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Massive death toll from US bombing in Mosul; what does the West now say about Aleppo?

Massive death toll after US air strike on ISIS held Mosul. Will West admit it was wrong about Russian air strikes in Al-Qaeda held Aleppo?

Alexander Mercouris

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The Iraqi military and its US led coalitions backers have announced what might as well be called a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the battle against ISIS in Mosul.

This came after confirmation that a US air strike on the city on 17th March 2017 killed 150 civilians.  This is how the Guardian reports details of the strike and the pause

Iraqi military leaders have ordered a pause in their push to recapture west Mosul from Islamic State as international outrage mounted over a series of airstrikes that killed at least 150 people in one district of the embattled city alone.

Rescuers continued to retrieve bodies from the rubble of the Mosul Jadida neighbourhood on Saturday, more than a week after the coalition attacks, which are believed to have led to one of the highest civilian tolls in the region since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Civil defence workers say they have pulled more than 140 bodies from the ruins of three buildings and believe dozens more remain under the rubble of another, a large home with a once cavernous basement in which up to 100 people had hidden last Friday morning.

Locals at the site said the enormous damage caused to the homes and much of the surrounding area had been caused by airstrikes, which battered the neighbourhood during a pitched battle between Isis members and Iraqi forces.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said: “We are stunned by this terrible loss of life.” Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars, said: “The al-Jadida incident alone is the worst toll of a single incident that I can recall in decades. I cannot think of a higher toll from a single event.

As the scale of the disaster became apparent, Iraqi military sources confirmed they had been ordered not to launch new operations in east Mosul, echoing a statement from a federal police spokesman that cited concern about civilian casualties as a reason for a pause.

This comes only a few months after Western governments and the Western media engaged in a fiery campaign against Russian bombing during the fighting in eastern Aleppo, with allegations of war crimes against the Russians being banded about together with threats to establish a no-fly zone over the city and stern denunciations of Russian conduct from the pulpit of the UN Security Council.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a website that strongly supports the Syrian opposition and whose reliability some have questioned, puts the total number of civilians killed in eastern Aleppo during the final stages of its liberation from the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis between November and December 2016 as 465 of whom 62 were children.  To be clear this is a death toll from all causes, with some people said to have been executed by the Jihadis themselves and by no means all the others caused by the bombing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also claims that 142 civilians, 42 of them children, were killed as a result of Jihadi shelling in Syrian government controlled western Aleppo during the same period.  That is something the Western media – with no reporters in any part of Aleppo during the fighting – has barely reported at all.

To be clear in stating these figures – which some people, given their source will doubtless anyway wish to dispute – I make no false claims and no false charges, whether about Russian bombing in Aleppo or US bombing in Mosul.

Nor do I draw any unwarranted comparisons between the conduct of the two bombing campaigns.  The fact that more than 150 civilians are said to have been killed in a single US coalition air strike in Mosul by comparison with a total civilian death toll from all causes in eastern Aleppo during the final month of the fighting there of 465 probably means that the death toll of civilians killed by US bombing in Mosul is higher – possibly much higher – than was the death toll of civilians killed by Russian bombing last year in eastern Aleppo.  However Mosul is a much bigger city than was easrern Aleppo and the areas of Mosul still controlled by ISIS appear to be far more densely populated than were the Jihadi controlled areas of eastern Aleppo, so it is not surprising that the death toll in Mosul is higher.

For the record, I do not believe that the US-led coalition deliberately targets civilians or civilian targets in Mosul, any more than I believe the Russian air force deliberately targeted civilians or civilian targets (including hospitals) in Aleppo last year.  Nor do I believe that the bombing campaign in the one case is being conducted more negligently or with less heed for civilians than was the other.

Where a ruthless and fanatical Jihadi terrorist movement embeds itself in a civilian area and takes civilians as hostages to use them as human shields, which is what happened with the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis in eastern Aleppo last year, and which is what is happening with the ISIS led Jihadis in Mosul now, deaths amongst civilians if these areas are to be liberated from the Jihadis are unavoidable.  All that can be done in such cases is to take such measures as are possible to try to mitigate these losses, including by establishing ‘humanitarian corridors’ for the civilians to leave, and ‘humanitarian pauses’ to enable them to do so.

Inevitably that gives time for the Jihadis to re-supply and re-organise, making the fight against them harder and more prolonged.  It was nonetheless what the Russians and the Syrians repeatedly did during the fighting in Aleppo last year, and it is what the US led coalition and the Iraqis have been obliged to do in Mosul now.

Where I do draw parallels is not in the actions of the two air forces but in the completely different way Western governments and the Western media have reported the result of the bombings in the two battles.

In the case of Aleppo the coverage, and the denunciations of the Russians which went with it, were completely over-the-top, and became frankly hysterical.  By contrast until now the bombing in Mosul was barely being reported at all.  To the extent that it ever got mentioned it seemed to me it was all too often done as part of some further criticism by the Western media of their perpetual whipping boys – Sputnik and RT – for daring to report it.

As for the Western media itself drawing parallels or comparisons between the bombing campaigns in Aleppo and Mosul, that was of course something which was completely out of the question.  Even today, as more information about the US coalition air strike of 17th March 2017 trickles in, all the British media outlets which I have looked at studiously avoid saying anything about it.  Only the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, in his exemplary coverage of the wars in Iraq and Syria, has ever commented on it

What the noisy campaign against the bombing in Aleppo and the silence up to now about the bombing in Mosul tell us, together with the refusal to draw the obvious comparison between the two and the harsh treatment of anyone who did, is that the outcry about the bombing in Aleppo last year was propaganda pure and simple.

The real concern was not for the civilians in Aleppo but for the fact that the Jihadis in the city were about to be defeated, with the civilians being cynically used as props and pawns in a propaganda game which colluded in Al-Qaeda’s use of them as human shields.

Many will of course say that this was obvious all along.  Perhaps it was, but it is still unnerving to see it exposed so quickly and so completely.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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