iting RT’s influence, Secretary of State John Kerry asked US lawmakers for more money for propaganda and “democracy promotion” programs around the world.
“Russia Today (sic) can be heard in English, do we have an equivalent that can be heard in Russian? It’s a pretty expensive proposition. They are spending huge amounts of money,” Kerry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee, apparently forgetting that Voice of America had been broadcasting in Russian since 1947.
Press Statement John Kerry Secretary of State Washington, DC February 12, 2015
The United States welcomes the news that the OSCE-led Trilateral Contact Group, supported by Chancellor Merkel and Presidents Hollande, Poroshenko, and Putin, reached agreement on a ceasefire and heavy weapons withdrawal in eastern Ukraine, and on the implementation of the September Minsk agreements. We particularly commend the diplomatic efforts of our European Allies, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, and their teams in making this agreement possible. Actions will be what matter now. The first test of this agreement and the prospects for a comprehensive settlement will be the full implementation of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons by all parties – by Ukraine, the separatists, and Russia. All the parties must show complete restraint in the run-up to the Sunday ceasefire, including an immediate halt to the Russian and separatist assault on Debaltseve and other Ukrainian towns. Continue reading »
Following yesterday’s summary of the utter farce that the Minsk Summit/Ukraine “peace” deal talks have become, the various parties involved appear to be fracturing even faster today. The headlines are coming thick and fast but most prescient appears to be: Despite John Kerry’s denial of any split between Germany and US over arms deliveries to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier slammed Washington’s strategy for being “not just risky but counterproductive.” But perhaps most significantly is France’s continued apparent pivot towards Russia… Following Francois Hollande’s calls for greater autonomy for Eastern Ukraine, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out in apparent support of Russia (and specifically against the US), “we are part of a common civilization with Russia,” adding, “the interests of the Americans with the Russians are not the interests of Europe and Russia.” Even NATO appears to have given up hope of peace as Stoltenberg’s statements show little optimism and the decision by Cyprus to allow Russia to use its soil for military facilities suggests all is not at all well in the European ‘union’.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier doubled down on Germany’s rejection of weapons deliveries to Ukraine in a speech here Sunday… Continue reading »
Statement by the President on the Death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
It is with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.
King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations. He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region. At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.
As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.
It appears the ‘broad coalition’ that President Obama so confidently described just two days ago is crumbling faster than the Iraqi army. First UK and Germany deny support for airstrikes in Syria and now Turkey refuses to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara this morning to ‘build the coalition’ but, as AFP reports, Turkish officials have already made their position clear, “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations.” Their ‘excuse': “our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages,” but follows PM Erdogan’s recent shunning of Obama.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara Friday for talks aimed at building a coalition against Islamic State jihadists, a visit that comes after Turkey said it would not allow its air bases to be used for strikes on the extremists. Continue reading »
When leaders from Africa and the U.S. convened in Washington, D.C., to discuss a wide range of issues affecting African nations, Secretary of State John Kerry gave us a glimpse into his twisted priorities.
During the “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” panel, Kerry noted that Africa faces a starvation problem. With thousands going to bed hungry each night, it’s undeniable that one of Africa’s largest problems is starvation.
Kerry claimed that “8,000 children die every day” and that one in four children face chronic hunger.
However, just minutes later, Kerry reminded the crowd that despite the starving children in Africa, they ought to refrain from creating new farms because it contributes to “climate change.”
“Certain agricultural processes can actually release carbon pollution and actually contribute to the problem in the first place.”
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren experienced a convenient technical glitch when asked Monday about a sensitive subject.
After MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Oren about suspicions that Israel eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry during his attempt to mediate peace negotiations last year, Oren said he couldn’t hear Mitchell’s question.
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.
Another red line crossed? As AP reports, Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations – “U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything.” The White House is not happy – in unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line. Continue reading »
Dick’s cuts 400 jobs as golf now less popular (MW)
Kerry arrives in Israel, pushes for peace (Reuters) (Sure!)
Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads as U.S. Economy Mends (BBG)
Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health-Law Subsidies (WSJ)
Rebel Stronghold Donetsk Holds Breath as Shellfire Mounts (BBG)
Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race (Reuters)
Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food (Reuters)
Jobs Hold Sway Over Yellen-Carney as Central Banks Splinter (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
* Two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on subsidies for health coverage purchased on federal insurance exchanges, clouding a major part of Obama’s health law. (http://on.wsj.com/1pb81yo)
* The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that Deutsche Bank AG’s U.S. operations suffer from a litany of serious financial reporting problems that the lender has known about for years but not fixed. (http://on.wsj.com/1jUoOXe) Continue reading »
The Obama administration expanded its case Sunday accusing Ukrainian separatists and Russian forces of working hand in hand to acquire and operate a missile battery believed to have shot down a Malaysia Airlines jetliner last week, killing nearly 300 people.
For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last U.S. combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans.
So the headlines of recent weeks – Iraq Army collapses! Iraq’s second largest city falls to insurgents! Terrorist Caliphate established in Middle East! – couldn’t have seemed more shockingly out of the blue. Suddenly, reporters flooded back in, the Bush-era neocons who had planned and supported the invasion and occupation were writing op-eds as if it were yesterday, and Iraq was again the story of the moment as the post-post-mortems began to appear and commentators began asking: How in the world could this be happening? Continue reading »
The Polish Foreign Minister believes his country’s alliance with the US is worth nothing and compared his government’s stance to giving oral sex and receiving nothing in return, a Polish magazine said, citing a leaked recording of a private conversation.
Excerpts from the alleged exchange between FM Radoslaw Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister, were published Sunday by Wprost, which promised a full transcript and audio files later on Monday or Tuesday. The same magazine triggered a political storm in Poland this month by releasing a recording of a conversation between the head of Poland’s central bank and the interior minister, implying a link between the two violating the bank’s independence. Continue reading »