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Wednesday, April 5

Note to UN kangaroo court: Assad didn't launch a chemical attack, you nitwits

First to the claim by unnamed Israeli security officials that the 'chemical attack' in Idlib was approved by the highest levels of the Syrian government. The Syrian air force couldn't have dropped chemical-laced bombs on anyone yesterday. Here's why:
Al-Masdar’s Yusha Yuseef was informed by the Syrian Army that the air force targeted a missile factory in Khan Sheikoun using [a] Russian-manufactured Su-22 fighter jet to carry out the attack.
The Su-22’s bombs are unique and cannot be filled with any chemical substances, which is different than bombs dropped from attack helicopters.
The above report, filed for AMN by Leith Fadel at 3:35pm Syria time yesterday, goes on to note, "Furthermore, Yuseef was told the Syrian Air Force did not know there were any chemical substances inside the missile factory in Khan Sheikhoun."

But the point is that the bombs that fell on the target couldn't be tampered with, couldn't have had chemicals inserted in them. Anyone who knows about the Su-22, or bothered to find out something about the plane, would know this. But it seems in the entire world only AMN reporters were doing their job yesterday when the news of a chemical incident first broke. 

As to those Israeli security officials -- having trouble finding the phone number of Syria's information agency, are we?  

Moving along, this morning NBC News (USA) awakened from its beauty sleep at 5:15am Eastern Time to present information that was already published yesterday in the Russian press:   
Russia on Wednesday blamed the poisonous gas contamination that activists say killed at least 83 people — including 25 children — on a leak from a chemical weapons cache hit by Syrian government air strikes.
The alleged gas attack in Idlib province, documented in horrific images that NBC News has not verified, would mark one of the worst incidents of its kind in Syria's six-year civil war.
The U.S. has said the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the incident, which relief agency UOSSM says injured at least 350.
However, Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konoshenkov said Tuesday morning's deadly leak came from a rebel "chemical warfare munitions" workshop that had been struck.
"Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun town," he said in a video statement, referring to the rebel-held town in northern Syria where the deaths occurred.
He said "chemical-laden weapons" made by rebels at the site had previously been used by militants in Iraq — an apparent reference to a report last month from the International Committee of the Red Cross that toxic agents had been used in fighting near Mosul.
[...]
Also yesterday another reporter at AMN, Paul Antonopoulos, whose capacity for critical thinking I praised last year, analyzed claims made by the White Helmets about a chemical weapons incident, which is worth the read for anyone who is actually interested in what is happening in Syria.

As to the kangaroo court; from Sputnik, April 5:
(UNITED NATIONS) The United States, France and the United Kingdom have introduced to the UN Security Council a draft resolution in connection with the reported use of chemical weapons in the Syria’s province of Idlib, a source in the US Mission to the United Nations told Sputnik on Wednesday.
"This evening [must mean evening of April 4] a joint US, UK, France resolution on the reported use of chemical weapons in the Khan Shaykhun area in the Syrian Arab Republic on April 4th has been distributed to Security Council members," the source said ...
Now let's hear what the Usual Suspects are saying even before the kangaroo court is convened. From DW (Deutsche Welle, Germany), April 4:
[...]
The White House condemned the Syrian government for carrying out what it described as a "heinous" attack and said that US President Donald Trump was "extremely alarmed" by this "intolerable act."
[...]
International outcry
Leaders across the world condemned the Syrian government and its allies following reports of the attack, and called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be held to account.
The German Foreign Minister said on Twitter that [if] reports of the alleged chemical attack were confirmed, they would amount to "an act of almost unparalleled cruelty."
French President Francois Hollande accused the Assad regime of carrying out a "massacre."
"Once again the Syrian regime will deny the evidence of its responsibility for this massacre," Hollande said. "Those who support this regime can once again reflect on the enormity of their political, strategic and moral responsibility."
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the alleged chemical attack near Idlib "bears all the hallmarks" of the Syrian government.
Johnson added that the UK government would "continue to lead international efforts to hold perpetrators to account."
The UN Security Council will gather on Wednesday after the US, UK and France called for an emergency meeting and an investigation into the attack. 
Britain's UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft urged Russia and China not to veto any council resolution against those responsible.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that Tuesday's attack served as a "dramatic reminder of the fact that the first priority is, as in any conflict, stopping the fighting," adding that the Assad regime had the "primary responsibility of protecting its people and not attacking its people."
Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called the attack "a crime against humanity" but also criticized the West for failing to intervene for similar attacks in the past. Western nations, he said, were glad to give frequent lectures to the Middle East on human rights but "remained carefree when the red line was crossed before."
The attack came as the European Union was preparing to hold a two-day summit on the Syrian conflict in Brussels.
If all that seems more a lynch mob than kangaroo court, same difference. But before closing I return to a day in November 2015 at the G20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, when Russian president Vladimir Putin presented world leaders in attendance -- including Turkey's Recep Erdogan -- with evidence of an illegal system used by Islamic State to routinely transfer massive amounts of oil stolen from Syria to Turkey.

It was said that Putin, not content to simply make the point, went around the room holding an armful of satellite photos of IS oil tanker convoys in transit to Turkey, and personally placed one of the photos in front of each and every leader in attendance at the meeting.

I don't know whether Putin actually did that; in any case, in one dramatic presentation Russia's president blew the lid off the venality that had allowed and helped Islamic State to flourish. And he pointed the finger of blame straight at the Western powers -- whose satellite systems, for some reason, were never working when they looked down on roads between Syria and Turkey.

(The satellites suddenly began working after the G20 meeting, which allowed the US to start bombing IS oil convoys.)

That wasn't all Putin did at the G20 meeting. He also presented the gathered members with data showing names of businessmen from 40 countries, including G20 countries, who were involved in financing Islamic State.

On November 24, eight days after the G20 meeting, in a sucker-punch attack a Turkish Air Force fighter jet shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.


Have a nice day, NBC News. You have a nice day too, President Trump. I'll be listening with perked ears to what that space cadet you sent to the United Nations as America's ambassador has to say at the kangaroo court today.

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