In an apparent attempt to provide substantiation to the pundits and analysts who’s purpose it would seem has less to do with journalism and much more to do with disinformation and propaganda, BBC was the source of yet another lie and probably the photo-shopped pictures widely
circulated on social media of IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani Commander of Quds Forces being personally in Yemen assumably providing assistance to the Houthi movement which has risen as a political and military challenge to the corrupt western backed regime of former president Hadi. The false western narrative that Iran is trying to “takeover” Yemen was bolstered with false reports that Iran has “boots on the ground.”
BBC has in the past abandoned any attempt to presume journalistic integrity, frequently citing hysterical reports of Russian invasions, assasinations and spewing a steady stream of propaganda fed to it from their curators in Washington.
This is a demonstation of total disregard and disdain for the public.
A free press which, in a functional democracy is designed to serve as a watch dog has become the banksters/warmongers lapdog.
THE FOLLOWING REPRINTED FROM ALALAM NEWS AGENCY
Where is Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani? In Iraq or Yemen?
After BBC tweet’s, many news outlet broadcast this lie.
According to AL-ARABIYA, BBC Arabic retracted a report claiming that Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani had left for Yemen.
Citing sources “close to the general,” a BBC Arabic correspondent claimed that Soleimani was making his way to Yemen, according to a tweet posted by the news channel.
However, shortly afterwards the tweet was deleted and BBC Arabic tweeted that the information is being checked and that followers will be updated shortly.
After BBC tweet’s many news outlet broadcast this lie.
A handout picture released on March 27, 2015, by the official website of the Centre for Preserving and Publishing the Works of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shows Grand Ayatollah Khamenei with the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Suleimani attending a religious ceremony in Tehran to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Mohammed, (PUH) AFP reports.
Originally posted on How to Fight ISIS Online:
The Jabal al-Summaq region in the Idlib province of northern Syria is home to nearly 18,000 Druze spread out amongst 18 villages, all of whom have been living under the control of Jabhat a-Nusra (JAN), (the Syrian Al Qaeda branch) for nearly two years.
An offshoot of Islam, hardline Sunni groups such as JAN consider the Druze faith a form of heresy. Nusra gave the Druze in Idlib a choice: Convert or fight. They converted. Publicly, at least.
“They claimed they were fighting infidels, and that we had to decide our own fate and our identity, to either be with the Muslims, or the infidels,” Abdul Majid Sherif, a resident and retired math teacher who currently works as the head of the Media Office of the Free Democrats Party of Idlib, tells Syria Direct’s Moatassim Jamal.
“They forced us to accept their interpretation of Sunni Islam, or else we’d be…
View original 1,156 more words
Originally posted on SLAVYANGRAD.org:
Preamble: We extend our enormous gratitude to the team at Vox Populi Evo (“V.P.E.”) that produced this excellent translation of the documentary. It is a testament to their spirit and dedication that they were able to prepare and publish this production faster than the official version.
Crimea. The Way Back Home / Subtitled in English by V.P.E.
(for sharing and downloading instructions hover your mouse over the video player window)
Russia may build a large military base in Syria – columnist channel “Star” Fedor Ivanjica reported, quoting President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. According to the President, in Syria are waiting for such a request, and if he did, then it must satisfy Damascus.
“With regard to the Russian presence in different regions of the world, including in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Syrian port of Tartus, it is necessary to maintain the balance that was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago. For us, the more strengthened Russia’s presence in the region, the more stable it becomes, because Russia plays a very important role in strengthening stability in the world. In this regard, I can say that we welcome the expansion of Russia’s presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially on our shores and in our ports,”- said Assad in an exclusive interview with columnist channel Star Fedor Ivanjica, responding to a reporter’s question about the possible extension of the current item logistics in Tartus to a full naval base.
The head of Syria also had a direct parallel between the events in the Middle East and Ukraine.
“I keep coming back to the fact that there is a connection between the Syrian crisis and what is happening in Ukraine. Firstly, because both countries are important for Russia, and secondly, because in both cases, the goal – to weaken Russia and create a puppet state,”-Bashar al-Assad
During Soviet times, the Soviet Navy had a few of locations away from their own shores: Cam Ranh (Vietnam), the island of Socotra (Yemen) and Tartous (Syria). After 1991, our Navy is actually all of them left. There is only Tartus, albeit in a purely nominal form. Every eight months, one after another, here came floating workshop of the Black Sea Fleet.
This, in fact, is the difference between a full military base and paragraph logistics – in point can be made simple repair and restock, and the base – a specially equipped state territory, but which is a permanent military force with weapons, equipment, warehouse logistics property.
Tartus – the only Russian base in foreign countries, the only point in the Mediterranean-based Russian warships. Basing agreement objects Soviet Navy was signed with the Government of Syria in 1971. The base in Tartus was created to support the actions of ships and vessels of the 5th operational (Mediterranean) Squadron, their supply of fuel and supplies. In 1991, the Mediterranean squadron ceased to exist, since carried out a one-time trips Russian Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
Now the point of security in Syria consists of floating berths PM-61M, floating workshop, which, as already mentioned, comes to Syria, as appropriate, to ensure the activities of Russian ships in the Mediterranean, warehouses, barracks and various household objects. Point service 50 Russian sailors.
In 2009, in Tartus have been working on the modernization of the object. Russian forces engineering team has been put in order infrastructure gone unused. With the help of divers raised the anchors 16 (50 tons each), hold it, and replaced them with new ones. Also restored were concrete coatings, welding and painting works, and laid pipeline for fresh water.
“If Russia wants to be a truly global power, she, of course, necessary to have military bases abroad, – expressed his opinion channel STAR Academy of Military Sciences, Professor Vadim Kozyulin. – Expanding the network of such objects is possible provided that we have a specific political interests in the region. In the case of Socotra – the fight against Somali pirates. Cam Ranh – protection of our oil fields. Tartous – control of the busiest shipping routes to protect it from pirates. “
With open just two Russian military bases in the Mediterranean Sea to Moscow turned Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis. The first of these could be deployed in the interest of the Navy in the port of Limassol, the second – at the airport “Andreas Papandreou”, combined with the international airport of Paphos in the southwest of the island. Arguing its proposal, Nikos Anastasiadis recalled that last year the Russian sailors had a positive experience based in the port of Limassol. It was visited by heavy nuclear missile cruiser (TAPKP) “Peter the Great” and the aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov”. (Адмирал #кузнецов)
Earlier the crew of петр_великий “Peter the Great” took part in the security of the third stage of transportation of Syrian chemical weapons in cooperation with the Chinese, Danish and Norwegian seamen. A naval aviation pilots from the Air Wing, based aboard the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”, worked flights to the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast of the island of Cyprus.
“The US has 500 military bases around the world, and Russia only four plus two points logistics, – said the chief editor of “Arsenal of the Fatherland” Viktor Murakhovski. But even in this case the United States in every way hinder the reconstruction of Russian military bases, especially in Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. “
The Impact Point
Russia and Cyprus in particular because not until then did not agree. Nevertheless, the fact that the possibility of basing the Russian fleet in Cyprus for Syrians remain unnoticed could not. Today, Russia is negotiating the establishment of bases in Vietnam, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Singapore, Seychelles and Cuba. These issues were discussed during a recent tour of Sergei Shoigu, the countries of Latin America. According to the results of the Ministry of Defense reported that Russia is extremely interested not only in the creation of such facilities, but also to simplify the visits of ships in the ports of these countries, as well as the possibility of long-range aircraft refueling. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov also confirmed that Russia is in talks only about the creation of items and ensure that there are no plans for a permanent presence of armed units of the Navy and the Air Forces of Russia on the territory of Latin America in Moscow no.
Syria Russia today – the main geopolitical ally. Only due to the tough stance of Moscow, Washington did not dare to carry out a military operation to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And in this vein, as noted in the West, paragraph logistics in Tartus played a role – as well as the ongoing military-technical cooperation.
According to TV STAR Syrian President Bashar Assad, Moscow fully complies with its obligations to supply arms and equipment to the (SAA) Syrian Army, which also affects the security of Syria. Among the major contracts have already been implemented – supply 36 air defense systems “Pantsyr-1C”, modernization of the entire Syrian T-72 tanks, as well as the fleet of MiG-29, missile complex “Bastion” supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles “Onyx”. In the future, Damascus will get 24 MiG-29M / M2 and eight battalions of air defense systems “Buk-M”, as well as modern anti – aircraft missile systems S-300 PMU2
Russia has Criticized the UN Glorification of Nazi Collaborators in the EU
24 March 2015
The Russian delegation during a performance at the ongoing Geneva 28th session of the Council of the United Nations on Human Rights criticized racism in the U.S. and the glorification of Nazi collaborators in the European Union and Ukraine.
The Russian Delegation took part in a meeting held on the first day of the week in the evening discussions on the agenda item “Elimination of racism and racial discrimination,” reports UN news agency.
At the meeting the Delegation of the Russian Federation, according to the text of her speech, said that in the United States “Minorities more often become victims of police arbitrariness”.
About this is demonstrated, for example, by a report of the U.S. Department of Justice, that confirmed the presence of signs of systemic racism of the police action in Ferguson, Missouri and also occurred in early March, a new murder by police of African Americans in Los Angeles.
In some EU countries, said the Russian side, “for the past 20 years, thousands of people deprived of their citizenship and, therefore, the major civil rights only on the basis of ethnic origin.”
“Certain political forces, most importantly in the European Union,
in favor of outside interests are trying to revive hateful ideology.”
Every year in several countries in the EU are held marches and rallies of SS Legionnaires, for example, a march of veterans of the Waffen-SS, which again was held on 16 March in Riga. In Lithuania there was held on February 16, torchlight procession nationalists with the open use of the Nazi swastika. In Estonia, the procession of nationalists was organized on February 24. In addition, in Estonia, not so long ago was cynical exposition on the theme of the Holocaust.”
Special indignation, – was noted in the statement, is held on 19 February, the meeting of the Prime Minister of Eastonia (Taavi Rõivas) with veterans of the 20th Grenadier division of the SS.”
Even the memory of those who gave their lives for the Victory over Nazism,are “subjected to constant abuse: in the past, and this year the EU swept a wave of vandalism regarding the monuments and graves of fighters against Nazism.”
In the capital of Russia, it is assumed that underestimating and ignoring tendencies of neo-Nazism, the acquiescence of its spread “is fraught with the growth of radical extremist movements on the European continent and beyond.
“Witness the events in Ukraine, where Nazi collaborators Bandera, Shukhevych and other defiling himself with the blood of thousands of victims and unleashed the genocide, declared heroes, and the day of creation of the Ukrainian insurgent army* that openly collaborated with the Nazis and committed the worst lawlessness in the war, declared a national holiday.”
As stressed by the Delegation of the Russian Federation, “Today in Ukraine neo-Nazism becomes in fact the main state ideology, and the indulgence of this trend increases the probability of bringing to serious consequences.”
At the end of December 2014 Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations social and humanitarian problems was presented by the Russian resolution,
calling to effectively combat the glorification of Nazism and other forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. (115 out of 193 UN-member countries voted for the draft resolution proposed by Russia)
Explaining the decision of the U.S. delegation that voted against the decision, the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Gennady Gatilov said that Washington did it for political reasons. However, in Europe itself, there is no unanimity as to the theme of the glorification of Nazism. So, in January, Ukrainian nationalists wrote to the President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman a letter in which he defended the Bandera and Shukhevych. The letter was written in response to the message of the President of the Czech Republic that he refuses to congratulate Ukraine with such heroes. In response to this letter Zeman said that what Bandera was planning to do in Ukraine make a puppet Nazi state.” Are you aware Of the words Bandera: “I will Kill every Pole from 16 to 60 years?” If you have not heard about these words of Bandera), then no you are not a Ukrainian. But If you know about this statement (Bandera), then you agree with him or not? If you agree, then our discussion is over,” wrote Zeman.
Recall that Bandera was sitting in a Polish prison for a triple murder. Zeman said before that torchlight procession on 1 January in Kiev in honor of the birthday of Stepan Bandera was organized exactly the same as marches were organized by the Nazis during the years of Nazi Germany.” We emphasize that consistently earning Bandera, Petliura, Mazepa, the Ukrainian government could not come to a natural end, – the justification of Hitler and the transformation of Germany into an innocent victim of “Soviet aggression”, And not the country that started the war. In the end, fresh Ukrainian authorities in fact conducted a campaign on the glorification of Nazism and the revision of the history of the world. So, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk first subjected to prosecution of the Russian Federation in the aggression against Germany and Ukraine in the same sentence with a statement about the illegality of rewriting the results of the Second World War.
* Organization about which the court has adopted an enforceable conclusion about the destruction of, or prohibiting activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”
As the Russian Armed Forces conduct a sudden combat readiness check or (Snap drills) from 16 -21 March 2015, there remains in the background a decades old dispute concerning NATO and their forward deployment of missile systems which would fundamentally alter the balance of power in Europe and the world.
Sold as a defense to an imagined threat posed by Iran, what it is really designed for is first strike capability against Russia. This too has proven to be imaginary due to the responses taken by Russia which include the deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.
The following article illustrates the Russian response.
NATO has no protection from the operation, the course which fulfills Russia
The Russian Army during the Snap drills deploys in the Kaliningrad region missiles “Iskander”, as Poland prepares to host the air and missile defense systems. The bad news for NATO is that in this scenario to resist the Russian counterattack, it can not. Now it does not matter what happened before – the redeployment of Russian “Iskander” or attempt a trial placement in Poland missile defense system of unknown origin. The fact that on the territory of the neighboring country with Russia will host missiles air and missile defense, has long been known. And the fact that it can not be solved by diplomatic means, too, was known long before the Ukrainian events. It makes no sense to retell and prepositions that the US invented to justify the idea of placing a missile defense system in close proximity to Russian borders. Who’s supposed to, and so they will remember: it was supposed to be protection against a non-existent Iranian threat posed by non-existent Iranian ballistic missiles with non-existent nuclear warheads. The ensuing discussion diplomatic disputes reminiscent of Spanish rabbis with Tomas Torquemada: the decision to deploy missile defense (expulsion of the Jews and Marranos) were still made in advance for reasons of mystical character, but still interesting to listen to. At the same time (almost ten years ago) was first told about the response deployment of Russian missile systems “Iskander-M”, precisely in the Kaliningrad region, and not somewhere else. These plans are strategic, they are known in advance – this is not the battalion group of marines, which can be flown anywhere. No one has made any secret of that system “Iskander” just was a response to the deployment of US missile defense systems, and in northern Poland (both on the southern flank of the response to a similar attempt in Romania was the transformation of Crimea into a fortress, teeming with exactly the kind of means of destruction). “Iskander” – “the perfect assassin” is precisely such systems that the US and NATO are trying to arrange a new, reinventing them in real-time theater. That the US “Patriot” that competing with them French counterparts are unable to repel the attack on themselves medium-range cruise missiles. Location in the Kaliningrad region “Iskander” makes a highly publicized NATO missile defense system in another target. In this sense, the remarkable number of mutually planned placement systems: the United States and Poland talking about batteries 9 “Patriot”, while talking about the alleged 10-powered Russian “Iskander”. This may well be true, because Washington does not have a free supply of missile defense systems and defense and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation “accumulated” “Iskander” in the two theaters of military operations, which had never been in recent history. Moscow is able to consciously distribute high-precision weapons for several HVT, so even with the stock. In this context it is worth to look at some details of the sudden inspection training, running now in parts of the Western District, Northern and Baltic fleets, Airborne and Special Forces.
Ivanovo paratroopers landing work out in the area of Pechenga (ie, on the Norwegian border), Arctic brigade occupies the
Franz Josef Land,
the Northern Fleet relieve the so-called road Gorshkov – corridor progress in the North Atlantic from the coast of the Barents Sea between Norway and Iceland, and the long-range aviation eyeing Norway, Iceland and the UK. Like it or not, but this is the scenario of the Russian counter-attack in response to a possible NATO aggression. This scenario was developed in draft form in the Soviet period and since then has not lost its relevance. Change only the weapons and tactics of their application, but the meaning has remained virtually unchanged. In short, it is assumed that the collision of European Russia and NATO importantly – it’s a matter of time: how fast can (if he can) go to Europe reinforcements from North America (USA and Canada). The only way to deliver a very large masses of manpower and equipment were and will remain for a long time naval convoys. To stop the convoys, Russia must bring under control the North Atlantic area. And it is achievable to comprehensive amphibious operation in northern Norway with the capture airfields NATO, which there a lot, including a key one – Icelandic Keflavik. Keflavik would provide control by the Russian Air Force (including strategic bombers) control over the entire Atlantic to the Azores – the southernmost point of the route potential convoys. Thus, the question of destruction of such convoys becomes purely technical. On the northern route, you can forget, the transfer to northern Norway and Iceland Russian special forces and air force will break the whole balance of forces in the European theater as a whole. At the same time, the Northern Fleet, including submarines with nuclear weapons, can freely pass into the Atlantic, then war can be considered complete. At this time, the Poles and 12 American tanks in Latvia can indefinitely (probably an hour and a half) to depict the heroic defense. But to ensure that developments may be, including, and after the opening of the airspace over the Baltic and Scandinavia (ie destruction of airfields and cover them), and for which there are “Iskander” in the Kaliningrad region and on the border with Estonia (in fact there are another Norwegian air defense system in Narvik and Mo i Rana).
Special Forces and the Arctic with its quiet landing above the Arctic Circle – as it is now the Ivanovo paratroopers on the Norwegian border. This script is feared by NATO, when so focuses on long claimed the idea of relocation “Iskander”. The Alliance does not have a mobile defense system, many years of his military-strategic thought or idle at all, or focused on the execution of a foreign country “Tomahawk” without any resistance from the enemy. In our case, once the potential vulnerability of land – the Arctic Ocean – now turned almost into the lake. A group of US in the Persian Gulf has become vulnerable and our fleet (he appeared base in the region), and the response to missile attack. And most importantly: the plan to deal with counter-attacks, as described above, they still can not.
That is why the placement of “Iskander” in the Kaliningrad region (even if temporary, as part of the exercise) has attracted much attention. It is, by the way, followed immediately after the final output of Russia from the CFE Treaty, which is formally proposed classifications affected. So the word Shoigu “on our territory where we want, and place there” is no surprise. But many people happy.
Originally posted on defencerussia:
Surface-to-air defense missile regiment of the division of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation on the teachings reflected the airstrike on the main naval base of Severomorsk, the press service of the Federation Council said on Tuesday.
“The drills were conducted with contingent destruction of enemy air attacks. The fighting capacity calculations of S-300 were checked by team of carrier-based fighters Su-33 of naval fighter regiment of naval aviation of the Northern Fleet,” the statement said.
The intercepted telephone call between then Eastonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union High Commissioner Catherine Ashton has been confirmed as authentic.
The information revealed within the taped conversation has been the source of much speculation as well as a feverish campaign by the western media to ignore and or dismiss as “Russian propaganda.”
An article which appeared on the Guardians website 5 March 2014 set the tone for how the west would handle the “damage control” issue.
Ukraine crisis: bugged call reveals conspiracy theory about Kiev snipers
Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet tells EU’s Cathy Ashton about claim that provocateurs were behind Maidan killings
During the conversation, Paet quoted a woman named Olga – who the Russian media identified her as Olga Bogomolets, a doctor – blaming snipers from the opposition shooting the protesters.
It is interesting to note:
During the 11 minute conversation Ashton revealed to Paet that she knew Olga and in fact had suggested that she would make a good minister of health for the new government. And yet the article in the Guardian suggests that the author did not confirm her identity neither made any attempt to do so.
The narrative that placed the Maidan killings upon the Berkut must not be challenged by any information whatever or whoever the source. Just two weeks after the murders at Maidan the Guardian apparently squelched any attempt of an investigation that did not lead to its self ordained truths. Perhaps dismissing the “mysterious” doctor with an incomplete identity served the purpose of a larger agenda: that of protecting the interests of the state. Clearly British tabloids such as the Guardian were not in the business of finding truth but rather protecting the carefully crafted narrative hatched by Nuland and her ilk. To suggest that after only a scant two weeks and before any investigation that somehow the Guardian was in possesion of definitive proof of who the perpetrators were is ludicrous. (These same self appointed experts didnt even know who Dr. Bogomolets was.)
This same pattern of malfeasance and incompetence was to be used again concerning MH17, Nemtsov etc. Lets have a closer look at Dr. Bogomolets
Olga Bogomolets was born in March 22, 1966 in Kiev, in a family of doctors. She comes from old Lithuanian-Rus gentry (Pomian coat of arms), whose origin goes back to the 15th century.
In 1989, she graduated from Kyiv Medical Institute (now the Bogomolets National Medical University, Kyiv). In 1993-1994, studied in Pennsylvania Medical University (Pennsylvania, US) and the Bernard Ackerman’s Institute of dermatopathology (Philadelphia, US).
After the return from US, she had started off her own Clinic of Laser Medicine, now known as the Dr. Bogomolets’ Institute of Dermatology and Cosmetology. Since 2003 till nowadays – the chief doctor of the Institute of Dermatology and Cosmetology. From December 2004 to October 2005 Olga Bogomolets was the personal physician of the President of Ukraine.
Olga Bogomolets is the organizer of the annual nationwide charitable campaign “Day of melanoma”.
She is the author of more than 70 research works on dermatology and owner of 9 patents for inventions in this branch of medicine. Bogomolets is the member of the American Academy of Dermatology and European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, the member of New York Academy of Sciences.
She ran for president in Ukraine’s 2014 presidential elections. She received support from the Socialist Party of Ukraine.
On 1 September 2014 Bogomolets was appointed as adviser to President Petro Poroshenko.
In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Bogomolets was elected into parliament after being in the top 10 of the electoral list of Petro Poroshenko Bloc.
So it seems that the “mysterious” doctor who the Guardian apparently had to rely upon “Russian media” to identify is in fact as Ashton pointed out a suitable candidate for a ministerial position.
Comments made by Dr. Bogomolets concerning what she had purportedly told Paet reported by the Telegraph:
“Myself I saw only protesters. I do not know the type of wounds suffered by military people,” she told The Telegraph. “I have no access to those people.”
“No one who just sees the wounds when treating the victims can make a determination about the type of weapons. I hope international experts and Ukrainian investigators will make a determination of what type of weapons, who was involved in the killings and how it was done. I have no data to prove anything.”
“I was a doctor helping to save people on the square. There were 15 people killed on the first day by snipers. They were shot directly to the heart, brain and arteries. There were more than 40 the next day, 12 of them died in my arms.”
“Our nation has to ask the question who were the killers, who asked them to come to Ukraine?
We need good answers on the basis of expertise.
I think you can only say something like this on the basis of fact.”
“Its not correct and its not good to do this. It should be based on fact.”
“They told me they have begun a criminal process and if they say that I believe them.”
“The police have not given me any information on it.”
Her biography and career do not suggest anti-west sentiments in fact quite the opposite.
She was the personal physician to the “Orange Revolution”-installed President Viktor Yushchenko and she received an award from the CIA- and George Soros-funded Radio Liberty. Moreover, Bogomolets urged her medical students to take part in the Euromaidan protests in Kiev.
Whether she (Dr. Bogomolets) said the things that Urmas Paet claimed she said or he was disturbed by knowledge gained from other sources and used her name to convey that to Ashton is unknown. Even in her statements after the release of the “bugged call” which in effect deny Paets recollection of conversations between them (Paet and Bogomolets) she asks one very important question: “Who were the killers, who asked them to come to Ukraine?”
Various Tweets concerning Dr. Bogomolets attempts to ensure an honest investigation of the Maidan killings takes place.
2April 14 @EuromaidanPR
Olga #Bogomolets collects testimonies of witnesses on 18-20Feb mass murders, says Prosecutor’s Gen work is ineffective. @sosmaydan
I can prove that snipers were working and killing protesters on #Maidan because of the nature of the wounds – Dr Olga Bogomolets. #Ukraine @uacrisis 27 March 2014
We need an independent expert group to investigate what happened at #Maidan; UKR ppl are tired of not getting the truth – Dr Olga Bogomolets @uacrisis 27 March 2014
“What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” Paet said
The Guardian article cut short in its transcript his complete statement:
Paet: “All the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides. . . . Some photos that showed it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it is really disturbing that now the new coalition they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. So there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”
“So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.”
“So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet says.
Ashton replies: “I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton says.
Ashton: “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”
Paet: “It already discreditates this new coalition.”
Ashton defends the opposition members of the Ukrainian Rada, the parliament, against “doctors” and she said of the protest leaders, “I mean this is what they’ve got to be careful of, as well, but they need to demand great change but they’ve got to let the Rada function. If the Rada doesn’t function then you’ll have complete chaos. So, if you thought being an activist and a doctor is very, very important but you’re not a politician and somehow they’ve got to come to a kind of accommodation for the next few weeks.”
Ashton made clear she wanted an investigation which the Guardian sees no need for because anything which shows other than the narrative is only a “conspiracy theory.”
From an interview: The Tablet Magazine
You and several other Ukrainian organizations have demanded an investigation of those events, the sustained sniper fire into the crowd, but as of now has there been any result?
On the 20th of February I was one of the coordinators of the Maidan’s medical service. We had more than a thousand volunteers working around the clock, and all of those people risked both their lives and their health because they could have been hit with a bullet at any given moment. Immediately after the 20th I called for an independent investigation, by experts, on the logistics of the question of who the shooters were and what sort of weapons they were firing with. People died on both sides of the barricades by the way.
You were there that day treating the wounded. People died in your arms?
Yes. On the 18th, when the Berkut beat the peaceful demonstrators indiscriminately we had 1,500 wounded, and of those 400 were heavily wounded and 12 killed. On the 20th when they opened fired we had 1,300 wounded and 46 killed, if I remember correctly. Over the course of three hours at the Hotel Ukraina, we had 13 wounded people die in the makeshift operating hall, one after the other. The sorts of wounds that had been inflicted by professional snipers, to the heart, to the head and to the carotid artery in the neck were untreatable. Dozens of people were shot directly through the eye.
The investigation of the “snipers’ massacre” by the Prosecutor General Office in Ukraine and by other government agencies, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Security Service of Ukraine, concluded that commanders and members of a special Berkut company killed 39 out of the 49 protesters who died on February 20. The investigators announced that this was done primarily with AKM assault rifles and hunting ammunition used in their pump rifles, even thought it would have been irrational to use such ammunition because it was unfamiliar and less powerful and precise than their standard Kalashnikov rifles of 7.62mm caliber. At least 25 protesters were killed with 7.62mm caliber bullets, including 16 from AKMS. In addition, at least 17 protesters were killed with pellets; one by a 9mm bullet from a Makarov gun; and six by other ammunition, such as hunting bullets, but no information about which ammunition killed which protesters was revealed. While the Maidan activists and the Ukrainian media initially claimed that government snipers from the Alfa unit of SBU massacred many protesters, the investigation produced no evidence that they had shot protesters. In the beginning of April 2013, the Prosecutor General Office issued a statement that a Simonov “sniper rifle” was used in the Hotel Ukraina to shoot protesters, even though the Simonov rifle is not a sniper rifle but a semiautomatic carbine that uses the same caliber bullets as the AKM; the Simonov was generally removed from military and police service in Ukraine and was available as a hunting rifle. However, during the first press conference presenting the investigation’s results in April 2014 the Prosecutor General, from the far-right Svoboda party, did not mention that the Simonov carbine was used and that any “snipers” were in this hotel. The same was done in November 2014 at the subsequent press conference by the Prosecutor General Office when it was headed by a Fatherland member.
A new head of the investigation, reported the same findings concerning the Berkut involvement but admitted that there might have been unknown non-governmental snipers who shot some protesters from the Hotel Ukraina.Specifically, the official investigation concluded that Yanukovych and his top officials in the SBU and Ministry of Internal Affairs organized the massacre. However, no such evidence was provided. Interrogations of Yanukovych government officials who did not flee, as well as of police commanders and members, produced no confessions or witness testimonies about such an order or about the involvement of the Berkut and other such formations in the massacre of the protesters. The Berkut special company’s commander and two members of his unit were arrested and charged with killing 39 protesters, and the court hearing in this case began in January 2015. It appeared irrational that the purported killers would remain in Kyiv and not hide from the prosecution. The lawyers of the two arrested Berkut members stated that the 71-volume investigative file did not specify who the Berkut members killed, and the evidence relied on their presence in the area of the massacre. The investigation established the place of the shooting for only half of these 39 protesters. A pro-Maidan journalist reported that the government investigation failed to the establish circumstances of 9 other protesters’ killing.
On November 19, 2014, the Prosecutor General Office claimed during its press conference devoted to this issue that their extensive investigation produced no evidence of “snipers” at the Hotel Ukraina, Zhovtnevyi Palace and other locations controlled by Maidan. However, no evidence has been made public in support of such findings, with the exception of videos that show them shooting with AKMs. Official results from the ballistic, weapons, and medical examinations and other evidence collected during the government’s investigation of this massacre have not been made public. Crucial evidence, including catalogues of Berkut’s bullets and weapons and those of other police units, as well as some 200 investigative cases of specific victims of the massacre, either disappeared or were destroyed under the post-Yanukovych government.
The Ukrainian government failed to investigate the killing and wounding of policemen on February 20 and on two previous days. Interpol put ex-president Yanukovych on its wanted list for financial charges but specifically rejected the Ukrainian government’s request concerning murder charges for the Maidan “snipers’ massacre.”
While the Ukrainian Parliament asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the massacre and other cases of violence during “Euromaidan” following the overthrow of Yanukovych, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Office reportedly informed the court representatives in the fall of 2014 that Ukraine was not interested in assisting such an investigation.
General Soleimani storms into Iranian national consciousness
His photos are everywhere in the Iranian media and his name is mentioned on a daily basis by the national broadcaster. Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is officially a national hero.
This extreme publicity is all the more surprising in view of Soleimani’s command of the most secretive and sensitive branch of the IRGC. The Quds force is the expeditionary wing of the Revolutionary Guards and spearheads Iran’s engagement with pro-Iranian armies, militias and political factions across the region.
To the outside world, in particular to Iran’s enemies and opponents in the region and beyond, Soleimani is the potent face of Iran’s political and ideological offensive in the Middle East.
This portrait of Soleimani is being increasingly adopted at home as well, fed by a daily diet of the Quds force commander’s exploits on the Iraqi battlefield, most recently in the offensive to re-take Tirkrit from the so-called Islamic State.
Whilst Soleimani’s leading role in Iran’s counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq and Syria is undoubtedly pivotal to the Islamic Republic’s regional policy, there are huge questions marks regarding the extreme publicity that now surrounds him.
One plausible explanation is that Soleimani’s adoption as a national hero heralds a change of political culture in Iran with significant long-term ramifications for the country’s domestic and foreign policy.
Out of the shadows
Qasem Soleimani’s transformation from a secretive commander to national celebrity is unprecedented in modern Iranian culture, and his enormous popularity notwithstanding, it is not entirely without controversy.
Iranian media publishes daily photos of the general, often in the company of Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese combatants and ideologues, the natural allies of the IRGC’s Quds Force.
When Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of legendary Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyeh, was killed in an Israeli strike near the Golan Heights in January, Iranian media published photos of the young Jihad standing shoulder to shoulder with Soleimani. The message was clear: Soleimani has personal ties to the most effective and committed pro-Iranian elements in the region.
The publicity afforded to Soleimani has been so intense that even the Western media has bought into the emerging myths about him, with the British Broadcasting Corporation dedicating an entire radio programme to the Iranian general.
Amidst this international media frenzy, it is important to separate fact from fiction to arrive at a more objective appraisal of Soleimani’s background, capability and standing in the Iranian establishment.
Much of the information on Soleimani’s background is true; he hails from a humble background (at one point working as a bricklayer) and he joined the IRGC at its foundation in 1979.
However, Soleimani’s war record during the tumultuous Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, although impressive, is still far from unique. Indeed, many of his contemporaries made a more significant contribution to Iran’s war effort and yet they either languish in obscurity or do not enjoy consistently favourable media exposure.
The case of Lieutenant General Ali Sayyad Shirazi is particularly instructive. The latter was arguably Iran’s most important strategist and commander during the war and survived the conflict to fulfil important military roles before he was assassinated by a terrorist group in April 1999.
Although a hero image was cultivated around Shirazi after his assassination, during his life time he was rarely exposed to the media. This was consistent with a post-revolutionary policy of keeping military commanders out of the limelight to reinforce the barriers between the military and the political establishment.
The spectacular breakdown of this tradition is unlikely to be an accident or purely a function of Soleimani’s visible role in implementing wining strategies in Syria and Iraq. This is likely the result of a conscious and deliberate strategy which is in keeping with shifting political-cultural dynamics.
Rise of Iranian nationalism
The emerging cult of personality around Soleimani will doubtless fuel speculation of a power grab by the formidable IRGC, which is already under fire by critics for expanding its economic portfolio during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But it is important to note that Soleimani is enjoying favourable exposure by a wide range of Iranian media, many of which have no ties to the IRGC. Second, Soleimani does not occupy the top spot in the IRGC; in fact, in terms of hierarchy, there are several IRGC commanders who occupy higher positions than Soleimani.
Soleimani’s popularity is independent from his institutional standing in the Revolutionary Guards and speaks to a wider resonance across the establishment and public opinion. Iran’s spectacularly successful regional policy, and a concomitant increase of national prestige, is converging with the sleeping giant of Iranian nationalism.
Officially nationalism is taboo in Iran as the establishment sources its identity and foundational values to the Islamic Revolution. For more than three decades, Iranian leaders and officials have tried to suppress deep-seated feelings and manifestations of nationalism on political and ideological grounds, but there are growing signs that they may eventually have to submit to the inevitable.
Demographic and political dynamics have converged to produce a potential shift. The young generation has no memory of the revolution or the war with Iraq and consequently has little time for official doctrines and sanctities.
The challenge for Iranian policymakers and socio-cultural strategists is to find new channels to connect the establishment to the younger generations. It is in this context that the emerging cult around Soleimani commands clearer significance.
The Quds force general may never enter politics himself but his meteoric rise points to a distinct direction of travel in Iranian politics, notably an emerging political culture which remoulds revolutionary values and objectives in a nationalistic framework.
General Soleimani storms into Iranian national consciousness http://t.co/tpxZa7e5gz #Iran