Plantation, Photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson," 1621, A New Look at Thanksgiving (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2001, p. 39.

2. Quotation from James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz, The Times of Their Lives, Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony (New York: W. H. Freeeman, 2000), p. 9.

3. Mourt's Relation, published in cooperation with Plimoth Plantation by Applewood Books, Bedford MA, Edited by Dwight B. Heath from the original text of 1622 and copyright 1963 by Dwight B. Heath, p. 82. ISBN: 0-918222-84-2.

4. ibid.

5. ibid.

6. Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 by William Bradford. A new edition by Samuel Eliot Morison; First published Sept. 19, 1952; 21st printing Jan. 2001, p. 90.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Saudi’s Invisible War Against Shia Muslims In The Middle East

Tottering Saudi despots riding CIA roller-coaster into fundamentalist takeover  

By Catherine Shakdam

If it is fair to say that there is no lost love in between Saudi Arabia and Shia Islam, or rather in between Al Saud and Shia Muslims, it appears that stagnant animosity in between the two could soon come to mighty blow out as the kingdom is ever pushing the sectarian card, bent on using religious prejudices to further its hegemonic ambitions in the region.

While such tactic is seldom new – looking back in history Al Saud has conducted a systematic vilifying campaign against Shia Islam, looking to outlaw and single out its people to better assert Wahhabism; its own perverse interpretation of the Scriptures – recent developments in the Middle East – political instability, civil strife and terror – have meant that the very fabric of the region stands to unravel along sectarian lines, putting world stability in jeopardy. As far as the global community stands – an intra and super connected networks of powers and influences, it would be foolish, and one might say, irresponsible, to believe that events occurring in the Middle East will not carry an impact onto the rest of the world. 

If anything, the threat which Islamic radicalism poses to the international community today should have taught us this!

With Saudi Arabia very much driving the regional political narrative, the Middle East has been reduced to a religious flashpoint, an incubus for religious fascism, which will ultimately generate yet more bloodshed and instability.

The Terror Paradigm

Regardless of how many times political analysts and experts have warned against the nefarious influence Saudi Arabia has had on the Middle East and to an extent the Islamic world, through its promotion of discriminatory religious labelling; western powers have nevertheless played to Al Saud’s tune. 

Even though it was established that ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham – Al Qaeda and the likes have all anchored their ideology on Wahhabi and Salafi Islam, which school of thoughts were born and cultivated in Saudi Arabia, by the very people which claim now to want to destroy it, the international community has chosen still to side with Al Saud absolute theocratic regime.

As noted by Alastair Crooke in his report for the Huffington Post in August 2014, “You Can’t understand ISIS if you don’t know the history of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia.” Everything ISIS stands for, campaigns for, believes and implements is no more than the expression of Wahhabism, as promoted by Al Saud royals, only unfiltered. To put in a nutshell, ISIS has done what Al Saud could not and dared not – but not out of an ideological divergence, rather fear of repercussions.

If in doubt, one needs only to look with which ease Saudi Arabia sentenced Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr – prominent Shia cleric – to death by crucifixion this October. In keeping with Al Saud wishes, a Saudi judge thought adequate to condemn Sheikh Al Nimr to death by beheading, and then crucifixion, whereby his mutilated body would be paraded and displayed to the public on account of his denunciation of Al Saud’s brutal regime. One could dare say that ISIS has drawn its inspiration and penchant for gruesome executions from Saudi Arabia.

And while it would appear logical and only natural for world powers to unite against Wahhabism, an ideology so radical that it has inspired the worst and most dangerous breed of terrorists of modern time, they instead chose to stand by Saudi Arabia and enable its regime.

Saudis learning just what it means to be "friends" with Obama
So what have Al Saud done with such support? Have they endeavoured to destroy ISIS and free the region of such plague? Have they encouraged communities to unite and pull together before the threat of radicalism?

No, and no … instead Al Saud have waged war against Shia Islam, using their pull from within the international community to erode at its house and lay waste its people. 

Interestingly, ISIS too has declared Shia Islam as its designated arch-enemy. It is uncanny how much ISIS and Saudi Arabia have in common these days.

Al Saud’s Crusade

While tensions in between Shia and Sunnis can be traced back to the first Caliphate, when Abu Bakr – Prophet Mohammed’s companion and father –in-law- was appointed leader of the Muslims over Imam Ali – Prophet Mohammed’s most prominent war general, cousin and son-in-law – old rancour and hatred in between the two communities came alive in 2011, on the back of the so-called Arab Spring movement.

Saudi "royals" will come to regret oppression of women 

Where Muslims had learnt to live side by side for centuries without so much as a hiccup – until recently Yemen knew nothing of sectarianism – communities suddenly found themselves pitted against each other over their respective religious affiliations for no rhyme or reason, all because it served one power – Saudi Arabia – political game play.

In January, Patrick Cockburn wrote for the Independent, “It is a ferocious war waged by assassination, massacre, imprisonment and persecution that has killed tens of thousands of people. But non-Muslims – and many Muslims – scarcely notice this escalating conflict that pits Shia minority against Sunni majority.”

To which he added, “The victims of the war in recent years are mostly Shia.”

And indeed, while the world has remained focus on ISIS’ movements in the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims across the Islamic world, from Bahrain to Lebanon, Pakistan to Yemen and Syria, communities throughout have suffered by the hands of extremists, emboldened by the messages of hatred which have all came out from Riyadh.

Under Saudi Arabia’s influence the Middle East has been radicalized and sectarianized to serve one family’s folly.

In the same manner the Catholic Church used religion to conquer Jerusalem and lay claim to its riches, labelling Muslims infidels for all intents and purposes, Al Saud has sought to criminalize Shia Islam, to deflect attention from the real issue at hand – Saudi Arabia hegemonic ambition.

Just as Israel has worked to dehumanize, vilify and criminalize Palestinians in their resistance efforts, Saudi Arabia has called for sanctions against those powers which have dared challenge its religious and political supremacy – Iran, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Houthis of Yemen, Al Wefaq in Bahrain … the list goes on.

Dangerous Games

Only this week the UAE – one of Saudi Arabia’s vassal in the Arabian Peninsula – announced it had decided to list the Houthis of Yemen as a terror organization, arguing that its aim was to combat the spread of terror across the region. The fact that the Houthis have single-handedly held back Al Qaeda advances in Yemen, preventing terror militants from marching against the capital, Sana’a, seems to have been of little consequence in the face of their greater crime – Shiism.

Last July, the US passed a bill which aimed to cripple the Lebanese Hezbollah and thus weaken its traction within the region, and more specifically its ability to back Syrian President Bashar Al Assad government.

While this strategy has proven not only detrimental to Lebanon itself as it has put a strain on the country’s banking sector, one of the pillars of its economy, it has also served to embolden ISIS further.

Since Hezbollah has been a main driving force in keeping ISIS militants in check in both Syria and Lebanon, such targeting of its financial infrastructures has played in favour of ISIS and its affiliates, thus working directly against western interests.

Western powers’ insistence to align with Saudi Arabia and play into Saudi Arabia’s political narrative is exactly what has exacerbated instability.

In the span of three short years the Middle East has but completely gone up in smoke, with conflicts raging at all four corners of the region – Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen. All have one common denominator – sectarianism.

Saudi Arabia’s blind ambition and its hatred for Shia Islam are what endanger the region.

Unless world powers are willing to look past political prejudices, as Russia and Iran have invited them to, it is likely the only winner of this war of religious will be those powers which have held the world in fear – terrorists.

Catherine Shakdam is the Associate Director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Surge In U.S. Armored Vehicles Next To Russian Borders

White House madman, in a knee-jerk tantrum following mid-term election drubbing again provokes Russia in a losing NATO intervention that could result in WIII; "mainstream media" continues to ignore fact that Ukraine "crisis" the result of failed CIA engineered and financed coup in Kiev designed to "punish" Putin for granting asylum to Ed Snowden  


American armored vehicles sent to Poland and the Baltic States for military drills are to remain for the constant training of local troops and rotation of US forces. More fighting vehicles will be “pre-positioned” at US military bases in Germany.

The US Department of Defense intends to boost the number of its armored vehicles on the territory of the NATO member states in Eastern Europe.

Next year the number of M1 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles will reach 150 vehicles.

“The troops will come over and train, and they’ll go back. The equipment will stay behind,” the newly-appointed head of US Army forces in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, told AFP in a phone interview from Estonia.

This is going to be “a lot cheaper” than transporting tanks across the Atlantic for ongoing joint training missions of European and US troops, which are currently deployed in the region for several months, he said on Tuesday.

Deployment of additional hardware to Baltic States and Poland goes on within the framework of the US ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’ effort, established to reassure American allies in Eastern Europe anxious about a “resurgent Russia.”

Obama, NATO continue to push Putin into overrunning Europe, WWIII

After the reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with Russia and the civil war in Ukraine, waged between the coup-imposed government in Kiev and rebels in the eastern regions of the country, NATO members say they no longer feel secure.

“I was in Lithuania yesterday, Estonia today, Poland a few weeks back. All I get is ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ from those host nations for what these soldiers represent,” Hodges said.

The US currently has nearly 50 Abrams tanks and Bradley IFVs, taken to Latvia and Poland this autumn.

Out of about 600 US Army troops of the 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, some 150 soldiers along with five M1A2 Abrams tanks, as well as 11 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were deployed in Adazi, not far from the Latvian capital, Riga. The rest of hardware and personnel went to Poland.

EU would be thrust back into Middle Ages in any war
The 100 fighting vehicles supposed to be brought to Europe next year will be “pre-positioned” in Germany - or elsewhere for the US troops conducting drills with NATO partners, Hodges said.

“I’m going to look at options that would include distributing this equipment in smaller sets, company-size or battalion-size, perhaps in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, places like that,” he said.

These are not the first tanks newly deployed to Europe since the end of the Cold War. In January this year, 29 M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tanks arrived at Germany’s Grafenwöhr training facility as replacements for 22 previously retracted older vehicles, versions of the same military vehicles.

Until recently, the US had some 29,000 personnel permanently deployed in Germany, Italy and Belgium. Now their number is set to grow, as NATO member states have asked the Pentagon to send more troops to Eastern Europe to counter the perceived threat of Russia.

The ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’ drills are set to “provide assurance to those allies that are closest to the [Russian] threat,” Hodges said.

American tankers will be replacing each other every several months, he said. The 1st Cavalry Division will be replaced in winter by personnel from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Vilseck, Germany. 

In spring, members of the 3rd Infantry Division will come to replace colleagues.

“This is going to go on,” confirmed the general, noting that presence of American armored vehicles will continue through 2015 and well into 2016.

Although Hodges does not question that Moscow seeks ways to drive a wedge between the US and NATO member states, he doubts that Russia is about to enter a military conflict with the alliance.

“I don't think that Russia has any intention of some sort of a conventional attack into NATO territory because they know that would generate an Article 5 response by the rest of the alliance,” Hodges said, as cited by the Military Times.

The fact that NATO 28-nation military bloc is concentrating forces closer to Russian borders has brought repeated and strident objections from Moscow.

“We shall provide an adequate and well-measured response to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, and we shall take note of [the West] setting up a global missile defense architecture and building up its arsenals of precision-guided weapons,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the emergency Security Council meeting in Moscow on July 22.

“No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on. As it stands, NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas. Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale,” Putin said.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of



The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.



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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.



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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak


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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .



By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.