UPDATE: Watch the UNSC Meeting live:
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UPDATE: ‘This is about humanity’: Trump promises decision on US military action within 24-48 hours – Russia suddenly puts troops on full combat alert
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 19:27 UTC
Trump promised a swift response to the “heinous attack,” saying that “this is about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen.”
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By now the pattern of these alleged chemical weapons attacks is set in stone. They come at seminal junctures in the conflict, when Syrian government forces are on the verge of a significant strategic victory or advance against the alphabet soup of Salafi-jihadi groups that are operating in the country.
Thus the Ghouta attack of 2013 occurred just as UN inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate claims that Nusra Front were using chemical weapons, and at a point when the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah were winning key battles — al-Qusayr, Aleppo, Ghouta — with the momentum on the ground shifting in favour of Damascus.
The Douma attack, likewise, has come at a critical juncture, just as the military operation to liberate the entire district of eastern Ghouta from opposition militant groups, dominated by Jaish al-Islam, approaches completion.
Call me old-fashioned, but purely on the level of motive the pattern of these attacks constitutes by itself grounds for circumspection, of not scepticism?
Yet again, as with the previous attacks mentioned, the evidence and information surrounding the Douma attack has been provided by opposition and pro-opposition groups, such as the White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Though no one is suggesting (at least certainly not me) that no attack took place, or that the footage of children stricken in the aftermath was fabricated, until independent verification is forthcoming the claim of Syrian army culpability cannot be taken at face value — not when we are dealing with probably the most heavily propagandized conflict of modern times, wherein the information war has been elevated beyond the status of an adjunct to the conflict on the ground to the point where it is now a key and crucial front in of itself.
The clamour for Western military intervention follows these alleged attacks is deafening, whipped up by the usual complement of neocon ideologues and regime change fanatics for whom every day is a cruise missile day. Meanwhile, Trump’s threat that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would pay a “big price” is redolent of the posse-speak that has come to exemplify his administration’s engagement with a world that has long been straining under the weight of US hegemony.
Indeed for neoconservative hawks such as Trump’s newly appointed National Security Advisor, John Bolton, the world is America and America is the world, with those who dare resist ripe for attack.
Conveniently abstracted from the wholesale demonization of Assad, Putin, Russia and Iran — the forces fighting to liberate Syria from the kind of people who when conducting attacks on civilians in London, Paris, Brussels, and San Bernadino are described as terrorists, but when it comes to Syria are described as rebels — is the fact that groups such as Nusra and Jaish al-Islam have access to chemical weapons. The US State Department admitted as much in a travel warning posted on its website (though later removed), according to reports towards the end of 2017.
Even more significantly, when it comes to the Douma attack, is the revelation that Syrian army units stumbled upon makeshift labs for the production of chemical weapons during the current campaign to liberate Ghouta. Then, too, we have the warning issued by Russia in mid-March that the US was planning a strike on Damascus on the basis of an “invented pretext.” The Russian warning, carried by Reuters, sources a statement made by the head of staff of the Russian armed forces, Valery Grasimov, claiming that Russian military intelligence had received information that militants in Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.
Now, a month later, we have the Douma chemical weapons attack, followed by an Israeli airstrike on a Syrian military facility in Homs, confirming yet again that Israel under Netanyahu is a rogue state, unbound by any legal or moral constraint.
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist,” legendary US comedian George Carlin once opined, proving that oft-times the most profound wisdom is articulated in jest. In admitting to having lost any faith in the moral rectitude of Western governments in matters of war and peace, I don’t think that I am alone. How could it be otherwise when the evidence of their malign actions is so overwhelming? For more and more people in the West, a million dead Iraqis and countless dead Libyan verily scream at them from the grave every time they come close to consider taking their governments’ claims at face value when it comes to the pretext presented to them for still more military intervention in more countries.
Don’t get me wrong: it has not yet reached the stage where I refuse to believe a word they say about anything. But let’s just say that if they tell me it’s going to be warm and sunny tomorrow, I’ll be sure to pack my umbrella and stick on my overcoat before leaving the house.
The views and opinions expressed by Jon Wight are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
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Russia Convenes UNSC Meeting to Discuss Threats to International Peace. . . at three o’clock today, Eastern Time . . . should be interesting to watch!
Thus, the UN Security Council will hold two meetings on Monday. The meeting initiated by Russia will take place approximately at 15.00 local time (19.00 GMT). Upon its completion, the Security Council will proceed to discuss the situation in Syria.
Earlier in the day, nine out of 15 members of the UN Security Council have urged the convocation of an emergency meeting to discuss reports about alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
© AP Photo/ Richard Drew
On Saturday, several media outlets, citing Syrian militants, accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in the city of Duma in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. US President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said earlier on Sunday that he did not rule out military actions against the Syrian government in connection with the reports. At the same time, Trump accused Russia and Iran of supporting Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
Also earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry‘s Center for Syrian Reconciliation refuted reports about the use of a chlorine bomb in Syria’s Duma, adding that Russia was ready to send its specialists to collect data that would confirm the fabricated nature of the statements.
Russian Foreign Ministry said that the information attacks about alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces were aimed at covering up terrorists and justifying possible external military action. The ministry warned against any military action based on far-fetched and fabricated reports, adding that it might have severe consequences.
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RT Exclusive: ‘Not her own words’: Skripal relative describes weird phone call, asks PM May for UK visa
Salisbury Hospital becomes secret rendition center for Yulia Skripal
Salisbury Hospital’s chief administrator and chief doctor refuse to say they are holding consent forms signed by Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal. Without those forms, and proof the hospital has obtained them from the Skripals since they regained consciousness last week, the hospital is making claims about their privacy which are improper, according to the practice rules of the British National Health Service, and unlawful violations of their human rights, according to British and European law. . . Click article title to continue reading.
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Chemical Cover-up Continues: British Consider ‘Disappearing’ Skripals Somewhere in The Anglosphere, by Niall Bradley
Niall’s commentary happens to back up my words in my Comment yesterday about our emotions:
We have only Britain’s word that that is indeed the case. And Britain’s word – with zero proof demonstrating the whereabouts and well-being of the Skripals – is completely worthless.
In an apparent PR move to blow smoke over the fact that he was last week caught lying about the alleged ‘novichok’ nerve agent “definitely” being of Russian origin, the Sunday Times also ran an op-ed today by Britain’s blathering buffoon of a foreign minister. Boris Johnson launched a demented tirade against Jeremy Corbyn, accusing the Labour Party leader of being “the Kremlin’s useful idiot” for “playing Putin’s game” by refusing to say “unequivocally that the Russian state was responsible.” Johnson also accused the Kremlin of peddling “an avalanche of lies and disinformation” about the attack and says Corbyn is endorsing this “torrent of absurdity.”
You won’t read a better description of the British government’s actions in this bizarre affair.
Johnson next accused Corbyn of treason:
“There is only one thing that gives the Kremlin succour and lends false credibility to its propaganda onslaught. That is when politicians from the targeted countries join in. Sadly, I am driven to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn has joined this effort.”
Just as in the US, Russian media has a relatively tiny reach in the UK. The only “avalanche of propaganda” we have witnessed over this past month has come from the UK’s propaganda arms, which are globally dominant.
Johnson next veered into psychoanalyzing Corbyn, theorizing that his “infantile leftist background” had led him to sympathise with “any country, any movement, however unappealing, that is hostile to Britain,” before concluding:
“Corbyn shames himself by lending it succour. Truly he is the Kremlin’s useful idiot.”
Besides the vile, accusatory flavor of Johnson’s rant, I find his recourse to characterizing Corbyn as ‘infantile’ interesting. There’s a strong element of projection here, of course, because it is in fact Corbyn who is being the adult and Johnson the petulant child. Johnson’s contention is so clearly reversed from the truth that we might even describe it as psychopathic projection.
But this contradiction by Johnson perhaps speaks to something that is more widely, culturally ingrained in British society. For the longest time, British political theory with respect to its empire and international relations contained at its core a belief that the natives they were plundering and abusing were ‘child-like’ because they were ‘ruled by their passions’, rather than by ‘rationality’, as the British elites believed themselves to be. Much ink was spilled arguing the case that the British – and western Europeans more generally – had ‘moved beyond emotions’, which are, in their view, an evolutionary throwback, a kind of residue from ‘primitive societies’.
We now know, of course, that the reverse is true: healthy psychological development requires developing one’s emotions into maturity, not amputating or eviscerating them as if they are some redundant appendage. In addition, it has been established that there is no such thing as ‘pure rationality’ because everyone is subject to subconscious, emotionally-based drives. Rigid belief to the contrary may in fact foster psychopathy and other pathologically self-referential tendencies, such as the belief in one’s own superiority over others, and mask the unconscious predatory instinct that appears to be a hallmark of British ‘back-room’ politicians and ‘high level civil servants’.
Where does that leave people like Johnson? ‘Evolved above the fray’, developmentally stunted beyond redemption, or lacking something essentially human?
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A variety of headlines . . .
A Syrian ‘gas attacks’ timeline – Notice the pattern? by Moon-of-Alabama, who gives us another insightful article!
China gets much needed rain, we get either drought or deluge.
By way of deception shall they make war! Can you figure this one out?
I present this article as another point of view:
During the midst of the [ensuing]media dust-up, Trump’s own Pentagon, State Department, and advisors, as well as the ever-present “officials” quoted as sources by mainstream “news” organizations all expressed surprise at the President’s words, with the military even stating that it was, in fact, planning to add more troops.
Trump’s statement may have played well with his audience, his base, anti-war activists, real liberals, and the general population, but it didn’t play well with leftists, the Neo-Cons in his cabinet, the war-obsessed US military leadership, Israeli lobby, or US Congress. As a result, Trump backed away from his own stated policy, met with the unified war front, and decided to remain in Syria.
This isn’t surprising. But it is dangerous.
The President of the United States has announced his foreign policy. That foreign policy was immediately contradicted by the Pentagon and other agencies and cabinet members. The President then rescinds his foreign policy. There is a logical conclusion to be drawn here. . . Click article title to continue reading.