How America armed terrorists in Syria

From Consortium News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

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Obama’s Ukrainian coup triggered the influx of 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees into Russia

Global Research, March 14, 2017
Obama Ukraine
This man did it.
On Tuesday, March 7th, Russia’s top parliamentarian dealing with the Ukrainian refugee influx into Russia — dealing, that is, with the people who have fled Ukraine as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2014 coup overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych — presented the first-ever comprehensive number of asylum-applicants from Ukraine who have received asylum there after that February 2014 coup. The Russian government had never before publicly provided a number, but does have an established system of processing refugees, including assignment of official refugee status, which «allows the recipient various social benefits, including unemployment compensation» and so each Ukrainian refugee has a file with the government.

As reported by Tass: 

Russia has received more than 2,500,000 refugees since the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukriane, Yuri Vorobyov, Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Chairman of the Committee for Public Support to Residents of Southeastern Ukraine, said on Tuesday.

«Europe has received 900,000 [refugees] and shuddered, while we have received over 2,500,000 refugees on our territory and continue to provide assistance», he said opening the round table discussion «Russia-Donbass: New Cooperation Mechanisms».

Obama’s Ukrainian Coup Caused 2.5 Million Ukrainian Refugees into Russia

That coup, which generated these millions of refugees, had been planned by the U.S. White House since 2011, and culminated on 20 February 2014. Also on that day, hundreds of Crimeans who had been standing in Kiev with signs opposing the overthrow of the President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted, were attacked by supporters of the coup (which was fronted by, and was propagandized as being, the «Maidan revolution» demanding ‘democracy’ in Ukraine, though it actually ended democracy there).

These Crimeans immediately scrambled back into the eight buses that had taken them to Kiev and headed back homeward, but the U.S.-government-backed Right Sector paramilitaries went in hot pursuit of the buses, and burnt some of them and massacred many of the demonstrators, outside of Kiev, in the town of Korsun. This became called «the Korsun Massacre», and Crimeans in Crimea immediately started demonstrating in Crimea, for Crimea to become, once again, as it had been until 1954, part of Russia.

Crimeans overwhelmingly favored Russia over the United States, and were terrified by the racist anti-Russian government that now ruled in Kiev. This fear wasn’t only because of the massacre, nor only because 75% of Crimeans had voted for the man whom Obama had overthrown, but also because Crimeans generally (and most Ukrainians who had voted for Yanukovych) knew well the intense racist hatred against pro-Russian Ukrainians by the Right Sector people, who had actually carried out the coup.

A plebiscite was held in Crimea on 16 March 2014, and the vote to rejoin Russia was over 90%. U.S. President Obama then imposed economic sanctions against Russia for accepting Crimea back into Russia. These sanctions, and U.S. military aid to the new junta-government in Kiev, publicly renewed The West’s Cold War against Russia (which had actually continued secretly against Russia ever since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991; the Cold War had ended only on the Russian side).

U.S. President Obama recognized, of course, that the residents in the far-eastern region of Ukraine, Donbass, where the vote had been 90% for Yanukovych, could make impossible, in any subsequent nationwide Ukrainian Presidential election, a continuation of the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian government’s rule over Ukraine; and, so, his Ukrainian government instituted an ethnic-cleansing campaign in Donbass to kill as many of them as possible and force as many as possible of those Donbass residents to flee into Russia.

Getting rid of those voters was essential to the success of Obama’s Ukrainian operation. That ethnic cleansing is the reason why 2.5 million former Ukrainians are now living in Russia: their presence in the Ukrainian electorate would jeopardize continued U.S. control over the Ukrainian government and was thus impermissible. These 2.5 million have thus been entirely removed from Ukraine now, and perhaps enough of those voters are gone from Ukraine so that once again Donbass will be able to become part of Ukraine, even while the U.S. continues to control Ukraine.

In the U.S. and the other nations that are controlled by the U.S. aristocracy, newsmedia typically criticize Russia regarding the Ukrainian refugees, such as by saying that «the Russian government’s policies puts them in an even more disadvantaged position» than Russia’s native population endure, so that these refugees suffer not because of the U.S. government, but because of the Russian government.

America’s new President, Donald Trump, has made clear that the economic sanctions against Russia will not end until both Crimea and Donbass become again parts of Ukraine. So, he supports his predecessor’s Russia-policy. America’s wars to strangle Russia (such as by eliminating leaders friendly toward Russia, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych — and attempting to do it also to Bashar al-Assad) will, in other words, continue.

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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Briefing by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 19, 2017; on Obama’s impact on Russian-American relations and UN statement by Samantha Power

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
January 19, 2017

Excerpts:

Obama presidency impact on Russian-American relations

 

As you may know, the new US President, Donald Trump, is to be inaugurated on January 20. This offers hope that the tensions in Russian-US relations that were engineered by the former Obama team will be supplanted. In recent days, we have heard a lot about Russia, particularly on the foreign policy track, from the US administration and its representatives. Apart from the inauguration, today is the last day for the outgoing administration. It seems that the statements made by foreign policy officials – our colleagues, or our partners, as we call them – over the past few days present an occasion to sum up the relations between our two countries during Barack Obama’s eight years in power. There is a lot to talk about, and so I’ll take the time to talk about it.

The results, regrettably, are lamentable. The outgoing Democratic team has consciously ruined bilateral relations, allowing them to fall to Cold War levels. Moreover, this approach has continued to its final day and even continues in its last hours in an attempt to batter their foundation.

In retrospect, it will be recalled that it was Barack Obama who declared a reset in and an all-out development of relations with Russia at the start of his first term of office in 2009. At a certain stage, we managed to sign a number of important bilateral agreements, including the START Treaty (2010).

But our partnership didn’t last long. While in word promising to cooperate respectfully, Washington really envisioned a style of cooperation that looked more like the leader and the led. This is the approach that the White House is accustomed to using with the Western European countries. When it became clear that it would not work with Russia, the US began to fear that we would strengthen our position in the world and began steering towards a confrontation, which, among other things, included using various forms of pressure.

I would like to stress in particular that this began well before the events in Ukraine. Everything that was later covered up and explained by Crimea, Donbass and so on, had nothing to do with reality. We expressed this on many occasions. I can cite several examples: the anti-Russian Magnitsky Act of December 2012; we also recall that, even before the events in Ukraine, US secret services launched a real hunt for Russians in third countries. The most notorious case in point is the abduction of Viktor Bout, but there were another 27 Russian nationals who fell victim to this vile game thereafter. US secret services and the administration were acting on the sly: they did not advise Russian law enforcement about the grievances against our fellow citizens (although the laws needed for this were in place) but they abducted them during their travels abroad.

Washington even avoided consultations on a joint effort against cybercrime, although 60 per cent of the said arrests in third countries were related to accusations of stealing credit card data or account fraud. Russia regularly and repeatedly offered proposals to cooperate in this area. Similarly, they were reluctant to go along with us on other issues on the bilateral agenda.

Still fresh in our memory were attempts to discredit the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (incidentally, this was also before Crimea), which were made both shortly before and directly during the Olympics. Later this took the form of an unprecedented public harassment campaign directed against Russia’s entire sports organisation. Symptomatically, the US Anti-Doping Agency played first string in attempts to cut Russian athletes from international competitions. Let me remind you that the USADA is financed by the US.

The coup in Kiev three years ago, in which the Obama administration was involved, put everything in the right perspective in our relations with it. Since the Obama administration openly proclaimed a policy for the systematic containment of Russia, our American partners have suspended many communication channels, including the Bilateral Presidential Commission and its 21 working groups.

Using sanctions to pressure Russia, Washington has imposed or expanded various restrictions against Russia 35 times under a variety of pretexts since 2014. The United States has blacklisted 172 Russian citizens and 350 legal entities, including Russia’s leading companies in energy, the defence industry and the financial sector.

To justify this policy, they have invented a completely unsubstantiated thesis about Russia’s “aggressive behaviour” and unleashed a powerful propaganda campaign to support it. The United States used this pretext to build up the Pentagon’s and NATO capabilities on the Russian border, continued with BMD deployment and carried out other military preparations. We have talked about this in detail and have provided our views on it. Acting within this policy, which has been undermining European and global security, the White House referred to the Baltic countries and Poland as “frontline states,” as if they seriously believed that a military confrontation with Russia was possible.

Initially, Washington’s policy of isolating Russia caused only misunderstanding. It was difficult to take the stated objectives seriously, and we were right, because this policy suffered a crushing defeat. But they provided a philosophical and politological basis for their defeat. US Secretary of State John Kerry said while on a visit in Moscow that the United States cannot do without Russia in tackling international issues. It took them only a few years – not decades – to invent an isolation concept, attempts to implement it and then explain why it failed.

I would like to provide proof of the absurdity of this concept: over 14 months from May 2015 to July 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Russia four times at his initiative. Also, 66 of the 70 telephone conversations with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were held at his request last year alone, at the height of Russia’s alleged isolation. I wonder how many telephone conversations we could have had if the situation in bilateral relations were close to normal.

However, our attempts to work with the United States on some international issues were complicated by the Obama Administration’s inconsistency. For example, Washington kept advancing new demands regarding Syria but failed to implement its commitment to separate the so-called moderate opposition from the terrorist groups. They had more than enough time to do this. The United States made this commitment a year ago, but as you know, it has not implemented it. On the contrary, instead of following through on White House pledges to proceed towards a peaceful settlement, they did their best to protect the terrorists from strikes and even supplied weapons to them, including Jabhat al-Nusra. They planned to use the terrorists to overthrow the government in Damascus. Mind you, we are not talking about imaginary moderates but a combat division of al-Qaeda, an organisation that killed 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Under American law, support for terrorists is a serious crime. Americans have all heard about the alleged Russian hackers, but nobody knows that the US administration supported an organisation that killed Americans.

The state of affairs in the economy was no better. Washington’s targeted efforts provided all the opportunities for this purpose, using all available leverage on the international scene to make life more difficult for Russian economic operators and the entire Russian economy. You may recall that Barack Obama noted with satisfaction some time later that the Russian economy was “in tatters.” Of course, this could have been true, but I would like to say that leading US companies did not want to leave the Russian market despite the White House’s insistence. It proved impossible to engineer Russia’s complete isolation even within the United States, although bilateral economic relations were damaged. As you understand, we had to do something. So, we took advantage of the emerging situation to promote our own economic development agenda and diversified our global trade ties.

It should be specially noted that, several years ago, the Obama administration started exerting routine pressure on Russian diplomatic missions in the United States. Unfortunately, attempts by the secret service to recruit Russian officials became an extremely unpleasant part of the daily routine. Last year, out of the blue, came a ban on Russian diplomatic missions using some of  their vehicles, including large-capacity buses, which lasted for several months. This was followed by toughening the regulations for the stay of official Russian delegations in the United States: now they had to notify the US Department of State about any trips outside the 25-mile (41-kilometre) zone around Russia’s diplomatic missions. Just think how much this limited their opportunities.

We are now discussing this openly. All this time, we tried to cooperate constructively with the US Department of State on all these issues. This was our day-to-day work which involved the Russian Embassy and the Foreign Ministry, and continued during talks between the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State. We raised and discussed all these issues. On the other hand, we do perceive a desire of State Department representatives to sort things out; many of their efforts proved sincere but were blocked  at the administration level. Our work became increasingly difficult.

In 2013, US authorities began to persecute American citizens planning to take part in introductory tours organised by the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo). As you may remember, we have discussed this issue in the past. The FBI began to summon them for interrogations and openly intimidate them. In January 2016, US authorities went as far as to strip five of the six Russian honourary consuls of their accreditation in various states. These honourary consuls also helped expand bilateral ties, conducted practical work and maintained cooperation involving ordinary people. That is the environment in which we had to work.

It is also hard to assess from positions of common sense the russophobic hysteria that began to be incited in the US in the run-up to the presidential election. The US presidential election is a special factor and a special stage in bilateral Russian-US relations. In the summer of 2016, the White House leaked groundless accusations of Russia interfering in the election campaign and information about “Russian hackers” allegedly tampering with servers, websites, etc. to the media. The media and US secret services incited this all the time through “leaks” and through reports published by their “pocket” media. They forced the public to consume this media concoction involving pseudo-facts.

After the November 8 vote, as I see it, the Obama administration just went over the edge. One had the impression that they had decided to vent their entire wrath on us. It was not simply a conceptual story, where we were a factor in their political infighting. No sir, it was base household vengeance that admitted of all expedients. And the whole reason was that the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost the election. This was done in order to maximally complicate things for the President-elect, Donald Trump, and call into question his victory. All of that, in our view, assumed morbid forms. Lies and not just concoctions about “hacking” and “Moscow’s stolen election” were pouring in torrents.

We have yet another version. Among other things, all of this might have been done and continues in the same vein today because the Democrats want to vindicate themselves before the numerous sponsors of their campaign. That campaign was not simply expensive: it was one of the costliest or even the costliest in history. A huge amount of money was circulating in the race. The mainstream media were trying to leave people in no doubt that Clinton and no other was to win. This was being done to attract even more money. Now they have to give an account to their donors. Some unseemly things are coming to the surface, like improper use of the media, plants and suppression of information. They have to bear not only moral but also financial responsibility before these people. But they always have an answer at the ready as to who is to blame. That’s right, Russia is to blame. Many millions of dollars were invested in the hope of future political and commercial dividends. Of course, they have to acquit themselves. But regardless of their motives, additional serious damage was done on purpose to our relations, primarily to the trust between our countries and peoples.

The expulsion from the United States of 35 Russian diplomats on New Year’s Eve and the barring of access to the Russian Embassy’s and the Russia UN Mission’s recreational facilities enjoying diplomatic immunity (for they have no other status under the law) is a story apart. This is a case of actual confiscation of property that is owned by the Russian government and enjoys diplomatic immunity, which is a gross violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

As you may know, we have decided to refrain from a mirror-like response to these totally inadequate escapades. But the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy is still in effect. The Obama administration’s behaviour is so absurd and shameful for such a great country as the United States that one is hard put to associate these convulsive actions with what the American people stand for.

We sincerely regret that the Obama presidency, particularly its second term, was a period of lost opportunities for bilateral relations. It did little good for the rest of the world as well, with instability increasing over the past eight years, including because of Washington’s reckless moves.

We would like to hope that following the changes in the White House it will become possible to reverse the dangerous trend towards decay in Russian-American ties and lead our relations out of the nosedive where they were sent by Barack Obama. We expect the new administration to display wisdom and willingness for a normal pragmatic dialogue, for which Russia has always been ready.

 

The situation with Russian recreation facility in Oyster Bay

 

I would like to note that according to our data and press reports, unidentified persons, accompanied by the police, broke the locks on the fence and entered the property. All this is clearly a violation of diplomatic immunity and ownership rights, and it is also a very dangerous trend that generally violates all the existing norms and ideas regarding the legality of the authorities’ actions.

Let me reiterate, we will monitor the situation, and we will definitely comment on it as soon as we get updates.

 

Statement by US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power

 

And the last remark to wrap up the topic. I cannot leave this without comment because to a large extent the actions taken by our American colleagues regarding Russia were based on unreasonably high ambitions, and at times it simply looked like ignorance. This is confirmed by a recent statement by US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power. She claims that the United States “defeated the forces of fascism and communism” and “now confront the forces of authoritarianism and nihilism.”  

Let us get this straight. She referred to four phenomena. Who defeated fascism? This claim is made by a person who works at the United Nations, which was established by the international community following the outcome of World War II. Isn’t it embarrassing to make such a claim? What about the anti-Hitler coalition and its members’ contribution? Is it the US alone that defeated Nazism? She should have said that they defeated fascism on their territory to testify to her total ignorance.

The United States “defeated the forces of communism.” The UNSC has 15 chairs around its table with five of them occupied by permanent members.  Every day Samantha Power faces the Permanent Representative of China. She might at least have wondered how big the membership of the Communist Party in that country is, so as not to feel embarrassed to enter the UNSC.

Now they “confront the forces of authoritarianism.” So much has been voiced during the election race! The administration was totally engaged in the US presidential election. We watched all that, there is nothing to hide. All the administrative backup was aimed at one thing – Hillary Clinton’s victory. I wonder if Samantha Power knows which countries made contributions to the Clinton Foundation? This is regarding confronting the forces of authoritarianism. Or maybe she believes they are fighting authoritarianism by getting money from it? The list of countries should be made public, and then it will become absolutely clear with whom the US cooperates and from whom the Democratic presidential candidate gets the funding.

I don’t even want to comment on confronting the forces of nihilism. It is nothing but historical and philosophical obscurantism to claim that the world’s largest country is fighting nihilism; this is beyond comment.

Those claims have cleared up a lot of things.

 

Persisting violations of migrant rights in EU countries

 

We have noticed the information coming from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, that recorded 503,700 attempts to illegally cross European Union borders in 2016. Most of these people, 364,000 of 503,700, arrived in EU countries via the Mediterranean Sea.

We would like to note that, despite the reduced migrant traffic via the Aegean Sea, the situation in the central Mediterranean region remains tense. In 2016, 181,000 people arrived via Libya in Italy alone last year from Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea and other African countries; this is 20 per cent more than 2015 levels. And this figure includes 24,000 unattended minors. Of course, this is the most vulnerable category in need of special attention and protection, so that it will not be victimised by organised crime. They arrive in another country absolutely illegally and completely unattended. Doubtless, a tragic fate awaits most of these children.

Obviously, illegal migration via the Mediterranean will continue through 2017, and could lead to new violations and fatalities. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 219 people died since early January 2017.

We would also like to voice our regret in connection with the absolute sluggishness of the concerned agencies of the EU member-states, including Germany, that have failed to review about 943,000 requests by asylum-seekers in a timely manner. As a result, people have to live in uncomfortable and degrading conditions while waiting for a decision. We urge our European partners to honour their obligations under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

We would like to once again recall that the migration situation has been aggravated by an irresponsible and ill-conceived policy aiming to destabilise states and replace undesirable governments in the Middle East and North Africa. Only a revision of this policy and the attainment of peace and stability in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and other countries can significantly change the situation for the better.

 

Anti-Russia insinuations in the context of talks on a Cyprus political settlement

 

We have reacted with dismay to comments by some Cypriot media outlets in the context of the recent conference on a Cyprus political settlement in Geneva. For example, some stories claim that Russia is allegedly trying to prevent the island’s reunification. According to the logic of these media outlets, EU-Turkey rapprochement, as well as EU-NATO cooperation that has been blocked by the unresolved situation at the talks between the two Cypriot communities, allegedly don’t meet Russian interests.

We clearly see the discontent of certain pro-US and pro-UK political circles with the principled Russian stand implying that ready-made prescriptions and artificial haste should not be imposed on the parties to the Cypriot conflict to quickly achieve a final resolution to the Cypriot issue at any cost.

In this connection, we would like to once again emphasise our conviction that a long-term and lasting resolution to the Cypriot issue is only possible if it reflects the political will of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and if it is accepted by the entire population of the island. To the best of our knowledge, the leaders of both Cypriot communities agree with this precept. This is simply common sense.

Claims about any Russian attempts to block, obstruct or hamper the negotiating process are not backed by fact and are unreasonable.

We would like to note that anti-Russia insinuations are like a “smokescreen” for obscuring the real problems that need to be resolved in a Cypriot political settlement. For example, Russia only maintains a cultural-humanitarian and economic presence in Cyprus. At the same time, sovereign UK bases are still maintained on the island under the 1960 Zurich-London agreements. This is an obvious anachronism in the current situation. However, the Western press does not consider this situation in any way, and we are not seeing any mood of protest in the Western media.

Russia successfully develops its relations with the Republic of Cyprus in various areas, and we are confident that these relations will continue to be strengthened in the event of the island’s reunification. We know that Cypriot leaders advocate the sustained development of bilateral cooperation. We believe that anti-Russia comments by a number of media outlets do not benefit this process and do not meet the interests of the Cypriots themselves. We hope that the Cypriot authorities will respond accordingly.

 

Alleged Russian involvement in cyberattacks against the OSCE

 

Unfortunately, a new page has been added to the unprecedented campaign to discredit Russia in the eyes of the global public.

Washington tried to explain its losses by blaming the alleged Russian high-tech intervention in the US election system. It also did this to shift the image of the top global cyber aggressor from itself to Russia, although we know, from materials which have sent many people in the United States to prison, who staged cyberattacks and who were the targets. Instead of remorse and ceasing cyber interference in the global information space, some Western countries continue to work to present Russia as a cyber-aggressor country that is a threat to global cyberspace.

We regret that Germany has taken this path too, choosing to follow in the footsteps of its senior partners. In particular, German security services have accused Russia of attacking OSCE servers, an international organisation responsible for security and stability in Europe. How should we respond to this?

I don’t have to tell you that we have not received any response to the official requests we sent to the related organisations in charge of investigating any such incidents. You only find information in the information space, which prompts the conclusion that our partners never had and still have no proof or facts to implicate our alleged crimes.

These accusations sound especially absurd considering that a month ago Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed at the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg, Germany, an action plan aimed at strengthening confidence in the information space. The first measure was to identify ways to improve the OSCE role in resolving cyber incidents and for the OSCE to provide a platform for direct dialogue on this issue.

Russia has proposed many initiatives on international information security over the past years. These include a concept for a UN Convention on International Information Security, the International Code of Conduct for Information Security drafted by the SCO member states, the above action plan for the OSCE and many other documents.

Russia has long urged its partners to adopt a special legal instrument for fighting mercenary cybercrime and cyber bullying.

This could be the universal UN convention on cooperation in fighting information crime, which Russia drafted. The drafted convention includes several provisions on fighting the deliberate abuse of online information, which is, in plain English, hacking.

Russia is ready for any form of cooperation in fighting cyberattacks and has formulated certain proposals in this sphere, whereas the unconstructive Western position is hindering the development of international cooperation in this area. We hope our partners will stop shifting the blame onto us and will instead look at the situation soberly and without bias.

 

For the full press conference:

http://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/spokesman/briefings/-/asset_publisher/D2wHaWMCU6Od/content/id/2605982

The “beatification” of Barack Obama. The “good guy” storyline is set…

By Kit
Global Research, January 16, 2017
Off Guardian 15 January 2017
Obama's farewell speech tear, one more than he ever shed for Libya, Syria or Yemen.
Obama’s farewell speech tear, one more than he ever shed for Libya, Syria or Yemen.

As the eight-year term of America’s first black President draws to a close, the media are already in the process of myth-making. There’s room for an honest autopsy of a man who promised a new kind of world, and delivered merely warmed-over soundbites and a few fake tears.

“With Barack Obama’s exit the US is losing a saint.” writes Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, whilst Ann Perkins praises his “grace, decency and defence of democracy”. Lola Okolosie rhapsodises on his legacy of “warmth, love, resilience”.

Already the storyline is set – Obama was a good man, who tried to do great things, but was undone by a Republican senate, and his own “sharp intelligence”.

These people, as much as anybody, reflect the cognitive dissonance of the modern press. “Liberals”, to use their own tortured self-descriptor, now assign the roles of good guy and bad guy based purely on aesthetics, convenience and fuel for their vanity. Actions and consequences are immaterial.

For the sake of balance, here is a list of Saint Obama’s unique achievements:

  • Obama is the first President in American history to be at war for every single day of an 8 year presidency.
  • Obama has carried out 10x more drone strikes than Bush ever did. Every Tuesday a military aide presents Obama with a “kill list”, and the “decent, gracious” Obama picks a few names off a list…and kills them. And their families. And their neighbours. These illegal acts of state-sanctioned murder have killed hundreds of civilians in 5 different countries in 2016 alone. The only reason that number isn’t higher, is that the Obama administration re-classified all males over 18 as combatants, regardless of occupation.
  • After declaring he wanted to build a “nuclear free world”, Obama committed to spending $1 TRILLION dollars on rebuilding America’s nuclear weapons.
  • Under Obama, the NSA et al. were able to spy on, essentially, the whole world. When this was revealed, not a single intelligence officer or government official was prosecuted. Instead…
  • Obama’s administration declared a “war on whistleblowers”, enacting new laws and initiating what they call the “Insider Threat Program”. Manning was prosecuted, Snowden sent into exile and Assange was set-up, discredited and (they hoped) extradited. It has never been more dangerous to be a government whistle-blower, than under Barack Obama
  • In terms of foreign policy, despite his press-created and non-sensical reputation as a non-interventionist, American Special Forces are currently operating in over 70% of the world’s 195 countries. The great lie is that, where Bush was a warmonger, Obama has sought to avoid conflict. The truth is that Obama, in the grand tradition of the CIA and American Imperial power, has simply turned all America’s wars into covert wars.
  • Before Obama came into office, Libya was the richest and most developed nation in Africa. It is now a hell-hole. Destroyed by war, hollowed-out by corruption. The “liberal” press allow him to agonise over this as his “greatest mistake”, and then gently pardon him for his good intentions. The truth is that Libya was not a mistake, or a misjudgment, or an unforeseen consequence. Libya is exactly what America wanted it to become. A failed state where everything is for sale, a base to pour illegal CIA weapons south into Africa and east into the ME. When war is your economy, chaos is good for business. When secrecy is your weapon, anarchy is ammunition. Libya went according to plan. A brutal plan that killed 100,000s and destroyed the lives of millions more. Libya, like Iraq, is a neocon success story. Syria on the other hand…
  • Syria, probably the word that will follow Obama out of office as “Iraq” did his predecessor, is a total failure. Both of stated intent and covert goals. Where the press will mourn Obama’s “indecisive nature” and wish he’d “used his big stick”, the real story is one of evil incompetence, so great that it would be almost comical…if it hadn’t destroyed an ancient seat of civilisation and killed 100,000s of people. Syria (along with Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Iran and Sudan) was on the list of the 7 countries America intended to destroy, famously “leaked” by General Wesley Clark. After the fall of Libya, Syria was (essentially) surrounded by American military on all sides. Iraq, Israel, Turkey and America operating out of Libya could pour “freedom fighters” into Syria to bring down “the regime”. When that didn’t work they deployed the trusty “WMD” method, to demand “humanitarian intervention”…the Russians saw that off. Then “ISIS” was created by the CIA, as al-Qaida were before them, and their manufactured barbarism was used as a pretext for invasion. The Russians, again, saw to it that this would not happen.
  • Perhaps in the hope of distracting Russia from the ME, or perhaps merely as a short-sighted punitive measure, the Obama’s administration next foreign policy target was Ukraine. Victoria Nuland’s own voice proves how much that “color revolution” was an American creation. Ukraine is broke, even more broke than it was, its people starve and freeze through the winter. The new “democratic government” has shelled 10,000 people to death in the East of the country….using American weapons.
  • In Yemen, the poorest country in the ME is being bombed to shreds by the richest….again, using American (and British) weapons. Obama’s “defense of democracy” doesn’t extend to criticising, or even discussing, the abhorrent Human Rights record of America’s Saudi Arabian allies, and in an act of brazen hypocrisy, even supported their chairing of the Human Rights Council of the UN.

This is the world Saint Obama has created. Guantanamo is still open, and terrorist “suspects” are still held there without trial or charge (they are probably still tortured). Other “suspects” can be simply declared guilty, and unilaterally executed…anywhere in the world. The NSA and CIA are illegally monitoring the communications of half the world. If any other leader in the world claimed even 1% of this power, they would be decried as “autocratic”, and their country denounced as a “pariah state”.

The Middle-East is ablaze from Libya to Afghanistan, and from Yemen to Turkey. Relations with Russia are as precarious as at any time since WWII, thanks to America’s efforts to break Russia economically and shatter their global influence. There is no sign that America intends to back-down (see the recent red-scare style hysteria in the American press). Likewise America has positioned itself to have a massive conflict with China in the South China Sea. Obama is, in terms of influence, nothing more than a used-car salesman. His job is not to create policy, but to sell neocon ideas to the general public, but his lack of agency cannot excuse his lack of vision or morals. Under Obama’s notional leadership the world has moved to the very brink of self-immolation in the name of protecting American hegemony. Domestically America still crumbles.

He had a nice smile, and a good turn of phrase. He was witty, and cool, and looked good in a suit…but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t just more of the same. He could say the right things, and sound like he meant them, but he was still a monster. As he moves out to pasture, the press will try to spit-shine Obama’s tarnished halo, to try to convince us that he was a good man at heart and that, as politicians go, we can’t do any better.

But yes, we can.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-beatification-of-barack-obama-the-good-guy-storyline-is-set/5568823

Paul Craig Roberts: Historical legacy of Obama the war criminal, butcherer of women and children, U.S. dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016

Global Research, January 12, 2017
Paul Craig Roberts 11 January 2017
There is no doubt that US President Barack Obama is a war criminal as are his military and intelligence officials and most of the House and Senate.

Obama is the first president to keep the US at war for the entirety of his eight-year regime. During 2016 alone the US dropped 26,171 bombs on wedding parties, funerals, kid’s soccer games, hospitals, schools, people in their homes and walking their streets, and farmers tilling their fields in seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. [1]

What does the administration have to show for eight years of illegal military interventions in seven countries, none of which comprised a danger to the US and against none of which the US has declared war? Terrorism was created by US invasions, no wars have been won, and the Middle East has been consumed in chaos and destruction. Worldwide hatred of the United States has risen to a record high. The US is now the most despised country on earth.

The only purposes of these crimes is to enrich the armaments industry and to advance the insane neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. A tiny handful of despicable people have been able to destroy the reputation of the United States and murder millions of peoples, sending waves of war refugees to the US and Europe.

We call these “wars,” but they are not. They are invasions, largely from the air, but in Afghanistan and Iraq from troops on the ground. The invasions by air and land are entirely based on blatant, transparent lies. The “justifications” for the invasions have changed a dozen times.

The questions are: If Trump becomes president, will Washington’s massive crimes against humanity continue? If so, will the rest of the world continue to tolerate Washington’s extraordinary evil?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

Zakharova: Diplomatic “partners” threatened to “make sure that Russia truly feels what pain is” over Syria air campaign and promised media disinformation campaigns; Obama administration committed moral crimes

The Obama administration “demonstrated the belief that the strongest has the right to create evil.”

December 29th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –

Rossia 1 – Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/197375753&#8243; width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>

Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, on a national TV show

Partial transcript:

I’d like to remind you that since October 2015, when Russia’s air campaign to Syria was announced, as well as invitation extended to the entire world to unite in this struggle – not even our struggle, but a threat to the whole world – I’d like to remind you how the events unfolded.

I reviewed many recordings of diplomatic talks from October 2015 and this is what we were told, at the high level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs:

We were asked to pass onto you the most serious of warnings – Russia is going to be hurting. They will make sure that Russia truly feels what pain is – keep this in mind.”

And this came from diplomats during a diplomatic round of discussions.

Keep in mind that everything you do in reality will be manipulated by a media company, which will cancel out the real results of your work.”

You’re going to fight terrorists? Yet you will look like the aggressor.”

This was said in October-November 2015.

After they failed to scare us…

Question: Was this during the famous talks between Kerry and Lavrov?

Zakharova: I can’t directly quote anyone because the talks were closed to the media. I can only say that such words were delivered to us, not once, but throughout much of October [2015[ as part of the discussions of Russia’s Representative of Foreign Affairs, and his international counterparts. I am talking about Sergey Lavrov’s colleagues [counterparts] who attribute themselves to be from the most forward and civilized of countries. So we’re not talking about someone who just recently barged into the world of foreign affairs. We are talking about people who constitute the world’s elite – they told us these words.

What happened after that? After it became clear just how openly, transparently, and in which precise targets the Russian Air Force was working – and how perfectly Russia’s personnel are carrying out commands – then began the direct disinformation campaign that discredited our actions. Well, the media is one thing, but I’d like to remind you, the U.S. State Department and the White House, for the mouths of their official representatives, directly threatened to cause us pain.

So, those words that were said in October 2015 behind closed doors were then delivered upon publicly.

You remember the promised “graves” and “coming home in body bags”. This was said by all, the U.S. Ministry of Defense, not only diplomatic representatives. Then all of this was regurgitated into the media, as a result of closed door discussions in Washington. But then they went even further.

Then, official Foreign Affairs representatives began to call upon their people to come out and protest in front of Russian embassies

Question: Yes, I remember that – the words of Britain’s Foreign Secretary.

Zakharova: Yes, just one example. He is looked at somewhat of a marginal character in terms of foreign policy, or politics as a whole, and his words may not hold as much weight as some more experienced officials – but nevertheless, he said those words. These words, within a matter of weeks, were converted into specific actions. He wasn’t the only one to call for protests outside Russian embassies. He is the only one which was in the public eye.

All [anti-Russian] campaigns over the past couple of years have been supported by official Ministries of Foreign Affairs of other states, either financially or by other creative means.

That which began in October 2015 ended with the murder of our ambassador in December 2016. I’ll remind you of one more thing – we’ve talked about this – let’s remember the real attacks. Not more campaigns with plastic arms and legs in London, or posters in front of our embassies in the EU, but the shelling of the Russian embassy in Damascus.

Russia’s official representative, Vitaly Churkin, would always raise this question to the UN Security Council. Who were the people that blocked these questions? It was the very same people who, through the mouths of their official representatives, promised that “we would feel pain.” It was the very same people who, in collaboration with mainstream media, deliberated how to truly hurt Russia. The blocked all statements by our representative to the Security Council, who condemned the attacks on Russia’s diplomatic representatives.

Question: When our ambassador was killed, Trump sent his words of sympathy, the U.S. State Department did also, but Obama personally did not. Is this in line with international protocol? Or is this an attempt at insulting us?

Zakharova: Obama, I think, is a unique person. I’m only talking about foreign policy, because domestic policy is for Americans, and it is only U.S. citizens who should have the right to assess it. But Obama is a person – and I mean the whole administration under him, – whose team, as it worked out in the international arena, was bad for everyone. I think during his 8-year term – under the pretext of their ‘exclusivity’ – they became the subject of disgust for the entire world. That is my impression. They did not deliver on any responsibilities they had to other nations. Nor did they deliver on what the American people entrusted to them on the international arena. This is an obvious thing.

And the main thing – of course, I am not a lawyer or a human rights activist – but from a moral point of view, they have committed crimes.

They showed that the strongest [militarily] has unlimited rights to create evil [in the world]. That is what’s going to go down in history for this administration.

Let me say it again – they demonstrated the belief that the strongest has the right to create evil.

This is in the 21st century. We’re not in the Middle Ages. We’re not in antiquity. This is today.

[on the question of whether or not Obama personally sent condolences]

…So, words of sympathy were said by many, but what Obama did or didn’t, you know the question is not over what he said now, but what he and his team did over the past 8 years – I emphasize the team that surrounded him in the White House – I think we’re going to find out a lot, give it six months to a year. We’re going to find out a lot about the real under-the-carpet struggle that took place there, between those who understood at least something about foreign affairs, that [the U.S.] is leading the world into a dead end, vs. those who pursued these mindless policies – illogical for all of us.

No matter who I’ve talked to, I’ve never met anyone who said, “These guys are doing great, they’re doing the right thing.”

https://vimeo.com/197375753

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/12/russia-obama-was-most-evil-president.html