Tag Archives: spain

NATO Launches Massive Exercise to Prep for War With ‘Not Russia’

by Jason Ditz

NATO today launched its biggest single military exercise in more than 13 years, involving some 36,000 troops in the Mediterranean Sea, simulating a war spanning from Sicily to Spain and Portugal against a major invading European superpower, who officials are insisting is definitely totally not Russia.

The exercise is planned to last through November 6 and will focus on support a “Spearhead Force” that NATO intends to install along the Russian border, nominally to fend off a Russian invasion of Eastern Europe. The predictions of a Russian invasion have been growing out of NATO for a couple of years, and have justified significant increases in spending and military deployments into otherwise calm nations in the east.

The exercise is also going to involve “hybrid warfare” and challenging officers with Internet “propaganda” involving manipulated pictures and false intelligence, claiming to center on “lessons learned” during the 14-year-plus occupation of Afghanistan.

In addition to the NATO nations, 7 non-member nations will be participating in the exercise. Noteworthy among these is Ukraine, which predicts a full-scale global war with Russia seemingly on a weekly basis, and has ambitions to join the alliance.

French Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Destroyed Flight 4U 9525

 

On Thursday, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin, who is investigating the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525, which crashed into the French Alps and killed all 150 people on board on Tuesday morning, said that first pilot Andreas Lubitz “deliberately destroyed” the plane.

The plane, an Airbus A320, was flying from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, when it crashed and killed all 144 passengers and six crew members instantly. Aside from the names of the pilots, the airline has announced that it will not release the names of the passengers who were on board, “not only due to data protection but above all to honor their privacy.”

The Telegraph noted that the flight, which crashed near Digne-les-Bains in the French Alps, was one of France’s worst aviation disasters.

During a press conference on Thursday, Robin said that after investigating the plane’s black box recorder, he determined that the crash was “not an accident,” and that Lubitz seemed to have deliberately destroyed the plane.

Robin explained that prior to the crash, Lubitz was alone at the controls, after the captain of the flight, Patrick Sondenheimer, left to use the restroom. Robin said that Lubitz “voluntarily refused to open the door of the cockpit to the pilot and voluntarily began the descent of the plane.

“For the last 20 minutes the conversation was normal, courteous, nothing abnormal,” Robin saidHe explained that it was not until the captain left to of to the restroom and Lubitz was alone, that he began to manipulate the flight monitoring system, and put the plane into descent mode.

“The action of this selection of altitude can only be deliberate,” said Robin, who went on to say that in the minutes before the crash, there was “absolute silence in the cockpit,” and that while Lubitz’s breathing was detected on the recording from the black box, he sent no distress signal.

Robin said that there is no evidence to suggest Lubitz had links to terrorist groups, or that this was a terrorist act.

The Guardian reported that Lubitz, a 28-year-old from Germany, clocked a total of 630 flying hours, and had been flying for Germanwings since September 2013, after receiving training from the airline’s parent company Lufthansa.

The Independent reported that the flight’s captain, Patrick Sondenheimer, was a married father of two, who had completed more than 6,000 flying hours, and had been flying with Germanwings since May 2014, after working with both Lufthansa and Condor. The black box recording indicated that after attempting to return to the cockpit, and finding that the door was locked, Sondenheimer knocked, received no response from Lubitz, and then tried to break down the door before the plan crashed.

Exclusive Interview: 80% of Catalans Say “Yes” to Secession in Symbolic Vote

After more than two million people voted in a symbolic independence referendum in favor of secession, Catalonia is considering separating itself from Spain just like Scotland did recently.

Artur Mas, head of the Catalan regional government, called the vote “a total success,” after the overwhelming majority supported independence.

“The people of Catalonia have made it very clear that we want to govern ourselves. It is an old aspiration, which dates back centuries and remains perfectly alive,” he said.

According to the Catalan government, on Monday, a total of 2.3 million people voted, and the vast majority, 80.7 percent, voted for independence.

Anti-independence groups boycotted the referendum, which organizers said, could have skewed the results towards succession.

The regional government said 5.4 million Catalans and resident foreigners age 16 and above were eligible to vote, but there was no official electoral roll.

The next step, Mas said, was to get an official vote.

“We deserve to vote in a legal and binding referendum and this is what we are going to try to do,” he added.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s  autonomous communities and includes Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city.

But does Catalans have a chance of peaceful secession? Dartmouth professor Jason Sorens think they can if they implement good strategy and game theory.

Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook interviews Sorens about his take on the secession movement in Spain and his book, Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy.

Check out the fascinating discussion on secession below: