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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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  • Welcome for Afghan human rights defenders, Government House Auckland
    As-salamu alaykum, Tena tatou katoa, Thank you all for being here today. To the Afghan human rights defenders and your family members, welcome to Aotearoa. And thank you Your Excellency for hosting us all here at Government House. We have with us today from Afghanistan, human rights advocates, journalists, judges, ...
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    1 day ago
  • Speech on tax changes for Build-to-Rent sector
    It’s my great pleasure to be able to speak with you about a really positive move for the Build-to-Rent sector. As you know, we announced changes last year to help steer property investors way from the existing pool of housing and toward solving New Zealand’s grave housing shortage - by ...
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    1 day ago
  • Tax incentives to boost long-term rental supply
    ·      Tax changes aimed at growing quality, secure rental supply ·      New and existing build-to-rent developments exempt from interest limitation rules in perpetuity, when offering ten-year  tenancies ·      Exemption to apply from 1 October 2021. The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax incentives for as ...
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    1 day ago
  • Govt marks 350th tower in push for improved rural connectivity
    The Government has marked another milestone in its push for better rural connectivity, welcoming the delivery of Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) 350th tower. Waikato’s Te Ākau, which sits roughly 50 kilometres out of Hamilton is home to the new tower. “The COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the ever-increasing importance of ...
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    1 day ago
  • Joint Press Release: Trans-Tasman agriculture ministers discuss biosecurity co-operation
    Biosecurity co-operation topped the agenda when Australia and New Zealand’s agriculture ministers met yesterday. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Murray Watt met with his New Zealand counterpart, Damien O’Connor, Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, and Rural Communities in a conference call, which had particular focus on foot and ...
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    1 day ago
  • Remote monitoring could give patients better care at home
    People could spend less time in hospital, thanks to a smart new remote device that lets patients be monitored at home, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Technology has the potential to really change the way we do things – to do things that are  better for patients and at the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government supporting kids’ learning success
    Concrete steps to clarify inclusive, evidence-informed teaching practices Strengthen capability supports along the professional pathway  Enhance partnerships between the education system and whānau, iwi, communities Embed equitable additional learning supports and assessment tools that help teachers effectively notice and respond to the needs of students Improved student achievement is a ...
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    2 days ago
  • Supporting prevention, preparedness and response to global pandemics
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to strengthen global prevention, preparedness and responses to future pandemics with seed funding for a new World Bank initiative, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “We cannot afford to wait until the next pandemic. We must all play our part to support developing countries ...
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    2 days ago
  • Overseas investors converting farms to forests must show benefit to New Zealand
    A law change to ensure that forestry conversions by overseas investors benefit New Zealand has passed its final reading in Parliament. Previously, overseas investors wishing to convert land, such as farm land, into forestry only needed to meet the “special forestry test”. This is a streamlined test, designed to encourage ...
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    2 days ago
  • International visitors boosting economic recovery
    International tourism recovery well underway with higher level of overseas visitor arrivals than previously expected UK and US card spend already back at pre-COVID levels Visitors staying in New Zealand longer and spending more compared to 2019 Govt support throughout pandemic helped tourism sector prepare for return of international ...
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    2 days ago
  • Ministry’s inaugural Strategy paves way for ethnic communities
    The Ministry for Ethnic Communities has released its first strategy, setting out the actions it will take over the next few years to achieve better wellbeing outcomes for ethnic communities Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced today. “The Strategy that has been released today sets out ...
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    2 days ago
  • World class aquatic centre opened in Hawke’s Bay
    The Prime Minister has officially opened the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre today saying it is a huge asset to the region and to the country. “This is a world class facility which will be able to host national and international events including the world championships. With a 10-lane Olympic ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tulī Takes Flight winners take to the wing
    The Associate Minister of Education, Aupito William Sio, has today announced the recipients of the Tulī Takes Flight scholarships which were a key part of last year’s Dawn Raids apology. The scholarships are a part of the goodwill gesture of reconciliation to mark the apology by the New Zealand Government ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt supports free period products in over 2000 schools within one year
    96% of estimated menstruating students receive free period products 2085 schools involved 1200 dispensers installed Supports cost of living, combats child poverty, helps increase attendance Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti today hailed the free period products in schools, Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata, a huge success, acknowledging ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt boosts tourism transformation to strengthen workforce and improve outcomes
    The Tourism Industry Transformation Plan outlines key actions to improve the sector This includes a Tourism and Hospitality Accord to set employment standards Developing cultural competency within the workforce Improving the education and training system for tourism Equipping business owners and operators with better tools and enabling better work ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Google Cloud’s decision to make New Zealand a cloud region. “This is another major vote of confidence for New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and our economic recovery from COVID 19,” David Clark said. “Becoming a cloud region will mean ...
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    4 days ago
  • Changes to NCEA & University Entrance in response to COVID-19 disruptions
    A package of changes to NCEA and University Entrance announced today recognise the impact COVID-19 has had on senior secondary students’ assessment towards NCEA in 2022, says Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti. “We have heard from schools how significant absences of students and teachers, as a result of COVID-19, ...
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    4 days ago
  • 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Aotearoa New Zealand and Samoa- “Lifelong Fri...
    Te Reo Māori tauparapara… Tapatapa tū ki te Rangi! Ki te Whei-ao! Ki te Ao-mārama Tihei mauri ora! Stand at the edge of the universe! of the spiritual world! of the physical world! It is the breath of creation Formal acknowledgments… [Your Highness Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II and Masiofo] ...
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    4 days ago
  • New law passed to reduce gun harm
    The Government’s commitment to combatting firearms violence has reached another significant milestone today with the passage of the Firearms Prohibition Order Legislation Bill, Police Minister Chris Hipkins says. The new law helps to reduce firearm-related crime by targeting possession, use, or carriage of firearms by people whose actions and behaviours ...
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    4 days ago
  • Minister sends condolences as last Battle for Crete veteran passes away
    Minister for Veterans, Hon Meka Whaitiri sends her condolences to the last Battle for Crete veteran. “I am saddened today to learn of the passing of Cyril Henry Robinson known as Brant Robinson, who is believed to be the last surviving New Zealand veteran of the Battle for Crete, Meka ...
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    4 days ago
  • Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill passes third reading
    Legislation to repeal the ‘Three Strikes’ law has passed its third reading in Parliament. “The Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill ends an anomaly in New Zealand’s justice system that dictates what sentence judges must hand down irrespective of relevant factors,” Justice Minister Kiri Allan said. “The three strikes law was ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government working on preliminary steps to improve support for abuse survivors
    Work is under way on preliminary steps to improve the Government’s support for survivors of abuse in care while a new, independent redress system is designed, Public Service Minister Chris Hipkins says. These steps – recommended by the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry – include rapid payments for ...
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    4 days ago
  • Remarks upon 77th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki Online Forum 77 years ago today, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Three days earlier, on the 6th of August 1945, the same fate had befallen the people of Hiroshima.  Tens of thousands died instantly. In the years that followed 340,000 ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt signs NZ–USA agreement launching new opportunities for space sector
    An agreement signed today between the New Zealand and United States governments will provide new opportunities for our space sector and closer collaboration with NASA, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said. Stuart Nash signed the Framework Agreement with United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman. The signing ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt strengthens emergency management cooperation between NZ and the US
    An agreement signed today between New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will strengthen global emergency management capability, says Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty. “The Government is committed to continually strengthening our emergency management system, and this Memorandum of Cooperation ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to stay at Orange as winter continues
    New Zealand will remain at the Orange traffic light setting, while hospitalisations remain elevated and pressure on the health system continues through winter. “There’s still significant pressure on hospitals from winter illnesses, so our current measures have an ongoing role to play in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Path paved for communities to reshape streets
    Streets will soon be able to be transformed from unsafe and inaccessible corridors to vibrant places for all transport modes thanks to new legislation proposed today, announced Transport Minister Michael Wood. “We need to make it safe, quicker and more attractive for people to walk, ride and take public transport ...
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    4 days ago
  • Boost for agricultural and horticultural science in schools
    More young minds eyeing food and fibre careers is the aim of new Government support for agricultural and horticultural science teachers in secondary schools, Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Government is committing $1.6 million over five years to the initiative through the Ministry for Primary ...
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    5 days ago
  • Bumper breeding season boosts Kākāpō population
    Kākāpō numbers have increased from 197 to 252 in the 2022 breeding season, and there are now more of the endangered parrots than there have been for almost 50 years, Conservation Minister Poto Williams announced today. The flightless, nocturnal parrot is a taonga of Ngāi Tahu and a species unique ...
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    5 days ago
  • Relationship with Malaysia to be elevated to Strategic Partnership
    The relationship between Aotearoa New Zealand and Malaysia is to be elevated to the status of a Strategic Partnership, to open up opportunities for greater co-operation and connections in areas like regional security and economic development. Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta met her Malaysian counterpart Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah today during a ...
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    5 days ago
  • Call for New Zealanders to get on-board with rail safety
    With additional trains operating across the network, powered by the Government’s investment in rail, there is need for a renewed focus on rail safety, Transport Minister Michael Wood emphasised at the launch of Rail Safety Week 2022. “Over the last five years the Government has invested significantly to improve level ...
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    6 days ago
  • Regional approach the focus at ASEAN and East Asia Summit talks
    The Foreign Minister has wrapped up a series of meetings with Indo-Pacific partners in Cambodia which reinforced the need for the region to work collectively to deal with security and economic challenges. Nanaia Mahuta travelled to Phnom Penh for a bilateral meeting between ASEAN foreign ministers and Aotearoa New Zealand, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to the Criminal Bar Association
    Kia ora koutou Firstly, thank you to the President of the Criminal Bar Association, Fiona Guy Kidd QC, for her invitation to attend the annual conference this weekend albeit unfortunately she is unable to attend, I’m grateful to the warm welcome both Chris Wilkinson-Smith (Vice-President, Whanganui) and Adam Simperingham (Vice-President, Gisborne) ...
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    1 week ago
  • The beat goes on as Government renews support for musicians
    Extension of Aotearoa Touring Programme supporting domestic musicians The Programme has supported more than 1,700 shows and over 250 artists New Zealand Music Commission estimates that around 200,000 Kiwis have been able to attend shows as a result of the programme The Government is hitting a high note, with ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister of Defence to attend Guadalcanal Commemorations in the Solomon Islands
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare will depart tomorrow for Solomon Islands to attend events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal. While in Solomon Islands, Minister Henare will also meet with Solomon Islands Minister of National Security, Correctional Services and Police Anthony Veke to continue cooperation on security ...
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    1 week ago
  • New programme to provide insights into regenerative dairy farming 
    The Government is partnering with Ngāi Tahu Farming Limited and Ngāi Tūāhuriri on a whole-farm scale study in North Canterbury to validate the science of regenerative farming, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.   The programme aims to scientifically evaluate the financial, social and environmental differences between regenerative and conventional practices. ...
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    1 week ago
  • More women on public boards than ever before
    52.5% of people on public boards are women Greatest ever percentage of women Improved collection of ethnicity data “Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees is now 52.5 percent, the highest ever level. The facts prove that diverse boards bring a wider range of knowledge, expertise and skill. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Awards support Pacific women
    I am honoured to support the 2022 Women in Governance Awards, celebrating governance leaders, directors, change-makers, and rising stars in the community, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. For the second consecutive year, MPP is proudly sponsoring the Pacific Governance Leader category, recognising Pacific women in governance and presented to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt investment into Whakatāne regeneration reaches new milestones
    Today Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash turned the sod for the new Whakatāne Commercial Boat Harbour, cut the ribbon for the revitalised Whakatāne Wharf, and inspected work underway to develop the old Whakatāne Army Hall into a visitor centre, all of which are part of the $36.8 million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government determined to get a better deal for consumers
    New Zealanders are not getting a fair deal on some key residential building supplies and while the Government has already driven improvements in the sector, a Commerce Commission review finds that  changes are needed to make it more competitive. “New Zealand is facing the same global cost of living and ...
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    1 week ago