“Russia’s Putin calls John Kerry a liar on Syria” SF Gate


"Putin recalled watching a congressional debate where Kerry was asked about al-Qaida. Putin said he had denied that it was operating in Syria, even though he was aware of the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group.
Putin said: "This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans) and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad."
It was unclear exactly what Putin was referencing, but Kerry was asked Tuesday while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if the Syrian opposition had become more infiltrated by al-Qaida.
Kerry responded that that was "basically incorrect" and that the opposition has "increasingly become more defined by its moderation."
"  SF Gate


It seems to me that it is well established that both ISIS and al-Nusra are AQ clones.  Kerry and the other administration henchpersons are attempting to convince that the somewhat secular but nevertheless altogether Sunni Free Syrian Army is the strongest of the rebel factions and the most likely to take control of Syria if the government falls.

Is this an article of faith, or is there actually some indication that Kerry might be correct? 

And then of course there was the moment before the senate when Kerry said that he did not want to exclude a future possibility of US ground troops in Syria.  What was that about?  pl 




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54 Responses to “Russia’s Putin calls John Kerry a liar on Syria” SF Gate

  1. b says:

    Reuters agrees with Putin here:
    “Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports”

    The Pope has released a statement on Syria. While it is (diplomatically correct) addressed to Putin as current head of the G-20 it is clearly directed at Obama.
    To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.

  2. Because NO American President since NIXON has articulated basic principles for US FP the chaos will only get greater IMO!
    And thoughtful personnel in the FLAG RANKS disappeared long ago.

  3. robt willmann says:

    The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee on 4 September voted to send a proposed law to the entire Senate for its consideration. The proposal now has a name — “Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons”.
    This proposed joint resolution is disgraceful.
    Please read it for yourself. Doing so is important because its words will be stretched and twisted so that the U.S. government can use the U.S. military to overthrow the government of a sovereign country that has done nothing to the U.S. and is not an imminent, clear and present danger to this country, in order to accomplish whatever the real and hidden agenda is for Syria.
    The constant drum beat of the propaganda program to get this new war started has pounded on the need to prevent and to degrade the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. But guess what? The operative language that matters is section 2(a), and do you know what has magically disappeared? Chemical weapons! Nowhere in section 2(a) are the evil chemical weapons mentioned. Instead, we are now talking about … (drum roll) … “weapons of mass destruction”! Surprise, surprise!
    The joint resolution contains no definitions of its terms or phrases. And as I mentioned before, the “limitation” on “boots on the ground” is not much of a limitation at all–
    “Section 3. Limitation. The authority granted in section 2 does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations.”
    There are 7 separate parts to that sentence that does not limit as much as the sales talk would have you believe. Can you separate out the 7 parts? Do you know what each part means, and what it covers or does not cover?
    The fix is in with the so-called “leadership” of the U.S. Congress; at the “hearings” over the last two days, not one witness was called to testify who would challenge the overt use of the U.S. military in Syria. A news report this morning said that the Senate may vote on the joint resolution on Monday, 9 September.
    It is not at all clear at this time if this obscenity can be stopped.

  4. jdgalvez says:

    Not that the Secretary of State listens to his spiritual leader but:

  5. Basilisk says:

    I spoke with PL recently. The name of our esteemed Secretary of State came up and PL declared him beneath “beneath contempt.” I thought the judgment was a bit harsh, but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, so I did not comment.
    That was before I watched what seems to be endless testimony in the current contretemps. My mother would have said he was “arguing up one side and down the other,” and whenever the footing became slippery he was quick to retreat behind the promised “closed session” where presumably all will be revealed. I find that PL was engaging in uncharacteristic understatement.
    Disgusting. The final straw came this morning. My gentle wife, who is a stone expert in detecting cosmetic surgery, has opined for weeks that “he’s had work done.” The Post’s “Reliable Source” weighed in: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/09/04/john-kerrys-face-looks-different-exhaustion-illness-botox/
    The Secretary’s staff holds that it’s all the result of an overdue haircut and stress. Her take? “How stupid do they think we are?”

  6. turcopolier says:

    thanks for your unqualified support and opinion as to my rhetorical style. pl

  7. GulfCoastPirate says:

    When was the last time we all heard of the leader of an important state calling the head of foreign policy of another important state a liar publicly? I don’t remember that happening very often (if at all) in diplomatic circles. Very unusual.

  8. Pat Lang,
    Speaking of rhetoric, I long for the day when “boots on the ground” goes away. It has become a euphemism for every situation,ranging from a MAG in some tame location to a combined arms full scale invasion.
    My favorite “boots on the ground moment came when a CNN reporter in Kuwait, during one of the periodic troop movements intended to keep Iraq in its box, said “20,00 boots on the ground are moving into Kuwait”. That gave me the whimsical notion 20,000 one-legged soldiers hopping around in the desert.

  9. Fred says:

    So the facts we do have are 1) DNI Clapper lied under oath before Congress. 2) NSA head General Alexander lied under oath before Congress and 3) Secretary of State Kerry has lied under oath before the Senate. I can only conclude they are doing so at the direction of the President. The obvious question is not why we are discussing war resolutions by why isn’t there a hearing and a vote for articles of impeachment?

  10. optimax says:

    This chart is Thinkprogress’s Syria Whip count showing where each House member stands on the AUM vote. Blumenhauer is leaning “no”, so I sent an email urging him to vote no, hoping it pushes him in the right direction.

  11. The beaver says:

    Why I am not surprised.
    Like Matthew Lee from the Intercity Press says: Race for Relevance
    “The UK has fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Damascus, David Cameron has told the BBC as he arrives in Russia for the G20 summit.
    Scientists at the Porton Down laboratories have been “examining samples” from Syria’s capital, he said.”
    Use -yes
    but by whom??? Let’s flip a coin 🙁

  12. Alba Etie says:

    Might we add to Kerry commentary
    Liar Liar pants on fire .
    And what did you bet the Russians know exactly by now who the false flag “perpertraitors” are in this current contretemps …

  13. WP says:

    After watching all of the House hearings, I am left with a strong impression that this is mostly about Iran and getting a Congressional Resolution that is broad enough (weapons of mass destruction language instead of chemical weapons) to authorize a strike against Iran without further ado.
    Also, what is the truth about the strengths of the makeup of the opposition? WP’s First Principle of Political Process is that the most ruthless usually win. As I see it, the “moderates” we support are not the most ruthless. For us to be the most ruthless, we would have to have gobs of “boots on the ground.”
    Also, Kerry’s statement that this will not be “war” is baffling to me.

  14. BTW Kerry still wants to be President!

  15. Fred says:

    Hopefully they won’t be surprised while they sail in internatonal waters like the USS Liberty:

  16. Medicine Man says:

    “Henchpersons” is a great word — very apt.

  17. Matthew says:

    What’s heartening is the pushback against the propaganda organs. See, e.g, comments in response to: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/09/03/meet_the_syria_chemical_weapons_truthers

  18. The beaver says:

    Well they all agree that it must be Assad BUT ….
    [Quote] The Israelis were the first to press the case, declaring in an April 23 presentation at a security conference that it had clear evidence that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons on a small scale. But no sooner had a senior official of Israel’s military intelligence unit laid out his case than Secretary of State John Kerry, seeing the reports, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently out of concern that such a declaration would force Mr. Obama’s hand.
    Mr. Kerry told reporters that the Israeli leader “was not in a position to confirm” the intelligence assessment. American officials said later that they had concerns about the chain of custody on hair, blood and urine samples from some of those attacks, and feared the evidence might have been tinkered with by the opposition. [/Quote]
    The French excuse is laughable: only Assad has the “savoir faire” Yup- what about AQ -underwear bomb, shoe bomb etc

  19. Matthew says:

    Fred: Unlike LBJ, Putin will hit Israel hard if they attack Russian warships.

  20. mbrenner says:

    Could you comment on the conduct of John Hagel at these hearings? He is a man we respect; yet, the substance of his remarks seem little different from Kerry’s. Certainly that is true in regard to the promiscuous resort to “classified” in order to evade discussion of anything problematic.

  21. jonst says:

    Is there anybody on this committee of correspondents…that saw any report, anywhere, in the last 4 months or so, that indicated, hinted, speculated that the non-AQ oriented forces were getting stronger? On the upswing? Any report? I am leaving out Syrian Kurdish forces in this calculation.
    I heard Kerry say that and I thought….he’s off his meds.

  22. turcopolier says:

    I have been disappointed by Hagel in this. He is obviously just another politician. General Dempsey on the other hand is carefully distancoing himself from the BS to the extent that he can and remain CJCS. pl

  23. Fred says:

    I am sure they would. Torpedoes are a bit harder to track when not launched from MTBs.

  24. Stephanie says:

    From Dana Milbank’s column in The Washington Post:
    “The administration’s case against Assad may well be airtight. Walter Pincus, The Post’s longtime intelligence correspondent, tells me he hasn’t heard the sort of doubts from the intelligence community that he heard during the run-up to the Iraq war. The problem is that the refusal to declassify evidence helps opponents such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin cast doubt on the intelligence…”

  25. Tunde says:

    This may turn out to be a double post.
    The DT (Daily Telegraph) is doing it’s part in ridiculing the Commons and Cameron with today’s headline that BHO has/or intends to snub the PM in favor of ‘gormless, grinning’ (their description of him not mine) Hollande wrt the Syria strike option. Quelled horreur ! Good ol’ Englisher parochialism at it’s finest . Highly amusing if it were not for the dangerous implications of the conflict spinning out of control. To highlight the extent ofmedia coordination here in the UK, The Times yesterday led with a headline that British military liaison officers at MacDill were being ejected from planning meetings in which Syria plans would be discussed. Britannia sunk ! You could’ntmake this up. And reports such as this are sure to convince their respective readerships that attacking Syria after tea and scones is justified how ? What surprises me (perhaps DH can shed some light on this) is that nobody seems to have pointed out that Cameron said he was respecting the will of the British public (but would probably deploy troops covertly anyway) . The will of the public seems to irk the Times and The Daily Telegraph. Funny that.

  26. Tunde says:

    The ANNA channel on YouTube says otherwise. But iris only one side . Perhaps those with MOUT experience (and Russian) can explain better from the assembled footage.

  27. zanzibar says:

    In reading the current version of the AUMF and observing the all out propaganda and deception campaign, it seems that the use of force is not to punish Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons. But to effect regime change in Syria as well as to strike Hizballah and Iran.
    Can the Al Qaeda “liver eaters” with US air and materiel support defeat Assad’s & Hizballah forces on the ground? Or will it require “coalition” combat forces before too long?
    Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before missile strikes will include assets in Hizballah territory in Lebanon as well as Iran, what are they likely to do militarily now? Wait for the strikes to act or pre-empt?

  28. turcopolier says:

    “may well be” Walter is just covering his ass. CIA analysts ttell me they can’t complain because the evidence is ambiguous and is altogether “circumstantial” or emotional video. The same thing is true in the classified briefing. pl

  29. zanzibar says:

    “He is obviously just another politician.” – pl
    Isn’t that the truth!
    What will American voters do at the next election? Since all we have are tweedle-dee & tweedle-dum, how will voters deal with the “voting for the lesser evil”? Or does partisan tribalism trump it all?

  30. Matthew says:

    I’m sure the British people are going to be downcast by this development….(sarcasm).
    Of course, the “British people”–as opposed to Tony Blair–don’t expect to invited to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom anyway.
    If we really wanted to play hardball, we would bar British tourists from Disney World.

  31. Fred says:

    Meanwhile the NSA is defeating encrption:
    Since the only NSA spying we are actually aware of is against US citizens can we assume that Obama is compiling a list of all those citizens opposed to his pro-war policy so that the appropriate ‘political science’ steps can be taken to neutralize thier actions without any negative consequences to his Congressional supporters? What else would all that ‘meta-data’ be for?

  32. ISL says:

    All: Listening to Putin, he seems very confident that there will not be convincing evidence blaming Syria and he will not need to backtrack at the UN on his ally. There are a few ways to interpret this.
    1. Whether evidence arises or not, Putin will simply declare it uncompelling.
    2. Russia has its own evidence (in the report, and also I presume Russian classified) that is compelling.
    3. Snowden has a backdoor, and Russia knows exactly what secret evidence the US has. Clapper has admitted they have no idea what information he took.
    I would be interested in thoughts on the latter possibility. If true, the Putin/Obama meeting should be interesting, and moreover, if true, then there is enormous potential that many high US officials are compromised (in the classic blackmail sense).

  33. Medicine Man says:

    Reporting on McClatchy about the Russians compiling a 100-page report detailing rebel involvement in the CW attacks: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/05/201268/russia-releases-100-page-report.html#.Uijn56yQlvF
    If this is true, I hope they release it soon.

  34. Walrus says:

    Dana is attempting the logical impossibility of turning negative evidence ” he hasn’t heard” into positive evidence. Another Kool aid drinker.

  35. Tunde,
    I am on holiday in North Devon, and my wife has told me in no uncertain terms that I should take time off from staring at computer screens.
    For whatever it is worth, however, a pattern is very visible here, which I suspect is also visible in much of the U.S.
    Some people are doing very well economically, while a great number of people are under very serious economic pressure.
    Questions as to whether Cameron is snubbed by Obama, or British military chiefs excluded from meetings with their U.S. counterparts and French included, may well, I suspect, cut very little ice with many of those who are under this kind of pressure.
    Ironically, whatever the problems of ‘social media’ as an intelligence source, there is a lot of reason to think that it is precisely the combination of access to information via the internet, and ability to communicate with MPs, that was responsible for the Commons vote against intervention. To be blunt, I think reasonably well-informed communications from constituents put the wind up a good few MPs.
    My suspicion is the powers that be at the Times and the Telegraph have not really come to grips with what this kind of ‘peasants’ revolt’ may portend.
    It may well be that the ‘peasants’ revolt’ can be relatively easily put down. It is too early to say.
    Equally, it is not clear to me whether or not the same kind of process is becoming apparent, in relation to the upcoming Congressional votes on intervention in Syria.

  36. johnf says:

    In a recent poll seventy percent of the British people were against involvement in a Syrian war and sixty percent, when asked what they thought if parliament’s decision distanced us from the US, replied “Good.”

  37. Barry says:

    I’m sorry, but what basic principles did Nixon articulate?

  38. Bandolero says:

    The “liver eater” of Homs, Khalid al-Hamad aka Abu Sakkar, does not belong to Al Qaeda. He is a prominent moderate FSA rebel.
    Currently his FSA group is called “Baba Amr Revolutonaries” and they are fighting in Maaloula.
    HuffPo has a story on the battle of Maaloula, though they didn’t notice that the Baba Amr FSA group is leading the attack there alongside Al Qaeda.
    You may want to watch some short videos from Maaloula:

  39. different clue says:

    Well . . . if callers and/or letter-writers were to call or write their 1 Rep and 2 Sens something along the lines of . . ..
    ” If you vote FOR Obama’s attack-Syria resolution,
    I will vote aAGAINST you (or your Party’s nominee to succeed you) in your next election. If you abstain or vote Present, I will abstain from the next election about your seat. If you vote aGAINST Obama’s resolution, I will vote FOR you in your next election.”
    That wouldn’t affect any current officeholders who are auditioning for huge after-office payoffs.
    But enough such calls and letters to officeholders whose ambitions remain more political than financial might well be affected.

  40. turcopolier says:

    David Habbakuk
    Yes, time to ditch the idea of the special relationship. p;l

  41. kao_hsien-chih says:

    Kerry still says he’s part of Roman Catholic faith… Can’t the Pope threaten him with excommunication should he help wage a war of aggression?

  42. Stephanie says:

    I’m sure you and Col. Lang are right. Pincus certainly didn’t say anything along those lines in his own column.

  43. Stephanie says:

    I feel for the General. He has had to correct Obama as tactfully as possible and McCain is still dumping on him:
    “I really don’t pay a lot of attention to General Dempsey anymore,” McCain told The Daily Beast Monday. “With me he just doesn’t have any credibility. That’s all.”

  44. confusedponderer says:

    You should have put “liver eater of Homs” and “moderate” in one sentence. Now Kerry will beat you to it.

  45. jonst says:

    Link to it?

  46. turcopolier says:

    If I were pope I would do what you suggest, but I doubt this will happen. pl

  47. Tunde says:

    My bad. ANNA shows regime forces not non-AQ elements. I mis-read your post. My apologies.

  48. Charles I says:

    The War on Drugs

  49. Charles I says:

    and if not do think that they’ll do Iran next? IMHO, the shite gonna fly everywhere eventually once this one goes off.

  50. Charles I says:

    well if the outlandish Ukrainian angle web rumors from last week are true, it would stand all the more to reason.

  51. confusedponderer says:

    I heard that one today: “No worries, we won’t put boots on the ground in Syria – we’ll just throw H-Bombs at them!”
    Nicely put.

  52. Charles I says:

    please there are limits, Hilary’d wipe the floor with him.

  53. Charles I says:

    Look at it this way.
    If the U.S were to KNOW its a fake or an op, then Russia has no way of KNOWING that its real, not an attack threshold worthy of abandoning an ally and weakening their (and China’s) stalwart sovereignty arguments.
    If the Russians KNOW its real, their guy is about to be attacked with who knows what consequences, which they rightly fear spreading to the Caucasus, all of which they blame and can continue to blame on the US pointing out the perceived Iraq hypocrisy and serial intervention failures.
    They also don’t want this to be the match/pretext for Iran.
    And after 50 years of US UN vetos it must be a bit galling to listen to complaints about theirs leading to a Redline Crisis of Existential global proportion.
    Whatever they know, they KNOW what is in their existential interest, and a general theater-wide jihadi war is not. It IS in their interest for the US to wear it all. It is in Putin’s interest to be the Protector of Christians.
    When you are sure of your interests, you know your position.
    Finally, who really knows more about the other – culturally, socially, politically, intelligence-wise – Russians or Americans?

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