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Russian ‘Soldiers Mothers Committees’ — a US Covert Op?

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity | August 30, 2014

Ned

A major component in the latest western government and media claims of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is protests of the various Russian “Soldiers’ Mothers Committes” over the supposed disappearance of their soldier sons in Ukraine. Absent compelling visual evidence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, these NGOs are said to provide the evidence that, as NATO claims, 1,000 young Russians have been forced to go fight in Ukraine.

The US mainstream media has reported extensively over the past several days that these “Soldiers’ Mothers Committes” are a smoking gun indicating the Russian government’s military intervention in Ukraine.

From the Washington Post on 29 August:

Valentina Melnikova, who leads the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, told the Daily Beast she was “personally humiliated as a citizen of the Russian Federation by our commander-in-chief’s pure, direct crime.” She said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “violating not only international laws, not only the Geneva Convention, [he] also is breaking Russian Federation law about defense. And as for the [Russian airborne commander], we should be too disgusted to even mention his name. He forces his servicemen to fight in a foreign state, Ukraine, illegally, while mothers receive coffins with their sons, anonymously.”

Here is the Daily Kos :

Here are some “known knowns” about Russians and Ukraine. Russian troops are in Ukraine. Russian troops have died in Ukraine. Russian mothers can’t get answers about where their sons are. Add to that common knowledge a new, unsettling “known” that Russian soldiers, most just boys, are being buried in secret graveyards far from families who can only guess their fate.

But are these committees really just innocent NGOs that seek to defend young Russian soldiers being sent off to fight in foreign lands? Or are they well-financed and trained arms of US propaganda used to bolster Washington’s line that Russia has invaded Ukraine?

The US government has in the past been generous in funding the Russian Soldiers’ Mothers Committes. In a 2011 report of the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, we learn that the US government granted the Committees more than $150,000. In 2010 they received approximately the same amount from the US government, and in 2009 they received nearly $200,000.

We cannot tell how much the US government has funded these organization in more recent years because the NED, which demands transparency in others, refuses to publish a list of its grantees any longer.

It is certainly possible that these Committees, which were initially formed to help Russians avoid conscription, have not been co-opted into serving as a propaganda tool for the US government. However the fact that they have long accepted US government money and are now a key component of Washington’s propaganda strategy may suggest otherwise. The Soldiers’ Mothers Committees were required last year under Russian law to register as foreign agents due to US government funding of their operations.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

Where do Ukraine’s rebels get arms from? Old Soviet bases, says Russia’s top brass

RT | August 30, 2014

Russia is not waging war in Ukraine’s east, and is not supplying rebels with military equipment, according to Russian deputy defense minister Anatoly Antonov. The anti-Kiev forces get their arms at old Soviet storages – same as government troops do.

“Surely, Russia doesn’t wage any war. Vladimir Putin’s policy is aimed at not allowing the situation to develop according to the worst-case scenario. There are, unfortunately, forces that try to push two peoples against each other to start a real war between Russia and Ukraine,” Antonov said, speaking with journalists in Slovakia.

Addressing the claims that Russia supplies weapons to the eastern Ukrainian self-defense forces, he explained where the militia may get their weaponry from.

“First, one shouldn’t forget that Ukraine used to be a part of the Soviet Union. There were many weapon storages on the territory of the Soviet Union, so when Ukraine and Russia became independent states, clearly some storages remained on Ukrainian territory.”

“Currently, in the region engulfed by this disaster, by the bloodshed, where the “punishment” operation is being carried out by Kiev against its own people, some of these storages have been seized by the self-defense forces. That’s why saying that Russians supplied the weapons to Lugansk and Donetsk is simply incorrect. Look at the Ukrainian army’s weaponry. It’s fighting with the Russian weapons – or, more precisely, with Soviet weapons,” Antonov said.

Another source is operational trophies, the deputy defense minister said. “The self-defense forces seize large amounts of National Guard’s and the Ukrainian army’s weapons. Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers fled into Russia, leaving the weapons they used to own,” he added.

The cost of the war – be it “anti-terrorist operation” as Kiev puts it or a “military operation for protecting East Ukraine civilians” as the rebel forces have it – comes at a cost. To Russia, it is a stream of refugees, who “didn’t enter our territory just to “visit their grannies”,” Antonov said.

More than 130,000 Ukrainians have asked for either refugee status or temporary asylum in Russia since the conflict in the country’s east started in April, according to the Federal Migration Service, while some 820,000 Ukrainian citizens have moved to Russia.

“Those who come to Russia need to be given medical aid, provided with a job… There is no lighting, morgues and the sewage doesn’t function, there is no water, the people choke because of the unbelievable damage that the Kiev government has done. In this situation, we couldn’t be uninvolved…” Antonov said.

If Moscow sends anything to Ukraine, it is supplies to civilians caught up in turmoil as Ukraine’s east is plunging into a humanitarian crisis. Cities in Donetsk have been without water and electricity for weeks now, there are food shortages and it is hard to leave the conflict zone.

“What do we send there? We send wheat, buckwheat, medical supplies, mini electricity stations to ensure there is electricity at least in hospitals… That’s what we send!” Antonov stressed. “It was said that we would use those trucks to carry out some military intervention. I would like to say openly: it’s all nonsense. It was all counted: the number of trucks which came to Lugansk exactly corresponded with the number of those which returned to Russia, empty.”

Since April, almost 2,000 people, many of them civilians, have been killed in the fighting. Over 130,000 people have been declared internally displaced, according to the UN, while the number of those who have fled into Russia is nearing a million, according to the Russia’s government.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

U.S. Senators Urge Ecuador to Restore Relations with Israel

teleSUR | August 27, 2014

Ecuador will continue supporting Palestine despite U.S. pressure to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.

The successful campaign “Ecuador with Palestine” organized by civil society and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resulted in 20 tons of medical supplies and other crucial donations that will be delivered to Gaza next week.

The end of the campaign on August 25 coincided with a letter sent by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez, Mark Kirk and James Risch, urging the governments of Ecuador, Brazil, El Salvador, Peru and Chile to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.

The letter read, “Your actions send a troubling message to the United States about your government’s commitment to long-lasting peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

In early August President Rafael Correa canceled a trip to Israel scheduled for the second half of this year. This decision was made in the midst of the “Operation Protective Edge,” which saw a ceasefire begin Tuesday after leaving more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.

The government of Ecuador recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv and has opened an embassy in Ramallah.

Reacting to the letter sent by the senators, Foreign Minister Ricard Patiño said, “These men should give advice in their own house, they are not going to give the Ecuadorian government advice, worse is this type of advice of a political nature.”

“We are going to keep developing other agreements to enter in strong bilateral relations,” said Palestinian Ambassador in Ecuador Hani Remawi, “We have a lot to give Ecuador, and Ecuador also has more, much, much more to offer Palestine.” … Full article

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | August 26, 2014

The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador to Belgium and to NATO.

Kislyak spoke to a packed auditorium and took, I think, well over an hour of questions. He spoke frankly, and the questions he was asked by students, professors, and other participants were polite and for the most part far more intelligent than he would have been asked on, for example, Meet the Press.

He told the audience that Russia had known there were no WMDs in Iraq, and had known that attacking Iraq would bring “great difficulties” to that country. “And look what is happening today,” he said. He made the same comment about Libya. He spoke of the U.S. and Russia working together to successfully remove chemical weapons from the Syrian government. But he warned against attacking Syria now.

There will be no new Cold War, Kislyak said, but there is now a greater divide in some ways than during the Cold War. Back then, he said, the U.S. Congress sent delegations over to meet with legislators, and the Supreme Court likewise. Now there is no contact. It’s easy in the U.S. to be anti-Russian, he said, and hard to defend Russia. He complained about U.S. economic sanctions against Russia intended to “suffocate” Russian agriculture.

Asked about “annexing” Crimea, Kislyak rejected that characterization, pointed to the armed overthrow of the Ukrainian government, and insisted that Kiev must stop bombing its own people and instead talk about federalism within Ukraine.

There were remarkably few questions put to the ambassador that seemed informed by U.S. television “news.” One was from a politics professor who insisted that Kislyak assign blame to Russia over Ukraine. Kislyak didn’t.

I always sit in the back, thinking I might leave, but Kislyak was only taking questions from the front. So I moved up and was finally called on for the last question of the evening. For an hour and a half, Kislyak had addressed war and peace and Russian-U.S. relations, but he’d never blamed the U.S. for anything in Ukraine any more than Russia. No one had uttered the word “NATO.”

So I pointed out the upcoming NATO protests. I recalled the history of Russia being told that NATO would not expand eastward. I asked Kislyak whether NATO ought to be disbanded.

The ambassador said that he had been the first Russian to “present his credentials” to NATO, and that he had “overestimated” NATO’s ability to work with Russia. He’d been disappointed by NATO actions in Serbia, he said, and Libya, by the expansion eastward, by NATO pressure on Ukraine and Poland, and by the pretense that Russia might be about to attack Poland.

“We were promised,” Kislyak said, that NATO would not expand eastward at all upon the reunification of Germany. “And now look.” NATO has declared that Ukraine and Georgia will join NATO, Kislyak pointed out, and NATO says this even while a majority of the people in Ukraine say they’re opposed.

The ambassador used the word “disappointed” a few times.

“We’ll have to take measures to assure our defense,” he said, “but we would have preferred to build on a situation with decreased presence and decreased readiness.”

Wouldn’t we all.

Join the campaign to shut down NATO.

Sign a petition for an independent investigation into the airplane crash in Ukraine.

Send a note to the Russian Embassy to let them know you’re against a new Cold War too.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

US sanctions contravene Iran nuclear deal: FM spokeswoman

Press TV – August 30, 2014

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the US administration’s new round of sanctions against Iranian individuals and firms, saying they contravene an interim accord reached last year between Iran and six powers.

“The move is in complete contrast with the current process of resolution of [Iran’s] nuclear issue,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday.

On Friday, the US imposed sanctions on over 25 Iranian individuals and companies, including shipping firms, oil companies, airlines and six banks.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects any one-sided and unacceptable interpretations of the Geneva [nuclear] deal by the US and strongly believes that the imposed sanctions are against the US commitments in the deal,” Afkham said.

She noted that the sanctions will have “negative and unconstructive impacts” on the process of the nuclear talks between Iran and the six powers, saying, the recent sanctions will question the “seriousness, honesty and goodwill” of Washington and other negotiating states.

The spokeswoman stated that the new US sanctions cast doubt on the negotiating parties’ “commitment to a possible final deal” that requires the lifting of all “illegal and illegitimate” sanctions against Tehran.

“While the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken confidence-building steps in compliance with its commitment to the deal…and it has been reflected in numerous reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran expects reciprocal actions from the US and other member states of the P5+1,” Afkham added.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain and the US — plus Germany are in talks to reach a final agreement aimed at resolving the standoff over Tehran’s civilian nuclear work.

The two sides signed a historic interim deal in Geneva last November. The agreement entered into force on January 20 and expired six months later. In July, Tehran and the six states agreed to extend their discussions until November 24 in a bid to work out a final accord.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Laptop of Death, 2.0

emptywheel | August 29, 2014

The Greater US War to Remake the Middle East has been going on so long, it is already re-running its story lines.

Back in 2004, when Dick Cheney was trying to drum up a hot war against Iran, the CIA got dealt a laptop that provided a casus belli all wrapped up in a bow: all aspects of Iran’s nuke program, all conveniently collected on one laptop, somehow falling into intelligence hands. It later showed signs of being a forgery.

Now, as the warmakers are trying to gin up a hot war against ISIS (in seeming co-belligerence with Iran!), that’s whose laptop we find, courtesy of Foreign Policy : a Tunisian named Muhammed whose last name and picture Foreign Policy declined to provide. On the laptop, FP found a 19-page document that explains how to “weaponize” bubonic plague by throwing it on grenades close to air conditioning units.

“Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers,” the 19-page document on biological weapons advises. “Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations.”

Because a college science student only needs 19 pages to accomplish the technical feat of weaponizing the plague.

Remarkably, a lot of people are taking this as a serious discovery, even though FP describes obtaining the laptop this way:

Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria, proudly shows a black laptop partly covered in dust. “We took it this year from an ISIS hideout,” he says.

Abu Ali says the fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which have since rebranded themselves as the Islamic State, all fled before he and his men attacked the building. The attack occurred in January in a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey, as part of a larger anti-ISIS offensive occurring at the time. “We found the laptop and the power cord in a room,” he continued, “I took it with me. But I have no clue if it still works or if it contains anything interesting.”

As we switched on the Dell laptop, it indeed still worked. Nor was it password-protected.

We are supposed to believe that 1) ISIS got routed back in January 2) left their laptop 3) don’t password protect their devices.

More amusingly, we’re supposed to believe that upon capturing devices from an adversary, the “moderate” beheaders in the FSA would not look for intelligence on those devices. Instead, they’d let a computer collect dust over the course of 8 months, never once attempting to so much as turn on a laptop, until such time as it became imperative to foster opposition to ISIS.

Because powering a laptop is apparently too hard for FSA commanders?

Either Abu Ali is lying, or he’s lying. Which means the provenance of this laptop and this story is so suspect it should not be treated seriously. There are plenty of other reasons to doubt the story. But if your source claims never to have turned on a laptop — never to have even tried! — seized from an adversary over the course of 8 months, your source is not telling the truth.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Declared missing: Russian diplomats detained in Kiev under dubious pretext

RT | August 30, 2014

A group of Russian embassy employees, detained in Kiev under a completely false pretext, have been declared missing by the embassy, after the Russian Foreign Ministry’s call for their immediate release was ignored by Ukrainian authorities.

Two Russian diplomats – 3rd Secretary of the Embassy Andrey Golovanov and attaché Mikhail Shorin – were detained by Kiev police earlier this week, despite carrying diplomatic passports. While the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry admitted their detention, the Interior Ministry later denied the incident.

“In connection with such contradictory reports from Ukrainian authorities, the Russian Embassy in Ukraine is forced to officially declare the disappearance of [Golovanov and Shorin] of the territory of Ukraine,” Russia’s embassy said in a statement on Friday.

Two men who were detained near a café in Kiev were carrying “hand grenades” and had documents “resembling” Russian diplomatic passports, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claimed in an official note on August 27.

The pretext for their detention is clearly fabricated, the Russian FM said in response, demanding the immediate release of the diplomatic staff.

“Despite showing their diplomatic passports, they were detained under a completely false pretext,” the statement said.

“We demand the immediate release of the embassy staff members and prevention of any future violations of international conventions on diplomatic immunity,” the ministry added.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Citizen’s Arrest of Tony Blair: Megamix

Words by Heathcote Williams, music by Max Reinsch, video by Alan Cox. See: Babylonroyal » and Handsome Dog Productions

Lyrics

It’s time for Tony to face charges;
It’s time for a Citizen’s Arrest.
There’s an empty dock in the Hague
Dying to have him as its guest.

There’s a million bodies buried in Iraq
Whose ghosts cry out in despair;
‘There were no weapons of mass destruction
So where’s ‘The People versus Tony Blair?’

There were no weapons about to hit London
Within the space of three quarters of an hour.
Tony was lying to Parliament and his country –
For Iraq never toppled the twin towers.

He and Campbell were conned by the neo-cons.
They were impressed by American power
Into letting themselves be drawn into war crimes
With Iraq being bombed for hour after hour.

A million were bombed to smithereens
Killed by shells tipped with uranium –
Causing birth defects to pregnant women
Lasting from generation to generation.

As a lawyer you’re aware that aggressive warfare,
Under the Nuremburg Protocols,
Constitutes the ultimate crime in international law –
Your avoiding justice makes people emotional.

To add insult to injury you’ve profited, Tony,
And you swan about in a private jet.
It’s made you popular amongst the corrupt;
You’re part of the International Set.

But the International Criminal Court
Is keeping your seat in the dock warm,
And anyone carrying out a successful arrest
Promises to go down a storm.

They’ll be rewarded with worldwide cheers
They’ll be greeted by great sighs of relief,
For at last the rule of law and of human rights
Won’t be undermined by a grinning thief.

There is a bounty on the head of Tony Blair. ArrestBlair.org offers a reward to people attempting a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair for crimes against peace. Read more…

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Video, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments