Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Democratic National Convention Honors U.S. Vets With Russian Warships

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The Navy Times, the official newspaper for the U.S. Navy, is reporting that the back-panel, high-resolution photos used during a speech by Admiral John Nathman to pay tribute and honor to U.S. veterans on the last day of the Democratic National Convention were in fact of Russian warships. 

The Navy Times reported

“The ships are definitely Russian,” said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”

Naval experts concluded the background was a photo composite of Russian ships that were overflown by what appear to be U.S. trainer jets. It remains unclear how or why the Democratic Party used what’s believed to be images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at their convention.

The original photo of the ships used in the composite came from a photo taken by a photographer named Vakhrushev Pavel and is available for purchase here, on shutterstock.com. 

The same original photo can be found elsewhere on the web, such as here on the webpage for the UK-based Voyaco Risk maritime security provider. 

The Democratic Party’s blunder was spotted by retired U.S. Navy veteran Rob Barker, 38, a former electronics warfare technician who left the Navy in 2006. While in the Navy, Barker learned to visually identify foreign ships by their radars. He recognized one as the Russian Kara-class cruiser Kerch.

Eric Wertheim, editor of the book Combat Fleets of the World, told the Navy Times that the radar on one of the ships, believed to be the Kerch, is an MR-700 Podberezovik 3-D early warning radar, commonly identified as “Flat Screen” due to its appearance.

Similarly, the third ship has a MR-310 “Head Net” air search radar, shaped like two off-set bananas, at its masthead and is mostly likely the Project 61M / Kashin Mod-class destroyer Smetlivyy. The first two ships appear to be Krivak-class frigates. 

“An immediate apology [from the Democratic committee] would be very nice. Maybe acknowledge the fact that yes, they screwed up,” Barker said.

According to the Navy Times, “A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee was not able to immediately comment Tuesday, saying he had to track down personnel to find out what had happened.”

Later, the same evening as Admiral John Nathman’s speech, President Obama took swipes at Romney and Ryan over Russia during his acceptance speech. Obama, who has promised to give Russia more flexibility over U.S. missile defense in his second term, said of Governor Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan:

My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.... You don't call Russia our number one enemy — not al-Qaida, [but] Russia — unless you're still stuck in a Cold War time warp.

Obama’s post-Cold War worldview is evident in the 2012 Democratic Party National Platform, which, on page 23, reads, “The Obama administration has moved away from Cold War thinking by reducing the prominence of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy, and it has urged others to do the same.”

Russia is believed to currently possess a total of 12,987 nuclear warheads. That is more than the amount owned by the United States and the rest of the world combined, yet the Obama administration proposes further cuts of U.S. nuclear weaponry.

Bowing toward Russia with regard to missile defense, further reducing U.S. nuclear stockpiles as Russia continues to maintain a lead over the United States, and now using images of Russian warships to pay homage to U.S. veterans (though this could very well be an accident), the Democratic Party seems to be courting Russia — though to what end remains to be seen. 

Earlier that same week at the Democratic National Convention, another apparent blunder was made during a video in which the narrating voice said, “The government is the only thing we all belong to.” Maybe that tells us all we need to know of the Democrats' goals.