Archive | April 20th, 2018

US Syria Attack Ongoing, US Denies as Tomahawks Downed, Every Single One

NOVANEWS

Attack ongoing as 10 US missiles downed so far

Syria’s air defenses shot down missiles targeting Shayrat air base in Homs province early Tuesday, state media reported, as a Hezbollah media arm said missiles targeting Dumayr base near Damascus were also intercepted.

Iranian news agencies also reported missiles being fired toward Shayrat. Approximately nine missiles reportedly targeted the base; their source isn’t yet clear.

A Hezbollah milita media unit shortly afterward stated that Syrian air defenses intercepted three missiles that targeted the Dumayr airport in northeast Damascus. Reports of that attack had been swirling on social media before the announcement.

Syrian air defense systems have been activated in response to a missile attack apparently targeting Shayrat Airbase in Homs province, state media SANA reports.

Up to 10 missiles were destroyed by the Syrian Armed Forces, a military source told Sputnik. The Syrian air defenses managed to intercept some of the projectiles, according to a SANA reporter. Meanwhile, the Al Mayadeen news outlet is claiming that all the projectiles were intercepted and inflicted no physical damage or casualties at the targeted Syrian base.

The Pentagon has denied initiating strikes or conducting any other military activity in Homs province. “There is no US military activity in that area at this time,” the Pentagon’s spokesperson told Reuters. The same information was also shared with TASS news agency by Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.

Syrian news agency SANA stated that “Syrian air defense shot down missiles which violated airspace over Homs.” The agency did not indicate the source of the strike, but later said no casualties or material damage had been reported as a result of it. Social media reports are pointing the finger at Israel for the strikes.

“There is no US military activity in that area at this time,” Eric Pahond, a Pentagon spokesman said when asked about the strike in Homs. “We do not have additional details to provide.”

A local reporter for The Arab News said Israeli warplanes were spotted in Syrian airspace just before the missiles were reported.

The raid in Homs countryside reportedly coincided with another missile attack against a military airbase near Damascus. According to various Arabic media channels, three missiles targeted Al Dumayr airport, but they were all allegedly downed by the Syrian air defenses.

According to yet unconfirmed reports, the missiles entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon, which may indicate that the Israeli Air Force could have been involved, Al-Masdar News reports, citing a military source. The outlet’s reporter also published several videos allegedly showing the launch of interceptor missiles.

H.K ??

@Ibra_Joudeh

Video shows Missile launched against unknown Target in Far East Damascus countryside pic.twitter.com/QwVkkhHCpR

H.K ??

@Ibra_Joudeh

Another air defense missile was just launched
Reports of Israeli warplanes crossed the borders thru Lebanon pic.twitter.com/RxNJdjLoPE

Israel, which hardly ever acknowledges its raids inside Syria, failed to comment on its alleged involvement. “We don’t comment on such reports,” an Israeli military spokesman told Reuters. The US Department of Defense spokesman, meanwhile, told Sky News Arabia that there are “a lot of players” in the region who could have carried out the Tuesday morning attack in Syria.

While it remains unclear who launched the attack, the reported strike comes just days after Washington, London and Paris carried out a coordinated strike in Syria in the early hours of Saturday morning. It also comes roughly a week after two Israeli F-15 fighters targeted another Syria’s airbase in Homs province, Tiyas (also known as T-4 Airbase).

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US Syria Attack Ongoing, US Denies as Tomahawks Downed, Every Single One

Syrian War Report – April 17, 2018: Syrian Forces Repel More Missile Strikes

NOVANEWS

…from SouthFront

Last night, the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF) repelled another missile attack allegedly carried out by the Israeli military. Missiles were intercepted in two areas:

  1. Near Shayrat military airfield in the Homs countryside – 6 missiles were intercepted (according to some sources, 9 missiles)
  2. Near Dumair military airfield in the Damascus countryside – 3 missiles were intercepted.

According to reports, the SADF also used its S-200 air defense system to launch a surface-to-air missile at aircraft that had attacked Syria.

However, the Israeli military told the Russsian news agency TASS that it has no info about any strikes on Syria.

Interestingly, the alleged attack came a day after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that his country will not accept limitations on its “actions” in Syria from any powers including Russia.

Previously, Israel had carried out a missile attack on Syria’s T4 airbase on April 9. Then, the SADF intercepted 5 missiles, but 3 missiles did reach the base.

The Pentagon and the Russian Defense Ministry continue to make mutually contradictory statements over the April 14 missile strike. On April 16, Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov once again rejected the Pentagon’s statements that all the missiles launched by the US, the UK and France had hit their targets.

Konashenkov said that 71 US-led bloc missiles had been shot down by the SADF providing details on the defense systems used by the Syrian military:

  • Buk: 29 missiles fired – 24 targets hit;
  • Osa: 11 missiles fired – 5 targets hit;
  • S-125: 13 missiles fired – 5 targets hit;
  • Strela-10: 5 missiles fired – 3 targets hit;
  • Kvadrat: 21 missiles fired – 11 targets hit;
  • S-200: 8 missiles fired – no targets hit;
  • Pantsir-S1: 25 missiles fired – 23 targets hit;

SF recalls that the Pentagon says that 105 missiles were launched at only three targets. At the same time, the Russian and Syrian militaries say that the targets included Syrian airfields.

Meanwhile, according to the Russian envoy to the OPCW Aleksandr Shulgin said that Russia has “irrefutable proof” that the so-called Douma chemical attack was a “false-flag” orchestrated by British intelligence services with support from the US. The goal of the false flag was to justify the aggression against Syria.

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Pentagon Caught Lying as Russia Details US Missile Humiliation

NOVANEWS

Trump caught lying again, his only real “mission accomplished” as America’s missile “might” again shown to be a “missile gap”

When 71US, French and British “smart missiles” augured into the Mediterranean, the Pentagon said they all hit here. What do you think?

The VT Editors and Igor Konashenkov, Russian Ministry of Defense

The Pentagon claims “105 missiles fired, 105 hits,76 on one small urban target with three moderate sized buildings destroyed.”

Russia claimed 71 were downed by Syria, now the facts:

Konashenkov said that 71 US-led bloc missiles had been shot down by the SADF providing details on the defense systems used by the Syrian military:
  • BUK: 29 MISSILES FIRED – 24 TARGETS HIT;

  • OSA: 11 MISSILES FIRED – 5 TARGETS HIT;

  • S-125: 13 MISSILES FIRED – 5 TARGETS HIT;

  • STRELA-10: 5 MISSILES FIRED – 3 TARGETS HIT;

  • KVADRAT: 21 MISSILES FIRED – 11 TARGETS HIT;

  • S-200: 8 MISSILES FIRED – NO TARGETS HIT;

  • PANTSIR-S1: 25 MISSILES FIRED – 23 TARGETS HIT;

Posted in USAComments Off on Pentagon Caught Lying as Russia Details US Missile Humiliation

Breaking: US Senate moves to limit President Trump’s war powers

NOVANEWS

…from Press TV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: This is a good step by the Senate to reign Trump in a bit, but ducks the elephant in the living room, which is dealing with the War of Terror that the US has been engaged in since 9-11.

Gordon recently published more on this than anyone, how even the Special Operations Command is running off the books operations, with black money, from private contractor bases, not only outside the normal chain of command, but holding themselves out as representing the American government in the process, an outrage.

The line as to how contrived this is, meaning having plausible deniability for the politicians, versus are they really in the dark as to the scale of how bad it is, is still foggy. Along with deniability you often have the “don’t want to know” issue, which VT runs into all the time with mid level professionals that never want to rock the boat.

This “it’s above my pay grade” thinking is a major problem and has widely infected the officer corps of all the services. Not only do they not want to deal with it, but not even mention it. Their courage hisses out of them like a tire going flat when bringing it up. And even worse, many look forward to their joining the dark forces someday … Jim W. Dean ]

Senator Bob Corker

– First published … April 17, 2018 –

A group of US senators have put forth a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force () bill that would limit President Donald Trump’s authority to attack other countries, days after he ordered a missile attack on Syria.

Unveiled on Monday by Senators Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Tim Kaine, a committee Democrat, the new AUMF bill allows any sitting US president to take military action against terror groups like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Daesh and other non-state actors.

However, in order to attack any nation state, for instance Syria, the bill suggests that the president must first inform Congress and give lawmakers two months to decide whether military action is necessary.

Without any expiration date, the new AUMF will replace the 2001 war authorization act passed by Congress in the days following the September 11 attacks, which prompted a so-called War on Terror campaign that is still ongoing.

The US Congress passed another AUMF in the following year to authorize the war on Iraq. That legislation has also been used to justify a wide range of conflicts since then.

The legislation will repeal the previous AUMFs and would also require Congress to review the AUMF every four years. This means the president should ask lawmakers to either repeal, modify, or keep the current AUMF. Should Congress fail to pass the new bill, the existing authority will continue.

Corker said he expected the foreign relations committee debate and possibly vote on the new bill as soon as next week.

“There have been a number of efforts over the years to update these authorities, and while there is still work ahead, I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on a product for the committee to consider and that I hope will ultimately strike an appropriate balance of ensuring the administration has the flexibility necessary to win this fight while strengthening the rightful and necessary role of Congress,” the Tennessee lawmaker said.

Kaine, who ran against Trump alongside Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, said he hoped the president would realize that it was up to Congress to authorize wars.

“I hope President Trump will follow the American Constitution,” the Democratic senator said. “It’s very, very clear Congress has the power to declare war — and only Congress.”

Trump did not seek congressional approval for the last week attack against several Syrian military targets, which was jointly carried out with the UK and France.

Posted in USAComments Off on Breaking: US Senate moves to limit President Trump’s war powers

Censored in US: Number of Facebook users whose data was compromised ‘far more than 87m’, MPs told

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Former Cambridge Analytica employee gives evidence before parliamentary committee

[ Editor’s Note: So far the British, US and Israeli Intelligence services have still not had their penetration of social media exposed, where they have grabbed ALL personal data available for “national security” reasons.

The respective legislatures are totally on board, hence you see how aggressive they have been in using the profiling data for their own purposes. As for the public, and especially public institutions, they have been asleep at the while, frightened or too lazy to take the issue on, despite the threat it represents to the public as a whole.

As for the veterans orgs, they also are missing in action, not a peep out of them. You all should remember that before doling out blink support for anything and everything related to the military. They need to be confronted with some hard questions.

The ball is in our court now. If no one raises hell, in an organized and professional way, they why should the Deep State crowd change its game?  Jim W. Dean ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPal
Jim’s work includes research, field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving & more. Thanks for helping. Click to donate >>

– First published … April 17, 2018 –

*

Far more than 87 million people may have had their Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica, according to evidence from former employee Brittany Kaiser.

Speaking to the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, Kaiser said Cambridge Analytica had a suite of personality quizzes designed to extract personal data from the social network, of which Aleksandr Kogan’s This Is Your Digital Life app was just one example.

In evidence to the committee, Kaiser wrote:

“The Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used. I am aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys which were done by CA or its partners, usually with a Facebook login – for example, the ‘sex compass’ quiz.

“I do not know the specifics of these surveys or how the data was acquired or processed. But I believe it is almost certain that the number of Facebook users whose data was compromised through routes similar to that used by Kogan is much greater than 87 million; and that both Cambridge Analytica and other unconnected companies and campaigns were involved in these activities.”

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Russian military releases full report for US-led missile attack on Syria

NOVANEWS
Al Masdar
Russian military releases full report for US-led missile attack on Syria, what air defense systems were used and their effectiveness

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:25 A.M.) – The Russian military has released a full report on the US-led missile attack against Syria during the morning hours of April 14, part of which details what Syrian air defense systems were used and the effectiveness of such weapons.

According to the report, one hundred and three (103) US, British and French cruise missiles fired at Syria were engaged by a range of Syrian air defense systems including Pantsir-S1, Buk-M2, Kub, Strela-10, Osa, S-125 and S-200 that, in turn, replied with 112 surface-to-air missiles (SAM).

In order, the effectiveness of these air defense systems were recorded as follows:

Pantsir-S1: 25 missiles fired, 23 hits scored.
Buk-M2: 29 missiles fired, 24 hits scored.
Kub: 21 missiles fired, 11 hits scored.
Strela-10: 5 missiles fired, 3 hits scored.
Osa: 11 missiles fired, 5 hits scored.
S-125: 13 missiles fired, 5 hits scored.
S-200: 8 missiles fired, 0 hits scored.

The complete ineffectiveness of the S-200 to successfully engage any of the attacking cruise missiles has been put down to the SAM system’s biased design towards intercepting high-altitude aircraft, not low-flying missiles.

The statistics likely fail to account for Western cruise missiles that were downed or driven off target due to ‘soft-kill’ electronic warfare systems – something which Russian sources will never confirm the use of.

In any case, going by official numbers, the interception rate of Syrian air defenses during the US-led missile attack stands at about 70 percent.

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Theresa May let off lightly after launching air strike without Parliament’s permission

NOVANEWS
Syria bombing - not in my name

So will the UK government make a habit of by-passing MPs when contemplating future military action?

By Stuart Littlewood

On 16 April Theresa May came to the House of Commons to answer questions about the air-strikes she and her Cabinet authorised against Syrian targets on the 14th.

It’s a wonder she didn’t arrive by abseiling onto the roof of Parliament from a helicopter. Or, in the style of the Iron Lady, driving through the gates at the helm of a Challenger tank, chiffon scarf fluttering in the Westminster breeze.

Her party whips had been busy. An army of Conservative puppets danced to a rehearsed tune with plenty of carefully scripted questions. The situation was a minefield but nobody planted a truly high explosive charge in Mrs May’s path. Just a handful of harmless thunder flashes were lobbed. She was not held to account. And she came through it looking much more confident than when she faced the press on 14 April.

She started proceedings with this statement:

Let me set this out in detail: we support strongly the work of the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] fact-finding mission that is currently in Damascus, but that mission is only able to make an assessment of whether chemical weapons were used. Even if the OPCW team is able to visit Douma to gather information to make that assessment – and it is currently being prevented from doing so by the regime and the Russians – it cannot attribute responsibility. This is because Russia vetoed, in November 2017, an extension of the joint investigatory mechanism set up to do this, and last week, in the wake of the Douma attack, it again vetoed a new UNSC [United Nations Security Council] resolution to re-establish such a mechanism… For as long as Russia continued to veto the UN Security Council would still not be able to act. So we cannot wait to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks.

Secondly, were we not just following orders from America? Let me be absolutely clear: we have acted because it is in our national interest to do so. It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used, for we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere.

So we have not done this because President Trump asked us to; we have done it because we believed it was the right thing to do. And we are not alone. Over the weekend I have spoken to a range of world leaders… All have expressed their support for the actions that Britain, France and America have taken.

Thirdly, why did we not recall Parliament? The speed with which we acted was essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations. This was a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before. And it was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament. We have always been clear that the Government have the right to act quickly in the national interest. I am absolutely clear, Mr Speaker, that it is Parliament’s responsibility to hold me to account for such decisions, and Parliament will do so. But it is my responsibility as prime minster to make these decisions – and I will make them.

She went on to assure MPs that the military action “was not about intervening in the civil war in Syria or about regime change”.

Legality questioned

In reply, Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said:

I believe that the action was legally questionable, and on Saturday [14 April] the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, said as much, reiterating that all countries must act in line with the United Nations charter, which states that action must be in self-defence or be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. The prime minister has assured us that the attorney-general had given clear legal advice approving the action. I hope the prime minister will now publish this advice in full today.

As regards the disputed humanitarian intervention doctrine he remarked:

The foreign secretary said yesterday that these strikes would have no bearing on the civil war. The prime minister has reiterated that today by saying that this is not what these military strikes were about. Does, for example, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen entitle other countries to arrogate to themselves the right to bomb Saudi airfields or its positions in Yemen, especially given its use of banned cluster bombs and white phosphorus? Three United Nations agencies said in January that Yemen was the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, so will the prime minister today commit to ending support to the Saudi bombing campaign and arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Given that neither the UN nor the OPCW has yet investigated the Douma attack, it is clear that diplomatic and non-military means have not been fully exhausted.

May responded:

The problem [regarding Douma] is that the investigation is being stopped. The regime and the Russians are preventing the OPCW from investigating. Moreover, again, the regime has reportedly been attempting to conceal the evidence by searching evacuees from Douma to ensure that they are not taking out of the region samples that could be tested elsewhere, and a wider operation to conceal the facts of the attack is under way, supported by the Russians…

I think it important that this was a joint international effort. The strikes were carefully targeted, and proper analysis was carried out to ensure that they were targeted at sites that were relevant to the chemical weapons capability of the regime. We did this to alleviate further human suffering…

MPs from all sides then piled in, as called by the Speaker.

Parliament “emasculated”?

Hostile questioning was generally too polite, causing May little discomfort. I missed many of the contributions while yawning, but there were some that I thought worth passing on.

Sir Nicholas Soames, Churchill’s grandson, asked:

My Right Hon. Friend will agree that the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances, is illegal, contrary to all the laws of war and utterly reprehensible. Will she therefore confirm that the government will at a later date seek the arraignment at an international court of those who instigate these vile acts, whoever they may be?

Soames is pro-Palestinian and a sharp critic of Israel, so the thrust was obvious. But she sidestepped it, replying:

My Right Hon. Friend is absolutely right about the illegality of the use of chemical weapons and the impact of their use. We believe that those who are responsible should be held to account.

But, clearly, her government would be doing no such thing.

There are many Conservatives and Labourites in the House who voted for the Iraq war and are still too dim to repent or learn the simple lesson. They and many newcomers queued up to express support for the bombing. Among them was glamorous Priti Patel (Witham, Conservative) who, only six months ago as former international development secretary, had numerous meetings with Israeli politicians (including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his security minister) during a family holiday in Israel without telling the Foreign Office, her civil servants or her boss Theresa May, and without government officials present – a gross breach of security.

There are many Conservatives and Labourites in the House who voted for the Iraq war and are still too dim to repent or learn the simple lesson.

She now seems anxious to rehabilitate herself in the corridors of power. “There are no words to describe the appalling nature of the humanitarian disaster that confronts Syria,” she told May, “which is why I commend my Right Hon. Friend for the strong action that she has taken and the support she is giving to the Syrian people. Will she assure the House that in the face of the abhorrent abuses perpetrated by the Assad regime, hers will continue to be a strong voice in favour of the international rules-based system, and will she show that Britain will not stand idly by when cruel weapons are used to murder innocent children and families?”

Patel had toured the Golan Heights (Syrian territory stolen in 1967 by the Israelis and illegally occupied ever since) with the thieving occupation army – another monumental diplomatic blunder. So this avid Israel stooge has little concern for international rules. Fellow stooge May managed to leave open the option to continue idly ignoring Israel’s crimes. “We will ensure that our voice is heard. It is absolutely right that it was the right thing to do and was in our national interest, but it is also important that we are standing up for that international rules-based order and continue to do so.” Words are cheap; we never see action.

Other MPs were suspicious of May’s I-did-it-my-way act. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green) challenged her on the point that the legal basis relies on there having been no practicable alternative. She enquired whether the UK had asked the OPCW to inspect the Him Shinsar and Barzeh sites. The prime minister responded: “We have been very clear that we would like it to be possible for the OPCW to investigate sites in Syria, for there to be proper identification of the chemical weapons and for there to be proper accountability for the use of those chemical weapons.”

Caroline Lucas: “Did you ask?”

May: Last Tuesday at the United Nations Security Council, there was going to be a proposal and resolution that would have enabled a proper investigative mechanism to be re-introduced to look at the use of chemical weapons and at what chemical weapons were available in Syria and held by the regime and at their capabilities and to be able to ascertain accountability for those chemical weapons? That draft resolution was vetoed by Russia.

That’s not quite how I read the UN’s own account of the situation. However…

Laura Pidcock (North West Durham, Labour) wanted to know whether the prime minister was planning to use executive powers again with regard to military action in Syria – in breach of the commonly understood parliamentary protocol that would have given the House a say in a matter of war. She said:

There is clear opposition from British people to air strikes, and I think the public are right to be sceptical, so will the prime minister also explain how air strikes have improved the safety and security of Syrian people practically, when we are aware that the bombing and violence is continuing unabated throughout the region?

May replied:

The strikes that took place were about degrading the chemical weapons capability of the Syrian regime… the assessment we have made is that the strikes were successful… It is by degrading its chemical weapons capability that we can have an impact and ensure that we are reducing the likelihood of the humanitarian suffering in the future.

Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West, SNP):

The policy paper on the UK government’s legal position says the UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering. It does not, however, cite any authority for that proposition: it does not quote the UN charter, and it does not refer to any Security Council resolution nor any international treaty of any kind. Will the prime minister tell us why that proposition is unvouched for in the policy paper?

May replied:

The basis on which we undertook this action is one that has been accepted by governments previously and one under which previous action has been taken. I believe that it continues to be the right basis for ensuring that we can act to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and I would have thought the alleviation of humanitarian suffering was something that should gain support from across the whole House.

Fiona Onasanya (Peterborough, Labour) quoted the prime minister from her statement that she was “confident in our own assessment that the Syrian regime was highly likely responsible”. Surely, she asked, “the burden of proof should be beyond reasonable doubt, as opposed to being ‘highly likely’?” In addition, she said, “I would be interested to know who ‘we’ are, given that Parliament was not consulted.”

May replied: “The government made their assessments. Those were not just the view of the UK government; they were shared by our allies and on that basis we acted.”

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun, SNP) was quite bold:

So far today the prime minister has ducked out of questions about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world – Yemen – and she has not answered why she did not wait until the outcome of the OPCW inspections. She has not explained why a parliamentary recall would jeopardise the action that President Trump had already tweeted about. She has not answered about providing further humanitarian assistance and additional support for refugees, and yet she talks about parliamentary scrutiny. How is a statement after the event parliamentary scrutiny when she will not answer any hard questions?

To which the Prime Minister replied: “The Hon. Gentleman talks about me not answering questions on refugees, but I have done so, or on the OPCW, but I have done so. I have answered many questions… ”

David Duguid (Banff and Buchan, Conservative) gave her a friendly lob: “Can my Right Hon. Friend reassure the House that, contrary to claims over the weekend, there is no evidence that any British defence export products have ended up in the wrong hands in Syria?”

The prime minister: “I can certainly give my Hon. Friend that assurance.”

But is it true?

Attempt to rein in wayward prime ministers

For the record, the policy paper published by May’s government setting out the case for military intervention states:

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).

Of course, this could just as easily apply to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where nearly 2 million starving people have been under the cosh of Israel’s vicious blockade and bombardments for more than 10 years. Or in Yemen. But UK parliamentarians and US Congressmen would wet themselves at any thought of air strikes against the despicable regimes they are in bed with.

May denied that she took orders from Trump yet had seemed desperate to fit in with Trump’s timetable and jump the gun on the OPCW inspectors’ reports. And she could easily have recalled Parliament during the week leading up to the strike had she wanted to.

The next day, 17 April, in an emergency debate secured by Corbyn, MPs discussed Parliament’s role in (and exclusion from) approving military action in Syria. Corbyn used the occasion to accuse the prime minister of by-passing Parliament, saying she had “tossed aside” the precedent set by the 2003 Iraq War vote because it was “inconvenient”, and it was now time for Parliament to “assert its authority” over UK military action and take back control. Otherwise, he said, authorising air strikes without Parliament’s approval, if it became the norm, could lead to more dangerous action in the future.

Corbyn called for  a new War Powers Act that would require Parliament to be consulted on military intervention. Mrs May reacted angrily to suggestions that Donald Trump had been given more say in Britain’s part in the air-strike than the UK Parliament.

At the end of the debate, MPs voted in favour of a woolly motion that they had “considered Parliament’s rights in relation to the approval of military action by British forces overseas”, which of course moves us no further forward.

May was buffeted by the Syrian bombing affair but escaped the severe mauling she deserved. Within the Westminster bubble she emerges unscathed. Only time and the truth about Douma and Salisbury (when it is eventually known) will tell whether she can get away with it in the outside world.

Posted in Syria, UKComments Off on Theresa May let off lightly after launching air strike without Parliament’s permission

Russia Accuses UK Security Services of Staging Chemical Attack in Syria 

NOVANEWS

The Russian Envoy to OPCW said that chemical weapons provocation in Syria was carried out by non-governmental organizations that the UK and the US paid for cooperation.

According to Shulgin, Russia has irrefutable evidence that there was no chemical weapons incident in the Syrian city of Douma.

“Therefore, we have not just a “high degree of confidence,” as our Western partners claim, but we have incontrovertible evidence that there was no incident on April 7 in Douma and that all this was a planned provocation by the British intelligence services, probably, with the participation of their senior allies from Washington with the aim of misleading the international community and justifying aggression against Syria,” The Russian Envoy to OPCW stated speaking to the OPCW Executive Council.

According to the Russian Envoy to the OPCW, the direct executors of this provocation were pseudo-humanitarian NGOs sponsored by opponents of the Syrian government.

“Among them, are the notorious ‘White Helmets,’ which some delegations are so fond of praising,” Shulgin noted.

 

He stressed that Moscow has already stated and confirms yet again that “these structures on a fee-based basis cooperate with the governments of the United States, the UK and some other countries.”

Russian experts who conducted the verification of reports on the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian city of Douma, found participants of the video’s filming, which was presented as evidence of the supposedly occurring chemotherapy, according to the Russian Envoy to the OPCW.

“Not a single witness, not one poisoned person in the hospital could be found. No remains of chemical weapons were found. But we have managed to find direct participants in the filming of the production video, which was presented as ‘proof’ of the chemical attack,” Shulgin said.

He also called attention to the fact that Eastern Ghouta was already practically liberated, at that moment and an agreement had been reached with the last groups of militants in Douma; that they had been provided with a secure humanitarian corridor for the departure to Idlib province for both themselves and their families.

“Everything has been developing according to the script that was prepared in Washington. There is no doubt that Americans are playing the ‘first violin’ in all of this. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and some other countries after the “fake” addition from the White Helmets and their ilk in Douma, immediately pounced upon the Syrian authorities with accusations,” Alexander Shulgin said.

Shulgin stated that the United States, the UK and France are not interested in conducting an objective investigation in the Syrian city of Douma.

“They put the blame on the Syrian authorities in advance, without even waiting for the OPCW mission to begin to establish the possible facts of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

According to the OPCW Chief, the OPCW mission, which is comprised of 9 people, has not yet deployed to the Syrian city of Douma, Damascus and Moscow said that there are still pending security issues.

“The Team has not yet deployed to Douma. The Syrian and the Russian officials who participated in the preparatory meetings in Damascus have informed the FFM Team that there were still pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place. In the meantime the Team was offered by the Syrian authorities that they could interview 22 witnesses who could be brought to Damascus,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said as quoted by the organization.

READ MORE: Moscow Considers New US Sanctions Illegal International Economic Takeover

 

The situation in Syria has significantly escalated over the last few weeks after reports of several Syrian opposition online media outlets, citing militants that the Syrian Army had used chlorine in the town of Douma and killed up to 70 people.Following the reports, a number of states, including the US, accused Damascus of staging the attack, with the latter denying all the allegations.

On April 14, France, the US and the UK launched missile strikes against government targets in Syria, following the alleged chemical attack blamed by the West on the Damascus authorities.

Posted in Russia, Syria, UKComments Off on Russia Accuses UK Security Services of Staging Chemical Attack in Syria 

Epic Fail: Russian Countermeasures Killed Trump Syria Attack

NOVANEWS

Proof the US would come in “third” in nuke exchange with Russia

…from SouthFront

 

76 Missiles hit here, the Pentagon says

Early on April 14, the US, the UK and France delivered a massive missile strike on Syria. The attack was publicly justified with accusations that the Syrian government had allegedly been behind the so-called Douma chemical attack on April 7. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the strikes as “harder” than the 2017 strikes on Shayrat military airfield.

The Pentagon said that the US and its allies had launched 105 missiles at the alleged “chemical weapons” facilities of the Assad government and all of them had precisely hit their targets.

The attack involved the following means and launchers:

  • The USS Monterey CG61 fired 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Red Sea.
  • The USS Laboon DDG58 fired 7 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Red Sea.
  • The USS Higgins DDG76 fired 23 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Persian Gulf.
  • The USS John Warner SSN785 fired 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean.
  • The French frigate LANGUEDOC fired 3 Storm Shadow/SCALP EG cruise missiles from the Mediterranean.
  • B-1B strategic bombers fired 19 AGM-158 JASSM air-launched cruise missiles.
  • British Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets fired 8 Storm Shadow/SCALP EG air-launched cruise missiles.
  • French Rafel and Mirage fired 9 Storm Shadow/SCALP EG air-launched cruise missiles.

According to the Pentagon 76 missiles hit “Barzah Research and Development Center”, 22 missiles hit “Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site”, 7 missiles hit “Him Shinshar CW Bunker”.

However, during the official briefing the Pentagon declined to provide any evidence confirming the allegations against the Assad government and offered no explanation as to why there was no dispersal of chemical agent clouds if the chemical weapons facilities had been hit.

Another issue raised by experts is why 76 missiles were needed to destroy three buildings in Barzeh.

There is another side to the story. According to the Syrian Defense Ministry, most of the missiles launched by the US-led bloc were intercepted. The Russian Defense Ministry provided more details by saying that Russia had not employed its air defense assets, but 71 missiles heading to 8 locations had been intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF).

The Russians added that Moscow will also consider deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Syria and other countries in response to the US actions.

However, the numbers provided by Russia raise serious questions. Some experts contacted by SouthFront said that even theoretically the SADF could not have been capable of shooting down more than 15-20% of the launched missiles. The SADF just does not have the means and measures necessary to intercept such a number of missiles simultaneously in one wave of strikes.

The experts suggested that the Russian military had possibly used its state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems to counter the launched missiles during the final phase of their flight path.

Another factor, which “highly likely” contributed to the effectiveness of the Syrian counter-measures, is that Russia had provided the Syrian military with operational data from its technical reconnaissance net, including satellites and other surveillance means. Likely, Iran had done a similar thing.

Using tracking data, Russian-made air defense systems like S-125, S-200, Buk and Kvadrat are capable of shooting down cruise missiles with a relatively high efficiency.

The 71 intercepted missiles of 103 launched are a decisive failure for the US and its allies. Some experts suggested that the 76 missiles strike on Barzeh announced by the Pentagon could be an attempt to explain where all the missiles had gone.

If the data provided by the Russian Defense Ministry is confirmed, this will be the first time in the history when that a side was able to repel a massive strike of so-called modern high-precision weapons/missiles. If so, in the case of a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia, the Russians will be able to intercept most of the US means of attack while suffering only minor damage, whereas Russia’s nuclear strike would be a crushing blow.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Epic Fail: Russian Countermeasures Killed Trump Syria Attack

Mogherini: Keeping Iran nuclear deal in place vital for EU

NOVANEWS

…by  Press TV, Tehran

The EU is holding firm on the JCPOA

[ Editor’s Note: The EU has given Trump a blow to his attempts to intimidate the EU into “renegotiating” the Iran deal by adding new sanctions. Mogherini has said she expects none to come out of the EU foreign ministers meeting.

She went even further by stating that non JCPOA sanction are already in place with Iran, and that preserving the deal was vital. So she  is painting Trump into a corner of being the deal wrecker, as last we heard, Britain was still on board.

I would suspect that one of Israel’s first assignment for it new sleeper agent in the Whitehouse is to wreck the Iran deal at all cost with Bolton leading the charge. Iran has hinted that it would stick with the deal even if the US backed out, as long as everyone else stayed in.

Bolton’s first job will be to kill the JCPOA, or Israel might fire him

Trump has waffled on a number things with the list growing almost weekly, with the last two being his wanting to get back into the TIPS trade agreement, and then his wanting to but $60 billion back out of the huge stimulus bill recently passed.

The politicians are screaming in revolt over pulling pork barrel spending back in a big election year, which will make constituents howl.

But in the world of unilateralism in which we now live, even Mr. Macron of France can reveal to us that he has found invisible ink on the UN Charter that gives the US, Britain and France the right to attack member nations without an unanimous Security Council vote.

Macron added to the that new boast that he changed Trump’s mind about leaving American troops in Syria for the long term. You just can’t make this stuff up … Jim W. Dean ]

– First published … April 16, 2018 –

The European Union has reiterated its strong and unequivocal commitment to the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran by all sides, saying preserving the deal is vital.

“The Europeans have always made it clear, the European Union has always made it clear that for us, keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the European Union and we will stick to it,” EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told reporters on Monday ahead of the bloc’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.

US President Donald Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia – plus Germany. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions put in place against Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The US president on January 12 reluctantly agreed to waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the landmark deal, but threatened to withdraw from the accord if some “disastrous flaws” were not fixed.

He said he wanted America’s European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again came up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new  conditions; otherwise Washington would pull out of the deal.

Mogherini further pointed to the May 12 “deadline” and said, ” We are doing all we can to work with our American friends to make sure that all parties stay fully committed to the full implementation of the agreement, as it is the case so far.”

She once again confirmed Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA, saying that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also verified the country’s adherence to the deal in 10 reports.

Since the JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, the IAEA has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.

In a speech to a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors in Vienna in March, Director General of the UN nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, once again confirmed Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, warning that any collapse of the deal would be a “great loss.”

“As of today, I can state that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments…If the JCPOA were to fail, it would be a great loss for nuclear verification and for multilateralism,” Amano added. Mogherini also emphasized that preserving the IAEA’s credibility was “crucial” and said, “Work is ongoing and we believe it would be essential to stay united in this.”

She added that the EU did not foresee any decision to impose new sanctions against Iran on Monday.

“As you know, we have already sanctions in place on Iran; non-nuclear related. I do not expect [EU foreign] ministers to take decision on this today,” the EU foreign policy chief said.

Iran’s nuclear chief said earlier this month that it would be humiliating for Europe to follow suit with the US policy on the JCPOA.

When asked about the possible reaction of the European countries in case the US president decides to quit the nuclear accord with Iran, Salehi said,

“This is a very complicated question in political terms and needs extensive analysis…. Suffice to say that it will be politically derogatory for Europe to follow the US policy on the JCPOA” unquestioningly, because it proves that European countries lack independence in their decision-making process.

Posted in EuropeComments Off on Mogherini: Keeping Iran nuclear deal in place vital for EU


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