Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova briefing, February 15 — Obama, U.S. use of depleted uranium in Syria, ‘Russian hackers’, Ukraine’s information campaign

From Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
February 15, 2017

Excerpts:

The situation in Syria

 

The ceasefire regime in Syria introduced December 30, 2016, is being observed. Its zone continues to expand with units of the Southern Front armed opposition joining the ceasefire. The ceasefire is guaranteed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, with Jordan making a substantial contribution to it.

The fight continues against ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, terrorists. The Syrian Army and militia units, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, are methodically pushing terrorist elements out of the country. About 1,400 square kilometres of territory have been liberated since January 1, 2017. It became possible to force ISIS terrorists out of a fortified outpost in the village of Tadef near the city of al-Bab, to establish a bridgehead near the city and to gain control of the Raqqa−al-Bab motorway. Over 650 terrorists were eliminated in Tadef, and a route for supplying ISIS with reinforcements, equipment and financial assistance was cut off.

Government forces continue to advance on Palmyra. The Russian Defence Ministry has published drone footage showing the barbaric destruction of UNESCO World Heritage Sites by ISIS militants in this city. Unfortunately, it is already clear that little remains of these ancient architectural and cultural landmarks. The terrorists have razed the façade of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, as well as Tetrapylon columns, to the ground. They are also highly likely to blow up the remnants of the historical architectural complex and nearby residential areas. The jihadists have shelled the Homs refinery with mortars, and they also set fire to natural gas fields while retreating.

As you know, Astana will host the second international meeting on Syria over the next few days. The Russian delegation that has already arrived in the capital of Kazakhstan will hold working consultations today. We hope that the upcoming meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan will provide an additional boost to the inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue under UN auspices in Geneva. Hopefully, it will become possible to resume this dialogue on February 20.

Against this backdrop, we note the attempts to aggravate the intra-Syrian conflict still further and to exacerbate contradictions between the warring parties. This is the only way to interpret the media leaks by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Atlantic Council of the United States, via CNN, about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in Aleppo, mass executions at Sednaya military prison near Damascus, and the methodical destruction of Syrian socioeconomic infrastructure by the Russian Aerospace Forces. The evidence backing up these so-called “sensations” leaves a lot to be desired, but, as we can see, their authors don’t seem to care. Their purpose is to torpedo any chance for launching a political peace settlement that has appeared largely through Russian efforts and to thwart emerging prospects for broad, equitable and mutually respectful international cooperation in the interests of eradicating a terrorist hotbed in the Middle East and stabilising the region.

 

Media response to the United States using depleted uranium in Syria
Given how many sensationalistic stories are planted in the media, as I mentioned earlier, it’s fun to watch world media juggernauts and institutions dealing with freedom of speech get busy with creating websites to oppose the spread of “fake news,” which has become a widespread practice. On the one hand, they say it’s imperative to not just counter it, but to do all it takes to prevent the spread of “fake news,” while they themselves engage in spreading precisely such news.

Against the background of this data, the information provided by the United States Central Command, whose operational responsibility includes, primarily, the Middle East, to the effect that the US Air Force used munitions with depleted uranium in air strikes on ISIS positions in Syria, came as a shock to many who did not believe us when we said so. As you may be aware, such a statement was made by an official representative on Tuesday when he spoke about the US air operations with the use of toxic substances which cause cancer and birth defects.

As you may recall, Russia has stated this more than once. Back in October 2016, citing independent experts, we presented such information and called on the public to pay attention to it. At that time, our American partners denied all the accusations against them. A couple of months later, these accusations were not merely confirmed, but confirmed by the United States itself. The only difference is that we provided this information a few months ago, when the previous team led by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was at the helm. Clearly, he was the one to give the go-ahead to using these weapons − any other scenario is unlikely, since such things must be approved at the highest level. I would like to say that the goal pursued by US officials was noble, that is to fight terrorists. But the point is that the traces of these weapons will remain in Syria forever. You can find out more about it if you read some professional literature. The number of missiles that were used is simply devastating. I would like to quote the same US official, who said that out of 1,790 missiles fired on November 16, 2016, 1,490 contained toxic materials, and 3,775 missiles of 4,530 fired on November 22, 2016 contained toxic materials. Thus, there were five rounds with depleted uranium for every conventional missile. Each operation involved four A-10 jet aircraft. You can look up these numbers.

I would like to remind you that earlier the United States, particularly the Pentagon, claimed that the United States has never used ammo with depleted uranium during the international anti-terrorist operation in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, in 2003, these munitions were used during the US invasion of Iraq. I reiterate, it is better to read up on this subject in specialised literature, make inquiries, perhaps, even with independent expert institutes, and ask the experts specialising in this area to provide their opinion. They will tell you what the use of weapons with depleted uranium is all about, and what its implications are for the lives and livelihoods of the local people.

I mentioned this with regard to fake news and the role of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s team in resolving international conflicts. Incidentally, people live in Syria. The scary thing is that the focus was on isolated cases which were clearly propaganda shams where individual Syrian citizens, unfortunately, were propelled to the status of international stars, and the information campaign regarding these people was used as a front to cover up what was really happening in that country.

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“Fake news” and crimes against humanity: Amnesty International admits Syrian “Saydnaya” report created entirely in UK

Global Research, February 09, 2017
Land Destroyer 9 February 2017

Amnesty International’s 48 page report titled, “Syria: Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison, Syria,” boasts bold claims, concluding:

…the Syrian authorities’ violations at Saydnaya amount to crimes against humanity. Amnesty International urgently calls for an independent and impartial investigation into crimes committed at Saydnaya.

However, even at a cursory glance, before even reading the full body of the report, under a section  titled, “Methodology,” Amnesty International admits it has no physical evidence whatsoever to substantiate what are admittedly only the testimony of alleged inmates and former workers at the prison, as well as figures within Syria’s opposition.

What you are looking at is a 3D model fabricated entirely in the United Kingdom, based solely on satellite pictures and hearsay. Passed off as evidence this technique of “forensic architecture” may soon become a new tool in the dissemination of war propaganda if it is not exposed.

Within the section titled, “Methodology,” the report admits:

Despite repeated requests by Amnesty International for access to Syria, and specifically for access to detention facilities operated by the Syrian authorities, Amnesty International has been barred by the Syrian authorities from carrying out research in the country and consequently has not had access to areas controlled by the Syrian government since the crisis began in 2011. Other independent human rights monitoring groups have faced similar obstacles.

In other words, Amnesty International had no access whatsoever to the prison, nor did any of the witnesses it allegedly interview provide relevant evidence taken from or near the prison.

The only photographs of the prison are taken from outer space via satellite imagery. The only other photos included in the report are of three men who allege they lost weight while imprisoned and a photo of one of eight alleged death certificates provided to family members of detainees who died at Saydnaya.

The alleged certificates admittedly reveal nothing regarding allegations of torture or execution.

Articles like, “Hearsay Extrapolated – Amnesty Claims Mass Executions In Syria, Provides Zero Proof,” provide a detailed examination of Amnesty’s “statistics,” while articles like, “Amnesty International “Human Slaughterhouse” Report Lacks Evidence, Credibility, Reeks Of State Department Propaganda,” cover the politically-motivated nature of both Amnesty International and the timing of the report’s promotion across the Western media.

However, there is another aspect of the report that remains unexplored – the fact that Amnesty International itself has openly admitted that the summation of the report was fabricated in the United Kingdom at Amnesty International’s office, using a process they call “forensic architecture,” in which the lack of actual, physical, photographic, and video evidence, is replaced by 3D animations and sound effects created by designers hired by Amnesty International.

Amnesty Hired Special Effects Experts to Fabricate “Evidence” 

In a video produced by Amnesty International accompanying their report, titled, “Inside Saydnaya: Syria’s Torture Prison,” the narrator admits in its opening seconds that Amnesty International possesses no actual evidence regarding the prison.

Continue reading

13,000 executed? Amnesty International’s “Human Slaughterhouse” report lacks evidence, credibility; State Dept. propaganda?

 

From Activist Post

By Brandon Turbeville
February 8, 2017

In yet another act of “convenient” timing, Amnesty International has released a bombshell report alleging the execution by hanging of 13,000 Syrian prisoners by the Syrian government from 2011-2015. The report, “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings And Extermination At Saydnaya Prison, Syria,” which contains rather detailed descriptions of torture, rape, and execution as well as other horrific activity has no doubt caught the attention of many people, even those who have followed the events transpiring in Syria for the last six years. However, there is one important aspect of the report that Amnesty International lacks . . . evidence.

While the report, at first glance, might sound convincing, an adequate reading of the text reveals it to be yet another Western propaganda piece designed to demonize the Assad government shortly before important talks take place in Switzerland. The report contains the right buzzwords such as “extermination campaign” and reads like a story recounting Nazi concentration camps so as to jog the ever-present memory of the Holocaust, thus causing the reader to subconsciously and consciously associate the Nazi slaughter of the Jews with the alleged Assad execution of 13,000 prisoners. Still, while we must give credit to good writing, we must point out that good writing with no evidence is just a piece of fiction.

Below are a number of reasons to question the report and, as a result, another list of reasons to question the integrity of Amnesty International. Continue reading

Amnesty International, Swiss section, takes off its mask in a fund-raiser

From Fort Russ

“Why does this man let his people suffer so much? YES I support Amnesty International and I am making a 70 Franc donation. Amnesty International, Swiss section”

Original headline: Syria: NO, I will not support this revolting Amnesty International campaign!

Silvia Cattori, in Arret sur Info, May 23, 2016
Translated from French by Tom Winter

Sent in May 2016 to every household: We have just received from a Arret sur info reader this flyer calling for donations, distributed in letter boxes by Amnesty International. The flyer leaves no doubt about the outrageous political bias adopted by the NGO from the beginning of the war in Syria.

We denounce this misleading campaign that comes at the detriment of the Syrian people. The Syrian state is the only secular state in the region, and Amnesty is combatting it, seeking the overthrow of the Assad government. This means imposing on Syrians the destruction of their state, and bringing armed groups, who want to establish an Islamic state, to power, the groups supported by obscurantist regimes like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/amnesty-internationalswiss-section.html

The CIA secret prisons in Europe — Washington’s “European partners in crime”

The West pontificates about “rule of law”. The question is: whose law?

From Global Research, March 4, 2015
By Nako Minchev

secret prison poland

It is common knowledge that at end-January 2015 the global movement Amnesty International published a report, titled “Breaking the conspiracy of silence: USA’s European “partners in crime” must act after Senate torture report”, which throws further light upon the information gathered within the US Senate investigation into torture methods, applied by the Central Intelligence Agency, by referring to media reports on the way CIA-operated secret detention sites were run in Europe – in particular, on the territory of Lithuania, Poland and Romania. As a matter of fact, it was several years ago when it first became known that CIA tortured terror suspects not only in these countries but also on the territory of another EU Member State – namely, Great Britain. According to the Lawrence Wilkinson, former Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of State, after the terror attack of 11th September 2001 the CIA used the US military base on the island of Diego Garcia, located in the British Indian Ocean Territory, to conduct interrogations and torture terror suspects who had been abducted from various countries without any court order whatsoever.

After the US Senate report got published, the European Parliament adopted a special resolution on 11th February 2015 in which it:

“expresses its deep condemnation of the gruesome interrogation practices that characterized these illegal counterterrorism operations; underlines the fundamental conclusion by the US Senate that the violent methods applied by the CIA failed to generate intelligence that prevented further terrorist attacks; recalls its absolute condemnation of torture”.

The resolution also highlights the fact that:

“the climate of impunity regarding the CIA programme has enabled the continuation of fundamental rights violations, as further revealed by the mass surveillance programmes of the US National Security Agency and secret services of various EU Member States”.

In this context, the US Government is called on:

“to investigate and prosecute the multiple human rights violations resulting from the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes, and to cooperate with all requests from EU Member States for information, extradition or effective remedies for victims in connection with the CIA programme”.

The European Parliament also:

“reiterates its calls on Member States to investigate the allegations that there were secret prisons on their territory where people were held under the CIA programme, and to prosecute those involved in these operations, taking into account all the new evidence that has come to light”.

At the same time it:

“expresses concerns regarding the obstacles encountered by national parliamentary and judicial investigations into some Member States’ involvement in the CIA programme, the abuse of state secrecy, and the undue classification of documents resulting in the termination of criminal proceedings and leading to de facto impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations”.

Furthermore, the resolution “calls for the findings of existing inquiries relating to Member States’ involvement in the CIA programme, in particular the Chilcot inquiry, to be published without further delay”.

Considering the above, we are unpleasantly impressed by the fact that the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) have hitherto failed to demonstrate the due will to discuss the refusal of the governmental authorities in Vilnius, Warsaw and Bucharest to investigate the multiple occasions of human rights violations, ensuing from the agreement of these countries to host the establishment of CIA black sites on their territory. Such an attitude erodes the very foundations of the European Union, weakens the belief of European citizens that their fundamental rights are truly guaranteed, divests the EU of its moral authority and discredits its allegiance to the universal human values.

The US Senate report and the one issued by Amnesty International, unequivocally point out that the above three EU Member States, as well as Great Britain, played a key role in the implementation of this CIA “operation” on the territory of the Old Continent. Without the help of these governments the USA would not have been in the position to detain and torture people for so many years, applying such inhumane methods as waterboarding and mock execution, sleep deprivation, use of coffin-sized confinement boxes or sexual threats.

It is high time that Europe became aware of the fact that the time for paying lip service to the condemnation of these crimes or the attempts at their covering up is over for good. The governments of Lithuania , Poland and Romania can no longer hide behind the unconvincing “national security reasons” and “state secret” arguments, thus refusing to bring to light the entire truth about their role for the torture and abduction of people in their countries. Jozef Pinior, one of the legendary leaders of the Polish “Solidarity” trade union, member of the European Parliament in the period 2004 – 2009 and of the Parliamentary committee on secret CIA prisons in Europe, now a Polish senator, points out:

“The information in the Washington Post about the fact that Polish intelligence services received USD 15 million to “host” a secret CIA prison in the country compromises the entire Polish state which should elucidate this issue as quickly as possible. This unquestionably confirmed the grimmest hypothesis that under Leszek Miller Poland turned into a “banana republic” to the USA . Another deplorable fact is that our national services have contributed in no way whatsoever to the disclosure of this conspiracy. This is an extremely disgraceful situation. The Polish state, the judicial system and the Government should publish the investigation findings as soon as possible. Otherwise we are going to become Europe ’s laughing stock. It turns out that we while we give lessons in democracy to countries like the Ukraine , we take money from the US to allow them to practice illicit torture of people on our territory”.

In its turn the Bulgarian Government should state its official support for the appeal of Amnesty International and the European Parliament and urge the authorities in Vilnius , Bucharest and Warsaw to undertake an immediate and full investigation of this case and to prosecute those involved in the tortures. Let us be reminded that most of the victims of these malpractices are Muslims and in the context of surging anti-Islam mood after the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen it becomes even more important to find out the truth about the secret CIA “black sites” in Europe.

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cia-secret-prisons-in-europe-political-camouflage-in-the-eu-washingtons-european-partners-in-crime/5434762

Ukraine may criminalize anti-war speech: 5 years in prison for “denying Russian aggression”

From RT, February 12, 2015

anti-war-protest-ukraine

 A woman from the Volyn Region of Ukraine is holding a banner saying “Mothers of Volyn against war” at an anti-conflict rally in front of the parliament in Kiev.
(RIA Novosti / Evgeny Kotenko)

A bill submitted by an MP from President Poroshenko’s party in the Ukrainian parliament seeks to criminalize public speech that reject the government’s narrative on the civil war, which it describes as a Russian military invasion.

The controversial bill amends the Ukrainian criminal code to make “public denial or justification of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2015” a felony.

The ‘crime’ would carry a penalty ranging from a heavy fine and up to a five-year jail term for repeat offences or convicts who held public office.

If the bill is signed into law, it would be the latest move to attack civil freedoms by Ukraine’s post-coup government defending its security policies from criticism.

Last week a Ukrainian court ordered the two-month detention of a journalist from western Ukraine who called for a boycott of the ongoing military draft. Ruslan Kotsaba stated that he would rather spend two to five years in prison for refusing to serve in the military than shoot at Ukrainians in what he described as a ‘fratricidal war’. Prosecutors charged him with high treason, a crime carrying a 15-year term in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Ukrainian reporter ‘charged with high treason’ after calls to dodge draft

The prosecution of Kotsaba was sharply criticized by Amnesty International, which labeled him a ‘prisoner of conscience’ and demanded his immediate release.

“Ruslan Kotsaba’s position may be viewed differently. But by arresting him for making his position public, the Ukrainian authorities violate the basic human right for freedom of expression, which the Ukrainians had been defending at the Maidan,” Tatyana Mazur, head of Amnesty’s Ukrainian branch, said in a statement.

In a separate incident, Anton Gerashchenko an aide to the Ukrainian interior minister threatened opponents of the military draft that any person taking part in last week’s anti-war rally in Mariupol would be detained, identified and fingerprinted.

http://rt.com/news/231555-ukraine-bill-agression-denial/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-may-criminalize-anti-war-speech-five-years-for-denying-russian-aggression/5430929

Hillary Clinton paid Amnesty International to prepare coup d’état in Eritrea

Posted on Veterans Today, January 7, 2015

By Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor, with a report from Thomas C. Mountain

Introduction:
As the American people slide deeper into bankruptcy, their government continues to spend billions to overthrow foreign governments and destabilize or destroy foreign nations. Victoria Nuland’s confession that US taxpayers had contributed 5 billion dollars to overthrow the democratically-elected Ukrainian government, and incite a civil war designed to destroy that country, was just the tip of the iceberg.

And it gets worse. We now have smoking-gun proof that the State Department under Hillary Clinton  corrupted the world’s biggest human rights organization, Amnesty International, by paying it to conduct ultra-secret CIA-style destabilization operations to pave the way for a coup d’état in Eritrea.

That means Amnesty International (AI), a self-styled “human rights” organization, is actually a covert arm of the New World Order effort to enslave the world and put an end to anything remotely resembling human rights. These people won’t be satisfied until every human is microchipped at birth and subjected to remote-control torture every time their thoughts even begin to turn against Big Brother.

Memo to AI: If you really support human rights, you should be waging an all-out war against the New World Order and its Euro-American bankster puppets, using every weapon at your disposal. And you should be willing to give your life to defend the independence of countries like Eritrea.

From now on, anyone working for AI should be assumed to be a covert NWO intelligence agent aimed at destroying whatever nation they’re operating in. And they should be treated as such.

Many Americans would be hard-pressed to find Eritrea on a map. But the small African country occupies a critically-important geostrategic location: the spot where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean. Even more important, Eritrea has set an example for other African countries by insisting on independence from the US-bankster empire.

Listen to me interviewing journalist André Vltchek on why the banksters want to overthrow Eritrea and install yet another US-puppet regime

So far, the people of Eritrea have successfully resisted the bankster empire’s efforts to enslave them.  Let’s hope and pray they continue to succeed in 2015!

-KB

Bombshell Linking Amnesty, HRW to US State Dept Regime Change in Africa

by Thomas C. Mountain

Secret internal correspondence from Amnesty International has been published detailing a plan to instigate regime change in the small east African country of Eritrea funded by a grant from the US State Department under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This is not a new charge, having first come to my attention in the fall of 2011 when a journalist in London called me one morning asking for my comments on a press conference by Amnesty International denying charges that the Eritrean government was supposed to have made that Amnesty and HRW had been involved in sending a secret mission to Eritrea in an attempt to destabilize the government.

The problem was the Eritrean government had not made any such charges, at least not that I had heard of. Operating on the maxim made immortal by Claude Cockburn, father of the Cockburn clan of intrepid journalists, that “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied” I set off in search for more on this story.

It wasn’t until that evening that Eritrean TV broke the story with excerpts from the Amnesty International document they claimed to have. The next night EriTV broadcast more highlights from the document and then the story just disappeared. It seemed that the curtain had dropped on another episode in the rancorous relations between the Eritrean government and the human rights corporations. Left with nothing hard to go on I could only file this one in the “hope to follow up on someday” file.

Now, three years later, the letter has been published and it really is a bombshell.

“Our intended goal is that by December of this year [2011] the regime of [Eritrean President] Issayas Aferwerki should be shaking and ready to fall”.

This was going to be done thanks to a “reasonable grant from the US State Department” to “bring about [regime] change…as has happened in other African and Arab countries”….

The letter is signed by one Catherine Price, Africa Special Programmes, Peter Benenson House, 1 Easton Street

Priority Status; Stricktly Confidential Resonance; Urgent To;  Mr. Adams Subi Waitara Amnesty Tanzania Section.

The letter was to inform him that he had been “appointed to be part of a 4 man delegation to Eritrea beginning 6th to 16th September, 2011”. The letter lists the other members of this very secret group including an Amnesty staffer who was then working for HRW.

The letter goes on to say “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch…have received a reasonable grant from the US State Department…” and that “the main aim therefore of this Mission to Eritrea is to provide funding and to help in setting up websites and computer centers…”

The letter warns about the need for absolute secrecy, “Do not operate, at any time in groups of more than two in the day time…” and “Do not take any photos with normal cameras, except the micro cameras that will be provided for you…”. It informs Mr. Adams that  “Mr. Georges Gagnoy, Human Rights Watch Africa Director, will be monitoring the events and activities online from Nairobi, [Kenya] and will offer any emergency assistance should it be needed.”

Deja Vu? Cuba and Venezuela watchers will be reminded of similar programs funded by the US State Department to destabilize the governments of those countries with the goal of “regime change”. The bombshell this letter drops is that for the first time Amnesty International and HRW are caught in writing accepting “a reasonable grant” from the US State Department to do its dirty work.

What makes this letter all the more believable are the links between HRW and the Hillary Clinton mafia that have been the subject of a protest letter signed by several Nobel Peace Laureates. In particular, one Tom Malinowski who goes back and forth between being a speech writer for Hillary and a senior staff member at HRW.

Those of us in the Eritrean support community know Mr. Malinowski all to well for his history of vociferous slanders and other fabrications about Eritrea going back some 15 years or more. It would be all to easy for Malinowski to use his high level contacts in the Hillary Clinton State Department to arrange a “reasonable grant” for his cohorts in HRW and Amnesty International to carry out some undercover dirty work on behalf of Pax Americana.

Amnesty International and HRW are major corporations, with HRW being funded for several years now to the tune of $100 million a year by George Soros who has a long history of working with the US intel community in former Soviet Union republics ie the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia. Neither organization is “democratic” or transparent. The Board of Directors of both organizations elect themselves and answer only to the handful of 1%ers that fund their enormous budgets.  No one can really tell you just how much and from where these human rights corporations get their funding from. Has anyone ever seen an in depth audit of either of these outfits multi million dollar operations budgets?

Hillary, Amnesty, HRW and regime change in Africa. Its about time such matters are being brought to the light of day.

Thomas C. Mountain has been living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached when he is somewhere that has access to the internet at thomascmountain at gmail dot com or more successfully by mobile at 2917175665.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/01/07/ai-eritrea/

Report by Thomas Mountain:
http://wrongkindofgreen.org/category/organizations/amnesty-international/

See also

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/hillary-clintons-two-fore_1_b_3714765.html
Hillary Clinton’s Two Foreign-Policy Disasters

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/hard-choices-hillary-clinton-admits-role-in-honduran-coup-aftermath
Hard Choices: Hillary Clinton Admits Role in Honduran Coup Aftermath