Gas Attack In Khan Sheikhoun! But why would Bashar al-Assad blow himself up?

By   /   April 5, 2017  /   96 Comments

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JUST ONCE, it would be nice to encounter a Western journalist willing to challenge the “International Community’s” official line. Someone willing to acknowledge that the term “International Community” is, itself, a cynical misnomer intended to cloak the self-interested policies of the United States and its Nato allies in the highfalutin language of global solidarity.

JUST ONCE, it would be nice to encounter a Western journalist willing to challenge the “International Community’s” official line. Someone willing to acknowledge that the term “International Community” is, itself, a cynical misnomer intended to cloak the self-interested policies of the United States and its Nato allies in the highfalutin language of global solidarity. Someone willing to have a crack at sifting a nugget of awkward truth from the dross of convenient lies.

Take this morning’s story about the use of poison gas against Syrian civilians. There would appear to be little doubt that somebody released the deadly nerve agent Sarin in the rebel stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun, killing scores of civilians, including women and children. Before the last victim of the attack had been loaded into an ambulance, however, the world was being told that the party responsible for this hideous attack was the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Nobody thought to ask the obvious question: “Why would Assad do such a thing?” Syria was en route to a new round of peace talks. More importantly, she was about to enter negotiations in which the usual American, British and French demands that “Assad must go!” were to be, for the first time since the Syrian Civil War broke out in earnest, quietly put to one side. Having won the war on the ground, the Assad regime was on the brink of clearing away its enemies’ unrealistic preconditions. Finally, a serious conversation about Syria’s future could begin.

And yet, we are being invited to believe that, with all this at stake, President Assad ordered the use of Sarin gas on his own citizens. Somehow, instigating a reprehensible war crime against women and children was going to strengthen his moral authority. Somehow, by revolting the entire world, he would improve his chances of being accepted as Syria’s legitimate ruler. Somehow, by embarrassing the Russian Federation, his country’s most valuable military ally, he would enhance Syria’s national security. The whole notion is absurd.

The much more obvious interpretation of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun is that it was intended to inflict as much damage on the Syrian Government as possible. That it would stop in their tracks all moves towards accepting that Assad must be involved in peace-making process. That it would ensure that the flow of arms to Assad’s enemies continues – and might even be increased. That it would place the Russians under increasing international pressure to abandon their alliance with the Assad regime. That it would force the Trump Administration to back away smartly from its “Assad can stay” position.

So many birds with just one, Sarin-smeared stone.

The failure of Western journalism is made all the greater by the fact that its “Assad uses poison gas on his own people!” headline has been used before. On 22 August 2013, the world awoke to the news that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Syrian civilians living in the rebel-controlled Ghouta suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had been attacked with what appeared to be chemical weapons, specifically, the deadly nerve agent Sarin. The author of the attack was immediately identified as – you guessed it! – Bashar al-Assad.

Surely, the International Community, opined (through its journalistic mouthpieces) President Barack Obama’s “red line” had been crossed. Surely, it was time for the USA to intervene?

Then a story appeared on the Mint Press News website based in Minnesota. From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, freelance journalists Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh concluded that the attack had been carried out by rebel forces using chemical weapons supplied by Saudi Intelligence.

The International Community and its flacks weren’t buying any of it. And yet, for some reason, Obama declined to be stampeded into war by the Ghouta outrage. Could it be that US intelligence officers and their Israeli counterparts uncovered exactly the same evidence as the Mint Press News? Did Russian Intelligence approach them with corroborative intercepts? Whatever the explanation, the USA declined to escalate the Syrian conflict.

Those peddling the same “Assad did it!” line in 2017 should, perhaps, ask themselves whether the person currently occupying the White House; the man who believes himself besieged by his own intelligence agencies; the man whose quick temper and sensitivity to criticism is legendary; the man currently in the market for a major political distraction; will allow himself to be steered away from diplomatic and military responses certain to inflame the already critical situation in the Middle East?

Just once, I wish the Western news media would use its fucking head!

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96 Comments

  1. jax says:

    I watched some of the footage of the so called aftermath of the chemical attack. Where you see the scurrying White Helmets with the worst special effects in their home videos, you also see poorly scripted medical scenes, from the lack of urgency one expects to see to meaningless milling round of actors. There were no children or women in the initial footage but rather what looked like a group of Jihadis. The area looked like a dugout of a mountain rather than a residential area.

    If there was a chemical attack then the footage should be verified by someone other than the lone ranger known as the Human Rights Watch situated in a Coventry UK grocer shop.

    You are absolutely right in that the Western journos never question the motivation of why Assad would attack his own people.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      “I watched some of the footage of the so called aftermath of the chemical attack. Where you see the scurrying White Helmets with the worst special effects in their home videos, you also see poorly scripted medical scenes, from the lack of urgency one expects to see to meaningless milling round of actors.”

      If you would watch the footage again, now widely distributed, I am sure you will find, that was not “acting” that was going on.

      Whatever the true cause, it was not made up like you suggest, but the cause and reaction may look a little different to what the narrative by some in the MSM is.

    • Jen says:

      Why is the doctor in the picture (or whoever it is) showing bare skin. Wouldn’t you be covered head to toe if you were dealing with people who had been affected with chemicals especially sarin

    • Jen says:

      And the doctor has bare skin..

    • Jen says:

      And has no one noticed the doctors arms are bare.. Why would you not cover your skin when working with the effects of sarin gas or any chemical used for war.. Should be wearing gloves.. Lots of pictures with bare skin.

  2. Brigid says:

    Hear hear!!
    And

    ” The United Nations secretariat cannot verify media reports about a chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib that killed dozens of people, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

    “We are not currently in a position to verify the reports. I saw that earlier today the OPCW fact-finding mission has already announced that it began gathering the information to attempt to confirm the chemical weapons were used,” he said….”

    http://tass.com/world/939392

    And
    In 2013, a report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Mission in Syria, concluded that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria. The mission was overseen by both the United States and Russia with the cooperation of the Syrian government.

    https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-33/ecm33dec01_e_.pdf

  3. Sally's Husband says:

    Perhaps Assad felt emboldened to use gas to bring the civil war to a faster conclusion, knowing full well that Trump would not act against his mate, Putin? Who knows. I don’t.

    Only an international investigation of reputable, impartial investigators can dertermine the real culprits. And that excludes us, because our reputation is now permanently stained after the allegations of war atrocities by our own SAS in Tirgiran Valley in 2010.

    • Only an international investigation of reputable, impartial investigators can dertermine the real culprits. And that excludes us, because our reputation is now permanently stained after the allegations of war atrocities by our own SAS in Tirgiran Valley in 2010.

      Indeed, SH. I concur.

  4. Historian pete says:

    One of your best blogs ever Chris! I would like to add that an intelligence operative would ask the question: Who benefits ? One of the major reasons for the U.S. Empire /Nato obsession with Syria is that they support the plan to partition Syria so as to allow Quatar to build a pipeline through the territory so as to deliver its vast natural gas field to Europe.This would weaken Russia ,who is at present the main provider,and close the only Russian military base in that part of the world.Follow the oil and gas!!

  5. Brigid says:

    Hear hear!!
    And
    ” The United Nations secretariat cannot verify media reports about a chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib that killed dozens of people, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

    “We are not currently in a position to verify the reports. I saw that earlier today the OPCW fact-finding mission has already announced that it began gathering the information to attempt to confirm the chemical weapons were used,” he said….”

    http://tass.com/world/939392

    And
    In 2013, a report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Mission in Syria, concluded that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria. The mission was overseen by both the United States and Russia with the cooperation of the Syrian government.

    https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-33/ecm33dec01_e_.pdf

  6. Nice one I couldn’t have said it better myself Chris “the Assad must go” narrative has been Washington and its allies spin for over 6 years which is responsible for the devastation of the Syrian people and their country

    And the western media including our very own One News has been highlighting that western narrative by showing excerpts of BBC the very same media outlet that spun the line Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction

  7. Pat O'Dea says:

    So let’s get this right Chris. You think the Syrian rebels dropped sarin gas on their own civilian population from their non-existent airforce to discredit the regime of Bashar Assad.

    How on earth did you come up with this bizaar theory?

    Interview your own typewriter did you?

    I noticed you didn’t include any links to back up your crazy theory.

    Your theory as to motive behind this gas attack is about as off the wall as saying the Holocaust was committed by the Jewish people to discredit the Nazis.

    So let’s have a realistic look at the regime you say the rebels needed to discredit by attacking themselves.

    Outsourcing Torture

    How the CIA worked with the Assad regime to get around US statutes forbidding torture.
    (Syria being the number 1 end destination for CIA flights of extraordinary rendition)

    The section on Syria is disturbing. That government’s record of horrific abuses has spilled out into the open since the uprising of 2011 became a civil war, with more Syrians subjected to – and speaking out about – a torture regime that sounds as if it were from another century. According to a 2005 article by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, quoted in the report, Syria was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects.” Government forces, according to the report, held some U.S.-provided detainees in a prison known as “The Grave” for its coffin-sized cells and subjected them to “torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the ‘German chair’) and beatings.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/02/05/a-staggering-map-of-the-54-countries-that-reportedly-participated-in-the-cias-rendition-program/

    • reason says:

      The U.s.a has long long form in all sorts of war crimes ….

      “S Brian Willson was asigned to guard Bin Tui, an airbase in south Vietnam, in which position he was given the duty of helping assess bombing missions, in April 1969, to ensure the piolets were not deliberatly missing their targets . His description of the first such misson includes … a sea of bodies probably 100 to 120 corpses. A few of them were moving, most were still. This was 15 minustes after the bombing.

      The village had been bombed in the middle of the day, when the healthy adults were at work in the fields, so the victims were all the children, the elderly. the infirm and childminders. The military situation was such that just two officers were able to arrive 15 minutes after the bombing without any endangerment to themselves. Wilsons companion, an VNAF Lieutenant replied to Wilsons protestations: ” They’re communists, this is a victory, and they left the wounded to die. Wilson believed there was some mistake, but soon discovered that, because the entire province had been declared a free-fire zone, the villages were systematically being destroyed without reference to whether or not there was intellignece of enemy acitivy. Wilson described this as ‘a deliberate systmeatic plan to wipe out the civilian population.’ This does not have a place in anyoines conception of war except in as much as genocide is conceived by some as being a type of war….”

      …” the strong association of the Vietnam War with US atrocities is not the product of liars, nor some elevated moral stance which caused US personal to be far more honest in reporting the inevitable lapses which occur in war. The association comes about because atrocities were prolific ….”

      .. “experience of Nick Turse and Deborah Nelson. They traveled to part of Quang Nam province to find the site of a massacre detailed in US investigation files. They had an uncertaion location. In three days looking for the site they were shown a total of 5 massacre sites where a total of 8 different massacres had occurred, 5 committed by US personal. They were unable to find the site of the massacre: ‘ we thought we’d be looking for a needle in a haystack of hamlets , not a haystack of of massacres .”

      The u.s.a is committing genocide in the middle east …. http://mro.massey.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10179/3592/02_whole.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    Is it definitely proven that Assad is responsible for these atrocities?

  9. PB says:

    Expecting a dog to meow, sadly. They’re there to enforce establishment propaganda, not question or inform.
    They change when “our” govts’ stances change. (Which tells you who really rules the roost in the US, of course.)

  10. Pat O'Dea says:

    Outsourcing Torture

    Or, why the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad is so favoured by the CIA!

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/02/14/outsourcing-torture

    During the flight, Arar said, he heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of “the Special Removal Unit.” The Americans, he learned, planned to take him next to Syria. Having been told by his parents about the barbaric practices of the police in Syria, Arar begged crew members not to send him there, arguing that he would surely be tortured. His captors did not respond to his request; instead, they invited him to watch a spy thriller that was aired on board.

    • Penny Bright says:

      errr…. so why are the USA so determined to bring about ‘regime change’ in Syria and remove President Assad?

      There’s a serious logic gap in your argument here Pat, in my opinion.

      Penny Bright

      • Sam Sam says:

        Because Assad trades oil exclusively in rubble. The US dollar is so fragile (20 trillion bonds worth a fragility) that the dollar can not have any competition.

        • In Vino says:

          Rubble would be quite an innovation as a currency – but it might actually rupture the corrupted system we currently have.

          • Sam Sam says:

            IN VINO is correct to point out “rubble,” it should read as the russian “ruble” muh bad. I get that way when my mined is cluttered. Its a bad habit i picked up with some kids

      • Pat O'Dea says:

        Penny your regime change conspiracy theory bears no relation to Logic, or reality.

        Assad and the West have been working hand in glove for decades, why on earth would they want to overthrow him?

        But the Syrian people certainly have more than enough motive, after being ruthlessly, plundered and murdered by the Assad regime, for two generations, and mostly in concert with the West.

        The Assad family controls up to 60% of the Syrian economy![1] It is estimated that all the brothers have around $5 billion in HSBC. Their business empire includes duty free, retail, banking, and the giant mobile phone network Syriatel. Since these companies were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, they do not pay taxes!

        http://litci.org/en/rami-makhlouf-a-corruption-poster-boy/

        Surely you are aware Penny, that the Syrian regime collaborated with the CIA to torture CIA detainees. (see links above)

        That Bashar Assad was (and probably still is) a favourite of British war criminal Tony Blair and the British Queen. (Assad being the only Middle East leader to ever overnight as a personal guest of her majesty in Buckingham Palace. And that Blair tried (unsuccessfully) to award Assad a British Knighthood. (There are some levels of filth that even the British Government won’t stoop to.)

        A third official wrote an email on Nov. 25 stating: “In view of Syria’s human rights record and the fact that our relationship with them is not particularly cozy, we do not believe it would be particularly appropriate for an honor to be bestowed on Bashar.”
        Another official wrote: “It is quite clear what the Syrians are looking for: as much pomp and ceremony as possible.”
        Former British Ambassador to Damascus, Henry Hogger, told officials in London on Nov. 12: “I know that our main concern is to try and fix in advance the handling of difficult media issues [e.g. why are we cosying up to this nasty dictatorship that locks up its own MPs?].”

        http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Jul-01/178928-britain-considered-knighthood-for-syrias-assad-in-2002-report.ashx

        The Assad dynastic dictators, already had a long history of mass murder and genocide, even before the British imperialist and war criminal Tony Blair tried to award them a knighthood.

        Initial diplomatic reports from western governments in 1982 had stated that 1000 were killed in the fighting.[3][4] Subsequent estimates of casualties varied from 7,000 to 40,000 people killed, including about 1,000 soldiers. Robert Fisk, who was in Hama shortly after the massacre, originally estimated fatalities at 10,000, but has since doubled the estimate to 20,000.[1][19][20] The president’s brother Rifaat reportedly boasted of killing 38,000 people.[21] Amnesty International initially estimated the death toll was between 10,000 and 25,000.[7]
        Reports by Syrian Human Rights Committee claimed “over 25,000″[22] or between 30,000 and 40,000 people were killed.[6] The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood also suggested a figure of approximately 40,000 victims.[citation needed]
        Twenty years later, Syrian journalist Subhi Hadidi, wrote that forces “under the command of General Ali Haydar, besieged the city for 27 days, bombarding it with heavy artillery and tank [fire], before invading it and killing 30,000 or 40,000 of the city’s citizens – in addition to the 15,000 missing who have not been found to this day, and the 100,000 expelled.”[2]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Hama_massacre

        The Assad regime was a foundation member of the US led “Coalition Of The Willing” putting 17,000 Syrian soldiers under US command in the first Gulf War.

        The truth of course is that the West were caught flat footed by the Syrian uprising which is part of the Arab Spring against the dictatorships that imperialism has imposed on the Arab peoples.

        Your whacky conspiracy theory is he height of illogic.

        But worse than this it makes you an apologist for Syrian fascism.

        So tell us again Penny, why you think the West would want to overthrow this imperialist lickspittle?

        • Indeed, Pat. Amnesty International has uncovered state-sponsored mass-killings in Assad’s prisons;

          The report, Human Slaughterhouse, details allegations of state-sanctioned abuse that are unprecedented in Syria’s civil war, a conflict that has consistently broken new ground in depravity, leaving at least 400,000 people dead and nearly half the country’s population displaced.

          It suggests thousands more people could have been hanged in Saydnaya since the end of 2015, after which former guards and detainees who spoke to Amnesty no longer had access to verifiable information from inside the prison.

          Among the 84 people interviewed were four former guards at two key buildings, a “red building” in which civilian detainees were held and a “white building” that held former military members and where hangings were carried out in the basement. More than 12 months of research focused on 31 men who were held in both buildings. A military judge was also interviewed.

          The witnesses claimed that once or twice a week 20 to 50 people at a time were hanged after sham trials before a military court. Their bodies were taken to the nearby Tishreen military hospital where a cause of death was typically registered as a respiratory disorder or heart failure. They were buried on military land in Nahja, south of Damascus, and Qatana, a small town to the west.

          The report’s author, Nicolette Waldman, said the estimate of the number of people hanged ranged from a minimum of 5,000 to a maximum of 13,000.

          “There is no reason at all to expect that the hangings have stopped. We believe it is very likely that the executions are going on to this day and that many thousands more people have been killed,” she said.

          “They came for them on a Monday. Before they were hanged, victims were condemned to death in a two- to three-minute hearing. The death sentence was signed by the minister of defence, who was deputised to sign by President Assad. It is inconceivable that all of the top officials did not know about it. This was a policy of extermination.”

          ref: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/07/up-to-13000-secretly-hanged-in-syrian-jail-says-amnesty

          This is the butcher that some people believe merits their support.

          They might as well support the likes of Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Shah of Iran, Pol Pot, or any number of murdering despots throughout the last hundred years. Add to that warmongers like Tony Blair and George Bush, whose actions have created a charnel house in the Middle East, and the rogue’s gallery is complete.

    • reason says:

      I’m surprised there has not been more of a backlash against the pro-war fake news/lies being spread by the cheerleaders of EVERY war …. that genocidal U.S politicians want to launch …. The only thing missing is our John key or wayne mapp Key shouting out ….” get some guts “.

      I bet the Herald and co are reporting a whole pack of lies over this war ‘trigger’ ….. and when done they will be back to attacking the truth …. as told by the Jon Stephensons and Nicky Hagers of this world.

      I’m sick of it …. and You’d have to be a bone headed idiot to forget all the lies they always tell for their ‘humanitarian ‘ wars … or believe in humanitarian wars for that matter.

      Just to refresh …../They lied to invade and wage war on the Afghan people…. We hunt down and kill 3 year old girls … as just one result/effect

      They spun many lies of chemical natures and other assorted terrorist bullshit to invade Iraq …. and they are still tearing its country and people apart …..

      They spun many lies to wage war on and destroy Libya as a country ….. and a society .

      They lied to invade Vietnam and killed genocidal numbers of Vietnamese in a 100,000 and one different war crimes ….

      … and on and on and on it goes http://johnpilger.com/articles/don-t-forget-yugoslavia

      They have been waging a murderous campaign against the people of Syria … with Israels and Isis help….. for a long time.

      Destabilization and death … for Syria…. John Stockwell explains what destabilization involves http://www.serendipity.li/cia/stock1.html

      We should not be supporting head chopping terrorist thugs in the destruction of a country http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-revolution-aleppo-assad.html ….

      Reality check …. :How are things for women …. or black Africans in Libya now ???????????

      How many surface to air missiles are in the hands of cruel extreme nutters now ?.

  11. Pat O'Dea says:

    What is the torture regime that the CIA so admire?

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/16/syria-stories-behind-photos-killed-detainees

    Show More Services
    (Moscow) – Nine months of research reveals some of the human stories behind the more than 28,000 photos of deaths in government custody that were smuggled out of Syria and first came to public attention in January 2014.
     

    December 16, 2015 Report
    If the Dead Could Speak
    Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria’s Detention Facilities

    Download the report
    Download the report in ARABIC

    The 86-page report, “If the Dead Could Speak: Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria’s Detention Facilities,” lays out new evidence regarding the authenticity of what are known as the Caesar photographs, identifies a number of the victims, and highlights some of the key causes of death. Human Rights Watch located and interviewed 33 relatives and friends of 27 victims whose cases researchers verified; 37 former detainees who saw people die in detention; and four defectors who worked in Syrian government detention centers or the military hospitals where most of the photographs were taken. Using satellite imagery and geolocation techniques, Human Rights Watch confirmed that some of the photographs of the dead were taken in the courtyard of the 601 Military Hospital in Mezze.

  12. Brigid says:

    Hear hear!!
    And
    ” The United Nations secretariat cannot verify media reports about a chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib that killed dozens of people, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

    “We are not currently in a position to verify the reports. I saw that earlier today the OPCW fact-finding mission has already announced that it began gathering the information to attempt to confirm the chemical weapons were used,” he said….”

    http://tass.com/world/939392

    And
    In 2013, a report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Mission in Syria, concluded that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria. The mission was overseen by both the United States and Russia with the cooperation of the Syrian government.

    https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-33/ecm33dec01_e_.pdf

    • ALH84001 says:

      Yet it was verified that Saddam Hussein used poison gas against his own people in Halabja in the 1980s?

      Or is that a “false flag” conspiracy as well.

      I’m confused. Are Middle East dictators the good guys now?

  13. Pat O'Dea says:

    Take this morning’s story about the use of poison gas against Syrian civilians. There would appear to be little doubt that somebody released the deadly nerve agent Sarin in the rebel stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun, killing scores of civilians, including women and children. Before the last victim of the attack had been loaded into an ambulance, however, the world was being told that the party responsible for this hideous attack was the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
    Nobody thought to ask the obvious question: “Why would Assad do such a thing?”

    Chris Trotter

    Simple answer Chris, Bashar Assad is a blood soaked tyrant, who has never shrunk from committing war crimes to maintain his fascist style dictatorship.

    No need for complicated and unwieldy, logic straining conspiracy theories.

    The latest news, is that following on from the gas attack yesterday the regime has continued with conventional bombing raids on Idlib.

    Chris would you dare claim that these raids too, are being done to discredit the regime?

    • Win says:

      [Comment deleted. Ad hominem unacceptable. – Scarletmod]

    • Win says:

      Goodness me. Another mainstream media aka fakenews, indoctrinated, stooge. Read this for a more balanced view; http://theduran.com/confirmed-chemical-weapons-in-idlib-were-stashed-by-terrorists/

      • “Stooge”? Really, Win?

        So tell us if you think Amnesty International is also a stooge of msm/fakenews;

        As many as 13,000 opponents of Bashar al-Assad were secretly hanged in one of Syria’s most infamous prisons in the first five years of the country’s civil war as part of an extermination policy ordered by the highest levels of the Syrian government, according to Amnesty International.

        Many thousands more people held in Saydnaya prison died through torture and starvation, Amnesty said, and the bodies were dumped in two mass graves on the outskirts of Damascus between midnight and dawn most Tuesday mornings for at least five years.

        It suggests thousands more people could have been hanged in Saydnaya since the end of 2015, after which former guards and detainees who spoke to Amnesty no longer had access to verifiable information from inside the prison.

        Among the 84 people interviewed were four former guards at two key buildings, a “red building” in which civilian detainees were held and a “white building” that held former military members and where hangings were carried out in the basement. More than 12 months of research focused on 31 men who were held in both buildings. A military judge was also interviewed.

        ref: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/07/up-to-13000-secretly-hanged-in-syrian-jail-says-amnesty

        Let’s not gloss over the very beginnings of the uprising in Syria, seven years ago;

        Five years since the conflict began, more than 450,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.

        In 2011, what became known as the ” Arab Spring ” revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak .

        That March, peaceful protests erupted in Syria as well, after 15 boys were detained and tortured for having written graffiti in support of the Arab Spring. One of the boys, 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb , was killed after having been brutally tortured.

        The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more.

        ref: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-civil-war-explained-160505084119966.html

        This is the regime that a few folk here seem to be rushing to embrace.

        It is no different to the military regimes of Latin America, and elsewhere. Especially in it’s determination to crush all popular resistance.

        We can turn a blind eye to Assad’s regime because it’s allied to the Russians, instead of Saudi Arabia being allied to the US. I happen to view them both with disdain.

      • By the way Win, quoting “The Duran” is of dubious value when that website itself is accused of promoting fake news: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-duran/

    • Historian pete says:

      Lets look at the record of the good old U.S.A- the leader of the free world ,
      in the area of the usuage of chemical weapons,[even though the U.S is not a democracy:It is a plutocracy ruled by the 1%.]
      In the attack by Saddam Hussein on the Kurds, the poisonous chemical weapons were supplied by the U.S.
      In the attack by Saddam Hussein on the Iranians the poisonous chemical weapons were supplied by the U.S.
      In the battle of Fallujah in Iraq the U.S used depleted uranium shells that are still having a toxic effect on the population.
      Of course there was no international investigation of reputable impartial investigators.We must accept the fact that exceptional blood-soaked war criminals from the Exceptional Country will never be investigated.

      • In the attack by Saddam Hussein on the Kurds, the poisonous chemical weapons were supplied by the U.S.
        In the attack by Saddam Hussein on the Iranians the poisonous chemical weapons were supplied by the U.S.

        Curious how people are willing to accept, without question, that Saddam Hussein used poison gas against the Kurds and Iranians – by not willing to consider the same allegation against another, neighbouring, Middle east dictator.

        Why is that, I wonder?

        After all, it could be that the poison gas used by Iraqi forces in the 1980s was in fact used by Saddam Hussein’s enemies, and then blamed on Hussein.

        But then again, that was the 1980s – a time prior to the ubiquitous internet with the current proliferation of dodgy websites with even more dodgy “news stories”.

        • Steve Rowe says:

          Saddam didn’t authorise that gas attack either – it was a battlefield commander who did it without Saddam’s knowledge.

          That comes from the US intelligence officer who ‘interviewed’ him. John Nixon’s book is very good BTW…

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4044216/CIA-agent-grilled-Saddam-Hussein-says-thought-knew-man-WRONG.html

          This quote sums up the situation then and now

          “I do not wish to imply that Saddam was innocent. He was a ruthless dictator who plunged his region into chaos and bloodshed. But in hindsight, the thought of having an ageing and disengaged Saddam in power seems almost comforting in comparison with the wasted effort of our brave men and women in uniform and the rise of Islamic State, not to mention the £2.5 trillion spent to build a new Iraq.”

    • Samwise says:

      Well said pat!

  14. Michael says:

    Nice piece Chris, what you are saying are all the thoughts that ran through my mind this morning.

    Now I do not know if he did it or not but anyone who has spent any time reading any history knows not to take things at face value.

    I would love and mean love to get the reading lists (If such things existed) of all the journalists working in this country. Just to see how they educate themselves is of genuine curiosity to me.

    Do they even have any real interest in history and political theory? I will stop now as I feel a rant brewing!

    Time to take a deep breathe and watch countdown to UFC 210,

  15. Pat O'Dea says:

    This is the regime that Chris Trotter believes he needs to invent a defence for.

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/16/if-dead-could-speak/mass-deaths-and-torture-syrias-detention-facilities

    • Win says:

      HRW are a Soros supported and funded JOKE!!

      • Samwise says:

        Win, you deflection attempt against soros suggests you don’t want to talk about assad’s murderous regime. Last time I looked, soros wasn’t a bloodthirsty dictator of a country racked by civil war.

  16. Mike in Auckland says:

    The first victim of war is the truth, and I am sure, in this case here, we have it being victim once again.

    While I am careful relying on any sources now, this one informs about things the western MSM seems to ignore:
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/jumping-conclusions-something-not-adding-idlib-chemical-weapons-attack/

    Wikipedia is somewhat ambiguous about Al Masdar News:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Masdar_News

    But it is one media source based in the UAE, not necessarily a Syria sympathetic place.

    RT reports it as such:

    https://www.rt.com/news/383444-syria-gas-attack-idlib/
    https://www.rt.com/news/383522-syria-idlib-warehouse-strike-chemical

    The BBC seems to report a bit more reservedly, not rushing to appoint blame, but hinting at ‘possibilities’:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39488539

    What is fact is, that Idlib province, where this happened, is under siege by Syrian forces, the last significant ‘stronghold’ of rebel groups in Syria. So both sides may have an interest in breaking rules, to achieve their aims. Syria may wish to get things ‘sorted’ more quickly to defeat the last rebels, and the rebels may try to create impressions to get sympathy from outside media and governments for their cause.

    The talk about Assad being responsible is idiotic anyway, as I am sure he is not even in full control of some elements in his military, who will act as they see fit from time to time and in certain places, without necessarily consulting their President on every detail.

    In this case though, it was just too much of a ‘coincidence’ to see the White Helmets, already suspected of collaborating with rebel groups, to have cameras and mobile devices available, and to ensure so many children and adults were filmed and photographed in their suffering. Would doctors and nurses and emergency staff not rather be too busy saving lives than engage in this, I ask?

    We get one side of the story, through US and British dominated media, others get different news and interpretations, it is damned near impossible to get to the truth.

    No wonder Bill English so far gets away with not conducting an ‘inquiry’ into the 2010 SAS led attacks in Afghanistan, costing civilian lives, with this kind of situation.

    • Sam Sam says:

      ISIS used chemical weapons against the Kurds, there for al-Nusra has access to chemical weapons. There has been reported instances of syrian arab army SAA suffering from chemical weapons attacks. Irregular forces in this conflict have demonstrated the ability to acquire and employ chemical weapons. Also, there’s this: https://www.theguardian.com/world/20…y-iraqi-forces

      Remember most rebel groups are now baby versions of ISIS with saudi backing.

      Machiavelli once said “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

      Those that gain political power through wickedness, this is what the ends justify the means concept is derived from.

      Assad is critical of outside influence murdering his citizens, not because they are wicked acts per se, but because they act to highlight his own reputation.

      Because of continued atrocities from all actors. If assad is unable to hold his city of Damascus it will be because the people of Damascus did not fight for assad and not before.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        “ISIS used chemical weapons against the Kurds, there for al-Nusra has access to chemical weapons.”

        Well, IS, or so called ‘Islamic State’ has according to UN reports been guilty of using some forms of primitive chemical weapons, I think they were suspected of using chlorine gas.

        The ‘Al Nusra’ group, once loyal to Al Qaeda, but ‘officially’ disassociated from that terror organisation, and now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, they may have access to some chemical compounds and weapons, I would not rule that out.

        So far though, I have not heard of them having used any such weapons in Syria, but having used a fair few suicide bombers blow up various kinds of vehicles to be most destructive in hitting the SAA and their allies.

        It is historically proven that the Assad regime had at least in the past some chemical weapons, and the present Assad’s father used them to kill thousands of Kurds.

        Also is it well known and documented, that the Assad regime has tortured, executed opponents and dissidents, and thus committed various atrocities.

        So far it can be said I.S. (ISIS) and the Syrian regime have access to ‘chemical weapons’, weather any other groups do, or have used them, that is at this time not certain, if not disputable.

        But this incident may have opened the Pandora’s Box, so rebels may now also think, they can hit back in similar fashion, which would be a true humanitarian disaster to come.

        As for history, the US has used nuclear bombs for mass annihilation of Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are many apologists, saying that needed to be done to end the war. Perhaps Assad or his officers thought, they get away with it, as Trump had hinted, the US no longer consider Assad the main issue to deal with when it comes to Syria?

        • Sam Sam says:

          My impression is the threshhold for qualifying infomation/reports rose somhigh it cyrcled the moon and back. We all know film can be faked, missread, misinterpreted, moulded to suit ones agenda, so on and so forth.

          When you fight an enemy as slippery as terrorists. Its difficult to engage with defensive positions, and ISIS has exelent defence, the share number of ordnance thrown at them speaks for its self. And ISIS is still flipping the birds. I mean they are literally master of Adobe. iS has produced plenty of high quility footage published in western media so we dont have to think hard about that.

          What becomes of Syria? Like Iraq, The imaginary British colonial border lines just dont exist any more.

          No amount of king horse and kings men can put this humpty back together agian.

    • Penny Bright says:

      For those who support the ‘White Helmets’ in Syria – seen this?

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/white-helmets-pawns-for-u-s-militarism-and-war-propaganda/5577233

      “The dangerous U.S. military escalation of its 5-year war to overturn Syria’s government can be seen in the Sept. 17 bombing, which killed 62 Syrian Army soldiers and aided the position of the Islamic State group.

      The attack sabotaged a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire and led Russia to call for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting.

      At the same time, there has been a heavy barrage of U.S. war propaganda. “White Helmets,” a new film, is part of the sophisticated disinformation campaign.

      War propaganda is always more insidious on the home front, but it is an essential ingredient of imperialist wars.

      Charging the enemy with genocide, baby killing, mass rapes, mass graves and weapons of mass destruction have all been debunked after a U.S. war. But they saturate the media before a war and seem indisputable.

      Samantha Powers, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has denounced both Russia and Syria.

      She labels U.S. wars “humanitarian interventions,” and has used unsubstantiated war propaganda to justify wars in West Asia, North Africa and the Balkans that have decimated countries, killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

      Social media hype

      The film praising White Helmets, a U.S.-British-funded group embedded with U.S.-funded reactionary opposition forces, is trending on Netflix.

      The documentary’s well-publicized launch is calculated to help it win awards and convey the call for deeper U.S. military involvement in Syria.

      It premiered the Sept. 17-18 weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival.

      NBC News praised the featured group as “Angels on the Front Line.” The Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal sang the movie’s praises and White Helmets’ “selfless, humanitarian role.”

      The White Helmets defines itself as unpaid, unarmed first responders in Syria, claims 3,000 members and alleges it is a Syrian Civil Defense group.

      It claims to have saved 40,000, even 60,000 lives in Syria, by rescuing survivors from bombsites.

      Most claims about the White Helmets are unverified self-promotion on social media. Interviews with and media coverage of the grouping show desperate appeals for an increase in U.S./NATO military action in Syria — not peace and reconciliation.

      New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and other journalists have quoted its calls for a no-fly zone as a “humanitarian” option.

      The much-hyped White Helmets is not a Syrian organization, nor was it created by Syrians, nor is it educational.

      It is a U.S.-British creation. Former British Army officer James Le Mesurier, self-described as a British “security” specialist, founded it.

      He previously worked for Blackwater, the mercenary organization universally condemned for its murderous brutality in Iraq.

      …..”

  17. G.A.P. says:

    100% Chris, My first thought on hearing the news breathlessly announced on rnz national was, (duh) why would he(Assad)? Still, good to see our joke news media have moved on from that stirrer Nicky Hager. (SARC just for those that don’t get it.)

  18. D'Esterre says:

    “Nobody thought to ask the obvious question: “Why would Assad do such a thing?””

    Indeed. Do commentators really believe that Assad is so stupid? Stupid full stop, even…

    And a “back-to-first-principles” question all journalists could have asked is, how could Syria do such a thing when it no longer has chemical weapons? I haven’t heard that from a single journalist, either local or international. Have they completely forgotten the events of a few years ago, when the Russian Federation upstaged John Kerry and successfully negotiated the surrender of Syria’s chemical weapons? I’ll bet the US hasn’t, since it was closely involved in the destruction of said weapons.

    Occam’s razor says that any chemical weapons in that attack came from, and were used by, ISIS. It’s their trademark style.

    “Just once, I wish the Western news media would use its fucking head!”

    Amen to that. I no longer take at face value anything reported by the MSM, either here or elsewhere. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve written to RNZ, imploring them at least to take a more sceptical view, instead of just uncritically reporting what comes in from overseas. After the US election, I texted Morning Report, asking whether they had a great big humble pie there, and wishing them enjoyment of it.

    Michael Field is right: we have no foreign affairs specialists here among our journalists, and haven’t had any for – it must be almost 30 years. It may be a shorter time than that, but it is in any event so long that I can’t recall any. This redounds greatly to our disadvantage here. The population is poorly-informed as a result, which allows successive governments to get away with pulling stunts like sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, without large-scale opposition from the electorate.

  19. CLEANGREEN says:

    Well done Win,

    I heard this today also on Fox TV that the chemical attack never happened and it was a fighter strike on a terrorist chemical plant that supplied Iraq and others to and Russia said they were not involved.

    Yes it was just more Junk news from the “get Russia and Assad” regime cooked up by the evil NATO and Soros regimes.

    Trump is right we need to disregard the fake news now for good.

  20. Dave Brown says:

    Why would Assad use poison gas on his own people?
    They are not “his own people” but families that reject his dictatorship many of whom have been forced to relocate to Idlib from other parts of the country.
    Idlib has now become a sort of extermination camp with daily bombings and now a poison gas attack.
    There is no need to wait for the Western media or the UN to make up its mind about who is responsible.
    Only Assad makes the daily killing of innocent children part of his plan to defeat all opposition to his rule.
    Even IS does not massacre children as a tactic to win.
    There is no way that the rebels would attack their own families.
    The latest gassing cannot have been other than Assad and is part of the daily bombing of civilians.
    The rebels have no airplanes and there is no poison gas production in Idlib to be accidentally bombed.
    How could he do this?
    Assad is a tyrant.
    His father staged a military coup to take power.
    The son reacted to popular protests in 2011 by shooting and torturing innocent civilians including children, notably a 13 year old boy, Hamza al Kattab, who was tortured, castrated and killed before being sent home to his family.
    Many thousands have been arrested, tortured or killed.
    The Assad you talk about is not democratic, socialist, or respected leader of the nation, but a semifascist dictator who has killed a 1/2 million of ‘his people.’
    The popular resistance to his rule became an armed resistance when many in his army risked execution to defect and form then Free Syrian Army.
    For 6 years the resistance has occupied large parts of Syria including major cities like Aleppo despite being bombed, starved and gassed on at least two occasions.
    There are Local Coordinating Committees in every town occupied by the resistance that take charge of providing basic services.
    How to explain Assad gassing the rebels in Idlib?
    One doesn’t need to assume anything about his possible motives.
    The facts are enough.
    First, the resistance has not been broken as anyone who follows the war would know.
    Without foreign mercenaries from as far afield as Pakistan and Chechyna, and Russian bombs, the rebels would have won long ago.
    And still they are fighting on many fronts and recently made gains in Hama and Damascus.
    Second, Assad does not want a negotiated deal brokered by Russia let alone the US and EU, because that would concede some gains to the opposition.
    He has said many times that he will take all of Syria back at all costs and the only way to do that is to eliminate the popular resistance.
    He cares nothing for the opinion of the ‘international community’ when the opinion makers agree with his lies.
    He has proven over 6 years that he will kill any numbers of innocent men, women and children to totally wipe out the resistance and regain control of the whole of Syria.
    The facts on the ground speak for themselves.
    No need for elaborate conspiracies that centre on Western egos.
    Attempts to make up ‘facts’ that support Assad against the people are disgusting attacks on the Syrian masses who have suffered his dictatorship for years and who continue to fight for the most basic democratic rights such as the right to life.
    If you want links go to facebook and look up this guy http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-kill-list-five-times-bilal-abdul-kareem-narrowly-escaped-death-840248238 and this twitter account https://twitter.com/worldonalert/status/849201472063639552
    meanwhile here is a video of the dying and dead kids.

    • Dave Brown says:

      Forgot to put up the link to the video of the gassed kids
      https://twitter.com/worldonalert/status/849201472063639552

      And here is a much more credible explanation (yet far from adequate) than Trotter’s as to why Assad would gas children as the EU conference on Syria opens.
      http://www.syria-report.com/news/economy/editorial-assad-chemical-attack-perfectly-timed-extract-further-concessions-west-free-a

      • Interesting source. Aside from their ridiculously infantile ‘logic’ to ‘explain’ how Assad would benefit from this, I find the site ownership rather interesting – as much for what it doesn’t say for what it does.

        https://who.is/whois/syria-report.com

        “By committing large-scale massacres, the regime shows to the world the West’s impotence and weakness, delegitimizing all the political values it claims to be standing for. “You do not want to restore ties? I will kill more civilians and show the world how impotent and cowardly you are.””

        What nonsense. Look at the current conflict map. Look at how it’s being going since Aleppo. The Astana peace talks between Russia, Turkey, Iran, and militant groups who have chosen to participate are where this conflict will be settled. Europe and the USA are out. They shunned those talks, and the reason Turkey is now cooperating with Russia and Iran is that they have realised that Astana process is where the political solution will be settled.

        I must say also just how odd it is that off all people it’s you, the resident Marxist blogger on TDB, who thinks the west is still relevant in the settlement of this conflict. It’s the first one which the new multipolar world is going to settle without them. It’s a paradigm shift in history – though sadly I suspect not the one you’ve been waiting for.

  21. Jamie says:

    Chris ‘the conspiracy buff’ Totter

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOVdE_3anU

    Lolz

  22. Pat O'Dea says:

    Hi Chris I was in Syria in late 2010 with the Kia Ora Gaza mission, and can say that I know an oppressive totalitarian police state when I see one.

    Watch this video Chris and give me your honest opinion of it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQni3qn6GIU

  23. Pat O'Dea says:

    Chris, I was in Syria in 2010 only months before the Arab Spring reached Syria. And I can say that I know an oppressive police state when I see one.

    To maintain their power the regime has waged a genocidal air campaign against the Syrian people, that has killed tens of thousands of men women and children and caused millions of Syrian citizens to become refugees.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-government-forces-responsible-for-more-civilian-deaths-than-isis-human-rights-group-claims-a6673956.html

    Amnesty International UK’s Syria Campaign Manager Kristyan Benedict told The Independent: “It’s absolutely no secret that the vast majority of civilian deaths in Syria have been at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
    “Syrian government forces have launched indiscriminate attack after indiscriminate attack on the country’s beleaguered civilian population. 
    “Barrel bombings have become the most notorious of Assad’s forces’ tactics, but we mustn’t forget that countless people have also died at the hands of army snipers, through starvation in besieged areas, and at the hands of torturers in government detention centres.
    “It’s important that ISIS’s many crimes are properly documented and the perpetrators brought to justice, but the far bigger killing machine in Syria is the one made in Damascus.”

    I am not putting aside this latest genocidal attack carried on the Syrian people by the Assad regime that you have tried to rationalise here Chris.

    But maybe you would like to tell me who, in your opinion, did this?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/feb/04/drone-footage-homs-syria-utter-devastation-video

    • Samwise says:

      Pat and Frank seem more objective in their assessments than many of the names I recognise as trump apologists.

      Let’s not kid ourselves. Assad is a brutal dictator, no different to Latin American, African, and other Middle East despots. The fact that Assad is a client state of the Russians seems to validate his brutality in the heads of many here. I weep for my fellow leftists who seem to believe that a dictator is ok, as long as he,s not a client of Washington.

      • Steve Rowe says:

        Oh please! Who the fuck isn’t a brutal dictator? Destroy every country with one and there’s nothing left.

        You think the “Rebel Govt” will have a glowing human rights record?

  24. Paul says:

    The corporate media lies.

  25. David Stone says:

    Thankyou Chris
    I read recently that samples from the 2013 attack were taken and analysed at a facility in England, and found to be different chemically from the stocks known to have been held by Assad. It was suggested that this information supplied to Obama was what stopped him. His original red line statement created an imperative for ISIS to act on.
    I had been clinging to hope for Trump on Syria, greatly encouraged when Tillerson made it clear regime change was off the table , but their immediate acceptance of Assad’s incomprehensible self destructive psychopathic insanity is very depressing. If he doesn’t wake up to this pretty quickly I will be writing him off like everyone else has.
    Cheers David J S

  26. Mike says:

    Spot on Chris. Those who have studied the events on 9/11 will know who the probable perpetrators of the Syrian gas attack are.

  27. Jack Ramaka says:

    Sounds and smells like a “False Flag” to me.

  28. Steve Rowe says:

    Created media story

    https://twitter.com/Partisangirl/status/849256731305693184

    John kerry confirms Assad’s chemical weapons were destroyed

    https://twitter.com/Partisangirl/status/849817559012483072

    Seems the USA is going to invade Syria after all – mass troop and equipment being shipped to Jordan and Lebanon.

    Amazing how many apologists for ISIS and Al Qaeda on here. How many women hold power in those organisations I wonder?

    https://www.rt.com/news/345576-female-parliament-speaker-syria/

  29. jax says:

    Here are some compelling pictures and reports from locals which I consider more reliable than the MSM references quoted in some of the posts supporting the ‘Assad must go’ brigade.

    https://bsnews.info/jumping-conclusions-something-not-adding-idlib-chemical-weapons-attack/

    • Jax, who/what is “BS News”? I’ve checked the link you provided and it does not give the names of the organisation or individials associated with that website.

      It simply states on the “About Us” page;

      BSNews is made up of a team of committed political activists based in London, England with one shared goal; to make the world a better place.

      Looking at BS News, it looks like a blogsite, not any form of news-gathering site such as BBC, Al Jazeera, RT News, etc.

      That, coupled with it’s anonymity, leads me to doubt the credibility of it’s “news”.

      At least I put my name by to my writing.

      • jax says:

        Every article has the name of the writer all of whom are light years ahead of you Frank. FYI here are some of the writers for BS news easily found on their site. Having a go at a blog site from a blog site is a little silly.

        RecentPopularWriters

        jimmy (1967)
        Alison Banville (181)
        Finian Cunningham (28)
        Nafeez Ahmed (25)
        Jonathan Cook (23)
        Pepe Escobar (23)
        Daniel Margrain (22)
        Mike Whitney (20)
        Simon Wood (16)
        Mike Raddie (16)
        Ellen Brown (16)
        John Pilger (15)
        Chris Hedges (15)
        Media Lens (14)
        Craig Murray (13)
        Glenn Greenwald (12)
        Thierry Meyssan (11)
        Paul Craig Roberts (11)
        Prof. Tim Anderson (9)
        Mark Curtis (9)
        Russia Today (8)
        Prof. James Petras (7)
        Black Catte (7)
        F. William Engdahl (7)
        Graham Vanbergen (7)
        Stephen Lendman (7)
        Moon of Alabama (7)
        John Wight (6)
        Robert Parry (6)
        Press TV (5)
        Ian Sinclair (5)
        Gareth Porter (5)
        Ray McGovern (5)
        Tony Cartalucci (5)
        Felicity Arbuthnot (4)
        Mark Taliano (4)
        Garikai Chengu (4)
        David Macilwain (4)
        Tyler Durden (4)
        Vanessa Beeley (4)

        • Sam Sam says:

          *rabbit ears* confirmed.

          Unfortunatley, a lot of MSM info about syria seems to be coming from a couple guys who,live in country house in England and the US for the last 10 years and havnet been to syria since.

          We do know the USS carrier George W Bush is of the cost of syria conducting sorties. Russia has a number of military air craft and iskander missiles with ranges out to 400ks.

          Any infomation about the size, composition of combatants active in the middle east is appreciated, reduction of forces is the goal. The rest is just noise.

        • Samwise says:

          So Jax, your glorious leader, Trump has launched multiple tomahawk cruise missiles against Syria. There is your “man of peace”.

          Do we start the body-counters now.

          • Sam Sam says:

            who needs infrastructure when you can go to war! Amazing!

          • jax says:

            Just for the record Samwise, I detest Trump as I detest every President and would be president (Hillary) of the US . You on the other hand are an apologist for the Obama/Clinton brigade.

        • Theodore says:

          Hey, Jax, Trump just attacked Syria with 59 cruise missiles. How is your anti-war hero doing now?? He’s basically turned out to be another George ‘Dubya’, by the looks of things. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-launches-missiles-syrian-base-after-chemical-weapons-attack-n743636

  30. G.A.P. says:

    Chris, i hope you are feeling a lot clearer about the situation in Syria after having our resident usa apologist paul buchanan explain things to you on radio live this afternoon, ie. Assad is completely insane or evil? Not to worry, after listening to the us representative at the UN stating that if the UN would not justify invading Syria, then the us would do it on its own?? Are we about to see another sovereign country invaded, thousands of innocent people murdered, and democracy imposed??? Still there is always a silver lining lockheed martin etc. will be rubbing their hands with glee, and maybe our lads will get to build some more schools???

  31. Paul Schofield says:

    Thank you Chris for your balanced and thoughtful article. How people can be so blind as to accept the continuous wars and crap vomited forth by the Anglo/American hegemonic monsters I don’t know. The wars and killings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the Ukraine mean nothing to them. The responsibility for these atrocities with the associated tens of millions of deaths does not lie at the door of these beasts alone. It is us who allow it to continue. Just as we allow catastrophic ecological collapse, through runaway climate change to occur virtually unchallenged.

  32. Pat O'Dea says:

    Three theories attempting to distance the regime from this gas attack have been given currency by tools and allies of the Assad regime.

    Following Chris Trotter’s disgraceful and mad early rush to pin this gas attack on the rebels. As a false flag attack on themselves, as part of an effort to discredit the regime. Now, very embarrassing for some here, who have endorsed Chris’s outlandish theory, the Russian allies of Assad have since come up with two conflicting but more reasonable sounding cover stories.

    The first that that this “alleged” gas attack never happened and that the video evidence for it was faked.

    The second cover story promoted by the Russians, is that regime regular bombs had hit a rebel weapons warehouse releasing deadly nerve agents that had been stored there in preparation for their use against the regime’s forces.

    The Russian deputy envoy to the United Nations questioned on Wednesday whether a toxic attack even happened, suggesting that images from Syria posted online by emergency workers and activists were fake.
    There is no evidence that online video and photographs were fabricated. The images showed that scores of people, including children, died on Tuesday in Khan Sheikhun, in northern Syria, suffering symptoms consistent with having breathed in some sort of nerve agent, like sarin. Rescue workers and survivors described these symptoms as well.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/world/middleeast/russia-account-syria-chemical-attack.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-4&action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

    We now have three competing cover stories that Assad apologists can take their pick from.

    What’ll it be, Chris Trotter’s false flag theory?

    Or, Russia’s initial it never happened theory?

    Or, the Russians latest, rebel bomb factory theory?

    After his first rushed attempt to explain away the war crimes of the Assad regime will Chris Trotter now get with the plan, and change his cover story to match with the Russians?

  33. Paul says:

    When you look at many of the above posts, it is clear much of the left has been ‘captured’ by neo-com imperialist thinking.
    We can thank 9/11 for that.
    Jill Stein isn’t as sure as some of the Blairites on this blog.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/295266-stein-calls-for-new-9-11-investigation

    • Samwise says:

      Because trump is a “man of peace”? The guy just launched 50 cruise missiles againstSyria. Who is the “Neo con” now, I wonder?

    • Theodore says:

      So Trump just launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria, Paul. What does that make him?

    • ALH84001 says:

      Hey Paul, are you calling Frank a “neo-con”??

      Damn.

      Hey Frank, how many countries have you bombed/invaded lately?? Come on, mate, pick your game up a bit. Trump is two ahead of you (Yemen and Syria).

      And Pat O’Dea is about as solidly left-wing as you can get, Paul. But I don’t know sweet FA about you. I’m calling you out as a Trump Troll.

  34. Steve Rowe says:

    It’s not really a “Civil War” there either – most “rebel fighters” are foreign – NOT Syrian.

    I really does my head in that those who oppose Assad see no problem being on the side of ISIS and Al Qaeda and other disgusting headchoppers.

    Assad surely is no saint but compared to this? Read any account by Syrian Christians who support him because he left them in peace – the society was largely run in a secular way and while not fully democratic was more democratic than the alternative.

    Now Trump has been played and seems to want to get involved – or rather is being pushed into doing so.

    The whole thing will be a malestrom.

    Israel will invade southern Lebanon to take out Hezbollah and the US will strike Damascus – by cruise missile first if the tired old playbook is adhered to.

    What will Russia do?

  35. Pat O'Dea says:

    Despite all his crocodile tears, Trump doesn’t give a damn about the Syrian people.

    I am prepared to go out on a limb here, and predict that this will be a one off attack.

    And that this singular show of force has more do with Trump’s meeting with President Xi of China than helping the Syrian people overthrow the regime.

    I also predict, and hope to be proved wrong, that there will be no ‘No Fly Zone’ and that Assad and the Russians will be left unmolested by the US airforce to be free to continue with their “conventional” aerial campaign of extermination against the Syrian people unimpeded.

    US pre-alerts Russia (and Assad) of attack.

    https://mic.com/articles/173469/donald-trump-us-warned-russia-ahead-of-syria-airstrikes-deconfliction#.SXGta7s9z

    Trump launches an attack on Assad air base in the middle of a meeting with Xi.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-president-donald-trump-meets-xi-jinping-says-china-should-step-up-on-north-korea/story-OD0fUY4vPFrZfyJ6dPjZEL.html

    The real target of Trump’s belligerence is China, the message to Xi from Trump is North Korea will be next.

  36. Pat O'Dea says:

    In the US the neo-fascist alt-right are united with Hilary Clinton and the American liberal establishment in condemning the attack on Assad’s military air base.

    While the alt-right and white supremacists may have openly applauded the gassing of civilians

    The US liberal establishment, (who openly consort with the dictator), revealed their hypocrisy with their lack of condemnation over the regime’s gas attack on civilians. Variously claiming that it didn’t happen, or that the rebels had done it to themselves.

    Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the conspiracy theorist site Infowars, said on Twitter that Trump “was just another deep state/neocon puppet.” He added, “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”
    Richard Spencer, a far-right activist and white nationalist who coined the term “alt-right,” said he condemned the attack and hinted at supporting another presidential candidate in 2020: Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat. Ms. Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in January and on Thursday criticized the missile strike as shortsighted and reckless.

    http://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/trump%e2%80%99s-far-right-supporters-turn-on-him-over-syria-strike/ar-BBzwFHn?li=BBv6TfA&ocid=spartanntp

  37. Mike in Auckland says:

    Many conspiracy theorists are alive and well.

  38. Iain Mclean says:

    Chris:

    You are right on track with this one But….

    UPDATE:

    Machiavellian Trump.
    https://www.infowars.com/trumps-syria-strike-what-theyre-not-telling-you/

    Dr Pieczenik: Insider Perspective.
    https://www.infowars.com/pieczenik-cruise-missile-strikes-were-a-statement-to-china/

    Globalists out played again.

    Cheers.

  39. […] Fellow blogger and political commentator, Chris Trotter, recently questioned what would motivate Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to launch an attack using banned weapons that would earn near-universal condemnation from the international community – and possibly embarrass  and alienate critical support from Moscow. Chris asked; […]

  40. Pat O'Dea says:

    Chris Trotter asks; Why would Bashar Assad gas his own people?

    I will tell you why.

    The fascist style regime of Bashar Assad has found it relatively easy to hide the mountains of dead bodies resulting from the regime’s campaign of extermination being waged against the Syrian population for daring to stand up to their rule….

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/16/syria-stories-behind-photos-killed-detainees

    Liberal Leftists in the West, (like Chris Trotter), who have never witnessed this regime close up, (as I have), have proven themselves to be easy to confuse by the lies and propaganda coming out from the regime. Even going as far as repeating the regime’s dirty slurs against the civil defence organisation known as the White Helmets, who risk their lives daily, and have rescued tens of thousands from the bombed ruins left by the regime’s air force, often under fire. Or in notorious ‘double tap’ bombings.

    But the evidence of destruction wrought by the air force of the regime (and its ally Russia), resulting in utterly smashed and burned cities, that once housed millions. Has been a lot harder to hide.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/feb/04/drone-footage-homs-syria-utter-devastation-video

    From a 1942 instruction newsreel on gas attacks, @ 11:30 minutes in.

    Why does the enemy use gas against civilians?

    Well, gas bombs dropped by the enemy do not destroy our homes and factories as do high explosive bombs.

    War gas does not start the devastating fires that are the great menace of incendiary bombs. War gas does not shatter arms and legs as bullets and bomb fragments do.

    The real purpose of the enemy in using war gas is to spread fear and panic, to destroy our moral, and to cripple our war production.

    The enemy hopes that we will become scared and panic that the weapons that the soldiers are waiting for, will fail to arrive when crucial battles demand them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlVT45rA5w

    The fascist style regime of Bashar Assad has found it relatively easy to hide from the global media the mountains of dead bodies resulting from the regime’s campaign of extermination being waged against the Syrian population for daring to stand up to their rule..

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/16/syria-stories-behind-photos-killed-detainees

    Liberal Leftists in the West, (like Chris Trotter), who have never witnessed this regime close up, (as I have), have proven themselves to be easy to confuse by the lies and propaganda coming out from the regime. Even going as far as repeating the regime’s dirty slurs against the civil defence organisation known as the White Helmets, who risk their lives daily and have rescued tens of thousands from the bombed ruins left by the regime’s air force, often under fire. Or in notorious ‘double tap’ bombings.

    But the evidence of destruction wrought by the air force of the regime and its ally Russia, resulting in utterly smashed and burned cities, that once housed millions. Has been a lot harder to hide.

  41. […] Fellow blogger and political commentator, Chris Trotter, recently questioned what would motivate Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to launch an attack using banned weapons that would earn near-universal condemnation from the international community – and possibly embarrass  and alienate critical support from Moscow. Chris asked; […]