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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Obama the “reluctant warrior”? Syria is the 7th country he’s bombed

Global Research, September 25, 2014
FAIR 23 September 2014

The trope of Obama as “reluctant warrior” has crossed the Atlantic–where it is greeted with a little more cynicism (Peter Brookes, London Times)

If there’s one thing elite media seem to know for sure, it’s that Barack Obama doesn’t like war. One phrase in particular seems to stand out:

It was a remarkable moment for a reluctant warrior.

–Jonathan Karl (ABC Nightline, 9/10/14)

He’s a very reluctant warrior, didn’t want to do this. But you have to say, it is good he recognized reality.

–David Gergen (CNN, 9/10/14)

Is he going to become a warrior, and not a reluctant warrior, when he is taking such a strong stance that he will do anything to defeat ISIS, except for if it involves American troops?

–Erin Burnett (CNN, 9/10/14)

He’s a reluctant warrior.

–David Brooks (PBS NewsHour,9/10/14)

You have a reluctant warrior in President Obama, and the press saying, “Do something.”

–Lauren Ashburn (Fox News, 9/12/14)

He is, as you know, the standard phrase, the reluctant warrior. And I think he’s played that long before this decision.

–David Bergen (CNN, 9/14/14)

But now with weekly beheadings by ISIS, the reluctant warrior must wage war, but not total war–tepid war.

–Bill O’Reilly (Fox News, 9/15/14)

Last night came the announcement that US had begun conducting airstrikes on Syria. Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept posted a story (9/23/14) with this headline:

It does make one wonder: What would an enthusiastic warrior look like to the corporate media? Would bombing eight countries in six years be enough?

Leaked letter: Kiev wants 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for Poroshenko, U.S. is pressuring committee to get it

By Eric Zuesse
Posted on Global Research, May 29, 2015

A leaked letter dated May 19th and sent by the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Vladimir Groysman, to the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Oslo Norway, thanks her for “the efforts you have made to have Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” but continues: “Still we consider your assurances of support by the two members of the Nobel Committee as insufficient,” because there are five members of the Committee, and the support of 3 of them is necessary. 

Thus,

“We expect further efforts aimed at shifting the position of Berit Reiss-Andersen, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn and especially that of the Chair of the Nobel Committee Kaci Kullman Five. Regarding the latter, we recommend that you take advantage of the information you are going to receive from Germany. Your colleagues in Berlin have assured us that the dossier will soon be delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, since it could highlight the unanimous support of Ukrainian integrity by the democratic community of the world. Assistant Secretary of State Viktoria Nuland has highly estimated your job during her visit to Kyiv.”

The three mentioned Nobel Peace Prize Committee members are a politically varied group. Ms. Reiss-Andersen is from the social democratic or “Labour” party; Ms. Ytterhorn is from the libertarian or “Progress” party; and Ms. Five is from the Conservative Party. The two unidentified members are Thorbjørn Jagland from the Labour Party, and Henrik Syse from the Conservative Party. If this letter is correct, those are the two who are referred to by the letter’s phrase, “your assurances of support by the two members.”

The letter also makes a vague reference to the poor reputation that the Committee has engendered on account of the Committee’s having granted the Prize to Barack Obama in 2009 (a decision that the Committee’s Chairperson, Ms. Five, concurred with and has been criticized for):

“We understand the difficulties you face when promoting the candidacy of the President of Ukraine, therefore we ask you to exert additional leverages by engaging those U.S. Senators who effectively cooperated with the Committee in 2009.”

Presumably, this means that whomever “those U.S. Senators” were, the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament thinks that they were “effective.”

President Poroshenko entered office on 25 May 2014 after a U.S.-sponsored coup in Kiev that installed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Ukraine’s Prime Minister on 26 February 2014, after the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, had instructed the U.S. Ambassador in Kiev on 4 February 2014 to get “Yats” appointed as the junta’s leader; she issued that instruction to him by phone on February 4th and the coup occurred on February 22nd; Yatsenyuk was then appointed on February 26th, and he remains in power today.

One pro-Russian part of Ukraine, Crimea, then seceded and joined Russia, and another, Donbass, seceded and was not accepted by Russia; it thus was bombed by the Ukrainian Government during May through December 2014, since Donbass’s repeated requests to be allowed to join Russia were spurned by Vladimir Putin. (Yet, Ukraine accuses Russia of providing the fighters who are actually the men of Donbass, who refuse to be ruled by the U.S.-coup regime.

Russia sends them guns, and volunteers have come from Russia and many other countries to help the Donbass defenders.) German intelligence estimates that “up to 50,000” people were killed in that bombing campaign, but U.S. and other official estimates are only around 5,000.

Even before Poroshenko took office, the new Ukrainian government of “Yats” Yatsenyuk invaded Donbass, using bombers, tanks, rocket-launchers, and everything it had; and, when Poroshenko gave his victory speech in the ceremonial Presidential election on May 25th, he promised, and it was very clear from him, that: “The anti-terrorist operation [he called the residents there ’terrorists’] cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours.” (Another translation of it was “Antiterrorist operation can not and will not continue for 2-3 months. It must and will last hours.”)

But it did last months — Poroshenko’s prediction was certainly false; and, moreover, he lost first one round of the war, and then another — his prediction of its outcome was likewise false. And recently, he said that the war must be resumed for yet a third round, in order that Ukraine win back both Crimea and Donbass. However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned him on May 12th that he must not do that, and that if he did he’d be violating the Minsk II ceasefire accords which had been arranged by France’s Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Then, three days later, his Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, who had arranged the February 2014 coup, told both Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko to ignore what Kerry had just said, and that, “We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”

Perhaps a reason why the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament is boldly demanding the U.S. State Department to arrange for Poroshenko to get at least a nomination for the Peace Prize (and even goes so far as to assert that,

“It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize”) is that otherwise they will follow through on Nuland’s statement of U.S. commitment, and re-invade Donbass. However, any invasion by Ukraine of Crimea would be exceedingly unlikely, because that would give Russia a virtual carte blanche to attack Ukraine, and neither the U.S. nor any other power will go to war against Russia in such an instance; Ukraine isn’t yet a NATO member, and NATO would be exceedingly reluctant to go so far as a third world war, this time against Russia, in order to defend the Ukrainian Government from the consequences of that Government’s own then-blatant ceasefire violation — especially in the wake of what virtually everyone now recognizes to have been a U.S. coup that had installed the present Ukrainian regime (and even EU officials were shocked to find out that it had been a coup). And it was a very violent coup, which was followed shortly thereafter by the extremely violent ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the residents in Donbass.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Comments:

What is in the dossier coming from Berlin? Is it information to blackmail Nobel Committee Chairman Kaci Kullmann?

Victoria Nuland seems involved in even this petty endeavor. At U.S. taxpayer expense.

Who are the U.S. Senators who backed Obama’s Nobel Prize bid?

All these emperors have no clothes. Yet they vainly parade with their enormous deluded egos, patting each others’ backs, as our countries fall apart and their special forces kill those who want freedom and real peace.

Spread the information.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-pressures-nobel-committee-to-declare-ukraines-president-a-peace-prize-nominee-leaked-letter/5452448

12 Nobel Prize winners tell Obama to release report on torture

Posted by War Criminals Watch
28 October 2014

As 12 Nobel Peace Prize winners call on Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama to release the long-awaited report on torture that the Senate conducted, and the Obama administration debates codifying key aspects of Bush doctrine which allowed torture on foreign soil, it’s worthwhile to analyze why this has continued to be such a unsolvable problem for the rulers of the U.S.

Nobel Peace Prize winners — as we’ve seen lately, especially — aren’t the standard of justice in the world, but the standards of one in particular are an outrage. The Obama administration is micro-managing the release of the Senate’s report on CIA torture, already delayed for years, watered down and admittedly tampered with by CIA spying.  Obama doesn’t want the report out before the November 4 election.  In that he’s in sync with the most rabid pro-torturers from the Bush regime.

But this is not about history only, as important as setting the record straight is. Men are being tortured in Guantanamo now by indefinite detention and forced-feeding. Governments set up and bought by the U.S. in Afghanistan & Iraq are torturing with impunity in the very prisons built by the U.S. and CIA to originate the torture.

When — or if — the Senate CIA torture report becomes public, we can’t let that moment go by without mass protest.

From Rob Crawford’s piece The CIA, the President, and the Senate’s Torture Report, September 26:

“Many military, security and political elites recognize that U.S. torture, approved at the highest levels of government, created an unsurpassed crisis of legitimacy for the country.  Their foremost objective is to restore that legitimacy.

“Arguably, this is the principal reason why Obama issued his executive order rejecting torture in 2009 (I believe that McCain would have likely done the same). It is why the new president counseled amnesia about torture and why he refused to initiate criminal investigations or even a commission of inquiry.  It is why he has fallen mostly silent about the issue of torture.  The U.S. relies on an image that it conducts its wars humanely and in accordance with international law. Brutality and illegality belong to the enemy.  Occasionally, however, the brutal and unlawful exercise of state violence becomes public knowledge.  The inhumanity of violence “shocks the conscience.”  Legitimacy crises follow.  For the U.S., the Abu Ghraib photos were a disaster but the disaster kept growing with a cascade of revelations that included documentation of torture of prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and CIA kidnapping, renditions, and torture in secret prisons.  The reverberations are still being felt.”

Source:
http://warisacrime.org/content/twelve-nobel-prize-winners-call-nobel-prize-winner-obama-release-report-torture