Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Today's links

1-- Russia Says Douma Chemical Attack Was ”Planned Provocation” By British Intelligence

According to the Russian envoy to the OPCW Aleksandr Shulgin, Russia has “irrefutable proof” that the so-called Douma chemical attack was a “false-flag” orchestrated by British intelligence services with possible support from the US.

“Therefore, we have not just a “high degree of confidence,” as our Western partners claim, but we have incontrovertible evidence that there was no incident on April 7 in Douma and that all this was a planned provocation by the British intelligence services, probably, with the participation of their senior allies from Washington with the aim of misleading the international community and justifying aggression against Syria,” Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council.

“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” he said adding that the Douma incident was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” which are sponsored by opponents of the Syrian government.
“Among them, are the notorious ‘White Helmets,’ which some delegations are so fond of praising,” Shulgin added.

2-- Major showdown between US and Russian backed forces in Deir Ezzor as both sides commit reinforcements

Syrian military sources in the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor reported that the build-up of SDF troops near Khasham comes just 48 hours after the Russian military constructed a bridge near the Konoko Gas Field and Al-‘Umar Oil Field.

It appears that both sides are preparing for an attack, with the US-backed forces facing the most to lose if they fail to hold onto the gas and oil fields along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
He also noted that Russian military specialists had found “not a single piece of evidence” confirming the claims about the alleged chemical attack. In turn, the Russian specialists reportedly found local witnesses who said that the video allegedly showing the aftermath of the perceived attack was staged...

“Not a single witness, not one poisoned person in the hospital could be found. No remains of chemical weapons were found. But we have managed to find direct participants in the filming of the production video, which was presented as ‘proof’ of the chemical attack,” Shulgin said. “Everything has been developing according to the script that was prepared in Washington.

3--US building new base in oil rich area in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province

The US is reportedly continuing its military buildup in Syria. Local online news portal the Euphrates Post has published video evidence showing what appear to be two US Coalition Blackhawk helicopters consolidating the US presence in an oil-rich area in Deir ez-Zor province.

According to the resource, a new US Coalition base is being built in the area east of the city of Mejadin, near al-Omar, Syria’s largest oil field.

Col (ret.) Alexander Zhilin, head of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of Applied Problems of National Security, said that there was an obvious trend for the Pentagon to create new facilities in and around Syria’s largest oil and gas fields. Speaking to the Federal News Agency, the retired officer said this trend makes it clear that the US has no plans to leave Syria any time soon, and that their intervention has nothing to do with establishing order or fighting against terrorism.

“Over the space of several years, the US has deployed 25 military facilities in Syria, and are continuing to build new ones. In general, they try to act in such a way as to establish control of oil-rich areas and energy resources. At the same time, they don’t believe they should be accountable to anyone,” the analyst noted.

4--Deir Ezzor

Before the civil war, the city served as the oil capital, where the Syrian regime struck deals with Western oil giants including Shell, and Total. Daesh took control of most parts of the province in April 2014. According to the Syrian Gas Company in Deir Ezzor, Daesh controlled nearly 80 percent of oil fields and most gas deposits in the province until September 2017.

5--America’s seven year regime change war on Syria has left nearly 13 million people displaced, and without a home

While the stock market seems to believe the worst is over, one-and-done-and-everyone-crawls-back-in-their-hole, we suspect the ordeal that the Syrian people are dealing with is far from over and could lead to an even greater spike in the number of displaced Syrians, 13 million of whom are now scattered all over the world.

That’s according to a Pew Research Center analysis published in January. Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that Pew’s analysis found that over 6 million Syrians are displaced within their own country and they account for 49 percent of all Syrians displaced worldwide

6---Pseudo-left parties promote US-French-British bombing of Syria

A number of political parties that call themselves socialist proved they are nothing of the sort by lending support to Friday night’s illegal US, French and British bombing of Syria.

Groups like the American International Socialist Organization (ISO), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and the French New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) are pro-war organizations. They are participating in a propaganda campaign with the capitalist press organs and the intelligence agencies to spread the lie that the bombings are justified on a “humanitarian” basis and that additional military force is required. Socialists reject these attempts to cover imperialist intervention in a fraudulent “left” veneer.

7---Backlash against illegal missile strikes

Labour MP Chris Williamson accused the UK government and its allies in the US and France of intervening in Syria against President Bashar Assad on the basis of “hearsay” rather than concrete evidence.

Hitting back at Prime Minister Theresa May’s claims that the strikes fired in the early hours of Saturday morning were in the national interest, as well as legally and morally right, the MP told RT: “What we’ve seen here really is a bunch of saber-rattling warmongers who acted precipitously without real evidence, and the evidence they are citing is even more flimsy than the ‘dodgy dossier’ [on Iraq in 2003].

“I mean what they’re relying on it seems to me is social media reports and hearsay,” the Derby North representative told RT’s Bill Dod.

8--North & South Korea may announce official end to war – local media

9--'Oxygen starvation, not gas’: Veteran UK reporter Fisk doubts MSM narrative on Douma ‘chem attack’

Veteran UK reporter Robert Fisk went to Syria’s Douma and heard that residents shown in notorious “gas attack footage” actually suffered from oxygen loss due to hiding in trash-filled shelters, and not from chemicals.

They were “overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation” because they had to live in rubbish-filled underground shelters in order to survive the perils of fighting. The doctor told the Independent reporter that on the night of April 7, when the alleged attack supposedly took place, “there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived.”

Patients began to arrive in his subterranean hospital suffering from hypoxia and oxygen loss, Dr Rahaibani continued. “Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet’, shouted “gas!” and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other.” He added:

10--Mattis caves in or the "good soldier"?

In an article titled “Mattis: US Wants Proof Before Striking Syria for Chemical Attack,” Military.com reported: “Currently, the U.S. and its allies ‘don’t have evidence’ that the Syrian regime carried out the attack last Saturday in the Damascus suburb of Duma that reportedly killed at least 40, Mattis said.”

Right after his testimony on Capitol Hill, Mattis attended a “closed-door White House meeting.” According to The New York Times, at this meeting, “Mattis pushed for more evidence of President Bashar al-Assad’s role in the suspected chemical attack …” Evidently, Mattis was overruled. Trump was already committed

The Pentagon conducted a briefing immediately after the US strikes the next day, on April 13. One reporter asked: “What’s your evidence it was delivered by the Syrian regime? Are you quite clear it was?” Mattis dutifully responded: “I am confident the Syrian regime conducted a chemical attack on innocent people in this last week, yes. Absolutely confident of it.”

Another reporter queried: “So up until yesterday, and I’m going to quote you here, you said, ‘I cannot tell you that we have evidence.’ So when did you become confident that a chemical attack happened?
Mattis: “Yes, yesterday

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