Russia Flexes Might – The Fearsome Armata T-14 Tank

Editor’s Note – In the relentless build-up of his military, Putin and Russia are growing as a threat and are filling the leadership vacuum created by President Obama. Putin rolled out a fierce new armored titan, the Armata T-14 tank on their Victory Day Parade.

The Western allies though, stayed away this time, in protest – that will show Putin who is boss!!

Challenging the West in all theaters across the globe, this was another moment for him show off his prowess. The trouble is, during a rehearsal of the parade, one of them stopped moving and they even tried to tow it while its engine was running, but the tank wasn’t moving.

Russian army officers speak a crew member of new a Russian T-14 Armata tank at the Red Square during a preparation for general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 70 years after the victory in WWII, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 7, 2015.  One of the tanks moving on Red Square suddenly stopped while others drove away. The engine was still rumbling but it wouldn’t move. After an attempt to tow it away the T-14 rolled away about 15 minutes later. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian army officers speak a crew member of new a Russian T-14 Armata tank at the Red Square during a preparation for general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade.

A state-of-the-art Russian tank, which was shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal.

The tank, T-14 Armata, is said to surpass all Western versions because of its remotely controlled cannon and the protection it offers to its crew. The T-14, which replaces the T-72 and T-90, is set to undergo trials next year. (Read more at Yahoo.)

The tank did eventually move off under its own power after a tow attempt failed. Despite this setback, the west has much to consider, and we here in America remember that during the 2012 Presidential debates, Mitt Romney did tell the world what is not obvious, Russia is our greatest threat, despite the scoffing he got at the time.

Romney was vindicated many times since then, yet Obama still continues his ‘transformation’ of America. Aren’t you again so happy how 2012 turned out? How weak we have become and continue to watch Putin strengthen.

How are those Jade Helm 15 exercises going to turn that around, or intimidate anyone but our citizenry, or is that even part of the goal?

Russia flexes military might for sparse crowd of dignitaries on Victory Day

LA Times

A western boycott of Russia’s Victory Day parade Saturday did little to chasten the Kremlin as Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled out fearsome new armor and weapons in a thundering message that might makes right.

In the absence of Russia’s World War II allies who stayed away in protest of Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, Putin was surrounded at the Red Square event largely by leftist foreign leaders for his display of the military power that has made Russians proud and their neighbors nervous.

Russia's new Armata T-14 tanks rolled through Red Square in Moscow on Saturday as part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. (Alexander Aksakov / Getty Images)
Russia’s new Armata T-14 tanks rolled through Red Square in Moscow on Saturday as part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. (Alexander Aksakov / Getty Images)

Under blue skies and sunshine befitting a postcard, the Kremlin marked the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany by parading 16,000 troops, nearly 200 tanks and armored vehicles, truck-mounted ballistic missiles and 140-plus aircraft before thousands of Russian dignitaries, Soviet war veterans and about two dozen foreign leaders.

The Russian military unveiled its new Armata T-14 tank, the first major upgrade of its infantry workhorse in decades. With a 125-millimeter cannon, the tank offers better protection for its operators than the T-72 it is designed to succeed.

The Armata and other new weapons displayed ahead of a roaring aircraft flyover are part of a major rearmament program undertaken by the Kremlin with a projected outlay of $500 billion through this decade.

Some defense analysts say the massive modernization effort is imperiled by the financial crisis gripping Russia, where the ruble has lost about 40% of its value over the past year amid Western sanctions and a sharp drop in oil revenue on which the Russian budget depends. Others, though, say defense and security investments have the highest priority in Putin’s Russia and the costly mission to enhance the strategic arsenal will continue unabated.

Putin brushed off the U.S. and Western European boycott of the parade, blaming the concerted censure on White House bullying of leaders who would have preferred to show their respects to fallen heroes in Moscow. He alluded to the no-shows in a brief address from the reviewing stand in front of Lenin’s Tomb and the crenelated red-brick eastern wall of the Kremlin.

Putin praised the courage and sacrifice of Soviet troops in defeating the Nazis at a cost of more than 20 million lives. He also paid tribute to “the people of Great Britain, France and the United States for their contribution to the victory.”

But he suggested the absent allies were neglecting their roles as defenders of world peace.

“In recent decades, the basic principles of international cooperation have been ignored ever more frequently,” he said. “We see how a military bloc mentality is gaining momentum.”

Putin has justified his actions involving Ukraine, including the annexation of the Crimean region, with assertions that Russia needs to defend itself against NATO encroachment and what he contends is a U.S.-led plot to oust him from power. Russian officials have portrayed Ukraine’s new leaders as neo-fascists bent on repressing the Russian minority in the country’s eastern regions, where a separatist rebellion has killed more than 6,100 people.

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During the 2005 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of World War II’s end, 53 heads of state attended the Red Square festivities, including President George W. Bush and nearly all European leaders.

News agencies reported that 20-some heads of state from among the 68 invited took part  Saturday, including those from China, India, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon was in the official reviewing stand, as were Czech President Milos Zeman and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, the only European heads of state known to have broken ranks with the symbolic reprimand.

“Serbia will never damage relations with the Russian Federation, even for the sake of becoming a member of the European Union,” Nikolic told Rossiya-24 television on the eve of the parade, suggesting his country’s prospects for induction into the bloc may be hurt by his renegade attendance.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the de facto guest of honor, seated with his wife to the right of Putin. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longest-serving former Soviet republic leader in attendance, was also among the honored guests.

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Xi arrived to Moscow on Friday for meetings with Putin and other Kremlin officials to sign the first of a sheaf of trade and economic cooperation agreements expected during his visit that runs through Sunday.

The 80-minute parade kicked off with the chimes of newly renovated Spassky Tower and a goose-stepping honor guard carried Soviet and Russia flags between ranks of soldiers in sharp formation. Many of the units were dressed in World War II replica uniforms and sported the black-and-orange St. George’s ribbons symbolizing Russian war triumphs from both the Soviet and imperial eras.The ribbons have become a symbol of support for Kremlin policy in Ukraine over the past year and were incorporated into the banners and logos of the Victory Day anniversary decorations that fluttered from lamposts and billboards across the country.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rode an open limousine around the sprawling cobblestone square, saluting the troops as he made his way to the dignitaries’ reviewing stand to present the armed forces to Putin and his reported 2,300 guests.

Moscow airspace was closed for nearly an hour during the parade, the Tass news agency said, quoting the Federal Air Transport Agency. Security was tight throughout the capital, with major thoroughfares closed to traffic a mile out from the Kremlin. Many Muscovites watched the massive procession as it made its way from an assembly point five miles northwest of Red Square.

Afterward, a people’s parade followed, with thousands carrying small flags hailing “70 years of victory” and placards bearing the portraits of forebearers who gave their lives in a war that brought peace – and longlasting divisions – to Europe.

The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 spun the 15 republics into independent nations, some now aligned with the European Union and NATO in a shift of allegiance that is fueling Russia’s quest to reassert its authority over its communist- and imperial-era sphere of influence.

Jade Helm 15 – Something to Fear? Gaining Perspective

By Scott W. Winchell

Jade Helm 15! A story with legs? A conspiracy theory minefield? Or is it a real threat like the way the Obama administration has ‘weaponized’ so many agencies of our Federal government? Many people see smoke here and therefore believe a fire must be around the corner. But are the theories even feasible on this scale?

Many believe so, and now that a governor, not just any governor, but the new governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott,  has raised his eyebrows, but is it to appease so many who question the size and scope of the exercise? Or, does he have real reason to mistrust anything federal? Many would say yes; after all, did not the former Attorney General constantly go after Texas?militarized-police-puppetgov

Eric Holder did appear to have hair across his posterior over all things Texas and conservatives, but what about the other states slated to be part of the same exercise? Are they planning to take over Utah and California as well? Really…how would that work?

There are many questions and most arise from a total distrust of the Obama Administration and the Clintons, but its best to think this through logically, even with all the billions of rounds of ammunition the Federal government has procured in recent years.

MG Vallely did tell me that he served on many of these types of exercises in his career, but of course, this one is the largest in 60 years. He mentioned that this type of training does have to take place because of the threats to America. The threat matrix is much greater of late and recent events show us the reach of ISIS , al Qaeda, Hezbollah and so forth – and then there are Iran, Russia, and China. An exercise of this magnitude does send them a message.

It is easy to fall into the trap of hyperbole and look at this through a lens of distrust, but we caution all to look at the macro picture and test anything you hear on the whole spectrum of logic and human nature. If there is a real hidden agenda, think of how hard that secret would be to keep and how many people would have to be in on it – this includes people like our own family members in uniform. People will always talk and most love to share ‘secrets.’

Once again MG Vallely and the SUA staff caution our readers to be observant and follow events, but we believe it is best to trust, but verify. After all, these forces are your neighbors and families taking part, and few believe the military, especially Special Forces, would ever be part of some larger conspiracy like Al Sharpton wanting to nationalize all law enforcement.

As always, you be the judge:

Pentagon: Texas has nothing to fear from upcoming military exercise

Defense officials Monday dismissed as “wild speculation” an Internet-fueled claim that a massive summertime exercise called Jade Helm 15 for special operations commandos is a covert operation by President Barack Obama to take over Texas.

That claim was given legitimacy by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s order last week for the Texas State Guard to monitor the exercises.

“Operation Jade Helm poses no threat to any American’s civil liberties,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday. “Operation Jade Helm is being conducted by Americans – by, specifically, American special forces personnel.”

Jade Helm 15 will be one of the biggest peacetime military exercises in six decades. Starting July 15 and lasting two months, thousands of Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALS and other special operations forces will simulate war missions in mainly remote areas of Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

Jade Helm 15 will take place on tracts of both public and private land in the seven states.

“In every case, extensive coordination has been completed with whoever’s responsible for that land,” Warren said. “In the case of private land, we’ve spoken and made detailed coordination with the patriotic Americans who have volunteered their land for the use of this important training.”

The Texas State Guard said Monday it would follow Abbot’s order. Asked by McClatchy whether it felt compelled to mobilize troops in order to monitor the exercises, Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, the unit’s public affairs officer, responded: “The Texas State Guard stands ready to support the governor of Texas when called upon to serve.”

Leaders of the Texas State Guard “are in the process of examining the best way to meet the governor’s intent,” MacGregor said. She said they are working with the U.S. Special Operations Command “in order to alleviate any possible public concerns.”

At the Pentagon, Warren said: “This is training that we’ve coordinated in great detail with both state and local officials in the various states that we’ll be conducting it.”

Abbott’s order infuriated some fellow Republicans. Former state Rep. Todd Smith, a GOP lawyer from Euless who served in the Texas legislature for 16 years, posted online Saturday what he termed an “open letter” to Abbott.

“As one of the remaining Republicans who actually believes in making decisions based on facts and evidence – you used to be a judge? – I am appalled that you would give credence to the nonsense mouthed by those who instead make decisions based on Internet or radio- or shock-jock-driven hysteria,” Smith wrote. “Is there ANYBODY who is going to stand up to this radical nonsense that is a cancer on our State and Party?”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Democrats, too, expressed dismay.

“The first thing the governor should have done when he heard about concerns with U.S. military training is to support our troops and reassure the public that our U.S. military poses absolutely no threat to Texans,” said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “Instead, he gave credence to conspiracy theorists by ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor U.S. military operations.”

Abbott, however, on Monday defended his decision.

“We are playing a pivotal role of government and that is to provide information to people who have questions,” Abbott told reporters after a prayer breakfast in North Austin, according to the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit media organization based in Austin.

The Texas State Guard, established in 1871, has 1,900 members. Unlike the Texas National Guard, it cannot operate outside Texas and cannot be pressed into national service by the president.

Abbott, 57, took office Jan. 15 after serving as Texas attorney general for more than 14 years. When he ran for governor last year, his campaign website described him as “one of the nation’s leading advocates for stopping the federal overreach of the Obama administration.”

In a letter to Maj. Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty last week, Abbott directed the commander of the Texas State Guard to mobilize his forces during Jade Helm 15.

“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote.

Abbott’s order set off a social media firestorm between his defenders and those who mocked him.

Several people tweeted to say that the Pentagon, with some two dozen U.S. military bases in Texas – including Fort Hood, the nation’s second-largest, with 45,000 soldiers – wouldn’t need to send in special operations commandos if it wanted to take over the state.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who is running for president, said Texans were right to be worried.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas

“You know, I understand the concern that’s been raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm,” Cruz told Bloomberg on Saturday during the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention.

“It’s a question I’m getting a lot. And I think part of the reason is, we have seen for six years a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens, and that produces fear.

When you see a federal government that is attacking our free speech rights, our religious liberty rights, our Second Amendment rights, that produces distrust as to government.”

Not all Texans have reacted with hostility to Jade Helm 15. After the Army made presentations to the Big Spring City Council and the Howard County Commission, two local agencies in West Texas, the Big Spring City Council passed a resolution granting the Army permission to train within its city limits.

The Pentagon has been criticized in the past for having failed to give advance notice to residents of areas that hosted training exercises.

People in a Houston neighborhood were terrified in 2013 when special operations troops swooped into a local school as a part of an exercise.