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Lebanese journalist intependently investigates alleged Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack

After studying film and pictures of the aftermath of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, an independent Lebanese journalist claims they show the attack was faked.

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This article was submitted to The Duran by its author following the author’s own independent investigation into the Khan Sheikhoun incident.  The Duran can’t confirm or corroborate the author’s claims or conclusions.  However the author has informed us that he has contacts in the area.
Independent Investigative Report of Incident in Khan Sheikhoun
This report represents the independent investigation on the chemical attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian Air Forces in Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria’s Idlib. It provided a pretext for the U.S. Navy cruise missile attack at the Al-Shayrat airbase in Homs.
Introduction
April 7, 2017, between 3.42 a.m. and 3.56 a.m., a massive missile rocket attack was carried out by U.S.S. Ross and U.S.S. Porter from the Mediterranean Sea near Crete Island.  The destroyers launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian airbase Al-Shayrat in Homs province.
According to the U.S. statement that the Syrian Air Forces allegedly used this air base for carrying out an attack on Khan Sheikhoun, this has now become the official excuse for the aggression, resulting in at least 100 civilians being killed and more than 400 injured.
The town of Khan-Sheikhoun is located at about 50 kilometers to the South of Idlib province. This territory has been under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra since 2014.
Chronology

April 4, at 8 a.m., Abdullah al-Gani and Muaz al-Shami, freelance journalists who have links with radical groups located in Idlib, provided Orient News and Al-Jazeera with the video footage made by the White Helmets. The graphics show the consequences of the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. According to Muazz al-Shami, sarin gas was used in the attack.

The White Helmets is an organization that has been repeatedly discredited. It has direct links with Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda. The actual aim of the organization is to stage fake photos and videos in order to demonize the current Syrian government and the Syrian Army.
and the Syrian army

 At 10.00 a.m., the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces claimed that as a result of the chemical attack carried out by the Syrian government forces more than 54 civilians had been killed and at least 80 wounded. Most of the injured civilians were evacuated to the Turkish hospitals in Gaziantep.

Meantime the information about the use of chemical weapons has quickly started to spread overseas through mass media and social network.
At 09.25 a.m., Jobar News became one of the first media sources to share the information of the alleged chemical attack. The media source blamed the government forces for using sarin, and claimed that around 40 people were injured.
At 10.41 a.m., British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights spreadthe information that the Russian jets had used chemical weapons in Idlib. They also claimed that 58 people were killed.
At 11.08 a.m., Reuters posted the same information referring to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
At 12.30 p.m., Al-Masdar reported that the Syrian Arab Army had destroyed the rebel’s chemical weapons depot in Khan Sheikhoun.
At 4.30 p.m., Al-Masdar News doubted the fact that sarin chemical attack was conducted. In order to prove this version, the agency presented some photos and videos with the White Helmets providing first aid to injured people without using any individual protective gear. In addition, the behavior of the White Helmets activists was too calm for such an emergency situation which also looked suspicious. It seemed that it looked like a not very well-staged performance.

Reaction of Mainstream media


The Western media sharply reacted to the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun.
April 4, 3.00 p.m., the French government urged an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue.

Later, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, stated that he had already discussed this barbarous situation with Federica Mogherini. He also called on the UN Security Council to hold a session with the aim to find the guilty side.

The Foreign Ministries of Turkey, Germany, Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K. and also the NATO Secretary General strongly condemned the alleged chemical attack in Syria shortly after.
Meanwhile, Russia and China advocated an impartial and objective investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, blamed the Syrian government for the ‘chemical attack’ during the UN Security Council session.
Council Session
Debunking the Myths

What happened?
Our experts thoroughly analyzed the materials spread by the mainstream media used to justify the U.S. attack on Al-Shayrat airbase. We provide you with the arguments that there was no chemical attack. 
Arguments
First
 To accuse the Syrian Air Forces of using chemical bombs the mass media published photo below, demonstrating the fact of a chemical attack.
Fact of chemical attack
The type of ammunition presented in the photo does not apply to any airborne or chemical weapons. There are no tail fins or other identifications. Probably, this was a handcrafted mine or another kind of metal ware that didn’t belong to any weapon.

Hence the question arises: why did the government troops use handcraft chemical weapons? 
Besides, there is only one small crater that can’t be considered a consequence of an air strike.
Second
 The White Helmets activists were trying to demonstrate to us the primary symptoms of the organophosphorus poisonous substances effect, namely, miosis or corestenoma. However, this attempt was unsuccessful and we can see the opposite effect of the mydrias on the photos. Such an effect may be caused by narcotic or psychotropic drugs.

This version was confirmed by experts from the Swedish Doctors For Human Rights Organization, who pointed out that the children shown in the videos were unconscious and under the influence of psychotropic substances.
substances 1
substances 2
 Third
third
On these photos there are not any symptoms of mild and moderate degrees of severity, such as abundant salivation, lacrimation and nose discharge.
The filmmakers attempted to demonstrate nose discharges, but to such a weak degree does not have anything in common with sarin gas
Fourth
fourth
 
The video shows the White Helmets activists trying to demonstrate to us severe poisoning instead of medium and moderate poisoning, when people are able to stay in consciousness, sit independently, move and perform other actions. Besides, vomiting, urination, faecal discharge and severe convulsion poisoning are typical symptoms from severe poisoning. There are no such symptoms on the presented photos.
Fifth
Fifth
 
The vaporous sarin gas is easily absorbed by porous structures such as textile materials, wool, wood, brick and concrete. This toxic agent is also absorbed by painted surfaces and rubber products, which causes the danger to a person emerging from the contaminated environment, as well as people who can be near or contact them.

It should be mentioned, that the ‘activists’ help injured people without using such personal protective equipment as gloves and gas mask.

The presence of respirators on their faces proves the weak awareness in the sphere of military chemistry among the film-makers. The vapors of sarin gas are affective not only through the nasopharynx, but also through the mucous of eyes. Therefore, if any poisonous substance were actually used, a person without means of protection would definitely be contaminated if he or she came into contact with affected substances like cloth, wood, clothes. Instead, we see healthy, energetic and vigorous ‘rescuers’.

Moreover, the presence of a person in a gas mask who doesn’t take part in the action raises questions. He only points out the cameramen what to shoot. Who is he and why don’t other activists have such gas masks?
gas masks one
Sixth
sixth
At about 11:00 a.m., various pieces of video were published showing victims in a critical condition being taken to an unknown destination.  According to the elongated shadows, the video was made no later than 9. 30-10. 00 a.m., a few hours before the strike of the Syrian aviation.
Syrian aviation
 At 11.30 a.m.-12. 30 p.m. (judging by the almost complete absence of shadows) more video footage was filmed in the camp of the militants, located to the east of Khan-Sheikhoun, where we can see a consequence of strikes on the air base. There were no persons affected by the alleged chemical attack on the video. At the same time we can see a great number of dead bodies. But where were those who had suffered from the ‘chemical attack’?

Seventh

There were almost no women among the victims of the attack. Most of injured people were men and children, and all the women were dead. If the footage was fabricated, it can be assumed that there were no women in the pictures, because according to Muslim tradition, a man mustn’t touch women.
touch women

 The woman’s body. She is dressed, in spite of many other injured people being undressed. No one touches her.
touches her
Injured men. They are undressed, washed and turned over.

The actions of the White Helmets rescuers

We have to repeatedly point out that the White Helmets is an organization producing fake films with elements of fiction, and it has some links with terrorists.
It is a cheap falsification and there are some other facts.
some other facts
In the pictures, the actions of the ‘rescuers’ look extremely unprofessional: one of them was randomly washing the victims with water, allegedly washing away chemical substances, while others were given them artificial ventilation.

According to the video, one of the White Helmets members takes the injured child and runs with him towards the wasteland for some purpose. Also in the picture we can see how he slowed down after the scenes with his participation was taken.
was taken
was taken 2
 In addition, it is unclear, why the ‘rescuers’ are laying out the bodies of injured children and adults in front of the cameras, instead of providing them with medical assistance as soon as possible?
soon as possible
 When Did the U.S. Administration Take the Decision to Attack the
Al-Shayrat Air Base?
air base
The U.S.S. Porter had been on duty in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas since November 2016. The ship equipment can keep a lot of data on objectives to be destroyed within the area of its duty. It is also able to prepare flight missions for the Tomahawk cruise missiles directly on board.
The U.S.S. Ross has the same operational capabilities.
April 3, 2017, Ross left its permanent location in the Rota naval base, in the South of Spain, and in 72 hours accompanied by the Porter arrived at the designated missile launch area in the East of the Mediterranean Sea.
It is notable that the Ross was deployed in the mission area on April 3, 2017, before the Syrian aviation hit on the targets of terrorists in the settlement of Khan Sheikhoun.
Such a maneuver made by the U.S. ships proves the attack on the Syrian air base was a premeditated operation.

Before the alleged chemical attack the Western mass-media had been creating informational background repeatedly accusing the Syrian army of using chemical weapons against militants and civilians.  April 4, 2017, the staging of chemical attack of Syrian Air Forces against civilians in Khan Sheikhoun was conducted.

As far as the readiness for launching cruise missiles for the U.S. Navy destroyers is up to 8 hours, after conducting information campaign in Khan Sheikhoun the future of Al-Shayrat air base has already been predetermined.
Conclusion
All the facts prove that the decision to attack the Syrian military infrastructure was taken in Washington long before the fabricated events in Khan Sheikhoun. Besides, the film-shooting is a staged falsification aimed at creating an information cause for cruise missile attack and to justify the U.S. aggression against Syria.
The author is an independent Lebanese journalist who writes with a focus on Middle East issues. His articles appear in Beirut Observer.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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