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Trump’s ‘negotiating tactics’ could make the G7 a G6

Trump is doing a tremendous job of isolating America, and if that’s his goal, you do it, Trump!

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Trump’s intentions relative to the agenda of the G7 meeting in Quebec were openly not much different from the tone that he has been playing on trade and multilateralism for the past few months. Prior to the meeting, Trump continued with his hardball rhetoric, particularly regarding Canada, in terms of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with Trump threatening to withdraw from the agreement if he doesn’t reach a better deal at the G7 summit.

Trump has also set himself at odds with every other member of the G7 through his tariffs regime, such as those tariffs on aluminum and steel that went into effect for Canada, Mexico, and the EU at the beginning of June, the threat of sanctions for European G7 members who choose to continue doing business with Iran, and the threat of coming under sanctions aimed at Russia for buying Russian oil and gas, also aimed at some of the G7’s European members.

So, for Trump, the board was already set, and his strategy was going to continue after this fashion even after the summit was over. For America, the summit had one goal: better deals for America, or no deals at all. For everyone else, this means that trade tensions are only set to continue this course of escalation. Oh, and that America is not going to participate in any measures to address climate change.

It seems to be a common perception among conservatives that the nuclear fallout from Trump’s economic and diplomatic policies are merely a ‘negotiating tactic’ with the aim of really forcing the other party to capitulate to Trump’s demands, as in some kind of 4-D chess strategy, where he will ensure that he will ‘win’. Of course, for Trump, to ‘win’ means that everyone else must ‘lose’.

But this is not diplomacy, it’s like trying to negotiate with the mafia, where Trump offers a deal that other countries ‘can’t refuse’. But what Trump doesn’t realize is that America’s position in all of this is a monetary one, wherein America’s purchase of other nation’s goods is part of how America ensures its ability to stay on top of the world order, by using the dollar and American financial systems to keep everyone else in line. But by isolating America from everyone else, he reduces the amount of the dollars that he is exporting, thereby reducing America’s control over the world market. He’s not checkmating everyone else, he’s backing himself into a corner.

Trade

Trump walked into the meeting late as the discussion centered around gender equality, an issue that seems to become ever more discombobulated, which has become a major talking point in popular cultural circles and the major media the world over. As the topic turned to trade, arguably the most important topic to be covered by the summit, Trump talked about free and mutually beneficial trade, that is, of course, as long as America benefits the most.

That’s why Trump defended his tariffs regime, and threatened those nations to whom they were directed relative to any retaliations, slamming them as ‘a big mistake’, hence, in Trump’s mind, America gets to issue tariffs out to the rest of the world to even out a ‘trade deficit’ and that everyone else must keep calm and take it, or else Trump will escalate the matter, perceiving that the deficit can’t be shored up unless America can achieve a better equilibrium through tariffs and wherein the tariffed nations forgo any response. For Trump, it’s a way of leveling the playing field, as reported by the Guardian:

In a tense session on trade on Friday, European and Canadian leaders had sought to defuse the gathering conflict, rolling out statistics on how many US jobs depended on their countries’ trade and investment and arguing that the US had more barriers to trade than its partners.

The discussion had no effect on Trump, who stuck to the claims he made throughout his election campaign: that the US was being ripped off.

“The European Union is brutal to the United States,” he railed. “And they understand that. They know it. When I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me. You know, it’s like the gig is up.”

Canada too, the president said, “can’t believe it got away” with its trade deal with the US.

“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing. And that ends,” Trump said.

The president even threatened to stop doing business with US partners if they did not change their policies.

“And it’s going to stop,” Trump said. “Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it.”

But one thing that we have noticed about Trump’s rhetoric and actions as of late, that he tends to make good on his threats. While often times likes to leave the door open to another possible outcome, there nearly always is a pretext to following through on his threats. We saw this with the threat to withdraw from the Iran deal, which he made good on, with his threats to launch a military offensive in Syria, which he went forward to conduct, however controlled, and his threats relative to the tariffs that he went forward to impose, and with his initial threat to withdraw from the North Korea peace talks, which are still under threat, as he continues to warn that he will walk away from that summit, too, if he doesn’t think he’s gonna ‘win’.

Based on this track record, while he tends to follow through on these threats, they’re not always of an all encompassing outcome, they are carried out in order to save his tough guy face, but do not always sink in the teeth necessary to do much damage in every case. But with the Iran deal, he’s still trying to nuke that by threatening sanctions on the other signatories for preserving the conditions necessary to preserve the agreement. Based on his present actions and rhetoric, he’s not measuring his tariffs regime all that much, as he continues to dole out ever more of them, and follow through on implementing them.

Diplomacy

But the manner in which Trump treated the summit and its agenda is what is most revealing. As we gather from repeated statements from Trump’s own mouth, he isn’t much into multilateralism, and prefers bilateral agreements. Before the summit, he was clear that he thinks it’s better that an agreement is not made, that is, a multilateral agreement with an indefinite lifespan.

This is apparently because he wants to preserve the ability to make, break, and revise agreements whenever it suits him, hence, the desire to leave such doors open for America, rather than locking it into some agreement with multiple other nations, meaning international obligations without an expiration date, or least one that can readily be met.

In this way, Trump is running America into the iceberg of isolationism, believing that the USS America is truly unsinkable. His trade policies and approach to multilateral agreements have been wrecking relations with his allies at ramming speed.

That’s why we see the Canadian Prime Minister closing out the meeting with a press conference announcing that he was regretfully moving forward with his retaliatory trade tariffs against the US, adding that Trump’s pretext of issuing his trade tariffs against Canada and other trade partners on the basis of ‘national security’ were ‘insulting’.

Due to Trudeau’s remarks, Trump instructed his representatives who remained behind at the summit for the purpose of ascribing Trump’s endorsement of the comminuque that would be issued by the summit not to do so, meaning that America was not going to sign onto the agreement because Trudeau said something mean and because of some tariffs that Canada charges the US.

Apparently, coming to terms with the important items that the summit was to cover is not quite as important as everyone being nice to Trump by not saying any mean words, or that one trade scenario that has existed for some time is considerably more important than the internationally significant matters that were on the table for resolution by the summit’s statement. Deutsche Welle reports:

Leaders of the G7 appeared to have agreed on a final communique at the end of a contentious two-day summit in Canada on Saturday, before US President Donald Trump lashed out at Canada and created further uncertainty over trade.

The summit between the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Britain and Italy was one of the most fractious ever, and the agreement on a final communique could not paper over differences on trade, the environment and Iran nuclear deal.

Despite Trump’s recent decision to slap aluminum and steel tariffs on America’s allies, the statement at the conclusion of the summit called for the “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade,” fighting protectionism and “the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system.”

Yet a deep rift was highlighted as host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended the summit by saying he would move forward with retaliatory tariffs against the United States starting on July 1. He called US tariffs on its ally under the pretext of national security “kind of insulting” and said Canada would not be “pushed around.”

“What we did this weekend was come together, roll up our sleeves and figure out a consensus language that we could all agree to,” Trudeau said at a press conference, recognizing that there were major differences with Trump. “If the expectation was that a weekend in beautiful Charlevoix surrounded by lovely people was going to transform the president’s outlook on trade and the world, then we didn’t quite perhaps meet that bar.”

Only hours later Trump took to Twitter to assault the Canadian prime minister’s “false statements” and instructed US representatives to renege on the US endorsement of the joint communique. He also said he would be looking to impose tariffs on car imports into the United States.

By these tweets, Trump expressed his pretext for refusing to endorse the internationally agreed upon statement, by his allies and trade partners, and which Trump had initially approved before his departure. He also tells us that Trudeau’s mean comments were uttered behind his back, after he departed the summit in order to make his way to Singapore, where he is set to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, on the long awaited peace talks that he is to help facilitate.

But apparently, Trudeau’s comments were nothing new, nor were the sentiments that they conveyed something that Trump was ignorant of, thus, the concept that these ‘dishonest’ and ‘false’ statements were of such a nature could be perceived as absurd, and that’s apparently the reason why Trudeau’s office responded “We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn’t said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the President.” Trudeau’s comments, we can therefore gather, were the reason why he refused to endorse the communique, as France24 tells us


…When Trump left Quebec it was thought that a compromise had been reached, despite the tension and determination of European leaders President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to push back on Trump’s assault on the world trade system.

The joint statement was published online moments before Trump tweeted. Copies that begin “We, the Leaders of the G7…” were distributed in the press room stamped “Approved.”

On board Air Force One an AFP reporter was first told that Trump had indeed approved the agreement, only to be told later of the tweets. A senior administration official told the reporter that Trump had been angered by Trudeau’s comments.

The outburst suggested that any deal had collapsed and his more or less explicit threat to impose sanctions on imports of cars will outrage his ostensible allies — in particular Germany and Canada who produce many for the large US market.

In retrospect, the consensus on ground had appeared shaky from the outset, and even as Trump flew out it was clear that the summit had failed to heal the rift on trade.

Trump claimed America had been obliged to levy the metals tariffs as it has been exploited as the world’s “piggy bank” under existing arrangements, but his counterparts were equally determined to protect “rules-based” international trade.

As Trump’s policies have been putting America’s relations with the rest of the Western world into a bit of a fray, the situation was not alleviated by Trump’s participation in the summit, given that he later withdrew his approval of the international statement, but is only perpetuated by it. The outcome, however, was not unanticipated, as French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned via Twitter


Macron points out the obvious, but also gives a warning, that if America insists on isolating itself, then everyone else will move forward without it. In that sense, rather than making America ‘great’ or ‘first’ Trump is putting America last on the international pecking order. By refusing to participate in the communique issued by the other members of the G7, Trump is reducing the level of influence that America wields, a generalized phenomenon which is by this action further deteriorating it among America’s own allies and trade partners. America won’t cooperate on trade, non proliferation agreements, climate accords, or any other sort of agreement between America and the rest of the West, and its relations with the rest of the world aren’t getting any better either. Trump is doing a tremendous job of isolating America, and if that’s his goal, you do it, Trump! Maybe then the rest of the world will pay attention to your activities in the Middle East, and elsewhere, and their real world consequences.

 

 

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Can Maduro Emulate Castro and Assad to Keep NATO’s Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela?

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who did not stand a chance eventually won on the battlefield.

Gilbert Mercier

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Authored by Gilbert Mercier, via News Junkie Post…


Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

Empires with internal problems tend to create external crises to distract the public opinion and unite their political and economical ruling class in a fictitious nationalistic fervor. The current United States policy of overt regime change in Venezuela, backed entirely by its NATO vassals, follows an evergreen imperial playbook of creating new crises to obscure failures and divisions.

In addition to the administration’s overall incompetence, the legal investigations through the Mueller inquiry, and the failure to deliver to its MAGA sycophants their big wall, it has passed unnoticed, and it will never be admitted by US officials or media that the US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Syria are in fact lost. Assad will remain in power, and the US administration has publicly admitted that it was negotiating with the Taliban. The temptation for the empire’s ideologues is too strong not to follow the precept: when you have lost a war, you declare victory and you leave. And next time around, you try to pick a weaker target.

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

A prime example of this in recent history was the way the events of September 11, 2001 were used internally to justify the emergence of a police state, using far-reaching legislation like thePatriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Externally, 911 was successfully used by the US to trigger, almost immediately, an invasion of Afghanistan with the entire NATO membership under the hospice of the military alliance’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all. This was the very first time, since the creation of NATO in 1949, that Article 5 was put into force.

With the US public opinion still largely revengeful, misinformed by media manipulations, and eager to wage war, two years later, in 2003, it was fairly simple for the Bush administration and its neocons to sell the invasion of Iraq as a war of necessity, and not for what it truly was: a war of choice, for oil and greater control of the Middle East. Cynically, the aftermath of 9/11/2001 gave the empire and its powerful military-industrial complex two wars for the price of one.

Imperial logic III: People are collateral damage of realpolitiks

Great moral principles of altruistic universal humanitarian concerns are almost never at stake in these instances. They are mainly smoke screens to hide the board of a cold, Machiavellian, and complex chess game where innocent bystanders often perish by the millions. They are the acceptable collateral damage of realpolitik’s grand strategists. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the true guiding principle of US imperial realpolitik, and all US foreign policy decisions that derived from it, was to stop the so-called communist domino effect.

Communist domino effect: three simple words for a game that killed millions of innocent people worldwide, first in Korea in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, and later, under the tutelage of some of the very same criminal architects, in Central and South American countries like Chile. Now in their golden years, most of these murderous policymakers, like Henry Kissinger, enjoy an active retirement with honors, respect and, unlike their colleague Robert McNamara, not a hint of remorse.

One of these policymakers, a veteran of US imperialism in Central America and also one of the staunchest advocates of Iraq’s invasion in 2003, has made a come back. He is neocon extraordinaire Elliot Abrams. Abrams has been rewarded for his actions in the Iran-Contra affair, El Salvador, and Nicaragua with a nomination as Special Envoy of the Trump administration for Venezuela. In other words, Abrams is in charge of the US-sponsored coup task force against Venezuela’s legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who, on paper, did not stand a chance eventually through sheer determination, organization and vast popular support, won on the battlefield. Vietnam is obviously a special case in this regard, as the Vietcong of Ho Chi Minh managed to defeat, almost back to back, the old colonial masters of the French empire in the 1950s, and of course soon thereafter, the US empire.

In the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, Castro’s days seemed to be numbered. More recently, in Syria, all the lips of the NATO coalition, Israel and Gulf State allies were chanting in unison that as a precondition for resolving the Syrian crisis, “Assad must go!” By 2017, however, some coalition members such as Qatar, France and Germany were not so adamant about the “Assad must go” mantra. Not only did Bashar al-Assad not go, but also, as matter of fact, he is regaining control of his entire country, on his own terms.

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, had in Fidel Castro a source of inspiration and the guidance of a father figure. Chavez, like other neo-Marxists, looked up to Fidel for leading a successful revolution, through military action, which had toppled the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. This regime was not only a docile servant of the US government but was also directly associated with the Mafia’s criminal activities in Cuba in the era of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. With Batista’s complicity, American gangsters had turned Cuba into a gambling and prostitution paradise where the US’ unscrupulous rich went to play. Castro shut down the bordello that had become Cuba and proudly rebuilt his island, and he consciously set out to transform Cuba slowly and steadily into a socialist country.

Needless to say, the shutdown of their depraved and lucrative tropical paradise was unacceptable for the US empire’s ruling elites. Against all odds, the Cuban communist leader managed to defy one US administration after another, and without compromise remained at the helm of the Cuban revolution. It was not for a lack of trying either to invade Cuba, as in the Bay of Pigs botched invasion episode, or to cook up countless assassination attempts on Castro’s person. Starting almost immediately after he took power in 1959, Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts. From the Kennedy era all the way to the Clinton administrations, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 plots to kill him. Some of the attempts involved collaborations of the Mafia with the CIA. Castro once said, “if surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal!” It has to be added that, at least so far, Fidel Castro has also won a posthumous gold medal for ensuring the legacy of the Cuban revolution.

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

Almost eight years ago, some people in quiet mansions, regal palaces or discrete offices in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv or undisclosed locations came up with what appeared to be an excellent plan. They would hijack some of the genuine energy of the Arab Spring then quickly sponsor it with a huge arsenal, while hiring some supposed good Djihadists soldiers-of-fortune as the main muscle to get rid of the uncooperative Bashar al-Assad. In what I called in May 2013, an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit,” the Western and Gulf States coalition to topple Assad was born. In the US, the late Senator John McCain was one of the cheerleaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Eight years later, with Syria in ruins, 350,000 people dead, around 4.5 million refugees still scattered principally in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Assad has prevailed in a bittersweet victory, considering that his country has been wrecked as a battleground for proxy wars. Bashar al-Assad did not win on his own. He managed to retain complete loyalty from the Syrian army during the past eight gruesome years. Assad also could count on the military involvement of dependable allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran and, of course, a critical impact of Russia once Putin’s administration decided to commit military assets and troops.

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

One can only hope that Venezuela’s US-sponsored coup attempt using the subterfuge of a phony revolution does not follow the track of Syria in terms of the mayhem. However, the analogies are numerous between Maduro’s situation today and that of Assad in 2011. First, Maduro has at his disposal a reasonably well-equipped military as well as the Chavista militia. To defeat the unfolding coup attempt, the loyalty of the armed forces has to be ironclad. Second, just as Assad has done, Maduro must work to cultivate, in pragmatic ways, both regional and worldwide alliances.

Cuba will do a lot to help and might turn out to be Maduro’s Hezbollah. But will Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay go beyond diplomatic posturing in their solidarity with Maduro against NATO’s imperialism? How involved and how far, either economically or, in a worse-case scenario, militarily are Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran willing to go? In geopolitics, unlike diplomacy, only actions talk. Venezuela has a massive bargaining chip in the form of the mostly untapped biggest oil reserve in the world. This is Maduro’s ultimate ace in this game, and it should be used shrewdly. In realpolitiks, friends might be temporary, and they always want something. This is not an altruistic environment.


Editor’s Notes: Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire. Composite one by Lance Page; photographss two from the archive of Jakob Reimann, three from the archive of Dawei Ding, four from the archive of Lezumbalaberenjena, five from the archive of Globovision, and seven from the archive of Ryota Nakanishi.

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Russia’s Lukoil Halts Oil Swaps In Venezuela After U.S. Sanctions

Under the new wide-ranging U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha which it has typically used to dilute its heavy crude grades.

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Via Oilprice.com


Litasco, the international trading arm of Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil, stopped its oil swaps deals with Venezuela immediately after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and state oil firm PDVSA, Lukoil’s chief executive Vagit Alekperov said at an investment forum in Russia.

Russia, which stands by Nicolas Maduro in the ongoing Venezuelan political crisis, has vowed to defend its interests in Venezuela—including oil interests—within the international law using “all mechanisms available to us.”

Because of Moscow’s support for Maduro, the international community and market analysts are closely watching the relationship of Russian oil companies with Venezuela.

“Litasco does not work with Venezuela. Before the restrictions were imposed, Litasco had operations to deliver oil products and to sell oil. There were swap operations. Today there are none, since the sanctions were imposed,” Lukoil’s Alekperov said at the Russian Investment Forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Another Russian oil producer, Gazprom Neft, however, does not see major risks for its oil business in Venezuela, the company’s chief executive officer Alexander Dyukov said at the same event.

Gazprom Neft has not supplied and does not supply oil products to Venezuela needed to dilute the thick heavy Venezuelan oil, Dyukov said, noting that the Latin American country hadn’t approached Gazprom Neft for possible supply of oil products for diluents.

Under the new wide-ranging U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha which it has typically used to dilute its heavy crude grades. Analysts expect that a shortage of diluents could accelerate beginning this month the already steadily declining Venezuelan oil production and exports.

Venezuela’s crude oil production plunged by another 59,000 bpd from December 2018 to stand at just 1.106 million bpd in January 2019, OPEC’s secondary sources figures showed in the cartel’s closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) this week.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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BBC producer admits Douma attack was false flag that nearly sparked Russia – U.S. hot war (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 176.

Alex Christoforou

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BBC producer Riam Dalati believes that the scenes caught on video from a hospital in Douma, Syria were staged, all in an effort driven by jihadist terrorists and White Helmet “activists” to draw the U.S. and its allies into full on confrontation with Syria, and by extension Russia.

The viral images caused a media firestorm in 2018, showing children allegedly suffering from chemicals, as main stream media channels, like the BBC itself, called for war with Assad.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the BBC producer’s stunning admission, after a 6 month investigation, that reveals the “‘chemical attack” hospital scenes in Douma were completely staged.

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Via RT


Emotive scenes of Syrian civilians, among them crying, choking, half-naked children, dominated the airwaves in April last year after rebel-affiliated mouthpieces reported yet another “chemical attack by the Assad regime” in the town of Douma. Disturbing reports, including some from the controversial White Helmets, claimed scores of people had been killed and injured.

Mainstream media quickly picked up the horrific (but unverified) videos from a Douma hospital, where victims were treated after this “poison attack.” That hospital scene was enough to assemble a UN emergency session and prompt the US-led ‘coalition of the willing’ to rain down dozens of missiles on Damascus and other locations.

But Riam Dalati, a reputable BBC producer who has long reported from the Middle East, took the liberty of trying to sift through the fog of the Syrian war.

He believes Assad forces did attack the town, but that the much-publicized hospital scenes were staged.

After almost 6 months of investigations, I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged. No fatalities occurred in the hospital.

Anticipating further queries, he said no one from the White Helmets or opposition sources were present in Douma by the time the alleged attack had happened except for one person who was in Damascus.

Dalati also says that an attack “did happen” but that sarin, a weapons-grade nerve agent, was not used. He said, “we’ll have to wait for OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] to prove chlorine or otherwise.”

However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect.

The journalist said Jaysh al-Islam, an Islamist faction that fought the Syrian army there, “ruled Douma with an iron fist. They co-opted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation.”

Dalati’s revelations could have become a bombshell news report, but instead it was met with a deafening media silence. His employer preferred to distance itself from his findings. The BBC told Sputnik in a statement that Dalati was expressing “his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen.” 

After a while, Dalati restricted access to his Twitter account which is now open only to confirmed followers.

Interestingly, his previous inputs did not sit well with the official narrative either. “Sick and tired of activists and rebels using corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption. Then they wonder why some serious journos are questioning part of the narrative,” he said in a tweet which he later deleted over “the breach of editorial policy.”

In all, Dalati is not a lone voice in the wilderness. The Intercept has recently run a story that also cast doubt on the mainstream coverage of Douma, although it doesn’t doubt that the attack itself happened. While a veteran British reporter Robert Fisk suggested there was no gas attack at all, saying people there were suffering from oxygen starvation. Witnesses of the “chemical attack,” for their part, told international investigators the story was a set-up.

Moscow, which supports Damascus in its fight against terrorists, has long stated the Douma incident was staged, calling for an international OPCW inquiry. Last year, the Defense Ministry presented what it said was proof the “provocation” was to trigger Western airstrikes against Syrian government forces.

This time, the military recalled a similar 2017 incident in Khan Sheikhoun, where an alleged chemical attack took place. The ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday that a closer inspection of footage from that location clearly shows this was a set-up as well.

Now the Foreign Ministry has suggested Dalati is being silenced for voicing inconvenient views, with spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asking on Facebook: “A telling story. How about Western advocates of rights and freedoms? Had they accused BBC of censorship and pressuring the journalist?”

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