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April 22, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-19

The U.S. is currently attempting Color Revolutions by Force in Nicaragua and Armenia. This form of 'regime change' uses the typical 'peaceful demonstrators' schemes and media push but adds an armed element that is supposed to shoot at both sides - the protesters as well as government forces - to create marketable victims and chaos. The war on Syria was started this way as was the war in Libya and the violent regime change in Ukraine.

Telesur TV has a good write up on the situation in Nicaragua. Earlier today a journalist was shot in Bluefields, Nicaragua, during live reporting, probably by the opposition which now accuses the government.

AFP has an overview of the conflict in Armenia. It is sympathetic to the 'western' sponsored opposition. Just an hour ago the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was arrested after a short talk with the Prime Minister. He demanded total surrender of the government. I expect that further demonstrations will be shut down.

Last week's posts on MoA:

Yesterday, a week after arriving in Damascus, the OPCW fact finding mission finally reached one of the sites and took some probes to be analyzed elsewhere. It will take several weeks before the results are in.

I reported that the ISIS Takfiris in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp had given up and were ready to be transported into the eastern desert. But, as happened before in Douma, some hardliners killed the lead negotiator of the Takfiris and the fighting resumed. Artillery fire and aerial bombing continued today. The Syrian army has now plenty of capacities and, unless they give up, will turn all the Takfiris into fertilizer without taking many losses.

The Bolivian actress Carla Ortiz is back from Syria where she produced a new documentary. Jimmy Dore interviews her (vid, 40 min) and shows some of her footage. It is excellent and I recommend it.

(This was the longest piece I have ever written for this site and, I believe, it is quite important. Please spread it.)

The war on dissenting opinions described therein continues with the Sunday Times smearing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because one or two of the 2,444 people he follows on Twitter once wrote something the Sunday Times dislikes:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-19

Posted by b at 10:00 AM | Comments (152)

April 21, 2018

The Media War On Truthful Reporting And Legitimate Opinions - A Documentary

Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.
George Orwell, Looking back on the Spanish War, Chapter 4

Last week saw an extreme intensifying of the warmongers' campaign against individuals who publicly hold and defend a different view than the powers-that-be want to promote. The campaign has a longer history but recently turned personal. It now endangers the life and livelihood of real people.


In fall 2016 a smear campaign was launched against 200 websites which did not confirm to NATO propaganda. Prominent sites like Naked Capitalism were among them as well as this site:

This website, MoonofAlabama.org, is now listed as "Russian propaganda outlet" by some neoconned, NATO aligned, anonymous "Friendly Neighborhood Propaganda Identification Serviceprominently promoted by today's Washington Post. The minions running that censorship list also watch over our "Russian propaganda" Twitter account @MoonofA.

While the ProPornOT campaign was against websites the next and larger attack was a general defaming of specific content.


The neoconservative Alliance For Securing Democracy declared that any doubt of the veracity of U.S. propaganda stories discussed on Twitter was part of a "Russian influence campaign". Their 'dashboard' shows the most prominent hashtags and themes tweeted and retweeted by some 600 hand-selected but undisclosed accounts. (I have reason to believe that @MoonofA is among them.) The dashboard gave rise to an endless line of main-stream stories faking concern over alleged "Russian influence". The New York Times published several such stories including this recent one:

Cont. reading: The Media War On Truthful Reporting And Legitimate Opinions - A Documentary

Posted by b at 07:02 PM | Comments (116)

April 20, 2018

Syria Sitrep - Cleanup Around Damascus - WMD Rumors Prepare For New U.S. Attack

After the Syrian army liberated Douma, the next Takfiri held areas near the capital Damascus fell in short order. The Jaish al-Islam militants in Dumayr, north-east of Damascus, gave up without a fight. As usual by now the Takfiris were transferred to the north-western Idleb governorate held by al-Qaeda and other Turkish supported forces. The town of Dumayr controls the Damascus Baghdad highway. Capitulation negotiations in the nearby Eastern Qalamoun are ongoing.

The former Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk is an upbuild suburb south of Damascus. One part is in the hands of al-Qaeda and another was controlled by an Islamic State group. Offers to evacuate the groups were made but rejected. Yesterday the Syrian army launched a massive artillery barrage and the Russian and Syrian air force dropped bombs onto the quarter. Today, just twenty-four hours later, the Takfiris gave up. The al-Qaeda aligned militants will be evacuated to Idleb, the Islamic State aligned group to the eastern Syrian desert.

With each elimination of a 'rebel' pockets Syrian army is gaining strength. Ten-thousands of soldiers who were needed to hold the Takfiri held areas around Damascus surrounded and under control are now free to attack elsewhere. Some of the militants who did not evacuate also joined the government forces.

The evacuation of many militants to the north-west might later turn up to be problematic. They will eventually come under Turkish control and could be used in another Turkish attempt to take Aleppo. But for now they are infighting. Al-Qaeda in Syria, now renamed to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is fighting with other groups over control of the area. Over the last months about one thousand of the militants have killed each other, 3,000 were wounded and many of their heavy arms were destroyed. The Syrian government hopes that such infighting will continue for a while.

Cont. reading: Syria Sitrep - Cleanup Around Damascus - WMD Rumors Prepare For New U.S. Attack

Posted by b at 03:06 PM | Comments (135)

April 19, 2018

Syria - Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?

Why has the fact finding mission (FFM)of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) not visited Douma?

The OPCW inspectors are held up by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) which has a say about any movement of UN aligned organizations in areas that might be dangerous. The UNDSS is led by an Australian police / intelligence officer. The holdup seems to be intended.

On Sunday April 8 videos were published of an alleged 'chemical attack' in Douma near Damascus. At that time the area was under control of Jaish al-Islam, a Salafi terrorist organization financed by Saudi Arabia. The various videos from terrorist supporters like the 'White Helmets' were unconvincing. They showed obviously arranged scenes of an alleged 'barrel bomb' and manipulated bodies of dead children that had been moved and decorated with shaving foam to superficially fit the claims of a 'chemical incident'. Another video showed people in a hospital being doused with water for no apparent reason.

An often quoted opposition news outlet, the Syrian Observatory in Britain, denied that a 'chemical attack' had happened. It reported on April 8 of suffocation after a shelter collapsed due to bombing:

[I]n among the casualties there are 21 civilians including 9 children and 3 women were killed as a result of suffocation caused by the shelling which destroyed basements of houses as a result of the violence bombardment that stopped about an hour ago on Douma area.

The 'chemical incident' was likely faked. It suspiciously happened just a few days after U.S. President Trump had announced the he wanted the U.S. military to leave Syria. A year earlier a similar incident was claimed to have happened after a similar announcement by Trump. The U.S. had responded to the 2017 incident by bombing an empty Syrian airfield.

A day after the incident the Salafi terrorists of Jaish al-Islam gave up and left the area under a ceasefire deal arranged with the help of the Russian military in Syria. The ceasefire deal does not allow the Syrian army to enter the area, only the Russian military police is allowed.

Russian military police immediately entered the area and investigated the house where, allegedly, people were killed by 'chemical weapons'. They found no evidence that such an event had taken place. The Syrian government asked the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical aWeapons (OPCW) to investigate the case.

Many international news teams have since visited the area where the incident allegedly took place. The also visited the field hospital shown in one of the opposition videos. Doctors at that hospital deny (vid) that any patient of theirs had been affected by a chemical attack. The cases they had seen had breathing difficulties caused by the inhalation of dust thrown up through exploding bombs and artillery. Alleged 'victims' shown in the hospital video claim (vid) they were paid to perform.

Cont. reading: Syria - Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?

Posted by b at 12:46 AM | Comments (222)

April 17, 2018

Open Thread 2018-18

The post I worked on did not pan out. You are on your own.

News & views ...

Posted by b at 01:43 PM | Comments (227)

April 16, 2018

Syria - Pentagon Hides Attack Failure - 70+ Cruise Missiles Shot Down

The U.S. military seems to hide that its attack on Syria last Saturday largely failed. We checked the numbers and sources and said so in our weekly review published yesterday. This post is extending yesterday's analysis.

The U.S. attack on Saturday was launched as revenge for an alleged 'chemical attack' by the Syrian government forces against the then 'rebel' held Damascus suburb Douma. The alleged 'chemical attack' never happened but was theater staged by the 'rebels' and their supporters after some people suffocated in a collapsed building.

There is a very large discrepancy between the Russian Ministry of Defense report of the strike as well as other sources and the description in the Pentagon briefing on the strike. According to the Pentagon only three places related to a nonexistent Syrian chemical weapon program were targeted:

This combined military strike was directed against three distinct Syrian chemical weapons program targets.
...
We are confident that all of our missiles reached their targets.
...
In summary, in a powerful show of allied unity, we deployed 105 weapons against three targets.

One hundred and five weapons against three targets would be a remarkable overkill. Just consider that the U.S. Tomahawk and JASSM cruise missiles and the British Skalp EG cruise missiles used in these attacks carry 450 kilogram (~1,000 pounds) of high explosives each. Did the U.S. military really plan to use 15 metric tons of high explosives against each target. That would be enough to blow up a whole town.

The U.S. claims it sent 76 cruise missiles against the non-hardened, non-defended Barzeh research center. This was a small two story building complex and had just recently been declared free of chemical weapons and weapon research by the OPCW.


Barzeh Research center before and after - bigger

Sure, the facility is destroyed. But by 34 tons of high explosives? Or by maybe 2 tons?

Cont. reading: Syria - Pentagon Hides Attack Failure - 70+ Cruise Missiles Shot Down

Posted by b at 03:36 PM | Comments (168)

April 15, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-17

Last week was dominated by the run-up to the U.S. attack on Syria:

There is a very large discrepancy between the Russian Ministry of Defense report of strike and the description in the Pentagon briefing on the strike. According to the Pentagon only three places related to non-existing Syrian chemical weapons were targeted:

This combined military strike was directed against three distinct Syrian chemical weapons program targets.
...
In summary, in a powerful show of allied unity, we deployed 105 weapons against three targets.

It does not make any sense to send 35 cruise missiles against each of those not hardened, not defended targets like the now destroyed Barzeh research center which was a small two story building complex (pic of destruction) and had been declared free of chemical weapons and weapon research by the OPCW. Why would the U.S. military use such a high number of precision weapons against only three targets? This is extremely unusual and does not make sense at all.

The Russians, as well as other sources on the ground, report in detail of many more targets:

Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.

18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.

12 missiles targeted the Shayrat air base, all the missiles shot down. Air bases were not affected by the strike.

Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.

Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.

In total 30 missiles targeted facilities near Barzah and Jaramana. Seven of them have been shot down.

At least six airports were targeted according to the Russian report. The Pentagon reports no strike on Syrian airports but claims to have launched a way too high number of cruise missiles for each of the claimed three target. The Syrian opposition outlet SOHR reports of eight targets and says that at least 65 of the cruise missiles were downed by the Syrian air defenses. The Russians say 71 were shot down while the Pentagon says none of its cruise missiles were hit.

At least three other sources confirm the Russian version of events. The Pentagon is lying. The attack was a U.S. attempt to disable the Syrian air force by destroying its airports. It failed and the Pentagon is hiding that failure. Will the U.S. media report this discrepancy?

Not unrelated to the strike on Syria is the Skripal case where the mysteries continue to pile up.

Use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b at 10:42 AM | Comments (268)

Were the Skripals 'Buzzed', 'Novi-shocked' Or Neither? - May Has Some 'Splaining' To Do

The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, threw a bombshell at the British assertions that the collapse of the British secret agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in Salisbury was caused by a 'Novichok' nerve agent 'of a type developed by Russia'. (See our older pieces, linked below, for a detailed documentation of the case.)

  • The Skripal poisoning happened on March 4.
  • Eye witnesses described the Skripals as disoriented and probably hallucinating. The emergency personal suspected Fentanyl influence.
  • A few days later the British government claimed that the Skripals had been affected by a chemical agent from the 'Novichok' series which they attributed to Russia. It insinuated that the Skripals might die soon.
  • A doctor of the emergency center at the Salisbury District Hospital publicly asserted that none of its patients was victim of a 'nerve agent'.
  • On March 14, after much pressure from Russia, Britain finally invited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to analyze the blood of the victims and to take environmental samples.
  • The OPCW arrived on March 19 and took specimen on the following days. It also received a share of the samples taken earlier by the British chemical weapon laboratory in Porton Down, which is only some 10 miles away from Salisbury.
  • The OPCW split the various samples it had in a certified laboratory in the Netherlands and then distributed them to several other certified laboratories for analysis.
  • One of those laboratories was the highly regarded Spiez Laboratory in Switzerland which is part of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and fully certified.
  • On April 12 the OPCW published a public version of the result of the analyses it had received from its laboratories.
  • A more extensive confidential version was given to the state members that make up the OPCW.

During a public speech yesterday Lavrov stated of the OPCW report:

Cont. reading: Were the Skripals 'Buzzed', 'Novi-shocked' Or Neither? - May Has Some 'Splaining' To Do

Posted by b at 09:35 AM | Comments (82)

April 14, 2018

F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria - Who Won?

Last night France, the UK and the U.S. launched an illegal attack on Syria and bombed several military and civilian sites within the country. They justify their attack as revenge or punishment for an alleged 'chemical attack' that had taken place a week earlier.

The 'chemical incident' on April 7 in Douma was designed to reverse Trump's publicly announced decision to order the U.S. military out of Syria. The Saudi financed Salafi 'rebels' in Douma collected bodies, probably from another incident, and stacked them up in one apartment to stage a scene and to create fake videos of a 'chemcial attack' which they falsely attributed to the Syrian government.

Trump pretended to fall for the videos and tweeted threats against Syria and Russia. Russia threatened to respond with strong force should any U.S. attack hurt its soldiers or interests in Syria.

The UK and France, who like the U.S. were only recently visited by the Saudi clown prince and showered with fresh Saudi billions, jumped onto the case. France now admits that its 'intelligence' of the Douma incident is solely based on the obviously staged youtube videos and claims made by 'western' financed propaganda operations who cooperate with the Jihadis.

Yesterday the Russian Defense Ministry accused Britain of having organized the 'chemical incident':

Cont. reading: F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria - Who Won?

Posted by b at 01:09 PM | Comments (233)

April 13, 2018

Syria - Manipulated Videos Fail To Launch World War III - Updated

[Update April 14, 5:00 UCT]

Last night the U.S., UK and France launched a symbolic attack on Syria. It was not intended to hurt the Syrian government, its people or its allies. It did not hit any of Syria's allies. So far there is no report of anyone being killed or wounded.

This was a one-off:

Mattis [...] said the assault was a “one-time shot,” so long as Assad does not repeat his use of chemical weapons.

The only purpose of the attack was to do 'something' and to somewhat calm down the warmongers within those three 'western' countries. It was probably insufficient for that.

As we wrote yesterday in the piece below. World War III had been called off.

A report from an observer on the ground in Syria:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 4:22 UTC - 14 Apr 2018

Wow:
#USA #France #UK: 3 countries to bomb 3 #Syria/n objectives in #Homs #Damascus? A centre of research, a Control & command and an ammunition warehouse? And before the OPCW investigation expected today?

A say In ME: Huge mountains moving to give a birth to a small mouse!
-
No "Political hits: (Presidential Palace or gov or security HQ)
No #Iranian objectives hits
No #Hezbollah objectives hit
No Syrian Army key capabilities hit.#
And of course no #Russian deployment w/ #SAA hit
#USA looks weaker than ever with this "strike".
-
The giants trio hit (#USA #UK #France) fired from US base in #Qatar is celebrated in #Damascus government controlled area with #Russian #Iranian #Syrian and #Hezbollah flags, dancing and mocking @realRonaldTrump's strike
-
This is the 1st time in history where a capital, #Damascus, is hit by foreign power and people celebrate it in the street few hours later, challenging the attackers and expressing their solidarity with the government by dancing in the street: #USA #UK #France boosted #Assad today
-
#USA #UK #France targeted empty objectives in #Syria since the entire #SAA was dislocated. @realDonaldTrump wanted to save his image: the Syria people's reaction (1000s in the street expressing solidarity with Assad) to the hit is seriously damaging him.

To limit the attack to the absolute minimum was a wise decision by U.S. President Donald Trump. The people who had faked the 'chemical attack' in Douma on April 7 wanted to pull the U.S. into a wider war with Syria and Russia. They failed. Russia's threat of retaliation for any attack was strong enough to deter the U.S. military. Secretary of Defense Mattis saved the situation when he publicly doubted the evidence and held Trump back from a spontaneous 'revenge' response. Netanyahoo will be furious and the neocons will now try to kick Mattis out.

[End-Update - the original post, written before the attack, follows below]

It seems to me that World War III has been called off - for now. Sanity prevailed over a stampede of warmongering which erupted after dubious but well timed claims of a 'chemical attack' in Syria.

Secretary of Defense Mattis let know of his doubts about the alleged 'chemical attack' in Douma which the 'rebels' attributed to the Syrian government. This changed the tone of Donald Trump's tweets and the international conversations on the issue. Several NATO countries, including Germany and Canada, said they would not take part in any threatened 'revenge' operation.

Today the Russian Defense Ministry accused Britain of having directed the staged attack:

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, released statements by medics from Douma’s hospital who said a group of people toting video cameras entered the hospital, shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons and causing panic. The medics said none of the patients were hurt by chemicals.

Here are videos of that hospital scenes from the 'rebel' propaganda outlets. The 'treatment' by the 'rebels', dousing with water and administering some asthma spray, is unprofessional and many of the 'patients' seem to have no real problem. It is theater. The real medical personal is seen in the background working on a real patient.

The people in the video scenes were "rent-a-mob" actors which the Russians say they have found. They also found the medics and videotaped their statements. They Russian government claims to know the main culprit:

"Today, the Russian defense ministry has other evidence proving the United Kingdom’s direct involvement in the organization of this provocation in Eastern Ghouta," [Igor Konashenkov, the defense ministry’s spokesman] said.

An OPCW technical team has arrived in Damascus. It will investigate the scene and talk to the witnesses.

Cause of the recent panic were a few videos by several propaganda outlets associated with Takfiri 'rebels' in Ghouta. These videos immediately looked staged to me. Yes, they showed dead people - mainly children - in a basement or apartment. But the bodies were not in the place where they had died and were probably not, as was claimed, killed by chemical weapons.

In the videos some 20 dead children and a few women lie on the floor as if they were thrown in there. The scene was obviously manipulated several times. The various videos show the bodies in different positions. They have been moved around for presentation. Later videos show, for example, a baby in diapers on top of two older kids. In an earlier video that baby is not there.

The 'rebel' claim that the people were killed by chlorine and a nerve agent: "Look, the dead have foam at their mouth." (Foam at the mouth  is wrongly assumed to be a sure symptom of exposure to a nerve agent.)

Yes, they have foam at their mouth. But it seems to be shaving foam and/or some white gel, not a human secretion. We have seen this trick before.

Compare for example this video from the scene uploaded by فادي عبد الله on Apr 7, 2018 at 20:49:26 UTC with this video from the same scene by Yaser AlDoumani2 uploaded on Apr 7, 2018 at 22:43:16 UTC.

A screenshot from the first video (graphic):

Cont. reading: Syria - Manipulated Videos Fail To Launch World War III - Updated

Posted by b at 04:12 PM | Comments (388)

April 12, 2018

Syria - Threat Of Large War Recedes But May Come Back

The expected U.S. attack on Syria last night did not happen.

Today U.S President Trump seemed to pull back from his earlier attempt to pressure Russia over a faked chemical incident in Ghouta, Syria:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 10:15 AM UTC - 12 Apr 2018
Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”

Over night high level military and political negotiations between Russia and the U.S. continued with at least some success:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 12:49 PM UTC - 12 Apr 2018
#BreakingNews
#Russian sources told me: possibility of war on #Syria has gone down from 9 to 5/10. Diplomatic contacts with #USA never stopped. It was acknowledged that the possible war on #Syria serves no purposes but to create a war situation where worse case scenario can happen

A war on Syria has been ongoing for over seven years. It will continue for another two or three years. But Trump's recent threat of a large U.S. air or missile campaign against the country has probably been defused.

Trump is certainly under pressure to attack Syria. U.S. media, the neoconservatives and Zionists are pushing for it. The CBS News graphic department revealed their real aim:


bigger

What made Trump blink? Was it the lack of evidence his Secretary of Defense Mattis acknowledged? Or was it the earlier reluctance of Britain to become a partner in crime? Was it the threat of Russian retribution?

Cont. reading: Syria - Threat Of Large War Recedes But May Come Back

Posted by b at 11:41 AM | Comments (260)

New Developments In The Skripal Drama - Police Statement, OPCW Report Release

There are a few notable developments in the Skripal case about the poisoning of a former British secret agent from Russia and his daughter in Salisbury.

(If you are new to the issue please refer to our older pieces listed below. You may want to start with The Best Explanation For The Skripal Drama Is Still ... Food Poisoning.)

On Sunday Yulia Skripal was secretly released from the Salisbury District Hospital but immediately taken into British government custody. She is under guard at an unknown location. Yesterday the Metropolitan Police released a Statement issued on behalf of Yulia Skripal:

"I have specially trained officers available to me, who are helping to take care of me and to explain the investigative processes that are being undertaken. I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can. At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.

Cont. reading: New Developments In The Skripal Drama - Police Statement, OPCW Report Release

Posted by b at 08:46 AM | Comments (96)

April 11, 2018

Trump Asks Russia To Roll Over - It Won't

Donald Trump may perceive these bad cop/good cop tweets as a serious way to negotiate with Russia. They ain't.

Donald J. Trump - @realDonaldTrump - 10:57 AM UTC - 11 Apr 2018
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
Donald J. Trump - @realDonaldTrump - 11:37 AM UTC - 11 Apr 2018
Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?

Russia said it would destroy the platforms that launch the missiles, not only the missiles themselves. Did nobody explain the difference to Trump?

There is reason that U.S. relations with Russia are now worse than they have been for some time and Russia is not responsible for these. The GW Bush administration killed the Anti-Ballistic-Missile treaty which guaranteed Mutually Assured Destruction and thus strategic stability. The Obama administration launched a trillion dollar program to ramp up U.S. nuclear capabilities and ballistic missile defense with the aim of achieving superiority in a nuclear conflict.

It is cynical to say that "Russia needs us to help with their economy". The U.S. under Trump is waging economic war on Russia by implementing more and more economic sanctions. The last round on Friday targeted Russian industrialists, many of whom are not even aligned with Putin. Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, disliked in the Kremlin, lost 15% of his fortune. The Rubel plummeted against the dollar for two days in a row. U.S. Treasury stooges are now traveling in Europe to press European banks to shut down all services for Russian companies.


bigger

(Ironically both economic attack vectors will help Putin's program. Since 2014 Russia has been pressing its oligarchs to repatriate the billions the stashed in 'western' offshore banks. They will now do so out of fear of confiscations. The lower Rubel will increase local production and allow for cheaper exports.)

The U.S. incited Georgia to attack Russia. It 'regime changed' the Ukraine. It attacks Syria, an old Russian ally. Then there are the hoaxes that get attributed to Russia without any evidence. Russia did not influence the U.S. election. It did not poison the Skripals. There was no 'chemical attack' in Douma.

Russia has all kinds of reasons to be hostile to the U.S. but always stays calm and well mannered. It is stupid to mistake that for fear or inferiority. Taunting Russia like Trump now does will only increase its resistance to U.S. moves.

Is Trump trying to make an offer to really help Russia's economy and to stop the arms race?

If Russia would roll over and give up on Syria would Trump really lift the sanctions? Would he really stop the U.S. race for nuclear supremacy? Could he even promise to do such? And why would anyone believe Trump anyway?

Unlike western European countries, Russia is no led by yapping poodles. The Russian government and its people will not roll over. They have historically never done so. President Putin will start his period of governance on May 7 with a war cabinet structured and manned for conflict. He expects a long fight.

Russia will have to respond to any U.S. strike on Syria. It needs to do so to keep face and the faith of its allies. But it also needs to so in a way that avoids further escalation. Something that is very strong, in a different theater and not attributable? Or something that is openly targeting U.S. interests, but not U.S. soldiers, in the Middle East?

It is Israel which is behind the war on Syria and which is pressing for further conflict. There are one million Russians in Israel, many of whom are not even Jewish. Could Russia ask them for help to change the strategic picture? Or should it increase support for those who directly fight the Zionist state?

Posted by b at 09:23 AM | Comments (355)

Syria - A U.S. Attack Would Be Futile - But Serve A Purpose

by M. K. Bhadrakumar

The United Nations Security Council turned down a compromise resolution on Syria, proposed by Sweden and seconded by Russia seeking investigation on the alleged chemical attack in Douma. Five countries supported the resolution with two permanent members – United States and Britain – opposing it. Earlier, a resolution on the same lines which was supported by Russia and China was also opposed by the US and Britain.

This is a significant political and diplomatic victory for Russia insofar as only two other countries joined the US and Britain to oppose the Swedish resolution. Six countries abstained.

The big question is whether this development portends an impending US attack on Syria, bypassing the UN. The UN has refused to confirm there has been any attack at all. Russia and Syrian government insist there has been no attack and have approached the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for an international investigation. The good thing is that the OPCW is deputing two teams of experts to go to Douma later this week. Russia has offered to give them full security protection.

So Trump has a major decision to make. Logically, punishment follows a crime that has been committed and it seems no crime has been committed. This appears to be a false flag operation – that is, a fabrication with a view to trigger a sequence of events. That was how the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and it is an established fact today that Saddam Hussein did not have any program to develop weapons of mass destruction, as then US Secretary of State Colin Power had misled the UN Security Council. (Powell later admitted that he was misled by his own administration.)

One difference in the present case is that Trump has been on record that he wants the American military presence in Syria to end. That stance and the present threat to launch an attack on Syria are contradictory. Because, a US attack on Syria will have serious repercussions, including possibly a showdown with Russia, which would mean a US drawdown in Syria may not be possible in a conceivable future.

Perhaps, Trump is indulging in doublespeak and the backdrop could be the criticality that has arisen over Robert Mueller’s investigation into his collusion with Russia, which has now dramatically expanded in scope. The FBI raid on the office of Trump’s attorney in the White House is a very serious development. Trump is just inches away from being implicated in the charges against him leveled by porn star Stormy Daniels. The CNN says, “There could be dark and unprecedented times ahead.” A US attack on Syria can distract attention from the stormy controversy that may arise if at this point Trump axes Mueller and derails the investigation against him. There are precedents when beleaguered American presidents resorted to diversionary tactic. Bill Clinton fired cruise missiles at Kandahar when the scandal over Monica Lewinsky peaked and he was facing the prospect of impeachment.

A US That brings us back to the alleged chemical attack in Douma last weekend. Who would have staged a false flag operation? The finger of suspicion points toward Israel’s role. Israel is desperately keen that the US should have a permanent military presence in Syria. To that end, Israel is fueling tensions that will take matters to a point that a US withdrawal from Syria somehow gets stalled. This is also the impression conveyed by DebkaFile, the Israeli website with links to the intelligence, which specializes in disinformation tactic.

Cont. reading: Syria - A U.S. Attack Would Be Futile - But Serve A Purpose

Posted by b at 02:34 AM | Comments (98)

April 10, 2018

Open Thread 2018-16

After last nights maintenance there still appear to be some small problems with the back-end of the blog infrastructure. I currently can not upload pictures and have difficulties editing longer text. The provider is working on these issues.

Use as open thread ..

Posted by b at 01:23 PM | Comments (127)

April 09, 2018

Maintenance Announcement - Updated

The provider of the blog platform for Moon of Alabama announced a planned upgrade and maintenance of its systems starting tomorrow at 3:00am UTC. It is not know how long this will take. During the maintenance this site will not be available.

Update (Apr 10 11:30 UTC)

The maintenance is over and everything seems to back up and working. The necessary clean-up of the aftermath is ongoing. There may still be some glitches and small outages over the next few hours.

Posted by b at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation

Yesterday's alleged 'gas attack' in east Ghouta likely never happened. A video shows a number of presumably dead kids in a basement or dark apartment. Another video shows an undamaged yellow gas cylinder which, we are told, was dropped from some unseen helicopter and crashed through a concrete roof. We do not know when or where these videos were made.


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Besides those videos of murky origin we hear claims from two 'western' paid anti-Syrian propaganda organizations, the White Helmets and SAMS, which claim hundreds were wounded in a chlorine attack.

Interestingly the MI6 outlet in Coventry, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR), does not confirm a 'gas' incident. In its version of events some 40 people died after their shelter collapsed:

Cont. reading: Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation

Posted by b at 03:10 PM | Comments (242)

April 08, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-15

Last weeks posts:

The false headline is still up.

Our Skripal pieces attracted a large number of readers. Many people seem to distrust the mainstream reporting and came here for an alternative view. Welcome!

The farce continues. As the Skripals are apparently alive and well the British government has a problem. When they talk and tell the world that it was actually food poisoning and not a chemical weapon attack that hit them, the government of Theresa May is toast. The Skripals have to be kept isolated and eventually vanished. The CIA might give them a new identity or lock them into one of its black sites. The Skripals house and the Zizzy restaurant are to be destroyed. (Who will kill the hospital doctors?)

The "doorknob" theory the UK spread to explain the alleged injury of one policeman is so outrageously stupid that many doubt it. To counter the mistrust, HMG comes up with an even more implausible explanation:

Russian agents watched Sergei Skripal for a fortnight and chose to strike on a Sunday morning so no postmen or delivery men would be exposed accidentally to the nerve agent. Any third parties touching the door handle before the Skripals would have required the agents to reapply the gel to the door handle, at the risk of being seen doing so.

Sure, that's why so many neighbors spoke of foreigners milling around in the street for two weeks (not). And its why there was such a large manhunt right after the incident happened (not).

Veterinarians in Salisbury post on Facebook that they had contacted the police several times immediately after they learned that the Skripals were admitted into hospital. They offered to take care of their cats and guinea pigs. The police did not react at all. One cat escaped, the guinea pigs died of thirst and the cat left behind was so starved that it had to be put down.

Use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b at 12:27 PM | Comments (108)