The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit 570

UPDATE Perhaps you will forgive me for pointing out that the argument in the legal opinion by Professor Dapo Akande of Oxford University, published today by the Labour Party, is identical in every respect and in detail to the analysis I published yesterday. So for all the trolls who claimed I do not know international law…

I have published Prof Akande’s summary at the end of this post.

Theresa May has issued a long legal justification for UK participation in an attack on a sovereign state. This is so flawed as to be totally worthless. It specifically claims as customary international law practices which are rejected by a large majority of states and therefore cannot be customary international law. It is therefore secondary and of no consequence that the facts and interpretations the argument cites in this particular case are erroneous, but it so happens they are indeed absolutely erroneous.

Let me put before you the government’s legal case in full:

1.This is the Government’s position on the legality of UK military action to alleviate the extreme humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people by degrading the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deterring their further use, following the chemical weapons attack in Douma on 7 April 2018.

2.The Syrian regime has been killing its own people for seven years. Its use of chemical weapons, which has exacerbated the human suffering, is a serious crime of international concern, as a breach of the customary international law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity.

3.The UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering. The legal basis for the use of force is humanitarian intervention, which requires three conditions to be met:

(i) there is convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief;

(ii) it must be objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved; and

(iii) the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian suffering and must be strictly limited in time and in scope to this aim (i.e. the minimum necessary to achieve that end and for no other purpose).

4.The UK considers that military action met the requirements of humanitarian intervention in the circumstances of the present case:

(i) The Syrian regime has been using chemical weapons since 2013. The attack in Eastern Damascus on 21 August 2013 left over 800 people dead. The Syrian regime failed to implement its commitment in 2013 to ensure the destruction of its chemical weapons capability. The chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017 killed approximately 80 people and left hundreds more injured. The recent attack in Douma has killed up to 75 people, and injured over 500 people. Over 400,000 people have now died over the course of the conflict in Syria, the vast majority civilians. Over half of the Syrian population has been displaced, with over 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The repeated, lethal use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity. On the basis of what we know about the Syrian regime’s pattern of use of chemical weapons to date, it was highly likely that the regime would seek to use chemical weapons again, leading to further suffering and loss of civilian life as well as the continued displacement of the civilian population.

(ii) Actions by the UK and its international partners to alleviate the humanitarian suffering caused by the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime at the UN Security Council have been repeatedly blocked by the regime’s and its allies’ disregard for international norms, including the international law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. This last week, Russia vetoed yet another resolution in the Security Council, thwarting the establishment of an impartial investigative mechanism. Since 2013, neither diplomatic action, tough sanctions, nor the US strikes against the Shayrat airbase in April 2017 have sufficiently degraded Syrian chemical weapons capability or deterred the Syrian regime from causing extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale through its persistent use of chemical weapons. There was no practicable alternative to the truly exceptional use of force to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their further use by the Syrian regime in order to alleviate humanitarian suffering.

(iii) In these circumstances, and as an exceptional measure on grounds of overwhelming humanitarian necessity, military intervention to strike carefully considered, specifically identified targets in order effectively to alleviate humanitarian distress by degrading the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deterring further chemical weapons attacks was necessary and proportionate and therefore legally justifiable. Such an intervention was directed exclusively to averting a humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, and the action was the minimum judged necessary for that purpose.

14 April 2018

The first thing to note is that this “legal argument” cites no authority. It does not quote the UN Charter, any Security Council Resolution or any international treaty or agreement of any kind which justifies this action. This is because there is absolutely nothing which can be quoted – all the relevant texts say that an attack on another state is illegal without authorisation of the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Nor does the government quote any judgement of the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court or any other international legal authority. This is important because rather than any treatment, the government makes a specific claim its actions are justified by customary international law, which means accepted state practice. But the existence of such state practice is usually proven through existing court judgements, and there are no judgements that endorse the approach taken by the government in its argument.

The three “tests” set out under para 3 as to what is permitted under international law are not in fact a statement of anything other than the UK’s own position. These “tests” are specifically quoted by Ola Engdahl in Bailliet and Larsen (ed) “Promoting Peace Through International Law” (Oxford University Press 2015). Engdahl notes:

The UK position, that it is permitted to take coercive action under a doctrine of humanitarian intervention when certain conditions are met, is a minority view and does not reflect lex data on the prohibition of the use of force in international relations as expressed in article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

That is undeniably true, and as it is equally undeniably true that a minority view cannot be customary international law, the British government position is utterly devoid of merit.

The Government argument is a classic statement of the doctrine of “liberal intervention”, which is of course the mantra adopted by neo-conservatives over the last 30 years to justify resource grabs. It is not in any way accepted as customary international law. It is a doctrine opposed by a very large number of states, and certainly by the great majority of African, South American and Asian states. (African states have occasionally advocated the idea that UN Security Council authorisation may be replaced by the endorsement of a UN recognised regional authority such as ECOWAS or the African Union. This was the Nigerian position over Liberia 20 years ago. The Security Council authorised ECOWAS action anyway, so no discord arose. The current Nigerian government does not support intervention without security council authorisation).

The examples of “liberal intervention” most commonly used by its advocates are Sierra Leone and Libya. My book “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” details my experiences as UK Representative at the Sierra Leone peace talks, and I hope will convince you that the accepted story of that war is a lie. Libya too has been a disaster, and it is not a precedent for the government’s legal argument as the western forces employed were operating under cover of a UN Security Council Resolution authorising force, albeit only to enforce a no fly zone.

In fact, if the British government were to offer examples of state practice to attempt to prove that the doctrine it outlines is indeed customary international law, the most appropriate recent examples are Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Georgia. I oppose those Russian interventions as I oppose the UK/US/French actions now. It is not a question of “sides” it is a question of the illegality of military action against other states.

The rest of the government’s argument is entirely hypothetical, because as the liberal intervention doctrine is not customary international law these arguments cannot justify intervention.

But the evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against Douma is non-existent, and the OPCW did not conclude that the Assad government was responsible for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. There is no evidence whatsoever that military action was urgently required to avert another such “immediate” attack. Nor is it true that the UK’s analysis of the situation is “generally accepted” by the international community, as witness China and Russia voting together in the Security Council yesterday to condemn the attack.

So the British government sets up its own “three tests” which have no legal standing and are entirely a British concoction, yet still manages to fail them.

Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, Oxford University, gave this opinion for the Labour Party…

In the opinion I reach the following conclusions:
1. Contrary to the position of the government, neither the UN charter nor customary international law permits military action on the basis of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. There is very little support by states for such an exception to the prohibition of the use of force. The UK is one of very few states that advocates for such a legal principle but the vast majority of states have explicitly rejected it.
2. The legal position advanced by the government ignores the structure of the international law rules relating to the use of force, in particular, because a customary international law rule does not prevail over the rule in the United Nations charter prohibiting the use of force. To accept the position advocated by the government would be to undermine the supremacy of the UN charter.
3. Even if there was a doctrine of humanitarian intervention in international law, the strikes against Syria would not appear to meet the tests set out by the government. The action taken by the government was not directed at bringing “immediate and urgent relief” with regard to the specific evil it sought to prevent, and was taken before the inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were able to reach the affected area.
4. If the position taken by the government were to be accepted by states globally, it would allow for individual assessments of when force was necessary to achieve humanitarian ends, with the risk of abuse. It is because of the humanitarian suffering that will ensue from such abusive uses of force, that other states and many scholars have been reluctant to endorse the doctrine of humanitarian action.

570 thoughts on “The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit

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  • Bandolero

    NBCs “American witness” Diana Jamal el-Deen aka Deana Lynn of Douma chemical attack changed her story after US-led bombing of Syria.

    Watch NBC April 13, 2018: American witness says chemical attack in Syria was real

    And now watch NPR April 15, 2018: Douma Evacuee On Syrian Violence

    Excerpt from the transcript: The second day, there was a chemical attack which was not near me, but I heard about it. And when I heard about it from some of the young men – they told me what happened because they weren’t staying in the basement with us.

    So, NBS cpresented someone spreading a rumor from hearsay as a witness. If that is not fake news with a fake witness, what is?

    • Barden Gridge

      Bild quotes her as well.
      Picture caption says:
      “Deana Lynn, Mutter von acht Kindern, hat den Krieg in Ost-Ghouta und auch den Giftgasangriff aus Duma miterlebt”

      “Deana Lynn, a mother of eight childern, experienced the war in Eastern Ghouta and was also in Douma when the poison gas attack occurred”

      “miterlebt” is the key word – I take it to mean “to be somewhere when something happens”

      The copy says:
      “Den Chemiewaffen-Angriff hat Lynn – eine US-Bürgerin – direkt miterlebt, traf hustende Menschen auf der Straße, die sich gerade in Richtung Krankenhaus begaben.”

      “Lynn – a US citizen – was there (“direkt miterlebt” ) when the chemical weapon attack occurred. She encountered people coughing in the street, just as they were heading towards the hospital.”

      At best, it means she saw what she says are the victims of the attack with her own eyes.
      Coughing and heading for the hospital proves nothing.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Episode #229 – ‘War by Way of Deception’ with Vanessa Beeley, Piers Robinson’:

    Around 36.20 of this audio, evidence of a doctor from the hospital who says there were no patients with CW symptoms, just smoke inhalation. Vanessa Beeley, who was in Damascus in the latest cruise missile attack, also explains how previous CW hoaxes have been carried out.

    • Blissex

      Indeed, and a book about war said is that the number one thing most “heroic” scenes of battle in movies don’t show is that battlefields are messy places full of clouds of smoke and dust. I guess they would spoil the shooting.
      Probably smoke and dust are even thicker after a bombing in an urban area. Not just smoke, lots of concrete dust. Still sometimes there are plumes of smoke and dust in the photos of bombing, even if as a rule images from the front are heavily sanitized.

  • Sean Lamb

    If – big if – samples are being spiked with A-234, I wonder how it is done. The OPCW claims they had a complete chain of custody of the blood tested from collection. Does that mean the OPCW processes/personal have been undermined by the British/French/American?

    The only other possibility I can think of is if the OPCW didn’t use their own blood collection tubes. Usually these a tubes with an EDTA additive in them (pink or purple tops) – to prevent clotting. Perhaps Salisbury hospital has been supplied with a special range of EDTA-Novichok additive tubes that they provided the phlebotomist when the OPCW representative turned up?

    EDTA tubes – prevent clotting
    EDTA-Novichok tubes – prevent clotting and start wars

    • IM

      Depends what was spiked right? The “Men-in-Black” had ample warning that OPCW were coming and what they were going to do, and they couldn’t take biological sample prior to the Court ruling anyway, and as for environmental samples, OPCW could only go where the British would let them, remember it was TAV not FFM, so no free reign.

      • Crackerjack

        And if it was the environmental samples the OPCW didn’t arrive until at least 2 weeks after the event. Anything exposed to air would have long since degraded so did the OPCW have to rely on samples collected by the UK? Where’s the chain of custody there?

        • IM

          Apparently A234 is rather hygroscopic, and that is why the Swiss lab considered the “virgin” A234 in the sample suspect, I guess.

          • IM

            Pressed post too soon: no, they took samples themselves, and it was the time between the initial exposure and when the samples were taken by the OPCW “technicians” that caused the suspicions regarding the state of A234 in the samples.

          • bj

            I think Lavrov expressly stated they were the samples London provided (i.e. not the ones the OPCW collected itself).

      • Sean Lamb

        I assume chain of custody means the blood was taken in the presence of the OCPW representative. If he/she brought her own collection tubes and syringe needles and the chain of custody hasn’t been tainted then there really isn’t an opportunity for spiking.

        If Salisbury Hospital provides the collection tubes (or less likely, the syringe needles) then you could pre-spike the tubes before collection. After all, presumably all the samples going to Porton Down have been spiked as well.

        The other question raised is have the Skripals being receiving appropriate medical care? There isn’t much point in pumping an elderly gentleman full of atropine if it is only the blood collection tubes containing the nerve agent.

        Sorry bit lost about what TAV and FFM means.

        • Crackerjack

          Sean just differentiating between the bio samples from bloods etc and the environmental samples scraped off the door handle or wherever. I’m not convinced that the OPCW could have collected a reliable environmental sample due to the time taken for them to get there. Of course I am assuming that environmental samples were examined. Don’t know that for sure

          • Sean Lamb

            I wouldn’t assume that. I would be very surprised if the environmental samples contained BZ. But I guess none of us know at the moment.

        • Jo Dominich

          Hi Sean, TAV I think, stands for Technical Advice only. FFM I don’t know what it stands for but I think pertains to a full inspection. Something like that anyway

          • N_

            TAV – Technical Assistance Visit.
            FFM – Fact Finding Mission.
            STTFWCT – Shit Talky TLAs For White Collar Twats.
            TLA – Three-Letter Acronym.
            BRL – Barrack-Room Lawyer.
            HTH – Hope That Helps.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Skripal, Syria & the long tradition of British govt. misinformation – Prof. David Miller, Bath Uni’:

    ‘..Sociology Professor David Miller, Bath University
    Skripal case – Russia, Novichok, Syria and the long tradition of
    British government misinformation – words & phrases ‘a suspect
    car bomb’ or ‘of a type developed by Russia’ which are ‘terms of
    art’ used to distract from the truth, to deceive politicians, press
    & public. ‘Putin (probably) behind death of Alexander
    Litvinenko’, ‘Novichok (probably) made by a state actor’
    – 3,500 ‘communications professionals’ within government,
    press officers, advisers, spin doctors
    – Thompson Reuters’ ‘World-Check’ database of ‘terrorists’ used
    to smear Islamic and anti-war activists
    – GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG)
    churning out fake social media and news at taxpayers expense
    – Russia warned of staged chemical weapons attack in Douma
    – Lebanon/Syria report British special forces captured in Douma
    – Douma’s Jaish Al Islam used chemical weapons two years ago Fri 13 April 2018
    Prof. David Miller, Martin Summers, Tony Gosling

    Gen. Jonathan Shaw vs Sky News model Samantha Washington – INTERRUPTED! ‘

    Former Naval chief: Syria chemical attack ‘could be propaganda’ ould-be-propaganda-18041325517

    The west has blamed President Assad for the attacks

    By Nick Moore – @nick_moore
    Friday, April 13, 2018

    Retired senior Naval Officer Lord Alan West has questioned whether the chemical attack in Syria was the work of President Assad’s troops.

    “We need unequivocal proof that this attack was done by Assad’s forces – I’m not at all convinced at the moment,” he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

    “All of the reports are coming from people like the White Helmets, who have a history of doing propaganda for the opposition forces in Syria. The WHO reports are coming from doctors who are also part of the opposition.

    “If I’d been advising the opposition, I’d have said ‘get a barrel of chlorine, at some stage there will be bombs dropped on you – blow it up and we can blame them, because what we really want is the allies coming in’.”

    Lord West added that if proof is provided: “we do need to be part of a coalition,” but that we should wait for evidence.’

  • Charles

    Can’t see how a mix of BZ and A 234 can result in an ultra pure sample. BS perhaps that’s more than likely.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Charles, its been Bullshit from the start. I could tell from Day One – too much hiqh quality photography too soon – first evening – and the Hazmat Chemical suits – very close by (for an exercise on Salisbuty plain at the same time) already prepped and there. The so called professional London journalists in a central London office didn’t go there at all (except the locals (who now want paying for their exclusives)) made it up as it was going along and changed the story every day (between sniffs?)

      Its all embarrassing bollocks, designed to convince The Russians, and The Americans, that The English are completely mad.

      Some of it may be true – It’s certainly got the French puzzled, whilst the Germans look on in disgust, like I do.


      • IM

        Another thing about the clown suits is that the firemen were stood next to the clown suits completely unprotected and there are also photos of clown suits and mere mortals just walking by…

        • Kempe

          There are plenty of cheap devices that will produce high quality images: most smart phones, domestic CCTV even dashcams.

          So what if the suited up guys were close to unprotected plod? They have to suit up in a safe area and then move toward the hazard.

      • Sean Lamb

        Tony, I think in the words of Bernie Sanders about Hillary Clinton: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails”

        For reasons too complicated to go into the Americans became concerned that the Russians had the emails that Hillary Clinton deleted as Secretary of State and they drafted MI6 and/or Christopher Steele to try and help out.

        Among those deleted emails would be correspondence pre August 2013 with either the Qataris or the Saudis about using sarin and making it looked like the Syrian government. So the British and Americans have been busy trying to taint perceptions in case the Russians ever decide to dump the emails intelligence was convinced they have.

        The only problem is the Russians never had those emails, they found out a little detail of Clinton’s financial corruption from a completely different source.

      • MI5 goon watch

        The page for Salisbury Journal 4th March is a mock up. There was NO major incident in Salisbury until one was ‘declared’ at the hospital morning 5th March. The Skripals were treated for opioid poisoning prior to incident at Salisbury Hospital.

      • paul

        Hello Tony

        Try This.

        Something has to explain the desperate botched sheer stupidity in all this.

        Pre February 2018, The white helmets (SAS, Mi6,CIA, MOSAD) maybe other factions playing silly bastards like they do, and with Syria nearly repossessed by Assad and the Russians, this coalition get wind of these spies in East Gouta, and an all out strike to capture these people begins. This mission is successful and several groups are captured.

        In desperation the British set up a false flag operation to discredit the Russians and simultaneously prepare for a rescue mission. The Skripol Affair and the recent salvo of almost redundant missiles at Syria as a distraction while the rescue mission proceeds.

        Prior to this Trump said he wanted to pull out of Syria, but this botched operation has most certainly dragged him back in, we’ll see when the US carrier group pass through Gibraltar.

        Today Monday 16th April the press is full of potential cyber attacks on the UK
        It’s looking like lots of codes and ciphers have been obtained by the Russians and we should prepare for everything.

        I’m just chemical process technician who has seen real corrosive gas exposure. I have not seen constant coughing from gas inhalation, no chemical sunburn effects from exposed skin, face, and arms and no one with red and swelling of the eyes.
        Corrosive gas usually form acid when mixed with water, this acid will form with sweat and the mucous membranes of the throat and lungs also the eyes, producing burns. I have not seen any of this shit in the released videos.


  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Workers at Syria lab destroyed by missiles deny producing chemical weapons
    An official at the centre told journalists the facility was for the development of chemical and pharmaceutical industries, including the development of cancer medicines and serum’:

    ‘US, British and French strikes slammed into a series of targets around Damascus that the Western countries said were linked to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons programme.

    One multi-storey complex, in the capital’s northern district of Barzeh, had been completely reduced to rubble, correspondents saw during a government-sponsored tour on Saturday.

    Its roof had been punched down and several walls appeared on the verge of collapse.

    Even hours after the strikes wrapped up, plumes of smoke wafted lazily up from the building and a burning smell still hung in the air.

    The site, according to Western powers, was part of the Syrian government’s “chemical weapons infrastructure”.
    “We believe that by hitting Barzeh in particular we’ve attacked the heart of the Syrian chemicals weapon programme,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said at the Pentagon.

    But Said said only non-lethal research and development was under way at the centre.

    “As we work in civilian pharmaceutical and chemical research, we did not expect that we would be hit,” he said.

    Instead, the centre had been producing antidotes to scorpion and snake venom while running tests on chemical products used in making food, medicine and children’s toys, according to Said.

    “If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here. I’ve been here since 5:30 am in full health – I’m not coughing,” he added…..’

    Just like the US bombed the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, saying that it was used for CW production.
    Let’s hope the OPCW inspect the remains, and certify there is no evidence that CWs were produced there, or any of the targets hit.

    • Keith McClary

      “Let’s hope the OPCW inspect the remains, and certify there is no evidence that CWs were produced there, or any of the targets hit.”
      Already done.

      23 March 2018 OPCW report (see section 11):
      ” … the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities of the SSRC was concluded on 22 November 2017. …The analysis of samples taken during the inspections did not indicate the presence of scheduled chemicals in the samples, and the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention during the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities.”

      • Sean Lamb

        Keith, I think what is coming slowly down the turnpike is the OPCW will identify A-234 in Douma and the victims.

        And the precursors for A-234 aren’t on any schedule (under direct request from the US State Department) and so the OPCW doesn’t test for them.

        Of course it is all complete BS, but sooner or later that is what Theresa May will say that is the reason for ignoring the OPCW assessment and relying on their menagerie of Russian and Syrian paid informants.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Keith McClary April 16, 2018 at 02:46
        Yes, I know about that, but just to confirm there is no trace of them now, after the bombing. We already have circumstantial evidence there was none, by the fact no one has been identified as having been affected by the cloud of poisonous fumes that would have been produced, and unprotected people including journalists have been photographed walking in the areas with no protection a day or so later.

    • SA

      The US like to bomb infrastructure and have been doing so for a long time. If the ICC had teeth those responsible should be tried for war crimes for targeting medical facilities that save lives. But of course US, UK and France can act with impunity.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Assad had no reason to launch chem attack, unlike those who want US involvement – Ron Paul’:

    ‘Washington and the US media seem to have no doubts about the Syrian government’s complicity in the Douma incident despite the fact that those who want America to stay in Syria have far more solid motives, Ron Paul told RT.
    The assertion by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that Washington is “confident” that Syrian President Bashar Assad is culpable for the alleged chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma does not stand up to scrutiny, Ron Paul, former congressman and founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, told RT.

    “I don’t know what they are confident about. They are confident in telling lies and hope people will believe it,” he said.

    Mainstream American media don’t seem to need facts to back the White House’s claims, either. “Most of the time when a crime is committed in this country, the stations, when they are not sure, they carefully say: ‘this is allegedly’ – but they never do this under these circumstances and they have zero bits of information,” Paul pointed out.

    While there are few questions in the US media over who is to blame for the alleged incident, the former congressman argues that Assad is the last person to suspect. “I think that least likely it would be Assad,” he said, noting that the same goes for Moscow.

    “I cannot see any reason why Assad would do this, there’s no reason for Russians to have done that.” Unlike Russia and Syria, the forces who want to see the US staying in Syria have a clear motive, Paul said.

    “There are so many who want to stir up trouble, and the people who want us to stay there,” he said, suggesting that Trump’s recent promise to leave Syria “very soon” might have prompted war hawks to take action. “I think the policy makers here did not want us to leave and somebody does it for them,” he argued, stressing that “this whole idea that, all of a sudden, Assad is gassing his own people, is a total nonsense……..”

    So Ron Paul, ex-British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, retired senior Naval Officer Lord Alan West, John Pilger and General Jonathan Shaw all saying it was likely a False Flag attack or hoax.

    • Soothmoother

      I have the same problem, to work colleagues and friends I’m a conspiracy theorist, and Trump & Putin are my heroes.

      Interesting stuff from Barbara McKenzie including discussion of the journalistic merits of Vanessa Beeley and Eva Barlett.

  • IM

    Incidentally, I watched some more of the videos of *this* “chemical” “attack” (a supposed attack, of course) that feature dead babies/children/women… Well, two words: livor mortis <– on thing the dumbar$es forgot to take into account. For example: (CAUTION: DEAD BODIES/CHILDREN) (you have to watch in HD to see the blood pooling on the skin) there’s simply no way that blood *POOLING* would happen toward the sky- is the gravity pulling into the sky now?! And no, they couldn’t have been just turned over- the “foam” is pristine and undisturbed over the faces with blatantly inconsistent livor mortis!

    On top of that, livor mortis => at least about two hours since the blood stopped being pumped around the body.

  • exiled off mainstreet

    Their threadbare defence exposes the fact that the May regime, by tagging along with the yankee imperium’s punitive expedition, are war criminals. I hope that the knowledge of this fact brings the tory government down and leads to the restoration of sanity and the rule of law in the UK.

    • Andrew Carter

      Please do not refer to the democratically elected UK government as “a regime”: the correct term us “Junta”

      • Mochyn69

        I prefer ‘clique’.

        It’s far more appropriate and resonant with historical parallels.

        • Ophelia Ball

          yes, but it has an air of sophistication and kudos about it, whereas the ruling Junta are characterised by invertebrate reptilian automatism (in May’s case) and circus clownery (in Johnson’s) rendering any hint of panache, elegance or cerebral gymnasticism wholly inappropriate

          Given the puppy-like fidelity to Washngton, could we perhaps agree upon “Litter”?

  • Ross

    Looking at the MSM narrative being crafted I think the next thing will be a slew of fake cyber attacks, and claims of election interference by Russia. I suspect in the not too distant future, and having taken full advantage of the pretexts it has created, this ratbag government will be seeking to jail people for daring to question the day’s output from the Ministry Of Information.

    • Andrew Carter

      To quote Nikki Haley, US delegate at the UN during the Security Council meeting on moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem: “We are taking names…”

      The Darkness still has work to do

    • marvellousMRchops

      I can confirm that cyber attacks was the main lead on Good Morning Britain. A perfect cocktail of fear (Russian cyber attacks will jam air our traffic control and render hospitals incapable. I think they quoted that we have seen an increase in cyber attacks of 2000% since strike on Saturday) with the odious Pier Morgan conducting a one man call to arms to liberate the poor innocent Syrian citizens being terrorised by Assad. I fear the strikes on Saturday morning were just a sortie to map out air defence missions, whilst offloading our junk missiles.

      • Ophelia Ball

        Is it Copenhagen’s turn for the next faux-terrorist incident, or are we tending towards Budapest in order to punish them for the recent election?

        There will be a distraction, of course – there HAS to be, else people’s thoughts will start drifting back to awkward topics such as Gaza, or the Skripals, or the OPCW, or the Rule of Law, and we can’t have that, can we. Putin moves in mysterious ways / his devious machinations to achieve

    • Jo Dominich

      Ross, I think they will probably use the now ex-chief of Cambridge Analytica for to stage those fake cyber attacks. I guess May has to have some excuse if she gets a drubbing in the forthcoming elections.

  • GoAwayAndShutUp

    I stopped reading Robert Fisk long time ago but, browsing for MSM BS today, I came across this nauseating article. Fisk describes, one would say he almost begs for, a possible “Douma” in al-Qadam (South of Damascus). In any case, any article with comments disabled, is very suspicious for me these days. Comments are despised by MSM because they eliminate the propaganda value of this articles.

    First, he describes how angry the Syrian Arab Army is because of a recent massacre of soldiers:
    “But what makes this particular battleground so perilous is the anger caused by a massacre – one so dreadful that the Syrian authorities did not reveal it – when 120 Syrian soldiers were executed during a truce agreement arranged with Isis-allied gunmen almost three weeks ago.”

    He then normalizes ISIS brutal and sadistic execution of prisoner soldiers as not as atrocious as the ones in Douma, probably insinuating why no US/UK/FR condemnation was necessary for the former.
    “The Isis footage, whose date cannot be confirmed, does not contain the murder of civilians; the pictures are thus not as pitiful as the gas-choked women and children of Douma which caused such international outrage.”

    And then he lays the base for future US/UK/FR attacks with the perverse suggestion that when Syrian/Russian reconciliation efforts fail chemical attacks always follow.
    “And it raises a horrible question. If the final al-Qadam ceasefire talks – in which the Russian army are deeply involved – fail, will the world see even more pictures of besieged civilian gas victims dying in agony? More to the point, what will Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron do then? Will further missile strikes have to be staged all over again?”
    “But if talks drag on – and Syrian and Russian leaders lose patience – then the prospect of another Douma in al-Qadam becomes more likely.”

    In separate topic but in the same article, it seems Fisk is all for bombing any institution with a creepy (in his mind) name. What would he think about “Defense Science and Technology Laboratory”? Maybe, Assad should name any future SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CENTRE just CENTRE, to avoid bombings. Why all this bias?. Well, I know why, but don’t want the ire of the Moderator over me.
    “The Syrian government insists that the rubble in Damascus was once a “centre of scientific research” with no connection to chemical weapons, although the very name has a rather Strangelove quality about it.”

    • Brian c

      We’re clearly being played yet again. it has been very disheartening, sickening in fact, to see MSM fiercely defending the government line, as though the false-flag disasters of Vietnam, Iraq, Libya never happened. Tremendous to see your determined challenging of the official narrative, Craig, and to read all the well-informed, sceptical comments on here. A very refreshing oasis at a time of shameless dishonest warmongering.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Brian c April 16, 2018 at 05:59
        Not forgetting ‘Spotty Lincoln’, the USS Maine, Operation Northwoods (planned and signed of by all the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but scuppered by JFK), and of course the occurrences in New York and Washington DC and London 7/7.

    • Laguerre

      I couldn’t see why you were getting so worked up about Fisk’s article. He’s just describing the situation on the ground while he is there on the ground. He’s not calling for bombing. The only rather off remark was the “although the very name [scientific research centre] has a rather Strangelove quality about it.”

      Disabling comments is just Fisk’s personal thing – Cockburn allows them. Fisk just seems rather sensitive.

      • Hatuey

        Thank God we have a pretty reliable acid test for determining the honesty of journalists and reporters… basically if they write for one of the papers you see in the shops, they are probably not worth reading.

      • Ian

        Yes, a complete misreading of Fisk and misleading implications, nowhere justified, of what he is saying. He is an accomplished journalist, one of the few who has been reporting consistently and fearlessly from the Middle East for decades.

  • Godfree Roberts

    Excellent analysis, with two quibbles re “Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Georgia”

    According to every relevant authority, Russia did not intervene militarily in Ukraine. OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said he saw no Russian troops in Ukraine.

    Ukraine Chief of Staff Admits No Russian Troops in Donetsk.

    No Evidence of Russian Military Hardware Presence in Ukraine – French President Hollande.

    NATO Unable to Provide Proof of Alleged Russian Troops in Ukraine.

    Markian Lubkivsky, the adviser to the head of the SBU (the Ukrainian version of the CIA) stated there are NO RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRANIAN SOIL. He said the SBU counted about 5000 Russian nationals, but not Russian soldiers in Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics. He further clarified that there were no organized Russian units in Donbass. EliasonAtrocities_Congress_Genocide_Holocaust-141107-203.html

    Former NATO General Kujat: I don’t believe evidence of Russian invasion.

    And Russia’s intervention in Georgia was started by a Georgian attack that was not justified by international law, according to the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia.

  • Olaf S

    “On this day 200 years ago the event happened which both living historians consider led to the WW III.

    In a quiet English town called Salisbury, a group of small men in unmarked uniforms suddenly appeared to execute a ”false flag” operation, which through a series of events led to the catastrophe.

    What happened during the aftermath of the war is well known. The radioactivity destroyed big chunks of the human DNA and a few years after the war the survivors did not dare anymore to bring children to the world, so scary were the typical deformations that had occurred.

    True, a few rich and powerful people, such as billionaires and prime ministers, had tried to avoid the damage by living underground in accommodations sheltered by leaden walls, by using filtered water etc, but they were to old or too impotent to get children anyway. ( Most of the surviving leaders of the western world, to avoid a Nuremberg II process or out of pure despair, had killed themselves at an early stage).

    As we know, most countries were depopulated, and the nature world suffered big damage, also from the lack of maintenance of chemical factories and nuclear power-plants etc.

    But there are hopes for the future! We have manage to collect a few thousand people with nearly intact DNA, and also gather some reasonably sound livestock, and brought it all to the least contaminated spot on the earth, here on the Fulkland Islands. Despite the smallness of the populated area, some clever people among us even plan to re-establish the Internet (!) though much of the technical knowledge must first be painstakingly collected from old manuals and textbooks”.

    From ”The World Post”
    Big Commemoration Edition, March 2218

    • SD

      Don`t forget nuclear winter, which would annihilate all life not died directly from strikes or radioactivity.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        One suspects life might survive in the deepest oceans, also near points where heat was escaping from the molten core of the earth. In fact, food might be plentiful with all the dead detritus of larger species sinking to the bottom.

        If you want to survive nuclear fallout, focus on organisms that can concentrate heavy metals, get eaten by worms who then excrete their casts deeper down in soil. It is less fantastical than you might imagine. The reverse of deep rooting plants mining minerals in areas with barren topsoil…..

  • ChiangMai

    Thanks Craig. The lame attempt at cobbling together legal cover comes across as an after-thought, back-of-a-fag-packet job.

    What is more worrying is if it was produced as part of the build up, it shows just how poor this junta is. It would also explain the abomination that are the Brexit ‘negotiations’ though. It’s as if May thought “the EU are red-tape bureaucrats, we’ll run rings around them with a small, quick-witted team”. As if May was the England manager planning to play the Germans – “They are an aging team, we’ll run rings around them with youth – put out the under-11s”…..

  • Wilfrid Whattam

    I think GoAwayAndShutUp is strangely misreading Robert Fisk. Fisk and Cockburn are by far the most insightful standard journalists, and certainly believe that Trump May and Macron are hypocrirical warmongers, as well as Trump being additionally crackers. Nonetheless nobody comes close to Craig for insightful criticism.

  • Spaull

    That’s because Trump and May just uselessly wasted a few million pounds worth of weaponry on a few sheds in the desert, and did not cross any of the lines Putin set that would have led to retaliation.

    If you don’t take the threat of an escalating war seriously, you should be locked up for your own safety.

      • Mochyn69

        And idiot David Cameron who in his emails to Murdoch’s red haired siren Rebekah Brooks thought it meant Lots of Love!

        An utter prat he was, an utter prat he is and an utter prat he will always remain!


  • NigelB

    Doesn’t Parliament sit today? Any reason why the attacks couldn’t wait for that???

    • Paul Barbara

      @ NigelB April 16, 2018 at 08:27
      But that would have allowed the OPCW to have visited the sites and veriified no CW’s were made in the targeted areas and no CW attack had occurred at Douma.

  • Sharp Ears

    The BBC have found another child to tell a story, in the style of Bana Alabed.

    Syria ‘chemical attack’: Girl seen in hospital video speaks
    This is the story of Masa, who survived the suspected chemical attack in Syria, in her own words.
    Speaking on Sunday alongside her mother, she described how she and her family were hiding in a basement when a “barrel” dropped.

    • Sharp Ears

      Exactly so marvellousMRchops. That was my intention – to emphasize the extent of the state broadcaster’s propaganda for the war on Syria. It’s a shame that Hatuey doesn’t get it or won’t have it. They are all scams.

      PS I like English bull terriers. I have just looked at a website where puppies of that breed are advertised for £1,300- £1,500.

    • Hatuey

      Mrchops, forget all that. The BBC propaganda piece linked to is totally grotesque.

      They love using suffering children to manipulate people. Can you even imagine how many children have suffered as a consequence of wars that the bbc played cheerleader to?

      After ‘jim’ll fix it’, I’m impressed that they manage to keep a straight face with any of those sort of subjects. They’re totally bankrupt.

      I have friends who support Scottish independence and I’m telling you, they’re way ahead on the BBC compared to the rest of the UK. They know that the BBC is the biggest problem they face.

      If there’s a case out there where it’s appropriate to “deal with” the messenger rather than the message, the BBC is it.

      • marvellousMRchops

        I am in total agreement with you. It’s the BBC that got me started on all this. I lost interest in party politics a long time ago. But this – this collusion – it’s either the end of this retched government or the end of freedom and truth. I for one am not going down without a fight even if it means being a lone (howling) wolf in my own family and circle of friends. I am either completely bonkers or everybody else is.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    The news cycle appears to be moving on from chemical false flags. Will the true nature of them simply enter the general waste disposal system as the media focuses on bombs, sanctions and willy waggling in the UN (or is it tit flashing where Nikki Haley is concerned?)?

    Politicians usually bury bad news and showing up Salisbury and Douma as false flags is very bad news.

    One day people will realise that the more you let politicians get away with it, the more they do it. The more you let MI6 moles dominate the media, the more war is glorified on TV and in the dailies. The more you kiss America’s ass, the more Exceptional America feels.

    One day people will have to say ‘Enough’s enough!’ And that means decisive action against politicians, media wastrels and the Special Relationship…..

    When that day will be, who knows.

    But I think the media spin no longer deceives. That means the public must now decide what they feel about the truth they have discerned despite the lies. Will they get angry and if so, will it be cold or hot anger?

    That will determine what might happen next…..

    • Rod

      It depresses me that I can’t agree with your line of thinking that the media spin no longer deceives. May I suggest that the media doesn’t deceive the majority of people like us who read and contribute to this forum.

      Sadly, the media continues to deceive the majority of this country, hence the Brexit vote and Mrs May’s return to office after the general election; which doesn’t mean that people like us should abandon trying to persuade the less erudite in society. I believe that to be the only way we will effect a change or we will have to just endure the ravages that Brexit will surely bring and the people will learn the hard way.

      • Ultraviolet

        I really think a Rubicon has been crossed this past month. The combination of anti-Semitism smears, Salisbury and Syria has led to a breaking point.

        The Indie reported that 61% of people supported May’s handling of the Salisbury affair. After a month of wall to wall propaganda in literally every MSM outlet, and the damning of anyone who dared question the official line, only 61% support her handling. In a situation where the Government was acting honestly, or even just had a plausible story, I would be surprised to see that figure below 90%. In fact, I suspect the true figure is substantially lower than 61%, because how many people are going to admit to a pollster that they think the Government is lying to us all?

        I think a tipping point has been reached with this, and that the MSM will never recover its credibility.

  • Tony M

    April 16, 2018 at 08:27

    Doesn’t Parliament sit today? Any reason why the attacks couldn’t wait for that???

    You have a touching, quite naive belief that the UK is some sort of democracy, in any case whatever hot air England’s parliament vents, and however it votes any such military action would still be illegal in international law, morally wrong and staggeringly hypocritical, given that they’ve been waging de-facto covert and overt war against Syria since at least 2011.

    You have to realise, all have to realise that these people are raving psychopaths and the veneer of legitimacy for everything they do cracked and peeled off a long time ago. Everything is a lie and a charade, much of history is simply lies that stuck, there is an axis of evil in the world the UK, the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the core of, with countless other rotten regimes hanging on their coat-tails. It is dawning slowly upon the people of this country that we are expendable hostages and and human-shields for the depraved monsters ruling over us, crippling sanctions on this country will son bite and as in Iraq it will be the people who suffer not the ‘leadership’ and the elite chosen ones. We are prisoners on an island penal colony, our crimes are to have once believed we were free. So many are lost in the maze of the artificial left-right paradigm and in maximising their personal gains and their stash of worthless tokens, at the cost of destroying express of the commonwealth and community cohesion, they’ve contracted an incurable case of American Dream which diluted all that could have united us, divided us amongst and against ourselves that we cannot ever unite, instead a nation of petty snobs lording it over the untermensch in last years or last decades fashions, those using public transport, renting their slum-like passively-surveiled concrete and brick cells, shopping at the less than select stores for the own-brand cheap reduced to clear indigestible food-stuffs, each just one wage, one benefit payment away from losing all, from foraging in bins and eating grass, from arming themselves with bladed-weapons and settling old scores stepping over the bloodied corpses and taking that which they need to survive.

    Parliament for fucks sake, get a grip on yourself, it has gone so far past that point, that that building, those plutocratic pseuds symbolise our plight, offer not salvation but further kicks in the teeth. All that parliament offers the people now is a short-lived source of firewood.

    • Jo Dominich

      Tony, very well put. For once I do believe the British population are beginning to see through the media propaganda, a step at a time, there is just a little glimmer of hope.

    • Hatuey

      The UK and the US will need to get used to poverty. China and India have been the dominant economies for 1800 out of the last 2000 years and the equilibrium is set to be restored very soon.

    • Emily

      What staggers me is that the English go out and vote for these scum again and again
      As an English woman watching it – it brings on despair – what is wrong with them?
      The lib/lab/con is a one party, neo con/neo lib state.
      The Scots have had the wit to break that mould, whatever you may feel about the alternatives.
      The Scots have had the brainpower to break away.
      Yet get the English to vote for the only opposition party around and they will not do it.
      Absolutely brainwashed.
      You see the Europeans vote for multiple parties but the Brits – NO – thick as two planksand just whine at what they voted for…
      They are stuck into the two lying warmongering stitch up and cannot get their back ends out.
      You have to despair.
      Admittedly the present voting system is a total scam – with fair voting – PR – things would be different – that is how the SNP took off in the regional parliament – but the English don’t give a hoot that their electoral system is a shocking fraudulent sham – completely thrown out by most democracies and even within the UK – MEPS and the 3 regional parliaments

  • Laguerre

    Funny how you think a great success for Russia is proof that Russia is powerless.

  • Charles

    The photos, lack of quality cctv and 2 x land ambulances + 2 x ambulance cars + air ambulance And the helicopter’s odd behaviour give rise to suspicion.

    In this photo a sign stating CCTV in operation,-1.7976044,3a,75y,295.95h,88.43t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sT8FGyLEtAv3kPvlQwD_tdA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Pan round on the Street View image and you can see the CCTV camera bolted to the wall above Market Walk. (the published grainy cctv comes from shops within Market Walk)

    Here is another photo of it from SpireFM (who smelt something fishy) This camera overlooks the bench area.×2700.jpg

    ‘Was Salisbury’s CCTV on’ at time of ‘nerve agent’ attack?

    Here are 25 more photos in Salisbury Journal piece, first commented on (comments on page) at 6:01pm

    The Thom Belk photo (back of ambulance car – sideways on police car – another ambulance car beyond police car also sideways on – Greggs – police officer crouching over bag)

    Was taken at c 5.10 when land ambulace(s)? and air ambulance departed.

    Several early photos but none of the drama on the bench


    Helicopter’s off behaviour (reported by many news outlets as taking Yulia to hospital but then denied presumably because of the contamination issues)

    16:19 The helicopter was alerted to the incident in Salisbury and took off from Minety in Wiltshire at 16:30,it flew for 15km (5 minutes) in the wrong direction (SW) before correcting its course by 90 degs (SE) towards Salisbury,

    The Wilts Air Ambulance webpages boast the helicopter can reach any location in Wilshire, from its base (5 mins from Minety), in 11 minutes.

    It took about 31 minutes for the helicopter to reach Salisbury city centre (c 16.50) and stayed on scene for approx 20 mins before taking off (c17:11) and flying to the London Road Cemetery area before turning around and flying to the hospital and landing. (several comments showing evidence of claims above)

    Why was the air ambulance called, why was it not aborted, why was there no urgency to get to Salisbury, even if Yulia was not transported to the hospital (it flew there and landed) why was it not suspected that the crew might have become contaminated at the scene ?????


    Given the inconsistencies with the Poison Evidence, the Photo Evidence, The CCTV Evidence, the Helicopter Evidence, the Response Times Evidence, first police officer on the scene Evidence that he was a non uniform Detective Sergeant, Evidence that the Skripals have been hidden from the world (in contrast to Litvinenko dying in hospital bed photos plastered to the world), the Evidence of Dr Stephen Davies ………… I can only conclude that ………..

    The Salisbury Spy Poisoning Was / Is a Hoax!

    • Kempe

      Not this crap about the helicopter again. We’ve been over this before.

      It’s barely two miles from Salisbury city centre to the hospital. An ambulance on blues and twos could probably cover the distance in as many minutes.

      • Charles

        Google route adviser has the Maltings to Odstock hospital at 2.8 miles and a car journey at 12 minutes.

        So an ambulance a little faster than that.

        The helicopter from where it was (37 miles away) could have made the journey in about 12.5 minutes + 2.5 to scramble and take off so say 15 mins. But it took over half an hour, it dawdled, it flew in the wrong direction, it flew slowly. There was no urgency to get to the incident.

        The police statement (Met) said a call regarding two people on the bench was made at 4:15

        Yet reports say;

        4.15pm: Police car speeds up the shopping centre at 20mph with lights flashing.
        4.16pm: A hero paramedic sprints towards the victims on foot clutching a first aid bag.
        4.18pm: A first responder vehicle drives up to help colleagues treat Sergei and Yulia.

        Many reports say Yulia was taken to hospital by the helicopter that left the Maltings at the same time as the land ambulance at c 5:11pm

        The helicopter did go to the hospital but first went in the opposite direction and did some sweeps of the London Road Cemetery.

        I agree it is crap but its what we have been told and it doesn’t make sense. And its that inconsistency that needs to be highlighted.

        If the police were to release to cctv of the bench we could possibly see;

        1) If and if / when DS Bailey approached the bench?
        2) When the first responders actually arrive?
        3) When the air ambulance crew arrive, did they approach the victims, did they take Yulia?
        4) The activity that occurred as the “Skripals” approach the bench.
        5) When did they become incapacitated?
        6) Could they have been harmed on the bench from a passer by

        In holding back information and releasing inconsistent information the police knowingly create suspicion not on the Russians but on themselves.

        If the events happened as the police and government say it would be easy enough to prove and instil confidence in their investigation.

        If on the other hand the cctv footage incriminates the police and government then that is a very good reason not to release it. I can’t think of any other reason that the police would not release the information unless they have something to hide.

    • MI5 goon watch

      There was no major incident in Salisbury on Sunday 4th March. One was declared at the hospital on morning of 5th March. Counter Terrorist Police Network are criminals

  • Capella

    If the Skripals were attacked by BZ that explains the reported symptoms at the time – they felt disoriented, surreal, they appeared to be hallucinting etc.
    Julia Skripal’s “statement” issued by the MET inadvertantly corroborates that. She thanks the people of Salisbury for assisting her when she was “incapacitated”. BZ is an incapacitating agent. Maybe the agent who wrote the statement unwittingly gave the game away.

    Nothing about the BZ and pure A234 on the MSM yet. But we are warned that Russia will disseminate misinformation. That pesky St Petersburg troll factory again.

    • Blissex

      «If the Skripals were attacked by BZ that explains the reported symptoms at the time»

      What if it was an accident: the Skripals were involved for profit in black-market trade of “substances” and mishandled a “sample”? That would match the accident happening just after the daughter arrived from Russia, and both of them falling sick at the same time, and the house being sealed up and the pets being left to die. It would be really interesting to know if there was contamination of “substances” on the *inner* handle too. But of course we’ll never be allowed to know what really happened.

      There is a big detail that many seem to have missed: it is 6 weeks since the “attack” with “WMDs” against Salisbury, and the alleged 3 victims have not been paraded before a press conference with a a Q-and-A session yet.
      It is as if there is a concern that they might contradict themselves, not being experienced lawyers, and thus their public statements are to be carefully drafted for them by lawyers.

      • Capella

        It might have been an accident. But the readiness with which the “Putin did it” story was broadcast suggests a pre-planned event. The staged chemical attack in Syria is part of the narrative with today’s hysteria about Russian cyberattacks and disinformation part of the continuing saga.

        It looks like a planned build up to a war with Russia. Theresa May and Boris Johnson are deranged and dangerous. Spoilt brat Williamson, our “defence minister” ditto.

  • Jo Dominich

    You have Putin to thank for having averted the start of WW111 – at least he has the intelligence and yes, humility, to stand back to prevent Armageddon, if you see that as a sign of weakness then that says more about you – what Putin did was to me, an act of courage instead of the USA’s warmongering, we are the only power, we rule the world rhetoric – which is weak, delivered by a mad megalomaniac in the White House and dangerous. I know Putin is the better Head of State here and has the common sense to tone things down.

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