The Balance of Probabilities 1084

Unlike the famous chemical weapons “attack” portrayed by the BBC in Saving Syria’s Children, it does appear that in the latest incident at Idlib there was real horror inflicted by chemical attack of some kind. The question is who did it and why?

I am no fan of the Assad regime, and I have no problem using the word “regime” to describe it. Dictators do hold and win elections. I have lived in severe dictatorships and seen from the inside how they do it. The human rights abuses of the Assad regime have been well documented for decades.

But Bashar al Assad is neither stupid nor unsophisticated. Aided by Putin, he outwitted Obama by quickly giving up his chemical weapons to be destroyed and accepting transparency in verification. There is no justification for the destruction of Iraq, but if Saddam Hussein had been able to swallow pride as completely as Assad, he too could have had a very good chance of averting disaster.

Assad had seen his position go from strength to strength, thanks to Putin’s astute deployment of Russia’s limited military power. Militarily the balance had swung dramatically in Assad’s favour, while Trump had said the unsayable and acknowledged that putting Syria into the hands of Wahabbist crazies was not in the United States interest.

So I cannot conceive that Assad would risk throwing all of this away for the sake of a militarily insignificant small chemical weapons attack. It would be an act of the most extreme folly. It is not impossible – hubris is a great temptation to dictators – but given how Assad has played it so far, it seems out of character and extremely improbable. What is less improbable is a local battlefield decision by pro-Assad forces. In my close observation of dictatorial regimes, a fascinating feature is that they operate an image of the perfection of the state. They are highly adverse to admitting mistakes.

What did happen I do not profess to know. There are at least eleven major identifiable state and non-state forces involved in the fighting around Idlib. In going through them all and considering opportunity and motive for each, I continually find that those whose motive would be false flag stand to benefit a great deal more than those who might have been seeking military advantage.

I am therefore for now unconvinced that this was a deliberate use of chemical weapons by Assad forces. I do not rule it out, but it would take much more concrete evidence than currently offered to prove they did something so strongly and obviously against their own interest. But western governments and media have determined to make that the narrative, so the truth is, as so often in modern geo-politics, entirely incidental to the course of future events.

1,084 thoughts on “The Balance of Probabilities

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  • Habbabkuk

    From Dave:

    “It looks like they’re preparing the ground to “cut a deal”, but Trump needs to look “anti-Russian” to do it! ”

    What I was suggesting a couple of days ago.

    And part of the deal will be that “President” Assad will no longer be President by the end of this year.

    Remember – you read it here first.

    • RobG

      The Americans are taking military action in Syria (aka, murdering people) totally against all international law.

      Perhaps you can provide an argument for this ‘Frankenstein’?

      (and please don’t give me the nonsense about a ‘chemical attack’ by Assad, a chemical attack that’s now been widely disproved)

    • Ball

      Remember – you read it here first.
      No and stop pretending to have an original thought you plagiarist.

      If you think Russia and Iran are willing to lose all credibility on the world stage (and with every ally that relies on them for protection) at this stage of the war, 80% won, over false flags and western hot air, you really are deluded.

      Assad goes and Russia would look like they’ve been bullied and as we all know from the Euros, Russians don’t do bullied. He’s going nowhere.

      The only option to get rid of Assad is through a full scale US invasion. Do you think after over a decade of US troops arriving home in body bags for nothing in the ME, Trump and Co will commit to another 10+ years of carnage? Not a chance.

      Keep dreaming, Habbabk, fantasy.

      • Sharp Ears

        He wishes. Ha!

        He should read and absorb these paragraphs from an article written by Mariam al-Hijab who is the Editor-in-Chief of the Inside Syria Media Center.

        ‘However, in 2013 there were several reasons that interrupted the U.S. initiating large-scale aggression against Syria. Just after being published, the materials about the use of chemical weapons began to acquire additional details, which indirectly indicated the involvement of the U.S. and their allied groups in the imitation of the chemical attack.

        It turned out that this provocative act has been preliminary and carefully planned by the military experts. This is evidenced by hacked correspondence of U.S. Army Colonel Anthony Jamie MacDonald, who was General Staff Director, Operations and Plans Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the army staff in 2013. On August 22, the day after the chemical attack, MacDonald received a message from his colleague Eugene Furst with congratulations on the “successful operation” and a link reference to an article on Eastern Ghouta in The Washington Post.

        The media leak of MacDonald’s correspondence has become additional evidence proving that the Syrian government has no relevance to the use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta.

        Earlier Damascus has already been blamed for using poisonous substance, but all these attempts have failed. In the same 2013, the UN investigation proved that the militants were responsible for the use of sarin. It was stated by Carla Del Ponte, the head of the UN commission. Subsequently it turned out that the chemical ammunition availability among opposition groups was recorded on video.’
        April 10th 2017

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Sharp Ears April 10, 2017 at 22:53
          Thank you, Sharp Ears. But some ‘folks’ don’t want to know the truth; such a thing!

  • RobG

    Even the CIAdian is reporting just how popular Jean-Luc Mélenchon is…

    This is going to be delicious to watch, because in a free and fair election Mélenchon will walk it. How’s Uncle Sam going to deal with this one? because France has been on the verge of revolution for the last year or so (as of course you’ve been told about in your favourite rag).

    Expect more ‘Je Suis Charlie’ and ‘Je Suis Paree’ rollocks to happen (and don’t forget to paint your face in the colours of the French flag).

    If Mélenchon survives and becomes President there will be real prosecutions, and the cockroaches know it.

    • Ball


      Notice how they’ve suddenly dropped the ‘far’ left tag out of the reports.

      And stopped the comparisons with Corbyn.

      Can’t be giving the plebs idea’s.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      There seems a lot of talk about Sophia Chikirou and Gerard Miller having done a make over job on him.’ Le candidat anti-systeme adoube par le systeme’. Still hope is the last thing to die

      • RobG

        Repeat, in a free and fair election, Mélenchon will walk this.

        You live is totally fascist lunatic societies where the media is completely controlled.

        Many of you are brain-dead zombies who will be marched into the next war.

        And I can’t say often enough, these war crimes are all funded by tax payers.

        The corporations have all got their claws firmly into the golden pot (tax money).

        Why tax payers are dumb enough to tolerate such blatant corruption and criminality is another matter.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ RobG April 10, 2017 at 21:40
          I couldn’t agree more (re brain-dead zombies). I don’t know anything about Melanchon, but if he’s Left, I’m for him.

  • Alcyone

    It’s official: The chief export of Scotland, over the years, decades and centuries is not whisky, it’s their people. I wonder why?

    And it’s chief import is cars. Over 30 million Scots around the world, yet Scotland has never managed to produce a viable car. I also wonder how many countries have over 80% of their population living outside their country?

    With such erudite Scottish commenters and thinkers here, I hope one can get some quick and frank answers.

    • reel guid

      People out and cars in.

      Independence could reverse that.

      It certainly can’t be worse than the union.

      • Alcyone

        Could, should, would….aren’t you wiser than that? i hope for your sake, you are not a betting man.

        • reel guid

          I used the word could simply so as not to sound strident.

          As for betting William Hill are offering odds of 4/6 for Yes while No is 11/10.

    • Ball

      It’s official: The chief export of Scotland, over the years, decades and centuries is not whisky, it’s their people. I wonder why?
      The neighbours obviously.

  • michael norton

    A US air strike in response to a suspected chemical attack damaged or destroyed 20% of Syria’s operational aircraft, the US has said.

    Defence Secretary James Mattis said Syria would be “ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons”.

    Ministry of Truth
    That’s some smug fucker

  • mauisurfer

    This report by two real USA scientists deserves full read.
    It contains the best technical descriptions and illustrations of what did/did not happen at Ghouta. Also contains the lies of Sec/State Kerry in sworn testimony to Congress.

    Possible Implications of Faulty
    US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus
    Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013
    Richard Lloyd
    Former UN Weapons Inspector
    Tesla Laboratories Inc.|Arlington, VA
    Theodore A. Postol
    Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Washington, DC
    January 14, 2
    The Syrian Improvised Chemical Munitions that Were Used in the August 21,
    Nerve Agent Attack in Damascus Have a Range of About 2 Kilometers
    This Indicates That These Munitions Could Not Possibly Have Been Fired at
    East Ghouta from the “Heart” or the Eastern Edge of the Syrian Government
    Controlled Area Depicted in the Intelligence Map Published by the White
    House on August 30, 2013.
    This faulty Intelligence Could Have Led to an Unjustified US Military Action Based on False Intelligence.
    A Proper Vetting of the Fact That the Munition Was of Such Short Range Would Have Led to a Completely Different Assessment of the Situation from the Gathered Data
    Whatever the Reasons for the Egregious Errors in the Intelligence, the Source of These Errors Needs to Be Explained.
    If the Source of These Errors Is Not Identified, the Problems That Led to this Intelligence Failure Will Go Uncorrected, and the Chances of a Future Policy Disaster Will Grow With Certainty

    • Paul Barbara

      @ mauisurfer April 11, 2017 at 00:02
      Thanks. I vonder if Chumsky is aware of this, as it emanates from MIT? No probs; he will be in a few minutes!

  • bevin

    This is a very useful summary of US policy in the Middle East by Chas Freeman:
    This is a excerpt
    “…The central objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East has long been to achieve regional acceptance for the Jewish settler state in Palestine. American diplomats have doggedly sought a political basis for a reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians that could provide sustainable security for Israel and facilitate broad Arab normalization of relations with the Jewish state.

    “The international community originally approved the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine as part of a proposed partition of Palestine into two states. After decades of expansion, Israel has successfully precluded a two-state resolution of its conflict with its captive Arab populations. There is now de facto a single state in Palestine. A government that is democratically elected by Israeli Jews exercises various degrees of tyranny over Muslim and Christian Arabs. This is a formula that assures continuing Palestinian resistance, the alienation of the world’s nearly two billion Muslims from Israel, and the corrosion of both democracy and traditional Jewish values in Israel.

    “The Jewish state has evolved since its founding. It has left behind it both the humanism that inspired Zionism and the universal moral precepts traditionally espoused by Judaism. The perception that Israel no longer shares values it once aspired to exemplify is increasing its international isolation, especially from Jews in Europe and the United States. But American diplomacy no longer even pretends to seek to halt Israel’s triumphant march toward existential implosion despite the obvious negative consequences of this for the security and international influence of the United States….”

    • bevin

      The author ‘Chas Freeman served as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the war to liberate Kuwait and as assistant secretary of defense from 1993-94. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on “diplomacy” and is the author of five books, including “America’s Misadventures in the Middle East” and “Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige.” He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.’

  • michael norton

    Blast rocks mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in Turkey

    I expect it will be the Sultan of Turkey slughtering his own people, perhaps America will send cruise milles
    to deter him from doing this again?
    Ministry of Truth
    Along with U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Americans have invited Turkey
    to decide the undoing of Syria.

    Quite ironic when it is Saudi and Turkey and America who have initiated the “civil” war in Syria.

    • Salford Lad

      It is deliberately obfuscated but the underlying motive behind the wars in the Middle East, is to maintain the US dollar as Reserve Currency and the Petrodollar as the unit of value for a barrel of oil. thus financing the US economy and its Military enforcement machine.
      Russia and China have been dumping their US Treasury Bonds slowly and now trade between themselves in Gold,Yuan and rubles.
      They have formed a new Financial system with the AIIB (Asian investment and Infrastructure Bank). They have formed a new Bank Clearing System,separate from SWIFT. They have their own credit card systems.
      China is building the NEW SILK ROADS and sea arteries to connect the countries of ASIA to Europe. Trade along these routes will be in local currencies, by-passing the dollar.
      The Silk Roads by-pass the US Navy’s control of the sea route choke points and make their carrier fleets largely redundant as enforcement tools..
      For the Washington war machine,Syria is but a stop along the road to Iran, then up into Central Asia to cut and control the Silk Road and impose the US dollar toll charge.
      The New Silk Roads spell the end of the US dollar as the dominant currency and the end of the US military and Financial hegemon.
      Thus Syria is a major pivot point in World History and will be a war to the end. Empires die slowly and usually decay from within, but this may not be the case with the neocon psychopaths reluctant to concede power.
      There are other US allies with interests in subduing Syria; Saudi and Qatar to build their gas pipeline to the Meditterean and on to the European Market, this undermines Russian near monopoly of supply and will damage their already fragile economy.
      Turkey with its grab for the corridor to the oilfields of Mosul and subjugation of its rebellious Kurds.
      Israel and its Oded Yinon plan to break-up Syria and grab land, also to cut the Shia Crescent connecting Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
      European countries who are reliant on Russian gas energy supplies and wish to have another supply source from the Gulf States.
      So there are many countries ready to feed on the carca

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Blynda Grays April 11, 2017 at 11:01
      Obviously it was a ‘False Flag’; but why on earth say ‘sadly’? The CIA is Satan’s Praetorian Task Force – why on earth should you expect a different result? As Webster Tarpley says, ‘The CIA is Wall Street; Wall Street is the CIA’.
      The CIA organised JFK’s assassination; that marked the end of US ‘Democracy’.

  • Sharp Ears

    Shilling for Israel in Lucca today

    All the communiqués coming out of the so called ‘summit’ of G7 Foreign Ministers are anti- Assad of course:

    Tillerson ‘It is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end’.

    French Foreign Minister Aurault ‘The G7 countries agree that there can be no Syrian peace deal with Mr Assad in power.’

    Italian Foreign Minister Ditto

    Johnson (an irrelevance!) sees the G7 summit as a game-changing moment and calls for new sanctions to be imposed on Syrian military figures and Russian military individuals responsible for backing them.

    The moral pygmies are running the show.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears April 11, 2017 at 12:26
      Well, the silly-born baalams might meet Moloch sooner than they had anticipated! Such a thing!

  • Dave

    Assad may go but through a transition deal, but the survival of Assad per say is not the test, its whether its a neo-con deal to dismember Syria or an America first deal to agree to the continuation of a united Syria under secular leadership which would be the way to end rather than perpetuate the conflict.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Dave April 11, 2017 at 13:37
      Since when did the USA and it’s cronies have the right to enforce ‘Regime Change’? Sure, they have done it time and time again, but now they are coming up against a strong resistance. ‘Duck, and cover’, or the alternative ‘squat down, tuck your head between your knees, and kiss your sorry a** goodbye’.

      • Dave

        I don’t think it helps to be a Cadaver McCain in in reverse and support WWIII as a form of virtue signalling or better a ‘betrayed’ Czechoslovakia than a ‘saved’ Poland!

      • Hieroglyph

        Ah, but you are speaking a foreign language there. To us normal people, the US has no right at all to oust Assad, and should leave Syria in peace. It’s illegal, though of course only commies pander to such historical concepts as ‘international law’. It’s also deeply immoral, because though Assad isn’t perfect, Syria is actually not part of the USA, so the USA doesn’t really get to choose the Syrian leader. But you simply can’t explain any of that to a neocon, they seem to think you are talking Martian, and get all puzzled and angry. I’ve literally no idea why neocons do anything. Pipelines, Yinon plan, arms deals whatever, that all seems like good fun, but not really their true motivation. Nope, I suspect they are simply just lunatics, and lunatics don’t really have motivations that make any sense to non-lunatics.

        It’s perfectly possible that the world is actually at greater risk of nuclear death than even during the Cuba crisis. Bluntly, Putin would be well within his rights to announce regime change for the US. See how the neocons like that one, eh?

  • michael norton

    Syria – Russia could then give
    The Israeli Regime 48 hours to get out of
    The Golan

    then blitz the shit out of them.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can’t believe the rubbish Dominic Sandbrook, who considers himself an expert on modern history, comparing the current crisis to the Cuban Missile one, when Assad triggers WWIIII with another gas attack on the American surrogates in Syria when the real likely one is between Russia and the USA, with China being dragged in when Washington goes it alone over North Korea.

    Sandbrook should stick to British pop culture.

    Xi tipped his hand when he visited Alaska on his way home after visiting the world’s biggest danger, Trump.. The US missile defense shield at Fort Greely is no defense for the enemy boomer off the California coast.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 11, 2017 at 14:56
      You ought to bone up on ‘False Flag’ attacks as a ‘Casus Belli’ for aggressive wars.
      And, I will add, you probably don’t have a clue as to how near the world was to nuclear war in 1967; or, of course, perhaps you do.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        I am saying that Russia and China have ‘boned up’ on US “false flags” attacks, and are preparing to go to war with Washington if its tries to remove Kim Jong-Un unillatersally by force.

        And the assassinations of JFK in 1963, and Olof Palme on 1986 in “false flag” attacks in the hope of getting rid of Russia were more dangerous than anything that happened in 1967, as I have long written about, and was forced to retire from a tenured position for continuing to claim.

        America’s alleged freedom in a sham. One pays if one doesn’t go along with its loony leadership.

        What? Too busy reading books like The Transformation of America?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Hard to get anything sensible out of you, Barbara.

          The book Cathy O’Brien helped write is entitled, The Tranceformation of America, indicating falsely that Hillary sexually abused the drugged child which Trump hoped to prove by the Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails

          Little wonder that you loons who supported him for POTUS are most quiet about it all now.

  • michael norton

    Syria ‘chemical attack’: Turkey says tests confirm Sarin was used

    1 hour ago
    From the section Middle East
    Turkey says it has “concrete evidence” the nerve agent Sarin was used in a suspected attack by Syrian government forces a week ago, state media report.

    Health Minister Recep Akdag was quoted by the Anadolu news agency as saying traces of one of the decomposition products of Sarin had been detected in the blood and urine of several victims.

    At least 89 people were killed in the incident in rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun.

    They keep using the same few actors in the photographs.

  • Dave Lawton

    Here we have the fake environmentalist Monbiot who appears to be up for war.Is he going to launch his Nuclear Power stations which he is in favor of at Assad ?

    “Even the usually cautious Guardian journalist George Monbiot appears to be eager for military action. On Twitter (April 7, 2017) Monbiot claimed:

    We can be 99% sure the chemical weapons attack came from Syrian govt.”

    Three days later, media analysts Media Lens challenged Monbiot by citing the views of former UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Scott Ritter, both of whom contradicted Monbiot’s assertion.”

    • Dave

      Perhaps for the reverse reason, I always found Monbiot a fraud because his support for the climate change scam was done on back of an emotional rather than factual appeal, the same tactic deployed by the neo-cons to promote war. And when he backed nuclear power that confirmed it for me, because the nuclear lobby promote climate change as a way of providing the expertise and funding for Trident renewal via fuel bills.

      To understand the neo-cons is to understand the Wandering Who’s. Some Who’s are a deadly mix of arrogant racism and paranoid self-loathing due partly to an inbreeding mix of financial intelligence and victim self-image enhanced by Zionist ideology. This shows itself as an entitlement to rule the world and a fear that everyone wants to kill them in their beds. Hence you get the perversity of Israel destroying their neighbours and casting themselves as the victims. I.e. its as you say a mental illness that defies rational thought.

  • michael norton

    Vlad Putin warns of ‘fake’ gas attacks to frame Syria’s President Assad

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday warned of future chemical weapons “provocations” in Syria to frame President Bashar al-Assad, just as Washington’s top diplomat arrived for talks in Moscow.

    “We have information from various sources that such provocations — I cannot call them otherwise — are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including in the southern outskirts of Damascus, where they are again planning to throw some kind of substance and accuse Syrian official authorities of using it,” Putin said at a televised press conference.

    He said Russia was set to appeal to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and “call on the international community to thoroughly investigate such incidents”.

    I am sure Vlad is correct, whoever caused Trump to fire off 59 Scottish missiles at Syria, will continue to provoke Trump

    their reasoning it to depose President Assad and break up Syria, for plundering.

  • michael norton


    Électricité de France raises electricity prices for second time this year
    Energy firm EDF is raising the price of electricity for the second time this year for its customers on standard tariffs.

    From 21 June, EDF customers will see electricity prices increase by 9% and gas prices go up by 5.5%.

    The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on 1 March


    I suppose this is to pay for the failing of The French State Controlled Nuclear Power Industries.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t you love the mainstream media saying the Donald Trump is finally behaving more presidential after he bombed Syria for what he apparently arranged, and when he still is showing that he is preparing to deal multilaterally, militarily with North Korea, and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer claims that Assad and Putin are worse than Hitler when it comes to using poison gas!

    The only reason that the USA hasn’t used poison gas is that it has more effective overt and covert weapons to kill people, and Hilter’s Holocaust was just small change when it came to eliminating all kinds of people.

    And these loons are the elected representatives of the biggest shithole on the planet!

  • bevin

    Excellent piece in Counterpunch today from Mike Whitney:
    He points out, in simple language why Putin cannot desert Syria and why Russia’s survival as a nation depends upon its ability to mobilise the world against US hegemony.
    Support for multipolarity has nothing to do with agreeing with Putin’s christianity, his capitalism or his attitudes to democracy, it is about the grerat question of the hour” Do we want the self appointed International Policeman-a racist thug given to bullying and plundering those it designates ‘suspect’ to found a global Police State?
    If we do, as the Blairites and Tories clearly do, hate Putin and all he does. If you don’t and you want a world in which there is a balance of powers and individual freedom thrives in the interstices, you gotta like the guy!

    “…Putin is challenging the present world order in which a disproportionate amount of political and economic power has accrued to one unipolar center of authority, a global hegemon that imposes its economic model wherever it goes and topples sovereign states with a wave of the hand. Putin’s task is to build resistance among the vassals, form new alliances, and strengthen the collective resolve for a different world where national sovereignty and borders are guaranteed under an impartial set of international laws that protect the weak as well as the strong.

    “That’s Putin’s real objective, to rebuild the system of global security based on a solid foundation of respect for the vital interests of each and every country. To accomplish that, Putin must seem like a reasonable and trustworthy ally who honors his commitments and stands by his friends even when they are under attack. That’s why Putin won’t abandon Assad. It’s because he can’t…”

  • Paul Barbara

    It is very clear what happened with the Syrian ‘chemical weapons’ incident; it was either a head-chopper’s store of CW’s that was hit by a conventional Syrian bomb attack, or it was a deliberate ‘False Flag’. Some reports say it was a CW storage depot for CW weapons that were going to be transported to Iraq.
    Here’s a couple of articles about ‘False Flags’:

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 12, 2017 at 16:38
      You have exposed yourself; but, just for the craic, do you believe Assad ordered a CW attack?
      Just checking.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why will the Trump administration NOT agree to an independent investigation of chemical attacks in Syria?

    The last UN investigation back in 2013 did not so conclude. Why isn’t the stink hole willing to let independent, qualified minds determine the matter?

    Is it afraid if an independent one finds against Washington, it will also ipso facto rule that it engaged in a war crime?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 12, 2017 at 19:32
      Now you are commenting reasonably sensibly.
      But of course the USA, being an ‘exceptional(ly bloodthirsty warmongering bunch of a**holes)’ country, doesn’t accept World Court decisions. Kind’a ‘Law of the Jungle’.
      And of course I am not referring to the average Joe, who is just a brainwashed ‘sheeple’ like we have here in the UK, but to their and our ‘Great Leaders’.
      Banksters of the World Unite!

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can the western media sink any lower? Think not.

    The only thing that I got from Lavrov in his joint press conference with Tillerson is that Russia wants an independent inquiry into the chemical attack in Syria, but I have NOT found a report which repeats the request.

  • michael norton

    A big explosion in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir which originally appeared to be an accident was actually the result of a terror attack, the interior minister has said.

    Suleyman Soylu told Turkish TV that explosives had been planted in a tunnel dug beneath the police headquarters.

    Three people died in Tuesday’s blast in the mainly Kurdish south-eastern city.

    The Balance of Probabilities

    is that people loyal to The Sultan of Turkey planned it in the lead up to the referendum to change the Turkish constitution.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Here’s a little puzzle for y’all:
    Take a look at these two pictures of what seems to be the only crater caused by an alleged sarin-containing missile of some sort after the recent attack, blamed by everybody on everybody else:

    The pictures were taken of the same crater, from similar angles – feel free to contradict me if I’m wrong – but the impressive shard of something which (improbably) didn’t get blown away by the bursting charge seems to have moved, and it doesn’t look like the same piece of metal, either.

    Very hmmmm.

    • glenn_uk

      Ba’al… Your first link looks a bit iffy. It appears the indy’s URL has merged with that of the Graun somehow.

    • mog

      The Guardian photo is in this article and is attributed to Kareem Shaheen:

      The metal fragment has definitely moved I would say.

      Anyone got an opinion on Shaheen’s journalistic standards?
      These closing paragraphs make no sense to me:
      Abdulhamid al-Yousef, one of the few survivors in the family, was receiving condolences at his home in Khan Sheikhun, a day after burying his wife and nine-month-old twins, Ahmed and Aya, fighting back tears.

      Yousef had rushed to help the other victims of the attack. He came back instead to find that much of his family had perished, including siblings, nephews and nieces. His wife and children had rushed down to the bomb shelter in their basement, only for the toxic gas to seep into it, which killed them all.

      That evening at the cemetery, he insisted on carrying his two infants in his arms to bury them himself. Almost in a trance Yousef repeated the children’s names, choking as he did so. “Aya and Ahmed, my souls. Yasser and Ahmed, my brothers who had my back. Ammoura and Hammoudi, Shaimaa, so many others,” he said.

      If Shaheen was visiting the town ‘two days after the attack’, when did Yousef bury his twin daughters? If it was on the day of the attack, how can Shaheen report as if a witness to the burial?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I see that Russia has vetoed the UN resolution on an inquiry into the gas attack in Syria, and hardly surprising.

    The resolution called for the Organiization for the Prohibition of Chemical Wleapons’ Executive Committee to conduct it, and Russia isn’t even on it while the USA, along with a considerable number of supporters, including Northern Ireland, are. Of course, nothing about this in the toady media.

    Reminds me of barrister Henry Brougham recalling a notorious suspect approving being tried, provided his brother was the judge!

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 12, 2017 at 21:35
      Yep, bit like April Gallup’s case against government agents in the Pentagon attack getting tried by a relative of the Bush’s, who refused to recuse himself.

  • michael norton

    That will be a first

    Nicola Sturgeon said she would make her case with “courtesy and respect” for those with different views.

  • Dave

    The story so far! The ‘coalition of the willing’ backed Iraq in an 8 year war with Iran, resulting in over a million casualties, and when Iraq won, gave them the green light to invade Kuwait, as compensation, but once in gave them an ultimatum, without a face saving formula, to get out, as a way/pretext to destroy the Iraqi army and the weapons they were given to fight Iran, followed by years of sanctions to force them to destroy the remaining weapons they never had, as a way to depose SH and start a civil war, but as SH survived, they then invaded the country because they wouldn’t destroy the WMDs they never had, and thus fulfilled their wish to destroy the country and in the process strengthened Iran, that had become regionally stronger, despite its own loses in the Iran/Iraq war, meaning that Iran now had to suffer sanctions and military threats to destroy the nuclear WMDs it doesn’t have, but not before arming the Sunni remnants of the Iraqi army to attack Syria to drive out the Alawite (not Sunni or Shia) secular leadership and protector of Christian and other minority communities, and start a civil war, which in turn strengthened the Kurds, which led to a growing military involvement of Turkey to suppress the Kurds, under pretext of fighting IS, whom they support, but which threatens Iran and creates security problems for Russia, who have intervened to support Assad, which has led to them being punished by the anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine, but Russia saw an opportunity to destroy the CIA franchise IS after the US/UK failed to get approval to bomb Assad directly and said they would bomb IS instead, as cover for bombing Assad. But the Russians said that’s OK we’ll do it for you, leading to complaints that they were bombing the ‘moderates’ and not IS, but now Assad is so close to victory, we are being re-told, due to the false flag chemical attack, we need to bomb Assad because he is as bad as IS, and unless the US do it, to prove their not pro-Russian, no one else will! And if it results in IS taking over, we’ll have to bomb them too! Simples!

    • glenn_uk

      Excellent summary. Not forgetting the other results… unpopular leaders get to strut around as a “War President/PM” and gain popularity out of an assumed patriotic rallying around the leader. Blow-back from people suitably deranged from the atrocities committed by our “coalition of the willing”, NATO and suchlike are labelled terrorists who want to upset our peace-loving nature, and give rise to a police/security state in our own countries (because we love freedom and liberty so much).

      Tangential rewards effects will include massive amounts of taxpayer money being shovelled to the arms contractors, weapons manufactures and mercenary outfits. They, and their hangers-on in the weapons lobbying industry, will make a lot of war-lovers extremely rich. But any level of richness can only satisfy for so long, so more wars, terrorist fomenting and infrastructure destroying activity has to be constantly undertaken.

      Meanwhile, while the politicians bravely put on suits (or dresses) and distract us from the inequities and deterioration back home with all this business of keeping us safe, they take away our liberties to protest, to free speech, and to privacy. All for our own good.

      This is how the world works now. Oh yes, and don’t worry about climate change – that’s a hoax, didn’t you hear?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Dave April 13, 2017 at 00:19
      One small correction: Saddam didn’t win. When he was in danger of losing, the US arranged for him to get chemical weapons, eventually actually supplying them themselves.
      The ‘war’ (US instigated) was in stalemate when Iran agreed to a UN ceasefire.
      But yep, the US both enabled and later directly supplied Saddam with CW’s.

  • Sharp Ears

    The representative for the Palestinians, Manuel Hassassian, is not given any diplomatic recognition by the UK unlike Regev. Here he writes on 100 years of oppression.

    ‘A century of rubbing salt in Palestinian wounds is surely enough, even for Britain

    The Balfour declaration, 100 years ago, was devastating for our people. Yet Theresa May says she will be marking its anniversary ‘with pride’ .

    A Palestinian teacher gives a lesson in front of a cement wall separating them from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Photograph: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

    During his recent visit to Ramallah, Boris Johnson re-emphasised Britain’s long-standing support for the two-state solution and its position that illegal Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace. Last December Britain also supported UN security council resolution 2334, which reiterated the illegality of settlements.

    Yet last month, at the UN human rights council, the British government chose to abstain on key resolutions devised to hold Israel to account for its human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories and its illegal settlement building. This clearly demonstrates that Britain refuses to put pressure on Israel to stop its continuing theft of Palestinian land. In February the red carpet was rolled out at No 10 to welcome Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who represents a hard right, increasingly racist government. Britain’s foreign secretary was proud to assert that the two countries have just made their biggest joint trade deal.

    UN criticism of Israel but not Syria is absurd, says Johnson.


  • Dave

    Livingstone is in trouble for mentioning the Haavara Agreement made by Nazis in exchange for the Zionists easing the US economic boycott of Germany, prior to WWII. Its embarrassing because the Zionists blame everyone for colluding with the Nazis except themselves. The Balfour Declaration was made by the British in exchange for the Zionists acting get the US involved in WWI on the British side.

    The PM denounces mention of the first historical fact but ‘celebrates’ the second historical fact! Perhaps Livingstone could mention to the PM that the Balfour Declaration was an ambiguous declaration that only appeared to benefit the Jews (headlined), because it made clear this benefit couldn’t be at a cost to the native Arab population (ignored). Or would highlighting the reason for and the content of the Balfour Declaration be ‘anti-Semitic’?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Dave April 13, 2017 at 09:56
      Dave, be careful! Telling the truth can be bad for your health! I know; I’ve tried it, got consequences, and am still hammering on. Maybe I’m a masochist!

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