Lithuanian Premier Accuses Russia of ‘Economic War’
The report confirmed that chemical weapons were used but did not ascribe blame, and Lavrov and Fabius differed sharply on their interpretations. “The report exposes the regime,” Fabius said. “On the basis of the information of our external agents, we consider that the report proves the responsibility of the regime for the chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21.” The U.S., Britain and France said evidence in the report the type of rockets, the composition of the sarin agent, and trajectory of the missiles showed that Assad’s government was responsible. The report said surface-to-surface rockets containing sarin were fired from an area where Syria’s military has bases, but said the evidence could have been manipulated in the rebel-controlled neighborhood that was hit. Russia, a staunch ally of the Syrian regime, disagreed with the West’s conclusions. Lavrov said Moscow has “serious reason to suggest that this was a provocation” by the rebels. Ban called the report “the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them” against ethnic Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, in 1988. The main Syrian opposition group, the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition , said the report clearly shows that only the Syrian regime could have carried out the attack, and it urged the U.N. to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court . “The Syrian coalition urges the Security Council to end the culture of impunity in Syria, and to stop the Syrian regime from carrying out further war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the coalition said. SNC president Ahmad al-Jarba said the U.N.
The state media watchdog said it had added Facebook to a blacklist and that the social network would be blocked within three days if the violations were not resolved. Facebook responded swiftly to the threat, within hours removing the ads which led users to a site selling the designer drug “Spice” and other synthetic narcotics. A spokesman for the California-based company told the Russian tech site Digit.ru that the ads were the result of a “bug”. The tussle was the latest episode in what appears to be a continuing crusade by Russian conservatives to challenge US web giants in Russia. The investigation into Facebook was prompted by a complaint from Ruslan Gattarov, a senator from the ruling party, United Russia, who has recently campaigned against alleged breaches of Russians’ rights by major US Internet firms. This “has shown that there are no untouchable companiesif the law is broken, they must react, and if they don’t, they can expect to be blocked,” the senator told the ITAR-TASS news agency after Facebook pulled the ads. Gattarov had said earlier this week that he wanted Facebook to face a fine of several million dollars. The ads had apparently appeared on the site for some time, but authorities only acted after Gattarov formally complained, independent channel TV Rain reported. Gattarov on Thursday called for Facebook to open an office in Russia. The absence of permanent premises for the company in the country has long been a gripe for the Russian government. Gattarov, who heads the presidential council on developing Internet use, has in recent months called for the law enforcement agencies to investigate Apple and Twitter over alleged violations of users’ privacy and argued that Gmail violates Russia’s constitution. Gattarov has been a particularly vocal critic of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programmes, revealed by fugitive Edward Snowden.
Russia Today Airs Dubious Video Of Syria Chemical Attack Claiming To Show Rebels Using Sarin Gas From Brown Moses Blog (VIDEO)
Russia forced customs controls on Lithuania, located at Poland s northern border along the Baltic Sea, while the eastern European Union state is studying a proposal it received from Gazprom OAO (GAZP) last week, the contents of which arent public. This could almost be considered a sort of economic war, Butkevicius said today on Ziniu radio in Vilnius. Political leaders in the Baltic nation that broke from the Soviet Union more than two decades ago are increasingly vocal about disputes with Russia as they seek energy independence while trying to maintain trade links. The EU yesterday urged Russia to stop targeting Lithuania , which currently holds the EU presidency, with punitive trade restrictions. President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters today that Gazprom is demanding the government do things that cant be done and wont consider reducing prices for the gas it sells Lithuania as the countrys sole supplier, BNS newswire reported. Gazprom is acting within a supply contract that is valid through 2015, a Gazprom official said, declining to be identified in line with company policy or comment further on the remarks from Lithuania today. Energy ministers from the 28-nation EU gather in Vilnius today and tomorrow to discuss energy security and other issues. An antitrust probe that the EU is conducting against Gazprom will probably be debated, according to Lithuanias Energy Ministry. Vilnius Meeting EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger is due to attend the meeting. During a visit to Vilnius in May, Oettinger said the EU backs Lithuanias efforts to get cheaper Russian gas and develop alternative energy supplies and production. Its not acceptable that in Lithuania energy prices are 20, 30 or 40 percent higher than in neighboring states, the commissioner said. The countrys work to build a liquefied natural-gas terminal on the Baltic Sea coast by the end of 2014 will strengthen its negotiating position with Gazprom, he said. I invite the government to speed up construction of the LNG terminal and try to reduce dependence on Gazprom as fast as possible, the president said, according to BNS. Butkevicius, pledging to coordinate any formal response to Gazprom with Grybauskaite, said he still hoped Gazprom would agree to reduce prices before the winter heating season. I hope that sober thinking will prevail, he said.
Russia opposes use of force in resolution on Syria
21 chemical attack. Problem is, nobody can seem to verify their legitimacy. The footage was posted online on Monday by Brown Moses, a blogger who covers the Syria crisis from an arms trade and weapons-specific perspective. In the videos, which were supposedly retrieved from the mobile phone of a rebel killed on the Kurdish border, fighters claiming to be part of opposition group Liwa al-Islam appear to fire what Moses calls “unusual munitions,” ostensibly the chemical weapons the UN has concluded were used in the attack outside Damascus. However, in the same post, Moses points to several elements of the videos that call into question their credibility: the low quality of the footage, the odd darkness despite the fact that the night of the attack was a full moon, and the propagandistic nature of the content. (You can read his full breakdown here .) Ignoring those doubts, state-run Russia Today aired the videos on Tuesday, using Moses’ prominence in reporting on weapons in the Syrian conflict as “proof” of their verity. According to a transcript of the segment posted on the Brown Moses blog , RT correspondent Paul Scott characterizes the blogger as “a staunch critic of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” noting then how “interesting” it is that he has publicized footage “that suggests that it actually could be the Syrian opposition that had been using these chemical weapons.” Moses did not take kindly to RT cherry-picking the videos while failing to mention the numerous questions he had regarding their authenticity, responding on his blog to the outlet’s mischaracterization of his original post: To be absolutely clear, I do not consider these videos to be reliable evidence of anything. They came from irregular sources, and are filmed in a way not consistent with videos posted previously by Liwa al-Islam, among other issues. I do not support Russia Today’s use of the credibility of my work to prop up videos I consider to be highly dubious. I believe all credible evidence points to the Syrian military being responsible for the August 21st attack, and have produced large amounts of work examining the evidence that supports that conclusion, which can be found here . To wit, RT is funded by the Russian government and has been little more than a mouthpiece for the state. In an August profile on the network, Der Spiegel described RT as “a sort of ministry of media defense for the Kremlin” that has “a rare knack for propaganda.” It would be in keeping with its modus operandi to air a skewed, one-sided segment that supports Vladimir Putin’s oft-repeated claim that it was, in fact, the Syrian rebels who carried out last month’s chemical attack.