Bombing Hospitals in Syria: Blaming Russia…or Not

First, from DemocracyNow.org: ‘Russia‘s Entry into Syria Worsens Killings of Medical Workers on War’s Front Lines’, October 30, 2015


Please understand that I don’t intend to breeze by all of the other hospital bombings, war crimes, the sarin gas attack in Gouta, or the massive diaspora that has resulted.  My interest here is to try to suss out which reporting is true, which is false, given the conflicting accounts of assigning blame to Russia having bombed hospitals.  (the transcript) including this:

AMY GOODMAN: And this is about attacks on hospitals in Syria.

WIDNEY BROWN: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Increasing attacks, Doctors Without Borders are saying, by Russian attacks on hospitals?

WIDNEY BROWN: Yes, we’re also documenting attacks on hospitals by Russian airplanes. We’ve confirmed several. MSF, as you know, has announced that they’ve had 12 attacks just in October. The Russians started bombing, I think, the last day in September. So, obviously, we’ve got Russians using what they say is smart bombs in attacking hospitals. So now doctors are trying to survive both Syrian air force barrel bombs and guided missiles from the Russians.

Oct. 30 Sputniknews.com: ‘There Is No Evidence That Russia Hit Our Hospitals – MSF Rejects US Claims’; Unsubstantiated US State Department claims that Russian airstrikes had struck hospitals have been rejected by Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Red Cross.

“Medical staff from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have made no claims that their hospitals were struck by Russian air strikes, the organization’s head of emergency care told Sputnik on Thursday.

MSF’s rejection of claims made by the White House, and repeated in the US press, that Russian air strikes had hit hospitals follows confirmation from the Red Cross that none of its personnel on the ground have made any claims about a Russian air strike on its centers in Syria.

Dounia Dekhili said that MSF hospitals have no information on which to base the US allegations that Russia is responsible for the destruction of hospitals. 

On Thursday, the medical organization reported that 12 hospitals had been targeted in Syria, six of them MSF institutions. However, MSF declined to assign responsibility for the attacks.”

Does solidarity mean their organization agrees with Physicians for Human Rights?

Now I did check to be sure, and Sputnik News is funded by the Russian government, according to Wikipedia.  Knowing that Human Rights Watch is considered my many a tool of the Imperium’, I checked SourceWatch.org for information on Physicians for Human Rights, wondering if that group is affiliated with HRW.  It seems not, but this is the list of their funding sources; some have the ring as ‘Noblesse Oblige for profit’, but maybe I’m a tough sell.  Charity Navigator does give them high marks, for what it’s worth.  For me, it’s their agenda or bias that’s key.  The sole ‘critic’ link was to John Stauber’s 2013 ‘The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats‘, and the only directly one relevant here that I saw scanning is the (pffffft) Tides Foundation.  (Their Facebook page; haven’t found them on Twitter)  Dissenters weigh in, and yes, they may have an agenda, one is ‘leave Israel alone’.

Argosy Foundation
Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
Ford Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
John Merck Fund
Oak Foundation USA, Inc.
Open Society Institute
Rockefeller Foundation
Tides Foundation

Hilariously related is Popular Resistance’s ‘Bill Gates: Only Socialism Can Save Climate, ‘Private Sector is Inept’:

“In a recent interview with The Atlantic, billionaire tech magnate Bill Gates announced his game plan to spend $2 billion of his own wealth on green energy investments, and called on his fellow private sector billionaires to help make the U.S. fossil-free by 2050. But in doing so, Gates admitted that the private sector is too selfish and inefficient to do the work on its own, and that mitigating climate change would be impossible without the help of government research and development.

“There’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems,” Gates said. “Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.”

Gates even tacked to the left and uttered words that few other billionaire investors would dare to say: government R&D is far more effective and efficient than anything the private sector could do”

But just R&D and carbon taxes, baby!.  Lawdie, Lawdie…

Or without proof, does it all boil down to opinion by bia as to the culprits?

Addenda (I don’t know what to say; CAGE said it heartbreakingly well.)

30 responses to “Bombing Hospitals in Syria: Blaming Russia…or Not

  1. Bombing hospitals and medical clinics is and has been SOP for world powers and their minions so it is probably a lesser war crime easily denied and deflected and rarely if ever punished.

    The larger crime here is that Putin is claiming the legal right, just as the USSR claimed the right in Afghanistan, to intervene in a civil war on the side of a lisping dictator to help him kill his own citizens even if they are rebels.

    Putin has repeatedly stated that anyone opposing Assad is a terrorist and will be targeted and that apparently includes anyone assisting the terrorists or anyone near the terrorists or just anyone outside of Assad’s area of control.

    People far from the battlefield will debate the legalities and chase the evidence but the people on the receiving end of Putin’s Holy War will fight back however they can or join the refugees and many will die.

    • i guess i was looking for an answer to the dueling blame game, but yes, past investigations, likely not much will come of it as far as war crimes. but you’d said earlier that putin/russia was bombing hospitals in syria, remember, and i’d wondered where you’d heard it/read it.

      but this i haven’t ever heard: “Putin has repeatedly stated that anyone opposing Assad is a terrorist and will be targeted and that apparently includes anyone assisting the terrorists or anyone near the terrorists or just anyone outside of Assad’s area of control”, or at least i didn’t read between the lines if i did.

  2. When the US and Russia start trading propaganda over these bombings it’s at a stage that people assume you are taking sides by criticizing Russia even though I referred to reports released before the USG got involved. Some people are so wedded to Putin that no amount of reporting from the scene by the people being bombed matters, they are Jihadis, terrorists or their supporters and Putin doesn’t ever lie or even spin reality.

    I recall reading Putin call the rebels ‘liver eaters’ early in the incursion but terrorist is his favorite brand for any opposition fighters. He did modify or confuse that position when Assad was in Moscow calling for Assad to seek out the moderate rebels to help fight the IS but a day later he was back to stating ‘they’re all terrorists’. He even asked the US to supply locations/ targets of the moderates so he could avoid bombing them, Ha Ha Ha.

    The Iranian propaganda organ Fars News reported and celebrated the first intentional, targeted Russian bombing of a hospital the Tabakqa National Hospital in al-Raqqa. This is Islamic State territory and they are not viewed as human so no one has even mentioned these medical personnel’s deaths because they aren’t supported by one or the other major powers. That fact shows that hypocrisy is universal and few people will be too concerned with collateral damage when the major conflict with the IS begins.

    The later reports from Western Syria came through Physicians for HR but they came from medical personnel at the sites of the bombing who like MSB can’t prove that it was Russian’s bombing but do know it came from high altitude bombers unlike Assad’s constant assaults from low altitude.

    This is why Putin can get away with the petty legalistic diversion of demanding ‘evidence’ from his victims.

    • last evening i’d been musing over your first comment, and thought i’d remembered the US and allies calling anyone supporting assad a terrorist. but yes, there is so much hyperbole at play, as well as state jingoism.

      the only mention i could find about putin having referenced ‘liver eaters’ was at the irish times:

      “Mr Putin, who has made no secret of his opposition to US president Barack Obama’s plans to start sending arms to the rebels, was unsparing when he was asked about previous comments by Mr Cameron that those who armed the regime had “the blood of the children of Syria” on their hands.

      “The blood is on the hands of both parties.There is always a question as to who is to blame for that. One should hardly back those who kill their enemies and eat their organs,” he said, referring to an incident when a rebel fighter was filmed taking a bite out of the liver he had cut from a dead Syrian soldier.

      “It is hardly in relation to the humanitarian and cultural values Europe has been professing for centuries.”

      one doesn’t have to have unreasonable fealty to putin, though, to believe he has been a very good diplomat, and has worked deals that others thought couldn’t be made, as far back as a decade ago, when he agreed to secure iran’s nuclear material. the west didn’t take him up on it, of course.

      well, the other possibility is the US bombers, i suppose. i found that fars site you’d mentioned, and there was a piece about the US bombing some meet-up with IS leaders. who knows? but i reckon you’re right that scant attention is paid to those folks.

      • Under Putin’s diplomacy which I often supported there is an arrogance that is highlighted by his statement about one man displaying a taboo action. ‘humanitarian and cultural values Europe has been professing for centuries’ surely he jests about those peoples. ‘Those’ who kill their enemies and eat their organs, is projecting blame and lesser values on Muslims because of ‘one mans’ actions which is pure BS but it helps to feel exceptional when you are planning on killing the lesser beings.

        Putin has excellent speechwriters but his extemporaneous statements sometimes expose more of his actual character, which we also see often here in the US with our Leaders.

        I’m not certain but I think it was the Iranians who shot down Putin’s offer to take over control of their Nuke fuel cycle and now they have that capability guaranteed in the new agreement.

        Sorry I don’t do links but that Fars story was either before or just after the ground offensive started.

  3. How to choose sides when all the sides enjoy both killing and lying? OK, OK, I’m with the doctors, trying to reduce pain.

    The fun won’t really begin there until either the Russians down one of our aircraft, or vice versa. Can’t hardly wait. :-(

    Does “Third Time Lucky” apply to World Wars, I wonder?

    Just watched the “Noah” movie last night–might be an idea whose time has come.

  4. wait…wait…wait…
    i’m listening to this and i’m waiting for the incognito dr to describe the symptoms but instead he is droning on about the elevated number of casualties…’new yorkers can understand’…’that regime’ was responsible he says…
    i am skeptical of this witness. he fumbled! he could not describe the symptoms he supposedly treated! sounds a bit like propaganda…

    • thanks for weighing in, nomad. i confess i read the transcript, so i kinda missed the stumbling. but i remember that amy tried to clarify things a bit. but she gets it wrong now again, herself. i remember one day she had on the lying propagandist Christopher Miller from the kyiv post; cripes. and that was just a day or three after having stephen cohen on. ;-) http://www.kyivpost.com/

  5. I guess you have a different definition, than I do, of what verified means, nomad. One crackpot quoting another crackpot with a few politicians spinning their tales Is apparently facts and evidence but the victims of Assad’s or Putin’s bombings produce eyewitness accounts and are dismissed as false flags.

    The only thing lacking in this fantasy is Saddam’s missing Mobile Chemical Weapons Labs that the rebels used to cook up their Sarin.

    If you’re going to be an Assad and Putin sycophant you shouldn’t try to hide or dismiss their use of any means necessary to prevail, you should celebrate their firm commitment to crushing the evil Muslim terrorists with this Orthodox approved Holy War, Fars News did with their reporting on the bombing if the hospital in al-Raqqa!

  6. sorry, but your credibility gets shot when you use an obvious plant to bolster your case. who am i going to believe, dr pseudonym or seymour hersh

    • Putin’s credibility seems to be flying high at home according to the government polling agency. One Russian commenter projected with some certainty that it would soon reach triple digits.

      The US can only dream of having that much public support for our Crusades.

      • the US has a history of lying. I don’t trust their reporting, esp as regards russia. do you understand how much credibility the gummint has lost just on the basis of obama lies alone? boots on the ground/no boots on the ground, public option, close Guantanamo and on and on. i have no confidence in this gummint and disdain for its propaganda.

        • Well good for you, nomad but if you read my earlier comments you would see that I also avoid using US propaganda to source or defend anything I comment on.

          All the powers involved in this conflict use propaganda and lies to promote or defend their agendas and actions but they also use some facts in their attempts to influence public opinion. separating the facts from the spin is often difficult but it is possible without resorting to a Manichean, one is good and one is evil, ridged and tunnelvisioned view.

          • who said one is good? not me. its just a shame that you have to watch russian ‘propaganda’ (RT) to find out what your gummint is hiding from you. the thing is, russia has no obligation to me. the US does.

  7. Thanks wendy, and I applaud your indicated intent to seek the truth. No easy task when propaganda, and often straight up lies are employed by all involved! It is understandable that many view reports of the bombing of medical facilities by Russian jets as “damage control” on the part of the US as they seek to deflect attention away from their own recent atrocity in Kunduz, and I must admit that I lean towards this theory, although not with enough certainty that I would be prepared as the truth.What does seem to be true is that Russia’s recent military engagement in Syria has made some progress in at least impeding ISIS, who, if not a creation of US foreign policy, have certainly been very convenient in continuing to justify budgets connected to national security and defense. So what will the US do? (And I agree with “realitychecker1” that it is only a matter of time before the US downs a Russian plane, or vice versa, and God only knows what happens then…)

    • What you really have to worry about is a false flag downing of an Amerikkkan plane, which will allow Ameikkkan knuckleheads to forfeit all deliberation (or at least Hegemonsters will say they have.)

  8. hola, amiga. i’d studiously avoided all things syrian for a long time, so i’ve only recently (and grudgingly) attempted to catch up a bit, given that some reckon all of this (or else ukraine) could lead to a hot war between the US and russia. and yes, some critters in the War, Inc. field seemed elated to announce that ‘defeating IS would take until 2045’ or some such.

    so…i had believed that the photos of destroyed centuries-old cultural icons were committed by the IS groups, and had reckoned their scorched-earth program was operative. again, how to sort fact from propaganda? the beheadings, of course, seem far more barbaric to westerners than missiles and bombs, oy.

    putin and lavrov tried hard to conference with the west in order to ‘deconflict’ the air space, and i guess it finally happened. while i don’t agree with all this congress critter believes by any means, her perspective is far better than any other critter’s i’ve heard.

    when wayoutwest remarked about ‘reports from the ground’ being the ones to believe (or close), it did cause me to ponder once again the greatest agitprop from libya. remember the woman who’d burst into the journalists’ hall, and ‘reported’ that gadaffi’s troops were raping women at his orders, and that the evidence was…they were carrying condoms in their pockets? all bullshit, of course, but it seemed to drive the approval ratings for continuing that ‘mission of protection’.

    anyhoo, i’d grabbed this link yesterday, just read it quickly: Mike Whitney’s oct. 30 ‘Everything You Needed to Know About Syria in 8 Minutes’

    • Wendy, the people reporting the hospital bombings in Syria are not ‘some woman’ or man but actual personnel being bombed including members of MSF reporting 12 bombings although they couldn’t positively identify the high altitude jets dropping the bombs, impossible to identify jets flying at twenty thousand feet where the Russian cowards operate from. Are you going to discredit the MSF report too and were they spreading bullshit in Afghanistan?

      I used to enjoy Mike Whitney’s reports and opinions on Venezuela but since he joined the Cruise Missile Left it hard to take his rants seriously. Syria For Dummies. The woman in the ‘Wolf Blitzer’ interview and her opinions are interesting and it is somewhat ironic that her opinions on Syria more resemble Donald Trump’s than her party boss Obama or HRC’s.

      The last statement I read at VA from Maduro about Syria, after the Russian bombing commenced, was very interesting. He restated the Venezuelan government’s support and defense of Syrian sovereignty but did not state their support for the Russian bombing or incursion.

      • excellent and clever straw question, wayoutwest. no, but i have found no evidence that even MSF/syria have said anything your claim about ‘too high to see whose planes’ or what have you. cowardly? oooof. well, if you’d like to make a case as to why IS, their tactics, and apparently state goals (if not caused by occupation of their lands), i’d be open to hearing it.

        as for the interview cruise-missile-whitney provided, the rep at least saw the tragic folly of r2p libya results for what they are. dunno what trump has said, unless he’s a libertarian on the order of patrick buchannan.

        interesting about maduro; if i have any extra time, i might let my fingers do the walking.

        oh, and msf twitter and site accounts mostly gives the hideous numbers of children dead in the bombings (40%) shows the results of the grievous diaspora, the double-hits on medical personnel, and the main focus seems to be kunduz, and saudi hospital hits in yemen, of course.

        the msf US link.

        things have blown up concerning the communication roundtable in regard to mr. wd’s father’s needs, so i’ll be back as i’m able.

        • The reference to the Russian high altitude bombing is from the Physicians for HR report who could only infer not prove that the bombs came from the Russians. This is why the demands for unspecified evidence from some unimpeachable source in the middle of a war seems to be more a quest for denials or excuses than truth, to ease the conscience of those who support Assad and the Russians.

          There was another report yesterday from the victims of another Russian attack, again mentioning how the attacking jets were at high altitude in formation. Assad’s airforce doesn’t have the precision guided munitions the Russians use and must attack from lower altitude.

          When the use of barrel bombs by Assad was verified with photo evidence Assad denied their use and continues to deny it while increasing their use because they are effective at spreading terror among civilians in rebel held territory. Putin seems to be following the same denial and increasing the targeting of civilians, medical or others for the same ends. 120.000 new refugees are fleeing the intense bombing and more will surely follow.

          Sending jets to bomb civilians and even fighters from high altitude as the US and Russia are doing with the opponent having no means of resisting is a cowardly exercise of power. Denying the killing of civilians as the Russians are doing is rank perfidy.

          The nationalists rebels certainly don’t want the Russians in Syria but the Islamic State has methodically pursued PsyOps and military tactics to first draw the US and now the Russians into the conflict with ground troops soon to enter the country from both world powers. They have taken advantage of the Russian bombing to capture not only rebel held towns but to capture a SAA town and its large weapons depot from the overextended Axis of Resistance and later to ambush and rout the first move by the YPG and their Arab allies on al-Raqqa.

          The conflict to remove the Assad regime is already being viewed as a secondary nationalist problem for the West and Russia with the much more powerful and capable transnational Islamic State threatening all the Rebel, Western or Russian/Iranian plans for the future of Syria.

          When this ultimate war finally explodes most if not all concerns for civilians or war crimes will be forgotten.

          • you had said in your comment up yonder: “…including members of MSF reporting 12 bombings although they couldn’t positively identify the high altitude jets dropping the bombs, impossible to identify jets flying at twenty thousand feet where the Russian cowards operate from”, leading to your falsely-conflated question about my discounting the MSF reports about kunduz. but thanks for wasting my time sussing out actual MSF reports, amigo.

            yes, you’d said you don’t do links, i just saw above, so i dunno from which sources your reports come. did widney brown…er…tell the truth to amy goodman or not?

            yes, i just poked around on the PHS website, and found this claim:

            “PHR has confirmed the following incidents by Russian air strikes in Syria over the last week: On October 2, a Russian warplane launched an air strike on the field hospital in Latamneh, in northern Hama governorate. The facility was damaged, and multiple medical staff members were injured. The Syrian government has previously attacked this facility with barrel bombs in June. Also on October 2, a Russian warplane launched an air strike on an ambulance depot and emergency response center in Benin, in rural Idlib. Part of the facility was destroyed, at least two ambulances were seriously damaged, and the depot was temporarily put out of service. Reports indicate that two planes flew over the facility and launched strikes that fell around the depot before circling back and launching another strike, which landed inside the depot. The Syrian government previously attacked this facility with barrel bombs in April. On October 3, a Russian warplane launched an air strike that damaged al-Burnas Hospital in northern Latakia, near the Turkish border. The hospital suffered minor material damage, but had to be evacuated. The hospital is the only one in the region with an obstetrics/gynecology unit and is now only able to provide some emergency services. Russia has not acknowledged that their air strikes hit or damaged the medical facilities, but confirmed it was conducting air strikes in each of these locations when the attacks occurred.”

            and an IB times article saying that putin had intentionally bombed hospitals, using their information. if russian bombers are hitting markets, etc., it is ugly as hell. but the hospital issue is one that deserves some attention as to sources, and who is sourcing…the sources. again: PHR is both US-based and US-sourced by names and foundations who might just have a vested interest in proving Putin = Hilter. it’s the new cold war in so many respects, ramped up over south ossetia, then grew larger over ukraine, and now this horrific mess.

            one more question, though. is there some good reason to conclude that the coalition forces haven’t bombed syrian hospitals?

            • Wow is grateful for foggy Amerikkkan war by terror – they want anarchy and so does he. The Amerikkkanstate only facilitates what the brown people want!

            • The conflation of PHR with the HRC and neocon propaganda about Putin =Hitler is a bit paranoid, did you see any spin at their site to support this assumption?

              Putin=Putin, a resurgent Russian Imperialist, some say with Tsarist and Orthodox religious authoritarian tendencies, used to prod ‘Holy War’ declarations from his Church. He proclaims this superior Russian religious morality in many of his speeches comparing it with our low moral level and behavior. He is also a card carrying Capitalist. enabler of the Russian Oligarchs so long as they stay out of his politics.

              Putin is using more defensive sounding rhetoric to justify his incursion into Syria and there may be much truth to that claim because Political Islam does threaten Russian interests in countries on their southern flank. This does not excuse his bombing Syrians most of whom have no interest in Russian affairs or Political Islam outside of Syria but that could change with his bloody campaign in support of the dictator Assad.

              Sorry if my question about MSF was confused, I thought you were rejecting all reports of Russian bombing hospitals in Syria based on your straw ‘some woman’ from Libya analogy.

              I viewed the PHR report as a local Syrian account not verified but credible until proven otherwise whatever PHR’s agendas, if they exist, might be.

  9. That was the day the air intervention began. And Mauro supported Russia otherwise. Russian cowards and Whitney of the cruise missle left? Looney.

    • ‘Otherwise’ is not support for cowardly Russian actions in Syria. Doofus.

      • Couldn’t find a sensible argument to ‘doofus’, “comrade” “anarchist”? This was especially ironic:

        the Islamic State has methodically pursued PsyOps and military tactics to first draw the US and now the Russians into the conflict with ground troops soon to enter the country from both world powers.

        How convenient for you that an Islamic State started the last world war.

        HA HA HA HA HA.

        Wow. Does.this lunacy pay?

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