Archive | July 5th, 2017

Theresa May ‘sitting’ on UK terrorism funding report to protect Saudi allies

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Prime Minister Theresa May is withholding a Home Office report on foreign funding of British terrorist organizations because exposing the truth could sour relations with the UK’s major trading and security partner, Saudi Arabia.

The report, commissioned to investigate foreign states funding extremist groups in the UK, has yet to be made public despite being completed six months ago. The government’s reluctance to share it has left many concerned about how ethical Britain’s ongoing diplomatic relationship with the Gulf kingdom is.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas branded the delay “astonishing.”

“The government is sitting on this report but refusing to publish it or give any reason for their continued secrecy,” the Brighton Pavilion MP said in a statement.

“To defeat terror it’s vital that politicians have full view of the facts, even if they are inconvenient for the government.”

She added that the secrecy surrounding the report “leaves question marks over whether their decision is influenced by our diplomatic ties.”

Home Office sources insist that, although the report does mention Saudi Arabia, the Gulf theocracy is not its main subject.

Prime Minister May has always made clear that Britain’s relationship with the Saudis lies at the core of her diplomatic agenda. She visited Riyadh to discuss strengthening trade ties mere days after triggering the Brexit process.

The report, which was commissioned by May’s predecessor, David Cameron, was due to be submitted by Easter last year. It was originally meant to study the origins and extent of funding received by British extremist groups that involve international forces.

Responding to parliamentary questions on the document and its delays, May argued that “ministers are considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to parliament with an update in due course.”

It is believed some government insiders think the material is too sensitive to be made public.

On Monday evening, outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “The government are covering up this report. It’s a scandal that this is sitting in Downing Street gathering dust. What has the prime minister got to hide?

“I believe this report will be deeply critical of Saudi and that is why it is being hidden from the public. The government seems too desperate to keep Saudi Arabia happy rather than stand up to them.”

Other party leaders, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party and Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party (SNP), have also urged Downing Street to make the findings public.

Green Party leader Lucas said, in the light of the London Bridge and Manchester Arena attacks, the public was “quite rightly asking questions about routes to radicalization, and the funding of terror is central to this.

“I urge Theresa May to reveal immediately whose advice they are following as to whether or not to publish this report, and to do all they can to put the facts into the public domain if it is safe to do so,” she said.”

In response, Home Office minister Sarah Newton said: “The review has improved the government’s understanding of the nature, scale and sources of funding for Islamist extremism in the UK. Publication of the review is a decision for the prime minister.”

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‘US should end Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea’


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The most sensible path, at this point, is for the US to end the Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea, and withdraw its troops from the Korean peninsula, Hyun Lee, a member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, told RT.

South Korean and US forces fired missiles into the Sea of Japan in a display of resolve toward North Korea as a part of a joint ballistic missile exercise between Washington and Seoul.

According to officials, the exercise used missiles that can be “easily deployed”.

It all came in response to North Korea’s latest missile test on Tuesday, which the Pentagon said was an intercontinental ballistic missile.

RT: North Korea is clearly aware the US and South Korea possess a wide range of missiles. Was this show of force really necessary?

Hyun Lee: North Korea has been saying from the beginning of this year, from the beginning of the Trump administration, that it will test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile and it has always said it is a form of deterrence against US threats against North Korea. The US and South Korea conduct annual military exercises, including the collapse of the North Korean regime and the simulation of the decapitation of the North Korean leadership. North Korea has always said these are threats to its sovereignty and that is why it is developing an ICBM as a form of deterrence.

RT: China and Russia have been calling on the international community to try and talk to North Korea to avoid provocation. Why did the US and South Korea decide to stage these exercises anyway?

HL: I think what the US and South Korea are doing is basically flexing their muscles to show ‘We are not afraid of North Korea. We also have big bad weapons.’ But what they are doing is answering fire with fire in a region that is a powder keg. We know that the world’s greatest military powers face off in this region: that is the US, China, Japan, South Korea. Former US army generals have warned that even the slightest miscalculation on the Korean peninsula can trigger a conflict that basically mires the entire region in a protracted war that could have catastrophic consequences not only for the region but also for the global economy. And that is not in anyone’s interest.

RT: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea launching an intercontinental ballistic missile is a new escalation of the threat against the US. Is Pyongyang’s new launch a game changer?

HL: Yes, but not because it will attack the US; Washington doesn’t truly believe that. But more because this changes the US strategic calculus in the region. North Korea now has the capacity to target the heart of the US Pacific Command, which is located in Hawaii, as well as the West Coast of the US continent. This means US policy of basically intimidating countries through military might and collapsing uncooperative regimes as it has done in the Middle East for decades: this is not going to work vis-à-vis North Korea.
And if this encourages other countries around the world to follow the example of North Korea, it threatens the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which is essentially intended to ensure that only the prominent five countries of the UN Security Council, and its allies, like Israel, can have nuclear weapons and no one else. North Korea is obviously not a party to the NPT; it is not a US ally but now appears to have the capability to threaten a nuclear attack on the US. This is why this missile test is a big deal and it makes Washington very nervous. If the US wants North Korea to stop, then the path is very clear – it has to stop its provocations and its military exercises and then resolve the conflict fundamentally by signing a peace treaty to end the ongoing state of war between the US and North Korea.

RT: Is there an end to this vicious circle where opposite sides just fire missiles trying to up the ante on each other?

HL: I think there is a clear path: North Korea, we should note, has repeatedly offered to freeze its own nuclear and missile program in exchange for a freeze of US provocation, including the very provocative military exercises. I think the most sensible path at this point is for the US to end the Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea, finally withdraw its troops from the Korean peninsula. That is the only way to put the nuclear crisis to rest. Washington knows that this is the answer. The only thing that is standing in the way is, not surprisingly, the interest of the military-industrial complex, which feeds off of perpetual war.

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Deconstructing the concept of security: What do we mean when we talk about security?

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By Alice Slater | IPPNW* 

Those of us laboring in the wasteland of nuclear arms control and countless thwarted attempts to abolish nuclear weapons have been witnessing one of the most striking shifts in the global paradigm of how the world thinks about nuclear weapons which has brought us to this present glorious moment. The world is now poised on the eve of actually completing negotiations for a treaty to ban the bomb! The shift, which has proceeded so rapidly, relative to other efforts to curb nuclear weapons, can largely be attributed to the transformation of the public conversation about nuclear weapons, from the same old, same old talk, about national “security” and its reliance on “nuclear deterrence”, to the widely promoted and publicized well-founded scientific evidence of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences which would result from the use of these lethal instruments of death and destruction.

A series of forceful and convincing presentations of the devastating effects of nuclear catastrophe organized by enlightened governments and civil society’s International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was inspired by a stunning statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross addressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war which was referenced in the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty outcome document. ICAN subsequently organized a global turnout of activists from every corner of the world at three subsequent meetings hosted by Norway, Mexico and Austria, demonstrating the overwhelming evidence of the disastrous devastation threatening humanity from nuclear weapons– their mining, milling, production, testing and use– whether deliberately or by accident or negligence, and the unbearable consequences that could be visited upon our Mother Earth. This new knowledge, exposing the terrifying havoc that could be inflicted on our planet, gave the impetus for the present moment at the UN where governments and civil society are now engaged in fulfilling a negotiating mandate for a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading towards their total elimination.

It would be useful to examine even more closely the concept of “security” and deconstruct it for future use as we work to bring an end to war on the planet. Peace activists refer to “human security” as a way of distinguishing humanitarian concerns from the military’s use of the term “security”. But there are contradictions inherent in the concept of security reflected in the etymology of the very word “security” itself. Derived from the Latin se cura, or free from care ,” security can be understood not only as freedom from care, worries or attention — of being carefree — but also as being careless. And it is ironic that carelessness– failing to pay sufficient attention to or care for one’s surroundings, will result in conditions that are destructive of well being, or safety, the very opposite of what people are seeking when they talk about national “security”. How careless some nations have been in equating their security with massive weapons systems capable of destroying all life on earth. To truly free ourselves of the mistaken notion represented by the word “security”, we must act with care and reevaluate and explore the conditions that will truly bring the positive benefits of real safety in the peace that humanity has always longed for.

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Threat perceptions

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The US Defense Intelligence Agency has issued a report entitled Russia. Military Power: Building a Military to Support Great Power Aspirations, which you can read here. This has the following to say about Russia’s strategic objectives:

Moscow seeks to promote a multi-polar world predicated on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other states’ internal affairs, the primacy of the United Nations, and a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order.

You might say that this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, but what is interesting is what it doesn’t say, that is anything on the lines of “Russia is an aggressive, imperialist power bent on invading her neighbours, restoring the Soviet empire, and destroying the existing international system.” The statement that Russia supports the “primacy of the United Nations” and a “balance of power” in order to maintain the “international order” is quite a striking riposte to the often-repeated claim that Russia seeks to overthrow “the rules-based global system.”

Next the report analyzes ‘Russia’s threat perceptions’, and notes that Russia’s actions “belie a deeply entrenched sense of insecurity regarding a United States that Moscow believes is intent on undermining Russia at home and abroad.” Furthermore:

Russia also has a deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values. Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. … Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and the Arab Spring and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts, including the Kosovo campaign, Iraq, Libya, and the 2003–05 “color revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.

This is also pretty obvious, and one doesn’t need a $4 billion a year agency to come up with this stuff, but it’s interesting that at least somebody in the American security establishment is willing to admit that people elsewhere in the world don’t all appreciate what the United States is doing. Unfortunately, all intelligence agencies can do is point out the facts. It’s up to politicians to decide what to do about them. If the evidence of the past is anything to go by, they aren’t too interested in hearing the other side’s point of view. This report will no doubt raise alarms in Washington about how Russia is modernizing its armed forces. What the report has to say about why Russia is doing so will probably be ignored.

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CNN Goes COMPLETELY INSANE, Threatens to Dox Reddit User Over Meme


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There are no words for how insane the dinosaur lapdog establishment mouthpiece mockingbird media is getting. Case in point: remember that “infamous” meme of Trump wrestling CNN to the ground that the teleprompter-in-chief tweeted last weekend? Well after days of wall-to-wall pearl clutching coverage from the MSM, they’ve finally tracked down the vile reddit user who created it! And they’re threatening to dox him. As you can imagine, this is not going so well for the least trusted name in news…


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Haneyya delivers first speech as Hamas’s leader


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The newly-elected head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haneyya, delivered on Wednesday his first speech since taking office in which he addressed all Palestinian issues.

Held in Gaza city, the speech was attended by a large number of officials from different Palestinian factions as well as other political, media and religious figures.

Haneyya stressed that the escalation waged against the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails must stop, describing the administrative detention policy targeting both Palestinian citizens and MPs in the occupied West Bank as “terrorism”.

He expressed his pride of the Palestinian resistance, especially the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, and denounced labeling it as a form of terrorism, explaining that the real terrorism is embodied in the Israeli occupation.

Haneyya pointed to a US-Israeli project that is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, stressing that the Palestinian people will never accept any settlements that contradict their rights of return and establishing a Palestinian state.

As for Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas’s leader asserted that the attempts exerted by the Israeli occupation to obliterate the Islamic identity of al-Aqsa Mosque through the repeated settlers’ incursions and the temporal and spatial division of the mosque will fail.

Haneyya praised in his speech the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, “the center of conflict”, as he put it, and those in the 1948 occupied territories who are constantly subjected to Israeli terrorism and racial discrimination.

On the issue of the Palestinian refugees in the diaspora, he underlined that the right of return is sacred and inalienable, appealing to the Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees to provide them decent living conditions.

Speaking about the situation in Gaza, he strongly condemned the latest decisions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip which led to furthering the suffering of the Gazan citizens living under an 11-year blockade.

Haneyya pointed out that efforts are ongoing with the Egyptian authorities to reach solutions for Gaza’s crises, appreciating at the same time the role Qatar has played in the past years in supporting Gaza by all means.

He proposed a political initiative that stipulates the formulation of a unified political program and the formation of a national unity government that assumes its obligations toward the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The initiative also includes preparing for free and fair legislative and presidential elections with the participation of all parties, ending security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and removing all obstacles to achieving the initiative, the foremost of which is reversing all punitive measures taken against Gaza.

Haneyya stated that Hamas seeks to maintain good relations with all Arab countries without interfering in their internal conflicts.

At the international level, Hamas’s leader asked the international community not to believe the “black propaganda” waged by Israel against his movement, emphasizing that Hamas is a national liberation movement and a genuine part of the Palestinian people.

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Washington’s Devastating Next-stage of the War in Syria

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By Salman Rafi Sheikh

All the US has to offer to the people of Syria is not hope but destruction, not peace but war, a war that is no longer—and never was—just about Syria. With the passage of time, the actual nature of the war imposed on Syria has become self-evident. Therefore, what we are hearing from Washington these days is no longer sole emphasis on defeating terror outfits such as ISIS; it is rather an emphasis on extending the war beyond Syria to accomplish at least a regime change in Iran, the kind of which the US and its Arab and European allies have been seeking in Syria. ISIS has already attacked Iran once and there is no guarantee that such attacks wouldn’t take place in future in Iran or elsewhere beyond the Middle East. While the West is projecting ISIS’ extended reach to other regions as an outcome of the organization’s exit from Syria and Iraq, the chaos this extended reach would cause will then serve as an invitation, as it did in the case of both Iraq and Syria, to the US to extend its own military presence in the region. Already we have seen fresh deployment in Afghanistan and resumption of drone strikes in Pakistan, indicating the US’ intention of not leaving the region in the near or even distant future.

In this context, plans for an extended military stay in “Syraq” (Syria and Iraq) and even of extending the scope of the war are already being considered in the official US policy making circles. The Foreign Policy magazine reported in mind June that some policy makers in the White House were pushing for extending the Syrian front as a means to use the scenario to militarily confront Iran and finally settle score with the “nexus of evil.” According to the report,

“Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, and Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East advisor, want the United States to start going on the offensive in southern Syria, where, in recent weeks, the U.S. military has taken a handful of defensive actions against Iranian-backed forces fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

While the report mentions that the idea hasn’t yet found much support in the Pentagon, there is no gainsaying that within the Pentagon’s Syria strategy, there is enough scope for extending the war to the extent of militarily confronting pro-Assad forces, especially Iran. Its recent glimpse came when the US forces shot down an Iranian drone in Syria few days ago. And as Washington Post recently revealed, the US was already making unprecedented strikes against Assad regime and Iranian-backed militia forces and sending warnings to them that “they will not be allowed to confront or impede the Americans and their local proxy forces.”

On the other hand, the fact that the US is willing to go to any extent to protect the anti-Assad forces fighting under its nose is also evident from the way the US is still opposed to seeing Assad in power as Syria’s legitimate ruler. Two thing clearly point to this fact.

First, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, told House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 28 hearing that the US should decide on its role in Syria for the time when ISIS is driven out, “because a healthy Syria is not with Assad.” Ambassador Haley’s latest remarks at the hearing, titled “Advancing US Interests at the United Nations,” could indicate a possible change in America’s future objectives on Syria. She had previously said that Washington’s priorities in Syria had changed with the new administration, and the US would no longer focus on the removal of Assad.

Second thing that adds to this seeming policy shift is the way the White House is involved in propagating about yet another possible chemical attack in Syria by Assad. On June 26, the White House official stated that Syria was planning another chemical weapons attack and “would pay a heavy price” if it came to pass. Ambassador Nikki Haley quickly chimed in on Twitter saying that any further attack would “be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”

The above mentioned change in policy and the preparations being made for extending the war to Iran has also found some support within the Republican ranks. It was only few days ago when a Republican senator Tom Cotton was reported to have said that “the policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran.” The CIA has already expanded its Iranian covert operations (read: in the name of ISIS). The US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, in little noticed comments to the US Congress few days ago also called for “peaceful regime change” in Syria. It is, however, not sure what Tillerson meant by “peaceful”, for the history of US regime change interventions is filled with direct military interventions or covert operations.

Is then Iran the next overt target of the US and its allies? The answer to this intriguing development-in-the-making has to be in the affirmative. It is going to be the culmination of Trump’s policy of ‘isolation of Iran’ that he laid down during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia. There is no gainsaying that this extension of the Syrian war would find ready-made support among many Arab-Gulf states, who would see in this policy a ready-made opportunity to cordon off their only chief rival in the entire region. Not only would they jump on the American bandwagon but also willingly funnel billions of dollars, contributing to transforming the whole region into one living-hell, a hell that wouldn’t take much time to knock on their own doors.

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The Case Against Blair: Former PM May Still Face Trial for Waging Iraq War

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The most senior judge in the UK will hear arguments for overturning a ban on prosecuting Tony Blair over the Iraq war, it has been revealed. If successful, the former prime minister – and ministers in his government – could well be put on trial for waging a war of aggression.

Lord Chief Justice Thomas of Cwmgiedd and Justice Duncan Ouseley will review the November 2016 decision Wednesday, July 5. The ruling stated Blair was immune from prosecution, as any case against him could involve details covered under the draconian Official Secrets Act being disclosed.

The private prosecution was brought by Abdul-Wahid Shannan ar-Ribat, exiled former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army, backed by Michael Mansfield QC and Imran Khan, famous for his pivotal role in the Stephen Lawrence case.

It charged the conflict was a war of aggression, and called for a summons to be issued against Blair, Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith, Foreign Secretary and Attorney General in 2003 respectively.

​Then Attorney General Jeremy Wright MP upheld the ban, on the basis wars of aggression are not illegal under English law. His successor, Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC, likewise wants to block proceedings, and is expected to make the same argument.

However, this stance was directly undermined by Goldsmith himself — in a memo on the legality of the war dispatched a fortnight before the invasion, Goldsmith acknowledged wars of aggression were a crime “under customary international law” which “automatically” forms part of domestic law in every country in the world.

While the action is private, crimes against peace can be prosecuted in International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute, which came into force in 2002 and established the ICC, determines (Article 5.2) the Court exercises jurisdiction over such offenses.

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime. It is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” the Nuremberg Trials ruled.

The notorious Downing Street memo, a record of a meeting in July 2002, perhaps inarguably demonstrated Blair and others knew the decision to invade Iraq had been made long before its justification was determined.

In it, Sir Richard Dearlove, then-Director of MI6, told Blair and others that in Washington, “military action was now seen as inevitable.”

“Bush [wants] to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts [are] being fixed around the policy,” he said.

​Straw added the case for the war was “thin.”

“Saddam is not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability is less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force,” the then-Foreign Secretary said.

Lord Goldsmith said there were only three “possible legal bases” for launching a war — self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or via United Nations Security Council authorization — and the first and second “couldn’t be the base in this case.”

The Charter of the United Nations spells out the conditions that must apply if a war is to have legal justification.

“The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice,” it states.

Neither the US or UK sought peaceful means of resolving their dispute with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. At one point, his government offered to let UN weapons inspectors review their stockpiles, but the US State Department announced that it would “go into thwart mode” to prevent this from happening.Blair, Goldsmith and Straw will not appear in court — although they may well be preparing their defenses in any event. According to a detailed investigation conducted by an independent commission established by the government of the Netherlands, the invasion was a clear breach of international law.

The commission found UN resolution 1441 “cannot reasonably be interpreted” as authorizing member states to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council’s resolutions.


The War on Iraq in 2003 Was and Will Always Be a Crime

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Khan Sheikhoun: why it is sensible to be sceptical still

By Tim Hayward 

The OPCW fact finding mission (FFM) has now reported on the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, in April 2017. Although heavily trailed in previews, by Bellingcat and others, as presenting virtually a smoking gun implicating the Syrian government, the report itself is so hedged with caveats that one could perhaps say there is so much smoke that we can’t even see a gun.

Certainly, the report cannot specifically verify any weapon involved, as the FFM ‘was unable to retrieve any items from the site which would indicate the means of dispersal of a chemical. After analysing photographs and video supplied by witnesses, the FFM could not establish with a great degree of confidence the means of deployment and dispersal of the chemical.’ (6.19)[1]

I know nothing about chemical weapons but I know a little about how reports get written. A number of people collaborate in piecing together the evidence and analysis that goes into the long document. One voice then has to come clearly through the summary that goes out to press, even though different glosses are possible. Since a certain gloss, given some extra spin, has been making the rounds in the media, I think it worth pointing out how one could interpret it quite differently.

The OPCW tell us they could not visit the site of the reported incident (since it is in the control of very dangerous men) and could not therefore get high value evidence (3.11).[2] The evidence they examined included samples that were sent (via those dangerous men) to Turkey without the FFM being able to document a verifiable chain of custody (3.46).[3] So how the samples came to be contaminated or by exactly what (since it apparently could have been a ‘Sarin-like substance’ or Sarin) is a matter of surmise. They tried to piece together a narrative on the basis of witness statements from people on the ground who were among, if not of, the dangerous men. ‘It was not possible to corroborate’ the narrative that was inferred from those testimonies (5.10); and the narrative was in fact contradicted by statements taken by the Syrian authorities (5.10).

Commentators who had sight of the report during its embargo period, like Bellingcat, worked very quickly to bring out publications aimed at convincing us the report provided a refutation of those of us who are sceptical about the narrative of Syrian Government responsibility for the Khan Sheikhoun incident.

It seems to me, though, that the caveats are extremely significant. Especially given that in order to feel safe in disregarding those caveats one has to put a good deal of faith in the honesty and integrity of the people in control of the area of the incident. I find this hard to do, given that everyone considers them not even safe to visit.

[Readers will notice that in this brief comment I have not referred to the victims of the incident. The cause of death of all those people should presumably be a matter for criminal investigation, which was not the purpose of the OPCW mission. It is a matter of very grave concern indeed.]


[1] All references are to paragraphs in the Report Of The Opcw Fact-Finding Mission In Syria Regarding An Alleged Incident
In Khan Shaykhun, Syrian Arab Republic April 2017.

[2] ‘During an investigation, complete, direct, and immediate access to the alleged initiation site provides the greatest opportunity to collect high value evidence.’ (3.11)

[3] ‘Typically, samples from an incident would be collected by the investigating team immediately after the incident, using approved procedures and equipment, including full documentation of the chain of custody of the samples. As noted earlier, the team 
was constrained due to the inability to access the site of the alleged incident and the amount of time that had passed between the alleged incident and receipt of samples by the team (depending on the source, between 1 week and 2 months after the incident). As a result, the team was unable to:

(a) assess the geography and conditions of the location of the alleged incident; (b) directly select sampling points and items;
(c) conduct on-site collection of samples; and
(d) implement a complete chain of custody, by the team, for samples from source.’ (3.46)

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US and South Korea launch missiles in defiance of Russia and China

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By Adam Garrie | The Duran 

Hours after Russia and China both stated that it is the objective of both countries to freeze the North Korean nuclear programme and also to freeze joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, the United States and South Korea did the complete opposite of the wishes of two of the three world super-powers and the only countries which neighbour the Korean peninsula.

The US and South Korea have just launched several surface-to-air missiles from South Korean territory which landed in international waters.

US force in Korea issued the following statement about the launches,

“Eighth US Army and Republic of Korea (ROK) military personnel conducted a combined event exercising assets countering North Korea’s destabilising and unlawful actions on July 4.

This exercise utilised the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea Hyunmoo Missile II, which fired missiles into territorial waters of South Korea along the East Coast”.

The move by the US and South Korea could put a strain on Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin later this week. While the show of force by the US and South Korea ultimately will not change the political dynamic on the Korean Peninsula, it does demonstrate a grave insult to both Russia and China.

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