The Afghan Air Force That Can’t Fly

The Afghan Air Force That Can’t Fly

Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

The U.S. is trying to establish Afghanistan’s air force, but to little avail.

The United States is outfitting the Afghan Air Force with a new, advanced, highly trained air wing to transport its special operations forces after nato goes home. The U.S. is racing to prepare the Afghan military to defend itself, but no matter how many aircraft are put at the Afghans’ disposal, the planes will stay grounded until airmen are taught how to fly them.

Estimates are that the air wing needs 806 people to be effective. As of January, there were only 180 personnel. Why the shortage? For a start, candidates for the program must go through an 18-20 month vetting process that is designed to remove “candidates that have associations with criminal or insurgent activity.” In Afghanistan, where recent history is interwoven with terrorist activity, suitable candidates are a rare thing.

Training is another arduous process. Because of a lack of candidates, there will sometimes be as few as two pilots in the program at a time. Trainees travel to Alabama, then to the Czech Republic to finish their training. This process is laborious, and will ultimately be too slow to train the pilots for the incoming aircraft and the approaching completion deadline for the program in 2015.

U.S. contractors and military personnel are admitting “the Afghan government will not be able to independently perform maintenance and logistics support functions for at least 10 years,” according to a report by the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. When the 2015 deadline is passed, and nato has gone, the Afghan people will be left in a very weak position militarily.

As of January 16 this year, only 7 of 47 Afghan pilots in the Special Military Wing were qualified to use night vision goggles, leaving the remaining 40 unable to execute the majority of the counterterrorism missions that are crucial in the ongoing conflict. This is the military that is supposed to step in after nato leaves and somehow defeat the Taliban and other insurgents in the nation. Right now, despite the U.S. presence, the Taliban still carries out audacious attacks across the country. What are the Afghan forces expected to achieve when nato abandons them in just over a year?

The problem is not just with who can fly the planes, but also who can fix them. Right now, the U.S. military repairs half of the 30 Mi-17 helicopters that the unit operates, and deals with 70 percent of critical mission maintenance and ordering parts. If the U.S. pulled out tomorrow, the planes would rust away on a dusty airstrip in the middle of nowhere. This is what happened in the early ’90s, when Soviet planes were abandoned and slowly fell to pieces under the Afghan sun.

Despite the Afghan forces barely being able to fly or fix their own air force, the U.S. is determined to arm them with even more planes. In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $218 million contract to Sierra Nevada Corporation for 18 PC-12 aircraft and a $553.8 million contract to Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport for 30 Mi-17 helicopters. This is the same Russian company that arms the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria. This shows just how desperate the U.S. is to get Afghanistan fighting on its own. After all, the sooner the Afghans can stand alone, the sooner the U.S. can scramble out of the nation.

Contrarily, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recommended that the Department of Defense “suspend plans to purchase the 48 new aircraft for the Special Mission Wing” until the Afghans were capable of using the equipment. It also recommended a more clearly defined training program.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken a heavy financial toll on America, with estimates of U.S. investments reaching as much as $6 trillion. And the U.S. keeps shelling out more on Afghan defenses, even toward a project that seems doomed to failure.

The outcome of this hasty withdrawal will most likely be a return to pre-2001 Afghanistan. Back then, the Taliban ruled with complete authority, and the nation churned out two things: terrorism and opium. While the U.S. doesn’t want this outcome, it doesn’t want to remain to finish the job that it started with the invasion over a decade ago.

Washington has been furiously peddling the “mission accomplished” idea for Afghanistan, both at home and abroad. But how well can the Afghans hold onto this “victory” once the U.S. is gone? With the Afghan forces lacking the skill to operate advanced equipment, America’s impact in Afghanistan could be reversed quickly, highlighting how America has truly lost the war in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is just one of many theaters of war and influence that America is withdrawing from. There will be tragic results for the international community.

For more on America’s retreat from the Middle East, read “The Path to Defeat in Afghanistan.”

Germany Strengthens African Military Presence

Germany Strengthens African Military Presence

Mamadou Toure BEHAN/AFP/Getty Images

From the Gulf to Nigeria, Germany is taking an increasingly aggressive stance protecting its raw materials access. But where is it leading?

One of the main points of discussion at last week’s high-level forum on defense and security in Berlin centered on raising the military protection of Germany’s raw materials sources.

Broadcast live via the government-financed media outlet Deutsche Welle, the forum—hosted by Berlin’s Federal College for Security Studies (baks)—had, as a top item on its agenda, ways and means of adding to the Bundeswehr’s existing presence in Africa within countries that are vital to the continuing supply of raw materials for Germany’s export-led economy.

One of the foremost speakers at the forum was Commerzbank Board Chairman Klaus-Peter Müller. He demonstrates in his background the close affinity that German commerce has with its military elites. Müller is a highly decorated reservist officer in the Bundeswehr in addition to holding the chair at Commerzbank.

Prior to the baks forum, Müller stressed a point that he was to dwell on at some length during his forum presentation. He observed that “‘more than half of the metallic raw materials produced in the world come from politically unstable countries,’ making ‘investments’ in the exploitation of these resources ‘unattractive.’ Therefore, ‘whoever takes out a terrorist training camp at the Hindu Kush,’ lowers, simultaneously, the ‘general risk premium for the economic and financial markets’” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, June 24).

Read between the lines with a knowledge of German elites’ imperialist plans for expansion “south and east” (Daniel 8:9), and this observation becomes tantamount to endorsing the eradication by military force of any threat to the continuing supply of raw materials to Germany’s industrial furnaces posed by instability in the region of supply.

Some weeks in advance of the high-powered baks forum of last week, a group known as the Cellar Trialog—founded in 2007 by Müller and Maj. Gen. Wolf Langheld, former commander of the 1stArmored Division in Hanover—met to seek ways of further integrating the interests of German business with the military. “At that session Armin Papperger, board chairman of the arms producer Rheinmetall, made a plea for an intensification of cooperation between the armed forces and the business sector” (ibid).

During this Cellar Trialog 2013 meeting held in May, Germany’s minister of defense, Thomas de Maizière, “explicitly called for a ‘circulation of talent’ between enterprises and the military,” stating that “Germany’s ‘future’ depends upon it” (ibid).

We ought to recall the unfortunate results of the last time that German industrialists were encouraged to channel their business efforts in support of the German military machine.

In terms that would have been unspeakable only a decade ago, part of the baks forum agenda focused on “discussion on the military policy implications resulting from the fact that internationally Germany is considered the ‘leading European power’” (ibid).

The two-day baks forum was followed by a panel discussion embracing topics that would have been taboo to any publicly broadcast meeting of such high-powered personnel a few years ago. Featured in the panel discussion were considerations of the Bundeswehr’s role in overseas special forces missions, the hot topic of drone warfare and the military’s role in specifically targeted killings.

There can be no doubt that by airing the baks forum live over DW radio and tv, the German government had in mind further influencing the German public in support of the growing military role of their nation. The timing gels with the previous week’s release of a national postage stamp lauding the foreign missions of the Bundeswehr.

Concurrent with these events came the reports of Germany’s intervention in Libya and planned strengthening of a Bundswehr presence at the Gulf of Guinea. While the former action strengthens Germany’s toehold on a vital source of oil supply, the latter takes its planned North African military presence westwards, clear across to the South Atlantic coast of that continent. From there, it’s a straight shot, via the South Equatorial Current, to Brazil—interesting, when one considers the effort of EU imperialists to sew up control of the flow of resources from both Africa and Latin America to the European continent.

Ever on the ball with its brilliant intelligence on Germany’s imperialist expansion, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported last week that “German Marine circles debate on another Bundeswehr mission to fight against pirates. The scene shall be the West African Gulf of Guinea, from which an increasing amount of oil and natural gas are being delivered to the EU, including Germany. In the Gulf of Guinea the Federal Republic shall participate in a ‘training mission’ with military personnel, but also with war ships” (June 26).

In a report the following day, German-Foreign-Policy.com stated that the deterioration of the situation in Libya is “counteracting efforts by Berlin and the EU to get the big territories of the Sahara and Sahel, together with the countries bordering the land-strip south of their boundaries, under control.”

It further reports that the EU, no doubt with urging from Berlin, now opts for strengthening Libya’s “structures of repression.” This approach will entail, “in addition to building up a border police through the EU, a new build-up of armed forces by nato …” (ibid).

That Germany is accelerating its military efforts to secure both its raw materials sources and the corridors along which those raw materials flow by land and sea to its factories, is becoming glaringly obvious.

Grab a map of Africa. Draw a line from Brazzaville in the Congo, through Kampala, Uganda, then eastwards to the Gulf coast of Somalia, north through Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, west to Algiers, and south to Mali. There you have the northern quadrant of Africa and Eurasia with the positioning of the Bundeswehr in each of those theaters vital to the provision of raw materials to German industry.

Students of history will deduce that this is always the manner in which an imperialist power operates—strengthening its military presence in proximity to its resource supply centers. The problem is that too often the entrenchment of an imperialist nation’s military forces in a foreign land leads to the repression of that nation’s population. Even a cursory reading of the prophecy of Revelation 18:3, 11-13—in particular the last phrase of verse 13—should reveal the sad outcome of Germany’s military expansion into North Africa.

The rise of German militarism, concurrent with the merger of the policies of the nation’s business sector with that of its defense establishment, and a propaganda drive to raise the public’s opinion of Germany’s globalist military role, has not augured well for the world in the past.

Neither does it on this present occasion.

In fact, as we have pointed out for decades—from the time the German nation lay in the ashes of abject defeat in 1945, through the time of its division east and west, on through the time of reunification to this very day—this time the drastic results of a remilitarized Germany will pale into relative insignificance the horrors of the past two world wars!

You need to grasp this reality.

As the baks agenda intimated, Germany is considered the “leading European power.” Believe it or not, your Bible prophesies that soon Germany will be the leading global power, dominating the seventh and final resurrection of the old Holy Roman Empire!

To grasp this fundamental reality of our times, study our riveting booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

That booklet will not only give you an accurate perspective with which to view the ongoing rush of world events, it will lead you to a beginning understanding of the far greater, more peaceful and glorious empire that lies beyond the Holy Roman Empire’s coming final death rattle.

Ireland Brought Down by Immorality

Ireland Brought Down by Immorality

PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland had to submit to a humiliating bailout in 2010. Now secret tape recordings indicate the bailout may have been caused by senior bankers misleading the government.

Ireland’s top bankers appear to have misled the government in order to get their bank bailed out, according to confidential phone recordings published in Ireland’s Independent June 24.

The recordings mainly feature Anglo Irish Bank’s chief executive at the time, David Drumm, its head of capital markets, John Bowe and its director of retail banking, Peter Fitzgerald.

These are not the mid-level bankers that we heard joking in the liborscandal—these men are right at the top.

Many of the recordings feature these men laughing about how broke their bank was and how much money they needed from the government. But the most condemning is labelled “Clip 3: The Strategy.”

Here’s the context: Anglo Irish bank went to the Irish government and said it needed a loan of €7 billion. Without it, it would go bust. Since this would mean Irish citizens losing their money, and the government having to spend billions helping them out, the government couldn’t let that happen.

Instead of lending the money, the government guaranteed all the money given to Irish banks—meaning that if the banks went bust, everyone would get their money back, even those not covered by existing guarantee schemes. Based on the information given to it, it thought this would fix the problem.

But as time went on, it became clear that Anglo Irish Bank was in worse shape than the government realized. In January 2009, the government had to nationalize it. The government now became responsible for the bank’s bad debts. Even the government couldn’t cope with these, so it had to submit to a bailout in 2010 with all the conditions and loss of sovereignty that it entailed.

Now back to “Clip 3: The Strategy.” In it, Bowe describes why they asked the government for €7 billion. Bowe explains: “Yeah, and that number is seven, but the reality is that we need more than that. But the strategy here is you pull them, you get them to write a big check, and they have to keep, they have to support their money.”

He continues: “If they saw, if they saw, the enormity of it up front, they might decide, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean? They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high. But … em … if it doesn’t look too big at the outset … if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything.”

So Bowe picked a number that wasn’t so big that it scared the government, but large enough that it wouldn’t want to lose the money. After that, it would be willing to keep handing over more money so it wouldn’t lose its initial investment.

It didn’t quite work out like that. The government believed the €7 billion figure, and thought it could solve the problem by guaranteeing the bank’s deposits. A few months later it realized the €7 billion was made up and the rest, as they say, is history. The bank ended up requiring €30 billion.

Another recording showed that the executives knew the government would never even get the €7 billion back. In the Independent’s first clip, Bowe joked that the €7 billion “is bridged until we can pay you back … which is never.”

He went on to say: “So under the terms that say repayment, we say; ‘No ….’” Both he and Fitzgerald laughed.

The executives insist they didn’t mislead the government, though Mr. Drumm apologized for the tone of the discussions.

One of the core messages of the Trumpet is about blessings and curses. Living a moral life brings blessings, not just on an individual level, but on a national level too. Immorality brings curses.

These recordings seem to show a concrete example of this in practice. The immorality of a few men directly led to the whole nation being bailed out by the EU and having to submit to Germany’s conditions.

Britain’s and America’s leaders are no better. Watch for the same cycle to play out here too. For more information on how immorality is hurting Britain’s and America’s banks, see our article “The Death of Anglo-American Banking.”

Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans Continues

As the clock struck midnight on July 1, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union. This makes the first addition to the bloc since the 2007 additions of Bulgaria and Romania.

On Monday morning, EU leaders officially opened an office in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb.

Achieving EU membership status is a historic turning point for this small Balkan nation of 4.2 million people. In 1991, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, catapulting it into years of carnage. Now everything has changed.

[SOUNDBITE: EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso]

“This morning Croatians have woken up for the first time as citizens of the European Union after a fantastic celebration last night. And as the famous Croatian poet Petar Preradovic once said: ‘In this world only change is constant.’ And Croatia has changed to the better. It is a fundamentally different place than 20 years ago, a proud and confident member of the European family.”

Serbia has also received the European Council’s support as it seeks EU membership.

[SOUNDBITE: European Council President Herman Van Rompuy]

“Today we are also celebrating Croatia’s full membership of the European Union. Together with the opening of accession negotiations with Serbia and a negotiating mandate for the stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo, a new chapter is being opened in this region of Europe. I trust that all the Balkan countries will feel inspired by these momentous steps, leave aside divisions and concentrate on common interests, common values and common laws.”

Other Balkan candidates for membership include Montenegro and Macedonia. In late June, Kosovo also began its first steps toward EU membership.

It was primarily U.S. military power that was used in the break-up of Yugoslavia. In 1999, editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that the German-led EU would be the ultimate victor of the Balkan wars. “In the Balkan Peninsula,” he said, “it will then be game, set and match to Germany.” Mr. Flurry warned that eventually Germany would be the future administrator of the whole Balkan Peninsula.

For more information, read Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.

Why Is the EU Pulling Punches on Beijing’s Human Rights Abuses?

Why Is the EU Pulling Punches on Beijing’s Human Rights Abuses?

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Post-war Europe has championed itself as a bastion of human rights, but is now compromising in that area.

Four years ago, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry predicted that the European Union would create a brief alliance with certain major Asian powers based mainly on trade. Since then, a mountain of evidence has emerged showing that the formation of this alliance is quickly progressing. Last week, that mountain grew larger.

On June 25, EU leaders deviated from the usual pomp and publicity of the annual EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, and conducted the latest round in comparative obscurity. The Human Rights Watch (hrw) said the low profile and low pressure of the event was a significant win for China:

“[T]his is precisely the kind of ‘dialogue’ the Chinese government likes best: away from senior Chinese officials, away from the international press, and with little ambition from either side to apply rights protection to real-life situations in China. With each successive round, the Chinese government feels less obliged to make changes, while the EU accepts progressively more restrictive conditions on even holding the dialogue.”

In the arena of human rights commitment, the EU is no ordinary political entity. Since the end of World War ii, in large part to distance itself from the human rights atrocities it committed in the war, the German-led European Union has tried to portray itself as an uncompromising defender of human rights. “Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights—these values have been embedded in the EU treaties right from the start. … Countries in the EU and those seeking to join must respect human rights. So must countries that conclude trade and cooperation agreements with the EU. … The EU has therefore put the human rights issue at the forefront of its relations with other countries and regions,” The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights says.

Why would the continent that champions itself as the global leader in human rights commitment capitulate to a nation with one of the very worst records of ongoing human rights abuses in the world? Because Europe wants China’s economic cooperation.

Back in March of 2011, the EU-financed Europe-China Research and Advice Network (ecran) counseled Europe’s foreign-policy makers not to apply much pressure on China regarding its egregious human rights problems. By walking softly in this area, ecran said, Europe could win a bigger slice of Asia’s economic pie. The EU’s decision to hold the June 25 Human Rights dialogue on Beijing’s terms—out of the limelight, and without real pressure—shows that Europe is taking ecran’s advice. The EU is turning a dim eye to China’s human rights failings so it can win more favor with Beijing, and boost EU-China trade.

Measures like these—in which the economic bottom line trumps all other concerns—are paying big dividends for both sides. Just two decades ago, trade between the EU and China was almost zero. Now it exceeds $1.3 billion each day. In recent years, the EU’s economic powerhouse has leapfrogged over both the U.S. and Japan to become China’s number one trade partner. China and Europe have also undertaken myriad joint ventures, including the Galileo global satellite system, which was a direct challenge to the U.S.’s gps monopoly in space. China and the EU are also cooperating in nuclear research, motivated in large part by the desire to form a strategic alliance to act as a counterweight to Washington’s nuclear power. The two economies are now intertwined to a degree that makes it difficult to imagine one without the other. And so much of that intertwining has happened only in the last few years.

To understand what the mushrooming Europe-China economic alliance means for the U.S. and the rest of the world, read Mr. Flurry’s book, Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, especially the chapter called “Building Toward a World Catastrophe.”

The Struggle for Syria

From the August 2013 Trumpet Print Edition