Daily Archives: November 2, 2019

The Two Black Women Helping To Reclaim & Encourage Natural Psychedelics Use In Oakland – Okayplayer

Posted: November 2, 2019 at 9:45 am

Photos courtesy of those interviewed.

One of Mac Dres most beloved lyrics is from a song titled Weekend.

The shrooms I consume are making me laugh/ Im high as the eye on a fucking giraffe, he raps on the track Weekend. The song appeared on 2006s 16 wit dre, a mix album that was released two-and-a-half years after Dres death on November 1, 2004.

The Oakland-born Dre was a fan of magic mushrooms and MDMA; he even devoted a song to the pair titled Shrooms and E-Pills.

So, its likely that he wouldve celebrated the news of Oakland decriminalizing psilocybin (the scientific name for magic or psychedelic mushrooms).In June 2019, Oakland City Council passed a local ordinance to decriminalize certain natural psychedelicslike mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote and DMT. (Synthetic psychedelics like LSD and MDMA are still illegal, and psychedelic mushrooms and other natural hallucinogens are technically still illegal under California state law and federal law. The ordinance also doesnt legalize the sale or distribution of psychedelic mushrooms.) Approved a month prior to Denvers voter-led ballot initiative to decriminalize psilocybin, Oaklands resolution is a continuation of Californias progressive drug reform history. The state became the first in the country to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

These are not drugs. These are healing plants We just think they should never have been made illegal to begin with, Carlos Plazola, founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland (DNO), an advocacy group dedicated to making natural medicine accessible to Oakland, told the Guardian.

Inspired by his own experiences using psychedelic mushrooms to heal from childhood trauma, Plazola created the DNO.

This is getting the word out about the healing power, Plazola said. Many people in communities of color and communities of trauma are not getting access.

For generations, communities of color utilized natural psychedelics for medicinal purposes. Rooted in spiritual-based healing, the practices of plant-based medicine became whitewashed by Americas counterculture movement of the 1960s. Despite this, black people have continued to experiment with psychedelics. The creation of hyphy music a subgenre of rap music that came about in the Bay Area in the late 90s and rose to prominence in the mid-2000s was a byproduct of rappers using MDMA, with the late Mac Dre at the forefront of that experimentation. Countless Dre songs, like Weekend and Shrooms and E-Pills, found him referencing not only MDMA but psychedelic mushrooms. While he was alive, Dre had also coined a term not just for ecstasy but for the euphoric effects people felt from taking it thizz. Dres Thizzle Dance practically served as an explainer for the term as the rapper (alongside Chuck Beez) broke down what thizz is all about: letting your body move as fluidly and erratically as it wants. In 2012, eight years after Dres death, Thizz Entertainment his record label was implicated in a nationwide ecstasy ring. (Court records revealed that most of the people arrested in the operation had no connection to the label.)

Aware of the regions previously established relationship with usage of psychedelics and the fear of being criminalized, Plazola wants to transform the headquarters of the DNO into a consciousness community, a co-working space where people can also reflect on their psychedelic journeys and learn about natural psychedelics. Helping him with this aretwo Black women: co-founder Nicolle Greenheart and community outreach and education activist Amber Senter.

Okayplayer spoke with Greenheart and Senter about being involved with DNO, the importance of people of color reclaiming and experimenting with psychedelics and more.

Greenheart: Denver;s strategy was focused on psilocybin through a voter-centered route. DNO ensured the resolution included all plant medicine because individuals should have autonomy over what plants they use to heal. We wanted to make sure people had that choice, because there is a wealth of plants. Going the council route resulted in the consultation of professionals in the psychedelic space scientists, therapists, and input from community leaders before the resolution was presented to council.

Carlos Plazola previously worked for city council and knew how to navigate and lobby. So it was helpful to have an individual with expertise in Oakland politics. Despite the creation of our resolution being predominantly white in terms of contributions, we received support from the indigenous community, and crafted a diverse team of advocates to discuss legislation with city council members. When we presented at The Public Safety Community, we intentionality chose diverse speakers men, women, and people of color so city council witnessed the diversity of voices in the psychedelic movement.

Greenheart: Since childhood, Ive suffered from depression and underwent the traditional routes of treatment such as psycho-therapy and antidepressants, which negatively impacted my health. After that experience I asked myself, How am I going to heal myself naturally? I tried meditation, yoga, homeopathic treatments, crystals, but I was always looking for community.

I attended an all-day retreat and was intrigued by a ceremonial practice of microdosing huachuma (San Pedro cactus) to align with your higher self and open your heart chakra. Once I found out the healing plant was a psychedelic, I began a one-and-a-half year long research study on psychedelics and attended local community-centered events in the Bay Area. But I noticed I was the only Black person in the room. I questioned the lack of my community in these spaces, because we need this medicine just as much as anybody else. It gave me a new motivation to create space for establishing community for Black people in psychedelic spaces. The integration of plant-based medicine in Black communities is an offering of help and support because Ive experienced how powerful and life transforming it is.

Senter: Theres an insignificant lack of awareness and education on how medicinal plants can help Black communities. Black voices in psychedelics are obscured by those in positions of power, and I wanted to ensure my voice was heard in these political efforts to decriminalize ISA genetic plants in Oakland. From my own experience dealing with lupus (a chronic auto-immune disorder), psychedelic mushrooms have been helpful for me. Disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Scholar Derma are rampant in Black women and women of color communities. I reached out to Carlos and told him I wanted to be involved, because as an advocate of women of color in the cannabis spaces through Supernova Women, I know the benefits of plant-based medicine for our communities.

Greenheart: Im familiar with her work and the challenges of getting communities of color to engage with psychedelics in the clinical and/or therapeutic route. I previously held a stereotypical perception of psychedelics as a recreational hippie drug for white people. It wasnt until I started researching the medicinal purposes of psychedelics that I wanted to destigmatize psychedelics in the Black community and advocate its healing purposes. Specifically, to treat the trauma expressed by members within our community while promoting responsible usage. I want to model how to be a safe and responsible user without going the clinical route. There is a place for the therapeutic model and for individuals who want to participate within a community-based environment, while receiving support and being safe.

Senter: Im from Chicago, so theres a regional difference in reception of natural plant medicines compared to Oakland. Indigenous and Latinx communities have been very open and welcoming to the decriminalization of natural psychedelics. I expected resistance from the Black Church, but attendees have understood that God made these plants for healing purposes.

Greenheart: There needs to be collaboration between hip-hop and psychedelics. Whether the merger is a conference we need people to join in. Were a small team with limited capacity, so we need to hear from local artists to participate in this movement alongside us. Were in infancy, so everybody is waiting to see what happens.


Taylor Crumpton has written for Pitchfork, PAPER, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, and more. You can follow her@taylorcrumpton

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Molecule Catalyst and UTM to crowdfund psychedelics research with blockchain – Decrypt

Posted: at 9:45 am

The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) is financing a study into the psychedelic psilocybin with the help of decentralized fundraising platform Molecule Catalyst, in the first attempt to fund a clinical trial into psychedelics using decentralized finance.

According to a recent post on the Molecule blog, the effort will be a joint collaboration between Molecule Catalyst, Rotem Petranker and Thomas Anderson, directors at the University of Toronto Mississauga Psychedelic Studies Research Program (PSRP).

Through its partnership with Molecule Catalyst, UTM hope to raise an undisclosed sum to fund its planned psilocybin clinical trials.

Molecule uses blockchain technology to provide an incentive-based market for scientific research. Through Molecule Catalyst, research groups will be able to raise funds for the study of rare diseases, ageing & longevity and psychedelics, among other fields.

Be the first to get Decrypt Members. A new type of account built on blockchain.

To provide an incentive to investors, Molecule uses smart contracts to make the chemical intellectual property resulting from successful products easily tradeable on the Ethereum blockchain. In this way, funders receive a stake in the projects they supportallowing investors of all sizes to help fund potentially pioneering research and benefit from its success. Molecule uses the dollar-backed stablecoin DAI to overcome market instability.

UTM's psilocybin study is the first fund-raising project to be hosted by Molecule Catalyst, which ultimately aims to create a Web 3.0 marketplace and exchange for chemical IP.

The UTM study will investigate the effects of microdosing a psychedelic compound known as psilocybin on a variety of cognitive indicators.

Besides examining psilocybin's effect on creativity, mood and focus, the study will also measure its influence on social connection, self-efficacy and mindfulness.

Overall, UTM hopes that the data produced will help to guide global psychedelics research, by setting a new precedent that can be used to direct impactful psychedelics research.

Previously, psilocybin has been shown to effective in treating a wide variety of mental disorders, ranging from anxiety and depression, to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).However, due to its potential to be abused as a psychedelic drug, the psychoactive substance has been shelved as a potential therapeutic by most pharmaceutical research groups.

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On writing: What illuminates a story? – Big Think

Posted: at 9:45 am

MICHAEL POLLAN: So this was an enormously challenging book to write. First of all, I knew very little about neuroscience. I knew very little about psychology, psychotherapy. And I had very limited experience of psychedelics. I had these mushrooms a couple of times in my 20s, but it was what people call a museum dose enough to make the world sparkle, but not to lead to any kind of profound insights. So I was faced with the challenge of mastering a new subject, and I was faced with the challenge of trying these psychedelics because I realized I could not describe the experience strictly based on interviews with other people.

And that's how I work as a writer. One of the very important parts of my work is to find a way to have an experience that will illuminate the story. So when I wrote about food, I bought a cow and followed it through the food system, through the meat industry. And I apprenticed myself to a great baker to learn how to bake. And I feel that these kind of experiences, especially when you're doing it for the first time, gives you an ability to see things very freshly. And you have that sense of wonder that comes with first sight, and you also get the common possibilities of a fish out of water, doing something that he or she is not very good at and the learning that comes from that.

So one of the things I always think about when I'm starting a project like this is, what are the different perspectives that I need to bring to bear on this subject? I don't believe any one perspective can unlock a subject as complex as psychedelics. So you need to look at it and this was true when I was writing about food and plants. Nonfiction gets interesting when you multiply the perspectives or layer the different lenses that you bring to. So you can look at this through the lens of neuroscience, say. A very interesting lens illuminates a lot.

But that doesn't tell you anything about the lived experience. Because neuroscience cannot reach consciousness. It has no tools for penetrating or measuring consciousness, except the absence of it. And so phenomenology the accounts of lived experience are very important. And I could get those from the volunteers I interviewed and from my own experience. So I needed a memoiristic element, as well as the neuroscientific element. And then there's the historical lens. History always illuminates things. How did we get here? Why did it take so long to get here? What have we learned along the way?

So I realized, O.K., I'm going to need to do a chapter of history, or two. I'm going to need to do a chapter of neuroscience, a chapter of my own trips, and it gradually comes together. Each chapter is going to represent a different lens on this subject, and I'm going to circle it from these different points of view. And that, to me, is how you make nonfiction rich. Otherwise, you might as well write an article. And what necessitates a book is the fact that no one perspective will give you the picture you need, the full dimensional picture.

Within that frame, the most challenging part was describing the psychedelic trips. And William James famously said that the mystical experience is ineffable beyond the reach of language. Well, I had an effort. I couldn't just let that lie and just say you had to be there. But it's very hard to describe because these are kind of pre-linguistic experiences.

One of the researchers I interviewed said I said why are these experiences so hard to describe? And he said, well, imagine a cave man coming to New York in 2019, and he sees subways going by, and planes overhead, and people talking on phones, and the noise of traffic. And then he goes back to his friends in the cave, and what does he say? He says it's loud and fast, and he doesn't have the words for cell phone or the bustle of urban life. The language doesn't exist.

But I had to find the language, and so I approach those chapters with a great deal of trepidation and as much trepidation as I had about the trips themselves. And it took me a while to figure out how to write about it. Because I was trying to write for a general audience. I'm not writing for psycho nuts. I'm writing for people who've never had this experience, but might be curious. And I want to tell them what it's like. And it took me a while, but I gradually found a voice in which I could do it. And this comes through trial and error of writing an account and reading it and going, that sounds crazy. Or that sounds really banal. "Gee, you've had an insight that love is the most important thing in the universe. That's a Hallmark card."

The solution I found to that was to be very candid with my reader and essentially tell the narratives. And then break the fourth wall at various points, step out of the narrative, and say, "Look, I know how banal this sounds, but let's talk about banality for a little while. There's a very thin line between the profound and the banal. What is a platitude? Well, it's a truth that's lost its emotional force from sheer repetition. So how do we recover that?" Or, in another moment, where if something crazy happens, I would break the wall and say, "I know how crazy this sounds."

So I kind of move in and out of the experience, sort of the way a memoir writer would juxtapose the point of view of the 10-year-old with the adult and go back and forth. Because if you just stayed in the head of the 10-year-old, it would have no perspective. It might have vividness, but no perspective. And if you stayed in the head of the adult, it wouldn't be evocative. So memoirs, I realized and I realized this teaching them because I teach writing get their savor or their edge from that going back and forth in perspective. And I kind of did the same thing, not in a temporal dimension, but on this inside outside of the experience.

So I found my voice to write about it, and once I did, it was great fun to write about the trips. I've never had more fun as a writer. I loved describing them. And I and I would license the absolute madness of parts of the experience by saying, "Yeah, I know, it's crazy, but this is what happened." So this book was great fun to write. I was learning new things. I loved being at the beginning of the learning curve on this subject, rather than at the end. One of the reasons I moved from writing about food to this was I realized I had become an expert after three or four books on food.

And I don't like writing as an expert. I think readers don't like experts. I think they want someone to take them on a journey. And my education becomes the story that you follow. I always start out as an idiot in my writing. I'm naive. I don't know what's going on. I'm confused. I have questions in my head. I'm reluctant. I'm skeptical. And gradually, I build my knowledge. We learn things. Things happen. And by the end, we are experts, but we're not at the beginning. And I think that's a really important lesson for writing in general.

I think even though when you finish a research project, you have your conclusions, don't put them on page one. That's like starting the joke with the punchline. Storytelling is you start from knowing less, and you move toward knowing more. So that the novelty of this subject, the fact that I was very naive, was a virtue, or at least, made a virtue. So we shouldn't be afraid of our ignorance. We should use it in our storytelling.

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Admitting North Macedonia to NATO brings more risks than benefits to the US | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 9:43 am

While most Americans are consumed with the debate over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump singles in on 'Sleepy Joe Biden' at campaign rally Trump at rally says impeachment an 'attack on democracy itself' GOP lawmaker says House impeachment rules vote 'doesn't change anything for me' MOREs withdrawal of troops from Syria and ongoing impeachment investigations, their elected leaders are in the process of quietly adding another burden to the long list of U.S. defense obligations.

The Senate voted on Tuesday 91-2 to extend NATO membership to North Macedonia, a small, landlocked nation in southeastern Europe.The only nay votes came from Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump plans to name DHS undersecretary as agency's acting head: report Admitting North Macedonia to NATO brings more risks than benefits to the US Graham: Trump's ATF nominee 'very problematic' MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulAdmitting North Macedonia to NATO brings more risks than benefits to the US Trump's criminal justice reform record fraught with contradiction Senate rejects Paul effort to cut spending MORE (R-Ky.), both of who also opposed the previous round of NATO expansion to Montenegro in 2017.

For small countries like Montenegro or North Macedonia, the benefits of joining NATO are obvious. North Macedonia has a population of slightly more than 2 million with the 128th largest GDP in the world. NATOs Article 5 provides for the collective defense of all members, so the North Macedonian government and its estimated 13,000-person military will have the support of significantly larger militaries, including the worlds only superpower, through ascension into the organization.

But for the United States and other member countries, the benefits of expanding NATO are neither obvious nor quantifiable. With the most formidable and technologically advanced military in the world, the U.S. gains essentially nothing from the addition of such a small forceeither peacetime orcrisis.To their credit, the Macedonian military provided military support that served honorably inAfghanistanandIraq, but objectively this had little impact on the outcome of either conflict.

Furthermore, many larger NATO members already fail to take their defense obligations seriously.American policymakers from both sides of the aisle have acknowledged this serious issue for over two decades, but continue to prioritize expansion over concerns about alliance functionality and the commitment of existing members.

Such supportersin the United Stateswillstress the geostrategic importance of the alliance over the actual addition of military support. After all, NATO was conceived as a post-WWII military alliance to prevent the Soviet Union from dominating strategically important but defenseless Europe. It is one of the external forces that helped break the Soviet government.

But North Macedonia occupies a part of Europe with little strategic and even less economic importance to the United States. Its location in the historically volatile Balkans region carries a serious risk for any country with whom it shares a defensive alliance, as we are hardly two decades removed from a major armed conflict in that area. Increased involvement in the Balkans is not something policymakers in the United States consider a strategic imperative, and rightly so.American voters would likely reject the notion, as well.

What other impetus exists for Western leaders to continue such unquestioning support for NATO expansion? Advocates cite countering and deterring Russian aggression as the primary justification. As Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischMcConnell sends warning shot on Turkey sanctions after House vote Van Hollen urges Senate to take up House-passed Turkey sanctions bill Admitting North Macedonia to NATO brings more risks than benefits to the US MORE (R-Idaho), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who helped steer North Macedonias NATO vote through the full chamberstated afterwards, The Russians hate this sort of thing, they hate an increase in the size of NATO, but we want the Europeans to be encouraged.

Russian frustration with NATO expansion is not a new issue, andit shouldntbe the lynchpin that decides U.S. foreign policy. Soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO members quickly set about on the first round of expansion while Russia was weak andthe post-Soviet government wasmore amenable to integration into the free world.

That expansion did not ingratiate the West to new Russian leaders nor prevent the rise of an authoritarian-style government under Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinAmerica's dual foreign policies collide Aramco attacks remind us about 'defense in depth' Russia is still a threat, despite what Washington thinks MORE. The subsequent rounds of expansion into the former Soviet zonesdid not deterRussian aggression in Georgia and Ukraineas Western leaders desired.

As NATO expanded since the end of the Cold War, Russia has become exactly what supporters of NATO expansion claimed they were seeking to prevent:a destabilizing force in the region as it seeks to push back against perceived threats to its interests. The Russians have not been deterred from anything; instead their aggression has been, in their view, justified and necessary.

There is every indication Trump will sign off on the pending membership of North Macedonia into NATO, and their membership, while of little benefit to the United States, does not carry near as much risk as the possible membership of nations like Ukraine or Georgia.But its' membership will do nothing to address NATOs long-standing burden sharing problems and adds one more obligation to an already overcommitted U.S. defense structure.

When considering the possible extension of current defense agreements or creation of new ones, the United States should look primarily at how such agreements will benefit or risk our national security and economic interests, not their appeal for antagonizing geopolitical rivals or whether extension is deserved by strategically unimportant countries. A policy driven by a desire to annoy our only nuclear peer is not a sound basis for defense strategy.

RobertMooreis a public policy advisor for Defense Priorities Foundation. He previously worked for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, most recently as lead staffer for Senator Mike Lee on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Would Trump Really Push NATO to Help Confront Iran? – The National Interest Online

Posted: at 9:43 am

Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper was recently in Brusselsfor a meeting of NATO defense ministers, with the Turkish incursion and related events in Syriafiguringprominently in the discussions. But Esper hadanotheritem on his agenda that stems from the Trump administrations obsession with confronting Iran: getting the allies to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia. Esper already hadraised at a meeting with his NATO counterparts in June the administrations request for more contributions to meet what it describes as an Iranian threat in the Persian Gulf, and he was met with a lack of enthusiasm for the idea.

NATO is no stranger to out-of-area operations.The purposes of those operations have generally been easy to understand from the alliances point of view, even when they have gone far afield from NATOs original purpose of meeting conventional military threats in Europe.The alliances significant effort in Afghanistan, for example, has been seen as a counterterrorist operation.Another activity aimed at non-state threats that could affect the economic and security interests of member states has been an anti-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa. As for the Persian Gulf region, the U.S.-led operation in 1990-1991 that reversed Iraqs aggression against Kuwait was not conducted under NATO auspices but did include all major members of the alliance.

No such circumstances apply to the current U.S. attempt to get the allies involved in its face-off against Iran.Neither Iran nor any other Persian Gulf state has committed aggression as naked as what Saddam Husseins Iraq did to Kuwait.The European allies see that it was the actions of the United Statesits reneging on the agreement restricting Irans nuclear program, and its initiation of unrestricted economic warfare against Iranthat led directly to this years heightened tensions and risk of war in the Persian Gulf.They see that it was the United States that began a campaign to take oil from the Persian Gulf (i.e., Irans oil) off the market.More broadly, the allies see no reason to take sidesespecially to the extent of weighing in with their own military resourcesin regional quarrels and competitions such as that between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Pressing for greater European involvement in that dispute is thus probably a poor way to spend whatever political chits Esper may be spending with the allies on this subject.The United States also could benefit from learning a lesson or two from the allies, in that rigid side-taking in regional quarrels in the Gulf does not benefit U.S. interests any more than it benefits European interests.

This topic represents a subset of a more general U.S. tendency, not limited to the Trump administration, to assume that other states see threats and lines of conflict the same way the United States does, or to insist that other states see the threats that way and that they respond the way the United States wants to respond. This myopia underlies the current administrations failure to get traction for its idea of a NATO-like alliance of favored Sunni states in the Middle East. Disputes among the Gulf Arabs are a major reason for this failure. The failure is fortunate, in that the division between those who are in or out of the proposed alliance does not correlate with any division between those who are or are not destabilizing the region, and such an alliance would be another instrument for dragging the United States into other peoples quarrels.

This type of myopia also is involved in a contretemps involving the redeployment of U.S. troops being evacuated from northeast Syria.Esperannounced that those troops would be going to western Iraq and would use that as a base for continuing to fight ISIS, but the government of Iraq evidently didnt get the memo.That government, which has sound security and political reasons to minimize any U.S. troop presence on Iraqi soil,stated that the troops can redeploy via Iraq but are not welcome to stay there.This is another example of how U.S. foreign relations would be smoother and more effective if those running it would devote more effort to understanding how other states and other people perceive their problems and perceive the world.

Paul R. Pillar is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor toThe National Interest.

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Prystaiko: NATO developing action plan in case of Russias military attack on Ukraine – Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news

Posted: at 9:43 am

Cooperation at the level of the military leadership of Ukraines Armed Forces General Staff and the NATO Military Committee is quite active.

"The task of this military unit of the Alliance is to make a plan in case of aggressive hostilities... There is a special headquarters located in Mons where action plans in case of aggression are being planned, including direct aggression. Ukrainian military are not only involved, they serve directly in Mons, there are several people whose task is to bring all the information for the Alliance's military action planning in case of aggression anywhere in the world, but of course, the Ukrainian direction is the priority now," Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko announced at a briefing, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

According to Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine cannot rely on NATO's direct support in case of open Russian aggression but the Alliance is doing its best to prepare Ukraine for a possible attack.

"If Ukraine were a member of NATO, then Article 5 on collective defense would be used and NATO would defend Ukraine as one of its allies with every means possible. Actually, we are strategically striving for NATO membership. But since we are not a member of NATO yet, the Alliance can only provide assistance to strengthen the security and defense sector of Ukraine. In this regard, we have an absolutely agreed vision with our partners," Kuleba stressed when asked about NATOs stance in case of open Russias aggression against Ukraine.


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NATO Code Name FELON: Russian Su-57 Gets Its Reporting Name, And It Couldn’t Be Better. – The Aviationist

Posted: at 9:43 am

Bogdan's Su-57 leaps into the air on full afterburner in front of huge crowds at MAKS 2019 on the final day of flying. (All photos: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

It couldnt be better even if the late Tom Clancy were to have written it, and we have to believe he is smiling down from the tactical high ground of the afterlife. The latest Russian 5th generation stealth combat aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-57, was assigned an official NATO reporting name this week: FELON

NATO Reporting names provide a convenient and recognizable English language moniker for communicating Russian aircraft types. The names are assigned to equipment including weapons systems, ships, ground vehicles and aircraft by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These code names or reporting names are used in radio communication and in common usage among westerners, including enthusiasts.

There is a system to NATO reporting names. If the first letter of a reporting name is an F, or FOXTROT as pronounced in the military phonetic alphabet, this designates the aircraft as a fighter. For instance, the MiG-25 is the FOXBAT, the Su-27 is the FLANKER and the MiG-29 is the FULCRUM. Suffixes are often added to NATO reporting names to denote a significantly different variant of the original aircraft. For instance, the new Su-35, an entirely updated version of the original Su-27, is referred to as the FLANKER-E. You likely recall from Tom Clancys Hunt For Red October references to Russian long-range maritime patrol and strategic bomber, the BEAR-FOXTROT, or BEAR-F for the Tupolev Tu-95.

Officially, in NATO definition from section 1.1 of NATO Reporting Names for Aircraft and Missiles:

Reporting names for aircraft are selected by the ASIC (Air and Space Interoperability Council; renamed in 2005 from ASCC, Air Standardization Coordinating Committee member states are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and UK), but names for missiles (and other systems like radars etc.) are created by other organizations. However, all reporting names are eventually forwarded to NATO in a single list.The specification for reporting names goes on to define that:

Fixed-wing aircraft are designated by reporting names beginning with code letters designating the aircrafts mission. Propeller-driven planes are designated by single-syllabic words (e.g. Bear), and jets by multi-syllabic words (e.g. Backfire). Helicopters and guided missiles are designated similarly, but the length of a word is not defined.

Interestingly, Russians, especially aircraft spotters, tend to not use any of the NATO reporting names in conversation. In our visit to MAKS 2019 earlier this year, Russian aircraft experts, photographers and enthusiasts most commonly referred to the Su-57 by its pre-production designation as two spoken words. The Russians would most commonly identify the new Sukhoi Su-57 as by saying the words Pahk-FAH. They also called the aircraft the Sue-fifty-seven, speaking a word for the acronym Su that stands for Sukhoi in the aircrafts name.

Whoever at NATO ultimately wound-up selecting FELON as the new NATO reporting names for the Su-57 did a great job using what little creative license they are afforded in the process. Its safe to say that aircraft spotters in west will be excited to see and chat about Russias impressive new Sukhoi Su-57 FELON for years to come.

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NATO Code Name FELON: Russian Su-57 Gets Its Reporting Name, And It Couldn't Be Better. - The Aviationist

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Think tank report outlines steps NATO needs to take to defend Baltics – ERR News

Posted: at 9:43 am

The report, titled "How to Defend the Baltic States" (link to PDF)examines opportunities for building up sufficient deterrence in the three Baltic countries, and, in the event that this deterrence fails, organizing the necessary warfare to drive the attacker out of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Thus far, the U.S. has not done enough to strengthen deterrence and defense on NATO's eastern flank or to encourage allies there to strengthen their own defense as called for in the U.S.' nationalsecurity strategy in 2017, report author Richard D. Hooker writes.

Last year, the U.S. allocated three times more financial aid to Rwanda than to any one Baltic country, and practically none of the $15 billion (USD) allocated by the U.S. to the European deterrence initiative reached the Baltic countries. The defense of NATO's eastern flank may be one of the most urgent national security matters, the author of the report finds.

To strengthen the Baltics, the U.S. could, for example, hand over the armored equipment already currently stored there, including M1A1 tanks, similarly to how the U.S. gave 162 tanks to Morocco, Hooker added.

The report also calls on the Baltic states to contribute more to their own defense as well, however.

In case of war, Kaliningrad must be neutralized

According to the conventional warfare scenario described in the report, in which war breaks out following an attack by Russia, Moscow needs seven to ten days to launch an offensive. At the same time, referring to several earlier assessments, it is noted that Russian units only need a few days to capture the three countries.

Nonetheless, in describing the possible defense of Estonia, the report describes how enemy forces approaching from the direction of Narva could be halted by Rakvere, or from the south near Tartu. "Some territory in the east may be lost, but retaining control of the capital is likely," the overview of Estonia notes.

The document stresses the importance of defense and deterrence activities to precede the attack, as well as describes which European-based U.S. units should be relocated to the Baltics.

According to the scenario described in the report, NATO forces should be capable of destroying Russia's Kaliningrad-based anti-aircraft capabilities by the 14th day after the conflict breaks out, following which allies can utilize their air supremacy and begin to more extensively move their units into the region. Polish and U.S. units must enter the Russian exclave as soon as the conflict breaks out, the report stresses.

After taking Kaliningrad, allied troops must also gain superiority on the Baltic Sea, at which point they will be capable of driving the warships of Russia's Baltic Fleet to St. Petersburg.

Deterrence cheaper than strike back

According to the report, the first priority should be to develop the Baltic countries' own respective defense capabilities, but at the same time improve the speed and quality of moving in additional allied forces.

In order to do so, a comprehensive action plan will need to be drawn up and U.S. and NATO support thereof ensured. The cost of necessary preparations for deterrence is not that great, the author of the report finds, especially considering NATO's great wealth, and the fact that the alternative is significantly more ominous.


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Think tank report outlines steps NATO needs to take to defend Baltics - ERR News

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Ukraine asks NATO to grant it status of member of partnership of expanded opportunities Kuleba – Interfax Ukraine

Posted: at 9:43 am

Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba says that Ukraine has applied to NATO with a request to grant it the status of a member of the partnership of expanded opportunities.

"During the visit, Ukraine turned to the North Atlantic Alliance with a request to move to a new level of cooperation and provide Ukraine with the status of a member of the partnership of expanded opportunities," Kuleba said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday.

He noted that in the framework of such a partnership, Ukraine may receive priority access to certification of events that take place through NATO-Ukraine. The program also provides for: expanded cooperation in the field of intelligence; providing opportunities for representatives of partner countries to receive positions at NATO headquarters or in NATO structures.

The deputy PM emphasized that the program of expanded opportunities is not a substitute for the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP).

"We very much hope that the alliance will make a positive decision regarding our initiative," Kuleba added.

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Ukraine asks NATO to grant it status of member of partnership of expanded opportunities Kuleba - Interfax Ukraine

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To watch the International Space Station go by, all you need is clear skies and the schedule – CNN

Posted: at 9:43 am

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To watch the International Space Station go by, all you need is clear skies and the schedule - CNN

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