web analytics

Compassion?

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, April 17th, 2018 - 70 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, Politics, Propaganda, Russia, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags: , ,

In relation to Teresa May claiming humanitarian grounds existed for bombing Syria in the wake of an alleged 50 deaths from the deployment of chemical weapons, I found myself asking…

“Where was this woman’s compassion when 71 people burned to death in Grenfeld Tower?”

Didn’t even see fit to talk to survivors when she visited the place, did she?

And where is her compassion when it comes to the 600 suicides that have been linked to the Work Capability Assessments her government subjects people to?

And I could go on.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Macron pathetically strutting his stuff as “the little big man” who’s calling the shots.

In relation to Donald Trump and his horror at the alleged use of chemicals in Douma – where had he filed his horror when he jokingly minimised the use of chemicals by Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran war?

And since chemicals are seemingly right up there beside holocaust denial, where was the corporate/liberal media when Trump was making those remarks? Weren’t they out to get him at every turn? I seem to recall they were out to get him at every turn. So a “date range” google search should surely throw up headline after headline condemning Trump’s minimisation of chemical weapons use in the most strident of terms, right? Nope. Nothing.

I don’t want to write a book on all of this – I’m sure you get the picture.

Corbyn, Sturgeon, Melenchon and (even) Sanders– who liberal/corporate media have and do routinely rubbish and decry – have all spoken out against the missile strikes. Is it reasonable to couch their opposition in terms of them being the political figureheads within their countries who represent a political sea change that has been eating away at the dominance of late 20thC early 21stC liberalism?

I don’t think that’s an irrelevant observation.

The US resolution (the one Russia vetoed and that we’re meant to jump up and down about) included a call for immediate ceasefires in Syria in the event of allegations being aired about the use of chemicals. Is it necessary to spell out how that would encourage (often) western backed terrorists to use chemicals (or even simply make an allegation of use) in order to get respite and re-supplies if/when they find themselves in a “tight corner”? And off the back of such a resolution, what action then could be taken by third parties against Syria in the event of Syria not immediately recognising a ceasefire?

Of course Russia voted against that. Anyone without an agenda or pressure being applied to them would.

What then of the Russian resolution that France, the UK and the US voted against? I’ve read it. Unlike the US one, I can see nothing underhanded, devious or politically loaded in it. But maybe you can. Maybe I’m missing something.

Unfortunately, I can’t find my way back to the page that contained the downloadable word documents of the resolutions. So (and I’m sorry about this) I’m cutting and pasting  the main text body (not the pre-amble) of the  Russian one.

The Russian Federation –

1. Reiterates its condemnation in the strongest terms of any use of any toxic chemical as a weapon in the Syrian Arab Republic;

2. Expresses its alarm at the allegations of use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular the alleged incident in Douma on 7 April 2018, notes its outrage that individuals reportedly continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and reiterates its determination that those responsible must be held accountable;

3. Welcomes the decision of the OPCW Director-General to send the FFM experts for investigation in accordance with the CWC to the site of the alleged incident in Douma and adjacent areas and requests the FFM to report the results of this investigation to the OPCW Executive Council as soon as possible and further requests the Director-General to keep the Security Council informed of the progress;

4. Expresses its full support to the OPCW FFM, demands that all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic shall without any delay facilitate free and safe access for the FFM to relevant sites as well as provide any information and evidence, including, but not limited to, medical records, interview tapes and transcripts, and documentary material, in accordance with resolution 2118, in relation to the alleged incident in Douma and adjacent areas;

5. Recalls that in its resolutions 2118 and 2235 it decided that all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations;

6. Emphasises that this includes the obligation of all the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic of complying with their relevant provisions, by accepting personnel designated by the OPCW or the United Nations, by ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel and providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to the site of the alleged incident in Douma and adjacent areas;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution, and on compliance by all relevant parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, within 15 days of adoption of this resolution and thereafter within the framework of its reporting on resolution 2118 (2013).

To me, that doesn’t accord with the reporting we’ve been receiving about supposed Russian obfuscation and belligerence.

This world we’ve made for ourselves – I guess we should all welcome one another in. So “welcome” to Orwell’s Eurasia/Eastasia/ Oceania. Do take a seat.

70 comments on “Compassion?”

  1. francesca 1

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

    Fisk is an Assad apologist? a Putinbot?
    or one of the best ME journalists we have

    Corroboration of his report by an American reporter on the ground in Douma

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      What a seriously sad clusterfuck!

      one American News Network is said to be a conservative network and Pro-Trump.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_America_News_Network

      • Bill 1.1.1

        As I commented below (and not for the first time), it’s kind of bewildering (disheartening too) that most “on point” commentary about Syria is nad has been coming from right wing and conservative sources.

    • D'Esterre 1.2

      Francesca: “Corroboration of his report by an American reporter on the ground in Douma”

      I’ve also seen a report on RT corroborating Fisk’s observations. Haven’t got link at present. But of course Russia: so we can’t possibly take that as unimpeachable evidence now, can we?

  2. francesca 2

    The new blockbluster news item to sweep all this off the front pages?
    Shock confession from Stormy Daniels!
    “I fucked Vladimir Putin while Lavrov pissed over a picture of Mother Theresa.We were all high on military grade cocaine”

    Dammit it I didnt mean to post here .This was for TDB

    • D'Esterre 2.1

      Francesca: ““I fucked Vladimir Putin while Lavrov pissed over a picture of Mother Theresa.We were all high on military grade cocaine””

      Heh! Very good…

      A while back, and in the context of Hillary Clinton’s invective directed at Putin, I asked a relative whether the reason might be that she’d made a pass at him, and he’d politely turned her down. Said relative thought it unlikely, as she’s not his type. Maybe that would also apply to Stormy Daniels?

      An aside: what is it with these people, adopting names of meteorological or geological features? Bizarre: in this household, we compete with each other to come up with the most unlikely nomenclature.

      Good to see you back on The Standard, by the way!

  3. You_Fool 3

    It looks like the txt you have copied and pasted is from the third resolution voted down ( the 2nd of two from Russia) concerning the OPCW fact-finding mission, not action or processes for actually dealing with the investigation on chemical weapons use.

    https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/04/1006991

    Reading the story (but not yet reading a further article detailing the meeting itself) https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13288.doc.htm – it appears Russia put two resolutions up, one to agree that the FFM was ok and useful and one that acually competed with the US around how the OPCW would work, as the mandate for the OPCW has expired,so need renewing so it can actually have some teeth in this incident.

    I would say that the condemnation of Russia comes from the two resolutions, and although I have not seen either txt, which would likely add delay to the process; something which appears to be not useful when trying to investigate chemical attacks. It appears Russia’s resolution on the mechanism for the OPCW meant that any outcome needed to be sent back to the Security Council for judgement/verdict, which seems to also limit the OPCW’s independence.

    • Bill 3.1

      The mandate for JIMs (Joint Investigative Mechanism)had expired – not the OPCW.

      It lapsed back in November or something.

      There’s been reporting on some of the politiking that’s been going on around the JIM, but to be honest, I haven’t followed it that closely – wood and trees and all of that.

      The cut and paste is headed S/2018/322 and dated 10th April. The US one is also dated 10th April and is S/2018/321

      • You_Fool 3.1.1

        S/2018/322 was the third resolution (put forward by Russia) to support the FFM

        See the Russian response to the failure of their mechanism resolution (not ID’d)
        https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13288.doc.htm

        Also text from the same link:
        “The Council then failed to adopt the second draft resolution submitted by the Russian Federation, contained in document S/2018/322, by a recorded vote of 5 in favour (Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation) to 4 against (France, Poland, United Kingdom, United States), with 6 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden).”
        (second in this case referring to Russia’s second resolution to be submitted)
        So, that text is the lesser resolution proposed by Russia that was an attempt to block military action by the US in response to the failure to pass their own resolution (which is what Russia thought would happen). It failed it seems because it was not put to the SC correctly, but just popped in after the other resolutions failed…

        And yes, sorry I was confusing myself… the mandate that has expired and that Russia has blocked from being renewed is the mandate for the OPCW to operate in Syria

        Reading the above link the issue is pure politics. The US and allies want to continue with the status quo, whilst Russia feels that has been too westernised and wants greater control on the process. It also appears from the speeches by the different delegates that the US had a more consultative approach, whilst Russia just wrote something themselves.

        I can’t find the text of either resolutions, so it is hard to see if either were useful, or if the American one was written to exclude Russia, and thus creating a villain (as the Russian accuse the US of doing) and if the Russian one was really just a process by which something could be said to be done, but that Russia got to decide the results (via veto in the SC) as the US says is the case.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          I can’t see why you’re concluding that the Russian resolution was an attempt to block military action. As far as I’m aware there was no resolution seeking military action.

          As I said in the post, the US text was heavily politicised.

          In rejecting it (and I don’t think any country in the position of Syria, or of Russia in Syria would have accepted such a resolution) then Russia was going to be demonised.

          If I find my way back to the page that accesses the texts, I’ll post the links so you can read the entire documents for yourself.

          • You_Fool 3.1.1.1.1

            Whilst I feel we will have to agree to disagree (and I am only going off UN news article of the vote, and the written speeches), both sides were being political and purposefully blocking each other.

            I say the third resolution was to block military action because that it was trying to have a resolution that backed the FFM, which is fine (I am not saying that it is wrong), but was given in the atmosphere of Russia doing its best to block the US and UK from their plans, which Russia assumed was military action in Syria no matter what (and oh, they were right). However, the speeches show that they had no desire to do the right thing, but were just playing the “poor me, the west are ganging up on me” card. There was no consultation on either of their resolutions, or at least all the other members of the SC said as much; whilst the US resolution apparently tried to consult and compromise with everyone, including Russia, even if the final resolution did not take into account Russia’s position.

            It seems to me that both sides are not actually trying to come up with a solution, but trying to one-up each other, and push their own agendas. In this Russia is no better than the US/UK/France and trying to pretend otherwise is ignoring the facts of the situation.

  4. Ed 4

    Thanks Bill for so clearly outlining the counter narrative to the propaganda we are being subjected to from the msm.
    Interesting and informative, as ever.

    Robert Fisk has just published a powerful article which exposes the lies.

    Craig Murray comments on Fisk’s observations too.

    “Robert Fisk is one of the very few excellent investigative journalists still employed in the UK. He is twice winner of the British Press Awards‘ Journalist of the Year prize, and seven time winner of the British Press Awards’ Foreign Correspondent of the Year. He is extremely smart and knows the Middle East very well. He has just made his way – not accompanied by Russian or Syrian government officials – to Douma and this is what he reports.
    If you care to search for Robert Fisk on twitter, the attacks on his reputation and integrity at this very moment from achieve nothing neo-con trolls and media lackeys are astonishing. He is in Douma – they are at their desks.
    It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it.”

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/04/robert-fisk-reports-head-of-douma-clinic-denies-chemical-weapons-attack/

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Fits in with the OPCW who wrote in a report last month the Barzah complex outside Damascus was ‘clean’

  5. Kaya3 5

    Here is the legal opinion commissioned by the UK Labour Party. The media including here in NZ are culpable for their failure to ask the most obvious questions. Instead repeating verbatim the utter garbage and ridiculous propaganda from the BBC. That organisation has been losing credibility for a number of years now but the decline this year has gathered pace. Don’t even mention The Guardian. It is a joke.

    Opinion of Professor Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law & Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law & Armed Conflict, University of Oxford 16 April 2018

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/16/labours-commissioned-legal-opinion-on-legitimacy-of-uk-air-strikes-on-syria/

  6. Kaya3 6

    And of course – WikiLeaks Secret Cable: “Overthrow The Syrian Regime, But Play Nice With Russia”

    The Saudi head choppers who National were so keen to trade with.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/wikileaks-secret-cable-overthrow-syrian-regime-play-nice-russia

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Notably, as Russia as well as some Western counter-terror experts continue to point the finger at Jaish al Islam (and the “White Helmets”) for staging the Douma “chemical attack” in order to provoke the US military response, it has emerged through past reporting that JAI itself had used chemical weapons against Kurdish militias in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud district in 2016 (and it appears that the Saudi-backed group openly admitted to carrying out prior chemical attacks according to The Daily Beast).

      Colour me surprised.

      Considering the money path I’d say that they probably used chemical weapons made in Saudi Arabia. Anybody know if Saudi Arabia is subject to the agreement that bans chemical weapons?

  7. adam 7

    Just a question, if the chemical attack is in fact another lie, then will the leaders of the western nation stand down becasue they we duped and can not be trusted to make the right decisions? Or are we going to carry on trusting leaders who put politics before people?

    It’s frightening, how much wargasm there has been on this site of late. I was particularly shocked by some long time commentators talking about the people of Syria are pawns in a game of chess, rather than real human beings.

    Wargasim ref:

    http://www.metrolyrics.com/wargasm-lyrics-l7.html

    • Ed 7.1

      “It’s frightening, how much wargasm there has been on this site of late.”

      Totally agree.

    • Kaya3 7.2

      Our problem is not whether we trust our politicians or not. They seem to not care anymore. The problem appears to be that no matter who is put up for our choice of policy makes nary a difference. Certainly not in matters of importance.

    • Bill 7.3

      Beyond “our” masters taking off to the wilderness, which, let’s face it, won’t happen, I’m far more interested in how political news sites of the “compassionate liberal” persuasion (those that like to wrap themselves in a cloak of “the left” – Democracy Now etc) are going to react when the whole sad story of these past years comes tumbling down.

      And sites of “the left” have a lot of soul searching to do to.

      It’s been somewhat bewildering to find that the most “on point” commentary has been coming from conservative news sites and that people on the ground (Beeley, Bartlett et al, – subjected to character assassination by liberal and left sources) were compelled to use conservative and right wing and downright conspiratorial outlets to get their voices heard.

      Maybe this will occasion “compassionate liberals” and a goodly number of “leftists” waking the fuck up. Though I suspect the edge of the carpet is getting lifted even as I type.

      • Ed 7.3.1

        Yes the liberal elite have very much been captured by the war party.
        Clinton x2 , Blair, Obama sold their souls.

  8. Kaya3 8

    These days BBC and editorial freedom don’t belong on the same page let alone in the same sentence.
    They used to be a reliable source of information but not for a long time now. Like when they did the documentary on Operation Gladio which if you described to most people you’d be written off as being a foil wearing Trotskyite.

    “…This BBC series is about a far-right secret army, operated by the CIA and MI6 through NATO, which killed hundreds of innocent Europeans and attempted to blame the deaths on Baader Meinhof, Red Brigades and other left wing groups. Known as ‘stay-behinds’ these armies were given access to military equipment which was supposed to be used for sabotage after a Soviet invasion. Instead it was used in massacres across mainland Europe as part of a CIA Strategy of Tension. Gladio killing sprees in Belgium and Italy were carried out for the purpose of frightening the national political classes into adopting U.S. policies.…”

    https://off-guardian.org/2015/06/25/operation-gladio-bbc-documentary-from-1992/

    I doubt such a show would ever be made today. Instead we get malicious and obviously false propaganda like this:

    https://off-guardian.org/2017/06/14/even-more-evidence-of-fakery-in-bbc-saving-syrias-children-doc/

    • joe90 8.1

      This BBC series

      It isn’t a BBC series. It’s a film made by American conspiracy theorist and film maker Allan Francovich and aired by the BBC.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Francovich#Gladio_(1992)

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Well. The point being that they aired it, yes?

        Still waiting (with no expectation) for any airing anywhere of Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “The Magnitsky Act”.

      • Ed 8.1.2

        Do you label everything you disagree with a conspiracy theory?
        You do realise the term was invented by the CIA?

        [ 🙄 Okay Ed. I’ve had enough. Go away and have a cuppa or whatever it takes for you to submit worthwhile commentary. The next pointless, vacuous or generally “non contributory” comment will be the last one before the spam trap descends on your future comments] – Bill

      • Kaya3 8.1.3

        Semantics much. It’s like saying MAFS is a TV One series. It doesn’t mean they physically made it. They are the media platform who chose to air it.

        As for the description “conspiracy theorist”, it has absolutely no meaning.
        Watch the documentary and if you disagree or feel you can disprove what is in it come back to me. As soon as I hear the words “conspiracy theory” I feel like puking. It is the last refuge of those with nothing to say and nothing to debate.

        Pardon my discrepancy, it was aired by the BBC. My point still stands, you will never see anything like that on BBC these day. They used to be an organisation that could be depended on to give a balanced view of things. Now they are a state propaganda organisation who make RT look like Gandhi on sodium pentothal.

        • Bill 8.1.3.1

          The wiki page Joe90 linked to characterises Francovich as a conspiracy theorist. I guess that was the italic in the comment – kinda indicating a quote from the linked source.

          • Kaya3 8.1.3.1.1

            Yes I understand, but Wikipedia isn’t really a definitive source of accurate information. It serves a purpose I suppose.
            As I stated, the point I made was not invalidated by the Wiki link. The BBC would never dream of playing such a documentary these days. I remember watching Panorama and other such programmes in the 70’s. They were decent and in the main, neutral. No longer.
            The Newsnight Jeremy Corbyn, Stalin cap with Red Square in the background has to be one of the most embarrassing bits of propaganda ever put on TV.
            The BBC is a full on propaganda tool. Independent it is not.

            • Bill 8.1.3.1.1.1

              I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written there.

              (WIki can be good for non-political info, but is rubbish for anything bar bare facts – dates/ names etc – when it’s a political entry)

              My previous comment was flowing from Eds “go” at joe90, and I assumed you were also suggesting joe90 (and not wiki) was writing Allan Francovich off as a conspiracy theorist.

              And that said, Joe90 should have much more clear in their comment, seeing as how the italic was always going to be taken as Joe90s emphasis. And maybe it was. In which case, back to everything you say about wiki and why anyone with so much as half a brain would avoid using it as a source for anything beyond incontrovertible facts (ie – dates, times, names).

  9. SPC 9

    Russia

    The cover up and reality.

    CLAIMS

    1. No evidence of any attack.
    2. Claim that a purported chemical attack in Syria was a fabrication staged by British intelligence agencies to pave the way for allied strikes.

    Alexander Shulgin, Russia’s envoy at the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, did not provide any evidence of the alleged British involvement, saying only that “there is no other plausible explanation” of the April 7 attack in Douma.

    REALITY ON THE GROUND

    3. Russians not getting access to dead bodies of victims.

    NIgor Kirillov, a Russian chemical weapons protection expert who visited Douma, said the rebels refused to show any bodies of the victims of the attack. He said Monday at a briefing at The Hague that the only patient who said he was poisoned by chemicals made statements that made it clear he was lying.

    4. Associated Press journalists (part of a group of journalists on a government-organized media trip to Douma on Monday) spoke to residents who described a terrifying gas attack on April 7.

    Residents say those most affected in the attack, near Douma’s Martyrs Square, were children and elderly people. The survivors blamed the attack on the Army of Islam, the powerful rebel group that controlled the town before it was taken over by Syrian government forces this week, although they did not offer evidence to back up their claims (Army of Islam is the group backed by Saudi Arabia). Refutes 1 and 2.

    5. One resident, Khaled Nuseir, says 47 people were killed, including his pregnant wife and two young daughters, in one underground shelter.

    Survivors recalled a strong chlorine smell that quickly spread through the neighborhood. Residents said they survived by putting vinegar and water cloths on their mouths and rushing to higher floors to get away from the smoke and smell. Refutes 1 and 2.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/103159678/russia-accuses-britain-of-fabricating-suspected-syria-chemical-attack

    • Bill 9.1

      I’d encourage you read and view both the article by Fisk and the vid linked by Francesca at the top of the page.

      • francesca 9.1.1

        Even the SOHR had nothing to say about CW attacks on two reports put out on the 7th April (Syrian Observatory of Human Rights)… and yeah I do know about him running a draper shop in Coventry and not been in Syria for something like 15 years, and Muslim Brotherhood etc…my point is, he wasn’t getting the news of a chemical attack on the 7th of April

        The first report: http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88799
        “reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that some of the casualties and injured people had been subjected to suffocation due to the demolition of basements of houses as a result of the heavy and intense shelling of Douma city, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta.”

        2.The second report http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88805
        “The trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory of Rights that the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces’ control in the Eastern Ghouta, which is the stronghold of Jaysh al-Islam, and the Syrian Observatory published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta.”

        This is not to say that these people are not suffering intolerably, but the chemical weapon charge is sheer opportunism designed to prolong and intensify the violence

        • SPC 9.1.1.1

          The military action taken was so limited in scope it will have no impact on the future course (it in no way weakens the regimes real capability and any western focus remains on defeat of IS while the regime fights “rebels”).

      • SPC 9.1.2

        If these accounts are right (ignoring other accounts of chlorine smell and those who died – a hospital doctor here claims no one died of “asthma symptoms” – which have witnessses according to AP journalists that neither Fisk or OAN talked to) then by their accounts there was no conspiracy to “stage a CW attack” but a presumption of one due to other factors.

        • Bill 9.1.2.1

          Are those who give account of chlorine “placed” or “located” in any way? Or are they possible anybody’s from anywhere with any agenda?

          • SPC 9.1.2.1.1

            No idea, nor do I know which AP journalists found these witnesses when in Douma.

    • SPC 9.2

      ON THE GROUND

      Chemical weapons inspectors in Syria say they suspect the site of an alleged chemical attack has been tampered with.

      A team with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Damascus on Saturday (local time) at the invitation of the government to investigate the alleged chemical attack, two days later, the fact-finding team said it has still not been granted permission by Syrian authorities to visit Douma.

      The US ambassador to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said there were suspicions that Russia, a longtime ally of the Syrian government, may have tampered with the evidence.

      “It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site. We are concerned they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW FactFinding Mission to conduct an effective investigation,” Ward said in comments at a closed-door meeting of the OPCW in The Hague that were later made public.

      THE COVER UP

      “Pro-government media broadcast interviews with doctors from the area saying that no such assault had occurred and that the victims they treated were suffering from asthma.”

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/103159097/russia-accused-of-tampering-with-site-of-alleged-syria-chemical-attack

      Mass asthma attacks at two separate locations …

      • Ed 9.2.1

        Have you read Fisk?

      • Kaya3 9.2.2

        “The US ambassador to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said there were suspicions that Russia, a longtime ally of the Syrian government, may have tampered with the evidence.”
        Wow, slam dunk right there.

        • Bill 9.2.2.1

          Maybe Fisk stuck some evidence in his pocket and made off with it .

          • McFlock 9.2.2.1.1

            heh ISTR he did something similar before – some good work with missile fragments fired from an Israeli aircraft a few years back.

            Took them back to the manufacturers, but also the serial number exposed a channel that weapons orders nominally destined for the USMC had ended up in Israel unofficially.

            As to his article in this instance – he doesn’t slam-dunk it that gas didn’t happen, either. He’s pretty open about the issues of speaking to the only doctor who wasn’t on duty at the time (and wasn’t called in when a major medical incident occurred). He also mentions the OPCW inspectors were being denied entry (so much for invitations).

          • Ed 9.2.2.1.2

            Have just read moderation comments.
            Point taken.

        • SPC 9.2.2.2

          More credible, than the Russian claims that the British staged the whole thing.

          The Russians were dumb to make up such allegations while claiming to want everyone to wait for evidence.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2.2.1

            I suspect that the Russians were just showing up how stupid were the US/UK/French allegations when they don’t have any evidence either.

      • Kaya3 9.2.3

        “Mass asthma attacks at two separate locations …”

        Wow, yet another slam dunk. Are you related to Perry Mason by any chance? Ironside? Columbo maybe?

        Have you ever been near the scene of a real explosion? I have, several times. One very close indeed. what symptoms do you think people will display when their is choking smoke and probably cement dust thick in the air?

        Let’s wait for the evidence before bombing people.

        • SPC 9.2.3.1

          We can agree it is wrong to conclude (and take action) without evidence.

          But then even the French, Americans and British would agree, … they claim to have evidence … .

          It is more here a case of agreeing to a process to determining the veracity of evidence.

          The issue is trust in the process, there is the UN component, the expert body concerned with investigating etc.

          And as important acceptance of the result and agreement on some sort of consequence – again difficult if the UNSC has veto powers that protect Syria/Israel as a matter of patronage.

    • Ed 9.3

      You approve of bombing countries without evidence it would seem.
      Shameful.

  10. A plausible explanation?

    “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

    From The Independent, posted by No Right Turn:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

  11. dukeofurl 11

    The UN head of Safety And Security is a Australian Federal Police deputy Commissioner ( for national security !!!) on secondment
    https://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sga1460.doc.htm

    While the OPCW is an entirely separate body with its own staff they seem to rely on the UN security in these circumstances

    Whats the bet the UNSS is not entirely independent of the major western powers ?

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    It’s a sad fact that these Syriana add little to the progressive debate beyond establishing the camps to which the commenters belong. I feel you’re a little hard on May Bill – she’s just following Blair’s lead – this was a US led attack, and, having had the Skripal attack, the UK was never going to do anything different.

    The Syrian conflict is misrepresented as a conflict between two powers – there are at least six regional state players each with their own barrows to push, and considerably more minority local or ethnic or religious interest groups – Kurds, Yazidis, Turkmen, at least half a dozen Islamic groups of various characters.

    Buying into the Russian game of chemical warfare and lies does nothing to get to the roots of the real issues that have displaced over two million people, whose welfare ought to be a leading consideration but that is sidelined by this pathetic propaganda surge.

    Where is the analysis of competing interests that ought to lead this debate? We know for instance that Israel has been quite aggressively involved – but are they the US’s aggressive pawn, or are they skirmishing over the lines of engagement their allies have defined? I’ve seen a certain amount of scorn for Saudi, but little analysis of their role beyond speculation about their funding of amorphous Islamist groups – which ISIS largely did not receive, having secured the bulk of their funding from bank reserves when the seized Mosul. And, it needs to be said, the fact that enormous numbers of “Assad’s” citizens want to leave their country ought to raise pretty significant governance and representation critiques – which the chemical soap opera conveniently obscures.

    • You_Fool 12.1

      The problem is that although there are many different things happening, both Russia and the US/UK/France blocks are more interested in it all being a binary issue, with either Russia/Syria’s side or the US/UK/France. Both sides have benefit for pushing the either/or narrative, so they both do and we do not have a proper discussion on it

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.1

        Agreed – but we are not intellectually dependent on these blocks surely? In fact NZ’s historical role has at its best been to produce analysis divorced from these sterile interest blocks.

        • You_Fool 12.1.1.1

          Not according to national and the far right (there we should just back our allies come hell or high water) and it appears some on the far left, where the US is wrong and Russia is right…

          Jacinda does appear to be trying to get actual information before making absolute statements, so yay her!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Speaker: Locked down in Jersey City
    I am a Kiwi living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Jersey City is the second-largest city in the state and is located directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan. Locals call it New York’s sixth borough. More than 350,000 New Jersey citizens, including myself, commute to New York daily ...
    25 mins ago
  • Expanding houses
    It’s  a beautiful autumn afternoon, we need to get out of the house, and so our bubble sets off on a bike ride around our local neighbourhood, Cambridge Park. The bikes come out of the garage, and, being really certain we have a front door key, close the garage door ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 13
    . . April 7: Day 13 of living in lock-down… and unlucky for those who are superstitious. A day when there was a ray of sunshine from an otherwise bleak day of worrying signs. Today, as RNZ reported; Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported 54 new confirmed and probable cases ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 hours ago
  • A UBI in Spain
    So far, universal basic income policies, which see people given a regular income without any conditions, have been trailed only on a small scale. But now, Spain is introducing one nationwide as a response to the pandemic: Spain is to roll out a universal basic income (UBI) “as soon as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 hours ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
    Paul Connet, head of the anti-fluoride propaganda group, Fluoride Action Network, claims that the IQ of children bottle-fed in fluoridated areas drops by 9 points. But he misrepresented the research. There is no observable effect. For earlier articles in this series see: Part 1: Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only ...
    8 hours ago
  • The Role of Government
    The Queen’s coronavirus broadcast, with its overtones of Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn, prompted me to reflect on the tribulations my parents’ generation suffered during the Second World War – and I imagine that those parallels, given her own wartime experience, were very much in the Queen’s mind as she ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    9 hours ago
  • How to complain about MDC’s unreasonable LGOIMA charging regime
    Back in February, the Marlborough District Council increased the mount it charges for LGOIMA requests. I used the LGOIMA to poke into this, and it seems the case for increased charges is unjustified: the supposed increase in request volumes it rests on is an artefact of the Council suddenly deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 12
    . . April 6: Day 12 of living in lock-down… Another day of a near-empty Park N Ride carpark; . . And another day of near-empty Wellington streets; . . . Light traffic on the motorway. No apparent increase in volume. Commercial vehicles sighted; a gravel-hauling truck; McAuley’s Transport; a ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • A Lamentable Failure of Imagination.
    Imagination By-Pass: Had the Communications Minister, Kris Faafoi (above) taken a firm stand with Bauer, reminding them of their obligations to both their staff and the wider New Zealand public, then a much more favourable outcome may well have ensued. He should have made it clear to the Bauer board ...
    1 day ago
  • Simon Bridges can’t connect
    We all know that Simon Bridges has, at the best of times, an intermittent relationship with the truth. However you would think that during a pandemic and economic crisis the current opposition leader would pull his head in and start to do the right thing.Obviously leading by example should be ...
    1 day ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
    Connett promotes Riddell et al (2019) as one of the only four studies one needs to read about fluoridation. But he misunderstands and misrepresents the findings of this study. Image credit: Fluoride Action ...
    1 day ago
  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    2 days ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    2 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    2 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    43 mins ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago