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Grotesque.

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, April 27th, 2018 - 92 comments
Categories: International, Media, Propaganda, Syria, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

Seventeen witnesses, including on duty doctors and patients who offer testimony contradicting western claims of a chemical attack in Douma, are simply part of an “obscene masquerade.” Apparently.

Which begs the question of what it would take for western officials/governments, or for western corporate/mainstream/liberal media to pause and reflect on…well, on themselves.

Of course, we must remember, as the Guardian points out (above link), that these are only “supposed” witnesses (in spite of one of them being centre frame in the video that was used to allege the use of chemical weapons). And we must also remember (and no, we need no evidence or supporting argument for this) that “their ability to speak truthfully is limited”. And so we can dismiss them and their words.

That’s why we get the likes of this first question  following a press briefing in The Hague at which doctors and civilians from Douma had spoken. At 2 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds in the linked video *an ITV journalist pipes up…and this is the very first question mind.

How threatened do you have to feel to change your story and deny a chemical weapons attack? And a question for you Ambassador, How low do you have to go to bring a little child all the way here and threaten them?

I’ll leave you to unpack that for yourself in whatever way you see fit.

Here’s a wee thing about truth. No matter how repressive an environment may be, when the truth isn’t something that would damage those controlling that environment, then coercion melts away.

But we’ve not to let that last thought enter our mind. The truth has been spoken and nothing will be getting in its way. Anyone questioning that is a stooge. Everyone sharing an experience that’s at variance with that is  speaking under duress.

We only need listen to those groups and organisations our governments have supported as part of their efforts to overthrow the Syrian government. Their word is beyond doubt and any evidence they present is beyond question. And we ought to recall that our governments  have only ever lied to us all in the past because they are fallible and so can fall fall foul of genuine mistakes or oversights.

This is more or less what’s being presented to us as the path to truth these days.

The way I see it, there is indeed a obscene masquerade going on, and on that front, The Guardian is broadly correct.

 

* Watch the linked video and judge for yourself whether the doctors and others at the press conference are speaking under duress. It begins at about 1 hour and 10 min. The people from Douma speak from about 1 hour and 55 min.

 

 

 

 

92 comments on “Grotesque.”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    Seen another detailed analysis of the series of video released and the time lines of when they were released.

    Many parts are staged based on the clothes worn of the victims, ie baby that is lying on a bed in one video , is being carried by an adult in another etc.

  2. Bewildered 2

    As from recent articles in the economist ( I suggest these good folk are just Russian/ Assad tools)

    The claims made by Russia’ and its controlled media is for purpose of the disinformation campaign to drown Western intelligence in a cacophony of wild claims, rather than offer a coherent counter-narrative. Russia has used the tactic before, during the wars in Ukraine (including the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17) and Syria. It is simply more of the same from Russia, walk out a conspiracy theory and there will be a portion of western population that will buy It

    Often such population display cui bono thinking . It is a common observation that overuse of the cui bono? (“who benefits?”) style of thinking leads to conspiracy theories. They appeal strongly to people who desire to feel special, according to research by Roland Imhoff, a German social psychologist. Joseph Uscinski, an American political scientist, finds that they are popular among groups that lose political contests, and may disappear when they win.

    • One Two 2.1

      Surely you understand that every word you wrote, dengrating Russia…

      Can apply to ‘The West’ and how ‘they conduct businesses’…and it’s all business…

      Reads as if you’ve chosen a side…

      • Bewildered 2.1.1

        Not so, one side is based on plausible reality re Syria, Ukraine, maylasisn air lines shooting, uk incident, Russian involvement in peace, anti nuclear movement in 80s etc The other side wild claims and conspiracies Simarly one side has a free press, way more transparency, whistle blower protection etc, in contrast the other controls the press and any one not on song simply disappears or is locked up

        • One Two 2.1.1.1

          You’ve taken sides…

          The comment is packed full of unsupported fallacies…

          ‘Free Press’….

          Constrained thinkers and those with limited life experience might find such a statement, agreeable…

        • Bill 2.1.1.2

          How about the topic of the post is addressed?

          Seventeen people have told their account, and western media is rubbishing every single one of them.

          That’s in spite of their stories falling in line with those told to western journalists who actually got off their chuffs, traveled to Douma, and spoke to people who live in the vicinity of the supposed attack.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.2.1

            Do their stories “fall in line” with the version that people came in because of smoke and dust, then a panic happened in the clinic because someone at the door yelled “gas”? Or the version that the patients in the video were bribed and intimidated into outright acting? Or the version that they turned up to the clinic thinking they were having breathing difficulty because of gas, but it was just the dust?

            I tend to go with the side that has just one basic version of what happened, but that’s my bias from when I professionally dealt with liars.

            • Bill 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Why don’t you listen to their testimony instead of asking me?

              In the meantime, let’s take your comment’s versions and see what we can do, eh?

              There was panic in the hospital because someone generated a scare around gas. “Treats” were handed to people leaving the hospital afterwards. People were at the hospital complaining of breathing difficulties and being treated for that before the place was invaded by people shouting about gas. (And there are one or two other accounts/stories I’ve heard)

              Thing is, none of them are mutually exclusive. And it’d be normal to expect to hear various facets or perspectives that contribute to a cohesive broader picture of what happened.

              The “one basic version” you favour is not coming from people in Douma.

              Nothing preventing western news corporations and outlets from going to Douma and asking around though, is there? I mean, if the Guardian can send a “roving reporter” to Khan Shaykun (the middle of head-chopping territory at the time), then surely they can do a Damascus suburb?

              • McFlock

                No, so far people have claimed that the footage was fabricated by people encouraged to act, and that the footage was real but the result of a panic at the door. These two versions are contradictory.

                You keep telling yourself otherwise. And also keep pretending that journalists unfriendly to the russian leadership don’t end up dead, either.

                • Morrissey

                  What’s this? McFlock pretending to support journalists unfriendly to brutal regimes? This can’t be the same McFlock who so enthusiastically and uncritically recycled the black propaganda spewed against Julian Assange by the two most violent outlaw regimes on the planet.

                  Can it?

                  Open mike 20/07/2012

                • Bill

                  There have no accounts of “natural” panic.

                  Every account by people currently in Douma has been of an orchestrated or pre-meditated act from which panic ensued.

                  And whereas doctors have said the footage is real – that people were hosed down at that location – the same doctors have also said there was no treatment of chemical exposure (that being the false narrative perpetuated by those who instigated the panic, shot the video and uploaded it).

                  I’m going to gently ignore the last snippet of your comment because it’s got nothing at all to do with the post.

                  • McFlock

                    Fisk was told:

                    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.

                    vs the bribery claim:

                    ‘We heard a cry outside, calling ‘go to the hospital’.

                    ‘We ran to the hospital and as soon as I entered, they grabbed me and started pouring water on me.’
                    His father Omar Diab told Sputnik he was at work when he was told his son was in hospital.

                    He rushed there ‘and found his family in good health’ he said.

                    ‘There were no chemical weapons. I smoked outside and felt nothing,’ he told the news agency.

                    Not even discomfort from all the dust blowing around…

                    • Bill

                      There was no claim that dust billowing out on the street had resulted in a lack of oxygen. But I suspect you know this. According to reports from the hospital, it was people in underground shelters or basements who suffered.

                      From the Fisk article (interviewing Dr Rahaibani)

                      ….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.

                      People already in the hospital. People arriving/being shepherded to the hospital. Why would those two groups give the same account as each other? (They wouldn’t)

                      Also. Where are all these children that were treated for chemical exposure? Hundreds, were there not?

                      And the bodies of the dead? Where are they? Or the interviews with the families of those who died?

                    • McFlock

                      Yes. Dust came in from outside in great quantities, but there was no dust outside in great quantities. That’s one of the contradictions.

                      Like how there were no doctors who were on the scene at the hospital when Fisk visited because they were all apparently testifying to the OPCW in Damascus, so why the theatricalities above? Not to provide actual evidence or testimony to the OPCW, that’s for damned sure.

                      As for the lack of bodies so far, yeah, you reckon the Russians would be delivering them to the OPCW? I love your optimism. Hey, why to cops secure suspected crime scenes as soon as possible, by the way?

                      But don’t worry, apparently some of the “head choppers” hid some. But you’ll explain that away too if/when they’re unburied.

                      It’s a bit like the Star Wars prequels, really. One can explain away JarJar or the continuity issues, but one’s still left with a bunch of movies that have zero chemistry between the love interests, stilted dialogue, and shovel-loads of exposition aimed at four year olds on a sugar rush. But there are some people who still adamantly regard them as the best movies ever.

                    • Bill

                      17 people who were there that night have told their story. When Fisk talked to an off-duty doctor, your “heel digging” came down to the fact he hadn’t spoken to doctors who had been on duty. Now the on duty doctors have spoken. And well, as best as I can figure, you’re now saying they’re all liars, stooges or talking from imposed but unrehearsed scripts.

                      It seems there’s not a damned thing will dilute your zealotry.

                    • McFlock

                      So I should believe the latest version over the others? Because the Russians totally pinky-swear the doctors are doctors, were on duty, and have not been coached or pressured to tell a particular story.

                      That’s really the point. After years upon years of crude and stupid fabrications regarding anything in the Russian sphere of influence, and weeks of different stories about this event in particular, you expect me to believe anything touched by Putin’s crowd?

                      It’s all just decoration and bullshit. All we really have is that the yanks and brits claim the Syrians did something really bad (again), but carefully did fuckall damage despite firing 70-odd tonnes of high explosive with much drama and puffery. Why would they feel like they had to put on that show if they didn’t want to do any damage? Why do the Russians feel the need to put on this show if they truly think that the OPCW will determine that no gas attack took place?

                      On the balance of probabilities, it looks to me like Assad’s crowd used gas to clear some of the tunnels, the yanks and brits (and french wanting to bromance trump) felt that they had to be seen to respond because enough people believed that gas had been deployed, but they didn’t want to escalate because they were concerned Russia would feel compelled to respond against US etc troops, if any russians were hit or even if fundamental damage was done to Assad’s regime.

                      It’s all bullshit.

                    • Bill

                      It’s not about Russia or France or throwing judgement on which gang is the baddest.

                      It’s about 17 people giving an account of an alleged chemical attack all saying there was no chemical attack.

                      I dare say more than just the wee boy could be identified in various videos.

                      Are they faking it/telling lies?

                      Let’s say they are.

                      So where are the interviews with Douma residents saying an attack did take place? Where are the images of recovering victims? Where are the interviews with relatives of the dead?

                      All we have (apart from bald assertions by people linked to Jaish al-Islam in one way or another) is this ludicrous story of a secretly dug grave pit being dug to preserve evidence. I dare say Syria is dotted with grave pits given that Jihadists have a thing for “cleansing”. But carting 40 odd bodies from a hospital through a suburban landscape to some wasteground undetected? Not seeing it.

                    • McFlock

                      Let’s say that you were there and thought you’d been subjected to a gas attack in Douma.

                      Would you have gotten on the busses to flee the people you thought gassed you (and threfore been labelled as a jihadi we can’t believe)?

                      Or would you be hanging around in the area, loudly telling all the russian and syrian soldiers you see that you were a witness to the gas attack and want to testify to the OPCW?

                      BTW, carted through wasteland? Personally, I’d use a tunnel. And they don’t need all 40 to be found – a few stashes here or there might do. It’ll be interesting to see if the opcw dig anything up if they get unfettered access to the scene.

                      But amazing what can be done if you leave criminals in control of a crime scene for weeks. If anything happened, of course /sarc

                • spikeyboy

                  Fair enough if you want to just distract from the discussion. What aboutism time is it. Are you trying to say now that Fisk doesnt tow the party line he must be a dirty Russian sympathiser or something. Same for the German TV guy? Cause I suppose thats the case you have to make now with 17 more witnesses supporting the chemicals didnt happen.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The “one basic version” you favour is not coming from people in Douma.

                If there’s a coherent story amongst people about an incident it’s because they’ve been told what the story is afterwards.

                Peoples recollections are incoherent and so you look for differences between them as well as similarities to get a broad idea of the truth.

                • McFlock

                  and you also look for direct contradictions to guage their reliability

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You have to look for multiples in the testimony. If 20 people say ‘X’ happened even with difference in time while 50 people say it didn’t happen with no changes in timing then the chances are that the 20 people are right. The 50 people obviously have an agreed version which is wrong and most likely a lie.

                    The differences in time prove that the 20 are speaking from memory of the event.

                    • McFlock

                      But that’s not the situation here, is it.

                      We have one side saying something happened, selecting their people who all say pretty much the same fundamental thing. We also have another side selecting 50 people who say directly contradictory fundamental things (were they suffering from hypoxia, or were they perfectly healthy) with the only common element being that the first side is wrong.

                      So how much effort do you have to go to in order to mash each side’s fundamental elements into a coherent story, and how plausible does that story sound? And what motives to people have for inventing rather than reporting stories?

                    • spikeyboy []

                      Pretty clear and consistent story wrt no chemicals. Difficulty with breathing isnt a permanent condition. Neither is wind blown dust. Absolutes only exist in fairytales. As for motives to invent stories I think the Jihadis needing a helping hand could be pretty motivating

                    • McFlock

                      So after all the tit-for-tat civil war crap over the last several years, this incident was supposed to get the west to kill Assad and neutralise his regime once and for all?

                      deary deary me

                    • spikeyboy []

                      No. Just keep the west in the game and supportive and keep the money flowing. If you think theres any once and for all then I have a good religion you may be interested in…

                    • McFlock

                      Still desperate scenario generation by either you or them. And they can plan defence systems pretty rationally.

                    • spikeyboy []

                      One mans desperate is another mans obvious. Much easier when youre going where the evidence leads rather than try to bend it to your preferred world view. Theres been a couple retired generals lately that have been stating the obvious too

                      http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/869-douma-part-2-it-just-doesn-t-ring-true.html

                    • McFlock

                      The funniest one is

                      ‘It seems extraordinary, because clearly he would know that there’s likely to be a response from the allies – what benefit is there for his military?

                      Risk/reward.
                      We saw the “response from the allies”. Deliberately ineffectual because Assad has the blessing of Russia.

                      Tell me, do you think that literally zero casualites is more or less than the casualties Assad and his allies would have incurred attacking dug-in positions in rubble and well-protected from artillery and aerial bombardment? Especially as the willingness to use one only weapon that can really touch them underground makes the position untenable for defenders, so the bulk would be more willing to evacuate?

                      The answer also applies to the other line

                      what possible motive might have triggered Syria to launch a chemical attack at this time in this place?

                      Winning is good, winning for least cost to you is better.

                      The fact is, if Obama had bombed wholeheartedly at the first whiff of gas, the risk/reward equation would have been very different.

                    • spikeyboy []

                      Youre still assuming that a chemical attack took place when all the evidence points to none occurring.
                      So if none occurred then perhaps the method that the Russians and Syrians say they are using ie a combination of brute force and negotiated bussing to Idleb is closer to the truth as well.
                      The Russians dont just toss their allies under the wheels quite as freely as you may think. Its their part of the world. They live near by and need to try to get on. So your Machiavellian calculations arent much good. You may think the Syrians have risen up against Assad like the Libyans and Iraqis before them but Id say youre wrong. So gassing as an excercise in risk/cost isnt really an option. Because the ppeople they would be gassing are the people they are fighting for. And until there is evidence to the contrary this is the position I will hold. And you can go what about this or what about that but actual evidence of a chemical attack. There is none and only many many people saying there was no chemical attack

                    • McFlock

                      That’s my conclusion, it’s not an assumption.

                      The concept that the rebels faked it as a last-ditch effort for western support is interesting but not likely, IMO, because the west doesn’t really care about dead Syrians, gassed or not. It was never going to affect backchannel support, and it was never going to inspire an overt response that has any effect on the ground when the Russians are closely backing Assad. So it’s a waste of resources and gives aid to the enemy when the rebels finally withdraw. At the very least they’d pick somewhere that they’d be in control of for a decent amount of time.

                      And yes, Syrians did rise up against Assad. But not enough of them, so he managed to hang on by the support of Hezbollah and the Russians (support that Gaddhafi distinctly lacked. He probably should have had a seaport deal with the Russians). And the people being gassed are the people living with the enemy. Your concepts of goodwill for the population are touching, but not really relevant after this length of civil war.

                      As for “no evidence”, in that case there would be nothing to explain away, would there?

                    • Bill

                      The concept that the rebels faked it as a last-ditch effort for western support is interesting but not likely, IMO, because the west doesn’t really care about dead Syrians, gassed or not

                      That’s true on two fronts.

                      Jaish al-Islam has been in receipt of support for a long time, so no need for any “last ditch effort” to secure support. And western governments don’t give a damn about gassed Syrians (or drowned ones).

                      But western populations do.

                      All that gets pivoted for propaganda purposes.

                      Russia/Syria = evil, and the evil on “our” side is subject to huge arse covering exercises predicated on notions of innate western goodness.

                      This dismissal of the witnesses is a case in point. Entertain for a second they are bona fide. What does that do for the veracity of previous and contested claims about Syrian government gas attacks? Every one of them has followed the same pattern of dismissing and/or ignoring solid sources of evidence that failed to point the finger at the government of Syria. (Douma Mk I and Khan Sheikhoun being the major or obvious ones)

                    • McFlock

                      You’re pretty much on the ball, except that any assistance to JAI is largely independent of public opinion.

                      But we’ll never really know the press event witnesses’ bona fides, because they were hand-delivered by parties with a vested interest, and we therefore don’t know what their motives are or what leverage might be exerted upon them.

                      But then, if those witnesses are telling the truth, all the other witnesses who said there were gas attacks wherever must have been lying. Hell, maybe they really were running around wards knifing unconscious people.

                      So it comes to which side stinks more, how likely possible motives are (including risk vs reward), and whether these incidents seem to change a damned thing.

              • Cinny

                Thanks for posting this Bill, and the link to the interview panel.

                Have been keeping an open mind, interestingly while watching Al Jazeera last week there was a brief report saying something like…. a member of the white helmets was going around saying there was a ‘chemical attack’, which in turn created a bit of hysteria.

                However some locals on the ground were saying there wasn’t any attack, but there was a lot of dust around and a sandstorm was mentioned.

                If I can find the link, will post it.

                Didn’t find what i was looking for, but did find an informative article about the OPCW interviews from today.
                https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/russia-takes-syrians-opcw-western-allies-denounce-stunt-180426184624835.html

                “Unknown people started creating chaos, and pouring water on people. We were specialists and we could see there were no symptoms of the use of chemical weapons,” said physician Khalil, who said he was on duty in the emergency care unit.

                He said “patients with choking symptoms” had begun coming to the hospital about 7:00pm, but it “was the result of people breathing in dust and smoke” from the bombardment.

                Everyone was treated and sent home, Khalil added, denying reports from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the White Helmets who jointly said dozens of people had died.”

            • Bewildered 2.1.1.2.1.2

              Can only agree

            • spikeyboy 2.1.1.2.1.3

              Im not sure which video you were watching McFlock but the linked one that I watched right through only had one version. That there was cases of people that were coming through the hospital with breathing difficulties from smoke and dust that there was a period of chaos and hosing people down with water when someone started yelling about a chemical attack. And all this in line and consistent with reporting by Fisk and by OAN and by a reporter from German Tv. All this is the only actual evidence from people at the scene and reporters who arrived at the scene as soon as the area became safe. Everyone adamant that no chemicals were used that no one had to be kept in hospital for further treatment and no one died. Real people with real stories but no… the Guardian knows best…it beggars belief. Such icey cold certainty

              • McFlock

                And yet the kid only went to the hospital because people were told to go to the hospital, and knew nothing about gas panic until someone threw water on him.

                Or is he on the same page now, too, and went to the hospital with smoke inhalation?

                • spikeyboy

                  So its not possible for the Jihadis to round up a few kids on the way over to the hospital cause we all know how well the kids go down with President Trump?

                  • McFlock

                    Of course it is. But either people were being treated for respiratory distress and someone cause a panic, or they were healthy and suprise doused in water when they were told to go to the hospitals.

                    Or maybe groups both, in which case the doctor forgot to mention all the non-patients in the video to Fisk and the dust clouds had magically cleared when dad went to smoke a cigarette.

                    But then it’s also possible that the Russians are up to their old tricks of bunging out fifty apparently plausible independent explanations in order to obscure the simplest and most likely: the was a gas attack by Assad’s forces.

                    • Bill

                      Your first para is not an either/or scenario. Both those things could have been occurring simultaneously.

                      What makes you think that an off-duty doctor would know the intricacies of each individual present in an emergency room? Hell, there might have been someone there to get a splinter removed from their eye. Would it be suspicious if they didn’t receive a discrete mention?

                      Dust and wind and basements. Nothing about streets.

                      I kinda like how you find the irrelevant notion of “disappearing dust” more worthy of scrutiny than….disappearing chemicals, vanishing symptoms, bodies and victims.

                      Or that not one person living in Douma has been interviewed by any western media and said there was a chemical attack, while every person interviewed has said there was no chemical attack, yet (to you) the simplest and most likely [explanation is that] the was a gas attack by Assad’s forces.

                    • McFlock

                      Your first para is not an either/or scenario. Both those things could have been occurring simultaneously.

                      Hence my second paragraph (a missing “of” in the middle of “groups both” notwithstanding).

                      What makes you think that an off-duty doctor would know the intricacies of each individual present in an emergency room?

                      It’s called “paperwork”. Shift reports and patient notes. I’d expect someone described as a “senior doctor” to know what the hell was happening in their clinic, no?

                      Dust and wind and basements. Nothing about streets.

                      Yes. How does the dust suddenly appear in basements? Anything to do with the “wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm”?

                      I kinda like how you find the irrelevant notion of “disappearing dust” more worthy of scrutiny than….disappearing chemicals, vanishing symptoms, bodies and victims.

                      Yeah. Because the dust is a conflict in the stories presented by people left in charge of the scene after anyone likely to testify got bussed out of the area.

                      Or that not one person living in Douma has been interviewed by any western media and said there was a chemical attack, while every person interviewed has said there was no chemical attack, yet (to you) the simplest and most likely [explanation is that] the was a gas attack by Assad’s forces.

                      Why don’t I believe the people who didn’t flee Assad and the Russians?
                      Because other people said there was a chemical attack, the people saying there was no attack have significantly conflicting stories, the existence of a gas attack would not be out of the ordinary for the Syrian civil war, there’s a reasonable tactical excuse for it, there’s not benefit to fabricating the attack stories (see “would not be out of the ordinary”), and the US/UK/French response indicates they needed to be seen to do something but they went out of their way to avoid doing anything significant.

                    • Bill

                      When people get herded into an emergency room to cries of “Gas!”, I could see paper work being pretty low on the list of priorities.

                      There is no reason why dust on a street can’t have settled, yet still be causing problems in enclosed spaces such as basements. Even if it was still billowing, the effects it would have in open spaces versus the effects in enclosed spaces would be very marked unless we’re talking of choking at street level. Which no-one has claimed as being the case.

                      Minor detail. But the terrorists and their families didn’t have to bus out. They chose to bus out in preference to taking advantage of the amnesty on offer. (Same as in Homs, E Aleppo and elsewhere)

                      Why don’t I believe the people who didn’t flee Assad and the Russians?

                      I don’t know why you don’t believe the ordinary people of Douma who have had their lives ripped apart these past years and who had and have chosen not to throw their lot in with murderous Jihadists.

                      There are many reasons why the western sponsored Jihadists would have feigned an attack, or gassed ‘infidels’ (as they have previously done), or even been encouraged to do so by their western backers.

                      It ranges from whipping up a storm in the west, such that the hawkish and interventionist elements in the US, France and UK get the military engagement they’ve been ganting for, down to simply robbing Russia and Syria of any positive news off the back of them finally clearing terrorist elements from around the capital in exchange for civilian hostages in Idlib. (Because, y’know, that last bit is almost kind of humanitarian and blows the western narrative a tad)

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, lots of bandaids on the plotlines there, Bill.
                      And I can’t see any that haven’t been addressed before.

                      All I know is that if I thought some army had gassed me and I missed the evac busses, I sure wouldn’t be raising my hand to say to the first Russian I saw that II thought they’d gassed me and my cousin is buried at XYZ.

                      I possibly wouldn’t even say it to the OPCW until I was out of there.

                      So unless you’ve got something new, I figure I’ll stick with what I think is the more realistic reckons.

                    • Bill

                      No band-aids. But nice swerve away from engagement.

                      As far as any testimony or interview goes, no-one in Douma is of the opinion that the SAA gassed anyone. And I find it astonishing, this idea that SAA soldiers would casually or callously gas civilian populations that in cases will include their own relatives. (

                      I find it doubly astonishing, that while that’s never taken into account, it’s apparently unthinkable that Jihadists bent on ethnic cleansing might gas a infidel or two for obvious political gain.

                      But you stick with your reckons and time will out the truth of the matter.

                    • McFlock

                      Nothing’s unthinkable.

                      The OPCW has also found rebels of various flavours and factions have used chemical weapons.

                      But in this particular case the inability of the Russians and Assad to tell a straight story bites them in the arse, as far as I’m concerned.

                      So while you’re shocked and stunned at the thought that soldiers in a multi-year civil war might use nasty weapons against people they know, I’ll keep looking for what looks like the most reasonable explanation of which bunch of bastards did what.

                      So, yeah, I reckon we’ve “engaged” well beyond the point of usefulness on this.

        • Aaron 2.1.1.3

          What’s not plausible is that the US and it’s allies are involved in a humanitarian campaign – history shows that this rarely the case.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.4

          Not so, one side is based on plausible reality re Syria,

          [citation needed]

          I.e, there’s most likely the Russian version, the Western version and then reality.

          You seem to be implying that the Western version is reality despite their history of Making Shit Up and overthrowing governments that they didn’t like.

          • Macro 2.1.1.4.1

            You also have to look at the regimes who brought them to give “evidence”.
            You also have to place that “evidence” in the context of a member of the UN security council who could never admit to supporting Chemical Warfare, and a dictatorship which terrorises it’s people. Remember there is no free speech in Syria – anyone who dares to speak out against the Regime faces execution or a torture prison.
            https://www.amnesty.org.nz/end-horror-syrias-torture-prisons

            Why else would Russia and Syria bring these poor people to The Hague – but to play out grotesque and obscene pantomine.

            • One Two 2.1.1.4.1.1

              Why else…

              Perhaps because they’re telling the truth, Macro…

              That’s why else…

              Come on senior manager…

            • Flock 2.1.1.4.1.2

              “there is no free speech in Syria – anyone who dares to speak out against the Regime faces execution or a torture prison.”

              Could you confirm that with a citation from any source other than Amnesty International?

              I don’t regard Amnesty as a reliable source.

              • Macro

                https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/syria
                Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.

                • One Two

                  HRW – HQ in NYC

                  Independent….

                  Not A Chance!

                  • Macro

                    17 “witnesses” flown to The Hague by Russia

                    Independent…

                    Not A Chance!

                    • One Two

                      I’ve not taken a position either way, Macro…and the 17 may very well not be independent…but they also may very well be…

                      This is where you and I differ in a distinctive way…

                      I don’t take sides…

                      The problem you have is lack.of credibility which bellows through in comments and links that you post..

                      Annesty Int and HRW are an utter sham in no uncertain terms…fraud, corruption, funding black holes, revolving door to federal governments and foreign policy influence..

                      About as credible as that Syrian Observatory bloke in the UK…

                      That level…

          • McFlock 2.1.1.4.2

            but there are multiple russian versions

            • Kaya3 2.1.1.4.2.1

              There is only one F/UK/US version and that is obviously complete and utter bullshit. It is looking increasingly likely there was no chemical attack. It is looking increasingly likely that this was a staged event. Whether the F/UK/US were complicit or just stupid is a toss up, either answer is credible.

              The witnesses brought to the Hague by the Russians appear credible. The Russians are being proactive because it is the only chance they have of getting the truth anywhere near the public in the west. A war crime has been committed by F/UK/US.

              • McFlock

                I’d put the Russians actually wanting the public to know the truth this time being as or less likely than the yanks wanting the same.

                The thing about most governments on the planet, if not all, is that if they do anything in international relations, it’s never a simple desire to just do the right thing. There’s always self interest, and that always takes precedent over doing the right thing.

                So you think the west is duplicitous or stupid, but Russia is nobly trying to get the truth out? Just game it for a bit – what sort of conclusions do you reach if all nations involved are duplicitous or stupid?

          • reason 2.1.1.4.3

            Western propaganda is most often done through silence ……. Not reporting our / the good guys crimes.

            These 17 witness s broke through the media blackout …. and now the victims of the west ……. victims through our non-relenting government overthrow efforts … by weapons and war sponsorship into their country …. now they get to be vilified……

            Our / The media keeps the lid on full or rounded knowledge of the facts … and manufactures consent for our ‘humanitarian’ wars …. by what they don’t tell us .

            ” “the Syrian armed opposition is dominated by Isis, al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.” The “only alternative to (secular Arab nationalist) rule is the Islamists.” [56] This has long been the case.” Patrick Cockburn 2016 https://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/the-revolutionary-distemper-in-syria-that-wasnt/

            “something about the uprising that the Western press under-reported (and revolutionary socialists in the United States missed), namely, that it was driven by a sectarian Sunni Islamist agenda which, if brought to fruition, would have unpleasant consequences for anyone who wasn’t considered a “true” Muslim. For this reason, Alawites, Ismailis, Druze and Christians lined up with the Ba’athists who sought to bridge sectarian divisions as part of their programmatic commitment to fostering Arab unity.”

            All the wars in the middle east …. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Israel have been done under false pretenses.

            • ropata 2.1.1.4.3.1

              Exactly reason, Jimmy Dore gave a good background on America’s wars in his analysis of the Syria gas attack narrative

              USA went to war in Syria backed by Saudi money because
              a) they need to keep the petrodollar afloat
              b) Saudi Arabia wants to put a gas pipeline thru Syria
              c) the USA/Israel has had a grudge against Assad for 20 years

              • reason

                Cheers for the good link and comments ropata … its nice to have a reply from a genuine poster.

                Your right …. usa / western oil wars and resource grabs ….Killing irrelevant people and destroying their society s ,,,,,, so corporations, arms industry s and billionaires make money …..

                Assads a choirboy compared to to the crimes carried out by usa foreign policy ….

                Literally millions upon millions dead post WWII … participation, permission or creation of multiple Genocides and ethnic cleansing…….such as Indonesia, Cambodia, East Timor,s Libyans of Black African decent …. and the latest ongoing war crimes in
                Yemen.

                All either lied about …. or given the media blackout censorship treatment.

                “We all know the world is in big trouble – Three Great Problems: universal, incessant violence; financial crisis provoking economic suffering; environmental degradation. In all three areas the United States bears more culpability than any other single country”

                “understanding that our government does not mean well. Once we’ve grasped that, we’re far more capable of effectively doing good ourselves.” – David Swanson, author of War is a Lie

                https://williamblum.org/essays/read/appealing-to-the-united-states-is-not-very-appealing

    • AB 2.2

      “Often such population display cui bono thinking . It is a common observation that overuse of the cui bono? (“who benefits?”) style of thinking leads to conspiracy theories”
      It is also a common observation that denigration of cui bono thinking (as you are doing here) can be interpreted as a desire to obscure the fact that western governments operate on the basis of their interests rather than their supposed principles.

    • Kaya3 2.3

      I don’t know where to start to respond to such complete and utter garbage. Though “Assad tools” is a slightly different take on “Assad apologists”.

      What fucking “western intelligence” are you referring to???? There is none! What wars in Ukraine? You mean the coup that was fomented and paid for by Victoria “fuck the EU: Neuland and the US State Dept?
      Conspiracy theory? You show not a single sign of logic or evidence of rational thought in your three paragraphs of complete and utter dribble. I am flabbergasted that there can actually be people with more than a couple of brain cells who could write that. Unless of course you’re an ITV reporter, because they can sure talk almost as much nonsense as you did.

    • Ike 2.4

      Bewildered. You certainly are. Here are some questions for you
      How did Obama, Cameron and Abbott “know ” who was responsible for MH17 before any evidence was collected?
      Why was one of the possible guilty parties, Ukraine, allowed to participate in the Dutch enquiry but not Russia?
      Why was radar evidence from Russia of a Ukraine fighter jet in the vicinity of MH17 before it was shot down not allowed by the Dutch enquiry?
      Why did the BBC doctor their news footage of the crash site to deliberately misrepresent the motives of the rebels present at the crash site?
      Why did Assad supposedly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by unnecessarily using gas weapons in Douma?
      If you can provide an intelligent answer to these questions you will find you may not be so bewildered.

  3. Aaron 3

    This is really easy to work out. The US and allies have invaded or interfered with as many as 85 countries since WW2 so why would Syria suddenly be the first time they are there for genuine humanitarian reasons?

    The history of US behaviour is very, very well documented and the reality is you don’t get to be the biggest bully on the block by being nice to everyone. My first question when I hear of a trouble spot in some part of the world is; how is the US involved? Any other approach is naive to say the least.

    • james 3.1

      Yip. The US and Saudi Arabia have been wanting regime change in Syria for about a decade now. That’s why they’re funding the rebels (terrorists) and spreading lies through our worthless MSM.

      • adam 3.1.1

        Trying to think of the retired US general who said – Saudi Arabia does not care how many American soldiers die for their geopolitical aims. Something like that, he said it better.

    • Bill 3.2

      Regardless of interference and/or invasions, the post is about seventeen people having their highly relevant testimony dismissed “off the bat” as it were, not just by government sources, but by (it seems) the entire western corporate/mainstream/liberal media.

    • Bewildered 3.3

      Classic cui bono conspiracy I doubt US are just there for humanitarian reason, more so to wipe out ISIL, likewise they did suppprt Arab spring, etc, leaving Iraq to early was a mistake but in context of 911 at the time Irrespective none of this abdicates Russian involment in Ukraine, shooting down civilian airlines, suppprting Assad gassing his own people, killing journalist and any one who they don’t like in or out of Russia Likewise a blog like this would not survive 5 second in Russia I think that really says it all re what side I works sit on re transparency and truth, not saying West is perfect but compared to Russia I think we stand on firmer ground

      • Bill 3.3.1

        Any further off topic comments from you that I think are an attempt to generate a pointless bun fight will be shifted to Open Mike.

        • Stunned Mullet 3.3.1.1

          To be fair Bill I would’ve thought you’d be aware that the post in and of itself would generate a pointless bun fight as all posts/discussions regarding this topic on the Standard have for the last several months.

          • Bill 3.3.1.1.1

            To be fair Stunned Mullet, that’s three comments you’ve made that add up to zero contribution on the topic of the post. No more.

            No-one is compelling you to comment, but any further comments you do make have to be on topic. Cheers.

  4. One Two 4

    Dismissing 17 witnessess is the only position that would be taken…simply…the west can’t back away now…that is not going to happen…

    Should the actual charade be exposed…how might the massess respond to another exposure of ‘their governments’…

    I doubt it causes an uproar…

    The West is ‘truth’…unstoppable…apparantly…

    • Stunned Mullet 4.1

      What would the lovely vegan hounds say ?

      • adam 4.1.1

        Stop being a troll Stunned Mullet, it is tiresome.

        • Stunned Mullet 4.1.1.1

          Gawd something is needed to liven up the monotonous posts on Syria otherwise it’s just the usual suspects felating one side or the other in their never ending defense or demonisation of Assad/Russia.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            Please explain what the blanket dismissal of seventeen peoples’ testimony about what happened in the hospital where they were when a supposed chemical attack occurred has to do with defending/demonising Assad/Russia?

          • adam 4.1.1.1.2

            I’ve been on both side of that divide and support neither. Simplest dualistic dividing lines help no one, which was the point I was trying to make with Jenny the other night.

            The factions fighting inside Douma, were this propaganda event happened – were dominated by Jaysh al-Islam, not exactly freedom loving individuals. Oh and they have a track record of using chemical weapons.

            https://www.voanews.com/a/kurdish-officials-rebels-may-have-used-chemicals-aleppo/3276743.html

            But then again, people get upset when you call these people head chopping scum bags. So whose side are you on? Assad/Russia, or the silly bastards who support the head choppers. Or indeed stepping back and going, this is a mess which we should take a look at one incident at a time and not make it worse by dropping more bombs.

  5. adam 5

    I would expect nothing less, why should a bunch of brown people who are saying that they saw nothing, be believed over a group who won an academy award.

    Why listen to a bunch of brown people who were there, when the armchair generals looking for their next hit, know better.

    It’s the Russians you know, they always do evil. It’s what they do.

    Next you will be arguing Syria is a point of class warfare, whereby elite factions get to
    maim and kill with impunity.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      Even the dead tell a story from where they were videoed in the building

      “overall, it’s hard to picture how someone dying from chlorine poisoning, which unlike sarin, doesn’t case quick death, would expire on the spot in the locations where they were found”
      Chlorine will cause severe illness in far larger numbers than it kills, so where are these people?
      Or perhaps they were very very lucky to be treated at a hospital run by a Syria medical charity supported by French and US governments and no longer have chemical poisoning symptoms.

  6. SpaceMonkey 6

    Western media doubling down to wage a full psyops propaganda campaign on their fellow countrymen and other people in the “free west”.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    I knew it didn’t happen but it still shocks me.

  8. SPC 8

    I like the fact that western media are capable of and allowed to make critical examination of the testimony of the witnesses for the defence.

    They just reported the claims of British, French and American governments to have evidence of a CW attack.

    (Then made commentary on the tardiness of some western governments to support military action – because they preferred a transparent process involving evidence being collected and presented before the UN came to any conclusion. Grudgingly accepting the action only because in the past some had refused to accept evidence presented and had the right of veto and so the process might not work in practice).

    This demonstrates we have a free press committed to bringing us the facts … .

    Then again so does Turkey (now), Russia, Syria and China.

  9. Timeforacupoftea 9

    Wonderful statement dukeoful –
    Even the dead tell a story from where they were videoed in the building !!!!!

    Double take.
    I know I shouldn’t laugh on this subject, but that cheered me up 100%

    Thank You

  10. Kaya3 10

    Our media is a complete joke, particularly here in NZ. At least in the UK and US there are some dissenting voices although they can be hard to find admittedly. There are none in NZ. Talking heads parroting scripted propaganda is our nightly fare on TV One and TV Three. It really is pathetic. Though a talking head is almost preferable to that disgusting twat from ITV, Rubert Evelyn. Gross. I notice his Twitter feed got a hiding and deservedly so. @rupertevelyn

    • Ed 10.1

      There are a few dissenting voices here. You just don’t find them on the TV news. They are few and far between and the majority of New Zealanders are served their daily propaganda by the corporate media.

      Rachel Stewart writes on a Wednesday in the Herald.
      Malcolm Evans draws a cartoon on the Daily Blog.
      Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager are independent journalists.

      And you are correct – we lack Robert Fisk, George Monbiot, Owen Jones, Jon Pilger.

      But the mainstream media has been captured by the plutocrats in the UK as well. The Guardian, once a place you could read dissenting voices, now pimps for war in Syria. The BBC attacks Corbyn relentlessly and blames Russia for everything, repeating the lines of the UK establishment.

      To add to Tony Veitch (not etc)’s policies to solve the world’s most pressing issues, I would take back the airwaves from massive corporations. The lies and propaganda they bombard us with is a significant part of the problem.

      Open Mike 28/04/2018

  11. savenz 11

    I feel for the poor people who live there in the middle of this political and war zone who have done nothing wrong and have nowhere to turn with so many governments at home and around the world invested in killing them (under the guise of helping them) but essentially fighting over the control of the oil pipeline. Essentially a type of genocide? The governments need to step back and organise a political solution of the oil pipeline, outside of killing more people.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-mideast-conflict-oil-intervention/

    • Ed 13.1

      So, no emergency meetings between the US, the U.K. and France and a decision to bomb Riyadh with cruise missiles ?

      Surely, for consistency’s sake……..

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  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    7 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago