Updates….while we wait a bit more…[updated at the end of comments w/ airstrikes news]

From Boss Tweet April 12:

“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”

There was speculation that this was due to the fact that he’d Tweeted mocking Obama for tipping his hand ahead of some bombing run of his in the past; I’d seen the Tweet, but forgotten the date.

Theresa May won’t make the same mistake her predecessor David Cameron had made: she won’t ask Parliament to authorize joining a coalition to bomb Syria.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron says he has “proof” that the Syrian government attacked the town of Douma with chemical weapons last weekend, and that he’ll decide “in due course” whether to respond with air strikes.

Now we haven’t heard if inspectors from the OPCW have arrived in Douma yet, but given this ‘news’ of sorts, one might not be considered a tin-foil-hatter not to be cynical as to what they’ll find…given these stories in the news:

‘Russian spy poisoning: Nerve agent inspectors back UK’, bbc.com, April 12

“The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons did not name the nerve agent as Novichok, but said it agreed with the UK’s findings on its identity. [<the report]

But Maria Zakharova, from the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the allegations in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal were a “clear anti-Russian campaign, the like of which we have not seen in the world for a long time in terms of its scale and lack of principles”.

She accused the British authorities of ignoring the “norms of international law, the principles and laws of diplomacy, the elementary rules of human ethics”.

And she claimed no one except for British authorities had seen the Skripals for more than a month.”

RT is reporting ‘OPCW backs UK findings over nerve agent used in Salisbury poisoning, but doesn’t identify source’, today

“Despite the British government’s claims of Russian ‘culpability’ for the poisoning, nowhere does the OPCW’s report assign blame for the incident or even identify the source of the agent. 

The part of the report that has been released publicly does not even specifically name Novichok as being the substance used, although it says it does name the substance in the parts of the findings which remain classified.

The OPCW used their own samples gathered from the victims of the poisoning and contaminated environmental matter to put together its conclusions. 

The results of analysis by OPCW-designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people“, the OPCW said.

The watchdog also found “the toxic chemical was of high purity” because of an “almost complete absence of impurities.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared on March 12 that the Skripals had been poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent identified as A-234, also known as Novichok.  

Russia’s Foreign Ministry call the OPCW report a part of London’s operation to discredit Russia.

The OPCW will hold a special session on the incident next Wednesday.”

Well, sure, after being subjected to a nerve gas 10 times stronger than Sarin, the Skripals are both alive, and she’s in a secure location after leaving the hospital.  That kinda stretches credulity wafer -thin, doesn’t it?

But Boris Johnston till knows it was Putin.

I’ve tried, but failed, to discover who did the testing in the UK, what the results actually were, but given this new ‘report’, those are the only hits I’ve gotten.

But in any event, Theresa May ha called for another ‘emergency meeting’ of the UN Security Council to ‘discuss’ this official OPCW report that’s aid to….tally with hers.

As to ‘not seeing the Skipals in public for over a month, etc., b at MoA has added to that weirdness pretty darned well:

“On Sunday Yulia Skripal was secretly released from the Salisbury District Hospital but immediately taken into British government custody. She is under guard at an unknown location. Yesterday the Metropolitan Police released a Statement issued on behalf of Yulia Skripal:

“I have specially trained officers available to me, who are helping to take care of me and to explain the investigative processes that are being undertaken. I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can. At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.

“Most importantly, I am safe and feeling better as time goes by, but I am not yet strong enough to give a full interview to the media, as I one day hope to do. Until that time, I want to stress that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves. I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being. Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father’s.

“For the moment I do not wish to speak to the press or the media, and ask for their understanding and patience whilst I try to come to terms with my current situation.”

While written in quotes it is doubtful that Yulia Skripal expressed any of these words. “At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services” is British bureaucratese, not the wording any Russian (or anyone else) with English as a second language would ever use.

The Russian embassy in Britain seriously doubts that the letter is from Yulia Skripal. It notes that despite the claim that Yulia has “access to friends and family” none of her nearest family members, who are in Russia, was recently contacted by her. It also notes a contradiction:

Particularly amazing is the phrase “no one speaks for me” appearing in a statement which, instead of being read on camera by Yulia herself, is published at Scotland Yard website.

(The embassy also published a refutation of earlier British government accusations.)”

From UK former Ambasador Craig Murray on Twitter: @CraigMurrayOrg

“OPCW will produce a complicated report on why the origin of the Salisbury attack cannot be determined. The UK govt will fillet it for individual phrases that out of context implicate Russia, issue a press release and the corporate and state media will scream “It was the Russians”

“Oh look. BBC running with precisely the same propaganda line OPCW confirm “same TYPE OF nerve agent as identified by UK” and the OPCW website has been crashed so we cannot read the actual report.”

And at his website: ‘Yulia Skripal Is Plainly Under Duress’, April 11

“Only the Russians have allowed us to hear the actual voice of Yulia Skripal, in that recorded conversation with her cousin. So the one thing we know for certain is that, at the very first opportunity she had, she called back to her cousin in Russia to let her know what is going on. If you can recall, until the Russians released that phone call, the British authorities were still telling lies that Sergei was in a coma and Yulia herself in a serious condition.”, etc.

There does seem to be a certain amount of international pushback on ‘running to war’, including perhaps Mad Dog’s “US ‘still assessing intelligence’ on alleged Syria attack’, but given Bibi’s still telling Boss Tweet that he won’t allow Iran to get a toe-hold in Syria…it’s hard to imagine the Navy being ordered to turn their armada around, isn’t it?

In addition to USS Donald Cook, the U.S has now dispatched USN Carrier Strike Group 8 to the Mediterranean/#Syria: – USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier – Carrier Air Wing VII – USS Hué City missile cruiser – x6 Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers – x1 Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate”

The current script seems to have been written for some time now, here’s wsws.org’s take:

“In 2013, the United States was on the brink of a full-scale military assault to carry out regime change against Syrian President Assad, seeking to follow up on the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. But amid overwhelming popular opposition, President Obama was ultimately forced to pull back after the failure of a vote in the UK parliament to authorize British participation in the onslaught. Instead of a direct attack on Syria, the US agreed to a deal brokered by Russia to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stocks.

In a lecture given in September 2013, in the immediate aftermath of the agreement, World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board Chairman David North warned:

“But the postponement of war does not lessen the likelihood, indeed, the inevitability, of the outbreak of a major war. As the bellicose statements emanating from Washington make clear, the “military option” remains on the table. Nor is Syria the only target for military attack. US operations against Syria would set the stage for a clash with Iran. And, still further, the logic of US imperialism’s drive for global dominance leads to a confrontation with Russia and China.”

And Stephen Gowan’s:

“World War III is not about to erupt; it has already begun; indeed, it began as long ago as 2015, when Russia, at the request of the Syrian government, intervened in the conflict in that country, whose government was under attack by Islamist insurgents encouraged, armed, and resourced by the United States and its allies.

The war in Syria, one that counts among its participants the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Qatar and others, is no less a world war for being confined to the borders of Syria. A world war is not defined by the multiplicity of its theaters but by the multiplicity of its actors.

Ultimately, the war is a conflict over two types of international order: on the one hand, a hierarchy of states, with the United States at the top, endowed with de facto authority to impose its will on all other states; on the other, a network of sovereign and independent states, linked by mutual benefit—a US-dictated global order vs. a democratic UN-defined international order. This is a battle of tyranny versus democracy at the level of international relations.

The war over these two contending conceptions of how the world’s affairs should be organized—the Third World War in action—is now threatening to spill beyond Syria’s borders.” [large snip]

“The United States’ newspaper of record, the New York Times, urges the US president to commit another illegal act, namely, to punish Syria militarily, without Security Council or Congressional authorization, for an unverified transgression against international law. The New York Times, thus, no less than other major Western media, has chosen a side in World War III—four-square behind the fight for an international order based on the arbitrary rule of the US administration in preference to a global order based on sovereign and equal states governed by the rule of law.

Russia has vowed to intercept incoming US missiles. Its warning has been met by a belligerent reply from the US president. The situation is fraught with danger. The United States, and its major media, which connive in the likely chemical weapons deception and elevate a planned illegal act of war into a moral crusade, are playing a very dangerous game. They’re willing to bring the world to the brink of a general conflagration to fulfil their vision of a hierarchy of states subordinate to the US administration’s rule—an undisputed global US empire.”

What are you seeing?

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

43 responses to “Updates….while we wait a bit more…[updated at the end of comments w/ airstrikes news]

  1. today on c-span: ‘Defense Secretary to Notify Congressional Leaders Ahead of Military Action Against Syria’; Defense Secretary James Mattis says he will notify congressional leaders of any imminent military action against Syria and will report to Congress.


  2. i’m shutting down, feelin lower than a snake’s belly. today’s our anniversary, and i got a gift in the form of a kick in the gut from our adopted daughter w/ mental health issues. tryin’ to be philosophical, but still… tonight’s lullaby:

  3. I did go hunting yesterday for some enlightenment on these parallel obfuscations, which somehow made me feel like that big metals needle stuck in a scratch on an old record spinning, just spinning in the same groove over and over and over…

    We’ve been here before, haven’t we? And not on the anniversary of something delightful like a genuine wedding, which ought to be full of happy memories, while instead the memories of drone attacks on gatherings in far away places, and multimillion dollar payback faux celebrations darken our days.

    I didn’t see that release about the phone call from Russia to her cousin from Ms. Skripal. – tried to find it but no luck. And Russian Easter here was a cold and windy day, repeated in spades yesterday😑

    Not to worry, Easter lasts 50 days — Christos Voskrese!


  5. Fool ewe once – 12/23/12 Homs/0bama; Twice – 8/21/13 Ghouta (Damascus)/0bama; THRICE – 4/14/17 Adlib/Trump; ϟCHEIϟϟ ?? – 4/7/18 Douma/Trump ! As in, what kind of F00L are ewe (to fall for this SAME ϟCHEIϟϟ A F0URTH TIME???!) !

  6. greyson smythe had added this to an october ‘more war cafe babylon report’, but it sure works well here:

    ‘A newer article on Mesurier from July 2017: James Le Mesurier: The Former British Mercenary Who Founded The White Helmets

    Over the past two years, enlightening information has been revealed that thoroughly and unequivocally debunks the “humanitarianism” of the White Helmets in Syria, sometimes referred to as the Syrian Civil Defense.

    Since they were founded in 2013, much of Western media has sought to elevate the White Helmets as the “bravest” and most heroic of Syrians. They have been the subject of a Netflix documentary, which won an Oscar, and has consistently been plastered across TV screens in surprisingly well-produced videos showing them removing children from rubble in war-torn areas claimed by Syria’s “rebels.” whitney webb, mintpress news


  7. courtesy of greyson smythe who’d caused us to go look with this tweet:

    mr. wd found:

    ‘Trump: US, France and UK launch strikes on Syria’ cnn.com

    on edit: we can update at will.

  8. Russian Ambassador’s response to tonight’s strikes:

    • putin says he will convene an emergency UN security council meeting over the strikes. the missiles were very careful not to target russians, of course, given the federation’s dire warnings earlier.

      i’ll add:
      ‘Pentagon says Syria strikes are ‘one time shot’ to send strong message to Assad
      14 Apr, 2018
      “US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described Saturday’s strikes on multiple targets in Syria as “harder” than those in 2017, but said that no further launches were planned for the moment.
      Right now this is a one time shot and I believe it sent a very strong message,” Mattis said during a press briefing in the Pentagon, adding that there may be further attacks against the government of Bashar Assad “should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future.”

      ‘5 things you should know about US-led ‘one-time’ strikes on Syria’, 14 Apr, 2018, via RT
      “The timing of the American-British-French attack is noteworthy. It came just hours before the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were set to visit the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday to establish whether chemical weapons had been used there last week.
      Announcing the strikes, the White House said it has a large body of “reliable intelligence” as well as “social media users, non-governmental organizations, and other open-source outlets,” which implicate the Syrian government in the alleged Douma attack. Washington also referred to the questionable claims that “the Syrian regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons to compensate for its lack of military manpower.”

      Earlier, the US State Department claimed to have proof that the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical attack in Douma. However, it refused to make the intelligence public, as “a lot of this stuff is classified at this point.” Moscow repeatedly dismissed the claims, saying the chemical weapon attack was orchestrated. The Russian military previously warned of a “provocation” involving chemical weapons being planned by militants.”


  9. AFP [Haw Haw]: Mattis: Time for ‘civilized nations’ to unite to end Syria civil war

    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday called on the international community to “urgently” unite and bring an end to Syria’s civil war.

    “It is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process,” Mattis said.” [snip]

    [Contrary to Mad Dog’s statement]: “The Western coalition strikes targeted scientific research centres, several military bases, and the bases of the Republican Guard and Fourth Division in the capital Damascus and around it,” said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    Al Jazeera: Syria air strikes: All the latest updates:

    Russia’s foreign ministry says Syria was attacked at the very moment the country had a “chance for a peaceful future”, Russian news agency RIA reported.

    Maria Zakharova, the ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook: “Those behind all this claim moral leadership in the world and declare they are exceptional. You need to be really exceptional to shell Syria’s capital at the moment when it had gained a chance of a peaceful future.”

    The foreign ministry also said that Western media has some responsibility for the attack on Syria, which was based on its reports, according to RIA.

    11:40 EDT, 6:40 Damascus Time:

    Yeni Akit Gazetesi: ABD Suriye’yi 112 Tomahawk ile vurdu

    As Google Translated:
    According to the information received from military sources; The United States has reportedly been using 112 Tomahawk faction in the operation carried out to Syria.

    The United States, France and Britain hit the Syrian regime. The military points in the capital Damascus were targeted.

    Syria state television passed the knowledge that air defense systems destroyed 13 fumes in the air.

    [Syria seems to claim that 30 missiles were fired into Syria; about 1/3rd of which were shot down].

    Guardian Live Blog

    AP: Reaction to US, France and UK military response to Syria’s chemical weapon attack


    A highly placed Russian politician is likening President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler after the launch of airstrikes against Syria, and says he regards the action as a move against Russia.

    Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, says Trump “can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time — because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.”

    That’s according to state news agency RIA-Novosti. The Nazi forces’ opening attack against the USSR in 1941 was launched around 4 a.m.

    Statement by Secretary James N. Mattis on Syria

    There are various reports on twitter that loud explosions continue to be heard in Syria.

    • jayzus; ha al arabiya always been such a reactionary tool of the new axis of evil? look at the title on the sidebar! guess they’re wickled titless at mattis’s self-congratulatory exceptionalist formulation! ay yi yi. bet the op-ed on ‘bin salman and susrism might be intereting, ‘specially as i have no idea what that word signifies, lol.

      didn’t click thru, but my understanding is that eve the SOHR agreed with the russians that most of the 101 missiles were shot down by the syrian defenses. go figure…

      with mattis’s “sole strike unless..more chemical attacks”, and the fact that the ocpw hasn’t seemed to be an honest actor, i was surprised that b seemed to believe that the crew in damascus now ‘won’t find any trace eveidence’ or close in his cleverly titled ‘F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria – Who Won?’

      most of the ‘wins’ being russian man pads, s300, i never know all that stuff. but iirc he hadn’t mentioned ISIS who reckon they’re operating w/ total impunity, as are the fake ‘rebels’, and white helmets. but not a few comments over there are arguing that putin had been alerted to the strikes, and was promised neither russians nor their airspace would be crossed. if so, okay; at least casualties were quite limited.


      all of the heads of the nato state had the info: fuck nato! the organization of peace and security for some!™ remember the editor of fort russ? or here it is: ‘ S-300 and S-400 batteries across syria’. anyhoo,

      and only three nations at the UN voted in favor of the russian condemnation document: china, russia, and bolvia. FUKUS nay, five abstentions.

  10. b at MoA offered these from someone on the ground in syria showing that the targets were minimal so as not to cause a wider war and reaction:

    ‘NATO ambassadors will hold a meeting in Brussels on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Syria, according to a statement released by NATO headquarters.’

    LoL x3, from the guardian: “The US, UK and France have disputed claims made by Syria and Russia that a significant number of incoming missiles were intercepted and shot down and that the damage inflicted by their raid had been minimal.

    The Pentagon insisted that no missiles were intercepted by Syrian defences and that the raids were “precise and overwhelming” while claiming the Syrian air defences remained “largely ineffective”.

    At a briefing, Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie said that Syrian air defences fired 40 interceptor missiles in an attempt to thwart the barrage but failed to hit any of their targets. He said most were fired after the last incoming missile had struck its target. There was no indication of any involvement by Russian air defences, he added.

    Russian officials have said that the incoming missiles did not enter their own air defence zones around their air and sea bases in western Syria.

    The Syrian brigadier general Ali Mayhoub, who read the statement on Syrian television, said: “Our air defences effectively shot down most of them.” He acknowledged the scientific research centre on the outskirt of Damascus had been hit and that one of the intercepted missiles had injured three people in Homs, which had been a target of the RAF. The Pentagon claimed to have dealt a “severe blow” to the Assad regime’s chemical weapons programmes with a salvo of 105 missiles fired from ships and planes from the US, UK and France, that hit three targets almost simultaneously.

    The US defence department showed photographs of the three sites: a research centre in Barzeh, in greater Damascus, which US officials said was used for the development of both chlorine and sarin agents, and two sites west of Homs at Him Shinsar, which the Pentagon said were a storage facility and bunker for chemical weapons.

    McKenzie, the director of the joint chiefs of staff, said: “Barzeh is a core site for them and as you can see, it doesn’t exist any more.” and tra la la.

    i just gotta go and get a start on the (ugh) taxes. back a i can, or…that i can’t stay away. ;-) the fuckers.

  11. ‘Lavrov: Swiss lab says ‘BZ toxin’ used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service’, RT, 14 Apr, 2018

    “The Swiss center sent the results to the OPCW. However, the UN chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. He went on to say that Moscow would ask the OPCW about its decision to not include any other information provided by the Swiss in its report.

    The Swiss center mentioned by Lavrov is the Spiez Laboratory controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and ultimately by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.

    The Russian foreign minister said that London refused to answer dozens of “very specific” questions asked by Moscow about the Salisbury case, as well as to provide any substantial evidence that could shed light on the incident. Instead, the UK accused Russia of failing to answer its own questions, he said, adding that, in fact, London did not ask any questions but wanted Moscow to admit that it was responsible for the delivery of the chemical agent to the UK.”

    aaaaand…the rest of the OPCW folks are in damascus and will get to work.

  12. let’s see how many countries start ordering Russian S300’s and whatev else.

    and let’s watch the Tom Friedman’s of the West heads explode as they try to explain why Israel is suddenly buying from Moscow. (uh, cuz their shit works, unlike Uncle Sam’s? ok, I doubt Israel will do that, but it would be funny to parse the submental observations about why Israel might do such a thing. use moneys from the West to buy from Russia. ha ha. oh no! now even Israel is stabbing Unkie Shmuel in the back! oh no! not that Israel making any overtures to Russia would be good b/c fuck Israel. Period. but watch Turkey, the Saudis, etc. throwing money at Russia.)

    still, I try to end on a happy note ;)

    • likud buying russian s300s and s400s: i like it, j. Q: one author at russia-insider had called putin ‘bibi’ bff or close. but of course all the key ‘players’ are supposed to put their heads together and come up with a peace plan. hmmm, hmmm.

      holy crow; we’ll order that film! and in comments it looks like stephen king wrote it? but yes, at least it didn’t ‘spiral out of control’ (matti) and lead to ww III, so…there is that.will The Deciders in amerika, france, and the UK be satisfied?

      on edit: here ya go j: from the war crime mouther:
      “The US ambassador to the UN said Washington was “locked and loaded” to strike again if Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad again uses chemical weapons, at a fiery UN security council meeting in which the Russian ambassador accused the US, UK and France of “diplomatic hooliganism”.

      • that was not to be construed as an endorsement of that film as a whole. no idea really, saw it a loooooong time ago & I guess somebody’s, SciFi channel or whoever, is doing a more TV serial type remake. whatever. the verbiage in that clip sounds more like the lingo of a geedub than a trump with its religious flavor but the narcissistic, monomaniacal rage seems all donald.

        so trump is “leaving” TPP? just like NAFTA & Obamacare? & Trump’s mixed signals are causing “confusion” among the “allies” (who? Vietnam? Laos?)? that’s funny. like one’s supposed to give a shit about such things, I mean who cares if Japan is confused, but I don’t think Laos is making decisions about TPP based on Donald’s twitter feed or campaign rhetoric, knowing, as they do, more about US politics than the average NYT’s reader for whom Donald’s “flip flops” are indeed confusing.

        having one’s country bombed is never meaningless. neither is countries’ being conditioned to embrace bombing campaigns. but the latest Trump actions sure sounds like domestic-consumption BS. maybe more harm to Syria would have occurred if a few more missiles had hit their mark?

        I also can’t wait for a few of these people who slobber over big explosions to “defect” to Russia from unresolved missile-envy & anxiety about Uncle Sam’s castration by manly Putin.

        Freud speaks of a latency period between the experience of trauma & its presentation as neurosis/psychosis. you’d think the US military would be used to getting its ass kicked by now, but you’d be wrong. it might take some time for the dust to settle & all that, since, to my eyes this whole incident looks more & more like a setback for the US, the response to the “trauma” of defeat has not yet materialized. and with the Skripal affair & the phony Russian election b.s., maybe the West is accelerating crises re Russia. so the latency period may be real short, due to desperation. the internal world of US exceptionalism & military might and all that is crashing against reality. the psychotic Uncle is probably not gonna deal well with it. let’s hope he takes up drinking but I suspect euthanasia will be necessary.

        • well, given that inter-liberry dvd loans are free, and that i love christopher walken, we’ll see if we can get it. we’re just finishing the ian richardson version of ‘house of cards’ for the second or third time, and ooof, it still packs a punch…so to speak. “daddy-y-y-y-y…”

          i like your referencing uncle zigmund’s latency period after a truama, esp. as i hadn’t read that theory. but what it may bring would depend on the other unfolding events, staged or otherwise, domestic/foreign, an who’s actually in charge of the military at this point, doesn’t it? but you mean Sir Tweets-a-lot doesn’t influence other signatories to the tpp? but yes to the hysteria in the msm: “what’s MOAR important are the nafta re-negotiations!”, etc.

          “defect to russia over unresolved missile envy”…comment concept of the day! but i think striking syria IS a big deal, myself, and not solely because world leaders largely applaud, buy into “civil war”, the white helmets and other fake doctors USAID funded psyops, but both what did…and didn’t happen at the big ‘emergency session’ of the security council. how easy it is to sell war advertising to the rubes; i listened to some of the speakers who much have referenced ‘assad’s chemical attacks’ once every minute. in print, miz nikki said he’d ‘gassed his own people over 200 times’. dunno the truth about earlier history and his father (brother?) but she also announced that amerikan troops would stay as long as assad is even thinking about using chemicals’. wow, nikki the mind-reading oracle.

          but as to your final paragraph, i think you’re right: not only is this a dying empire flailing about, but with the knowledge that its military, for all its zillions, ain’t winning wars.

          • somewhere in oly

            it is of course a big deal to strike Syria and all the rest you said.

            but it’s also a big deal that, at the moment, it seems to have been…ineffective. even at some submental Cro-Magnon symbolic level. perhaps I’m taking too much pleasure in the idea of a bunch of Mad Dogs in the Joint Chiefs going nuts over Russia shooting down or deterring their missiles.

            “I sure wish we had us one of them doomsday devices…” Buck Turgidson, drooling over WMD’s of even more awesomely destructive power. yes, let’s not discount envy. and the US can always just shoot more missiles, enough to overwhelm defenses. I suspect that is not beyond US capacity.

            • i do get your drift, i think. but at least they get to replenish them thar tomahawks at over a million each amerkian dollars each. soon yuan? i will hope that it’s just conventional amerikan bombs that are tipped w/ depleted uranium, though.

              guess this was what i’d been imagining: ‘US-British-French missile strikes on Syria heighten danger of a catastrophic war’, 16 April 2018, wsws.org

              “Numerous media commentaries criticized the so-called “limited” attack by US, British and French naval and air forces as inadequate and demanded a more extensive and sustained military offensive. The New York Times quoted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham as saying, “I fear that when the dust settles, this strike will be seen as a weak military response and Assad will have paid a small price…”

              The New York Times’ David Sanger and Ben Hubbard in a front-page article Sunday argued against Pentagon claims that the strikes had seriously damaged Assad’s alleged chemical weapons program. They wrote: “While it is easy to blow up Mr. Assad’s chemical facilities, it is also relatively simple for him to reconstitute them elsewhere, or just turn to a commercially available substance like chlorine to make a poison that any nation is allowed to possess.”

              The bases for new provocations and fresh pretexts for military aggression are already being laid. If not another staged chemical attack, the next casus belli for war could well be a terrorist attack or an assault on US troops in the Middle East attributed to Assad.

              “An utterly corrupt and dishonest Western media promoted the government claims without producing any evidence to substantiate them, while it barely noted the evidence produced by Russia and Syria exposing the claims as fraudulent. The attack launched over the weekend was not a response to a gas attack that allegedly occurred a week before. It was a highly coordinated joint strike involving missiles fired from US, French and British naval and air platforms in the Red Sea, the northern Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. Such an action is not the result of a few days’ planning.

              Now, in the aftermath, the international geopolitical situation and the internal political crises of the US and the European powers have only grown more explosive.

              In the US, the preparations for a wider war in the Middle East and the political war against Trump waged by sections of the ruling class and the state have merged into a single process.”

              and yeah, barry grey get awfully hyped up at times, but this isn’t unlikely, i’d say. “we’re locked and loaded…” nikki haley.


  13. Thanks for the phone links, Wendye. The Skripal mess continues to unfold with my heart-throb, Lavrov issuing a statement about a Swiss lab analysis, a nerve agent of a somewhat benign character apparently (who knew there were such?) But you probably know all thst.

    Interesting and somewhat sad, NZ’s new prime minister apparrently accepts hook, line, and sinker nasty Assad/chemical weapons/mission accomplished —bah, humbug say I. It might be that she feels vulnerable as she’s apparently travelling to lovely Europe, but still, for shame, Jacinda.

  14. “Despite the pathos with which US President Donald Trump announced the military operation, its result turned out to be less than modest. Putting aside the contradictory reports on how many missiles struck their intended targets, they did not cause any military casualties and failed to inflict any serious damage on Syrian military infrastructure.”


    • thanks, jacob. talk about the information wars! setting aide the fact that leonid ceded to: “…when after the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, the US bombed regime-operated Shayrat airfield….” this is likely quite true:

      “Like last year, nothing really happened after the strikes and the argument was that no action was taken because there was no threat to Russian military facilities. Expecting a different reaction from Moscow would be reckless. Despite the emotional rhetoric, the Russian leadership is trying not to cross the line and provoke a conflict.” (although his link to discussions went to tass..in russian.

      but this is priceless, given how superior russian military weapons are, and that in any expanded war on russia, both china and iran said they would er…fight for and with the Bear.

      “A direct confrontation with a militarily superior US-led coalition would mean a complete defeat for Russia in Syria, not to mention that it could start a global armed conflict.”

      as far as no damage to military installations, even the sole dude who’s the uk-funded pro-opposition syrian observatory human rights guy in the UK*

      “The Western Coalition’s strikes targeted important centers of the regime in the capital Damascus and its vicinity and outskirts as well as the outskirts of Homs city. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights managed to monitored interception by the regime forces to tens of missiles which targeted their positions and military bases in the Syrian territory, where several intersected sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory, that the number missiles that were downed, exceeded 65 missiles, of the total number of missiles fired by the Trio Coalition, while the air and rocket strikes, caused great material damage, while no information about casualties was reported yet.”, tra la la. well, it’s all in bold font, hard on the eyes…


  15. Thanks for this recent batch of posts. Just popped up to reassure you I’m still around.

    Despite this “bold action” (cough), my sense is that the doldrums will continue as long as Hiz Trumpness is acting the cat on Mueller’s hot tin roof; whatever else, the fear of the investigation subject is blatantly real. Therry May has similar preoccupation problems with uncompleted BREXIT. Have to depend on Macron and has-been Jens to keep the bombs dropping. Well, the US has been known to reflexively bomb without supervisory control. Johnson’s Rolling Thunder was exactly the opposite with LBJ picking targets. It ends when Assad consolidates his rule of the workable economy of Syria. At some point the “US boots on the ground” start slow-walking it, knowing that more action guarantees a definite “loss” for the US. Lots of strange stories of Dolchstoßlegende then. Clear BREXIT and clear acquittal an free hand for Trump allow the US and UK to jerk war in Syria from the slow collapse into normalcy, if not peace.

    More important events are what China is actually now accomplishing with One Belt-One Road. What contracts are underway? How are they being administered? Where is the infrastructure and its economic and military changes in power appearing? How quickly will a bypassing of the Molucca’s checkpoint by going through Burma and Thailand occur?

    Looks like the Trump team can neither play Russia as an enemy nor as a friend, The US mostly hobbled by indecision and contradictory efforts might be a useful break during the Trump interregnum.

    Domestic US politics still in flux in multiple meanings of the term.

    Brazil is slowly being locked down. South Africa is at an interesting transition point.

    For the moment, it looks like the self-named Alt-Right lit a wet squib. And the left is suffering from a 150-year case of media overexposure unclear identity, and its complement failure to maintain coalitions, and it’s an international situation. And the center, having grabbed the center for neoliberalism and austerity has the contradiction of having won power and having people expecting them to deliver peace and prosperity from their principles.

    Y’all take care of yourselves; keep the seat belts fastened; still interesting times. Personalities now more important than political party organizations and actions. Almost everywhere. Scrambles to seize cults of personality.

    Spring is gorgeous here. Just waiting on the native azaleas to bloom. The mayapples checked in with their one bloom apiece this week. On the small scale the bluets (Quaker ladies) just checked in along with the Virginia spring beauties (carpets of bluish gray and pinkish white. Dogwoods and redbud are glorious. Red maple is already in seed. Oaks, hickories, and ashes are in their spring lime-green.

    • hola, amigo, and bloody hell i’d meant to write the follow-up email i’d promised, down to quoting the goofy t-shirt:

      ‘time flies like an arrow, fruit flies…like a banana.’ lot here to consider, but:
      so you’re going with the distractions theory, akin to sarkozy leading the bombing in libya before the french elections in which he was…not so popular? rally round the flag boys style?

      the fact that it wasn’t more nights (save for ‘more chemical attacks’) is likely down to mattis, isn’t it? if anything, he’d know that russian weapon are superior, and feared things ‘spiraling out of control’, which was indeed correct. and he knew that were russians hit, putin might be forced to take the bait at last, and bless his heart for not doing so thus far. but i’m not sure what this means, although i likely should:

      “It ends when Assad consolidates his rule of the workable economy of Syria.” unless you mean that there were at first some actual syrians protesting before they were coopted by the proxy uninvited guests. let’s say.

      i’m not sure whassup with obor is more important, but in the long run would likely make more of a mark as to an obvious multi-polar world, which is exactly one of the key ingredients of the fukkery on syria.

      ‘has been’ jens, eh? fascinating take. and ooh la la on your spring flowers! jeez, i loved may apples in ohio, and dutchman’s breeches and more. so weird here, but dry dry dry, no snow in the la platas to speak of. watching the deciduous leaves unfurl, make catkins…all so thrilling, no? be well, and our best ♥ to miz thd and her puppets, too.

  16. woooot! i’m closin’ in on finishing the ‘give to uncle or else’ forms! mr wd s in town xeroxing pages at the liberry, so brief break. there were supposed to have been more anti-was marches yesterday, but this from popular resistance makes them look like…fizzles.


  17. Congrats on “form freedom day”.

    Macron even brags about being de Gaulle’s successor of independent French power within Europe even by being the staunchest advocate of outdated NATO policies that implicitly see Russia as a perpetual enemy.

    Syria air strikes: Macron says he convinced Trump not to pull out troops

    The UK and US have truly shot themselves in the foot in defending neoliberalism by both parties. Macron maintains that policy but has not shot his country’s policy in the foot —- yet. Heat the popcorn?

    • wooot! the form are in the mail! and ooof, do i love that geezer deduction, oh my. ‘course, ya gotta be oooold to get it, so there’s that… ;-)

      well, ain’t macron the power broker, i mean ‘monsieur le president’. as to this: “At the meeting, UK ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson accused Russia of trying to undermine all OPCW investigations into alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian government troops.: the guardian reports it this way:

      ‘Syria: chemical weapons inspectors denied access to Douma site; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons unable to access sites controlled by Russia and Syria’, the guardian today
      “In remarks that could indicate an attempt to bog down the OPCW team, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the inspectors will not be allowed to access the site until they produce an appropriate UN permit.
      Russian military officials were at the site of the Douma attack days before the OPCW reached Damascus, leading to fears that the site might have been tampered with.

      “The British envoy to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, put the Douma attack in a wider context of chemical weapons use in Syria during the war. The OPCW had recorded 390 allegations of the use of banned chemicals in Syria since 2014 he said, and a failure by the OPCW to act risked allowing “further barbaric use of chemical weapons”.

      and of course the russian embassy on twitter begs to differ. and of course they aimed at more than those evil chemical plants, but as to them i gues i gotta go with this after watching it on the twit machine the next morning:

      ‘No release of chemicals is best proof there were none’ – employee of bombed Syrian research site’, RT, 16 Apr, 2018 03:25

      “Announcing the strikes, US General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US military “believe that by hitting Barzeh, in particular, we’ve attacked the heart of the Syrian weapons program.”
      However, reports by the UN’s chemical watchdog, the latest of which was filed just a month ago, suggest otherwise.
      The report on the first inspection that was conducted between 26 February and 5 March 2017 says that “the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention,” noting that Damascus had provided unimpeded access to the inspectors “to all selected areas.”

      The follow-up inspection, carried out in November, did not find any incriminating evidence either. The March 2018 report reiterates: “As stated in previous reports, all of the chemicals declared by the Syrian Arab Republic that were removed from its territory in 2014 have now been destroyed.”


      but lordie, the information wars. the truth must be out there somewhere…musn’t it? and ugh, i listened to the ‘debate’ in the UK parliament for a bit finishing the taxes. may sounded so much like FU urquart, seriously. lily white and moral UK, dastardly evil putin and assad.

      • Syria and Russia trying to pre-select interesting bombing targets. Where do the US-UK-French planners think the bombs were made.

        Likely there is chemical evidence at the site regardless of source of the attack.

        Means the critical evidence revolves around the notion of who benefits and how.

        • i should have noted that the RT piece above links to the actual reports…i do understand the report claiming that herr orange ha spoken with putin on the bat-phone, but my take was that even the great orange was made leery about striking russians and their installations. that your take? works for me, a P’s faith in the old soviet missile interceptors work quite well, although he’ll upgrade syria’s soon. but what of syria selecting targets? dunno about that.

          well the opow is in doumas now, so i guess…we wait and see what those however many labs say. but given the pat, i’m not sure that they won’t make a political decision rather than a scientific one, myself. wiki says:

          ‘In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. It is now manufactured by Raytheon.[6] In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million.[1]’’

  18. Catch 22 was the manual, not a cautionary tale:

    OPCW-accredited Swiss lab can ‘neither confirm nor deny’ BZ toxin was used in Skripal poisoning, RT, 16 Apr, 2018 14:16

    ““We cannot have any statement on that,” Andreas Bucher, Spiez Laboratory’s strategy and communications head, told TASS on Monday.
    “We are contractually bound to the OPCW for confidentiality. So, the only institution that could confirm what Mr. Lavrov was saying is the OPCW. We cannot confirm or deny anything,” he added. The Swiss state research center is controlled by the country’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the defense minister.

    Asked to clarify the relationship between the OPCW and the Spiez lab, as well as between the OPCW and the UK military research facility at Porton Down, a spokesperson for the OPCW told RT in a written statement on Monday that “designated laboratories are a lynchpin of the Organization’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. They must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons. These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW deployments are carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results.”

    “OPCW does not disclose the identity of designated labs that contribute to OPCW activities. These labs are also bound by secrecy agreements. These arrangements exist to ensure the integrity of the analysis and results provided by the designated labs,” the statement added.

    signing off exhausted, love and courage to all. tonight’s lullaby:

    on morning edit: it appears that up to 2011 tomahawks weren’t tipped with DU. also, courtesy of the twiiterphere, he’s the OPCW executive council’s statement (pdf) on why they’re not at the site yet.

    this is great though, although the WSJ version is behind a paywall: ‘Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan: Arab occupational force and Arabs will pay for it – report’, RT 17 Apr, 2018 14:43

    beats me on this one as i don’t read there unless prompted: ‘Russian Warships Carrying Military Hardware Spotted Crossing Bosporus Towards Syria’. april 16, zerohedge

    lol, might be just yellow journalism, but hilarious nonetheless:

    • Apologies if I missed this above – last night a link at saker to a Robert Fisk on the ground at Douma had two points:

      One, he spoke with doctor in fabricated film who claimed it accurate depiction except not poisoning but suffocation. (Still hard to believe.)

      Two, no whitehelmets as they had left along with the rebs for Idlib in safe passage exit provided by Russians. (Come again? Why not stick around and help?)

      Depleted uranium, sigh. Someone somewhere has to bury that stuff for good and all, or invent a decontamination process – how great would that be? C’mon science promoters – here’s a biggie for you!

  19. My first video watch in a very long time – Roger Waters at thesaker.is this morning.(Upper left side). I know not his music but loved his short speech and crowd reactions.

  20. I also did the intetview with F. William Engdahl (long read plus comments) ‘Rape of Russia’ piece at Saker – has both pod and transcript. Much known known but wow, the finance connections go right back to gold Japan looted and buried in the Phillipines which the CIA used after Marcos uncovered it as seed money for Yeltsin and all the color stuff.

    You’ll have to remind me about Jeffrey Sachs. According to FWE he’s in on the rape with the Harvard shock therapy guys, but here he is today bemoaning climate change frackery – did he recant repentantly or is he seeking to throw a spanner in the Russian fossil fuel industry therby insidiously undermining the financing of global multipolarity ?

    One the one hand. . .but on the other hand…It’s all very confusing.

  21. Truthdig: Scott Ritter summarizes the state of play:

    A Shocking Lack of Intelligence in Our Missile Strike on Syria


    This is the truth of the Douma chemical allegations—they can be readily proved or disproved almost immediately upon arrival at the scene by qualified inspectors from the OPCW. The fact that the United States, the United Kingdom and France opted to attack Syria without allowing the OPCW inspectors to first accomplish their mission provides the clearest indication possible that all three nations knew they possessed a shocking lack of intelligence to sustain their allegations surrounding the use of chemical agents by the Syrian government, and that the missile attack of April 13, was little more than a propaganda exercise designed to promote larger policy objectives regarding U.S., U.K. and French policy in Syria. This conclusion holds regardless of what the ultimate finding is by the OPCW inspectors as to what transpired on the ground in Douma the evening of April 7, 2018.

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