Free People Presents ‘The Letter’ – Video [ Vimeo Staff Pick ]

 

“It’s ok to hold on tight…and to let go.” Sarah, played by Dree Hemingway, reads a letter from her deceased mother as she rides through the sweeping mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s a personal journey, but one she doesn’t have to make alone. With her love, played by Joel Danielsson, alongside her, she retraces her mother’s steps by following the words scribbled on the page of an old weathered journal. The letters weave a story that will ultimately connect the mother and daughter across time, will bring Sarah closer to herself, and ultimately lead her into the future that lies ahead.

 

Best watch in couch mode:
https://vimeo.com/couchmode/channels/927/sort:preset/107815949

 
Credits
Creative Direction: Free People
Actors: Dree Hemingway, Angela Lindvall, Joel Danielsson
Film Director: CMCM and Duncan Winecoff @ All:Expanded
Director of Photography: Stuart Winecoff @ All:Expanded
Written By: CMCM and Free People
Editor: Ryan McKenna @ The Mill
Producer: Carl Walters @ The Mill
Color: Michael Rossiter @ The Mill
Special Thanks: Dornan’s, Moose WY

Breaking News: Obama authorizes use of National Guard to fight Ebola in W. Africa

A soldier goes through the decontamination process with U.S. Army soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), who are earmarked for the fight against Ebola, take part in training before their deployment to West Africa, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (Reuters / Harrison McClary)

A soldier goes through the decontamination process with U.S. Army soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), who are earmarked for the fight against Ebola, take part in training before their deployment to West Africa, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (Reuters / Harrison McClary)

President Barack Obama authorized the Pentagon to call up members of the National Guard and other military reserve units on Thursday to help combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Obama said the guardsmen would “augment the active forces in support of Operation United Assistance, providing humanitarian assistance and consequence management related to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the West Africa region” in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Hill reported.

The Defense Department is expected to send eight engineers and logistical specialists from the Guard ‒ both active-duty and reservists ‒ during the first deployment, sources told NBC News. They are likely to help build 17 Ebola treatment centers, with 100 beds apiece.

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

The Guard members would join the nearly 4,000 regular troops deploying to West Africa in the coming weeks in an effort to contribute in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak in the region, according to the Pentagon.

Obama signed the executive order Thursday afternoon, permitting the Pentagon to use the reservists and Guard troops, the Associated Press reported. The DOD said the use of an executive order was necessary to speed the deployments, and would allow the president to send additional forces as needed, according to NBC News. Obama also notified top congressional officials of his move.

There are nearly 9,000 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola in five West African countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 4,500 people have died from the virus so far. The biggest outbreak is in Liberia, where US troops will be sent to provide humanitarian assistance. Widespread transmission is also occurring in Guinea and Sierra Leone, while there has been localized transmission in Nigeria, Spain and the United States. Senegal has had a travel-associated case.

Ebola Response Roadmap 10 October 2014 (World Health Organization)

Ebola Response Roadmap 10 October 2014 (World Health Organization)

The World Bank predicted last Wednesday that the spread of Ebola presents a $33 billion threat to West African economies if the disease isn’t contained. Earlier that week, scientists predicted that there was a 75 percent chance that Ebola would reach France by the end October and a 50 percent chance for the UK.

Ebola infections in West Africa could hit 1.4 million by the end of January if current trends continue and no immediate, large-scale increase in response measures is taken, the CDC said in a September estimate.

 

US tanks arrive in Latvia to ward off ‘perceived’ Russian threat (VIDEO)

tanksNATO

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia sit in an Abrams tank during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

US tanks have arrived in Latvia as NATO flexes its muscles in an apparent show of strength towards Moscow. The machines are being deployed across the Baltic States and Poland over the next two weeks and will be used for training exercises.

The 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood in Texas, was deployed in Adazi, not far from the Latvian capital of Riga. 150 soldiers used five M1A2 Abrams tanks, as well as 11 Bradley Fighting Vehicles in a training demonstration.

The commander of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, John Di Giambattista said, “This is more than just a training mission. This is more than just a trip across the Atlantic; this is more than a multinational training exercise. This is how we demonstrate our nations’ commitment to reassure our NATO allies,” Reuters reports

Latvia: See M1A2 Abrams TANKS in US Army combat demo

 

 

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia sit in an Abrams tank during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

US tanks have arrived in Latvia as NATO flexes its muscles in an apparent show of strength towards Moscow. The machines are being deployed across the Baltic States and Poland over the next two weeks and will be used for training exercises.

The 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood in Texas, was deployed in Adazi, not far from the Latvian capital of Riga. 150 soldiers used five M1A2 Abrams tanks, as well as 11 Bradley Fighting Vehicles in a training demonstration.

The commander of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, John Di Giambattista said, “This is more than just a training mission. This is more than just a trip across the Atlantic; this is more than a multinational training exercise. This is how we demonstrate our nations’ commitment to reassure our NATO allies,” Reuters reports

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u07NigwifyU

Latvians, as well as their Baltic neighbors and Poland have welcomed the deployment of the troops and tanks as a deterrent to the perceived threat of Russia. This is one of the largest placements of US military forces into part of the former Soviet Union.

Martins Liberts, who is the Commander of the Latvian Infantry Brigade, said that it was good for his country’s army to work with up to date military equipment.

“To be honest, since independence, we have not had the chance to work with tanks as allies, but we will do that now. It will be a unique experience,” he said, according to Reuters.

The Abrams M1A2 is an upgrade of the Abram M1A1, which was used in combat during the 1991 Gulf War. The Abrams are armed with a M256A1 120mm smooth bore cannon, while they also feature one M240 7.62mm machine gun.The combat force consists of around 700 troops and 20 tanks.

“The purpose is to be a very visible demonstration of commitment to our allies. We may take slightly longer to deploy than lighter forces, but there’s nothing like a tank if you really want to achieve effect,” said Captain John Farmer, public affairs officer for Ironhorse, as the 1st Cavalry Division is otherwise known in early October, before the deployment was made.

U.S, soldiers deployed in Latvia with the 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team, attend a rotation ceremony at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA - Tags: MILITARY) - RTR4A57R

U.S, soldiers deployed in Latvia with the 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team, attend a rotation ceremony at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA – Tags: MILITARY) – RTR4A57R

The 1st Cavalry Division will replace a number of lightly armed US paratroopers, who were deployed in March, following a referendum in Crimea, where local residents elected to cede from Ukraine and saw the peninsula becoming part of Russia.

The 1st Cavalry Division has a long history, having been formed in 1921. Since then the division fought in the Second World War, as well as subsequently in Korea and Vietnam. In the 21st Century, the unit has been involved in tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. The division has also hit the big screen, having appeared in the American Vietnam War epic, Apocalypse Now.

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia perform during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA - Tags: MILITARY) - RTR4A58N

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia perform during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA – Tags: MILITARY) – RTR4A58N

These are not the first tanks to have been deployed in Europe since the end of the Cold War. In January this year, 29 Abrams M1A2 tanks were sent to Germany to replace older versions of the same military vehicles.

The Abrams tanks will join 33 M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles as well as numerous other heavy support vehicles that will be positioned at Grafenwohr, which is around 220 kilometers north of Munich and used for training exercises.

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia perform during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

U.S. soldiers deployed in Latvia perform during a drill at Adazi military base October 14, 2014. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

The deployment of the 1st Cavalry Division in Latvia is a direct result of an agreement for creating a rapid reaction force in Eastern Europe, following the NATO summit in the UK in September.

“This is a demonstration of our solidarity and resolve,” said former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the summit in Cardiff in early September. “Should you even think of attacking one ally, you will be facing the whole alliance,” the former Danish Prime Minister added.

The Baltic States have been among the most vocal advocates of NATO strengthening in the region, but the organization is bound by a 1997 agreement with Russia, which bars it from placing permanent bases in Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia. This can be circumvented by staging constant rotations of “exercises” that can in practice amount to the same thing.

Vladimir Putin in Serbia: Navigating in the European Centre

By Binoy Kampmark
Global Research, October 16, 2014
 
Region: Russia and FSU
Theme:

 

Serbia and Russia

Serbia and Russia

Inviting the punchy Russian leader to a military parade and awarding him a country’s highest honour may well be considered as dangerous as inviting a drunk to a well-stocked wine cellar for a the prized drop, but the analogy would be specious. The relationship between Serbia and Russia is both complex and intense, a deliciously neurotic bond that has both disappointed and benefited the parties. While nationalist admiration tends to be misplaced, the occasion of celebrating liberation from the occupation of Nazi forces after 70 years is not. Every European country treasures it and the anniversary of Serbia’s liberation this month is no exception.

Belgrade has been in history’s tight spot for decades, enshrouded and packaged as both refuse and bad boy. It used to be as free as an audacious bird, taking flight and landing in places most states in the Eastern bloc could only dream of. Those were the days of Titoist extravaganza – Yugoslavia, defiant of Moscow, but also understanding of certain common principles.

Now, the rhetoric of navigating blocs of power have emerged – the aspirations of wounded but slowly emerging Serbia on the one hand; and the impositions of aggressively renascent Russia on the other. European officials peer cautiously from the west – they are eyeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s every move, a form of power perving and inquisitiveness that has come to dominate EU chatter. The Russian bear is bearing down on the honey supply. What will Brussels and company do?

Officials in Belgrade have not disappointed. The military party bash, even if oddly timed, is extensive, the first military parade in 29 years. “We have held no parade for the past 29 or 30 years,” claims Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić. While the President tends to be Serbia’s disappearing act, someone who is ventriloquised by the prime minister, the point is clear: Serbia is happy to remember those who helped it.

Serbia is certainly adopting a gymnast’s pose here, though Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić sounds comical when he talks about a policy that is neither swerving, let alone moving, to the left or the right. It was impossible during the years when Russia was itself in history’s straightjacket. “Serbia is going towards the EU, which is a strategic goal, but that it will not impose sanctions on Russia for many reasons, economic being one of them.”[1] The Prime Minister is keen to remind his audience that this is not a matter of concealment. “I am not concealing from our Russian partners that we are following the European course.” Point being: we are not Ukraine.

There is also that other issue of the South Stream construction project, a Russian gas pipeline that is seen by Vučić as “good for Serbia” on the one hand, but a headache for other states. “This should pass through Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and all other countries. As for Serbia, we have done our part, all the rest depends on others.”[2]

The call for sanctions upon brother Russia has become something of a mindless reflection, a reflex that is encouraged for those willing to join the moral club – if you don’t follow in step, you will be shunned. Serbia’s imposition of sanctions on Russia would be, in many ways, a constriction and self-willing constipation. In the Serbian government scheme, the Russian purse is being directed to government assets, which is in some ways more enthusiastically directed than other western reserves. “[W]e expect participation of Russian investors in privatisation of certain enterprises.”

Admittedly, that resource – Russia’s hefty investment – has its own price tag, its own problematic influences. Such money bags do come with weighty considerations and consequence, the risk that the recipient state becomes both compliant and compliable. Being invested in is one thing; being filled to the point of becoming a client state is another matter. But the point to be made here is that the government should decide on its own accord, a decision exclusive to Belgrade as opposed to pen pushing moralists in Brussels. As Vučić has told the Russian Tass news agency, “Serbia is a free and independent state, Serbia is on the European path”.

The other side of the bargain should also be emphasised: that the EU wishes Serbia to express the moral outrage of a member towards a force it considers a problematic citizen at international law, while denying that member membership. Moscow has misbehaved. It needs chastisement. The EU has been moving into the land of the gentleman’s club, a sort of affair where cant and irritating sanctimony triumph over creditability and worth.

Putin, on the other hand, has his own targets. Making sure that he touches the palpitating heart strings, he is clear to remind readers of the Serbian paper Politika of a weakening of “the vaccine against the Nazi virus”. While he may be a bit short on describing his country’s own nationalist movements, he is not mistaken in noting “open manifestations of neo-Nazism, which have come common in Latvia and other Baltic states.”

As ever, the Serbian political grouping has had to adopt the approach of the gambler, or at least the gambler who will concede to accepting money and self-reform. We have bad habits. (We are too close to Moscow, and have suspicions of the Albanians.) We are a frightfully traditional bunch, and we decided that a murderous approach might have been appropriate to keep the Yugoslavian union intact. Hardly exceptional, given the circumstances – but it has made for interesting discussion.

The application for EU membership these days is much like spending a life time on the waiting list of an exclusive, overpriced club, a sort of generational pondering as to whether you just might join the Marylebone Cricket Club. Given the chaos within an unsteady Europe, the Serbian antics on this look less peculiar, a sort of dogged manoeuvre before torridness. There is time – and European states should learn one thing: don’t lecture the student who has not yet been admitted to the classroom.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Notes

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/15/vladimir-putin-nazism-warning-serbia-visit

[2] http://euobserver.com/foreign/126078

“Pardon Us For Our Country’s Existence in the Middle of Your Military Bases” – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s Speech at the UN

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations

THE GENIUS OF SERGEI LAVROV

 
 
In a courageous and brilliant speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pierced the veil of obfuscation that characterizes too many speeches at the United Nations, and delivered a scathing denunciation of Western imperialism, imperialism that can only be accurately described as global theft.  Lavrov, on behalf of the Russian Federation implicitly warned that US/NATO is risking global war in embarking on its campaign to seize and dominate huge territories, while inexorably and ruthlessly determined to conquer and subjugate Russia, having learned nothing from the historic reality that Napolean’s effort to dominate Russia led to the collapse of Napoleonic France, and Hitler’s attempt to subjugate Russia led to the obliteration of his Third Reich. 

 
Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work “Capital in the 21 Century.”  In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies.  And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war.

Lavrov stated:  “The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil.”

“Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests.  Military interference has become a norm – even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years.”

“The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, attack against Libya and the failure of operation in Afghanistan.  Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts the aggression against Syria was prevented in 2013.  There is an involuntary impression that the goal of various ‘color revolutions’ and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability.”

“Today Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy.  The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area.  The West has embarked upon the course towards ‘vertical structuring of humanity’ tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards.  After they declared victory in the Cold War and the ‘end of history,’ the U.S. and EU have opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all peoples of Europe […] NATO enlargement to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given earlier.  The instant switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West’s own interests, and additional build up of military infrastructure at the Russian borders – made obvious the inability of the alliance to change the genetic code it embedded during the Cold War era.”

“The U.S. and EU supported the coup d’etat in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukranian people that had rejected the attempts to impose the anti-constitutional way of life to the  entire country and wanted to defend its rights to the native language, culture and history.  It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take the destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination.  This was an absolutely free choice no matter what was invented by those who are responsible in the first place for the internal conflict in Ukraine.”

“The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukranian crisis.  Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February bloody events at Maidan and massive loss of human lives in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions of Ukraine.  The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in the South-Eastern Ukraine has been deliberately understated.  Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk.  Despite UNSG Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances of the loss of Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted.  The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice.  Otherwise the national reconciliation in Ukraine can hardly be expected.”

In total contempt for truth and international law, Kiev’s escalation of the Ukranian crisis is being relentlessly prepared, in an ultimate act of deceit, as Ukranian President Poroshenko assumes military regalia, threatening Russia’s survival, and, indeed the survival of his own bankrupt country, and is now speaking of all-out war with Russia.

Last month Washington pledged and delivered 53 million dollars of US taxpayer’s money to provide military aid to the Kiev regime, which is using the ceasefire arranged by Russian President Putin and the OSCE as an opportunity to acquire more sophisticated and deadly weapons and prepare for another barbarous onslaught against civilians in east and southeastern Ukraine, where the massacre of almost 4,000 citizens of East Ukraine and the desperate plight of more than one million refugees  followed the “secret” visit to Kiev, (under a false name) of CIA Director John Brennan last April.

But perhaps the most brazen announcement of US/NATO intent to inflict further carnage upon the citizens of East Ukraine , whose rejection of the Nazi infested and Western controlled regime in Kiev has resulted in Kiev’s campaign of extermination of its dissident Ukrainian citizens, is the return to Kiev this month of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland.  Ms. Nuland was made world famous (or world infamous) by her February declaration “Fuck the EU” while, on behalf of her neocon sponsors in Washington, she engineered the destabilization and overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich, plunging Ukraine into the civil war that holds the potential of engulfing the world in a conflagration which will be known as World War III.

In her October 7, 2014 speech to the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ms. Nuland boasted:  “Ukraine this year has received $290 million in U.S. financial support plus a billion dollar loan guarantee.  And now you have what so many of you stood on the Maidan for, you have an association agreement with Europe and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.”  That “Association Agreement” holds Ukraine virtual hostage to NATO and the IMF, whose imposition of “austerity measures” will further degrade the living standards of the already impoverished Ukranians.  Ms. Nuland brings a Trojan Horse into Ukraine, unctuously flattering gullible Ukranian students, who will ultimately provide cannon fodder for the war which US/NATO is inciting.

Further on in his September 27 address to the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states:

“Let me recall a history of not so far ago.  As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference into domestic affairs of the U.S. and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America.  At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record on the basis of reciprocity.  Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce that demand of the U.S. government on a universal scale.  Shouldn’t the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of coup d’etat as a method of the change of power?  The time has come to totally exclude from the international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others.  The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we took an example of the U.S. blockade of Cuba.”

 

“The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21 century and run counter to the objective process of development of a polycentric and democratic world order.” ~ Sergei Lavrov