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PETER HITCHENS: My secret meeting with mole at the heart of The Great Poison Gas Scandal

PETER HITCHENS: My secret meeting with mole at the heart of The Great Poison Gas Scandal

Capture

I stood outside the safe house, in a road I cannot name, in a major European city I cannot identify, not sure what I might find inside. I had no way of being sure. 

I had travelled a long distance by train to an address I had been given over an encrypted email.

I was nervous that the meeting might be some sort of trap. Leaks from inside arms verification organisations are very sensitive matters. Powerful people mind about them. 

I wasn’t sure whether to be afraid of being followed, or to be worried about who might be waiting behind the anonymous door on a dark afternoon, far from home. I took all the amateurish precautions that I could think of.

As it happened, it was not a trap. Now, on carefully selected neutral ground, I was to meet a person who would confirm suspicions that had been growing in my mind over several years – that there is something rotten in the way that chemical weapons inspections are being conducted and reported. And that the world could be hurried into war on the basis of such inspections.

Inside the safe house, I was greeted by a serious, patient expert, a non-political scientist whose priority had until now always been to do the hard, gritty work of verification – travelling to the scenes of alleged horrors, sifting and searching for hard evidence of what had really happened. But this entirely honourable occupation had slowly turned sour. 

The whiff of political interference had begun as a faint unpleasant smell in the air and grown until it was an intolerable stench. Formerly easy-going superiors had turned into tricky bureaucrats. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New OPCW Leak Further Vindicates Skeptics Of Establishment Syria Narrative

New OPCW Leak Further Vindicates Skeptics Of Establishment Syria Narrative

On the sixth of July last year, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released its interim report on its findings regarding an alleged poison gas attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018. The incident, which resulted in dozens of civilian casualties, was blamed on the Syrian government by the US, UK and France, who launched retaliatory airstrikes on multiple targets in that nation.

The interim report claimed that “various chlorinated organic chemicals were found” in different locations on the scene, but strangely said nothing about the levels at which those chemicals were found. The Moon of Alabama blog highlighted this suspicious exclusion on the day the report came out, noting that levels are absolutely essential in determining chemical weapons use when you’re talking about compounds which are found virtually everywhere at some level in any industrialized region.

“The preliminary OPCW report says nothing about the concentrations in which these substances were found,” MoA observed. “Without knowing the concentrations, which may be extremely low, one can not come to further conclusion.”

“The ‘various chlorinated organic chemicals’ are unsurprising,” MoA wrote. “Chlorine is widely used for water purification and cleaning and ‘chlorinated organic chemicals’ will be found in any household.”

new addition to the body of leaks which have been hemorrhaging from the OPCW shows that such skepticism was indeed entirely warranted. A leaked email sent shortly before the interim report was published reveals that the chlorinated organic chemicals which OPCW investigators found on the scene were as low as one or two parts-per-billion, meaning, just as Moon of Alabama speculated last year, that they were found at trace quantities you’d expect to find in any industrialized area.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Wide-Scale” Israeli Strike On Damascus Kills 23 After Alleged Iranian Rocket Attack

“Wide-Scale” Israeli Strike On Damascus Kills 23 After Alleged Iranian Rocket Attack

During the night Tuesday Israel conducted a “wide-scale” strike on Syria, focused in and around Damascus, resulting in a soaring casualty count according to the AP.

“A Britain-based war monitoring group said the Israeli airstrikes killed 11 people, including seven non-Syrians who are most likely Iranians,” the AP initially reported, though Syrian state media cited two civilians killed among multiple wounded. That number was revised Wednesday morning to at least 23 people, most said to be “non-Syrians”  likely Iranians, according to reports.

The Israeli military said it had hit multiple targets belonging to Iran’s elite Quds force, specifically missile and weapons warehouses, after the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said rockets were “fired at Israel by an Iranian force in Syria”.

Screengrab from video of Tuesday night’s massive airstrikes on Damascus. 

International reports have described the attacks as the most intense since a similar operation last January. Over the past months what were previously somewhat frequent Israeli raids inside Syria had grown quiet. 

The Israeli military said its fighter jets hit multiple targets belonging to Iran’s elite Quds force, including surface-to-air missiles, weapons warehouses and military bases. After the Syrian military fired an air defense missile, the Israeli military said a number of Syrian aerial defense batteries were also destroyed.


#BREAKING: We just carried out wide-scale strikes of Iranian Quds Force & Syrian Armed Forces targets in Syria in response to the rockets fired at Israel by an Iranian force in Syria last night.


Damascus residents are outraged after a direct hit on a civilian home Wednesday night, which included children among the wounded, as the AP reports:

Syria’s state SANA news agency said the two civilians were killed by shrapnel when an Israeli missile hit a house in the town of Saasaa, southwest of Damascus. It said several others were wounded, including a girl in a residential building in the suburb of Qudsaya, also west of the Syrian capital.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now hemorrhaging evidence that the US and its allies deceived the world once again about yet another military intervention, which should be a front-page story all over the world. Yet if you looked at American news media headlines you’d think the only thing that matters right now is indulging the childish fantasy that Donald Trump might somehow magically be removed from office via supermajority consensus in a majority-Republican Senate.

CounterPunch has published an actual bombshell of a report by journalist Jonathan Steele containing many revelations about the OPCW scandal which were previously unknown to the public. Steele is an award-winning reporter who worked as a senior foreign correspondent for The Guardian back before that outlet was purged of all critical thinkers on western imperialism; he first waded into the OPCW controversy last month with a statement made on the BBC revealing the existence of a second whistleblower on the organisation’s investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

If you haven’t been following this story you can click here for a timeline of events to fully appreciate the significance of these new revelations about the Douma incident, but just to quickly recap, in April of last year reports surfaced that dozens of civilians had been killed in that city by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad. This immediately drew skepticism from people who’ve been paying attention to the narrative manipulation campaign against Syria, since Assad had already won the battle for Douma and had no strategic reason to employ banned weapons there knowing that there would be a military strike in retaliation from western powers. True to form, a few days later the US, France and the UK launched airstrikes on the Syrian government.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Assad Calls Trump “Best US President” Ever For “Transparency” Of Real US Motives

Assad Calls Trump “Best US President” Ever For “Transparency” Of Real US Motives

Arguably some of the most significant events since the eight-year long war’s start have played out in Syria with rapid pace over just the last month alone, including Turkey’s military incursion in the north, the US pullback from the border and into Syria’s oil fields, the Kurdish-led SDF’s deal making with Damascus, and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All of this is why a televised interview with President Bashar Assad was highly anticipated at the end of this week. 

Assad’s commentary on the latest White House policy to “secure the oil” in Syria, for which US troops have already been redeployed to some of the largest oil fields in the Deir Ezzor region, was the biggest pressing question. The Syrian president’s response was unexpected and is now driving headlines, given what he said directly about Trump, calling him the “best American president” ever – because he’s the “most transparent.”

“When it comes to Trump you may ask me a question and I’ll give you an answer which might seem strange. I tell you he’s the best American president,” Assad said, according to a translation provided by NBC.

“Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president,” Assad continued.

“All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ American or Western principles. But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others,” he added.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The United States, Turkey and the SDF: The Internal War Between Syria’s Enemies

The United States, Turkey and the SDF: The Internal War Between Syria’s Enemies 

The truth is that in addition to Turkey, the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have armed, financed and trained about 250 thousand jihadis from all around the world since 2010 for the purposes of attacking Syria, precipitating a disaster in the region, with repercussions felt in Europe, and committing crimes against humanity.

The Syrian Arab Army, with the assistance of its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies, has managed to overcome the depredations of al-Qaeda and ISIS, confining them to the Idlib region, creating in the process some problems for the countries that armed and supported these monsters.

One of these problems lies with two of NATO’s most important countries, and the respective factions that they support in Syria.

Ankara considers the PKK-affiliated YPG to be a terrorist organization, using the jihadis of al-Nusra Front, Daesh, al-Qaeda and the FSA to attack areas under the control of Damascus in order to exterminate the Kurds.

Before the alt-media started to talk about the use of terrorists against Syria, the complaints emanating from Damascus about what was going on were dismissed as propaganda. Now the mainstream media is all of a sudden beside itself with concern for the wellbeing of the Kurds. When Syrian civilians were under similar assault, the likes of CNN and other international media created a smokescreen to prevent people from understanding what was happening in Syria. Such deliberate obfuscation has caused thousands of deaths that are no less heinous than those committed by Daesh.

Behind the obfuscating fog is the fact that the United States helped create Daesh in Iraq and used them in 2012 as a weapon against Damascus, in full coordination with Erdogan. Dozens of jihadist groups were armed and equipped to support US plans to destroy Syria.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Imperial Capital but America-First Nation

Imperial Capital but America-First Nation

Imperial Capital but America-First Nation

Is America still the world’s last superpower with global policing obligations? Or should we shuck off this imperial role and make America, again, in Jeane Kirkpatrick’s phrase, “a normal country in a normal time”?

“Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand,” said President Donald Trump in an impassioned defense of his decision to cut ties to the Syrian Kurds, withdraw and end these “endless wars.”

Are our troops in Syria, then, on their way home? Well, not exactly.

Those leaving northern Syria went into Iraq. Other U.S. soldiers will stay in Syria to guard oil wells that we and the Kurds captured in the war with ISIS. Another 150 U.S. troops will remain in al-Tanf to guard Syria’s border with Iraq, at the request of Jordan and Israel.

And 2,000 more U.S. troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia to help defend the kingdom from Iran, which raises a question: Are we coming or going?

In his conflicting statements and actions, Trump seemingly seeks to mollify both sides of our national quarrel:

Is America still the world’s last superpower with global policing obligations? Or should we shuck off this imperial role and make America, again, in Jeane Kirkpatrick’s phrase, “a normal country in a normal time”?

In Middle America, anti-interventionism has carried the day. As Trump says, no declaration at his rallies is more wildly welcomed than his pledge to end our Middle East wars and bring the troops home.

But in this imperial capital, the voice of the interventionist yet prevails. The media, the foreign policy elite, the think tanks, the ethnic lobbies, the Pentagon, the State Department, Capitol Hill, are almost all interventionist, opposed to Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds. Rand Paul may echo Middle America, but Lindsey Graham speaks for the Republican establishment.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“We Want To Keep The Oil”

“We Want To Keep The Oil”

“Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand,
workin’ in the dark against your fellow man.
But as sure as God made black and white
what’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.”
~ Johnny Cash/traditional, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’

The Grayzone has an excellent new article out titled “US troops are staying in Syria to ‘keep the oil’ – and have already killed hundreds over it” detailing the many ways the Trump administration has openly admitted that it is keeping US troops in Syria to control the nation’s oil fields so that the Syrian government can’t use it to fund reconstruction efforts.

“We’ve secured the oil, and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said in a recent press conference. “And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

“We want to keep the oil,” Trump said in a cabinet meeting a few days earlier. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

“A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper. As Grayzone‘s Ben Norton accurately explains, “and others” necessarily means the Syrian government; preventing Assad from accessing Syrian oil is standing US military policy.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Panic Mode” Run On Lebanon’s Banks Feared After 7-Day Closure Amid Protests

“Panic Mode” Run On Lebanon’s Banks Feared After 7-Day Closure Amid Protests 

Banks across Lebanon have been shuttered now for a seventh consecutive day, with the country’s banking association saying banks would remain closed Friday over “safety concerns” as massive anti-corruption protests have brought multiple cities to a standstill, which began a week ago.

Reuters reports that banking operations have been “limited to paying out customer and employee salaries via ATMs” in a situation which has also hit war-torn Syria, given many Syrians rely on the neighboring Lebanese banking system to hold dollars and savings following the collapse of Syria’s currency. 

Via NBC News

For the first time addressing the protests  dubbed the ‘WhatsApp Revolution’ because it was initially triggered by a government a plan to boost state revenues with a daily tax rate on calls made via voice over internet protocol (VoIP), utilized by applications such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp — Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun in a public speech touted an economic reform package proposed by the prime minister as a “first step” toward staving off economic collapse

Aoun acknowledged state corruption has “eaten us to the bone” and assured the crowds,  “I am ready to meet your representatives who carry your concerns, to listen to your specific demands.”

He also hinted at a government reshuffle potentially in the works, saying that there was “a need to review the current government.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s Official: Trump Says US Keeping Syria’s Oil, Secured By “Small Number” Of Troops

It’s Official: Trump Says US Keeping Syria’s Oil, Secured By “Small Number” Of Troops

“Now we’re getting out… let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand,” President Trump said during a major, unannounced speech from the White House declaring America’s “big success” in Syria. 

As we predicted, he confirmed the US is “getting out” but it’s not quite the reality, because he also confirmed a “small number” of American troops will stay in Syria to protect oil in the region

“We have secured the oil and, therefore, a small number of U.S. Troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. “And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

But of course, this oil belongs to the Syrian state and its people, as even former top White House Syria and Iraq envoy Brett McGurk, stated bluntly this week: “Oil, like it or not, is owned by the Syrian state.”

Trump also acknowledged during the Wednesday televised address, in a rare reference to past White House policy, that Obama embarked on a failed “regime change” bid in Syria, which morphed into a nightmarish war taking 500,000 lives. 

Currently, even amid a US troop pullback in the north, American special forces and Kurdish-led SDF forces remain in control of the key oil and gas infrastructure in the Deir Ezzor region, east of the Euphrates. The major oil and gas fields in the eastern region such as al-Omar, Conoco field, and Rumeilan oil field, remain Syria’s only significant domestic energy access.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Politicians Live in a Parallel Universe

Politicians Live in a Parallel Universe

I’m convinced of it. Politicians definitely live in a parallel universe, one that could easily be called Bizarro World.

Just read a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It provides irrefutable proof that these people live in an alternative universe.

The title of McConnell’s article is “Withdrawing from Syria Is a Grave Mistake.” As you can tell from the title, McConnell, like the good little Republican he is, is an interventionist . That means he believes that the U.S. government should intervene in the affairs of other countries, like with coups, assassinations, invasions, bribery, extortion, sanctions, and embargoes, even while lamenting when foreign governments (e.g., Russia) intervene in the affairs of other countries in the same ways.

Okay, so Republicans are interventionists. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they live in a parallel universe. It just means that they are seriously misguided. The proof that McConnell lives in an alternative universe comes through the analysis he employs to justify his interventionism.

Number 1. McConnell says that that interventionism is necessary to combat “Islamic terrorism.”

What? Is he kidding? He obviously doesn’t get it. He still believes that the terrorists are targeting America because of their supposed hatred for America’s “freedom and values.” He still doesn’t understand that it is interventionism itself (which he ardently supports) that is the root cause of the anger and hatred that foreigners have toward the United States. Stop the interventionism and anti-American terrorism dissipates.

In McConnell’s universe, the “war on terrorism” goes on forever because,  in his mind, the Muslims will hate America forever. The Pentagon and the CIA will just have to continue inflicting death, suffering, and destruction on foreigners on a perpetual basis until the war is “won,” that is, when all the Muslim terrorists are finally eradicated, which just might be never, especially since the interventionism produces a never-ending stream of anger and hatred toward the United States.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Betrayal and Deception: Syria Is a Prime Example of US Foreign Policy

Betrayal and Deception: Syria Is a Prime Example of US Foreign Policy 

Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops who had been protecting the SDF (Syrian democratic forces) in the northeast of Syria, prompting Kurdish leadership and the Damascus governed to strike a deal allowing Syrian Arab Army to retake control of the border with Turkey after nearly six years.

With the US troops withdrawn numbering around 150 to 200 (out of the 2,000 to 3,000 illegally squatting in Syria), it is understood that Trump’s decision is for reasons other than those stated.

The primary impression Trump wishes to convey to his voters is that of keeping his electoral promises, including that of defeating ISIS in Syria, meaning that US troops can now come back home.

Although it is clear (at least to those not under the sway of the mainstream media) that ISIS has not been completely defeated and that the US never really fought against the Caliphate, the impression is nevertheless conveyed that the “Winner-in-Chief” has triumphed and is bringing home the boys.

Given that the deep state retains ultimate control of US foreign policy, Trump is allowed to do and say what he wants – provided it is only within the confines of his media playpen, safe in the knowledge that his motivations are purely electoral and not really aimed and upending the foreign-policy consensus of the US establishment.

If we look beyond Trump’s histrionics, we can see that the US deep state continues its illegal stay in Syria, with Trump in reality having no intention of opposing the military-industrial complex (indeed often appointing its members to serve in his administration), with these two parties finding a common point of agreement in the alleged threat posed by Iran.

US troops will only shift near Iraq, looking at disrupting any form of cooperation between Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

ABC News Busted Using Gun Range Footage To Report Turkish ‘Slaughter’ Of Kurd Civilians

ABC News Busted Using Gun Range Footage To Report Turkish ‘Slaughter’ Of Kurd Civilians

ABC News was just busted using two year old gun range footage while reporting on Turkey ‘slaughtering’ the kurds in the wake of a US withdrawal from the region. 

This video right here appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town. The Kurds, who fought alongside the US against ISIS now horrific reports of atrocities committed by Turkish-backed fighters on those very allies” -ABC News 


Wow! ABC News is trying to pass gun range videos as combat footage from Syria


For comparison, here’s the ABC News report: 

And here’s the footage they used – from the Knob Creek gun range in West Point, Kentucky in 2017. 

Just a simple editing room oversight, we’re sure. 

It’s a New World Order, Alright

It’s a New World Order, Alright

Pavel Filonov The Kolkhoznik (Member of a Collective Farm) 1931

Those winds just keep on shifting, no matter that the western press either doesn’t see them shift, doesn’t recognize them for what they are, or chooses to ignore them. But these winds bring tidings of a tectonic plate-shaking shift in the global political climate.

The fires in Saudi oil installations, whether they were caused by drones or missiles, and whoever fired those, are a major story, and rightly so, because they could shake up economies in drastic ways. But they may still, not be the biggest story after all.

Last Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley (already occupied territory, 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live there). He did that to steal votes from the far right in next Tuesday’s (Sep. 17) Knesset election. “Bibi” also called Donald Trump his “friend” every second word for that same purpose. Trump responded in kind. He may come to regret that. Choose your friends wisely. Bit of background from RT:

 

US, Israel Talk About Mutual Defense Treaty – Trump

The US and Israel are discussing a mutual defense treaty that would further cement the already “tremendous” alliance between the two countries, President Donald Trump has revealed. “I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries,” Trump tweeted. 

Trump voiced not-that-veiled support for Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Israel. “I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!” Trump wrote. The support surely comes in handy, as Netanyahu’s backing appears to be quite shaky. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Britain Furious Iran Tanker Broke ‘Promise’ Not To Sell Its Oil To Syria

Britain Furious Iran Tanker Broke ‘Promise’ Not To Sell Its Oil To Syria

Britain has slammed Iran for what it says is a breach in assurances regarding the previously detained Grace 1/Adrian Darya 1 tanker. Specifically a condition of the vessel’s release from UK/Gibraltar captivity last month was that it would not offload its 2.1 million barrels of Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. 

But the UK can do little beyond merely issuing a formal complaint to the United Nations, which it plans to do next month, according to Reuters. London was also reported to have summoned Iran’s ambassador on Tuesday to condemn the moveImage via EPA-EFE

“Iran has shown complete disregard for its own assurances over Adrian Darya 1,” foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement. “This sale of oil to (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s) brutal regime is part of a pattern of behavior by the Government of Iran designed to disrupt regional security.”

The diplomatic row comes days after over the weekend Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed the tanker had unloaded its valuable cargo, estimated at $130 million in crude, “on the Mediterranean coast,” according to state media. Just prior the Iranian tanker was observed within a few nautical miles of Syria’s coast via satellite images. 

“Iran’s actions represent an unacceptable violation of international norms,” the UK statement said.

However, we should point out it’s also not within “international norms” – indeed it’s unprecedented – for Royal Marines to raid a foreign vessel in international waters at the bidding of Washington, which is precisely what happen when the tanker was detained in the first place. 

Currently, Tehran is rumored to be preparing the release the British-flagged Stena Impero, captured in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 in retaliation for Britain’s prior capture of the Grace 1 off Gibraltar on July 4.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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