#Douma, Syria, Deception In Plain Sight

Douma: Part 1 – Deception In Plain Sight

Media Lens | April 25, 2018

 

UK corporate media are under a curious kind of military occupation. Almost all print and broadcast media now employ a number of reporters and commentators who are relentless and determined warmongers. Despite the long, unarguable history of US-UK lying on war, and the catastrophic results, these journalists instantly confirm the veracity of atrocity claims made against Official Enemies, while having little or nothing to say about the proven crimes of the US, UK, Israel and their allies. They shriek with a level of moral outrage from which their own government is forever spared. They laud even the most obviously biased, tinpot sources blaming the ‘Enemy’, while dismissing out of hand the best scientific researchers, investigative journalists and academic sceptics who disagree.

Anyone who challenges this strange bias is branded a ‘denier’, ‘pro-Saddam’, ‘pro-Gaddafi, ‘pro-Assad’. Above all, one robotically repeated word is generated again and again: ‘Apologist… Apologist… Apologist’.

Claims of a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria on April 7, offered yet another textbook example of this reflexive warmongering. Remarkably, the alleged attack came just days after US president Donald Trump had declared of Syria:

I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation.

The ‘mainstream’ responded as one, with instant certainty, exactly as they had in response to atrocity and other casus belli claims in Houla, Ghouta, Khan Sheikhoun and many other cases in Iraq (1990), Iraq (1998), Iraq (2002-2003), Libya and Kosovo.

Once again, the Guardian editors were sure: there was no question of a repetition of the fake justifications for war to secure non-existent Iraqi WMDs, or to prevent a fictional Libyan massacre in Benghazi. Instead, this was ‘a chemical gas attack, orchestrated by Bashar al-Assad, that left dead children foaming at the mouth’.

Simon Tisdall, the Guardian’s assistant editor, had clearly decided that enough was enough:

It’s time for Britain and its allies to take concerted, sustained military action to curb Bashar al-Assad’s ability to murder Syria’s citizens at will.

This sounded like more than another cruise missile strike. But presumably Tisdall meant something cautious and restrained to avoid the terrifying risk of nuclear confrontation with Russia:

It means destroying Assad’s combat planes, bombers, helicopters and ground facilities from the air. It means challenging Assad’s and Russia’s control of Syrian airspace. It means taking out Iranian military bases and batteries in Syria if they are used to prosecute the war.

But surely after Iraq – when UN weapons inspectors under Hans Blix were prevented from completing the work that would have shown that Saddam Hussein possessed no WMD – ‘we’ should wait for the intergovernmental Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspectors to investigate. After all, as journalist Peter Oborne noted of Trump’s air raids:

When the bombing started the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was actually in Damascus and preparing to travel to the area where the alleged chemical attacks took place.

Oborne added:

Had we wanted independent verification on this occasion in Syria surely we ourselves would have demanded the OPCW send a mission to Douma. Yet we conspicuously omitted to ask for it.

Tisdall was having none of it:

Calls to wait for yet another UN investigation amount to irresponsible obfuscation. Only the Syrian regime and its Russian backers have the assets and the motivation to launch such merciless attacks on civilian targets. Or did all those writhing children imagine the gas?

The idea that only Assad and the Russians had ‘the motivation’ to launch a gas attack simply defied all common sense. And, as we will see, it was not certain that children had been filmed ‘writhing’ under gas attack. Tisdall’s pro-war position was supported by just 22% of British people.

Equally gung-ho, the oligarch-owned Evening Standard, edited by veteran newspaperman and politically impartial former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, headlined this plea on the front page:

HIT SYRIA WITHOUT A VOTE, MAY URGED

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, formerly the paper’s comment editor, also poured scorn on the need for further evidence:

Besides, how much evidence do we need?… To all but the most committed denialists and conspiracists, Assad’s guilt is clear.

Freedland could argue that the case for blaming Assad was clear, if he liked, but he absolutely could not argue that disagreeing was a sign of denialist delusion.

Time and again, we encounter these jaw-dropping efforts to browbeat the reader with fake certainty and selective moral outrage. In his piece, Freedland linked to the widely broadcast social media video footage from a hospital in Douma, which showed that Assad was guilty of ‘inflicting a death so painful the footage is unbearable to watch’. But when we actually click Freedland’s link and watch the video, we do not see anyone dying, let alone in agony, and the video is not, in fact, unbearable to watch. Like Tisdall’s claim on motivation, Freedland was simply declaring that black is white.

But many people are so intimidated by this cocktail of certainty and indignation – by the fear that they will be shamed as ‘denialists’ and ‘apologists’ – that they doubt the evidence of their own eyes. In ‘mainstream’ journalism, expressions of moral outrage are offered as evidence of a fiery conviction burning within. In reality, the shrieks are mostly hot air.

In the Observer, Andrew Rawnsley also deceived in plain sight by blaming the Syrian catastrophe on Western inaction:

Syria has paid a terrible price for the west’s disastrous policy of doing nothing.

However terrible media reporting on the 2003 Iraq war, commentators did at least recognise that the US and Britain were involved. We wrote to Rawnsley, asking how he could possibly not know about the CIA’s billion dollar per annum campaign to train and arm fighters, or about the 15,000 high-tech, US anti-tank missiles sent to Syrian ‘rebels’ via Saudi Arabia.

Rawnsley ignored us, as ever.

Just three days after the alleged attack, the Guardian’s George Monbiot was asked about Douma:

Don’t you smell a set up here though? Craig Murray doesn’t think Assad did it.

Monbiot replied:

Then he’s a fool.

Craig Murray responded rather more graciously:

I continue to attract attacks from the “respectable” corporate and state media. I shared a platform with Monbiot once, and liked him. They plainly find the spirit of intellectual inquiry to be a personal affront.

Monbiot tweeted back:

I’m sorry Craig but, while you have done excellent work on some issues, your efforts to exonerate Russia and Syria of a long list of crimes, despite the weight of evidence, are foolish in the extreme.

The idea that Murray’s effort has been ‘to exonerate Russia and Syria of a long list of crimes’ is again so completely false, so obviously not what Murray has been doing. But it fits perfectly with the corporate media theme of Cold War-style browbeating: anyone challenging the case for US-UK policy on Syria is an ‘apologist’ for ‘the enemy’.

If Britain was facing imminent invasion across the channel from some malignant superpower, or was on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the term ‘apologist’ might have some merit as an emotive term attacking free speech – understandable in the circumstances. But Syria is not at war with Britain; it offers no threat whatsoever. If challenging evidence of Assad’s responsibility is ‘apologism’, then why can we not describe people accepting that evidence as ‘Trump apologists’, or ‘May apologists’, or ‘Jaysh al-Islam apologists’? The term really means little more than, ‘I disagree with you’ – a much more reasonable formulation.

As Jonathan Cook has previously commented:

Monbiot has repeatedly denied that he wants a military attack on Syria. But if he then weakly accepts whatever narratives are crafted by those who do – and refuses to subject them to any meaningful scrutiny – he is decisively helping to promote such an attack.

Why Are These Academics Allowed?

The cynical, apologetic absurdity of questioning the official narrative has been a theme across the corporate media. In a Sky News discussion, Piers Robinson of Sheffield University urged caution in blaming the Syrian government in the absence of verifiable evidence. In a remarkable response, Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, screeched at him:

Who do you think did it? Was it your mother who did it?

Again, exact truth reversal – given the lack of credible, verified evidence, it was absurd to declare Robinson’s scepticism absurd.
Mendoza later linked to an article attacking Robinson, and asked:

Why are UK universities allowing such “academics” – and I use the term advisedly because they are not adhering to any recognised standard when promoting material with no credible sourcing, and often with no citation at all – to work in their institutions?

In 2011, Mendoza wrote in The Times of Nato’s ‘intervention’ in Libya:

The action in Libya is a sign that the world has overcome the false lessons [sic] of Iraq or of “realism” in foreign policy.

The UN had ‘endorsed military action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding’.

In fact, the unfolding ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ was fake news; Mendoza’s mother needed no alibi. A September 9, 2016 report on the war from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons commented:

Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence….

The Times launched a shameful, front-page attack on Robinson and other academics who are not willing to accept US-UK government claims on trust. The Times cited Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University:

Clearly we can all disagree about the war in Syria, but to deny an event like a chemical attack even occurred, by claiming they were “staged”, is to fall into an Orwellian world.

In similar vein, in a second Guardian comment piece on Douma, Jonathan Freedland lamented: ‘we are now in an era when the argument is no longer over our response to events, but the very existence of those events’. Echoing Soviet propaganda under Stalin, Freedland warned that this was indicative of an intellectual and moral sickness:

These are symptoms of a post-truth disease that’s come to be known as “tribal epistemology”, in which the truth or falsity of a statement depends on whether the person making it is deemed one of us or one of them.

And this was, once again, truth reversal – given recent history in Iraq and Libya, it was Lucas and Freedland who were falling into an Orwellian fantasy world. Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens made the obvious point:

Given the folly of the British government over Iraq and Libya, and its undoubted misleading of the public over Iraq, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect it of doing the same thing again. Some of us also do not forget the blatant lying over Suez, and indeed the Gulf of Tonkin.

Hitchens clearly shares our concern at media performance, particularly that of the Guardian, commenting:

Has Invasion of the Bodysnatchers been re-enacted at Guardian HQ? Whatever the dear old thing’s faults it was never a Pentagon patsy until recently. Rumours of relaunch as The Warmonger’s Gazette, free toy soldier with every issue.

Hitchens questioned Guardian certainty on Douma:

But if facts are sacred, how can the Guardian be so sure, given that it is relying on a report from one correspondent 70 miles away, and another one 900 miles away.. and some anonymous quotes from people whose stories it has no way of checking?

He added:

The behaviour of The Guardian is very strange & illustrates just what a deep, poorly-understood change in our politics took place during the Blair years. We now have the curious spectacle of the liberal warmonger, banging his or her jingo fist on the table, demanding airstrikes.

Indeed, in discussing the prospects for ‘intervention’ in the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff, former political editor of the Observer, described the 2013 vote that prevented Britain from bombing Syria in August 2013 as ‘that shameful night in 2013’. Shameful? After previous ‘interventions’ had completely wrecked Iraq and Libya on false pretexts, and after the US regime had been told the evidence was no ‘slam dunk’ by military advisers?

In the New Statesman, Paul Mason offered a typically nonsensical argument, linking to the anti-Assad website, Bellingcat:

Despite the availability of public sources showing it is likely that a regime Mi-8 helicopter dropped a gas container onto a specific building, there are well-meaning people prepared to share the opinion that this was a “false flag”, staged by jihadis, to pull the West into the war. The fact that so many people are prepared to clutch at false flag theories is, for Western democracies, a sign of how effective Vladimir Putin’s global strategy has been.

Thus, echoing Freedland’s reference to ‘denialists and conspiracists’, sceptics can only be idiot victims of Putin’s propaganda. US media analyst Adam Johnson of FAIR accurately described Mason’s piece as a ‘mess’, adding:

I love this thing where nominal leftists run the propaganda ball for bombing a country 99 yards then stop at the one yard and insist they don’t support scoring goals, that they in fact oppose war.

Surprisingly, the Bellingcat website, which publishes the findings of ‘citizen journalist’ investigations, appears to be taken seriously by some very high-profile progressives.

In the Independent, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas also mentioned the Syrian army ‘Mi-8’ helicopters. Why? Because she had read the same Bellingcat blog as Mason, to which she linked:

From the evidence we’ve seen so far it appears that the latest chemical attack was likely by Mi-8 helicopters, probably from the forces of Syria’s murderous President Assad.

On Democracy Now!, journalist Glenn Greenwald said of Douma:

I think that it’s—the evidence is quite overwhelming that the perpetrators of this chemical weapons attack, as well as previous ones, is the Assad government…

This was an astonishing comment. After receiving fierce challenges (not from us), Greenwald partially retracted, tweeting:

It’s live TV. Something [sic – sometimes] you say things less than ideally. I think the most likely perpetrator of this attack is Syrian Govt.

We wrote to Greenwald asking what had persuaded him of Assad’s ‘likely’ responsibility for Douma. (Twitter, April 10, direct message)

The first piece of evidence he sent us (April 12) was the Bellingcat blog mentioning Syrian government helicopters cited by Mason and Lucas. Greenwald also sent us a report from Reuters, as well as a piece from 2017, obviously prior to the alleged Douma event.

This was thin evidence indeed for the claim made. In our discussion with him, Greenwald then completely retracted his claim (Twitter, April 12, direct message) that there was evidence of Syrian government involvement in the alleged attack. Yes, it’s true that people ‘say things less than ideally’ on TV, but to move from ‘quite overwhelming’ to ‘likely’, to declaring mistaken the claim that there is evidence of Assad involvement, was bizarre.

Political analyst Ben Norton noted on Twitter:

Reminder that Bellingcat is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is funded by the US government and is a notorious vehicle for US soft power.

Norton added:

It acts like an unofficial NATO propagandist, obsessively focusing on Western enemies.

And:

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins is a fellow at the Atlantic Council, which is funded by NATO, US, Saudi, UAE, etc.

And:

According to Meedan, which helps fund Bellingcat — along with the US government-funded NED — Bellingcat also works with the group Syrian Archive, which is funded by the German government, to jointly produce pro-opposition “research”.

And:

The board of the directors for Meedan, which funds Bellingcat, includes Muna AbuSulayman—who led the Saudi oligarch’s Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation—and Wael Fakharany—who was the regional director of Google in Egypt & North Africa (US gov. contractor Google also funds Bellingcat)

And:

Bellingcat—which gets money from the US gov-funded NED and fixates obsessively on Western enemies—claims to be nonpartisan and impartial, committed to exposing all sides, but a website search shows it hasn’t published anything on Yemen since February 2017.

Although Bellingcat is widely referenced by corporate journalists, we are unaware of any ‘mainstream’ outlet that has seriously investigated the significance of these issues for the organisation’s credibility as a source of impartial information. As we will see in Part 2, corporate journalism is very much more interested in challenging the credibility of journalists and academics holding power to account.

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Another Dodgy British Dossier: the #Skripal Case

Another Dodgy British Dossier: The Skripal Case

 by Gareth Porter

In this second part of a series, Gareth Porter compares the same faulty logic employed in two purposely misleading, so-called British intelligence dossiers.

By Gareth Porter Special to Consortium News

The British government shared what was supposedly a dossier containing sensitive intelligence to convince allies and EU member states to support its accusation of Russian culpability in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4.

But like the infamous 2003 “dodgy dossier” prepared at the direction of Prime Minister Tony Blair to justify British involvement in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the intelligence dossier on the Salisbury poisoning turns out to have been based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence

British officials used the hastily assembled “intelligence” briefing to brief the North Atlantic Council on March 15, the European Foreign Affairs Council on March 19 and the European summit meeting in Brussels on March 23.

The Need for Dramatic Claims

When Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ordered the production of an intelligence dossier to be used to convince allies and EU member states to join Britain in expelling Russian diplomats, they had a problem: they were unable to declare that nerve agent from a Russian military laboratory had been verified as the poison administered to the Skripals. As the well-informed former Ambassador Craig Murray learned from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office source, the British government military laboratory at Porton Down had been put under strong pressure by Johnson to agree that they had confirmed that the poison found in Salisbury had come from a specific Russian laboratory. Instead Porton Down would only agree to the much more ambiguous formula that it was nerve agent “of a type developed in Russia.”

May and Johnson: Needed dramatic claims.

So May and Johnson needed some dramatic claims to buttress their argument to allies and EU member states that the Salisbury poisoning must have been a Russian government assassination attempt.

A letter from British national security adviser Mark Sedwill to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg released publicly on April 13, refers to two key claims in the dossier of a Russian program to research ways of delivering nerve agent, including smearing it on door handles, and of Russian production and stockpiling of nerve agent during the past decade.

But closer analysis of these claims, based in part on information provided by official British sources to the press, makes it clear that the government did not have any concrete “intelligence” to support those Government claims in the intelligence brief.

The Door Knob Claim

The Sedwill letter referred to a Russian “investigation of ways of delivering nerve agent, including by application to door handles” as being part of a broader alleged Russian government program of chemical weapons research and military training.”  The letter was obviously implying that it had some secret intelligence on which to base the charge, and some in the British press pitched in to support the claim.

The first paragraph of the The Guardian story on the intelligence dossier said, “Russia had tested whether door handles could be used to deliver nerve agent,” attributing the information to “previously classified intelligence over the Salisbury attack made public Friday.”

In another story about the evidence on the Salisbury poisoning, however, The Guardian, apparently reflecting its understanding of what government officials had conveyed, wrote, “Such an audacious attack could have been carried out only by trained professionals familiar with chemical weapons.” That statement hinted that the alleged Russian “investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles” was actually a speculative inference rather than a fact established by hard evidence.

A report in the Daily Mirror, evidently intended to support the government line, actually showed quite clearly that what was being presented as intelligence on alleged Russian research on delivering nerve agent via a door handle was in fact nothing of the sort. It quoted a “security source” as explaining how that claim in the intelligence paper was linked to the belief of counter-terrorism investigators that the Skripals first came in contact with nerve agent on the handle of Skripals’ front door.

“The door handle thing is big,” the unnamed source told the Mirror. “It amounts to Russia’s tradecraft manual on applying poisons to door handles. It’s the smoking gun.” The source was not saying that British intelligence had firsthand information about a Russian tradecraft manual; it was suggesting that one could somehow deduce from the assumed application of nerve agent to the door handle of the Skripal house that this was a sign of Russian intelligence tradecraft.

The source then appeared to confirm explicitly that this inference was the basis of the specific claim in the intelligence brief that, “It is strong proof Russia has in the last 10 years researched methods to administer poisons, including by using door handles.”

The Murder that Contradicts the Dossier

The idea that only intelligence operatives with formal training could have applied nerve agent to a door handle was not based on objective analysis. MI6, the British foreign intelligence service, knows very well that a 1995 murder committed in Moscow with a nerve agent developed by Soviet-era scientists was carried out by a private individual, not a government intelligence unit.

Court documents in the 1995 murder of banker Ivan Kivelidi, reported by the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, show that in 1994 a Russian criminal syndicate had acquired Novichok nerve agent, which had been synthesized by Soviet scientists, and that it was used the following year to kill Kivelidi and his secretary by applying some of the nerve agent on his telephone receiver.

Boris Kuznetsov, a dissident Russian lawyer involved in the Kivelidi murder case, who fled Russia in 2007 with copies of all the relevant documents, turned them over to the British government after the Skripal poisoning. The knowledge of that episode would account for Prime Minister May’s otherwise surprising acknowledgement on March 12 of the possibility that the poisoning might not have been a Russian government action but the consequence of the Russian government allowing nerve agent to “get into the hands of others”.

An Ongoing Russian Novichok Program?

The Sedwill letter made another sweeping claim of covert Russian production of the line of nerve agent that had been dubbed Novichok. “Within the last decade,” it said, “Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok under the same programme.”If true, that would have been major evidence bearing on the Skripal poisoning, since such a program would be both covert and illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

But neither the Sedwill letter nor any other statement from the British

Sedwill: No evidence.

government has referred to the possession of any evidence for that claim, even in the most generic way. In fact, Prime Minister May said merely that Russia “had previously produced Novichoks and would still be able to do so”.

In contrast to its silence about any kind of information supporting its claim of Russian production and stockpiling of Novichok program in the past decade, the Sedwill letter cited “a combination of credible open-source reporting and intelligence” on the existence of the Russian program that developed the Novichok line of nerve agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

If the UK possessed actual evidence of such a Russian nerve agent program at Shikhany, the former military chemical weapons facility, it presumably would have informed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of the fact and presented its evidence to the 41-member Executive Council, the governing body of the organization. It clearly has not done so, and it has not suggested that it was prevented from doing so by the fear of compromising an intelligence source within the Russian government.

The British government could also demand a “challenge inspection” at the facility. Any member of the Chemical Weapons Convention can call for an immediate inspection, and Russia would have had no option but to permit it. But it has not done so, signifying that it does not have the information necessary to identify the location of the alleged production and stockpiling of such a weapon, nor does it have the name of anyone who has worked on such a project.

Suspect Intercepted Russian Communications

Another claim in the British “intelligence” dossier is an intercepted Russian communication that allegedly supports the Russian nerve gas operation accusation.

The tabloid Express reported its sources saying such an intercept had been “a key part of Britain’s intelligence evidence.” The sources revealed that on March 4, a message from Damascus to Moscow intercepted by a listening post in Southern Cyprus contained the words, “The package has been delivered.” And the same message was said to have reported that two named individuals had “made a successful egress” – meaning that they had left.

But without knowing the context in which either statement was made, such quotes are meaningless. And one must ask how often something like those exact words would be communicated to Moscow from a diplomatic or military outpost somewhere in the world every single day. Furthermore, the second message to which the dossier is said to have referred actually revealed the names of the two men who had departed, so it clearly had nothing to do with a covert operation.

The May government was able to convince 29 other states, including the United States, to take action against Russia by expelling its diplomats, representing a deliberate step toward higher tensions with Moscow. But the intelligence dossier it deployed in that effort, as reflected in the Sedwill letter and media reporting, was far from being the kind of information one might expect to provoke such a major diplomatic move. It was instead, like the original 2003 “dodgy dossier” on WMD in Saddam’s Iraq, essentially a collection of misleading claims based on politically-skewed logic.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014.

 

Syrian ‘Rebels’ (TERRORISTS) Used Sarin Nerve Gas Sold By Britain

Syrian ‘Rebels’ Used Sarin Nerve Gas Sold By Britain

By TruePublica: The British government, like many others around the world, have been developing chemical weapons since the First World War – and continue to do so from Porton Down. However, unlike others, the Conservative government were complicit in the sale of these deadly banned weapons to Syria. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills granted licences for the sale of chemical weapons ingredients and components to Syria ten months after the uprising began.

There is a type of hypocrisy coming from the current crop of politicians that has learned nothing at all from the international embarrassment that emanated from Britain’s awful foreign policy choices when Tony Blair blindly followed the Americans and led the country into killing a million people in Iraq that even to this day has three million displaced from their homes. David Cameron saw fit to do the same in Libya. Many were killed, hundreds of thousands displaced and today the country in is the hands of gangsters and terrorists who make money in slave trading markets and sending millions of migrants across the Mediterranean that is currently destabilising Europe.

Theresa May has sought exactly the same route from the same playbook of lies and deceit. The Skripal/Novichok/it was Russia story has been roundly discredited. It was clearly the precursor to blaming Russia for protecting its ally, prior to attacking Syria without either the authority of the UN or debate in parliament, where 78 percent of Britain’s disagree with Theresa May’s air strikes.

The airstrikes were carried out on a pretext of the use of chemical weapons – which has now been fully discredited as well. Robert Fisk via The Independent brought us that evidence yesterday – that no chemical gas attack took place in Douma.

We have had very firm confirmation from the Obama administration back in 2014 that the British made nerve gas stockpiles were completely extracted from Syria. “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” declared then-Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press in 2014. Kerry was referring to Bashar al-Assad’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons which, under a 2013 deal struck by the Obama administration following a sarin nerve gas attack that brought the U.S. to the brink of striking Syrian government forces, were dismantled and shipped out of the country.

 

In Summary

We have conclusive evidence that Britain manufactured and sold nerve agents to Syria even during the first year of the uprising.

We have evidence that ISIS backed terrorists did use chemical weapons as confirmed by the United Nations (see below) that was a ‘red-line’ for the Obama administration.

We have more evidence that these so-called ‘rebels’ used gas attacks as confirmed by the US State Department (see below).

We have concrete evidence that nerve agents sold by Britain were handed over via a diplomatically brokered deal that included the UN, US, Britain and Russia – to the complete satisfaction of all concerned.

We have confirmed evidence that no chemical weapons attack took place in Douma contrary to the Trump and May administrations allegations.

Like Blair and Cameron before her, we have been provided little more than circumstantial evidence from Theresa May and her cabinet that only goes as far as ‘highly likely‘ and ‘suspected,‘ almost all of which cannot be verified, much of which, can be discredited.

 

As if you needed more evidence:

The Week – July 9th 2014 – HEADLINE:

UK firms ‘sold chemical weapons ingredients to Syria’

British companies supplied ingredients for the production of the deadly nerve agent sarin to Syria in the 1980s, a secret Foreign Office document obtained by Newsnight has revealed.

Sarin has been linked to several attacks during Syria’s three-year civil war, including last year’s deadliest, in which almost 1,500 people were killed, including 426 children. 

The report names the UK as the sole supplier of the three key ingredients used to produce sarin; dimethyl phosphate (DMP), trimethyl phosphate (TMP) and hexamine. These three chemicals are regarded as the “building block” of sarin.

Sarin is described by chemical weapons experts as one of the “deadliest agents known to man”. It is classified as a weapon of mass destruction as a small amount is capable of killing thousands of people, as was evident in Syria.

The report states that hundreds of tonnes of the ingredients were sold to Damascus. The UK also supplied electrical fans to Syria in 2003, it says, components of which were used in Assad’s chemical weapon programme. The programme points out that at the same time the UK invaded Iraq, which it accused of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.”

 

 

Washington Times – May 6th 2013 – HEADLINE:

Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official

Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said in 2013.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC.

Damascus has recently faced growing Western accusations that its forces used such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line. But Ms. del Ponte’s remarks may serve to shift the focus of international concern.

Ms. del Ponte, who in 1999 was appointed to head the U.N. war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The former Swiss prosecutor and attorney general, told Swiss TV: “Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated.”

 

 

Source: US State Department

US admits Chemical weapons used by rebels

Last September, the US Department of State Consular Affairs offered official Syria travel warning for American citizens: that the core rebel group currently operating in northwest Syria not only possesses but has used chemical weapons – to the point that the State Department considers it a major enough threat to publicly warn citizens about.

The armed opposition group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is referenced early in the document: “Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and Al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham [dominated by Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization], operate in Syria.”  The document clearly names terrorist groups operating in Syria who use tactics such as suicide bombings, kidnappings and chemical weapons – to target major city centres and open spaces.

Killing Mosquitoes: The Latest Gaza Massacres, Pro-#israel Media Bias And The Weapon Of ‘Antisemitism’

SOURCE

The Palestinians have long been seen as an obstacle by Israel’s leaders; an irritant to be subjugated. Noam Chomsky commented:

‘Traditionally over the years, Israel has sought to crush any resistance to its programs of takeover of the parts of Palestine it regards as valuable, while eliminating any hope for the indigenous population to have a decent existence enjoying national rights.’

He also noted:

‘The key feature of the occupation has always been humiliation: they [the Palestinians] must not be allowed to raise their heads. The basic principle, often openly expressed, is that the “Araboushim” – a term that belongs with “nigger” or “kike” – must understand who rules this land and who walks in it with head lowered and eyes averted.’ (Noam Chomsky, ‘Fateful Triangle,’ Pluto Press, updated edition, 1999, p.489)

Recent events encapsulate this all too well. On Friday, March 30, Israeli soldiers shot dead 14 Palestinians and wounded 1400, including 800 hit by live ammunition. By April 5, the death toll had risen to 21. During a second protest, one week later on Friday, April 7, the Israelis shot dead a further 10 Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy, and more than 1300 were injured. Among those killed was Yasser Murtaja, a journalist who had been filming the protest. He had been wearing a distinctive blue protective vest marked ‘PRESS’ in large capital letters. The brutality, and utter brazenness with which the killings were carried out, is yet another demonstration of the apartheid state’s contempt for the people it tried to ethnically cleanse in 1948, the year of Israel’s founding.

On the first day of the protest, on March 30, many Palestinians had gathered in Gaza, close to the border with Israel, as part of a peaceful ‘Great March of Return’ protest demanding the right to reclaim ancestral homes in Israel. 100 Israeli snipers lay in wait, shooting at protesters, including an 18-year-old shot in the back while running away from the border. The Israel army boasted in a quickly-deleted tweet that the massacre had been planned, deliberate and premeditated:

‘Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed’

BBC News and other ‘mainstream’ news outlets, including the Guardian, carried headlines about ‘clashes’ at the Gaza-Israel border ‘leaving’ Palestinians dead and injured. As we noted via Twitter, an honest headline would have read:

‘Israeli troops kill 16 Palestinians and injure hundreds’

When the Israelis shot dead yet more Palestinians on the second Friday of protests, the BBC reported, ‘Deadly unrest on Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians resume protest’. BBC ‘impartiality’ meant not headlining Israeli troops as the agency responsible for the ‘deadly unrest’.

Adam Johnson, writing for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, observed of news reports carrying inappropriate headlines about ‘clashes’:

‘We do not have one party’s snipers opening fire on another, unarmed party; we have “violent clashes”—a term, as FAIR has noted before, that implies symmetry of forces and is often used to launder responsibility.’

Later, the Guardian quietly removed the word ‘clashes’ from its headlines, while adding Israeli military spin: that the protest was a Hamas ploy to ‘carry out terror attacks’; compare this early version with a later version.

On the first Friday of mass killing, we noted that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz had reported the presence of Israeli snipers. We asked the public to look for any mention of this on BBC News. Around the time we made the request, the Newssniffer website picked up the first reference to ‘snipers’ on the BBC News website (albeit buried in a tiny mention at the bottom of a news article). Coincidence? Or were BBC editors aware that their output was under public scrutiny?

Within just one day, the BBC had relegated the news of the mass shootings in Gaza to a minor slot on its website. It considered ‘news’ about television personality Dec presenting Saturday Night Takeaway without Ant, and royal couple Harry and Meghan choosing wedding flowers, more important than Israel killing and wounding many hundreds of Palestinians.

When BBC News finally turned to Gaza, with a piece buried at the bottom of its World news page, it was from Israel’s perspective:

‘Israel warns it could strike inside Gaza’

and:

‘Palestinian groups using protests as a cover to launch attacks on Israel’

This disgraceful coverage strongly suggested that Israel was the victim. As political analyst Charles Shoebridge observed:

‘Editors especially at the BBC aren’t stupid, they know exactly what they’re doing, and the use of very many devices such as this isn’t somehow repeatedly accidental. Indeed, it’s a good example of how the BBC is perhaps history’s most sophisticated and successful propaganda tool.’

By contrast, a powerful article in Haaretz from veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed to the reality that the mass shooting by Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces:

‘shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes.’

 

The Silence of Liberal ‘Interventionists’

Last year, Jeremy Corbyn was hounded by ‘mainstream’ media jounalists, demanding that he condemn acts of violence by the socialist government in Venezuela. But there was no corporate media campaign calling upon Theresa May to denounce much worse Israeli violence. The same media that devoted sustained, in-depth coverage of Spanish police brutality during the Catalan independence referendum swiftly relegated Israel’s mass murder to ‘other news’.

Imagine if Russian or Syrian troops had shot dead almost 30 civilians, and injured well over 1000, during peaceful protests. ‘MSM’ headlines and airwaves would be filled with condemnations from senior UK politicians and prominent commentators. But not so when it is Israel doing the killing.

We tweeted:

‘Twitter task for today: think of any of the famously impassioned, outraged “humanitarian interventionists” in the Guardian, The Times, the Observer and so on, and check how much they’ve tweeted about the mass killings and woundings in Gaza. Go ahead, try it.’

Examples were glaring by their absence.

Writing for The Intercept, journalist Mehdi Hasan asked rhetorically:

‘Where is the moral outrage from former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, the famously pro-intervention, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a “A Problem From Hell,” which lamented U.S. inaction in Rwanda […]?

‘Where is the demand from Canadian academic-turned-politician Michael Ignatieff, who was once one of the loudest voices in favor of the so-called responsibility to protect doctrine, for peacekeeping troops to be deployed to the Occupied Territories?

‘Where are the righteously angry op-eds from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, or Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, or David Aaronovitch of The Times of London, demanding concrete action against the human rights abusers of the IDF?’

Hasan concluded:

‘The ongoing and glaring refusal of liberal interventionists in the West to say even a word about the need to protect occupied Palestinians from state-sponsored violence is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.’

Global realpolitik was highlighted yet again when the US government blocked a vote at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council calling for an international investigation into the mass shooting of civilians by Israeli troops on March 30. The US repeated its block a week later after the second wave of Israeli killing. We have found no coverage in the UK ‘mainstream’ media of the US blocking a UN investigation. In other words, Israel can act with impunity when committing grievous crimes against humanity, backed to the hilt by its biggest sponsor in Washington.

 

Weaponising ‘Antisemitism’ Against Corbyn

Meanwhile, the ‘MSM’ was continuing to deploy charges of alleged antisemitism against Corbyn-led Labour; and, seen in a wider political context, against realistic hopes of even moderately progressive changes to UK government policy.

A Facebook comment made in 2012 by Corbyn about a mural depicting Jewish and non-Jewish bankers was unearthed and used to mount a remarkable barrage of vehement media attacks. BBC News took its lead from the obviously right-wing, anti-Corbyn agenda across the ‘spectrum’ of the country’s ‘free press’.

The attacks continued with a vicious front-page ‘exclusive’ in the extreme right-wing Sunday Times:

‘Exposed: Corbyn’s hate factory’

The article, based on a trawl of Facebook posts, painted a hugely exaggerated picture of ‘racism, violent threats and abuse by leader’s fan base’. Alex Nunns, author of The Candidate, a book about Corbyn’s ‘improbable path to power’, pointed out the absurdly cynical nature of this Murdoch ‘journalism’. Nunns undertook his own Facebook search for posts by Conservatives and quickly discovered examples of misogyny, abuse, an implied threat of violence and implicit racism. The Tory Facebook page he found:

‘appears to have links to The Bruges Group, which in turn has links to leading Conservative politicians including Iain Duncan Smith. Headline: “EXPOSED: Iain Duncan Smith’s hate factory.” See how this is done?’

Guardian columnist Owen Jones picked up Nunns’ tweets and pointed out in a live BBC interview:

‘Why has there been no coverage of the despicable racism and abuse found in Conservative Facebook groups’?

The BBC news presenter replied:

‘Because Labour is the story at the moment’.

That the ‘MSM’, including the BBC, had made Labour ‘the story at the moment’ was simply not worthy of comment by corporate journalists or, perhaps, permissible thought.

Shamefully, the BBC published a big splash based on the Sunday Times article on ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory’. The BBC piece was almost gleeful in saying that there was ‘no let up for Labour’:

‘With negative stories on the front pages of at least four newspapers, this is not a happy Easter Sunday for Labour.’

In other words, as it so often does, the BBC was following the lead of the right-wing, anti-Corbyn ‘mainstream’ press. The onslaught of ‘news’ linking Corbyn to ‘antisemitism’ continued with an account of how Corbyn had attended a ‘left wing Jewish event’ organised by Jewdas. The BBC stated:

‘Jewdas, which describes itself as a “radical” and “alternative” Jewish collective, is at odds with mainstream Jewish groups over allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour.’

Three of the principal pro-Israel bodies in the UK, the Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Jewish Labour Movement, criticised Corbyn for attending the event. The BBC reported:

‘Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “If Jeremy Corbyn goes to their event, how can we take his stated commitment to be an ally against anti-Semitism seriously?”‘

The BBC not only ran with this latest ‘story’ linking Corbyn to antisemitism, but promoted it as the lead item on the BBC News website.

However, there is nothing that says we must allow BBC News to determine what is ‘mainstream’ and what is not. And, in particular, when it comes to the Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Jewish Labour Movement, journalist Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada notes:

‘Their primary function is to lobby for Israel, an institutionally racist, apartheid state.’

A measure of the Jewish Board of Deputies’ staunch pro-Israel stance can be seen from the tweet they sent in the wake of the brutal Israeli killings in the first Friday border protest:

‘Alarming developments at Gaza border as Hamas once again using its civilians – inc children – as pawns.’

The lack of condemnation from ‘mainstream’ voices in politics and the media to such a disgraceful message reveals widespread deep fear of being accused of antisemitism. This fear, used to constrain reasoned debate, needs to be seen in a broader historical context. In 2002, former Israeli minister Shulamit Aloni explained the rationale behind the charge of antisemitism:

‘Well, it’s a trick – we always use it. When from Europe somebody’s criticising Israel then we bring up the Holocaust.’

And it works. Professor Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group related that he was once told by a senior BBC News editor:

‘The BBC waits in fear for the telephone call from the Israelis.’

None of the above is to deny that there is a significant problem of antisemitism in British politics, or in wider British society. But, as the group Jews for Justice for Palestinians notes, the facts are that:

‘Levels of antisemitism among those on the left-wing of the political spectrum, including the far-left, are indistinguishable from those found in the general population.’

Moreover, antisemitism has decreased in Labour under Corbyn, and public polling indicates that it is more prevalent among Conservative and UKIP members than among Labour and Liberal members. Indeed, there is ample evidence of an extraordinary scale of Tory racism and abuse.

In summary, then, here is the horrible irony of recent coverage on Israel and antisemitism: the corporate media continued to headline Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism crisis’ – supposedly triggered by a comment about a mural in 2012 – while quickly relegating Israel’s massacres of civilian Palestinians to ‘other news’ at the bottom of the page and running order.

The truth is that the deadliest racism today is indicated by the casual way in which the West and its allies rain violence down on countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Although human rights are typically used as a pretext, the real goal is control of natural resources and the global economy; the tears of compassion evaporate the instant that an Official Enemy obstructing Western control has been overthrown. As Chomsky has noted, this is actually closer to a kind of speciesism than racism:

‘Namely, knowing that you are massacring them but not doing so intentionally because you don’t regard them as worthy of concern. That is, you don’t even care enough about them to intend to kill them. Thus when I walk down the street, if I stop to think about it I know I’ll probably kill lots of ants, but I don’t intend to kill them, because in my mind they do not even rise to the level where it matters. There are many such examples. To take one of the very minor ones, when [President Bill] Clinton bombed the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Sudan, he and the other perpetrators surely knew that the bombing would kill civilians (tens of thousands, apparently). But Clinton and associates did not intend to kill them, because by the standards of Western liberal humanitarian racism, they are no more significant than ants. Same in the case of tens of millions of others.’

A further example, as we have seen, are the yawns of indifference from the corporate media as hundreds of civilian protestors – Palestinian ‘mosquitoes’ – are gunned down by Israeli snipers

The #Windrush” scandal- Theresa May’s blatant racism exposed when she was in charge of the Home Office

May leads with coldness and cruelty. Just ask the children of Windrush

Ministers choose not to solve this immigration debacle, steered by a leader who has form in making people’s lives a misery

Prime minister Theresa May.
‘Theresa May sets the tone of government. She must change it.’ Photograph: Simon Dawson/PA
One of the most appalling elements of the Windrush generation immigration scandal is that the mess is so easily fixable. The government has long had the right and the facility to grant indefinite leave to remain to those whose presence in the country may be technically questionable but socially desirable. That it has chosen not to do so tells us much, as does today’s revelation that No 10 has snubbed a plea from Commonwealth heads of government for talks about the debacle.The government has not acted decisively so far because it has not felt compelled to do so. For many months now, the Guardian reporter Amelia Gentleman has trodden a lonely path in trying to highlight these stories, without exciting the sort of supplementary interest from other media that might persuade ministers and their advisers that failure to do so placed their own futures in jeopardy. But in recent days, other newspapers and broadcasters have begun to expose the government’s failure to act. The equation, and with it the level of risk to politicians and bureaucrats, has changed. That speaks to the power of the media even now to hold the system to account, a vital component of our democracy. But it also says some sorry things about Theresa May and those who do her bidding.

This is a government that lacks purpose and obvious competence. We see that in its stewardship of the NHS, the benefits system, and most of all, its muddling towards an ill-considered, undefined, illogical Brexit. But what is just as disturbing, given the might of government and the extent to which its activities have a direct effect on people’s lives, is the lack of any moral grounding or emotional intelligence. It wields power disproportionately and clumsily. It tramples on the cares of ordinary people like a drunk in hobnail boots.

It is said that up close, May herself is thoughtful and personable, but when it’s time to go to work, she is the leader who thought the best way to allay immigration concerns was to hire vans with advertising boards telling undesired immigrants to “go home”. She is the one who sent the signal to her officials that, henceforth, those whose immigration status was questionable should find Britain a “hostile environment”. She is the one who went to Grenfell and, initially at least, couldn’t spare the time to speak to victims. She runs a government that tells the infirm that they must work and disabled people that they aren’t really disabled.

Leaders lead. Followers follow. If you look at May’s bloodless, technocratic approach to government, you easily understand how those who serve her feel able, or perhaps compelled, to do their jobs unburdened by any demand for compassion or empathy. She sets the tone. She must change it. She could start today by meeting the Caribbean leaders and responding to their concerns, as well as those voiced by 140 MPs from across the political spectrum.

Of course, that will require political navigation. She knows that after the poisonous Brexit campaign – and thanks to her lieutenants, messrs Gove and Johnson – the public expectation is that by fair means or foul, she will be tough towards immigrants. But even her own logic dictates a different approach. Along with the “deep and special” relationship she envisages with the EU post-Brexit, her ministers promise a new and vital recoupling with the Commonwealth. How does this mistreatment of its people, this trashing of historic ties and this deaf ear to the concerns of its representatives, forward that strategy?

It could be that, in their calculations, ministers believed that there would be no groundswell of support for middle-aged black people, irrespective of any ties they have or the contributions they have made to communities up and down the country. In that, again, the technocrats are being proved wrong by the media, MPs and the public. That may be the only heartening development so far in this sorry affair.

Hugh Muir is associate editor of Guardian Opinion

The #Skripal event and the #Douma “gas attack” – two acts in the same drama?

Source

OffGuardian | April 14, 2018

The illegal air strikes on Syria by the coalition of the guilty (US, France, UK) have happened, to no one’s great surprise. As such things go all current indications are that they were more token than anything else. The Russians are saying around 100 missiles were fired at an unclear number of targets, of which around 70% were intercepted. Syrian General Staff are reporting 3 injuries and no deaths. Mattis was at pains to say this was a one-off, though adding the reckless caveat that any further evidence of chemical weapons usage by Assad might change that (thus giving every lunatic or CIA/neocon-controlled cell in Syria a pure gold motive for a false fag).

Compared to how bad this might have been, this is a fairly harmless result for the present.

We’ve resisted the temptation to do any kind of analysis of things so far, preferring to let them play out and to document developments and opinions. But maybe this is a good time to offer a tentative overview of what seems to have been going on in the past weeks.

1) The Douma “gas attack” was likely faked

The only evidence we have for any “gas attack” in Douma on April 7 is the video released on April 7-8, showing piles of corpses, mostly children, some with foam around their mouths. When, where or how the video was made is not verifiable. Who killed the children shown or how they died is not verifiable. Additionally we have images of an alleged “gas canister”, again without any sourcing or verification, and which have been widely suggested to be implausible. And there is Bellingcat (Eliot Higgins), contributing his usual brand of “comparisons” of images and Google maps, adding nothing that could be described even loosely as verification of the salient claims.

In opposition to this the Russians are claiming the event was staged. They allege their armed forces entered Douma shortly after the alleged attack and claim to have found no evidence of chemical weapons usage, no witnesses and no victims.

They have also released video statements by two young men claiming to be doctors at the hospital. They describe people running in to the hospital screaming that there had been a chemical attack, inciting panic among the people there, and “unqualified” people administering to children, giving them “asthma inhalers.” However, he says, there were no victims of such a chemical treated there, only victims of smoke inhalation from recent shelling and subsequent fires.

There is also the notable reluctance by US Defense Secretary, James Mattis to fully endorse the reality of this narrative. Even on April 12, just hours before the air strikes were to be implemented, he was still publicly saying he had seen no evidence to show the gas attacks happened or who may have been responsible. Given his senior position on the Trump administration, and his previously gungho attitude to military adventurism, this is significant.

Of greatest potential significance is the claim by the Russian foreign ministry that they have evidence the UK government was directly involved in staging the fake attack or encouraging a false flag. So far they haven’t released this data, so we can’t comment further at this time.

2) Primarily UK initiative?

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a) about the verifiability of the attacks, and b) about the dangers of a military response, suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure. Trump’s attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma “initiative” is a continuation of their long term policy. It’s also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of any UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma “attack” and a tentative story-line emerges.

The Skripal consideration

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn’t this way. Since some time in mid to late March it’s been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences where cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it

2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.

3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the “toxic substance” found in the Skripals’ blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government’s public claims of “novichok” is association by inference and proximity. Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, “novichok” may indeed not have been found in those samples at all and the active substance was a compound called “BZ”, a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America. (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn’t want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all. She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has “specially trained officers… helping to take care of” her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it’s hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can’t completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess?

Is this what happened?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that’s been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancellation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma “attack” seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and “responded “ to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it’s unlikely that will happen. So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more “reprisals”? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We’ll all know soon enough.

What a surprise!! Independent Swiss Lab Says Poison Used in # Skripal Attack Was Produced in US or UK

Independent Swiss Lab Says Poison Used in Skripal Attack Was Produced in US or UK

On March 4, 2018, Sergie Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him from Moscow, were poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent after he stopped by a local store.

Skripal is a Russian double agent who WORKED FOR Christopher Steele’s company in England. Steele was behind the fake Russian dossier on Trump.

Russia denied the poison attack.

The US expelled 60 Russian diplomats following the poison attack after the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

On Saturday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a Swiss lab analyzed the poison and said the nerve agent was not produced in Russia or the Soviet Union.

Reuters Top News

@Reuters

Russia’s Lavrov says Skripals may have been poisoned by substance Russia never made https://reut.rs/2JLt6z6 

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