Monday, July 21, 2014

Liberal U.S. media ignore sharp rebuke to Russia by Samantha Power -- U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Ukraine

Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 24, 2014

Malaysian AirlinesThank you, Mr. President. Time and again – at least 17 times since February – we have gathered here to discuss the situation in Ukraine. And time and again, we’ve had to dedicate significant amounts of time to reviewing the efforts of Russia to destabilize its neighbor and to refuting the bald misinformation and outright fiction about what is happening on the ground in Ukraine.

 Russian rhetoric has been inaccurate, inflammatory and self-justifying. On June 17, just last week, Foreign Minister Lavrov accused Ukrainian military authorities of carrying out “ethnic cleansing.” Days earlier, a leader in the Duma accused Ukraine of committing “mass genocide.”

My government, this Council, and the United Nations take extremely seriously any reports of ethnic cleansing or genocide. But baseless claims like this have the effect of radicalizing Russian separatists, escalating this horrible crisis and further eviscerating the credibility of Russian reports from the region.

We should consider such claims alongside the facts on the ground, such as the situation of the ethnic Tatar community in Crimea following Russia’s purported annexation, which the international community will never recognize.

The homes of Tatar leaders have been arbitrarily searched, and editors of its main newspaper threatened with prosecution. Tatars who have participated in peaceful protests have been locked up by the dozens, and many more insulted and harassed for speaking their language in public. And its members have been told that they – and all Crimeans – must give up their Ukrainian citizenship, or else be treated like foreigners in their own land.
Meanwhile, in areas controlled by illegal separatist groups in southeast Ukraine, we continue to see Russia’s extensive support for the campaign of violence and separatist terror.

The crimes committed by these groups are methodically documented in the UN Monitoring Mission’s reports, and follow a pattern set by Russia’s unlawful intervention in Crimea. They include the violent seizure and occupation of public and government buildings; unprovoked, lethal attacks against Ukrainian security forces; and arbitrary arrests, torture, beatings, death threats, disappearances, killings, and other serious abuses carried out by Russian fighters and the pro-Russian separatists.

We don’t need to look very far or very hard to find evidence of this campaign. We see it in the three T-64 Russian tanks which suddenly showed up in the hands of separatists in Eastern Ukraine. We see it in the burnt out BM-21 rocket launcher – one of many that suddenly appeared in Eastern Ukraine in the past weeks – which photographs shows recently belonged to Russia’s 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade, based in Chechnya.

We see it in surface-to-air missiles that were recently seized by Ukrainian forces after a clash with separatists. They were still accompanied by their official paperwork, revealing that – as recently as two months ago – these missiles were held on a Russian Air Defense Base in the Krasnodar region. These are just the type of surface-to-air missiles, I would note, that were used to bring down a Ukrainian military transport plane last week, killing all 49 people onboard. And we see it in the alarming redeployment of thousands of Russian troops and military hardware along the border with Ukraine – at the closest proximity, since the invasion of Crimea in February.

Russia has attempted, erroneously, to characterize the events unfolding in eastern Ukraine as a humanitarian crisis. They falsely have cast themselves as the defender of rights and vindicator of the vulnerable; and the Russian army and its operatives as a humanitarian aid agency. But this Russian “aid” operation sends soldiers, not doctors; it mans armored personnel carriers, not relief tents; it provides surface-to-air missiles, not meals-ready-to-eat.

Russia claims that 100,000 people have fled Ukraine for Russia. Yet, Under-Secretary-General Amos informed this Council in a briefing last week, that the real number is around 4,600.

I do not for one moment intend to minimize the very real humanitarian consequences of the crises in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, including the tens of thousands of internally displaced people within Ukraine’s borders. But we have to be objective and fact-based in our claims and candid about what has brought about these dire humanitarian consequences: namely, the political and military support that Russia continues to provide to armed, violent separatists.

And yet, remarkably, even in the face of separatist attacks and inflammatory propaganda, the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people have shown in word and in deed a sustained willingness to work toward a peaceful solution.

The Ukrainian people elected a leader – Petro Poroshenko – who campaigned on creating a democratic, unified, and peaceful Ukraine. And since taking office, President Poroshenko has persistently sought to achieve this goal through dialogue and reconciliation – even in the face of provocations and violence. He proposed, and then implemented a unilateral ceasefire to allow separatists to lay down their arms; he offered to create a safe passage for Russian fighters to return to their country; and he proposed amnesty to Russian-backed separatists who have not committed serious crimes.

We welcome yesterday’s reports that representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian governments and separatist groups met together, leading to an announcement by some separatist leaders that they would respect the ceasefire. President Poroshenko and his government have taken steps to decentralize power, increase transparency, combat corruption, and protect the rights of minorities. And he has put on the table a comprehensive and just peace plan. In sum, he and the Ukrainian people have done everything that could be expected in an effort to make peace in accordance with international law and norms.

Over the last few days, we have seen more contradictory behavior on the part of Russia. On the one hand, President Putin expresses his support for President Poroshenko’s ceasefire and his intention to work towards a peaceful settlement. That is a welcomed development.

Yet, on the other hand, Russia has recently returned a significant number of its troops to the border, and has ramped up the flow of weapons and materiel to separatists, an increasing number of whom are Russian citizens with no personal connection to eastern Ukraine. President Putin has also placed Russian troops on combat alert and launched a new surprise military exercise.

President Putin’s recent statements are welcome. But it’s hard to take a little rhetoric of reconciliation seriously when it is accompanied by actions that are clearly aimed at stoking tension. And it is even harder to take seriously given that Russia’s track record of repeatedly breaking its commitments to dialogue and to peace – as it did after the Geneva Statement in April, and after the pledges that President Putin made to President Obama in Normandy earlier this month.

So while we welcome the more conciliatory rhetoric from President Putin in recent days, these words now need to be reflected in a genuine shift in the facts on the ground. And those facts are best gathered by unbiased reporting, like that conducted by international monitoring missions. But the Russians, and the armed separatists that they support, don’t seem comfortable with facts or with monitors.

As we sit here, eight OSCE monitors are being held captive for the crime of bearing witness and gathering facts – actions that are dangerous only to those who would distort those facts. These monitors have been held captive for nearly a month – a month! – by separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk, with no justification. For these crimes, there must be consequences.

There also must be continued consequences for Russia’s consistent violations of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and for its ongoing failure to meet the commitments it has made. And there must be consequences for the widespread crimes and abuses committed by the armed separatists Russia supports. Both because the victims of these crimes merit justice; and because, as we have seen, unless Russia feels effective pressure to de-escalate, it will continue to choose to escalate this crisis.

We have urged Russia to be part of the political solution to the crisis in Ukraine. But if it persists with the same escalatory tactics – it must face additional costs. Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


    Verne Strickland  July 20, 2014:  
    'Jesus Is Muslim'?
If you don't think that mockery gets my dander up, you don't know me.

These Islamic provocateurs have already caused a stir in Ohio with highway billboards:

'Jesus Is Muslim' Billboards Cause Controversy In Ohio Huffington Post
In my own case, the  following exchange began a day or two earlier this week with a smooth, Muslim dude named Dr. Muhammad Salah. He showed up in my email inbox under the obnoxious banner of 'Jesus If Muslim'. 

The fireworks began with a couple of preliminary salvos, which ratcheted up in intensity quite soon. You'll get the idea: 

This is so offensive. I cannot even understand what this heretic is saying, but my perception is that he is a fool if he believes that the false "god" Allah brings the "true" religion in Islam. Totally untrue. Totally reprehensible. Dr. Muhammad Salah should be pitied and ignored. He is blathering nonsense. Jesus Christ is God, and all -- including Muslims -- will bow to Him in the end and proclaim Christ Jesus God. Those who refuse will burn in the eternal fires of hell.
  • Jesus is Muslim
    You are basing your arguments as facts but you didn't justify any of your claims.

  • Verne Strickland
    My faith in Christ the Redeemer is my justification, sir. Further, I have no interest in attempting to convince you or your jihadist rabble of the divine identity of Jesus the One and Only True God. That wouldn't matter anyway. You have mocked Jesus Christ, Who will not be mocked. You are doomed as we speak. And will be committed to hell forever. No supper for you, unless you enjoy a good plateful of pickled pig feet.

  • Jesus is Muslim
    Love your enemies, lol

  • Verne Strickland
    Practice what you preach. Your curious tribes of warmongers actually urge your kind to persecute and kill Christians! And it is done each and every day to innocent people who are only hurt and murdered because they are followers of Jesus Christ. It is so sad. I pity the cult of Islam. I pray for you too. Christians are forgiving people. Muslims are not.

  • Jesus is Muslim
    Actually Muslims are the ones killed by Christians either in the Crusades or the Inquisitions or during the European colonization or Bosnia and Kosova or in Iraq and Afghanistan by USA so you need to see who are the warmongers.

  • Deu 20:16 But of the cities of these peoples, that Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth; Deu 20:17 but thou shalt utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee

  • Sorry, but I have no interest at all in your heretical ramblings about the Holy Bible. If you continue to assault me with this bilge, I may resort to sending you mocking and revised passages from your own "holy" book -- the Koeran? But rather than that, I will only say that you are certainly a practiced propagandist, and I hope double your allotment of virgins are waiting for you whenever you and other jihadists go for your reward. Some reward. I wish you no joy here, where Islam viciously attacks Israel, and where you and your evil friends mock Jesus, to whom every knee shall bend in the End Times. Even yours. Are you prepared for that, sir?

    This Muslim slickster will show again, and again, until I block him. What I have said may seem intemperate, but I have no friends among Muslims and don't court any. I have learned through research and following these issues that every adult Muslim alive today has sworn an oath to the cloudmeister Allah that he will hate Israel and Jews, and will kill all infidels (us) when possible. Pretty mean stuff. So I don't fancy I will win a popularity contest in Gaza. But I will say my piece, and defend Jesus Christ and Israel with passion and fervor.