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The Skripal affair and the Douma chemical attack – Killing three birds with two stones.

“The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.”George Orwell

Anyone watching the alternate media space in recent weeks might be aware that the Syrian Army has recently liberated Eastern Ghouta, a rebel held stronghold near the capital Damascus which has been under occupation since 2011. Large caches of chemical weapons were discovered in the rebel held area, along with rockets and mortars, as well as industrial-scale production of napalm and white phosphorous.

The end of the six month operation in Ghouta is a milestone in the liberation of Syria from rebel forces. Unsurprisingly little of this has been reported by the Western press, who lacking any verifiable first-hand evidence and without any correspondents in the war torn country continue their nonsense narrative and cartoon-like depictions of the evil doctor Assad; a monster who dismembers small children with barrel bombs and gases his own people in a desperate and doomed struggle to cling to power.

Last week the insane clown President Donald J. Trump indulged his penchant for delivering policy by tweet with the announcement that the US would soon be withdrawing from Syria. This week the front pages are ablaze with news of a new chemical attack in a “rebel-held” northern area which according to ‘some humanitarian groups’ has killed up to 100 civilians including children. In characteristic fashion the verdict of the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN came immediately; without investigation, without evidence, and without due process: Assad has crossed the line and must be held accountable for this war crime.

The level of bastardy our political leaders and their presstitute wolf pack will stoop to is beyond shameless. Damning allegations without a shred of evidence are par for the course. Such is the case in the fast-unraveling Skripal affair. Such is the case with the latest events in Syria. Whether or not a false flag event was planned and carried out by rebel forces in cooperation with their Saudi/Israeli/etc sponsors is not even the point. The point, as Jeremy Corbyn made clear in his speech to British Parliament regarding the alleged Skripal poisoning, is that these are serious allegations for which the evidence presented does not justify the conclusion. Unsurprisingly, rather than being welcomed as a voice of reason, Corbyn was scoffed at and labeled the “Kremlin’s useful idiot.” Gee, where have I heard that before?

“There is no alternative explanation” chortled Theresa May, summoning Thatcher’s ghost. The evidence? The poisoning has been attributed to a soviet era “novichok” nerve agent developed in top-secret Russian laboratories at the end of the Cold War. An agent 8 times more powerful than VX (which somehow failed to kill its victims.) An agent which Porton Down, by its own admission, has access to. An agent which any of eight former Soviet republics from Uzbekistan to Ukraine may have had access to and motivation to use.

In considering the overwhelming lack evidence it’s tempting to overlook the sheer absurdity of the claim itself. In the world of international intrigue it’s not uncommon to see important actors mysteriously disappeared. Ambassadors, outspoken journalists, people who know-too-much, perhaps dying from a skiing accident or a sudden heart attack. But what kind of comic book assassin would commit such an obvious crime as this, unless the purpose was self-incrimination?

The two alleged chemical attacks may seem unrelated to the casual reader, but the political and media response has been identical. For all its high ideals of ‘freedom and ‘democracy’, our western so-called liberal political framework is anything but free and democratic. Author Richard Behan nails it when he writes: “Oligarchy is rule by the few. Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy. Corporatocracy is a society governed or controlled by corporations. We have all three.” The idea of a free and independent press is a fantasy. We live in an era of total war, where information is weaponised. The fourth estate, far from being a check on power, has become an instrument of oppression. In such a climate we cannot rely on the dogmatic decrees of corporate media (unless it concerns the extra-marital affairs of politicians or other celebrity gossip, in which case we’re pretty safe.) Vigilance is required, the only rational course being to widen our lens on current events while placing these in historical context and asking pertinent questions.

For instance: Who benefits from the Skripal affair? Certainly not Russia, which has already faced a huge backlash from ‘the international community’ resulting in the expulsion of diplomats and a level of hostility not seen since the Cold War. Who benefits from the chemical attack in Douma? Certainly not Syria and its allies who would seem to be on the cusp of final victory.

Yet both incidents have been and will continue to be milked by the corporate press to rally public opinion against Assad and the Syrian government, against Russia and Putin, and against Jeremy Corbyn and his labour-left platform. A veritable trifecta for our neoconservative imperialist warlords, and a sad indictment on a kool-aid addicted public all too eager to swallow the corporate media swill.

81 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    I am a little confused. I agree with your assertions that jumping to conclusions is the name of the game these days when it suits a particular agenda, but are you suggesting Pres Assad has done nothing nefarious in this conflict ? It certainly suits his agenda to blame rebels for these disgusting attacks, I am not sure how it favours the rebels ?
    It seems not to matter anymore in the world these days. Ordinary people – old, young, on any side of the political sphere – are the ones who lose, and nobody seems to be on their side. Leaders who push their own agendas – Trump, Assad,Putin, May, Turnbull – without care for or interest in any fallout are the norm now.
    When did that happen ? How did we let it happen ?
    Or has it always been the case ?

    According to Stephen Hawking’s predictions the planet has a very short lifespan and anything that is happening now is simply hastening that end.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Keitha, I’m a bit like you: I don’t trust Trump, I don’t trust Assad, I don’t trust Putin, I don’t trust May, and I don’t trust Turnbull.

    Whilst I accept that there has been much ‘fake news’ written about them, I don’t doubt that they also produce a fair amount of their own.

  3. nonsibicunctis

    Keitha, I have to agree with you. I don’t see any more evidence of culpability of the rebel forces than I see of the culpability of Assad.

    Sean, you seem to be suggesting that Assad is one of the good guys or am I reading you wrongly. Are you asserting that none of the media reports of his perfidy have any evidence or accuracy? I’m a little confused as to your stance. Perhaps I’m just a simpleton or very naive but I’d like to understand.

    What I do know is that the intrusion of the US & Russia only ever seem to complicate and make things worse. I cannot understand why any group would trust either nation as it seems fairly cleat that they only intervene when they perceive that it is in their own interest to do so – usually, in the US case to garner resources and in the Russian case to better control its borders and states surrounding it.

  4. Valentin

    Good analyses

  5. Frank Thelen

    My sentiments exactly. I thought I was the only one thinking this way. Good to see someone else thinking for themselves and not just swallowing what is dished out by our politicians and the main stream media. Where are our investigative journalists these days? Mainstream media does not seem to employ them anymore.

  6. Kaye Lee

    “Large caches of chemical weapons were discovered in the rebel held area, along with rockets and mortars, as well as industrial-scale production of napalm and white phosphorous.”

    Could you provide a source for this as the only reports I can find come from Russian news agencies citing a Syrian colonel. Now they wouldn’t have any reason to lie….would they?

  7. flohri1754

    Kaye Lee … right with you there …

  8. Sean Stinson

    Kaye Lee, my source is Tom Duggan, a British journalist living in Syria who visited the factories in Ghouta where the chemical weapons were being produced. Sorry to disappoint you.

    “Assadist!”
    “Putinist!”
    “Kremlin troll!”

  9. John Kelly

    There’s a conspiracy happening here. I don’t know what and I don’t know by whom, but there’s enough for me to tread carefully and not believe anything, because I don’t know who is telling the truth.

  10. Phil

    Sean Stinson is spot on here. The official narrative(s) are full of inconsistencies and lacking in plausible evidence. The war in Syria is part of a much wider geo-strategic game which the US is rapidly losing. A resurgent nuclear Russia along with China and Iran have changed the US game plan. As a consequence we are seeing the likely emergence of a multi-polar world and a retreat from the US goal of global hegemony.

    The US and allies are retaliating under enormous pressure and as a consequence will inevitably overplay their hand – mistakes, errors and botched events will increasingly occur in efforts to get Syria into western corporate hands, tarnish Russia and weaken all three nations by sanctions helpfully triggered by ‘useful’ events.

    So we have this: trade war with China – big bad China. Nuclear threat from Iran – more sanctions imposed. Russia giving Assad the upper hand – Syrian sovereignty remains – big bad Russia. Russia holding the prestigious World Cup – need to cause as much harm as possible to cripple the event and scare audiences away.

    I’m no closer to the truth than anybody else but skepticism is essential – history shows that states, nations and leaders do dirty deeds with alarming regularity and unconditionally accepting an official narrative without compelling evidence s rarely if ever going to get to the truth.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Sean, thanks but could you provide the link please so I can read it for myself. The only things I can find from Duggan are from April 2017.

    Was it this from Syrian TV?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PhxclStLEk

  12. Kaye Lee

    Thanks nonsibicunctis but Sean is talking about recent weeks isn’t he? The only thing recently that I can find is a youtube video from the Syrian TV that came out a few hours ago.

  13. nonsibicunctis

    Kaye, the link I sent is an interview conducted with Tom Duggan on 5 April and in it he makes the claims about the munitions factory and also says that there was no gas attack as claimed by western media, etc.

    Anyway, I guess I should shut up. I probably shouldn’t have intervened in a question you referred to Sean. I apologise for that.

  14. Kaye Lee

    5 April 2017 – last year….. and who is the interviewer?

    Please don’t apologise. I want to learn. I am listening to the interview and checking into the interviewer

  15. economicreform

    Keitha, there is no evidence that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons. In my view this is a false flag story concocted with a specific and sinister purpose in mind. The most likely scenario (as happened in a previous similar event – in which there was a rush to judgment followed by an absurd attack by Trump on a Syrian military airfield) is that Syrian planes bombed a rebel-held area which happened to contain a cache of chemical materials, including it seems chlorine, releasing those materials into the surrounding environment. Why would the rebels admit to having such chemical weapons caches, when they can make political capital out of accusing the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons directed by their missiles? The simple answer is that they would not. The logic of the situation is obvious to anyone with a reasonably developed critical faculty – Assad’s forces have nothing to gain whatsoever from using chemical weapons, and especially from something as antiquated as chlorine gas (which was used in the first world war) in a situation where they have inflicted overwhelming defeat on the forces of ISIS and their allies.. And recent media reports that Assad’s forces were using a ‘nerve agent’ is an even more absurd story – a very obvious lie. What you have to appreciate is that the world is in the grip of a propaganda war, and in particular the stories and explanations you read in the mainstream media are – by and large – false accounts of what is happening in the world, orchestrated by the Washington neocons and accepted uncritically by the mainstream media of Washington’s client states.

  16. Terry2

    All very confusing and probably purposefully so.

    I was intrigued to see that the Skripal daughter was one minute critically ill according to UK sources and the next phoning her cousin in Russia to say that she was fine and her father recovering rapidly.
    Then today I read that the UK authorities are offering to give her a name change and put her in witness protection in the UK whether she likes it or not.

    And, with the soccer world cup coming up why would Putin risk an international backlash by ordering this failed assassination attempt ?

    And then we have Assad who has been on a public relations mission recently to lift his profile in the international community ; why on earth would he risk all by this despicable chlorine attack which he must have known – or whoever was responsible must have known – would bring about a massive international reaction against him ?

    curiouser and curiouser !

  17. economicreform

    The same logic applies to the Skripal poisoning incident, notwithstanding the difference in the details. The immediate rush to judgement by May’s government in the absence of any firm evidence is telling. The simple and obvious fact is that the Russian government has nothing to gain whatsoever from pulling such a stunt in a foreign country and in a public place, at a time immediately preceding the Russian elections and the hosting by Russia of a major international sporting event. The onus is on the UK government to demonstrate they are not lying by submitting any real evidence they happen to possess to international bodies for scrutiny, analysis and assessment, rather than relying on mainstream media to disseminate their clumsy propaganda using contrived ‘evidence’.

  18. John L

    So, all the reports of US forces supplying chemicals, including a lot of chlorine gas to “Rebel forces” (read Salafist, Al Quaeda linked Jihadis, financed mainly by Saudi Arabia), 5-6 weeks ago have come to intial fruition, just as most of us were suspecting. We’ve been waiting for it, it was just where and when.
    When will people realise the West have no desire to bring peace to Syria – they want continual foment, fighting and disruption. In the wake of the apparent defeat of Isis, several hundred thousand Syrian refugees have already returned home, but that is also not in the west’s interests, it seems.
    As for the Skripal affair – the best explanation is still food poisoning – a very convincing case from a Norwegian journalist here
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/the-best-explanation-for-the-skripal-drama-is-food-poisoning.html#more
    Paralytic Seafood Poisoning caused by shellfish – which they ate at a restaraunt 45 mins or so before the “attack” – “In fact the substance at work in a case of paralytic seafood poison is a neurotoxin called Saxitoxin (STX) which is among the most potent poisons found in nature”…….

  19. diannaart

    Does ANYONE have any suggestions as to who would gain from the Skripal poisoning as well as the claims in Syria.

    The only reason I can posit as to why, is simply to continue to muddy the deep and turbulent waters of the never ending jockeying for power globally.

    I don’t see why anyone thinks there is something to gain from 99% of acts of terror, let alone the events described by Sean.

    In a world of fake news we have bewildering news.

  20. Frank Thelen

    In reply to diannaart I can think of Ukraine for one, of having an advantage in trying to pull this off. Creating trouble between the west and Russia benefits their cause of getting Crimea back. This gives them a motive. Because Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union they would probably also have some of the nerve agent available that was used in the attack on the Skripal’s.
    This is just speculation mind you and there might be many more entities that would gain from blaming Russia for this incident.
    At the end of the day it could also be Russia that is responsible, but with the evidence available so far it is far too early to start accusing Russia or anyone else.
    As far as Syria is concerned we don’t know if it is Assad or the rebels that are responsible for the chlorine gas attack, both have chemical weapons and both are capable, but again pointing the finger without evidence is crazy behavior and very dangerous.

  21. Wun Farlung

    As far as the British, US and Australian Governments and chemical weapons
    Yeah right

  22. Glenn Barry

    Truth is such a last millennium phenomenon – what we here in the current Australian government are focussed on is outcomes, more jobs, better jobs, higher paying jobs, and don’t look over there at our complicity in war crimes…

    The horrible truth about all of this is that we will never likely know the truth about all of this and the crimes will continue to multiply

  23. Glenn Barry

    Dianaart, on the Syrian chemical gas attack – the US military benefits as Trump was signalling an imminent withdrawal from Syria with the apparent defeat of IS/ISIS/Daesh – call them what you will.

    Now there is a moral imperative to defend the civilians from Assad – it demonises Assad, it demonises Russia and is the first step to legitimising a full scale attack in the name of regime change.

  24. Terry2

    The sad fact is that the US, Britain, Russia, Israel, China and others have massive armaments industries and without continued international turbulence and perpetual war, these industries collapse.

  25. Sean Stinson

    Terry2, Russia’s total military budget is less than one tenth of what the US spends on “defence”, and has just been further REDUCED in favour of more spending on EDUCATION. As for China, it threatens no one militarily, doesn’t even have an aircraft carrier.

    I’m reminded of these words from Deng Xiao Ping (which i’m sure I’ve quoted here before)

    “China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one. If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”

    Honestly, if the best you can do is “they’re all as bad as each other”, you are missing the big picture here.

  26. Sean Stinson

    ok, news to me. Perhaps China and Russia should just roll over then, and let the US expand its war on 3 fronts and finally control the ENTIRE WORLD. Perhaps things would be more peaceful under absolute, unchallenged neoliberal/neoconservative/neoimperialist global hegemony. Perhaps ISIS are right, the treaty of Westphalia and the idea of independent nation states is anachronistic and needs to be torn up, and a new world order established under the control of a mighty western calipahate, according to the principles of liberal democracy. Perhaps Bush and Blair were right when they set out to achieve this. Maybe we owe them both an apology.

  27. Kaye Lee

    The US spends a ridiculous amount on so-called defence. So do we. By population we rank 54, on military spending, we rank 12. China has also ramped up significantly of late.

    “China, Russia and the US are all in the process of recapitalising and modernising their nuclear forces. Russia and the US will continue to support a triad of delivery systems, while China is likely to reconstitute an air-delivered nuclear capability as a part of its future bomber force.”

    But the battles of the future are unlikely to be fought by bombs. Purchasing controlling shares of infrastructure and resources, targeted propaganda, cyber attacks, paying for political influence – these are the methods of control rather than brute force.

    And Sean, you lose credibility when you so blatantly only see one side’s wrongdoing. You over-react defensively when shown new information instead of taking it on board. China has also ramped up its missile development.

  28. Sean Stinson

    Jesus Christ. 800 military bases in 135 countries, at a modest estimate. A military presence that covers THE ENTIRE WORLD.

    HOW is that proportionate? HOW can you seriously accuse me of only seeing one side? THERE IS ONLY ONE SIDE.

    Do you think the US would have dared to attack Iraq if Saddam had really had WMDs? Or Libya? Or Syria?

    At least during the Cold War there was strategic balance, where one side attacking the other meant certain annihilation – M.A.D, mutually assured destruction. Since then the US has been picking off smaller countries like flies.

    And you tell me I’m not being fair and balanced. Of all the liberal conceits, the one that i hate most is the notion that all sides are equally guilty, and we must not judge. Sorry, when it comes to militarism there is no comparison between the US/UK/France/Australia/NATO etc, and the rest of the world.

  29. Kerry F

    Excellent article Sean, I agree wholeheartedly based on my own research and reading. “Who benefits” ? is the question we all should be asking before believing anything our media claims.

    About two years ago when the “Russia is interfering the US election” story first surfaced, I was an informed but naive lefty accepting everything that was printed in the Guardian, the ABC and similar publications as factual reporting. But at that point some alarm bells went off and the beginning of my quest to understand a “truer” geo-political understanding began. I started listening to people from the other side of the political spectrum just to see what they were actually saying rather than what the so called left media reported on them saying. Immediately it became obvious that the factions never report accurately on their opposites.
    Then I decided that if the US was so anti Assad and Putin I had better listen to then for myself instead of accepting what MSM was telling me to believe. So I persevered with subtitles and annoying translators to listen to Assad, Putin, Gaddafi, and many other current or deposed or murdered leaders of non English speaking cultures. The upshot of this is that I find what other leaders have to say to be eye opening and in general they are all more eloquent and educated than dumbed down slogan spouting politicians. I now completely accept that we are being lied to on a daily basis about almost everything that is happening in the world.

    We only know that Assad is evil because our media and leaders tell us it is true. They also tell us that trickle down economics woks, that its safer for us if refugees are in detention, that we have to support US wars because they “protect” us from evil China and even more evil North Korea, that its the welfare system that is dragging down our economy, that we need to be terrified about an alleged chemical attack on two ex spies on the other side of the world who didn’t actually die, that Israel didn’t just kill unarmed Palestinain protesters because if its not on the news it didn’t happen. Need I go on?

    Liars lie ALL the time not just sometimes, and why oh why do Australians passively accept that bombing people in other countries is “for their own good”.

    Syrians, Chinese and North Koreans are not oppressed that I can tell, and they certainly would not agree to us bombing them to “liberate” them. How would we like it if America decided that we are oppressed by our government and that we needed to be “liberated” by bombing a few of our capital cities and our coal mines?

    If you follow the money, the US-UK and allies have far more to gain from deposing Assad and further de-stabilizing the middle East. its all about oil, gas and control of resources Honestly it couldn’t be more transparent.

    Every “liberating” war waged y the US in the past half a century has been responsible for unimaginable human suffering and de-stabiliazation in the world. I for one am completely sick of it and will not give them the benefit of the doubt for one more second. as far as I’m concerned Assad and Putin would have to be Hitler, Mussolini and Mao rolled into one to be half as evil as the US Empire!

  30. Michael Taylor

    But the battles of the future are unlikely to be fought by bombs. Purchasing controlling shares of infrastructure and resources, targeted propaganda, cyber attacks, paying for political influence – these are the methods of control rather than brute force.

    That was damn near spot on, Kaye. About six months ago Roswell was telling me about a post he wanted to write, I can’t renember the name of it but it was something like ‘Predictors of War. Or why invade a country when you can take it over with a computer.’ Geez I wish he had have written it, because it sounded so bloody interesting, and was about much of what you have said.

    The bit about controlling shares intrigued me the most, but unfortunately I can’t remember all of the details. He also said something about gold … to be concerned about countries who purchase heaps of gold (again I can’t renember why). I do remember, however, him saying that in 2016 China purchased more gold than any other country. The year before it was Russia.

  31. Sean Stinson

    Kerry F, suggest you do some further reading on Mao.

  32. Michael Taylor

    Kerry, you will be pleased to know that most of our readers here agree with a lot of what you say.

    We don’t believe in trickle-down economics, we don’t like seeing asylum seekers locked-up in detention (allegedly for their own good … or so we are told), we don’t like what Israel is doing to Palestinian people, we don’t agree with US foreign policy, and we certainly don’t believe the rubbish in the mainstream media (in fact, I doubt if many people here even read it).

  33. oldfart

    I was born on 25th June 1950 the first day of the Korean war. It seems that I am destined to live my whole life on a planet that has not been war free for my entire life to date. Not one day of peace.

  34. Michael Taylor

    oldfart, I hope you live long enough to see your wish come true. 👍

  35. Sean Stinson

    This just came through on the wire

    #ALERT : Current 2:47 AM Syrian time
    * Trump is calling his #French counterpart for the second time today to attack together on Syria
    * #Russian early warning aircraft A50 escorted by 2 Russian fighter jets are patrolling above skies in west and east Syria
    * Heavy Russian and #Syrian aircraft movement being reported over #Homs
    * Russian bombers active from #Moscow, destination unknown
    * Civilian Radars are off before US attack on Syrian time between 3:30-6:00 am

  36. Sean Stinson

    also just got word that Emergency Action Messages (EAM’s) are being transmitted via the United States Global High Frequency Communications System. Messages were each repeated FIVE (5) times. An Emergency Action Message is the highest level communication in the US Military. It basically is the type of message that means, stop whatever you’re doing and take care of this right now.

    waiting on confirmation, but not looking good.

  37. Kerry F

    Sean, I actually regret including Mao in that statement, I am aware that possibly everything we supposedly know about “dictators” is propaganda. And here we are posting when our fellow human beings in Syria are being attacked by our own allies. Beyond sad.

  38. Kerry F

    Michael T, when i posted there were several posts already questioning the premise of the article and asking for sources. Nothing wrong with that at all, but I do not feel that you are preaching to the converted by any means 🙂

  39. Kaye Lee

    Kerry,

    It was me asking for sources, a request that was ignored. The reason I ask is precisely because I don’t blindly believe what I read – anywhere. At least if I can trace the source, I can make better informed assessments.

    As for “preaching to the converted”, we are more likely to question each other than engage in group think.

    Having said that, I absolutely endorse what Michael wrote as representative of my views.

    I am not looking for moral equivalence either – just not constant deflection to “nothing compares to how bad the US is”. There are countless examples of how bad the US is, and some of how good they are too, but to blame them for everything to the point of not even looking honestly at other players, gives all others a free ride. I don’t trust the US. That does not automatically make me trust Russia, Syria, China or my own government.

    That’s why sources are important. You can then judge their biases and check for verification with other sources..

  40. Sean Stinson

    Kerry F. Mao has been much maligned by revisionist historians. I defer to Marx “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle”. Suffice it to say the only thing that really terrifies the oligarchs is the idea that the serfs might one day revolt, as happened in Russia in 1917. Up until that point there had been many workers rebellions, but nothing that succeeded in taking over and commanding state power. This literally tore the fabric of bourgeois history. So much so that the USSR was immediately invaded by 14 western countries including the United States. Not because it was a threat to democracy. Not because it was a threat to world peace. Because it was a threat to private capital accumulation – an alternative social order that sought to use the land, labour and resources of a society to provide for social needs.

    This pretty much applies to every country the US and its allies have invaded for the last hundred years, up to and including Iraq, Libya, and now Syria.

  41. Zathras

    I can’t overlook that the accusers are from the same crowd who once insisted they had conclusive evidence that Saddam had WMDs and that he had missiles that could strike the UK “in 18 minutes”.

    Everything about it seems odd – the poor timing, the unnecessarily elaborate and incriminating method used and whatever the indeterminate purpose was behind it.

    Also, at least one independent journalist publicly revealed the source of contamination (the house) a couple of days before the rest of the media so official information is being channelled through specific outlets.

    It seems there is a larger game in play and the public are once again just pawns.

  42. jimhaz

    [For instance: Who benefits from the Skripal affair? Certainly not Russia, which has already faced a huge backlash from ‘the international community’ resulting in the expulsion of diplomats and a level of hostility not seen since the Cold War]

    There are ways Putin could benefit.

    It distracts from the nonsense election.

    It may have been used as a warning to more current spies not to turn double agent. To not give information relating to Russian influence in the US elections. It helps Trump in this regard as it gives him an excuse to show an anti-Putin façade via sanctions.

    It may have been used against oligarchs as a warning that they can be got at wherever they reside.

    It may assist Putin in retaining his dominant authoritarian rule – if Russians feel they are being unfairly blamed, as it has been sold to them by the Russian press, they will support him even further. Who knows what expansionary plans he might be considering if the opportunity presents itself.

    As for the nerve agent, I’m sure I read somewhere that it wasn’t a first class chemical weapon as it decayed too fast – that sort of scenario or simple dilution for the purpose could have occurred.

  43. jimhaz

    [Mao has been much maligned by revisionist historians]

    Always look at the outcomes. What was the outcome of Mao – 30m dead.

    People should not be swayed by anything Stinson says.

  44. nonsibicunctis

    “I am aware that possibly everything we supposedly know about ‘dictators’ is propaganda.” – Kerry F., I’m glad that you at least included the “possibly”.

    There is certainly no doubt in my mind that most of what we know about dictators and ‘leaders’ such as Netanyahu, Assad, Amin, Hussein, and so many others, present and past, is as close to accurate as to leave no doubt as to their character, aims and methods.

    We don’t have to rely on the mainstream media, though it is a flawed notion that all it reports is false or manipulated. The evidence from people on the ground is abundant as is the evidence discovered once these demagogues have been removed.

    I have no love or care for a materialist, wealth orientated society run by the privileged and the pretenders to a right to rule but, in my view, the fact that there are different means to a similar end is still significant.

    Yes, I know that I’m a peasant in what has essentially continued to be a feudal system since the middle ages. However, I’d rather be a peasant that need not – at least not right now – live in fear of internment, forced labour, starvation, torture and/or killing for voicing my views, or death for having a religion or no religion, and etc.

    There is much propaganda from my side of the fence, even if not as much as from the other. That is why Kaye is right to want to identify the source of information and then check that source for its validity.

    Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully” sums up the latter part of this discussion quite well. Whether you enjoy his music or not, the lyrics are well worth a listen or even just a read:

  45. jimhaz

    [Terry2, Russia’s total military budget is less than one tenth of what the US spends on “defence”, and has just been further REDUCED in favour of more spending on EDUCATION. As for China, it threatens no one militarily, doesn’t even have an aircraft carrier.]

    http://intersectionproject.eu/article/economy/two-lean-years-russias-budget-2018-20

    “A glance at the structure of budget expenditures over the last few years is also revealing. The increase in expenditures for ‘beneficial’ social purposes is noticeable only in comparison with the very scarce levels observed in 2016–2017. For the sake of comparison, let us take the pre-crisis year of 2013, where the federal budget provided 607 billion roubles for education. It was 597 billion in 2016 and 630 billion in 2017. In 2018, that number will be 653 billion roubles, and 668 billion in 2020. As readers may remember, prices have already risen by a factor of 1.5. The implication? Dramatic cuts to education since 2013..

    The health care situation looks even worse: 494 billion roubles in 2013, 506 billion in 2016, 452 billion in 2017, 460 billion in 2018 and 499 billion in 2020. So the numbers, again, have remained level, but what this amounts to, due to inflation, is far less”

  46. Sean Stinson

    Jimhaz your figures are way off. It was 45 BILLION that Mao starved, dismembered, roasted over coals and ate. 65 billion for Stalin, strangled with his own bare hands. But neither can come close to Putin, who prefers to see his opponents cry for mercy as they are slowly mauled to death by far-eastern brown bears.

  47. Sean Stinson

    “People should not be swayed by anything Stinson says.”

    Why is that? because it might be the truth?

    Suggest you lay off the kool aid, I’ve heard it’s laced with novichok.

    “Official Chinese sources, released after Mao’s death, suggest that 16.5 million people died in the Great Leap Forward. These figures were released during an ideological campaign by the government of Deng Xiaoping against the legacy of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. However, there seems to be no way of independently, authenticating these figures due to the great mystery about how they were gathered and preserved for twenty years before being released to the general public. American researchers managed to increase this figure to around 30 million by combining the Chinese evidence with extrapolations of their own from China’s censuses in 1953 and 1964. Recently, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday in their book Mao: the Unknown Story reported 70 million killed by Mao, including 38 million in the Great Leap Forward.”

    “The idea that “Mao was responsible for genocide” has been used as a springboard to rubbish everything that the Chinese people achieved during Mao’s rule. However, even someone like the demographer Judith Banister, one of the most prominent advocates of the “massive death toll” hypothesis has to admit the successes of the Mao era. She writes how in 1973-5 life expectancy in China was higher than in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and many countries in Latin America. In 1981 she co-wrote an article where she described the People’s Republic of China as a ‘super-achiever’ in terms of mortality reduction, with life expectancy increasing by approximately 1.5 years per calendar year since the start of communist rule in 1949. Life expectancy increased from 35 in 1949 to 65 in the 1970s when Mao’s rule came to an end.”

    https://monthlyreview.org/commentary/did-mao-really-kill-millions-in-the-great-leap-forward/

  48. jimhaz

    There are plenty of accounts from Chinese indicating it was mainly Mao’s polices that caused the killing. I’m not going to pay attewntion to what some Brit Socialism supporter says.

    “Mao’s theories also gave great inspiration to those fighting imperialism around the world”

    And this probably resulted in another 10 or 20 million losing their lives outside of China.

  49. Sean Stinson

    Well you’ve made it quite clear which side of history you stand on, so thanks for clarifying that. Now sod off.

  50. Kaye Lee

    There were great social improvements under Mao. They trained midwives and did universal vaccinations. The age at which women married increased. As education improved, public health improved. They tried to deal with mosquito borne diseases and improved water quality and sanitation.

    Freedom? Not so much.

  51. helvityni

    It’s our own present Government I trust least of all ; who knows we might even have a new leader soon, the delightful Mr Dutton…. one step towards dictatorship….

  52. economicreform

    Sean, irrespective of what you think and believe, there is no excuse for rudeness and aggressiveness.

  53. Sean Stinson

    Watching a bit of US news, looks like the cheer squad are all nicely choreographed, politicians on both sides of the aisle, both Lindsay Graham and Howard Dean and ALL the news media saying the US needs to go to war in Syria NOW.

    Honestly, if people like Kaye Lee want to argue that I’m being too generous to Assad and Putin then you are missing the point. This is shaping up to be Iraq 2.0. Another illegal invasion of sovereign country based on a false premise. My dear liberal-left friends, do you ready want the blood of a million Syrian men women and children on your hands? Because thats where this is going. Either that or direct confrontation between Russia and the US, and god knows how that will end.

    Please wake up.

  54. diannaart

    Sean,

    I do not trust the USA with their fixation on oil, their own complicity with both the Arab States and Israel, and who knows what else double dealing. Nor do I trust Russia and China, for their complicity, doubling dealing and increasing armaments… none of this means we have to choose “sides”.

    That our misbegotten federal government will choose “sides” and it will be the USA, is not something we have much control over.

    We can observe, conjecture and try to puzzle global politics, being told we have to choose “sides”, Sean, sounds like primary school games nor does your bellicose attitude help towards constructive discourse whenever anyone posits a different point of view.

    Kaye Lee is simply being straight forward and exhibiting common sense when she writes:

    I am not looking for moral equivalence either – just not constant deflection to “nothing compares to how bad the US is”. There are countless examples of how bad the US is, and some of how good they are too, but to blame them for everything to the point of not even looking honestly at other players, gives all others a free ride. I don’t trust the US. That does not automatically make me trust Russia, Syria, China or my own government.

    That’s why sources are important. You can then judge their biases and check for verification with other sources..

    I cannot speak for everyone posting here; yet I can be 99.9999999% sure no-one commenting here wants to see any further bloodshed in Syria or elsewhere. Nor do I believe we are suffering from collective narcolepsy.

  55. Zathras

    It’s not meant as a defence or justification for Stalin or Mao but pre-Communist Russia and China were two globally backward countries at risk of invasion or economic takeover and both with severely repressed and often poverty-striken populations.

    It obviously came at a cost but both became global superpowers within a couple of generations – one in particular despite undergoing a devastating world war.

    The other thing they share in common is that their revolutions (typically) came as the result of chronic repression of the population by extreme right-wing regimes, not as some sort of political fad.

    Something else to consider about those revolutions is that the 2nd Bolshevik revolution (the one that succeeded) was significantly funded from Wall Street in exchange for “favours” later delivered by Lenin and the overthrow of the Chiang Kai-Shek government was aided by the US strangely failing to supply bolts with the carbine rifles they urgently delivered to help in his defence of the Mao army.

    Funny thing, history – only certain things that fit the popular narrative are ever remembered or considered, but it’s far more complex.

  56. David Bruce

    I guess we should be grateful they weren’t using stolen Australian passports for the assassinations, this time…

  57. Kaye Lee

    ” My dear liberal-left friends, do you ready want the blood of a million Syrian men women and children on your hands? ”

    There have already been about half a million deaths in Syria and ,millions more displaced both internally and seeking refuge overseas. The country has been devastated. Yet still the bombs fly from all sides. I have not heard one person condone this. You are ascribing responsibility to the wrong people Sean.

    According to SOHR, U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes have killed 11,125 people across Syria, of which: 7,502 dead were ISIL fighters, 309 Al-Nusra Front militants and other rebels, 140 government soldiers and 3,174 civilians. Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 17,183 people, of whom 4,865 were ISIL fighters, 4,651 militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and other rebel forces and 7,667 civilians.

  58. David Bruce

    I am in Hong Kong International Airport right now and just witnessed two HK policemen, armed with machine guns, protecting the EL AL (Israeli Airlines) check-in counter. What surprised me was the fact that EL AL were sending code share passengers to the QANTAS flight. I have pics to confirm it I guess when your government bombs and kills people in other sovereign countries, it should not be a surprise when there is blow back. How soon before we see this in Australian airports?

  59. Michael Taylor

    ”My dear liberal-left friends, do you ready want the blood of a million Syrian men women and children on your hands?”

    None of us want to see a million Syrian men, women or children killed. Please don’t suggest that we do, or that the blood will be on our hands.

  60. Sean Stinson

    Zathras have you been reading my mail again?

    Yes. Russia and China transitioned more or less from feudalism directly to communism without going though advanced capitalism, China having a mini bourgeois revolution between 1912 and 1950.

    They also had very different models of social organisation to ‘western’ countries.Neither of them were “empires” in the european sense, more federalist models, ie lots of provinces run by elite bureaucracies. china has no colonies, actually built a wall to keep the invaders OUT, scuttled their fleet during the Ming(?) dynasty. The USSR was established as a fraternity of nations, with the constitutional right to secede, which some of them chose to exercise in 1989. Part of why I think criticisms of China and Russia as neo-imperialist are misplaced.

  61. bronte71

    Re: “a sad indictment on a kool-aid addicted public all too eager to swallow the corporate media swill.”

    Sean, thank you so much for this article, with which I agree in full.
    As someone who has spent almost half her life living and working overseas, meeting and working with people from all around the world, and listening to their stories – it knocks out any possibility of believing the corporate media- returning to Australia some years ago was a huge shock; like being in a parallel universe where everything is upside down, black is white, good is evil, evil is good, and attempting to speak truth is considered wacky “conspiracy theory.”

    So go ahead, please call me an Assadist, a Putinist, and a Kremlin troll. I don’t mind. Accepted with pleasure.
    In return I will politely toss back an expression I heard many times overseas.

    That expression was “Anglo White Trash.”
    NB: No offence to anyone intended. Used only for descriptive purposes. If you have ever read T.S.Eliot’s famous poem “The Hollow Men”, written about World War I, then the “Anglo White Trash” are Eliot’s hollow men and women.

    Today, when listening to the constant Big Lies and war propaganda from our so-called “leaders” and their corporate presstitutes, I think to myself, “Western White Trash” although, unfortunately, it is the Anglophone/AngloZionist world that is primarily responsible for what is occurring and has occurred over the past few hundred years.

    The United States government hoodwinks the public with its R2P (Responsibility to Protect) propaganda, while others correctly understand their international law-breaking foreign policy and foreign invasions/overthrowing of democratically elected governments as their self-given Right to Plunder resources.

    For anyone interested, there are two new, high quality Russian documentaries (with English subtitles) on Vladimir Putin.
    The first is titled The World Order 2018 available on Russian social media, the second titled simply Putin by Andrey Kondrashov.
    Kondrashov also made the excellent Crimea: Way Back Home; Crimea having originally been a part of Russia since about the time of the English discovery of Australia.

    Research via quality alternative media on the “petrodollar” system, the international banking and finance system, the scale of the US war system, the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), and the Wolfowitz Doctrine should disabuse any honestly critical thinker of the innocence of our Western White Trash “leaders” and corporate media.

    Former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, once stated, “To be an enemy of the United States is dangerous, to be an ally is deadly.”
    I wish our politicians would seriously heed that warning because Australia is not geographically and financial system immune to the deadly that the US will cause us with Syria and Russia hostilities.

  62. Kaye Lee

    This site has never been used to unquestioningly push US propaganda. We routinely question our own government. It really disappoints me to hear such blatantly one-sided propaganda being regurgitated here. Of course people are entitled to express their views and questioning US interference in other countries is certainly valid. But the certainty that there is only one bad guy in the world is naive. There is a very selective view of history being given.

  63. Sean Stinson

    Yes of course Kaye Lee, there are two sides to every story. Hitler didn’t really want to invade Poland. He was forced into it.

  64. Sean Stinson

    and those unarmed Palestinians deserve what they get for throwing rocks at IDF soldiers

  65. Michael Taylor

    I agree with what Kaye Lee said at 9:23 am.

    Am I going to be mocked for that too?

    Go ahead. Just try it.

  66. economicreform

    I also agree with Kaye’s statement at 9.23 am. All governments lie to their own citizens (without exception). To think otherwise is indeed naive.

  67. Michael Taylor

    Sean, I’ve just bern informed – and hence have noticed – that you’ve been on Facebook and have used Kaye Kee’s comments as an opportunity to ridicule her behind her back.

    I understand that this has been going on for over a year.

    This behaviour is classified as cyber bullying and will not be tolerated.

    I wish to advise that you have henceforth been blocked.

    I also wish to advise that this decision is in no way related to your opinions, but is related solely to your decision to use comments made at The AIMN in order to ridicule others.

    Should you decide to make the claim that you have been blocked for any other reason, I will be forced into a situation of likewise going public on this issue, leaving people to draw their own conclusions.

    At The AIMN we encourage open and fair debate – with the emphasis on fair – where people feel free to comment without being attacked personally.

  68. Kaye Lee

    That is a shame. The things Sean raises are worth discussing. I was just hoping for a more balanced discussion.

  69. Mark

    A decent article Sean, thankyou. I have no doubts that any alledged (a term rarely used in relation to Assad), and as yet unproven attacks did not occur. Case in point – Why are there pictures of people in HAZMAT suits standing alongside uniformed soldiers and civilians in Salisbury – I call BS! The source of reports on the suppossed chlorine gas attack was from rebels on the ground (White Helmets PFFT!), once again, BS!

    I tend to look at things a little differently these days, and was thinking…
    What if the whole thing is a globalist plan to whitewash the current western neoliberal bullshit our world has been pushed into, and that so many are now waking up to. Just to out the ”evil perpetrators” (US/Israel/UK/France et al) after a possible, and very close, nuclear global conflict that threatens to wipe out the planet, (ie WW3) so a new stronger UN (NWO) can be established, with someone like Putin (who alt media adores) or Xi Ping, as the ‘level headed’ statesman in charge. I’m not a fan of ANY politician, but I do know control in the hands of so few is virtual suicide.
    Call me paranoid, conspiracy nut, blah blah blah, i can handle it.

    Controlled opposition is a concept a lot of folks can’t seem to grasp. How do you win an unwinnable fight? – have control of both (all) teams.

  70. helvityni

    Michael, what happened to Joseph Carli…if I may ask… was he banned, chased away or was it his choice to leave…

    Variety is the spice of life….

  71. Michael Taylor

    Joseph banned! Never. Joe’s just taking a break.

  72. Dale

    Sean…Starting to doubt YOU as a source…Sort of looks like your not very up to date..
    “China has no aircraft carrier”
    The Type 001A aircraft carrier or CV-17 aircraft carrier is a first generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China. It is the country’s second aircraft carrier after the completion of Liaoning, and the first built domestically.

    “China has no colonies”
    A fourth, relatively brief, 20-year punitive invasion by the Ming dynasty, 400 years later, is usually excluded by historians in discussion of the main, almost continuous, period of Chinese colonization from 111 BC to 938 AD, as is the brief occupation of northern Vietnam by Chinese forces at the end of the Second …

    What about Tibet?

  73. diannaart

    @ Kaye Lee

    I agree, Sean raises interesting issues, a shame about the bullying – I am particularly incensed by the levels to which Sean has taken his inability to handle a Variety of opinions.

    @ Helvityni

    I find you far more interesting than any of Joe’s 1950’s homilies.

    🙂

  74. Andrew Smith

    bronte71 Quoting Kissinger contradicts much of what you said as he is known as being owned by ‘Rockefellers’ (Standard Oil/Exxon Mobil/CFR) ie. their man. His foreign policy policies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, Timor Leste etc. add to the ethical compromise in being supported by a family controlled business ie. Standard Oil which continued to do business with the Nazi regime including WWII, after war was declared…. not to forget their support of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute.

    Eleanor Roosevelt had some choice words about Rockefellers and related oligarchs as being both unethical and unpatriotic.

    Further, many of the same oligarchs were responsible for political media influence and related manipulation, now manifested in Kochs (who I think also may have had business interests with Nazi Germany) with their creation of the architecture for ‘media assembly lines’ masking donors; often supported by sympathetic communication infrastructure eg. NewsCorp.

    In Australia we can thank them for our LA style cities, fossil fuel dependence, think tanks like IPA and obsessions about non WASP ‘immigrants’.

  75. Andrew Smith

    I’d also add, while Russia protagonists and/or Putin etc. muddy the waters on facts and motives, such incidents can be very beneficial. Like Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary antagonise or provoke external enemies, real and mostly imagined, then claim victimhood; plays out well domestically with less educated and/or govt. dependent voters in gerrymandered regional electorates ie. their base.

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