…because we all love the aroma of coffee and hypocrisy in the morning, I give you the daily State Department briefing with Deputy Spokesperson Mz Marie Harf. Apparently Mz Jen Psaki was busy having some class act Twit Wars with RT… (too many comments to want to embed it).
‘Despite the Russian propaganda machine suggesting otherwise..I am still here as is a strong, democratic Ukraine #dontbelieveRT’ It’s such a thing that they even made a #Hashtag for it!
Daily Press Briefing: June 6, 2014 (the transcript)
MS. HARF at 44 seconds:. We are deeply concerned that the Russian Government has accelerated its crackdown on human rights defenders seeking to exercise their fundamental freedoms of association and expression. On June 4th, President Putin signed into law a law that allows the ministry of justice to declare unilaterally, without a court order, that a nongovernmental organization is a “foreign agent.” On May 23rd, a court declared another well-respected NGO, Memorial, to be “a foreign agent.” Three other NGOs are awaiting rulings in similar court cases. These groups will be forced to close if they do not accept this intentionally stigmatizing label.
Also in recent weeks, prosecutors have conducted coordinated inspections of at least 12 human rights NGOs in eight regions across Russia for alleged violations of the laws on extremism and foreign agents.
The Russian people deserve a government that values the contributions of civil society, cultivates an open marketplace of ideas, and respects the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that are the foundation of successful democracies.”
Well, sure; there’s no way that any of these alleged ‘human rights NGOs’ might be deep state organizations covering for the CIA, paid agents provacateurs, or fomenting rebellion within, is there? We know, because Mz. Harf tells us so in no uncertain terms later that she is not advocating regime change in Russia. But I could find little on Memorial human rights NGO than this little almost website, so who knows?
‘Memorial is a movement which arose in the years of perestroika. Its main task was the awakening and preservation of the societal memory of the severe political persecution in the recent past of the Soviet Union.
Memorial is a community of dozens of organizations in different regions of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Georgia.
Memorial is a group of specialized research, human rights, and education centers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and several other cities.
Memorial is a museum, a repository of documents, and a number of specialized libraries.’
You be the judge, but she may have been referring to NGOs like USAID and NED, both thrown out of Venezuela in 2010 for their (ahem) bad acts against the state government. VZ also was also the recent recipient of a lying report by Human Rights Watch who seemed unable to tell which side the murders had come from: the state, or those trying hard to overthrow the duly elected government. The House recently passed a round of sanctions against VZ, over the objections of organizations of “our backyard (h/t” John Kerry)” like UNASUR. Sorry, John; keep being a tool, it does so become you!
There are limits to US beliefs in ‘the contributions of civil society, the marketplace of ideas, and respects the universal rights and fundamental freedoms yada, bloody yada, aren’t there, Mz. Harf?
‘Taliban swapped for Bergdahl could be drone targets, Kerry indicates’. Well sure, but only if they return to the battlefield, and move in a tactical fashion, or something, eh? And hell, about those ‘Unitary Executive’ powers? Horrific! Unconstitutional! Wouldn’t happen in this country, nossir; that might just be called treason!
Poor Mz Harf was asked some good questions, but ach, kept having to repeat that no, she didn’t know this, hadn’t seen that report, she’d check, ya know, on human rights re: the newly elected Modi of India, plus a lot of other head-swiveling global crises. But wait!
Moar Har Har for Obomba and the State Department:
From the NYT:, June 4:
‘Secretary of State John Kerry also spent time talking with Mr. Poroshenko, privately urging him to provide evidence of Russian involvement with separatists with which to confront Russian officials. He plans to meet with Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov in Paris on Thursday.
Mr. Obama praised Mr. Poroshenko. “I have been deeply impressed by his vision,” he said after their 70-minute session. “The United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people and their aspirations, not just in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years.”
Now, if there’s one thing for sure, Kerry has been telling anyone who’ll listen (if we can include Congress in that framing):
‘Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Kremlin of fomenting the unrest, calling the protests the work of saboteurs whose machinations were as “ham-handed as they are transparent.” Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he added: “No one should be fooled — and believe me, no one is fooled — by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea. It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalysts behind the chaos of the last 24 hours.”
Zo; back to the briefing:
QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, when he spoke with Prime Minister Poroshenko, said that he wanted him, according to reports, that he wanted him to put forward more evidence with regard to possible Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. Does that mean that there isn’t really hard evidence at this point, in spite of the fact that statements are made time and time again that Russia is involved in this?
MS. HARF: Not at all. I think there is a great deal of hard evidence that Russia is involved – deeply involved – with the separatists. We have long seen credible reports of Russian soldiers operating without insignia in Ukraine, as they first did in March in occupied Crimea. In recent weeks, there have been a number of videos and media reports of armed militants admitting they came from Russia, including a number of Chechens who openly admit they came from Russia. The militants are heavily armed, appear – excuse me – to be professionally trained and in combat operations, again, of the sort that Russia does.
So again, the Ukrainian Government has also reported that there are daily a number of convoys attempting every day to cross from the Russian side into the Ukrainian side. These signs all point to Russia attempting to destabilize.
QUESTION: Well, the question is, however: Is this the government doing this, or are these individuals who are concerned? There have been relationships between the Ukrainians and Russian-Ukrainians and Russian-Russians —
MS. HARF: No.
QUESTION: — for decades —
MS. HARF: No.
QUESTION: — centuries. Those relationships exist.
MS. HARF: I understand the history, but what I’m not – focused on is the history of the facts. And what the facts tell us, from a variety of sources and a variety of ways, is the Russian Government is heavily involved in perpetrating and encouraging what we’ve seen in eastern Ukraine and in Crimea for a variety of reasons. We’ve seen it from the arms they have. They’ve openly admitted it, some people on camera. And if they were going to help Ukraine get a more stable future, we want the Russian Government to use their influence to pull these separatists back, to continue pulling their troops back, and to give the Ukrainians a better future.
QUESTION: Why then does Secretary Kerry need more evidence?
MS. HARF: I don’t think you’re accurately characterizing his conversation with President-elect Poroshenko.’
Yeah. Just a couple more.
(Waaah! That’s not fair! Using history is…is…just not right! I wasn’t even born until 1996!)
Moar har and woopsies for Obomba and State (apparently Mz Psaki had to start a new Twitter designation, the old one had too many dissenters):
Via NATO Tweetie:
“President Obama: G7 nations “ready to impose additional costs on Russia” | Video: goo.gl/gKoKZx
NYT again: BRUSSELS, some snippets:
‘He arrived here on Wednesday to have dinner with the leaders of the Group of 7 powers who, at his urging, had excluded President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as punishment for his annexation of Crimea. But Mr. Obama’s counterparts from Britain, France and Germany all ended up scheduling one-on-one meetings with Mr. Putin later on. President François Hollande of France even arranged to have dinner with Mr. Putin on Thursday just after having a separate dinner with Mr. Obama.
Not only were they unwilling to snub the Russian leader entirely, as Mr. Obama sought, they were also reluctant to go along with other efforts to isolate the Kremlin. Most notably, the French government repeated that it would go ahead with the $1.6 billion sale of powerful warships to Moscow along with plans to train 400 Russian sailors in France this month. And other European leaders were cautious about setting further red lines threatening additional sanctions against Russia.
Mr. Obama’s aides repeated their opposition to the French sale on Wednesday but tried to play down the disparate approaches of the leaders.
“The question is not whether they’re meeting,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the president’s deputy national security adviser. “The question is what people are saying in those meetings. And our belief is that there needs to be a unified message.”
Others expressed concern. Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister who saw Mr. Obama in Warsaw and then traveled to Kiev later in the day, said Moscow was playing the allies against one another.
“I really hope the G-7 dinner tonight has produced the cohesion necessary,” he said. “It’s only by sticking together that we can influence events. Russia is very consciously cultivating and using different bilateral links.”
After a long discussion, the leaders left the question largely unresolved.’
They also disagreed with Mr. Obama’s strategy of walling off Moscow from the outside world. “We’ve tried not to isolate Russia,” said a French official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss delicate a diplomatic dispute. “How can you ignore Russia today? They are important actors in the Middle East. They are everywhere.”
But Geofrey Pyatt shared some joy his BFF had on their travels in Ukraine (did they name the camp for her? You be judge…
But seriously, the best to people in Ukraine, as far too any are dying and will suffer increasingly in the future as they continue to be pawns in geopolitical madness. You might like Diana Blackstone’s take: ‘Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine’.
And last but not least in the Har Har department, it turns out NATO likes a good joke, too. Hope it brightens your day.
NATO: fart jokes R us!
(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)