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Monday, May 20, 2019

Stephen Lendman: Douma Chemical Incident a US-NATO False Flag… OPCW Is a US Imperial Tool

Sunday, 19 May 2019
The chemical watchdog group is mandated “to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention to achieve a world free of” CWs.
Its mission includes conducting “credible and transparent” on-site inspections to verify use of and destruction of these weapons.
Time and again, it flagrantly breaches its mandate, serving US-led Western interests, producing dubious reports with falsified, distorted rubbish, suppressing vital information.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier slammed the group for failing to discharge its duties as mandated by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Last March, its falsified Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) report on the alleged April 7, 2018 CW incident in Douma, Syria said the following:
“Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma (Syria)…evaluation and analysis…of information gathered by the FFM (gathered much too late to matter) provide(s) reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on April 7, 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”
The incident was a US/NATO false flag, Syria wrongfully blamed for a victimless nonevent – no one killed, hospitalized or ill from exposure to toxins, not chlorine or any other banned substance, nothing. The OPCW lied suggesting otherwise.
Douma eyewitnesses and local medical personnel debunked the falsified narrative. Visiting the site days after the alleged incident, Russian technical experts found no evidence of chemical or other toxins in soil samples and other analysis.
Like many other times, Damascus was falsely blamed for what it had nothing to do with. At the time, Russia’s envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said testimonies from 17 witnesses, including physicians who were right at the scene on that day…recount(ed) the true story of the (false flag) incident.”
“We had no doubt that the allegations of chemical use in Douma are a fabricated and provocative play staged by the so called White Helmets and Western media outlets.”
We can prove that the video of the White Helmets is fabricated, and therefore there is no basis or validity to the signals of Western countries that this material is evidence of a chemical attack in the city of Douma.”
Instead of reporting accurately on what happened, the OPCW bowed to US interests, delivering a falsified report months later.
Damascus slammed the report, saying it “does not differ from the previous mission reports filled with distorted facts” — falsely blaming Syrian forces for CW incidents staged by US-supported terrorists.
Regarding the Douma incident, Syria’s Foreign Ministry blasted the OPCW’s “lack of professionalism,” adding: “It was easy for the Syrian specialists to discover that the OPCW experts were lying when claiming that they investigated the (Douma) incident in the report from various aspects.”
The organization “ignored the possession of toxic chemicals by terrorist groups, although the mission found those substances in the warehouses of terrorists when they visited them.”
The independent Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media obtained an unpublished OPCW report on the Douma incident — indicating it was staged, Damascus having nothing to do with it.
According to the group’s Piers Robinson,”We have confirmation from multiple sources that (the unpublished OPCW report) is authentic.”
Chlorine cylinders found on the scene were placed next to a pre-existing crater — by Western funded, al-Qaeda connected White Helmets. They were not dropped by Syrian aircraft or helicopters as falsely claimed.
Expert independent evaluation determined that two chlorine cylinders were manually placed at the scene to falsely blame Damascus for what it had nothing to do with.
The OPCW’s unpublished report refuted the findings of its published one last March. Ahead of the April 2018 incident, Moscow and Damascus warned of an impending false flag CW attack by US supported terrorists to be wrongfully blamed on Syrian forces.
On Friday, Russia presented a draft Security Council resolution, calling for the OPCW to fulfill its mandate, saying the following:
The Security Council “emphasizes the need to unite the efforts of States Parties to the (chemical weapons) Convention in order to enhance strict compliance with their obligations under the Convention avoiding politicization,” adding: The SC “calls on the States Parties to the Convention to cooperate with each other in a constructive manner and seek to restore the spirit of consensus in the OPCW for the sake of preserving the integrity and inviolability of the Convention.”
Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia accused the OPCW of being “hijacked by politics,” adding: “We are trying to get the (organization) back on track because (it’s) off track and now it is so politicized.”
“It was always a technical organ where consensus prevailed, and now we see that it is completely politicized, with politicized agenda from various parties” — its credibility lost.
Throughout years of US launched aggression on the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011, not a shred of credible evidence indicates CW use by government forces. Indisputable evidence shows US supported terrorists used banned toxins numerous times, incidents falsely blamed on Damascus.
A Trump regime veto of Russia’s draft resolution is likely, supported by Britain and France, wanting nothing interfering with their ability to manipulate the OPCW to serve their interests.
Source: Global Research

‘Clash of civilizations’ or crisis of civilization?

May 20, 2019
by Pepe Escobar : posted with permission
‘Clash of civilizations’ or crisis of civilization?
Talk about a graphic display of soft power: Beijing this week hosted the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. 
Organized under the direct supervision of President Xi Jinping it took place amid an “Asian Culture Carnival.”  Sure, there were dubious, kitschy and syrupy overtones, but what really mattered was what Xi himself had to say to China and all of Asia.
In his keynote speech, the Chinese leader essentially stressed that one civilization forcing itself upon another is “foolish” and “disastrous.” In Xi’s concept of a dialogue of civilizations, he referred to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as programs that “have expanded the channels for communication exchanges.”
Xi’s composure and rationality present a stark, contrasting message to US President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign.

West vs East and South

Compare and contrast Xi’s comments with what happened at a security forum in Washington just over two weeks earlier. Then, a bureaucrat by the name of Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s policy planning director, characterized US-China rivalry as a “clash of civilizations,” and “a fight with a really different civilization and ideology the US hasn’t had before.”
And it got worse. This civilization was “not Caucasian” – a not so subtle 21st century resurrection of the “Yellow Peril.” (Let us recall: The “not Caucasian” Japan of World War II was the original “Yellow Peril.”) 
Divide and rule, spiced with racism, accounts for the toxic mix that has been embedded in the hegemonic US  narrative for decades now. The mix harks back to Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, published in 1996.
Huntington’s pseudo-theory, coming from someone who did not know much about the multi-polar complexity of Asia, not to mention African and South American cultures, was mercilessly debunked across vast swathes of the global South.  In fact, Huntington did not even come up with the original, flawed concept. That was the work of Anglo-American historian and commentator Bernard Lewis, who passes for a Middle East guru in the US.

Divide, rule, conquer

As Alastair Crooke, the founder of the Conflicts Forum, has outlinedLewis consistently preached divide and rule, tinged with racism, in Islamic states. He was a fervent proponent of regime change in Iran and his recipe for dealing with Arabs was “to hit them between the eyes with a big stick” because, in his world view, the only thing they respect is power.
Crooke reminds us that since the 1960s, Lewis has been a master at spotting vulnerabilities in “religious, class and ethnic differences as the means to bring an end to Middle Eastern states.” Lewis is a hero across a certain spectrum – a spectrum that includes former US Vice President Dick Cheney and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Now, we live in the era of “Lewis redux.” Given that the Islamic world is  largely subdued, in torpor or in turmoil, the clash of civilizations basically applies, on a downsized scale, to containing or destroying Shi’ite Iran.
Meanwhile the real clash – as the State Department insists – is with China.
Huntington, the sub-Lewis, did not include Russia among “The West.” The revisionist State Department does. Otherwise how could “Nixon in reverse”be justified? (“Nixon in reverse,” let us remember, is the Kissingerian recommendation to President Donald Trump: Apply divide and rule between Russia and China – but this time seducing Russia.)
A revisionist Pentagon also came up with the “Indo-Pacific” concept. The only justification for the amalgam is that these two zones should conduct a foreign policy subjected to American hegemony.
The logic is always divide and rule and clash of civilizations – divisions provoking chaos all across Eurasia. 
But this strategy is being applied against the background of a crucial historical juncture: The era when BRI is being configured as the road map for progressive Eurasian integration.

Quo vadis, humanity?

It’s not hard to detect the faintest of smiles on the faces of Chinese strategists as they survey “The Big Picture” from the vantage point of 5,000 years of civilization. The Christian West as the unique road map to deliver humanity from evil – in fact, the foundation of Pax Americana – is regarded as an amusing fiction at best.
That fiction is now looking downright dangerous, wallowing in exceptionalism and demonization of “The Other” in myriad forms. The Other – from the Islamic Republic of Iran to atheist China, not to mention “autocratic” Russia – automatically qualifies as a manifestation of “evil.”
China, by contrast, is polytheist, pluralist, multi-polar – embracing Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism. That is mirrored by the current drive towards a multi-polar world-system. What matters is unity in multiplicity – as Xi stressed in his keynote speech. In it, we find China and Persia, two ancient civilizations – not by accident linked by the Ancient Silk Road – thinking alike.
Then there’s the appalling state of the planet, which dwarfs the current appalling spectacle of political madness. UCLA geographer and global best-selling author Jared Diamond is not being terribly precise, but he estimates there’s a 49% chance “that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050.”
As encapsulated by author Nafeez Ahmad: “Over the last 500 years or so, humanity has erected an ‘endless growth’ civilization premised on a particular patchwork of ideological worldviews, ethical values, political and economic structures, and personal behaviors. This is a paradigm that elevates the vision of human beings as disconnected, atomistic, competing material units, which seek to maximize their own material consumption as the principal mechanism for self-gratification.”
What we’re living now is not a clash of civilizations; it’s a crisis of civilization.
If the paradigm under which most of humanity barely survives is not changed – and there’s precious little evidence it will – there won’t be any civilizations left to clash.

ROCKET HITS NEAR EMPTY US EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD, US BLAMES IRAN

20.05.2019
Rocket Hits Near Empty US Embassy in Baghdad, US Blames Iran
On May 19th, a Katyusha rocket hit near the US Embassy in Baghdad, in the fortified “Green Zone” within the Iraqi capital, the Iraqi military said in a statement.
Joyce Karam
✔@Joyce_Karam
BREAKING: Katyusha shelling on  Green Zone in Baghdad + blast in area near foreign embassies.
Comes 4 days after US pulled non-essential staff, amid tension w 
سكاي نيوز عربية-عاجل
✔@SkyNewsArabia_B
مراسلنا: سقوط قذيفة كاتيوشا على المنطقة الخضراء وفقا لمصدر أمني عراقي
261 people are talking about this
Steven nabil
✔@thestevennabil
🛑This a major escalation, at 8:29 PM a rocket was launched toward the Green Zone and the vicinity of the U.S Embassy from (Jisr al Amana ) neighborhood in Baghdad.
106 people are talking about this
There were no casualties or losses as a result of the presumed attack.
Rocket Hits Near Empty US Embassy in Baghdad, US Blames Iran
Click to see full-size image
Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that a Katyusha rocket fell near the statue of the Unknown Soldier, less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy. He said the military was investigating the cause but that the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad. The area is home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Bill Urban, said in a statement that Iraqi Security Forces are investigating the incident.
The rocket conveniently hit after all but critical staff were evacuated from Iraq just days earlier, due to expectations of an attack of some sort by Iran.
The US State Department was in close contact with Iraqi officials about the incident and investigations into its circumstances, the official said, adding that the “low-grade rocket” did not cause significant damage or impact any US-inhabited facilities.
Reuters cited an unnamed State Department official who said that no responsibility had been claimed, but Iran was blamed.
“But, we take this incident very seriously,” the State Department official said. “We will hold Iran responsible if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces, and will respond to Iran accordingly.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted with an open threat to Iran, just hours after the alleged attack in Baghdad.
Donald J. Trump
✔@realDonaldTrump
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
103K people are talking about this
In addition to US personnel being evacuated from Iran, on May 18th, Exxon Mobil also began evacuating from the southern Iraqi province of Basra.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadban said in a statement that he sent a letter to ExxonMobil asking for clarifications over the evacuation, saying the evacuation was because of “political tensions in the region” and not related to security.
He added that the evacuation of the oil giant’s foreign employees was “unacceptable and unjustified.” Al-Ghadban said he would be holding a meeting with ExxonMobil executives this week over the evacuation, adding that their departure was “temporary.”
The alleged rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad is a rather obvious attempt at justifying recent US actions and reinforcing the narrative of Iran’s “evil plans.”
And if Iran did, in fact, want to carry out a dangerous attack, why would it do so on almost completely empty premises, days after discovering that the US had withdrawn its personnel?
MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Powerful Iraqi group says they will remain part of ‘axis of resistance’ despite foreign pressure



BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 A.M.) – The Secretary-General of Harakat Al-Nujaba, Akram al-Kaabi, said last week that Iraq will remain part of the “axis of resistance” despite foreign-led initiatives to detach the Iraqi society from the regional developments.
“Our enemies want Iraq to be an apathetic society and not react to what is happening in our region. This goes against our beliefs,” al-Kaabi stated, as Press TV reported.
Al-Kaabi stressed that based on Islamic beliefs, Iraq cannot be separated from the greater Muslim world and the regional “resistance axis”.
“Major organizations affiliated with the Zionists, the United States and the Saudis are managing a media war against the resistance and are seeking to target our youth and our moral values,” he added.
The Harakat Al-Nujaba chief added that it was unfortunate that some of Iraq’s elites and leaders had been influenced by this foreign-backed trend.
“If our positions are based on the enemy’s media objectives, this will surely deviate us,” he noted.
Al-Kaabi made these comments shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad to discuss the ongoing situation with Iran.
In addition to being one of the most powerful paramilitaries in Iraq, Harakat Al-Nujaba is also a close ally to Iran. They have both fought alongside one another inside Iraq and Syria.
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القمم السعودية وملحقاتها هروب جديد نحو الهاوية


مايو 20, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم
مشروع الحرب الأميركية على إيران بدعم خليجي ـ إسرائيلي تحول بقدرة قادر احتلالاً عسكرياً أميركياً للخليج الى جانب السيطرة السياسية والقواعد المنتشرة

هناك ايضاً اضافات مستجدة تثير التهكم وهي الدعوة السعودية الى قمتين متتاليتين واحدة خليجية وأخرى عربية، لبحث «الإرهاب الإيراني».

أما ما يدفع للقهقهة فيتعلق برعاية الدبلوماسية السعودية في لبنان لإعادة إحياء حركة 14 آذار المتوخاة منذ مدة، إنما بإسم جديد هو البيت اللبناني إنما بمشروع قديم يريد تحرير لبنان من «الاحتلال الإيراني»، على حد زعمه.

لا بأس هنا من الاشارة الى ان الحرب الأميركية على إيران تراجعت، لكنها لا تزال في الأفق القريب تنتظر تحقق ظروف أفضل للأميركيين، وخصوصاً في الداخل الإيراني. فهناك تعويل أميركي على خلخلة التضامن الإيراني الداخلي، على مستويين: طبقي وعرقي.. يدفعان في اتجاه انفجارات داخلية تضعف الجمهورية الإسلامية. وهذا رهان غربي بأن المدن الكبرى الإيرانية لن تحتمل هذه العقوبات وحالة الحصار المستمر، فالتجار لن يجدوا بضائع وزبائن والمستهلكون في حالة من الإفقار قد يخسرون فيها اعمالهم.

بالاضافة إلى احتمال استغلال المجموعات العرقية البلوشية والعربية والكردية والاذربيجانية، للضعف المرتقب للدولة، بهدف تفجير الأوضاع والتفتيت.

يبدو البيت الأبيض الأميركي اقتنع أخيراً بأن حربه على إيران طويلة، ولا إمكانية لحسمها سريعاً، بما يكشفه أمام الناخبين الأميركيين فيبتعدون عنه ولا يقترعون له في الانتخابات الرئاسية في 2020.

بذلك أصبح أمام ترامب خيارين: يدخل في حرب طويلة الأمد بنتائج ليست أكيدة، او يرجئها مواصلاً حصاراً قاسياً، لا نتائج فورية له ايضاً.

لذلك اعتبر ترامب وفريقه «الحربجي» ان الحل لاحتمال التراجع موجود كعادته عند آل سعود وزايد، ويبدأ من استغلال الرعب المتحكم بهاتين العائلتين من دور إيران الإقليمي والخليجي، المتواكب مع تراجع فكرة الحرب عليها، هنا برزت فكرة نشر نحو ثلاثين ألف جندي أميركي في السعودية والإمارات والبحرين.. مع الضغط على الكويت لقبول الفكرة… فمهمة هذه القوات هي حمايتها من الاضطرابات الداخلية والاعتداءات الخارجية، الصادرة ممّا يسميه الأميركيون والخليجيون «الخطر الشيعي».

إن ما يكسبه ترامب من هذا «الاحتلال المموّه» انه يمسك مع القواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في الخليج بأهم «خط نفط» متحكماً في اقتصاده وسياساته لمدة طويلة من الزمن، وربما إلى مرحلة نفاد النفط. كما يكسب بذلك صورة تزيد من شعبيته عند الطبقات الفقيرة الأميركية، باعتبار أنه يمسك بمناطق تؤمن الازدهار لها.

أما سبل تمويل الإنفاق على الاحتلال الأميركي للخليج، فهذه بديهية يتولاها آل سعود وزايد ويضيفون عليها تكاليف الحملة الانتخابية لترامب، وربما اسرائيل الحليفة.

ان هذا الانتشار الأميركي المرتبط بالأردن ومصر، من وسائل تمرير صفقة القرن الاسرائيلية الخليجية، الأميركية، وايضاً باتفاق خليجي مفتوح.

الرساميل الخليجية والاحتلال الأميركي، هما من ضرورات تمرير الصفقة، انما هل هذا كافٍ؟

لذلك دعا آل سعود الى قمة عربية قريبة تتقاطع مع قمة أخرى خليجية، فلماذا هذه القمم؟ وهل بإمكانها اضافة عناصر على المشهد الحالي؟ إن جامعة الدول العربية من أكبر المؤسسات الداعمة للانهيار العربي… فبلدانها الأساسية من العراق وسورية وليبيا والجزائر والسودان والصومال ومصر، واليمن تشهد حروباً داخلية، وتآمراً دولياً مفتوحاً… وعدد سكانها نحو 280 مليون نسمة.

«فأين عربك المزعومون يا أبو الغيط» وكيف تصدر جامعة أبو الغيط «قرارات مصيرية بدول صغيرة وهزيلة؟».

لذلك فإن مهمة هاتين القمتين هي إضفاء شرعية على الاحتلال الأميركي للخليج وتغطية صفقة القرن بشكل كامل، والاستمرار بتأجيج الصراع مع إيران واعتبارها عدواً أساسياً للعرب.

لكن ما يستدعي الاستغراب أيضاً هو عودة السعوديين الى احياء معركة 14 آذار بمسمى «البيت اللبناني». في مهمة قديمة هي محاربة السياسة الإيرانية وبالتالي حزب الله في لبنان.

فهل هذا ممكن؟

هناك توازن سياسي لبناني يمتلك حزب الله فيه دوراً طليعياً واساسياً، مقابل أحزاب موالية للسعودية والأميركيين، أصبحت ضعيفة بعد نجاح حلف سورية وحزب الله في تحرير 120 ألف ككيلومتر مربع تشمل كل اتجاهات حدود لبنان مع سورية.

هذا الوضع انعكس بشكل تراجع سياسي قوي أدّى الى تقلص نفوذ أحزاب المستقبل والاشتراكي و»القوات» وانهيار حركة 14 آذار التي كانت تشكل رأس حربة المنددين بسلاح حزب الله ودوره في مقاومة من كانت تسميه معارضة سورية وتبين أنه إرهاب قاعدي ـ داعشي مدعوم من السعودية وقطر وتركيا بغطاء أميركي كامل.

فما الذي استجد حتى تنبثق محاولة لإحياء هذه الحركة؟ اقليمياً، إن وضع سورية افضل مما كانت عليه وهي على مشارف الانتصار.

أما لبنانياً، فازدادت أدوار حزب الله وتحالفاته شعبياً وحكومياً، هذا إلى جانب اتساع ادوار سورية وإيران، فكيف يمكن المراهنة على «البيت اللبناني» المحكوم عليه سلفاً بالانهيار؟

هناك من يرى ان «البيت اللبناني» ليس أكثر من «وسيلة لغوية» قابلة للاستعمال في سبيل التأليب على إيران من دون أن يتحمل حزب المستقبل أي مسؤولية عنها، أي يؤيدها ولا يتبناها، فإذا نجحت، يصبح قادراً على استعجالها وإذا فشلت كما يرى معظم المحللين، فلن يتأسف أحد عليها لأنها محاولة لتجديد فتنة تحتجب بقوة انتصارات سورية وحلفائها وتراجع الفتن الطائفية.

والحل الوحيد للسعودية، لا يتأمن إلا بفتح مفاوضات مع إيران لبناء خليج متفاهم يؤسس لمنطقة مزدهرة في قلب القرن الحادي والعشرين وليس في صفقة القرن.

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The Hospital They Didn’t Bomb


By David McIlwain
Source
Douma_hosp_panoramic_s_ca2db.jpg
When I first set eyes on Douma Hospital a year ago today, it came as something of a surprise. As the scene of the notorious alleged chemical weapons attack only a month earlier, I was already quite familiar with its emergency ward, shown in “activist videos” around the world.
Viewers of Russian and alternative media also got to see more of the same ward when their reporters visited it soon afterward in search of some verification of the claims before they led to the US-led missile strikes on Damascus of April 14th.
The emergency ward looked like so many others that we’ve seen pictured over the last seven years in those videos “that can’t be independently verified” and – for all we would know – mightn’t even be in Syria, and mightn’t even be in hospitals.
Well, maybe Douma hospital is different because you just can’t miss it – as is clear from my photo! Somehow this public hospital, serving the local community with free healthcare for many years, remained in operation throughout the occupation of Douma by the violent extremists of Jaish al Islam – who were described to James Harkin of the Intercept by local residents as “ruling with an iron fist”. More to the point, the hospital building evidently didn’t come under attack from the Syrian air-force, despite its terrorist occupiers.
Harkin visited Douma looking for evidence to support – or counter – the chemical weapons claims some months after the event, and released a comprehensive analysis of his observations with other analysts in February this year.
His report, and the slickly produced video accompanying it, appeared to pre-empt the final release of the OPCW’s report from their Fact Finding Mission to Douma, conducted in late April 2018. Most significantly the authors of the Intercept’s report concluded that the video scenes taken in Douma hospital’s emergency ward were “likely staged”, but they nevertheless echoed the public conclusions of the OPCW that two chlorine cylinders had been dropped on nearby apartments and killed 35 people.
Both the Intercept’s conclusions and those of the OPCW leadership have now been shown to be not just mistaken but criminal fabrications, following information from the OPCW itself, and analysis from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The details of the engineering assessments of experts from the OPCW who visited the site showed quite unambiguously that it was not just the hospital scenes that were “staged”, but that the Chlorine gas cylinders could not have fallen from the sky, dropped by the Syrian air force. As they described it:
…the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”
The “alternative hypothesis” being that the cylinders were moved into their respective positions manually – “staged” in other words. The Working Group has drawn the many conclusions that follow from this piece of simple scientific analysis, and very serious consequences must follow for those organizations and governments who collaborated on this massive deception and the war crimes that accompanied it.
That is not the immediate focus of my article, however, which remains on the “unmissable” Douma Central Hospital that wasn’t bombed, and the elaborate campaign of disinformation and lies that has surrounded it. As Western governments and their puppet media once again fire up their “juggernaut of lies” about the Syrian and Russian governments moves to clear the remaining areas of Western Syria from Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, the talk of “bombing hospitals” is once again to the fore.
This interview by the ABC’s Fran Kelly with a Dr. Samir Al Taqi from the Orient Research Centre in Dubai gives the essence of the new campaign, both in her questions and his answers. It includes the claim that “twelve hospitals have been destroyed in recent days”.
Not coincidentally, a renewed barrage of disinformation alleging ongoing serious human rights abuses by the Syrian government has been launched by Western media, led by the New York Times former Beirut correspondent Anne Barnard.
As key actors in the development of these false narratives about Syria that saturate our media, James Harkin and his associates, Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat and Eyal Weizman from Forensic Architecture now have a lot to answer for, as their seemingly impartial and honest assessment of the Douma incident is shown to be an elaborate deception, contrived both to suit the interests of the Intercept’s sponsors and to maintain the pretence that this is “investigative journalism” of the best and most trustworthy kind.
But like the deception by the OPCW leadership, who simply omitted that most important part of their investigations in Douma, Harkin has left the six-storey hulk of Douma hospital out of his article, replacing it with a “makeshift underground hospital”:
Douma was a blackened shadow of its former self, many of its buildings still listing or reduced to charred metal and concrete, but a whole new city had been quietly carved out beneath it. Our first stop, a few yards from al-Shuhada Square, was at the mouth of a 3-meter-wide underground tunnel, reinforced with corrugated steel and concrete. It had been constructed by the Islamist rebels several years back, according to a soldier who walked us through it. He told us that hostages held by Jaish al-Islam had done the building. In total, it stretched for more than 5 kilometers and was broad enough to drive a truck through.
The tunnel had been set up to access a makeshift hospital emergency ward, whose spartan facilities were arranged over a single floor underground. Five meters below ground and reinforced by 13 meters of sandbagging above that, the hospital was still functioning when I arrived.
Robert Mackey, talking in the Intercept video also gives the impression that Douma had been mostly reduced to rubble, yet rows of apartment blocks over the street from the hospital are still occupied and little damaged. But the photos Harkin uses to illustrate his report show only the tunnel entrance and a view of Shahada square showing neither the hospital building nor the apartment blocks.
All these elements are visible in my photo, with the Shahada sq monument on the left and the hospital entrance on the right. This doubles as one of the main entrances to the extensive tunnel system, machine excavated and reinforced with prefabricated steel sections.
Giving Harkin and his colleagues the benefit of the doubt is now out of the question, so we can only conclude that his failure to describe or illustrate the Douma hospital building was an integral part of the Intercept’s disinformation package. It was even a fundamental part, and to reveal its un-bombed presence would have blown a hole in the whole pretense of “honest journalism in the fog of war” that the Intercept assumes.
Readers of the article might then have asked, not just why the Syrian or Russian air-force didn’t bomb the hospital, controlled by the militants they were fighting, but why they hadn’t bombed it in the previous five years? Those readers have been told repeatedly that “Assad” wants to kill civilians who support the “rebels”, and destroy their hospitals and schools, so why didn’t he do it here in Douma, which has been one of the most troublesome opposition-held areas close to the capital?
Might those readers then start to wonder if they have been spun a tale by their trusted journalists and that they should listen to some contrary viewpoints?
So for anyone of them listening here, this is the story of the hospital they didn’t bomb, and it’s quite simple. Just like the M10 hospital in Aleppo, used as a center of military and surgical operations by Al Qaeda and the White Helmets, its role as a public hospital serving the local community kept it safe from attack by the Syrian Army.
Contrary to everything the victims of Western media lies have been told, the Syrian army and its allies have gone to extreme lengths to avoid civilian casualties in their campaigns to liberate communities from their violent extremist occupiers. You could say it was all about “winning back hearts and minds”, and the evidence of life now restored in Ghouta and Douma shows that.
Countless Syrian soldiers have lost their lives in this fight to protect those communities from the foreign-funded and armed militants and terrorist groups, and each one is no different from our own citizens who have lost their lives in similar terrorist attacks, but for one thing – they are our terrorists.
It is a chilling, and frankly disgusting thought, that the violent psychopaths of Jaish al Islam who secured their release from the siege of Douma the day after they staged the chemical attack, are now being cheered on by Western NGO’s and media to commit more murders of Syrian soldiers and the villagers they are trying to protect in Idlib. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted this in last week’s briefing:
Over 30 Syrian service personnel died in Idlib last week following a series of heavy attacks by Al-Nusra militants. The terrorists also fired mortars and missiles at towns and villages near the Idlib de-escalation zone, resulting in civilian deaths. According to incoming reports, the terrorist groups there are planning an offensive on Syrian government forces’ positions in the provinces of Hama and Aleppo.
And the “hospitals” that were bombed? Do we really think that the Syrian or Russian air-forces would waste their bombs on civilians, when there are armies of Al Qaeda terrorists attacking Syrian soldiers and villages on the frontline with missiles and car bombs, and even chemical weapons and cluster bombs?
Can we believe anyone who tells us that – now?

Anti-Trump Former CIA Chief Brennan Invited to Discuss Iran


May 19, 2019
Former CIA director John Brennan is due to brief House Democrats on the situation in Iran next Tuesday, the Associated Press quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The private caucus meeting will also be attended by Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official who was the top negotiator of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The sources said that the gathering “offers counter-programming” to the Trump administration’s closed-door Capitol Hill briefing for lawmakers, which is also slated for Tuesday.
Brennan’s briefing comes amid mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran. The Islamic Republic earlier this month announced suspension of its participation in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in response to tough sanctions imposed by the US.
The US imposed more anti-Iranian sanctions and sent the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier’s strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers and a battery of Patriot missiles to the Middle East.
Related News
Source: Sputnik

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times


May 19, 2019
Note by The Saker: I normally don’t post open letters, but in this case I made an exception since this latter is also an analysis and because of the importance of this issue.
by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog
To the Editor in CHIEF
Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times
NYT – 18 May 2019
Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists SaySubtitle:
Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.
This introduction is accompanied by a picture of a man in rags, pushing a shopping cart through a garbage dump site. You, NYT, say it is in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the man looking for recyclables. The photo could be from anywhere, the same with a picture further down in the text – depicting a young woman nursing a baby in the dark – you say in a typical Venezuelan blackout.
This is a flagrant misrepresentation of what’s going on in Venezuela.
The New York Times is known for selecting photos from places of misery, could be slums from anywhere in the world, and placing them where it is most convenient to propagate a lie story – a story meant to demean a country in the public opinion, a country that the empire wants to subdue by bashing and insulting it – so the public – the braindead western public, notably in the US and Europe, will tolerate or even scream for a “humanitarian invasion” from the friendly US of A.
Why don’t you NYT’s shameful liars tell the full truth?
Who is responsible for the collapse, the lack of food, medicine, blackouts – actually for all of the collapses that you described in your manipulating master piece of deceit and propaganda? – And many more ‘collapses’ that you don’t even mention?
The NYT article compares Venezuela with “Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe, the fall of the Soviet Union, and Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s”. The Times is completing its baseless preposterous accusation by saying, “the crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all. Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.”
The economist your article quotes is none less than the former chief economist of the IMF, Harvard professor, Kenneth Rogoff, one of the most neoliberal, bordering on neofascist, economists you could have chosen. But that figures. Impressing with name calling. No matter how biased they are; no matter that they too defend the US hardline – invade Venezuela to safe the people.
Whom do you think you impress with such names? The ignorant, of course, and – yes – there are plenty of them in the great and unique US of A; and your key objective and that of most MSM is to keep them ignorant, so the exceptional nation can continue sowing misery around the globe for the benefit of a few – killing millions and millions of innocent people, for power, the theft of resources and world hegemony.
Aren’t you – the Editor in Chief – ashamed for putting up a totally false scenario? – One of lies and half-truths, all with the objective of further brainwashing the western public – into becoming warmongers, like your criminal government, and like your criminal paper. Yes, the NYT is a criminal paper, for doing what it does: Lying after lying to sway public opinion towards war, towards killing – mass-killing, mass-murder, that’s what your government has been doing for the last 70 years – all under false flags and lies, pretending fighting terrorists, yet, fomenting terrorism, while building up the base for world hegemony – and insane profits for the American war industrial complex – the oligarchs of death.
Did you know – you must! – that the US economy could not survive PEACE; that this sadistic and satanic economy depends on war, permanent war? That the war machine manufacturing complex and its associated industries and services account for more than 50% of the US GDP? And do you realize – you should! – that the US’s economic output is one of destruction – of killing, of annihilation – instead of building and developing human knowledge and wellbeing, the intrinsic thrive of human society – evolving in conscience, integrity and conscientiousness towards living well for all?
How is that for an exceptional nation? – Indeed, an exceptional nation, a nation in disrespect of all international laws and conventions – just breaching the Vienna Convention to which the US is party – by violating the diplomatic code, invading the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and a few years ago, by seizing Russian diplomatic properties in Washington and New York. Wonderful precedents for other unaligned and disobedient countries to prepare for – but also for other countries – if and when they wake up and take their courage into their mind and fist – to do the same to US Embassies on their soil. What would Washington do? Does Washington even consider such a possibility? I guess not. But it’s the easiest thing to do – retaliate.
It would just take a number of countries acting in solidarity, simultaneously – and Bingo! – the emperor will be standing there with his pants down.
Your paper didn’t mention this little diplomatic episode that happened a few days ago in the context of lawlessness, of breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations which entered into effect in April 1964, one of the few sacrosanct UN Conventions on diplomacy of which the US is a signatory.
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Back to the Venezuelan “misery” you, Mr. Editor in Chief, and the NYT are so eager to report on. Why don’t you say that the United States of America – the self-proclaimed exceptional nation, with war criminals leading it – is responsible for far most of the suffering of Venezuela, through its totally illegal (who cares in Washington about legality) sanctions, blockage of food and medical imports, theft and confiscation of some US$ 130 billion in Venezuelan assets and reserve funds in US banks and around the world, economic blackmail and strangulation that has, according to economists Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington D.C. and Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, caused the death of some 40,000 Venezuelans.
This racist, misogynist and neofascist government, centered in and around the Swamp of Washington, is responsible for most of the suffering in the world today, by planting wars and conflicts – eternal war on terror; the same terrorists, trained, funded and armed by the very Washington, the CIA, the Pentagon, NATO and the spineless European puppets – for power, domination and theft of resources.
Does the NYT ever report on this? – Why can’t you, the NYT and YOU, the Editor in Chief, for once be honest and stand up for true journalism? – Because you would lose your job? Right, that’s it, isn’t it? – So, why don’t you pull out your card of ethics that you subscribed to in the school of journalism – from deep-deep down in your soul – look at it, internalize it – and think how much more you will be gaining in esteem around the world, if you bring the truth to the people, rather than keep lying – and brainwashing the world into war, misery and death? – Try it. You may be surprised.
Don’t you think, Dear Editor in Chief, sooner or later this lie-propaganda, this abject non-journalism will haunt you eventually all the way into the grave?
People will wake up, the empire will fall, it’s just a matter of time. What will you do then?
Switch sides? – You truly think, you really honestly think, people will believe you? – And I mean you and your paper, the once-upon-a-time highly reputed New York Times? That the people are so dumb to forever buy your lies, your untruths? – It’s now or never that you should switch sides. You may feel the brunt for a while from those who pretend running the world, but deep down in your soul you still have a spark of ethic left. Pull it out. Bring it to light. It will reward your life forever.
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Largely thanks to you, the NYT and your think-alike AngloZionist mass-media colleagues and partners in crime – which encourage people to call for wars, for invasions, conflicts and regime change, all based on your deceit, misinformation and false flags – as a disgraceful result of these lies millions and millions of people have been killed around the globe. Estimates put the figure at between 20 and 25 million since the end of WWII – all by the US, NATO, and their proxies and vassalic European minions.
By repeatedly spreading lies and deception, you are creating a false truth, indoctrinating people into consensus for wars and more wars, for invading and killing more innocent people, for the benefit of a few kleptomaniac oligarchs, stealing natural resources and, especially, of the corrupt war machine. Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, had it right, when he said: Give me control of the media and I convert the people into a herd of pigs. Most of the western populace is already a herd of pigs.
Venezuelans are no herd of pigs. They, and Cubans, Nicaraguans, Bolivians, Iranians, Syrians, Russians, Chinese – and many other sanctioned, blackmailed and suffocated people, have been resisting and will continue to resist, no matter what it takes to bring the empire to its knees. Let’s face it, the latest amok race around the globe dishing out sanctions and more sanctions – from Venezuela, to Iran, to China, to North Korea, to Syria, to Iraq – by the ultra-dangerous, sadistic warrior-jokers, Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams, Pence – and not to forget, the Goldie-Lock of incompetence in the White House – with a fleet of the largest warplane carriers encircling the seas of Iran and the Gulf of Hormuz – these people and the scenarios they create, are a true reflection of hopelessness befalling a fading empire.
You, the New York Times, could help bringing this abject war on terror, the merciless killing of millions to an end, accelerate the downfall of the empire, by spreading the truth – the truth that you, Editor in Chief, as well as many of your colleague journalists know – by stepping out of your MSM-box, making a 180-degree U-turn, siding with the people, the 99.99% who crave PEACE. – You would earn and receive an enormous THANK-YOU.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.