Is NATO’s North Atlantic Naval Command at Norfolk in the Russian Crosshair?

by Renee Parsons

As the single major obstacle to peace, the Russians long ago declared that the US-sponsored NATO military presence on their border was an unacceptable Red Line just as the UK and US providing Ukraine with missiles or heavy weaponry would be equally intolerable.   There is nothing new with either position as Russia identified  certain  Anglo Saxon “decision maker’ centres to be held responsible for providing those weapons; clearly the Russians regard the UK and US as its  Anglo Saxon adversaries.   

There is no question, in the Russian experience, that NATO is considered an essential indirect accomplice to keeping Ukraine supplied with ‘lethal’ armaments while Biden officials altered their position to provide (MLRS) long range missiles as well as HIMARS (high  mobility artillery rocket systems) with sufficient range to reach Russia despite Ukraine “assurances” that “it will not launch US weapons into Russia” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

As perhaps an opening salvo for Ukraine’s much awaited spring offensive, the German news agency Bild reported that a recent western-made explosive-laden drone detonated in the vicinity of the Rudnevo Industrial park prior to an upcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Bild described the drone as ’30 C4 explosive blocks with a total weight of 17 kilograms [more than 37 pounds] on board,” adding that M112 type explosives are commonly used by the U.S.   

A week later, WW III tensions escalated with an early morning attack of two drones aimed at the Kremlin and presumably President Vladimir Putin’s official place of work who is known to spend late night-early morning hours in his office.  A World Heritage Site, the Kremlin is a massive fortified complex dominating the heart of Moscow since the Thirteenth Century including the Russian Orthodox monument of St. Basil’s Basilica.  An attack on the Kremlin is considered an attack on the seat of power within Russia  as the White House or the US Capitol are not comparable in any way to its religious, historic or political significance.   

Questions remain whether the drone attack was a failed mission of minimal proportions with faulty intelligence or with the intent of a casus belli to encourage an uncharacteristic Russian overreaction with the onus of starting WW III on the Russians. 

In any case, Russia has reserved the right to a ‘retaliatory response” when and where they see fit.  Former Russian President and Deputy of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev  elaborated that there would be ‘no choice’  but to strike outside of Ukraine as Medvedev pointed out that the US mistakenly claim they  are not in full control of ‘use only’ decisions which are allegedly “applied and adopted” only by Ukrainian authorities.   Medvedev further indicated that “After today’s terrorist attack, there were no options left except for the physical elimination of Zelensky and his cabal” although one need not speculate about who qualifies as Zelensky’s ‘cabal’. 

After accusing Ukraine of orchestrating the attack ‘under the dictate of Washington,” Ria Novosti transmitted Dmitry Peskov’s statement that Russian intelligence services received information about the participation of the United States in the attack on the Kremlin strike but have not yet disclosed the details.  In a not-so-subtle warning, Peskov said that “Washington should clearly understand that Moscow is aware that they are behind the actions of Ukraine” as attempts by the US and Ukraine to “disown this is ridiculous.”  The Russians appear certain they have solid proof that the US continues to call the military shots; including this latest drone attack on the Kremlin.    

To digress briefly  – here is the burning  Million Dollar Question:    IF Russia activates a retaliatory response against a predetermined ‘decision maker” centre which presumably includes NATO as a major participant in escalating the war, will the Joint Force Command -Norfolk, once known as the US Norfolk Naval Station, be in Russia’s crosshairs?  It is within the context of Russia identifying those ‘decision makers’ when what might be an insignificant drone attack on Moscow becomes more of a gravely precarious matter that will not simply diminish over time as the Russians have reached the end of their patience.  

At the same time, why would the innocence of Ukraine issue a commemorative postage stamp celebrating the drone Kremlin attack almost immediately before the smoke had cleared?   

Meanwhile, Peskov stressed Moscow knows that Kyiv’s goals are determined by Washington and that Washington gives Kyiv the order with the understanding it will be accomplished.  The US chooses the target and delivery method, as ”the decisive vote belongs to the US in the choice of means for the strike.”  Peskov continued that Russia identified the attack on the Presidential residence as a ‘terrorist’ attack and that we know full well that decisions to carry out such terrorist actions are made not in Kiev, but in Washington  

Sergei Rybakov, Russian Deputy Foreign Policy Minister pointed out that “The anger and hatred towards Russia with which Washington acts in a situation in which it frankly should think of their own safety is inexplicable.” Rybakov added that Russia and the US are on the “verge of open, armed conflict” after the Kremlin attack.     

Russian Duma Chair, Vyacheslav Volodin endorsed the use of any weapons necessary to remove the Nazi regime in Kiev and that Western nations pumping Zelensky’s government with weapons are now direct accomplices to terrorist activities.  Russia has repeatedly warned those  decision maker’ nations who provided the necessary weapons, funding and support network that allowed the war to escalate within Russia’s borders, would be held responsible. 

The WH response has been a curiously twisted disavowal “we are unable to independently verify Ukraine’s denial of involvement in the bombing” as if they were completely unaware of what had occurred while US National Security Advisor John Kirby puzzled  we don’t know what happened.”   

Not surprisingly, the Uniparty and its establishment media gathered the media wagons around as they piled on for a different response: it must have been a false flag attack according to former Trump National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien;  Obviously it was Russia bombing its own capitol, right?  Who cannot see that?  It has all the ‘hallmarks’ of Russian disinformation or perhaps it was the country who most predominately uses drones to attack other countries – who might that be?   Former CIA Director Leon Panetta agreed ‘it smells like a false flag operation, Putin is not out walking around and there is no rose garden at the Kremlin.”  None of these denials qualify as anything more than a clever ruse to deny any accusation and avoid international condemnation. 

Meanwhile, the civilized world contemplates a potential Russian attack on the US at the now-NATO Naval Station, thereby hitting two birds with one stone.  

It remains a puzzlement exactly who had the constitutional authority to acquiesce on American sovereignty or how a transfer of US military authority at the US Naval Station in Norfolk morphed into the Joint Force Command- Norfolk in 2018 with no formal public approval or verification process; exactly how and why did the United States relinquish its historic claim on the Norfolk Naval Station.? Did any Congressional Committee with appropriate jurisdiction ever debate the matter or hold a hearing?  If so, the American public would be interested in reading Committee minutes of those meetings.   Was President Trump ever informed or approved of NATO’s incorporation?    

Chronologically speaking, in January, 2018, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Norfolk  adopted an ordinance to accept a ‘donation’ of three traffic signs that acknowledged Norfolk as Home to the North American NATO Headquarters as city documents revealed that Norfolk has been the unofficial ‘home’ to North Atlantic NATO since 1953.  By early 2018, NATO sought to ‘formalize’ the details with the sign donation and a letter of acceptance.                                                                                                   

In May, 2018, prior to recognition of Ukraine as a military flash point, Navy officials announced that “amid heightened tensions with Russia, the US Navy announced re-establishment of the US Second Fleet (after having been disestablished in 2011) which will be responsible for Naval forces along the East Coast and in the northern Atlantic Oceanas the “Defense Department also announced that the US has offered to host and lead NATO’s newly proposed Joint Force Command.”  Who gave the Navy permission to ‘host’ NATO at Norfolk?

In June, 2018 NATO’s North Atlantic Defense Ministers formally established a new Atlantic Command in Norfolk that would report directly to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe under the command of NATO. 

On September 17, 2020, six weeks before the 2020 Presidential election, a ribbon  cutting occurred to mark the  Initial Operational Capability ceremony at NATO’s New Norfolk Command Center.  Neither President Trump nor any representative from his Administration appeared to be in attendance.

On October 16, 2020, seventeen days before the 2020 election, the City of Norfolk unveiled a new sign at its arrival airport terminal which read “Welcome to Norfolk – NATO’s Home in North  America”. By that date, the US Navy’s base in Norfolk formally became home to both NATO-Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the Joint Force Command Norfolk (JFC).   Hundreds of civilian and military personnel representing over 30 Member NATO countries had already relocated to Norfolk area.

On May 28, 2021, the North Atlantic Council approved the nomination of General Phillippe Lavigne, French Air and Space Force, as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation at the Norfolk base.

On June 4, 2021, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg called for more investment from members of the Alliance and adherence to NATO’s 2030 (UN) agenda issued in 2020 “making sure [that] NATO remains strong militarily, becomes even stronger politically and takes a ‘more global approach.  On July, 2021, the Allied Joint Force Command at Norfolk declared ‘full operational capability’ with Gen. Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressing the assembled dignitaries. 

In other words, at what point might the Russians deliver on its pledge to hold  Anglo Saxondecision makers’ responsible for the expanded conflict; thereby enacting Articles 4 or 5 of the NATO Treaty which identifies ‘territorial integrity’ and guarantees a ‘collective defense’ in response to a heightened conflict in Ukraine. 

Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

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