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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


    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.


      • 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.


    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)

        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

          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

            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.”


    • 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


  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.


    • 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:


    • 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.…”


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


    • 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.


      • 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

          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

            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

              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


    The cover up and reality.


    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.


    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.


    • 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

          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

          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

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

    • SPC 9.2


      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.


      “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.”


      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

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

          • McFlock

            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

            Have just read moderation comments.
            Point taken.

        • SPC

          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

            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

          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.

  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:


  11. dukeofurl 11

    The UN head of Safety And Security is a Australian Federal Police deputy Commissioner ( for national security !!!) on secondment

    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

          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!

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  • Regenerative agriculture research receives Government boost
    The Government continues to invest in farm sustainability, this time backing two new research projects to investigate the impacts of regenerative farming practices, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. Soil health and regenerative agriculture “We’re contributing $2.8 million to a $3.85 million five-year project with co-investment by Synlait Milk and ...
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    1 day ago
  • David McLean appointed as KiwiRail chair
    David McLean has been appointed as Chair of KiwiRail Holdings Ltd, the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Dr David Clark and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson announced today. “Minister Clark and I are confident that David’s extensive business knowledge and leadership experience, including his time as former Chief Executive and ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Turkey announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Zoe Coulson-Sinclair as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Turkey. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Turkey’s relationship is one of mutual respect and underpinned by our shared Gallipoli experience,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “Turkey is also a generous ANZAC Day host and has ...
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    3 days ago
  • Announcement of new Consul-General in Guangzhou
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Rachel Crump as New Zealand’s next Consul-General in Guangzhou, China. “China is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant relationships – it is our largest trading partner, and an influential regional and global actor,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “As the capital of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities
    The Government joins the disabled community of Aotearoa New Zealand in marking and celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Minister for Disabilty Issues Carmel Sepuloni said. The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and Advisory panel member appointed
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the appointments of Graeme Speden as the Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and Ben Bateman as a member of the Inspector-General’s Advisory Panel.  “These are significant roles that assist the Inspector-General with independent oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies,” Jacinda Ardern said. “While ...
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    3 days ago
  • Five million COVID-19 tests processed
    Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall has congratulated testing teams right around New Zealand for reaching the five million tests milestone. Today, an additional 31,780 tests were processed, taking the total since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 to 5,005,959. “This really is an incredible and sustained team ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding for extra ICU capacity
    Care for the sickest New Zealanders is getting a major boost from the Government, with plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on expanding intensive care-type services, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. “Through good planning, we have avoided what the COVID-19 pandemic has done in some countries, where ...
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    3 days ago
  • The legal and constitutional implications of New Zealand’s fight against COVID
    Speech to the New Zealand Centre for Public Law Tēnā koutou katoa Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak with you today as Attorney General. I’m here to talk about the constitutional consequences of Covid -19. I love the law. The way it exists with the consent of the ...
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    4 days ago
    Speech to the New Zealand Centre for Public Law Tēnā koutou katoa Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak with you today as Attorney General. I’m here to talk about the constitutional consequences of Covid -19. I love the law. The way it exists with the consent of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pharmac Review interim report released
    Health Minister Andrew Little has released an interim report by an independent panel reviewing the national pharmaceuticals-buying agency Pharmac. Pharmac was established in 1993 and is responsible for purchasing publicly funded medicines for New Zealanders, including those prescribed by GPs or administered in hospitals. The review, chaired by former Consumer ...
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    4 days ago
  • Appointment to Network for Learning board
    Former MP Clare Curran has been appointed to the board of Crown company Network for Learning (N4L), Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. Hon Clare Curran served as a Member of Parliament for Dunedin South from 2008-2010. During this time, she held a number of ministerial portfolios including Broadcasting, Communications and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Putting home ownership within reach of Pacific Aotearoa
    Pacific community groups and organisations will get tools to help them achieve home ownership with the implementation of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Pacific Housing Initiative, said Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. In July 2021, MPP launched the Pacific Community Housing Provider Registration Support programme and the Pacific ...
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    4 days ago
  • Coastal shipping will help keep New Zealand’s supply chain buoyant
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today welcomed the release of the Coastal Shipping Investment Approach State-of-Play report as an important step towards a more sustainable coastal shipping sector, which will further diversify New Zealand’s supply chain. “This Government is committed to strengthening our domestic supply chain by making coastal shipping a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Response to Human Rights Commission's reports into violence towards disable people
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.   Thank you for that introduction Hemi and thank you for inviting me to respond on behalf of Government to the release of these two important reports (Whakamanahia Te Tiriti, Whakahaumarutia te Tangata -Honour the Treaty, Protect the Person and Whakamahia te Tūkino kore ...
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    4 days ago
  • Law change strengthens petroleum decommissioning regulation
    Petroleum permit and licence holders operating in New Zealand will now have an explicit statutory requirement to carry out and fund the decommissioning of oil and gas fields after a new law was given Royal assent today, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods. Once in effect The Crown ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Response to assist peace and stability in Solomon Islands
    The New Zealand government has announced that it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability. “New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.  “We are deeply concerned by the recent ...
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    5 days ago
  • Continued growth in volume of new home consents
    In the year ended October 2021, 47,715 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the October 2020 year. In October 2021, 4,043 new dwellings were consented Canterbury’s new homes consented numbers rose 31% to higher than post-earthquake peak. New home consents continue to reach remarkable levels of growth, ...
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    5 days ago
  • Saddle up for summer with cycle trail funding
    New investment will keep the best of New Zealand’s cycle trails in top condition as regions prepare to welcome back Kiwi visitors over summer and international tourists from next year. “Cycle tourism is one of the most popular ways to see the country ‘off the beaten track’ but the trails ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand provides additional funding to COVAX for vaccine delivery
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced additional funding will be provided to COVAX to support vaccine delivery in developing countries. “New Zealand remains cognisant of the dangers of COVID-19, especially as new variants continue to emerge. No one is safe from this virus until we all are and this ...
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    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 Community fund providing support for 160 organisations focused on women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced financial support will be allocated to the 160 successful applicants for the COVID-19 Community Fund, to support organisations helping women/wāhine and girls/kōtiro in Aotearoa New Zealand affected by the pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on women around the world including in ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers reactivation package as Aucklanders reconnect for summer
    A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash have announced a Reactivating Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland ...
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    5 days ago
  • Mobile services and broadband come to Chatham Islands for first time
    World class mobile and broadband services have been switched on for the 663 residents of the Chatham Islands, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark and Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash announced today. “This eagerly awaited network will provide fast broadband and mobile services to ...
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    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect strong economy amid pandemic
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year. Core Crown tax revenue was $2.5 ...
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    5 days ago
  • Applications open for new 2021 Resident Visa
    The first round of applications for New Zealand’s new 2021 Resident visa open today (6am). “This one-off pathway provides certainty for a great many migrant families who have faced disruption because of COVID-19 and it will help retain the skills New Zealand businesses need to support the economic recovery,” Minister ...
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    5 days ago
  • More Vietnam Veterans to receive compensation for Agent Orange Exposure
    Minister for Veterans, the Hon Meka Whaitiri announced today that two new conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure have been added to the Prescribed Conditions List. Under the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Crown and representatives of Vietnam veterans and the Royal New Zealand RSA. Vietnam veterans in ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government commits to international effort to ban and regulate killer robots
    Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Phil Twyford announced today that New Zealand will push for new international law to ban and regulate autonomous weapons systems (AWS), which once activated can select and engage targets without further human intervention. “While the evidence suggests fully autonomous weapons systems are not yet ...
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    6 days ago
  • New freedom camping rules – right vehicle, right place
    Tougher freedom camping laws will be introduced to prevent abuse which has placed an unfair burden on small communities and damaged our reputation as a high quality visitor destination. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed that new legislation will be introduced to Parliament following an extensive round of public consultation ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government invests to support a classic Kiwi summer
    Vaccinated New Zealanders can look forward to Kiwi summer events with confidence, while artists and crew will have more certainty, following the launch of details of the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “The Government recognises that the arts and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Grace period for expired driver licences cruises into 2022
    Due to the ongoing Delta outbreak and extended lockdowns, all New Zealand driver licences and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will now be valid until 31 May 2022, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. “This further extension to the validity of driver licenses recognises that ...
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    6 days ago
  • Delivered: 1,000 extra transitional homes
    A further 1,000 transitional homes delivered  New housing development starts in Flaxmere, Hastings  The Government has delivered the next 1,000 transitional housing places it promised, as part of its work to reduce homelessness. Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods is marking the milestone in Hastings at a new development that includes ...
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    6 days ago
  • Traffic light levels announced
    The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red The rest of ...
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    7 days ago
  • Financial support to move to traffic light system
    A new transition payment will be made available particularly for affected businesses in Auckland, Waikato and Northland to acknowledge the restrictions they have faced under the higher Alert Levels. Transition payment of up to $24,000 as businesses move into traffic light system Leave Support Scheme and Short Term Absence Payment ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Russia announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Sarah Walsh as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Russia have a long-standing relationship, engaging on a range of regional and global interests including disarmament and Antarctica issues. We also work together as members of the East ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Permanent Representative to the UN announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Carolyn Schwalger as Permanent Representative to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. “Aotearoa New Zealand is a founding member of the UN and we have worked hard to ensure our stance on human rights, ...
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    7 days ago
  • Further COVID-19 economic support for Cook Islands and Fiji announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a further package of support for the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery. “Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific fanau and vuvale to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their economies, and move towards long-term ...
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    1 week ago
  • New law will clear the air for tamariki in vehicles
    From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We know children in vehicles ...
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    1 week ago
  • Nine countries designated very high risk
    Nine southern African countries are being added to the very high risk countries list following public health advice around the newly discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. This afternoon, a public health risk assessment was carried out to assess the emerging evidence and any risk to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Affairs Minister concludes final stage of world trip
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today departed North America to return home to Aotearoa, concluding the last stage of her 17-day world trip. The final leg of her trip saw her visit the United States of America and Canada for a number of high-level discussions. While in Washington D.C., ...
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    1 week ago
  • Milestone launch of Pacific Languages Unit
    Today’s official launch of the Pacific Languages Unit is a milestone for our Pacific communities, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said. The Pacific Languages Unit brings together a new set of language supports within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide advice, commission research, maintain standards, promote ...
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    1 week ago