Although President Obama's «pivot to Asia» is receiving media attention, his little-known push to establish American hegemony over the rapidly melting Arctic polar zone has gone largely unnoticed. Using three NATO allies, all of them monarchies, Obama is trying to establish a U.S.-led condominium of the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark over the Arctic, conspicuously leaving Russia out of the equation. Obama’s military and intelligence push into the Arctic could be taken from the pages of the 1960s Cold War thriller by Alistair MacLean, «Ice Station Zebra», With the depletion of the Arctic ice pack opening up formerly non-navigable Arctic maritime zones to shipping, Obama and his Wall Street handlers are eyeing the Arctic as America’s new region for natural resource exploitation. And, as always, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence Community are ready to act as the centurions for the investment bankers and hedge fund tycoons.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Arctic Strategy was unveiled in Halifax in November 2013. Hagel said the Pentagon’s «Arctic Strategy» is centered upon the U.S. bolstering its military capabilities in the Arctic region with the opening of new sea lanes for natural resource «exploration»,
The first step of the Obama «polar pivot» has been to militarize it under the NATO umbrella. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920, ratified by 40 nations, agreed to demilitarize the Norwegian-owned Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and to permit commercial activities on the islands by the signatories. Only Norway and Russia (and the former Soviet Union) exercised the right to commercially exploit the resources of the islands, mainly by mining coal. Russia has largely withdrawn its commercial interests from the islands with only some 370 Russians and Ukrainians remaining in Svalbard, many of them living at the mining community in Barentsburg, the Russian research station at Ny-Ålesund, and the small mining outpost at Sveagruva.
A dependency of Norway, Svalbard has seen its Norwegian population grow with many of the Norwegians living in the capital of Longyearbyen. As signatories of the Svalbard Treaty, Americans, Canadians, and Britons are free to travel and reside on Svalbard without restrictions imposed by Norwegian authorities. Americans first started to arrive in Svalbard as part of the team that oversees the operation of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a project of Global Crop Diversity Trust, which stores most of the world's crop and botanical varieties in an underground vault.
Russia believes that NATO has violated the Svalbard Treaty by covertly operating military functions at the Svalbard Satellite Station at Ny-Ålesund, which is connected to Harstad and Andoya, Norway by the Svalbard Undersea Cable System. Andoya was the site of a Norwegian Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) array, art of the U.S. Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) that acoustically tracked Soviet and Russian submarines. There is a belief that the Norwegians have continued to employ acoustic intelligence devices against the Russians and that Svalbard is part of the Norwegian monitoring activities, in violation of the Svalbard Treaty. The U.S. also maintains a Globus II HAVE STARE radar station in Vardo in the Norwegian Arctic, which is used to collect electronic intelligence for the U.S. National Security Agency from Russian military targets across the Norwegian border. The mushroom-like radome that conceals the HAVE STARE radar is a tell-tale sign of a U.S. military-intelligence presence. Radomes have appeared in increasing numbers from the National Security base at Menwith Hill, England to northern Norway, Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroes, northern Canada, and even remote and uninhabited Jan Mayen Island in the Norwegian Sea.
Complementing America's operations in Svalbard and Norway is the increasing use by NATO of Sweden's Arctic Lapland for military purposes. Most NATO activities in Sweden involve NEAT, which stands for NATO Exercises and Advanced Testing.
The U.S. is also expanding its military presence at the Thule airbase in Greenland as part of the U.S. Air Force 21st Space Wing's missile defense network. Thule provides missile launch sensor data to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and the Air Force Space Command. A number of Greenland «home rule» governments have wanted the United States to withdraw its military forces from Greenland but Washington and Denmark, which remains the sovereign authority over Greenland through the contrivance of calling Greenland a self-governing country within the «Kingdom of Denmark,» have rejected Greenlandic calls for the demilitarization of Greenland. The «kingdom» contrivance has also been used to keep the independence-minded Faeroe Islands in the Norwegian Sea firmly under Denmark's, and by default, NATO's, control. The Faeroes and Greenland are part of Denmark's Joint Arctic Command, which in turn reports to NATO.
Although Greenland's Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond of the social democratic Siumut Party favors independence, she, like other past leaders, face determined opposition from Washington and Copenhagen, where NATO lobbyists exercise final say. Hammond stated «We will stand up as a people and demand what is rightfully ours.» According to a document found in the CIA archives, The U.S. has always believed it has ultimate authority over Greenland. And Denmark has not always been such an obedient slave to the dictates of Washington. A formerly TOP SECRET CIA document, dated January 31, 1947, states that the U.S. Minister to Denmark, Josiah P. Marvel, Jr., raised the issue of Greenland with the Danish Foreign Minister, Gustav Rasmussen. The U.S., at the time, was interested in wresting control of Greenland from Denmark to use it as a military base against the Soviet Union. When Marvel insisted on discussing the future of Greenland with Rasmussen, the Danish Foreign Minister replied, «While we owe much to America, I do not feel we owe them the whole island of Greenland.»
What a difference a generation makes. Former Danish Prime Minister and outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, nicknamed the «Fogh of War» by his many critics, handed Greenland to the United States on a Georg Jensen silver platter and warned the Faeroes not to even think about independence. Whatever the Americans paid for Rasmussen’s knee-jerk loyalty, it was worth it to Washington.
U.S. dominance over the Arctic is spelled out in the Pentagon's National Strategy for the Arctic Region, a policy that was developed under the stewardship of Daniel Y. Chiu, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. Chiu sees the rapid climate change that is affecting the Arctic facilitating a greater U.S. naval and other military presence in the region.
Last February, U.S. forces participated in the first airborne operation north of the Arctic Circle. The exercise, codenamed SPARTAN PEGASUS, saw paratroopers from the Army's 25th Infantry Division parachute into Deadhorse on Alaska's North Slope.
In 2012, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and NORAD signed the Tri-Command Framework for Arctic Cooperation with the Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command. The agreement «enhances military cooperation to support safety, security and defense operations in the region.» NORTHCOM has assumed sole responsibility for military operations in the Arctic region, placing Greenland, Svalbard, Jan Mayen Island, and the North Pole within NORTHCOM's jurisdictional domain. And NORTHCOM has not been shy about ordering U.S. fighter planes to engage Russian military aircraft in dangerous «cat-and-mouse» games over the Bering Sea between Siberia and Alaska.
NORTHCOM has increased its presence in Canada's first Inuit-ruled territory, Nunavut. In March, NORTHCOM conducted Exercise ARCTIC WARRIOR/GUERRIER NORDIQUE in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The Stephen Harper government in Ottawa has increasingly stymied the rights of Native Canadians over the natural resources on their lands. The presence of NORTHCOM military units in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit last March was a message by Ottawa and Washington to the local leaders that their self-government has «limits,» just like those imposed by Washington and Copenhagen on their Inuit cousins in Greenland. The same restrictions by the neo-colonialists of Ottawa and Washington will be imposed on the emerging Deline Gotine nation, the first native Canadian self-governing entity in Canada's Northwest Territories. In addition, the people of Deline Gotine will have no authority to ban natural gas fracking in their territory.
NATO has urged Denmark and Canada to resolve a dispute over ownership of Hans Island, a 1.3 kilometer barren uninhabited island between Greenland and Canada's Ellesmere Island. The island will be ruled as a shared condominium between Canada and Denmark. Left out of the agreement are Greenland and Nunavut, the two Inuit governments that actually would have had no problems resolving sovereignty issues between the same native people. However, in the Arctic, the decisions are made in Washington, while the NATO puppets of Ottawa, Copenhagen, and Oslo obediently wag their tails.