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 NATO  Comments Off on NATO –
Oct 282015

NATO is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides the organization a framework. The treaty provides that an armed attack against one or more of NATO`s member nations shall be considered an attack against them all.* NATO is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The organization was formed in 1949. Many nations joined NATO even Iceland, the only member without a military force.

The organization was originally formed out of the fear that the Soviet Union would ally militarily with Eastern European nations, i.e. the Warsaw Pact, and thus become a threat to Western Europe and the United States. In short, the alliance is an association of free states united in their determination to preserve their security through mutual guarantees and stable relations with other countries.

From 1945 to 1949, Europe faced the crucial need for economic reconstruction. Western European countries and their North American allies viewed with apprehension the expansionist policies and methods of the U.S.S.R. Having fulfilled their own wartime commitments, and desiring to reduce their defense establishments and demobilize forces, Western governments became increasingly alarmed as it became clear that the Soviet leadership intended to maintain its own military forces at full strength.

Furthermore, in view of the Soviet Communist Party`s avowed ideology, it was evident that appeals to the United Nations Charter, and international settlements reached at the end of the war, would not assure democratic states their autonomy. The rise of nondemocratic governments in many central and eastern European countries, and the resultant repression of opposition parties and basic human rights, raised more alarm in the West.

Between 1947 and 1949, a series of extraordinary political events brought matters to a head. They included direct threats to the sovereignty of Norway, Greece, Turkey and other countries, the June 1948 coup in Czechoslovakia, and the illegal blockade of Berlin that began in April of the same year. The signing of the Brussels Treaty in March 1948 marked the commitment of five Western European countries Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to develop a common defense system and strengthen the ties among them in a manner that would enable them to resist ideological, political and military threats to their security. Later, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway and Portugal were invited by the Brussels Treaty powers to become participants in that process.

Then followed negotiations with the United States and Canada on the creation of a single North Atlantic alliance based on security guarantees and mutual commitments between Europe and North America. The alliance would become the transatlantic link by which the security of North America was permanently tied to the security of Europe.

Negotiations culminated in the signing of the treaty in April 1949, entered into freely by each country following public debate and due parliamentary process. The treaty a legal and contractual basis for the alliance was established within the framework of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which reaffirms the inherent right of independent states to individual or collective defense. The treaty requires of each of them not to enter into any other international commitment that might conflict with its provisions. The preamble to the treaty states that the aim of the allies is to promote peaceful and friendly relations in the North Atlantic area.

However, at the time of the treatys signing, the immediate purpose of NATO was to defend its members against a potential threat resulting from the policies and growing military capacity of the Soviet Union. The treaty created a common security system based on a partnership among the 12 countries. Others joined later:

The means by which the alliance carries out its security policies includes the maintenance of a sufficient military capability to prevent war and to provide for effective defense; an overall capability to manage crises affecting the security of its members; and active promotion of dialogue with other nations. The alliance performs the following fundamental security tasks:

A continent evolves

NATO has worked since its inception for the establishment of a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe based on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. That central alliance objective has taken on renewed significance since the end of the Cold War because, for the first time in the post- World War II history of Europe, the prospect of its achievement has become a reality as embodied by the European Union.

From time to time, the alliance met at the summit level with heads of state and governments participating. Their direct participation in the process of taking decisions by consensus, raised the public profile of such meetings and bestowed on them increased historical significance.

By 1991, the major transformation of international security at the end of the 1980s was dictating the shape of the new NATO that would emerge over the next few years. The first of a series of four summit meetings that would plot the course of the alliances adaptation to the coming decade took place in Rome in November 1991. It would be followed by another summit meeting in Brussels in January 1994, two further meetings in Madrid in July 1997, and in Washington in April 1999.


The world has seen many changes since the inception of NATO. NATO peacekeeping forces maintain vigilance at hot spots around the world. Kosovo, Afghanistan and Somalia all enjoy a NATO presence. NATO announced on June 9, 2005, that it would help the African Union (AU) expand its peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, by airlifting additional AU peacekeepers into the region and assisting with training.

The following is from a speech by former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson on November 12, 2003. The occasion was hosted by the George C. Marshall Foundation, the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Internationa Studies and the Royal Norwegian Embassy:

Another excerpt from the same speech:

The following is an illustration of how the world has changed. General Ray Henault of the Canadian Air Force accepted the chairmanship of NATO`s Military Committee on June 16, 2005, from his predecessor, General Harald Kujat of the German Air Force. The Military Committee is the highest military decision-making authority in NATO, assisting and advising the North Atlantic Council. The Chairman of the Military Committee is selected by the Chiefs of Defense and appointed for a three-year term of office.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949 – 19451952 …

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Oct 232015

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.

Signing of the NATO Treaty

NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security. The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.

In 19471948, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs. The ongoing civil war in Greece, along with tensions in Turkey, led President Harry S. Truman to assert that the United States would provide economic and military aid to both countries, as well as to any other nation struggling against an attempt at subjugation. A Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany. Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the communist party had made significant gains among Italian voters. Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern. The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid-1948, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin chose to test Western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint U.S., British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany. This Berlin Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation. These events caused U.S. officials to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets. To counter this possible turn of events, the Truman Administration considered the possibility of forming a European-American alliance that would commit the United States to bolstering the security of Western Europe.

Signing of the Brussels Treaty

The Western European countries were willing to consider a collective security solution. In response to increasing tensions and security concerns, representatives of several countries of Western Europe gathered together to create a military alliance. Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty in March, 1948. Their treaty provided collective defense; if any one of these nations was attacked, the others were bound to help defend it. At the same time, the Truman Administration instituted a peacetime draft, increased military spending, and called upon the historically isolationist Republican Congress to consider a military alliance with Europe. In May of 1948, Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg proposed a resolution suggesting that the President seek a security treaty with Western Europe that would adhere to the United Nations charter but exist outside of the Security Council where the Soviet Union held veto power. The Vandenburg Resolution passed, and negotiations began for the North Atlantic Treaty.

In spite of general agreement on the concept behind the treaty, it took several months to work out the exact terms. The U.S. Congress had embraced the pursuit of the international alliance, but it remained concerned about the wording of the treaty. The nations of Western Europe wanted assurances that the United States would intervene automatically in the event of an attack, but under the U.S. Constitution the power to declare war rested with Congress. Negotiations worked toward finding language that would reassure the European states but not obligate the United States to act in a way that violated its own laws. Additionally, European contributions to collective security would require large-scale military assistance from the United States to help rebuild Western Europes defense capabilities. While the European nations argued for individual grants and aid, the United States wanted to make aid conditional on regional coordination. A third issue was the question of scope. The Brussels Treaty signatories preferred that membership in the alliance be restricted to the members of that treaty plus the United States. The U.S. negotiators felt there was more to be gained from enlarging the new treaty to include the countries of the North Atlantic, including Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal. Together, these countries held territory that formed a bridge between the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which would facilitate military action if it became necessary.

President Truman inspecting a tank produced under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program

The result of these extensive negotiations was the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. In this agreement, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters. This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories. After the treaty was signed, a number of the signatories made requests to the United States for military aid. Later in 1949, President Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the Mutual Defense Assistance Program passed the U.S. Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion dollars for the purpose of building Western European defenses.

Soon after the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the outbreak of the Korean War led the members to move quickly to integrate and coordinate their defense forces through a centralized headquarters. The North Korean attack on South Korea was widely viewed at the time to be an example of communist aggression directed by Moscow, so the United States bolstered its troop commitments to Europe to provide assurances against Soviet aggression on the European continent. In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.

The collective defense arrangements in NATO served to place the whole of Western Europe under the American nuclear umbrella. In the 1950s, one of the first military doctrines of NATO emerged in the form of massive retaliation, or the idea that if any member was attacked, the United States would respond with a large-scale nuclear attack. The threat of this form of response was meant to serve as a deterrent against Soviet aggression on the continent. Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949 – 19451952 …

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Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business
Oct 232015

US corporations are making record profits in tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Some of the profits exceed the GDP of the host country, with Bermudas offshore profits 1643% of total economic output.

As a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), profits from subsidiary US companies operating in the Netherlands are more than 100 percent of the countrys annual economic output, according to a new study by Citizens for Tax Justice, published Tuesday.

In Bermuda, US companies reported $94 billion in profit, but the islands GDP is only $6 billion. The report draws on data collected by the US International Revenue Service from subsidiaries reporting profits outside of the US in 2010.

Clearly, American corporations are using various tax gimmicks to shift profits actually earned in the US and other countries where they actually do business into their subsidiaries in these tiny countries, the report says.

US companies filed the largest profits in the Netherlands, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Singapore, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, the Netherlands Antilles, and Barbados. But none of these finances are factored into the GDP of the host countries.

When filing US income taxes, a foreign corporation is defined if its US shareholders control more than 50 percent of the outstanding voting stock.

Offshore wealth money that is kept abroad for tax purposes- is a popular tactic for American companies to avoid paying high taxes in the US. Google, Apple, and other hi-tech companies have all been accused of sheltering money abroad and not contributing enough to the American tax system, which is their main market.

Many US companies use a loophole called repatriation in order to delay paying the US government taxes. Under US tax law, companies with offshore subsidiaries can wait until their company is repatriated, or returned to the US, until they pay taxes. This tool encourages US companies to report profits outside of the US, where they are safe from high taxes.

Other countries can offer very attractive corporate tax rates compared to the required 40 percent in America. Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas for example, have a rate of 0 percent.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, Switzerland 17.92 percent, and Luxembourg a local rate of 29.22 percent, according to data from KMPG Global.

The only country where companies pay more taxes than in America is in the United Arab Emirates, which has a 55 percent corporate tax rate.

Countries, or tax havens, can provide opportunities for investors by lowering their corporate tax rates as well as income tax rates.

Low income tax rates can make investment more competitive and business climate more attractive for some investors looking for loopholes. An estimate by Boston Consulting Group pegs offshore wealth at $8.5 trillion. Other independent estimates peg it as high as $20 trillion.

With the G20 and OECD countries focused on curbing tax evasion and avoidance, several Caribbean countries Bermuda, Barbados and Cayman Islands would be subject to a tightening tax noose. These countries could face a deceleration in economic activity if international tax structures are to be dismantled.

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Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business

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What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances

 NATO  Comments Off on What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances
Sep 032015

U.S. Infantry Troops Arrive In Poland For NATO Exercises. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It’s an alliance of 28 member countries roughly bordering the North Atlantic Ocean: Canada, U.S., Turkey and most members of the European Union. NATO’s purpose is to protect the freedom of its members. As famously defined in Article 5, “…an armed attack upon one…shall be considered an attack upon them all.”

In recent years, NATO’s purpose has expanded to include defense against weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber attacks.

Since its inception following World War II, NATO has had to continually redefine its focus as a military and political alliance to keep up with the changing face of war.

What Is the Purpose of NATO Today?:

NATO protects the security of its members. However, it must also take into consideration aggression against non-members that threaten the stability of the region. That’s why its September 2014 summit focused onPresident Putin’s goal to create a “Little Russia” out of Ukraine’s eastern region. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, other former USSR countries are, and they’re worried. President Obama vowed to defend countries such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The U.S. contributes three-quarters of NATO’s budget. (Source: WSJ, U.S. Vows NATO Defense of Baltics, Sep. 4, 2014)

On August 28,2014, NATO announcedit had photos proving that Russia was invading Ukraine. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, it has been working closely with NATO over the years. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens NATO members who are afraid they will be next because they were also former U.S.S.R.

satellite countries.

NATO expanded its role after the 9/11 attacks to include the war on terrorism. NATO is winding down its mission in Afghanistan, which deployed 84,000 troops at its peak from both NATO-member countries and at least a dozen non-members. By 2014, NATO expects to transition all security to the Afghan military.

NATO itself admits that “Peacekeeping has become at least as difficult as peacemaking.” As a result, NATO is strengthening alliances throughout the world. In the age of globalization, transatlantic peace has become a worldwide effort that extends beyond military might alone. (Source: NATO History)

What Is the History of NATO?:

NATO was established after World War II as part of the United Nations. Its primary purpose was to defend member nations against the large number of troops in pro-communist countries. The U.S. also wanted to maintain a presence in Europe, to prevent a resurgence of military nationalism and foster political union. In this way, NATO made the European Union possible.

NATO and the Cold War:

During the Cold War, NATO’s mission expanded to prevent nuclear war. After West Germany joined NATO, the communist countries formed the Warsaw Pact alliance, including the USSR, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. In response, NATO adopted the “Massive Retaliation” policy, which promised to use nuclear weapons if the Pact attacked. This deterrence policy allowed Europe to focus on economic development instead of building large conventional armies.

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, continued to build its military presence. By the end of the Cold War, it was spending three times what the U.S. was with only one-third the economic power. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was due to economic as well as ideological reasons.After the USSR dissolved in the late 1980s, NATO’s relationship with Russia thawed. In 1997, the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed to build bilateral cooperation. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was formed to allow NATO members and Russia to partner on common security issues.

The collapse of the USSR led to unrest in its former satellite states. NATO expanded its focus to address this instability when a civil war in the former Yugoslavia turned into ethnic cleansing and genocide. NATO’s initial support of a United Nations naval embargo led to the enforcement of a no-fly zone. Violations then led to a few airstrikes until September 1999, when NATO conducted a heavy nine-day air campaign that ended the war. By December of that year, NATO deployed a peace-keeping force of 60,000 soldiers that ended in 2004, when NATO transferred this function to the European Union.

NATO Member Countries:

NATO’s 28 members include: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Each member is represented by an ambassador, who is supported by officials that serve on the different NATO committees. From time to time, the President/Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister or head of Defense will meet to discuss NATO business.

NATO Alliances:

NATO is involved with three alliances that expand its influence beyond its 28 member countries.

In addition, NATO cooperates with eight other countries in joint security issues. These countries include five in Asia (Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and New Zealand) and two in the Middle East (Afghanistan and Pakistan). (Source: NATO, Partnerships)Article updated August 28, 2014

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What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances

NATO conducts 1st drill to test new rapid response force created to face Russian challenges

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Apr 112015

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion take part in the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Chrudim, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion take part in the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Pardubice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion line up to board an aircraft during the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Pardubice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

CHRUDIM, Czech Republic NATO is completing a first testing of its new force created to face new challenges from Russia.

Some 150 soldiers from the Czech army’s 43rd airborne battalion have been training to be ready for deployment within 48 hours “as NATO reevaluates the risks,” Maj. Gen. Jiri Baloun said Thursday. The previous NATO standard times for that were between 10 and 80 days, Baloun said.

In the Netherlands, 900 German and 200 Dutch soldiers have been doing the same. The units will be moved for further trials to Poland in June while some 25,000 NATO troops will complete the exercise of the new force in Italy, Portugal and Spain in October and November.

The units belong to NATO’s new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.

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NATO conducts 1st drill to test new rapid response force created to face Russian challenges

$32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on $32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts
Apr 032015

VALENCIA, Calif., April 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Offshore banking is growing in leaps and bounds as both the rich and the not so rich look for safe places to stash their cash. They are doing it in record numbers and record amounts according to a recent Bloomberg News report, which said that as much as $32 trillion has been stuffed in offshore bank accounts. Of the world’s 50 safest banks, according to Global Finance, not even one of the top 25 safest are in the United States. In fact, there were 45 banks outside of the US that were on the top 50 safest bank list and only five (5) headquartered inside the US, California based Asset Protection Planners reports.

“For most people, it is not only the objective of not paying taxes,” says Philip Marcovici, a tax lawyer and board member a Lichtenstein wealth adviser. “It’s the objective of obtaining the right to privacy and seeking financial confidentiality.”

Asset protection from lawsuits is another major objective. E. Valdes, a firefighter located in Miami, Florida says, “I just don’t trust the courts here. I want to set up an offshore account to protect myself from the unknown. Plus, if I can put my money in a safer bank than any of the local banks, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.”

Mr. Valdes is not alone. The debt of nations can wreak havoc on its banking system and US isby far the most in-debt country in the world. The United States has over $18 trillion in debt. That is a little over $58,000 per citizen and an unsustainable 106% of its gross domestic product. China, on the other hand, the world’s fifth (5th) most in-debt country, has $3 trillion in debt, which is just a little over $2,000 per citizen, or 37.5% of its GDP.

Where are the Safest Banks Located?

Regarding the safest banks, Canada has six (6) banks on the world’s 50 safest banks list. The United States, which has nine (9) times as many people as Canada, has onlyfive (5) banks on the list. Germany, which is about one-fourth (1/4) the size of the United states has six (6) banks on the world’s safest banks list. The United States is almost fourteen (14) times bigger than Australia in population, yet the Aussies have four (4) banks showing, all of which are on the top half of the 50 safest banks list.

The top 10 safest banks are located in Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Germany, Netherlands, Netherlands, Germany, France, Luxembourg and France, in that order. Of the top 50 safest banks,zero (0) were in Africa, 15 were located in Asia, four (4) in Australia, 19 in Europe, 11 in North America and one (1) in South America.

Banks in jurisdictions such as Switzerland can also act as money management firms. They have expert financial advisors who work with their clients to invest funds in a combination of interest bearing and stock market investments that suit their clients’ desires.

Who Has Offshore Accounts?

There are an estimated 26.2 million US citizens who have offshore bank accounts. Many of these individuals do not hold their bank accounts in their own names but in companies and/or trusts for enhanced protection from US litigation. Plus many foreign banks will not open personal accounts for US people, so a foreign corporation or LLC must be filed to hold title to the account.

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$32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts

NATO Fast Facts

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO Fast Facts
Apr 012015

Facts: The organization’s charter states that the signing parties will “seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area,” and will “unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security.”

April 4, 1949 – Established when 12 nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

2009-present – The current secretary general is Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark.

28 Member Countries: Albania (2009) Belgium (1949) Bulgaria (2004) Canada (1949) Croatia (2009) Czech Republic (1999) Denmark (1949) Estonia (2004) France (1949) Germany (1955, as West Germany) Greece (1952) Hungary (1999) Iceland (1949) Italy (1949) Latvia (2004) Lithuania (2004) Luxembourg (1949) Netherlands (1949) Norway (1949) Poland (1999) Portugal (1949) Romania (2004) Slovakia (2004) Slovenia (2004) Spain (1982) Turkey (1952) United Kingdom (1949) United States (1949)

Timeline (selected): April 4, 1949 – The 12 nations of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States sign the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

July 25, 1950 – First meeting of NATO Council Deputies in London. U.S. Ambassador Charles M. Spofford is elected permanent chairman.

December 19, 1950 – General Dwight Eisenhower is appointed the first supreme allied commander.

April 2, 1951 – Allied Command in Europe becomes operational with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Roquencourt, near Paris.

March 12, 1952 – Lord Ismay is named the first secretary general of NATO and appointed vice chairman of the North Atlantic Council.

April 10, 1952 – Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT) becomes operational, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Top NATO military commander in Europe says alliance needs to improve intelligence-sharing

 NATO  Comments Off on Top NATO military commander in Europe says alliance needs to improve intelligence-sharing
Mar 262015

NATO’s top commander in Europe U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove gestures when addressing a conference in Soest, central Netherlands, Wednesday March 25, 2015. NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists, Breedlove said that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid reaction force is to be effective in countering threats. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)(The Associated Press)

NATO’s top commander in Europe U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove gestures when addressing a conference in Soest, central Netherlands, Wednesday March 25, 2015. NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists, Breedlove said that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid reaction force is to be effective in countering threats. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)(The Associated Press)

SOEST, Netherlands NATO’s top commander in Europe says that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid-reaction force is to be effective in countering threats.

U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove says that “we need to change our culture of intelligence-sharing.” He adds that NATO nations have a tendency to only share intelligence well “when we are scared.”

NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists.

But Breedlove told a conference in the Netherlands on Wednesday that the troops can only be quickly and effectively deployed “if we have an indications and warning apparatus that tells us when we need its high readiness.”

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Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …

 Mars Colonization  Comments Off on Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …
Mar 192015

Mars One, the project being conducted by a Dutch nonprofit that purports to have as a goal the establishment of a Mars colony, is coming under increasing criticism. A Monday article in Space Review suggests that the people running Mars One have not thought through the challenges of Mars colonization and lack the resources, technology, and knowledge to accomplish such a fear. Medium, having interviewed a Mars One finalist who happens to be a former NASA researcher, goes a step further and accuses the project of being an elaborate scam designed to separate people from their money.

Much of the technical criticism of the Mars One project has already been covered by the now famous MIT study. The technology that the project claims is available would be inadequate to get people to Mars, not to mention sustaining them over the long run. If Mars One proposes to develop new technology, questions arise about reliability and costs. Those running the project seem overly optimistic about the latter factor.

The Space Review also suggests that the psychological stress of being the subject of a reality show the main vehicle that Mars One proposes to make money on the project would be unbearable when added to the dangers of settling a hostile planet. The project also does not seem to have developed adequate provisions for the health and well being of the colonists. What happens if, as likely, the Mars One settlers start dying?

Some political and diplomatic impediments may stand in the way of a Mars Colony, at least as Mars One proposes. The Netherlands, where Mars One is incorporated, is a party to the infamous Moon Treaty, which most countries on the planet have rejected as an impediment to space settlement and development. However, the country is still a party to it and is bound by it. However, fears that the idea of a colony may be anathema to the world community because the sad history of western imperialism is likely overblown. No native Martians exist for human colonist to oppress and exploit.

A Mars One finalist named Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity Colleges School of Education in Dublin, with a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics, has started to raise questions about the project as well. He applied on a lark and was surprised when he was picked as a finalist. The reason is that Mars One in no way approaches NASAs rigorous criteria for selecting astronauts, who for now only venture into low Earth orbit and not the 100 million mile journey to Mars.

Furthermore, Roche has noted that the Mars One finalists are being exploited by the project to generate revenue, even going so far as to be encouraged to donate a large percentage of the profits for paid media interviews. Indeed, he suspects that some of the finalists are on the list not for the skills they may bring to establishing a Mars colony, but rather because they bought their way onto it.

The obvious conclusion one might draw is that it is fortunate that Mars One is not likely to get off the ground. Every analysis suggests that it would fail spectacularly, in full view of the world. This might, in turn, poison the well for more legitimate Mars efforts, even the one that NASA is contemplating, which have funding problems of their own. Indeed, Mars One, if Roche is correct, can be condemned for exploiting the greatest of all dreams of forging a brighter future among the stars for profit without any hope of delivering on said dream.

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Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …

NSA reportedly collaborated with Britain to steal cell phone codes

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Mar 092015

Published February 20, 2015

June 6, 2013: A sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.(AP)

Britains electronic spying agency, along with the NSA, reportedly hacked into the computer networks of a Dutch company to steal codes, which allowed both governments to spy on mobile phones worldwide.

The documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden did not offer details on how the agencies used the eavesdropping capabilities. However, it certainly shows how the NSA and Britains spy organization will push the limit of their surveillance prowess.

The company in question was the Netherlands-based SIM card giant Gemalto. Its SIM cards are used in mobile phones and credit cards. Its clients included AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, The Intercept reported.

The Intercept did not reveal any evidence of eavesdropping against American customers. Company officials told the website they had no idea their networks were compromised.

Gemalto is also the leading maker of encryption systems for other business and industrial uses. The company makes smart key cards for businesses and government agencies to restrict access to sensitive material.

The British spies targeted Gemalto engineers around the world and stole encryption keys to allow them to decode the data that passes between cellphones and cell towers, The Intercept reported. The process allows them to acquired texts or emails out of the air.

At one point in June 2010, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, as its signals intelligence agency is known, intercepted nearly 300,000 keys for mobile phone users in Somalia, The Intercept reported. “Somali providers are not on GCHQ’s list of interest,” the document noted, according to the Intercept. “(H)owever, this was usefully shared with NSA.”

Earlier in 2010, GCHQ successfully intercepted keys used by wireless network providers in Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iceland and Tajikistan, according to the documents provided to The Intercept. But the agency noted trouble breaking into Pakistan networks.

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Czech companies seek benefits of tax havens and foreign locations

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Czech companies seek benefits of tax havens and foreign locations
Feb 122015

Tax havens and tax avoidance are a big issue at European level with rarely a week going by without some scandal about a big business earner paying a pittance in taxes with, or without, the help of certain states. Surprising as it might seem, many Czech companies have also fled from their roots to register elsewhere for fairly pragmatic tax and investment reasons and because of reasons they are not so keen to talk about.

Foto: T24 In the Czech Republic it might be argued that some companies are both more Czech, and more equal, than others. For while two decades ago the idea of Czech companies being registered abroad or based in some sun-kissed tax havens might have appeared absurd, the reality is that more and more local firms have and are now going down that road.

In fact, such is the exodus of some major firms that those that have stayed behind to pay Czech tax, such as state-controlled energy giant EZ, or the Agrofert agricultural conglomerate of Minister of Finance Andrej Babi, expressly underline their upstanding tax contributions in their corporate information.

Zdenk Bakala, photo: YouTube Some of the others, the likes of the PPF company of the Czech Republics richest man Petr Kellner; the KKCG empire of oil and gas magnate Karel Komrek, and BXR Group of Zdenk Bakala, have taken another route. In fact, all three have significant parts of the business empires based in the Netherlands. And in the case of Komrek, while some of his companies have gone Dutch the main mother company is based in Cyprus, a location which often boasts of its bank and corporate secrecy.

Photo: Radio Prague According to a survey carried out by the Bisnode consultancy at the end of September last year, the Netherlands tops the league of destinations for Czech companies to relocate outside their homeland with 4,222 firms now registered there. Cyprus comes second with almost 2,100 firms and then Luxembourg third with just over 1,100. Then come a series of more exotic paradise locations such as the Seychelles, British Virgin Islands, and Panama. Altogether, its estimated that around 13,000 Czech companies are registered in what might be described as tax havens.

The business weekly Ekonom estimated this year that the Czech state has lost out on around 200 billion crowns in tax income from dividends and perhaps around another 100 billion crowns on top of that from other taxes because of companies being based outside the country.

The Netherlands, photo: Alphathon, Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0 Lets perhaps have a look at the Dutch example first. On basic tax rates, companies pay 20 percent, or a higher 25 percent rate, in the Netherlands and 19 percent in the Czech Republic. So on normal grounds the Netherlands cannot be regarded as a tax haven.

However, the Netherlands is a much more sophisticated tax location which does not, for example, tax dividend earnings abroad and capital gains on the sales of assets. And, in some cases, the losses made in one tax location can be used to write off the gains in another. That can mean a lot to multinational companies such as some of the Czech groups which have set up there. There is also the impression that a Dutch name plaque can help when you are looking to raise money internationally or is a better place to structure some international deals.

There are obviously both push and pull factors working here. Vladimra Chsk is chairwoman of the Czech Dutch Chamber of Commerce and sees things from both sides of the fence so to speak as a Czech promoting business links with the Netherlands.

She says the Czech Republic is partly to blame if some of its biggest and best companies decide to take their pick from the corporate locations on show internationally. On the other side, its also the problem of the Czech Republic where the system is not so developed and so controlled. And also, if you are a big company and doing business internationally you want to protect your assets and the base in the Czech Republic, its still doubtful whether it will be stable later on or if you have some problems. So, I think it would be important to develop the Czech and political system so that it would be more stable.

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Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security – Video

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security – Video
Jan 112015

Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security
An interview with the Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Eberhard van der Laan, conducted by NL Times Managing Editor, Zachary Newmark. The interview took place at a rally for free speech days…

By: NL Times

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Joseph Stalin honoured in NATO Country (Holland) ! – Video

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Dec 232014

Joseph Stalin honoured in NATO Country (Holland) !
CCCP Dictator Stalin honoured in Holland/ Netherlands Warsaw Pact vs NATO The Hague/ City of Justice International Court of Justice The Hague NATO member Holland/ The netherlands.

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History foreshadows against the use of torture

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on History foreshadows against the use of torture
Dec 132014

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA detention and interrogation program has quickly stirred up a white-hot debate on the use of torture to extract information from our enemies.

And though there is great passion on both sides, this is not a new topic to be argued.

In the late 16th century, some 200 years before the formation of our republic, the French nobleman Michel de Montaigne shifted the centuries-old debate about the use of torture from the question of its effectiveness to the question of its inhumanity. That is, while earlier writers had worried above all about the reliability of testimony extracted from tortured suspects, Montaigne was horrified that a civilized society would make use of such a barbaric practice.

Montaigne’s new perspective would come to exercise considerable influence over the ways in which intellectuals and political elites viewed torture down to our own time.

But it was above all a thin volume titled Of Crimes and Punishments, first published anonymously in 1764, that served as the clarion call for the abolition of torture. The secret of the author’s identity was not held for long. The Milanese philosopher Cesare Beccaria had completed this revolutionary work at the age of 26.

Beccaria’s text would have a cascading influence. Its translation into many languages paralleled an era that saw regime after regime dismantle the use of torture: Prussia in 1754, Denmark in 1770, Poland in 1776, France in 1789, the Netherlands in 1798 and Portugal in 1826.

Beccaria was influential in the United States as well. Thomas Jefferson read him with appreciation, as did James Madison and John Adams. When the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, Beccaria’s ideas made themselves palpable. We see this in the Eight Amendment, which prohibited the use of “cruel and unusual punishments” one of the enduring bases to the principle that neither the courts nor the federal government may use torture.

But the Fifth Amendment, with its stipulation that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” was perhaps an even clearer constitutional obstacle to the use of torture. If a person suspected of a crime could not testify against himself, then torture could really play no role, since one of the key aims of torturers is to extricate self-incriminating evidence from a suspect, whether of a common criminal or a terrorist.

Historians are right therefore to stress that the period running from the Renaissance (the age of Montaigne) to the Enlightenment (the age of Beccaria) witnessed the emergence of new ideas about the person. These ideas would shape many contemporary values, as reformers drew on them not only to end torture but also slavery and religious repression.

These same ideas were, not incidentally, fundamental to shaping democratic and open institutions. This doesn’t mean the ideas were always successful or without contradictions, but they unquestionably enabled a new notion of the human person and the political community to emerge. It is within this cluster of new ideas that men and women came to see torture not merely as ineffective but as fundamentally wrong. Torture degrades both the victim and its perpetuator. It strips both of their dignity and their humanity. The ends cannot justify the means.

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History foreshadows against the use of torture

NATO to form rapid-response force amid tensions in Ukraine, Middle East

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Dec 032014

BRUSSELS NATO officials said Tuesday that they will form an interim military force equipped to deploy quickly if the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East spill across borders.

The spearhead force, formally known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, will use 3,000 to 4,000 troops from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. It is expected to be ready early next year and marks NATOs biggest military expansion since the Cold War.

The decision to have a rapid-reaction force in place soon is a tacit recognition of how events on the periphery of nations that are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have outpaced the alliances ability to respond.

NATO decided at its summit in September that it needed a permanent rapid-response force of as many as 6,000 troops, reflecting growing concerns among foreign ministers from all 28 alliance members, including U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

But with Russian troops helping pro-Kremlin rebels in Ukraine, Russian military planes repeatedly probing NATO airspace, and Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq posing a threat to alliance member Turkey, NATO decided that it could not wait a year for a permanent force to be ready.

The Associated Press reports that thousands of businesses have been seized from their owners in Crimea under new pro-Moscow leaders since the region was annexed in March. (AP)

Monday, several officials expressed alarm about the potential for a broader confrontation with Russia after Moscow announced that it will increase military exercises next year.

What we are doing is in response to Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. More military presence on the border, more staff exercises, more military activities in the air increase the danger, from accidents and misunderstandings, that the situation can spiral out of control.

Kerry said every country in the alliance needs to help defend NATOs borders.

Declaring that every ally has to pull their weight, he said: We cant have 21st-century security on the cheap.

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NATO chief: Interim rapid-response expected next year

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO chief: Interim rapid-response expected next year
Dec 012014

Published December 01, 2014

BRUSSELS NATO expects to have an interim rapid-reaction force in place by next year to deal with new security challenges in Europe and elsewhere, the alliance’s secretary-general said Monday.

Jens Stoltenberg said the force would be a provisional step until a full-scale unit can be organized in 2016.

Stoltenberg said Germany, Norway and the Netherlands have agreed to contribute troops to the initial force. The bigger rapid-reaction force was agreed to at a NATO summit in September as a response to Russian actions in Ukraine.

The NATO chief met with reporters to preview the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting of alliance foreign ministers in Brussels. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to attend the session, which will cover a broad range of issues, from reviewing actions taken by NATO since the September summit in Wales to NATO’s planned non-combat mission in Afghanistan starting Jan. 1.

On Wednesday, Kerry will chair a separate meeting at NATO headquarters of countries involved in the campaign against the Islamic State extremist group.

Douglas Lute, U.S. ambassador to NATO, said the prototype of what’s officially called the High Readiness Joint Task Force will be used as a “test bed” to gauge its command and control, logistics, sustainability and connections with host nations and NATO’s supreme commander in Europe.

The goal is to hone response time throughout 2015 so the unit will be able to deploy within days, Lute said.

The actual size and composition of the force is expected to be set by NATO defense ministers in February. Lute said many questions about it still remain to be answered, not least how it will be paid for.

Stoltenberg said the interim unit’s creation proves NATO is moving faster to beef up security than foreseen at the Wales summit.

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NATO prepares 'spearhead' to ward off Russia

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO prepares 'spearhead' to ward off Russia
Dec 012014

Beginning early next year NATO will have a new reaction force ready, which can be deployed more rapidly on its eastern border. This new force, called “interim spearhead,” will consist of a few hundred troops from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Troops will rotate in terms of their state of readiness, but remain at bases in their home countries.

The new secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announced the plan to support the Baltic members of the alliance during his first major press conference in Brussels at NATO headquarters.

Concerned by increased Russian military activities on land, at sea and in the air in the wake of the crisis around Ukraine, NATO decided at its summit meeting in Wales in early September to strengthen its military presence in the Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which have a common border with either Russia or Belarus.

NATO chief diplomat Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that, in his view, Russia continues to violate international law and is shipping goods and weapons to the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. In 2016, he said, NATO intends to have a fully equipped spearhead force in place, which could be deployed to the Baltic member states in 48 hours to “deter and defend” in every possible crisis. The secretary general called on Russia to make a choice and to return to the negotiating table. “It will be an advantage for Russia, but also an advantage for NATO, if Russia chooses another path and starts to respect international law and the sovereignty of all nations and the rule-based system, we have tried to establish for so many years in Europe”, said Stoltenberg.

Russia wary of ‘destabilization’

The reaction from Moscow was quick. NATO was destabilizing northern Europe by holding exercises and “transferring aircraft carriers able to carry nuclear weapons to the Baltic sea”, the Russian deputy ministers for foreign affairs, Alexei Meshkow, told the news agency Itartass.

However, Stoltenberg stressed the alliance would not have any direct military role in the crisis around Ukraine. The western alliance would not deliver weapons or equipment, Stoltenberg told the international press, but some NATO-member states could do that on a bilateral basis.

NATO set up several trust funds to finance military reforms and better training for the armed forces in Ukraine. “We stick to our open door policy”, said Stoltenberg.

Ukraine, Georgia and other democracies can become NATO members in the future. There will be no formal or informal guarantees to Russia in that respect, underlined NATO diplomats in Brussels. Russia is opposing the possible enlargement of NATO vigorously. “My main message is that I respect the decisions taken by the Ukrainians. Ukraine decided some years ago to be a non-bloc nation. Then, I respected that. Now, I have seen that the new government is announcing that they will change that. If they do, I will of course respect that too”, said Stoltenberg.

Conciliatory approach

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NATO Secretary General with Prime Minister of the Netherlands, 24 NOV 2014 – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO Secretary General with Prime Minister of the Netherlands, 24 NOV 2014 – Video
Nov 282014

NATO Secretary General with Prime Minister of the Netherlands, 24 NOV 2014
Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, 24 November 2014. Secretary General's openin…


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NATO Secretary General with Prime Minister of the Netherlands, 24 NOV 2014 – Video

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism