Opening ceremony of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games
“We have counted approximately 100, about 101 or 102 absolutely verified and recorded facts of American involvement in the sovereign affairs of over 60 UN member-nations since the approval of this organizations’ charter that bans any such involvement – since 1946 till this day,” the head of the upper house Commission for Protection of State Sovereignty, Senator Andrey Klimov, was quoted as saying on Monday by TASS.
The senator named one particular example from the list – the 1973 coup d’état in Chile that installed Augusto Pinochet as a military dictator and as a result of which the country’s parliament was dissolved and numerous human rights violations were committed. “Every such fact has a multitude of episodes of the US interference,” he noted.
Klimov told TASS that the annual report would be finalized and released at the end of the month, and added that senators were preparing a different edition which would be distributed among a “closed circle of persons” and which would not be released to the wider public in the foreseeable future.
At the same time, Klimov noted that not all cases of US involvement in other nations’ affairs could be formally described as such and thus were not included in the report. As an example, he named Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, in which the US president said that Washington was constantly meddling in other nations’ affairs and called for an end to such practices. “And these were the words of an inaugurated president, the commander-in-chief of the US military forces, who had been briefed through all files,” he said.
Another example was the 2003 speech of George W. Bush in which the then-US president urged change in political regimes in between 40 and 50 foreign countries.
The upper house commission for monitoring and countering foreign nations’ attempts to influence internal Russian politics was formed in mid-2017. Back then, upper house Speaker Valentina Matvienko said that attempts to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs had been ongoing for years and that up to $100 billion was sent to Russia from abroad annually to sponsor “political activities.” “We know the consequences of such meddling… and will not allow anyone to threaten Russia’s sovereignty,” she said.
The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.
This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.
There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.
Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.
Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.
This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.
Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.
Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.
“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.
His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.
“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”
Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US government were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.
But now we are told that the French and US governments do not, in fact, have any evidence concerning chemical weapons in Syria.
This is in spite of US President Donald Trump unleashing over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Arab country last April in purported reprisal for the “Syrian regime” dropping chemical munitions on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province on April 4 2o17.
Macron went on to make the absurd declaration this week that “if” chemical weapons were found to be used then he would order military strikes on Syria.
Both Syria and Russia have categorically and repeatedly rejected claims of using chemical weapons, pointing out that Syria’s stockpile was eliminated back in 2014 under a UN-brokered deal.
When Mattis said “we have reports from the battlefield” he was referring to groups like the CIA covertly-sponsored terrorist outfit Al Nusra Front and their media outlet, the so-called White Helmets.
Western news media footage over the past two weeks seemingly depicting Syrian and Russian air strikes on civilian areas is sourced from the White Helmets. This group is embedded with Al Nusra.
The same warped narrative claiming Syrian and Russian violations during the liberation of Aleppo from the terrorists at the end of 2016 is being played out again in East Ghouta and Idlib. And again the Western news media are amplifying the dubious propaganda from the likes of the White Helmets as if it is independent, verified information.
This week in Paris Abdulrahman Almawwas, the so-called vice president of the White Helmets, which also go by the name of Syria Civil Defense, told the Reuters news agency that France and other NATO powers must intervene in Syria.
“It’s time to take real action and not just talk about red lines,” said Almawwas, who was clearly disappointed after hearing Macron’s admission of no evidence for chemical weapons.
Tellingly, the White Helmets’ envoy was hosted by senior French government officials while in Paris, including Macron’s chief diplomatic advisor, according to Reuters.
He also went on to complain – unwittingly – that the White Helmets have received less funding from foreign governments this year compared with last year.
Reuters reported: “Almawwas said the group’s financing for 2018 from foreign governments [sic] had dropped to $12 million from $18 million a year earlier.”
According to the White Helmets’ own website, the foreign governments whom they receive financing from include: the United States, Britain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Canada, among others.
In other words, this so-called humanitarian relief organization is a NATO-sponsored entity, which evidently operates freely in areas of Syria controlled by Al Nusra and other internationally proscribed terror groups.
And this is the same “source” which has been used by the NATO governments and Western news media to disseminate claims about Syrian state forces using chemical weapons against civilians – claims which senior US and French officials are now belatedly negating.
What we have here is demonstrable peddling of falsehoods and lies by Western governments and their news media.
Not just with regard to the war in Syria, but on a range of other international incendiary issues, as noted above.
Accusing Russia of aggression, nuclear threats, sabotaging elections, targeting civilian infrastructure which could “kill thousands and thousands” (British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson last month), or any number of other wild allegations, is symptomatic of sociopathic lying by Western governments.
The reckless falsehoods and lies espoused by the US and its European allies are made possible because of the reprehensible servility of Western media not holding to account the wild claims that they willfully disseminate.
This relentless propagation of lies is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war.
Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.
In the words of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, whose country does not recognize the breakaway province:
“This is certainly an occasion to take a close look at the dire consequences of the policy of retroactively legitimizing NATO’s 1999 aggression and dismemberment of a European state – the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia… Unilateral secession that took place in 2008 in violation of the bedrock principles of international law failed to resolve the Kosovo issue and the prospects of its solution are still dim… Unilateral declaration of independence has failed to solve the region’s economic problems and attract investments. As a consequence, Kosovo remains the poorest part of the region from where people flee. This is compounded by rampant crime and corruption against the background of clashes of clan interests, security problems and vulnerability to the terrorist threat from the Middle East.”
Russian officials have been saying similar things for years – and not only they. Five EU states – Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia – still refuse to recognize the territory’s unilateral secession, as do China and India, major Muslim countries such as Iran and Indonesia, Israel, and the majority of Asian, African and Latin American countries.
But, somewhat surprisingly, on this round anniversary Russian assessments are being echoed by one of the main Western corporate media champions of the Kosovo Independence Project (not to mention of the current anti-Russian media hysteria gripping the U.S.) – the New York Times, in an article whose title speaks for itself: “Kosovo Finds Little to Celebrate After 10 Years of Independence”:
“Returning this winter, I was struck by how the relentless optimism of Kosovars had yielded to disillusionment. The people seemed weighed down by resignation, as well as widespread disgust at perceived government corruption…
“’I swear to God, if it wasn’t for all those who have laid down their lives for this, I would say let’s go back to the way it was before,’ one man told me. ‘We had a better life then; we had more opportunities…’”
Believe it or not, the disillusioned man is actually waxing nostalgic for the supposedly calamitous times of one of the most demonized figures of the Western unipolar, “end-of-history” victory lap – Slobodan Milosevic. The alleged “Butcher of the Balkans” himself. The man on whose frail shoulders the Western governing and media establishment has been tirelessly striving to heap the blame for its cynical joint criminal enterprise (JCE for short: an infamous device used by the Western-conceived ICTY ad hoc “tribunal” used to manufacture “war crimes” convictions without actual proof – mocked by some legal scholars to actually stand for “just convict everyone”) of facilitating the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia and the ensuing mess that’s emerged as its byproduct.
The end of the world is surely nigh… After all, when was the last time the New York Times and the Russian Foreign Ministry agreed on anything?
Unfortunately, this congruence of views has come ex post facto. Had the sundry Western establishment centers heeded Russia’s pleas, warnings and counsel on this issue 10, 20, 27 years ago – the Balkans bloodshed of the 1990s, of which the Kosovo quagmire is a small, albeit important part, might well have been averted altogether, or at least mitigated. Imagine that, instead of favoring some parts and nations of multinational Yugoslavia (Croatia, the Bosnian Muslims, Kosovo Albanians) while, at the same time, demonizing others (Milosevic, the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia); that, instead of unilaterally recognizing various secessionist movements (especially those in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo), arming the secessionists and (only) then “calling for peace” while, at the same time, imposing sanctions and, ultimately, bombing those fighting against secession (Bosnian Serb-held territory and Serbia proper) – the then-triumphant West had been a truly honest broker…
Admittedly, that is an oxymoronic concept. But, had such a miracle come to pass, the face of Europe might have been different. And, if not for the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e., Serbia) and its subsequent military occupation of its Kosovo province, it is quite possible that tensions between Russia and the West would not be running so high now. Russian President Putin has said as much on more than one occasion (e.g. even as late as 2016, in answering a journalist’s question on whether US-Russian relations had deteriorated due to the Syrian crisis, Putin did not invoke Crimea but, rather, Yugoslavia, specifically the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, as the true source of Russia’s alarm).
Faced with the past and present ugly reality of the Kosovo Independence Project, it is important not to lose sight of its true origins and motives. These were most convincingly and cogently presented in a May 2000 letter written by Willy Wimmer, then Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, to the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, summing up the key points of a U.S. State Department/American Enterprise Institute-sponsored conference that had just taken place in Bratislava, Slovakia, less than a year after NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia/Serbia. These are the most relevant passages, as pertaining to the Kosovo Project and its (much broader) geopolitical aspects:
“4. The war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was waged in order to rectify General Eisenhower’s erroneous decision during World War II. Therefore, for strategic reasons, American troops must be stationed there, in order to compensate for the missed opportunity from 1945…
“7. It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia such as existed during the Roman Empire, at the time of its greatest power and greatest territorial expansion…
“8. For this reason, Poland must be flanked to the north and to the south with democratic neighbor states, while Romania and Bulgaria are to secure a land connection with Turkey. Serbia (probably for the purposes of securing an unhindered US military presence) must be permanently excluded from European development.”
So, the Russians might not be so “paranoid” after all in their views of NATO’s behavior in Europe… But, lest anyone think that this sort of militaristic megalomania has since been tempered, one need look no further than last November’s report by the NATO-affiliated think-thank Atlantic Council, calling for a “permanent American military presence in the Balkans,” ostensibly to “stabilize southeastern Europe amid increased Russian efforts to exert political influence across the region.” The key staging area for American troops? None other than Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, “the largest and the most expensive foreign military base built by the US in Europe, since the Vietnam War,” set up after Yugoslav (i.e., Serbian) forces withdrew from the province after UNSC 1244 came into effect in June 1999.
So, the confused impartial observer still trying to figure out who’s to blame for the increasingly dangerous level of Western-Russia tensions need look no further than the poor, nasty, brutish and short history of the Kosovo Independence Project to realize that the NATO chicken has, by at least 18 years, preceded the Russian egg.
In this light, the following part of Maria Zakharova’s above-mentioned statement sounds more like a paragon of diplomatic understatement:
“The chaotic situation in Kosovo is being used to deploy NATO infrastructure, specifically the US Bondsteel base, to project the alliance’s influence in the Balkans and manipulate the processes in the region under the cover of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.”
To sum it up: as in Iraq, Syria, Libya – the results of US-led Western meddling in Yugoslavia/Serbia, and, specifically, Kosovo, have been unmitigatedly disastrous. Kosovo is, to quote Zakharova once more, truly a “black hole.” It is run by thugs, former (?) terrorists in Armani suits. Its “president,” Hashim Thaci, has been named as the “head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through Eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organized crime.” Its “speaker of the parliament,” Kadri Veseli, has been listed by the Kosovo Albanian Bota Sot newspaper as a former director of the Kosovo Albanian SHIK secret service, a “death squad” responsible for numerous murders, violence, and war crimes committed in the province during 1998 and 1999. “Prime minister” Ramush Haradinaj is wanted by Serbia for war crimes, including murder, rape, the beheading of a baby, the burning of still-living police officers, etc. According to former ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Haradinaj escaped conviction in The Hague chiefly through the intimidation and killing of numerous witnesses.
Of the more than 200,000 Serbs forced to flee the province after the withdrawal of Yugoslav Army forces, less than 2% have been allowed to return, and those that have returned are subject to intimidation and pressure to leave. Attacks on Serbian Orthodox Church property and intimidation of the clergy are frequent. Kosovo is a well known hub for the transit of drugs into Europe. It is a fertile ground for ISIS* and has, per capita, the highest number of fighters in its ranks in Europe.
Yet, the U.S. and most of the EU are still pressing Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s “independence.” Serbia’s pro-Western leadership is openly calling for compromise, but so far this is falling on deaf ears in the West, obviously intent on compounding its erroneous ways.
Not even the New York Times dare call today’s Kosovo mess a “success story.” Perhaps that is the only good news connected with this unhappy anniversary.
* Terrorist organization, banned in Russia by court order.
In an article published in the New York Times on Saturday, former CIA officers and several researchers, who have been studying covert US intelligence operations for years, say that the while methods allegedly used by Russians to meddle into the US elections might slightly differ from the old school CIA operations overseas, there is nothing in the allegations against Russians that Americans haven’t done themselves.
“If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,” retired CIA veteran Steven Hall told NYT’s Scott Shane.
Hall, who left his job as CIA Chief of Russian Operations in 2015 after 30 years of service, noted that the US has never shunned attempting to meddle in other countries’ elections.
Saying that the CIA had “absolutely” engaged in such operations in the past, Hall added that he hopes “we keep doing it.”
Thirteen Russian nationals and three entities were indicted on Friday as part of the special FBI counsel Robert Mueller’s lingering probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, and collusion between Moscow and US President Donald Trump’s campaign. As proof to support either of the two allegations is still scant, the Russians listed in the indictment were accused of waging “information warfare against the United States of America,” including by sowing discord on social media with “divisive” posts on Facebook and Twitter.
While the social media boom is a recent phenomenon, the US intelligence has a long record of weaponizing information, albeit in a more conventional form, Loch Johnson, a scholar at the University of Georgia, who has been investigating the CIA since the 1970s, told the Times.
“We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We’ve planted false information in foreign newspapers. We’ve used what the British call ‘King George’s cavalry’: suitcases of cash,” Johnson said, recounting that in the late 1980s he was told by CIA operatives that they used to plant reports that fit the US agenda or bluntly fake news in foreign newspapers by the dozen. The number of such daily “insertions” ran in as many as 70 to 80 publications, he recounted.
But when the US does it, it’s for the greater good, the scholar and the CIA officers claim.
Likening the American operations to what Russia is accused of, “is like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters,” Hall said. Because, just like the bloody wars the US is waging around the world, it is being done for the sake of democracy.
Contrary to the supposed Russian onslaught on the American democracy, which, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, did not affect the outcome of the presidential elections, some US meddling did lead to actual changes of power across Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
According to a survey by Researcher Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, the US meddled in elections at least 81 times from 1946 to 2000, including in Yugoslavia in the 2000 against Slobodan Milosevic.
The number, however, does not include the military coups orchestrated by the US, or regime changes as a result of the US interventions, some of which had precious little to do with democracy, such as the rise of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet after the violent overthrow of President Salvador Allende in 1973. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the US did not give up on its interventionist policy. The most recent examples include the US-led NATO intervention in Libya that brought down strongman Muammar Gaddafi, but failed to deliver a semblance of democracy. The war-ravaged country is being torn between three different power centers seven years after the military incursion.
The US role in the coup in Ukraine, which paved way for bloodshed in the country’s east, has been widely reported. Last year, former US Vice President Joe Biden admitted in his memoir that he demanded former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich resign in 2014, telling him that his “time was over.”
Biden also boasted that he played a part in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor during a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk in March 2016.
“Turns out, there’ve been 13 people, in the opinion of the US Justice Department. 13 people interfered in the US elections? 13 against billions budgets of special agencies? Against intelligence and counterespionage, against the newest technologies? Absurd? – Yes.” Zakharova said in a Facebook post.
The indictment, however, is the “modern American political reality,” Zakharova added, jokingly suggesting that the number 13 was picked due to its negative associations.
One of the indicted, Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, said he was not really upset by the accusations.
“The Americans are very emotional people, they see what they want to see. I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them,” Prigozhin told RIA Novosti.
The entities and individuals were indicted by a US federal grand jury on Friday of “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump…and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”
However, there are “no allegations” that the suspected activities of the Russian nationals somehow affected the polls, according to the US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that supporting Donald Trump has never been an official Russian policy, even if some Russians did express their backing of the new US leader.
The Minister has expressed his discontent with the apparently continuing nosedive in the US-Russia relations. “It’s a pity that under Donald Trump, for more than a year of his presidency, our relations have not improved compared to the period of the Democratic administration. Even worsened to a certain extent,” Lavrov told Euronews.
The indictment of 13 Russians is the latest twist in the “meddling saga,” which has persisted in the US politics and media for over a year. The illicit activities attributed to Russia include, but are not limited to, “hacking” into Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers during the 2016 elections campaign, maliciously leaking emails filled with unsavory revelations, meddling through media coverage and fake social media accounts. However, no solid evidence to back the numerous allegations has been presented yet.