American soldiers all over the world

translation: L. Bionda.

Every three months the US Department of Defense publishes a short report on active duty military personnel strength, listed by regional area and by country.

Let’s focus on the most significant data:
– the greatest part of the US soldiers (more than 1 million) works in the United States;
– the ones deployed in Europe are no more than 85,000; more than a half of them works in the US Army, 31,000 in the US Air Force, 5,000 in the US Navy; only few of them belongs to the Marine Corps;
– a large number works in the Far East and Pacific Area, with more than 70,000 military units, more or less uniformly distributed: 20,000 in the Army and the Air Force, 15,000 in the Navy and the Marine Corps;
– in the four remaining parts of the world the US military presence is very small: in North Africa, Middle East and Southern Asia there are no more than 8,000 soldiers; in Sub-Saharan Africa about 2,700 units. In the so-called “Western Hemisphere” (Southern and Central America) about 2,000 troops. In some of the former USSR countries about 154 US military are deployed;
– finally, there is a small but significant data which refers to the so-called “undistributed” troops, about 122,000 soldiers. Most of them are probably deployed in US fleets in international waters, since almost 88,000 units work in the US Navy, and about 26,000 are Marines.

Let’s examine these data by region and country:
– starting with Europe, the military presence in Germany is still very large (56,200 soldiers, almost the entire US Army in the whole Europe, about a half of the USAF units); just behind Germany come Italy and Great Britain with less than 10,000 soldiers each: in Italy remains less than a half of the US Navy units in the whole Europe, while in Great Britain most of the soldiers works for the USAF (mainly dealing with intelligence activities at Menwith Hill base – with hosts important infrastructure of the Echelon network – and in the Lakenheath base, which will be the most important US nuclear weapons’ warehouse in Europe after the probable dismantling of Ramstein, Germany);
– in the Far East there are 33,000 units based in Japan, of which 14,000 are Marines (almost the entire Marines presence), and 26,339 in South Korea, with 2/3 of them working for the US Army;
– finally, we can underline the situation in Djibouti, a small African country near the Red Sea facing the Arabic Peninsula, where the in former “Foreign Legion” base in Camp Lemonier – enlarged five times – 2,400 military units are deployed (750 Marines, 700 US Navy, 600 units from infantry and 350 units working in the air forces); here in Djibouti the US State Department plan to build the headquarters of the new AFRICOM command, now based in Germany as well as the EUCOM.

In conclusion, 290,178 US soldiers are deployed in foreign countries, with 81,709 of them in NATO member countries. If we add those who work in the USA, we have 1,373,205 soldiers as the total strength of the US armed forces.
195,000 of them are deployed in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and 31,000 in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom). About 10 per cent of these soldiers comes from military bases in foreign countries, in particular Germany, Italy and Japan (but also South Korea and Great Britain). This fact allows to consider these countries as accomplices in the “Global war on terror” started by US administration soon after 11/9, even though in absence (and this is certainy not the case of Italy) of an active military contribution to the American egemonic plans.

You can read that document (most recent edition – March 2008) here.

Italian version

NATO according to John Kleeves

translation: L. Salimbeni

“[NATO] has actually the following aims:
1. First of all it re-establishes a sort of balance of power in continental Europe. Why do Americans need a balance of power in continental Europe? Because it prevents Europeans from being too concerned with the rest of the world, and from pursuing a wide-ranging foreign policy. Shortly, Americans want to neutralize them as business competitors on the world markets. Continental Europeans don’t spend money to establish and to maintain military bases abroad located next to the possible points of intervention. This is just what Americans want: the world must be theirs. They don’t want to fight for a foreign market with European States that might be able to intervene militarily and effectively.
2. The second goal of NATO is the usual one of the United States when they set up any military alliance: the political control and maybe the violent subversion of the member states. With the pretext of the Alliance, the Americans – both with their military and civil personnel – are massively present in Europe. As regards the civil officials, we must bear in mind that the presence of American bases allows the maintenance in Europe of large delegations of actual CIA agents, who go easily undercover as civil employees. This massive American presence has remarkable effects on the internal affairs of the European States: probably, instead of being more and more similar to South Corea, these States could be more like Sweden, that never wanted to enter NATO. Moreover, their military presence allows the United States to gain big and unsuspected advantages in the industrial and commercial sphere, through a very powerful network of spies. The aims of the listening stations of the National Security Agency (NSA, an intelligence agency of the United States government, administered as part of the United States Department of Defense) in Europe are essentially two [...]. The interception of the commercial communications is its typical sector, because – due to their massive structure – they need such installations and technical abilities as only the NSA has.
3. Why do the Americans insist so much on keeping nuclear weapons in Europe? The American nuclear weapons don’t answer to any military purpose: in fact they don’t defend Europe. The Americans don’t want an intact or a “conventionally” destroyed Europe fall in the hands of the Russians. A Europe wasted by a nuclear war is the only Europe the Americans are prepared to let in the hands of the Russians. For them it would be no more a competitor on the world markets. That’s why in Europe weren’t deployed neutron bombs, then N-Bombs, where thermic and explosive power is replaced by a very high emission of deadly radiations: these are bombs that kill people but do not destroy buildings, at least not considerably. Anyway, what’s important is the fact that once the American nuclear weapons are deployed in Europe, she isn’t the master of her destiny any longer; she’s hostage to the Americans, completely in their hands.”

This passage is drawn from Vecchi trucchi. Le strategie e la prassi della politica estera americana (Old tricks. Strategies and praxis of the American foreign policy), published in 1991: almost twenty years later, these statements are still very much to the point.

Italian version

USA nuclear warheads in Europe

translation: L. Salimbeni

There are 12 air bases, located in 7 countries, that are able to lodge atomic warheads under US control. In 2005 the nuclear weapons amounted to 480 units. The details of the Agreements regarding nuclear deployments in NATO countries are classified. The bombs are managed through a Weapons Storage Security System, that was established during the Cold War and planned to store the nuclear warheads, together with conventional arms, in underground vaults equipped with time locks. These vaults have been built since 1987 under the hangars that lodge the airplanes able to carry those warheads. Completed in about ten years, each one of these vaults can hold 4 warheads. In some bases, their care and maintenance are assigned to the so-called Munitions Support Squadrons (MUNSS), with up to 150 personnel each.

The full picture is the following:

1. Kleine Brogel Air Base (from now on, AB) in Belgium – where F-16s of the Belgian Air Force operate – has 11 vaults for a capacity of 44 warheads. It lodges 20, entrusted to the 701° MUNSS’ care.
2. Buchel AB in Germany – where German Tornados operate – has 11 vaults and 20 warheads, looked after by the 702° MUNSS.
3. Norvenich AB in Germany – with German Tornados – has 11 vaults but no warhead. Until 1995 there were 20, then relocated to Ramstein.
4. Ramstein AB in Germany – home to United States F-16s and German Tornados – has 55 vaults for a total capacity of 220 warheads. In 2005 there were 130, later we’ll try to explane what has probably happened in the following years.
5. Araxos AB in Greece – where A-7s of the Greek Air Force operate – has 6 vaults but no warhead. The 20 present until spring 2001 (when Greece unilaterally retreated from the “NATO Nuclear Strike Mission”) have been probably transferred to Ramstein in Germany.
6. Aviano AB in Italy – home to United States F-16s – owns 18 vaults and 50 nuclear warheads.
7. Ghedi Torre AB in Italy – where Italian Tornados operate – has 11 vaults and lodges 40 warheads, under the care and maintenance of the 704° MUNSS.
8. Volkel AB in Netherlands – home to F-16s of the Dutch Air Force – has 11 vaults and 20 warheads, left to the cares of the 703° MUNSS.
9. Akinci AB in Turkey – where Turkish F-16 operate – has 6 vaults, but no warhead.
10. Balikesir in Turkey – home to Turkish F-16s – has 6 vaults. The 20 nuclear warheads, present until 1995, have been relocated to the Incirlik base.
11. Incirlik AB in Turkey – where United States F-16s operate – has 25 vaults and 90 warheads.
12. to wind up with a flourish, Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, which is formally a RAF (Royal Air Force) base, is home only to United States F-15s. It owns 33 vaults and holds as much as 110 nuclear warheads: so this is very probably the place in Europe that lodges today the greatest number of United States nuclear weapons.

We must actually underline that in January 2007 the United States Air Force (USAF) has removed the Ramstein base from the list of the installations that receive periodic inspections of the nuclear weapons, probably as a result of the transfer to the United States of the existing warheads. If this is the case, the number of the warheads deployed in Europe can be reduced to 350, about the equivalent of the whole nuclear arsenal of France (but anyway still higher than the total of the Chinese warheads and than the sum of those held by the three countries – India, Israel and Pakistan – that haven’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

According to an anonymous official from the German Defence, quoted by the newspaper Der Spiegel, the United States have removed temporarily (and discreetly) the nuclear warheads from Ramstein beacuse of important works of restoration; the above-mentioned removal of the base from the list of the periodic inspections seems to mean that the decision has become definitive.

In spite of the apparent reduction, the NATO Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) has reasserted – in June 2007 – the importance of the deployment of US-nuclear weapons in Europe. Their purpose should be “to keep the peace and to avoid threats and every kind of war”, even though NATO doesn’t specify who is the enemy against whom these weapons should be used. It asserts instead that the nuclear warheads symbolize “an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance”.

Have you taken the hint?

Italian version