“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

False Flag Gas Attack Predicted on March 17, 2018

On April 13, 2018, One Month After This Prediction The Russians, the US, UK, Israel  and France attacked Syria 

Published on Mar 17, 2018

Russia’s Defense Ministry says “US instructors” are training militants to stage false flag chemical attacks in south Syria. The incidents are said to be a pretext for airstrikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure. \Check out RT LIVE Subscribe to RT! Like us on Facebook Follow us on Telegram Follow us on VK Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Google+


Chemical Attacks, False Flags and the Fate of Syria

Once again Eastern Ghouta is the epicenter of a confrontation between the White House and Bashar al-Assad. On April 7, medics in Douma, the largest city in the agricultural belt surrounding Damascus, blamed him for authorizing the aerial bombardment of chlorine gas that cost the lives of at least 40 people and injuries to hundreds of others. While chlorine gas has been used in the past by Assad’s air force, it has not had the devastating impact it had this time.

Syria, Russia and Iran dismissed such reports as a “false flag” in which jihadists used fraudulent photos and videos to pressure American imperialism into taking their side in an all-out attack such as the one that took place against Iraq in 2003. For those of a conspiracist bent, this was a con job just like the Apollo Moon landing hoax when film simulations supposedly substituted for the real thing.
In past “false flag” incidents, the scenario was somewhat different. Assad’s camp was willing to agree that the corpses were real but that they had been killed by the jihadi terrorists they supported in order to seduce the White House into a “regime change” operation. This time filed a report that described Douma as having suffered no attack whatsoever:
The Russian military has found no trace of chemical weapons use after searching parts of Syria’s Douma allegedly targeted by an “attack.” Photos of victims posted by the White Helmets are fake, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Experts in radiological, chemical and biological warfare, as well as medics, on Monday inspected the parts of the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma, where an alleged chemical attack supposedly took place on Saturday, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria said in a statement.
As also happened in the aftermath of the sarin gas attacks in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 and in Khan Sheikhoun almost a year ago, the White House threatened to retaliate. In 2013, Obama decided to call off a military strike after he was assured by Russia that Assad would agree to relinquish his chemical weapons stockpile. Four days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Trump ordered the navy to fire 59 Cruise missiles at the air force base from which the attack was launched. Since Trump tipped off the Kremlin before the missiles were fired and since the base was launching new attacks within a few days, there were some grounds for viewing the missile attack as mostly for show. This go-round Trump tweeted that nice, new and “smart” missiles would be coming. Whether they will have any long-term impact on a war that is largely over is debatable.

And also as has happened in the past, much of the left accepts the “false flag” narrative. In an interview with teleSUR, Max Blumenthal dismissed reports of casualties as untrustworthy because they have been furnished by what he called jihadist-supporting elements such as the White Helmets and the mainstream media. His advice to the audience was to trust the much more reliable Russian media. At the risk of sounding like a reactionary goon, I prefer the NY Times to Sputnik especially for Melissa Clark’s recipes.

It is not just the left that absolves Assad. Despite their overall support for Trump, especially his racism, a number of prominent alt-right figures are disappointed that he has been snookered by jihadi fake news. Among them is Tucker Carlson who spent ten minutes on his Monday night show making the same points as Blumenthal. Carlson is in a budding bromance with Blumenthal because of their shared opposition to the Russiagate investigation. Instead of baiting Blumenthal over his opposition to Israel, he instead found common ground in their shared hatred of fake news dispensing, sharia-law embracing, head-chopping terrorists. Carlson was quite the fire-breathing anti-imperialist:
Trump has to take action in Syria. Everyone nods sagely. That ought to make you nervous. Universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually the first sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen. If only because there is nobody left to ask skeptical questions. 
And we should be skeptical of this. Starting with the poison gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course, they don’t really know that. They are making it up. They have no real idea what happened.
Writing for, Dr. Patrick Slattery sounded a similar note:
The absolute low point of the first year of the Trump administration was when Trump bombed the Syrian airbase in response to Ivanka crying to her dad about a picture of a baby in a gas mask. It was a hoax then and it is a hoax now. Everything that (((CNN))), (((NPR))), (((NBC))), (((CBS))), (((ABC))), (((PBS))), (((The New York Times))), and (((The Washington Post))) say about Russia, Russian collusion, Syrian gas attacks, Russian nerve agent attacks, and everything else is 100% certified kosher bull honk.
Even the highly respectable (and totally based) Professor Stephen F. Cohen described the alleged poisoning of a Russian double agent as a “false flag.”
In case you are not familiar with “(((“ and “)))”, those are meant to self-identify Jews on Twitter. Slattery has another use for them apparently.

The Bellingcat website is perhaps the only place where you can find fact-based reporting on chemical attacks in Syria. It was launched by Eliot Higgins, a British citizen-journalist who relies heavily on open source material and field reports from the affected areas. In an April 11 entry, there is an attempt to ground the Douma incident in verifiable data such as the characteristic yellow cylinders in which weaponized chlorine gas is delivere. There are also videos of corpses in the basement of a building that was within the impacted area, each with the tell-tale sign of white foam around the nose and mouth. Video one:

Video two:

Are they another Apollo Moon landing hoax? Judge for yourself.
An earlier chlorine gas attack took place in Douma on January 22. On that occasion, Rex Tillerson warned about the consequences but Trump demonstrated about as much interest in retaliation as he would have in reading a Jane Austen novel. Why this latest incident has provoked saber-rattling is not easy to answer. It is tempting to write it off as a gesture intended to demonstrate that Russiagate is based on a false premise but more likely it is to remind the world of America’s global reach. In any case, the Trump administration has no business bombing Syria, even when the target was ISIS—a massive campaign that somehow escaped the left’s attention. Exterminate ISIS? Why not?

One argument against Assad’s guilt is the often-heard claim that since he was winning the war, why would he use a tactic that would give the USA an excuse to intervene. Perhaps the muted response of both Obama and Trump was enough to persuade Assad’s military to go full steam ahead. One might also ask why Harry Truman decided to drop A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki when Japan’s days were numbered. It was Gar Alperovitz who correctly interpreted it as a warning to Russia that the USA was going to become the number one imperial power. So did Assad have a motivation anything like this? I would say that he certainly did. Chemical attacks have a way of educating the population that he will stop at nothing to continue the family’s dynastic rule. Ten years from now as a new revolutionary wave gathers momentum in Syria, perhaps it will be constrained by memories of the brutal measures the regime was ready to take.

While it is true that Assad was winning, a ground attack on East Ghouta would have been costly. The Syrian army has been depleted after 7 years of war and the resistance in an area under rebel control would have been considerable. 

Additionally, the lack of a response to the January 22 attack might have convinced Assad that Trump was willing to maintain a hands-off policy especially since sarin gas was not going to be used. In fact, between December 12, 2016 and April 7, 2017 there were a dozen chemical attacks by the Syrian military that except for Khan Sheikhoun went unnoticed not only by the Trump administration but by most of the left. The first and most costly (92 lives) probably mattered the least since the victims lived in ISIS-controlled Palmyra. The Guardian reported:
“Most of the dead were families,” said Ahmad al Hamawi, head of a regional council. “They had built primitive shelters and they ran to them, not knowing it was poison gas. While they were in the shelters the gas entered because of the wind direction, and killed dozens, mostly women and children.”
Why would Trump lift a finger to protect such people? Even if they loathed ISIS, they committed the cardinal sin of living under its control.

These are the poor, obscure and undeserving souls who found themselves in the unenviable position of living in rebel-controlled areas such as East Ghouta. Given so much of the left’s eagerness to superimpose the history of the war on Iraq on Syria, there is little engagement with their class differences. The Bush administration cultivated the loyalties of the Shia bourgeoisie in Basra and Baghdad that was eager to serve American interests. With someone like Ahmed Chalabi stepping up to make their case, this seemed like a match made in heaven (or hell). Chalabi had amassed a $100 million fortune and cultivated close relations with neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz. Unfortunately for the dwellers of East Ghouta and other such boondocks, they had nobody like that to speak for them.

The Sunni poor made the mistake of putting their confidence in men like Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib who was a college graduate and a one-time imam of a Damascus mosque before assuming the leadership of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. He never would have gotten far with the likes of either Paul Wolfowitz or Barack Obama making outrageous statements such as this:
Appearances may differ but the core is similar, and whether that core is French, British, Russian or American, the ultimate goal is the same; intervention, domination and supremacy and all in the name of human rights.
The facts have proven beyond any doubt that the claws of international politics are tainted and that the world’s super powers are seeking, through the distribution of roles in the open and behind closed doors, to undermine the legitimate interests of the peoples of the world and trade in them by inciting sectarian sentiments, and the examples are plenty: from Syria and the Middle East, to Sudan and Rwanda, to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The left chose Assad over politicians like al-Khatib. Perhaps al-Khatib’s failure to speak in the name of communism and having had a job as an imam on his CV compromised him. It was the Syrian Communist Party that obviously resonated best with the left with familiar and reassuring words such as these: “Facing this complicated and hard situation, Syria had to request help from the Russian Federation. Moscow provided Syria with the support it needed to resist this barbarous aggression.”

When the history of this tragic war is written, it must take into account the class dimensions of a society that was as sharply divided as Cuba under Batista or Nicaragua under Somoza. Much of the left missed this because it saw Syria through the lenses of the Cold War. As long as Russia supported Syria, that was all you needed to know even if it was not Soviet Russia but a Russia in which strikes are virtually illegal and Putin damns Lenin for executing the Czar. Naturally, Putin would feel a great affinity for Assad who until the Arab Spring was someone Tony Blair would welcome to England on a state visit, where he even met her royal highness. His public image was so polished at this point that Vogue Magazine nearly featured a profile on him and his très chic wife.

The Syrian rebels are generally drawn from the poor, rural and unrepresented majority of the population, the Arab version of John Steinbeck’s Joad family. Despite the tendency of some on the left to see them as sectarians who rose up against a generous Baathist welfare state because it supported a different interpretation of who was the true successor to Muhammad, the revolutionary struggle in Syria was fueled by class hatred.

In agricultural belts like East Ghouta, conditions had become unbearable because a perfect storm of drought, neoliberalism and corruption had descended upon them. Myrian Ababsa, a research fellow in social geography at the French Institute for the Near East in Amman, Jordan described the calamity in a chapter in Raymond Hinnebusch and Tina Zintl’s Syria: from Reform to Revolt. Two years before the Arab Spring erupted in Syria, 42 percent of the largely agricultural Raqqa governorate suffered from anemia because of a shortage of dairy products, vegetables, and fruit. Between 2007 and 2009, malnutrition among pregnant women and children under five doubled. Under drought conditions, farmers resorted to polluted river water for irrigation. This led to outbreaks of food poisoning stemming from the sewage and chemicals that seeped into rivers in rural areas near Aleppo, Lattakia, and Raqqa.

Suffering from malnutrition and poverty, small-scale farmers, pastoral herders and the landless no longer sent their children to school. According to the UN some schools in the agricultural belt in eastern Syria decreased by 70 percent after April 2008. Illiteracy levels reached 38.3 percent in the Raqqa governorate, 35.1 percent in Hassaka governorate, and 34.8 percent in Deir ez-Zor governorate. More than a third of the population was illiterate, including more than half of the female population. Between 160 and 220 villages were abandoned in Hassaka governorate. With dried up wells, the population could not afford to bring water from private tankers at a cost amounting to $37 per month. These were Syria’s version of the people living in Flint except that they were ready to rise up in defense of their class interests.

Unfortunately for them, they lacked the means to defend themselves from barrel bombs, chemical attacks and a worldwide propaganda offensive that was sandwiched on the right by Tucker Carlson and Max Blumenthal on the left. They certainly deserved better.

Louis Proyect blogs at and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.



  1. You can believe all of it, none of it or some of it for various and conflicting reasons. Syria is ugly to a fault. The US, France and the UK have made serious mistakes leading up to the war and since, including this weekend's predicted attack. I fail to see how this is going to make America Great Again.

  2. The video posted at the bottom of the post from Syrian Girl , seems more credible than anything being shoveled out by The Trump Team, France, UK and Israel.

  3. Disclaimer:

    Bob has no idea who is behind what happened, or even what exactly happened.

  4. I am elated our munitions seem so accurate and that we didn't kill 500 or so Russian officers.

    Possible and Hoped for Bonus: Kim Fatso III takes a lesson.

    I hope this kind of stuff doesn't become a monthly event.

  5. lem Post Breaking News
    BY JPOST.COM STAFF APRIL 14, 2018 22:37

    Breaking news
    Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

    An Iranian military base in Syria was targeted by unidentified aircraft, Syrian media reported late Saturday night.

    The Iranian base, located in the Jabal Azzan region south of Aleppo, is the largest in the country. Eyewitnesses said they observed explosions at the site. Other unconfirmed sources identified the planes as Israeli fighter jets.

    Hezbollah media sources denied the reports and said that the explosions at the site resulted from explosives detonating within the warehouse.

  6. .

    “The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term ‘Mission Accomplished,”’ Trump said on Twitter. “I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often!”

    Views on this comment will likely vary based on your political disposition and your knowledge of psychological disorders.


    1. Well then you step up first and make a comment on it.

      I will make a note in my Psychological Disorders Of Quirk Revealed In His Comments notebook for future reference and use.

    2. .

      The comment does little to change my view of Trump and his pathologies. It's absurd. He's bragging about dropping a few bombs on Damascus? That's the mission? If so, IMO it's an expensive and piss poor mission.

      What was the point? To send a message to Assad? Do you really believe that mission was accomplished? Do you think it will do anything to change what Assad does in the future?

      Is that raid the totality of Trump's strategy? What is Trump's strategy if one exists at all?

      IMO any strategy Trump has is driven by what's on the daily news and it changes daily depending on what he sees AND on how he THINKS it reflects on HIM.

      The man's a narcissist and a media-whore and this is what we have leading the country.

      I find it disquieting.


    3. What was the point? To send a message to Assad? Do you really believe that mission was accomplished? Do you think it will do anything to change what Assad does in the future ?


      IMO any strategy Trump has is driven by what's on the daily news and it changes daily depending on what he sees AND on how he THINKS it reflects on HIM.

      :) Given this analysis of anything Trump does being driven by your's plain he can never do anything right.

      That being the case, in despair we turn to you to tell us what our Syria strategy should be.

      And, remember, no strategy IS a strategy.

  7. Isaiah can't be proven wrong about Damascus.
    The Mossad and Zionists execute a false flag?

    Stay tuned...

  8. Those videos of the dead children were really hard to take.

    Folks seem able to understand The Donald's desire to do something to stop it.

    1. .

      Get some damn, perspective.

      Any death is a shame. When it's intentionally caused, it's a crime. When 40 die fighting for air, women and children among them the tragedy is compounded.

      However, to base your opinions on that and lose sight of the thousands (perhaps millions) of deaths the US is responsible for in the ME directly and indirectly; that some of those deaths we are directly responsible for were the result of munitions using white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and bunker buster bombs that suck all the air out of the area when they hit not to mention the land mines and depleted uranium we leave in our wake then you've lost all perspective.


    2. I must plead guilty to having been momentarily shocked and horrified, Your Honor.

      It's the first time I've ever seen little kids foaming at the mouth from a gas attack.

      Yet, you are certainly correct.

      Perspective is all.

      I shall try to put it out of my mind, get a little wider perspective, and concentrate on, o I don't know, the Iran/Iraq War, the Nazis death camps, the Battle of Kursk, or perhaps the 80,000,000 dead Hindus from the muzzie invasions of that area. For something a little lighter, I'll think of a weekend's shootings in Detroit.

      It will help to put it out of my mind, lest I conclude all human life sucks.

    3. Any death is a shame.


    4. .


      Bad things happen to good people all the time. The only thing you can guarantee is that you are not the one delivering those bad things.

      Perhaps, you missed it but the idea of 'destroying the village to save it' was discredited a long time ago.


  9. You know it is a serious article, and a serious argument, when they cite for support.

    1. Inane is your last name, I swear.

      Or is it asinine ?

      I forget.

  10. Was this attack real? Were the previous other 7 chemical attacks real?

    Who knows.

    What is real?

    Iran now has troops in Syria, troops allow over Syria including the Golan. Iran is taking up military positions and is active in actions against America and Israel.

    Russia now has bases in Syria that did not exist 5 years ago.

    Hezbollah, Iran, Assad's troops and Russia all have a direct responsibility in the deaths of 600,000 syrians...

    Russia HAS laid out the protection card with their s300 & s400 umbrella.

    So maybe the USA/French/British strike should be looked at as a re-establishement of deterrent. That Iran's freehand actions are over.

    Just last week Iranian supplied ballistic missiles were fired by Yemen's rebels (or Iranian personnel at Arabia, Iran funded Hamas to stage 3 weeks of anti-gaze border attacks, hamas/isis of sinai killed 30 egyptian troops this week...

    Maybe this all is a direct anti-obama action to assert USA (western) will over the hegemonic aspirations of Iran. (russia and hezbollah)

  11. I think the odds are Assad did it.

    PM Theresa May came to that conclusion, and so did the French.

    I doubt they relied on The Donald's assertions.

    1. By the way, what burden of proof is to be used here ?

      'Beyond a reasonable doubt to a moral certitude' ? - The criminal standard ?

      Or the civil case burden -

      '50% + 1' ?

      Recall that there are international conventions concerning chemical weapons that either urge or demand some action be taken.

      'Beyond a reasonable doubt' seems a little too high, perhaps a lower standard is better especially considering the history of the Assad regime.

      And, reasonable people can disagree.

    2. Arms Control Association

      Chemical Weapons
      Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2018
      April 2018

      Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, 202-463-8270 x107; Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, 202-463-8270 x102.

      Updated: April 2018

      In July 2012, Syria publicly acknowledged that it possesses chemical weapons. For a number of years preceding this announcement, the United States intelligence community assessed that Syria has a stockpile of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, blister agents, and nerve agents such as sarin and VX. Syria has the capability to deliver these agents using aerial bombs, ballistic missiles, and artillery rockets.

      Below is a timeline of significant events related to Syria’s chemical weapons program from July 2012 to the present.

      July 23, 2012: Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi confirmed for the first time that Syria has chemical weapons, stating that these weapons would never be used against the Syrian people, but only against “external aggression.”

      August 20, 2012: President Barack Obama articulated his red-line regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Obama said his calculations on a military response would change significantly if the United States sees “a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

      August 23, 2012: An official in the State Department confirmed that “Syria has a stockpile composed of nerve agents and mustard gas” and that the U.S. government monitors Syria’s chemical weapons activities “very closely.”

      December 23, 2012: The first allegation of chemical weapons use was reported. Seven people were allegedly killed in Homs by a “poisonous gas” used by the Assad regime. The coverage included the report of side effects such as nausea, relaxed muscles, blurred vision, and breathing difficulties.

      January 15, 2013: A secret State Department cable from the U.S. consul general in Istanbul said there was compelling evidence that the Syrian military had used a chemical weapon known as Agent 15 in Homs on December 23, 2012.

      January 16, 2013: Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said that the alleged incident of chemical weapons use in December was not consistent with information that the White House has about Syria’s chemical weapons program.

    3. March 19, 2013: Alleged chemical weapons attacks were reported in Syria’s two main cities, the Khan al-Assel neighborhood of Aleppo and the Damascus suburb of al-Atebeh. About 25 people reportedly were killed and dozens more injured. The Assad regime claimed that Syrian opposition forces used chemical weapons in the fighting there.

      March 20, 2013: The Syrian government requested the United Nations conduct an investigation of the March 19 attack on Aleppo, claiming that opposition forces used chemical weapons and killed 25 people.

      President Obama said in a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that “the use of chemical weapons is a game changer,” in Syria.

      March 21, 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the United Nations will conduct an investigation on the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Prior to the announcement, France and the United Kingdom sent letters to the Secretary-General, calling for investigations into three alleged incidents of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

      March 24, 2013: Syrian opposition activists reported that Syrian forces used chemical weapons from multiple rocket launchers at the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus, alleging two deaths and 23 injuries. Doctors described that the weapons used were phosphorus bombs that harm the nervous system and induce imbalance and loss of consciousness.

      April 13, 2013: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the Syrian army dropped two gas bombs on rebel-controlled Aleppo, killing two people and wounding 12. Opponents of the Syrian government accused the army of using chemical weapons.

      April 17, 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that Syria has impeded the UN investigation by failing to agree to the scope of the UN inquiry on chemical weapons use.

      April 25, 2013: A letter sent to Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) from the U.S. intelligence community said that the Assad regime may have used the nerve agent sarin “on a small scale” in Syria, but that the United States needs more evidence to provide “some degree of certainty” for any decision-making on further action. The letter also said that the Assad regime maintains custody of the chemical weapons in Syria.

      April 26, 2013: President Obama remarked that the United States and the international community will work together to gain “strong evidence” of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

      April 29, 2013: A helicopter dropped canisters allegedly containing chemical weapons on the town of Saraqeb. Eight people claimed symptoms such as nausea and breathing problems, and one of them later died.

    4. June 4, 2013: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius asserted that there was “no doubt” that the Syrian regime used sarin in multiple cases. Fabius said that the French government confirmed the use of sarin by testing specimen taken from Syria. A UN report also said that there are “reasonable grounds” to have confidence in Syria’s use of chemical weapons four times in March and April, although the report cannot specify the chemical agents or verify who used them.

      June 13, 2013: The White House said that the U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that the Assad regime attacked opposition forces by using chemical weapons multiple times over the past year. In the statement, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said that physiological samples from multiple sources show exposure to chemical weapons. The evidence of use is recognized as “credible” in the statement.

      August 14, 2013: Assad agreed to allow the UN inspection team into Syria to investigate three possible uses of chemical weapons. The team’s mandate only allows it to establish whether or not chemical weapons were used, not who used them.

      August 21, 2013: Syrian opposition activists claimed that a large-scale chemical weapons attack occurred at the suburbs of the Ghouta region, where Syrian forces had been attempting to expel rebel force. Reports said that thousands of victims of the attack have been counted in the Damascus suburbs, whose symptoms were typically body convulsion, forming from mouths, blurry vision and suffocation. Although the number of victims has not been clarified yet, it is estimated to exceed 1,000 people, many of whom were non-combatant.

      The United Nations Security Council also held an emergency meeting regarding the attack. The meeting produced a statement demanding further clarity of the incident.

      August 23, 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson expressed the intention of the UN to conduct “a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation” on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21.

      The OPCW Director General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, expressed grave concerns about the latest attack in Syria, and said that the OPCW experts were already in Syria with the UN investigation team.

      August 25, 2013: The Syrian regime announced that it will let the UN inspection team investigating past incidents of chemical weapons use visit the Damascus sites in the following days.

      August 26, 2013: The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in his press briefing that all information the U.S. has, including reports of the number of victims, their symptoms, and the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organizations, strongly indicate that chemical weapons were used in Syria. He also said that Syria attempted to cover-up the incident in the days following the attack.

      Syrian President Bashar Assad announced that his army did not use chemical weapons in the August 21 attack in Damascus. Assad recognized the allegation of his use of chemical weapons as “politically motivated," in his meeting with Russia's Izvestia daily.

      A convoy transporting the UN investigation team of chemical weapons was attacked by snipers in Syria. No UN personnel were injured, but they were unable to visit all of the sites affected by the attack.

    5. August 28, 2013: The United States has concluded that the Assad regime conducted chemical weapons attacks against civilians, President Obama said in “PBS NewsHour.” Obama said he had not yet made a decision whether to take a military action in Syria.

      A second UN Security Council meeting was held.

      August 29, 2013: The British Parliament voted against supporting military action in Syria. Before the vote, a report from the Joint Intelligence Committee released a report which stated that chemical weapons were used in the August 21 attach, and that it was "highly likely" that the Assad regime was responsible.

      August 30, 2013: The White House released the U.S. Government Assessment on the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21. The report says that the intelligence community has "high confidence" that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the opposition elements in Damascus. Secretary Kerry, in an address, also said that the regime used chemical weapons "multiple times" over the past year. Kerry said discussions on military action are underway. The U.S. Government Assessment included this map of Damascus and the areas impacted by the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack.

      alternate text
      August 31, 2013: President Obama made a statement saying that he would seek an authorization for the use of force from Congress for a limited military strike in Syria. Given the evidence of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime in the August 21 attack, Obama said he supported limited action in order to deter further chemical weapons use and uphold international norms.

      September 2, 2013: France released its declassified intelligence assessment, which concluded that the Assad regime used Sarin gas in the August 21 attack, and in two earlier attacks in April. The report also said France assessed that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime violated the 1925 Geneva Protocol.

      September 9, 2013: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced a Russian proposition whereby Syria would agree to place its chemical weapons under international control and dismantle them and the United States would agree not to conduct a military strike on the country. Prior to the Russian announcement, Secretary of State Kerry, speaking in the United Kingdom, suggested that if the Assad regime turned over all of its chemical weapons to the international community "without delay", a military strike could be averted. Speaking to media outlets after Secretary Kerry, President Barack Obama said that the United States would consider the plan.

    6. September 10, 2013: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the Assad regime welcomed discussion on Russia's plan to give up Syria's chemical weapons and join the Chemical Weapons Convention. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed how to implement the plan through the UN Security Council, with France beginning to draft a resolution based on the Russian proposal, but with stipulations that force be authorized if Assad fails to implement the provisions of the resolution.

      President Obama, in an address to the nation, also requested that Congress postpone a vote on the use of force while the diplomatic path proposed by the Russians is pursued in the UN Security Council. However, he also reiterated his commitment to pursue military action if a deal on securing Syria's chemical weapons is not reached.

      September 12, 2013: The Assad regime sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General which said that Assad signed a legislative decree providing the accession of Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In the letter, Assad said Syria would observe its CWC obligations immediately, as opposed to 30 days from the date of accession, as stipulated in the treaty.

      In Geneva, Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to begin discussions of the Russian proposal for securing the Assad regime's chemical weapons.

      September 14, 2013: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached an agreement on a detailed plan for the accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. The plan requires Syria to provide a full declaration of its stockpile “within a week” and provide the OPCW and the UN access to all chemical weapons sites in Syria. The plan calls for the OPCW inspectors to complete their initial inspections by November and calls for the destruction of the stockpile of chemical weapons and chemical agents by the first half of 2014. The United States and Russia secured approval of the plan by the OPCW executive council and then a UN Security Council resolution. The agreement outlined states that “in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

      September 16, 2013: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon delivered a report on the UN investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The report concluded that chemical weapons were used against on August 21 on a "relatively large scale", and that the victims included civilians. The report cited evidence of the nerve agent sarin both in the environment and present in victims of the attack. It was outside of the report's mandate to assign blame for who used the chemical weapons.

      September 20, 2013: In accordance with the terms of the agreement negotiated by the United States and Russia, Syria submitted a declaration of its stockpiles of chemical weapons to the OPCW.

      September 27, 2013: The Executive Council of the OPCW adopted a timeline for destroying Syria's chemical weapons. Hours later, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that endorses the OPCW timeline for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. The Security Council Resolution says that the body will impose measures under Chapter VII of its charter if Syria does not comply with the resolution, or uses or authorizes the transfer of any chemical agents.

    7. October 1, 2013: A joint team of OPCW and UN officials arrived in Syria to begin destruction of the country's chemical weapons stockpiles and facilities.

      October 6, 2013: Officials from the OPCW and UN team said that destruction of Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons began. The officials confirmed that the Syrians will actually complete the destruction work, while the UN and OPCW team will monitor and verify the activities.

      October 27, 2013: Syria submitted the details of its plans for "total and verified destruction" of its chemical weapons stockpile and production facilities to the OPCW. This declaration follows an initial declaration submitted on Sept. 20.

      October 31, 2013: The OPCW confirmed that Syria destroyed, or rendered inoperable, all of its declared facilities for mixing and producing chemical weapons. The OPCW was able to inspect 21 of the 23 sites where these facilities were housed. The remaining two sites could not be visited due to security concerns, but inspectors said that the equipment was moved out of these sites and destroyed.

      November 15, 2013: The OPCW Executive Council approved a plan for the elimination of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons. The plan call for transporting the weapons outside of Syria and destruction of the chemical agents in a country that has yet to be identified. The "most critical" chemicals are to be transported out of Syria by December 31, 2013 and the remainder by February 5, 2014. The plan calls for the destruction no later than June 30, 2014, and the destruction of certain priority chemicals by March 15, 2014.

      The Executive Council also announced that the OPCW was able to verify that 60 percent of Syrian declared, unfilled, munitions for chemical weapons delivery had been destroyed. Syria committed to destroying all of its unfilled munitions by January 31, 2014.

    8. November 30, 2013: The OPCW announced that Syria's chemical weapons will be destroyed on a U.S. ship using hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is a process that breaks down chemical agents using hot water and other compounds to neutralize the agents.

      December 12, 2013: The UN team led by Ake Sellstrom investigating incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria issued its final report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. The report found that chemical weapons were likely used in five of the seven attacks investigated. The nerve agent sarin was likely used in four of the attacks, one of which was the large scale attack on a Damascus suburb in August.

      December 31, 2013: Syria missed the deadline for sending all of its chemical weapons out of the country. This deadline was set by a UN Security Council Resolution approved in September.

      January 7, 2014: Syria delivered the first load of chemical weapons to its port city Latakia. The chemical weapons were then loaded on a Danish ship that sailed out into international waters. China and Russia are providing protection for the ship, which will eventually transfer the cargo to the US ship, the MV Cape Ray, to be neutralized using hydrolysis.

      January 9, 2014: The German government announced its willingness to assist in the disposal of the chemical waste byproduct that will be created from the hydrolysis process.

      January 16, 2014: Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that Gioa Tauro, a port in southern Italy, will be used to transfer Syrian chemical weapons to the US ship, the Cape Ray, that will neutralize the chemicals using hydrolysis.

      January 27, 2014: A second shipment of Syrian chemical weapons was loaded onto Danish and Norwegian ships at the Syrian port of Lattakia. The U.S. ship that will receive the chemical weapons and then neutralize them using hydrolysis, the Cape Ray, left port. The chemicals will be transferred to the Cape Ray at the Italian port Gioa Tauro.

      February 6, 2014: Sigrid Kaag, head of the UN/OPCW mission for destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, addressed the UN Security Council a day after Syria missed a second deadline for handing over its critical chemicals and said that she did not believe that the Assad regime was deliberately stalling the removal process. However, she urged Syria to speed up the shipments in order to meet the destruction deadline of June 30.

      by Alicia Sanders-Zakre

    9. February 10, 2014: A third shipment of Syrian chemical weapons was loaded on a Norwegian cargo ship. In total, 11 percent of Syria's chemical weapons were shipped out of Syria.

      February 14, 2014: The OPCW announced that two companies, one in Finland (Ekokem OY AB) and one in Texas (Veolia), were awarded contracts to dispose of the effluent created during the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

      February 21, 2014: The OPCW executive committed met to consider the Assad regime's new proposal for shipping out its chemical weapons. After failing to meet a Feb. 5 deadline to remove all of its chemical weapons and precursor chemicals out of the country, the regime proposed a 100 day extension. The OPCW executive committee, however, said that it can be accomplished more quickly. The 100 day extension also will not allow the Cape Ray enough time to destroy the chemical weapons by the June 30 UN Security Council deadline.

      February 25, 2014: The Assad regime delivered a shipment of mustard gas to the Syrian port of Latakia to be loaded onto ships.

      March 4, 2014: The Assad regime submitted a revised proposal to remove its chemical weapons from Syria by the end of April 2014. Two additional shipments of chemical weapons also reached the port of Latakia and were loaded onto ships. In total, more than 35% of the country's chemical weapons have been removed.

      March 7, 2014: The Executive Council concluded its 75th Session and noted in its report the “increasing pace” of removal of Syria’s chemical stockpile and requested the Syria continue “systematic, predictable and substantial movements” to complete the shipments.

      Another shipment of priority 1 chemicals was reached the port of Latakia, bringing the total amount of chemical agents removed from Syria to 29 percent of the total stockpile.

      March 19, 2014: The OPCW said that two additional shipments of Priority 1 and Priority 2 chemicals were delivered to the port of Latakia and loaded onto cargo vessels during the past week. Syria has now shipped out more than 45 percent of its stockpile.

      April 4, 2014: The 12th shipment of Syrian chemical weapons reached the port of Latakia, according to the OPCW.

      April 11, 2014: Reports emerged of an attack using chlorine-gas bombs in Kafr Zita, a village controlled by opposition forces in northwestern Syria.

      April 14, 2014: The Syrian government delivered its 13th consignment of chemicals to Latakia, which was removed today from the port on cargo ships. As of this delivery, the OPCW said that the Assad regime has shipped out 65 percent of its total stockpile of chemical weapons, including 57 percent of the Priority 1 chemicals.

      April 18, 2014: Additional shipments of chemical weapons reached the port of Latakia between April 14-18. The OPWC said in an April 18 statement that in total, the 16 shipments constitute about 80 percent of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons.

      April 22, 2014: Another shipment reached Latakia port, bringing the total of the chemical weapons stockpile removed from Syria to 86 percent.

    10. April 24, 2014: An additional shipment to Latakia brings the total to 92 percent.

      April 29, 2014: The OPCW announced that it would send a team to investigate the April 11 attacks that the Assad regime used chlorine gas.

      May 1, 2014: Syria missed the revised deadline to remove all of its chemical weapons stockpile from the country by the end of April. Approximately 8 percent of the stockpile, largely sarin precursor chemicals, remains in Damascus.

      June 8, 2014: The Norwegian ship Taiko departed for Finland and the United States to deliver Syrian chemical weapons for destruction.

      June 17, 2014: The OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria to investigate the use of chlorine gas concluded that it was used in earlier attacks. The team was unable to visit all of the locations due security issues.

      Click image to enlarge.Click image to enlarge.

      June 23, 2014: OPCW Director General Uzumcu announced that the last 8 percent of Syria's chemical weapons was shipped out of the country from the port of Latakia on the Danish ship Ark Futura. Uzumcu says the chemicals should be destroyed within four months.

      July 2, 2014: Over 600 metric tons of chemical weapons were loaded on to the Cape Ray at the port of Gioia Tauro in Italy.

      July 21, 2014: The OPCW announced that all of the chemical weapons have reached the various facilities in Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Cape Ray for destruction. At the time of the announcement nearly 32 percent of the total stockpiles had been destroyed.

      July 24, 2014: The executive council of the OPCW also announced that seven hangars in Syria that were part of the country's chemical weapons will be destroyed and five bunkers will be permanently sealed.

      August 13, 2014: The OPCW announced that 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas have been neutralized on the Cape Ray. Operations to neutralize the blister agent sulfur mustard have now begun.

      August 19, 2014: The Cape Ray completed destruction of 600 metric tons of Syrian chemical weapons and precursor chemicals. The OPCW announced that the ship will now transport the effluent to Finland and Germany for disposal at land-based facilities.

      September 10, 2014: The OPCW confirmed that chlorine gas is being used in Syria. While the OPCW did not assign blame for the attacks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the use of helicopters to drops the chlorine gas "strongly points" to the Assad regime as the perpetrator.


    11. March 6, 2015: The UN Security Council adopted a resolution March 6 condemning the use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria’s civil war and threatening action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if chemical arms are used again.

      April 16, 2015: Doctors testified at the UN Security Council about recent chlorine gas attacks in Syria. Human Rights Watch estimated that over 200 were killed by recent chlorine attacks.

      May 8, 2015: Reuters reported that the OPCW confirms traces of sarin and VX gas at a military facility in Syria that were not declared. The samples were taken in December and January.

      August 7, 2015: Security Council Resolution 2235 was adopted, creating an investigative unit to determine the responsible parties for reported chemical weapons attacks in Syria.


      November 6, 2015: A press release from the OPCW fact-finding team claimed with "the utmost confidence" that the Islamic State used sulfur mustard in an attack on August 21, 2015 in Marea, in northern Syria.

      January 4, 2016: The OPCW announced in a press release that the last of the Syrian chemical weapons material, 75 cylinders of hydrogen fluoride, had been destroyed by Veolia Environmental Services Technical Solutions.

      August 10, 2016: Hospital officials reported a chemical weapons attack using chlorine gas in Aleppo.

      August 24, 2016: The third report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was released, finding that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Talmenes in April 2014 and in Sarmin in March 2015. The report found that the Islamic State was responsible for an attack using sulfur mustard in Marea in August 2015.

      September 7, 2016: Allegations were made that toxic chemicals, likely chlorine gas, were used in Aleppo.

      October 21, 2016: The OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism issued a report finding that the Syrian regime was responsible for a third attack using chlorine gas in Idlib province on March 16, 2015.

      November 11, 2016: The OPCW Executive Council adopted a decision that condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria and calls upon parties responsible for use, as identified in the OPCW-UN Joint Investigate Mechanism reports, to desist from further attacks using chemicals. The decision called for additional investigations at Syria at sites identified by the UN-OPCW reports and inspection of facilities in Syria.

      December 13, 2016: Allegations were made that chemical weapons were used in the Islamic State controlled areas of the Hama Governate, northwest of Palmyra.


      April 4, 2017: Chemical weapons were used in an attack that killed dozens of people in Syria's northern Idlib province. Initial reports suggest the attack used sarin gas, a nerve agent. The attack is believed to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government, due to the type of aircraft in the area at the time. The OPCW announced that it is investigating the reports. Syria denied it was responsible.

      April 5, 2017: The UN Security Council called an emergency meeting to discuss the chemical weapons attack in Idlib.

      April 6, 2017: The United States used Tomahawk cruise missiles to target an air base in Syria. The Assad regime is believed to have conducted the April 4 chemical weapons attack from that base.

      April 11, 2017: The United States released a declassified report that confirmed victims were exposed to sarin in the April 4 attack.

    12. April 12, 2017: Russia vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that condemned the April 4 chemical attack, called upon Syria to provide full access to investigators, and expressed determination to hold perpetrators accountable. Russia said that blame for the April 4 attack was prematurely attributed to the Assad regime.

      April 19, 2017: The OPCW said there was "incontrovertible" evidence that the April 4 attacks used sarin or a sarin-like substance.

      June 26, 2017: The White House issued a release saying it identified "possible preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime." The statement said that Assad will "pay a heavy price" if he conducts an attack using chemical weapons. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a separate statement that by supporting the Assad regime, Russia and Iran would also be accountable for any further use of chemical weapons.

      June 30, 2017: The OPCW-UN fact-finding mechanism confirmed that sarin was used in a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.

      October 24, 2017: The UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution to extend the mandate of the OPCW-UN JIM for another year before it expires on November 17. Eleven members voted in favor of the resolution, China and Kazakhstan abstained and Boliva and Russia voted against it. The resolution did not pass because of Russia's veto.

      October 26, 2017: The seventh report of the OPCW-UN joint investigative mechanism found the Assad regime guilty of using sarin nerve agent in the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun and the Islamic State responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh in September 2016.

      November 6, 2017: The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission reported that sarin was more than likely used as a chemical weapon on March 30, 2017 in the south of Ltamenah.

      November 8, 2017: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel released a joint statement condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria as described in the seventh JIM report and calling on the UN Security Council to act to continue the investigations.

      November 16, 2017: The mandate of the OPCW-UN JIM, responsible for determining the culpable actor for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, expired after both resolutions introduced at the UN Security Council to extend it failed. The resolution sponsored by the United States received 11 votes in favor, 2 against and 2 abstentions and failed because Russia vetoed it. The Russian resolution received 4 votes in favor, 7 against and 4 abstentions.

    13. November 17, 2017: A UN Security Council resolution introduced by Japan to extend the JIM's mandate for 30 days received 12 votes in favor but failed because of a Russian veto.


      January 23, 2018: France launched the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, a new initiative that seeks to increase information sharing about reported chemical weapons attacks and publically lists individuals and entities sanctioned for their involvement in chemical weapons use. Russia then called a last minute UN Security Council meeting, introducing a new proposal to extend the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). The United States rebuked the proposal on the grounds that it was merely intended as a distraction from the launch of the new partnership.

      February 1, 2018: The third chemical weapon attack in 2018 in Douma, Damascus is reported. The two earlier attacks were reported on January 13 and January 22. Reports assess that chlorine gas was used in all attacks. At a UN Security Council briefing on February 5, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu stated that reports from the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission on these alleged attacks are pending.

      April 7, 2018: Reports surface of a major chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb outside of Damascus, Syria, killing at least several dozen civilians. This follows smaller chlorine gas attacks that were reported in Douma on March 7 and 11. Human Rights Watch has documented 85 chemical weapons attacks since 2013 in Syria. The OPCW announces that its Fact Finding Mission is investigating the incident to determine which chemical weapons may have been used.

      April 10, 2018: The UN Security Council votes on three resolutions to address chemical weapons use in Syria. Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored resolution which would have created a UN Independent Mechanism of Investigation with a one-year mandate to investigate the responsible actors for chemical weapons use in Syria. A Russian resolution which would have created a similar body but would have allowed the UN Security Council, not the investigative body, to ultimately determine accountability fails to receive enough votes to pass. A second Russian resolution, which urged the OPCW Fact Finding Mission to investigate the incident and offered Russian military protection for investigators, also fails to receive enough votes to pass. The OPCW had already announced earlier that day that it was planning to deploy a Fact-Finding Mission to Douma.

    14. April 13, 2018: The UN Security Council meets for the fourth time this week to discuss chemical weapons use in Syria. Russia and Bolivia continue to urge the United States against taking unilateral military action as the United States, France and the United Kingdom seem to make the case for a strike. "Should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree, US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says.

      France, the United Kingdom and the United States launch precision strikes on three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. In a televised address to the nation, President Trump explains that the purpose of the strike is to "establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons." He continues "To Iran and Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" Syrian state television reports that its air defense system had shot down 13 of the missiles, although the United States later denies that any missiles had been engaged. Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov says in a statement shortly after the announcement of the strike: "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."

      April 14, 2018: The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission is in Syria investigating the April 7 chemical weapons attack to verify that the attack occurred and to identify which chemical agent was used.

      France releases its national assessment of the April 7 chemical weapons attack, concluding that "(i) beyond possible doubt, a chemical attack was carried out against civilians at Douma on 7 April 2018; and (ii) that there is no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces as part of a wider offensive in the Eastern Ghouta enclave."

      The UN Security Council meets to discuss the situation in Syria. The United Kingdom states that the legal basis for its joint strike is humanitarian intervention. Russia and Bolivia condemn the strike, which they assert is a violation of the UN Charter. Russia also introduces a draft resolution which condemns "aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies," but it only receives three votes and fails to pass. France, the United Kingdom and the United States announce their intention to introduce a draft resolution on political and humanitarian tracks to resolve the conflict.

      -Researched by Yuta Kawashima, updated

      You make the call.

  12. It's possible that Quirk's judgement has been affected by the massive 2000% increase in Russian propaganda trolls in the last few days -

    Pentagon Reports Increase In Russian Trolls Since Syria Strike

    The Pentagon reported Saturday a massive spike in online Russian propaganda efforts in the hours before and after the U.S. missile strike on Syria the night before.

    “The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun. There has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a briefing on Saturday.

    Quirk's noodle has been banging like a beating bongo drum lately, and it shows.

    1. .

      I'll leave the propaganda trolls to you, Sonny Boy.

      You were the one posting every phony story they put out during the election and I don't expect that to stop any time soon. Hell, you even put up stuff from Drudge.


    2. You don't like Drudge because you are homophobic. And GOPhobic. You're disgusting !

      Where Is America's Most Influential Journalist, Matt Drudge, Coming ...
      Sep 3, 2007 - Sheff's metaphor touches on the left's assertion that Drudge is gay and closeted. In high school, Drudge was already in a gay scene, dating men, Jeannette Walls reported in Dish. And in his memoir, Blinded by the Right, conservative-turned-liberal David Brock, who is gay, described Drudge coming on to ...

      Matt Drudge Doesn't Want to Be on 'Out''s Power 50 List -- New York ...
      Apr 5, 2009 - Out magazine has two unwilling names on its “Power 50” list this year: IAC chairman Barry Diller and blogger Matt Drudge. Neither is openly gay, but “it's a matter of calling them out on their misplaced coyness,” said editor Aaron Hicklin, noting that no list of very influential gays would be complete without ...

    3. .

      Where Is America's Most Influential Journalist, Matt Drudge, Coming ...

      Hopefully, in private.


  13. .

    French President Macron: We "convinced" Trump to keep troops in Syria.

    Britain and France have been pushing for regime change in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there. You might remember that they were also leading the charge for regime change in Libya.


    One has to question how.


    1. Macron promised The Donald a French military parade in The Donald's honor.

      The Donald couldn't say no.

  14. It's funny - you look back at the wars of the recent past and reminisce about the 'coalitions' involved (remember Micronesia?) And the current boast: Britain and France. Two supporting allies- woooohoooo!

    1. One needs to be able to fly a plane, Ash, and launch cruise missiles.

      Micronesia doesn't make the cut. Canada might not either. You snowrabbits have cruise missiles ?

  15. Members of the OPCW’s fact-finding mission to Syria arrived in Damascus on Saturday afternoon to begin an investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Douma, which left dozens of people dead.

    Russia and Syria claim the attack was staged by the West as pretext for an intervention.

    Vasily Nebenzia, Russia’s UN ambassador, accused the US, UK and France of “hooliganism” for striking targets without waiting for the OPCW to conclude its investigation.

  16. .

    Re: Bob's timeline above on Syrian disposal of chemical weapons

    Assad agreed to turn over his chemical weapons for disposal by the West in 2012. He was supposed to get it all turned over by the end of 2013. He didn't get it all turned over until mid 2014.

    The people who will be destroying the weapons...

    July 21, 2014: The OPCW announced that all of the chemical weapons have reached the various facilities in Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Cape Ray for destruction. At the time of the announcement nearly 32 percent of the total stockpiles had been destroyed.

    The UK, Finland, and the US (either here or on the ship Cape Ray).

    In 1997, the US signed the CWC. Both the US and Russia committed to destroying all their chemical weapons by 2012. They didn't make it on time. Both asked for extensions, Russia until 2020 and the US until 2023.

    Russia a country that had 40,000 tons of CW's finished 100% of their disposal last year, 3 years earlier than their projections and at a total cost of $10 billion.

    The US a country that had 33,000 tons of CW's will, at the current rate, be lucky to finish ours by 2023. We spent $20 billion in the first 10 years. At that point, they were projecting it would take another $40 billion to wrap up.
    Congress refuses to allocate more than $2 billion a year to the effort.

    Even though the US had 20% less CW's than Russia, our job was tougher because much of our stockpile was already loaded into shells thus making the disposal job more difficult and costly.

    Still, the US was perfectly willing to accept Syria's CW's and expedite their disposal even though when it comes to our CW's they are poor mouthing the effort showing that in the end it's all about the Benjamins.


    1. That really sounds like pretzel bad mouthing the USA simply for the sake of bad mouthing the USA to me.


  17. Syrian activists who visited the site, as well as a report by Bellingcat, a group that conducts investigations with open-source data, said that the canister had fallen on the roof of a building where dozens of people had been sheltering on the lower floors.


    In a series of tweets after studying the attack, Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, said that the canister appeared to have been dropped toward no specific target, and had just happened to land on a densely packed building.


    “It was really just thanks to the catastrophic success of the chlorine attack that anyone even cared, not anything that Assad could have planned for,” Mr. Higgins wrote.

  18. Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

  19. All is well, all manner of things shall be well.

    Bhagavad Gita

    As the soul experiences in this body
    childhood, youth, and old age,
    so also it acquires another body;
    the sage in this is not deluded.
    — Chapter 2, verse 13
    The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit in Devanagari script: भगवद्गीता, in transliteration: Bhagavad Gītā) is a 700-verse, 18-chapter religious text within the Mahabharata, located in the Bhisma Parva chapters 25–42. A core text of Hinduism and Indian philosophy, often referred to simply as "the Gita", it is a summation of many aspects of the Vedic, Yogic, Vedantic and Tantric philosophies. The Bhagavad Gita, meaning "Song of the Lord", refers to itself as an 'Upanishad' and is sometimes called Gītopanişad. During the message of the Gita, Krishna proclaims that he is an Avatar, or a Bhagavat, an appearance of the all-embracing God. To help Arjuna believe this, he reveals to him his divine form which is described as timeless and leaves Arjuna shaking with awe and fear.


    You grieve for those who should not be grieved for;
    yet you speak wise words.
    Neither for the dead nor those not dead do the wise grieve.
    Never was there a time when I did not exist
    nor you nor these lords of men.
    Neither will there be a time when we shall not exist;
    we all exist from now on.
    As the soul experiences in this body
    childhood, youth, and old age,
    so also it acquires another body;
    the sage in this is not deluded.

    A human spirit once created can never cease to be.

    1. Meet Jakob Lorber: Fragments from a Christian Teaching
      Mr. Marius Petre - 2014 - ‎Religion

      However, from this it arises like by itself that nothing which has ever been created by God in whatever form, can never cease to exist or be disposed of. ... form, also in reverse, as we have seen such with the primeval created spirits; but nothing can ever be destroyed, once given existence by God, including the human Spirit.

    2. My Aunts had some fox fur shawls.

      They were the real thing, not cheapo imitations like Faux Fur Shawls for $19.99 gotten from QFauxShawls working out of Detroit, Michigan.

    3. The head of the fox still attached, like this:

  20. On his comment that Clinton exercised "extreme carelessness:"

    "I wasn't trying to go easy on her or hard on her. I was trying to be honest and clear with the American people. What she did was really sloppy."

  21. Snow!

  22. US President Donald Trump and his British and French allies on Saturday hailed their joint strikes in Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons, warning Damascus that any repetition would be met with renewed firepower.


    - Fresh diplomatic push -

    Negotiations on the draft resolution put forward by the US, France and Britain are set to begin on Monday.

    Among the contentious proposals, it would establish an independent investigation into allegations of toxic gas attacks in Syria with the aim of identifying the perpetrators.


    - 'Perfectly executed' -

    The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, and two chemical weapons facilities outside the city of Homs, the US military said, though reports said the buildings had been evacuated in recent days.

  23. COMMENTARY: Robert Mueller over-reaches with raid on office of Trump attorney

    Robert Mueller. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)Robert Mueller. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

    By Wayne Allyn Root Review-Journal
    April 14, 2018 - 9:00 pm

    “You can’t impeach a president over his private sex life. Having affairs isn’t a crime. The American people don’t care. The prosecutor is overreaching. The American people elected our president based on his politics, not his personal life.”

    Sound familiar? I’ve heard all of this before. Every charge above came directly from the liberal playbook defending President Bill Clinton two decades ago from the Ken Starr investigation. I was there. I’m a witness. Every liberal friend and colleague I knew back in 1998 used these words and phrases.

    But it wasn’t just average everyday liberals. It was liberal celebrities and high-profile Democrat politicians, too. I know. I was a regular guest on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” back in the late 1990s. I debated the Bill Clinton-Ken Starr investigation nonstop. Liberal celebs called Starr a “pervert.” They said he had no right to “politicize our president’s sex life and make it into an impeachable crime.”

    But wait, it gets better. A 1998 Village Voice headline labeled the Starr investigation “Sexual McCarthyism.” So liberals in 1998 compared a special prosecutor’s investigation into a president’s love life to Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt in the 1950s.

    Now let’s compare Bill Clinton’s sex scandal with President Donald Trump’s. Clinton’s scandal was the people’s business. It was worthy of an investigation. Clinton had an affair with a White House intern in the Oval Office. Then he lied about it under oath. That’s a crime. Clinton’s dalliance with an intern would today be called “assault” or “sexual misconduct.” The liberal feminist #MeToo movement would likely demand impeachment.

    Today, Robert Mueller has turned an investigation of “Russian collusion” that never happened into a witch hunt involving the president’s past personal life. Mueller has even destroyed attorney-client privilege with a raid on Trump’s lawyer connected to the president’s alleged affairs with Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and to Trump’s “Access Hollywood” videotape.

    Unlike the Clinton scandal, all three incidents happened to private citizen Trump — before he was president. Everything was consensual. None of this involves the American people. It may be Melania’s business, but it’s not yours, mine or Mueller’s.

    Yes, in a few rare instances attorney-client privilege has been broken. Maybe for a mob lawyer protecting a mass murderer … or a lawyer hiding evidence on behalf of a billionaire drug trafficker … or a terrorism case. But never before in American legal history has a lawyer been raided by the federal government on the basis of affairs, minor FEC infractions or a videotape of a private citizen bragging to a TV host about sleeping with beautiful women.

    This is absurd. This is chilling.

    The system is rigged. If this attack on attorney-client privilege stands, nobody can trust their attorney ever again. If the government can raid my lawyer’s office over minor infractions, gain access to my confidential, privileged conversations with him and try to pressure my lawyer to turn against me (for any reason), then America is lost. The judicial system is gone. If the ACLU and American Bar Association say nothing, we are a banana republic. Stalin would be proud.

    We can all debate whether the Bill Clinton investigation was justified. Whether Ken Starr overreached. But today, there is no debate. Mueller’s investigation is a travesty. He is overreaching. The American people won’t stand for this. Mueller’s approval ratings are plunging. For good reason.

  24. 150 involved in ‘brawl’ at Greenwood temple
    POSTED 3:57 PM, APRIL 15, 2018, BY CBS4 WEB, UPDATED AT 06:54PM, APRIL 15, 2018

    File photo

    Correction: Only 3-4 people have sustained minor injuries following the disturbance, police told us at the scene. The mayor originally told us 6-12 victims were stabbed and sent to the hospital.

    GREENWOOD, Ind. – Authorities in Greenwood are at the scene of a disturbance at a temple.

    Just before 3:00 p.m., multiple agencies were dispatched to the Gurdwara Sikh Temple, located in the 1000 block of S. Graham Rd., on the report of a large disturbance.

    Police said 150 people were involved in a “brawl,” which led to 3-4 people receiving minor injuries. No weapons were recovered at the scene and no arrests were made.

    The brawl reportedly resulted from an anticipated transition of leadership power. They said those in power did not want to step down.

    Source: Drudge Report: Your fastest route to all the important breaking news

    1. Like this:

      CBS erroneously publishes obit for Barbara Bush....DRUDGE


      11 People Who Lived to Read Their Own Obituaries

      You might think that the death of a famous person would be relatively easy to double check before reporting it—but you would be wrong. For hundreds of years, the news has been jumping the gun on the deaths of some of our most celebrated personalities, so these 11 all had the surreal experience of reading their own obituaries.

      1. Mark Twain

      Twain is the most famous person to have had his death reported incorrectly, but the story most of us think we know is actually a combination of two. In 1897, his cousin was dying and a reporter, mixing up his Twains, sent an inquiry to Twain’s publisher asking if he had passed yet, but was corrected before an obituary ran. It was when retelling this story that Twain wrote his famous (though often misquoted) line, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

      Ten years later, Twain actually did get a premature obituary of sorts published. While he was yachting, the waters his boat was supposed to be in became rough, and the air foggy. The New York Times published a piece saying it was likely he had been lost at sea. The next day Twain, whose boat hadn’t set off yet, got to rebuff the article with one of his own.

    2. 5) Ernest Hemingway

      After Hemingway was almost killed in a plane crash in 1954, numerous papers reported his death. Not only was the writer not bothered by this, he is said to have put together a scrapbook of all the obituaries and read them after breakfast every morning while drinking a glass of champagne.

      8) Samuel Taylor Coleridge
      In 1816, the famous poet was minding his own business at a hotel, enjoying a coffee, when he heard the men at the table next to him discussing his recent suicide. The paper they were reading had reported he had hanged himself. Coleridge asked to read the article and then announced who he was. In typical polite English fashion the men were mostly concerned they might have hurt his feelings by talking about his death in such a way.

  25. The drama surrounding his firing while he was overseeing the Russian interference investigation left James Comey concerned about the motives of President Donald Trump, but one person he has faith in is special counsel Robert Mueller.


    A telling moment

    One instance where Comey saw Mueller at work came at a pivotal moment during which he believed the integrity of the Justice Department was at stake.

    In 2004, Comey was the acting-Attorney General because then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was gravely ill. Comey told then-President George W. Bush’s team that the Department of Justice had found that their authorization of certain surveillance programs was not legally justified and it would not be recertified.


    If Trump tries to fire Mueller, which has been long speculated, Comey said “it would, I hope, set off alarm bells that this is his most serious attack yet on the rule of law.”

    “It would be something that our entire country -- again, Democrats and Republicans, that is higher than all the normal fights about policy. That is about the values of this country and the rule of law.

    1. Comey is in legal jeopardy.

      What will Mr. Magoo do ?

      What will Rosenstein do ?

      What will Trump do ?

    2. April 15, 2018
      It’s all downhill for Comey now
      By Thomas Lifson

      ....The result was so awful that even the Washington Post, owned by arch-enemy of Trump Jeff Bezos, felt the need for a satire. The result, written Alexandra Petri, a Post writer whose “Compost” blog is described as “offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day,” is downright hilarious. Purporting to offer “further excerpts” from his forthcoming book, her satire takes on the purple prose and wrestles it to the mat.

      A couple of samples:

      I would venture to say that I am the protagonist of my own life and perhaps the lives of many others. Certainly, no one else has as yet stood up to take on this grave responsibility, and it was my honor to rise to this challenge. It is a little embarrassing to describe myself: I stand, as mentioned, about 6-foot-8, like an oak with a firm sense of right and wrong and large, capacious hands. When I first seized Donald Trump’s, I took a mental note (and later, a physical note; I maintain scrupulous contemporaneous notes) that they had vanished into mine, like a dormouse curled up inside an oven mitt. But most hands do that when confronted with mine, except President Barack Obama’s, and — I hope — Reinhold Niebuhr’s, if we ever meet, in this life or the next.


      After we met, I glanced over at Jeff Sessions to see what he thought of it all, and although he spoke not a word his pursed, pink lips seemed to say that he was a weak, small man with no gumption. He was pleading with me with his downcast eyes to do the right thing. With my eyes I said right back, I will. I always have. I never swerve from what I believe, and you can bet a shiny nickel that I never will, sir.

      Thank you, Jeff Sessions’s eyes whispered. They glistened like marbles that were wet from being held in a dog’s mouth. As I stared at them I wondered: Has this man read the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr? I have read the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr....

      Comey, after a career of manipulating, backstabbing, and ingratiating his way up the federal legal and law enforcement bureaucracy, is discovering that karma does eventually catch up to you. So far as I know, Reinhold Niebuhr never contemplated that concept.

    3. The Sessions part ain't satire: It's straight description of fact.

  26. Comey also revealed his assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. This assumption, Comey says, influenced his decision to send a letter to Congress in October, just before the election, in which he revealed that new emails had surfaced that "appear to be pertinent" to the FBI's closed investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server.

    "I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been," Comey told Stephanopoulos. "Because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.

    And so I'm sure that it was a factor. Like I said, I don't remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she's going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected, the moment this comes out."

  27. Comey says that everyone in his family passionately supported Hillary Clinton for President.

  28. Germany: Muslim rappers who mocked Auschwitz victims given music prize on Holocaust Remembrance Day
    APR 15, 2018 8:39 AM BY ROBERT SPENCER

    This is Merkel’s new, “diverse” Germany, where antisemitism is cool again.

    “Fury as German rappers accused of anti-Semitism over lyrics comparing themselves to Auschwitz prisoners are awarded music prize on Holocaust Remembrance Day,” Mailonline, April 15, 2018 (thanks to Blazing Cat Fur):

    Outrage has grown in Germany after a rap duo accused of anti-Semitism over lyrics comparing themselves to Auschwitz prisoners was awarded a music prize on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    German rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang reference the Nazi death camp in their song ‘0815’, saying their bodies are ‘more defined than an Auschwitz prisoner’.

    Despite the controversy which followed, on Thursday they won the Echo Music Award’s Hip-Hop/Urban prize after selling more than 200,000 copies of their album ‘Young, Brutal and Handsome 3’.

    The award came on the day that Israel marked Yom HaShoah, its Holocaust Remembrance Day, dedicated to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.

    Both rappers have said they reject all anti-Semitism, and Kollegah has offered free ‘lifetime’ tickets to the duo’s Jewish fans.

    But the lyrics have sparked a heated debate in Germany, which is still haunted by lingering memories of Nazi crimes.

    Charlotte Knobloch, former head of the Central Council of Jews, said Friday giving them an award in the hip-hop/urban national category was a ‘devastating sign’ amid growing signs of ‘anti-Semitism in our society, especially in schools.’

    Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas said such ‘anti-Semitic provocations’ were ‘simply repugnant’.

    ‘It is shameful that this prize was awarded on Holocaust Remembrance Day.’

    Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress group, told the Bild newspaper: ‘In Germany, you now get rewarded for despising women, glorifying violence and mocking Auschwitz victims?’…