NATO ON THE EASTERN EUROPEAN FRONT NATO is planning to move a significant number of troops to Eastern Europe as a deterrent to Russia. Details won’t be resolved until the summer, but the move is sure to upset Moscow in the meantime.
But the ramp-up is expected to include U.S. troops: about 3,000 will be deployed to the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Germany and the Netherlands. Britain has also announced it is sending five warships into the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean, and the waters around the Baltics. And NATO officials are trumpeting the expansion in their response forces, as well as plans to increase the number of sites at which they are headquartered in Eastern Europe.
NATO TO INTERRUPT REFUGEE SMUGGLING NETWORKS The alliance’s warships headed to the Aegean Sea Thursday to begin efforts to police the waters being used by smugglers to bring waves of refugees, many of them fleeing conflicts in the Middle East, to Europe. Smugglers have been fueling the flow of migrants into Europe, often at great cost and peril to the individuals seeking passage.
But it is not clear what NATO members plan to do for the refugees they intercept at sea — or where they will be sent, if the aim is in part, to stem the flow of such people to Europe. The venture so far includes three ships under German command — a plan struck in part to make sure that Greek and Turkish forces didn’t clash over the issue. Greece, the country fielding the bulk of the refugees coming into Europe, blames Turkey for not doing enough to crack down on illegal smuggling, while Turkey blames Europe for assuming that Turkey can continue to absorb the Syrian refugee population without more help or relief.
GITMO PROSECUTOR SUPPORTS SENATE’S CIA REPORT The top military prosecutor at Gitmo says the summary of a greater Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation program is accurate — refuting claims from CIA director John Brennan that the report is flawed and inaccurate.
The dispute over the report, which documented the severity of the techniques that were being used at “black sites” around the world, could prove to be pivotal in pending cases against detainees, whose defense attorneys would argue that the torture they suffered should be a mitigating factor in their sentencing. Many people want the full, 6,000-page report released. The 528-page summary has been made public.