Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The West’s Missile Strike on Syria: An Act of Raw Imperialism

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Crimes pile up until they become invisible.

Bertolt Brecht

When playwright Bertolt Brecht made this observation, it was the era of fascism and European colonialism in the 1930s. The world split into states privileged by the dint of their power to speak and states forced to listen and obey. This epoch culminated in World War II.

Lamentably, today, the 1930s are back and the crimes once again pile up… so many they’re in danger of becoming invisible. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, the charge-sheet grows ever longer with no end yet in sight; the latest chapter in this dismal story arrived with the illegal missile strike unleashed against Syria by the USA, UK, and France over an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus by Syrian government forces. I say allegedly because (at time of writing) OPCW inspectors are yet to undertake an on-site investigation to ascertain if such an attack did, in fact, occur and, if so, with what precise chemical weapon or substance. Here we have a situation where not only was this military action illegal under international law, it was undertaken before OPCW inspectors could begin their investigation per the existing and established international protocols set out in the Chemical Weapons Convention. Article IX states:

Pursuant to a request for a challenge inspection of a facility or location, and in accordance with the procedures provided for in the Verification Annex, the inspected State Party shall have: 

  1. a) The right and the obligation to make every reasonable effort to demonstrate its compliance with this Convention and, to this end, to enable the inspection team to fulfil its mandate.

I, for one, am long past the stage of believing that the world is divided between goodies and baddies, with the country I happen to live in, the UK, on the side of the goodies, along with the USA and other countries that come under the rubric of “the West”. It isn’t as easy you think to arrive at this understanding, not when from cradle to grave, the media, culture industry, and political élite condition people in the West to believe that a metaphorical Hadrian’s Wall separates us, the nice civilised people, from the bad barbaric people on the other side. They’d have us believe that Western governments and their loyal journalists and media outlets are noble purveyors of truth and justice, while non-Western governments and their journalists and media outlets are incorrigible liars and propagandists. They’d have us believe that the West only drops its “democracy bombs” in the cause of good, while the barbarians drop their “barbarism bombs” in the cause of evil. The result is acts of raw aggression such as the one unleashed against Syria over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, dressed up (as ever) in the threadbare clothes of humanitarian intervention.

On this occasion, as with every other occasion when it comes to these chemical weapons attacks, the video footage and other visual evidence used to make the case for the prosecution emanated exclusively from opposition sources within Douma itself…  in particular, the notorious White Helmets organisation, established by former British army officer and private military contractor James Le Mesurier. For some, perhaps, these are mere trifling details, but that this organization operates exclusively in opposition-held Syrian territory and has funding from Western governments, isn’t this sufficient reason to, at least, try to resist suspension of disbelief? To ask is surely to answer. Other pro-opposition organisations involved in shaping the narrative on this latest alleged chemical weapons attack are the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the UK, and the Syrian American Medical Society. On the latter of these, the Syrian American Medical Society, US author and commentator Max Blumenthal said:

SAMS isn’t merely a group of Syrian doctors tending to the wounded in war-torn areas, nor can we consider it an objective source on chemical attacks and other atrocities. The organisation is a USAID-funded lobbying powerhouse that functions with single-minded determination to stimulate a US-led war of régime-change that’d place Syrian Islamists in power in Damascus.

None of the details, information, or footage of the attack came from an independent or credible source. That’s not difficult to understand when no Western journalist or news crew would dare set foot in any part of the country controlled by the “rebels”, knowing that as soon as they did, they’d be abducted and murdered. Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk knows what the Syrian government and its people are up against. Writing in the aftermath of the military attack mounted by the USA and its allies, he informed us that in the suburbs of Damascus it wasn’t only Ghouta where jihadist militants were entrenched. Salafi-jihadist militants managed to retain a presence in another suburb of the Syrian capital. In this instance, it’s Daesh, and at the time of writing Syrian troops deploy there to engage in their next operation to secure the capital. Fisk informs us that on 27 March, Daesh surrounded and captured 116 Syrian soldiers in an ambush. The soldiers strayed into the area in the mistaken belief that a ceasefire was in place and it was safe. Subsequently, Daesh took the soldiers away and executed them… they shot some and beheaded the others. In the (by now) accustomed manner, they caught the grisly event on film.

The point that we need to make is that this base barbarism, rife throughout Syria over these past seven years, didn’t take place in a desert somewhere. No, it occurred in 2018 on the outskirts of a major capital city in the Middle East. Imagine for a moment if it was taking place on the outskirts of London or Washington or Paris. Just imagine… or can’t you? Can’t you imagine it? Are you unable to grasp the sheer horror of having on your doorstep the kind of people for whom there’s no constraint or no limit when it comes to wanton murder and massacre?

Precisely because we can’t imagine it, we make an outrageous moral equivalence between a secular nonsectarian government, supported by an army whose soldiers come from every Syrian religious and cultural group, and brutal sectarian butchers intent on genocide. This has passed muster in the West. It led us to the criminal folly of the USA, UK, and France refusing to align themselves with the people on the receiving end of sectarian barbarism in Syria, choosing instead to effectively join forces with the barbarians of al-Qaeda, Daesh, Nusra, and Jaish al-Islam. It’s tantamount to entering a pact with hell.

16 April 2018

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201804161063614684-crimes-pile-up-invisible/

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Western Media: Russia Won Without Firing a Single Shot

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We can summarise the official results of the “decisive” attack by Western countries on Syria. Russia proposed a resolution to condemn the attack at the UN Security Council. Three permanent Security Council members (who participated in the attack) vetoed it, so the resolution failed. In the world of real facts, we can generally establish the figures… the attackers launched 103 rockets. True, US President Donald Trump promised that they’d be “new and smart”, but most of them were elderly Tomahawks. As they approached strategically important facilities, elderly Syrian air defence systems developed by the Soviets precisely to counter Tomahawks shot them down. The British fired eight SCALP standoff weapons, “each was five metres in length”, the BBC proudly noted. In addition, they’re newer weapons, developed only twenty years ago. The role of the French remains unclear… the French leadership asserted that they also released eight SCALP weapons from fighters and three from ships. However, the Russian forces dryly pointed up that they detected no French Rafales. Therefore, it’s possible that this US ally received credit for participation without actually acting… to maintain the unity of the coalition.

As for damage, most weapons strikes hit unoccupied buildings in Damascus and Homs Governorates, that is, confirmed strikes that hit targets in Syria. Otherwise, despite the surprise of the attack and the fact (heavily stressed by US officials) that “that we didn’t warn Russia”:

  • There were no civilian deaths
  • There were no deaths in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)
  • The strike destroyed no aircraft or helicopters
  • No aircraft or weapons system flew into the zone of responsibility of Russian air defence systems
  • No weapon hit any Syrian airbase
  • Syrian defences shot down 71 of the 103 attacking systems

The actual effect was even less effective than that of the attack on the Shayrat airbase a year ago. Then, 59 Tomahawks managed to at least:

  • Damage a few aircraft
  • Crater the taxiways, putting the airfield out of action for several hours
  • Kill several Syrian troops

That’s the end of the facts, as a group of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria only a few hours after the raid. They were there to establish whether anything happened at all to justify the resolute US “response” and to find out exactly happened in Douma. Therefore, the real battle unfolded after the attack, and as expected in our strange era, it happened in the media space. A struggle began around the question of how to understand what happened.

Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron insisted that it was a vigorous and accurate retaliatory blow. They stated that they achieved their goals… they asserted that it dramatically reduced the ability of sneering monster Assad to produce chemical weapons to poison his people. Moreover, if he tries again, then, another equally devastating strike will recur, despite Russian objections, because the time for negotiations is over. The Western media wasn’t convinced that it was a forceful and severe consequence. For example, the Huffington Post bitterly stated:

  • Trump’s stated objectives were to stop “Assad’s murderous behaviour and show his strength to Assad’s patrons Russia and Iran”, but it achieved none of those goals.
  • At the time of the attack, all significant military and administrative targets were under the Russian “umbrella”, which Trump was afraid to touch.
  • In the end, Assad “didn’t stop the offensive” and “it didn’t challenge Russia”.

In an editorial comment “The Main Danger in Syria is Russia”, Reuters reported:

  • Assad has already almost won the six-year war and doesn’t intend to stop.
  • Moscow, warning in advance that “in the event of a threat to the lives of Russian troops, we won’t only take out any missiles, we’ll also take out their carriers”, turned this action of unrestrained justice into something purposeless. Because, the author notes, neither Russia nor the USA is interested in a real battle between themselves in Syria. Moreover, they aren’t interested even in showing each other their newest missiles and anti-missile systems… why feed the enemy information? Therefore, the same iron hoplites of the Cold War from the last millennium fought over the deserts and mountains of an ancient country.
  • There was no success in the end. Even worse… even though it’s clear that the USA can deploy many ships off Syria, including an aircraft carrier, all that it did was to fire off a lot of old missiles. However, it’s not so much a demonstration of force as “a demonstration of the impossibility of demonstrating strength”. As per usual, Russia “held a master class on how to achieve maximum goals with limited forces”.

That is, Russia, even without a single volley from its S-400 and Pantsir systems, effectively established a situation where the West didn’t dare to test its resolve. Note that this wasn’t a report by “Russian state propaganda trying to preserve the Kremlin’s face”. This is what authoritative British-American media saw. However, other authoritative Western media outlets trumpet and disseminate the version asserted by Trump, May, and Macron… “A bloody tyrant received a lesson; if necessary, we can repeat it”, and so on. All this confirms the depressing analysis we stated on the eve of the attack:

In fact, the only understandable explanation of what’s happening is some accursed universal hype, from which the Western élite can’t escape in any way. Moreover, it seems that no one wants real results from the anticipated strike. It seems that the Western leaders themselves would be satisfied with inflicting a crushing blow in a virtual-reality game, having the opportunity then to convince their audience that the enemy suffered heavy losses.

As a result, we see a schizophrenic picture. Based on unconfirmed viral videos, real aircraft took off and the Western forces fired real weapons. According to various estimates, the strike cost 70 to 150 million real-world USD (4.29 to 9.2  billion Roubles. 439.72 to 942.27 million Renminbi. 4.58 to 9.82 billion INR. 88 to 188.62 million CAD. 90.18 to 193.24 million AUD. 56.53 to 121.14 million Euros. 48.82 to 104.6 million UK Pounds). However, in the real world, this mega-strike didn’t hurt anyone. Moreover, in fact, it was necessary only to ensure that in a virtual world (where hype, tweets, and media exchange interpretations) someone convinced his audience that he had a good reason for this action.

It’s gratifying that the leadership of the USA and their subordinate allies still keep their internal media vids separated from harsh reality. They hold a “celebration of defiance of Russia” in specially designated places for this purpose. However, this is what it comes to. The next generation of Western leaders can no longer distinguish between where PR ends and a real war begins. Moreover, this makes the real world all the less safe and increasingly alarming.

15 April 2018

Viktor Marakhovsky

RIA Novosti

https://ria.ru/analytics/20180415/1518678200.html

Sunday, 15 April 2018

15 April 2018. Brother Ajamu on the Lamestream Media

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The Clinton News Network and state-corporate press really think that the people are stupid. They’ll just assert something and we’re supposed to take it as truth. Now, Syria has “an arsenal of chemical weapons”… kind of like Saddam’s…

15 April 2018

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

A Statement Issued by the Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchates of Antioch on the Recent American Aggression in Syria

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God is with us; Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves!

We condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the USA, France, and the UK, under allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. We raise our voices to affirm the following:

  • This brutal aggression is a clear violation of international law and the UN Charter, as it’s an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.
  • It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria didn’t cause any harm in any way.
  • The allegation of the USA and other countries that the Syrian Arab Army uses chemical weapons and that Syria owns and uses this kind of weapon is an unjustified claim unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.
  • The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when an independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start work in Syria, undermines the work of this commission.
  • This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.
  • This unjust aggression encourages terrorist organisations and gives them momentum to continue their terrorism.
  • We call upon the UN Security Council to play its role in bringing peace rather than contribute to an escalation of the war.
  • We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression to fulfil their Christian duties according to the teachings of the Gospel, to condemn this aggression, to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.
  • We salute the courage, heroism, and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army, which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We’re confident that the army won’t bow before external or internal terrorist aggressions; they’ll continue to fight courageously against terrorism until they cleanse every inch of the Syrian land from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries friendly to Syria and its people.

We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.

+ Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna al-Yazigi of Antioch and all the East

+ Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem of Antioch and all the East

+ Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem

Damascus

Syrian Arab Republic

14 April 2018

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