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The Humanity.

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, April 15th, 2018 - 160 comments
Categories: International, Politics, Propaganda, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags: , ,

So there we have it.

Launching missile strikes on three pieces of infrastructure is an act of humanitarianism. The US is ready to do it again if anyone says “Boo!” to a monkey. The UN Security Council has endorsed itself being by-passed by countries (or at least by some countries) wanting to unleash military strikes against other countries they are not at war with, and that constitute precisely zero threat to their own national security.

So is the UN broken? I don’t know.

Is military action ever humanitarian? Well, I guess it could be, but I’m not readily thinking of the circumstances where that would be the case. Certainly not this instance where action has been taken off the back of a tweet; where nothing has been verified (ie, video footage etc) and where no evidence has been collected or evaluated.

And I’m curious about those pieces of infrastructure. According to the OPCW – the internationally recognised body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the CWC treaty that Syria signed up to, Syria had destroyed all of its chemical weapons back in October 2014. Are we now to believe that wasn’t the case and that the OPCW are chumps?

So what was being targeted?*

I haven’t had time to hunt through decent or informed opinion yet, but I’m taking these claims about chemical weapons research and storage facilities with a dose of salt. Every country in the world has chemical factories and chemical research facilities, and a large part of me wonders if we’re just seeing a Bill Clinton/Sudan redux – when in 1998, he launched cruise missiles to destroy the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical facilities, that incidentally provided 50% of Sudan’s medical supplies, on the grounds that it was producing the nerve gas VX. It wasn’t.

So bang some missiles onto an innocuous chemical facility, claim it was also producing something else “on the side”, and conveniently take out whatever it was that was the intended target; the target that couldn’t wait until any evidence of a chemical attack (if there is any) was processed; the target that couldn’t even be held back on for a few days so that (in the case of the UK) proposed military action was put to a Parliamentary vote.

Some members of the US Congress are less than impressed with Trump’s unilateral, hasty decision making too.

Anyway. Just as well “our” glorious leaders remembered to not say they were launching missiles to help bring about democracy. That might have been a bit of a sell given how they’re acted.

* Scientific Studies and Research Centre compound in the Barzeh district, north Damascus. It was the countries leading research facility, and since Syria signed up to the CWC, probably focusing on it’s civil goal of (from Wiki) “advancing and coordinating scientific activities in the country. It works on research and development for the economic and social development of Syria, especially the computerization of government agencies”.

According to the Financial Times, “The second [target] was a chemical weapons storage facility at Him Shinshar west of the city of Homs which the US said was the primary location for the Syrian manufacture of the nerve agent sarin. The third was a chemical weapons bunker facility close to the second target”.

Pass the salt.



160 comments on “The Humanity.”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    Needs more than a dash

  2. cleangreen 2

    “So bang some missiles onto an innocuous chemical facility, claim it was also producing something else “on the side”, and conveniently take out whatever it was that was the intended target; the target that couldn’t wait until any evidence of a chemical attack (if there is any) was processed; the target that couldn’t even be held back on for a few days so that (in the case of the UK) proposed military action was put to a Parliamentary vote.”

    That says it all now doesn’t it Bill,

    Thanks for keeping this subject alive as some want it buried ASAP it appears they must be suffering from self induced guilt now perhaps for supporting this crazy missile attack..

  3. Carolyn_Nth 3

    I think the UN, and international law is broken. Whatever the justification in humanitarian concerns, the US-UK-France, etc are selective about which dastardly regimes they attack on humanitarian grounds.

    The security council is a flawed concept and needs to be replaced. The US president has gone rogue, and the UK Tories and Macron have supported it.

    • james 3.1

      Actually it was also supported by Canada, Australia, NATO, Turkey with the EU standing by them and NZ accepting of the raids.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Was it NZ accepting of the raids or just the politicians?

        There’s a difference. One is democratic, the other authoritarian.

        • Incognito

          Accepting is not supporting, is it?

          • James

            Try reading her statement and it will give you what you need to know.

            • Incognito

              Hmmm, the way I read her statement is that NZ is not supporting the strikes as such.

              The reason I asked is whether this is a known and accepted subtlety in the language of international diplomacy. I was hoping Draco would know and answer …

            • Carolyn_Nth

              The PM was being diplomatic so as not to upset allies. She would prefer the UN to resolve such issues through diplomatic negotiations at the UN rather than conflict.


              She blamed Russia for using their security council veto – but, basically she wants the UN to have a stronger role in resolving such conflicts:

              Ms Ardern said it’s important not to give up on the UN as being the way in which the international community can respond to this and the best way to stop seeing civilians hurt would be to use collective action.

        • James

          The accept it on our behalf.

          That’s how our system works.

        • JohnSelway

          But authoritarian is ok – as long as Draco is the authority

          • Draco T Bastard

            Can you just fuck off with that BS already?

            It’s already boring.

            I have authoritarian tendencies – I’m not authoritarian.

            • JohnSelway

              Why should I fuck off? You sit on this site and go on and on about how authoritarian National are, how people who disagree with you are stupid, RWNJ, how much of genius you are etc etc and I am calling you out for your BS.

              If you are bored stop responding.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I am calling you out for your BS.

                No you’re not – you’re just using typical, fairly stupid, RWNJ ad hominem attack.

                • JohnSelway

                  No I call you out because you drop some whoppers from time to time. That’s not an ad hom. I attack your arguments, not you

                  And your calling me a RWJN (green voter since 1999 my man) is your own ad hom. You frequently use RWNJ = your argument is invalid. An ad hom – what you are doing now

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I attack your arguments

                    No you don’t. Once you pointed out I was wrong which was my fault as I was unclear in my first point.

                    All other times you’ve simply attacked me.

                    And your calling me a RWJN (green voter since 1999 my man) is your own ad hom.

                    Not really. You act like a RWNJ so I point that out. If you don’t like it then I suggest you stop acting like a spoiled brat.

                    An ad hom – what you are doing now

                    Except that I didn’t.

                  • Ed

                    Your opinions don’t tally with being a Green voter….

            • McFlock

              I’m not an authoritarian either, but I did experiment with it a bit at university. I don’t really hang out with those guys these days.

              • JohnSelway

                I hung out with a bunch of skaters, stoners a ne’er do wellers.

                Don’t see many of them these days anymore either

      • reason 3.1.2

        You’d hate to have James on a jury with his cavalier attitude to actual evidence….. as he’s shown before with some of his ‘flame posts ‘ …

        Some types of child abuse are ok with him too … specifically the the types failed politicians John Key and David Cameron worked to spread and entrench

        “the architecture of wealth extraction that has been systematically built up in every country around the world. I use the word ‘architecture’ intentionally here for two reasons: (1) to remind us that there were architects who intentionally created this exploitative system (it did not arise naturally or by accident); and (2) the purpose of this system was to hoard as much wealth as possible in the hands of a tiny elite.”

        both warmongers too …. “The Arab coalition – backed and armed by the UK ”


    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      The US has been a rogue state for some time now. The UK and France just joined them.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    Sadly yes James, but that doesn’t make it right.

    • james 4.1

      I disagree – I believe that it is the the right thing to do in this instance – but only based on the little I know.

      However – I understand that it is an extremely difficult and emotive subject over there and (lets face it) – all of us are shot on facts compared with the people that make these decisions.

      I can see why people think its the wrong thing to do.

      Im not going to get into a debate on it – because I can accept I don’t know enough about it – they wont stop some others (not saying you) who also know very little about it being very vocal and demanding that their views on this are right and everyone else is an idiot.

      edit – so I respect your view, but Im popping out of this thread now.

      • cleangreen 4.1.1


        James doesn’t ever see anything he/she doesn’t choose to want to see patricia.

        However this view may help james see who those ‘rose- coloured spectacles as he/she cries; – “I see a a brighter future”


        Thi is a balanced assessment of the bombing of syria at present as it achieved nothing but pain and misery for syrian citizens only.

        No wonder why the US are now very hated elsewhere what were they thinking?

        [The personal stuff. I asked you to dial it back yesterday. A whole stream of bullshit has just been deleted from Open Mike that you were a part of. There won’t be any more warnings] – Bill

      • AB 4.1.2

        “all of us are short on facts compared with the people that make these decisions.”
        That’s uncharacteristically naïve of you James. You assume that the people making this decision are interested in or motivated by the facts.
        You old softy you!

      • D'Esterre 4.1.3

        James: ” I believe that it is the the right thing to do in this instance – but only based on the little I know.”

        Bombing another country which poses no existential threat to the attacking countries is a priori wrong. You don’t need to know anything at all about the situation to know that. It is what many of us pointed out before Bush GW launched his insane adventure in Iraq.

        “all of us are shot on facts compared with the people that make these decisions.”

        That’s what the US told us about WMDs, despite the protestations of many of us. Turned out that we were right and all those “well-informed” international leaders were wrong. There were no WMDs.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.4

        all of us are shot on facts compared with the people that make these decisions.

        All of the evidence I’ve seen indicates that the people who made the decisions are short on facts as well. Hell, they don’t even know if it was a chemical attack or not.

  5. JohnSelway 5

    Putin and Assad should be added to the ‘this lot’ also

    • joe90 5.1


      When Bush 43 and the PNAC neocon mob decided to do an end run around the US constitution by outsourcing their crimes, Assad, with his and his father’s regime’s long history of using torture against its opponents, was one of their go-to men in the administration’s extraordinary rendition and torture programmes.

  6. Kay 6

    The Humanity is a very apt title.

    Total peace could break out in Syria tomorrow but it won’t be over for the civilians caught up in it. Not for generations, not those still in the country nor the refugees.
    The psychological suffering of World War 2 is still going on, now into the 2rd, 3rd generation. Diminishing with each generation, but still there. A lot of people with parents/grandparents caught up in the hell of Europe during those years, and those who became refugees, we can tell you about how their trauma has become inter-generational. And that’s what will happen with the Syrian people. That’s what I haven’t stopped thinking about since the refugee stories hit the headlines.

    I said in a comment yesterday I don’t understand the politics despite trying to. But I do understand the consequences of war on the innocent populations that want nothing to do with it and didn’t ask to be there. They were my immediate family a few decades ago.

  7. timeforacupoftea 7

    All of them together are almost as bad as Obama !

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    So what was being targeted?*

    Competition for US Big Pharma corporations?

    Can’t have anywhere not dependent upon US drugs.

  9. D'Esterre 9

    Bill: “Pass the salt.”

    Coupla handfuls at the very least.

    Apropos matters chemical:

    This is a very good series.

  10. Incognito 10

    Good post, Bill, thank you.

    To complement and juxtapose the title of the post I’d like to suggest this caption for the photo: Three Wise Monkeys.

    I’d also like to draw to the post by Ken Perrott that popped up in the Feeds about 2 hours ago: https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/opcw-on-salisbury-poisoning-one-step-forward-two-back/

    It is factual without the usual speculative BS that we get fed through MSM.

    • Bill 10.1

      Jesus wept.

      2 pages (how many more “dossiers of evidence” and such like are we going to get that could fit on a cigarette paper?) – where the OPCW merely says the results from its samples coincide with the results from the UK samples that it also had at its disposal.

      That’s meant to mean anything? That’s it!?

      It’s like teacher marking homework and writing in the comments to “wee Johnny” that yes, given his working out, his answers get a tick.

      Nothing at all about the working out or the conclusions themselves though.

      Anyway. Tiz for another thread on another post. But thanks for the heads up.

      • dukeofurl 10.1.1

        Notice how they have moved the ‘goalposts’.

        They are now saying missile airstrikes were on chemical weapons facilities

        Its just impossible to keep up with the ever shifting ‘facts”, which is of course the whole point.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    <a href="https://twitter.com/NaomiAKlein/status/985145051410989057Naomi Klein:

    1. When missiles start flying, the casualties are more numerous than those in the immediate target range. Also blasted out of existence are the many human emergencies that are suddenly demoted in the public debate, treated as inconsequential in comparison to the adrenalin of war.

    Which is a valid point: What is the US/UK/France trying to distract us from?

  12. gsays 12

    Thanks Bill for your mahi on this subject.

    As others have said there is so much commentary, ‘news’ and opinion out there.
    I do appreciate reading your view of these things and trust your instincts.

    As I said last night somewhere there is a sickening familiarity to these events.

  13. Matthew Whitehead 13

    Cheers for posting on this Bill, was just thinking I should do so today.

    It’s absolutely nuts to think bombing chemical weapons will protect people in Syria. This is about punishing the regime, and maybe indirectly punishing Russia.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      It’s absolutely nuts to think bombing chemical weapons will protect people in Syria.

      And there’s still nothing to say that they were producing chemical weapons. They may have been producing the antibiotics and what not to keep their soldiers and people healthy.

      This is about punishing the regime, and maybe indirectly punishing Russia.

      IMO, It’s about carrying out war for the benefit of the US corporations.

      • Matthew Whitehead 13.1.1

        I make no determination as to whether the weapons were actually there or not, but fair call on that wording. The bombing started before inspectors could actually confirm anything, so it does suggest they might be worried that they don’t get to strike if they let inspectors go in- the same “mistake” that was made with Iraq, and almost made with Iran.

        Punishing regimes that don’t co-operate with the US is absolutely of direct benefit to multinationals based in the US, yes.

        BTW: Golriz has commented on this on behalf of the Greens, for those interested: https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/14-04-2018/bombing-syria-will-never-bring-peace-nz-must-stand-up-against-ad-hoc-violence/

        • McFlock

          Dunno about “worried”, I just don’t think they give a shit.

          3 targets says that basically they’ve done the absolute minimum they think they can get away with in order to say “we frown on such weapons, aren’t we noble”.

          The distraction is nice, but the Falklands worked because it turned anti-Thatcherites into staunch “patriots” in time for the election. This seems more half-arsed to me and won’t change anyone’s mind domestically.

          Not so much the sabre-rattling of the braggart so much as the shivering of a gutless coward who is too scared to fight and too scared to walk away.

          • JohnSelway

            “3 targets says that basically they’ve done the absolute minimum they think they can get away with in order to say “we frown on such weapons, aren’t we noble”.”


      • Stuart Munro 13.1.2

        It was a demonstration. Whether it will have the intended effect remains to be seen. For my part I’d rather see institutions or airfields flattened than residential areas gassed. If that’s the choice.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We don’t know if any residential areas were gassed and if they were who it was. This is the problem with this attack. It doesn’t stand on any principles.

          It was, by your own admission, a terror attack.

          • McFlock

            You and I don’t know.
            That’s not the same as saying the yanks, brits, uk, assad, and russia don’t know to a reasonable level who done what.

            Maybe it was a false-flag self-gassing, or even a completely invented event (pointless though either might be).

            But maybe the yanks etc actually do know pretty solidly that assad directed gas to be dropped on residential areas, and they want to do the minimal amount that will stop chemical warfare being in daily use, but don’t want to bomb so much that russia feels it has to respond.

            Now, it being an exclusively principled response? About as likely as a false-flag self-gassing, to my mind. But either way, you being ignorant of facts doesn’t mean other people are acting without any principles. Just as me being ignorant of motives doesn’t necessarily mean the actors involved weren’t motivated to do X.

            • Draco T Bastard

              That’s not the same as saying the yanks, brits, uk, assad, and russia don’t know to a reasonable level who done what.

              No it’s not the same but then the information that is available tells us that don’t really know any more than we do.

              With them acting so precipitously before any investigation can be done tells me that they don’t know either. In fact, it tells me that they didn’t want to know and that the attack was thus a foregone conclusion. Which leads to the conclusion that if it was a gas attack perhaps it was done by the Americans.

              • McFlock

                No it’s not the same but then the information that is available tells us that don’t really know any more than we do.

                So there’s absolutely no way that, say, three top-level spies in different parts of Assad’s regime have provided dovetailing reports to the yanks (or I suspect the British are better at it) detailing different aspects of a secret Assad CW program, the US has tapped innocuous orders deploying named low-level staff to the area and those staff were deployed to the areas of previous cw incidents just prior to those incidents, satellite imaging showed a few trucks going from the suspected CW plant to an area suitable for deploying the latest attack, and a thousand other small intelligence dots that lead to a larger picuture, none of which would be supplied to an international body let alone the global public? You’re absolutely sure that the yanks and brits and french can’t be sure there was even a chemical attack in the first place?

                And frankly, if they’d wanted to bomb they would have done the usual and levelled every ministry building in Damascus, including the sewage plants. They did the absolute minimum.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  So there’s absolutely no way that, say, three top-level spies in different parts of Assad’s regime…

                  Possible but unlikely after so many years of war. Anyone even remotely suspect around Assad would most likely have been removed.

                  Remember, Assad has Russia on his side and the Russian counter-intelligence is probably working quite well.

                  They did the absolute minimum.

                  Or they did the absolute maximum that they thought that the general public would wear if they used your logic.

                  • McFlock

                    So, in order, your categorical claim that “they don’t really know any more than we do” was actually “it’s unlikely that they know much more than we do, but possible”.

                    As for “what the general public would wear”, don’t make me laugh. You’re assuming the public care, and you’re assuming that the governments give a shit what the public thinks about geopolitics. We’re talking trump, FFS. May’s solid for at least another 4 years, and Macron’s fresh off an election, too.

                    They didn’t take a pot-shot at Assad. They didn’t attack much if anything in the way of airbases. They don’t seem to have done much of muchly, and you think that’s the most the populations would tolerate? What exactly would the populations do about it?

    • Andrea 14.1

      I wonder what the several million spread across Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan were running from, then.

      I also wonder at Father Daniel’s term ‘terrorists’. Who are these people?

      There’s the before and after picture: how did that happen? Fireworks?

      Something about ‘the first casualty of war is truth’ and that’s accepted, along with all those refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and places in Europe. If the regime is so kind – what are they running from? Generic terrorists?

  14. Morrissey 15

    Bill, in your otherwise well argued piece about Obama, you write:

    Notwithstanding his illegal drone programme that targeted US civilians abroad in a series of extrajudicial killings

    This gives the impression that you object to Obama’s illegal drone program because he targeted U.S. citizens. Most of the thousands of civilians killed by this massive terror campaign were non-U.S. citizens, but they were civilians. Surely that is what counts, not whether or not they were U.S. citizens. What right did Obama have to order the extra-legal destruction of ANY person?

    • dukeofurl 15.1

      US drone program with missiles also breaches INF treaty , as when they travel over 500km they become prohibited ‘ground launched winged weapons systems.’

      This is also the reason why the drones strikes are officially a very high level official secret in spite of them being an open secret.
      You would never hear Obama talk about it on the record although he did mention it only in broad terms

  15. Ad 16

    A way to think about the Syrian war over the last week is as a weapons showcase. Small arms, tanks, chemical, air bombardment, naval and land based missiles, drones both surveillance and armed, naval air forces from UK, Russia, US, and France, cruise missiles sea and land borne, antimissile defences, all in quite a show.

    The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the five biggest global arms exporters.

    On show over this week from almost all of those exporting countries, is the best and the worst weapons the world has to offer.

    Like a great big sale.

    • Incognito 16.1

      More or less what I said @ 8.1.

      If anything is clear is that war, any war, is not a lose-lose situation; there are always multiple parties with invested interests that do very well from the killing & maiming of fellow humans, if not during the war but also afterwards. War is a sure-fire way [very bad pun] to kickstart a flat economy or to distract from internal socio-political issues. And let’s not forget the MSM thriving on human misery too. In short, the worse it is, the better it is, for some … It gives you reason to pause and think, doesn’t it?

      • Ad 16.1.1

        Sorry I missed 8.1.

        It’s the best US Presidential kick-start over everything since … the last one.

        Unless you’ve got your Kiwisaver loaded Growth into shares. In which case its a rollercoaster.

        • Incognito

          No worries 🙂

          I try not to think about my retirement savings in $$ and I am not with KS but that’s really a moot point.

          What do the Three Wise Monkeys have in common?

          Isn’t our Opposition surprisingly quiet about NZ “accepting” the unsanctioned immoral and inhumane air strikes? Maybe I’ve missed some murmurs because I’m partially deaf in my right ear.

          • Ad

            National always fall in with the US. Political viagra.

            It’s not quite heading into the week following 9/11 in terms of being required to pick sides, but it may well end up that way in the next 6 weeks.

            There won’t be any more well-oiled half-Judokas from Winton Peters over Russia after this one, no sirree. Bolton and Haley will be putting the calls out to all their Five Eyes and NATO equivalents to buckle up or buckle down.

            Ardern herself will be getting it in every port of call now that she’s in Europe and the UK.

            So easy throwing red meat to your base banning offshore oil exploration. Now comes the kind of pressure Lange faced. We’ll have to see if she’s good for more than one “Anti-Nuclear Moment”.

            • Ed

              Organising a flight back via Moscow and Teheran would show her independence.

              • Ad

                If this government couldn’t even assist that inbred fool Barry Soper with the consequences of his Iranian escapade, they won’t be trying any more such hijinks.

              • Incognito

                There’s independence and there’s foolhardiness that sows distrust among allies and the NZ people alike …

            • Incognito

              We’ll have to see if she’s good for more than one “Anti-Nuclear Moment”.

              I hope so but she can’t do it by herself; she needs a strong reliable team for back-up & support and by that I don’t mean only from Labour …

              National always fall in with the US. Political viagra.

              I agree although the comparison I’d use is holding P in front of a P-addict.

              That said, National could have asked for a stronger endorsement from Government but they haven’t as far as I know. Who’s their spokesperson for this? Did they hang up by any chance?

    • Andrea 16.2

      How you do cheer one!
      Wasn’t it David Cameron who toddled off to Saudi Arabia touting British arms?

      And look what then happened to Yemen…

  16. Ed 17

    No, this is what it is really about.



    Filthy lucre.

    For the corporations who make and sell missiles.

    “Raytheon stock surged Friday morning, after 59 of the company’s Tomahawk missileswere used to strike Syria in Donald Trump’s first major military operation as President.”


    • Incognito 17.1

      And there you have Beneficiary #1 …

      Obviously, these doom merchants never see themselves as “beneficiaries”, God forbid!

      • Ed 17.1.1

        Eisenhower warned us.

        • Incognito

          Yes, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

          Problem is that nobody (except Trotter and certain people banging on about Roger Douglas) seems to pay any attention to History anymore 🙁

          • Draco T Bastard

            Problem is that nobody (except Trotter and certain people banging on about Roger Douglas) seems to pay any attention to History anymore 🙁

            Have they ever?

            If everyone paid attention to history we’d have got rid of capitalism centuries ago.

            Still, with the new information superhighway people may actually start doing so.

            • Incognito

              I’d like to think that if we had paid any attention to History we wouldn’t be fighting wars anymore. Perhaps there is a link with that “capitalism” that you mentioned, but I wouldn’t dare to comment …

  17. Ed 18

    George Galloway nails it.

    “George Galloway says that both the alleged gas attack in Syria and subsequent US-led missile strikes this week were a “deliberate fabrication” meant to distract from a number of domestic scandals in the coalition member-states.
    Galloway, a former MP-turned-broadcaster, spoke to RT.com about the latest US-led strikes in Syria, the pretext behind them and the potential consequences for both the Syrian people and the international community. Like many political commentators, Galloway questions both the timing and the authenticity of the reports on a gas attack in Douma outside of Damascus earlier this week.”

    “I believe that the entire Douma chemical weapons attack story is a deliberate fabrication… if Britain was involved in that fabrication I would be shocked but not surprised,” Galloway said. “It stands to reason that you can’t risk, even if the risk is small, the OPCW behaving with professional integrity and saying that there is no evidence of such a chemical weapons attack and certainly not one by the Syrian regime.”

    “You can’t risk that so you have to, in Noam Chomsky’s words, ‘manufacture consent,’ for an attack and then launch the attack before that manufactured consent begins to dwindle away.”

  18. JohnSelway 19

    In this game no one wins

  19. Ovid 20

    The United Nations Human Rights Council provides this graphic outlining chemical weapons attacks between 1 October 2016 and 8 July 2017. 34 of them.

    Most of them have been identified as government attacks, generally using chlorine. But sarin was used in April last year, which you’ll recall the US launched a retaliation against. The OPCW has dispatched a fact finding mission to Syria on this so clearly they have yet to make a determination about the source of this attack.

    Scepticism is healthy, especially when lives are on the line. But because Galloway was right on Iraq doesn’t mean it follows that he’s always right.

    • Stuart Munro 20.1

      OPCW FFM’s don’t assign responsibility. That’s why they didn’t finger anyone for Khan Sheokhoun – their job was to establish what and how, not who.

      • Brigid 20.1.1

        They didn’t apportion responsibility because the inspectors weren’t able to visit the site of the alleged attack because it was unsafe to do so.
        It’s all in the report.

        • Stuart Munro

          There’s more to it than that – assigning cause had become too fraught: there was no difficulty with the technical aspects however, so assigning blame was kicked upstairs to the security council.

          It’s an irony that will of course be lost on the Putinistas that Russia opposed the renewal of the OPCW’s mandate, which expired in December 2017.

    • Ed 20.2

      I’d trust Galloway over May and Johnson every day.
      And I respect the views of the ex Ambassadors of Kazakhstan and Syria more than Trump.

  20. Brigid 21

    I’m not surprised Russia apposed the renewal of the OPCW’s mandate.
    While they were not able to have inspectors visit Khan Sheikhoun, they accepted evidence supplied by those who made the area too dangerous to investigate.

    Yet “The Director-General stated: “The OPCW FFM has confirmed the use of sarin, a nerve agent, at the 4 April incident in Khan Shaykhun in Syria. I strongly condemn this atrocity, which wholly contradicts the norms enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention. The perpetrators of this horrific attack must be held accountable for their crimes. In this context, the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism assumes high importance.”


    The OPCW are an embarrassment to them selves and a danger to the rest of us.

    As an exercise, replace the words ‘Syria’ and ‘Khan Sheikhoun’ and replace them with any country and town of your choosing.

    • Stuart Munro 21.1

      Actually the OPCW are hard working professionals – which makes them the natural enemies of rent-a-Ahmadinejads, who prefer to operate in an entirely fact free environment.

      • Ed 21.1.1

        What/who is a ‘rent-a-Ahmadinejad’?
        Are they the same as ‘Putinistas’?

        • Stuart Munro

          Not quite – it is possible to support Putin without being a blithering idiot, if you still require facts (though of course progressives will be reluctant to back an invading statist authoritarian).

          Ahmadinejad was a successful publicist given what he had to work with, but the situation of his regime forced him to lie so often he made himself a joke.

          So it is with people claiming the US raid was premature because the OPCW hadn’t investigated who then went on to slag off the OPCW because its findings do not exculpate Assad.

  21. Jenny 22

    Did the rebels gas their own children?

    The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggests that a conspiracy was behind the gas attack on rebel held Douma.

    Lavrov claims that the gas attack on Douma was a staged “ploy”.

    Lavrov’s statement seems to be an admission from him that a gas attack did take place. The implication being; that this gas attack was conducted by the rebels and/or their allies on the children and civilians in the area under their control, as a “ploy” to draw retaliatory attacks on the Assad regime.

    Lavrov’s statement could also be read as, no attack took place, and the video of children and infants suffering breathing problems and being treated for gas poisoning were crisis actors.

    Lavrov’s statement statement implying that the gas attack on Douma was a conspiracy staged by the rebels and their Western allies, was backed up by other Russian officials.

    Lavrov cited “irrefutable data that [this] was yet another staged event and staging was done … by the special services of one of the countries at the forefront of the anti-Russia campaign.”…..

    Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said Britain was “directly involved” in the Douma episode but didn’t elaborate or provide evidence.


    The chemical weapons investigators being sent to Douma are charged only with seeking evidence that a gas attack actually took place, and have been given “no mandate” to look for evidence of who was responsible.

    On the very likely outcome that a gas attack will be confirmed, I expect conspiracy theorists will go into hyperdrive to pin this gassing on the rebels. Or maybe they won’t, and instead just quietly drop the whole thing at the risk of looking like idiots.

    • mikesh 22.1

      “On the very likely outcome that a gas attack will be confirmed, I expect conspiracy theorists will go into hyperdrive to pin this gassing on the rebels. Or maybe they won’t, and instead just quietly drop the whole thing at the risk of looking like idiots.”

      It is hard to understand why you be dismissive of the “false flag” theory. In the absence of concrete evidence one way or the the other, a “false flag” explanation seems far more likely than the claim that “Assad did it”, for two reasons:

      1. The Russian army’s chief of staff Valeri Gerasimov claimed to have “documentary evidence”, obtained during a raid on rebel held areas, that the rebels were planning such an attack.

      2.Trump had apparently announced a withdrawal of US troops from Suria; Assad is highly unlikely to provide him with reasons for keeping them there. Assad may be a bad guy, but Jubilation T Cornpone he ain’t..

      • Ed 22.1.1

        Yes and I reckon the Saudi Crown Prince’s visits to London, Washington and Paris have some relevance to the real narrative.

      • Stuart Munro 22.1.2

        1. If Valeri Gerasimov actually produced this “documentary evidence” we would be in a position to assess the validity of his claim – but until he does so, the claim is empty.

        2. If Assad were not “Jubilation T Cornpone” he’d be able to govern without military assistance from Russia, and without needing to bomb or gas citizens whose preference is for a better or a different government.

        • mikesh

          Failure to produce evidence is not an argument You’ll need to prove that he is lying if you want to convince anybody. I prefer to take his claims at face value until they are proven false. Let’s face it, the very fact that a CW attack took place would suggest that what he said was true.

          I’m pretty sure Assad is quite capable of governing his country without military assistance from Russia. However, defending his country from ISIS, and from illegal invasions by USA, GB and France are another matter.

          • Stuart Munro

            Failure to produce evidence is no evidence at all.

            You take Valeri Gerasimov’s “claims” at face value because you’re credulous and biased.

            “However, defending his country from ISIS, and from illegal invasions by USA, GB and France are another matter.”

            It’s not his country – bombing your people is not consistent with a democratic mandate.

            ISIS was centred on Mosul, it’s not even in Syria.

            Dead civilians don’t become Islamists just because Assad says so.

            The US is not invading or Assad and his murderous rabble would be long gone.

            • mikesh

              “You take Valeri Gerasimov’s “claims” at face value because you’re credulous and biased.”

              Rubbish. I take his claims “at face value” because no evidence has been produced to refute them, and because a chemical weapons attack has occurred (though admittedly we cannot be sure of that as yet). Also, unlike you, I am not a Russophobe who makes the a priori assumption that Russia is an “evil empire”.

              “It’s not his country – bombing your people is not consistent with a democratic mandate.”

              Democratic mandate is not the only way of conferring legitimacy. There are other ways. And he hasn’t bombed his own people – he has bombed various Islamic invaders who are trying to topple him and set up a Wahhabist caliphate similar to that of Saudi Arabia.

              Anyway his government is recognised as the legitimate government both in Syria and internationally.

              • McFlock

                You’re credulous because you don’t seem to have considered the possibility that Gerasimov did indeed have prior warning from perpetrators of a chemical weapons attack. Not captured in a raid, though, but freely offered by a vassal seeking permission from Russia.

                • mikesh

                  I had actually considered that possibility, but rejected it on the grounds that Assad has no need of CWs at this stage of the battle. And in any case I’m sure Russia would not have given “permission”.

              • Stuart Munro

                Nonsense – you swallow unsupported Russian claims, but resist the claims of anyone else. Your credulity only extends to Russia – for anyone else you display a modicum of reserve, but if Valeri Gerasimov asserted Syrian gas attacks were the work of moon Nazis you’d swallow it whole.

                “Democratic mandate is not the only way of conferring legitimacy” – Indeed – Putin, Assad and Kim Jong Il use a quite different process, one which, unfortunately, is not legitimate among progressives. No concern for you of course.

                As for your “Islamic invaders” that has become a euphemism for his civilian murder toll. He need only raise Islamism and nodding dogs like you are okay with him killing absolutely anyone. You don’t require any proof from him – you’re fine with murder – they’re only brown people eh, untermenschen to you.

                As for Russia being an evil empire if Chechenya had voted for Putin you’d never have heard a peep out of me. But Russia killed literally half the population. Of course you’re down with that too – Putin can kill as many brown people as he likes – in fact the more the better eh.

                • Ed

                  The only claims being made are by the US and its mates.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Nonsense – Valeri Gerasimov claims to have documentary evidence. Fine – so produce it. If he can’t maybe it’s because he doesn’t have it.

                • mikesh

                  “Nonsense – you swallow unsupported Russian claims, but resist the claims of anyone else. Your credulity only extends to Russia – for anyone else you display a modicum of reserve, but if Valeri Gerasimov asserted Syrian gas attacks were the work of moon Nazis you’d swallow it whole.”

                  I give cogent reasons for the things I “swallow”, and for rejecting the things I reject. Which is more than I could say for you.

                  ““Democratic mandate is not the only way of conferring legitimacy” – Indeed – Putin, Assad and Kim Jong Il use a quite different process, one which, unfortunately, is not legitimate among progressives. No concern for you of course.”

                  I think you misunderstand the term “legitimacy”. A government is legitimate if its people accept it. And they don’t actually have to like it for it to be legitimate.

                  Queen Elizabeth is the unelected ruler of New Zealand, even if, by convention, she accepts the advice of our PM.

                  “As for your “Islamic invaders” that has become a euphemism for his civilian murder toll. He need only raise Islamism and nodding dogs like you are okay with him killing absolutely anyone.”

                  When it come to atrocities I’m pretty sure the Islamists give as much as they get. Actually, I’m not happy with killing, but this is a war and therefore people are going to be killed – on both sides.

                  “As for Russia being an evil empire if Chechenya had voted for Putin you’d never have heard a peep out of me. But Russia killed literally half the population. Of course you’re down with that too – Putin can kill as many brown people as he likes – in fact the more the better eh”

                  What I said above about killing and war applies as much to Chechnya as it does to Syria.

                  It’s about time you came up with some decent arguments. Your efforts so far have been pretty pathetic. I’m getting tired of having to refute arguments which have no real substance, but are largely ad hominem attacks.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Your reasons are not cogent – you don’t even know what Gerasimov’s alleged evidence is – his merest suggestion is sufficient to convince you.

                    Assad is working on legitimacy by killing those citizens who are dissatisfied with his leadership. Historically effective but genocidal. You can support than of course – murder is fine by you.

                    “People get killed on both sides” So what you’re saying is that Assad and ISIS are moral equivalents. How did you choose between them? Flip a coin? Of course not – Gerasimov told you what to think. 😀

                    Before you offer another fatuous “opinion” cribbed from RT or Sputnik or some other wretched propaganda site, how about you do some homework. These are serious issues and your injection of bullshit disrespects both readers and the dead.

                    We do not come here to read your prejudices – vagrant opinions loitering without means of support.

                    • mikesh

                      You are imputing to me positions which I have never adopted. That is not a legitimate form of debate.

                  • McFlock

                    A government is legitimate if its people accept it. And they don’t actually have to like it for it to be legitimate.

                    What does the presence of a civil war indicate about the population’s level of acceptance of a given government?

                    • mikesh

                      “What does the presence of a civil war indicate about the population’s level of acceptance of a given government?”

                      Not much when the “civil war” is not supported by the vast majority of the population. In this case the majority of civilians support Assad.

                    • McFlock

                      And yet a lot of them are still fighting against him.

                      I guess he’s just not “legitimate” in some parts of syria

                    • Ed

                      A lot of the ‘rebel’ fighters come from outside Syria.

                    • McFlock

                      So do a lot of soldiers for Assad.

              • Jenny

                he hasn’t bombed his own people – he has bombed various Islamic invaders who are trying to topple him and set up a Wahhabist caliphate similar to that of Saudi Arabia.


                That’s a good one Mikesh

                Assad bombs “invading” city.

                A headline suitable for The Civilian


                • mikesh

                  The caption to the photograph says it all. Homs was a “revoution city” that was recaptured by the government.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    You mean Homs was a city that revolted against Assad’s tyranny – but you, being a lick-spittle lackey of authoritarian regimes, condemn the victims rather than the tyrants themselves. No-one is bombing Assad’s home.

                • Ed

                  The Guardian ceased to be a reliable source of information on some issues 5 years ago.

            • Ed

              ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

      • Jenny 22.1.3

        Hi Mikesh, what do ‘you’ mean by a “false flag attack”?

        (a) Actual video footage of a real gas attack carried out by the rebels against civilians, carried out in rebel held territory and filmed for the express purpose of discrediting the Assad regime?

        (b) Or, a mock up filmed using crisis actors?

        Both scenarios have been put up as possible alternatives by Assad apologists.

        Which one do you subscribe to?

        • mikesh

          “Which one do you subscribe to?”

          I have no particular preference. I suppose either could be true.

        • mikesh

          Mike Smith’s posting (above) labeled “Photoshop Wars”. seems to suggest that there was no chemical weapons attack; though this doesn’t mean that the video was a “mock-up”. It just means that what were taken as illnesses caused by nerve agent were, in fact, cases of hydroxia caused by excessive dust in the atmosphere.

          What are the biggest eggs you can think of? Dinosaur eggs, perhaps? No doubt these are the sort of eggs that will be found on the faces of Trump, May and Macron.

          • mikesh

            Oops! I should have said “hypoxia”, not “hydroxia”. Sorry about that.

    • Andrea 22.2

      There are people who would definitely be capable of committing such a move and calling it ‘collateral damage’.

      If you’d been living in a brutalised state for the past few years, and you knew surrender was not a safe option – anything is possible.

      The twentieth century is full of such delights: from the Boer Wars through to Cambodia, Rwanda, and assorted skirmishes right to the moment the century clicked over.

  22. cleangreen 23

    Yes Jenny,

    This show of naked aggression was a carefully staged attack on a sovereign nation that the global oil giants want to get a hold on Syria’s oil reserves.

    This I believe is what is behind all of this ‘charade’ and show of aggression.

    • Ed 23.1

      It was to stop Trump pulling out US troops from Syria.
      He is now a captive of the globalist deep state.

    • joe90 23.2

      Syria’s oil reserves.

      We export more petroleum products than Syria and the UK has more proven reserves than Syria.


  23. Peter Wilson 24

    All this whilst Israel gets on with its crimes against humanity unchallenged by the same western powers that howled to the moon about Assad.

    • Ed 24.1

      Don’t say that. Criticising the apartheid domestic and aggressive foreign policies of Israel will have you labeled an anti Semite….

      • reason 24.1.1

        To true Ed …. James tried to float that boat here at TS …. against Britians Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn…. it sank .

        And there was a lot he left out

        “A large number of those who have been making Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s life a misery belong to Labour Friends of Israel. They are the same MPs who have been talking up an “anti-semitism crisis” in the Labour party – based on zero tangible evidence – since Corbyn became party leader”

        ” In part four, the senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London discusses a potential plot to ‘take down’ British politicians – including a minister.” https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/

        “Al Jazeera’s secretly filmed footage shows, Israeli spies like Shai Masot can readily meet and conspire with a Tory minister’s much-trusted aide to discuss how best to “take down” the deputy foreign minister, Alan Duncan, over his criticisms of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.” https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-01-08/how-many-british-mps-are-working-for-israel/

        • Ed

          Not a coincidence that the Israeli airforce has been part of the foreign imperialist effort over the past week.

  24. mpledger 25

    How safe is it to bomb a poisonous gas facility? Or was Assad given a warning so he could get all the poisonous gas out in time.

    • Ed 25.1

      We have been lied to again.

      Cui bono?
      What are each parties’ motivations?

      Macron, May and Trump – all domestically very unpopular and under siege over new labour laws, BREXIT and the Stomy Daniels affair respectively.

      With the UK, should we link the Skripal incident as part of the investigation into this murder scene?

      The US/UK globalist deep state – to take out Syria as an outpost of opposition to their desire for world hegemony.

      Israel – to tie the US further to its own interests.

      Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince – to advance the cause of Sunni Islam over Shiite Islam.

      All have motives. And none have plausible alibis.

      As Hercule Poirot would say, we now need to use our grey cells.

    • Stuart Munro 25.2

      It depends on the gas – with sarin it effectively destroys it, it’s quite unstable. Chlorine might be fairly safe too – if it exists as precursor chemicals.

  25. mikesh 26

    I have just come across another article, on Global Research, which provides an account of chemical weapons activity in Syria since about 2012, when CW use started to be reported. The reports suggests that all that, in probability, CW activity was down to the rebels, and not to the Syrian government, thus giving the lie to the notion that Assad “has form”.


    I realise that that Stuart Munro et alia will roundly rubbish and condemn it as arrant nonsense, but I put it on the table anyway.

    • Jenny 26.1

      The reports suggests that all that, in probability, CW activity was down to the rebels, and not to the Syrian government,


      So Mikesh you do believe in option (a) that the rebels have been gassing themselves to discredit the regime.

      • Ed 26.1.1

        The extremist jihadists are capable of gassing the victims.
        To call them rebels is a misnomer.

      • Bill 26.1.2

        Head chopping Jihadist motherless fucks would gas anyone bar themselves.

        And they have plenty of people to choose from…Shi-ite, Christian, Alawite, non-headfucked Sunni, atheists…a long, long list.

        • Ed

          Calling these butchers rebels gives them a glamour they don’t deserve.
          They would happily kill or maim anyone, including children, to further their cause.

          • Stuart Munro

            Calling them rebels allows Assad to kill a great many people who are in no way affiliated with ISIS without condemnation from a surprising number of people who claim to be progressive.

        • Jenny

          Hi Bill, would you consider Leila Shami to be one of what you term, “Head chopping Jihadist motherless fucks”?

          According to her bio: Leila Shami is a British Syrian who has been involved in human rights and social justice struggles in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East since 2000.

          A founding member of Tahrir-ICN a network connecting anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

          Co-author (with Robin Yassin-Kassab) of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Jan 2016)

          Contributor to Alford, Wilson (eds): Khiyana-Daesh, the Left and the Unmaking of the Syrian Revolution (April 2016)

          Writing about people like yourself Bill, Leila Shami is a little harsher than me.

          The ‘anti-imperialism’ of idiots
          April 14, 2018 by Leila Al Shami

          This left exhibits deeply authoritarian tendencies, one that places states themselves at the centre of political analysis. Solidarity is therefore extended to states (seen as the main actor in a struggle for liberation) rather than oppressed or underprivileged groups in any given society, no matter that state’s tyranny. Blind to the social war occurring within Syria itself, the Syrian people (where they exist) are viewed as mere pawns in a geo-political chess game.

          They repeat the mantra ‘Assad is the legitimate ruler of a sovereign country’. Assad – who inherited a dictatorship from his father and has never held, let alone won, a free and fair election. Assad – whose ‘Syrian Arab Army’ can only regain the territory it lost with the backing of a hotchpotch of foreign mercenaries and supported by foreign bombs, and who are fighting, by and large, Syrian-born rebels and civilians.

          It’s only the complete dehumanization of Syrians that makes such a position even possible. It’s a racism that sees Syrians as incapable of achieving, let alone deserving, anything better than one of the most brutal dictatorships of our time.


          There you have it Bill in a nutshell.

          I know you won’t read it.

          But I urge others to read Leila Shami’s full essay on the racist Left who use language similar to Bill’s to dehumanise all Arabs in Syria opposed to Syrian fascism.

      • mikesh 26.1.3

        “So Mikesh you do believe in option (a) that the rebels have been gassing themselves to discredit the regime.”

        The article is making factual claims the veracity of which I have no means of assessing. When I say that the CW attacks are “down to the rebels” it is because that is what the article seems to be implying.

        • reason

          Careful Mikesh …. questioning the western medias justifications for waging war on Iraq will see you labeled as a conspiracy theorist or Saddam apologist ….

          Whoops… sorry the new script nowadays is Syria and Assad of course …. with a good dose of Putin bot as a side order…. I’m sure you’ve experienced these standard war propaganda innuendos already

          What the pro-war posters here want us to forget is that Russia entered the fight against the throat slitting sex slave taking Jihadist motherless fucks / Rebels ….

          Is that Syria was about to suffer Libyas fate….. As the u.s.a, Israel britian, Saudis and their ISIS, Al-Quada fighters were well on the way to achieving this end……

          What the pro-rebel posters also never refer to ….. is that no ‘rebel’ area is held by anything other than some group of sponsored Head chopping Jihadist motherless extremist fucks…..

          In these areas An infidel like Jenny could be taken as a sex slave … which is a fate she seems to ignore for non Sunni women in these areas … Stuart, AD and other infidel men would just get their throats slit or a bullet to the head …

          But the posters wanting to drag out the bloodshed for the Syrian people are not over there …… so don’t have to worry about things like that.

          Wikileaks and history shows who is behind the 400,000 or more dead Syrians …. Along with a million dead Iraq people … and Libyans …. and the Afghanistan people….. not to mention the destruction / elimination of Palestine.

          Martin Luther King would be slagged off and probably murdered today ….the same result for speaking the same truth …. of his country “being the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”.

          All wars I’ve listed stem from a very sick racist place ………

          • reason

            I forgot to mention Yemen as well …. mass starvation and the cruelest deaths for children …. both the usa and britian are making a real killing out of that one.

            Dead children smell like money if you’ve got the right nose.

    • Stuart Munro 26.2

      As usual it contains no evidence, only innuendo.

      The report it refers to is flagrant nonsense because sarin at least is not a substance that will produce an effect like the attack from a bombing of stockpiles. Sarin is stored as two separate precursors, which would mix poorly if bombed. The high temperatures of explosions and possible fires would rapidly destroy any that was produced.


      So once again you have floated a set of arrant lies, and to your shame, you’re not even sorry for trying to mislead people in this fashion.

  26. mikesh 27

    “So once again you have floated a set of arrant lies, and to your shame, you’re not even sorry for trying to mislead people in this fashion.”

    Actually, and as mentioned in my comment, I am taking no position on the article’s veracity, but only pointing out what the article implies if what it says is true. I drew attention to the article because I thought it worth consideration.

    As I expected, all you’ve been able to muster by way of an argument is your usual load of ad hominem crap.

    • Stuart Munro 27.1

      You don’t understand why floating fatuous lies might be considered offensive?

      It’s very impolite to lie to people Mikesh. Even spreading other people’s lies is bad manners.

      How about you behave like an adult for a change and select a few sources for veracity instead of floating this crap like turds in a spa pool and blaming me when I point out that it stinks?

  27. mikesh 28

    “How about you behave like an adult for a change and select a few sources for veracity instead of floating this crap like turds in a spa pool and blaming me when I point out that it stinks?”

    I have never criticized you for pointing out that something “stinks”, only for your ad hominem arguments.

    Incidentally, you have failed to show that that the article is “crap like turds in a spa pool”.

    • Stuart Munro 28.1

      Piffle – like all your other piffle.

      I explained in a way accessible even to the meanest intelligence – your problem is your bias.

      Since you lack the capacity to think these things through rationally on your own, you should just accept whatever I say – same as you do with Gerasimov.

      • mikesh 28.1.1

        It’s easy enough to someone of bias. But even if I was biased (though I’m not) that fact alone would not disprove anything I claimed. And how about looking t the plank in your own eye, rather than criticizing the (alleged) mote in mine – you bloody McCarthyist, Russophobe.

        • Stuart Munro

          Mikesh, you tragic ignoramus.

          I’m not afraid of Russia – but I haven’t been suborned by them like you.

          Every day you come here to float your blithering idiocy, to forward the cause of murderous assholes. But that’s not enough for you – you also want to sell your delusion, that apologizing for Putin or Assad is in some way defensible. That you’re a perfectly reasonable shill for their illegitimate regimes – a nice fascist – a fine humanist worshipper of genocidal dictators – an Ahmadinejad with a human face.

          It simply won’t wash.

          You can claim to be an ignorant fool.

          Or an accomplice.

          But you cannot support these people in any credible fashion without providing a great many facts that clearly you do not even begin to command. Continuing to argue ad ignorantium is doomed to failure.

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  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
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  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
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    3 days ago
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  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    6 days ago
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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