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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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  • New record number of homes consented
    In the year ended June 2021, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 44,299, up 18 percent from the June 2020 year. In June 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented rose 3.8 percent. In June 2021, 4,310 new dwellings were consented, an increase of 3.8 per ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Communities backed to tackle wilding pines
    Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week. “Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's rejection of ...
    I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement. Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation introduced to Parliament
    Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Introducing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, said the measures proposed were aimed at ending conversion practices which don’t work, are widely ...
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    17 hours ago
  • New school site for booming West Auckland
    The Government will build on a new school site in West Auckland to cope with rapid population growth in the area, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry is working with existing local schools to determine how the 1.5-hectare site at 279 Hobsonville Point Road will be used to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
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    1 day ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
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    2 days ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
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    2 days ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
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    2 days ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
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    2 days ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
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    2 days ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
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    3 days ago
  • Speech at the launch of the National Hepatitis C Action Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you Anglesea Pharmacy and Te Manawa Taki for hosting this event. As a doctor, I saw first hand the impact of hepatitis C. I met Moana in 2019; she came to the infectious diseases outpatient clinic at Wellington Hospital having tested positive for hepatitis C. Like ...
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    3 days ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
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    3 days ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
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    3 days ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
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    4 days ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
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    4 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
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    4 days ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
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    5 days ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
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    5 days ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
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    1 week ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
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    1 week ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
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    1 week ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
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    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
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    2 weeks ago