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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

          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

          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

            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

              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


                    • 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?

                      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.

                “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

              Can only agree

            • spikeyboy

              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

          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

          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

            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.

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

            • One Two

              Why else…

              Perhaps because they’re telling the truth, Macro…

              That’s why else…

              Come on senior manager…

            • Flock

              “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

                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


                  Not A Chance!

                  • Macro

                    17 “witnesses” flown to The Hague by Russia


                    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

            but there are multiple russian versions

            • Kaya3

              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

            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

              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

                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


    • 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

          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

            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

          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

            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

            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.


            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.


    • 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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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
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    6 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
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    6 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
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    7 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
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    1 week ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
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    1 week ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago