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And then there was….

Written By: - Date published: 12:08 pm, June 29th, 2018 - 38 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, journalism, Media, Politics, Propaganda, Syria, uk politics, useless - Tags: ,

You may recall a few months back when it seemed the world was all in a lather about an alleged  chemical attack on the suburb of Douma and the poisoning of the Skripals.

“Everyone” knew what had happened in the case of Douma and “everyone” knew who was behind the poisoning of the Skripals. So certain was the knowledge, that Syria was bombed because chemicals had been used in Douma, and Russian diplomats from across the western sphere of influence were expelled because the Russian government was responsible for the Skripal’s poisoning. All that was missing was the evidence in the first instance and a suspect or suspects in the latter. Mere, somewhat pesky details that would be provided at some later date.

Well the Skripals were hospitalised at the beginning of March and Douma furore blew up at the beginning of April.

Today, after reflecting that I’d heard nothing on either of these two issues for quite some while, and wondering what findings, evidence or progress might have been reported on both issues, I did me a google news search. There was not a lot there

Buried at the foot of a piece from two days ago on the OPCW being given powers to apportion blame for chemical weapons attacks, there’s this…

The OPCW has yet to report into whether it found samples of chemical weapons in an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April that led to the reported deaths of more than 70 people.

Hang on! It has yet to report on whether it has found samples?! Should we take that as “We found nuffin, but we’re still looking?” I’ll just note in passing, the  change in language from the Guardian. Now they talk of “an alleged chemical attack” which is a huge shift away from the ‘dead cert’ language they’ve used previously. I’m not going to dig through all the screaming headlines of a few months ago that proclaimed how hastily buried bodies were going to be dug up, and how the exact location of the chemical attack was known, or the reporting that claimed to show unexploded chemical ordinance.

The fact is that after almost three months, the OPCW cannot say that it has any samples being subjected to analysis. A country was bombed off the back of reports that chemical weapons were used. That’s kinda big. And no samples.

On the Skripal front, there is nothing much being reported either. On the 6th of June, the Guardian announced progress in that investigators, in true ‘plod’ form, had finally figured poison must have been smeared on the doorhandle of Skripals house no more than 24 hours before they was taken ill. That bears repeating. After three months, investigators were able to conclude that a door handle had been spiked with a hugely toxic chemical agent, at some point in time between people coming into or out of a house and not falling ill, and subsequently entering or exiting a house and falling ill. Astonishing!

The thing is, there’s no need to provide evidence of any chemicals in the case of Douma, or to progress the case around the Skripals. Populations were to be played for political purposes. Populations were successfully played for political purposes. That’s the real story right there. And no mainstream media are going to be running that story; they are a part and parcel of the game, acting hand in glove with governments. And they are dutifully playing their final part in the role they’ve chosen or been assigned, and hauling aside that lidded cover to the memory hole where stories like Douma and the Skripals are shoved.

38 comments on “And then there was…. ”

  1. xanthe 1

    Glad to see you holding the mass media misdirection up to the harsh light of actual facts (or lack of same) Bill keep this up please

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1

      +1

      God knows how much aid money had been siphoned to boot, while in the background Doctors on the ground stated equivocally no attack happened.

      Shoddy stuff.

    • Bearded Git 1.2

      +1000 nice work Bill

  2. RedLogix 2

    Bill we’ve been on opposites of a few threads here over the years, but by no means all. In common with the shootings on the other thread, we’re witnessing the media feed us incomplete, misleading or hugely selective stories far too often. Especially in the immediate aftermath of this type of dramatic event where everyone seems to scramble to control narrative as quickly as possible, with little regard to truth.

    Everyone is doing this; I’m not taking a necessarily partisan pov on this. The onus is on us to be a lot more measured in what information we accept.

    What they are doing is exploiting the human tendency, when faced with the unknown, to ‘lock in’ the first explanation that aligns with our pre-formed expectations. The more dramatic and emotional the event, the stronger this tendency is.

    It’s an evolved mechanism that works very well in scenarios that are simple and direct. For instance a proto-human when faced for the first time by a large creature never seen before, will be startled and fearful of the unknown quantity before them. But observing this creature has large incisor teeth and sharp claws, features seen before on other predators, very quickly convinces our hero that it’s time to get the hell away from this thing without waiting around to find out more. In this case the pattern recognition was probably accurate, and quite rightly caution and fear will remain the default response to this new threat from here on in.

    But faced with the complex, nuanced and layered stories in this modern world, this kind of reflexive, fixed response is sub-optimal. We should be more on guard to ensure these instinctive behaviours that served us well in deep evolutionary time, are not so readily exploited by those with an agenda they aren’t willing to be open about.

    • Bill 2.1

      The onus is on us to be a lot more measured in what information we accept.

      Thing is, running alongside all the other “war on’s”, it’s like there’s a war against intelligence.

      (And then I deleted the few paragraphs about the problems created by people who might be characterised as ideologues (always dangerous), given it deserves a post)

  3. patricia bremner 3

    Press always ready to jump on a band waggon.
    Corrections? Yeh/Nah!!

  4. TootingPooularFront 4

    The Douma incident and the absence of any corroborating evidence are pricisely why the OPCW must be turned into a political, prosecutorial organisation – so that the absence of evidence does not stop US/UK/France from pursuing their petty political goals (looking good in opinion polls, etc.).

  5. Adrian Thornton 5

    I notice that Kim Hill didn’t get into Russia gate or Douma when she interviewed Seymour Hersh last week, which isn’t really surprising if you heard what could only be described as ‘encouraging’ interview she did with Guardian reporter and author Luke Harding on his book ‘Collusion’ , look it up yourself if you want to waste your time.

    It is a real shame I was such a big fan of Kim in the past, unfortunately she has become a bit of a reactionary politically and quite a bore.

    But if you don’t want to waste your time check out this interview with Harding…it’s one of my favourites.

    I know I bang on and on about this, but The Guardian is IMO the Trojan Horse on the Left, it is very dangerous organization because it has the ability and the will to divide the Left at the most crucial times, which it has done without hesitation on several occasions over the psat fews years when it’s neoliberal ideology has called on it to do so.

    • Bill 5.1

      The Guardian is and always was a liberal newspaper, not a left wing newspaper. It might be unsettling to reflect that it’s the closest resemblance to anything left wing in what’s generally termed the msm, but that state of affairs is to be expected. The Guardian doesn’t “split the left”. What it does is introduce the idea that ‘liberal’ is somehow ‘progressive’ or ‘left’.

      And that permits wholesale attacks on, or dismissal of progressive ideas or ideas of the left. (So even Corbyn’s quite tame social democratic politics belong among the fossilised remains at Lyme Regis, Sanders should have gone home early, Maduro’s a cunt and there is no possible institutional explanation for Trump)

      Unfortunately, there are plenty of people (liberals) who go along with all that guff while deluding themselves and others that they are somehow progressive or of the left. (Just read the threads hereabouts 😉 )

      • Adrian Thornton 5.1.1

        Have to disagree with you there Bill, I have plenty of friends and acquaintances, and have spoken to la hell of a of people over years in my bookshop who regard themselves as left and/or progressive that take the opinion/political slant of the Guardian very seriously, you could say they are ‘guided’ somewhat by what The Guardian spew out…I saw it with my own eyes during both Bernies and Corbyn’s campaigns.

        I know that more than half the people I just mentioned would have felt more favorably towards both, had not they been taken in by constant Guardian negative spin….that is what I call dividing the Left…maybe you could term it ‘ the soft left’ or ‘middle left’ something like that, but politically that is an important block of voters who have a lot of connections and power.

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          Hmm. Reckon I’d leaning towards “conservative liberal” on your “soft left/middle left”.

          The ACT party types (or beyond) are radical liberal, and it graduates across to something like the current NZ Labour Party being the conservative liberals.

          Then there’s the social democrats (eg – Corbyn) who would seek to straddle the liberal/left divide.

          And yes, there is a schism on the left too, between authoritarians of different degrees and non-authoritarians and all the tangled shit that leads to.

          Maybe it’s the failure to distinguish between liberal and left that leads to so many liberals (ie – conservative liberals) to self identify as left and yet come out swinging against the half way house of social democracy?

          • Adrian Thornton 5.1.1.1.1

            I have just been having this conversation about this with some friends lately, I was scaring them with my view that the Left should co opt the term ‘conservative’ for our own use.
            My argument being that being a Socialist today (for me anyway) is a lot about advocating for a higher level of social/community/political ethical behaviour, to aim at a much higher level civic’s etc..so it is a reactionary position to what is actually being rewarded by liberalism from both the Right and Centre..so you could say (in a modern sense) socially conservative…and even if my terminology is all up the fuck, who cares, why not start co opting the term for our purposes?

            Of course in this conversation, I assume we all understand that sexual orientation, abortion etc are battles that have already been won, so are historical as far as the term conservative goes.

            As far as your last statement goes..’failure to distinguish between liberal and left’ I believe that many of these “conservative liberal” (I quite like that term) are exactly the people that are swayed by The Guardian , but could just as easily be swayed to the Left, given the right information from the right sources at the right time, hence my beef with The Guardian..who do exactly that, but as we know, but in the wrong direction….so divide (at least part of) the Left vote.

            • Bill 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree that conservative liberals could be brought left. But I’m also aware that some conservative liberals have a kind of quasi religious attachment to the status quo.

              I’m also aware that some who sit way out beyond ACT could be brought to the left if their eyes could be opened to the fact that “the market” isn’t neutral and acts against their better judgement around liberty.

              As for sexual orientation and such like, I don’t give a monkey’s how liberal or conservative any person is, just like I don’t care about any person’s religion or whatever….unless and until they seek some way to impose their position on others.

    • Ed 5.2

      The capture of the Guardian by neoliberal interests was quite a coup for the establishment.
      It is now more dangerous than the Times or the Daily Fail.

  6. Lettuce 6

    The whole Skripal affair was cooked up and overblown to halt Tezza May’s rapidly plunging approval ratings due to her totally inept handling of the Brexit mess and her cold indifference to the victims of the Grenfell disaster.

    It looks a lot like the alleged “chemical attacks” in Douma and elsewhere in Syria are just another part of the concerted effort for regime change led by the usual suspects; the US, Israel, the Saudis and those good old “moderate” head-chopping jihadist rebels.

    • Wayne 6.1

      The US, especially under Trump, has long given up on the idea of regime change in Syria.

      The US and NATO response over Douma wasn’t about changing the regime, but rather saying to Assad (and also to Putin), don’t cross redlines on chemicals. The response was very precisely targeted.

      Still the long-term future of Syria is not really clear. The Kurds seem to control much of the northwest, a variety of groups in the northeast, and Assad the rest. Assad will eventually get the northeast.

      But the Kurds might be a different story. Will Turkey accept autonomous Kurd government in northwest Syria and northwest Iraq?

      Only if they thought that was the best path to deal with their own Kurdish issue, that is if the Kurds have northwest Syria and Iraq maybe they will accept Turkish control in Turkey, especially since Turkey is the principal outlet for the Syrian and Iraq Kurds. A bit like the deal with Armenia, which is now the full repository of Armenian nationalism.

      • adam 6.1.1

        One can hope that is the deal made for the Kurds. My fear is the kurds will get it in the neck – again.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          If the USA betrays the Kurds there will be a genocide in Rojava. Trump will facilitate it. But of course our loving allies Vladimir and Bashar will never allow it. As everyone knows, they’ve been victims of The Guardian and their Liberal/Fascist propaganda for decades.

          The Guardian is actually the Illuminati, Buzz Aldrin and HAARP rolled into one. That’s why it’s important to murder journalists.

          • adam 6.1.1.1.1

            I’d say get some sleep, but I’m not sure that would help.

            I’m pretty sure I said to you at the time, let’s wait for the truth to come out. I’m still happy to wait, are you?

            But you gotta wonder if this is the “jumping the shark” moment for the corporate media on Syria.

            How many more illegal bombing can the west do, and have any credibility left one wonders? It getting stretched thin these days. But I suppose if you are into conspiracy theories, then any old codswallop can be digested in the defence of liberalism.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The people who murder and send co-ordinated death threats to journalists are certainly into conspiracy theories, Adam.

              After all, who can blame them? Journalists are guilty of covering up war crimes and print made up stories about poison and chemical weapons: read the OP /sarc.

              • adam

                You’re grasping at straws, this post is about the media drawing conclusions before the facts are in, and investigations not being forthcoming.

                You seem to be embracing some sort of theory that anyone who questions the official “we got a theory, lets run with it” narrative – is wrong. I’d argue that is the worst type of reporting. One who runs with assumptions, generally makes an ass of someone along the line.

                Who on the left is threatening journalist again?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Oh I agree: making one’s mind up about things on day one, with limited information and a head full of bias, is a mistake. What a good thing no-one here does anything like that /sarc

                  The right accuses journalists of being lügenpresse. It’s a real pity when elements of the left echo such sentiments.

                  • adam

                    Who, name names. You playing the whispers game, and these circumspect allegations is not helpful.

                    I read most on the left saying that the corporate media, have an agenda, and push a propaganda line. Like no one in their right mind, would argue that RT does not have an agenda and is projecting propaganda.

                    But really not seen anyone call them the lying press, BS on some stories – most definitely. Approaching the media with scepticism by many, well, I bloody well hope so.

                    Then again, let’s get back to your allegations. Run with some names and examples from them, would be helpful. If you going to go making some allegations, back it up.

                    Otherwise, just going to run with you got nothing, so you’re making shit up.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      As I said, read the OP.

                      no mainstream media are going to be running that story; they are a part and parcel of the game, acting hand in glove with governments.

                    • adam

                      Yeap, you got nothing.

                      “Populations were successfully played for political purposes. That’s the real story right there. And no mainstream media are going to be running that story”

                      Pulling stuff out of context to fit your agenda, I get it, we all do it.

                      But running the line that the author is saying lügenpresse, is a pretty big leap. Even for you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sure, Adam, journalists “play” people because they’re “hand in glove with government”, but that isn’t an accusation of deliberate dishonesty at all /sarc.

                      Keep telling yourself that.

                      [OAB. One lie I might have let slip. But when you’ve come back in and sought to underscore or reinforce the first lie by spouting a second one in the context of attacking an author… Goodbye] – Bill

                    • In Vino

                      Bill – please clarify what you mean by ‘Goodbye’.
                      Banned for this day, or forever?

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.2

          @adam

          Yes I agree. For reasons I won’t elaborate on here, I’ve long believed the Kurds will play a crucial role in the eventual resolution of the catastrophic mess which is the Middle East. In historic terms I’d call them the innocents and it’s my sense this will play out in a manner we cannot yet predict.

          Sorry to be obscure; it’s mostly my gut feeling.

      • Lettuce 6.1.2

        Trump has indeed expressed his desire to get out of Syria and avoid dragging the US into another Middle East quagmire (it looks like he’s going down that road with Iran instead).

        However, Trump’s new Neocon chickenhawks Bolton and Pompeo are very much committed to regime change in Syria. They would love to add it to the failed states in the region that no longer pose any threat to Israel such as Iraq, Libya and Sudan.

      • Tricledrown 6.1.3

        Wayne Putins puppet/muppet has already agreed to not solving any crisis keep the arms and munitions flowing
        Trump and we won’t expose you.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    When the next bit of information about the Skripal investigation is released we’ll know a bit more. Can’t be bothered arguing about it.

    Remind me how long Russian and Syrian troops had in Douma before the OPCW. Of course, they’d never cover up evidence, even though they obey orders from governments, because reasons.

  8. Brigid 8

    May, Macron et al, and the BBC, Guardian, CBS shills will not display one iota of embarrassment either.
    It doesn’t matter that they appear fools to those who care to challenge the rhetoric. The job is done.
    Therefore there will be more to come.

  9. adam 9

    This piece worries me, I remember having an argument with some friends that ended with this piece and us agreeing that having to wait 3 to 4 weeks – whilst long, was OK.

    https://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/chemical-weapons-experts-complete-douma-mission/news-story/9b1b772315c766f53f9847cc60abb8af

    But what really worries me, is if you do a search for funerals for the Doluma Gas attack – you get this piece from the Torygraph.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/21/bodies-douma-gas-victims-secretly-buried-desperate-bid-preserve/

    What you don’t get is the what you normally get about funerals in Syria. Maybe it’s because I’ve been exposed to how the Kurds operate. They are open and honest about funerals. But on these so call gas attacks, the lack of funerals is troubling, me thinks someone is covering somthing up.

  10. One Two 10

    Both ‘stories’ were BS from day one…

    The percentage of BS which so many willingly give their energies too, must be close to 100%…

    Manufacturing stories or exposing stories to extract the desired response has never been distributed to such a wide and willing audience…

    Fabricated world…the land of make believe has been producing the narratives which ensure the bigger picture propagates…

    Order out of chaos…order…or just chaos…

  11. dukeofurl 11

    Now and then there are snippets of news about the use of ‘restricted weapons by the US in the Middle East

    A bazooka type weapon that fires napalm type substance that ‘turned up in Afghanistan’
    https://www.wired.com/2009/05/us-incendiary-weapon-in-afghanistan-revealed/

    That came from a wikileaks article on US inventories in the Country
    Using this number it can be identified as the M202A1 “FLame Assault SHoulder weapon” or FLASH.
    Scarily the napalm like compound is thickened triethylaluminum (TEA), a liquid which spontaneously combusts in air and burns at high temperature.

    ‘The Geneva Protocol does not ban flame or incendiary weapons, but prohibits them from being used on or near concentrations of civilians.’

    More well known was the US military using White Phosphous artillery shells , both in Fallujah in 2004 and more recently in destroying ISIS controlled cities like Raqqa
    In 2004 they claimed the phosphorus was for creating ‘smoke’ but the troops on the ground were calling the artillery barrages ‘shake and bake’
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/06/09/u-s-led-forces-appear-to-be-using-white-phosphorous-in-populated-areas-in-iraq-and-syria/?noredirect=on

    In Iraq the USAF denied using napalm, but it emerged that was only because they were using ‘thickened jet fuel’ instead of thickened petrol
    https://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030810-napalm-iraq01.htm

    Apparently the newer version causes less environmental damage

  12. Philg 12

    Thanks for posting Bill. It’s good to be reminded of the poisoning case and the outcome, or no outcome. The poor quality MSM is a major concern.

  13. Jenny 13

    I think what you are missing here Bill, (either consciously or unconsciously) is all of this is going on behind a background of mass fascist style extermination being rained on the Syrian population by the Assad regime. Of which there is more than enough evidence of.

    As horrible as it is, the West’s preoccupation with gas weapons and their possession and use by the Assad regime, obscures the fact that most of the aerial genocide has been committed with high explosives dropped on civilian cities and towns.

    Syrians describe ‘unbearable’ situation as pro-government forces bomb Daraa
    Zouhir Al Shimale, Middle East Eye – Thursday, 28 June 2018

    Tens of thousands flee as regime-allied airstrikes pound southern Syria
    The Japan Times – Friday, June 29, 2018

    At least 270,000 Syrians flee latest deadly regime offensive
    Kareem Khadder and Judith Vonberg, CNN – Monday, July 2, 2018

    The tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the Assad genocide piling up against the closed borders of Israel and Jordan represent a massive and building humanitarian crisis.

    In Jordan, in response to the emerging humanitarian disaster, ‘Open the borders’ has become a top trending hashtag on social media

    Jordanians urge government to take in Syrians fleeing Daraa
    Middle East Eye – Friday, 29 June, 2018

    No such public campaign has emerged in the racist Zionist state of Israel which has an understanding with the Assad regime, and a reputation for massacring civilians on its borders.

    More than 270,000 displaced by southern Syria fighting, UN says
    Times of Israel – Monday, 2 July, 2018

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