Germany’s Merkel Needs To Ask Tough Questions at NATO Summit

Posted on

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as "a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift."

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on "intelligence" that was dubious, at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

Experience With Untruth

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know."

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were "increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence" and told him flatly, "Powell’s presentation does not come close" to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to "widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can "shock and awe." In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

If the photos that NATO and the US have released represent the best available "proof" of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the US embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.

Lavrov warned pointedly of "fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene." Burns gave his cable the unusual title, "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES," and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that "Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO."

Just yesterday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favorite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d’etat in Kiev. "Yats is the guy," said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, "Fuck the EU."

Timing of the Russian "Invasion"

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

According to the "press service of the President of Ukraine" on August 18, Poroshenko called for a "regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives," said Poroshenko, adding, "we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances."

If the "new circumstances" meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to "regroup," to "rearrange" the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the "Russian invasion." That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that "the Russians are coming." (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the ragtag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

  • William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
  • David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
  • Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
  • Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
  • Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)
  • Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
  • Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

131 thoughts on “Germany’s Merkel Needs To Ask Tough Questions at NATO Summit”

  1. Angela Markell and her Christian democrats party is part of the economic problem in Europe, she is partner with those far right EU politicians, bankers, German industries, energy and NATO whom are looking forward to destabilize more of Eastern Europe where they get their hands into more of people's natural resources where ever it might be. Angela Markell love to see the day when EU is no longer buys Russian gas, especially now that Saudis/UAE are on the side of Europe foreign policies in Middle East and supporting Israel apartheid regime to steal more of Palestinians land, Angela Markell loves to expend Europe to where and when Hitler ruled. Trusting this women is like trusting Hillary Clinton being the most honest and correct on her political adventurous doing everything for the American working man and women while living the oil company to work for their billion of billions of dollars profit and USG subsidies.

    1. I would recommend you to learn how to write the names of the "foreigners": "Angela MERKEL", not "markell"!

      1. As long as you know who Angela Markell is, is ok with me, as long as you agree with her being a far right Christian democrats destroying Greece, Spain, Portugal and other European countries/Europe economy keeping everything for the motherland I agree with you.

    2. What you write comes across as regurgitated bits you picked up on conspiratorial websites. Thousands in re-united Germany today are still fluent in speaking Russian, and the East-German Ministerium für Staatssicherheit was once a feared and effective spying and surveillance machine. Do you really think for a moment the intelligence services in Germany don't know what is presently really going on in Ukraine? Allow me to refresh your memory: Germany didn't participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. You get the picture?

      1. Unt dann? In English, and then. I am not talking about German spying apparatus, nor about Germany being involved in Iraq, although they supported Iraq invasion as they have the Syria war and Libya and etc. What I am talking about is the fact that present German government the Christian democrats and its leaders, the bankers, the German industry, the energy sectors and companies in cooperation with Swedish energy giant (wattenfal) where the unemployment is over 15%, are the one that will benefit from Europe expansion, not the Eastern Europeans nor the European people but Germans, just look at the east Germany, look at the amount of unemployment there, the Balkan countries where German industry taken over, look at Spain 25% unemployment while Angela Markell, IMF and every other vulture capitalism as Goldman Sachs, bankers from USA and Europe enforcing people in Greece to commit suicide or become homeless, something that Greece people never have experienced! nor is in their culture, That's what I am talking about.

        1. Dear Mojo,

          when you come up with such a statement, please consider the details thoroughly. Just fingerpointing at Germans and the German leaders, industry, bankers is misleading and reckons only partly the developments in Europe! German people don't benefit at all from the current politics although any European media might tell differently. Like in any other EU country the rich are economically gaining and the middle class is losing. Serious statistics support this. Second, not only German banks and economic leaders gain from the insane politics of the EU and ECB politics, but also the economic and political leaders of Portugal, Italy, UK, France, Spain, Greece etc.. The politics of all our so-called democratic leaders is undermining the wealth of European citizens and supporting the economic elite. So please, do not be contemplated this as a conflict between Germany and other European countries. Although the media (which is owned by the rich) tries to split the European citizens, it is rather a "war" of the rich against the middle class all over Europe!

          1. Thank you for your advise, but is needs to be noted that: since the Neo liberals, aristocrats, Neo and old entity of fascism begin ruling Europe, as you mention certain governments, their goal been to destroy the middle class keeping only a portion of it where they are going to vote for Neo liberalism and their deceptive politics and etc.

            This trend could be seen everywhere in Europe, however, lately you also see the effect of these Neo liberals social economic politics where they knowingly destroying what working man and women losing what in generation after generation working been working hard for, their pension is just one of the social issues where elderly people cannot pay for rising price of food, rents, electricity, busses, doctor visits and etc.

            As said before, it is not the fault of the people but rather those who make deals with IMF and other form of vulture capitalism. Few days ago, Goldman Sachs announced that they are entering the housing matket in Spain, these are the same people that created the economic problems around the world few years ago making over 10 million people losing their homes in u.s.a alone, and Angela Markell is part of that Neo liberals entity of vulture capitalism although her political party named as Christian democrat with no social practice, whatsoever, the philosophy of juses. Jueses was a revolutionary man, sacrificed his life fighting the vulture rich Jewish and social unjust enforced by roman Caesar.

            Germany is occupied by USG militarism for last 60 years, as roman Cesar occupied Palestinians land where at present time, is occupied by an far right religious apartheid regime stealing the Palestinians lands, meanwhile german government contributing anything and everything free of charge to Israel regime.

            NATO expension in eastren Europe is supported by current German government, although they don't want to have any conflict with Russia, hence, the Neo liberals/Neo fascism liberals, since their taking over the rights of people all over Europe, their double political language has tripled to no good for either middle class but primerly the European working people, while people dying all over the world, due to western "civilization" militarism actions, they are looking to expend Caesars militarism into Eastern Europe.

  2. My compliments to Ray McGovern, Ann Wright, Coleen Rowley et al. of VIPS. Too bad those scumbags John Brennan
    and James Clapper
    aren’t like them.

  3. How naive. Merkel doesn´t care. She already said she won´t run for another term. She wouldn´t have any chance after she supported sanctions which will crush the german industry and agronomy, anyways. She was made chancellor by the economic leaders and lost her credibility with them. So, to sum it all up, she won´t do what Schröder did, and bringing him up as an example must make her furious in any case, as he was her strongest opponent at the time. She rather cares about her connections to the western economic elite as a whole which is calling for outright war in Ukraine, because they can´t have Russia or Novorussia control the richest part of Ukraine, the Donbass, after so many efforts to control it themselves. She needs a job after her political career in Germany has come to an end. IMHO.

  4. The US can be proud of people like you. I am British myself and was also a part of the NATO machine in the cold war. To see how intelligence (or really lack of it) has become abused by politicians and interest groups with limited insight into military affairs and consequences is not just sad but morally reprehensible and criminal. It was Iraq yesterday and now Ukraine today. The ordinary public are being played as fools today, just as Colin Powell played them as fools before (whether knowingly or not, himself). I hope not just Merkel but Obama himself can see this deliberately misleading and contrived intelligence use age. The US strength should come from its ability to decide on its own terms its engagements, based on facts and its own interests, not to be led like a child along a path of well laid sweets to fight others battles and weaken itself.

  5. Continued – Russia are no angels in Ukraine, they never have been angels anywhere. Neither have the US been angels anytime or British either in terms of activities peripheral to direct military action, add anyone else to this group as well. We all know the rules and the ‘game’. It’s time for sobriety and professionalism, something the Germans are purportedly endowed with! Let’s hope Merkel shows not only common sense but a little of some German qualities as well, qualities other German leaders have shown before her.

    1. Germany as wall as US,UK and other NATO countries is in war all over the world.
      "sobriety and professionalism, something the Germans are purportedly endowed with" -these days
      the words sound NOT APPROPRIATE.
      NATO Coup in Ukraine. “Wag the Dog” Military Deployment in a Crucial Geopolitical Pivot?

  6. I can't help but think of the motivation of controlling oil pipelines into west Europe. Ukraine has been partnered with Russia for more than a century. Is the call for a 'free Ukraine' just an excuse for America to pay for a war West Europe would profit from?

  7. I think EU or Europe really needs its own independence from US and not fooled around by Washington. I think European politicians are very shortsighted. US is in tacked but dubbing Europe its own self to break away. Can't Europeans think?

  8. Why would the author argue the Russian side of this conflict is "better led" than the Ukrainian side?

  9. Gentlemen, I am a guy from the other side (east Europe), I had never been involved in any agency activities like you had been. Although as a student I was a communist, during the cold war I stepped out from the Party and gave up my membership and I want to express my appreciation of your work in dismantling communism. Good job.
    But now I share your serious concern about what is going in Ukraine. Since I speak Russian I have a direct access to information on what´s happening there and I work as an analyst on Russia. The Ukrainian story is one of the most uggliest stories we have had in recent years. Is there anything I can do for you to help to change the situatiom? I am analyst only for internet independent radio station, becaue the situation with the mainstream media is that there is no space for information like the messagee above. Anyway I believe that your message to Mrs. Merkel is a very important step aimed to open eyes of those at power in EU as well as i US. Please continue and do as much as possible of this kind of steps. Any sincere effort to help change the situation towards better world is precious. Thank you. My compliments.

  10. Pingback: Anonymous

Comments are closed.