Aletho News


Florida will not extradite Trump – DeSantis

RT | March 31, 2023

Donald Trump’s potential top rival for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has ripped the New York City prosecutor behind the criminal indictment of the former president.

“Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda,” DeSantis said in a tweet on Thursday.

So far there has been no reports of any potential extradition requests, as a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office told AP that prosecutors had reached out to Trump’s legal team to “arrange a surrender” and a court appearance, expected sometime next week.

DeSantis previously said he wouldn’t get involved in the case “in any way,” indicating that he wouldn’t try to help block the Florida resident’s extradition to New York, but has now echoed Trump’s belief that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “is stretching the law to target a political opponent.”

“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis added.

Trump did not reveal his next steps, but warned in a post on Truth Social that this “witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden,” while his lawyer Joe Tacopina vowed to “vigorously fight this political prosecution in court.”

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Whopping 82% Of Berlin’s Voters Refused To Support 2030 Climate Neutrality

By P Gosselin | No Tricks Zone | March 28, 2023

The results of Berlin’s Climate Neutrality By 2030 referendum tell us that FFF and Last Generation are fringe movements, remote of even Berlin’s mainstream.

It’ll take a longtime for the radical climate activists to recover from this major setback

The movement’s leaders reacted in disbelief and sourly to the defeat, as Twitter account holder Georg tweeted.

Crushing defeat

Last Sunday’s “Berlin Climate Neutrality By 2030” referendum failed resoundingly despite the more than a million euros spent in a massive run-up campaign that included plastering the city with posters, concerts by famous performers, huge support and propaganda by the media and hefty donations coming from left wing activists from the east and west coasts of USA.

Once the dust of the referendum had settled, it emerged that the “yes” side fell way short of the quorum 608,000 votes needed to pass the measure. Only 442,210 cast a vote in favor, which represents only 18% of Berlin’s eligible voters. The activists expected a far greater turnout. 82% refused to lend any support.

Berlin’s rejection of the climate neutrality by 2030 mandate is a massive body blow to the the radical Fridays for Future and Last Generation movement in Germany, and it will take months for the radicals to recover, it ever, from this setback.

The Berlin initiative to make the city climate neutral by 2030 was led by rich, upper class youths like Luisa “Longhaul” Neubauer. But Berliners, having been harassed for months by activists gluing themselves to the streets and blocking traffic, saw the folly of the initiative and the high costs it would entail politically and financially. They decided resoundingly they’d wanted no part of it.

Lashing out at the majority

The agony of referendum defeat was palpable as some of its leaders reacted by lashing out and insulting those who refused to vote “yes”, In a video, movement co-leader Luisa Neubauer sank into cynical accusations against the majority, even calling the uncooperative Berliners “fossil cynics” and “climate destroyers”.

Neubauer added: “There are forces in this city that are doing everything to get the last spark of climate destruction out.” In Neubauer’s view these forces include the vast 82% of Berliners who refused to vote “yes”. So troublesome democracy can be.

“Bubble has finally burst”

Germany’s Pleiteticker here commented on the Berlin referendum:

Social Democrat Dario Schramm wept on Twitter at the gloating that would now come from the other side. But he and other supporters of the green ban politics need not be surprised. For years they have been spreading their ideas of good politics for years in a self-righteous, arrogant and sometimes aggressive manner.

They, mostly members of the upper middle class, have declared war on the lower and lower middle class with their destructive climate measures. Outside the Berlin political bubble and the other urban feel-good oases of Germany, the Neubauers of this world never possessed much support. And now the bubble has finally burst. In the Marzahn, Köpenick and Lichtenberg districts, the majority of voters voted against the referendum. The normal working population of Berlin decided against the journalistic and political elite.”

But don’t expect the climate radicals to go away. They’ll be back at it soon enough.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Canada’s Conservative leader promises to repeal censorship bill if elected

One of the few pushing back against bill C-11

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | March 29, 2023

In his speech at the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference, the leader of the Conservative Party, Pierre Poilievre, criticized censorship and promised to repeal Bill C-11.

Attacking political correctness, Poilievre said: “It’s about large corporations in regulated oligopolies winning political favor, by throwing around politically correct statements and advancing an agenda that makes no sense to anyone but them.

“This woke movement is an attack on the freedom of speech of ordinary people and the common sense of Canadians, and in Pierre Poilievre Canadians will have someone who will stand up against world corporations and for the rights of every single person to express themselves freely in a free country.”

Criticizing Bill C-11, he said: “They claim that this is simply to promote Canadian content, although they have yet to tell us what Canadian content actually is. To me, Canadian content is anything that is posted online by a Canadian. They believe that it’s only a small approved list of true experts in Canadiana who can be promoted.”

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Facebook ‘disappears’ RT Arabic

RT | March 30, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg’s flagship social network has deleted the page for RT Arabic, rejecting all appeals and handing the address to another user, the channel’s head Maya Manna said on Thursday.

“Two weeks we fought with Facebook to restore the suspended page of RT Arabic, with 17 million subscribers,” Manna said on her Telegram channel. “We tried to get an explanation of what triggered the shutdown, because we never got any strikes or comments.”

After several awkward non-explanations, Facebook’s customer service “simply wished us luck, closed our case, and turned over the URL to another user,” Manna wrote. “Internet democracy in all its glory!”

Facebook blocked the page on March 15, without any explanation or advance warning. Attempts to access the page resulted in the message, “this content isn’t available right now.”

Manna protested the move, calling it proof that the West doesn’t believe in free speech, only “total censorship and blocking.” By way of example, she brought up the EU ban on all “Russian state media” after the military operation in Ukraine began in February 2022, including all of RT’s channels.

“Apparently, this is not enough – the very fact that we exist does not allow them to sleep peacefully,” Manna added.

YouTube was quick to apply the EU ban globally, but continued operating in Russia, its CEO at the time, Susan Wojcicki, told the World Economic Forum in Davos last May. The Ukraine conflict showed that information had “a key role” and “can be weaponized,” said Wojcicki, so YouTube wanted to “help [Russian] citizens know what’s going on and have perspectives from the outside world.”

In November last year, after Facebook’s parent company Meta amended its “violent speech” rules to allow calls of “death to Russians” in the West, the Russian Justice Ministry added it to the register of extremist organizations. The decision affected Facebook and Instagram, but not the messaging platform WhatsApp, because it fell under a different legal category.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Contract shows how the FBI purchases massive amounts of online data

Something the FBI only recently admitted to

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | March 30, 2023

The FBI was a customer of a private company Team Cymru, a contract shows. The company is in the business of harvesting NetFlow – network protocol for collecting IP traffic information and monitoring network flow – data from ISPs in return for threat intelligence, and then selling it on.

The contract became public knowledge thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Motherboard which reveals that the federal agency’s Cyber Division spent “tens of thousands” of dollars to get its hands on this data.

The deal was worth $76,450 and was made in 2017.

NetFlow data provides information about traffic volume and flow on a network, such as servers communicating with each other. This is something that is known only to the server owner, or an ISP – and, thanks to deals companies like Team Cymru have with ISPs, also to the FBI and other buyers.

Team Cymru openly states that the product it sells can track traffic through VPNs, Motherboard writes. The company also offers data like visited URLs and cookies, however, the internal FBI document detailing the deal does not say if this was part of the package.

“Commercially provided net flow information/data – 2 months of service,” is what the document on what the FBI purchased states.

The FBI is not alone in showing interest in NetFlow data – the military does it as well, and according to a whistleblower who went to Senator Ron Wyden with their information, one of the customers is the Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), a civilian federal law enforcement agency.

Several days ago, Wyden said that he asked the Department of Justice inspector general to look into how the FBI is buying and using metadata, also based on a whistleblower report, and now, concerning NetFlow data, the senator sees it as yet more proof that the FBI is buying metadata capable of showing “the websites Americans visit, as well as sensitive information such as what doctor a person sees, their religion or what dating sites they use.”

And for that, Wyden said in a statement, the FBI explained what data concerning Americans’ browsing history it buys and why.

“It is not acceptable for the government to go around the courts by using a credit card to buy private information, which is why I have proposed the  is Not for Sale Act to ban the purchase of this kind of private data,” he concluded.

According to Motherboard, neither the FBI nor Team Cymru were in the mood to offer any comment at this time.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Russian central bank reveals how it braced for Western dollar grab

RT | March 30, 2023

The Bank of Russia had been preparing for an escalation of Western sanctions since 2014 and was beefing up additional funds as a hedge against future restrictions on its foreign exchange reserves, the regulator revealed on Wednesday.

Amid “increasing geopolitical risks” the central bank ramped up investments in assets “that cannot be blocked by unfriendly nations” and transferred part of its reserves to gold, Chinese yuan and foreign currency in cash, the regulator announced in its annual report.

The central bank managed to stash billions of imported dollars “in volumes limited by logistics capabilities,” the report said without specifying the amount of accumulated funds. Alternative reserves in dollars and gold bars have been stockpiled in the vaults of the Bank of Russia.

“This safety cushion was created in the form of alternative reserves – less liquid and convenient in everyday life, but more reliable in the face of a tough geopolitical scenario,” the regulator explained.

It was impossible to abandon reserves in dollars and euros, as these currencies were used for settlements in international trade as well as in the domestic financial sector, the central bank added.

“Therefore the structure of foreign exchange reserves needed to take into account the needs of citizens and businesses,” the regulator concluded.

The central bank could have “unloaded” part of this money to banks during the first wave of Western sanctions to stabilize Russia’s banking system and offset the withdrawal of dollars and euros by “panicking depositors,” the chief analyst from Ingosstrakh-Investment, Viktor Tunyov, believes.

According to some estimates, last year almost $20 billion was withdrawn by depositors from the country’s second largest bank, VTB, alone.

In 2022, Russia was hit by sweeping Western economic sanctions, which included measures to cut the Russian central bank off from the international financial system, while around $300 billion of the bank’s foreign reserves were frozen. Moscow has criticized the seizure of its assets, saying it constitutes theft.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

China ready to boost military cooperation with Russia

RT | March 30, 2023

China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Russian military in order to jointly uphold international justice, peace and security, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei stated on Thursday.

The announcement comes after a summit between President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow earlier this month. The two leaders reaffirmed the principles of partnership between their nations, and agreed to improve bilateral relations and military coordination.

According to Tan, China is “willing to work together with the Russian military to fully implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state.” That includes further strengthening strategic communication and coordination, he added.

The diplomat stated that the two nations plan to regularly organize joint maritime and air patrols, as well as holding training exercises and strengthening various other areas of cooperation. According to Tan, the aim is to “deepen military mutual trust” with Russia to help ensure international justice and make new contributions to international and regional security. This would “serve the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” he asserted.

Tan noted the increasingly strong relations between Moscow and Beijing, but insisted that they do not amount to a Cold War-style military-political alliance. According to the spokesman, the ties “transcend this model of state relations” and have a nature of “non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third countries.”

The US, meanwhile, has called the growing ties between Russia and China “very troubling.” Officials have also described China as a “challenge,” with the Pentagon requesting a 2024 defense budget of up to $842 billion.

During his press conference, Tan argued that is China a “builder of world peace” and “contributor to global development.” In contrast, he claimed that the US uses its mammoth defense budget – which is the highest in the world – to “wage wars and create turmoil everywhere,” thus making it “the biggest threat to world peace, security and stability.”

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

‘Russia alone can already confront the entire West…’


The Russian media reported that President Vladimir Putin made an extraordinary gesture as President Xi Jinping left the Kremlin following the state dinner last week on Tuesday evening by escorting him to the limousine and seeing him off. 

And Xi during the goodbye handshake reportedly responded, “Together, we should push forward these changes that have not happened for 100 years. Take care.” 

Xi was alluding to the past 100 years of modern history that witnessed the United States transforming from a country to the north of Mexico  in the Western Hemisphere to a superpower and global hegemon. 

With his profound sense of history and dialectical mind, Xi was recalling the intense talks with Putin that dwelt on the contemporary realities burying the US’ unipolar moment in the dustbin and on the imperatives of China and Russia joining hands to consolidate the transition of the world order toward democratisation and multipolarity. 

It was an appropriate finale to a state visit that began the previous evening with Xi expressing confidence that Russians will support Putin at the presidential elections next year. At one stroke, Xi “cancelled” the West’s demonising of Putin, mindful of the absurdity of even arranging an arrest warrant against the Kremlin leader to detract from his talks in Moscow. 

China has a scrupulous policy of refraining from commenting on the internal politics of other countries. However, in the case of the situation surrounding Russia, Xi has made a notable exception by signalling his keenness for Putin’s proactive leadership in such tumultuous times. The majority of world opinion, especially in the Global South, will agree. 

Won’t the erudite Russian public opinion take cognisance too — with a roar of approval? Yes, Putin’s consistent 80 percent rating is a signpost. Xi may have poured cold water on the last desperate western ploys of instigating a bunch of Russian oligarchs to spearhead a regime change in the Kremlin.  

To be sure, the timing of Xi’s state visit in the middle of the war in Ukraine messaged the highest importance that China attaches to the relations with Russia. There is great deliberation in doing so, as both China and Russia are locked in spiralling tensions vis-a-vis the United States. 

There has been a dramatic change of mood in Beijing. The nadir was reached with the boorish behaviour by President Biden in his State of the Union address on February 7 when he went off-script and hysterically shouted, “Name me a world leader who’d change places with Xi Jinping.” 

In the Eastern culture, such boorishness is taken as unforgivably scandalous behaviour. In the weeks since the US shot down the Chinese weather balloon and maligned China internationally, Beijing has rebuffed several attempts by the White House seeking telephone conversation for Biden with President Xi. 

Beijing has had enough of Biden’s hollow promises to mend ties while on the sly strengthening alliances across the Asia-Pacific region, inserting the NATO into the Asia-Pacific power dynamic and sending additional forces and firepower to places like Guam and the Philippines, apart from single-mindedly striving to weakening China’s economy. 

Xi’s Moscow visit became a great occasion for Russia and China to reaffirm their “no limit” partnership and scatter the western attempts since the war broke out in Ukraine to create rift in the Sino-Russian relationship. 

To quote Professor Graham Allison at Harvard University, “Along every dimension—personal, economic, military and diplomatic—the undeclared alliance that Xi has built with Russian President Vladimir Putin has become much more consequential than most of the United States’ official alliances today.” 

However, alliance or not, the fact remains that this “new model of major-country relations featuring mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” — to quote Xi Jinping — is anything but a hierarchical order. 

America’s pundits have a problem comprehending equal relationships between two sovereign and independent nations. And in this case, neither Russia nor China is inclined to declare a formal alliance because, simply put, an alliance inevitably requires assuming obligations and limiting the optimal pursuit of interests in deference to a collective agenda.

What emerges, therefore, is that Putin’s strategic calculus in Ukraine will be shaped much more heavily by events on the battlefield than on any  Chinese input. Russia’s reaction to the Chinese “peace plan” regarding Ukraine testifies to that reality.

No sooner than Xi departed from Moscow, Putin in an interview with with Russia 1 TV, set the record straight that Russia is outproducing the West’s ammunition supplies to Kiev. He said, “Russia’s output level and its military-industrial complex are developing at a very fast pace, which was unexpected by many.”

While multiple Western countries will provide Ukraine with munitions, “the Russian production sector on its own will produce three times more ammunition for the same period of time,” Putin added. 

He repeated that the West’s arms shipments to Ukraine are of concern to Russia only because they constitute “an attempt to prolong the conflict” and will “only lead to a bigger tragedy and nothing more.” 

However, this is not to belittle the great significance of the partnership for both countries in the political, diplomatic and economic spheres. The salience lies in the two countries’ growing interdependency in multiple directions that cannot be quantified yet and keeps “evolving” (Xi) and appears seamless.

The Ukraine war, paradoxically, is turning out to be a wake-up call — a war that can prevent another world war rather than engender one. China understands that Russia has single-handedly taken on the “collective West” and shown it is more than a match. 

This assessment in Beijing cannot escape the West’s attention and will impact the western thinking too for the medium and long term — not only for Eurasia but also the Asia-Pacific. 

A recent article in the Global Times some weeks ago by Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee daily highlighted the ‘big picture.’ 

Hu wrote that the war in Ukraine “has evolved into a war of attrition between Russia and the West… While NATO is supposed to be much stronger than Russia, the situation on the ground doesn’t appear so, which is causing anxiety in the West.” 

Hu drew some stunning conclusions: “The US and the West have found it much more difficult than expected to defeat Russia. They know that China has not provided military aid to Russia, and the question that haunts them is: if Russia alone is already so difficult to deal with, what if China really starts to provide military aid to Russia, using its massive industrial capabilities for the Russian military? Would the situation on the Ukrainian battlefield fundamentally change? Furthermore, Russia alone can already confront the entire West in Ukraine. If they really force China and Russia to join hands, what changes will there be in the world’s military situation?” 

Isn’t the notion prevalent in the US and Europe that the Russia-China alliance is an alliance of unequals itself a self-serving western fallacy? Hu is spot on: Although China’s comprehensive strength is still short of that of the US, in combination with Russia, there is a paradigm shift in the balance and the US is no longer entitled to act as it pleases. 

It is the common concern of Russia and China that the world order must return to an international system with the UN at its core and a world order based on international law. There is no question that the two countries’ strategy is to overturn the “rules-based order” dominated by the US and return to an international order centred on the UN. 

In fact, Article 5 is the very soul of the joint statement issued in Moscow: “The two sides reaffirm their commitment to firmly upholding the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order based on international law and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and oppose all forms of hegemonism, unilateralism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, confrontation between camps and the establishment of cliques targeting specific countries.” 

Make no mistake that this is not about removing the US as the boss and replacing it with China, but about effectively checking the US from bullying smaller, weaker states, and thereby ushering in a new international order with primacy on peaceful development and political correctness that overrides all ideological differences.   

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Burying key evidence, new OPCW report covers up Douma’s unsolved deaths


After censoring experts who found that the victims in Douma could not have been killed by chlorine gas, the OPCW’s new IIT report continues the cover-up and baselessly accuses the Syrian government.

[Note: this article contains graphic images.]

On April 7th 2018, gruesome images of an alleged chemical attack emerged from the Syrian town of Douma.

Dozens of dead bodies, including children and infants, appeared heaped in piles inside of an apartment building. Others lay on the street in front as if trying to escape deadly gas. Strikingly, many of the victims displayed copious foam oozing from the mouth and nose. Along with their proximity to a clear escape route, these visible symptoms suggested that something extraordinarily poisonous had killed them instantly.

US officials immediately promoted the allegations of insurgent-tied groups that the Syrian army had killed the victims with chlorine gas or the nerve agent sarin, or even a combination of both. One week later, the US, along with the UK and France, bombed Syria in purported retaliation.

In public statements, however, experts raised doubts that chlorine caused the deaths in Douma. Leaked documents later revealed that German military toxicologists consulted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in June 2018 went further. The Germans told the OPCW that the circumstances of the fatalities – apparent immediate death and collapse in piles at the center of two rooms, a failure to escape, and rapid profuse foaming at the mouth and nose – were inconsistent with chlorine poisoning.

The Germans’ findings had profound ramifications. While the Douma victims’ signs of rapid foaming were not consistent with exposure to chlorine gas, they were consistent with nerve agent exposure. But by that point, the OPCW’s chemical analysis had ruled out sarin or any other nerve agent as the killer because none of these chemicals were found at the scene or in biomedical samples from alleged victims.

If the rapid and profuse frothing was not the result of a nerve agent or chlorine poisoning, the possibility existed that there was no chemical attack at all – and that insurgents staged the incident to frame the Syrian government. The OPCW would be dealing with a faked chemical attack that triggered US-led airstrikes on Syria, and the unexplained deaths of 43 men, women, and children.

As The Grayzone has reported, the OPCW censored the German toxicologists’ input in a cover-up of findings that undermined allegations of a Syrian army chemical attack in Douma. More than three years since that suppression was exposed, the OPCW has never offered a rebuttal to the initial toxicology assessment, nor an explanation for why it was concealed. They have simply buried it.

In a new report on Douma released in January, the OPCW finally purports to offer a counter-narrative. The OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) claims that the “symptoms of the victims” in Douma “are, overall, consistent with exposure to chlorine gas in very high concentrations.”

The IIT shares this judgment as part of an effort to allege that the Syrian army killed the dozens of victims by dropping a chlorine gas cylinder on the apartment building — identified as Location 2 — where their bodies were filmed. (The Grayzone addressed the IIT’s claims about chlorine gas in a previous article). The victims would have been trapped and killed “within minutes,” the IIT report suggests, from exposure to a very high concentration of chlorine gas. By extension, the profuse foaming observed in victims’ mouths and noses would also have to have occurred immediately, or at most, within minutes.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his British, French, and German counterparts hailed the IIT’s findings and touted what they called “the independent, unbiased, and expert work of the OPCW staff.”

To advance its argument, however, the IIT continues to erase the original German toxicologists’ conclusions and engages in multiple acts of scientific cherry-picking. These include the following:

– The IIT has brought in a new toxicologist, without explaining why, who has contradicted the previously consulted experts by claiming that the symptoms of the Douma victims “are consistent with chlorine exposure.” There is no attempt to explain why the new expert’s opinion is more valid than the views of the numerous toxicologists who went before.

– Unlike previous experts, the new toxicologist has avoided ruling on any consistency of the frothing observed in videos and photographs of the deceased victims with exposure to chlorine gas — a controversy at the very core of the Douma deaths.

– The toxicologist sidesteps the frothing issue by instead focusing on whether uncorroborated and cherrypicked accounts of alleged witnesses were consistent with a chlorine attack. The IIT also avoids disclosing whether it considered the accounts of alleged witnesses who claimed to have seen immediate foaming at the Douma apartment building where the dead victims were filmed.

– On the only occasion when the toxicologist does weigh in on a possible cause of the frothing seen in the images, it is only to make the obvious and irrelevant assertion that the oral and nasal foam-like secretions (as well as miosis, a symptom of nerve agent poisoning, and skin discoloration) were “unlikely to have been as a direct result of ‘dust’ inhalation.”

The result is a continued OPCW cover-up of what has proved to be the Douma probe’s most important question: whether chlorine gas killed the dozens of victims filmed at the scene. Rather than provide an answer, the IIT report avoids the science and obscures the cause of 43 unsolved deaths.

Erasing the experts

The IIT’s narrative of almost instantaneous death in Douma, where heavy frothing would have occurred in minutes, defies both the scientific literature and toxicology experts’ previous assessments.

No recognized chemical weapons specialist has affirmed that chlorine gas could have caused the profuse foaming observed in video footage in the short time that the IIT suggests it took for the victims to die.

The first expert to comment on Douma was Professor Alastair Hay, a toxicologist working in the field of chemical warfare and then-member of the OPCW’s Education and Outreach board. Hay has received the OPCW-The Hague Award for his contribution to the Chemical Weapons Convention. On April 10, 2018 – three days after the alleged chemical attack in Douma – Hay challenged the notion that the victims could have been killed by chlorine gas.

The victims’ symptoms were “much, much more consistent with nerve-agent-type exposure,” Hay told the Washington Post. “Chlorine victims usually manage to get out to somewhere they can get treatment.” But in Douma, the victims “have pretty much died where they were when they inhaled the agent. They’ve just dropped dead.” The Post’s headline reflected Hay’s analysis: “Nerve gas used in Syria attack, leaving victims ‘foaming at the mouth,’ evidence suggests.”

United Nations investigation in June 2018, based largely on the accounts of alleged witnesses, likewise acknowledged — in a reference that certainly includes the profuse frothing — that some of the “reported symptoms” in Douma “are more consistent with the use of another chemical agent, most likely a nerve gas.”

That same month, the OPCW received an unequivocal assessment that ruled out chlorine gas. According to leaked documents, top German military toxicologists told OPCW investigators that chlorine could not have been the murder weapon in Douma. They argued that if the victims had been exposed to high concentrations of chlorine, it “was highly unlikely” that they “would have gathered in piles at the centre of the respective apartments at such a short distance from an escape from the toxic chlorine gas to cleaner air.”

Image 1: In a photograph from Location 2, the dead victims are gathered in piles

The experts also pointed to “the onset of excessive frothing… observed in photos and reported by witnesses.” This was a reference to the images showing a profuse discharge of foam from victims’ mouths and noses. Some alleged witnesses interviewed by the OPCW also claimed that they saw the foaming develop quickly.

From the toxicologists’ point of view, such rapid foaming defied scientific logic. If the dead victims had been rapidly overcome by an incredibly high concentration of chlorine gas, there simply would not have been enough time for the foamy discharge observed on multiple bodies to develop.

Image 2: A female victim displaying profuse foaming after her body had been moved

Accordingly, leaked minutes from that meeting state, “the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure.”

The minutes, drafted by Douma team member Dr. Brendan Whelan, were approved by two other participants who had also traveled to Germany to meet with the toxicologists: Dr. Marc Blum, the Head of OPCW Laboratory; and Dr. Soumik Paul, the Head OPCW Health and Safety Branch. In a leaked email, Blum recalled that one of the Germans even raised “the possibility of a staged attack” in Douma because “the circumstances of death for the victims do not match chlorine.”

The OPCW leadership’s response to this conclusive assessment was to make it disappear. When the Douma team included the Germans’ input in their initial report, completed in late June 2018, senior officials went around them and erased all traces of it. The meeting itself was then memory-holed: in the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission’s (FFM) final report on Douma published in March 2019, a detailed timeline omits the team’s visit to Germany.

The “Mission Timeline” of the OPCW’s March 2019 Final Report omits the June 2018 mission to Germany, where expert toxicologists ruled out chlorine gas as the cause of death in Douma

The FFM’s March 2019 final report also revealed that after the German toxicologists’ findings were suppressed, the OPCW consulted five new toxicologists in September and October 2018. But oddly, no detail was provided on what these replacement toxicologists concluded, including on the key questions of how the victims could have been poisoned, and how the profuse frothing could have developed so rapidly.

Instead, the March 2019 report avoided these issues by stating that “it is not currently possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical.” This ambiguous language obscured the fact that the German toxicologists initially consulted by the OPCW had unequivocally ruled out chlorine gas. What is certain is that the FFM report never claims that these five additional toxicologists contradicted the Germans whom they replaced. In fact, after noting that these five new experts were consulted, the FFM report made no further mention of them.

In a leaked April 2019 letter to the OPCW Director General, Dr. Whelan, the chief author of the Douma team’s censored original report, complained that the March 2019 final report had “shockingly omitted” the German toxicologists’ findings while evading any explanation for how the victims died from chlorine exposure. “To say that this selective use of expert opinions and facts is disturbing is an understatement,” Whelan wrote.

Challenged publicly to address the Douma probe’s suppressed findings, the long-awaited IIT report instead attempts to cover the OPCW’s tracks with more selective deceptions.

The cherry-picked cherry-picker

Just like the March 2019 FFM report, the IIT avoids the issues raised by the censored German experts entirely. But whereas the FFM stated that it was “not currently possible to precisely link” the Douma victims’ symptoms to chlorine, the IIT attempts to make it possible nearly four years later.

The IIT claims to have consulted a new “independent expert (toxicologist) not involved in previous assessments of the incident,” who concluded that the “symptoms of the victims are, overall, consistent with exposure to chlorine gas in very high concentrations.” No explanation is given for why the findings of this “new” and supposedly “independent” toxicologist should override those of the previously consulted experts. The IIT also does not present any additional evidence that would justify reversing the Germans’ conclusions.

The very fact that the IIT has declined to consult those experts from “previous assessments”– and present them with coherent counterarguments or fresh evidence, if it existed – suggests that the IIT sought out this one “new” assessment to overrule the inconvenient “previous” ones.

When this cherry-picked “independent expert” does make an assessment, more cherry picking ensues. Unlike the German toxicologists who based their assessment on both the images of the dead victims and the “symptoms and times of onset reported by” alleged witnesses, the IIT has limited the toxicologist’s scope of assessment to just the accounts of alleged witnesses.

The new toxicologist, the IIT states, was provided with “accounts and data from 55 individuals interviewed by either the FFM or by the IIT” and requested to “make their own evaluation of the reported symptoms” (emphasis added). The IIT tells us that “the toxicologist independently assessed the anonymised witness statements (obtained from affected persons or other eyewitnesses to the symptoms) against the symptoms that could be expected from chlorine exposure.” Ultimately, the toxicologist “reached the conclusion that the accounts of the victims and medical personnel were consistent with the rapid release of a high dosage of chlorine gas, which led to the rapid and high fatality rate documented at Location 2.”

Relying on witness accounts evades the central question of whether the frothing seen in videos was consistent with rapid chlorine poisoning. It also presumes that these accounts are reliable and have been corroborated, which there is no evidence of. And whereas the IIT claims that it “assessed the accounts, overall, to be consistent,” it omits that the Douma FFM’s initial investigators found those accounts to be anything but. In the interviews conducted in Syria and Turkey, the censored original report noted, “[t]wo broad and distinct narratives” emerged, one supporting the use of chemical weapons and the other not. Whose account was it then that was consistent with a “rapid release of a high dosage of chlorine gas”?

Even the reported symptoms from those cherrypicked witness accounts are themselves selectively assessed. When it comes to alleged witness accounts of what they observed at Location 2, nowhere in the IIT report is there any explicit mention of the “rapid and in some reported cases, immediate onset of frothing described by [alleged] victims,” as detailed in the FFM’s original censored report. There is thus no evidence that the reported rapid frothing formed part of the IIT toxicologist’s assessment. Instead, the IIT report informs us that: “Symptoms described by affected persons, rescuers, and treating medical personnel included shortness of breath, coughing, suffocation, dizziness, and skin irritation.” These symptoms all happen to match chlorine exposure; the omitted rapid frothing does not.

By focusing therefore only on the accounts of alleged witnesses – in particular, accounts from those who claimed there had been a chemical attack, and only those symptoms that are consistent with chlorine exposure – the IIT avoids answering the central question: whether the rapid onset of the profuse frothing observed in videos is consistent with exposure to chlorine.

Avoiding the inconsistency

In the few instances when the IIT’s toxicologist does appear to weigh in on the images of the foaming, they again deftly avoid the consistency question.

In a passage citing the toxicologist, the IIT states that “symptoms observed in affected persons, including miosis, skin discoloration, and oral and nasal foam-like secretions, are unlikely to have been as a direct result of ‘dust’ inhalation.”

No one has ever claimed that “dust inhalation” was the cause of the Douma victims’ observed miosis and “foam-like secretions.” Why then has the IIT’s toxicologist gone out of their way to rule out “dust inhalation” as the cause of the victims’ foam-like secretions, but failed to tell us whether these foam-like secretions could have been caused by chlorine gas? The most likely reason is that the IIT did not want its toxicologist to answer that question.

In another passage, the IIT notes that “imagery and videos” from Location 2 showed “clear signs of corneal opacity, discoloration of the skin, white/off-white foam-like oral and nasal secretions and miosis.” Yet rather than tell us whether those observed foam-like secretions are consistent with chlorine gas, the IIT again avoids an answer. Instead, the report only states that “the specialists consulted by the IIT confirmed that the reported and observed symptoms of oral opacity are typically caused by… exposure to a high concentration of chlorine gas.” (emphasis added) Given its omission, these same specialists have not confirmed that the observed “foam-like oral and nasal secretions” can be caused by exposure to chlorine gas.

On another occasion, the IIT — notably, not the toxicologist — does manage to explicitly state that the “rapid onset of symptoms… observed in videos and pictures” for “fatalities recorded on the stairs and landings” (emphasis added) at Location 2 are consistent with a “high and lethal volume of chlorine gas.”

Given that foaming was seen in videos and photos, the IIT report leaves the impression that it is referring to those “symptoms.” But in the images from the “stairs and landings” at the apartment building, none of the three dead victims show any frothing. This allows the IIT to create a false suggestion that the foaming seen in the videos is consistent with chlorine exposure. In reality, the IIT is weighing in on images where no foaming can be observed, but that readers would unlikely check.

In another rare instance where it makes any reference to foaming, the IIT states that chlorine gas can lead “to the oral and nasal secretion of a foam-like substance.” That chlorine gas can cause a “foam-like substance” is not in question: the censored original report noted that “excessive frothing from the mouth” has been “reported in cases of exposure to lethal doses of chlorine gas.” But with this uncontroversial claim, the IIT is again avoiding the issue raised by the original report, based on the findings of the German toxicologists, that the “rapid, and in some reported cases, immediate onset of frothing described by victims is not considered consistent with exposure to chlorine-based choking or blood agents.”

Suppressing science, denying justice

Left with the scientifically unfounded scenario in which chlorine gas caused immediate profuse foam discharge from the victims, the IIT has resorted to deceptive claims that no recognized expert in toxicology has been willing to support. Accordingly, beyond the US and its allies’ bombing of Syria on unsupported grounds and the co-option of the OPCW to whitewash it, the core crime in Douma remains unexplained.

In April 2018, dozens of slain civilians were photographed in that apartment building. Images of their lifeless bodies stirred global outrage. Approaching the fifth anniversary of this horrific incident, the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with investigating their deaths continues to bury its own findings and present a baseless explanation for what occurred. So long as the OPCW continues to suppress the science, 43 Douma victims and their families will remain without justice.


Thank you to Dr. Piers Robinson for his input on this article.


Watch Aaron Maté’s March 24, 2023 presentation on the Douma controversy to members of the UN Security Council.

Read the first part of this report.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

The people who brought you the Iraq war loudly support arming Ukraine. Where will this lead?

By Andrey Sushentsov | RT | March 30, 2023

This year’s twentieth anniversary of the illegal Iraq invasion paradoxically coincided with major international events. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was in Moscow on the day, while a Russia-Africa Parliamentary Forum opened at the same time.

In 2003, at the height of its power, the US proclaimed its “unipolar moment” in which it would dominate unchallenged, needing no allies and tolerating no objections from adversaries. History, it was believed, had a single purpose, and they would stop at nothing to achieve it. Indeed, American military, political and economic dominance seemed total at the time, echoing the sentiments of Henry Kissinger, who a few years earlier had written “America at the Apex.” Twenty years later, we are witnessing the flowering of multi-polarity: in Moscow, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was talking to the Russian President, two countries contributing to a change the world has not seen in a hundred years. This transience of world history shows how quickly historical cycles change, but it is also important that the US itself, through its actions in different parts of the world, is accelerating its course.

One of the most important strategic mistakes made by Washington was the invasion of Iraq. Based on a false pretext and the deliberate misleading of the international community, it led to a series of significant war crimes, a catastrophic civil war, the shattering of Iraqi statehood and enormous repercussions for the entire Middle East. Just a few years of American presence in Iraq resulted in huge numbers civilian deaths, indiscriminate use of force, and the destruction of several cities, including Mosul. During the evacuation of the Russian embassy amid the 2003 US invasion, a convoy of diplomats came under American fire and several were injured. US private military contractors, who at one point had the same presence in the country as official troops, committed a number of war crimes. The abuse of prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad has been well documented. When the International Criminal Court raised the question of American citizens being charged over offenses in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US responded that it would prosecute the judges who raised the issue and that they should withdraw their initiatives immediately.

Arguably the greatest crime of the US in Iraq has been to create a civil war that has resulted in a terrible number of casualties with estimates ranging from 600,000 to one million.

From 2005 to 2007, the country’s population curve flattened, despite the fact that it has always had one of the highest birth rates in the region. The dismantling of the central government triggered geopolitical processes in the region and power in the formerly Sunni-ruled country fell into the hands of the Shia Arab majority, which began a rapprochement with Shia Iran. Since then, Tehran’s strategic position in Iraq has remained significant.

Some of the consequences of the US invasion have backfired as well. For example, the fight against terror led to an increase in the influence of ISIS, an organization banned in Russia, in Iraq. Unexpectedly, Iran’s strengthened role in the country meant that 150,000 US troops were unable to control the situation in Iraq, while a few dozen Iranian diplomats in the embassy in Baghdad were quite capable of doing so. The metastasis of the Arab Spring, which began to spread to various countries in the region, was also one of the consequences of the Iraq war.

Meanwhile, US financial costs for the war are estimated at several trillion dollars. Overall, the politically unsuccessful operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to a decline in American influence and status in the region, as evidenced by the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, mediated by China.

The Americans formulated a reasonable objective for the military operation as early as 2007. It was voiced by General David Petraeus at a US congressional hearing. In response to a question about American interests in the country, he said, “Our purpose is not to create a Jeffersonian democracy, our purpose is to create the conditions for our troops to withdraw.” The implication was that pulling out should not look like defeat. At the time, this reasoned objective was well in line with American interests and showed the depth of the strategic error the Americans had made in preparing for the 2003 invasion.

Today, many of those responsible for that war – and their media and academic cheerleaders – are now loudly supporting Washington’s position on Ukraine.

It’s unlikely that the impact of their actions will be any different this time.

Andrey Sushentsov is the Valdai Club program director.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syria reasserts its right to restore its sovereignty over Israeli-occupied Golan

Press TV – March 30, 2023

Syria has reasserted its “inalienable right” to restore its sovereignty to the Israeli-occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, denouncing the US’s support for the regime that has emboldened it to prolong the occupation.

Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ambassador Haider Ali Ahmed made the remarks, addressing a session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in the Middle East, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Wednesday.

The Israeli regime seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has been using the region as a launch pad for its military operations against the Arab country.

“Israel commits a war crime by building colonies and settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan, and its colonization plans have witnessed an escalation since the end of 2021, when it announced the doubling of the number of settlers in the Golan over a period of five years,” the Syrian envoy said.

Ahmed also pointed to a plan by the occupying regime to install wind turbines in Golan, saying the scheme proved Tel Aviv’s intransigence in keeping up its colonial and racist practices in the Syrian territory.

“The time has come to start taking concrete steps to put an end to the Israeli regime’s occupation of Arab lands, which comes as a result of the support that the US and other countries provide to the Israeli occupation entity,” added the Syrian diplomat.

The United States has proven the Israeli regime’s biggest and most dedicated ally since 1948, when the regime claimed existence after occupying huge expanses of regional territories during a similar war.

With a cast-iron resolve, Washington has invariably provided sustained arms, logistical, and political support for Tel Aviv that has encouraged it to sustain the occupation and keep up its near-daily deadly crimes against the peoples of the occupied territories, foremost among them the Palestinians.

The Syrian official said the US’s continuing to provide this support despite the horrible crimes served as the greatest evidence of Washington’s contempt for the provisions of international law, the United Nations Charter, and international resolutions.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Former CIA officer urges US to make Zelensky drop claims on Crimea and Donbass

By Ahmed Adel | March 30, 2023

The US should bluntly tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Kiev will eventually have to accept territorial concessions, former CIA Counterterrorism Center chief Robert Grenier said. This comes as Zelensky admitted that his people are becoming weary of conflict.

“The time is fast approaching when a senior representative of the Biden administration will need to begin a similarly tough, realistic — and empathetic — dialogue with Zelensky,” he wrote in The Hill, adding that although the US president is “a great friend” of Kiev, “his ability to deliver on his implicit and explicit promises of support for Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’ is likely to be curtailed in the near future.”

“Zelensky must be pushed in the direction of a negotiated solution, likely to include territorial concessions on Crimea and the Donbass,” the former CIA official said.

In the expert’s opinion, the Ukrainian conflict does not threaten Washington’s national security, and therefore the total defence of every inch of Ukrainian territory is not on the list of vital interests of the West.

“Now is the time for the administration to engage in some hard critical thinking, followed by tough talk in Kyiv, in NATO capitals, and yes, in Moscow,” Grenier said. He caveated that by saying it is important for NATO to make Ukraine an impregnable fortress to deter Russia in the future, but that the West does not need the whole country for this purpose.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as the Crimean Peninsula, are inseparable parts of Russia. At one point in the future, these regions will be completely liberated by Russia and this will be a bitter reality for Kiev and the West to accept.

For his part, US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter recently said that the Ukrainian army would eventually lose Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), which will in turn lead to the country’s defeat and the downfall of Zelensky. He argued that Zelensky still has a chance to avoid further catastrophe if he decides to follow the plan proposed by China. The former intelligence officer said if Zelensky followed China’s peace plan, Ukraine would survive as a nation, its army would be preserved, and it keeps the door open for EU membership.

Known for decades as Artyomovsk, and still called that in Russian, the city has recently been the scene of bloody fighting due to its importance for supplying Ukrainian troops in the Donbass region. When the town is captured by Russian forces, large swathes of Donbass will be opened for liberation.

It is for this reason that Zelensky said in an interview with the Associated Press on March 28 that Russia may begin building international support for a peace deal that could require Ukraine to compromise on promises already made, adding that if Russian President Vladimir Putin “will feel some blood – smell that we are weak – he will push, push, push.”

Zelensky also admitted that he is worried that the war could be impacted by shifting political forces in Washington, which is why in desperation he also extended an invitation for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Kiev.

“We are ready to see him here. I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have,” he said.

Zelensky also begrudgingly acknowledged “our society will feel tired” if the Ukrainian military were defeated in Artyomovsk. “Our society will push me to compromise with them.”

Although he expressed confidence in finally prevailing over Russia, Zelensky is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to perhaps slowly normalise the idea that a compromise must be made, one that very well could be unpopular for Ukrainians, especially after all the boastful and arrogant comments made by their president about a final victory.

The war in Ukraine will continue to be a difficult grind, in which Russia will ultimately prevail in, but a realistic mindset by Washington and Kiev can avoid a lot of unnecessary bloodshed. Although there are a lot more voices urging for an acceptance of Russia’s terms, there is still little indication from the Biden administration that they will wind back their support for Kiev.

So long as this flow of Western support does not end, the war will drag out longer than necessary but will still reach the same conclusion. Many US experts are pushing for a swift conclusion to the war as they would rather focus on the deteriorating economic situation at home, especially as the next US presidential election is next year.

Although the economic situation in the US is worsening, Biden continues to blindly send billions to Ukraine, something that cannot be sustained as the election comes closer and closer and criticism becomes harsher. Zelensky perhaps senses that not only his own people are tired of the war, but also Westerners, who are feeling the indirect impact of it, which is why now he has placed such great importance on Artyomovsk.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

March 30, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment