Russian Foreign Ministry criticism of OPCW session on Syrian chemical attack: no evidence collected at location, no investigation at the site, no interest in the truth, serious damage and disruption to OPCW work

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

April 20, 2017

Comment by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov for TASS on the OPCW Executive Council session

The outcome of today’s vote at a special session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council shows that the Western group of countries and some of the states that joined it are not interested in establishing the truth. They failed to demonstrate their willingness to take the only right step in this situation, specifically, to send a team of investigators to the scene of the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhun and to the Al-Shayrat air base, from which the alleged “chemical attack” was supposedly carried out, as they claim. Those countries continue to stick to their line, disregarding any argument, and continue to impose on the international community the same pseudo conclusions that they pushed on the UN Security Council.

They do not need the truth. For them, everything has been settled: Damascus is to blame, according to them, and Moscow, they say, is just obscuring the matter, preventing the OPCW from doing its job.

However, without collecting evidence at the location and establishing the facts, all their accusations against the legitimate government of Syria remain groundless. The West always has its own “pocket” specialists on hand, who are ready to write any report at the first signal and fit pseudo evidence into pre-formulated conclusions. Today, our diplomats in The Hague and the Russian Defence Ministry’s official representative talked about this amply and convincingly.

We are grateful to the countries that supported the joint Russian-Iranian draft solution. We heard many reasonable arguments in statements by representatives of the countries that abstained from voting.

And we strongly condemn the irresponsible stance of those that voted against it. The Western group has once again revealed the essence of its destructive approach.

These countries caused serious damage to the reputation and authority of the OPCW. By disrupting this badly needed process, they have again complicated the search for a way out of the Syrian crisis.

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2734389

U.S. has ‘no doubt’ their villain-of-the-day has banned weapons

Global Research, April 22, 2017
Moon of Alabama 21 April 2017

Mattis: ‘No doubt‘ Syrian regime has chemical weapons, April 21, 2017

“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” Mattis told reporters.

Full text of Dick Cheney‘s speech, August 27, 2002

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors …

 

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”― Edmund Burke

Why is the news media citing man accused of kidnapping journalists as a credible source on Syrian chemical attack?

From Alternet

GRAYZONE PROJECT

With military intervention on the horizon, media outlets cite Shajul Islam, a doctor accused of working with extremists in Syria.
By Ben Norton

Photo Credit: Screenshot of video by Shajul Islam

Calls for regime change in Syria are once again filling the airwaves, and President Donald Trump has said he is considering further military intervention in the country.

(Update: After this article was published, the U.S. launched a missile attack on a Syrian government airfield, which ISIS subsequently exploited.)

Media outlets have been pouring fuel on the fire of war. One of the key voices calling for Western intervention that is being amplified by corporate news networks is Shajul Islam, a doctor in the al-Qaeda-controlled Syrian province of Idlib.

Islam has accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack on civilians. Dozens of major media outlets have cited his claims, while conceding that they have not been independently verified.

Meanwhile, these news publications have failed to disclose a crucial detail about the doctor: He was accused in court of kidnapping journalists in Syria.

In October 2012, Shajul Islam was arrested in the UK and charged with kidnapping two photographers, one British and one Dutch. He was accused of providing medical treatment for the Salafi jihadist extremist group in Syria that held the journalists hostage.

The case eventually fell apart and the charges against Islam were dropped because the prosecution was not able to hear evidence from the victims, who were the key witnesses. The attorney said this served “to frustrate the trial from the point of view of the prosecution.”

John Cantlie, one of the journalists Islam was accused of kidnapping, was unable to appear at the trial because he was still a hostage. He had been briefly freed in July 2012, but was soon kidnapped again — this time by ISIS. Cantlie was held with James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded on camera by Mohamed Emwazi, an ISIS foreign fighter from London.

Islam’s younger brother, Razul, reportedly entered Syria to volunteer as a foreign fighter in the ranks of ISIS.

Sometime in 2016, Shajul Islam smuggled himself back into Syria and is now working in Idlib.

AlterNet previously detailed how Idlib is the “heartland” of al-Qaeda, as even hawkish pundits who have repeatedly called for further Western military intervention in Syria have acknowledged.

None of these facts stopped major news outlets from citing Islam’s claims and social media posts in their reports on the alleged Idlib chemical attack, including CBS NewsFox News, McClatchy, the Daily Beast, Voice of America, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, CBC, Politico, the Independent, Vocativ, Bellingcat, Euronews, Middle East Eye, the Mirror, Metro, the Daily Mail, the Sun and UNILAD.

NBC News and Middle East Eye published entire profiles on Islam without identifying the past accusations against him.

For the rest of the article:

http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/shajul-islam-idlib-chemical-attack-syria-media

When America’s “progressives” pay lip service to imperialism. The anti-war movement is dead

Global Research, April 09, 2017

Trump’s Punitive Airstrikes against Syria. Noam Chomsky Favors “Regime Change”

Neoliberals, Neocons, Corporate media and “Progressives” (collectively, the Deep State) praising Trump for the illegal airstrike against Syria, uniformly calling for more war, and vociferously attacking all those opposing war. Many figures who opposed Bush’s war making have become totally “controlled puppets” who say and do what they are ordered to do—regardless of consistency with past views and actions.”
Larry Chin, April 8, 2017

Segments of the anti-war movement which opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq are tacitly supportive of  Trump’s punitive airstrikes directed against the “Assad regime” allegedly involved in “killing their own people”, gassing them to death in a premeditated chemical weapons attack. According to Trump “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men women and children”.

America’s “Progressive Idol” Noam Chomsky in an April 5 interview with “Democracy Now” (aired two days before Trump’s punitive airstrikes) favors “regime change”, intimating that a negotiated “removal” of Bashar Al Assad could lead to a peaceful settlement.

According to Chomsky: “The Assad regime is a moral disgrace. They’re carrying out horrendous acts, the Russians with them.” Strong statement with no supporting evidence and documentation provided. The victims of imperialism are casually blamed for the crimes of imperialism:

…You know, you can’t tell them, “We’re going to murder you. Please negotiate.” That’s not going to work. But some system in which, in the course of negotiations [with the Russians], he [Bashar al-Assad] would be removed, and some kind of settlement would be made. The West would not accept it, …  At the time, they believed they could overthrow Assad, so they didn’t want to do this, so the war went on. Could it have worked? You never know for sure. But it could have been pursued. Meanwhile, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated.

(Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now, April 5, 2017, See the video of the Democracy Now interview with Chomsky here

Who was behind the Chemical Weapons Attack?

No research, no investigative reports, no historical review have been conducted by Western governments and the mainstream media to support president Trump’s allegations directed against the Syrian government. (See Trump’s April 6 address below)

Financial Times screenshot. Trump nationwide statement on April 6, announcing the illegal airstrikes against Syria

While there is no evidence that president Al-Assad ordered the chemical weapons attack, there is ample evidence –including a comprehensive UN report– that the opposition “rebels” (supported by US-NATO) have since 2012 stockpiled and used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians as well as SAA soldiers.

There is also evidence that Washington and its allies had previously planned and supported “False Flag” chemical weapons attacks perpetrated by the “rebels” (including the 2012 East Ghouta attacks) with a view to incriminating the Damascus government.

See:   The East Ghouta Chemical Attacks (2013): US-Backed False Flag? Killing Syrian Children to Justify a “Humanitarian” Military Intervention By Julie Lévesque and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, originally published in 2013.

The UN Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons (2013)


According to Carla del Ponte on behalf of the UN Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arabic Republic:

“evidence from casualties and medical staff indicated that rebel forces in the civil war had used the deadly nerve agent sarin.

‘Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals, and there are strong, concrete suspicions, but not yet incontrovertible proof, of the use of sarin gas,’ said Del Ponte in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.

‘This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.’

The comments by Ms Del Ponte, a member of the U.N. panel probing alleged war crimes in Syria, contradict claims by Britain and the U.S. that intelligence reports showed Syrian soldiers had used chemical weapons.

She said that the United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law. (See Daily Mail Online, May 6, 2013))

“We still have to deepen our investigation, verify and confirm (the findings) through new witness testimony, but according to what we have established so far, it is at the moment opponents of the regime who are using sarin gas,” (The Independent, May 6, 2013)

To consult the complete UN Report which has been heavily redacted click here 

The final version of the UN report was watered down: the role of opposition rebels acknowledged by the UN mission of investigators was omitted. The use of chemical weapons against both civilians and Syrian SAA soldiers is nonetheless documented and acknowledged.

On page 19 (para 111) of the UN report:

“Khan al Asal, 19 March 2013: 111. The United Nations Mission collected credible information that corroborates the allegations that chemical weapons were used in Khan al Asal on 19 March 2013 against soldiers and civilians.” [the report is careful not to mention that the attacks were conducted by opposition rebels and the attacks were directed against government forces]

Page 19 (para 111)

“Jobar, 24 August 2013: 113. The United Nations Mission collected evidence consistent with the probable use of chemical weapons in Jobar on 24 August on a relatively small scale against soldiers…” [by opposition rebels]

Page 19 (para 113)

See the official UN report, see also Carla Stea’s review article entitled: UN Mission Report Confirms that “Opposition” Rebels Used Chemical Weapons against Civilians and Government Forces, Global Research, December 31, 2013

The Training of Opposition Rebels in the Use of Chemical Weapons

Moreover, acknowledged by mainstream media reports, Western special forces on contract to the Pentagon were involved in training the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in the use of chemical weapons.

For details see Michel Chossudovsky, Pentagon Trained Syria’s Al-Qaeda Rebels in the use of Chemical Weapons, Global Research, April 6, 2017.

See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Syria Chemical Weapons Saga: The Staging of a US-NATO Sponsored Humanitarian Disaster, originally published in December 2012

Paying Lip Service to US imperialism?

Whereas US-NATO inflicts death and destruction across the Middle East, not to mention its support of Al Qaeda affiliated terror groups, the victims of US aggression are casually blamed for “carrying out [these] horrendous acts” committed by the US and its allies.

Many “Progressives” view Syria as a “civil war” rather than a US-NATO supported terrorist insurgency. Noam Chomsky is largely supportive of “regime change” in Damascus in derogation of international law.

And anti-war activists concur, American “progressives” tow the line, follow suit in Chomsky’s footsteps.

In an earlier interview with Alternet, Chomsky avoids addressing US foreign policy, casually placing the blame on the “Assad regime”:

EF: To what extent is the US administration responsible for Syria’s implosion?

NC It’s hard to say. The Assad regime is absolutely monstrous and responsible for a large majority of the atrocities. IS [Islamic State] is another monstrosity. The al-Qaida affiliated al-Nusra Front is not much better than IS [Islamic state], while some of the other major groups are closely linked to it. … Noam Chomsky, AlterNet, August 25, 2016. emphasis added)

“…is the US administration responsible? It’s hard to say.”

In response to Emron Feroz (EF), Chomsky conveniently lumps the “Assad regime” together with the terrorists. Moreover, he fails to acknowledge that the Syrian government is fighting both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and that these terror groups are supported and financed by the Western military alliance.

Both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) are creations of US intelligence.

War has become peace. Realities have been turned upside down.

Trump’s illegal punitive airstrikes against Syria are heralded as a humanitarian act against Bashar Al Assad who is “killing his own people”.

The illegal cruise missile airstrikes have set the stage: “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

More airstrikes including direct US military intervention are envisaged.

And “Progressives” applaud. The anti-war movement is dead.

Only fools and liars will blame Assad

April 9th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– op-ed by Joe Hargrave –
So, here’s how it is.
1) There is still no evidence – that has been presented to the public – that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack.
2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days – but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and not in our immediate national defense interests.
3) Even if Assad ordered the attack and is responsible, the above still applies – that is, if “America First” actually means “America First”, though it is becoming rapidly clear that it means nothing at all from Trump’s mouth.
4) Our government has lied us into wars in the past and may be doing so again.
5) We are relying on “intelligence” from countries and organizations with vested personal interests in seeing Assad removed from power – just as we did with the Iraq and Libya fiascoes. History is repeating itself beat for beat here.
6) The Syrian government’s account of things makes sense to me, though I will listen to anyone who wants to point out holes in the logic – yes, Syrian warplanes did fly over that town, and yes, they did drop something from their planes. They were conventional bombs that took out a depot housing chemical weapons owned and controlled by one of the rebel groups (probably not ISIS). This accounts for the low number of casualties and the fact that aid workers in the pictures are not in full protective gear. It was the amount of sarin that might be released from the bombs being destroyed as opposed to detonated. Am I wrong? I admit I am certainly no expert and I will gladly accept correction here.
7) No foreign policy decision has ever been based upon “protecting innocent lives.” I’m sorry, but that isn’t the way the world works. This is about escalating conflict with Russia, as part of a long-term, ongoing geopolitical strategy to prevent the rise of superpowers that can challenge the United States. The speed and hysterical pitch of Nikki Haley’s denunciations of Russia at the UN today are proof enough of this.
8) Assad really had no reason to do this – to risk the wrath of the international community and Western military intervention – to kill fewer than 100 people and obtain no strategic advantage. You have to have a Saturday-morning cartoon supervillianish view of the man to believe this. It is not an adult, rational analysis or perception of reality.
9) ISIS and other jihadist fanatics have been emboldened by these strikes and are attacking targets once under the protection of the airfield that was hit – proving once again that you cannot simultaneously fight ISIS and the enemies of ISIS.
10) It is not in our interest to escalate tensions with Russia. It is not in our interest to avenge the deaths of people who may have been killed by Assad. In fact, it is the height of hypocrisy. How many children did we kill in Mosul just recently? How many children were blown to bits in Yemen by weapons we provided to Saudi Arabia? How many dead in Libya? How many in Iraq? The United States has the blood of hundreds of thousands of children on its hands [ed. in Iraq alone]. It has no moral high ground. NO COUNTRY DOES in this regard. So if you allow yourself to be moved by such arguments, you are a dupe, a sucker and a fool. It is a non-issue, because we are all guilty.
If you blindly cheer a course of action that can lead to a third World War, on a planet full of nuclear weapons, you’re not only a fool – but all of your moral posturing is in vain, because “your team” has murdered far more people, including children, than “their team.” So even your own sense of self-righteousness, no matter how hotly it burns within you, is in objective reality a total delusion.

Iran and Russia to support Syria until the last terrorist is gone

April 8th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Al Mayadeen – – translated by Samer Hussein –

Chief of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, during which they discussed the Friday’s US missile strike on Syria.

Both generals expressed their condemnation of the US strike and assured that fight against terrorism and terrorist groups in Syria will not only continue, but also intensify and will go on as long as the terrorism problem in Syria is not completely solved.
The two also agreed that the US strike on Syria was a “pre-planned attack on an independent and sovereign state, aimed at slowing down the victories of the Syrian Army and its allies, while only raising the morale of the terrorists and their supporters,” adding that “the US narrative on Khan Sheikhoun incident is extremely doubtful and that the Syrian proposal to establish an independent commission that will investigate the incident, can only reveal the ugly reality of manipulations and distortions”.
Moscow does not submit to the US narrative of Wednesday’s chemical assault on the Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun and previously accused Washington of fearing the truth, surrounding the incident.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said that “the US Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs did not provide any evidence of chemical weapons being used by the Syrian Army, and called for an independent investigation to be conducted by experts in order to clear out the facts.

500 “Islamist radicals” arrive in Mariupol – DPR intelligence

Is this really one of the purposes for America’s takeover of Ukraine? So that it can be a port, supply depot, and jumping off point for its Middle East terrorist operations?

April 8, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
RN – translated by J. Arnoldski –
According to the intelligence of the Donetsk People’s Republic, an “Islamist battalion” numbering up to 500 men has arrived in Ukraine’s Mariupol. This was announced today by the deputy commander of the DPR, Eduard Basurin.
“We’ve identified the arrival in Mariupol of an Islamist battalion of up to 500 people which will operate in the operations zone of the 36th marines brigade. The battalion is stationed on Bakhchivandzhi Street. The battalion’s advisor is a company commander of Ukraine’s national guard, Major Karpenko,” Basurin reported.
According to him, the unit’s tasks include guarding artillery stockpiles and taking control of the Mariupol port. As Basurin reported, the Mariupol port itself has become a hub for illegal weapons trading, including chemical weapons and ammunitions with Middle Eastern countries.
Media reports have repeatedly revealed the presence of Islamist radicals serving in Ukrainian army units. A number of video shots from the “Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone” have even shown the use of ISIS insignia.
“To the Asker Battalion are now flocking people with combat experience from fighting against government troops in Syria and close to the entourage of Mejlis leaders – Turkish nationalists or ISIS veterans,” Crimean Vice Prime Minister Ruslan Balbet noted back in 2016. 

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/500-islamist-radicals-arrive-in.html