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What’s the Game?

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, April 14th, 2018 - 194 comments
Categories: International, Politics, Propaganda, Syria - Tags: , ,

I was no great fan of Obama. But at least when it came to foreign interventions he didn’t cower before the hawks. Notwithstanding his illegal drone programme that targeted US civilians abroad in a series of extrajudicial killings, when it came to Iran, he sought to dampen down tensions. He left the destruction of Libya to France and Britain. And in the case of Syria, he took steps to align with Russia against ISIS.

But these days we have a grotesque caricature of a statesperson in the shape of Teresa May; Macron who could always be spat further than trust might ever carry him, and Trump – a compliant clown of a man who once spoke as though he would turn from the insanity of US foreign policy – all ramping up tensions over the head of Syria, and being all eager to play with lots of shiny things that kill people.

Why? What is it about Syria that has these idiots so “besides themselves”?

It’s not down to Assad being some kind of evil incarnate that they, the forces for good, feel duty bound to remove from the face of the planet. There are disgusting and decrepit enough leaders that the US, France and UK fete and court. (You can name them and/or their respective countries for yourself).

It’s not down to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Hell, these people (“our” masters) provided Sadam Hussein with all the precursors he could wish for during the Iran/Iraq war – that he used liberally in that war, and that he also used against Kurds within Iraq. It wasn’t until years later, when Sadam decided to do something about Kuwait stealing oil from Iraqi oil fields that things went sour for him with “our” masters.

Look. Do I need to mention that this Syrian nonsense has got nothing whatsoever to do with “bringing democracy” to the country? Surely not. That gets filed alongside the notion of dropping bombs to achieve humanitarian goals. Right?

So if it’s not the intrinsic evil of Assad, and it’s not “democracy” or “humanitarianism”, and it’s not some deep seated aversion to chemicals, then what is behind all this bullshit?

In September 2016, Mike Whitney, authored a piece for Counterpunch titled “Assad’s Death Warrant”. That article leaned heavily on the analysis of Robert F Kennedy Jr and suggests Assad’s rejection of a gas pipeline deal that would have seen Qatar “corner the market” for European gas supplies at Russia’s expense, and his endorsement of an Iranian pipeline instead, is what lies behind the push for regime change. The piece is worth reading. Robert F Kennedy Jr’s original article in Politico is also worth reading. Make of them what you will.

Stephen Gowans has given presentations relating to his book “Washington’s Long War On Syria” that provides very useful historical and political contexts on the country. As he points out, the tension between a radical Sunni agenda and the equally anti-imperialist Baathist agenda is irreconcilable. And it has resulted in bloodshed in Syria before. The video behind this link is some forty minutes long, and again, as with the articles above, if you want to avail yourself of some deeper analysis of Syria beyond some white hat/black hat nonsense, then find the time to give it a listen. And make of it what you will.

Should we throw in Israels preoccupation with Iran and their support of Hezbollah in Lebanon? Probably. I don’t think it has “nothing” to do with what we’re seeing in Syria. Hell, even the simplistic “fear and loathing” of Russia and all things Russian (except under Yeltsin) “our” masters have, and that stretches all the way back to 1800’s  Tsarist Russia is an ingredient in the mix.

We know that the UK and US (as well as many others) have given direct logistical, military and financial support to Jihadist gangs or groups within Syria. The Guardian had a very good article on some of the machinations it uncovered back in May of 2016. Interestingly, one of the groups mentioned in that article as receiving support is Jaish Al Islam – that’s the same Jaish Al Islam that has just recently departed from Eastern Ghouta after claiming civilians had been subjected to a chemical attack by the Syrian government. Make of that what you will.

My question is this though.

What happens if Assad survives and the steady flow of information that has been flying in the face of what we’ve been told every night and every day from mainstream/corporate/liberal media outlets becomes a stream, and then a flood washing down from the soggy, broken dam of government bullshit?

Will we, as with Iraq, tut-tut and then go back to our Netflix or whatever? Why do we keep on giving “our” masters a free pass when they, in our name, perpetrate evils on other people in this world? Shouldn’t we, as conscientious citizens, and as a duty, be making it clear and known to our governments, that the price they will pay for indulging in mendacious bullshitt is so high that they simply won’t be able to so much as contemplate stepping out of line?

That’s my question, regardless of where you stand on the rights and wrongs and maybes that are swirling around on Syria at the moment. Do we not all have a duty to seek ways whereby actions of the institutions of the countries we’re citizens of are restrained at our moral insistence?

There is something very wrong with our political culture when leaders can casually bandy about notions of military intervention and war.

Update According to the Guardian, Trump has just “ordered strikes against the Assad regime ”

From the Guardian –

“Trump refers to the “righteous power” of the US, UK and France in acting in the region. He urges Americans to say a prayer. He finishes with: “We pray that god will bring comfort to the suffering and guide the whole region.”

194 comments on “What’s the Game?”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Perfect timing Bill. Trump just announced a joint UK-France-US attack on Syria.

    • Bill 1.1

      Yeah. Kind of wanting to throw up about now micky. Need to distract myself. It’s sunny. And I have things hereabouts that need my attention.

      • D'Esterre 1.1.1

        Bill: “Kind of wanting to throw up about now…”

        Yup. Me too. Blithering bloody idiots…

  2. SARAH 2

    Watching the live announcement from Trump – OMG is all I can think of saying. Are UK, France and US now at war with Russia?

    • Wayne 2.1


      No, they are not at war with Russia.

      This whole thing has been carefully signalled. The attacks will be “de-conflicted” with Russia, to ensure Russians are not in the firing line. Syria will lose some aircraft and airfields, and command and control centres will be hit. Essentially to indicate to Syria not to cross the chemical warfare redline. Assad did so with impunity when Obama let him cross the “redline” in 2013 without consequence. Unlike Bill, I think that was Obama’s worst decision.

      There is also a broader signal to Russia. That the key nations in the West (US, UK and France) can act in unison, just as they have over the Salisbury attack. It is intended to make Putin think twice about his actions, primarily around Ukraine, the Baltics, and Georgia. But also on Russia’s actions interfering in elections (US and France were both affected) and undertaking cyber attacks. They want a Russia that respects the normal rules of international discourse, and acts with more restraint.

      • Muttonbird 2.1.1

        More likely that the West wants to reduce Russian opposition to the expansion of Western interests close to Russian borders and the borders of Russia’s allies in the Middle East.

        • mikesh

          It is a great pity Jubilation T Trump doesn’t show some “restraint”. But I guess he felt he had to act before the OPCW representatives reached Douma and proved the the allegations against Assad were ill founded.

          • D'Esterre

            Mikesh: “But I guess he felt he had to act before the OPCW representatives reached Douma and proved the the allegations against Assad were ill founded.”

            Yup. Never let the facts get in the way of a good bombing, huh?

            I guess these warmongers get off on this stuff. But they sure wouldn’t like it up ’em, were the boot on the other foot.

      • D'Esterre 2.1.2

        Wayne: “No, they are not at war with Russia.”

        Yes. They are. Do you understand nothing? All of this warmongering is aimed at Russia.

        “primarily around Ukraine, the Baltics, and Georgia. But also on Russia’s actions interfering in elections (US and France were both affected) and undertaking cyber attacks.”

        The above ranges from propaganda to outright lies. None of it justifies what’s happening today.

        “They want a Russia that respects the normal rules of international discourse, and acts with more restraint.”

        No. The US wants Russia as a vassal state, as it believed Russia was during the Yeltsin years.

        If the west wants other polities to respect the rules of international discourse, it could begin by doing so itself. I scarcely need to adduce the numerous ways in which the US, UK and France have acted in blatant disregard of international law.

        Christ almighty…. More innocents set to die, just to satisfy the Washington neocons’.


        • Ovid

          Well what are you doing here, then? If the US and Russia are at war, go out immediately and get any necessary supplies you need that can’t be produced in NZ.

          I know it’s 30 years old, but New Zealand After Nuclear War (PDF) is the best guidance available.

          • D'Esterre

            Ovid: “go out immediately and get any necessary supplies you need that can’t be produced in NZ.”

            Oh yeah, like all those supplies designed to get us through the aftermath of an earthquake. Hahaha!

      • One Two 2.1.3

        War on behalf of Israel… once again…

        They want a Russia that respects the normal rules of international discourse, and acts with more restraint

        So proxy wars, illegal occupations, overthrowing legitimate governments, murdering and maiming and displacing tens of millions…

        Whose ‘god’ are ‘they’ fighting for, Wayne…

        • Stunned Mullet

          • cleangreen

            Stunned mullet is nothing but another war monger.

            Nothing to do with reality showing a video of a chicken.

            Get real and add some intelligence before a war is started by the likes of your ilk.

      • cleangreen 2.1.4

        Wayne Mapp again saying “nothing to see here”!!!!!!!!

        This is like he did a Afganistan over the the NZ Military strikes on civilians there!!!!

        So we think nothing of what ‘Wayne’ says now.

        • gsays

          Spot on, cleangreen.
          ‘De-conflicting’, ‘pre emptive strikes’…. it’s de-javu, all over again. Nothing to see here.

          I know little of the factional goings on in Syria, however I do see unpopular leaders.
          As Bill Hicks called it The Gulf war distraction.

          Edit. Snap Kay. Well said.

      • Liberal Realist 2.1.5

        Essentially to indicate to Syria not to cross the chemical warfare redline. Assad did so with impunity when Obama let him cross the “redline” in 2013 without consequence.

        Wayne, where is the evidence Assad crossed any red line? That’s right, there isn’t any! So why then do you repeat lies and propaganda?

        There is zero evidence that Syria remains in possession of chemical or biological weapons, or that it has used chemical weapons on anyone.

        BTW, I consider Obama allowing the Russian brokered compromise leading to destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons as one his best decisions. In this, Obama stood against the war hawks, avoided the murder of many innocents, and the potential for a super power standoff.

        • SPC

          Then the Syrians lost nothing in the strikes on the so called chemical weapons production sites and stockpile locations.

          For mine whenever air attacks occur in civilian areas a red-line has been crossed.

          • reason

            Supporting terrorists and being part of a rat line sending billions of dollars in weapons to these terrorist ‘rebels’ ….. could probably give us a red line painted with the blood of Syrians stretching to the white house and 10 Downing street over and over again. https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Mark-Curtis/Secret-Affairs–Britains-Collusion-with-Radical-Islam/21378882

            MI5 had maintained Libyan terrorist Assets in Manchester for 20 years … one group of extremists being anti-Gaddaffi ‘Libyan Islamist fighting group’.

            The British suicide bomber who blew himself up in England, along with over 22 teenage girls was part of the ‘Libyan Islamist fighting group’

            In Libya many ‘rebels’ were secretly supplied and trained by british SAS …. many went on to Syria to join Isis.

            John Pilger from the 1hr 43 min mark is very informative

        • Draco T Bastard

          So why then do you repeat lies and propaganda?

          Because that’s what he does. Lying and spinning appears to be his job.

      • reason 2.1.6

        battle of the rogue nations …. http://markcurtis.info/2018/04/06/when-it-comes-to-middle-east-policy-the-uk-is-nothing-but-a-rogue-state/

        in the 15th year since the illegal invasion of Iraq …. “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” ,,,,

        ,,,,,, Wayne Mapp, A supporter of this ultimate crime walks into a thread without a shred of shame …. and writes exactly what we would expect based on his past form.

        At about the 48 minute mark of this doco you will hear ‘ Wayne Speak’ https://off-guardian.org/2018/01/11/documentary-ukraine-on-fire-2016/

        • Draco T Bastard

          Wayne Mapp, A supporter of this ultimate crime walks into a thread without a shred of shame …. and writes exactly what we would expect based on his past form.


      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.7

        They want a Russia that respects the normal rules of international discourse, and acts with more restraint.

        Those normal rules apparently being that the US does what it wants and everyone else gets to kowtow to them in fear of being bombed back to the stone age.

        Yeah, I think we’d all be better off without that normality.

      • Kaya3 2.1.8

        Am I reading a report from Fox News ffs?
        What red line did Syria cross? Show some proof? There is no proof of Assad carrying out ANY chemical weapons attacks. If you have some show it.

        What Salisbury attack? The one where both parties survived a nerve agent 5 times deadlier than VX?? What did Russia do in Ukraine and Georgia? Apart from support and defend their own people? There was NO interference in US elections, oh, except for that British company, Cambridge Analytica – or is Putin a majority shareholder?

        “They want a Russia that respects the rules of international discourse and acts with more restraint.”
        I swear that statement is funnier than anything in any Monty Python sketch. Russia is the only country in recent times that actually is playing by international rules. Unless of course you have evidence to support all those theories you read on the BBC or the Guardian recently.

        • Brigid


        • Stunned mullet

          “Russia is the only country in recent times that actually is playing by international rules. ”

          😆 comedy gold.

          • Kaya3

            Instead of inane responses how about actually coming up with something to disprove my statement? I can give you plenty to show it is 100% accurate. Take as long as you need but I won’t be holding my breath.

            Let me know how many examples you want of Russia acting with integrity while the West is breaking every law and convention we have.

    • D'Esterre 2.2

      Sarah: “Are UK, France and US now at war with Russia?”

      Looks like it. And likely with China as well.

      God help us all: none of us will escape the consequences.

      • Stunned Mullet 2.2.1

        Do you want me to send some pearls over so you can clutch them ?

        • adam

          Oh look, active murder at a state level, and stunned mullet makes jokes. What a guy.

          • stunnedmullet

            🙄 limited strike which had been telegraphed well before time and targeted to ensure there were no Russians within cooee and we have the usual crew stating that it’s the start of WWIII .

            Have people already forgotten that Israel shot up an airfield and Iranian personnel in Syria last week with virtual impunity -there’s more going on behind the scenes than we’re aware of and none of it has the smell of a direct conflict between the Russia and the West.

            • Bill

              Some people are scared. Taking the piss isn’t useful. And besides, what would it take for something to go awry in all this ‘calculated’ bullshit and for things to kick off?

              Because, way I see it, we’re dealing with complete fucking idiots throwing their weight around and fucking idiots tend to get things fucking idiotically wrong eventually.

              • D'Esterre

                Bill: “Because, way I see it, we’re dealing with complete fucking idiots throwing their weight around and fucking idiots tend to get things fucking idiotically wrong eventually.”

                Exactly. People who are flippant about this have no imagination. And no empathy.

              • Kaya3

                Exactly, as Roger Waters wrote in a song,

                Every time a smart bomb does its sums and gets it wrong
                Someone else’s child dies and equities in defence rise
                America, America, please hear us when we call
                You got hip-hop, be-bop, hustle and bustle
                You got Atticus Finch
                You got Jane Russell
                You got freedom of speech
                You got great beaches, wildernesses and malls
                Don’t let the might, the Christian right, fuck it all up
                For you and the rest of the world

        • D'Esterre

          Stunned Mullet: “Do you want me to send some pearls over so you can clutch them ?”

          Do you want to make any comments that are less facile?

        • Gabby

          You into pearl necklaces stunted?

      • SPC 2.2.2

        Doing something Russia does not like does not result in war with Russia unless Russia declares one.

        China’s attitude on war, is not to join on the side of the party that starts it.

    • Sanctuary 2.3

      The Russians are having their bluff called. Russia is a military lightweight that would lose a war to Britain, let alone the USA.

        • Sanctuary

          The UK has a bigger defense budget than Russia, much higher GDP per capita, is the worlds 5th or 6th biggest economy vs Russia coming in at 12th- just ahead of Australia. In fact, Russia’s GDP will soon be passed by the ANZAC partners, particularly as the Russian economy remains in the doldrums due to sanctions.

          The size of the Russian military counts for nothing. Numbers ceased to be a valid measure of military effectiveness over one hundred years ago. The UK military is much more efficient and effective than the Russian one and the UK commands a far stronger strategic position. For all the numbers, most of the Russian army is basically useless conscripts and most of it’s equipment is not operational or obsolescent.

          • Liberal Realist

            Care to substantiate your claims? Thought not…

            • joe90


              This essay on the fast-evolving European security situation by Aleksandr Khramchikhin—one of Russia’s most wide-ranging and prolific military observers and analysts—sheds light on how many Russians view the strategic environment and the strengths, weaknesses, and intentions of their adversaries in the West.


              The best evidence that the military situation in Europe is stable and that the continent is not on the brink of World War III is in the forces that each side has available for conducting military operations. Even a brief comparison of the present-day arsenals of Russia and NATO to those of the Soviet Union and NATO during the height of the Cold War should allay fears of military conflict (see table 1). This comparison should also take into account critically important political and psychological factors. Russia’s and NATO’s present-day forces do not measure up well against their predecessors of a generation ago.


              The very idea of Russian aggression against a NATO country is absurd and not worth discussing even hypothetically. All such scenarios belong to the category of propaganda or delusions, and are based on a complete lack of understanding of what has happened in the post-Soviet space over the past thirty years. The concept of “hybrid war” also belongs to the category of propaganda. There is no scientific definition of hybrid war, and any attempt to define it will lead anyone to the conclusion that hybrid war is war. War has always been a combination of regular and irregular armed hostilities, as well as economic and information warfare, even if their mix is different from one conflict to another.


              • McFlock

                The claim was russia v uk, not Nato.

                Hybrid war also seems to be a smoother transition between regular and irregular warfare. If you look at the command structures for regular and irregular military activities from WW2 (Army with uniformed commandos vs SOE/OSS), Vietnam (especially NVA vs NLF(VietCong)), and the Russians in Ukraine, the last is a single integrated command structure bridging assets that previously were largely command-independent of each other. So that’s why it’s different and interesting.

      • Kaya3 2.3.2

        Probably the most idiotic comment of the decade.

  3. Poission 3

    Explosions heard in Damascus.Where a large number of Russian members of the Duma have been since Wednesday.

    Raving nutcase (and known chicken and self admitted draft dodger) Bolton wants substantive targeting of syrian infrastructure.

    “Mr. Bolton favors an attack that would be ‘ruinous,’ crippling some part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and national infrastructure, according to a person familiar with Mr. Bolton’s thinking.”

    • joe90 3.1

      Multiple air strikes.

      Reports coming out of strikes vs Jemraya District, Damascus. Jemraya is where the Scientific Studies and Research Centre is located


    • mickysavage 3.2

      What better way to return a nation to civilisation than by bombing it to rubble.

      • SPC 3.2.1

        Most destructive action has been by the government to passive areas they do not hold.

        • Bill

          Really? You even got some names of some areas that are “passive” but have seen more destruction than seen by “non-passive” areas? Some links too perhaps?

          • SPC

            It was an auto-correct typo, replace passive with pacify.

            • Bill

              Not “free” or “liberate” then. “Pacify”. I get you now.

              • SPC

                That sort of depends whether the civilians are forced to remain / unable to leave or not.

                Of course in most cases people just stay in their homes unless the fighting gets so extreme they leave if they can.

                The governments comparative destructiveness is related to its weapons capability. This does not speak to “people” remaining in their homes being oppressed while under Islamist rule – but this rarely involves destroying property.

  4. Kay 4

    I don’t understand the politics. I’ve tried to but I just can’t.
    May- Brexit, NHS, Austerity disasters, incompetance in general.
    Macron- national rail strikes, industrial action, he doesn’t seem terribly loved by his people
    Trump- Porn stars, love child and everything else. Seriously wants and needs the media distracted.

    What better distraction for all 3 but to go and bomb someone? Wouldn’t be the first time would it?

    • D'Esterre 4.1

      Kay: “I don’t understand the politics. I’ve tried to but I just can’t.”

      That’ll be because the motivations of the west are inexplicable to anyone with an ounce of common sense such as your good self.

    • Bill 4.2

      The 40 min vid linked in the post gives a very good explanatory background and solid analysis based on sources that can be checked via simple enough google searches if you’re interested.

      My rule of thumb is that if “our” media is presenting a confusing or contradictory picture, it’s usually because we’re meant to throw up in our arms in bewilderment and walk away.

      That’s when it pays to seek out intelligent and well researched opinion from beyond liberal/mainsteam/corporate sources of media. The info is there. It’s just that most people haven’t the time or inclination to go digging.

  5. Your Attention Please by Peter Porter

    The Polar DEW has just warned that
    A nuclear rocket strike of
    At least one thousand megatons
    Has been launched by the enemy
    Directly at our major cities.
    This announcement will take
    Two and a quarter minutes to make,
    You therefore have a further
    Eight and a quarter minutes
    To comply with the shelter
    Requirements published in the Civil
    Defence Code – section Atomic Attack.
    A specially shortened Mass
    Will be broadcast at the end
    Of this announcement –
    Protestant and Jewish services
    Will begin simultaneously –
    Select your wavelength immediately
    According to instructions
    In the Defence Code. Do not
    Tale well-loved pets (including birds)
    Into your shelter – they will consume
    Fresh air. Leave the old and bed-
    Ridden, you can do nothing for them.
    Remember to press the sealing
    Switch when everyone is in
    The shelter. Set the radiation
    Aerial, turn on the Geiger barometer.
    Turn off your television now.
    Turn off your radio immediately
    The services end. At the same time
    Secure explosion plugs in the ears
    Of each member of your family. Take
    Down your plasma flasks. Give your children
    The pills marked one and two
    In the C D green container, then put
    Them to bed. Do not break
    The inside airlock seals until
    The radiation All Clear shows
    (Watch for the cuckoo in your
    Perspex panel), or your District
    Touring Doctor rings your bell.
    If before this your air becomes
    Exhausted or if any of your family
    Is critically injured, administer
    The capsules marked ‘Valley Forge’
    (Red pocket in No 1 Survival Kit)
    For painless death. (Catholics
    Will have been instructed by their priests
    What to do in this eventuality.)
    This announcement is ending. Our President
    Has already given orders for
    Massive retaliation – it will be
    Decisive. Some of us may die.
    Remember, statistically
    It is not likely to be you.
    All flags are flying fully dressed
    On Government buildings – the sun is shining.
    Death is the least we have to fear.
    We are all in the hands of God,
    Whatever happens happens by His will.
    Now go quickly to your shelters.

    • Kay 5.1

      Oh jeeze Tony, really didn’t need that. Flashbacks to a couple of horrific movies we were forced to watch at high school in the 1980s.

      • Sorry, Kay – an over-reaction on my part – I hope!

        Did you see ‘Threads?’ This is where we could be heading!

        • Kay

          We all hope it is Tony. (the over-reaction part)
          Yeah, Threads. And The Day After. Dragged off to see that with my entire 4th Form year for English class. I don’t think we ever really got over it.

          • Beatie

            Yes Kay, in 1970 my class had to watch a terrifying BBC documentary ‘The War Game’ about the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Even at 16 years old, I was angry about having to watch it because it made nuclear war seem inevitable and why were they forcing children to watch, rather than those who created war.

    • gsays 5.2

      Hi Tony, I read Your attention please and the words are familiar, annoyingly so.
      Like an earworm, I have been (w)racking my brain….

      The Scars, an 80’s band from Scotland, used it on their Author Author album.

  6. JohnSelway 6

    I don’t think anyone knows who or what is right in Syria anymore.

    Everyone is wrong and no one seems to know what they are doing

    • Monty 6.1

      Your quite right. The first thing that is lost in these situations is the truth.

      Watching the Russian news channel here in Hong Kong and there is a lot of angry rhetoric.

      My Russian is good enough to keep up sadly.

      • JohnSelway 6.1.1

        No one seems to know why they are doing it anymore either. It just a proxy war between everyone else to prove they are the most righteous and be damned the civilians

  7. Ad 7

    There are no good moral positions left to take in Syria, for anyone.

    • adam 7.1

      Actually there are, but if you want to run with that lie feel free.

      Rojava, but as you have aptly done, like many a western liberals – you will wash your hands and make statements which write real human beings off.

      • stunnedmullet 7.1.1

        In regards to Rojava i’ll agree with you 100%.

      • Ad 7.1.2

        Any particular Just War theory you would like to roll out in Syria?

        If you have one, there are plenty in response right now.

        There’s certainly no legal fiction being proposed here. No one on any side bothers with mandates.

        In moral terms right now in Syria, any attack by any side is just another show of force.

        You can try and find little motes of idealism to defend, but then, they have others.

        • adam

          Are you anti democratic and anti working people Ad? Just wondering, as the people of Rojava are both those things.

          So your saying that democratic Rojava has no mandate process? Wow, just wow. You have no idea what is going on there do you? If you’d like a link Ad, ask I can help with that.

          Mind you with the comment “little motes of idealism” I’m convinced you actually don’t know what is happening in Rojava.

          Women and men trying to build a better world is not worth a dime in the eyes western liberalism, thanks for confirming that for me Ad.

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.2

      Trump could at least act within the framework of the US constitution.

      Bernie Sanders tweeted:

      It is Congress, not the president, which has the constitutional responsibility for making war. The international community must uphold the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, but it is unclear how Trump’s illegal and unauthorized strikes on Syria achieve that goal.

  8. joe90 8

    2018 Russian presidential candidate Alexey Navalny

    Башар Асад нам не друг. Его семья пришла к власти в результате нескольких военных переворотов. Это настоящая хунта. Они ограбили страну и терроризирует собственный народ. Путин сейчас спасает Асада деньгами российских пенсионеров. Это должно быть прекращено.— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) April 14, 2018

    Alexey Navalny
    Verified account @navalny
    33m33 minutes ago

    Bashar Assad is not our friend. His family came to power as a result of several military coups. This is a real junta. They robbed the country and terrorized their own people. Putin is now saving Assad with the money of Russian pensioners. It must be stopped.

    google translate

    • One Two 8.1

      What’s your view J90?

      Does your stated ‘russophobia’ smear every Russian?

      Or only the ‘bad’ ones…

      Account verified 33minutes ago…

      Numbers have meanings…

    • D'Esterre 8.2

      Joe90: “Alexei Navalny”


      [No idea why your comments ae caught in “the trap” today. If you have sign in details, then use them. That’s sometimes the solution] – Bill

      • adam 8.2.1

        He’s a centre right Presidential candidate.

        • D'Esterre

          Adam: “He’s a centre right Presidential candidate.”

          Yeah, I do know who he is: just attempting (not very well) to make the point that he’s a no-account would-be pollie with microscopic support in Russia. His opinion has as much worth as the size of that support.

    • Kaya3 8.3

      You are kidding aren’t you? Navalny?? Presidential candidate??? He had less than 2% support before he was arrested as the western shill that he was.
      Put the Herald down for a minute and read some real analysis.


      • D'Esterre 8.3.1

        Kaya3: “You are kidding aren’t you? Navalny?? Presidential candidate??? He had less than 2% support before he was arrested as the western shill that he was.”

        Yeah, I omitted to mention that, but you’re so right.

  9. Congressional Democrats aren’t exactly challenging Trumps bombing Syria. They have “assented, if not openly endorsed”. Its pretty much a total replay of 2017. This article might as well be reprinted today.


    Politics these days really are like Groundhog Day…I just have a bad feeling were never going to live this day the right way.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Politics these days really are like Groundhog Day…I just have a bad feeling were never going to live this day the right way.


      I suspect it isn’t that far different to what was happening during the collapse of the Roman Empire. Got the big, powerful nation telling everyone to do things their way backed up by muscle transforming over time to the same nation cutting taxes, cutting back on the army and paying off the ‘barbarians’. The ‘barbarians’ just waited until Rome wasn’t powerful enough due to politics catering to only the rich and then ran over them.

      We can see the same trend in the US Empire. Just a lot faster.

      • gsays 9.1.1

        I referenced Bill Hicks up thread.
        He talks about the US Iraq ‘war’. Bush snr’s middle east war.
        Michael Franti- “Bush War one and Bush War two”.

        Their is a sickening familiarity to these goings on.

  10. joe90 10

    CNN –

    Mattis: “No additional attacks planned.”

    Dunford: “This wave of airstrikes is over.”

  11. cleangreen 11

    Trump needs a distraction from the investigation upon him from FBI/CIA.

    Trump will follow the line used by Thatcher before the falklands war, so you know where we are going now.

    As your article does say “Trump refers to the “righteous power” of the US, UK and France in acting in the region. He urges Americans to say a prayer. He finishes with: “We pray that god will bring comfort to the suffering and guide the whole region.”

    God help us all I say.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      God help us all I say.

      Why would he bother?

      Shit like this only happens because we let it.

    • cleangreen 12.1


      You are showing what CIA wants you to see ‘nothing’ as you do know that the US intelligence network has a system to prevent any planes being tracked don’t you?

      If not then you are less informed than you believe you are.

    • Sacha 12.2

      Standard daily flightpaths, sorry. Can’t get insurance to fly over there at the best of times.

  12. SPC 13


    The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.

    In 2013 President Obama claimed he would uphold the use taboo as a “red line”, but didn’t.

    Under a 2013 agreement for which Russia was a guarantor, Syria was to have eliminated all its chemical weapons.

    It has become a test case for the international rule of law.


    Last year Macron told Putin that the use of chemical weapons in Syria “would result in reprisal and an immediate response”.

    Obama was derided in France for not following through on his own “red line” after Syrian attacks five years ago.

    “When you fix red lines,” Mr Macron told a French newspaper last year, “if you can’t enforce them, you decide to be weak.”

    He said any action would “target chemical weapons” stocks.



    In 2013, Parliament defeated a call by then-Prime Minister David Cameron for air strikes in response to an earlier chemical attack in Syria (the Obama inaction). Labour legislator Emma Reynolds, whose party helped defeat Cameron’s planned 2013 strike, said failing to act then had set a “dangerous precedent”.

    In the UK, cabinet ministers agreed “on the need to take action” in Syria to “deter the further use of chemical weapons”, the office of Prime Minister Theresa May said.




    the sort of limited response he ordered last year in response to another suspected use of chemical weapons (unlikely as Syrian airfields have now been cleared of assets).
    repeated attacks on airfields designed to show the cost Assad brought on himself by using such weapons again (a form of no fly zone)
    delay of threatened action to quarantine Syrian airforce capability in hiding at Russian bases (what has happened so far) to realise a form of no fly zone at no expenditure of weapons stocksi
    major strike against rebuilt military command and control system (bunker bsuters and deep penetration warheads)
    bombing chemical weapons stocks locations

    I am becoming a fan of delayed but coming action – form of no fly zone against Syrian air capacity. It’s a win if civilians do not die as readily from air bombing in the months ahead.

    • cleangreen 13.1

      Good propaganda there SPC. Did you know the white helmets are US CIA funded activists/associates?

      That line is used by the 1% who want total control of our Governments under the ‘Agenda 21’ plan so you must be proud of your work there.

      Any sovereign state now is under your plan under an attack from USA or it’s allies and we all now are very less safe because USA/UK/France gang crossed the line declaring war of a sovereign state with their will.

    • dukeofurl 13.2

      Chlorine as an industrial gas isnt banned under the Chemical Weapons convention., but its use as a weapon is.

    • Jenny 13.3

      In the face of genocide this may be the only option.

      “I am becoming a fan of delayed but coming action – form of no fly zone against Syrian air capacity. It’s a win if civilians do not die as readily from air bombing in the months ahead.”


      The following will really put the Assadists and Putinbots in a spin.

      “Donald Trump Would Be Right to Strike Syria”
      An opinion in favor of intervention

      As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in 2013, “it’s better to stand up inconsistently to some atrocities than to acquiesce consistently in them all.”

      That doesn’t mean Americans shouldn’t worry about how Trump might try to use strikes in Syria to divert attention away from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, help himself electorally or encourage calamitous wars with Iran or even North Korea.

      Whatever his motivations, Trump was right to hit Al Assad in April 2017 … and would be right to do so now. Yes, mass murder by Al Assad’s and Vladimir Putin’s forces continued after Trump’s first strike in 2017 last year, but larger-scale gas attacks ceased for a full year. That made the difference between life and death for countless Syrian civilians.


      • Morrissey 13.3.1

        You’ll be signing up for some of the killing, no doubt, Jenny?

        • Jenny

          You mean, this?

          Or this?

          • Morrissey

            How does following the lead of Donald Trump and bombing more Syrians help improve the situation, Jenny?

            • Jenny

              Yes, mass murder by Al Assad’s and Vladimir Putin’s forces continued after Trump’s first strike in 2017 last year, but larger-scale gas attacks ceased for a full year. That made the difference between life and death for countless Syrian civilians.


              In answer to your question Morrissey, we can only wait and see.

              P.S. What I also might mention here in passing Morrissey is that according to all sources so far, no Syrians were killed in these strikes. This is mainly due to the fact that this attack just like the last one was telegraphed to the regime well in advance.

              And yes mass murder by conventional means will be continued by the regime against the Syrian people.

    • reason 13.4

      The ‘no fly zone’ imposed over Libya …… resulted in around 9000 bombing raids killing many many children …. the majority of whom were under 10 years old…

      If I had their names I’d shame SPCs vanished memory …

      And for blood hawk Jenny to ignore …. A link to the rat line sending billions of dollars of death to the people of Syria … from a country with a proud fascist past ///Croatia was among the first countries to supply weapons to anti-Assad rebels as part of a CIA-led and Saudi-funded program.

      ” identified 68 cargo flights (50 confirmed as carrying arms and ammunition plus 18 likely) from South Eastern and Central European countries in just over one year, to three key suppliers of the Syrian rebels: Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. ”


      • SPC 13.4.1

        The no fly zone over Libya was not a no fly zone, it acted outside of its no fly zone mandate (which was to prevent air force power being exercised in civilian areas during a “civil war”).

        • reason

          Well how about the Iraq no fly zone …. when the sanctions / siege were in the process of killing half a million Iraqi children …. was that a good no fly Zone ?.

          No fly zones seem to be a propaganda construct …. manufacturing consent for bombing / destruction / subjugation.

          A better idea IMO …. would be to stop sending weapons and training extremist mercenaries.

          Hows that for a novel idea ?

          • SPC

            You seem to have the problem of conflating one thing with another.

            1. A no fly zone does not involve bombing targets (unless the mandate is exceeded), it prevents others doing so.
            2. A no fly zone and sanctions are two separate things.

            The no fly zone concept is not discredited under 1, those applying it are.

            And as for 2, the no fly zone successfully protected Kurdish Iraqi lives, that sanctions on Iraq put other Iraqi lives at risk does not change that.

            • reason

              Your channeling Madeline Albright … with half a million children killed … Thats Killed …. not put at fucking risk……. you mealy mouthed apologist.

              “Pilots patrolling the so-called no fly zone in the north of the country have spoken angrily about how they have been ordered to return to their base in Turkey in order to allow the Turkish air force to bomb the Kurds in Iraq-the very people [the U.S. and] the British are meant to be “protecting”…

              “Human Rights Watch noted:
              It appears that in return for Turkey’s support for Operation Provide Comfort, the U.S. has agreed not to publicly criticize what Turkey does with its own Kurdish citizens, located directly across the border from the zone protected by U.S. warplanes…. [E]lements within the U.S. government possess detailed knowledge of the full scope of Turkish abuses as well as the key role played by U.S. weapons.”

              You do realise the no fly zone in Iraq was just a pretext for bombing and destroying whatever they wanted ? … “the Bush administration has used the zones to preemptively degrade Iraq’s already limited ability to defend against a large-scale US attack, while not citing a single incident of attempted repression of Shi’ite or Kurdish populations as justification.”

              ” The no-fly zone bombings represent the longest continuing US bombing campaign since the Vietnam War. The Pentagon estimates that it carries out an average of 12 “missions” a month in Iraq (other figures put the number higher)”

              ” Largely, Washington leaves the story about humanitarian justifications to the obliging media, which continues to report the raids as being motivated singularly by concern for the rights of Shi’ites and Kurds.” ….

              While here at TS we have you… SPC

              No fly zones are western propaganda … manufacturing consent for the bombing and killing which is their true purpose …. or do you trust Trump, May and the other blood hounds to be good boys and girls with their bombs and missiles this time round?


              • SPC

                It’s you’re, you are, not your.

                Differentiating between the concept of a no fly zone and what those who enforce them have done while enforcing one is not hard either.

  13. D'Esterre 14

    Bill: “But at least when it came to foreign interventions he didn’t cower before the hawks.”

    You could have fooled me and many others. If it walks like a duck and all that….

    “when it came to Iran, he sought to dampen down tensions..”

    Obama’s motivation regarding Iran was transparent: he did that purely so as to get up Netanyahu’s nose. They hated each other. Ditto that resolution on Israeli settlements he allowed to go thru in the UN, in the dying days of his presidency.

    “He left the destruction of Libya to France and Britain.”

    He failed to prevent Clinton from triggering that regime change, but was too cowardly to commit US troops to the battle.

    “And in the case of Syria, he took steps to align with Russia against ISIS.”

    Say what? When did that happen?

    Throughout his two terms Obama was pusillanimous. In terms of foreign policy – that part which affects the rest of us – he was no better than any of his predecessors, nor of his successor, as it turns out.

    Those poor bastards in Syria: being sacrificed by yet another POTUS who doesn’t have the cajones to stand up the the neocon crazies.

    • Bill 14.1

      “And in the case of Syria, he took steps to align with Russia against ISIS.”

      Say what? When did that happen?

      From July 2016.

      The proposal, as revealed in a leaked document, was an offer for the US military to work with Russia against Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. In exchange, Russia would have to convince or strongarm its ally, Bashar al-Assad, into grounding his own planes and halting attacks on civilians and moderate opposition groups.


      Now sure. Those “moderate” opposition groups were a fiction. But by (how to say?) convincing Russia to jointly focus on groups and gangs the US (and others) weren’t supporting, then the US and others could have perhaps established a better foot hold in the country.

      So the overture (cynical as it was) was made. And (rightly in my opinion) rejected.

      • D'Esterre 14.1.1

        Bill: “The proposal, as revealed in a leaked document…”

        Ah, so that’s what you were talking about. No wonder I couldn’t remember it.

        As you rightly point out, that offer was deeply cynical and unprincipled: yet another way in which Obama revealed his pusillanimity.

        And Putin’s response to it demonstrated his courage, and showed strength of character that Obama didn’t have.

        Obama was just as awful as every other US president in my lifetime.

  14. D'Esterre 15

    Bill: “Do I need to mention that this Syrian nonsense has got nothing whatsoever to do with “bringing democracy” to the country? Surely not. That gets filed alongside the notion of dropping bombs to achieve humanitarian goals. Right?”


  15. Ad 16

    With the attacks so well forecast to Russia and Syria by the US President, he can show he did something, and get back above 50% poll favorability.

    Also works just as well for Putin and Assad, who had well enough time to shift assets and achieve eradication at the same time.

    The careful timing between attack, tweet, and action sets the equation out carefully.

    Putin and Trump have precisely priced and contracted the cost of using chemical weapons here:
    Russia completes the military conquest of Syria and Trump regains political control of the US.


    • cleangreen 16.1

      Ad; you seem to enjoy war games right?

      • Incognito 16.1.1

        With all respect, if one tries to make sense of something that is utterly senseless, if one tries to understand something incomprehensible, it does not mean that they enjoy it or get some morbid satisfaction from it, does it?

        Why do some many commenters here on TS feel the need to judge (and correct) other commenters on their presumed personal traits? Why can’t they just focus on and reply to, and challenge, the comments and opinions without resorting to personal attacks or insinuations?

        Maybe this (my) comment should go to OM but I think it is pertinent to Bill’s OP because many comments under this Post don’t seem to deal with the actual content of the OP or relevant commentary.

        I’ve said enough; it saddens me that so much energy & effort gets f-ing wasted here; we’re obviously not getting any closer to a solution or general understanding.

    • Stunned mullet 16.2

      Cynical and probably a good guess.

  16. joe90 17

    Please do something, please, theatre.


    "And we are also hearing reports, many of the targets, in particular the air bases in some of the military installations that had been struck, had indeed been evacuated of personnel earlier in the week," @sethdoane reports from Damascus, Syria https://t.co/bTaJ40jGwj pic.twitter.com/DEbN2aQFjG— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 14, 2018

  17. cleangreen 18

    War seems inevitable now.

    This is a very dark day on sunday, we just hope this does not escalate out of control as russia is the cool head here not the warring US/UK/France coalition.

  18. Exactly what legal grounds to the US, UK and France give for this act of aggression?

    It seems have they have acted unilaterally, with no mandate from either their own citizens let alone any real international support, they are now so arrogant they have not even bothered to even to pretend there is any evidence of guilt on Assad’s part or otherwise. (and I am not saying he didn’t order the gas attack).

    Corbyn has been the ONLY sane political voice that I have heard throughout this whole affair.
    But then again being sane and reasonable doesn’t seem to be that politically fashionable these days…the MSM certainly don’t like it much…except at FOX!

    Even Tucker Carlson on FOX (WTF) saw straight through the very thinly veiled bullshit on this one…

  19. cleangreen 20

    This was a very good analogy of what will happen if this is allowed to carry on here by aggression from these trio of US/UK/France.

    FRANCESCA says: on TDB

    “Major wars don’t happen by calculation and deliberation. They happen by an accumulation of tensions ,hair trigger alerts, a build up of armaments,and strategic positioning, then a misstep, irrational actors, and an unstoppable juggernaut set in to motion.”

    We should reconsider our hunger for aggression shown by some bloggers here.

  20. Cinny 21

    Uncross your arms trump and show us the proof

  21. RuralGuy 22

    The boss seems like she accepts Assad as the source of the chemical attacks and the rationale behind the airstrikes. JA says all the right things re: diplomatic solutions and UN Security Council, but there isn’t any condemnation of the US, UK and French action.

    Given she gets security briefings, and is elected to govern on behalf of us, if she’s onside with the bombing – then I’m onside with the bombing.


    • SPC 22.1

      Playing it safe she joined in criticism of “any” chemical weapons use.

      Easy enough, it’s those taking action that have to be sure about evidence first.

    • Bill 22.2

      What chemical attack?

      The OPCW were invited in by Syria and Russia in order to inspect the site of the alleged attack. They are due to arrive in Damascus on Monday.

      But when a terrorist organisation that you’ve been funding (Jaish Al Islam), who themselves have been accused of using chemical weapons (link in the post), says, via fucking twitter!, that there’s been a chemical attack, then hey – I guess that’s proof that the Syrian government and Russia used chemicals.

      Jaccinda’s either idiotic or happy enough to play the game. She hasn’t gone down in my estimation.

      • cleangreen 22.2.1

        According to the RT TV network the OPCW are scheduled to have arrived today Syria time Saturday morning at around 8am so if US/UK/France who knew the time the international inspectors were to arrive just hours after they hit the tarmac at Damascus.

        As predicted by many, Trump has not waited for an investigative team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to carry out it’s work. This despite an OPCW team having already landed in Damascus to conduct it’s investigation.

        I am so suspicious of what is going on here again now.

      • Brigid 22.2.2

        “Jaccinda’s either idiotic or happy enough to play the game. She hasn’t gone down in my estimation.”
        Mine neither.
        In fact I will as far as to say she’s a stupid female dog.

        [Please try to not go down those paths, aye? Besides, when we’re talking canines, there is no such thing as a ‘female dog’ – such a thing being an oxymoron.] – Bill

        • Brigid

          My bad I know.
          I will desist and also stand corrected on the female canine thing.

    • Southern Man 22.3

      I agree with RuralGuy – we sheep have got to stick together.

  22. Anne 23

    I confess to being thoroughly confused by the whole Middle East theatre, but RNZ is running the best live updates on the current attack:


    Jacinda Ardern’s full statement is at 4:11pm

    • Carolyn_Nth 23.1

      Ardern seems to be having it both/all ways – talking a line similar to Corbyn in saying countries should return to the UN to negotiate a better outcome, while saying Russia has made it impossible to do anything in the UN Security Council because veto, and also saying she understands why Trump et al have taken the action they are taking.


      • Anne 23.1.1

        Have to agree there Carolyn_Nth, but assume she believed she had no choice but to go along with “the game” – in the meantime.

        I bold the last bit because I know Jacinda and I don’t believe she’s anyone’s puppet, but there is a line she has to be very careful not to cross for the moment.

        Time will tell if I’m right.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          I agree that it’s highly likely she’s operating within a very narrow acceptable frame.

  23. dukeofurl 24

    Whats funny is that the gaolposts have shifted for the West

    “Both the White House and state department announced on Friday that the US had “a high level of confidence” about the regime’s culpability for the use of poisonous gas in Douma.

    The declaration marked a shift from a statement by the defence secretary, James Mattis, on Thursday, that the US was still looking at the evidence.”

    They seem to have been waiting for the ‘concrete evidence’ but not anymore

    .Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signaled Thursday that the U.S. was prepared to wait for definitive proof that Syria carried out a chemical attack before launching an attack,..


    • Bill 24.1

      The “first” use of chemical weapons around Damascus was meant to get Obama unleashing hell, yes? But he held back and it transpired that the UN inspection team couldn’t/wouldn’t apportion blame. (That mission was essentially monkey wrenched by France the US, UK and others suddenly alleging multiple uses of chemicals in multiple locations and charging that team on the ground to investigate them all)

      And today, in spite of solid evidence to the contrary (ie, the projectiles used did not have the range to have come from any government held area) “everyone” just takes it as read that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Ghouta ‘back when’ and that Obama didn’t respond.

      I’m picking this would have been a re-run of that bullshit.

      If there had been chemicals used, their use would have traced back to one of the criminal/terrorist gangs. Again. So that meant getting that attack in quick smart before everything unraveled.

      So by tweet and unverified video footage, claims being made by a terrorist and western backed group Jaish Al Islam, constitutes enough proof to lead to the bombing of Damascus.

      What were the targets btw? I mean the real targets. All this bullshit about chemical facilities when Syria destroyed its stockpiles under international supervision a few years back really needs to be called for the bullshit it is.

      Are we to believe that under some of the most aggressive and widespread sanctions ever imposed on a country that a chemical weapons programme somehow got kick started?

  24. Hellfire 25

    Great to see “Dear Leadet” of NZ confirm support for military action by Trump

  25. AsleepWhileWalking 26

    Guest points out Syria had no motive for the alleged chemical attack, US was about to withdraw.

    Interviewer responds by cutting home off – can’t go off script!

  26. cleangreen 27

    “Yes Trump did a good job, as he has blown up the evidence now hasn’t he”.


    Anyway it was like the movie “On deadly Ground” when the firefighter actor (Steven Seagal was called to the oil head fire at the Aegis oil field in Alaska that was on fire and actor Steven Seagal came up and extinguished the well head that was on fire,

    His boss said “good job as usual” and he turned to his boss actor (Michael Caine) sitting in the helicopter and said, “It doesn’t really matter anymore now does it, I have blown up the evidence now haven’t I”.

    Was this simply what Donald Trump has done now also using the same Aegis oil policy?

  27. In Vino 28

    Ummm Cui Bono? Syria and Russia were obviously going to win there anyway. Trump himself has said Isis is pretty well gone. So why would our dastardly villain Assad need to use chemical weapons? To me it is more likely that the defenders would fake a chemical attack upon themselves. We have not yet had time for full analysis with hindsight and accuracy, but the headlong rush has been made. (Carefully, so as not to provoke the Russians, it seems.)
    Today’s speech by Trump was the most nauseating POTUS speech I can recall.
    When I was young I first questioned our own propaganda after I had read how the British press convinced the British public that it was right to go to war against Germany in 1914. They printed outright rubbish about German atrocities committed in Belgium. Check out Robert Grave’s book ‘Goodbye to all That’.
    So I questioned what I was being told regarding the Tonkin Gulf Incident (Viet Nam War).
    Years later, I found out that I was right to question it – it was contrived bullshit.
    With these gas attacks, why would I be wrong to suspect the same thing?
    So many idiots are keen to drink in our own propaganda.

    • McFlock 28.1

      If you’re Assad, why not use chemical weapons? They can cheaply overwhelm emergency services and sow alarm and chaos in the area. Why not turn a withdrawal into a rout? What’s the downside – hunker down for a brief barrage on rear areas, then you’re back in business.

      And similarly, if rebels gas themselves, what tactical or strategic benefit would they expect from it? Ineffectual bombing of hanger-queen aircraft on evacuated airbases that are operational again within hours?

      From any given perspective, use of chemical weapons by either side is either inexplicably stupid or coldly rational. All the existence of the allegation does is indicate just how fucked up the situation is.

      Another motive for airstrikes that I don’t think anybody’s mentioned is that Syria has become a resource suck for the major powers, all (except China maybe?) viewing it as a weapons testbed and a way to impose economic attrition upon their opponents/competitors. Russia’s carrier deployment was a bit of a fizzle, but they also seem to have deployed some late-generation aircraft still in the testing phase, have a load of PMCs and SF in the area, and beefed up air defenses. Whereas the US have their special forces but also ISTR at least one USMC artillery brigade, and the airpower deployments. Folks are spending a shitload of cash, and hoping that the other players at the table go broke before they do.

      • In Vino 28.1.1

        They don’t gas themselves, they fake the film etc. Last gasp propaganda.

        Assad would not be so stupid as to do as you suggest . Would you? He was winning anyway.

        • McFlock

          “So stupid”?

          It’s only stupid if there’s a significant downside. Why would he think the response to this allegation would be any more significant that to the previous occasions he was accused of using chemiocal weapons?

          “Winning” isn’t a binary situation. Advancing into a defended withdrawal is more costly than advancing into an area in chaos with only sporadic resistance. So if I were a complete prick who had stocks of a cheap way of turning a withdrawal into a rout, couldn’t see much of a downside to using it (a low probabolity of significant response and/or a likelihood they West or Israel would bomb me anyway), then yeah, as a totalitarian leader I’d go for the cheaper option.

          The only worry for Assad would be losing the support of Hezbollah or Russia. Neither give a shit, and actually would probably be happier if he takes a bit of grump doing something that makes their fighting for him easier.

          • Exkiwiforces

            You are correct McFlock on your assumptions, Assad lost a lot of manpower during the civil war to point that using CW’s became the only option to plug gaps with his manpower crisis and the same could be said for other side as well.

            As they are both haemorrhaging manpower and territory as military ops in an urban environment sucks the life out of the Infantry units while at the same time trying to hold to territory already gained or about to lose becomes a very fine juggling act or a game of Russian roulette and sooner or later a zero sum game IRT the use of WMD or carpet bomb etc to perverse to your forces in being or lose which is not an option for either side atm.

            Infantry are like police, doctors, nurses, teachers and tradies etc etc as they are a means to achieve an endstate whatever that maybe, but having to few of them leads to all shorts of problems from now and to the long term.

            It’s a numbers game in the end and the use of CW’s by either side is to perverse what they currently have left in Forces and territory. As the Yanks will say the Hail Mary option or MAD.

            In plain English, a game of high stakes poker where no one wants to lose.

            • Brigid

              “Assad lost a lot of manpower during the civil war to point that using CW’s became the only option to plug gaps with his manpower crisis”
              I don’t agree with that.
              Syria, under the direction of the opcw destroyed all chemical weapons in 2014.

              Any investigation by the OPCW of alleged chemical weapons attacks have not found that the Syrian Government were culpable.
              All the OPCW reports are published on their website.

              There is no strategic advantage to using chemical weapons, when the Syrian military can destroy what ever is deemed necessary much more efficiently with what arms they have.
              I’d agree they certainly seemed stretched in coping with ISIS/Al Queda et al before Russia offered assistance, but using chemical weapons (which they don’t have, and given the sanctions against the country would have difficulty procuring) would gain very little.

              The Syrian President Bashar Assad explains the pointlessness of using chemical weapons as was claimed in April 2017 at Khan Shaykhun

              • McFlock

                Any investigation by the OPCW of alleged chemical weapons attacks have not found that the Syrian Government were culpable.

                That’s not strictly true, is it:

                Expresses grave concern with the findings of the thir
                d and fourth reports of the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces had been involved in the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in three cases in the Syrian Arab Republic: Talmenes, on 21 April 2014; Qmenas, on 16 March 2015; and Sarmin, on 16 March 2015;

                • Brigid

                  Yes it is strictly true
                  ‘grave concern’ does not equate with ‘proof’.
                  Does it

                  • McFlock

                    The concern was that they found that the Syrian government had done it.

                    It’s just such a source of sadness that you’ve blinkered yourself to the point of illiteracy.

                    • Brigid

                      “The concern was that they found that the Syrian government had done it. ”
                      That is not what the report says, as you well know.

                      If they’d found the Syrian Government had done it they would have said.
                      “The Syrian Government did it”
                      The report didn’t say that

                      And please quit your insults

                    • McFlock

                      Expresses grave concern with the findings of the third and fourth reports of the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces had been involved in the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in three cases in the Syrian Arab Republic: Talmenes, on 21 April 2014; Qmenas, on 16 March 2015; and Sarmin, on 16 March 2015;

                      That’s exactly what it says. They literally included the phrase “the Syrian Arab Armed Forces had been involved in the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in three cases in the Syrian Arab Republic”.

                      The third report is pretty explicit:

                      54. The Leadership Panel examined the existing information regarding the two impact locations in Talmenes on 21 April 2014. There is sufficient information for the Panel to conclude that the incident at impact location No.2 was caused by a Syrian Arab Armed Forces helicopter dropping a device causing damage to the structure of a concrete block building and was followed by the release of a toxic substance that affected the population

              • Exkiwiforces

                Actually Brigid,

                Unlike you I don’t rely on news outlets from one side reporting the same garbage.

                I use all open news outlets I can find on the web or in print, then I cross reference it from Janes Defence Web Services which is more reliable than Defence News. Com, David KilCullens analyst of the current shit fight in the MER, the CBRNe monthly both magazine and their website, my background in agriculture/ horticulture and finally my background as a CBRND Warfare trainer with the info that I have been exposed to as member of my units CBRND cadre team.

                Then I use my time as Operations/ mission planner and start do the what’s called the Military Appreciation Process and from there I start at my:
                My Assumptions
                My Facts:-
                Chlorine and common insecticide use intensive agriculture practices that Syria has. That these chemicals can be use to make a rather cheap nasty and deadly chemical weapon system. That doesn’t require much IRT weaponisation as long it’s causes injures, shocks the defenders in a state of panic/ disorganisation which causes morale to drop or collapse of a part of the defensive line/ positions WTB is the main reason to use CBRN weapons in the first place and death is rather a secondary outcome as CBRN weapon injuries soak up more manpower than conventional WPN’s.
                The Syrian Armed Forces TTP’s are based on the old Soviet/ Warsaw Pact and current Russian Doctrine.

                The Syrian Army has taken a batting IRT it’s Infantry units and combined all arms units.
                Mass desertions of Syrian Army at individual level all the up to Corp level in one and even from his own power base the Alwatie tribe within the Syrian Forces.
                The refugees that flooded in Europe over 70% of them were reported to be men of military age who have completed their National Service or were about to start their National Service IOT avoid being called up for active service.
                Like all single party regimes that we know from history, as long as the regimes power base stays intact then he or she remains on power as they really don’t give a shit about Mrs and Mr Joe Bloggs or their fath as their endstate is to hold on whatever the cost.
                From here I then go into
                Mission Analysis- Review the Situation both En and Friendly
                Own Force Analysis,
                Friendly COG,
                CR’s and
                Analyse Superior Commanders intent and Determine Own Mission.
                Analyse Tasks-
                Essential Tasks,
                Specified Tasks and
                Implied Tasks.
                Inherent Threats/ Controls.
                Determine Freedom of Action.
                Limitations: Restrictions and Constraints.
                ID Critical Facts and Assumptions.
                Confirm/ Alter Mission.
                Battlespace Analysis-
                Define the Battlespace,
                Environmental Characteristics,
                Battlespace Info requirements and
                Battlespace Assumptions.
                Define Battlespace Effects incl Weather effects.
                ID Battlespace Threats and Opportunities.
                Stakeholder Analysis-
                ID Stakeholders,
                EST Stakeholder Models,
                ID Stakeholder Capabilities,
                Determine Stakeholder COA,
                ID Stakeholder Intent (en force obj’s)
                EN ML and MD,
                Determine ENCOG
                EN CC’s
                EN CR’s
                EN CV’s and
                Stakeholder Assumptions.
                COA Development and the 4 sub para’s.
                COA Analysis and the 3 sub para’s.
                Decision and Execution, and the 2 sub para’s.

                Then I could do a CONOPS brief, and OPORD followed by a formal set of orders. Also there would be map overlays as well as a picture is worth a thousand words.

                And that’s how I come up with my conclusion and resulting comments.

                For further information can be found on Uncle Goggle and Wikipedia IRT’s to the Military Appreciation Process and the History of MAP. If you like watching grass grow or watching golf on the giggle box, then reading about MAP is for you and BTW try deliver it as a lesson.

                The Russian MAP is a interesting read and so is the Chinese one BTW. You should be able to find it on the internet and you might goggle translate.

      • spikeyboy 28.1.2

        From Bills post money is the driving dynamic of all war. Someones getting their profits cut and doesnt like it. There is a clear trail of large (eye watering) amounts of money being funnelled from the west to the jihadis in Syria. To think that this money has no strings attached seems naive in the extreme. So asking what benefit the jihadis recieve from “gassing themselves” is not the right question. What benefit the backers of the jihadis gain is more to the point. Pretty sure it was in one of Bills linked articles or video that said the Saudis were prepared to foot the whole bill for a USA invasion of Syria. So the payoff for the “gassing” is to keep the US engaged with Syria. This is the number 1 priority for all the backers of the jihadis.
        If you feel up to a little maths you could check out how to analyse evidence between 2 or more hypothesis. This link is especially in relation to Syria. One downside though is that you have to be prepared to view a lot of disturbing photo and video evidence. If you arent prepared to do this then perhaps you need to be a little more circumspect on how you attribute responsibilty.
        One of th keys to good analsis is to be able to be imaginative when thinking up possible narratives. The reason is that you dont know where the evidence will lead. And if the hypothesis is no good, it really doesnt take long to set it aside


        And part 2


        • McFlock

          2 points:
          Money is a motive for war. Direct income, and longer term strategic blocking of other states. But it is not the only driver of war. Maintenance of geopolitical or even internal political power (money is power, but not all power is money), population stresses, even impulsive and stupid leaders can create wars.

          Secondly, math only applies when the margin for error in probability calculations is unlikely to affect the final result. For example, that body in the morgue. Interesting spin. Of course, if he was closely known to one of the workers, they might have laid him down and covered his face with a bit more care than with the others. Then gets word to the guy’s wife. She lowers the cloth to ID him, holds his hands before placing them back on his torso, puts a sheet under his head, the family took the body away ater in the day, and then all you have is that a body was leaking from somewhere. You pour a litre of milk on the floor, and tell me that the thin sheet wouldn’t be soaking throughout, having at least that much come out onto an impermeable tile floor for that wee dribble.

          So is murder of one particular survivor (when there were other survivors anyway) the “only plausible interpretation” as the dudeyouagreewith says? I’m not so sure about that. So his calculation is seriously flawed, so his result is flawed.

    • Grey Area 28.2

      That’s pretty much the same reaction I had to this news tonight – the parallel to 1914. I wondered how much we have we learned in a century? Europe and other chunks of the rest of the World were drawn into fighting a bullshit war then.

      It appears we have learnt SFO.

      We are being led into war by mental midget glove puppets like Trump and May.

      TVNZ’s coverage tonight at 6pm nearly brought me to tears. Who the f*ck is running our newsrooms that allows such accepting, jingoistic lies to be broadcast as news?

    • Carolyn_Nth 28.3

      I do think that when the US and/or UK and allies start to intervene in another country through military means, there’s usually some ulterior motive – not a humanitarian one.

      As Bill said in the post:

      There are disgusting and decrepit enough leaders that the US, France and UK fete and court. (You can name them and/or their respective countries for yourself).

      And there’s many other terrible actions being carried out by other countries, while the US, UK et al sit back and do nothing. I think sometimes they just take opportunities when they arise, to further their own aims – doesn’t need to be the result of some false flag thing.

    • Grafton Gully 28.4

      Soldiers of the German army killed hundreds of civilians and looted and destroyed buildings in Louvain, including the priceless medieval library. They killed civilians elsewhere too, justifying this by accusing them of attacking German forces as “franc tireurs”.

      British propaganda used German atrocities in Belgium to justify continuing the war because the atrocities were real.

  28. McFlock 29

    I’m not sure there is much in the way of “moral insistence” of the populace for most governments to follow.

    Especially in Syria. Hell, even without chemical weapons I’m in two minds as to whether the less-wrong resolution is to actively and aggressively demolish Assad’s regime with airstrikes, or simply lock in the loss and assist him in the interests of regional stability.

  29. Drowsy M. Kram 31

    So many BIG, smart ‘missiles’, so many defenceless ‘targets’. Earn your keep, missiles – show ‘em what you’ve got.

    Trump, May, Macron – triumphant protectors of the innocent, or warmongering neocon escalationists (for the greater good, of course)?


  30. Beatie 32

    Here’s an interesting article about Washington’s long term strategy in the Middle East. The ‘New Middle East’ project was first introduced by Condeleeza Rice in 2006.

    ‘The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.’


  31. joe90 33

    Guess this translates as no need to retaliate.

    MOSCOW, April 14 (Itar-Tass) – RIA Novosti. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that none of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies in the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense units covering the facilities in Tartous and Khmeimim was not included.

    The US did not notify Russia of the impending strikes against Syria
    None of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies in the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense units covering the facilities in Tartous and Khmeimim was not included, “the report said.
    As reported by the department, on April 14 at 3.42 Moscow time to 5.10 Moscow time, aircraft and ships of the US Armed Forces, together with the British and French Air Forces, suffered a missile attack on the military and civil infrastructure of the Syrian Arab Republic.


    google translate

  32. mauī 34

    A very sad and ominous time. One can only hope the public is a little more schooled up than 15 years ago when Saddam was toppled.

  33. Kaya3 35

    Anyone who thinks the strikes are in anyway justified and that there is any truth in the accusations leveled against Assad and his military is a couple of cans short of a six pack.
    The empire is crumbling, lashing out on the way down. Macron and May becoming increasingly isolated politically at home and abroad. Time to feel “special” again, so let’s make a gang and hang out with the big thug and beat up some little guys.

    This is the best analysis of the madness that I have read to date.

    “But back to Rove. What was he saying? Three things:

    Number one: We – that is the Globalist Deep State, centred in Washington DC – are sovereign over the entire globe and we will do as we please.

    Number two: That we don’t follow reality, we create it.

    Number three: That we are prepared to do things that will make your jaws drop, your hair stand on end, and your eyes boggle as you wonder what is going on, and while your jaws, your hair and your eyes are busy doing their thing, we will have moved onto create our next reality.

    In other words – we are God – and not a kind and merciful God, but a God who lords it over all peoples’, nations and tongues, who tells lies, and then tells more lies to cover up those lies and – when you poor saps are trying to work out what it is we’re really up to – before you know what has happened, those lies and those lies to cover up lies will have become the new reality. We’ll have moved on and the world with it, and the narrative we have created will have been written in the history books, which we ourselves shall write.”


    • James 35.1

      “and that there is any truth in the accusations leveled against Assad and his military is a couple of cans short of a six pack.”

      So Jacinda is a few cans short of a six pack?

      • Morrissey 35.1.1

        She worked for Tony Blair. What would you expect from her? Courage? Honesty?

    • Ed 35.2

      Very interesting.
      Craig Murray is another brilliant source.

      “I have always denied the UK’s claim that only Russia had a motive to attack the Skripals. To denigrate Russia internationally by a false flag attack pinning the blame on Russia, always seemed to me more likely than for the Russians to do that to themselves. And from the start I pointed to the conflict in Syria as a likely motive. That puts Saudi Arabia (and its client jihadists), Saudi Arabia’s close ally Israel, the UK and the USA all in the frame in having a powerful motive in inculcating anti-Russian sentiment prior to planned conflict with Russia in Syria. Any of them could have attacked the Skripals.

      It is also worth noting that the most ardent supporters of this military action, outside Saudi Arabia and Israel, are the Blairites in the UK and the Clinton Democrats in the USA. The self-described “centrists” are actually the unhinged extremists in today’s politics.

      This attack on Syria is, beyond doubt, a huge success for the machinations of Mohammed Bin Salman. Please do read my post of 8 March which sets out the background to his agenda, and I believe is essential to why we find our nations in military action again today. Despite the fact the vast majority of the people do not want this.“


  34. Ad 36

    Consider how unlikely these statements were 24 hours ago:

    – Donald Trump is almost universally praised for doing the right thing

    – Donald Trump looks statesmanlike

    – Donald Trump is in complete control of United States political discourse

    – Theresa May, Emanuel Macron and Donald Trump are united as a global alliance that most people agree with

    – The global mainstream media (apart from a very few) are convinced that Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Emanuel Macron are on the side of the good

    – Most governments (including our own) agree that Donald Trump is right

    – The Russian, Iranian, and Syrian governments do not care whether the United States bombs their assets or not

    – Massive bombing occurred without major civilian casualties

    Now, we should probably all be worried about stuff like facts, or what difference it made, but as politics this is a pretty successful 24 hours for aerial bombing.

    • Stunned mullet 36.1

      Fair points – it’ll be an interesting couple of months coming up for the geopolitical hacks as tp where it all heads from here.

    • Andre 36.2

      However, cheerleading from pundits has been remarkably subdued. Unlike the last time, when lots of pundits that should have known better were orgasming out phrases like “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,”.

      In fact, some of his nominal supporters were pretty negative about the whole thing. Apparently Alex Jones had an epic three-hour meltdown over it.

      ” On the verge of tears, an emotionally distraught Jones, said the president he has long supported had “been doing so good,” but now, “he’s crapping all over us.”

      He added, “Trump’s now a fraud. Done.”

      “I’m not in a f**king cult for Donald Trump, f**k him!” a livid Jones yelled. “F**k his family!” ”


    • reason 36.3

      “Theresa May, Emanuel Macron and Donald Trump are united as a global alliance that most people agree with”

      your telling porkies with that one AD … read swordfishs post … giving polling results that show even in warmongering England your wrong /open-mike-16-04-2018/#comment-1474793

      Also most people in the world regard the usa as the biggest threat as war makers

      Martin Luther King is more right today than ever ….. “The United States is “The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today”

      Nelson Mandela is more correct today than ever …. “If There is a Country That has Committed Unspeakable Atrocities in the World, it is the United States”

      Both of these great men would see straight through you AD ….

  35. Cinny 37

    Åke Sellström is the man tasked with leading the UN Chemical Weapons Inspection team who arrived in Damascus today.

    Here is a TED talk he did from 2015, he tells the story of investigating the same back in 2013. Just over 16 min long, well worth a listen.

  36. mauī 38

    In the words of Hone – we’ll switch you off if you don’t.. shut up!

    lol Absolute gold 😆

    • dukeofurl 38.1

      Heres a guy with actual military experience in Iraq, a retired general questions the motives and evidence and they say as they cut you off.
      “Im sorry, well have to leave it there”

  37. savenz 39

    A great post, Bill, in particular

    “There is something very wrong with our political culture when leaders can casually bandy about notions of military intervention and war.”

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    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    7 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
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    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
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    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
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  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 weeks ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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