Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Milking abrupt climate change

CNN is really onto abrupt climate change – NOT!

See how CNN covers huge icebergs off te coast of Newfoundland.

Just wait for Larsen C to break off in Antarctica

Massive iceberg drifting by Twillingate, Newfoundland.
Photo taken June 15 2017 by Doreen Dalley



Is there a coup against PM English?

Are we witnessing a very Kiwi Coup?

I think we are witnessing a slow motion coup.

By Martyn Bradbury


I think we are witnessing a slow motion coup.
When Judith Collins appeared on weekend political shows a couple of weeks ago I first noticed something was in the air.
I even commented in my review at the time that it was odd for her to suddenly pop her head up.
She looked like she was flexing her muscles, sending a clear message, she looked like she was re-entering the ring.
Then suddenly like a zombie horror extra, Slater is back.
I think what we are watching in real time is a very Kiwi coup.
John Key could look down the barrel of the camera and lie to our faces, but English can’t.
Middle NZ rewards convincing political liars & punishes incompetent ones.
Bill English is being destabilised in front of our eyes because someone has reaped a heavy political price from deep personal pain. Todd has been sacrificed and Bill destabilised right when a totally fabricated Labour student slave story suddenly erupts via a right wing political news blog.
Who has fed this information to the NewsRoom?
Slater’s mate and right wing political strategist Simon Lusk argues that by polluting the political debate you turn voters off and the minority power block wins.
The evidence for that was 2014.
Watch how nasty this now turns. Blood is in the water.
Start watching Judith Collins, she will be timing her strike for the Leadership once the latest worst parts of this story make the news.
Someone is drip feeding this.
A Judith Collins and Winston Peters Government would be horrific wouldn’t it?

UK politics - 06/26/2017

Parliament's summer holiday could be extended 'to stop MPs plotting coup against Theresa May'
Disgruntled MPs 'less likely to oust Prime Minister during recess'

parliament-holiday-0.jpg



26 June, 2017

MPs could have their summer holiday extended to three months under reported Conservative plans to stifle rebellion against Theresa May.

Parliament would rise sooner than the planned date of 20 July, while the September sitting would be scrapped, resulting in a summer break of as long as 12 weeks, according to the proposals.

The longer holiday was designed to reduce opportunities for disgruntled Tories to plot to oust their leader, The Sunday Times reported.

September sitting was introduced as a permanent feature in the Parliamentary calendar after complaints MPs spent too much time away.

But now the measure could be axed, risking a public backlash.

The longer holiday would ease protests from Conservative MPs, who had been told to spend more time in Westminster after the party lost its majority in the House of Commons.

Parliamentary arithmetic means the Tories are expected to rely on the 10 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs to vote legislation through.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told The Belfast Telegraph on Monday her party was close to striking a historic "confidence and supply" deal with the Conservatives.


The Tories are seeking to finalise the agreement ahead of a crucial vote on the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.



may-foster-getty.jpg



Leaders from across the home nations say agreement could endanger peace in Northern Ireland


10,000 Police Officers: £0.6 billion

A deal with DUP: £1Billion


Clinging onto power: Priceless
 

GEORGE GALLOWAY: Northern Ireland party like Ku Klux Klan

The DUP are officially helping to prop up Theresa May in exchange for over a billion Pounds.

26 June, 2017

Veteran anti-war campaign and long time British Member of Parliament George Galloway has slammed the fledgling British Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal with the Northern Irish Protestant faction DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) which will see the UK government pour over £ 1 billion into Northern Ireland in exchange for the DUP propping up May’s Parliamentary minority.

Many have criticised the deal including the Irish government. Many in Britain and Ireland believe the deal violates the Good Friday Agreement for peace in the troubled province of Northern Ireland which stipulates that the British government must remain neutral in its relationship with Northern Irish factions.

Galloway described the sectarian DUP as a “milder version of the Ku Klux Klan”, the notorious racist organisation from the United States that came to prominence after the American Civil War.

Now watch George Galloway tear the DUP apart on RT America’s exclusive report on the crisis in the UK.






'Sinn Fein will resolutely oppose any attempt to give preferential treatment to British forces'

USA is organising another ISIS destablisation campaign in the Philippines

PHILIPPINES: Washington is not Amused, Another CIA/ISIS Joint Destabilization Campaign Underway
William Engdahl

26 June, 2017

flag2
ISIS flag being flown in Marawi. (Photo: Screenshot)
William Engdahl - Journal NEO


The only word I find for it is cloddish. I refer to the latest CIA-instigated attempt to initiate regime change against outspoken Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The so-called ISIS terror attack in the minerals-rich southern Philippines island of Mindanao, a predominately Muslim part of the mostly Christian nation of 100 million people, took place literally in the midst of President Duterte’s talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Duterte Putin talks in turn followed Duterte’s attendance in Beijing on May 15 for the first New Silk Road or Belt Road Forum. America’s colonial asset since 1898 was clearly walking away from the Washington “reservation.”

The terrorist siege in Marawi City is blatantly a desperate Washington try to topple the very popular (80% popularity in polls) Duterte, who successfully won the Presidency last June over a US-backed Mar Roxas, a US-educated former Wall Street banker. Since taking office Duterte has made bold and quite courageous steps to steer the former US Colony towards a Eurasian alliance with China and Russia as his major supporters. In Beijing in October last year, Duterte met China’s Xi Jinping and signed numerous trade deals with China. Critically, taking an opposite policy to his pro-US predecessor Benigno Aquino III, Duterte agreed to resolve the South China Sea dispute between Philippines and China through peaceful diplomatic talks, and to as he put it, “seek a separation from the United States.”

Since then Duterte has sought closer ties with Russia as well, in a further effort to bring his nation out from under the yoke of a de facto US control. This does not sit well with the circles of the so-called Deep State in Washington –the CIA and their nefarious friends. Should the US lose the Philippines, it would pose a devastating strategic geopolitical loss to the US military containment strategy against China and Russia in the Pacific. Devastating.

The recent attacks and siege in Mindanao were nominally done by the terrorist Maute gang and Abu Sayyaf criminal terrorist organizations, both nominally tied to the US-created ISIS fake Islamist operation, a CIA terrorist project created with Saudi money going back to the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden Al Qaeda Mujahideen Operation Cyclone during the 1980’s against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Duterte’s Eurasia Pivot

It comes as no surprise to anyone closely following the evolving dialogues between Duterte and the leaders of China and now, Russia that the CIA would try to destabilize Duterte at this critical time. They simply hide behind the black skirts of their psychopathic drug-running Maute and Abu Sayyaf, both now tied to the CIA and Mossad-created and Saudi-financed ISIS.

In Moscow, despite having to cut short his talks with Putin to fly back home and deal with the terrorist crisis in Mindanao, the Philippine leader and his Secretaries of Defense and Foreign Affairs managed to sign a number of critical agreements with Russia. These included 10 major agreements aimed at deepening bilateral defense, strategic and economic relations. The two countries signed an Agreement on Defense Cooperation, a legal framework for military-to-military exchanges, training, intelligence-sharing. The Philippines and Russia also signed an intelligence exchange agreement to bolster counter-terror cooperation. That does not please Washington at all.

A ‘Country Bumpkin’ Not

Western mainstream media has delighted in portraying the 71-year-old veteran politician Duterte as a crude country bumpkin, a lower-than-peasant creature who is only capable of vulgar statements, such as when shortly after his inauguration he called the US Ambassador to Manila a ”gay son of a bitch“ for criticizing Duterte’s war on drug lords and dealers plaguing the country. Whether Duterte was factually correct, he clearly won sympathy of millions of his countrymen for having the courage to stand up against the American power.

After closely watching Duterte and his choice of close advisers now for almost a year, I’ve come to the conclusion a country bumpkin Duterte is definitely not. Rather, he is a shrewd political actor who is determined to bring his country out of the colonial servitude status it has held since the first Spanish colonialization in 1565.

Duterte is the first Mindanaoan to hold the Presidential office. Ethnically he is of Visayan descent. This fact is not irrelevant. The Visayans in Mindanao and other Philippine islands led a war for independence against Spanish occupation in 1896.

The United States, posing as the supporter of the Visayan-led war of independence from Spain, betrayed the trust assured the Philippines, double-crossed them and signed a Treaty with Spain, the Treaty of Paris of 1898, under which Spain ceded Cuba and The Philippines to the United States. The USA refused to recognize the independence of their erstwhile ally, the Philippines, and took the country by military force, America’s first genuine imperial grab. The nascent First Philippine Republic then formally declared war against the United States in 1899, unsuccessfully. It was put under US military control. It took until 1946 before the country could be recognized as an independent sovereign state, at least in name.

That historical heritage of Duterte as a Visayan clearly is a living fact for Duterte. He graduated Philippines University and earned a degree in law in 1972. As a lawyer, he was prosecutor in Davao City in Mindanao and later Mayor, one of the longest-serving mayors of the Philippines with seven terms over 22 years. As Mayor, Duterte passed the city’s Women Development Code, the only such code in the country. Its aim is “to uphold the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings.” He pushed for the Magna Carta for Women in Davao, a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women. As President he has made a domestic focus on poverty reduction.

There is clearly more to the man than lurid western media reports reveal. Now this very popular President is determined to make his country a sovereign nation able to choose with whom it allies and for what ends, and how its economy develops. This is why the CIA and its fake Jihadist networks are being jacked up to try to get rid of Rodrigo Duterte.

ISIS: Bloody Pawprints of CIA and Mossad

The networks of the US Deep State, primarily the CIA have chosen their favorite cover, the otherwise laughable deception of head-choppers calling itself the Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL or DAESH (CIA central casting seems to have trouble settling on a name).

In reality IS, or the groups that spring up conveniently in Syria, in Iraq, in Chechnya–wherever the CIA decides it needs a terror hit squad–are trained mercenary killers, trained variously by CIA or Pentagon Special Forces; by Pakistani ISI intelligence, at least formerly, or by Mossad, also known as Israeli Secret intelligence Service, or by MI-6. In the Philippines, the IS alleged affiliates, especially the Maute group that has laid siege to Marawi City, are little more than a criminal band that finances itself by terror, occasional beheading to exert ransom in a protection racket, recruiting child fighters. Recently the networks of the CIA have been pouring in their foreign mercenaries from Syria, Libya and other places to beef up Maute’s gang for the attack on Duterte’s rule, portraying it as a religious-based “liberation struggle.”

ISIS came out of the CIA’s Al Qaeda franchise called Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2010 its name was changed to ISIS. Then as Israeli journalists pointed out the embarrassing fact that the English acronym for the Hebrew spelling of Mossad was ISIS (Israeli Secret Intelligence Services abruptly they decided to call their band of mercenaries with their black flags and US M16 assault rifles, IS for Islamic State. Conveniently in Syria they control the very territory where competing Qatari and Iran gas pipelines to the Mediterranean would run. 

Curiously, despite the fact they are active in the Golan Heights where Israel has its eye on stealing a huge amount of newly-discovered Syrian oil, they have never attacked Israel. The one time an accidental hit on an Israeli target took place, IS apologized…Do real head-choppers ever apologize?

When the fake CIA Sarin gas attack in Ghouta in 2013 failed to get a UN mandate for all-out war to depose Bashar al Assad–Obama’s infamous “red line”–the NATO and NATO-linked networks created the monster they now call IS in 2014.

Today the CIA uses IS as the cover to justify keeping US forces in Iraq after the government asked them to leave; a cover to bomb Syria in order to topple Assad, something Russian presence has made embarrassingly difficult since September, 2015. And they use it to recruit thousands of young psycho recruits from over the Muslim work, train them and send them back to places like Chechnya in Russia or Xinjiang in China, or Balochistan Province in Pakistan where the Chinese have built a new deep water port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea near Iran, the heart of its $46 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a strategic part of its One Belt, One Road Eurasian infrastructure project.

Now the West’s favorite terrorist mercenaries are being told to take down Duterte in the Philippines. They probably are too late and have badly underestimated their adversaries. But then with the deterioration over recent decades in the quality of American university education, the current generation of strategists at Langley likely missed the basic course in Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, especially the part that cautions generals who wish to be victorious to “know yourself and know your enemy,” something that Duterte seems to have thought about. How the IS destabilization try in the Philippines unfolds in coming weeks may well determine a major turning point towards creation of the emerging China-Russia-centered Eurasian Century.


Gerald Celente on war and the economy

Gerald Celente - Iran, Oil or Tech Could Sink the Economy



USA Watchdog

Trends forecaster Gerald Celente thinks the economy is so weak that it must be propped up by massive fraud, and that means any black swan can sink this economic scam overnight. Celente contends, “It’s over, it’s over and that’s why gold is the ultimate safe haven to me.”

What specifically is Celente watching to tip him off trouble is coming? Celente says we are watching Iran and any confrontation with Iran . . . and we are watching tech stocks and the possibility of a sell-off and also the price of oil. . . . There is too much supply and not enough demand--end of story.”


Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with trends researcher Gerald Celente, Publisher of The Trends Journal. 

News from Syria - 06/26/2017

ISRAELI AIR FORCE LAUNCHED AIRSTRIKES ON SYRIAN ARMY POSITIONS FOR THIRD DAY IN ROW – MEDIA


Israeli Air Force Launched Airstrikes On Syrian Army Positions For Third Day In Row - Media

26 June, 2017

On Monday, the Israeli Air Force once again carried out airstrikes on Syrian Army positions near in the province of Quneitra, according to the Israeli media.
The airstrikes were allegedy conducted in response to serveral projectiles landed the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights.
This was the third time in a row when the Israeli Air Force delivered airstrikes against Syrian government forces in the area. The Israeli military attacked Syrian Army positions on Saturday and on Sunday under the same pretext.
According to Syrian sources, Israel has been conducting airstrikes in the area in order to support Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies in the ongoing battle against the Syrian army in the province of Quneitra.


"We Have Evidence US and its Allies Are Secretly Providing Cover for Al Nusra/Tahrir Al Sham Terrorists" - Lavrov


June 26th, 2017 - Fort Russ News -
SANA - - translated by Samer Hussein - 
26 Junre, 2017
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that the next round of Astana talks on settlement of the Syrian crisis will succeed in clarifying the joint vision as regards de-escalation zones, while also noting that some of the players on the Syrian geostrategic chessboard are playing a dishonest and dangerous type of game.
“A significant decline in military activities and terrorist violence has been recorded in particular areas of Syria, thanks to our new memorandum on establishing de-escalation zones within Syrian territory. I hope that the next round of the Astana talks will positively affect our common efforts, aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis and initiating the UN-sponsored talks that are planned to be held in Geneva, following the Astana meeting, in the first half of July,” Lavrov was heard saying during a joint press conference with his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in Moscow, on Monday.
He noted the efforts are currently being made which would allow the memorandum on de-escalation zones to be fully implemented, a thing that would also significantly help to improve the humanitarian situation in these areas.
The impression, based on the experience of fighting terrorism in Syria so far, is that the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition and its allies are secretly providing cover the Al Nusra Front/Tahrir Al Sham terrorists, or whatever they are called now. We have evidence they are being shielded during our strikes”, Lavrov said.
We consider this a very dangerous kind of game that has to be stopped immediately, no matter the interests in the background. We are dealing with a serious threat here”, he further added

ISIS Terrorists Retreat under the Pressure of the Syrian Army


Vesti News


In any case, Russia confidently continues to crack down on terrorists. Sometimes it’s safer and more convenient to operate from the sea. 

The Mediterranean sea. Thus, on Friday, our frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich, with the participation of the Krasnodar submarine, which was under the water, launched six cruise missiles Kalibr. [video by the Russian Ministry of Defense] 

The target was in the Hama Governorate, where, as a result, large weapons warehouses and control posts of the fanatics from the pseudo-caliphate were destroyed. 

An interesting detail. Turkey and Israel were warned about the launches in time. Chances are that the United States learned about the upcoming attack from them. 

Our military correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny tells about the power landscape from the central regions of Syria.


US-backed rebels divert all resources to fighting the Syrian Army instead of ISIS



26 June, 2017

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:00 P.M.) – After Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions on the southern border no longer share a frontline with the Islamic State, US-backed rebel forces have begun to intensify attacks on positions held by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in eastern Sweida, southeastern Rif Dimashq and southeastern Homs.

With the warring parties sharing a frontline of some 500 kilometers across the aforementioned provinces, the FSA’s Osoud Al-Sharqiya, Ahmad Al-Abdo Martyrs Brigade and Maghawir al-Thawara continue to raid SAA checkpoints and gun emplacements across the vast Syrian Desert on a daily basis.

Even today, skirmishes erupted between Osoud Al-Sharqiya and the SAA at multiple points. The footage below shows FSA fighters yelling Islamist slogans and stomping on the Syrian flag after overwhelming an undisclosed SAA-held position. Towards the end of the video, government airstrikes are also clearly visible:

Although the SAA cut off the frontline between the FSA and ISIS a couple weeks ago, Syrian rebels still hold high ambitions in the region due to the unwavering support of a US military garrison and American airstrikes.

Meanwhile, the 
SAA struck deep into the Islamic State’s interior mainland on Monday which in turn saw government troops reach the provincial border with Deir Ezzor and come within 95 kilometers of besieged airbase.

On the other hand, the FSA released a infographic detailing casualties imposed on the SAA due to operations in the Syrian Desert:

According to a military source close to Al-Masdar News, the SAA vastly outnumbers the FSA as barely 1,000 militants are enrolled in the latter’s ranks. Furthermore, the FSA lacks armored vehicles that are needed for a general offensive.

ALSO READ  VIDEO MAP: The war on ISIS in Syria: January to June, 2017 (June 23, 2017)






This report is from 2 weeks ago



US Deploys ISIS to Central Asia
Stephen Lendman


26 June, 2017



America created and supports ISIS, al-Qaeda and other well-known terrorist groups – using their fighters to advance its imperium.

In December 1991, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was formed, Russia its leading member, along with eight other nations and two associate ones – all former Soviet republics.
According to CIS Anti-Terrorist Center (ATC) head General Andrey Novikov, ISIS is shifting its main focus from Syria and Iraq to Central Asia, including Afghanistan, saying:
The terrorist group “exports a new model of extremist and terrorist activity from (Syria and Iraq) battle zones to the Central Asian states.”
Earlier ISIS announced the creation of a new “province” centered in Afghanistan, including territories of other Central Asian states.
According to Novikov,
(a)nalysis of military clashes (in Afghanistan shows local) militants adopting not only the strategy, but also tactical military concepts” used by ISIS.
Its fighters are trying to seize areas, intending expansion to surrounding territories.
They “set a goal of expanding (their) influence in the northern regions of Afghanistan and gaining access to the border regions of the Central Asian states as well as to the Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Novikov explained.
They’re battling Taliban fighters in some areas for control, an apparent diabolical US plot to create greater conflict and turmoil in Central Asia than already, ISIS terrorists used as imperial foot soldiers.
According to Novikov, over 7,000 CIS citizens are wanted for terrorist-related activities, more than 2,000 now fighting as mercenaries.
Afghanistan is America’s longest war in modern times (1979-), a forever war supported by neocons infesting Washington.
It’s unrelated to 9/11, a phony pretext used to wage endless wars of aggression against multiple countries.
Trump escalated what his predecessors began, his pledged noninterventionism while campaigning renounced.
ISIS and other terrorist groups are instruments used by Washington to advance its imperium, raping and destroying one nation after another – all sovereign independent countries targeted for regime change, notably Russia and China.
Moscow is focused on preventing ISIS and other terrorist groups from invading its territory, a key reason why it intervened in Syria at Assad’s request – committed to defeating the scourge there rather than face it domestically.
Its growing Central Asian infestation puts its fighters dangerously close to its borders – a likely US plot to destabilize and create turmoil in Russia.
America’s rage for unchallenged global dominance risks unthinkable war between the world’s leading nuclear powers, threatening humanity’s survival.
Trump proved he’s as ruthless and reckless as his predecessors. His deep swamp infested with neocons, generals, and monied interests threatens life on planet earth.
VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact atlendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


Seymour Hersh on the war in Syria


The Fog of War


Seymour M. Hersh


Seymour M. Hersh
Quelle: Getty Images/Getty Images North America


Seymour Hersh and the Question as to What Really Happened in Khan Sheikhoun.

March 1968: Vietnamese civilians allegedly murdered by US troops in My Lai



March 1968: Vietnamese civilians allegedly murdered by US troops in My Lai
Quelle: Getty Images

Reporter Seymour Hersh was just 32 years old when he became a legend. In late 1969, he revealed that U.S. soldiers had massacred over 100 civilians -- including women, children and old men -- in the small village of My Lai in South Vietnam. 

Several informants had long tried unsuccessfully to find a journalist to report on the slaughter, which had actually taken place in early 1968 in an area known within U.S. Army as "Pinkville." After Hersh published his first article on My Lai, he spoke with one of the participants, who expressed surprise that the media had kept quiet for so long. “Pinkville has been a word among GIs for a year… I’ll never cease to be amazed that it hasn’t been written about before.” It was a crucial lesson for Hersh. Enormous scandals, he learned, can be common knowledge within an institution like the U.S. Army and still the general public knows nothing of it. And sometimes, journalists hear about these stories but fail to follow up. Indeed, it became an insight that became a leitmotif of Hersh’s career: Write stories that others don't want to write, read or believe. To this day, most of Hersh’s work focuses on overreach and abuse by the U.S. government in its deployment of the nation's powerful intelligence agencies and military -- and how that power is often used to cover up scandals.

The risk of such scandals is always heightened in times of war. Such as Iraq. The U.S. invaded the country in 2003 on the search for chemical weapons that, as Washington had previously insisted to the international community, were sure to be found.

As they had in Vietnam, U.S. troops committed war crimes in Iraq as well. In Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, they systematically tortured and abused inmates in addition to humiliating them by photographing them naked and bound.

Hersh was the first journalist to report on the Abu Ghraib scandal as well. The U.S. government had tried to keep the scandal under wraps, seeking to prevent documents, photos and other evidence from reaching the public. But sources provided the material to Hersh, knowingly breaking U.S. law to do so.

Pulizer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, ca. 1970s



Pulizer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, ca. 1970s
Quelle: picture alliance / Everett Colle/Copyright © CSU Archives/Everet

Now 80 years old, Seymour Hersh has proved to be an almost obsessive reporter during his career, willing to go to great lengths to overcome obstacles. And he has seldom demonstrated a willingness to compromise -- a characteristic that hasn't always made him friends at the publications for which he has worked, including theNew Yorker and the New York Times. He has pushed more than one editor to their limits. His reporting on U.S. President Barack Obama was just as critical as it was on Nixon, the Bushes or Clinton. In an article two years ago, he wrote that some within the Obama administration knew that Osama bin Laden was living under the protection of Pakistani intelligence in Abbottabad long before the raid to kill him was ultimately launchd.

The story led to a falling out between Hersh and the editor-in-chief of the New Yorker and it was ultimately published in the renowned London Review of Books. In another story for the same publication, he quoted from a secret Congressional report, which claimed that the CIA, during the Obama administration, had developed a "Rat Line" to smuggle weapons from Libya to Syria in order to support militias fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad. The fake companies established as part of the Rat Line, Hersh wrote, were later thought to have been used by the Turkish secret service to arm Islamist militias inside of Syria.

As has been the case so often in his professional life, Hersh was harshly criticized for his most recent stories about Syria, about Obama, and about bin Laden. Many say he goes too far and relies too heavily on anonymous sources. Crucially, though, no source who is actively working for a government can reveal classified information “on the record” without incurring considerable personal risk. That holds true in Germany as well.

As has always been his practice, Hersh has told Welt am Sonntag the identities of all the sources he quotes anonymously in his story about Trump's retaliatory strike against Syria. The paper was thus able to speak independently to the central source in the U.S.

Hersh had also offered the article to the London Review of Books. The editors accepted it, paid for it, and prepared a fact checked article for publication, but decided against doing so, as they told Hersh, because of concerns that the magazine would vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russian governments when it came to the April 4th bombing in Khan Sheikhoun. Hersh had met a few times with Stefan Aust when he was editor of Der Spiegel and followed his career. According to Hersh, he knew Aust to be someone who was unafraid of the consequences of publishing stories that, when verified and checked, he knew to be true. It was a natural move to send the story, as edited, to him.

It was a situation that Seymour Hersh had experienced before. At the very beginning of his career, no publication wanted to print his My Lai story either.
What exactly happened in western Syria on April 4, 2017, when Khan Sheikhoun was bombed, is still not entirely clear. The events continue to be obscured by the thick fog of war.

A Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance is fighting against militia groups, both jihadist and otherwise, in the Idlib region. All parties to the war have one thing in common: They reject democracy and view journalists as enemies, making it extremely difficult to report freely from this battlefield.

As such it is quite surprising that, just hours after the attack on Khan Sheikhoun, politicians and the majority of media outlets had established such a clear picture of what had happened: that Assad's troops had attacked the town with the dreaded poison gas sarin. But the town is under the control of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a militia affiliated with al-Qaida. It is impossible to know precisely how freely people can move about -- including doctors and members of Syrian relief organizations -- in this region and how openly they can report on the war.

Even in the very first interviews that were said to have come directly from Khan Skeikhoun, all of those interviewed agreed that sarin had been used. One doctor in town, who was quoted frequently throughout the day, took the time to film extensive video footage, conduct Skype interviews and, shortly after the attack, tweet: “OUR HOSPITAL GETTING FULL FROM THE SARIN ATTACK TODAY. ANYONE THAT WANTS EVIDENCE, I WILL VIDEO CALL YOU.”

It is in fact quite difficult to ascertain at first glance whether sarin, another toxic gas or a chemical agent was used. The first reporter from a Western newspaper to reach the town worked for the British Guardian. His article included several quotes from people who claimed to be eyewitnesses: "We could smell it from 500 meters away," one said, referring to the gas. Yet sarin is odorless.

To clear up the contradictions and questions, an independent investigation on site is needed. Were that to happen, it would be quite possible to determine if sarin was used, but such a process takes time in an active war zone like Idlib. Yet on April 6, when the American military launched cruise missiles at the Syrian airport, the process of initiating an independent investigation hadn't even been started.

By bombing the Syrian airport, Trump set the tone for how the attack on Khan Sheikhoun would ultimately be interpreted and America's Western allies quickly concurred with the president's viewpoint. France published a classified intelligence report that claimed there were no doubts that Assad's military had deployed sarin. Two hours earlier, then-French President Fran├žois Hollande had already committed to this position. He and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement about “the massacre with chemical weapons” following the American retaliatory strikes. "President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development," the statement read. "His repeated use of chemical weapons ... demanded sanctions." Their position was clear.

Ultimately, though, it is up to a United Nations commission to decide whether an attack in Syria should be considered a war crime. The commission was formed in 2011 to investigate the war in Syria. The statement it issued after the April 4 attack was carefully worded, and the commission has been silent since.

Members of the Geneva-based Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic are also aware of the complexities of the situation in the war zone. Analyzing, comparing, verifying and rebutting statements, data and reports takes time.

It was a different organization, though, that pushed to the forefront to provide the quick answers everyone was asking for: the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization financed by the signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention that works together with the United Nations. The organization has become more careful since Syrian rebels took an OPCW team hostage in 2014 and after the April attack, an OPCW team traveled not to the location of the presumed gas attack, but to the neighboring country of Turkey. Team members were able to observe the autopsies of three alleged victims of the poison gas attack. An NGO had delivered the bodies to the hospitals, though OPCW will not publicly comment on the identity of the NGO. Samples from the bodies were provided to two separate laboratories, which independently confirmed indications of sarin or sarin-like substances.

In criminal proceedings, though, which are similar to the process followed by the UN in determining a war crime, it is a fundamental principle that all evidence be under the control of investigators at all times. That didn't happen in this case. Indeed, the UN Syria commission doesn't intend to report its version of events to the General Assembly until September, after it investigates all sources, particularly those on site in Khan Sheikhoun. Fighting through the fog of war to discover the truth takes time.

But on April 4, when the U.S. president awoke and saw photos of dead babies and decided to respond immediately, the final results of a thorough investigation were as far away as peace in Syria.

Asked, if government lies still make him as angry as in his first days of his career, Hersh replied: „It is more than being upset about lying – it’s about the reluctance of us in the press to hold the men and women who run the world's governments to the highest possible standards. We have a President in America today who lies repeatedly about the most meaningless of information, but he must learn that he cannot lie about the intelligence relied upon before authorizing an act of war. 

There are those in the Trump administration that understand this, which is why I learned the information I did. If this story creates even a few moments of regret in the white house it will have served a very high purpose.“

Translation: Charles Hawley