Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2013

The BBC's Contradicting Reports On Abbas Khan

A year ago a British doctor, Abbas Khan, went to Syria to help on the side of the insurgents. He was caught by the Syrian government and sent to jail. He was to be released during the next days but then committed suicide.

The BBC, "reporting" on the issue, writes:

Syrian authorities have said their post-mortem examination showed he killed himself while in detention.

But his family has said this is not credible as he was due to be released.
...
Mr Khan's brother said that it was "pure fiction" that Mr Khan had committed suicide as he had written to relatives saying he was looking forward to coming home for Christmas.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Office said that the doctor had been "in effect murdered" by the Syrian authorities and at best his death was "extremely suspicious".

Nowhere in that current piece does the BBC mention that the doctors family earlier feared, as the BBC itself reported just five days ago, that the doctor was likely to commit suicide:

The family of a British doctor, imprisoned by the Syrian government for over a year, is growing increasingly concerned for his mental health.
...
His brother, Afroze, said Dr Khan was depressed. "There is a real possibility he may want to harm himself."
...
In his most recent letter Dr Khan wrote: "Being kept in appalling and inhuman conditions has seen my mental health markedly deteriorate, I suffer from almost constant depression and suicidal ideation."

The family feared, and the doctor himself practicality announced, his possible suicide. Five dates later the man is dead and has, according to the Syrian government, killed himself.

But now the earlier feared and reported possible suicide is suddenly called "not credible" and "pure fiction" and the BBC does not even mention the contradiction to its earlier report but goes solely with the family's (and British government) new propaganda line.

Is that official amnesia the BBC is practicing here or Big Brother like historical revisionism?

Posted by b on December 18, 2013 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

Comments

Yeah its a crazy one. Robert Fisk wrote an article on the subject and did the same thing. I was reading the Fisk article thinking to myself "Yeah, Syrian Intelligence killed him and faked his suicide", then in the second last paragraph of the article he casually mentions that the Doctors brother was warning that "he feared for his mental health" a week before this hanging took place.

If you are going to accuse Syrian security of staging the suicide of a prisoner, you should probably mention early on that you have information that the prisoner was suicidal and depressed in the weeks beforehand. That part is kind of important.

Shoddy Fisk article full on speculation and deception.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 18, 2013 11:12:21 AM | 1

it probably means that the brits after having done all what was possible to flood Syria with terrorists from all over the world and arm them started panicking about a very possible blowback and that the syrian security is not cooperating with them in term of giving the informations about the rats who might go back to the UK after almost three years of training to bring back with them the democracy and human rights the West bestowed on Syria!!Remember the articles we saw in various media about visits from western spy agencies to Damascus in quest of detailed informations and coordination on terrorism related affairs.

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 18, 2013 3:15:04 PM | 2

I listened to this BBC broadcast in the car last night and thought it contained a few 'impurities' but there was no mention, at all, of his "pre-existing condition." B's revelation, above, that the Beeb had mentioned it in previous reports less than a week earlier begs the question...
"Hey, Beeb! How much of your bullshit do you expect your audience to believe when you spend so much time flushing it down the toilet yourselves?"

Knowing that Right-wing Cranks are usually put in charge of making up Western Propaganda, it's a pretty safe bet that what happened to this story is that it started life as a sob story about an (utterly kind & helpful) UK spook being driven out of his mind by the Evil Assad, but he topped himself a bit too soon so the story had to be massaged - in a forgetfully ham-fisted, Right wing Crank kind of way.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 18, 2013 8:55:11 PM | 3

What is the story on Doctors Without Borders in Syria? Too often, when one of their volunteers is profiled, deep within the story, it is mentioned that the Doctor is a Syrian expat with clear biases. Is this common for MSF's involvement in other conflicts?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 18, 2013 10:18:33 PM | 4

Fisk is correct here.

No one in the history of suicide notes has written thusly:

"Being kept in appalling and inhuman conditions has seen my mental health markedly deteriorate, I suffer from almost constant depression and suicidal ideation."

You guy cant be serious. Uhm, yeah, you are not serious.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 18, 2013 10:37:17 PM | 5

@ 4. Good question.
MSF advertises for donor$ regularly on Oz TV.
My own theory is that it doesn't hurt France's image, in Oz, to have a pseudo-Humanitarian branch of French Intelligence creating the illusion that MSF gives a rat's arse about the victims of FrUKUS's Imperial Ambitions (and SNAFUs).
It's about distancing/whitewashing, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 18, 2013 10:41:47 PM | 6

This proves it: being handed over to MP George Galloway is worse than death.

P.S. – Link to the Robert Fisk story on The Independent provided in comment #1 is broken. Here is a working link.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Dec 19, 2013 3:45:10 AM | 7

What's missing in this post is the first ounce of common sense, which is to say, any evaluation of the timeline. When did Kahn make the statements about suicide? Before there was any progress in getting him released? If so, such statements are not just irrelevant, they're a red herring being used to divert people from the truth of what a barbarian Assad is. Do you think Assad wanted this guy -- who would be a viral media figure days after release -- to go free?

Was he suicidal at some point? Sure. A guy who is in solitary, getting beaten and tortured daily by the Assad ghouls is going to be suicidal if he can't see light at the end of the torture chamber. And his family are going to use that to pressure UK authorities to get off their butts and get him out.

But if he had been told he was to be released in a few days, suicide is an explanation for his death is incomprehensible. I mean, what are you saying, the guy loved being in solitary and tortured so much that the thought of being released drove him to suicide???? WTF?

So the question comes down to this, and only this: Is there any evidence that Khan had been told he was about to be released? If he was told, this was not suicide. If he wasn't, maybe.

Posted by: Denis | Dec 19, 2013 11:00:02 AM | 8

Hmmm, anybody watch Galloway on RT's Sputnik programme? He was due to collect the guy in four days time and bring hom back to the UK. Hence it seems unlikely that he would have committed suicide.

On the other hand, why on earth would the Assad regime kill the guy four days before he due to be relased. There's gotta be something else going on here, perhaps an agent provocateur within the jail or the security apparatus?

It has all the hallmarks of the Ghouta sarin attack, yet another attempt to discredit the regime.

And of course the BBC's role as mouthpiece for the Empire is outrageous.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 19, 2013 11:35:41 AM | 9

It has all the hallmarks of the Ghouta sarin attack, yet another attempt to discredit the regime.

I think that's quite probable. It would be quite easy, given the laxness of Syrian govt. controls, to infiltrate an assassin into the prison.

The only issue is why the Syrian authorities didn't claim that. Perhaps they didn't know.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 19, 2013 12:19:46 PM | 10

@#10

Look, I think the Assad regime is totally clueless when it comes to its own propaganda and it's something that it has in common with lots of other ex/neo-colonial states. I really don't think that they have any idea of the scale and sophistication of the propaganda machine in the West. We've seen this with Iran and the infamous 'we'll wipe Israel off the map' statement. Yes, we know he didn't say that but had he chosen his words more carefully in the first place, then the Empire's spinmeisters wouldn't have been able to twist his words so easily.

Add in the fact that the West never covers all the angles in an event (except those that promote the status quo), then what chance does a country like Syria really have?

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 19, 2013 12:39:23 PM | 11

Hoarsewhisperer 6

screw the *Sans Frontières* franchise !
http://www.workers.org/2008/world/anti-china_olympics_0403/

Posted by: denk | Dec 19, 2013 1:01:56 PM | 12

See today's story by Somini Sengupta in the NYT for the latest "smoking gun" purportedly connecting the Syrian government to the Ghouta sarin attack. That smoking gun is hexamine, a common commercial chemical that Syria declared to the OPCW as part of its CW program. Traces of hexamine were found in Ghouta. Hexamine can be used as an anti-corrosive agent in chemical munitions.

The story is perplexing. On the one hand it argues that hexamine is common, found regularly in heating fuel and conventional explosives; on the other hand it quotes a couple CW experts asserting that hexamine's presence is proof that the SAA is to blame.

My read is that the last "smoking gun," HRW/NYT's interpretation of the azimuth data, was demolished in the Hersh's London Review of Books article. So a new smoking gun had to be quickly produced.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Dec 19, 2013 1:41:18 PM | 13

@WB#10:

I heard Lyse Doucet's report a few days ago, which I cannot find on the BBC site. In it, she told the BBC host that she had met with the Syrian official liaison about Khan a few days before and that he had been very excited and optimistic about the release. A few other of her reports on this are interesting. In this one, she says at the end that the Syrian government had been hoping that Khan's release would be viewed as a goodwill gesture and help improve its image in the West.

The letters that Khan's family received seem odd not only in the phrasing you mentioned, but that one report described as smuggled out. One assumes that the family knows his handwriting. But if an agency would be capable of planting a mole in the prison to kill Khan, it would be capable of forging a letter claiming that he was feeling suicidal.

What benefit would Syria get from killing a foreign doctor which it believed it held securely in its prisons, when it is worried about the bad PR it gets in Western MSM? Galloway, who led the opposition in Parliament in August to Syrian intervention, calling this murder most foul, is weird.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 19, 2013 1:56:36 PM | 14

A follow up: If the Khan family is not interested in conducting an autopsy, Syria should request the UN to conduct one before turning the body over to the British government.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 19, 2013 1:59:47 PM | 15

I don't understand the fuss about mr.Khan.Did he enter Syria legally?was he there to dispense his medical services in a gynecologist clinic?a dentist clinic?or was he there as part of the logistic of this western zusa war?if he was part of the logistic of the invading death squads then why the outrage?isn't it more outrageous to enter a country illegally,as part of invading/destabilizing forces (as Doctors without Borders always does since the days of Peshawar end of the seventies),to work to restore health of the death squads so they could destabilize more and kill more?Galloway is upset because of his constituency and what really happened to mr.Khan is irrelevant though I feel sorry for his parents.

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 19, 2013 2:03:39 PM | 16

My view is that what the family said:

The family feared, and the doctor himself practicality announced, his possible suicide.

was only fears expressed in order to provoke more aid to get him out.

The fact is very close to the limits of life, that of those who are imprisoned by Asad, some come out alive, including one of my former students.

Of the opposition, only the Belgian and the Italian journalist have been released alive. They have no prisoner of war camps, I presume they have killed the rest.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 19, 2013 4:09:47 PM | 17

Abbas Khan went into Syria illegally via Turkey along with many other Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra terrorists.
He was helping the Islamists quite clearly.

If he was genuine he would have joined a charity like the Red Cross or Red Crescent and gone to help in one of the many refugee camps.
He did not.
He went to the last remaining terrorist stronghold of Aleppo and clearly was providing medical assistance to injured Takfiris and Jihadis.

Abbas Khan abandoned his wife and kids and chose to enter a war zone for his own belief system.
while i have sympathy for his widow she lost him as soon as he became a Jihadi and went to Turkey.

Posted by: Mehmet Cetin | Dec 19, 2013 11:03:06 PM | 18

"Abbas Khan abandoned his wife and kids and chose to enter a war zone for his own belief system.
"while i have sympathy for his widow she lost him as soon as he became a Jihadi and went to Turkey."

Had he died in action these facts would be important.
But he didn't. He appears to have died in custody. The question is not whether he was a fool, a fanatic or a martyr, but whether he committed suicide or was murdered. And who, if he was murdered, was responsible.
When that is established, Mehmet, you can thank them, if you feel like it.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 19, 2013 11:42:24 PM | 19

@12, Reporters without Borders is an astro-turf outfit full of malice trying to ride the coat-tails of Medecin sans frontieres, who have done good work. Much like the squalid Cuban copy cats of the original Ladies in white of Argentina.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 20, 2013 1:09:58 AM | 20

19) Correct though I would go further - if a prisoner commits suicide, the prison system is responsible.

It is not just the evil Syrian regime where this happens - flash back - death night of the Baader Meinhof group, or the strange suicide of Ben Zygier in a high security Israeli prison.

I agree with 17) alexno - all parties are completely brutalized, it is highly unlikely any of the Geneva conventions are observed.

Lots of stuff is presumably happening within the opposition - Islamists getting rid of liberals and Western backed rebels fighting against "Al Qeida".

Saudi backed groups presumably do ethnic cleansing just now - they favor a Lebanon solution with a government share between sectarian groups - and I am not sure Hezbollah/Iran would not favor that also apart from supporting Assad - they could influence self governed/controlled areas on the border to Israel. For that reason the US/Israel has no choice but support Assad.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 20, 2013 2:26:55 AM | 21

@21 somedy,
where did you read that the saudis favor a government share between sectarian groups?They have put a veto on any government with Hezbollah,read lebanese newspapers they are full of it!!Lebanon IS a sectarian state because its constitution envisage the sharing between sects of power albeit under paragraph I in the preamble it must not exclude any sect from power. Usrael do not support Assad because if they did why all the fuss to go to war as they did covertly and overtly almost three years ago.The right thing to say is that the US not"Israel"is coming slowly to the recognition that they have lost the war with Syria ,loosing with it a lot of ground in the M.E and that to contain the damages their idiotic policies have brought Assad at this point is better than the alternative,chaos that await them if he falls from the Gulf to the mediterranean.

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 20, 2013 2:37:51 PM | 22

@22

He probably just made it up - he does that .. . . a Lot!

Posted by: foff | Dec 20, 2013 9:10:19 PM | 23

ruralito 20

all these *Sans Frontières* outfits r under the same franchise
http://www.globalresearch.ca/doctors-behind-syrian-chemical-weapons-claims-are-aiding-terrorists/5346870
sometimes they make it oh so obvious ;-)
i bet they do lots of good medicine but thats their fig leaf !

Posted by: denk | Dec 20, 2013 10:24:48 PM | 24

22) Taif agreement

What Saudi do now in Lebanon is part of what they do in Syria ie trying to shape the Middle East in their sectarian favor. I consider their strategy nuts as Shiites inhabit their oil rich regions, but who am I. Saudi presumably think their money will fix it. Or they are frightened by the clergy they spread through the Muslim world.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 20, 2013 11:33:35 PM | 25

From the memory whole:

Saudi can never be sure of US/Israeli support as the neoconservatives started the Iraq war with a - stupid - "Shiite strategy". Also in Afghanistan - they backed the same groups as Iran. Saudi presumably backed same as Pakistan/ISIS Taliban.

That policy was reverted in Bush's second term.

Obama's Muslim Brotherhood/Turkey/Qatar policy also tried to move away from Saudi.

That policy was reverted in Obama's second term.

The fascinating question is why.

Maybe money does fix it.


Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2013 2:47:51 AM | 26

Upon further review, this entire storyline that Khan was suicidal in the days leading up to his release was thoroughly debunked the same day and day after this post made its unnecessary appearance.

Interstingly, Patrick Cockburn wrote a particularly scathing report in the Independent on the 19th that points to the likelihood of rogue elements within the Assad security and military being responsible both for Khan's death and the sarin attack in Ghouta, which especially makes sense in light of the evidence, moreso than the furiously pedalled tankie nonsense accusing the rebels of a selfie.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-death-of-dr-abbas-khan-shows-how-syrias-president-assad-shares-power-with-ruthless-and-erratic-henchmen-9013939.html

B should at least consider modifying this nonsense post to include the full context if he wished to appear less contrived in his bias in favour of Assad "no matter what".

After all, the rogue element theory is fairly exculpatory towards his man, even as it shows him losing control of power.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 9:41:27 AM | 27

#25

hahaha the usual obfuscatory non-info dump - "It was signed on 22 October 1989 and ratified by the Lebanese parliament on 5 November 1989" - things have changed quite a bit since 1989 - you need to update your bullshit , you're a little bit behind the times Gramps

Different King for starters, this one took over in 05, and Saudi actions in Leb and other ME contries have been very divisive since then, so to use the TAIF agreement as "evidence" to back up your bullshit is just downright deliberately misleading - as per usual

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 10:41:53 AM | 28

"Upon further review, this entire storyline that Khan was suicidal in the days leading up to his release was thoroughly debunked the same day and day after this post made its unnecessary appearance."

"thoroughly debunked" by whom?

Merely stating it don't make it so.

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 10:43:18 AM | 29

Patrick Cockburn has lost all credibility after writing this

    Most striking is the attack with Sarin gas on rebel controlled districts in Damascus for which it is difficult to think of any explanation other than that it was carried out by the Syrian armed forces.

that bullshit is thoroughly debunked imo

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 10:47:06 AM | 30

denk @54, Must have been thinking of somebody else, or some other time, when the news was more trustworthy. Crow's on the menu chez moi.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 21, 2013 11:36:22 AM | 31

"...even as it shows him losing control of power."

ie Might makes right; ergo, the loser is the bad one. Ah, paganism is so 1st Century!

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 21, 2013 11:45:22 AM | 32

ruralito @ 32

"Might makes right".

"Man makes straw".

Ho makes hum.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 2:42:18 PM | 33

@27
"..Patrick Cockburn wrote a particularly scathing report in the Independent on the 19th that points to the likelihood of rogue elements within the Assad security and military being responsible both for Khan's death and the sarin attack in Ghouta..."

I like Cockburn but this stuff, printed under his by-line, is, rather like your contribution, largely assertion. And unusually sloppy. It bears all the marks of a bit of compensation to his corporate employers, for the trouble he caused the ad sales department the other day when he was explaining the Saudis' role in the mayhem.

His main argument in favour of the line that the government was responsible for the attack on Ghouta is extremely unconvincing: there is nothing unlikely about the theory that the AQ "rebels' founded and supplied by the US and the Saudis, amongst others, and notoriously in receipt of vast quantities of weaponry much more sophisticated than the satrin appears to have been, had the capability to carry out the attack. And if they didn't their SAS and CIA officers certainly did.

The article seems to be prompted by his, understandable, cynicism in the face of the 'official story' of Dr Khan's death, with the Ghouta incident thrown in, a real ex post facto, to colour his description of the nastiness of the Syrian Security apparatus.
But the evidence that he disregards, much of it summed up here in older posts, and more detail being available through links supplied by commenters, seems to me very useful. While it is undeniable that the context in which the attacks took place make it most unlikely that Assad was behind the attack.

But then Cockburn doesn't suggest that he was, does he?

The difference between a "rebel", of the Proyect "revolutionary" sort, and a rogue element within the state is merely semantic. To argue that a gas attack took place but it wasn't carried out by the government and Brown Moses (who never lies except for money) claims that his friends were guiltless in the matter, pretty well leaves us where we were.

It is not the "tankies" who are furiously pedaling assertions but the imperialists who, whatever the details of the attack may be, are wholly responsible not only for the tens of thousands of casualties and the enormous amount of suffering occasioned by their attempt to change the Syrian regime, but also for the nastier, more paranoid elements in the Syrian state security apparatus which has been both under siege by the US/Zionist axis and, intimidated on occasion to contracting out its torturers to the Empire. It wasn't Assad or the "tankies" who rendered Maher Arar and requested that he be made to talk.


Posted by: bevin | Dec 21, 2013 2:53:36 PM | 34

foff

@29

"thoroughly debunked" by whom?

by the family. The same ones who initiated the 'bunking' in the first place, to which b still clings disingenuously (to put it kindly).

His family in London - where Dr Abbas was born - had received a bundle of letters from him in the last few weeks expressing his delight at his imminent release....

“He was saying, 'I can't wait to be back with you guys',” his sister Sara told me. “He did not commit suicide.” Dr Khan leaves a young wife and two children....

....Last week, Afroze did say that he feared for his brother's mental health - but the family explained on Monday that he was referring to Dr Abbas's feelings when held incommunicado, and that this did not refer to his current mental state.

Afroze had been trying to put pressure on the Syrian authorities to bring forward the date of Dr Abbas's release - although the family realise that this original statement may now be used by others to ”prove“ that Dr Abbas may have taken his own life.

foff @ 30

that bullshit is thoroughly debunked imo

LOL. saying it doesnt make it so. Where did I recently read that admonishment?

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 2:58:55 PM | 35

    foff

    @29

    "thoroughly debunked" by whom?

by the family. The same ones who initiated the 'bunking' in the first place, to which b still clings disingenuously (to put it kindly).

So the family bunked, and then de-bunked their own bunking?

(that seems to be what you are saying)

Surely you do see why others might not consider that any sort of a reliable "de-bunking" at all, let alone a thorough one?

All it seems to prove, to me anyway,is that the family are not really that trustworhty in this matter.

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 3:47:18 PM | 36

Bevin

Indeed, Cockburn asserts a theory, and advertises it as such. As well, I find it entirely probable, indeed extremely likely that Assad has less than perfect control of his security and military forces, and that this control has gradually weakened as the struggle continues and will further weaken as long as the battles rage on indecisively for the foreseable future.

Cockburn's theory happens to be logical, very fitting in light of Assad's subsequent and sudden 180, offering to meekly give away his CW (after the Russians pointedly ordered him to do so behind the scenes).

The fact of Assad's immediate agreement to surrender these powerful weapons under the circumstance that the use of CW might not be under his direct control to me is the greatest "tell".

LOL, another "tell": Assad and other Syrian government figures variously denied Syria's possessing CW right up to the bitter end of his agreeing to forfeit them.

Bonus donketale theory: Assad is and was most likely scared shitless by his lack of control over his own forces and did what the Russians told him to do in order for their guarantee of his personal security in any event.

Nothing, and I mean cero, of the fanciful assertions and thinly sourced theories regarding rebel use of sarin in Ghouta rises to this level of probability. It is of course possible that the rebels obtained, created, stored, made bombs and exploded them simultaneously in several different parts of town.

However likely, it is certainly less probable than Cockburns's theory of rogue elements within the regime. And as I stated, the rogue element storyline offers Assad the possibility of a personal defense against war crimes.

Cockburn is not a fool nor is he a propagandist for neo-imperialism. Although, LOL, I'm sure he is now being accused of both among the tankie crowd.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 3:51:07 PM | 37

given what we've learned regarding the media over the last 10 yrs, your faith in Cockburn is quite quaint indeed

Nothing, and I mean cero, of the fanciful assertions and thinly sourced theories regarding rebel use of sarin in Ghouta rises to this level of probability. It is of course possible that the rebels obtained, created, stored, made bombs and exploded them simultaneously in several different parts of town.

However likely, it is certainly less probable than Cockburns's theory of rogue elements within the regime. And as I stated, the rogue element storyline offers Assad the possibility of a personal defense against war crimes.

You have piled assumption upon assumption to come to that rather wobbly conclusion. You have nothing to support your assertions other than statements such as "it is likely" or "it is certainly less probable" with little or nothing to back them up.

Syrian forces supposedly setting off Chemical bombs, while being under very close scrutiny by the Imperialist Media, and while being threatened by the Imperialists and their friends regarding their CW stockpiles, is about as far fetched a tale as any I have heard regarding the Syrian conflict

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 4:00:50 PM | 38

I was being ironic with the use of the word "bunking".

Afroze's comment was taken out of context by those with an obvious agenda to stir disinformation and create doubt that a man who knew he was soon to be released from prison would wish to kill himself instead.

That the disinfo trail was furthered in such hackneyed fashion herein is unfortunate.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 4:01:40 PM | 39

foff @ 30

that bullshit is thoroughly debunked imo

LOL. saying it doesnt make it so. Where did I recently read that admonishment?

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 2:58:55 PM | 35

thoroughly de-bunked by Agnes del a Croix, amongst many others, when she produced pics found on the web where small children appeared in photos, alleged to be of the bodies of the dead, from various separate locations.

These photos were some of the first to appear supposedly showing the dead from these attacks, and were posted by socalled 'rebels'. That the same alleged victims of an alleged Syrian govt Gas attack, appeared at different locations, is debunking enough for me, thanks

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 4:14:16 PM | 40

Afroze's comment was taken out of context by those with an obvious agenda to stir disinformation and create doubt that a man who knew he was soon to be released from prison would wish to kill himself instead.

Is that you being "ironic" again, or just messing up the "logic" of your argument? Hard to tell.

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 4:15:44 PM | 41

LOL, another "tell": Assad and other Syrian government figures variously denied Syria's possessing CW right up to the bitter end of his agreeing to forfeit them.

Not true at all, at all at all.

The Syrian Gov actually made statements, in the weeks and months before the Ghouta attack, that their stockpiles of CW were safe and secure.

The low-grade of the alleged sarin alleged to have been used in the Ghouta attack is in fact a big "tell" pointing AWAY from Syrian Gov responsibilty.

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 4:46:10 PM | 42

Sister Agnes? And many, many [unnamed] others?

LOL. You are too funny, foff. But please, by all means, keep piling it on.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 21, 2013 5:16:19 PM | 43

Yeah. Whatever, you keep chuckling einsteinc. I named one person, but there are others, that's enough sourcing for me

I saw the photos, as did many here.

I saw them hit the web being promoted by the US terrorists, immediately after the event, as did many here.

I didn't notice that the same kids were in more than one location until Agnes pointed it.

Those photos show that at the very least almost much of what has been alleged by the Terrorist "activists" regarding that event is complete horseshit

Clearly the terrorist activists had a pre-aranged game-plan involving photographing, moving and rephotographing childrens bodies

So yeah, I'd call claims of Syrian Gov responsibility as being "debunked" alright.

And I notice you avoided completly having being exposed regarding your bullshit statement about the Syrian Gov not acknowledging their own CW prior to Ghouta

Given the statements you have made,
You're either overall fairly ignorant of these events or just plain bullshitting


Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 5:43:12 PM | 44

Edit : almost

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 5:44:26 PM | 45

"Assad is and was most likely scared shitless by his lack of control over his own forces and did what the Russians told him to do in order for their guarantee of his personal security in any event."

Rubbish. Watch any interview of Assad; that is one cool customer.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 21, 2013 5:57:43 PM | 46

Yet another of donkey's "most likely/possibly/less probable" politician-like bullshit assertions "debunked"

How many's that now?

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 6:11:48 PM | 47

Donkeytale:
Firstly you talk of Assad's precarious position in Syria as if it were unusual.
Is it your opinion that Obama runs the US government? Or that GW Bush was fully in control of his subordinates?
All governments are subject, and never more than in wartime, to "rogue" operations. Surely you saw that in Iraq every day, and in Afghanistan and Yemen? Many crucial initiatives are taken at the lowest level, often consciously challenging those higher up to disavow or discipline them. It happens at Guantanamo regularly and it undoubtedly happened at Abu Ghraib.
Most asylums are run by the inmates.

As to the question of Chemical Weapons these wee an embarassment, without value militarily, a useless legacy of which the old man was inordinately proud. Assad is better off without them. There is no evidence, so far as I am aware, that he ever used them. Giving them up to assist Lavrov snookering Obama and Kerry must have been a pleasure. That it keeps them, permanently out of the hands of maniacs in the wings, plotting coups, only adds to the eagerness with which the Doctor made his 'sacrifice.'

Finally, as a matter of style- I note the word "tankie" is defined in the Urban Dictionary by someone whose last word of dismissal of this sub-set is that "tankies" probably opposed the Iraq War.
No doubt they also oppose the current neo-fascist regime in Budapest the scoundrels vying for power in Prague. A generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union the "tankies" in the east are looking a lot better than the colour revolutionaries, sponsored by Washington and the assassins with whom they work hand in glove.

This is the definition, which, I take it, you share.
"The epithet has stuck because tankies also supported "sending the tanks in" in cases such as Czechoslovakia 1968, Afghanistan 1979, Bosnia and Kosovo/a (in the case of the Serbian state), and so on (whereas the rest of the communist movement has gravitated towards anti-militarism)."
So you see, anti-tankies, favour the mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Albanian body snatchers in Kosovo and their equivalents in Bosnia.All the forces picking up the work of the NAZI collaborators that Tito's partisans put an end to.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the tankies even defend Saddam Hussein."
By which of course he means- oppose the war in Iraq.

"Some of the people round George W Bush used to be left-wing, but they haven't really changed their views much; they were mostly tankies."
But they weren't were they? They were the very opposite-relapsed Trotskyists looking for a market for their "anti-tankie" politics.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 21, 2013 11:07:18 PM | 48

So you see, anti-tankies, favour the mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Albanian body snatchers in Kosovo and their equivalents in Bosnia

So if one does not believe in "sending the tanks in" one is, in your little dogmatic mind, automatically a supporter of the Muj/KLF?

You're the wierdest anti-Imperialist i have ever seen. One that seems to have no problem at all with a Soviet Empire.

That's not anti imperialism at all, just the usual dishonest propaganda any halfwit racist dogmatic ranter could spread.

Posted by: foff | Dec 21, 2013 11:34:05 PM | 49

ruralito 31

as a *ngo*, dwb showed its true colors when it expelled the greece branch in 2000.... for daring to provide medical aid for serb victims of nato bombardment !

in 2004, the afghan taliban executed a dwb worker.
unlike the cia sponsored talihan in pak, the afghan taliban know their stuff, they wouldnt kill an aid worker for nuthin, most likely the woman was caught red handed spying for nato.

Posted by: denk | Dec 22, 2013 12:07:11 AM | 50

The Soviets had one big demerit: their political philosophy, indeed their philosophy as such, or philosophy proper, never achieved an adequate understanding of what religion is, how it works, what it does, and so forth. They remained, throughout their history, in what I would call a primitive, reactive, 19th-century-materialist sort of stance towards religion. And this was what created the opening through which the CIA, which in any case would have favoured a religion-based method of subversion of unwanted foreign entities, was able to proceed with its subversion of the Soviet Empire (I don't give a damn if you call it that, because anti-imperialism in the Leninist sense is not so simplistic as to forbid any sort of 'empire' among the 'anti-imperialists' themselves). the issue of religion is in fact extraordinarily subtle and complex, and their methods of alternating cooptation and condemnation simply did not comprehend its power. We see something similar in the Chinese approach to Tibet. And note, the opening for the CIA that I mention was not merely that of encouraging religion-based (and Saudi-funded, and Pakistani ISI-organised) rebellion in Afghanistan, or anywhere else in Central Asia; it was also a matter of capitalising (in all senses) on the Orthodox Christian forces in Russia itself, which Stalin had used the cooptation-condemnation tactic on. Thus it is no mere happenstance that Solzhenitsyn started out as an apparently existentialist protestor (in Ivan Denisovitch), then gradually revealed himself as a Pravoslavic religious ideologue and all-round reactionary. I am still working on the religious question, very slowly, and I have been working on it from various aspects most of my life, because it is so deep as to be almost fathomless. Currently, I recommend Althusser's approach to it, which is by no means simple; you will doubtless be overjoyed to know that Althusser relies greatly on both Spinoza and Lacan. To comprehend either of these two gents is a task which is likely to occupy a decade or two of anyone's time.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 22, 2013 2:35:53 AM | 51

You know, Rowan, I'd hazard a guess that if you one day descended from your lofty Ivory Tower and went and actually deigned to speak to mere ordinary everyday mortals, people that actually experienced life in your beloved Soviet Empire, then, if you were honest (which, unlike the dishonest Dogmatist I directed my comment to, I think you generally try to be) you might be inclined to paint a less rosy picture of the Soviet Empire.

This "it's alright if WE do it, cos we're the GOOD guys" stance of yours is misguided imo.

Posted by: foff | Dec 22, 2013 7:39:34 AM | 52

Bevin

Surely you are not comparing the US federal government system with the Syrian?

AFAIK, Obama doesnt get to outlaw his opponents and do fuck all with them as he feels, although I'm sure he would be much more relaxed in his presidential skin if he could, seeing as there are elections every two years and they already control the House and the SCOTUS while remaining just a mere handful of seats away from a majourity in the Senate.

Quick, without a google, who is the leader of Syria's Parliament (is it a parliament?)? What is its make-up by party constituency?

I do agree with you that it scarcely matters at this point which side did or did not unleash poison gas against the other side. The fact is, Assad possessed the weapons, he caved after they were used and it did for the common good, for which the Russians were roundly applauded. Your conjecture about who got snookered and who "won" is very OK with me. My guess is that part of the negotiations over CW were that no blame would be assigned by the UN for their use if he agreed to have them removed. It appears they were used several times previous to the agreement and nonce after by either side.

Tankie is a fairly common British useage that means Western true believers in the Soviet Union no matter their actions, which of course were thoroughly obfuscated by the state press for decades and no one on the outside (dupes) had any way of knowing the truth. The term refers to the Soviets rolling tanks into Hungary in 1956 to liberate the people from their revolurion.

I guess you have forgotten that Assad also rolled tanks to save the people of Homs, Latakia and Aleppo from their revolution, er I mean the terrorists?

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 22, 2013 10:19:28 AM | 53

@52 Hey, it's foff's eternal claim to have "talked" to the poor saddened "mere mortals" of the former "soviet empire".

Ignoring, of course, the very substantial numbers of them who somehow don't feel that the destruction of their countries by the west, who don't like being under the yoke of neo-liberalism, and who still vote in large numbers for the successor parties of their old governments throughout the entire bloc.

Former East Germany
Romania
Russia

But that ridiculous stance from a guy who thinks the nazis weren't that bad should be no surprise. After all, there is no way to legitimize the white supremacist right wing and its current manifestation - the US Empire - without trying to tear down those who stood in opposition to it then. Just like the attacks he makes here on bevin, Rowan, ruralito, juannie, et at now.

and cue foff's tears and rending of garments over being called a nazi... I don't know why he cares though, it's not like the nazis were "like :The WORST people ever" ( foff here at @109 ), right, foff? In fact, according to foff, the nazis crimes are just blown out of proportion just so lefties like Russel Brand can score a point. Of course...

After all, foff much prefers you talk to those Eastern European exiles he has spoken to (probably, "spoken to" in the good NYTimes plagiarist sense) who whose dreams of color revolution, McDonald's and Justin Beiber completely eclipse the hard work and dreams of their grandparents who built those countries back from the war. Foff wants to ignore the patriotic people who prefer to see those same grandparents housed and warmed, not kicked form their wheelchairs - war wounds and all - by the neo-liberal client governments he seems to favor.

A troll by any other name....

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 22, 2013 10:28:10 AM | 54

Rowan

The Leninist experiment failed when it did not take root in Germany. Russia lacked the prerequisites for communism in 1917. By the time Stalin came along, he was forced to grapple with the immediate threat of the fascist reaction, which in no small part was inspired by the communist movement inside Germany.

I doubt Marx himself would have believed that the western bourgeois democracies would see fit to align with the communists to defeat fascism, so ferocious was the German reaction to WWI and the threat of communism to its east.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 22, 2013 10:32:43 AM | 55

Donks, ya just don't get it at all. Syria/Lebanon was from aeons back a de facto secular state, for the simple reason it was chock full of jostling ethnicities with different tribal fetishes faiths. Mono faith dictatorship would not be good news. This is what is obscured by all the bullshit about the Assads being Alawis. It's what I might call a mirroring deception, ie when you accuse the other guy of doing what you intend to do yourself. The Sunni ultras have learned that trick from, let's guess who, no, on second thoughts, let's not, we have enough shit flying around here as t'is.

:-)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 22, 2013 10:34:07 AM | 56

"Surely you are not comparing the US federal government system with the Syrian?"
That is precisely what I am doing. They are very similar. The differences of which you talk are unimportant: Obama is supported by a wide coalition of Democrats and Republicans. They disagree only on matters of unimportance. Didn't you see the recent budget? What was the vote against the war appropriations?

"Quick, without a Google" you could ask Europeans, Canadians, most Americans to name the leaders of Congress and they would have no more idea than I would as to the name of Syria's Speaker or leader of the government in the Assembly.

As to the Tankie thing and the 'Fan of Fossil Fuels' troll's puzzlement over anti-imperialism. It is all about the Balance of Power. In an era characterised by the last desperate efforts of the US to establish global hegemony- which it is confident the Panopticon will allow it to perpetuate- the most important political task is to thwart US imperialist designs.
I hate the US for the same reason that Marx hated Russia, it is the bulwark of international capitalism and the enemy of social justice. My guess is that while many of the "protestors" in Syria who rose against Assad were merely useful idiots, the movement from the first was guided and supported by the Zionists and the US government. And that their design, from the first, was to replace the baathists with a US friendly puppet ready to make "peace" with Israel and cede the Golan and the people of Palestine to imperialism.
As to whether the baathists are nice or nasty, that is none of my business. They certainly can't be as nasty as the US government (Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib etc etc) and standing shoulder to shoulder with Hezbollah is very nice of them. But I'm not Syrian, I now relatively little about what is going on there so I'm disinclined to intervene, not least because, little though I know, I know an enormous amount more than the average honest western voter who is being urged to get behind the cruise missiles aimed at Damascus.

Finally, Guest'77, I don't read the trolls maunderings (perhaps I'm being unfair and they have suddenly become profound? I'll take my chances...)
But I suspect that his encyclopediac knowledge of public opinion in eastern Europe is not unconnected with the charming British folk tradition of taking cheap flights to countries whose economies have been wrecked, in order to avail oneself of the opportunities of measuring public opinion while harassing waitresses and insulting barmen and swilling the local brews.
The victims know what is expected of them and amuse their clients by assuring them how grateful they are to be "free" and how dire was life under the Russian heel.

One thing Donkeytale and the troll have in common is a yearning to return to the simpler times of the Cold War and "four legs good, two legs bad."

Posted by: bevin | Dec 22, 2013 1:54:08 PM | 57

bevin

I'm not sure the US Empire can be said to represent the "white supremacist right wing" since it outsources their jobs and sponsors
mass non-white immigration while conducting wars which benefit Israel and the oligarchy. But as long as significant members of tea party types don't seem to get this, umbrage is not taken.
The populist right of Western Europe is siding with Putin over Ukrainian nationalists, but they don't have much use for American right wingers
either, for which I don't blame em.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 22, 2013 4:41:22 PM | 58

Bevin @ Heinz 57

LOL, um, uhh, wut? Need some more mustard with your ketchup?

SRSLY. LMFAO

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 22, 2013 10:35:38 PM | 59

New evidence shows what kind of "rebels fighters" Dr Khan was treating in Saraqeb, Idlib before he was arrested on his way to Aleppo on 22 Nov 2012- according to SOHR.

This GRAPHIC video shows summary execution of 28 "Shabiha" by the "freedom fighters" who "liberated" Saraqeb on 2nd November- all according to the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKZPXx8kI48

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 6:34:36 AM | 60

BBC was getting into the spirit of Christmas a few minutes ago by running another hit-piece in Putin's Russia (to make Obama feel better about being made to look like a Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker over his panicky back-down on Syria).
Apparently, according to the BBC's History Re-writers, the Kalashnikov was invented by a RUSSIAN and became a Symbol For Violence in the 20th Century.

Tomorrow being Christmas, I'm hoping the BBC will explain how, and why UK, France, Britain and NATO have NOT become Symbols For Violence in the 20th Century, considering all the pissy little countries they've wrecked since it began.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 23, 2013 7:06:21 PM | 61

is this Dr Khan?
Tore ‏@potifar66 2h
@bbclysedoucet Here another story about Dr.Khans stay in Syria, told by a british journo kidnapped by his group 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2193771/John-Cantlie-NHS-doctor-led-Syrian-terror-cell-took-British-journalist-hostage.html

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 7:32:05 PM | 62

Charles Shoebridge ‏@ShoebridgeC 3h
UK PM says #Afghanistan mission accomplished
https://twitter.com/ShoebridgeC/status/412683742403366912
Days later, a UK soldier killed close to #Kabul
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25500951

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 7:44:07 PM | 63

high comedy?

@KeepingtheLeith 6h
Salim Idriss, the disgraced general of the FSA, has issued a statement denying he fled to Qatar and that he is suing the WSJ for defamation.

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 7:45:04 PM | 64

Hashim Raza Ghadiri ‏@HashimRG 19 Dec
Sunni Muslims praying behind A Shia Imam... So where is the problem? #ShiaGenocide pic.twitter.com/Jo4vf8dpqq

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 7:53:35 PM | 65

TRUE LOVE SYRIA ‏@confusion8888 4h
#Salafi comedy is continues:
Saying "Merry Christmas" Is Worse than Fornication, Alcohol, or Killing Someone http://youtu.be/5b4QhQgU63A

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 7:58:51 PM | 66

HRW lies from 2012
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/15/syria-sexual-assault-detention

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 8:04:07 PM | 67

The Khodorkovsky arrest followed an unpublicized meeting earlier that year on July 14, 2003, between Khodorkovsky and Cheney. Following the Cheney meeting, Khodorkovsky began talks with ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco, Rice's old firm, about taking a major state in Yukos, said to have been between 25% and 40%.

That was intended to give Khodorkovsky de facto immunity from possible Putin government interference by tying Yukos to the big US oil giants and, hence, to Washington. It would also have given Washington, via the US oil giants, a de facto veto power over future Russian oil and gas pipelines and oil deals. Days before his October 2003 arrest on tax fraud charges, Khodorkovsky had entertained George H W Bush, the representative of the powerful and secretive Washington Carlyle Group in Moscow. They were discussing the final details of the US oil company share buy-in of Yukos.

Yukos had also just made a bid to acquire rival Sibneft from Boris Berezovsky, another Yeltsin-era oligarch. YukosSibneft, with 19.5 billion barrels of oil and gas, would then own the second-largest oil and gas reserves in the world after ExxonMobil. YukosSibneft would be the fourth-largest in the world in terms of production, pumping 2.3 million barrels of crude oil a day. The Exxon or Chevron buy-up of YukosSibneft would have been a literal energy coup d'etat. Cheney knew it; Bush knew it; Khodorkovsky knew it.
Above all, Putin knew it and moved decisively to block it."
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/HJ25Ag01.html

Posted by: brian | Dec 23, 2013 8:54:13 PM | 68

All of the above arguments about "Assad" this and "Assad" that, rely upon the straw man argument that the Syrian govt was a personal dictatorship in the first place, such that "Assad dictates" to all these grizzled veterans of military and secret service work, then "Assad loses control of them," all of which is ridiculous. Assad Jr is just an othmalmologist. He is nothing but a figurehead. The Syrian govt was never controlled by him in any sense whatever. Propagandist rule #1 about enemy regimes is to personalise the enemy, eg "Hitler has only got one ball," or "Stalin's breath smells," or "Kim Jong-Il plays with trains."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 23, 2013 10:57:59 PM | 69

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