Douma Videos and Photos

In this post, I will provide a timeline of original appearances of videos and photos of the Douma chemical incident. There were two locations for these videos: (1) the emergency ward of the Douma hospital; (2) a small apartment building about 10 blocks from the hospital, where dead bodies were found on two floors and on the outside street. All of the videos and photos through the night of April 7-8 at both locations originated with two Jaish al-Islam social media activists: (1) the pseudonymous Yaser al-Doumani (Yaser of Douma) and (2) Fadi Abdullah, either personally or via Douma Revolution.

From the daytime of April 8, I’ve listed five videos with new footage from the massacre building.  In addition, there are several tranches of original photos on April 8, most of which document bodies after removal from the house (and thus less useful for reconstruction of the original crime scene.)

The date and order of each video has to be examined carefully, as some bodies were re-arranged between videos.

Night April 7-8

First Victim Photos 22:53 (Damascus Time)

The first victim photos were published almost simultaneously by Yaser al-Doumani and Douma Revolution (22:53 and 22:56 respectively.) Doumani published 11 photos, 8 of which were published in the first Douma Revolution tranche. Doumani first published the photos on Facebook (archive ), announcing publication on Twitter (archive ).  Douma Revolution similarly first published the photos on Facebook (archive).

A second tranche of 6 photos  was published by Douma Revolution at 23:27 (archive ).  This included five victim photos (a few repeats) plus the first photo from the hospital incident.

A third tranche of victim photos (one) was published by Douma Revolution at 23:48. Six of these photos were published by White Helmets at 0:08

Fadi Abdullah, First Victim Video 23:40.

The first victim video (DfQiFEyin_4) was published by Douma Revolution on Facebook at 23:40 (archive). It was uploaded to Youtube at 23:49 (archive) by Fadi Abdullah. It was 55 seconds long and showed 18 victims in the first floor apartment building. For some reason, it did not show five victims from later videos (four in the front doorway and one on the first floor landing) who they would have had to have stepped over on their way to the first floor apartment.

Several dead bodies are in different locations in this video than in later videos:

  1. the baby in the purple sweater, as noted above, was moved from the washing machine room to the pile in the main room;
  2. the woman in the back room in this video was moved soon afterwards to a pile in the washing-machine room. In this first video (and an early photo), she does not display any foaming, but copious (post-mortem) foam has appeared in videos later in the night-time of April 7-8.
  3. two babies in white (one in the laundry room to south of main room, one on the pile in the doorway leading north from the main room) were moved overnight so that they nestled on top of the boy in the red-and-grey striped shirt in the main room in the early April 8 videos
  4. two children were removed from the pile in the main room overnight (the child in red immediately to the east of the boy in the red-and-grey striped shirt; and a child in a checked shirt at the bottom of the original pile in the main room).

First Hospital Incident Photo, 23:27

The first photo from the hospital incident, as noted above, was published in the  second tranche of Douma Revolution victim photos at 23:27 (archive).

The next tranche of hospital photos (two) was published by Douma Revolution at 23:53 () and consisted of photos of (1) an injured jihadi; (2) a photo of Hassan Diab and a young girl sitting on the hospital cot.

A third tranche of hospital photos (eight) was published at Facebook at 0:02 by Douma Revolution (), showing children also portrayed in videos, including a girl in a purple sweater later interviewed by CNN in Turkey (CNN conspicuously not interviewing doctors or children remaining in Douma).

First Hospital Videos

Four hospital videos were published in quick succession around midnight.

At 23:55, Fadi Abdullah uploaded a 28 second video (vNcag20DnZw) starting with a baby with a blue puffer to Youtube (), also published by Douma Revolution at 0:29 at Facebook.

At 0:05, Fadi Abdullah uploaded a 33 second video (FWF-z0tkmmQ), which began with men being washed (in a room dominated by adult males), later panning to two children identificable in other videos and photos: the boy under brown towel shown in first photo; a little girl in oshkosh-style jeans and maroon shirt; and a little girl in purple. Later published by Douma Revolution on Facebook at 0:32.

At 0:08, Fadi Abdullah uploaded a 31 second video (IC6_Y1YXZn0), which began with drenching of a recognizable young girl in a purple sweater (later interviewed in Turkey by CNN), later panning over to young Hassan Diab, sitting on a cot with the little girl in oshkosh jeans and the boy under the towel. Published soon after by Douma Revolution at 0:13.

At 0:33, Douma Revolution published a 16 second hospital video ( not identified so far in Fadi Youtube feed), showing an adult man in a corner, later panning to a second adult man.

Anadolu Photos (Halil al-Abdullah) Hospital Photos and Video

in a non-timestamped April 7 article by the Anadolu Agency in Turkey. They include five hospital photos, with several of the photos e.g. Hassan Diab with two girls firmly placing them at the same incident as the Douma Revolution photos. They also include two photos of the first floor scene – one of which shows the baby in purple sweater in the washing machine room – placing this photo relatively early in the sequence.

Anadolu also published a video which included a scene in which a male nurse (one of the later interviewees who described the incident as a White Helmets stunt) gave a puffer to an asthmatic baby in the same location and procedure as he did with a similarly aged baby in a Douma Revolution video.  This video included a scene which, for some reason, was not included in the Douma Revolution videos. In it, a fierce-looking man with black head band and mask brandished a terrified baby over his head.

Second Fadi Abdullah Victim Video, First Floor, 0:20 a.m.

The second victim video, 2:27 in length, was published by Fadi Abdullah on Youtube (0K9H8dh12uE) at 0:20, only a few minutes after his fourth hospital video. Published a few minutes later by Douma Revolution at 0:23.

Like the previous video, it showed bodies in rooms in the first floor apartment. It made a point of zooming in on individual dead bodies to show foaming. The baby in the purple sweater has not yet been moved.  It includes five victims not shown in the first video: a woman on the first floor landing and four bodies on the very dusty street, more or less in the doorway of the building.



Halil al-Abdullah Photos of Apartment, ~ 1 a.m.

Halil al-Abdullah took high-resolution still photos of first floor apartment scene on day 1, which were widely used. Getty numbers are: 943130304, 943130318, 943143850, 943143852,  943143852,  943143956,  943143962,  943143968). His visit to the apartment (center below) can be placed between the second Fadi Abdullah video (left below, uploaded 0:20 a.m.) and the first Yaser al-Doumani video (right, uploaded 1:43 a.m.) – say, about 1 a.m. The woman with white cap has been moved beside green-plaid pillow at time of his picture, but not in Fadi video. The baby in purple was moved during Halil photo shoot, being moved from washing-machine room to pile in main room.

First Doumani Video, First Floor, 1:43 a.m.

The next victim video (ajpjrYSOoYM) was published by Yaser al-Doumani at 1:43 a.m. (FBTwitter ) Doumani himself appears in the video, emotionally cursing.

The video begins on the dusty street at the front door of the building, where four bodies are visible. Doumani looked down the steps into the cellar (which are located beside the landing leading to the first floor apartment and stairways to upper apartments). They stopped after a few steps and segued to the first floor of the apartment. They panned around the main room, looking into the laundry room to the south and through the doorway leading north to the washing-machine room but did not proceed through the doorway.

Prior to this, the baby in purple sweater had been moved from the washing-machine room (in first Fadi Abdullah video) and placed on top of the pile. This event appears to have been recorded in a photo posted by White Helmets at 1:41 a.m., showing the baby in purple sweater being carried by a White Helmet in an ostentatious gas mask, donned for the photo, but not worn by videographers and companions in their explorations of the apartments.  In addition, a woman in brown cap and black hijab was also moved from the backroom to a pile near the doorway to the washing-machine room. In this second scene, she was lying on her back, with profuse foam from nose and right eye.brown hijab foam.PNG

First Photo and Video from Second Floor, Third Floor, 2:30 a.m

At 2:30, Douma Revolution published four photos. Three recycled previously published photos, but the fourth was the first photo from the second floor: a picture of a little girl in a red shirt and blue pants face down on a red-white striped blanket on a couch with a square pattern, which is located in a room on the east side of the building. She has what seem to be mud stains on her back. She is prominent in a video from the next day.

More Hospital Photos, 2:32 a.m.

At 2:32 a.m., Doumani interrupted production of victim videos to publish his first hospital photos – 10 new photos. These began with a little girl in a red sweater, continuing with a series of photos of baby in a pink shirt beside a second baby being given a green inhaler by an adult male in grey muscle shirt.

Second Doumani Victim Video, 2:47 a.m.

At 2:47 a.m., Doumani published his second victim video (8TElceE3aLI), simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook. It was 2:29 in length.

This video begins in the washing-machine room. Based on the appearance of the baby in the purple sweater in the washing machine room, this part of the video must have been recorded BEFORE the first Doumani video (uploaded an hour earlier). Its first portion is identical to the second Fadi Abdullah video from about 0:37 to the end of the Fadi Abdullah video, which occures at 1:56 of this video. For the rest of the video, Doumani utters imprecations against a backdrop of the main room of the first floor. The baby in purple sweater in prominent in the background, placing this portion of the video after the transfer of the baby.

First Video from Second Floor, Third Floor, 3:46 a.m

At 3:46, Fadi Abdullah uploaded his third victim video (m4lkf1SNcJI) to Youtube, this one being the first to show anything from the second and third floors. The publication at Youtube was presaged by publication a few minutes earlier (3:32) at Yaser al-Doumani’s Facebook , at 3:42 at Douma Revolution Facebook.  This is an important video as it shows arrangements on the second floor before being embellished by White Helmets and a curious episode on the third floor.

The activists first ascend the stairs, panning past a girl in grey striped clothes on the stairway leading to the third floor. The layout of the second floor (like the layout of the first floor) is not totally clear, but is approximately as shown at right: with a kitchen at the back of the house, a room with the square-patterned couch on the east side as show with a hallway connecting to the back. The front room, not shown in this video, appears to be a bedroom (from background to a April 8 daytime video).

This video segues from the stairway to the room with couch, where the girl in red shirt, blue pants is shown on the red-white blanket. It then proceeds down the hallway, passing over five bodies: two women in black hijab, a girl in red with a brown scarf, then a girl in a pink shirt facedown, a woman in light purple. Proceeding into the kitchen, there is a man lying sideways with his face on the bare stomach of the pink-shirt girl, with foam dripping onto her stomach. (This man was later said to be the brother of a young man interviewed by CBS and BBC.)  In the kitchen itself (which has a counter along its west wall), there is a boy underneath an upside down chair and, on the other side of an upside down table, a woman in a black dress with red chest decoration and brown cap.

Nearly all of these people were re-arranged during the night.

  • one of the two women in black hijab in the hallway was moved into the room with couch. Her ring, very visible in this first video, was stolen.
  • the girl in pink was also moved into the room with couch, hugging the woman in black hijab.
  • a children’s book, strewn in the hallway of the first video, was placed in the hand of the woman in black hijab.
  • the girl in red in the hallway was placed beside the woman in purple, replacing the girl in pink.

About half-way through this video, the team goes upstairs to the third floor, passing two dead girls on the stairway,  They entered a third floor bedroom directly underneath a balcony on the north side of the building.  There is a hole in the top of this bedroom, through which the team observed something bright and white against the hard black background of the night sky and the illumination of the hole in the roof.  When they saw this bright white light/object, the team quickly beat a retreat downstairs, pausing only briefly to peek into the first floor apartment. Two days later (and after the inspection of the building by the Russians on April 9), Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat published a picture showing an approximately 40-liter yellow cylinder of the type commonly used as a chlorine container in the location where the white light/object had been observed in the earlier video. Kline argued  that this was frost from escaping chlorine.

Doumani’s Hospital Video, 3:59 a.m.

Doumani continued to work feverishly through the night on both Twitter and Facebook.  At 3:59 a.m., he uploaded a hospital video (KpwcV0sup_o), linking to it from Twitter at 4:55 a.m. and again soon afterwards at 5:06 a.m.

Doumani’s hospital video was 4:12 minutes long.  It spliced scenes from the  previously published Douma Revolution hospital videos (e.g. the drenching of the girl in the purple sweater) and Yaser’s imprecation in the street in his first victim video, but also included several minutes of new hospital footage in which there are multiple appearances by faces familiar from the photos published earlier in the day.  The additional footage contains some interesting scenes of the emergency room being swarmed by 40 or so adult males, none of whom appear particularly injured or sick – entirely consistent with the subsequent video (2mw8DZEiSR0) testimony of hospital medical staff.

There is very large overlap between Doumani’s video and a video (cOlKS_Aaz20) from SMART. The order of scenes is considerably scrambled between the two, making them seem more different than they are.

Doumani signed off for the night at 5:53 a.m., re-posting five previously published photos on his Facebook.

Day April 8

There were no new hospital videos during the day of April 8. In a later interview, one of the doctors at Douma hospital observed that there would have been many victims in the hospital on April 8 if there had been a chemical attack, but there weren’t any.

However, daylight brought fresh faces to the apartment where the dead bodies were located and a clearer perspective on the layout of the apartments.


The earliest video (LozZlXcYQ9c) from April 8 appears to be from Qasion News though not uploaded until 4:10 pm, well after several other videos.

It begins on the first floor landing to which the two girls discovered on the stairs (grey-striped clothes; and red with yellow pinstripes) have been moved and placed on top of one another. It then carries out an overview of the main room of the first floor apartment. Overnight, the faces of the dead bodies have become very discolored.  Some of the bodies have also been re-arranged.  As noted above, the two babies in white have been moved from their previous location and added to the pile in the main room. Meanwhile, two children (the girl in red on the east; and the child in a checked shirt in the center) have been removed.

“Abdullah al-Doumani” and Halab TV, 10:18 a.m.

The next new video (2mw8DZEiSR0), 5:44 minutes in length, was uploaded by Abdullah al-Doumani at 10:18 a.m.

It first pans the first floor main room, which has no material differences in this video from the Qasion version.  Light is now visible in the back room from a window. Light is also visible in the bedroom off the main room, which also has a window (see at right).  At about minute 1:21, the narrator utters imprecations to the sky. The same narrator in the same location, from a very slightly different angle, appears in the Halab-TV video uploaded six hours later, showing that either there were two different cameramen recording this oration or that there were two takes of this scene.

In the background of this scene, the front window can be seen, yet none of the dead persons availed themselves of fresh air from this window, or, for that matter, managed to descend the three steps from the first floor apartment to the street and safety from any chlorine.

At 2:57, a second narrator issues further curses. Behind him in the second floor hallway (with the second floor front window in the background) is a balding man with medium length beard with some missing teeth, in a beige shirt, greenish undershirt holding the little girl in red shirt and blue pants, who was located on the couch with square patterns the previous night. The man first nods with the narrator, then, shaking the little girl, utters his own curses and imprecations.  After the curses, the camera pans towards the kitchen in the rear, also now illuminated by a window. They peeled back the red-stripe blanket (which had been in the room with couch the previous night) revealing the girl with brown scarf, who had previously been located in the hallway facing the opposite direction, beside the woman in light purple.  The child in a pink sweater, on whom the man’s head had previously rested, has been removed.  After briefly panning the kitchen in the back, the camera returns to the man with child, this time showing the front bedroom more clearly. A khaki jacket with white scarf has been placed on the bed. The disconsolate man remains in the scene until the end of the video.

The HalabTV video commences with the narrator in black-and-grey striped shirt in the front vestibule of the first floor apartment, uttering the same imprecations as the Abdullah al-Doumani video. It pans into the baby with purple sweater, who is still wearing gold stud earrings. It similarly pans to the balding man with red child. This time, the narrator with the grey-black striped shirt utters curses, instead of the narrator in the blue shirt. The curses go on for a while. Once again, the red-white blanket is peeled back to show the girl in red with the beige scarf.

Orient News, 2:35 pm

About four hours later (2:35 pm), Orient News published a video with original footage (Twitter); a better quality version was uploaded about seven hours later to Youtube (t99NFijj4Pg).

Orient News had published several earlier videos on the incident, but all were secondary.  This video contained original footage. The opening scene of this video was in the second floor hallway, with a bearded man in a dark blue hat grieving over the body of the woman in light purple, located under the red-white striped blanket. The team then moved into the back kitchen, moving aside a patterned rug.  Light from the back window enters the room, fresh air only a few feet away from two dead bodies.

A balding man with brownish beard, dressed in khaki and wearing boots, can be indistinctly seen over the dead boy beside the upside down table. Blogger ilmastotiede/ilmasblogi plausibly identifed the balding man in khaki in this scene with the grieving balding man in khaki in the Abdullah al-Doumani and Halab TV videos. (He made another surprising identication of the balding man in khaki in the SMART Agency video discussed below.)

They pass back through the hallway. Instead of the two women in black hijabs in the hallway, there is now only one woman in striped socks, the one who had previously been to the left (west).  The camera now pans into the room with the patterned couch, into which the woman in black hijab previously on the right has been moved. Hugging her is the child in pink sweater, who, on the previous evening, had been located in the hallway between the man and the woman in light purple, with froth from the man on her bare stomach. A children’s book, previously in the hall, has been placed in the hand of the adult woman.  The camera pauses briefly on the child in red, still on the square patterned couch, but her red-white striped blanked is no longer there but in the hall. The ring, which was clearly visible on the woman’s right hand in the Fadi Abdullah video, has been removed – presumably stolen by the White Helmets.

SMART Agency

The SMART agency published a video, 1:52 minutes long, with original footage at 5:48 pm, but it appears to have recorded earlier events than the Doumani video published at 4:03 pm. It began by showing five photos from the first floor. SMART also published a set of high-resolution photos from the same events.

It then shows a scene (early morning from my reading of shadows and sun angles) in which recognizable first floor victims were placed on the street outside the building: at 0:24, one can see the boy with arm-stripes from the washing machine room, the baby in purple sweater, the two babies in white, the boy in red-white striped shirt, the boy in green-blue stripes and the boy in a grey sweater with red-white front stripes (the girl in red not having arrived to give him his last hug) etc.  Other bodies, previously transported to the street, are under various blankets. The scene was recorded by multiple cameramen – one picture shows three other photographers recording the scene. There was a previous glimpse of the cameraman in the red shirt and blue jeans in the third Fadi Abdullah video of April 7-8 (going to the second and third floors).

At 0:57, a balding man in a camouflage jacket with blue-white tasseled scarf, khaki pants and loose boots can be seen depositing the boy in a black-grey striped shirt from the north doorway of the first floor main room onto the street beside the girl in grey-striped clothes.

White Helmets water down the bodies on the street, while also loading bodies wrapped in blankets into a waiting van. At minute 1:47, one of the White Helmets – a balding man with brownish hair and beard, dressed in a khaki shirt and pants with greenish undershirt, with loose boots, jogged back to the building. Ilmastotiede has plausibly identified this man as the identical-looking White Helmet who had carried out the boy in the grey-black striped shirt (at left) – having removed his camouflage jacket and tasseled scarf in the meantime.

Ilmastotiede also convincingly identified this balding man with the grieving “father” of the girl in red in the Abdullah al-Doumani/Halab TV videos discussed above, even pointing out an identical blemish in their left boots.  Ilmastotiede even appears to have located the camouflage jacket and tasseled scarf removed by the White Helmet between scenes – dropped on the bed in the front room observable in the background of the Abdullah al-Doumani video (as shown above). If this plausible identification is correct (and it appears to be), then one has to ask whether the White Helmet was simply play-acting as the father of the girl in red.

Yaser al-Doumani, April 8

At 4:03 pm, Yaser al-Doumani returned to action with a new video  (PIyGJugmGaI) length 3:48 minutes, (showing the street scene after the White Helmets had moved the dead bodies onto the street outside the apartment. Many bodies are covered in blankets, but numerous individuals can be recognized. Some of the bodies arrayed on the outside street did not appear in the videos of the night of April 7-8 (e.g. a boy in a bright blue sweater.)

Narrator (Yaser?) was intent to show the eyes of the dead, prying them open and declaiming to the camera. However, rather than the pupils being contracted to pinpricks, the distinct characteristic of poisoning by sarin and other nerve agents, they are dilated. If anything, these images contradict theories of death by nerve agent, thus leaving unanswered the underlying question of why people didn’t simply walk downstairs away from any chlorine.

One street photo, captioned the “Last Hug” by Douma Revolution () showed a young girl in bright red, affectionately holding on to her older brother as they both died. However, this was pure staging. They were actually discovered on different floors: the “older brother” was located by himself in the first floor bedroom, while the girl in red was originally located by herself in the second floor hallway (and already moved once within the hallway to a location under the red-white striped blanket beside the woman in purple.)

The closeup of the baby in purple revealed something presumably unintended: the baby’s gold stud earrings, easily seen in videos of the previous night and even earlier that morning, have been stolen, presumably by the White Helmets.

Doctors and Medical Staff

Placeholder for now.

Over the next two weeks, many doctors and medical staff both at the Douma emergency ward and other Douma hospitals stated unequivocally that they had seen no evidence of a chemical attack. One of the children featured prominently in the hospital videos, 11-year old Hassan Diab, was located and said that there was never anything wrong with him, that he was promised cookies and dates by White Helmets for participating.

To explain denial of any chemical attack by Douma medical staff,  Gabriel Tayara of UOSSM, an organization which, together with SAMS, did the most to disseminate jihadist allegations of a chemical incident, claimed that all the doctors and medical staff in Douma had been coerced and threatened by the Russians and that their evidence should not be believed.

The doctors were treated abusively and have been threatened ever since. Their families have been threatened that they will pay a price and they themselves have told they will be arrested, and much more if they give any evidence, or interviews about what happened in Douma.”

Tayara didn’t explain why jihadist evidence should be explained.


The “Chlorine” Cylinder

Bilal Abu Salah Video

At 3:21 pm on April 8, jihadist Bilal Abu Salah supplied what seemed to be the key missing link (video) : the very munition which had killed the residents of the massacre house.  Ostentatiously garbed in a vintage gas mask, Bilal displayed a yellow chlorine-type cylinder (equipped with a harness commonly used to fire gas tanks from jihadi “hell cannons”).  Bilal’s caption stated: ” Saw a rocket carrying chemicals that did not explode but released chemical gases until the moment. The rocket landed inside a civilian house in the city of #Doma yesterday, where more than 50 civilian casualties occurred in the chemical and dozens of martyrs were killed by the bombing of the city with various types of weapons”.

There was one fatal defect to Bilal’s munition as delivery mechanism to the apartments where the bodies found: it didn’t come from the apartment building, but from somewhere else.  He had fabricated the association between the bedroom scene and the dead bodies.

Nonetheless, within less than two hours (5:08 pm Damascus), Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, presumably unaware of the fabrication, disseminated a scene from Bilal’s video, which he described as “the modified chlorine cylinder used in yesterday’s Douma attack”, comparing it to a cylinder displayed in a previous White Helmets video as follows (together with two photos shown below).

Left shows the modified chlorine cylinder used in yesterday’s Douma attack, the right hand image is from an August 2017 chlorine attack in Khan Al-Assal. Clear similarities, seems they’ve strengthened the suspension lugs.

Higgins continued: “Similar modifications have been seen in previous chemical attacks, some of which are documented in this @hrw image showing chlorine cylinders documented at the scene of chlorine attacks in Aleppo in late 2016″ (see illustration in original tweet) and asserted that “The remains of what are very likely the same sort of modifications were found at the impact site of the February 4th 2018 chlorine attack in Saraqib, along with two yellow chlorine cylinders.”.

Bilal’s video showed a large open hole in the ceiling above the bedroom. Higgins hypothesized that the cylinder was dropped from a helicopter, then demolished the roof, bounced off the floor and onto the bed with barely a scratch:

Looking at the information available so far on the Douma chemical attack, it appears a modified chlorine cylinder hit the roof of the building, penetrated into a bedroom, from where the gas (likely chlorine) spread 1/ cylinder. The bedroom was quite close to a stairwell, with only two doors between the cylinder and stairwell. If the doors were open the gas would have spread very quickly through the building via the stairwell 2/ Frequently these chlorine cylinder land in open spaces, so the casualties are lower, but this was a direct hit, and it appears possible the gas could have spread through the building rapidly, which is likely why we’re seeing comparatively high casualties 3/3″

Ordinarily during the Syrian war, it would have been impossible to disprove the claims of Bilal abu Saleh and Higgins, but Jaish al-Islam, which was on the verge of falling anyway, accepted a re-location deal from Russia in the afternoon of April 8, thus enabling Russian access to Douma. In the morning of April 9, Russian inspectors located and visited the massacre building (shown in Hadi Alabdallah video (rFKkTwa0TBM) posted late in the afternoon). Even though less than 36 hours had passed since the discovery of the bodies, there was no sign of them the next day on the street: everything had been removed by White Helmets.

At 1:10 pm (Damascus) on April 9, AFP reported that Russian specialists had found no trace of chemical weapons in their inspection. Within less than an hour, Higgins responded (2 pm; 11:00Z):

“Despite claims to the contrary, we do have images of the munitions used in the Douma chemical attack and they look just like the same modified yellow gas cylinders dropped from Syrian air force helicopters in previous attacks.”

Higgins attached two images to this tweet: one was the cylinder in the bedroom publicized by Bilal, the other showed a cylinder on a small balcony where, unlike the Bilal example, the cylinder had not bust through the roof, but had been stopped.  (See copy of Higgins’ tweet here.)

Higgins’ second image was from the apartment building with the dead bodies, though Higgins appears to have been unaware of it at the top. During the next few hours, Higgins engaged in controversy on twitter in which he relied on the damage to the roof in the Bilal video as damage that could only be caused by the cylinder being dropped from a helicopter, thereby demonstrating regime responsibility. For example, at 2:22 pm(Damascus), he pointed to the supposed impossibility of Jaish al-Islam (“rebels”) launching cylinders which could cause the same damage shown in the Bilal video, which Higgins had presented as the attack munition: “You see, the rebels copied the modifications on the chlorine cylinders used by the Syrian air force, planted them in the building, smashed through the roof to make it look like it had been dropped, killed everyone, then got everyone else to cover it up”. When challenged on the implausibility of the cylinder bouncing onto the bed, Higgins argued (4:50 pm Damascus) that his critic couldn’t prove that it wasn’t moved: “Which assumes the bomb wasn’t moved before it was filmed and photographed, can you be certain it wasn’t?”

Meanwhile, (with or without Higgins’ knowledge), the White Helmets re-entered the apartment building which had been inspected by the Russians in the morning at about 7:02 pm (April 9) and took a video of the chlorine cylinder on the balcony, which they sent to Higgins, who announced the existence of the video the following day (April 10) at 1:32 pm (Damascus).

Yaser al-Doumani apparently didn’t get the memo about the change in location, since, early in the morning of April 10 (6:46 am Damascus), he re-appeared in the same false location as Bilal (whose claims were now known to be false) and denounced the deaths of victims from the depicted cylinder.

The new balcony video from White Helmets included a view to the north, which Bellingcat used to geolocate the building to that inspected by the Russians. (Of course, he already knew that since the White Helmets could directly show him the location on the map.)  The video itself was not published by White Helmets until 9:06 pm on April 10. Meanwhile, Higgins deleted the earlier tweet (which was fortunately preserved by Michael Kobs (left – original image; right – replacement image here.) Both videos showed a small hole in the floor but, unlike the Bilal video, the cylinder had not busted through the roof, leaving a large hole in its wake. Also, unlike other cylinders, this one only had a slight dent. Though the extensive roof damage had been an important theme in his earlier controversy, Higgins did not walk back his earlier arguments.  Higgins surreptitiously deleted the earlier tweet; the image on the right was preserved by Michael Kobs. Squinting, one can discern that some additional concrete has broken off in the image at right and that fragments on the left side of the image have moved somewhat towards the hole. Numerous other images of the balcony were taken about 10 days later when reporters obtained access to the site.


Casualties and Hospital Videos

At the time, there were widespread claims of 500 (or sometimes) 1000 casualties. These claims can be shown to have originated with Douma Revolution and Yaser al-Doumani, the same Jaish al-Islam media cadres who produced and published the videos. While there were many casualties on April 7 from fire and conventional warfare, the jihadist figures were more or less plucked out of thin air. These figures were quickly and uncritically disseminated into western media, with Syrian American Medical Society and UOSSM, two NGOs backed by the US and French governments respectively, playing a particularly important role, both through distribution of these figures and through their further embellishments.  The situation was made much worse when the World Health Organization unwisely cited these fabricated figures in a moralizing editorial, the caveats of which were immediately dropped in reporting by western media. In all, a social media version of “Pass the Telephone” with little to no attempt at verification through due diligence.

Subsequently, Douma medical professionals and staff have denied any patients with chemical symptoms. Anti-Syria activists now claim that the testimony of medical professionals in Douma should be rejected, claiming that they have been intimidated by Russia.  But  the oral evidence from medical staff (which, in my opinion, is convincing and ought to be relied on), is supported by this important fact: if there had been a chemical attack with 500 (or 1000 casualties), the hospital wards in Douma ought to have been overflowing with chemical victims when reporters began arriving.

The doctors said that the hospital videos were a provocation and stunt carried out by White Helmets.  In my opinion, a close examination of the hospital videos fully supports this conclusion. The videos cover a very short period of time and show a relatively small number of participants, most/nearly all of whom look healthy. Can one point to a single person in any of the hospital videos as proof of a chemical attack? I don’t think so.

The lack of chemically sick/casualties has an impact on interpretation of the massacre house. It is commonplace knowledge among specialists in the area (and acknowledged by Dan Kaszceta of Bellingcat) that, in a chemical attack, there will be many more sick/casualties than dead.  The absence of such sick/casualties therefore requires us to look very critical at attribution of the deaths in the massacre house to a chemical incident.  The need for extreme caution in attribution is further increased by the possibility or even likelihood that the White Helmets hospital videos were some kind of provocation or stunt, particularly given that the same jihadist Jaish al-Islam cadres were responsible for both hospital videos and massacre house videos.

The Massacre House

The 34 or so deaths at the massacre house were real enough, but, after parsing this data for hours, I think that there is a real issue as to whether the victims died in situ or whether they died elsewhere and were moved to this location post mortem. Without autopsies and full investigation, reasonable people can differ. However, there are already many facts which to guide an informed opinion.

Two potential causes of in situ chemical death have been proposed: (1) sarin; (2) chlorine.

The US intel assessment raised the spectre of sarin use, but without specific evidence. Against sarin, none of the corpses display the severely contracted pupils (to pinpricks) characteristic of nerve agents. To the contrary, their pupils were dilated, as Doumani took great pains to show us. In addition, nerve agent poisoning causes victims to lose bowel control, but no such soiling is evident. Further, nerve agents are relatively persistent. The videographers arrived relatively soon after the supposed time of death and would also have been poisoned by any nerve agent. All in all, the videos themselves give such striking testimony against sarin or other nerve agent that one would have to be suspicious of the chain of custody of any autopsy samples purporting to show otherwise.

The only real argument for sarin is the evidence against chlorine, which is also compelling. Chlorine is easy to smell at concentrations much less than fatal. Unless people are confined in a gas chamber, they can generally escape by holding their breath and walking away.  One line of argument was that the victims were confined in a basement, but, in fact, the bodies were found on the first and second floors, such that the victims could easily have escaped by going down a few steps to the street. It is therefore hard to understand why the victims, upon first smelling chlorine, wouldn’t have held their breath and walked down to the street to escape the poison.

In detail, as discussed above, there are many troubling details which make one question whether the victims died in situ where they were discovered:

  • Why didn’t the first floor residents merely walk a few steps outside to unpoisoned air? Or at least go to the open windows rather than cluster in the center of the house?
  • Four people made it all the way outside: why did they expire just as they escaped into unpoisoned air?
  • Foam is used as a supposed indicator of chemical poisoning, but it can be easily made and applied as a false flag. Several bodies with foam in later videos do not display foam in the earliest videos. “Post-mortem” foaming is not possible naturally; the development of foam post-mortem for several bodies seems a clear indicator of fraud both for those cases and more generally;
  • one has to presume that the mothers of the several babies in the videos would be clutching them for dear life. And yet we first encounter the baby in the purple sweater lying by herself on her back by the washing machine? Where is her mother? And how did the baby get to that particular position?
  • This inconsistency doesn’t seem to have been lost on Jaish al-Islam videographers, as, after the first video, the baby in the purple sweater was transferred into the pile of bodies in the main room, somewhat disguising its separation from its mother.
  • more generally, the changing location of dead bodies into more photogenic arrangements, e.g. the woman, child in pink sweater and children’s book in the second floor room-with-couch, ought to trouble anyone;
  • thefts of gold jewellery (the gold earrings of the baby in purple sweater and the ring of woman re-located to the second floor room-with-couch) are, in my opinion, small, but telling signs of chicanery by the White Helmets
  • overall, it’s hard to picture how someone dying from chlorine poisoning, which unlike sarin, doesn’t case quick death, would expire on the spot in the locations where they were found.

Another alternative is that these 34 people did not die in the depicted locations, but died somewhere else – perhaps in the cellar of the building, perhaps in another location – and were moved by Jaish al-Islam and/or White Helmets to the locations depicted in the videos. Many people were reported as having suffocated in huge fires earlier in the day and to have been collected by White Helmets. Is it possible that Jaish al-Islam, desirous of provoking the US into overthrowing the Syria government, re-purposed such corpses into an abandoned building, adding foam to numerous bodies?


Acknowledgement: The above analysis draws heavily on work done by analytic tweeters Ilmastotiede, MichaKobs, Adam Larson, Qoppa, orbi, Philip Somerville, Charles Wood and others.





  1. lapogus
    Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    Stephen, thank-you for all your work producing this timeline. Not to in anyway underestimate your forensic skills, it is a wonder that none of the US, UK or French intelligence services with all their considerable resources, could not have dissembled and exposed this blatant propaganda stunt by the white helmets and their fellow jihadists. Our mainstream media has also failed to even raise the possibility that we are being taken for fools by the so called rebels. But I guess there are greater forces at work and truth is just another unfortunate casualty in this proxy war. Shame on Trump, Macron and May for being such willing and naive neo-con puppets.

    • Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

      Our mainstream media has also failed to even raise the possibility that we are being taken for fools by the so called rebels.

      There have been some lone voices of sanity, like Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday in the UK. But this is a fair summary of the situation since 8th April and for what have seemed to many of us previous ‘false flag’ chemical weapon attacks on jihadi-held territory, notably in Ghouta in August 2013 and Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017. Steve has pointed to a key difference this time:

      Ordinarily during the Syrian war, it would have been impossible to disprove the claims of Bilal abu Saleh and Higgins, but Jaish al-Islam, which was on the verge of falling anyway, accepted a re-location deal from Russia in the afternoon of April 8, thus enabling Russian access to Douma. In the morning of April 9, Russian inspectors located and visited the massacre building on April 9 …

      This is then a major opportunity to use social media to put the MSM straight. I echo your thanks to Steve.

    • dearieme
      Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

      “Shame on Trump, Macron and May for being such willing and naive neo-con puppets.”

      Why attribute to them the passive role of puppet? And who are the neo-cons? The CIA? The US Army? ……..

    • Posted May 3, 2018 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

      Why is it so scary? I’m scared if this happens to someone I love. I do not give birth to people I love it. dojin

  2. Don Monfort
    Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Wow, bodies being moved is a definite sign of a false flag operation. The Russkis say it was the Brits what done it. But this clinches it for me:

    “In the background of this scene, the front window can be seen, yet none of the dead persons availed themselves of fresh air from this window, or, for that matter, managed to descend the three steps from the first floor apartment to the street and safety from any chlorine.”

    Of course, we are assuming that the gas was confined to the house so the window and door led to nice fresh air and safety. But then there are the four people who were found dead outside. And maybe I am crazy, but if some did make it to the door or window alive, they maybe bugged out of the area rather than wait around to see how much more gas was coming. They would have been the type of folks who could keep their wits about them while breathing poison gas.

    Anyway, I am going to trust Putinski and Assad on this one. They say it was the rebels fleeing for their lives from the area, who prevented the inspectors from getting in there. And we can rest assured that the Russkis and the Assad regime would never intimidate any witnesses.

    • Not Sure
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

      “In the background of this scene, the front window can be seen, yet none of the dead persons availed themselves of fresh air from this window, or, for that matter, managed to descend the three steps from the first floor apartment to the street and safety from any chlorine.”

      This is really bad. Chlorine is significantly denser than air. “Descending” would expose you to more of it, not less. This is high school Chemistry.

      Also, why is this signed “Syria Audit”? Steve, if this is you, have the guts to sign your name to it.

      This is the end of the line for me and Climate Audit as well.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s even more silly than the “ostentatious gas mask” auditing. Who knows how many people were able to escape out the door and window. Of course, the dead people didn’t get out. They are dead. Can’t move. Some are little toddlers, babies. Are they supposed to fight off the gas and jump out a window?

        I have been through many training exercises with CS gas. Non lethal, but if you don’t get an effective gas mask on properly and quickly, good luck finding that fresh air.

        Somebody needs to do some self-auditing.

      • Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

        Not Sure, Steve changed his display name to Syria Audit a couple days ago. Before that (including when this post was published), his real name was displayed instead. I don’t think telling him to have the guts to sign his name to the post makes much sense.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 2, 2018 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

          Interesting observation, Brandon. I had not noticed. The change is fitting,imo. It’s an interesting topic that is worthy of exploration here, again imo.

        • Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, it’s actually really weird as now there are a ton of posts on this site about paleoclimate issues which are listed as being authored by Syria Audit (though many comments on those posts are still listed as being by Steve McIntyre).

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted May 3, 2018 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

      Any audit has to be critical of claims and counter claims. The MSM have echoed the 97% consensus line, Steve shows some (3%) doubtful “public” data, just as he did on the CAGW or DNC saga.

      Shooting the messenger is always a sign of a weak defence.

  3. David
    Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Under Discussion and casualties and hospital videos what is the source of the second paragraph? To whom did they deny?
    “Subsequently, Douma medical professionals and staff have denied any patients with chemical symptoms. Anti-Syria activists now claim that the testimony of medical professionals in Douma should be rejected, claiming that they have been intimidated by Russia. “

  4. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    Retired Army Major Mike Lyons, CBS military analyst, seemed to indicate that the canisters he saw in the videos had parachutes. According to him, that would make them illumination canisters, since they’re intended to stay aloft as long as possible on the battlefield.

    I can’t really corroborate that, from a brief Google search, but it seems plausible.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

      Retired Major Jones is a clown. He must have been a REMF desk jockey:

      Those are definitely not illumination cans. They are chemical parachute bombs. Period.

      I have another comment in moderation. Will probably stay there.

      We are off on another exonerate Soviet KGB dictator Putinski mission.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

        OK, now I have two comments in moderation.

        • Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

          Good try. Just how many splices are there in that video?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

          Yes, Mark. Probably about 22, or maybe 34 splices. I lost count. That is an obvious CIA fake. Everybody knows Assad’s planes don’t bomb the Syrian people. They must be dropping food, drinks and toys for the kids.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

          Nice (unmentioned) source Don this “Syria Archive” on Youtube : 97% videos of Syrian government / Russia bombings/ rockets. Why no “coalition” bombs /rockets strikes? Wrong filming location? The only thing sure about your video is that it shows parachute bombs from a jet; place claimed is East Ghouta and date is 5-1-2013.

          Motive is lacking for Assad, not for the deep state CIA / Mossad / ISIS & co.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

          Ah, non-entity. I am with you on this one. Assad wouldn’t bomb his own people with parachute bombs. No motive. And barrel bombs are much cheaper. It would have been the CIA flying what looks like a blurry Sukhoi Su 24 they must have stolen from the Russkis.

          And I suppose you are saying Assad has no motive to use poison gas, since he has gotten caught using it so many times and suffered no personal consequences. He is still very much alive and his palaces are still in tact. He is surely tired of dealing with those rebels for seven years. Faced with stubborn resistance it might be tempting to use a little gas again to clean them out of persistent pockets. It has worked in the past. And if that is what happened here, it worked again. It’s also not inconceivable that the poor slobs doing the fighting and dying might not want to do the house-to-house fighting thing and took it upon themselves to do it the easy way.

          But we are pre-convinced that the Syrians and their Russki benefactors are innocent, once again. So, why bother to think about the possibility they are not as nice as we think they are.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

          I wonder if Assad had a motive for these atrocities:

      • Jeff Alberts
        Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

        Don, I didn’t say that ONLY illumination canisters had parachutes. But parachute BOMBS generally explode at some point, thus there wouldn’t be a canister left. The video you posted shows an explosion at the end, so they wouldn’t be the canisters in the videos. IMHO.

        I could be totally wrong, just trying to look at this logically.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t say that you said they could only be illumination canisters, Jeff. You reported what you recalled that Maj Jones said. If he said that the parachutes mean they are illum cans, he is clueless. Lots of things are dropped attached to parachutes. I have seen a lot of air dropped illum cans, and those containers shown in the photos ain’t illum cans. Period. They look a lot more like chemical weapons containers, which I have also seen. If I was going to drop poison gas from the air on a particular spot, I would use a container like that and parachute. See video above. Parachutes and bombs work well together.

          We can only speculate, some of us more informed by experience than others, because all we have are photos and videos. What we don’t have so far is the information gathered by various military and intelligence services on the actions of Syrian aircraft and Syrian-Russian communications, before, during and after the incident. We also don’t know what the moles have revealed.

        • Jeff Alberts
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 8:53 PM | Permalink


          Just a minor correction. It’s Major Mike Lyons, not Jones.

          I defer to your experience. I have only seen illumination rounds while in use, in the dark, many years ago, and those were from mortars, I believe, so would probably be pretty small.

          I’ve never seen chemical rounds, not even in the many ammo dumps I’ve been in. So, again, I defer to your experience.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

      Jeff, do you have a reference for that?

      • Jeff Alberts
        Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

        For the Mike Lyons analysis? No, I heard it on a radio interview on a CBS affiliate (KIRO radio in Seattle). I don’t know if it was ever put in print, virtual or otherwise.

        I do know that artillery illumination rounds, well, just about all illumination rounds, have parachutes for the reason stated above.

    • Adam Gallon
      Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

      Speaking off retired Generals. How quickly was this one cut off?

  5. Bob K
    Posted Apr 24, 2018 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    No way Assad was going to use chemical weapons when the war was almost won. I haven’t believed it from the beginning.

    Pilfered from elsewhere on the internet.
    When you enemy is nearly defeated and victory is at hand, gas your own people so nations greater than yours will intervene and destroy you.

    Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Page: Not found.

    I think many in the West want Assad out so they can run pipelines through Syria and cut into Russia’s fuel dominance in Europe.

  6. AntonyIndia
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    “Because chlorine is more than twice as dense as air, it
    tends to ‘‘settle’’ near where it is released unless dispersed by air movements.”

    Or flow to lower floors….

  7. pdfkungfoo
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Hi. I want to relay a personal “Thank You” for your well-reasoned sober research about #Douma which I’m following on your (and some other’s) Twitter feed.

    Also, a note of warning: in the past I’ve observed that this kind of research usually quickly attracts all kinds of nutheads who start to interfere with the discussion by spreading all kinds of extreme, un-logical, obviously crazy, esoteric and unscientific hodgepodge — only serving to muddy the waters and finally disavowe/discredit also ALL reasonable and decent participants in those investigations. Some of these eyecatchers may be “genuinely” nuts — but others for sure will be sock puppets sent in by opposing forces.

    So far I have not seen much of this in the Twitter threads where MichaelKops, Quoppa9999, illmastobloggi, ClimatAuditor and ShowbritchC participate in. And honestly, I’m surprised by this! But this truce may not last much longer. As soon as the results of your researches becomes more viral, the nutcrack sock puppets will come in too. — Just be prepared and make sure they’re firmly contained.

    • Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

      Don’t worry about the nutheads and sock puppe6s, Steve has been through the climate wars.

      • dfhunter
        Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

        Don’t forget the dreaded “Zambonis” or the Deadly “Pool Cleaners”
        they take care of the crap/scum when required.

        @ Steve – thanks for your insights on this.
        personally still undecided but something smells odd/wrong in the way this incident is/was reported by the MSM in the West especially when news reports iv’e seen state they come from activists.

  8. Andrew
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    Great work putting all this together

    Cylinder ‘frost’:

    1. The person on twitter has “perfectly” matched the wrong position for the cylinder, the picture shows after it has been moved further into the hole
    2. It was 27°C in Damascus that night
    3. It rained the next morning at around 11 am (the water seen on the cylinder in Higgins’ deleted screenshot, not melting ice)
    4. The night of their example was a freezing January night before sunrise but the joint Bellingcat report simply attributes any ice and frost to “the pressurized gas cylinder depressuriz[ing] rapidly”

    Unless any of the activists specifically mentioned frost or ice on the cylinder, it is just someone on twitter making things up as ‘proof’ the cylinder can be seen in the video.

  9. harbinger
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 4:40 AM | Permalink

    The video of the “hosepipe room” showed children having asthma inhalers shoved into their mouths, presumably to relieve constricted airways as a result of the supposed chemical attack. No inhalant was taken by the children, as you can see the puff of propellant as a small cloud. Asthma inhalers are taken with a deep breath in, at the same time as the canister is pressed. These inhalers were for effect and you have to wonder why asthma inhalers were readily on hand for a “surprise gas attack.”

  10. Michael Kobs
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

    I would like to add some thoughts:
    If someone dies a death caused by lungs slowly filling with foam then the lungs of the dead body might have a reservoir of 3.5 liters of invisible foam. Moving the body might press out some of that volume. The later occurance of foam doesn’t necessarily mean fake.
    e.g. the moved woman from the back-room: The fake appearance is mostly because that foam looks like pressed out of a toothpaste tube. Imho it looks like what happens when you post portem compress the lungs. Vice versa a foam cone (looks like a little vulcano around the mouth) is the result of breathing and cannot be formed post mortem.
    The question is, can post mortem foam be pressed out of the lungs when earlier no foam cone was visible. Imho it means that the lungs filled with foam after the person stopped breathing. Might be possible but must be answered by some expert. Iirc the woman in the back room looks like she died on her knees a sacked to the side. She shows some foam from the nose in her initial position and some foam on the carpet next to her knees. Also the carpet between her legs appear wet. Both are strong indicators that she died at the spot.
    I absolutely agree that the overall picture of the distribution of bodies makes no sense at all. It looks very much like a relocating of bodies. If the bodies indeed were relocated then this particular woman might be a hint that those bodies were not already dead but at least some just helpless or unconscious.

  11. Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    things to consider:
    1_ the foam bright & white color
    2_ her body is the only one to manifest that kind of symptom (after it was moved), the boy pressured under the weight of her body doesn’t .
    3_ if an external pressure was applied (i think her body was under more pressure when she was sacked to the side, than when she was put in her final position ), what would happen when the pressure is released ? would that foam be still coverning her mouth like it did in the picture? of go back inside

  12. Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Very useful analysis!
    Two points:
    1) It is Muslim tradition to remove jewelery on death.
    2) The only evidence we have the White Helmet footage was taken on the 9th is that they say it was, as far as I can see.

  13. Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    Has ‘Bellingcat’ ever analysed alleged atrocities in Yemen or Afghanistan? Or is he solely interested in ‘belling’ just one cat in particular?

  14. johnfpittman
    Posted Apr 25, 2018 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    A couple of points. Ice from a chlorine cylinder occurs where there is liquid turning to gas. It occurs after enough heat has been removed as a gas. The frost tends to thicken. Frost would indicate that a large amount of liquid has turned into gas. At about 10 to 15 ppm humans become irrational. They will run in any direction; if tied down, will try to exit while still tied. The volume indicated by Steve would take about 1 pound to start voluntary evacuation ~1 to 5 ppm. With the amount and apparent thickness, if that is ice indicated in the picture, indicates a relatively long exposure time that should have affected the positions of the victims and evacuation of the much larger area. The naive assumption is that it stays low or spreads evenly. It does not behave either way due to the delta T and the reaction of chlorine with water vapor and the effect of diffusion from temperature and air turbulence created. It should be expected to be in all areas of the breathing column. Typically the indicated ice would mean half or more evacuated from the cylinder. However without an electric heater, the gas flow would fall by an semi exponential manner dependent on factors not in evidence. The victims do not show symptoms of moderate exposure such as uncontrollable tearing and coughing, even vomiting. At the levels to cause death, there none of the obvious signs of chlorine poisoning. It also indicates that the only people in a rather large area were the victims. If persons want to confirm the chlorine, check the electronics; chlorine reacts almost instantly with copper and/or water vapor. At the level claimed, expect steel to start showing signs within weeks, but can be tested immediately. The doctor’s claims are indicated true by the lack of numbers of affected and the amount needed to cause frost. A more detailed investigation would probably indicate even more reasons not to believe a chlorine attack.

    30 years of teaching and being taught about hazards especially chlorine and ammonia. PSM site manager, ER site commander, Hazardous Materials trainer.

  15. brent
    Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    Robert Cooper, Tony Blair’s Foreign Policy guru endorsed deception/Machiavellian intrigue to achieve desired ends.

    Why we still need empires
    Tony Blair’s foreign policy guru Robert Cooper believes that a new colonialism can save the world. This is the article that caused the storm
    Sunday 7 April 2002

    The postmodern world has to start to get used to double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But, when dealing with old-fashioned states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself.,11581,680117,00.html

  16. Caligula Jones
    Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    So this is, as they say, where I get off the Climate Audit bus (mostly as I’ve seen so little climate auditing here lately, now I know why).

    Three days ago I decided to take a walk on one of the first nice spring days (just last week we had an ice storm) we’ve had here in Toronto. I chose to walk down the east side of Yonge street, from Finch, while a maniac decided to drive a cargo van doing 80 kph down the sidewalk on the west side.

    I should have stayed off social media, but couldn’t.

    Sure enough, within minutes, there was similar “in-depth analysis” on Twitter of photos that proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was a “false flag” operation with “crisis actors”, because after all, where did all the abandoned footwear come from?

    OF COURSE someone had to be going around planting them, as if a human body hit by a large van driven at high speed would never be thrown out of its clothing.

    Oh, and WHERE WAS ALL THE BLOOD?!? Mostly still in the bodies I saw who were suffering from internal bleeding, but then again, a high school troll living at home in Omaha probably wouldn’t know much about anatomy.

    Seriously, at least the losers from “Loose Change” have the advantage of being uneducated morons to fall back on as an excuse.

    What this post does is remove Climate Audit from any serious discuss about climate. Every critic of climate skeptics will now use it to dismiss what used to be the ne plus ultra of unemotional, unbiased and true scientific analysis.

    Its now a kook site.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

      Sad, but true.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

      you didnt see any such comments from me. I expressed confidence and hope that Toronto would respond without succumbing to militarization of policing and, like many others, commended the Toronto policeman for the brave arrest in which he resisted the temptation to kill the perpetrator. On a personal level, one of the victims was brother of a tennis pro at my squash and tennis club and had worked there in the past.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

        He wasn’t criticizing you about the Toronto incident. He is talking about your one-sided analysis in this post. Let’s give the dictators known for their previous atrocities the benefit of the doubt. It’s unseemly and disappointing.

        • Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

          On seemliness, an acknowledgement of Steve’s words about the victim who once worked at his sports club – and a consequent pause for breath on other issues – might have fitted the bill here.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

          Richard, treading dangerous ground to ignore reports such as the one linked below, by Don.

        • Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t ignore it, I opened it and read parts of it this evening, having read similar material in the past. My point here was about the Toronto killings and Steve’s dignified response to being called a kook specifically in the context of that. Very unfairly. He then pointed to a real victim close to people he knows. I continue to believe that this should have given pause for thought in this part of the thread, purely out of respect for the dead and grieving.

          The right some people think they have to smear a careful investigator of a non-establishment point of view on one very specific, politically important event, as identical to the wildest, most insensitive rantings on a recent atrocity in his home town, is indeed unseemly.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

          Richard, try to catch up. Jones is not criticizing Steve for what he did or did not say about the Toronto massacre. Jones implied that the loopy “false flag” BS about the Toronto incident is similar to what Steve has done here. He is correct.

          What we have here is a Johnny Cochrane type defense of a couple of dictators, who are serial enablers and committers of atrocities. If the cylinder don’t fit, you must acquit! The photos of the cylinder were taken at different times, in different light, from different angles, from different distances. Are they supposed to look identical? And so it goes. You believe what you want to believe.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

          Richard: “..careful researcher..” of the vagaries presented by unscientific and inconsistent reporting. Given the circumstances and lack of any professional investigation, there is nothing surprising or significant about seeming minor inconsistencies. I see no conclusions to be drawn from any such observations.

        • Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

          Don: Try rereading what I wrote. When you’ve shown you understand it, it might be worth continuing.

          mpainter: I said ‘careful investigator’ just getting started. The inconsistencies in the bigger picture look massive to me, making attention to the detail worthwhile. You don’t have to agree.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

          Richard, of course the careful investigator will not draw conclusions where none are warranted. I’m sure we can agree on that. Steve has a problem of uncritical acceptance of anything that gets tweeted. He is not what I would consider a careful investigator. He retweets much that is rank propaganda from sources he should eschew, such as partisan girl. I am more impressed by his determination to propagandize than by his impartiality.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

          I re-read it four times, Richard. I still don’t get your point. What am I supposed to say about Steve telling us a victim once worked at Steve’s club? Sorry for your loss, Steve? Am I supposed to praise Steve for mentioning that? OK, I will. But in my mind that does not excuse a Johnny Cochrane defense of serial atrocity committing dictators. I hope that’s clear now, Richard.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

          Also Richard, do you not agree that Assad is better off with his stocks of sarin destroyed, and the chemical plant that produced these stocks destroyed? He is relieved of future liabilities, is he not?

          In which case, why the furor over destruction of these chemical weapons?

        • Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

          I come into this discussion with no dog in this hunt, equally skeptical of all claims with highly charged political implications. All should acknowledge that the truth is likely very difficult to unravel.

          One type of argument I hope all can agree is invalid is smearing credibility by attempts at associations. Those that argue if you believe blank you must also believe the moon landing was faked. This is Stephan Lewandowsky’s argument and its bunk. Arguments that lead to disturbing or unusual conclusions may require a higher threshold of evidence but there is no inherent logic that says they are wrong.

          Steve Mc laid out a very detailed and factual post and it’s worthy of factual analysis (as he has done countless times).

          There is a corollary to the Lewandowsky angle, which is that even attempts at exposing establishment accepted misinformation is inherently irresponsible due to its undermining the necessary faith in establishments required by society.

          The problem that if that argument is universally accepted it give un-checked power to whomever can control the public narrative. In other words it’s a facilitation toward Orwellian ends.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, more credible than Steve’s analysis:


        • markx
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

          Don and mpainter do make valid points that detailed press reports (all citing a few sources) do indeed link the attack to regime helicopters being in the vicinity.

          However, if I was in the business of launching false flag attacks, I know I’d be smart enough to wait for the ideal moment to have culprits to pin it on.

          One could easily accept that Assad may be cruel and brutal enough to drop chemical weapons on innocent civilians in order to scare off fighters of that unholy alliance of brutal Islamic extremists who are fighting on the rebel side…… but you’d also have to accept that he was a blithering idiot and a tactically moronic. It is undoubtedly the worst possible thing he could do, and unlikely to bother the rebels in the slightest.

          And no, Don, no-one would object to the destruction of his Sarin factories and storage dumps. But what proof do you have that this is actually what happened?

          And do you mean to tell me that the US knew all along exactly where those things were, and only chose to bomb them now?

          And that with absolutely no care for substantial information, just the words and pictures of a couple of rebel supported activists, the whole retaliatory attack swung into action in 24 hours?

          One could go further than Steve and wonder if the victims were deliberately killed and placed, and whether the Americans and Brits may have been complicit.

    • harbinger
      Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

      It’s still a site where critical analysis is applied. Just because it doesn’t fit your own perceptions doesn’t detract from the analysis, which is objective and quite unemotional.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

        No, objective would be presenting all the reports and evidence that is available. Not just the stuff from the side trying to poke holes in the widely accepted conclusion reflected in left and right wing press and the judgement of intel services of the Western democracies that it was the usual suspects what done it. Oh, but Assad had no motive. How about wiping out the pesky rebels and terrorizing their non-combatant supporters who have been trying to depose him for 7 years? Do you think Assad has any moral compunction against this type of slaughter? Do you think this was staged?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

          Those “Caesar” photographs were claimed to be made between May 2011 and August 2013. What does this have to do with this Douma 2018 topic?
          Can I counter with CIA stuff from 7 years ago?
          Torture teachers as we know from Iraq or Central America.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          Are you serious? The topic is atrocities and alleged atrocities committed by Assad against his people and the BS about him not having a motive. His motive is obvious. That you don’t get it says a lot about your intelligence.

        • Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

          Don Monfort , are you for real , all the repports, the widely accepted conclusions, the judgement of “intel services” of the western “democracies” , are based on the same and only F…. 4 or 5 videos and 10s of pictures posted on the social media and refered to , by steve here , what else would make him more objectif than analysing the same evidence used by those to blame the SAA and proving it doesn’t fit ,

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

          Another comment in moderation. This is senseless BS. I am not going to take any more time replying to a bunch of foolishness, only to have it stuck in moderation. You boys and girls have fun.

        • markx
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

          Tis fascinating how programmable our minds are.
          Don has his beliefs programmed in, and I have mine.

          He cannot envisage how the country he knows and loves could possiibly promote brutal, senseless, nation destroying wars, and I can’t get past the memories of the history of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria … and the observation that the only case which didn’t result in ongoing chaos and death following the millions of war deaths was the one the US lost.

          Bottom line: Don, do you really think the surviving Syrians would be better off with Asad gone?
          (Google Syria before and after pics before you answer).

    • Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

      After 9/11, I examined what the “kooks” presented as evidence for a conspiracy and found it wasn’t supported. In 2007, I examined what the “kooks” presented as evidence against the mainstream climate narrative and was very surprised to find it was supported.

      By all means, discount all analysis against mainstream narratives as being from “kooks” because some people say stupid things, but remember that Steve has been a “kook” from day 1. A diligent kook who examines issues in far more detail than many others care or want to.

    • eloris
      Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

      I’m worried about that too.

      In the end, it SHOULD not matter since facts should speak for themselves and on some things, facts are actually checkable.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

      Win some, loose some. Free choice -still. Other bloggers are being crippled by powers to be for their viewpoint like Craig Murray or Pat Condell via partial or secret Facebook, Twitter or Youtube bans

  17. mpainter
    Posted Apr 26, 2018 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Putin should not be unhappy that these stocks and means of production of chemical weapons have been destroyed, his public posturing notwithstanding. He is now relieved of the potential embarrassment arising from their use, or claims of such, by his client Assad.
    Similarly, Assad might not be unhappy at their destruction, for similar reasons. He no longer will be confronted with demands by his supporters that such weapons be employed. I do not regard this as an issue of any importance. Surely it will not arise again, unless Assad be so foolish as to somehow procure sarin again.

  18. Ablichter
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

    Right after I saw the first pictures and videos (and before I read the last sentences) I thought: those dead look like they are suffocated by a fire. Lot of bodies with black hands or feet, some with blackish throats. A sink with blackish water even an oven with a pot is in the room.
    In one video you can see what the White Helmets are doing with the corpses, eg. a man with bended knees, black sooty or burned feet and blackish hands: they shower them with a water hose. After that his hands are washed, means white again. Also it is to see that some faces have been wiped, but are still sooty behind the hairline.
    Thanks for the work Steve.

  19. Frank
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 2:28 AM | Permalink

    The photo of the alleged chlorine tank appears to be frosted over. This is consistent with the hypothesis that it had recently contained a liquified gas that evaporated. If you simply cooled the tank in a freezer, liquid water – not frost – would likely condense on the surface. So, a reasonable hypothesis is that this tank contained a liquified gas that evaporated and thereby making the tank very cold. Either the Syrians or the rebels could have acquired such a tank of liquified gas.

    If the rebels went to the trouble to acquire a tank of liquified gas to fake this attack, what gas would it have been? A Freon? Ammonia? Chlorine? Propane? The number of choices is limited and most are highly flammable or toxic. If the tank were specially acquired by the rebels to fake this operation, why not acquire chlorine, the real deal? If the tank were already present in Douma, then it could have contained any liquified gas.

    If the victims had suffocated in a fire, their lungs will contain smoke. The difference between suffocation/smoke and chlorine should be fairly trivial to identify with an autopsy. Definitive information on this subject should be available. I’m not sure why Steve chose to write about this subject based on incomplete information, when that situation could easily change. It would have been worthwhile to alert readers about the nature of the more definitive information that could be coming.

    Previous attacks appear to have involved sarin. If staged by the rebels – whose situation is much more desperate now – why would they and their supplier change to something less outrageous and less high tech (governmental) like chlorine. Well, perhaps their supplier is running low on sarin. It is far easier to imagine Assad’s forces down-grading from sarin to chlorine.

    Assad is winning the war, but he hasn’t won the war. If we haven’t “won” the war in Afghanistan, Assad hasn’t won in Syria. Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah aren’t going to provide fighters forever, and the more successful Assad looks, the less help he will receive. Even with all of the foreign help, Assad’s military hasn’t be able to take on major urban rebel strongholds without destroying the whole area. Unless the rebels accept a political settlement or collapse, they aren’t really beaten. This latest chlorine attack could be intended to convince the rebels to give up.

    • Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

      Frank, while I agree with what you say, I think a more troubling aspect of this is how incredibly one-sided it is. I haven’t been following the discussion of this attack as closely as some previous matters as Steve’s coverage of them was horribly inaccurate, but on the issues in this post I’ve bothered to check, his commentary is either incomplete or inaccurate. But because he makes so many factual claims without reference or meaningful detail, it’d be a nightmare to try to come up with any sort of detailed response. In some cases, it’s almost impossible to figure out what factual basis he is even referring to. Heck, he doesn’t even give basic context for any number of things in this post, and the post does things like say this near the top:

      Several dead bodies are in different locations in this video than in later videos:

      the baby in the purple sweater, as noted above, was moved from the washing machine room to the pile in the main room;

      Even though no reference to a baby in a purple sweater had even been made at that point. On top of things like that, there is the rhetoric which does nothing but show the bias of the post, like how he says a person wore an “ostentatious gas mask” for a photo shoot. Leaving aside the unconsidered possibility there was legitimate reason to wear a gas mask in certain situations but not others, there is nothing especially “ostentatious” about the gas mask in question. It’s just a gas mask. Calling this one “ostentatious” to make it sound like they chose this particular gas mask over others for some sinister purpose is outlandish.

      There’s so much wrong with this post, but past discussions show the futility of pointing out errors here, and I don’t care to spend more time looking at pictures of dead bodies. I’m content to wait for better information like that you describe.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

        That’s the Johnny Cochrane style, Brandon. If the gas mask don’t fit, you must acquit the dictators.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

        One of the “analytic tweeters” Steve cites as contributing to his analysis, Adam Larson:

        His Rorschach-Johnny Cochrane interpretation of the gas mask in this photo complains that it’s an old Soviet style probably of limited or no effectiveness. Maybe it’s the only gas mask the guy could afford. Anyway, more Cochrane: the guy isn’t wearing gloves, the poor little deceased girl is not wet, etc.

        I wonder if I could become an analytic tweeter. What are the necessary qualifications?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

          Oh, I forgot the most important part: the guy in the unfashionably old style gas mask is making BIG EYES! That proves that the dictator Assad, serial committer of countless atrocities against his own people, is NOT GUILTY!, this time. Case closed. Did I mention there was no motive?

      • Frank
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

        Brandon: Given that I hadn’t even considered the possibility that this latest alleged gas attack staged by the rebels, Steve’s post is valuable. Unfortunately, the moving of bodies and making the scene more horrific could have happened given any of three hypotheses: a) Assad’s forces dropped cylinders with chlorine. b) The rebels released chlorine. c) The rebels repurposed dead to create the illusion of a poison gas attack. I thought the frosty tank made it likely some liquified gas was released, making c) less likely. However, autopsies could provide a definitive answer about c). Given the fact that putative impartial observers didn’t arrive on the scene for days, It would take a real expert to distinguish between a) and b). And how on the Internet does one recognize an impartial expert???

        Otherwise, we are simply letting confirmation bias decide whose inconclusive evidence to believe.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

          Frank, d.some of the bodies were moved for ineffectual treatment and replaced for recording the original death scene. Or not returned exactly. No conclusion is warranted amongst the various hypotheses, imo. This goes to my point above: There was no investigation and lacking such, no conclusions are justified.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

          I don’t know. Not much to go on, but I am convinced by the incontrovertible photographic evidence of the rebels’ use of ostentatious and out of fashion gas masks, that this whole thing was staged. If they want to get away with this kind of frame-up of poor ole innocent Assad in the future, they will have to upgrade their gas mask wardrobe.

        • Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

          Frank, there’s a fitting phrase for this, “less than useful.” While I agree examining the question of whether or not the rebels somehow faked this is useful, that does not mean every and any post doing so will be useful. It is good to check to make sure what you believe happened actually happened. If that was this post did, it would be useful.

          That is not what this post did though. This post raises a useful question, but it then proceeds to give a horribly skewed/biased portrayal which ensures nobody reading it will get an accurate impression of things. I don’t consider that useful.

          This is like how Steve said a person at the DNC using Microsoft Outlook proves the DNC couldn’t have used a Google mail service. That was not useful as the claim was complete nonsense, even though it is useful to consider whether or not the DNC used a Google mail service. Put simply, inaccurate information can be worse than no information.

        • Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Er, sorry. That should have been “worse than useless,” not “less than useful.”

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

          Right, Brandon, pertinent questions that Steve answers from an all too obvious position of advocacy. But he is at least consistent. He has taken Assad’s side in all of this since day one, so this post is his usual self in this regard: Assad never commits a reprehensible act.

        • Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, it’s not just Assad. He has been consistent in what I’d say is an “anti-western” position. Maybe that’s not the best description, but he’s refused to do simple things like acknowledge Russia invaded Crimea. The bias clearly goes beyond any single conflict.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

          Yes, there was no thorough investigation on time on the spot, so no firm conclusions warranted; specially not an X guilty, so execute him. Still the CIA + M&M went ahead: why not criticize them? This not exactly their back garden by the way, and Assad’s ground opponents are not “good guys” but international terrorists.

          For the FBI & MSM Trump is guilty until proven otherwise, some commenters here treat Assad the same way: HRC loves that mentality.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

          We should give Assad the benefit of the doubt. The poor little innocent lamb. Line up here to get Cochranized.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

          Assad was running a secular and organized country a decade ago where American friends of mine worked at an International school making good money. Your alternative today is a Libya mark II where they would have a very different – chaotic & short – future.

          Ok, my Americans were not into US Big Oil, Defence or Federal Re$erve…

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

          It’s a shame that the oppressed folks in Syria messed up Assad’s paradise. It’s getting deep around here. He made the trains run on time. Hail Assad!

        • markx
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

          I see no scenario where Syrians would end up better off with Assad gone.

          Witness Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.

          Note all the Western media information comes through rebel sources: western media don’t enter those areas lest they are kidnaped for ransom, or if they fall into the hands of the more extremist factions, they are beheaded.
          However, they do have more access once Assad’s forces have taken the area.

          Eva Bartlett either believes what she says, or she’s a very well trained actress. (Yes, I know she’s now being feminized by other western media, but that’s expected):

        • markx
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

          * “ demonized”

        • Frank
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

          markx wrote: I see no scenario where Syrians would end up better off with Assad gone. Witness Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.

          Don’t forget Tunisia, but the odds of success aren’t good. Afghanistan and especially Iraq didn’t need to turn out as badly as they did. We don’t know how much he11 Saddam and his sons would have produced on his own between 2003 (when he was 66) and now, but the Arab Spring likely would have come to Iraq sometime. The Bush administration did a horrible job in the early years in Iraq, restored peace in 2008, but Obama blew the end game. (Read “The Unraveling”.) Afghanistan was in decent shape for five years after we assisted with eviction the Taliban and the military is still fighting for the current government despite all of its problems. If Syria is what one gets when the West mostly doesn’t intervene, Iraqis and Afghanis arguably MIGHT be glad they aren’t Syrians. Even if Assad survives, there is likely no long-term future in a minority Alewite dictatorship.

          marks wrote: Note all the Western media information comes through rebel sources: western media don’t enter those areas lest they are kidnaped for ransom, or if they fall into the hands of the more extremist factions, they are beheaded. However, they do have more access once Assad’s forces have taken the area.

          The Western media had good access to rebel-controlled areas in Syria until 2013, when ISIS took control. See Engels book, “All He11 Broke Lose” (where he describes his visits there). Eva Bartlett was hanging out with Hamas in Gaza during this period and has only personally seen government-controlled and liberated areas. With a blog at RT, no connection with any legitimate Western news organization and her anti-Western bias, she isn’t likely to be a credible source for me. Others prefer such views.

        • markx
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

          Frank, all news sources need to be read with the understanding that they ARE biased in some way.

          If you don’t read/watch both RT and Aljazeerah as well as (discrete doses) of western news/propaganda you are destined to be influenced in only one direction.
          (23 years of constant business travel and time spent in Asian hotel rooms gave me plenty of exposure to streaming TV news channels!)

          Eva Bartlett’s efforts on Palestine are one major reason I respect her viewpoint.

          I appreciate your measured and logical response.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          Well, we know where he is coming from. Markxist asserts the necessity to read/watch claptrap state sponsored propaganda from his two favorite sources, but recommends only “discrete doses” of western “news/propaganda”.

          We don’t want to be influenced in any direction. We just want the truth. And we are far more likely to get the truth from a free press that is not sponsored by some slimy dictatorial regime.

        • Frank
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 4:17 AM | Permalink

          Markx wrote: “Eva Bartlett’s efforts on Palestine are one major reason I respect her viewpoint.”

          What has Eva done to earn your respect? The first year or two of the Syrian revolt against Assad was not controlled by ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists. It was witnessed by many journalists and apparently documented in a million videos sent to Youtube. It is difficult to take her reporting seriously when she is telling us the Syrian rebellion was begun by Islamic terrorists.

          I’ve read for many years, but not because Steve told me things I already wanted to believe. Credibility needs to be earned.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

          On points of view, my view is that the bigotry, intolerance, ignorance, backwardness, and murder engendered by militant Islam needs to be actively countered and those who present points of view upholding militant Islam should be avoided or even repressed. In fact, militant Islam should be repressed, imo.
          Nor do I have much sympathy with those who uphold militant views on the Palestinian issue, which is merely militant Islam in the garb of freedom fighters.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          Also, to say that having a point of view is the equivalent of bias is to introduce a semantic quibble, so please don’t. Bias is an emotive term which differs slightly in meaning. Points of view are legitimate and militant Islam is hated worldwide.

        • markx
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

          Well thanks to mpainter we are really into semantics now: bias is a presentation of the facts straying in one direction or the other from neutral, and facts so presented may change one’s point of view.
          Somewhere in there one must decide which is the truth.

          My point of view? The west has pushed Middle Eastern Islam in the direction of extremism, and we’ll reap that harvest for decades: there may be no going back. (And imperialist war mongers may be pleased with that).

          Had we allowed a co-operative and prosperous Middle East to arise naturally we would not be trapped in this cycle.

          Worthwhile glimpse into a different world, if you like history ( and you should, if you wish to explain the present)

          The Lost Cities of Palestine
          Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth.
          A fascinating look into a history and a people. (47 minutes)
          A great injustice, 750,000 people displaced, a culture and hundreds of thousands of hopes and dreams erased, and what could have been a center of a prosperous and cooperative Middle East destroyed. I think British and US support for Israel was as much motivated by imperialistic instincts of preventing unity and prosperity in these regions.
          Had they been allowed to prosper and unite, Islamic extremism would not be the threat it is today.

          The US and western allies don’t regret this great wrong in the slightest; they thrive on, and even need chaos and perpetual low grade war.

        • markx
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, in stating “the Palestinian issue, … is merely militant Islam in the garb of freedom fighters” you are expressing a point of view based on the biased outlook that unarmed people demanding the return of property and land which was wrested from them by force are only motivated by militant Islam.

          That seems unlikely to me, but that’s from my viewpoint.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

          Islam has not changed. Your claim that the west is responsible for the bigotry, backwardness, etc. Of Islam is preposterous.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

          I had tried to forestall your plunge into a semantic quibble. Didn’t work.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

          Jewish settlers were met with the usual bigotry and hate displayed by Islam to outsiders. The ayatollahs are exhibit A. What is their case against Israel?

        • markx
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: “Jewish settlers were met with the usual bigotry and hate displayed by Islam to outsiders…”

          Really?!! To the point 750,000 of the residents abandoned their homes and possessions and fled (albeit in the vain hope that they’d survive the assault to return and reclaim their land, houses and possessions).

          But, your ‘truths’ are well ingrained. There’s probably little sense in you looking more deeply into it.

        • markx
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

          It may be impossible to re-bottle all the ill feeling generated by early 20th century treachery against the Islamic world by the ‘West’, and perpetual war may indeed be the result, but it is important to remember that self-serving betrayal and evil on the part of the ‘west’ goes back a long way:

          The details of Sykes-Picot Treaty, published by the victorious Russian Bolsheviks after 1917, exposed the betrayal of all that had been offered by the Allies for the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. Instead of an Arab State free from imperial rule, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were allocated to French and British collaborators. Monarchies protected by the Europeans under a charade of self-government were the result. after 1917, exposed the betrayal of all that had been offered by the Allies for the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. Instead of an Arab State free from imperial rule, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were allocated to French and British collaborators. Monarchies protected by the Europeans under a charade of self-government were the result.

          It certainly becomes an important matter of viewpoint in deciding who has been the most evil in these treaties and deals…. but perhaps you may concede that to some in this world, the ‘West’, and the USA in particular, at this stage of the proceedings, may NOT appear to be the good guys?

          Primitive tribal “us against them” instincts certainly kick in quickly in uninformed, uneducated minds, and would appear to have done so in discussions here.

        • markx
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

          mpainter comments “Your claim that the west is responsible for the bigotry, backwardness, etc. Of Islam is preposterous.”

          We managed (largely, if you ignore some of the fundamentalists in the US) to make that step from bigotry and backwardness on the back of education and prosperity.

          Logically, Middle Eastern countries would have been able to continue to develop and do the same.

        • markx
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

          Frank, not all of Eva Bartlett’s viewpoints are likely to be correct.

          It would also be incredibly naive to take all we are fed by conventional western or any other media is entirely correct.

          What we are getting right now from western media is from rebel sources and slanted by our own governments’ statements.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

          Right, marxy, I’ll check back in a hundred years or so to see if anything has changed. I expect to see you guys still brandishing the “sword of Islam” threateningly, waving it about and blaming the U.S. and others for your bigotry.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

          Another comment in moderation. About this foolishness:

          markxist:”Had we allowed a co-operative and prosperous Middle East to arise naturally we would not be trapped in this cycle.”

          But it goes without saying that this is really dumb BS.

        • Frank
          Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

          Markx (Sykes-Picot Treaty): As a citizen of a spoiled nation blessed by history with good fortune, I probably shouldn’t point out that all nations have suffered from treachery. No one got what they were promised at the end of WWI, including President Wilson, who pushed for self-determination. (The Kurds got the worst deal in the Middle East.) The Greeks, Serbians and other Balkan peoples had liberated themselves from Ottoman domination. The defeated Turks drove foreign occupiers out of modern Turkey by 1922. The Arabs (especially if united) probably would have prevailed against the exhausted British and French. (Their empires are now long gone.) However, Arab unity has been a myth since before the Crusades: The cheated King Hussain was kicked out of Mecca a few years later by Ibn Saud.

          If you want to blame the West, blame them for the socialist dictatorships that arose in response to end of capitalist colonialism. And the insane borders they drew. And empowering local leaders from minority, rather than majority, groups. And perhaps the passionate desire for a Jewish homeland. South Korea, Israel, Japan and Venezuela, however, teach us that our future isn’t predestined by our past or our resources. The great religious, cultural and political Arab flowering more than a millennium ago probably does not provide a recipe for success today, any more that the Roman, Greek and other flowerings. At least one author says that the rise of the West began with the scientific method and the idea humans can discover at least some aspects of what is true. The ability to learn the truth is an essential component of democracy. This blog has conducted an amazing search for what is true about some aspects of climate science. However, corruption of academia, the media, and social media may be destroying our ability to learn what is true about the world. (90% of tweets were automated.)

          I doubt that the Sykes-Picot Treaty belongs in any rational discussion of today’s Middle East.

  20. Coldlynx
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    It is probably victims of thermobaric bombs, vacuum bombs, arranged in this apartment.

    A Human Rights Watch report of 1 February 2000 quotes a study made by the US Defense Intelligence Agency:

    The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique–and unpleasant…. What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs…. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.”

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      more nonsense added to the pile

      • dfhunter
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

        added to your Pile of “Not much to go on” Maybe.

        where the facts are thin it makes sense to question everything with an open mind.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

          OK, it probably was a thermobaric bomb. Or wait, maybe an exploding unicorn fart. That would account for the precautionary but unfashionable gas masks, and the purple sweater. Hmmmm? I wonder if unicorns use parachutes. Am I getting into the proper frame of mind, now?

    • mpainter
      Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

      Would not a thermobaric bomb flattened the building?

  21. Chad Jessup
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Geez. Where to start. OK, jet dropping parachute bombs. Next, two huge explosions. Then, videos of two mostly intact containers laying on a smallish hole in a floor. I am with Steve here – some things don’t add up regardless of what Monfort and Shollenberger maintain.

    • mpainter
      Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

      That things don’t add up we all agree. There is no dispute on that point. What can be concluded? That nothing can be concluded.

      • Chad Jessup
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

        By saying that I am with Steve, I was agreeing with him that evidence does not definitively point to Assad’s forces carrying out a chemical attack on those civilians.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

          What you talkin bout, Chad? We ain’t sure what your point is, but whether or not a jet dropped parachute bombs and there were two huge explosions, it don’t mean that poison gas containers were not dropped on those poor victims of yet another of Assad’s many atrocities.

          There doesn’t seem to be any controversy regarding the reports that Assad’s boys were pounding the pesky rebels and their non-combatant supporters including women and children with conventional armaments, including aircraft delivered bombs. But he wouldn’t use gas, like he has many times in the past. He got no motive. You done been Cochranized.

          The head folks in the Western democracies believe that Assad is guilty of yet another atrocity. I would bet they are better informed than you and Steve.

      • mpainter
        Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

        I suspect that Trump acted on human intelligence. With the fissures of Syrian society, there are doubtless rich sources of such intelligence. And, of course, there is communications intelligence which apparently is an all-seeing eye (or all-hearing ear). The complaint has been made that the U.S., France, and the U.K. did not wait for an investigation. It is likely that they had conclusive intelligence.

        So now Assad has no sarin. So what?

        • Chad Jessup
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          “It is likely that they had conclusive intelligence.” Having previously worked for military intelligence, given the circumstances, I would doubt it in this case. Remember the WMD allegedly possessed by Hussein?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, the WMDs. Never believe them again, Chad. That’s the smart move.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

          Circumstances, Chad: deep fissures in Syrian society. Try considering what that means for intelligence gathering. And please don’t compare Trump to the corrupt miscreant nincompoop George W Bush. Or Obama. Please.

        • Chad Jessup
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

          Don – your remark is, remarkably, shallow. You insinuate that I would disbelieve all such similar future occurrences, a ridiculously false personal attack.

          All your statements pertaining to Steve’s subject matter indicate you are not experienced in military intelligence matters. As for me, when the Iragi WMD issue was being glorified in the mass media, my past employment enabled me to tentatively assess the situation for what it eventually evolved to be – strictly Bravo Sierra.

          My personal opinion on the latest alleged gas attack is that gives the appearance of a false flag operation, and I have no proof for that any more than you have proof that Assad/Russian forces were responsible for it; the difference being my assessment is based on experience, whereas your beliefs seem to be driven by politics and/or acceptance of MSM media information.

        • Chad Jessup
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

          mpainter – “…deep fissures in Syrian society. Try considering what that means for intelligence gathering.” Oh yeah, I know exactly what that means.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

          Then, do you understand the difference between a corrupt Bushco and Trump? Because the WMD was corrupt Bushco.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

          You are hilarious, Chad. You brought up WMDs for a reason. I didn’t bring it up. What has it got to do with Douma? I will help you. Nothing. Why don’t we discuss the many successes of military intelligence, b efore and since the WMD assessment that was concurred in by all the Western intel agencies? Sadam acted like he had WMDs up his sleeve. He could have saved himself and his evil sons if he had opened the kimono.

          And I am experienced in military intelligence. It ain’t infallible, but it beats the hell out of the highly biased speculation on some photos and video I see here.

          It’s plain from your comments that you know squat about this incident.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

          “It is likely that they had conclusive intelligence.”.
          Yes, as “conclusive” as in the Skripal case. So good that they can’t show it (because it is Top secret) but good enough to attack Russia.
          The 3 victims of the ‘most lethal neuro toxin ever’ have recovered, but kept in incommunicado – very convincing.

          Micheal Mann has similar conclusive evidence that Climate Change is man made. The Pentagon agreed, based on conclusive – secret evidence.
          So case closed and anyone disagreeing is a ? mark.

          These kind of people grew up on “the dog ate my home work” and my daddy is untouchable.

        • Chad Jessup
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

          Don, you state you are experienced in military intelligence. Sorry, but it appears you’ve never been there, done that as illustrated by this quote: “Sadam acted like he had WMDs up his sleeve.” Really? Intelligence agencies base major conclusions on someone’s acts with no supporting facts!

          I believed at the time and still believe that our intelligence community knew there were no WMD, but power politics did not and will not let reality stand in the way of a “good” war.

          But nuff said. Go ahead, have the last word.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

          So Assad should be happy, relieved as he is of any future liability concerning nerve gas, I’m sure that you agree.

          Or if he is unhappy, then what does that mean? It means he liked his nerve gas, right?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

          My comment keeps going to moderation no matter how I modify it. I will just try the punch line as Chad is not worth the effort:

          What intel service were you with? The GRU?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

          Non-entity is correct. This has got a lot to do with Mann. He is mixed up in it, somehow. Pull back the curtain and he will be there. Really. I am not kidding.

        • Posted May 1, 2018 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

          The french “evidences” don’t rely on human ressource other than the two “ONG” cited above in the article. It’s just seems that our IS (DGSE) surf on the internet like all of us. Nothing more, that’s what their report said.
          Maybe they are lying, unlike the US, on this subject. They are not the kind of men telling if they have boots on the ground.

        • markx
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

          I read Don Montfort with growing incredulity….

          With no evidence of who did this (whatever it actually was) other than a few reports from those with deep vested interests, you choose the most illogical answer based on your belief that the US must “know what doing” and “probably” have some “good secret information”?

          When all recent evidence is the contrary?

          And what evidence do we have that any sarin stocks or satin factories were destroyed? That’s possibly just another propaganda story too.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 12, 2018 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

          Black flag! Black flag! Black flag! Excellent work, marky. We don’t know how we have gotten along without ya. It’s always nice to accumulate another apologist for serial atrocity committing dictators. Thank you, thank you.

  22. MS19
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Anyone with remainders of trust in authorities may watch this presentation

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

      That’s bound to be objective. Thanks.

  23. mpainter
    Posted Apr 27, 2018 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    Why did Trump pardon Scooter Libby? Most curious. Any ideas anybody?

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

      Because his persecution was a travesty and Bush didn’t have the guts to pardon him.

      • mpainter
        Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

        Michael Flynn is scheduled for sentencing May 1, I believe.

      • mpainter
        Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

        Bush commuted Libby’s sentence without pardoning. Libby appealed the sentence but abandoned his appeal after a year or two, according to Wikipedia.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

          Frank, that’s the look of it.

      • Frank
        Posted May 17, 2018 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

        Don: Although there were many faulty memories in the Plame affair, in the end it was absolutely clear that the information Libby provided to the grand jury was incorrect. However, a guilty verdict required a jury of 12 to unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt that Libby intended to deceive the grand jury with his incorrect information – despite the defense put on by Libby’s first-rate attorneys. Unless you were in the courtroom and heard the testimony, it doesn’t make much sense to question the verdict.

        Judith Miller’s recent claim that Fitzgerald failed to refresh her memory about her notes is ridiculous. That was the responsibility of the defense attorneys, not the prosecutor.

        The CIA filed a complaint stating that Plame was undercover, not Fitzgerald or Comey. To convict anyone of disclosing her identity, Fitzgerald would be required to show that Libby (or Rove or Armitage) knew Plame was under cover, that such disclosure was a crime, and that the Plame met the technical requirements for being under cover. No one was indicted, because proving all three elements of the crime was impractical.

        Any of the three (or more) disclosing Plame’s status (until the first newspaper article appeared) – not just the first – could be found guilty if all three elements of the crime existed. Fitzgerald’s knowledge of Armitage’s accidental disclosure didn’t mean Libby shouldn’t have been questioned under oath.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

          Libby was railroaded. End of story.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

          Why did Rove resign? Any clues, anyone?

        • Frank
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

          Don: “Libby was railroaded. End of story.”

          What does it mean to be “railroaded”?

          1) Does it mean that Libby didn’t mis-inform the grand jury about his conversations with reporters about Plame? No, this evidence was clear.

          2) Does it mean that Libby’s mis-information was unintentional? If so, you are claiming he was railroaded by the jury. During a trial, prosecutors are supposed to present the best case against a defendant. If Fitzgerald “railroaded” Libby, he was just doing his job.

          3) Was Libby was “railroaded” by the appointment of a special prosecutor with unlimited time and resources to uncover unimportant crimes? Lying to a grand jury is never an unimportant crime. (Bill Clinton is still disbarred for his lying.) According to his book, Comey believed that a prosecutor would be unlikely to indict anyone over the Plame affair because of the difficulty of proving an administration official knew Plame was under cover, knew the law that applied to this situation, and intentionally broke that law. He appointed a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance that a Republican-controlled DoJ was declining to prosecute Republican administration officials merely for political reasons. Comey was right; no one was charged for outing Plame.

          So, why wasn’t a special prosecutor appointed to handle the HRC’s email scandal, a far more serious problem, to protect the integrity of the Obama DoJ? Good question. The Obama DoJ already had a Republican prosecutor – Comey – and he made his independence from DoJ political appointees clear.

          Special prosecutors seem unfair because because they subject their targets to far more intense and public scrutiny than ordinary government officials. However, IMO both Cheney’s office (the heart of gross abuses after 9/11, enhanced interrogation, illegal domestic surveillance, distortion of intelligence on Iraq) and the Clinton mafia were worthy targets for special prosecutors.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

          Frank thinks that no one was ever wrongly convicted of “lying” to a grand jury:


          Special Counsel Fitzgerald needed a scalp, and Scooter was it. It was Scooter’s recollection against the recollection of Tim Russert about a phone call. How TF does somebody get convicted of perjury on that crap? Explain it, Frank. What if you were convicted based on that kind of thin doo doo?

        • Frank
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

          Don: Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, the first few sentences say it all:

          “I worked briefly as a journalistic consultant for Libby’s defense team in 2008; I’ve known him socially for years; and I spent hours studying the grand jury transcript and other documents in the case.”

          Unfortunately, he doesn’t discuss the evidence presented to the jury that found Libby guilty of FOUR of five charges. Apparently every witness at the trial made some errors in recalling what happened when they were interviewed by the FBI. The written documents – as I understand it – made it clear what happened and that Libby’s Grand Jury testimony was incorrect. From my point of view, the question is 1) why the jury concluded Libby’s mistakes were intentional and 2) why Libby failed to admit the possibility his memory might have been flawed during his Grand Jury testimony.

          According to Wikipedia, Fitzgerald had already led successful prosecutions of two Illinois governors, a media mogul, several aides to Mayor Daley, and a sadistic Chicago policeman; and participated in bringing charges against Osama bin Laden and the 1993 WTC bombers. Fitzgerald undoubtably wanted another scalp, but his reputation would have survived a fruitless Plame investigation. He did fail to indict Rove, Armitage, or Libby for outing Plame, because he couldn’t prove all elements of the crime: knowledge she was under cover (if she could be proven to be undercover), knowledge of the law, and intent to break it.

          Standing between Fitzgerald and Libby’s scalp were: a first-rate defense team, a judge (no one criticized), a jury charged with “beyond a reasonable doubt”, and the possibility of appeal if mistakes were made.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

          The consolation prize prosecution of Scooter Libby by scalp hunter Special Inquisitor Fitzgerald was a travesty:

          September 2008 Wall Street Journal editorial, attorney Alan Dershowitz cited the “questionable investigation[s]” of Scooter Libby

          End of story.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

          If you can’t afford the dollar to read the WSJ article, more from Dershowitz, the last of the honest Democrats, since Daniel Inouye died:

        • mpainter
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

          The fifth needs to be modified so that public officials are required to give full account of their office when called upon to do so, and not be entitled to invoke the fifth. In other words, the public’s right to a full accounting from public officials should take precedence over the personal rights of any official. That will stop much of the corruption that is rife in government today. We need a cure.

        • Frank
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

          Don: The Dershowitz editorial is excellent. He suggests that the Plame investigation may have been unnecessarily detailed – but it was launched by an angry President Bush. Dershowitz doesn’t say Libby was innocent of the charges against him or should have been excused for his politically-movitated misrepresentations to the grand jury.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t say that Libby was innocent of the charges. His indictment, trial and conviction was a travesty. We are not supposed to have an inquisitorial type of legal system, Frank. Try to catch up.

        • Frank
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: So we ask everyone working for the government to give up their right against self-incrimination? Self-incrimination is on the path to taking away someone’s freedom.

          How about insisting on the resignation of all such individuals, banning them from future government employment, lobbying or other paid interactions with the government and a special prosecutor for higher ranking officials (like Lois Lerner). Perhaps attorneys – as officers of the court – should be disbarred for taking the fifth. Now we would only be taking away privileges, not freedom.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

          Take away the freedom to commit a crime and get off Scott free because of other corrupt officials, as in the White House or the DOJ.

          The fifth is meant to protect the powerless. It is used to protect corruption.

          People joining government now have to give account. So don’t be a crook and you’re safe.

        • Frank
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

          Don wrote: “I didn’t say that Libby was innocent of the charges. His indictment, trial and conviction was a travesty. We are not supposed to have an inquisitorial type of legal system, Frank.”

          The “inquisition” was launched by President Bush’s outrage that some underling in his administration was attempting to discredit an administration critic through his wife (instead of through the gross errors that critic’s story). Little did Bush know that Rove and Cheney’s surrogate, Libby, had sold this story on dozens of calls with reporters and that the gossipy Armitage didn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.

          The same dis-functional team had planted the uranium from Niger story in his SotU speech and eventually sent American soldiers to die in Iraq – with no idea of where WMD might be seized and no coherent idea of how to govern so those soldiers could come home without leaving a terrorist haven behind. Bush deliberately “left Mr. Cheney’s soldier on the battlefield” because he was disgusted with what they had done.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, Frank, Monfort didn’t say that Libby was innocent. He said “End of story”.
          Do try to catch up. (He said that too).

        • mpainter
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

          Frank, big surprises for you coming out in 4-5 months. Then you won’t feel so smart.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

          It doesn’t matter who started the investigation that morphed into an inquisition, Frank. It was a travesty:

          “Tim Russert’s memory changed dramatically between his initial FBI interview and Mr. Fitzgerald’s questioning of him. In November 2003, Russert (who died in 2008) told lead FBI investigator agent John C. Eckenrode that he didn’t recall raising the subject of Mr. Wilson’s wife with Mr. Libby, but couldn’t rule it out. Nine months later, and more than a year after his telephone conversation with Mr. Libby, Russert changed his story. Under questioning by Mr. Fitzgerald in August 2004, Russert insisted that he couldn’t have mentioned Ms. Plame to Mr. Libby. And that is what he told the jury in 2007.”

          The whole story of the railroading of poor little Scooter is there, Try to catch up, Frank.

          And you are just making crap up. You have no idea about how many intelligence services concluded that Saddam had WMDs and/or the capability to make them. But as a smart guy like you knows, that crap story of yours is irrelevant regarding the issue of poor little Scooter’s railroading. He was railroaded. End of Story. And thanks to painty for the publicity.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

          See, Frank, once again monford doesn’t say that Libby was innocent. Are you catching up yet?

        • Frank
          Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

          Don: I’ve read Peter Berkowitz’s articles in the WSJ. He is pushing the story that Judith Miller’s new story (someone besides Libby told her Plame was working for the DoS no the CIA, which was recorded as “the bureau” in her notes) meant that Libby was wrongly convicted. I personally researched that part of the story and found that it was bogus. So why should I (or you) believe Berkowitz on Tim Russert? This mindless conservative salivation when someone rings the bell is very disturbing. Why are some conservatives trying to re-write history now?

          If I understand correctly, all of the participants’ stories evolved as the investigation developed. Neither the pols nor the reporters were candid with the FBI. However, as people gathered their written records and submitted them to the FBI, a reasonably clear picture of events emerged from the initial confusion (and perhaps deception). And Libby’s testimony was inconsistent with that picture.

          Libby’s lawyers knew about all of these inconsistencies. There is no information available to Berkowitz today that wasn’t available back then except from Judith Miller’s book (which I have shown was wrong). Juries can arrange at an incorrect guilty verdict if they are give the wrong facts, the wrong instructions, or begin with bias. None of this applies. A biased prosecutor alone can’t produce a biased verdict. No one is alleging prosecutorial misconduct – just a failure to understand that being innocent (or un-prosecutible) on the initial crime doesn’t allow you to lie to the FBI.

          mpainter: Catch up. Bringing up Russert’s changing testimony implies Don believes Libby was innocent.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 22, 2018 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

          Aha! So Don _does_ believe that Libby is innocent, the deceptive little bastraud.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 22, 2018 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t imply that Scooter was innocent, Frank. You inferred it. But it’s irrelevant.
          He never should have been indicted. Do you want to be the next ham sandwich, Frank? Just to see how it feels. I have been talking about justice, Frank. The Libby case was an injustice, period. Please try to catch up.

          Let’s review the foolishness that started this silly Scooter thread:

          Frank:”Since Trump doesn’t care about the Republican establishment that supported Libby, it certainly seems likely he was sending a message to Manafort, Cohen and ? implying Trump wouldn’t be afraid to pardon them after the “witch hunt” ends.”

          So, Trump is against everything that the Republican establishment supports. Therefore, it “certainly” seems likely he don’t give a crap about Libby, terrible Trump was just implying that he wouldn’t be afraid to pardon blah blah blah. Did you think that up all by yourself, Frank? You have a bad habit of inferring that somebody is implying something, on no real evidence at all. What you are talking about are your suppositions and suspicions. Check yourself, Frank. Better yet, get tested for TDS.

    • Frank
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

      Since Trump doesn’t care about the Republican establishment that supported Libby, it certainly seems likely he was sending a message to Manafort, Cohen and ? implying Trump wouldn’t be afraid to pardon them after the “witch hunt” ends.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 18, 2018 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

        illogical BS

        • Frank
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

          Don asked: Do Honest Liberal Democrat Top of The Legal Brains Alan Dershowitz’s reactions to the Libby injustice and more recent events strike you as absurd, Frank?”

          Dershowitz’s position, as I understand it, is that prosecutors outside the control of the President are constitutionally dubious, but a superior system would put an apolitical DoJ outside the control of the president. I don’t agree. I’ll admit that the current system produces special prosecutors with excessive zeal – a powerful response to zealotry in the executive branch. Personally, I’ll put up with a little excessive zealot in pursuit of politicians I favor in return for more opportunities to bring down the Clinton Foundation or Lois Lerner or Benghazi.

          Dershowitz is a defense attorney and tends to support claims that both liberal and conservative defendants were mistreated by the justice system. Helping defendants escape “justice” is Dershowitz’s passion. If forced to accept that a defendant committed the act, the defendant didn’t intend to do it, or the police or the prosecutor (inquisitor) or society or imperfections in the law are really responsible. Since Trump is the most news-worthy potential defendant at the moment, Dershowitz is currently popular with you and Fox News.

          Dershowitz is highly intelligent and a effective spokesman for the rights of defendants.If you are looking for “the truth” – whatever that may be – you need to hear from both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Otherwise you are left with Dershowitz’s position that OJ was innocent.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

          I never said I was looking for the truth, Frank. Try to catch up. I am looking for justice. Equal and fair treatment under the law. If guilty people can be railroaded, so can the innocent.

          Dershowitz is a principled legal practitioner and scholar and I have always respected him. I am sure he would be just as principled, if he were a prosecutor. You just made that crap up about me currently admiring Dershowitz, because of Trump. Another of your dumb inferences based on supposition and suspicion. You got a bad case of Trumpitis, Frank. Check yourself.

          Can you please show us the quote where Dershowitz declares that OJ is innocent? Or are you just making that up?

        • mpainter
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

          Great. What a sense of humor has moonfort. Guilty people get railroaded. Our prisons are full of these types. Time to un-railroad them and set them free.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          Do you really believe that a guilty perp can’t get railroaded, painty? Do you really believe that cops and prosecutors have not sometimes been convinced a guy was guilty, but didn’t have the goods on him, so they framed him real good to get him off the streets? If you think that is how a decent justice system is supposed to operate, you are even more ignorant than you have previously appeared to be.

          I didn’t say our prisons are full of these types, paintless. You made that crap up. WTF is wrong with you people?

        • mpainter
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

          Now we shall have to make a distinction between those guilty types who were railroaded and those who were convicted fairly and set the former free. Good fun, that moonfoort.

        • Frank
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

          Don: “I never said I was looking for the truth, Frank. Try to catch up. I am looking for justice.”

          Chapter 5 (The Rot from Within) from Alice Dreger’s book subtitled “Heretics, Activists, and one Scholar’s Search for Justice”:

          “[My opponents] came from old dogma about human nature, we came from progress and social justice and we had to win. But here I was faced with the fact that [my opponents] were not only politically progressive … they were willing to look for facts that might get them in hot water. They very much cared about progress in social justice, but they cared first about knowing what was true.
          That didn’t mean that these scientists (or I or anyone else) existed without bias. That didn’t mean that their work wasn’t shaped and sometimes tainted by politics, ideologies, and loyalties. But it did mean that they tried to adhere to an intellectual agenda that wasn’t first and only shaped by politics. …Good scholarship had to put THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH FIRST AND THE QUEST FOR JUSTICE SECOND…
          Justice cannot be advanced by letting “truth” be determined by political goals. Only people like us [academics], with insane amounts of privilege, could ever think it was a good idea to decide what is right before we even know what is true. Only insanely privileged people like us, who never fear the knock of a corrupt police, could think guilt or innocence should be determined by identity rather than facts. [Dreger’s relatives lived in Communist Poland.]

          IMO, Steve’s blog has been a search for what is true about climate science (and other issues) regardless of political consequences. Which is why I waste my time trying to present some facts.

          Our legal search for justice depends on citizens telling the truth (or exercising their right against self-incrimination).

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

          You continue to make a clown of yourself, paintless. I didn’t say that. But it goes without my having to point it out. The appeals process happens to be one of the cornerstones of our justice system. When it is determined in the appeals process that some notorious miscreant has been convicted unfairly/not by the book, guess what. I will help you. They turn him loose. It’s to keep the state from abusing the rights of the citizens. Everybody has a right to a fair/by the book legal process, the guilty and the innocent. That is our system of justice. Period. Get used to it. End of story.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

          Oh, it gets better and better as moonfret now takes up the cudgels on behalf of “notorious miscreants”, the forgotten cause. “Free the miscreant seven” chants moonfirt.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

          Is the opinion of somebody named Alice Dreger written down in some obscure book another example of your facts, Frank? What’s the point of that? Oh, her relatives lived in communist Poland. Nice work, Frank.

          Our justice system does not depend on citizens telling the truth. If it did, our justice system would have collapsed long ago. Try to catch up.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

          If you don’t like our system of justice, paintless one, move to a third world country.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

          Strange thing for YOU to say, manfert, given all of your above complaints about our system of justice. So get yore arse to Mandalay.

        • Frank
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

          I find Dreger’s book as inspiring as Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science”, but more relevant to today’s problems. I bought the book because the author seemed to resemble Judith Curry in her courage. Dreger has a PdD in the history and philosophy of science and did her thesis work on the history of treatment of children born with ambiguous sex. After a decade of activism, she succeeded in changing the motivation behind the standard of care for these children from minimizing parental horror to postponing decisions until the patient was old enough to make informed choices about their treatment and future. However, as described in the chapter I cited (The Rot from Within), her activist friends viciously turned on her when her research reached politically-incorrect conclusions on related subjects. They persecuted her and charged her with academic misconduct.

          She received a Guggenheim Fellowship to research the experiences of other scientists who had been subjected to similar inquisitions and part of this book is the fruit of that research.

          Later she exposed misconduct by a member of the NAS who was experimenting on children without informed consent. As the book published, he had resigned her academic position, charging her department (which had become affiliated with corporate hospital) with censorship.

          She writes inspiringly about the importance of the scientific method in today’s world: [After Galileo], “The Scientific Revolution that that swept through Europe was soon followed by a democratic revolution. And all of these massive changes in science and politics [the Enlightenment] depended on a central idea .. that we get to know who we are, by seeking evidence, using reason, and coming to a thoughtful consensus on truth … It is no coincidence that so many of America’s founding fathers were science geeks. The American freedoms to think, to know, to learn, to speak – these were freedoms first seized by the radical Galileo.”

          For her (and me), you can’t find justice without first knowing the truth. Investigative journalism is nearly dead, replaced by echo-chambers and fake news. Academic research is dominated by the politically correct academic left.

          WordPress will not let me use the main title of the book: Galileo’s Middle F____, an object that is on display in Florence.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

          You are really ignorant, paintless one. I haven’t criticized or complained about our system of justice. I criticized the abuses of our system of justice that don’t seem to trouble you even a little bit. Oh wait, but you don’t like it when they pull that railroading crap on the Big Orange Fella and his people. All of this is sailing right over your little pointy head. Poor Frank at least has a coherent position. He is more naive than ignorant.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

          Poor Frank. If justice depended on knowing the truth, we wouldn’t have much justice. But yeah, science is great and echo chambers are bad. We wouldn’t have known this without that Dreger lady. She deserves that Googlel’chaim fellowship and a lot more accolades. Keep promoting her, Frank. You are doing a great job. Let us know when you all find the truth.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

          Or Timbuktu.

        • Frank
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

          Don wrote: “If justice depended on knowing the truth, we wouldn’t have much justice. But yeah, science is great and echo chambers are bad. We wouldn’t have known this without that Dreger lady. She deserves that Googlel’chaim fellowship and a lot more accolades. Keep promoting her, Frank. You are doing a great job. Let us know when you all find the truth.

          “That Dreger lady” is a passionate and eloquent exponent of the importance of the science method (pursuit of truth) to our democracy. Her book is a searing critique of liberal academia by a former feminist hero. You should be happy.

          I tried to illustrate how social justice depends on a pursuit of the truth using b1ack 1ives matter, Head Start, and how the FBI’s discretion about the Steele Dossier investigation prevented the biggest dirty trick in election history, but fell into moderation twice.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

          That’s a good one, Frank. The FBI-CIA- White House-DOJ/et al. cabal of Obama stooges was discrete about a travesty they were committing, because it was assumed that old Hilarity would win and they didn’t want to rock the boat by talking about their phoney politically motivated investigation. But they had an “insurance policy” and the discretion turned to putting it on blast, shortly after Trump won.

        • Frank
          Posted May 25, 2018 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

          Don wrote: That’s a good one, Frank. The FBI-CIA- White House-DOJ/et al. cabal of Obama stooges was discrete about a travesty they were committing, because it was assumed that old Hilarity would win and they didn’t want to rock the boat by talking about their phoney politically motivated investigation. But they had an “insurance policy” and the discretion turned to putting it on blast, shortly after Trump won.

          The opposition research done by Fusion GPS/Steele was BROUGHT to the FBI, apparently in July, and was integrated into an ongoing investigation of Russian activities (hacking of the DNC, Podesta, and state election websites, internet activity, a report about Papadopolous). After dithering for months, the DNI and DHS issued a general statement about Russian interference in early October, but didn’t mention Steele’s allegations of collusion or sex. The Democrats had made sure the press was fully informed about the Steele’s allegations, but only Mother Jones and Yahoo News printed stories originating from Steele. In late October, Harry Reid demanded that Comey and others disclose what they were doing about the Steele Dossier:

          “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government,” he wrote. “The public has a right to know this information.”

          The FBI and the rest of the putative Trump-haters in the “Deep State” correctly kept their mouths shut about Steele’s sensational allegations, because they had no idea whether the allegations were correct. All the stories that appeared in January could have appeared in October.

 reported that HRC was a 6:1 favorite in mid-October dropping to 3:1 after the re-opening of the email investigation. Someone could have “balanced” the news about re-opening the email investigation with news about Steele’s allegations.

      • Posted May 18, 2018 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

        It is also reasonable to realize his being a target of a witch-hunt gave rise to sympathies to past victims of torch-wielders (Fitzgerald).

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 18, 2018 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

          Frank’s comment wasn’t reasonable. His predicate that Trump wouldn’t care about Libby, because Libby was supported by the Republican establishment is foolishness. And from that he jumps to: it certainly seems likely blah blah blah implying blah blah blah. We expect better from Frank.

      • Posted May 18, 2018 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

        That is a good and legitimate message.


        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

          Thank you, jd.

        • Frank
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

          jddohio: I’d be interested in your expert opinion about Judith Miller’s recanting her testimony. You can read a complete account heres:

          Judith claimed: “While Mr. Fitzgerald prepared her, she recalls, his pointed queries led her to believe that a four-word question regarding Joseph Wilson surrounded by parentheses in her notebook—“(wife works in Bureau?)”—proved that Mr. Libby had told her about Ms. Plame’s CIA employment in a June 23, 2003, conversation”

          Wasn’t it the job of Libby’s defense attorneys (not Fitzgerald) to point out to the witness and jury that the term “bureau” was ambiguous? The defense undoubtably had Judith Miller’s notes and knew that her husband had worked for the State Department. If the term “Bureau” could logically have meant DoS not CIA, wasn’t it the job of Libby’s defense attorneys to force Miller to address this possibility.

        • Frank
          Posted May 19, 2018 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

          BTW, the WSJ story (fairy tale) continues:

          “Three years later, Ms. Miller writes, she was reading Ms. Plame’s book, “Fair Game,” and was astonished to learn that while on overseas assignment for the CIA Ms. Plame “had worked at the State Department as cover.” This threw “a new light” on the June 2003 notebook jotting, Ms. Miller says, since the State Department has “bureaus,” while the CIA is organized into “divisions.”

          Ms. Miller, who had spoken to many State Department sources around the same time she spoke to Mr. Libby, says in her memoir that she then realized she must have begun her conversation with him wondering whether Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the State Department.”

          According to Wikipedia, Plame did have DoS cover in the early 1990s in Athens, but had been traveling overseas in 2001, 2002, 2003 (and earlier before marriage and children) without diplomatic cover as an energy consultant for a CIA front company. Such “NOCs” are exactly the vulnerable agents intended to be protected by the law against intentional disclosure. The chances an unnamed DoS source told Miller about Plame’s decade-earlier DoS cover in the Athens embassy are negligible compared with the chances Miller heard about Plame’s work for the CIA. (Nothing is stopping that DoS source from coming forward to confirm Miller’s new story.)

        • Frank
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

          Do, jddohio and Ron: A more complete response disappeared into moderation. Perhaps this will survive.

          Libby’s latest request for a pardon was handled by diGenova and Toensing, who briefly joined Trump’s personal defense team and quickly departed. Trump apparently has been convinced that Libby was the victim of an over-zealous prosecutor.

          IMO, the message is clear: Trump isn’t afraid to pardon those convicted by over-zealous prosecutors.

          For a contemporary account of the importance of Judith Miller’s testimony in Libby’s trial (by a vehement opponent of Libby), see:

          Miller’s flawed testimony probably didn’t convict Libby.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

          Frank, I agree. Trump signaled. Those two left his team because of some unspecified “conflict”. Trump wants the world to know that he is ready to pardon.

        • Frank
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: Libby probably retained diGenova and Toensing for a new appeal because they were well connected to Trump. Whenever a client approaches law firm with a major case, it is Law 101 to check for conflicts. I suspect (but have no evidence) that they may have flirted with Trump’s defense team simply to get closer to Trump and thereby help Libby, knowing that conflicts would prevent them from serving. It was reported that Trump called them directly with the news of Libby’s pardon.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

          Frank, I doubt that Trump intended to make the pair permanent members of his “legal team”. There is a lot of theater in this, by design, so it seems to me. In a few months, probably by September, Trump will spring a big surprise and turn the tables in very big way. Meanwhile, Mueller serves as Trump’s smoke generator. Lots of Trump’s opponents are headed for prison. It will make Watergate look like a Sunday School Easter egg hunt.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          Trump is considering pardoning Jack Johnson. Hmmmm.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

          Right, the fighter gets a pardon, hmmmm.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 20, 2018 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

          Amicus brief filed on behalf of Libby by Dershowitz et al.

          Click to access Libby_070608_Amicus_Bork.pdf

        • Frank
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

          Don: History has shown that a rational system of justice needs some sort of “independent prosecutor” to investigate serious crimes committed by the president or his close allies. History has also shown that independent prosecutors often show excessive zeal and seize excessive scope. We are still refining our procedures for handling these problems and the brief you cite is part of that debate.

          I think Comey erred in appointing a special prosecutor for the minor Plame affair. His intentions were good – to end the criminal investigation of a minor political scandal in a manner the Dems couldn’t challenge. He correctly recognized that it would likely be impractical to meet the burden of proving Plame had been intentionally and knowingly outted, but an angry Bush had demanded an investigation.

          None of this changes the fact that a jury has determined that Mr. Libby lied in the course of that investigation. The knee-jerk conservative reactions to recent events seem as absurd (to me) as hockey team’s defense of Mann’s mistakes.

          Respecfully, Frank

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 21, 2018 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

          What planet do you live on, Frank? Fitzgerald needed a scalp. It was easy for Fitzgerald to get Libby indicted. Ham sandwich, meet grand jury. Libby was convicted, sentenced to prison and fined a big chunk of money, because his recollection of a phone call differed from Tim Russert’s recollection. One or both of them could have been wrong, but Libby was convicted on that thin BS. Who is the jury gonna believe, a ham sandwich political operative indicted by a grand jury, or Tim Russert?

          The fact that fall-guy Libby was on trial is a travesty. The fact that a jury convicted him is another one. Juries often make mistakes. Juries are often, probably always, biased one way or the other. Juries are influenced by societal pressure. Juries have been known to just ignore the law. Don’t try to tell me that juries are experts or even competent at determining guilt or innocence. I have been called to jury duty a few times. Not impressed. If I am guilty I want a trial by a jury easily manipulated by expensive lawyers. If I am innocent and indigent, I’ll take a judge.

          Do Honest Liberal Democrat Top of The Legal Brains Alan Dershowitz’s reactions to the Libby injustice and more recent events strike you as absurd, Frank?

        • Posted May 27, 2018 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “jddohio: I’d be interested in your expert opinion about Judith Miller’s recanting her testimony. You can read a complete account heres:”

          …”Wasn’t it the job of Libby’s defense attorneys (not Fitzgerald) to point out to the witness and jury that the term “bureau” was ambiguous? The defense undoubtably had Judith Miller’s notes and knew that her husband had worked for the State Department. If the term “Bureau” could logically have meant DoS not CIA, wasn’t it the job of Libby’s defense attorneys to force Miller to address this possibility.”

          Frank, I read the WSJ article about 2 weeks ago and it seemed well-grounded to me. Don’t have time to re-read.

          In terms of witness preparation, it is much easier for the prosecution than for defense attorneys. The reason being is that prosecutors are literally licensed to lie and defense attorneys are not. When a witness takes one point of view and you are on the opposing side, it is very risky to directly challenge that witness’s version or attempt to change the mind of the witness. It is an open secret that prosecutors suborn perjury regularly, but virtually never pay a price.

          However, defense attorneys are at a huge risk of being prosecuted for suborning perjury if they contact a prosecution witness and suggest that the witness is mistaken. Innocent questions can easily be turned into accusations of suborning perjury and undoubtedly if Libby’s attorneys had attempted to do that to Miller someone would have miked a witness and attempted to prosecute the defense attorney for suborning perjury. (Mueller did this one time to defense attorney Harvey Silvergate)

          So, the bottom line is, if you are a defense attorney and want to practice for a while, you would in almost all circumstances stay away from prosecution witnesses. Also, Miller was under no obligation to talk to Libby’s attorneys.


        • Frank
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

          jddohio, Don and others: Anyone interested in the the truth about the Libby trial should read Murray Waas’s “The United States v. I. Lewis Libby”: the full text of the indictment, 500 pages from the pivotal sections of the court transcript with brief summaries, a time line, and brief biographies. ($5 from Amazon including shipping.)

          Libby told the FBI and Grand Jury that he learned about Plame from reporters (Russert first) and didn’t know whether their stories were correct. The trial showed that Libby had nine conversations (some documented) with administration officials about Plame in the previous month, including one three days before the Russert call. Libby’s defense is that he forgot about these conversations during the four months before the FBI interviewed him – but clearly remember the details of his calls to Russert and Cooper.

          Before those calls, Libby asked David Addington (the VP’s general counsel and former CIA general counsel) how one can know if someone who works for the CIA is under cover, and Addington provided Libby with a copy of the law against their disclosure. No evidence was presented proving Libby knew she was covert, but he obviously had considered this possibility.

          None of the reporters, including Miller, appear essential to this case. If this had been a simple “he said/she said case involving Libby and the reporters, there could have been reasonable doubt. As Steve would say, you need to watch pea under the thimble.

        • Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

          Frank, was it ever investigated whether Plame or her contacts had anything to do with Wilson’s being assigned to Niger to investigate the yellow cake uranium story? Did Saddam possess yellow cake? Do you think that Saddam would have reconstituting his nuclear weapons program after further advancement in his missile program? Were Wilson and Plame possibly motivated in any way by partisan domestic politics? Was the prosecution of Libby partisan motivated or biased?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Frank. If I ever get obsessive enough to want to read 500 pages about a politically motivated fishing expedition in search of a crime to pin on somebody, that will be the one for me. And $5 is very cheap.

        • Frank
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

          Lots of questions, Ron. The above book on the trial is strictly about the case against Libby and probably doesn’t have answers to your questions. The story – as I understand it:

          Italian Intelligence obtained documents showing Iraq had bought uranium from Niger, and the British published a White Paper supporting this claim. The CIA and others were skeptical (apparently correctly) about their authenticity. The infamous “16 words” in Bush’s 2003 SotU asserted the British believed the Niger story, but failed to mention that the CIA disagreed. The declassified summary of the 2002 NIE I found didn’t mention Niger. IIRC, Iraq had adequate domestic uranium and probably didn’t need to purchase from abroad under sanctions.

          In the months after 9/11, Cheney asked his CIA briefer for better information about uranium from Niger. According to Plame’s testimony under oath (p4 of USvILL), an associate in the Counterproliferation Division (a part of Operations, not Analysis) suggest Joe Wilson for the mission, because Wilson had been ambassador to Niger and worked previously with the CIA. Plame, however, wrote the email proposing a plan to her superiors. After the mission, updated skepticism about Niger was reported to Cheney without mentioning Wilson’s trip. This resulted in Wilson correctly claiming he was sent because of Cheney, and Cheney correctly asserting he had never heard of Wilson or his trip.

        • Frank
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          Ron: Everything about the investigation was highly politicized. The nation had just gone to war because of Iraqi WMD and it was now becoming apparent they didn’t exist. (Tenet later wrote that the war had many rationals, but WMD was the only one everyone could agree upon.)

          When the NYT published a story about an anonymous ambassador’s trip to Niger, Cheney requested an explanation from the DoS. High administration officials (including Armitage, #2 in DoS) read that report and learned about Plame. Wilson was undoubted motivated by politics when he wrote a first-hand account of his trip for the NYT a month later and repeatedly and repeatedly exaggerated the significant of the intelligence from his trip. After retiring from the CIA, Plame wrote a book and sued Libby and Cheney for damaging her career. In chronological order, Armitage, Libby, Rove, and Fleischer allegedly discussed Plame with reporters before Novak became the first to publish and all but Armitage certainly did so for political reasons. Being the second to leak is just as bad as the first: Recognizing Plame might be under cover, Novak informed the CIA about his story before filing, and claims he wouldn’t have published if Tenet had personally asked him not to.

          The investigation was motivated by partisan politics AND principle: Plame’s employer was classified information and Bush’s press secretary said any leaker would be fired. According to his book, Comey immediately recognized that proving criminal “outting” was improbably (requiring knowledge of covert status, knowledge of the law, and proof of intent to break it). He asserts a decision to not to prosecute for “outting” would be more acceptable if it were made independently from Republican DoJ political appointees. However, the timeline shows Libby had already allegedly lied to the FBI twice six weeks before AG Ashcroft recused himself and Comey appointed an Fitzpatrick (an independent). I now suspect they knew what was coming and stepped aside – correctly. And an ambitious special prosecutor wasn’t ignore a case, especially Fitzgerald, who has sent two Illinois governors and other high-profile politicians to jail.

        • Frank
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

          Don: I know you hate totalitarian governments where citizens have no rights and there is no justice for those who disagree with the dictator. When you worked for the government (intelligence?), I presume you told your superiors the truth whether it favored Republican or Democrat positions at that moment. I don’t think you believe that justice in our country should depend on whether the accused is a Republican or a Democrat. So, as I said earlier, to find justice you first must know what is true. However, too many of today’s politicians and reporters only care about what helps their side. Since the Trump campaign is being investigated, there is an unprincipled war on the credibility of our judicial system. You support that war, but wouldn’t if the Dems were the target. That is the path to tyranny – where justice is determined by something besides the truth.

          I didn’t read the whole 500+ pages. I read the opening and closing arguments for both sides, and Judith Miller’s testimony to understand what had been recanted (almost nothing). In closing, Libby’s attorneys could only say that Libby had forgotten the 9? conversations with other administration official about Plame and they didn’t linger on that point.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 30, 2018 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

          You make a lot of stupid assumptions, Frank.

        • Frank
          Posted May 30, 2018 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

          Don: Where did I go wrong? Do you believe the justice system should treat people the same regard of their political views? Or can winning be more important than principle?

          Lots of non-scientists say that the truth is different for different people; that one’s life experiences changes the truth. Ridiculous. There are facts – and each of us draws different conclusions from those facts. When the facts are so nebulous that different people reach different conclusions, we are discussing opinion, not truth. Fact: In addition to the reporters, eight? administration officials testified they discussed Plame with Libby. Fact: Four months later, Libby told the FBI that he didn’t know about Plame before he talked to the reporters, so he couldn’t have “outted” her. He repeated the same story to a Grand Jury nine months later.

          Yes, it is a fact that the investigation was begun (at Bush’s insistence) to look into “outting”. The law says that deliberately lying to investigators and Grand juries during such investigations is a crime. (Hopefully you agree.) After two weeks of deliberation, a jury decided Libby’s mistakes were deliberate.

          Amid all of the hype about “witch hunts” and FBI misconduct, I find it impossible to forget one fact: Except for Mother Jones and Yahoo News, the media (including TV) carried no stories based on the unconfirmed allegations in the Steele Dossier. If the FBI leaked or publicly confirmed the existence of an investigation into Steele’s allegations in October, Trump almost certainly would have lost.

  24. Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    I hear some saying that Assad is a proven bad guy therefore the truth of his guilt in this incident is moot. To test the validity of this argument all one must do is substitute the name Assad with anyone who could be viewed as a “bad guy” by anyone. For example, Trump is a bad guy to half of America. Also, if false allegations are less important when it comes to pinning guilt on bad guys this makes framing bad guys to easy. Thus, if it turns out the White Helmets staged a false chemical attack I say we demand they wear black helmets.

    Are we going to see a definitive forensic investigation of the bodies? If so, somebody is going to look bad. I hope there is at least a consensus that the investigators should include representatives of all sides.

    I would also like to point out there is a scenario where all had partial guilt but under mistaken pretenses. The White Helmets may have found a house of dead people that they believed were killed by a chemical agent but, feeling the need to aide in prosecution, added a freshly emptied Freon canister yellow and moved bodies. Many people feel justified by supplying false evidence to convict the guilty. It happens every day.

    • Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      A mistaken belief of chemical attack by White Helmets could also explain en easy trigger for later jumping falsely into chemical hazmat mode at the hospital when children were brought in with unknown symptoms. The White Helmets must value their credibility, knowing they are the defacto international reporters. Thinking they would recklessly throw that away by an impromptu staging is less plausible to me than acting on confirmation bias.

      Question for Don: where are the chemical attack’s non-fatal casualites?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

        I would guess the survivors left town, Ron. Not wanting to get gassed again and not wanting to wait around for the Assad goons and the Russians to roll in.

        “when children were brought in with unknown symptoms”

        The symptoms look fairly obvious to me, Ron. Respiratory distress, mostly. Or maybe they are just great child, toddler and baby actors. Look at the bellingcat analyses, Ron. And the reports in left, middle and right wing media. Don’t be Cochranized by one-sided BS defenses of a serial atrocity committing dictator.

        This will probably end up in moderation, forever.

        • Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

          Don, it doesn’t make sense that the survivors would have left town after holding out this long when they surely would have known the value of evidence they represented, and that this evidence was their best chance at heftier American-European intervention against Assad.

          I saw on Steve’s Twitter feed that the young boy in the video at the hospital was found and interviewed by RT. He was bewildered by his treatment and was not affected by chemical agents. Do you dispute this? That seems like a powerful witness unless you think he was coerced, for example, being given threats to him of harm to his parents.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

          My comment went into moderation. You are clueless, Ron. That is all the time I have for this Assad-Putin exoneration foolishness. OUT!

    • mpainter
      Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

      Ron, nobody has yet explained why destroying Assad’s stocks of sarin and the chemical weapons plant was such a bad thing. Would you care to give it a try?

      • Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

        Painter, your question assumes these buildings that were independently inspected just last fall were since activated for CW manufacture. If that is proven or that he was producing or hiding CW anywhere I am 100% behind the joint strike to blow them up. Assad, after all, had agreed to eliminate his possessing CW.

        If the strike did not eliminate CW but Assad in fact is found to have used them in early April in Douma then I am also a supporter of the strike. However, if Assad’s regime neither used CW on Douma or possessed them then I think the response is hurtful to Western credibility of intel and prestige of leadership, being seen falling victim to manufactured images. I know that Don does not believe that is possible. My view is that the US can make honest mistakes like the Gulf of Tonkin and the sinking of the Maine (Spanish American War). I think Saddam was ready to reconstitute his WMD programs after getting his missile delivery technology, which was in process.

        If the strike had any of the justifications I mentioned then it served as notice to dictators worldwide a) that CW use will not be tolerated and b) the US can be effective to rally support to curb nefarious actors.

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

          Ron gave it a try

  25. Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Ron..the white helmets never had any they cannot lose something they never had.

  26. AntonyIndia
    Posted Apr 28, 2018 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Secret D-notice issued by UK government to muzzle press: “the person being protected was Pablo Miller, colleague in both MI6 then Orbis Intelligence of Christopher Steele, author of the fabrications of the Trump/Russia golden shower dossier. That the government’s very first act on the poisoning was to ban all media mention of Pablo Miller makes it extremely probable that this whole incident is related to the Trump dossier and that Skripal had worked on it, as I immediately suspected. The most probable cause is that Skripal – who you should remember had traded the names of Russian agents to Britain for cash – had worked on the dossier with Miller but was threatening to expose its lies for cash.”

  27. AntonyIndia
    Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    While some Westerns here close their eyes to visual material, over at The Hague’s OPCW headquarters the US, UK and France close their ears to verbal testimony:
    Non of the above close their mouths though: “Assad is guilty” they shout from the first minute.

  28. omar lababidi
    Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    as a Syrian who lived in Syria in my childhood and teen years, i know all about what Assad regimen had done, or is capable of doing.
    in that I would never defend Assad or his supporters, as they had already proven them selves guilty of many atrocities, whether in peace or war time.

    how ever, I wouldn’t also jump into supporting any Assad enemy, as this war has proven that Assad’s enemies were no less devious or more civilized than he is, war mobs, trafficking and smuggling mafias, foreign intelligence services, torture prisons and fake news are a constant example of what both sides have been in this war.

    if I was still living in Syria, there would be nothing more pleasant for me than having Assad regimen toppled and replaced, but seeing IRAQ and LIBIA as examples of what post dictatorship countries would be is not very appealing as well.
    bot sides supporters have went into huge efforts to prolong this war to ensure that any future state -whether Assad or not- is a failed state, I have seen the western and gulf backers decline to provide FSA with any anti air weaponry to defend against barrel bombs, I have seen Assad’s backers decline to provide him with quality anti air capability that would stop Israel from having their bombing runs (which conveniently never hit any Assad headquarters)

    now in regards to the above post, should i believe that Assad is a war criminal that would stop at the western red lines of gassing his own citizens to avoid a western punitive strike?, or maybe that the white helmets have foreign intelligence agenda and like to fabricate the same red lines to provoc a western attack against their enemy? all seems true and makes sense, the article that Mr Steve wrote certainly makes good points in that regard, also the comments from various persons which attacked the validity of the article or the write make some sense as well.
    how ever make no mistake, siding with a side because it is more “truthful or righteous” will not benefit anyone, ending the war and bringing back stability is what will benefit most Syrians, ending the hunger sieges and the indiscriminate shelling is what we should look for, and in that I have cheered previously for the western backed FSA when it claimed it will end the Assad rule in two weeks, and I will support assad if he will end the war and stop the division of what was once my home.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

      Nobody has said that the opponents of horrendous Assad and his horrendous enabler Putin are all innocent little lambs. But the women and children were probably mostly innocent little lambs. Could be some real devils among them, but wiping them out wholesale is an atrocity in a long line of atrocities committed by Assad. Yet you would support Assad if he ended the war and stopped the “division”. Meaning Syrian’s would be willing to forgive his atrocities and continue to live under his despotic rule? Assad obviously intends on winning the war on his own terms with the help of Hezbollah, the Iranian ayatollah’s henchmen and the Soviet KGB dictator.

      • omar lababidi
        Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

        in reply to Don Monfort

        in a region that still mourns the death of “Ali” 1400 years ago, and uses this as context for religious wars even until now, trust me no one forgets any offences against them.
        Assad has wiped what some counted as much as 40,000 in the city of Hama during the Muslim brotherhood’s uprising, personal accounts from my college day friends were of people being randomly lined up based on age, beard size and family name and then mass executed without trials, the stories are still as fresh as if it was done yesterday.
        Assad is the biggest criminal in that country, and in the same time, the biggest stabilizing force,
        in a country ravished by wars, hunger, poverty and lack of services necessary to create any healthy community that can rebuild, the presence of 1 big criminal with his mafia is still better than having 10 smaller criminals/mafias constantly creating chaos in effort to wipe each other.
        a dictator will naturally aim to strengthen his power and rule by providing enough services to prevent uprisings, this has been seen all over the middle east, whether in the gulf countries, or in past Iraq and Libia
        how ever a constant guerrilla war, multiple factions will not aim to create such services or stability, in fact they will aim to sabotage the other’s territories in order to gain more power and territory
        and where the west can be shocked by the horrible sights of deaths of few, I am more horrified of reported malnutrition among adults and children, by the return of polio in a country that has been free of polio previously, by the constant bombing/destruction done by both sides to deprive the enemy of the means to maintain a viable future for this country. the targeting of hospitals, bridges, the sabotage of dams etc is not always just done randomly, but by pure determination to not let the other side live.

        yes assad is a war criminal and dictator, but he is currently what you say the lesser of two evils

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

          Concerning the Hamas massacre, that was by Bashar’s father, correct? Of course I realize that the guilt is inherited by Bashar in the eyes of many.

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

          in reply to mpainter
          yes, its was Hafiz assad, an older relative of mine was imprisoned 15 years without trial, on the suspicion of belonging to the brotherhood.
          if Bashar gave up his power at the begining of the uprisings, I am sure they would have called him for corruption and illegal imprisonment charges, how ever he was a kid at the period of the Hama events, he would be be called to trial for that. nor Bashar’s own kid would be called to trial for his father’s crimes.

          how ever the regimen his father build, is the basis for bashar’s power and for the current events, recalling past events from the same regimen is an acceptable argument in my opinion

        • mpainter
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          Omar, thanks for your comments. These reinforce my view that any simplistic presentations of events in Syria are wrong. The evils there are not confined to one side, whatever the propagandists would have us believe. The Hamas massacre was in the mid-eighties, I believe. We can now understand what the regime meant to suppress. Unfortunately, the U.S. public likes to think in terms of black hats and white hats.

          Myself, I am for whatever policy that best serves peace and stability in the region. I do not believe that the present regime in Syria will fulfill that goal, unless it is divorced from the rabid Iranian ayatollahs.

        • Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

          Omar, I am sympathetic to your views and the plight of your homeland. I would like to hope that Assad was the lessor of two evils and that Syria could be put back the way it was when you lived there. I fear that may not be a possibility. Where there has been so much bloodshed and atrocities there will remain a guerrilla resistance if Assad remains in power, especially if Russians are occupying by his side.

          Would you favor a US or international coalition to take power if that was possible? If so, what kind of government would you install and how long would you tolerate an international presence to remain? How much guerrilla resistance would there be against such a presence? Would it be the same as Iraq 2003-2006 or is Syria war weary?

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          in reply to mpainter

          that may well be true, I don’t think I nor anyone has a simple answer to the Syrian dilemma, I would personally take the solution that would stop the war, which is an opinion not shared by the majority of my country men who are influenced by the media of both sides.
          Lebanon [syria’s neighbor] has been at civil war for 20 years, alot of atrocities happened then, and now they are living with each other, they hate each other to the guts, but dare not go back to the days of civil war, as they learned the hard way that war is bad for all of them, dividing the wealth among the various militias and religious groups is much more “profitable”

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

          in reply to Ron graf

          unfortunately, any foreign rule in Syria would lead to further problems as well.
          a US coalition would aim to keep a fractured weak exploitable government, a government that would accept a surrender to Israel instead of a peace agreement for land [as was previously proposed], a goverment that would possibly face endless riots and insurgencies due to corruption and lack of services [as in Iraq].
          A russian presence on the other hand would focus on extending russian and chinese rule, disrupting energy pipeline projects that would threaten it’s monopoly, and have hitting capability over US allies, I.E further conflict for the syrians
          An Iran presence is laughable, their militia owned country is failing miserably and their goal of keeping presence is to have a card to throw for future settlement with USA and it’s allies to life the embargo and stabilize their economy.

          a best solution in my opinion [ which is still on the table for russians to stabilize the country] is to replace assad with his previous vice president [ Farouq Al Sharaa] which is an acceptable person for a majority of syrians as he wasn’t corrupt during his office days, he didn’t ally with western cause and was put on home arrest by the regimn in fear of that solution [ replacement with assad ]
          an person like Mr Sharaa on top of the Syrian current government might constitute an acceptable transitional temporary government.

          if both the US and Russians wanted a stable self sufficient country, then they would reach a similar agreement, however that wouldn’t be in the interest of any one, would it?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

          You are dreaming about Assad allowing himself to be replaced, Omar. He and his allies are winning. Nobody is going to make him go away. You will very likely see another round of Assad Dynasty imposed stability in most of Syria, soon. As it will no longer be necessary for Assad to bomb and blockade the rebel and their non-combatant supporters, nutrition and health conditions will certainly improve. The trains will run on time, again. The Syrian people opposing Assad Dynasty oppression could have had this deal anytime in the last seven years. I wonder why they fight on.

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

          in reply to Don Monfort

          Dear, I said it was a proposed solution in reply to a question Ron Graf asked, a solution proposed and advertised for by the russians them selves

          A viable solution would only work if Russians and USA approve and work on it, As Syrians have demonstrated over and over again in all the international peace summits that they are not able to set their differences aside to save their country, they are not able to enforce a ceasefire or civilian safe zones.
          I also did state that my views are not shared by the majority of my countrymen, Both sides have stated on numerous occasions that they prefer to burn the country than to let the other side rule.
          Assad may endure and may not, how ever that is not for Assad to decide, he has certainly tried to eliminate any viable replacements that the Russians would consider.
          and if you think that anarchy and chaos are better than a stable country then you are mistaken, and there are endless examples from around the world to support this.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

          You seem like a decent thoughtful person, Omar. But it also seems like you are somewhat out of touch with reality. When you say the Russians, lets be clear that it’s Soviet KGB dictator Putin who makes the policy and decisions. There is no reason to believe that Putin ever desired or had any intention to replace his boy Assad. Whatever lip service that was paid by Putin’s stooge ‘diplomats’ to that story is ancient history. The alliance of Assad-Putin-Ayatollah-Hezbollah serial atrocity committers are winning. So forget about replacing Assad.

          The majority of Syrians probably don’t share your views, because they have been suffering on the inside looking out through the last seven years of horror. I am guessing you left Syria more than seven years ago, when you were young and unscathed.

          I have issues with anarchy and chaos, as well as with oppressive stability imposed by serial atrocities. Don’t ask me to choose what I prefer for someone else, unless you can tell me in detail what is going to happen under each scenario. But those are not the only possible outcomes. I could give you some examples of sectarian strife/warfare being resolved by sheer exhaustion and/or territorial separation of the parties in conflict. Victory of one side over the other also does the trick. Point being, that you have presented a false dilemma.

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

          in reply to don montfort

          Dear, your tone and name calling things won’t change facts, Russians or Putin will not keep an Assad when he is more liability than benefit. having left the country doesn’t change the fact that i know and get my information first hand from direct sources as well as from mainstream and alternative media.
          I quit discussing things with other syrians because they do the same thing that you do exactly, their dialogue is just filled with hate and cursing and name calling, no real argument or evidence or a proposal or plan to get out of this endless downward spiral we are in.
          And the majority of Syrians don’t agree with one another, let alone agree with me, their fractured opposition produced political parties that had 5 members or less and wanted a seat on the council.
          this will be the end of my discussion or reply to you, as I don’t think any further discussion or comments are going to benefit you or me.

        • Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

          Omar thanks for stopping by. By the way, how did you gain your English and what percentage of other Syrians speak English? Don’t take offense from Don, he dishes the same to everyone. He is also 10% thinking your real name might be Oleg or Olga and working out of Moscow. Honestly, with so many Russians on the blogs it’s understandable.

          Safe travels.

        • omar lababidi
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

          well, it is true that I maybe a Russian, nothing is certain on the internet, I gained my English through my work as a physician, and you are welcome to visit me in Houston TX to make sure I am not russian, I go by the same name on facebook.
          I have no idea what percentage of syrians speak english, how ever either Frensh or English was mandatory 2nd language in syrian eduacation system.

          I appreciate having the chance to say my 2 cents, I will most likely share this article / investigation with my friends for their opinion.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

          Another comment went to moderation. This is some dumb BS. You people have fun.

      • malfeer
        Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

        Don Monfort
        Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 10:23 AM
        horrendous…horrendous enabler…innocent little lambs…women and children…innocent little lambs…real devils… wiping them out wholesale…atrocity…long line of atrocities…atrocities…despotic rule…henchmen…dictator.

        subjected to semantic analysis, this resolves to very crude propaganda.
        so long and tnx for the facts!

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

          Point out something I have said that is counterfactual, malfeet. Semantic quibbling is boring, irrelevant and dumb.

        • malfeer
          Posted May 1, 2018 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

          but dear mr monfork, what you said has nothing to do with facts.
          your overweening meaning – the thing that looms behind the gonfalons and frumious adjectives – the 800 lb gorilla of an agenda is ‘muh disapproval’.
          i was merely noting that as i wondered how an 800 lb gorilla could fit inside your head.
          then i was able to answer the question myself…lol
          tanks for the vacs!

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 1, 2018 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

          OMG! I have an agenda.
          keep up the clowning

    • mpainter
      Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for your comments, Omar. In your opinion, does the Assad regime truly embrace Baathist principles or has it strayed from those. None of the opposition seems capable of upholding non-secularist principles, imo. What do you think?

      • Omar Allababidi
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

        Reply to mpainter

        I replied to this last week, however all comments went into moderation. I am not sure why it went into moderation

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Apr 29, 2018 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

      Simplest solution: president Trump sticks to his election promise and pulls out all US personnel, money and weapons from Syria. After Iran can do they same as they will not be needed any more. Putin retreats to his one naval port there (like Bondsteel or Bagram).
      Everybody happy except the neocons (which include recruited foreigner tools like Nethanyahoo, Saudi royals and M & M.)

      • eloris
        Posted Apr 30, 2018 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

        The thing is, Russia and Iran haven’t embraced retreat and defeat as strategies, so it would not play out that way. Rather, they’ll consolidate their gains. Iran can triple its support for Hezbollah and consolidate its control over both Syria and Lebanon while Russia uses their new dominance of the Middle East to jack up oil prices.

        Heck, maybe Russia can even engage in a selfless police action to enforce international law: returning the Golan Heights to their rightful owners, Syria (so proclaimed by numerous UN resolutions, right?) Boy, wouldn’t that stick it to the ‘neocons’?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Apr 30, 2018 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

          Russian dominance of the ME? What are you smoking?

  29. AntonyIndia
    Posted Apr 30, 2018 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    “The Real War for Syria is Taking Place in Its Skies”:

  30. Posted May 3, 2018 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    We should all be grateful to Steve for assembling this uncomfortable but important photographic evidence. I feel however it would have been better published somewhere else than the Climate Audit blog, and I would have tried to avoid mixing unsupported interpretation with the observational data. For instance in the passage starting: “The closeup of the baby in purple…” I would have written ‘…are missing.’ in place of ‘…have been stolen, presumably by the White Helmets’.

  31. Don Monfort
    Posted May 3, 2018 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    audit this:

    OPCW investigators have been in Syria for two weeks now. They are conducting their work in extremely difficult circumstances. They have our full support. Instead of working with the OPCW to support their investigation, Syria and Russia have continued to create obstacles to delay their deployment to Duma and to wage a propaganda campaign against the OPCW. Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, the signatories of this joint declaration and States Parties to the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, wish here to spotlight and call for an end to such unacceptable Russian defamation of the OPCW. Today, Russia has decided to hold a so-called information meeting at OPCW headquarters that is nothing more than a crude propaganda exercise.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted May 3, 2018 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

      The OPCW has its credibility at risk. If they become a rubber stamp for the “five Eyes” plus Macron they will lose their function. Showing up 10 days later at a “crime” scene does not bode well. Why didn’t the OPCW condemn the premature rocket strike on April 14? No serious court in the world would accept punishment before judgement.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 3, 2018 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

        Why not read the link before putting your credibility at risk?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 3, 2018 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

        Non-entity has been Cochranized. The duo of serial atrocity committing dictators are innocent as little lambs, until proven guilty in a court of law. Never mind that they would never submit to a real court of law.

        It’s not in their job description, but the OPCW is supposed to condemn serial rocket attacks. And they are supposed to plunge into a war zone without the co-operation of the vicious duo of serial atrocity committing dictators who control the territory.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 3, 2018 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

          …OPCW is supposed to condemn premature rocket attacks.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted May 3, 2018 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

        Better try to avoid another Western fiasco like UK-US/Irak in 2003 as the Chilcot report found: Intelligence on WMDs exaggerated to justify going to war, inquiry finds :

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

          The intel services of all the Western democracies assessed that Sadam had WMD capabilities. Sadam seemed to be happy to let that impression prevail, as he would not open up to thorough inspection. Bad judgement left him hanging.

          Chilcott report:

          “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not the last resort.”

          Military action is never the last resort. There is always wishful complacency and then surrender. How many times could it be said that military action was not the last resort in the lead up to WWII? Why did the Allies get so excited about Poland? It’s not like they were invaded.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

          PS:The intel services of the Western democracies relied heavily on Israeli intel on Iraq WMDs. Why not? The recent snatching of the nuclear arms archives from the Ayatollahs is demonstration enough of the Israelis’ intel capabilities particularly in the Middle East. They work very hard and cleverly at it, because their survival depends on knowing who is up to what.

          I have good friends in the Israeli intel and military, but the fact is that they used us to get Saddam. The lesson from that episode and others in our shared history (USS Liberty) is that the Israelis are looking out for themselves above all others. I sympathize with their problems, but I don’t like it when we get used and abused.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

          You claim the US got used and abused by Israeli deep state to get at Saddam’s Iraq in 2003 plus you didn’t like it.
          Should president Trump ditch his election promise to pull out of Syria for repeat usage by Nethanyahu against Syria or Iran?

          This whole setup of destroying all secular, composite and non Sunni countries in the ME stinks differently. By the way, who would be next after Lebanon? Isr….!

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

          Bibi’s Information Warfare Operation Against America :

          Fake target this time: Iran.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

          I could write a book about good ole erratic loose cannon emotionally disturbed Scott Ritter which would probably end up in moderation oblivion. Short story, he was gung ho weapons inspector and resigned because the UNSCOM wasn’t being tough enough on Iraq. Then he became Saddam’s protector and hollered that if we invaded we would never reach Baghdad and we would get our butts kicked.

          A lot of what Ritter states is correct, but he reveals no evidence or logic for claiming that Israel faked the documents. Why would they bother? Everybody knows that Iran had a nuclear weapons program and they lied about it. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the Ayatollahs goal is to get deliverable nukes asap and is doing clandestine work to get there, is very naive.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 1:45 AM | Permalink

        Assad needs sarin? For what? You condemn destruction, tsk, tsk.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

        The OPCW has Ahmet Üzümcü as director, a career diplomat who served in Syria, Israel and at NATO. Yesterday he undermined his own credibility in a NYT interview: Reminiscences of IPCC’s Pachauri.

  32. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 4, 2018 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    Some good news from the US IF confirmed: U.S. freezes funding for Syria’s “White Helmets”

    These “angles of aid” are as fake as mother Theresa was.

  33. mpainter
    Posted May 4, 2018 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    Here comes the crunch: Israel has just asked Russia for assurances that its advanced anti-aircraft missile defense systems (S-400 & S-300) will not be used against Israeli jets operating over Syria. If Russia refuses such assurances, Israel has justification to take those out (and she will). If Russia gives those assurances, it is exposed as an impotent ally, and the feeble positions of Iran, Syria, and yes, Putin are exposed.

    On this question the whole Syrian situation is poised.

    • mpainter
      Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

      There was no report of these anti-aircraft missile defense systems being used against Israeli jets. Iran is pissed off. I predict that Iran will renounce and withdraw from the nuclear deal. This will be the downfall of the regime of Ayatollahs and their thugs.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 11, 2018 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

        If the Euro snowflakes continue to coddle the Ayatollahs, Iran will continue to pretend to abide by the agreement. They want to avoid that downfall thing. Their response to their recent thrashings by the Israelis has been pathetic.

        Anyway, those in the know know that the Israeli’s will stop them from getting close to a functioning nuke, by any means necessary. And the Saudis and other Sunni Arabs will be on the sidelines waving colorful pom poms cheering them on. Unlike during the term of the last POTUS, the Israelis will have the U.S. on their side. Trump is kicking buttocks.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 12, 2018 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

        Trump has remedied the dereliction of Obama and the three stooges, Israel will do the rest. Undoing Obama in the Middle east is simple. The fun begins with sanctions against Iran. Merkel’s crowd is already squawking. Let them squawk.

    • mpainter
      Posted May 12, 2018 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

      No S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems for Syria, say Ruskis. Fruit of new U.S. posture in the mideast, thanks to Trump. Everything is falling neatly into place. The ayatollahs have been skewered and now are dangling over a bed of hot embers.

  34. Test_User
    Posted May 4, 2018 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    Just checking something.

    • Test_User
      Posted May 4, 2018 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

      Testing to see if the name Brandon Shollenberger been put on some sort of blacklist, or if it’s just comments submitted under that name which are disappearing.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

        Many of my comments have disappeared into moderation. I don’t suspect that Steve deliberately leaves them there, but he does not attend to it. He seems to be off the job for some time. I hope he is well, but not busy creating any more Johnny Cochrane posts with the help of goofy “analytic tweeters”.

        • Test_User
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

          I’ve had comments disappear before because of what was in them, but this is the first time I’ve had it where every comment I make, no matter what it says, vanishes (doesn’t even show up as in moderation). When I can’t even post, “Testing” under my name yet can post freely under any other name, it seems my name/e-mail address has been blacklisted.

          I don’t know how it happened or why, but I’m not going to try to dodge moderation to participate in discussions either.

          Steve: I checked moderation queue. Zero comments from you in moderation queue. Your accusations that I blacklisted you are completely out of line.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

          I wish I would get blacklisted. This blog has become a weird place. I just feel compelled to respond to the more outrageous of the BS. Somebody stop me from wasting my time. One more post like this should definitely do it. And I wouldn’t be the first one to bail out of here. It’s gone from well-supported science auditing to biased speculation and serial unseemly defenses of very bad dictators.

          Let’s see if this goes to the black hole known as ‘moderation’.

        • Streetcred
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

          You’d be more than welcome to unilaterally avoid this blog … then I wouldn’t have to wade through your pontification to access other more erudite commentators. 😉

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

          You wouldn’t know erudite from Shinola. And I would bet you have about as much street cred as little Canadian pencil neck Justin Bieber. You are free to wade right past my comments, but you find them fascinating.

        • Streetcred
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

          That’s the most entertaining of your insults that I have read for a long time, thank you! Unfortunately, I have to wade through your pontificating trash in order to find anything else to read in any given subject. None the less, I think that you confuse Beiber for Trudeau … not that I care for not being Canadian. 😉 Still, why don’t you just go somewhere else if the blog so offends you ?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

          You don’t even know what street cred is. Justin Bieber is an appropriate example of a clown wannabe gang banger. Emulate him, if you want some of that faux street cred. Hire a bunch of failed rappers to hang out with you. Wear your hat backwards, your pants down on the ground, get a bunch of ridiculous tattoos, get arrested for some minor violations, have your body guard punch somebody etc. etc. Trudeau is just a run of the mill left loon snowflake. No cred of any kind. Have you tried dreads?

          And thank you for paying so much attention to what I do.

    • paul courtney
      Posted May 4, 2018 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

      If our host has banned Brandon Slanderberger, I say long overdue. Brandon has made clear his distaste for Steve, which has morphed into an irrational hatred, and one can only wonder why he returns at all. Same for Don Monfort, who left due to moderation, what, four times, only to break his vow and return again. I compliment our host for not responding to these attacks. Questioning the media narrative does not make one a Putin stooge (as if). And this post raises clearly valid questions, I don’t see any hard conclusions drawn. Should be obvious from Libya and elsewhere that the worst of the worst benefit from the failed state environment, but if I say that, Don will accuse me of calling Putin a lamb. Don, your comments to Omar clearly indicate you think you know more about Syria than a Syrian, can you just once try listening?

      • paul courtney
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

        And now we see our host has looked into Brandon’s claim of banning, and responded. Don, why wait for our host to “blacklist” you (don’t hold your breath)? You are as free to not post as I am to skip your comments. Moderate yourself. Why spend time in a place you consider weird?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

        What did I do to Omar? He got to say his piece. Am I disqualified from commenting on Syria because I am not Syrian? I been around. Obviously Assad is still there, after seven years of rebellion. Why would he agree to leave now that he is winning with the help of Iran, Putin et al?

        Omar obviously doesn’t live in Syria and he states that the majority of the Syrian people don’t agree with him. That’s millions of resident Syrians who know what is going on there better than ex-pat Omar and they don’t agree with Omar. Yet you want to ding little ole me, for disagreeing with Omar. Get real. Omar is engaging in wishful thinking. And the people of Syria haven’t been fighting and getting crushed daily for seven years only to meekly accept Assad’s oppressive stability.

        Wait, wait, wait! Aren’t you the same paul courtney who said he is free to skip my comments? Yeah, it’s you. Get to skippin.

        PS: Brandon did not accuse Steve of banning him. He stated that he can’t post here with his name. Do you think he made that up? He also said:”I don’t know how it happened or why”. Is that not plain enough for you? may e you need to read harder. Or, just skippity skip those commenters, whose plain English you cannot comprehend, or whose opinions you don’t like.

        • omar allababidi
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

          Dear don

          I am one of the lucky few who lost nothing during the war, unlike most syrians whom lost relatives and property I have no vendetta or grudges towards a specific side.
          What you mistakingly identified as wishful thinking is mearly a consideration of the future in a country that is lost in the past and current events.
          You have a certain view of the syrian dillema from your corner of the world which might be accurate, how ever i dont see you reaching a conclusion or presenting a fact, you seem only interested in dissing others.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          I have stated many facts. You missed them.

          I can see that you have no grudge against a specific side. But why not? Because you have not personally suffered?

          Cover your eyes, here is some more of my name calling: Assad is a ruthless tyrant. His father was a ruthless tyrant. Whichever family member that succeeds Bashar to the throne will be a ruthless tyrant. You don’t have a problem with that?

          How does a Syrian detach himself from the reality of the atrocities of the Assad dynasty? You should think about picking a side. It’s a no brainer for me. I always side with the innocent victims of the ruthless tyrants. Particularly, the women and children. Think about it.

        • omar allababidi
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 10:10 AM | Permalink


          Your way of thinking is very white and black, you need not look very far to see how this region works, lebanon went into a horrible civil war with each militia claiming righteousness, they only gained death destruction and debts, lebanon only stabilized when assad army and dictatorship went in.
          We are not so fortunate to have a pick of what is best , but a pick from what’s available, which is either a russian supported dictatorship (with or w/o assad) or a fractured country with multiple factions and warlords supported by western countries (kurds, sunni salafi militias etc)
          the west has failed in showing true commitment to ending the war and forcing assad out, instead they were more intrested in seeing the country consume it self in constant war, they refused to enforce no flight zones or to arm rebels with anti air weapons.
          All the factions in the current war failed to impose civilian safe areas or a cease fire or to force humanitarian aid entry to conflict zones and besieged towns.
          Yes Assad is a ruthless tyrant,but the likes of aloosh and aljoulani aren’t democratic pigeons either, they ruled through fear and built prisons and conducted kidnappings and built their economy through smuggling and enforcing tariffs on every commodity entering including basic food like rice and grain, They also randomly bombarded civilian neighbourhoods in Damascus with whatever inaccurate weapons they had like mortars and hell canons
          But please go watch more western propaganda, claim that you are standing with the weak and diss others opinions, in the end it doesn’t really matter what you or me think, it also doesnt matter who is right or wrong, for this will be only concluded with brute force and the annihilation of one side, and whether you like it or not the odds are currently in russia’s favour.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

          My reply went to moderation. I will summarize it:

          The Assad Dynasty owns the mess in your country. That is not a fiction created by Western propaganda. It is ludicrous to take a neutral position and try to spread the blame around. Stand for something.

        • Omar Allababidi
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

          And the mess before Assad? The assads are only the last of a long line of coups and dictatorships, replacing Assad will only spawn another, or in the usual case a dozen other assads.
          The fiction the west created was the two weeks deadline for the end of assad, the red line that was meant to be crossed, the half hearted weapon supply that was only meant to keep the war going than to end it. Israel would treat nusrat jihadis in field hospitals then send them back to wreak havoc. But please keep repeating the same fiction, it is ironically sad and funny at the same time.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Two more comments in moderation, for no apparent reason. Do you have the wordpress moderation algorithm set on “snowflake”, Steve? Or is it just out to get me?

          You can have the last word, Omar. Tell us more about Assad stability.

        • Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

          I’ve also had many innocuous comments go into perpetual moderation.

          But if this makes it through I want to welcome Omar to the USA and ask him why he chose America. Was it purely economic or did the ideals of freedom have any weight? Would he have a problem if his children were asked to fight for American freedom? If so, would that include American interventions? Should the US and UN have intervened in the Korean War? Grenada? Panama? Yugoslavia? Lebanon? Afghanistan? Libya? Would the world be safer if the US returned to pre-WWII isolationism?

        • omar lababidi
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          in reply to Ron graf

          I came to USA for a better socio-economic life, I don’t think politics or personal beliefs had anything to do with my decision, I would have gone to Saudia arabia or any other police state if I had better work opportunities.
          personally I deeply respect the US constitution and the personal freedoms and rights it protected, I would help in any way to protect them.
          regarding foreign interventions, I am pretty resilient towards propaganda and mass media, I don’t have knowledge on all the interventions mentioned above but my general sense is that they were more imperialistic and less of freedom interventions, If I was a US citizen back then, then I would support my country in its path for dominance and greatness.
          In my opinion the US helped stabilize the world by being the only major player during the 90s. the world was certainly less safer during the cold war or world wars when there were many players contesting for dominance.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

          Well said, Omar. Reminds me of why I said you seemed to be a decent and thoughtful person.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

          Well said, Omar. Reminds me of why I said you seemed to be a decent and thoughtful person.

        • Posted May 6, 2018 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          Omar said: “If I was a US citizen back then, then I would support my country in its path for dominance and greatness..”

          There is no doubt an element of national pride once one’s country has entered a conflict. This effect also gives the leadership a political boost and is called “wag the dog.” Since this is pretty well known America’s population is slightly more politically sophisticaed than in past times. Now, and even in the past, great and heated national debate usually proceeds any international interventions. The factors include whether the objective is achievable, just, containable, affordable and in some way aiding in America’s national security. Often Vietnam, Lebanon and other failed interventions are reflected upon. In the case of Syria’s uprising I think leaders were hoping that it was an “Arab spring” that would succeed internally. America’s Obama administration (and Clinton) gave vocal support to the uprising but lacked intelligence assets or plan to physically assist.

          President Obama had capitalized on the political good luck of being against the Iraq War, calling it stupid. I believe his luck was just an anti-Bush, anti-Republicanism. But he hoped he might be fortunate (and charismatic) enough to leave Iraq and it and Syria right themselves and earn his Nobel Prize (already awarded to him preemptively). But that didn’t happen and instead every radical who was willing to use an AK-47 filled the void. Obama called them the “JV Team,” a school sports program for underclassmen and those not good enough for varsity, the junior varsity JV.

          When it finally was apparent America had miscalculated about Assad’s power and the JV (ISIL) it was too late to effectively support a democratic coalition. They were gone. I don’t know if there was a winning move that America missed, that Trump or some other president would have seen.

          What do you think?

        • Omar Allababidi
          Posted May 7, 2018 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

          Another comment in moderation.
          To sum up, history doesn’t show inclination to support any democracy in the region, instesd coups vs legitimate governments were supported and I don’t see that policy changing anytime soon

  35. Don Monfort
    Posted May 4, 2018 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    PS:Rather than Steve falsely accusing poor Brandon of falsely accusing Steve of blacklisting, it might have been more in the spirit of auditing for Steve to find out why Brandon can’t comment under his name.

  36. Posted May 5, 2018 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    The hysterical and obnoxious Don CnnToldMeSo Montfort has told us as he spammed this thread, that he was going to leave..but still spams with his “russia dunn it” tinfoil hat rants..
    Please Don..take your “expertise” back to the Guardina comments section,,

    • Don Monfort
      Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

      I am compelled to stay, until forcibly removed. A lot of you people need a lot of help. Keep reading.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

        If anybody is in any doubt what classic trolling is, just read a dozen of Don’s comments.
        Main purpose: spoiling this blog with fact-less innuendo.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

          You wouldn’t know facts from Shinola. You are inpermeable to facts.

        • Paul Courtney
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

          Antony: Indeed. His wish to be blacklisted unfulfilled, and our host having looked into it, Don demands our host look into it. Still clenching his fist harder on the notion that he knows more of Syria than omar, he now knows more about running the blog than the host. Don, you said you were leaving but you’re “compelled” to return. I didn’t say I’d skip your posts, merely said I could do so. I try to be understanding when it becomes clear english is not your first language.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 6, 2018 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          You really need to learn how to read, little dude. I did not say that you said “I’d skip your posts”. I said:

          “Aren’t you the same paul courtney who said he is free to skip my comments?”

          Do you see the difference, little dude?

          Gibberish:” His wish to be blacklisted unfulfilled, and our host having looked into it, Don demands our host look into it.”

          Our host hasn’t mentioned looking into any blacklisting. He said he checked moderation to see if Brandon’s comments were stuck there. Brandon never claimed his comments were stuck there, but that they were not appearing here. Do you see anything from Steve indicating he has made any effort to find out why Brandon cannot post under his name? And I have not demanded that our host do anything. That would be silly and I am not silly, like so many others here.

  37. john cooknell
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I cannot make sense of all this.

    War makes no sense, but it appears to be in our nature to destroy, that is the way it has always been.

  38. Posted May 6, 2018 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Hi Omar,

    A question for you. If you were the United States and it was trying to avoid accepting terrorists as refugees or immigrants, how would you weed out the terrorists from the good people of Syria?


    • omar lababidi
      Posted May 6, 2018 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

      in reply to jddohio

      if I was the US government, and this was an Actual big problem, then I would definitely seek the root of the problem, the source of these Jihadi-suicide bombers-terrorist, the funding hub, the ideologic center, a current US ally called saudia arabia.
      however, statistics show that this is a very minor problem that the media like to blow out of proportions, and NSA and homeland security can and have been able to identify radicals.

      • Posted May 9, 2018 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

        Thanks for your insight.


      • mpainter
        Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

        In fact, Qatar is a bigger problem than Saudi Arabia. It is the money bag of the Ikwan, otherwise known as the Muslim Brotherhood. Ask Egypt about the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama/Clinton/Bushco connection to this and Qatar are presently being investigated.

        • Omar L
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

          Ikhwan, wahhabis, hizbullah, Shia militias, ISIS alqaida, I don’t really see much difference.

  39. Posted May 6, 2018 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Come on Steve, can’t you at least pretend to read what you complain about? First, I never said you blacklisted me. I said it seemed my name/e-mail address had been blacklisted, and I didn’t know how or why that happened. Saying I didn’t know how or why it happened means I couldn’t know that you did it yourself as opposed to something with the moderation software.

    Moreover, I explicitly stated my comments were not showing up as being held in moderation, meaning your failure to find my comments in moderation is utterly irrelevant. Of course you wouldn’t find my comments in a spot I said they weren’t showing up.

    • Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

      Because Steve decided to go with a silly strawman rather than actually respond to what I said happened, let me try to move this to a factual, verifiable level. What comment do people see when they click this link:

      For me, nothing shows up. The same is true for comments numbered 781321, 781322 and 781323. Comment 781324 is this comment, where I first tried posting under a different name.

      If one uses comment IDs to make a timeline, it is clear comments 781321, 781322 and 781323 are missing, as are comments 781326 and 781327, in the exact period I said I couldn’t post under my real name. If my comments were not disappearing as I claimed, what were those five comments? If what I said was “completely out of line,” then there should be five comments with IDs corresponding to those numbers which were not by me. It should be easy to pull them up in whatever moderation queue they’re stuck in to prove me wrong.

      Personally, I think the fact there are five comments missing in the exact time window I say I couldn’t submit comments under my name should be a fairly convincing argument. Is anyone going to claim that is a coincidence? Is someone going to say I decided to randomly comment under a different name to say I had comments vanishing right after three comments unconnected to me were submitted but didn’t appear? What about the other two comments which were submitted shortly after I said this was happening that never appeared? Are people going to say that was coincidence too, not that I tried switching back to my original account to test after the alternate account was able to post?

      What about comment 781331, a comment made in a (six hour) later two-hour window between Don Monfort posting a comment (781330) and me responding (781332) which is also missing? Is that another coincidence, or was it me trying to respond under my real name, finding I still couldn’t then switching to an alternate name?

      The facts are easy to verify. They’ll show what i said happened, happened.

      • Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

        Slight correction. That’s four comments which had disappeared before I switched accounts. I forgot to include 781320 in the count. That makes four comments missing before I switched accounts, two more sometime after I commented on a different account and a seventh several hours later.

    • Streetcred
      Posted May 12, 2018 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

      Really ? Who cares ? Quit whining here and try some place that is more to your liking. You’re not forced to bloviate here. Have a great day 😉

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 12, 2018 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

        Streetcrud is baaaaack!

      • Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

        I have to wonder at the mentality of a person who responds to someone who hasn’t posted in a week to tell them to go away. I had pretty well given up commenting here given our host’s decision to make an obviously false claim then refuse to correct or address it when his misconceptions were pointed out. If nobody had said another word to me on this post, I can’t imagine I’d have commented on this page again.

        Or is that the point? Is this some weird sort of bait to get me to comment here again? I can’t imagine why someone would want that in this situation, but it’d still make way more sense than telling a person who was already gone to go away.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          Streetcrud is trying to build his non-existent streetcred. Tells you to get out of town, at no risk to himself. Pathetic.

  40. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Douma: Part 2 – ‘It Just Doesn’t Ring True’

  41. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

    On the (related) Salisbury gas attack:

  42. markx
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Just an observation re the two ‘balcony gas cylinder’ photos:

    That’s either a different cylinder in each photo, or perhaps the same cylinder rotated 180 degrees. The scratch patterns and stains differ. And possibly the dimensions differ too, but that may be an artifact of lens focal length and/or photo editing.

    In any case, further clear indication that at least some degree of stage managing has occurred.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted May 12, 2018 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

      If you had any sense, you would recognize that the two photos were taken at different times, in different light, from different angles and different distances. Both photos depict a yellowish cylinder in a freaking hole with the same debris field surrounding them. Only a clown would draw a clear indication of blah blah blah from that.

      • markx
        Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

        Zoom in and look Don.
        Both photos are directed towards the same corner of the walls.

        The background debri is basically in the same positions.

        The foreground debris is largely the same, but is slightly re-arranged.

        The patterns of scratches and corrosion on the cylinder are completely different.

        As I said: some evidence of stage managing.

        Other than that, nothing else can be concluded.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

          Nope, it is evidence that the canisters have been shifted. One can conclude that these were intentionally moved or rotated. No other conclusion is warranted. However, one may _argue_ that there was staging for the second photo. One can also argue that there are two different canisters. And so forth.

          One can also argue that the canister was shifted to inspect it for identifying numerals or printing.

          So, argue away.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

          My explanation is correct, marky. If you had any sense and you were looking at it objectively you are probably sane enough to see it. Please tell us your theory on why someone would switch one very similar cylinder for another? What are they staging? What is the purpose of the staging? Why not just use one freaking cylinder? Use your little head, for a change.

        • markx
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

          Mpainter.. we are largely in agreement.

        • markx
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

          Don, if you accept there has been some staging, the question then becomes: just how much of this is staged?

          If you are worried about purpose and intent, perhaps one may go right back to these questions:

          Why would Assad do the one thing which could derail his current success?

          And; What possible gains might he expect militarily from killing one family in one house with chemical weapons?

        • mpainter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          For terror. Terror is an effective means of of controlling a dissident populace. And yes, Assad is that kind of dictator, despite all attempt to whitewash him on Twitter.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

          Also, the word “staged” or “staging” carries certain connotations and I do not agree to its appropriateness in this context (meaning the photos of the canister).

        • markx
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

          mpainter … “stage managed” may be a better term.

          But … that gas cylinder undoubtedly did NOT make that hole through the steel reinforced concrete floor. It is not damaged, it is still on the surface and gives the appearance of being carefully placed at the edge of the hole. … ie it has the appearance of a stage managed picture.
          I’d agree it is possible it was dropped from an aircraft, landed on the floor and rolled to that point.
          But it did not make the hole.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

          Marx or whatever, horsegrunt. You make crepe up.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

          Also, horsegrunt on your semantic quibbling.

        • markx
          Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

          Nuthin made up there… take a look.

          Not sure if you’ve ever smashed through a concrete wall or floor, but it should be obvious even to you that there’d be major damage to a gas cylinder which did so.

          Don’t get too upset about my theories to this point: In fact, I think it more likely the whole thing was staged, perhaps even to the point of murdering people. (Bet that made ya choke on ya tea and biscuits!)

        • mpainter
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

          Give strength parameters of gas cylinder. Was the gas liquefied? In which case it was incompressible and cylinder would have burst if not strong enough. Bombs have been designed to smash through over ten feet of concrete. You make crepe up. Get facts. A photo is not a competent investigation. People like you have no concept of the need for facts and make crepe up, thinking that their imagination serves for facts.

          And that is the problem with the head post. Nothing but photos and commentary on those photos. But some types are impressed and imagine that it serves as a thorough investigation while relying on their uninformed imagination to draw conclusions. Like you.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 3:50 AM | Permalink

          * “penetrate over ten feet” before exploding. A few inches of concrete is no obstruction for ordinance that is strongly designed. Get the facts. Uninformed imagination does not impress me.

        • markx
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

          You are seriously suggesting that what was described as a gas cylinder penetrated neatly through 30 cm of reinforced concrete and then bounced back out and landed atop the floor?

        • mpainter
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

          And now you attribute your own imaginings to me.

        • markx
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

          That didn’t work for you eh… so your scenario was what?

          Please put it forward, I’m interested.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

          What painter said:”For terror. Terror is an effective means of of controlling a dissident populace. And yes, Assad is that kind of dictator, despite all attempt to whitewash him on Twitter.”

          Assad and his evil allies are winning precisely because of ruthless terror. End of story.

        • markx
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

          Ok you’ve put forward a motive for Assad to use chemical weapons, and I’ll add one:
          1. Terrorise civilians more than normal bombings might do.
          2. Demonstrate his profound stupidity and or arrogance.

          Possible motives for the so called rebels to do so?:
          1. Provide an excuse for western military action on their behalf.
          2. Provoke immediate air strikes against Assad’s regime.
          3. Stimulate further western financial support and weaponry supplies.
          4. Invoke international sympathy.
          5. Prompt unwary western reporters to attend to provide ready fodder for kidnappings and beheadings.

  43. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    Reg. April 24th:
    Just made my first post on Steemit. Decided not to use ClimateAudit for non-climate essays. Pointed out the non-authoritativeness of @WHO statement on Douma.
    I tried to sign up there but their confirmation code SMS doesn’t reach India. Therefore I will continue to post relevant audit links here.

  44. Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    A recent book review by M. Forte may be of interest-

    ….”Nonetheless, Gowans succeeds in poking so many holes into caricatures of “Assad the dictator” that no person, informed by reading his book, could reasonably continue repeating such themes. In the spirit of C.B. Macpherson, Gowans urges us to take Syrian claims to building a democracy, seriously…..”

    • Don Monfort
      Posted May 14, 2018 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

      Any dumb clown can write a book. Poking holes can impress the gullible, who prefer to ignore the actual evidence:

    • markx
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

      I don’t think there’s much dispute over whether Assad’s regime brutally suppresses any opposition. There may be some question as to how much he is directly involved in this, but he certainly allows it to continue.

      However, the 0.5 % of the population believed to have been detained by the regime, and the 0.1% believed to have been killed by the regime, pales in relation to the 1.75% of the population which HAVE died in this war, and the 50% of the population KNOWN to have been displaced, half of these now being outside the border.

      And given that western support of these rebels boosted the rise of ISIS, and that now even without ISIS involved, the only incredibly obvious possible outcome of rebel success would have been a squabbling bunch of Islamic extremist groups fighting over running the country, one has to wonder if the western aim was simply to sow chaos; as it has done in Afghanistan and Libya. .

      Omar Lababidi in his comments above states very clearly that the average Libyan, given the choice between years of completely destructive warefare, death and destruction, or a relatively peaceful existence for 99.5% of the population under Assad, would very easily choose Assad.

      Yet, the arrogant west says, “No, f**kthat, we don’t like the guy, and you’re gonna get what we reckon is good for you, even though we have no f**king idea how it’ll work!”

      … and you somehow find it in your mind to support this idiocy?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 15, 2018 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

        I won’t read anything you say beyond this dumb crap: “There may be some question as to how much he is directly involved in this, but he certainly allows it to continue.”

        Assad is a ruthless dictator. His father was a ruthless dictator. If Assad wins, which is likely, his son will be a ruthless dictator. Ruthless dictators are directly involved in the ruthlessness. They dictate. It’s their job. Try using your little head. End of story.

        • markx
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 4:47 PM | Permalink


          … the 0.5 % of the population believed to have been detained by the regime, and the 0.1% believed to have been killed by the regime, pales in relation to the 1.75% of the population which HAVE died in this war, and the 50% of the population KNOWN to have been displaced, half of these now being outside the border.

          And given that western support of these rebels boosted the rise of ISIS, and that now even without ISIS involved, the only incredibly obvious possible outcome of rebel success would have been a squabbling bunch of Islamic extremist groups fighting over running the country, one has to wonder if the western aim was simply to sow chaos; as it has done in Afghanistan and Libya.

          Omar Lababidi in his comments above states very clearly that the average Libyan, given the choice between years of completely destructive warefare, death and destruction, or a relatively peaceful existence for 99.5% of the population under Assad, would very easily choose Assad.

          Yet, the arrogant west says, “No, f**kthat, we don’t like the guy, and you’re gonna get what we reckon is good for you, even though we have no f**king idea how it’ll work!”

          … and you somehow find it in your mind to support this idiocy?

      • mpainter
        Posted May 15, 2018 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

        My reaction was the same as Don Monfort’s. When I read that twaddle about Assad, I read no further. You have no credibility, marxy pal.

        • markx
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          How do you two geniuses know anything about Assad, when you do no reading of alternate views, and your main source of information is Fox News?

    • markx
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

      Don, you should try ignoring the propaganda and bulls**t combining from all sides: everything we get from the Western media about the rebel side is from rebels or the White Helmets, and everything from Assad’s side has it’s own slant.

      Just look at logical scenarios and the possible happenings and the most likely outcomes.

    • markx
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

      … and you probably should read Stephan Gowans’ book… not to agree with what he says, but at least to see that there’s more to the story than your “Assad is a brute, therefore the deaths and damage in removing him are immaterial” approach.

  45. mpainter
    Posted May 15, 2018 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Nope, Omar Lababidi says there is no clear answer to Syria’s problems, and I agree. It seems obvious that neither side is pretty. One thing is clear: Assad remains only if he divorces himself from Iran and Hezbollah. The writing is on the wall. Trump has committed to removing the malign influence of Iran from the region and he will do it. It should have been done under Obama.

    Another problem is Erdogan. It will be interesting to see how Trump deals with him. I would like to see the Turks held accountable for the Armenian genocide.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

      Whoa, paint. Trump is not going to kick Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. Iran only leaves Syria if there is regime change and somebody sensible ends up governing Iran. Not likely any time soon.

      Erdogan is a stinker, but he is firmly in power and will remain a problem. The Turks are not responsible for the Armenian genocide. The Turks who were responsible have long since died.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 15, 2018 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

        The name is mpainter and yes, Trump is committed to removing the malign influence of Iran from the region, or do you dispute this?. We shall see how he (and Israel) achieve this. The foaming ayatollahs will make more mistakes as they feel the heat, imo. All is in suspense and I’m betting on Trump.

        Turkey certainly bears the burden of guilt in the Armenian genocide. Never too late to demand redress for this monstrous deed.

        • Omar L
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

          Iran is certainly being checkmated, that nuclear deal meant a lot for their failing economy.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 15, 2018 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

          Relax, painty. We hope he does it. Not likely any time soon. They’ll just crank up the oppression. That usually works in the Middle East.

    • markx
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

      No, this below is what Omar Lababidi said.

      (I read very quickly, and read everything I can find on a topic. Whereas you two are like naughty children not wanting to hear that which contradicts them: fingers in ears, jumping up and down yelling “nah na nah nah!” :-). Tis amusing and intriguing.)

      “…ending the war and bringing back stability is what will benefit most Syrians, ending the hunger sieges and the indiscriminate shelling is what we should look for, and in that I have cheered previously for the western backed FSA when it claimed it will end the Assad rule in two weeks, and I will support assad if he will end the war and stop the division of what was once my home….”

      “…in a country ravished by wars, hunger, poverty and lack of services necessary to create any healthy community that can rebuild, the presence of 1 big criminal with his mafia is still better than having 10 smaller criminals/mafias constantly creating chaos in effort to wipe each other….”

      omar lababidi on Apr 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    • markx
      Posted May 15, 2018 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

      And I’ve bread everything you two (Don and mpainter) have writte above too:

      And your argument is quite short and simple:
      1. Assad is a cruel dictator, therefore he must go.
      2. There is no concern that what might replace Assad appears to be considerably worse than he is.
      3. There is no concern for the fate of Syria and the Syrian people in this: if chaos ensues, so be it.

  46. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    By the way, real chlorine gas can simply be bought in for example Saudi Arabia by civilians for industry or swimming pools etc.. Here info from Air Liquide’s US site: a 140 kg cylinder with 68 litre liquid 99.5% chlorine inside (CHEMGAZ 1)
    No need to build more factories for this; any asset or Assad can order them online.

  47. mpainter
    Posted May 21, 2018 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Halper is Bushco. Lots more to come on Bushco’s role in this Russia Russia Russia affair. In fact, Bushco is the main force in this.

  48. Don Monfort
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    I wonder what kind of holes Steve’s favorite analytic tweeters will poke in this:

    • mpainter
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

      Or maybe Thule, Greenland, where you’ll meet some really cool people.

    • mpainter
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

      By the way, the Ukrainian air traffic.controller refused permission to mh17 pilot to ascend to cruising altitude, which height (39,000 feet) would have put the flight out of range of the buk anti-aircraft missile. It looks like a set-up job.
      The airlines was greatly at fault for not avoiding a war zone. This b.s. about filing criminal charges is a cover up. Look closely and you will find that Malaysia airlines has Dutch ownership.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:22 PM | Permalink


        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

          You are making crap up, painty ….really pathetic:

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

          Pull your head out and read it carefully, Don, there’s a smart fellow. Key words: claimed, may have.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

          Buk can hit targets from 46,000 ft altitude to 79,000 ft depending on model. Poor painty has been bamboozled by KGB propaganda, again. Really pathetic.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

          “It looks like a set-up job.” Pathetic.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

          Maximum range for maximized conditions. The Ukrainians would do what they could to insure that conditions were optimal for a successful strike, that is, restrict the altitude of the airliner. There will be a record of any communications between the airliner and Ukrainian controllers.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

        Or rather, had Dutch ownership. In August,2014, the Malaysian government nationalized all outstanding shares of that airline (previously the government had a 63% ownership). Now the airlines can only be sued in Malaysia, as in fat chance. That nationalization was done one month after their flight mh17 was shot down. It didn’t take them long, did it?

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

          Thule, I think, would be the best place for you. And you’ll be safe from all the booger men, like Putin, darn tootin’, in Thule.

      • mpainter
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

        Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply
        Or rather, had Dutch ownership. In August,2014, the Malaysian government nationalized all outstanding shares of that airline (previously the government had a 63% ownership). Now the airlines can only be sued in Malaysia, as in fat chance. That nationalization was done one month after their flight mh17 was shot down. It didn’t take them long, did it?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

          Which is totally irrelevant to who done the dirty deed. And we know who it was. You are pathetic.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

          A full investigation should explore any disinformation fed to Russia which led them to believe that the flight was a military operation, say, a paratrooper operation.

          I doubt seriously that Russian military knew that their target was a civilian airliner. Their actions showed that they had foreknowledge of the flight path of mh17 but did not know it was a civilian flight.

          But this business of making a crime of it puts the U.S. in the crosshairs for our downing of the Iranian airliner twenty years ago, a similar mistake. Who gets criminally charged in that?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

          This is just too silly and disgusting You are a blatant shameless apologist for Soviet KGB dictator Vlad Putin. You are shamelessly trying to find any thing to muddy the water. You are making it up. The Russians did it.

          I can’t take any more of this dumb crap. This blog is in the crapper.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

          Thule for you, Donny boy.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

          And you can remain in the crapper, clownboy.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

        Better wonder why Ukraine didn’t mark their airspace as unfit for international passenger traffic overflight.

      • Frank
        Posted May 25, 2018 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

        mpainter is spouting more Putin propaganda, probably distributed by his friends at the Internet Research Agency.

        The most efficient cruising altitude for a planes rises as fuel is consumed. MH17 was following the flight plan (filed internationally) that expected it to rise from 33.000 feet to 35,000 over Eastern Ukraine on airway L980. A nearby plane had delayed that rise and the ML17 was cleared to enter Russian air space at 33,000 feet. Ukrainian military planes had been shot down one and three days before MH 17 at altitudes suggesting that new air-to-ground missiles capable of reaching civilian air traffic were now being used in rebel territory. The Russian BUK surface-to-air missile system capable of reaching these altitude had been seen and photographed on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. Analysis of the wreckage showed that the plane had been brought down by a missile exploding outside the cockpit, not a bomb inside the plane. The 9M38 missile that allegedly brought down MH17 could reach at least 46,000 feet.

        Without warning, the Russian military sent anti-aircraft missiles capable of hitting civilian airliners into Eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of flights entered or left their air space for Eastern Ukraine every day. Airlines had at most three days to respond to the evolving threat.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 25, 2018 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

          This is like Mueller indicting Russians. Four years afterwards the Dutch are indicting Russians when the facts were known four years ago. Indict Russian military personnel. This has the odor of horsegrunt, Frank. Your favorite flavor.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

      This MH17 report is based on analysis of video images, so “crap” in Don’s language above for Douma visuals.
      What is important here is the timing of the report’s release: 5 years after the incident BUT 1 month before the world cup football in Russia. MH17 was downed 6 months before the Winter Olympics in Russia, but the perpetrator was not clear enough for sanctions.
      The Dutch establishment wants revenge now and getting the EU to boycott this world cup is part of that. Straight into the narrative of the Five Eyes – but One “Brain” (neither Obama or Trump): Russia!, Russia!

      • Don Monfort
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

        pathetic putin apologist
        this is the crapper

        • Posted May 25, 2018 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

          Wasn’t that the former Director of National Intelligence?

    • mpainter
      Posted May 25, 2018 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

      This move by the Netherlands government cheats the families of the victims of any compensation because it blames Russia which accepts no blame and is unreachable. The responsibility lies with the airlines for flying over a combat zone where fighter planes operated and air defense missiles were operating. Mh17 was hit at 29,000 feet altitude. Russia blamed the pilot Voloshin, who committed suicide in March this year, perhaps out of remorse.

      • Frank
        Posted May 25, 2018 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

        Painty, don’t you get tired of being fooled by absurd stories? Radar showed only three aircraft within 30 miles of MH 17 when it exploded, all civilian airliners. Was Voloshin flying a stealth fighter on loan from the US?

        The final report of the Dutch Air Safety Board was published in October 2015, a little more than one year after the plane was lost. That report assigned the blame to a Russian missile fired by rebels.

        Commercial airlines were restricted to flying above 32,000 feet by the Ukrainian government and military flights were below 26,000, leaving 26,000-32,000 as an empty buffer zone. The 32,000 feet limit imposed by Ukraine is higher than those imposed by Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Some nations ban travel by their domestic carriers over conflict zones. The US had banned flights over Crimea where rival air traffic control sites were providing conflicting instructions.

        If a Ukrainian plane had shot down MH17, the rebels would have immediately allowed experts to study the wreckage. The fact that it took 4 months to get access is telling. It took the Russians 8 years to admit downing KAL007 in 1983.

        • mpainter
          Posted May 25, 2018 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

          Whose radar? And who is fooled? The Ukraine were operating scores of fighters against the rebels at this time. So, who is fooled, you or me?

          The Netherlands government should not have approved the flight plan. All indicators are that the rebels thought that they had targeted a military plane.

          Absurd to talk of prosecution of the rebels “under Dutch law”. Wise up, horsegrunt reveler.

        • Frank
          Posted May 25, 2018 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

          mPainter asked: Whose radar? The flight was seen on radar from both Russia and Ukraine. It was about to be handed over to Russian air traffic control when it disappeared from radar.

          Flight plans that cross international boundaries are entered into a system that checks the flight plan against all of the current rules of the overflown countries and submits those plans that pass directly to the appropriate air traffic control systems. Of course, each airline reviews all their flight plans and makes sure they are obeying any rules their home country had imposed. (The US had banned flights over Crimea, where Ukrainian and Russian air traffic control systems were giving contradictory instructions. That sent more flights over Eastern Ukraine.)

          Civilian airliners have been flying over like Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq after Saddam, Syria, etc. A government plane at 30,000 feet is out of range of all but the most sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles. Those missiles must be transported by specialized vehicles and haven’t been available to most insurgencies.

          mpainter wrote: “All indicators are that the rebels thought that they had targeted a military plane.”

          I thought you just told me a Ukrainian plane shot down MH17. Now you say it was an accident. Try to find out the truth before spreading Russian propaganda.

          Libya compensated the families of victims of the Libyan-sponsored terrorists that brought down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. When the Russians kick out Putin, their new government will spend some of his billions compensating the families of MH17 and KAL 007 passengers.

    • mpainter
      Posted May 25, 2018 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

      It is not unlikely that mh17 was taken as a military plane. The Dutch say that Russia’s guilt lies in the fact that the missile originated in Kursk, Russia. Well, Russia is absolved of any blame on that basis, if the missile system were operated in the Donbass by insurgents. The Netherlands “investigation” and threatened “indictment” is not more than a sham to shift liabilities from the government, which approved the mh17 flight plan over the dangerous combat zone.

  49. mpainter
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Israel struck again, this time against Hezbollah west of Homs. Message: we will destroy Iranian military presence in Syria bit by bit and no one can resist us.
    Iranian prestige in Syria (and the region) sinks lower and lower. Trump will succeed where the ineffectual Obama and Bush fumbled. Steve McIntyre will angrily tweet against this success.

    • Frank
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

      If I understand correctly, Syria has Baathist government forces, the Kurd-led alliance SDF, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, Saudi-supported Sunni Islamists, and residual ISIS forces – and their foreign allies. In the Lebanese civil war, which had a similar array of diverse forces, whenever any group threatened to get strong enough to control the country, the others would unite against them. Until recently, ISIS was viewed as the biggest threat, so government and SRF forces did most of their fighting against them. Now that ISIS isn’t the major threat, everyone else is likely to devote most of their effort against the Baathists. Israeli interference is increasing against the Baathists allies Hezbollah and Iran. Trump would like to remove all US help, but that might leave Shia domination from Iran to Lebanon, so US, Saudi and Israeli support will probably prevent victory by the Baathists. Turkey will intervene if the SDF gets too strong. The likely result will be a stalemate.

    • mpainter
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

      Putin’s venture in Syria was meant to restore Russian prestige in the area. He undertook this venture against a a weak and ineffectual Obama administration.
      But Trump is neither weak nor ineffectual. If Putin is to salvage some prestige for Russia, he will accommodate Israel’s aim of expelling Iran/Hezbollah from Syria and Lebanon. A political solution will be found that saves face for Putin and maintains the Baathist principles. The forty eight year Assad dictatorship will probably end and some sort of democracy will re place it.

      Assad shows that he understands that his future is tied to the expulsion of Iran. Iran, of course, is rapidly losing prestige. The question is Will Iran try some desperate war against Israel in an attempt to restore its prestige? That will hasten the end of the ayatollahs. Trump holds all the cards in this game. Interesting times.

      By the way, no one can withstand Israeli military prowess, not Iran not Russia. That prowess is the key and Trump will back Israel to the hilt.

      Also, did anyone take note how the Hamas riots at the Gaza border came to a screeching halt? Someone sent the word to Hamas “Cut it out”. Once Iranian influence is expunged from the region, there will finally be a peace settlement. This is Trump’s achievement.

  50. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    For Don: the good old days (1964) when a US president ordered the CIA to infiltrate his domestic opposition and directed the FBI to wire tap the same and they did it. How times have turned the tables!

  51. AntonyIndia
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

    For Steve: PM Trudeau approves upgrade of lazy one of the five Eyes so CSE can carry out offensive operations “to degrade, disrupt, influence, respond to or interfere with the capabilities, intentions or activities” of foreign actors.

    Who will he target first, Israel or India; I guess his handlers will redirect all to Iran or Russia.

  52. Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    I do consider all the ideas you have introduced in your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick for starters.
    Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  53. Posted Jun 29, 2018 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    “The forty eight year Assad dictatorship will probably end and some sort of democracy will re place it.”

    Nice try.But thats a fail..again..
    You have no shame..
    The Americans will try and force another dictator that they want. all the other dont read..fair enough..because rants and jingoes are so deep..
    And its okay to invade a foreign country..crickets..its ok because its the good ol USA. 🙂
    How is the Afghanistan invasion going..?the Iraqi invasion going..the destabilisation of Libya was pure genius as well..
    Ignore all that..just mumble “merica”..
    Seriously…beyond parody but I still had a shot anyway..
    No wonder your country is bankrupt and despotic when the base in intelligence of its population is so low and wilfully ignorant of its own history..

  54. Posted Jun 29, 2018 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    “Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time?”

    Mr Poes Law appears to be a troll..paid ? or just unemployed with thorazine soaked spittle hitting the computer screen in rages..?
    And its idiotic responses..are a little too pat.
    Might even be just a posting bot.. 🙂

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