Tag Archive | "Syria; Idlib chemical attack"

Russia Debunks UN-OPCW Report Blaming Damascus for Idlib Chemical Attack


NOVANEWS

Investigation of Alleged Chemical Weapons Use in Syria’s Idlib Province

The Russian Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Industry and Trade have presented their own report on chemical attacks in Syria in the wake of a UN-OPCW document, which accuses Damascus of using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that the risk of crimes related to chemical weapons use outside the Middle East is high.

Russia has voiced strong opposition to the use of chemical weapons, emphasizing that those guilty in such crimes should be brought to justice.

Claims that Russia is allegedly encouraging chemical weapons’ use in Syria are “hysteria” and attempts to discredit Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry has stated, adding that it is unacceptable to blame Damascus for it based on media reports. Moscow believes that it makes no sense for Damascus to use chemical weapons as only the opposition could benefit from it.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the UN-OPCW report on the chemical weapons’ use in Syria is biased, “unprofessional and amateur.”

“Of course we expected that the mechanism and the OPCW fact-finding mission would ensure a completely unbiased and a highly professional manner of investigation to decidedly and conclusively establish the guilty party. I shall say straight away that these expectations were not met,” the head of the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov said at a briefing.

First investigators refused to visit the site of the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in the Idlib province, the Russian ministry has recalled, adding that the probe had been conducted remotely.

“The investigation … was carried out remotely in New York and the Hague offices, as well as on the territory of one of the countries bordering Syria. This could not help but affect the quality of the investigation, which turned out to be extremely low.”

When experts finally did arrive, they refused to take samples, the Russian ministry official said, noting that Moscow suspects “sabotage” in the work of the experts.

“Actually, this is a scandal: this is an attempt to mislead the international community,” he told reporters.

The report into the chemical attack contains words “supposedly,” “likely,” etc, which mean that the findings of the document can be questioned, according to Moscow.

Moscow Debunks All Three Points in Report Blaming Idlib Chemical Attack on Damascus

The report blamed Damascus for the Idlib chemical attack based on three claims that 1) a bomb with sarin has been dropped by the Syrian military aviation on Khan Sheikhoun; 2) photo and video from the site; 3) analysis of sarin.

According to Russia’s findings, a Syrian warplane was in the area, but it was 5 km away from the site and couldn’t drop the bomb on the site due to the plane’s technical characteristics. Eyewitnesses also didn’t see a jet above Khan Sheikhoun, a Russian Defense Ministry official has said, emphasizing that due to these facts it is incorrect to say that a Syrian Su-22 could have dropped a bomb on the town in Idlib.

“If the plane had flown on the route which was registered by the United States… it could not have attacked Khan Sheikhoun from a simply technical point of view.”

Moscow has been calling on OPCW-UN experts to probe whether the Khan Sheikhoin events had been staged but have received a negative response.Based on the way the bomb crater looks, the ammunition that hit Khan Sheikhoun exploded on the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

As a Russian chemistry expert has noted, claims of unique characteristics of sarin, which was confirmed to be used in Idlib, are baseless. According to the photos of White Helmet volunteers, they touched the alleged chemical weapon with their bare hands, if it was sarin, they would have died.

The ammunition shown in the OPCW report was self-made from a water-pipe, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

In conclusion, the Russian diplomat has said that the all findings of the report have been proved to be false by Moscow.

However, Moscow has welcomed that the report agreed that photos made by the White Helmets organization’s volunteers who are believed to be connected with al-Nusra Front-linked are fake and staged.

Khan Sheikhoun Incident

The Khan Sheikhoun incident that took place in Syria’s Idlib province on April 4, 2017, left 80 people dead and injured 200 more. While the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, supported by the United States, immediately blamed the Syrian government for using the chemical weapons against civilian population, Damascus has strongly denied the allegations and reiterated that it does not possess any chemical weapons’ arsenal, the full destruction of which was confirmed by the OPCW.

Commenting on the accusations against the Syrian government, Russia has multiple times reiterated its position that all chemical weapons were taken out of Syria in mid-2014with Washington’s assistance and called for a thorough probe into the Khan Sheikhoun events.

Despite Washington immediately blaming Damascus for the alleged chemical attack even before the probe into it was launched, the US has admitted that terrorists in the country are in possession of such weapons.

Posted in USA, Russia, Syria, UNComments (0)

Idlib ‘Chemical Attack’ was False Flag to Set Assad Up, More May Come 


NOVANEWS
 

Russia has information of a potential incident similar to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb, President Vladimir Putin said. The goal is to discredit the government of Syrian President Assad, he added.

“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,”  he said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow.

Damascus denied the allegations, noting that the targeted area may have been hosting chemical weapons stockpiles belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or Al-Nusra Front jihadists.

The incident has not been properly investigated as yet, but the US fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in a demonstration of force over what it labeled a chemical attack by Damascus.

“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage,”  he added.

It was the first time the US had targeted Syrian troops deliberately. The White House says it will repeat military action in response to any possible new chemical weapon attacks.

“The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action,”  spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday.

Putin reiterated the call to properly investigate what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, saying that the alleged use of chemical weapons demands one.

“We are planning to address the corresponding UN structure in The Hague and call on the international community to thoroughly investigate all those reports and take appropriate action based on the results of such a probe,”  he said.

A separate report of a potential false flag operation in Syria came from the Russian General Staff, which said militants were transporting toxic agents into several parts of Syria, including Eastern Ghouta, the site of the 2013 chemical weapons incident.

“These actions are aimed at creating a new pretext for accusing the government of Syria of more chemical weapons attacks and provoking more strikes by the US,”  said Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, the head of Operations.

Posted in Russia, SyriaComments Off on Idlib ‘Chemical Attack’ was False Flag to Set Assad Up, More May Come 

Idlib chemical attack: A sign no change of policy is on the horizon


NOVANEWS
Image result for SYRIA ISIS  chemical attack CARTOON
By Kit | OffGuardian 

The alleged chemical attack, reported yesterday, is the latest in a series of atrocities notionally carried out by the Syrian government (“The Regime”, in the partisan parlance of the press). There has not been time, as yet, to fully examine and analyse all the evidence – the claims and counter claims, the photographs and videos – but it would be a massive mistake to view it in a vacuum.

First, the situation on the ground needs to be considered. The Syrian government – with assistance from Iran and the Russian Air Force, have been making steady progress for months. Aleppo has fallen. Palmyra was retaken. The rebels are losing. So cui bono? What good does dropping chemical weapons on children do Assad, at this point? It is both strategically pointless, and a crushing blow to his international image. It would serve no purpose, unless he’s a comic-book style villain intent on being cruel for cruelty’s sake – and they don’t exist outside of cinema or the American press. Conversely, it would make all the sense in the world for cornered zealots and mercs to try to disrupt the upcoming talks (from which they are excluded).

Second, the timing. Much like a previous “chemical attack” (and subsequent BBC Panorama documentary) came on the eve of a commons vote on military intervention in Syria, this attack comes at a key moment. In two days there is a meeting in Brussels on the Syria peace process, and the future of the country. This attack will allow Western leaders – especially the European voices, increasingly separate from the US on this issue – to ride an artificial high-horse into those proceedings. Deals can be scuppered and progress refused in the wake of such “atrocities”.

Third, we have seen this all before. There was the chemical attack in Ghouta, initially pinned on the government (and still unquestioningly attributed to them in the MSM), that was revealed to be carried out by rebels. there was also the aforementioned napalm/chemical attack on a school – thoroughly debunked by Robert Stuart. We have seen the same girl rescued three different times by the White Helmets, and seen people in Egypt arrested for faking footage of bombings. The “last hospital in Aleppo” was knocked down everyday for a month, and the last doctors slaughtered bi-weekly. There is no reason, as yet, to think this is not just more of the same.

This is in fine tradition of media manipulation – from filming people on the outside of a fence and pretending they’re inside, to moving bodies for a better photograph, to deliberately removing an image’s context, and lying about it. Events are ignored, twisted, exaggerated and outright fabricated in order to push an agenda. Accordance with reality is immaterial to the process, and coincidental when it occurs.

Real or not, false flag or not – No one can deny convenience of the timing. Given the conflict the UK/EU find themselves in with the new US administration re: Syria. During the campaign Trump, unlike Clinton, totally refused to countenance the idea of no-fly zones or any kind of American/NATO backed military action against Syria and their Russian/Iranian allies. The last few weeks have seen even a softening of America’s “Assad must go” mantra. Rex Tillerson, speaking in Turkey last week, said:

I think the… longer term status of president Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,”

And the American ambassador to the UN added:

You pick and choose your battles and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.”

Though she did later clarify these remarks, after being named-and-shamed in the media.

John McCain called Tillerson’s words “one of the more unusual statements I have ever heard”, stating it would be ridiculous to let Syrians decide the fate of Syrian government (probably because they would choose wrong).

The press, of course, have not referenced any of this. They continue to cite the partisan White Helmets and completely discredited “Syrian observatory for Human Rights” as if they are reliable sources. They continue to assert gossip and rumor as if it were fact. They continue to lie, but give themselves just enough room to manoeuvre should their lies be exposed.

The Guardian view on…, one of the Guardian’s anonymous editorials (that definitely don’t come straight from GCHQ, you cynics), is a classic example. The headline reads:

The Guardian view on Syria: Assad knows he acts with impunity

A sharp, hard-edged, statement of absolute certitude… and the only sentence of conviction in the whole piece. The rest is littered with uncertain, selective language. Weasel-words and guesses. I have added the emphasis:

Tuesday’s attack in rebel-held Idlib province has forced a reaction: it is one of the worst suspected chemical attacks in the six-year war

the symptoms suggest the use of a nerve agent, probably sarin

ascertaining the agents used, by whom, is always difficult – particularly given the problems experts will face in accessing the site.

The suspicion is that Tuesday’s strike, like another suspected sarin attack which killed 93 people in eastern Hama in December,

Some have already drawn a link between what seems to be the use of a more deadly agent and the US shift on Syria

That’s an awful lot of “seems” and “suspecteds” to cram into 700 words. It’s a suspected attack, that seems like it might be similar to other suspected attacks, which might have happened. As of right now, it appears, we don’t who attacked, how they attacked, what they attacked with or – indeed – if anyone attacked anything at all.

Nevertheless, the nameless and completely non-partisan and objective author reassures us that:

Nonetheless, the evidence so far points in one direction,

… he just neglects to mention exactly what that evidence is, or tell us where we can find it.

Just hours later we are treated to a longer variation on the exact-same theme, this time the author doesn’t feel ashamed to put his name to it… he probably should be. But years of writing about the Guardian teaches you that Jonathan Freedland is never ashamed of putting his name to anything.

Let’s not even condemn these attacks any more – because our condemnations ring so hollow.

… he says, before condemning the attacks – at interminable length and in trite manipulative language. That these condemnations “ring hollow” might be the only honest words in the article. The level of selective blindness, historical dishonesty, and flat-out hypocrisy is astounding. Even for him,

Assad has himself broken international law, indeed broken a set of precious, century-old conventions and agreements that ban chemical weapons.

… he says, as if a) It was a proven fact and b) It was the only example. No mention of American use of depleted Uranium, Agent Orange or napalm is made. No mention of Israeli White Phosphorus or of the cluster bombs we used in Iraq, and sold to Saudi Arabia to be used on Yemeni civilians. The use of any and all of those substances is illegal under International law. America and Israel cannot be charged with a breach of The Geneva Convention, of course, because they have never ratified protocols I and II, outlawing the targeting of civilians and infrastructure and banning certain weapons.

We are all too aware of the costs of action. But the dead of Khan Sheikhoun force us to make another calculation. They force us to see that inaction too can exact a terrible price.

This could be a straight copy-and-paste job from his many articles on Libya. He made the same arguments back then, and must take partial responsibility for post-apocalyptic wasteland that he (and his colleagues in the media) helped to create. Libya is destroyed, he knows this, and if he could excuse or downplay his role in that destruction… he would do so. To ignore it, and employ the same reasoning to encourage the same fate to yet another Middle-Eastern country, displays a callousness and vanity that belies is saccharine concern for “values”.

However, no amount of faux-moral agonising and dishonesty will ever trump this:

For more than a decade, we have rightly weighed the grave consequences of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, counting the toll in human suffering.

The tone mirrors the same tone ever-taken by members of the Western press when it comes to Iraq. “Our consciences are agony”, they scream at us. As if Iraq was all a tragic accident, fuelled by the fervor of our best intentions and naivety of our governments. They will never address the truth of it – that it was a cynical and brutal war of conquest, cheered on a by braying, controlled media, with more regard for their appearance of virtue, and their bank balances, than any idea of objective truth.

Now, the lame self-flagellation is one thing, but that it should appear alongside this:

Assad’s impunity is, at this very moment, being noted and filed away by the world’s most brutal regimes: the precedent is being set. This is what you can get away with.

… is quite another. The world is VERY aware “what you can get away with” in international law…and it’s not 70 dead in what “seems” like a gas attack. What you can “get away with” is walling up millions of people in a giant ghetto, and cutting off their water and power supply. It’s dropping carcinogens on villages, that give babies tumors 50 years later. It’s illegal sanctions that kill 500,000 children but are “worth it”.

“what you can get away with”, as the author so po-facedly admits, is the invasion of Iraq. An illegal war, a million dead, an ancient seat of civilisation reduced to a glass crater. Was anyone fired? Did anyone resign in disgrace? Has anyone faced charges in the Hague. No, the perpetrators walk free. They collect paychecks from the boards of the most powerful companies in the world, and are given column inches in the Guardian when ever they want them.

In terms of making an actual argument, he hits the exact same talking points as The Guardian view, uses the exact same phrases… and produces the exact same amount of evidence:

… we almost certainly know who did it. Every sign points to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

He doesn’t say what these “signs” are. Or link to where we can see them.

We know that the poison spread after warplanes dropped bombs

We “know” no such thing. That’s just what the White Helmets said. The White Helmets are paid by the governments of several countries… including the US and UK. They are completely discredited as a source. But this article isn’t about making an evidence-based case, it is about harnessing created public outrage in order to further a specific political agenda.

So, what is the agenda? Well, it won’t be full-blown war in Syria. Number 10 was very quick to – shall we say – shoot-down that idea. It won’t be any kind of overt NATO or American backed intervention… if the PTB had wanted that, they would have pushed harder for a Clinton victory. And Freedland’s reference to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s suggestion is laughable:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly of the Obama administration, suggests a single strike that would crater, say, a runway used by Assad’s warplanes – not an invasion, not a full-scale military operation, but some way of punishing Syria for what it has done.

No, the agenda being pushed here is two-fold, firstly an attack on the UN and its apparent impotence, and secondly a pre-emptive defense of the status quo.

To deal with the first point, the article launches a sidelong attack on the UN Security Council, most specifically the veto power:

In February, the UN security council considered imposing sanctions over the use of chemical weapons. Russia vetoed it, of course: it would never want to stay the hand of its murderous chum. But China vetoed it too.

This is not new material for the Guardian, they have been attacking the UN veto for years now – as have other liberal papers and news outlets. You don’t need to be a genius to understand the drive to undermine the only regulatory body that can put a hold on neo-liberal imperialism. But for the UNSC, Iraq would have been so much easier and Syria would have been levelled by now.

The second point is more subtle. For years the CIA et al have been seeking to remove Assad from government, most openly through supplying arms and money to the “moderate opposition” in order to wage a proxy war. Trump’s election, and his public undermining of the intelligence agencies, poses a threat to this on-going plan.

Now that this chemical attack has happened, of course, Trump’s administration can be condemned for being “soft”. Now, we can call on Trump and his cabinet to “act”… and when they refuse to change their policy, rightfully fearful of a conflict with Russia, they will be further derided and undermined in the press as “Russian agents” who are “easy on tyrants”.

All the while, the covert operations carried out by American and European alphabet agencies all over Syria will continue.

When the State Dept., the CIA and all their co-members of America’s (totally imaginary) “deep state” completely disregard the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, and continue to pursue their own agenda – continue to supply arms and funding to their mercenaries and proxies – they will be applauded in the press for their “bravery” and “resolution”.

We will be encouraged to be “thankful” that the mechanics of democracy and freedom cannot be impeded by the election of an autocratic buffoon. We will be told, with a bright smile, that our choice of leadership means literally nothing as it pertains to foreign policy.

It will be thrown in our faces that our elected officials have no real power, and we will be told to applaud the death of democracy… in the name of freedom.

Posted in C.I.A, SyriaComments Off on Idlib chemical attack: A sign no change of policy is on the horizon


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