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Idlib chemical attack: A sign no change of policy is on the horizon

by Kit

The alleged chemical attack, reported yesterday, is the latest in a series of atrocities notionally carried out by the Syrian government (“The Regime”, in the partisan parlance of the press). There has not been time, as yet, to fully examine and analyse all the evidence – the claims and counter claims, the photographs and videos – but it would be a massive mistake to view it in a vacuum.

First, the situation on the ground needs to be considered. The Syrian government – with assistance from Iran and the Russian Air Force, have been making steady progress for months. Aleppo has fallen. Palmyra was retaken. The rebels are losing. So cui bono? What good does dropping chemical weapons on children do Assad, at this point? It is both strategically pointless, and a crushing blow to his international image. It would serve no purpose, unless he’s a comic-book style villain intent on being cruel for cruelty’s sake – and they don’t exist outside of cinema or the American press. Conversely, it would make all the sense in the world for cornered zealots and mercs to try to disrupt the upcoming talks (from which they are excluded).

Second, the timing. Much like a previous “chemical attack” (and subsequent BBC Panorama documentary) came on the eve of a commons vote on military intervention in Syria, this attack comes at a key moment. In two days there is a meeting in Brussels on the Syria peace process, and the future of the country. This attack will allow Western leaders – especially the European voices, increasingly separate from the US on this issue – to ride an artificial high-horse into those proceedings. Deals can be scuppered and progress refused in the wake of such “atrocities”.

Third, we have seen this all before. There was the chemical attack in Ghouta, initially pinned on the government (and still unquestioningly attributed to them in the MSM), that was revealed to be carried out by rebels. there was also the aforementioned napalm/chemical attack on a school – thoroughly debunked by Robert Stuart. We have seen the same girl rescued three different times by the White Helmets, and seen people in Egypt arrested for faking footage of bombings. The “last hospital in Aleppo” was knocked down everyday for a month, and the last doctors slaughtered bi-weekly. There is no reason, as yet, to think this is not just more of the same.

This is in fine tradition of media manipulation – from filming people on the outside of a fence and pretending they’re inside, to moving bodies for a better photograph, to deliberately removing an image’s context, and lying about it. Events are ignored, twisted, exaggerated and outright fabricated in order to push an agenda. Accordance with reality is immaterial to the process, and coincidental when it occurs.

Real or not, false flag or not – No one can deny convenience of the timing. Given the conflict the UK/EU find themselves in with the new US administration re: Syria. During the campaign Trump, unlike Clinton, totally refused to countenance the idea of no-fly zones or any kind of American/NATO backed military action against Syria and their Russian/Iranian allies. The last few weeks have seen even a softening of America’s “Assad must go” mantra. Rex Tillerson, speaking in Turkey last week, said:

I think the… longer term status of president Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,”

And the American ambassador to the UN added:

You pick and choose your battles and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.”

Though she did later clarify these remarks, after being named-and-shamed in the media.

John McCain called Tillerson’s words “one of the more unusual statements I have ever heard”, stating it would be ridiculous to let Syrians decide the fate of Syrian government (probably because they would choose wrong).

The press, of course, have not referenced any of this. They continue to cite the partisan White Helmets and completely discredited “Syrian observatory for Human Rights” as if they are reliable sources. They continue to assert gossip and rumor as if it were fact. They continue to lie, but give themselves just enough room to manoeuvre should their lies be exposed.

The Guardian view on…, one of the Guardian’s anonymous editorials (that definitely don’t come straight from GCHQ, you cynics), is a classic example. The headline reads:

The Guardian view on Syria: Assad knows he acts with impunity

A sharp, hard-edged, statement of absolute certitude…and the only sentence of conviction in the whole piece. The rest is littered with uncertain, selective language. Weasel-words and guesses. I have added the emphasis:

Tuesday’s attack in rebel-held Idlib province has forced a reaction: it is one of the worst suspected chemical attacks in the six-year war

the symptoms suggest the use of a nerve agent, probably sarin

ascertaining the agents used, by whom, is always difficult – particularly given the problems experts will face in accessing the site.

The suspicion is that Tuesday’s strike, like another suspected sarin attack which killed 93 people in eastern Hama in December,

Some have already drawn a link between what seems to be the use of a more deadly agent and the US shift on Syria

That’s an awful lot of “seems” and “suspecteds” to cram into 700 words. It’s a suspected attack, that seems like it might be similar to other suspected attacks, which might have happened. As of right now, it appears, we don’t who attacked, how they attacked, what they attacked with or – indeed – if anyone attacked anything at all.

Nevertheless, the nameless and completely non-partisan and objective author reassures us that:

Nonetheless, the evidence so far points in one direction,

…he just neglects to mention exactly what that evidence is, or tell us where we can find it.

Just hours later we are treated to a longer variation on the exact-same theme, this time the author doesn’t feel ashamed to put his name to it…he probably should be. But years of writing about the Guardian teaches you that Jonathan Freedland is never ashamed of putting his name to anything.

Let’s not even condemn these attacks any more – because our condemnations ring so hollow.

…he says, before condemning the attacks – at interminable length and in trite manipulative language. That these condemnations “ring hollow” might be the only honest words in the article. The level of selective blindness, historical dishonesty, and flat-out hypocrisy is astounding. Even for him,

Assad has himself broken international law, indeed broken a set of precious, century-old conventions and agreements that ban chemical weapons.

…he says, as if a) It was a proven fact and b) It was the only example. No mention of American use of depleted Uranium, Agent Orange or napalm is made. No mention of Israeli White Phosphorus or of the cluster bombs we used in Iraq, and sold to Saudi Arabia to be used on Yemeni civilians. The use of any and all of those substances is illegal under International law. America and Israel cannot be charged with a breach of The Geneva Convention, of course, because they have never ratified protocols I and II, outlawing the targeting of civilians and infrastructure and banning certain weapons.

We are all too aware of the costs of action. But the dead of Khan Sheikhoun force us to make another calculation. They force us to see that inaction too can exact a terrible price.

This could be a straight copy-and-paste job from his many articles on Libya. He made the same arguments back then, and must take partial responsibility for post-apocalyptic wasteland that he (and his colleagues in the media) helped to create. Libya is destroyed, he knows this, and if he could excuse or downplay his role in that destruction…he would do so. To ignore it, and employ the same reasoning to encourage the same fate to yet another Middle-Eastern country, displays a callousness and vanity that belies is saccharine concern for “values”.

However, no amount of faux-moral agonising and dishonesty will ever trump this:

For more than a decade, we have rightly weighed the grave consequences of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, counting the toll in human suffering.

The tone mirrors the same tone ever-taken by members of the Western press when it comes to Iraq. “Our consciences are agony”, they scream at us. As if Iraq was all a tragic accident, fuelled by the fervor of our best intentions and naivety of our governments. They will never address the truth of it – that it was a cynical and brutal war of conquest, cheered on a by braying, controlled media, with more regard for their appearance of virtue, and their bank balances, than any idea of objective truth.

Now, the lame self-flagellation is one thing, but that it should appear alongside this:

Assad’s impunity is, at this very moment, being noted and filed away by the world’s most brutal regimes: the precedent is being set. This is what you can get away with.

…is quite another. The world is VERY aware “what you can get away with” in international law…and it’s not 70 dead in what “seems” like a gas attack. What you can “get away with” is walling up millions of people in a giant ghetto, and cutting off their water and power supply. It’s dropping carcinogens on villages, that give babies tumors 50 years later. It’s illegal sanctions that kill 500,000 children but are “worth it”.

“what you can get away with”, as the author so po-facedly admits, is the invasion of Iraq. An illegal war, a million dead, an ancient seat of civilisation reduced to a glass crater. Was anyone fired? Did anyone resign in disgrace? Has anyone faced charges in the Hague. No, the perpetrators walk free. They collect paychecks from the boards of the most powerful companies in the world, and are given column inches in the Guardian when ever they want them.

In terms of making an actual argument, he hits the exact same talking points as “the Guardian view”, uses the exact same phrases…and produces the exact same amount of evidence:

…we almost certainly know who did it. Every sign points to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

He doesn’t say what these “signs” are. Or link to where we can see them.

We know that the poison spread after warplanes dropped bombs

We “know” no such thing. That’s just what the White Helmets said. The White Helmets are paid by the governments of several countries…including the US and UK. They are completely discredited as a source. But this article isn’t about making an evidence-based case, it is about harnessing created public outrage in order to further specific political agenda.

So, what is the agenda? Well, it won’t be full-blown war in Syria. Number 10 was very quick to – shall we say – shoot-down that idea. It won’t be any kind of overt NATO or American backed intervention…if the PTB had wanted that, they would have pushed harder for a Clinton victory. And Freedland’s reference to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s suggestion is laughable:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly of the Obama administration, suggests a single strike that would crater, say, a runway used by Assad’s warplanes – not an invasion, not a full-scale military operation, but some way of punishing Syria for what it has done.

No, the agenda being pushed here is two-fold, firstly an attack on the UN and its apparent impotence, and secondly a pre-emptive defense of the status quo.

To deal with the first point, the article launches a sidelong attack on the UN Security Council, most specifically the veto power:

In February, the UN security council considered imposing sanctions over the use of chemical weapons. Russia vetoed it, of course: it would never want to stay the hand of its murderous chum. But China vetoed it too.

This is not new material for the Guardian, they have been attacking the UN veto for years now – as have other liberal papers and news outlets. You don’t need to be a genius to understand the drive to undermine the only regulatory body that can put a hold on neo-liberal imperialism. But for the UNSC, Iraq would have been so much easier and Syria would have been levelled by now.

The second point is more subtle. For years the CIA et al have been seeking to remove Assad from government, most openly through supplying arms and money to the “moderate opposition” in order to wage a proxy war. Trump’s election, and his public undermining of the intelligence agencies, poses a threat to this on-going plan.

Now this chemical attack has happened, of course, Trump’s administration can be condemned for being “soft”. Now, we can call on Trump and his cabinet to “act”…and when they refuse to change their policy, rightfully fearful of a conflict with Russia, they will be further derided and undermined in the press as “Russian agents” who are “easy on tyrants”.

All the while, the covert operations carried out by American and European alphabet agencies all over Syria will continue.

When the State Dept., the CIA and all their co-members of America’s (totally imaginary) “deep state” completely disregard the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, and continue to pursue their own agenda – continue to supply arms and funding to their mercenaries and proxies – they will be applauded in the press for their “bravery” and “resolution”.

We will be encouraged to be “thankful” that the mechanics of democracy and freedom cannot be impeded by the election of an autocratic buffoon. We will be told, with a bright smile, that our choice of leadership means literally nothing as it pertains to foreign policy.

It will be thrown in our faces that our elected officials have no real power, and we will be told to applaud the death of democracy…in the name of freedom.


53 Comments

    • Well, I have to watch the vid, which I downloaded, tonight at work. Chomsky should be more discriminating about the company he chooses to keep, in my view. Democracy Now is a big fail. But I’ll say no more about it until I see the vid. I had a quick look on Znet. Nada on this vid, which is interesting. The fake Left, like the establishment and it’s propaganda media, is pushing back against exposure and the leaking through of light. Amy Goodman, I see, has attached herself to Chomsky, getting involved in some sort of project that features Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, I think. I don’t remember exactly and I rarely visit DN now. I can’t stomach to listen to AG. And there’s Matt Damon jumping on the fake Left pushback bangwagon, singing on to do a narration of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Manda says

      My down vote is for the article not you Tom, Chomsky’s view is no surprise at all to me.
      I put him in the same category as Max Blumenthal and Amy Goodman.

      Like

      • Jen says

        My impression is that Chomsky perceives the Russian government as behaving in much the same way (if not exactly) as the US government: out to dominate all others in its neighbourhood and beyond, instead of defending its own interests and leaving others alone. He perceives Syria and its government as much the same as Iraq and its former government under Saddam Hussein (as a stereotypical tinpot dictatorship under a stereotypical absolute autocrat) and the relationship between Russia and Syria as one of an imperial power and client state who does that power’s bidding. There’s no indication on Chomsky’s part that he recognises the relationship between Russia and Syria might actually be different from how the US deals with other countries.

        Like

        • Manda says

          That’s pretty much how I see Chomsky’s views. I go further though, which is why I include the others I mentioned, not sure how to express my thinking but will ponder it and try. Though I admit I haven’t read Chomsky’s work deeply.

          Like

        • “instead of defending its own interests and leaving others alone.”

          If that was true there would be no conflicts. Reality proves otherwise.

          I don’t doubt that the Russian state wishes to defend itself. That’s not unreasonable. But they didn’t get to be as powerful as they are by being a bunch of tree hugging hippies either.

          Like

  1. Reblogged this on wgrovedotnet and commented:

    Russian Federation about the destruction of the warehouse with chemical weapons in Idlib | Colonel Cassad
    

    by Akira Zentradi

    https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/colonelcassad.livejournal.com/3339780.html

    colonelcassad
    April 5, 8:17
    Russian defense Ministry officially commented on the story of the “chemical attack in Idlib” http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/3337419.html pointing out that the cause of the incident was a blow from Syrian aviation in the Khan of Sheyhun against the warehouse of militants, where among other things, they were collecting explosive shells filled with the handicraft production chemical weapons, which the militants have repeatedly used in Syria, which caused collateral damage among fighters and civilians.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Frank says

    What we have here is a tried and tested pattern of imperialist war-making. The US virtually invented the template. It goes like this. 1. Country A must be destroyed. Why? Because it represents a barrier to US geopolitical interests and strategy. 2. This war against country A has to overcome domestic opposition and sold to the American public. 3. At this point, the media, which has been voluntarily dragooned into becoming an extension of the security state, becomes mobilized. 4. A virulent and generally mendacious media campaign against the sins of country A is launched. 5. Having been suitably ramped up for war the public must be treated to a hysterical, fear-laden, self-righteous cacaphony from the lovely fourth estate, until finally an ‘incident’ or ‘false flag’ is engineered. 6. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! We go to war.

    An historical chronology of this process is easy to identify. 7. The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, by a German U-Boat of the coast of Ireland whilst bound for Liverpool. The story goes that this was an innocent passanger liner making a voyage from the US. Outrage of course followed and paved to way for an eventual American intervention in the First World War. Unknown to her passengers but probably no secret to the Germans, however, almost all her hidden cargo consisted of munitions and contraband destined for the British war effort. This only became known later. 8. The Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’. Two North Vietnamese Gunboats were said to have attacked the USS Maddox This of course never happened but it did – as is usually the case – provide the pretext for extending the Vietnam War into the bombing of North Vietnam. LBJ’s authorization – the Tonkin Resolution – was quickly approved by Congress; only Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska voted against it. Later, when more information about the Tonkin incident became available, many concluded that Johnson and his advisers had misled Congress into supporting the expansion of the war. 9. IRAQ and the fabled WMDs. 10. Libya where Gaddafi was allegedly about to masscare civilians in Benhghazi. And now Syria and the alleged use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad armed forces.

    And so it goes. A pretext, no matter how bizarre and far-fetched, is always the prerequisite for US interventions around the world. This pattern will not stop whilist the neo-cons, liberals, deep-state and ever compliant media continue to push a level of brinkmanship which will bring the world to the precipice of nuclear anhillation. And those wretched liberal fellow-travelling neo-cons such as Freedland will be leading the charge.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. chrisb says

    I don’t disagree with the thrust of this argument. The timing is convenient for those who didn’t like the suggestion that Assad can stay in power. However, it is just naive to write that:

    ‘… a comic-book style villain intent on being cruel for cruelty’s sake – and they don’t exist outside of cinema or the American press.’

    History is full of examples of people who found pleasure in the torture and murder of others.

    Like

    • writerroddis says

      I can’t agree. I don’t always see eye to eye with Kit but on this he’s 100% right. The idea of a head of state – and by the way no leader since the middle ages, and probably not even then, has wielded absolute power – doing evil purely for the love of it is risible. Let’s suppose Assad is so depraved he got up that morning thinking, “Hmm, what will I do today? Oh yes, I’ll gas a few kids just for the hell of it.”

      Why would his government colleagues allow such craziness, and at a time you yourself acknowledge is “convenient” for his and their mortal enemies?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the pair says

    on the UN veto: as alluded to by someone else, the US will never give their veto up even if they whine about its use by others. otherwise israel would have a laundry list of charges and resolutions to deal with (as would saudi arabia and the other gulf states). granted, they could still pull stunts like threatening to withdraw funds (how is that even a “thing”?) but the vast majority of members would still vote against their various war crimes as they regularly occur.

    on assad: as Arrby said, assad is not a “great guy”. he went along with the US to curry favor and did some saudi/egypt-level garbage that was inexcusable. but…as bevin said under that comment, assad was new and somewhat clueless and it’s hard to tell where his rule ends and the military’s begins. i also doubt he’ll trust the US again after the past few years of hell on earth they’ve created in his country. better late than never i suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As yet this terrible act has found no owner regardless of what the US says. The US blamed Assad for every deadly attack on his own people over the last several years and those accusations have been proven wrong. Why is this any different. Just “follow the money”. There is no gain to Assad from such an evil attack but there are huge rewards for some extremist rebel (insurgent) sects. If Trump decides to bomb Syrian government positions, the insurgents will reap a winning harvest. Think about it!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Jen says

    I see that Katherine Viner gets to play at pretending to be Editor in Chief so that Jonathan Freedland can play eminence grise and set the propaganda agenda for the rest of The Guardian staff to heed and obey.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Yonatan says

    The US-trained and enabled terrorists have just launched a MLRS strike against Assad’s home town in Latakia. It is a purely civilian target. MLRS launchers fire a salvo of up to 40 rockets that all fall within a relatively small area. They are designed to destroy armored vehicles such as tanks and APCs. It doesn’t take much to see what they would do against simple block buildings and unprotected people. The MSM will go nowhere near this.

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/video-islamists-rebels-launch-grad-rockets-latakia-hometown-hafez-al-assad/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Israel and the Pentagon are PO that Syria destroyed their ‘Liberty Gas’ at Idlib and there’s gonna be Hell to pay.

    Trump is fondling his cruise missiles–They’re YUUUGE!–and will launch some as soon as he’s sufficiently aroused.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. BigB says

    How do you tell if a politician is lying? Exactly.
    Trump hasn’t softened his position on Assad: he tasked Mad Dog with a new battleplan – then INVADED Syria! Maybe not a full scale incursion, but in grouping with the Kurdish backed Syrian Defence Force (SDF) – enough to block the legitimate SAA’s advance on Raqqa. Establishing a (permanent) base in Raqqa is a long term US strategic goal.
    http://russia-insider.com/en/prepare-partition-us-forces-block-syrian-armys-advance-raqqa/ri19344
    Elsewhere, with the Kurdish (semi) autonomous Rojava free state; the Turkish ending Euphrates Shield without withdrawing an inch; and a possible covert deal between Bibi and Trump to legitimise the Golan Heights annexation (nothing to do with Genie Oil); sure, Assad can stay – as the legitimate ruler of a small patch of desert – after the rest of his country has been federalised around him! So much for Syrian autonomy.

    As for the false flag chemical attack – made obvious by a halfwit terrorist tweeting about it a day early! (See the Syriana analysis video embedded in link.) And they’ve gone soft on regime change? Please.
    http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/04/reviving-the-chemical-weapons-lie-new-us-uk-calls-for-regime-change-military-attack-against-syria/

    Liked by 3 people

    • BigB says

      Update: Turkey has since advanced and taken higher ground: https://sptnkne.ws/dZXM
      “Syria to Be Wiped Off Map If Gov’t Abandon Counterterror War – Assad”
      Besides which, I thought Samantha Power was a b#tch – after her performance at the UN – Nikki Haley is something else. If the Russian Ambassador had held up a picture of every dead baby killed by Washington (half a million deliberately starved in Iraq alone) it would have been a very long session.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. The information from the well informed Arabic press is salutary. The Syrian government informed the U.N. last month that chemicals were being sent to the terrorists from Turkey, but the information was ignored. Par for the course. The terrorists were attempting to make chemical weapons and there was a handling accident which caused the spread of the gas. Another point to make is that the ‘White Helmets’ were involved in the staging of the event for the western press, which automatically puts it in the realm of anti-Syrian propaganda, again. And using the same format, again. Incredibly stupid. (My wife reads Arabic).

    Liked by 5 people

  11. John says

    Has Freedland ever condemned the use of the UN veto by the US to protect Israel?
    Can anyone provide examples of his ever doing this?
    This is one way to drive a wedge between the US and Russia.
    It looks as though normal service has been restored among the US deep state members.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Kaiama says

    I’ve just been put on premoderation i.e. censorship for laying into the Friedland crap today.
    Either they think people are stupid (not all of them are) or they don’t care whether they are believed or not.
    It’s totally disgusting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tim Groves says

      After several years of making New Year resolutions never to give the Guardian even one more click and then getting drawn back into the fray by February, I’m pleased to say that so far this year I have kept up my resolve. I used to argue with myself that the last decade has been an aberration and that they would return to some kind of Old Left normality in the fullness of time. Now I see that’s never going to happen. To paraphrase George Carlin, the Graun is ever going to get any better so just appreciate what you have, folks. It’s great that Off Guardian is watching them so that I and many others no longer have to. But it will be an even greater day when the whole sordid Guardian enterprise is resting in peace beneath the massive gravestone of its own lying propaganda.

      Liked by 4 people

  13. Lawsuits against lying politicians and media personalities/corporations might be the only recourse available to start reducing or ending the slanderous (and ultimately very dangerous) propaganda being intentionally put forward. Such legal actions are not only legitimate but urgently needed to prevent the slide of humanity into unthinkable horrors.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It would indeed be “nice,” indeed, if the politicians and media could be held to account for lying, that is to say, for trying to manipulate public opinion through the witting dissemination of falsehoods.

      Unfortunately, the courts themselves are part-and-parcel of the mechanisms by which the powerful rule.

      For a more blatant example of how the judiciary is politicized, see this piece by Christopher Black: Rwanda and the Criminalisation of International Justice: Anatomy of War Crimes Trials.

      To my mind something other than “legal actions” would not only be legitimate but will in time be urgently needed to reverse the slide of humanity into the habits of unthinkable horrors that has already happened.

      Two things will need to happen before this becomes possible,however: a) people on the whole will have to be wise to the manner in which they are always being played by ruling establishment, and this will require as yet a long period of “education” by word of mouth,’ so to speak: and b) things will have to get really uncomfortable (either morally or in terms of living standards, or both) to the point where most will feel and recognize that there is now more to be gained than lost by fighting for what is our collective due.

      We are yet, unfortunately, perhaps a generation or two away from the realization and merging of at least those two pre-conditions to freedom.

      For the time being, the focus must remain on pointing out for ourselves the causes and the forms of the inequities afflicting us. Once most everyone understands how we are being continuously crushed, we will have an inkling of what we must do together to set things to rights.

      Like

  14. Sav says

    OUR HOSPITAL GETTING FULL FROM THE SARIN ATTACK TODAY. ANYONE THAT WANTS EVIDENCE, I WILL VIDEO CALL YOU.— Dr Shajul Islam (@DrShajulIslam) April 4, 2017

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    One of the doctors treating ‘victims’ and tweeting about it is Dr Shajul Islam.

    In 2013 he was charged with kidnapping when he came back to the UK. He had been involved with one of the groups in Syria kidnapping journos and whatever else to make a fast buck for the ’cause’.

    He was found not guilty because the prosecution could not call the journalists who had originally fingered him. No reason was given. One was John Cantlie, a photographer. The other a Dutch journo – Jeroen Oerlemans.

    From what I can tell Cantile had been kidnapped again so would not have been available to testify anyway. Oerlemans would have been available. I can only think, like the Swedish terror case,, Islam had the goods on the British government aiding his gang of bandits and that;s why it was all dropped.

    Cantile is still missing and presumed dead. Oerlemans we’re told was shot dead in 2016 in Libya by a sniper.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The death of Oerlemans is a grim reality but, cynically, very “convenient”. It makes me worry for Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley and any others like them.

      Like

  15. Bravo Kit, a masterpiece of clarity, expression and assemblage of FACTS. Thank you.

    As for the disreputable and long discredited J Freedland, only the Guardian would persist with this lying Israeli propagandist.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. JJA says

    Just when I think the Guardian could not stoop any lower, they do so. I am surprised they even open comments, because they invariably shut them off pretty quickly when the prevailing views are that the G is simply a CIA propaganda sheet.

    Liked by 4 people

    • They opened reader comments on the op-ed and it was clear no one believed their narrative. The rush to gush fake news is sickening but not surprising.

      Their GCHQ subscription plan must be a funding stream that just keeps on giving…

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Kit, Tubularsock feels you have outdone yourself. As depressing as all this shit happens to be you have the ability to call it in such a wonderful way. If ever the facts come out we’ll discover that the U.S. sold whatever gas that was or was not used to the “moderate-terrorists” along with all there other arms of mass destruction we already provide. But only to foster democracy in the region.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael Leigh says

      Just as significant is the the top secret work at H.M. Porton Down Research Laboratories, where with a budget of ‘ Millions of Pounds a year ‘ paid by the UK government and other foreign entities to develop ‘ 4th generation aerial toxic gases ‘ for use against civilians ( as apparently there is a international mutual understanding that such Fourth generational toxic products will not be used against regular armed forces ? ) and just like the second party pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, so-called copy-cat products have been developed in the nearby regions of Georgia, Israel, Ukraine illegally and sold to both Turkey and to Saudi Arabia in the last three years.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael Leigh says

        Moreover a post scriptorium – when will Mr Freedman and his political masters at the GUARDIAN report the result of the ‘ Acting Russian Envoy to the UNO ‘ politically proposing that the OPCW ( Organisation of Researching Chemical Weapons usage ) which is financed to investigate all such internationally illegalities, and has the technical personnel to immediately launch fact finding mission at the Khan Sheikhoun toxic chemical murders yesterday ?

        Liked by 3 people

  18. “When the State Dept., the CIA and all their co-members of America’s (totally imaginary) “deep state” completely disregard the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, and continue to pursue their own agenda – continue to supply arms and funding to their mercenaries and proxies – they will be applauded in the press for their “bravery” and “resolution”.” The deep state is rolling right over Trump, because Trump has already decided that he liked the deal it offered him, to stay and be king and wear a crown, and behave, or get lost. We needn’t be on the look out for Trump’s pushback against the deep state. He’s made his deal and, while it isn’t impossible for a human being to change his (or…) mind, Look at who we’re dealing with here. Trump is mush. He’s really just a walking, stupid, corpse. He possess as much character as a turd.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. captain Swing says

    Sounds very much like a Freedland authored/inspired editorial in the Guardian. If so, it’s certainly agenda driven. The very same agenda that appears to be behind all the recent ‘wars’ in the Middle-East.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. “What good does dropping chemical weapons on children do Assad, at this point? It is both strategically pointless, and a crushing blow to his international image.” Agreed.

    But I do think he’s a comic book villain. Others can conveniently forget that his regime tortured victims (going along, with uncle Sam, to get along), like innocent Canadian victim Maher Arar if they wish. I will not. But otherwise, unless he’s bent on losing this game that he’s now winning, there’s no reason to suppose that the major media reportage is anything other than propanda.

    Liked by 4 people

    • bevin says

      To put the Maher Arar case into perspective, the victim was delivered to Syria, as a ‘terrorist’ by the United States with Canadian complicity. This does not excuse Assad who had be in power for little more than a year, as I recall. Nor does the fact that, at the time the US was acting like a rabid dog and Syria was in the forefont of the countries that it was publicly promising to invade-as it did and is now doing.
      But it might make his government’s actions easier not to forgive but to understand.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The US also kidnapped innocent victims and put them in Gitmo where they too were tortured. The UK has Abu Graibe to answer for and there are dozens of countries involved in this ME enterprise by the colonialists and resource grabbers guilty to varying degrees of the same crimes attributed to Assad. None of them are comic book villains because there is nothing comical about the activities in question. None of us should forget the innocent victims in any governments torture of suspected threats, which is why all torture should be abolished, regardless of who the perpetrators are. For anyone to single out one leader would be to open the door to multiple world leaders standing in front of the Hague awaiting trial and all of them would be assigning blame elsewhere within the ranks of their security divisions. As a Brit, that would mean the Queen would be on trial, since ultimately, she is responsible for Britains Acts of war, Crimes against humanity and War Crimes. Can’t see that happening any time soon – maybe it should. If only accountability even existed, let alone fingered the guilty?

      Liked by 1 person

      • John says

        Abu Graib had no connection with the UK.
        It was run by the US Army and the US CIA.

        Like

        • The ICRC investigated Abu Ghraib in October 2003 after it was handed back to the British in September 2003. They found many torture victims who had suffered for several weeks from their captors. See the Report it published in 2004. It also details several other investigative findings from detainees among various British/US detention centres. Like it or not, the British Govt. talks out of both sides of it’s mouth with respect to things they would rather remain unspoken.

          Like

          • John says

            Thank you for that Abu Ghraib information, which I was unaware of.
            As for a British Government ‘talking out of both sides of its mouth’, I – as a British citizen – am only too aware of that. One only needs to look at the circumstances surrounding the Balfour Declaration – on the one hand – the promises made to Arab insurgents against the Ottoman Empire and the Sykes-Picot (including the Imperial Russian connection) Agreement to see that the phrase ‘Perfidious Albion’ has resonated now for well over a century!

            Like

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