Jun 042013
 

Russia Today

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that “political games” prevented Russia from investigating the data on the use of toxic substances in Aleppo: the UN Secretariat couldn’t respond promptly to Moscow’s demand to look into the matter.

In March, the Syrian government invited the United Nations to investigate possible chemical weapons use in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo. Military experts and officials said a chemical agent, most likely sarin, was used in the attack which killed 26 people, including government forces.

A boy, affected in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, is treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013. (Reuters / George Ourfalian)

A boy, affected in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, is treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013. (Reuters / George Ourfalian)

Several countries, including Israel, the UK, France and the US – all vocal critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad – all claimed they had evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria.

Damascus denied that a chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian army, blaming the rebels and Turkey for the incident: “The rocket came from a placed controlled by the terrorist and which is located close to the Turkish territory. One can assume that the weapon came from Turkey,” Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi alleged in an interview with Interfax news agency.

Lavrov spoke following the reports that Turkish security forces found a 2kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front who were previously detained.

The sarin gas was found in the homes of alleged Syrian militants, who were reportedly planning a terrorist attack on the southern Turkish city of Adana.

Russia expressed concern over the incident, urging for a thorough investigation into the matter.

Almost a month ago, the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said that Damascus was ready to have the UN investigation team look into alleged chemical weapons use in Syria.

“We were ready and we are always ready, right now, to receive the delegation that was set up by [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon to investigate what happened in Khan al-Assal,” Muqdad said, referring to the March 19 incident near Aleppo.

Syrian rebels are accused of using a rocket with a chemical warhead, killing 25 people and injuring 86, according to SANA news agency.

Meanwhile, the US and Germany spoke to Russia on the perils of sending Assad any sort of support, arguing it would prolong the war and jeopardize efforts to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, with his German counterpart Guide Westervelle, urged Russia not to supply Assad with its sophisticated S-300 air defense missile system – among other reasons, arguing that it would threaten Israel’s security. Westervelle called the decision “totally wrong”.

Kerry has been actively promoting the upcoming Geneva conference on Syria, having met with Lavrov earlier – although planning has been muddled by the opposition threatening to boycott the talks. Despite this, Western powers have repeatedly chosen to overlook the opposition’s actions as an obstacle.

Still, both Russia and the US remain committed to the talks, with Kerry insisting “If everybody is serious, and we are, and the Russians have said they are, the best chance to save Syria… is through a peaceful resolution that comes about in an organized way.”

Westervelle also pleaded with both sides “not to spoil the conference.”

The Syrian civil war has been raging for more than two years now, with more than 80,000 people killed, according to UN estimates.

In his latest statement on the matter, Lavrov noted the Russian government’s concern over the issue due to the chance of provocations around the situation.

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May 022013
 

World Socialist Web Site
Barry Grey

KNXV_Boston_lockdown__20130419052325_JPGAt a White House press conference Tuesday, President Barack Obama praised the April 19 police-military lockdown of metropolitan Boston and dismissed questions regarding links between the suspected Boston Marathon bombers and US intelligence and police agencies. He went on to repeat the increasingly discredited official line that the alleged bombers had been “self-radicalized” and acted alone.

Even as Obama spoke, federal officials were announcing that they were seeking to question at least half a dozen “persons of interest” both in the US and Russia who may have been involved in the twin bombings near the finish line of the marathon in downtown Boston. That criminal act killed three people and wounded more than 160 others.

On Wednesday, the British Daily Mail reported that Saudi Arabian officials in 2012 sent a written report to high officials in the US Department of Homeland Security detailing their concerns about one of the Boston bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and warning that he might be planning a terrorist attack.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot dead by police on April 19. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, is in federal custody in a prison hospital in Massachusetts.

A “highly placed source,” according to the British newspaper, said the information on Tsarnaev was based on intelligence developed in Yemen. The letter explained that the Saudi government had denied an entry visa to Tsarnaev in December 2011, when he was seeking to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Saudi official told the Mail that the information was “very specific” and warned that “something was going to happen in a major US city.”

The newspaper further reported that a US Homeland Security official on Tuesday confirmed the existence of the 2012 letter.

Later on Wednesday, the Saudi embassy in Washington DC denied that the Saudi government had made any such warning to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Its statement was followed by denials from the White House and the Homeland Security Department.

The alleged Saudi warning on the activities of Tsarnaev adds to the evidence of multiple warnings from foreign intelligence authorities and US government acknowledgment of extensive contact between American security and intelligence agencies and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The US government has admitted that Russian intelligence sent a warning to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March of 2011 about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and followed six months later with a warning to the Central Intelligence Agency. The Russians said they were concerned that Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen, had become a radical Islamist jihadist and was planning to travel to the Russian Caucasus and meet with the separatist underground there.

Despite the fact that the elder Tsarnaev brother was put on several terrorism watch lists and was questioned by the FBI, he was allowed to travel unhindered to Dagestan in the Northern Caucasus in January of 2012 and remain in the highly explosive region for six months, returning to the US in July of last year.

NBC News has reported that the Russian internal security service also gave the FBI a case file on Tsarnaev in November of 2012, after his return to the US and five months before the Boston bombings, concerning his activities while in southern Russia. NBC reported that the police witnessed Tsarnaev meeting six separate times with a known Islamist terrorist at a Salafi mosque in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.

In recent days, US officials have said they are investigating such contacts. The New York Times reported Monday: “Two Russian government officials said Tamerlan Tsarnaev exchanged notes over the Internet with William Plotnikov, a boxer who moved with his parents from Russia to Canada before joining militants in the North Caucasus. And they said Mr. Tsarnaev met several times in early 2012 with Mansur Makhmud Nidal, an alleged militant from the Russian province of Dagestan and suspected jihadist recruiter.”

Both Plotnikov and Nidal were killed by Russian security forces while Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in Dagestan.

Also on Wednesday, federal authorities arrested three students, classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and charged them with obstructing justice and making false statements to federal investigators. The criminal complaint does not allege that the students, two Kazakhs and one US citizen, had foreknowledge of the bombings or played any role in them. Rather, it alleges that they disposed of potentially incriminating evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the FBI had released video footage showing the two Tsarnaev brothers at the scene of the bombings and declared the two to be prime suspects.

At the Tuesday press conference, Obama responded to a reporter who cited Republican charges that the police and intelligence agencies had failed to share intelligence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev that might have prevented the bombings, saying, “I think that all our law enforcement officials performed in an exemplary fashion after the bombing had taken place.”

He then acknowledged that Russian intelligence had alerted US agencies “about the older brother as well as the mother, indicating that they might be sympathizers to extremists,” but went on to whitewash the fact that the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security Department took no steps that could have prevented execution of the terror plot.

“It’s not as if the FBI did nothing,” he said. “They not only investigated the older brother; they interviewed the older brother. They concluded that there were no signs that he was engaging in extremist activity… based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties; Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing.”

Obama then implied that the two bombing suspects were “home-grown” terrorists who had acted alone. “One of the dangers that we now face,” he said, “are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States, [who] in some cases may not be part of any kind of network…”

In a further effort to explain away multiple warnings from Russian intelligence about the radical jihadist sympathies and potential terrorist ties of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the fact that the family was well known to US intelligence agencies, Obama added that “all of this has to be done in the context of our laws, due process.”

It is difficult to capture in words the scale of Obama’s hypocrisy and cynicism. In one breath he hailed an unprecedented police-state operation involving thousands of troops and heavily armed police, as well as armored vehicles and military helicopters, carried out to enforce a “shelter in place” order and conduct warrantless house-to-house searches of entire neighborhoods—all in search of one 19-year-old youth—and in the next he claimed to be upholding “due process.”

Not only did this de facto state of siege violate virtually every civil liberty inscribed in the Bill of Rights, but Obama’s Justice Department decided not to read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights to remain silent and have a lawyer present at any interrogation. The Los Angeles Times reported that the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group ignored repeated requests for legal counsel from the severely wounded suspect during 16 hours of questioning.

Obama’s attempt to portray the alleged Boston bombers as lone-wolf terrorists who operated without any external help or foreign ties is consistent with the official line given out by the White House since the killing of Tamerlan and capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It appears that this claim is motivated by a desire to divert attention from the connections of the suspects with US intelligence agencies.

In addition to the multiple warnings cited above and evidence of direct contact between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and reputed terrorists in Dagestan, other facts belie the official story that the elder brother dropped below the radar of the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security Department due to a “failure to communicate” on the part of the agencies.

After his return to Boston from Russia last year, Tsarnaev, according to the Washington Post, “assembled an extensive playlist of jihadist videos online.” And he was ejected from his mosque in the Boston area after making inflammatory anti-American statements. As one media source recently noted, since 9/11 the FBI has maintained a program of surveillance and the use of informants in mosques across the US.

In every major terror event in the US for more than a decade, it has emerged that the alleged perpetrators were well known to US police and intelligence agencies, which had been given multiple advance warnings of their activities. The explanation given in each case was that the authorities simply “failed to connect the dots” or “failed to communicate.”

Such was the case in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Such also was the case in the failed attempt by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day 2009 to ignite a plastic explosive device as a Northwest flight made its final descent toward Detroit. In that case, the father of the perpetrator had visited the US embassy in Nigeria one month earlier to warn authorities about the terrorist connections of his son in Yemen, and American authorities had received warnings of plans by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack the United States.

So too in the Boston Marathon bombings. If this were merely yet another staggering security failure on the part of US police and intelligence agencies, why have those officials responsible not been named and removed from their posts? Why is Robert Mueller, the head of the FBI at the time of the 9/11 attacks, still running the agency?

Claims of mere incompetence or “lapses” are not credible. The most elementary precautions, according to the official story, were somehow not taken. It is claimed, for example, that the FBI never informed the Boston police of its dossier on Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Given the fact that the city was holding a mass public event—the marathon—there is no innocent explanation for such a “mistake.” One would assume that in the run-up to such an event, the authorities would be tracking every move of such an individual.

More plausible, given what is already known, is the likelihood that the brothers, particularly Tamerlan, were being developed as assets for use in US imperialism’s operations in Chechnya, Dagestan and Georgia. Washington has maintained a longstanding relationship with Islamist extremist groups operating in Chechnya. Russia laid siege to the region in two devastating wars following the breakup of the Soviet Union in order to suppress separatist movements. In 2008, the US supported nearby Georgia in a war with Russia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Chechen separatists and Islamic fundamentalists, moreover, have been recruited by the US and its allies to participate in the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, whose shock troops are being provided by forces linked to Al Qaeda.

The Boston tragedy is but the latest example of US imperialism’s intrigues and crimes around the world becoming the breeding grounds for attacks on innocent people at home. Continue reading »

Apr 142013
 

Global Research
Stephen Lendman

Washington needs enemies. When none exist, they’re invented.

Pyongyang threatens no one. Obama claims no one wants war on the Korean peninsula. He urges Pyongyang “to pursue peace.”

On the other, he’s heightening tensions. He accused its leaders of “bad behavior,” “threats,” and “provocations.” He’s creating crisis conditions that didn’t exist. He’s spoiling for trouble doing so.

On Friday, John Kerry warned Kim Jong Un. Test-launching its Musudan missile threatens to inflame “an already volatile, potentially dangerous situation,” he said.

He claimed Washington’s open to negotiations. Denuclearizing the North comes first. Since Korean War hostilities ended, America never negotiated in good faith.

Promises made were broken. North Koreans remember. Efforts to normalize relations were spurned. A longstanding uneasy armistice continues.

Fidel Castro commented. He discussed “great challenges” humanity faces. The “situation created in the Korean Peninsula (is) one of the most serious dangers of nuclear war since the October Crisis around Cuba in 1962, he said.”

If war erupts, “the peoples of both part of the Peninsula will be terribly sacrificed….” It’ll provide added proof that Obama is “the most sinister character in the history of the United States.”

Avoiding war is his call, said Castro. It’s also up to Americans to demand it.

Heightening tensions is a US specialty. On April 13, a “Joint Statement at the United States-Republic of Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting said:

“The United States reaffirms its commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea in the wake of recent unacceptable provocations by North Korea.”

“Both sides agree on the importance of the denuclearization of North Korea, knowing that North Korea’s dangerous nuclear and missile programs threaten not only its neighbors, but also its own people.”

“The United States stands vigilantly by the Republic of Korea’s side. (Both) countries remain committed to the goal of peaceful denuclearization.”

America’s nuclear armed and dangerous. Its arsenal and global delivery systems make the unthinkable possible. Strategic and tactical nuclear weapons target the region.

Washington asserts the right to use them preemptively. Eventually perhaps they’ll do so. The threat is real.

Offensive missile defense systems are regionally land and sea-based. They encircle Russia, China and North Korea. They’re key parts of America’s first-strike policy. Obama accelerated their deployment.

At the same time, America encourages Russia and China to reduce their nuclear arsenals. It wants North Korea denuclearized. Doing so makes a US first-strike more likely.

America’s the only country ever to use nuclear weapons. It’s not hard imagining they’ll do so again. East Asia’s a prime target. China, Russia and North Korea know it. Thermonuclear disaster is possible.

Washington threatens the region. North Korea is blamed. On April 12, New York Times editors headlined “The North Korean Problem,” saying:

“….Washington (is) willing to resume long-stalled negotiations but only if the North Koreans….move seriously on denuclearization.”

“But the window into North Korea’s nuclear intentions and American policy in response was as blurry as ever.”

“The Defense Intelligence Agency rang alarms bells on Thursday with a report that it had concluded with ‘moderate confidence’ that the North was capable of launching a missile with a nuclear warhead.”

“North Korea poses a more imminent nuclear threat than Iran.” Washington so far “failed to curb either the North’s nuclear weapons program or its bellicosity.”

Numerous New York Times reports, commentaries and editorials falsely claim a North Korean threat. Hyperbole and misinformation substitute for hard facts. Fingers point the wrong way.

Readers are systematically lied to. It’s standard Times practice. Doing so marches in lockstep with Washington’s imperial policy. Times editors aren’t alone. Other Western ones match them.

On April 2, the Washington Post’s editorial board headlined “Answer North Korea with financial sanctions,” saying:

North Korea “manage(s) to concoct….provocative announcement(s) aimed at Washington.” Kim Jong Un declared a “state of war.”

 ”Could this untested, 30-year-old dictator be preparing to (do so against) the United States or South Korea? The worrying reality is that it is virtually impossible for outsiders to know for sure.”

It’s “playing an old and familiar game. (It’s) stoking a crisis atmosphere in order to rally support (and ) pressure the United States and its allies into opening negotiations.”

Previous US administrations “learned the hard way, answering provocations with diplomacy will not lead to concessions….only to another round of provocations.”

As usual, Post editors twisted truth. Pyongyang’s blamed for US belligerence and duplicity. They want tougher policies imposed.

They spurn peaceful conflict resolution. They want measures increasing the chances for war. They might get what they wish for. They may regret having done so.

A Fox News Wall Street Journal Editorial Report asked “what are the Norks up to?” Three panel members responded. Matt Kaminski said what’s ongoing “happened before.”

“If you push them too far, they might do something stupid.” They’re “unpredictable.”

According to Dan Henninger:

Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather were “more unstable than he is.” He accused them of offenses they didn’t commit. It’s standard media scoundrel practice.

Henninger claims Pyongyang’s “capable of (a) Pearl Harbor-type attack.”

Kim Strassel said North Korea “manufacture(d) a crisis.” It did so to “secure high-level talk(s and) get concessions from the West.”

The remaining discussion continued along the same lines. Pyongyang’s blamed for Washington’s provocations. Fingers point the wrong way. At the same time, Journal editors claimed Iran’s about to “go nuclear.”

Chicago Tribune editors headlined “Another North Korea? No thanks. So squeeze Iran. Harder,” saying:

“At any moment, North Korea may fire more missiles….”

“As all of us wait to see what comes next, no one in the West knows the intentions of….Kim Jong Un.”

“North Korea has a growing nuclear arsenal. It commands world attention with its threats of nuclear retaliation against the US and other enemies.”

It may be able to launch a nuclear weapon by ballistic missile. “All of this worries not only American officials but also US allies in the region….”

“Now imagine a world with not one rambunctious and nuke-emboldened North Korea, but two.”

“That is, imagine a world in which the Islamic despots of Iran, too, control a nuclear arsenal.”

Today’s Tribune editors replicate former publisher Robert McCormick. He was outspoken and conservative. He was rabidly right-wing, anti-union and belligerent.

He was heir to the International Harvester fortune. He became the Republican party’s kingmaker. He supported America’s 1916 Mexico invasion. He was a cavalry major in the conflict.

In WW I, he was an artillery officer. He rose to the rank of colonel. He was ardently anti-Communist. His editorials condemned it. Today’s follow in his footsteps. They support tough measures against North Korea and Iran. They blame both countries for America’s belligerence.

Alexander Voronstsov heads Russia’s Institute of Oriental Studies. He calls North Korea’s fears justifiable. It’s concerned about annual US/South Korean war games.

They prepare for war. Perhaps that’s Washington’s intention. Its policies belie its rhetoric. Obama’s waging multiple imperial wars.

America wants unchallenged global dominance. East Asia represents the final frontier.

Washington deplores peace. It prioritizes war. It threatens humanity. Attacking North Korea or Iran could precipitate global war. The danger is real. Both countries have justifiable cause for concern.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/creating-a-north-korean-threat/
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Jan 012013
 
Pravda
Anastasia Garina
Russia throws poisonous meat back to US. 48807.jpeg
U.S. meat supplies to Russia have been banned. The Russian Federation and the United States differ in the assessment of the causes of the situation. Russia claims that the reason for the ban was the presence of ractopamine drug in US meat. America insists that Russia’s actions were a response to the adoption of the Magnitsky Act by the Senate and accuses Russia of violating WTO rules.
On December 7, 2012 Russia’s Federal Agency for Agricultural Control, Rosselhohznadzor, banned the imports of meat containing ractopamine. This is a food additive that allows to reduce the content of fat in beef and pork. The drug is added to food so that animals grow the muscle mass instead of fat. According to researchers, ractopamine affects the human cardiovascular system, and in some cases can cause food poisoning. This drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia. It is allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. Codex Alimentarius of the World Health Organization, adopted in July 2012 in Rome by representatives of 186 countries, allows the contents of ractopamine in meat.
Formally, Russia does not prohibit the delivery of pork and beef from the United States. It only notified a number of countries, including the US of A, of the need to provide documents saying that animals had not been fed ractopamine – the drug that is banned in Russia. However, the warned countries (in addition to the U.S. the list includes Canada, Brazil and Mexico and excludes 20 countries where the drug is used) do not have the appropriate expertise, because there was no need to have it before. Rosselkhoznadzor promised to introduce a transitional period for those countries, until about the end of January 2013. However, specific implementation mechanisms remain unclear.
As for foreign countries, the move of the Russian Agency for Agricultural Control will hit the United States most. Russia is the fourth largest importer of U.S. meat and spends about $500 million a year on it. The Russian market consumes 0.6 percent of all beef and 1.4 percent of pork produced in the United States. More than 200 containers of meat products worth about $20 million are currently on their way to Russia from the United States.
However, the lack of U.S. meat on the Russian market will affect the Russian economy. The pork from the United States comes fourth on the volume of shipments to Russia. In total, the share of imported meat in the Russian market makes up not less than a third.
The United States regards the ban of meat imports as a political move. According to American analysts, Russia has reacted so to the recent adoption of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. Congress. On December 6, the U.S. Senate almost unanimously (92 votes “for” and 4 – “against”) approved the bill that imposed visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials involved, according to Washington, in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer of Hermitage investment fund. The first three parts of this document are devoted to the interaction of Russia and the U.S. in the WTO. In particular, the bill abolishes the Jackson-Vanik amendment for Russia and Moldova, which was adopted in 1974. It is expected that U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the bill in the near future.
“This seems to be in retaliation to the Senate’s passage of the trade bill with Russia … there is certainly no doubt about it,” Rich Nelson, chief strategist at research and brokerage company Allendale Inc, said.
Russian officials were surprised to know that US analysts associated the ban on meat imports with the Magnitsky Act.
“One can speculate about whether it was done in retaliation or not, but the measure was based on the content of some additives in meat that are contrary to Russian sanitary standards,” deputy director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Victor Supyan told Pravda.Ru.
Previously, the Russian side promised to take comprehensive, multidimensional and extremely strong measures should the Magnitsky Act be adopted in the USA. Presently, the United States accuses Russia of violating WTO rules. “All WTO members break these rules. This is normal,” Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in response to similar accusations in November of this year in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper. However, on Saturday, U.S. officials said they were expecting actions from Russia to change the situation. The U.S. side expressed a hope that in the near future Russia would remove the ban on the imports of meat, thus fulfilling its obligations as a WTO member. Russia, in turn, does not see any violations in its actions.

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