Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Unexpected developments in Ukraine conflict

According to this 11pm news broadcast from Russian state television Roossiya-1 a ceasefire has been announced with immediate effect. This came after reports that the Kiev junta were using short-range ballistic missiles against the rebels in the area where the OCSE teams are waiting to get into the MH17crash site and that this was a huge escalation in the conflict.

No doubt there will be more coming out on this in the coming hours.

Short-range ballistic missile used by Kiev
Kerry demands ceasefire with immediate effect

Вашингтон требует от киевских марионеток прекращения огня 29 07 2014

Here is the report from Russian TV (sorry, no translation)

And the CNN report - it seems that it was they that broke this story

And 'no comment' from Jan Psaki

In the meantime the EU has announced more sanctions -

Obama Joins EU in Sanctioning Russia as Ukraine’s Civilian Death Toll Mounts

Israel TV leaks of Netanyahu- Obama call

I ask myself if the tide might be turning for the zionist state. 

In 2012 the only media who were reporting on the Israeli attacks on Gaza were literally al-Jazeera and Harry Fear. Now the message is getting out for all to see - including, it seems, this time, on US television

"Shocked" White House Slams "Fabrication" After Israel TV Leaks Damning Transcript Of Obama-Netanyahu Phone Call

29 July, 2014

While everyone's attention is glued on Russia and whether Obama can successfully launch World War III, things are going from bad to worse when it also comes to US relations with Israel. Recall that here things were already on the verge of disaster after for some reason, Kerry was unleashed to "arrange" a ceasefire with Israel, when in reality the SecState somehow managed to infuriate every single feuding faction (there are a lot of them), Israel included, after Haaretz wrote that "Kerry ruined everything."

So what happened next? Something rather stunning according to the US State Department, and which according to BBC reporter Paul Danahar, constitutes "a severe violation of a private discussions" - Israel’s Channel 1 decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued.
The transcript, as shown by the Times of Israel was as follows:
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
One can quickly see why the US would quickly disavow any credibility of this report: after all it wouldn't look very good for the leader of the free world if the leader of another state, one which on top of it all is reliant on the former for continued military and economic support, flat out rejected what amounted to a demand from the US. As expected the denial was prompt with the US administration calling the quotations "fabrications", "shocking", and "disappointing"
It took mere minutes for the National Security Council to deny the transcript was even remotely accurate:

We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2

Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2

Sure enough, it wouldn't look good if only the US denied so Netanyahu had to step in, which he did:

The Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement that the Channel 1 report is false, using precisely the same words as the White House.

We have seen these reports, and neither the reports nor the alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality. It’s shocking and disappointing that someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” the PMO says.

Despite the denials, Israel's Channel 1 refused to retract the leaked statement. Worse, it revealed the source of the leak as a "senior American official."

Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1?s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a “senior American official” is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation.

All of which leads to three quite disturbing, for Obama, possibilities:
  • With Russia clearly ignoring US "superpower" status and openly defying not only the US, but Europe, and hence NATO, Obama now has another foreign relations disaster on his hands, where a former close ally of the US is now openly refusing to bow down to US demands.
  • There is a leak in the highest echelons of US power, one which appears focused on exposing the administration in a position of weakness
  • The media tactics of fabrication and lies, so prevalent in the US vs Russia proxy war through the Ukraine, have now seeped over into US-Israel relations

Whichever one of these is the truth, it simply means that the old Pax Americana world, in which the word of the US president was final, is no more, and first Russia (and thus the BRICs), and now such staunch allies as Israel, are clearly defying the former.  Or perhaps one should add former superpower?
As for John Kerry, just stick a fork in him already as per the following clip.

The war against Gaza - 07/29/2014

Netanyahu Vows Lengthy Campaign Against Gaza Wants All Tunnels Destroyed

This is the seventh “Gaza war” Israel has launched since Hamas took over the strip in 2007, the longest lasted only three weeks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still talking up a protracted campaign this time, and suggesting this war will soon be both the longest and deadliest of the bunch.

Israeli Army Chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz talked up more escalation of the war today, saying the war will continue to be “intensified” in the days going forward, while other officials spurned the notion of a ceasefire before their “military goals” are realized.

The current death tolls stand at over 1,231 killed in Gaza, overwhelmingly civilians, and 55 from Israel, 52 of them Israeli troops involved in the fighting. Today saw Israel attack yet another Gaza hospital, killing a number of civilians.

Over the weekend, Israeli officials were condemning the Kerry-brokered ceasefire offer, though the US insists it was identical to one Israel accepted 10 days prior. Netanyahu says Israel won’t accept any ceasefire at all now until it has destroyed every single tunnel in the Gaza Strip, which since they don’t know how many there are is a recipe for endless fighting.

That seems to be the idea, as the current war remains popular domestically in Israel, and a number of far-right cabinet members are condemning the notion of negotiating any settlement of the war.

Yet their use of a conscript army leaves Israelis particularly sensitive to military death tolls, and if the war drags on too long, a rising number of troops killed in a war without end could quickly shift polls the other way.

Israel Attacks Gaza’s Only 

Power Plant, Knocking Out 

Power for a Year

Gazans Urged to Ration Water as Pumps Grind to a Halt

Adding to the humanitarian calamity in the ongoing Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip,the nation’s military attacked Gaza’s only power plant, a diesel-fueled plant which provides roughly two-thirds of electricity for the strip’s 1.8 million people.
Lack of reliable fuel supplies have kept the plant running only intermittently, and locals were reporting only about three hours of electricity a day. Now, they’re down to basically none.

The director of the Gaza City electricity authority confirmed “the power plant is finished,” and that it will likely take a full year or more before it is repaired enough to resume generation.

The problem is even deeper than just electricity for civilian homes, as the water pumps in the strip also ground to a halt today for lack of power. Gaza City officials are urging civilians to carefully ration water consumption, and prepare for shortages.

Israel-Gaza conflict: At least 

100 Palestinians killed and 

power station shut down in 

heaviest day of 

bombardment yet

Much of what little is left of the shattered infrastructure of Gaza was pulverised by the Israeli military in a night of ferocious and relentless attacks by air, sea and land.

29 July, 2014

There was also symbolic punitive destruction of the homes of Hamas officials, including that of the movement’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh. The attacks piled up more misery for the battered population. What little electricity there was has disappeared after tank shells set the only power station alight.

Senior officials stayed away from Shifa, the main hospital, after an adjoining clinic was hit by a missile strike, causing serious problems.

But the explosions taking place carried echoes of the past – fateful, violent repetition of the conflicts Israel had engaged in in Gaza every few years. A futile cycle of rockets and retribution, tearing down and rebuilding, doomed to repeat itself.

Tonight, there were renewed rumours of a ceasefire, but the rumours proved false. The attack on the power station came as part of the Israeli ground offensive, Operation Protective Edge, which followed the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teenagers by militants linked to Hamas. The key objective, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has declared, is destroying tunnel networks which have been used to launch rockets and carry out cross-border infiltration.

The same power station was also blown up in Operation Summer Rains eight years ago. That followed the capture of Corporal Gilad Shalit by Hamas. The Israelis entered the Gaza Strip to obtain his release and also to suppress the firing of Qassam rockets and carry out the dismantling of the smuggling tunnels in the Philadelphi Corridor.

Last week, a UN school used as a refugee shelter was hit by Israeli tank fire, killing 15 people and leading to international condemnation, and trading of accusations between the UN and the Israeli military over evacuation plans. In 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, again launched over Hamas rocket firing, there were similar recriminations over the bombing of another UN school. The finance ministry was among the buildings hit by air strikes tonight; the same ministry was bombed in 2008.

The killing of four boys, sons of fishermen, in an air strike while they played football on a beach was one of the most emotive of many bloody fatalities involving young people in the current conflict. In 2012, there was an outcry after four teenagers were killed by a missile while playing football during the last Israeli mission, Operation Pillar of Defence, launched on Gaza.

Um Hania and Um Mohammed Abu-Rigala have been witnesses to the little-changing pattern from a special vantage point, the house next door to Ismail Haniyeh’s in Gaza City’s Beach Camp.

He was born here, we saw him grow up, saw people come to his house planning the resistance against Israel. He would talk to us; it has been very interesting”, said Um Hania, aged 60.

We expected the Israelis to bomb his house in the past, but he would disappear and sometimes his family as well when the wars took place, and, of course, that is what happened this time. Didn’t the Israelis know there was no one there?

They sent two rockets that did not explode, then they waited 10 minutes before blowing up the house. Perhaps the warning was meant for us neighbours to go, but we just went to the back of our house. We are not going to leave our home.”

A large photograph of Mr Haniyeh had been put up on a pole amid the debris, with a Palestinian flag draped nearby. Um Mohammed, 57, added: “It is a pity because it was his home for such a long time. Why should he move from the area? We always rebuild what they destroy. Don’t forget, they have not been able to kill him, they have been killing civilians, children.”

Ten young boys were killed, while playing 500 metres away, on Sunday, the day of Eid, the end of Ramadan. Around the same time a clinic adjoining the Shifa Hospital was hit by another missile, causing some injuries. The Israeli military and Hamas have blamed each other for the attacks.

What happened at Shifa has had a significant effect. A few Hamas officials who could be met there have disappeared, but so, too, have some senior hospital officials. “Obviously what happened has been very worrying for some hospital staff. If they start targeting hospitals, everyone’s in danger”, said Dr Nasser al-Tatar, the director.

Dr Nasser’s own home was destroyed in an air strike and, he wanted to point out, this was a dangerous new development. “The Israelis have hit hospitals before in their other attacks in Gaza, but we have not had this kind of deliberate targeting of doctors before. My house was targeted, they knew who I was. The staff here have been working around the clock, but obviously, when they are away, this causes problems.”

Dr Nasser had not been told, for example, by late morning the casualty figures for the previous 24 hours or details of where they had taken place and how many patients he could expect at the hospital.

Five children, aged between five and 14, were killed at Bureij in central Gaza during the Israeli mission in 2009. Today there were reports that 10 people had died there overnight. On reaching there, The Independent found that 17 members of one family, the Abu Jabr family, had been killed when an air strike flattened two buildings, and six others may have died in another part of town.

The youngest of the Abu Jabrs to die was two-year-old Lena, the oldest, 70-year-old Hamdan; Dina, 25 years old, was eight months’ pregnant. Yusuf Abu Jabbar, her cousin, pulled two other women to safety. “There is no reason why my family should have been killed. They are very religious, but they do not belong to Hamas or any other religious group. So many killed were kids. Dina was pregnant – was she a Hamas fighter as well ?”

Fadil Hussein Sharqi recalls the deaths in 2009. “They happened in January, all from the Batran family. There were two very young boys, I think three and five years old, and older ones. I think the Israelis said their father was in Hamas. There were a lot of people killed at the time. The one that came next [2012] was not so bad, but this one is the worst – they are just determined to kill people now. We are just praying that we stay alive at the end of this.”

The Israeli military have instructed the residents of Bureij, by leaflet, mobile calls and text messages, to leave the town. “They did this the first time [2009]. We went to Deir al-Balah, and while we were away the soldiers came in and ruined our house,” said Ibrahim Ahmed Moqdad, 56. “They did dirty things, stole things, and put insults on walls. I am not going to leave this time.”

As he spoke there were distant echoes of tank shelling. “It’s going to get much worse at night,” warned his 48-year-old brother, Musaib. “We need to go, you need to go, we need to be safe. A house is just a house. If it is destroyed, we will rebuild it. Our family have done this before, we will do it again.”

Who Bears Responsibility for 

Civilian Deaths in Gaza?

Israeli scholar and historian Ilan Pappe argues the media's demonization of Hamas provides Israel cover for continuing its siege and occupation of Palestinian territories

From the Real News - 

Who's Profiting From 

Israel's Offensive in Gaza?

Shir Hever: Israel continues to reject Hamas' offer of a ten-year ceasefire because it would undermine Israeli arms sales, which reached $7 billion in 2012

Cold War Mk 2

On the occasion of the firing of three SS 21 ballistic missiles by the Kiev regime toward the crash site of MH17 (perhaps to either boost or give a boot to the "investigation"), CNN has come up with a new euphemism for the US-approved fascists in power in Kiev--"the so-called good guys."

CNN reports on Ukraine' launch of ballistic missiles (1000 pound warheads) against Snezhnoye in this creative way: “In fact, the US is holding this information right now fairly tightly, officials say, because they are in an awkward position: these are, you know, the so-called ‘good guys’ firing ballistic missiles."

Will we see the satellite imagery of the Ukrainians firing against the separatists? That may be a VERY TRICKY POLITICAL question for the US intelligence community today,” CNN’s Starr said. Clearly, CNN does know what tricky politics is and even who does it.

The CNN gave no details regarding the exact missiles’ launch and impact point (Snezhnoye and the MH17 crash site).

---Vladimir Suchan

Kiev forces fire ballistic missiles into E. Ukraine – CNN


29 July, 2014

In the past two days Kiev’s forces have launched several short-range ballistic missiles into areas in east Ukraine controlled by self-defense forces, CNN reports, citing US government sources.

The move “marks a major escalation” in the Ukrainian crisis, CNN said.
Three US officials confirmed to me a short time ago that US intelligence over the last 48 hours has monitored the firing of several short-range ballistic missiles from territory controlled by Ukraine government forces into areas controlled by the pro-Russian separatists,” Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, said in a live report.
Short-range ballistic missiles can carry warheads of up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and are capable of killing dozens of people at a time, Starr said.
A Moscow correspondent for another American television network, ABC, tweeted Tuesday that the Kiev forces fired three ballistic missiles at self-defense forces near the town of Snezhnoe (Snizhne in Ukrainian) in the Donetsk Region. According to Kirit Radia, this is what a US official told ABC’s Pentagon digital journalist Luis Martinez.

In last 48 hours Ukraine's military fired 3 SS21 short range ballistic missiles at separatists near Snizhne, US official tells @LMartinezABC

Radia added that according to the official, it is likely that Ukrainian forces use such missiles since they do not want to risk their planes being shot down by sending them to the area.

More: US official says Ukrainian mil likely using those weapons bc they dont want to risk sending planes to be shot down, per @LMartinezABC

The CNN gave no details regarding the exact missiles’ launch and impact point.

In fact, the US is holding this information right now fairly tightly, officials say, because they are in an awkward position: these are, you know, the so-called ‘good guys’ firing ballistic missiles, Ukraine government forces,” Starr said on air.

So far, there has been no official reaction from Kiev and Moscow. The question now is how Washington – which has strongly backed the Kiev government – will comment on the revelations, CNN’s correspondent said.

Earlier this week, the US State Department released satellite images via email which it said act as “evidence” that Russia was firing rockets at Ukrainian troops across the border. Russia’s Defense Ministry stated in response that the “fake” images were created by American advisers “with close links to Ukraine’s Security Council.”
Will we see the satellite imagery of the Ukrainians firing against the separatists? That may be a very tricky political question for the US intelligence community today,” CNN’s Starr said.
However, CNN’s correspondent in Donetsk, Nick Paton Walsh, said he had heard nothing of ballistic launches in the area and nothing of that kind has been openly discussed. He added, though, that it is no secret that both sides of the conflict were using “very heavy weaponry” against each other.
Russian military experts say that if the Ukrainian military did use ballistic missiles, most likely they would be Tochka-U (NATO Designation SS-21 Scarab).
Viktor Murakhovsky told RT that the military possibly used the missile against a fixed target, such as the militia’s staff headquarters.
I’m talking about the Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile on a wheeled chassis, which the Ukrainian army has in its arsenal. It’s a Soviet-designed and produced missile. It may have a high-explosive fragmentation warhead or a disintegrating warhead,” Murakhovsky said.
Anatoly Tsyganok, the head of the Military Forecasting Center in Moscow, agreed that the Ukrainian army could have used the Tochka-U missile.
The news broke amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow over the ongoing violent confrontation in Ukraine.
The US, giving strong backing to the Kiev government, has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting anti-government separatist forces in east Ukraine and supplying them with arms – an accusation Russia has strongly denied. Last week, US government officials claimed that Russia was firing artillery across the border into Ukrainian territory, but refused to provide any hard evidence besides some pictures captured by a civilian satellite, which were rebuffed by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
So far the US has failed to back its statements with any trustworthy proof, mainly referring to some images, “commons sense” and social media.
Charges and counter charges between the two powers have been boiling following the tragic accident with Malaysian Airlines Boeing-777 that crashed in Ukraine on July 17. The very next day after the incident, long before experts arrived at the scene and a probe was launched, President Barack Obama said that America had “increasing confidence” that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from militia-controlled territory. US intelligence said later that it found no direct link between Russia and the plane disaster. But, still, the blame-game continued with Russia being accused of “creating conditions” that led to the incident.
A fresh bunch of accusations were thrown at Moscow on Tuesday, with Obama stating that Russia was not cooperating with the international investigation of the plane crash.
Chief of the Air Force General Staff Igor Makushev and Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s Armed Forces Andrei Kartapolov (from right to left) at the news conference on the crash of the Boeing 777 passenger airliner in Ukraine.(RIA Novosti / Vadim Savitskii)
Chief of the Air Force General Staff Igor Makushev and Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s Armed Forces Andrei Kartapolov (from right to left) at the news conference on the crash of the Boeing 777 passenger airliner in Ukraine.(RIA Novosti / Vadim Savitskii)

Russia on the contrary has been calling for a transparent and impartial investigation of the tragedy from the very beginning. Russia’s Defense Ministry presented its own evidence on the movements of Ukrainian military before and after the tragedy, including surface-to-air missile systems, and a fighter jet that had been tracking the civilian aircraft. During the press conference, Russian military posed a number of questions to Kiev and Washington answers to which could shed light on what really happened on that day and help the international investigation. Those questions however were left unanswered with western media and politicians instead blaming Russia of not willing to use its “influence” on anti-Kiev forces whom they accused of hampering the investigation despite the fact that it was Kiev’s forces who intensified the military operation in the direct vicinity of the crash site.
On Tuesday however, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko finally said that Kiev is ready for a cease-fire at the MH17 crash site, as was demanded by the UN Security Council resolution on July 21. The local militia in the meantime confirmed they were ready to further cooperate with international experts investigating the crash.

Satellite war imminent? US launches spy sats for orbital surveillance

It's been described as the space based version of neighborhood watch. The US has sent 2 military satellites into orbit to get a greater insight into other countries activities in orbit.

White House accuses Russia of violating Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
United States President Barack Obama has formally accused his Russian counterpart of violating a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty, the White House said on Tuesday.

29 July, 2014

Pres. Obama wrote Russia’s Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary John Earnest said during a routine briefing Tuesday afternoon, informing him that the US has determined that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a pact signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev nearly 30 years ago.
Hours earlier on Monday evening, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration would accuse Russia of violating the agreement upon completion of a Department of State annual report on international compliance with arms control agreements.
The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF treaty not to possess, produce or flight test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” the Times said the report would read.

On Tuesday, press secretary Earnest confirmed that report and said Pres. Obama had written Putin to notify him of the allegations.

US President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R).(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)
US President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R).(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)

It is correct that the concerns that we’ve had about this have been raised with the Russian, it’s correct that our concerns have been discussed inside the administration for some time and it’s correct to assume that we’ve had conversations with our partners in the relevant committees in congress as well,”Earnest said, adding that adherence to the INF treaty is in the national security interests of US and its allies alike.

But after voicing those concerns to the Kremlin, Earnest said, Russia’s response has been “wholly unsatisfactory.”

"The United States is committed to the viability of the INF Treaty," a senior US official told AFP late Monday. "We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner."

According to the Times, US officials raised concerns about a potential treaty violation back in January, to which the State Dept. said the release of an eventual review would take into consideration. Three months later, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the top commander of NATO forces, told the paper that A weapon capability that violates the INF, that is introduced into the greater European land mass, is absolutely a tool that will have to be dealt with."

The treaty, the Times reported this week, "helped seal the end of the Cold War and has been regarded as a cornerstone of American-Russian arms control efforts."

U.S. president Ronald Reagan (left) and General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev at the joint meeting exchanging ratification instruments on bringing into force Soviet-American treaty on elimination of medium and short range missiles, Vladimirsky hall, the Grand Kremlin palace.(RIA Novosti / Yuryi Abramochkin)