Aletho News


Moscow Slams Closure of Russian TV in Ukraine

RIA Novosti | March 25, 2014

MOSCOW – A ruling by a Ukrainian court to suspend broadcasts of four Russian TV channels in Ukraine is an attack against human rights and media freedom, a senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.

The District Administrative Court in Kiev ruled to suspend broadcasts of Russia’s Rossiya 24, Channel One, RTR Planeta, and NTV-World in Ukraine pending hearings on a permanent ban.

“Undoubtedly, this should be viewed only as an infringement on democratic freedoms and as a violation of Ukraine’s international obligations. Certainly, millions of [Russian-speaking] residents of this country have the right to watch [Russian] TV and have access to [other] Russian-language media,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s point man on human rights.

“Forces that came into power in Kiev as a result of an anti-constitutional coup, have declared their commitment to basic human rights and freedoms, to principles of democracy. Naturally, this announcement contradicts such statements,” Dolgov said.

Ukraine is split into Russian-speaking east and Ukrainian-speaking west.

National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine has ordered cable and satellite TV service providers to exclude Russian TV channels, popular among Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine, from their packages.

The watchdog said the Russian channels’ coverage of the recent events in Ukraine, including the political crisis and Crimea’s reunification with Russia, harms national security.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic condemned the move in mid-March, saying that that “banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship; national security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom.”

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

3 South Ukrainian Cities Want to Join Crimea – Lawmaker

RIA Novosti | March 4, 2014

SIMFEROPOL  – A senior Crimean lawmaker said on Monday that representatives of three southern Ukrainian administrative capitals expressed willingness to become a part of the autonomous republic if its autonomy is broadened in a referendum.

Deputy speaker of Crimea’s Supreme Council Serhiy Tsekov said Crimean authorities had received calls from “representatives of local administrative bodies” in Mykolaiv, Kherson and Odessa.

“They think that they should be together with Crimea,” he said.

Ukraine’s mainly ethnic Russian-populated region of Crimea is now at the center of the ongoing crisis in the country as pro-Russia groups move to distance themselves from a reformed national parliament that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych a week ago.

The Crimean parliament voted last week to hold a referendum on greater autonomy on March 30.

March 3, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol: sources

RT | March 2, 2014

About 10 Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet ships have left the naval base in Sevastopol, with several vessels now heading to Odessa, administrative sources have said. The ships left the base voluntarily but some of them broke down and returned, they claimed.

Over the last 24 hours, “about 10 [war]ships and vessels of the Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet have left the Sevastopol base,” a source in the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea told Interfax on Sunday.

“Naturally, no one has compelled them to do so,” the government source added.

The administration of the Crimean autonomy has nothing to do with the moves of the Ukrainian ships, an administrative source also told RIA Novosti.

Several vessels have since returned to the base in Sevastopol “because of malfunctions,” the source said.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian troops were due to swear allegiance to the Crimean authorities in Sevastopol at 5pm local time (15:00 GMT). An unnamed official source earlier told RIA Novosti that “the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea” have passed to the side of the region. The transition was made “without a single shot fired,” the source said.

Ukrainian state agencies have been categorically denying both the claims of Ukrainian soldiers switching sides en masse and, earlier, reports of warships leaving Sevastopol.

However, the governor of southern Ukrainian Odessa Region told local media that several Ukrainian ships are sailing to the city of Odessa and it is being decided where they will dock.

A Russian media report on Saturday claimed that Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate has refused to follow orders from Kiev, came over to Russia’s side and was returning home from the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag. Various Ukrainian media denied the report as “false” and “propaganda,” but gave only a Facebook statement of a former Navy officer turned journalist in support of the rebuttal.

This comes as the newly appointed Navy Chief rear admiral Denis Berezovsky has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea, according to RIA Novosti.

“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations,” Berezovsky said.

Hours after the announcement, the self-proclaimed government in Kiev dismissed the Navy Chief and launched a treason case against him.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Comments Off on Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol: sources

Russia Concerned at US Plans for Bases in Afghanistan

RIA Novosti | November 20, 2013

MOSCOW – A senior Russian diplomat has voiced concerns over US plans to retain nine military bases in Afghanistan after their planned withdrawal from the country.

Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told RIA Novosti in an interview Wednesday that the bases would “exert a serious influence on the whole vast Asian region and become a powerful foothold for any large-scale military operation.”

Kabulov said Russia has many questions about the purpose of the bases.

The United States earlier said they would be used to train top brass of Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry and General Staff, which is estimated to count up to 400 people.

“Aren’t [400 people] too few for nine military bases?” Kabulov said. “Besides, what is the purpose of hiding the infrastructure of the Camp Shorabak training camp underground, which is moreover equipped with a three-kilometer runway?”

Kabulov said that while he accepted that Afghanistan was free to sign military agreements with any state, he hoped that Kabul’s authorization of foreign military bases would not result in security threats to third states, including Russia.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which is currently estimated to comprise 100,000 servicemen, is to be largely pulled out of the country by the end of 2014.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Kerry Opposes Draft Plan on Iran in Geneva – Source

RIA Novosti | November 9, 2013

GENEVA – US State Secretary John Kerry opposed a draft deal on Iran’s nuclear program during high-profile talks in Geneva, a source at the negotiations told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

Kerry held a snap meeting late Friday with representatives of Iran and the 5+1 group of international negotiators, which includes lower-ranking US diplomats.

Iran and the 5+1, which also comprises Russia, Britain, China, France and Germany, earlier drafted a step-by-step deal to lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a partial freeze of the Iranian nuclear program.

Kerry was to discuss the matter further on Saturday with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The talks in Geneva were expected to break the lengthy stalemate on Iran’s nuclear program, whose peaceful nature is questioned by Western powers and Israel.

But the head of the French Foreign Ministry, Laurent Fabius, said Saturday that the Geneva talks may not end in a deal.

Iranian diplomats said earlier Tehran was ready for another round of talks in case the ongoing meeting yields no result.

Iran proposed last month to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent in exchange for lifting of sanctions starting with its banking industry and oil exports.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | Comments Off on Kerry Opposes Draft Plan on Iran in Geneva – Source

Putin Signs Law Punishing Terrorists’ Relatives

RIA Novosti | November 3, 2013

MOSCOW  – President Vladimir Putin signed a law Sunday forcing the relatives of terrorists to pay for the damages caused by their attacks.

The law submitted by President Putin in September that includes measures to criminalize training in terrorist camps was approved by the country’s parliament in late October.

Effort to target the families of militants marks the latest attempt by Russian authorities to stamp out an insurgency in the turbulent North Caucasus that has claimed thousands of lives over more than a decade.

Under the law, material and moral damages inflicted as a result of a terrorist attack should be compensated “by the perpetrator and his or her family members, relatives, in-laws and other people, whose lives, health and well-being are significant to him or her because of established personal relations.”

The new law stipulates closer scrutiny toward property belonging to the relatives and loved ones of people who have “committed a terrorist act,” with the goal of verifying whether such money or goods were acquired legally.

People found guilty of training with the aim of carrying out terrorist activities will now face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($15,700). Anybody found guilty of creating terrorist networks could be sentenced to 20 years behind bars and fines of up to one million rubles.

Individuals found to be parts of terrorist organizations can now be punished with 10-year jail sentences and 500,000 ruble fines.

The new legislation increases penalties for setting up, leading or financing armed groups to up to 10 years. Participation in such groups, including those based abroad, is punishable with up to six years in jail.

November 3, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Comments Off on Putin Signs Law Punishing Terrorists’ Relatives

US Congress Finds ‘Overwhelming’ Public Opposition to Force in Syria

By Maria Young | RIA Novosti | September 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – After three days of non-stop phone calls from hundreds of Colorado constituents opposed to a US military strike on Syria, Rep. Doug Lamborn announced Friday he was “leaning against” a resolution giving US President Barack Obama the authority to take limited action.

Following a long holiday weekend, “Tuesday is when the calls started, they’re still coming in, and I would say fewer than two percent are people who want us to take action,” said Catherine Mortensen, Lamborn’s communications director.

“People say things like, ‘We have problems at home we need to take care of.’ And what was surprising was how quickly people’s opinions had gelled. They’re not lukewarm. Right off the bat on Tuesday it was, ‘We don’t need this.’ It’s been overwhelming,” she added in an interview with RIA Novosti.

While Lamborn was answering questions from listeners during a radio show Friday morning, Mortensen said, “One man phoned in to say, ‘I’m in Afghanistan, and I don’t want this anymore.’”

By the end of the show, Lamborn, a Republican, who previously had said he was gathering facts and hadn’t made up his mind yet, told listeners he was inclined to vote against the resolution.

And Lamborn’s office is not alone.

Other Congressional offices say they have also been bombarded ever since Obama said last Saturday that he would ask Congress to approve a “limited” strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

“I can tell you 99 percent of the calls coming to my office are against it,” said Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in a televised interview on MSNBC.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who lost the presidency to Obama in 2008, voted to support his old rival during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week, but took significant heat about it from angry constituents at a town hall meeting in Arizona Thursday.

“This is what I think of Congress,” said one man in the crowd, holding up a bag of marshmallows. “They are a bunch of marshmallows…Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It’s not our fight.”

Some of those calls and comments to Congress appear to be having an effect.

After days of discussions with voters, Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, announced late Thursday in a statement on his website that he would vote against the president’s request, saying the situation in Syria is a civil war that America should not be drawn into.

“This is not just my opinion. It is the considered opinion of the people that I represent, expressed not at just one or two town halls, but literally at every public or private meeting and casual encounter I have had since the president decided to put this issue before Congress last Saturday,” he said, adding, “I have heard their opposition loud and clear and will not vote in favor of military intervention in Syria.”

Upon hearing word about a chemical attack that had killed men, women and children, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm from New York said his initial reaction, as a Marine combat veteran, “was to stand by the Commander in Chief and support immediate, targeted strikes.”

Grimm announced Thursday he, too, had changed his mind.

“I have heard from many constituents who strongly oppose unilateral action at a time when we have so many needs here at home. Thus, after much thought, deliberation and prayer, I am no longer convinced that a US strike on Syria will yield a benefit to the United States that will not be greatly outweighed by the extreme cost of war,” he said in a statement on his website.

The Obama Administration thus far has “failed to present a convincing argument that the events in Syria pose a clear threat to America, failed to list a strong coalition of nations willing to support military attacks, and failed to articulate a clear definition of victory,” said Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon in a statement on his website explaining his opposition to a strike.

Salmon told the National Review Online he’s had 500 calls to his office about the crisis in Syria, and only two have been in favor of US intervention. He predicted Obama’s efforts in Congress “will fail by 20 votes.”

SenFeinsteinBut Obama is counting on members of Congress like California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has viewed classified information about the chemical weapons attack and said Thursday she supports the strike on Syria, despite the lack of public support.

“There’s no question: What’s coming in is overwhelmingly negative,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “But you see, then, they don’t know what I know. They haven’t heard what I’ve heard.”

During a press conference from St. Petersburg soon after the G20 summit wrapped up on Friday, Obama said he would address the nation about the crisis on Tuesday, telling reporters he considers it part of his job to “make the case.”

“It’s conceivable that, at the end of the day, I don’t persuade a majority of the American people that it’s the right thing to do,” Obama said to reporters.

But he added that members of Congress will have to decide for themselves if they think a strike is the right thing for national and global security.

“Ultimately, you listen to your constituents, but you’ve got to make some decisions about what you believe is right for America,” he said.

Obama did not say whether he would still order a strike even without Congressional approval.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on US Congress Finds ‘Overwhelming’ Public Opposition to Force in Syria

Russia Offers Iran New Replacement for S-300 – Paper

RIA Novosti | June 22, 2013

MOSCOW – Moscow made a new attempt to dodge a $4-billion lawsuit from Tehran over a failed deal to supply S-300 missile systems by offering another type of air defense system to Iran, Kommersant daily said Saturday.

The new offer on the table is Antei-2500, aka S-300VM, or SA-23 Gladiator in NATO nomenclature, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources in the Russian arms trade industry. The missile defense system can simultaneously destroy up to 24 aircraft within the range a range of 200 kilometers or intercept up to 16 ballistic missiles.

The deal can be formalized during the visit of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Moscow on July 1, an unnamed Iranian diplomat told Kommersant.

Iran was initially interested in the S-300 missile complexes, signing in 2007 a contract worth $800 million for five missile defense systems of this make.

But the deal was scrapped in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was unilaterally expanding on sanctions against Iran imposed by the UN Security Council.

Iran filed a $4-billion lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva, which is currently pending review.

Moscow has struggled to have the lawsuit dropped, including by offering the Tor anti-aircraft systems as replacement, media reported earlier this month, adding that the offer was rejected by Tehran.

The Antei-2500, however, may be a better solution. The system does not formally fall under the existing sanctions against Iran while still being useful for the Middle Eastern country, which wants to have protection against a possible missile strike by its enemy Israel, Kommersant said.

While the S-300 was developed for the use by missile defense forces, the Antei-2500 was specifically tailored for the needs of ground forces, which could also be an advantage for Iran, known for its large land force.

Russia is already exporting the Antei-2500, having delivered two missile systems to Venezuela earlier this year. India and Turkey were also named as potential buyers, though no deals were formalized so far.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on Russia Offers Iran New Replacement for S-300 – Paper

“Murdered” Russian General dispels Syrian rebels’ claims of his death

PanARMENIAN.Net – August 8, 2012

Russia’s Defense Ministry dismissed as “complete lies,” Free Syrian Army claims on Wednesday, August 8 that it had killed a Russian general, RIA Novosti said.

“The goal of broadcasting such statements is not just to cause a sensation, but a clear attempt at a slur toward the Russian Army,” the Defense Ministry press service said in a statement.

Major General Vladimir Kuzheev, whom Syrian rebels earlier claimed to have killed, on Wednesday met with journalists at the Russian Defense Ministry and personally dismissed the reports about his death.

“I want to express thanks to the media for their attention to my person…I want to confirm that I am well and alive, live in Moscow…I realize that this information is a provocation not only against me but against my country,” Kuzheev said.

Al Arabiya broadcast a video earlier on Wednesday in which the Free Syrian Army claimed to have killed General Vladmir Kojaiv and his Syrian translator, and showed what the FSA claimed was his identity card with a photo.

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Comments Off on “Murdered” Russian General dispels Syrian rebels’ claims of his death

Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast

Russian Information Agency Novosti | April 13, 2012

MOSCOW: Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

“A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the source said.

The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast.

“Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May,” the source said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean.

“This may be the Pytlivy frigate or one of the amphibious assault ships,” he said, adding that “deployment of a Black Sea Fleet task force to the region cannot be ruled out.”

The United States, France, Great Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of unrest in Syria in February 2012. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the United Nations. On Thursday, the Syrian government declared a ceasefire with opposition fighters as part of a U.N.-brokered peace plan.

The Russian military has repeatedly underscored the need for Russian warships to patrol the Mediterranean on a permanent basis. In Soviet days, up to 50 warships from the Fifth Squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and other Soviet Navy units have been deployed in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis.

Over the winter months, a Russian task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has been deployed to the Mediterranean. The ships returned to the Russian Northern Fleet’s home base of Severomorsk in February, after two-month naval exercises.

Other Russian ships currently on patrol duty in the Mediterranean are the Kildin surveillance ship, as well as the Iman tanker vessel and a floating workshop deployed near the Syrian port of Tartus.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast