Saturday, 15 April 2017

New Revelations Belie Trump Claims on Syria Chemical Attack

 by Gareth Porter
Two unnamed senior Trump administration officials briefing journalists Tuesday asserted that a Syrian regime airstrike in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 had deliberately killed dozens of civilians with sarin gas.
The Trump administration officials dismissed the Russian claim that the Syrian airstrike had targeted a munitions warehouse controlled by Islamic extremists as an afterthought to cover up the Syrian government’s culpability for the chemical attack. Moreover, the Trump officials claimed that US intelligence had located the site where the Syrian regime had dropped the chemical weapon.
However, two new revelations contradict the Trump administration’s line on the April 4 attack. A former US official knowledgeable about the episode told Truthout that the Russians had actually informed their US counterparts in Syria of the Syrian military’s plan to strike the warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun 24 hours before the strike. And a leading analyst on military technology, Dr. Theodore Postol of MIT, has concluded that the alleged device for a sarin attack could not have been delivered from the air but only from the ground, meaning that the chemical attack may not have been the result of the Syrian airstrike.
The Trump administration is pushing the accusation that the Assad regime was the force that carried out the highly lethal chemical attack on April 4 very hard, perhaps not so much to justify the already politically popular US strike against the Shayrat airbase on April 6, but rather to buttress a new hardline policy against the Syrian regime.
The two unnamed senior Trump officials who briefed journalists Tuesday sought to discredit the Russian claim that the Syrian airstrike had hit a warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun that was believed to hold weapons including toxic chemicals. One of the two unnamed officials said that a Syrian military source had “told Russian state media on April 4 that regime forces had not carried out any strike in Khan Sheikhoun, which contradicted Russia’s claim directly.”
This Trump administration official appeared to be suggesting that there was no evidence that a weapons storage site had been hit by a Syrian airstrike. But an internal administration paper on the issue now circulating in Washington, a copy of which Truthout obtained, clearly refers to “a regime airstrike on a terrorist ammunition dump in the eastern suburbs of Khan Sheikhoun.”
More importantly, the US military allegedly knew in advance that the strike was coming: Russian military officers informed their American counterparts of the Syrian military’s plan to strike the warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun city 24 hours before the planned airstrike, according to the former US official who spoke with Truthout. The official is in direct contact with a US military intelligence officer with access to information about the US-Russian communications. The military intelligence officer reported to his associate that the Russians provided the information about the strike to the Americans through the normal US-Russian Syria deconfliction telephone line, which was established after the Russian intervention in 2015 to prevent any accidental clash between the two powers. The officer said that Russia communicated to the US the fact that the Syrians believed that the warehouse held toxic chemicals. 
That information was considered so politically sensitive that after its initial dissemination, it was available only to a few officials, the US military intelligence officer told his associate.
Despite the US denial of the Russian account of a Syrian strike on a warehouse in the city, an eyewitness account appears to confirm it. A 14-year-old resident told The New York Times she was walking only a few dozen yards away from a one-story building when she saw a plane drop a bomb on it.  The eyewitness reported the explosion created a “mushroom cloud” that stung her eyes.
She added that she then hurried back home and watched as people began to arrive to help others in the neighborhood and were stricken by the toxic chemical in the air.
The airstrike she saw appears to be the one that was the objective of the Syrian operation in Khan Sheikhoun. The mushroom cloud she saw seems to be the widest of the three mushroom clouds shown in a video taken sometime after the explosion.
Two other strikes were apparently carried out after the initial strike on the building for which there is an eyewitness account. One was at a hospital in or near the city and the other was at a center of the White Helmets organization, built into a rock formation. The hospital strike was reported in an Associated Press story on Tuesday, which reported that a Russian drone was said to be hovering over a hospital as victims of the earlier attack were being brought in for treatment. The story said the hospital was later attacked.
The hospital attack was cited by an anonymous AP source as evidence that the Russians knew in advance that a chemical weapons attack was going to be carried out. In fact it indicates that the hospital strike may well have been linked to the earlier airstrike on the one-story building.
When asked about the bombing at the hospital during the press briefing on Tuesday, one of the unnamed senior US officials would not confirm that the Syrians had carried out the attack or discuss the issue further, saying, “We don’t have any comment right now on who may have been involved in bombing that hospital and why and how.”
The senior US officials briefing the press insisted that a Syrian air strike delivering sarin was the only credible explanation for the dozens of deaths in Khan Sheikhoun. One of the officials cited a video showing a crater in the middle of a main road, which the Trump administration’s key officials have determined was the site of the chemical weapon that reportedly killed 50 to 100 people. He implied that this was evidence that a Syrian airstrike had released what was believed to be sarin.
But Dr. Theodore Postol of MIT, who debunked the original official claims of the location of rockets that hit Syria’s Ghouta area with what appeared to be sarin on August 21, 2013, has come to a different conclusion. Postol says that the carcass of the delivery vehicle – shown in last week’s video and in still photos of the small crater – indicates that the chemical attack was not delivered via airstrike but from the spot on the road where it was found.
In an assessment completed on Tuesday, Postol called the collapsed metal tube shown in the crater, which he estimates to be about two and a half feet long, “an improvised dispersal device.” He analyzes the device as having been assembled from a section of pipe from a 122 mm rocket with caps at both ends that was filled with sarin and with some kind of explosive placed on top of it. The explosive on top smashed in the pipe holding the sarin, and pushed the sarin out of its tube, according to Postol, “like toothpaste from a toothpaste tube.”
Postol estimates that the device might have held eight to 10 liters of sarin. Was it actually used to emit the toxic chemical that killed dozens of residents? Postol doesn’t claim to know, but he states that it did not resemble an air-delivered chemical weapon. “The administration attempted to use evidence that contradicted their own claim,” Postol told Truthout.
One of the unnamed US officials briefing the press declared, “We are confident that terrorists or non-state actors did not commit this particular attack,” and explained that non-state actors don’t have the sarin required. But whether that assumption is well-founded or not, the universal assumption that the deaths could only have been caused by exposure to sarin is mistaken. Exposure to smoke munitions that create phosphine gas when in contact with moisture can cause neurological symptoms that mimic those of sarin, because they both damage the body’s ability to produce the enzyme cholinesterase.
Both the Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front fighters in the Aleppo area, moreover, had abundant stocks of phosphine-producing smoke munitions in 2013, as was documented by German journalist Alfred Hackensberger of Die Welt. Furthermore, both ISIS (also known as Daesh) and al-Qaeda in Aleppo have been reported to have access to phosphine-based weapons.
These phosphine-producing munitions can be lethal if humans are exposed in confined space, and they have the smell of garlic or rotting food. That is precisely the smell that was reported by eyewitnesses in Khan Seikhoun. Sarin, on the other hand, is normally odorless.
Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. He can be contacted at
Reprinted from TruthOut with the author’s permission

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Sean Spicer, Hitler and Jewish Power

Sean Spicer apologizes for “Hitler” remark during interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN
It has been reported that after the flap erupted over his offhand reference to Hitler, White House spokesman Sean Spicer made a personal phone call to Sheldon Adelson to apologize.
Adelson is the staunch Zionist and casino billionaire who has provided extensive funding to Republican candidates for office. Back in 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie groveled out an apology to him after using the term “occupied territories” in reference to the West Bank, so it probably should come as no surprise that Spicer felt compelled to apologize as well.
But of course the apology comes at a time when the Trump administration has already prostrated itself to neocon wishes by launching a missile attack against Syria–an act which has heightened tensions with Russia and represents a dramatic departure from Trump’s previous campaign positions. Moreover, Adelson isn’t the only person Spicer has apologized to.
“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said in an effort to justify the US missile strike. The remark was made at a press briefing on April 11. Later that day Spicer issued a public apology during an interview with Wolf Blitzer over CNN.
“As you know, six million Jews were killed in the holocaust, many of them with poison gas…” Blitzer prefaced the interview.
Spicer’s replies throughout the seven and a half minute segment (see video here ) were almost cringing.
“Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the holocaust, for which there is no comparison, and for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that…I was trying to draw a comparison for which there shouldn’t have been one. It was insensitive and inappropriate…I should have stayed focused on the Assad regime and the dangers they have brought to their own people…it was a mistake, I shouldn’t have done it. I won’t do it again…it was inappropriate and insensitive…”
But despite the on-air contrition, Blitzer seemed reluctant to let the matter drop.
“Did you not know, Sean, there were gas chambers where the Nazis brought Jews in…” he demanded.
“Yes, clearly I’m aware of that…it was a mistake to do that…”
“Have you spoken to President Trump about your blunder today?”
“Obviously it was my blunder, as you put it correctly…”
So busy was Spicer apologizing that at one point in the interview he even committed a Freudian slip:
“I came out (to apologize) to make sure that we stay focused on what the president’s doing and his decisive action. I needed to make sure that I clarified, and not in any way shape or form any more of a distraction from the president’s decisive action in Syria and the attempts he’s making to destabilize the region and root ISIS out of Syria.”
Spicer obviously meant to refer to Trump’s attempts to “stabilize” rather than “destabilize” the region, but Blitzer, having witnessed the presidential spokesman supplicate himself, allowed the slip to pass without comment.
In its article on Spicer’s phone call to Adelson, The Forward notes that Spicer’s Hitler analogy was “made on the Jewish holiday of Passover.” The article also comments that the Jewish billionaire has a “special relationship” with Trump and was given “prime seats at Trump’s inauguration after pouring massive amounts of cash into the campaign.”
Despite all the apologies, the Anne Frank Center in New York has called for Spicer to be fired.
“On Passover no less, Sean Spicer has engaged in Holocaust denial, the most offensive form of fake news imaginable, by denying Hitler gassed millions of Jews to death,” said Steven Goldstein, the center’s executive director.
Spicer’s sin was nothing more than expressing himself in a clumsy manner; clearly he had no intentions of casting aspersions or doubt upon the holocaust religion. But such considerations apparently have little bearing. A punishment of some sort must be exacted.
“Spicer’s statement is the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary,” Goldstein said. “President Trump must fire him at once.”
Trump has not responded, and in fact seems to be laying low on the controversy surrounding his press secretary. This is likely due to the fact that the president clearly has problems of his own.
In the past week or two his behavior has become strangely erratic. The man who once accused the mainstream media of spreading fake news suddenly latched onto a very suspicious and dubious report about a chemical weapons attack in Syria. On April 6, he ordered a missile attack against a Syrian airbase; at a press conference on April 12 he praised NATO (after having called it “obsolete” during his campaign); and on April 13, the US dropped a “mega bomb” in Afghanistan. Now Trump is engaged in a massive military buildup in the Korean peninsula, and just today the foreign minister of China warned that a war could break out “at any moment.”
All of this represents a startling and dramatic departure from Trump’s campaign promises of wanting better relations with Russia and keeping the US from becoming embroiled in useless wars–and as a result, support for Trump is in fact plummeting sharply among his political base.
One of his most prominent and vocal supporters during his campaign was Ann Coulter. So avid a fan was she that she even published a book entitled In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! But you can listen to the interview below from April 7–one day after the attack on Syria–and hear for yourself how dismayed Coulter now is.
Losing the support of people like Coulter has to be a serious blow for Trump. Why would he risk it? One conclusion we might draw from all this is that it makes no difference who gets elected president–and that the policies and agenda of the deep state will remain in effect regardless. In other words, the president is really nothing but a puppet. But perhaps there’s more to it than that.
If you watch the video of his press conference of this past Wednesday–a joint press conference he gave with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg–clearly Trump is not enjoying himself. Maybe he simply has a personal dislike for Stoltenberg. It would be impossible, however, that he could be unaware of the fact that he is alienating people like Coulter. In any event, his behavior during the press conference is quite strange.
In fact, over the past two weeks or so Trump’s behavior has become so curious–on some levels almost bizarre–it is practically as if he has undergone some sort of demonic possession, although a perhaps a much more “earthly” explanation is the far-greater likelihood. My own guess: that someone has gotten to Trump, set him down, and “laid down the law” to him. That would be Jewish law, of course.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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US author: Trump attacked Syria for Israel

Posted on 
US-Canadian author, blogger and international human right activist Robert Fantina writes about American imperialism, and United States’ foreign policy which is basically written by the pro-Israel lawmakers to please their Jew masters. He is author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of US Foreign Policy, and several other books. He resides near Toronto.
A pro-Israel regime change in Syria has been an Israeli Project since the day one.
In a recent article, entitled, Trump Attacks Syria to Please Israel, Fantina agrees with Minister Louis Farrakhan that in November 2016, the American voters had no other choice but to elect one of the two Biblical Satans.
In the 2016 presidential election, among the two prominent political parties, the hapless United States voter had to choose between a Zionist war-monger and a Zionist war-monger. Deciding that Democrat Hillary Clinton had far too much baggage to take back to the White House, the voters decided, through the bizarre institution known as the Electoral College, to install as president a reality-show television star and business tycoon, the thrice-wed blowhard, Donald Trump,” Fantina said.
The role of the media in all this can’t be excused. When Israel uses chemical weapons against Palestinians, there are no pictures of the victims on CNN, MSNBC or in The New York Times. When Palestinian children playing on a beach are shot and killed by IDF soldiers, no one in the media proclaims ‘We are all Palestinians’.  When a young Palestinian, lying wounded on the ground, motionless, is shot in the head by an IDF soldier, and that soldier is sentenced to an 18-month prison term, no one compares that with the 15-year prison term Palestinian youths receive for throwing rocks. Fortunately, social media and the alternative press provide facts on the ground,” Fantina said.
Fantina was not wrong blaming Israel for pulling Trump’s strings. Both Israeli president and prime minister patted Trump’s butts for firing 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield. Gil Hoffman wrote at the Likud’s mouthpiece The Jerusalem Post:
Wall to wall support in Israel for US attack on Syria.”
Fareed Zakaria (married to a Zionist Jew woman), the Indian-American pundit at Murdoch’s CNN said on April 7:
I think Donald Trump became president of the United States after bombing Syria.”
On April 12, American investigative journalist and author Robert Perry reported that chemical hit on ISIS-controlled Khan Sheikhoun was not by a Syrian plane but
a drone which was launched in Jordan from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base for supporting Syrian rebels, adding that the suspected reason for the poison gas was to create an incident that would reverse the Trump administration’s announcement in late March that it was no longer seeking the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.”
Pro-Israel professor Stephen Zunes, a Crypto Zionist, wrote at Jewish YESmagazine (April 7):
With no direct threat to US national security and with no congressional authorization, Trump’s use of force was illegal. Trump recently blamed Syria’s chemical attack on Obama, but it was a Republican-controlled Congress, backed by public opinion, that blocked Obama from taking military action. Indeed, Trump at that time tweeted, ‘The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria – big mistake if he does not!’ He also tweeted, “Stay out of Syria.” Obama’s hesitation, Trump later tweeted, ‘may have saved us from doing a horrible and very costly (in more ways than money) attack on Syria!’.”
White House senior National Security adviser Lt. Gen. McMaster, a pro-Israel Christian Zionist, wants Donald Trump to put 150,000 US boots in Syria in order to make Syria an Israeli colony.


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Did Trump Shoot Himself in the Foot?

The sound of Tomahawk missiles slamming into a Syrian airbase shattered whatever optimism there was over the possibility of a rapprochement between Moscow and Washington, while causing a widespread spike in tensions on the global stage.
Caricature: Trump shooting himself in the foot
Just a few days earlier, the blast of another bombshell echoed through international newsrooms; the White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was removed from the US National Security Council [NSC].
Bannon’s removal was hardly surprising. As a matter of fact, it was inevitable in the context of the ongoing struggle between the Trump administration and the American political establishment.
It was equally predictable that Bannon’s departure would coincide with other dramatic events. But few could have forecast that it would be followed by a massive missile strike on Syria, in what marks the most heated episode of the new Cold War.
Meanwhile, Trump was eager to tell the world that last week’s strike was the product of his own decision-making process, which led him to ‘change his mind on Syria’ in 48 hours.
The US president’s change of heart during those 48 hours ran parallel with Bannon’s removal from the NSC.
Trump Betrays His Base
The depth of the Washington D.C. “swamp” that Trump promised to drain was on full display following an assault on a sovereign country and a blatant violation of international law.
The corporate media and western politicians, regardless of their party affiliations, were falling all over themselves to shower praise on Trump for his unilateral attack on Syria.
One of the more poetic examples was NBC’s Brian Williams, who called the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles, which killed a number of Syrian children, “beautiful”.
“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two US Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.'”
“They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield,” he added. Then he asked his guest, “What did they hit?”
Hillary Clinton, who told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, just hours before the attack that the US “should take out [Assad’s] airfields”, was not the only Trump critic to change her tune.
The former frontrunner in the race for the White House declared that the strike was an appropriate response to a purported chemical weapons attack in Idlib.
Republican Senator John McCain, who doesn’t make much of an effort to hide his relationship with terrorist groups in Syria, applauded Trump, saying he deserved the support of the American people.
He then used the opportunity to accuse Russia of war crimes.
“The United States should first tell Russia that this kind of a war crime is unacceptable in the world today,” McCain told a press conference in Belgrade on April 10.
But the argument that this rhetoric somehow translates into Trump becoming more appealing to the public, the media and his political rivals in the long run is inaccurate.
Instead, Trump’s decision to sign off on the strikes can best be described as a pyrrhic victory.
Praise from the global neoliberal and neoconservative establishment will be short-lived. These circles of power will hate Trump for the entirety of his presidential tenure. However, his U-turn on Syria has cost him the backing of his diehard supporters, including those sympathetic to Steve Bannon.
According to Russian geopolitical expert Alexander Dugin, Trump has managed to betray those who elected him by capitulating to neoconservative foreign policy interests.
Muscle Flexing
From a military standpoint, the strikes on the Shayrat air base were almost completely pointless. Only six out-of-service aircraft were reportedly destroyed, and the base was operational again within 24 hours.
A Russian defense ministry statement, read on state television shortly after the strikes, said the US attack had been “ineffective”.
On the diplomatic front, a renewed effort to push the Kremlin into a corner was equally impotent.
A G7 meeting in the Italian city of Lucca, which was preceded by a flurry of anti-Russian and anti-Syrian propaganda, failed to reach an agreement on a proposal by Britain for additional sanctions against Moscow.
Staying true to traditional values and honoring one’s host, Beijing waited for the Chinese President Xi Jinping to leave the US and return home, before offering their explanation of the strike on Syria.
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua called it an act of a weakened politician, who needed to flex his muscles and overcome accusations that he was “pro-Russia”.
The PR nature of the attack is further highlighted by the fact that the Russians were notified about the strike in advance, giving them and the Syrians ample time to evacuate the base.
Russia’s Response
Those who detest American imperialism and support the emerging bloc of countries led by Vladimir Putin immediately asked why Moscow didn’t do more to prevent this attack, and why advanced Russian missile-defense systems in Syria remained unused.
Aside from condemnations and warnings that such provocations must not be repeated, little else came out of the Kremlin. This has been interpreted by many in the west as a sign of weakness. The thinking is that the Americans are once again marching to their own tune and Moscow does not know how to respond.
Here, it is important to point out that out of the 59 missiles fired only 23 ended up reaching their target.
Unless the American military industrial complex has truly hit rock bottom, it is unlikely that more than 30 Tomahawks simply malfunctioned.
The more believable explanation involves Russia’s Krasuha-4 mobile electronic warfare system, which was first cited as being in use in Syria in late 2015.
The Krasuha-4 can affect the function of spy satellites, ground-based radars and airborne systems.
But its main function is to jam radar frequencies and other radio-emitting sources – vital for Tomahawk missile launches.
It is also important to note that the Russians had an agreement with the Americans over operations in Syria, which Moscow decided to honor. The agreement as well as the prior warning of the attack could explain Russia’s relatively low-key response.
Theories suggesting that the Kremlin does not know how to react also run counter to Putin’s recent maneuvers on the international stage, including his response to the shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey.

Managing to avoid a direct military confrontation, which would have played into the hands of the ‘globalists’, Putin successfully broke through NATO’s southern rim, as the anti-Kremlin agenda in Ankara collapsed.
Over the last couple of years, Putin’s actions have been highly unpredictable. From Moscow’s response to the crisis in Ukraine and the seizure of Crimea, to Russia’s intervention in Syria, Putin has managed to leave the top echelons of western intelligence agencies lost for words.
Trump’s future actions are equally unpredictable, but for different reasons.
Reason and pragmatism have abandoned Washington’s halls of power many years ago, requiring a psychiatric evaluation of the policy-making process rather than a political one.
One conclusion that can be drawn from the recent escalation is that Trump, much like Erdogan over a year ago, is shooting himself in the foot. Those who hated Trump since the beginning will continue to hate him and those who supported him will begin to abandon him.
Source: Al-Ahed News
15-04-2017 | 09:31

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بين عون الجمهورية وباسيل «أشواط»

أبريل 14, 2017

روزانا رمّال

ما من شك في أن التيار الوطني الحر كان يحشد جدياً من أجل النزول إلى الشارع عبر انتظار ساعة صفر قرار سياسي، احتجاجاً على التمديد برفقة القوات اللبنانية بشكل خاص كقوى «سلطة»، ولا أحد يعتبر أن الشارع كان مجرد «تهديد» أو «تحفيز» من قبلهم بل كان قراراً جدياً تحضرت له وسائل الإعلام والاروقة السياسية. ويؤكد على هذا «الحل» الذي صدر عن رئيس الجمهورية أي الجهة «المقربة» من التيار الوطني الحر وهي «الرئاسة»، وبالتالي كان ممكنا عدم التلويح بالشارع من الأساس، طالما ان هناك مخرجاً يتيحه الدستور اللبناني في المادة 59 تقتضي بإمكانية استخدام الرئيس صلاحية لمرة واحدة يوقف فيها عمل مجلس النواب لمدة شهر.

قبل أن يتم ابتكار هذا الحل السليم والقويم، كان كل شيء يوحي أن بيروت مقبلة على انفجار شعبي وسياسي وأن البلاد ستدخل في أزمة سياسية حادة، خصوصاً أن مسألة الميثاقية عند حليفين مسيحيين بدأت تلوح بالأفق «التيار الوطني الحر القوات اللبنانية» أي أن المسألة لم تقتصر على تمرير «التمديد»، بل على أزمة تتعدّاها لما هو أبعد من ذلك بكثير فأي تمديد أو تصويت، في ما لو تمّ كان سيقسم البلاد إلى نوع جديد من الانقسام «الإسلامي المسيحي» بعدما كان هذا الزمن قد ولّى الى غير رجعة باحتساب المسيحيين الحاضرين وتخطّي الأغلبية، وكان ممكناً أن يزيد الأمر تعقيداً، خصوصاً في هذه الأجواء الملتهبة دولياً التي يُراد فيها للمسيحيين التخلّي عمّا يتمسّكون به في هذه المنطقة.

مزيد من الإحساس بالمظلومية «المستجدّة» والتي تمّ افتعالها كانت ستعصف بالبلاد وتفتح ازمة تضاف الى الازمة السياسية الراهنة. افتخر المسؤولون بالقوات اللبنانية، حسب المعلومات «بالاحتجاج برفقة الشريك المسيحي كاشفين انه سيكون هناك إقفال وإضراب عام في المناطق كلها، كما أن هناك تجاوباً كبيراً لأن الناس ترفض التمديد».

أخذُ الشارع الى الفوضى أمر كان مطروحاً من دون أن يرفّ جفن المعنيين، كل شيء كان وارداً في لحظة انعقاد جلسة «فتوش».. قد لا يهمّ القوات اللبنانية كثيراً حسابات من هذا النوع، لكن من المفترض ان تهم التيار الوطني الحر ورئيسه جبران باسيل. الأمر الذي «عرّى» باسيل بالكامل أمام جمهور الحليف وكشف عن تمايز ضخم بينه وبين سلوك العماد عون السياسي، وعن حكمة لا يزال يفتقدها باسيل حتى الساعة وهو بطبيعة الحال ليس مستعداً لإنكار ذلك. فبينه وبين الرئيس عون «أشواط» في العمل الوطني والنضال ومراعاة مسألة التعايش الداخلي والمحافظة على التحالفات و«كظم الغيظ» عشرات السنين بالخارج رفضاً للفوضى في البلاد.

يعوّل جمهور المقاومة كثيراً على رئيس التيار الوطني الحر «باسيل» في السراء والضراء، قد لا تهمّ هذا الجمهور كثيراً حسابات داخلية للتيار بقدر ما يعنيه أن لا يظهر خلاف بينهم وبين جمهور التيار على السطح «مبكراً» وبين القيادتين فلا تزال معركة الرئاسة حاضرة في أذهان هذا الجمهور.

لقد جعل حزب الله العماد ميشال عون «معركته» لرئاسة الجمهورية وأسس لتوافق دولي لا يستطيع أن يؤدّيه ترشيح القوات اللبنانية إليه فتمسّك حزب الله بالعماد عون فرضه مرشحاً قوياً بتوازنات المنطقة التي كان يتوق إليها لاعبوها المباشرون السعودية وإيران لنسج أرضية «نموذج» تكون نقطة انطلاق لباقي التفاهمات بالمنطقة على ما قاله وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف في مؤتمر دافوس سابقاً. وهذا الخيار لا تتيحه الا تفاهمات بمستوى كباش حزب الله والسعودية في لبنان، فكان أن اقتنعت الرياض باستحالة تخطّي هذا المرشح والميل نحو مرشح وسطي وهي تدرك جيداً أن المرشح سمير جعجع لم يكن خيارها الجدي منذ إعلان قوى 14 آذار ترشيحه قبل سنوات، حيث لم يبذل أي جهد بهذا السياق.

هذه المحطة ضرورية لتذكير الوزير باسيل بحجم الإحباط الذي أرخاه على جمهور حليفه وأرضية كان من المفترض ان تنسج لمستقبل بعيد لا يتعثر عند العاصفة الأولى.

بعد زيارة وفد حزب الله الرفيع لقصر بعبدا طلب من حزب الله الذي طالب بقانون الانتخاب على أساس النسبية إعطاء فرصة للبحث مجدداً بقانون الوزير باسيل الذي لم يلقَ قبولاً من معظم الأطراف ما خلا القوات اللبنانية وهذا يعني استحالة ان يتقدم حزب الله نحوه لأنه لم يمثل حالة جامعة او بالحد الأدنى «غالبة» بين القوى. ومعروف ان حزب الله كان منفتحاً جداً مع الوزير باسيل في الصيغ المطروحة كلها ومع غير الوزير باسيل، وإن أحداً لم يخفِ هذا الأمر.

خرج الرئيس العماد ميشال عون لينقذ البلاد من أزمة ولينقذ تياره أيضاً من «سواد» الوجه والتسرّع نحو الشارع وللتصادم مع حلفائه في موقف بغير محله. خرج العماد عون الذي لا يمانع مناقشة قانون باسيل وغيره كحق للجميع ليقول إنه ليس موافقاً على ما هو أهم من طرح القوانين وهي «الفوضى».

خرج عون ليقول لستُ مستخفاً بحلفائي ولستُ مستعداً للتضحية بما نسجته معهم، ولن أفرط بما تحمّلناه وما تشاركناه سوياً، خرج عون ليقول هذا وقت تحمل المسؤولية ولست موافقاً على مهزلة «الشارع» وما تعنيها من «رسائل» أنا رئيس الجمهورية الذي أقسم بصون البلاد والحفاظ على العيش المشترك كأبٍ للجميع.

عون الجمهورية «حكيم» اللحظة والموقف «كبير» لبنان.

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Rabbis Urge President Trump To “Act Decisively” In Syria

Rabbis Urge President Trump To “Act Decisively” In Syria
Dear President Trump,
We write to you with angst just days before the Passover holiday when the Jews escaped the oppressive tyranny of Pharaoh in Egypt. The Assad regime in Syria appears to have conducted a nerve gas attack against Syrian civilians yesterday. At least 58 civilians have been killed in the attack, marking the worst chemical attack in Syria since the August 21, 2013 chemical massacre. We believe that a strong response from the U.S. is essential to stopping these war crimes.
This attack is a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting the Assad regime from using chemical weapons passed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Local medical workers observed that victims were gasping for air, and video footage from the area showed dozens of dead bodies with no apparent external injuries.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called the attack a “stain on humanity,” and urged the international community to “join together to bring an end to this murderous insanity and make sure these types of images will never again be seen anywhere in the world” and called on “world leaders and the heads of the world powers to act now and stop the criminal murdered taking in place in Syria at the hands of the Assad regime and act to have chemical weapons removed from the Syrian territory.”
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said in 2012, “the so-called civilized world isn’t even trying to stop the massacre. Its leaders issue statements, but the bloodshed continues. A situation that has lasted 13-odd months is not about to end.”
The Assad regime will not cease these brutal attacks unless it faces the threat of serious military repercussions such as airstrikes against air bases associated with chemical weapons and suspected storage facilities.
We therefore urge you to fully appreciate the importance of this moment and to act decisively to avoid dire consequences. Specifically, we recommend that you adopt the following measures:

• Verify, with the various departments in your administration, that today’s attacks in Syria were indeed carried out with a nerve agent.

This would mean that the Assad regime still possesses nerve gas and therefore did not comply with the September 2013 chemical agreement.

• Order targeted airstrikes on Assad regime air facilities, jetways, and fix-wing and rotary aircraft so as to prevent the regime from carrying out further chemical attacks with nerve agents.

If today’s horrific atrocity is not met with a firm response, Assad likely has more attacks planned on an even larger scale. The world today is looking to your administration for leadership.
Rabbi Alison Adler
Rabbi Daniel Askenazi
Rabbi Justus Baird
Rabbi Ben Berger
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch
Rabbi Jason Bonder
Rabbi Jill Borodin
Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Rabbi Daniel Bouskila
Rabbi Debra S. Cantor
Rabbi Mari Chernow
Rabbi Yosi Cirlin
Rabbi Chuck Davidson
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus
Rabbi Menashe East
Rabbi Judith Edelstein
Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber
Cantor Rebecca Joy Fletcher
Rabbi Avidan Freedman
Rabbi Ruth Gais
Rabbi Rachel Gartner
Rabbi Daniel Goodman
Rabbi Mel Gottlieb,Ph.D.
Rabbi Maralee Gordon
Rabbi Steve Greenberg
Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg
Rabbi Arielle Hanien
Rabbi Ari D. Hart
Rabbi Dr. Richard Hidary
Rabbi Sarit Horwitz
Rabbi Rachel Isaacs
Rabbi David Jaffe
Rabbi Marisa James
Rabbi David Kalb
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky
Rabbi Elana Kanter
Rabbi David Kasher
Cantor Dr. Evan Kent
Rabbi Riqi Kosovske
Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Rabbi Andy Koren
Rabbi Eugene Korn
Rabbi Dr. Robert L. Kravitz
Rabbi Daniel Landes
Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz
Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh
Rabbi Joshua Lesser
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
Rabbi Leah Lewis
Rabbi John A. Linder
Rabbi Andrea London
Rabbi Yehoshua Looks
Rabbi Marc Margolius
Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse
Rabbi Avram Mlotek
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz
Rabbi Kehillah Dina Najman
Rabbi David Novak
Rabbi Micha Odenheimer
Rabbi Haim Ovadia
Rabbi Laura Owens
Rabbi Shuli Passow
Rabbi Robin Podolsky
Rabbi Aaron Potek
Rabbi Aviva Richman
Rabbi Tracee Rosen
Rabbi Scott B. Saulson
Rabbi Robert Scheinberg
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Rabbi David Seidenberg
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
Rabbi Dean Shapiro
Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman
Rabbi Garth Silberstein
Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein
Rabbi Suzanne Singer
Rabbi Jenny Solomon
Rabbi Robin S. Sparr
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Rabbi Victor Urecki
Rabbi Devin Villarreal
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub
Rabbi Ora Weiss
Rabbi Zari Weiss
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
Rabbi Shawn Zevit
Rabbi Jill Berkson Zimmerman
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figg 4.jpg
“Possible configuration of an improvised sarin dispersal device that uses an externally placed explosive and a sealed pipe that has been filled with sarin that could potentially contain 8 to 10 L of sarin.”–Professor Theodore Postol, MIT.
One man’s clear-minded analysis has destroyed the claims by Washington to have ‘intelligence’ and ‘evidence’ that the Syrian government used a chemical substance against its people in western Syria last week.
In his introductory remarks, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Theodore Postol, noted:
“I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.”
In an RT interview with Professor Postol, the introductory article explains:
“A professor who challenged the 2013 claims of a chemical attack in Syria is now questioning the Trump administration’s narrative blaming the Assad government for the April 4 attack in the Idlib province town of Khan Shaykhun.
On Tuesday, the White House released a declassified intelligence brief accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering and organizing the attack, in which Syrian planes allegedly dropped chemical ordnance on civilians in the rebel-held town.
The report “contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft,” wrote Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Theodore Postol, who reviewed it and put together a 14-page assessment, which he provided to RT on Wednesday.
“I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun,” wrote Postol.
A chemical attack with a nerve agent did occur, he said, but the available evidence does not support the US government’s conclusions.
“I have only had a few hours to quickly review the alleged White House intelligence report. But a quick perusal shows without a lot of analysis that this report cannot be correct,” Postol wrote.
…The report offered by the White House, however, cited “a wide body of open-source material” and “social media accounts” from the rebel-held area, including footage provided by the White Helmets rescue group documented to have ties with jihadist rebels, Western and Gulf Arab governments….”
The interview:

Important excerpts from Postol’s analysis:
Figure 2
“Figure 2 shows a high quality photograph of the crater identified in the White House report as the source of the sarin attack. Assuming that there was no tampering of evidence at the crater, one can see what the White House is claiming as a dispenser of the nerve agent. The dispenser looks like a 122 mm pipe like that used in the manufacture of artillery rockets.
fig 3
As shown in the close-up of the pipe in the crater in Figure 3, the pipe looks like it was originally sealed at the front end and the back end. Also of note is that the pipe is flattened into the crater, and also has a fractured seam that was created by the brittle failure of the metal skin when the pipe was suddenly crushed inward from above.
figg 4
Figure 4 shows the possible configuration of an improvised sarin dispersal device that could have been used to create the crater and the crushed carcass of what was originally a cylindrical pipe. A good guess of how this dispersal mechanism worked (again, assuming that the crater and carcass were not staged, as assumed in the White House report) was that a slab of high explosive was placed over one end of the sarin-filled pipe and detonated. The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures. If this is in fact the mechanism used to disperse the sarin, this indicates that the sarin tube was placed on the ground by individuals on the ground and not dropped from an airplane.
fig 8
Figure 8 shows the improvised sarin dispenser along with a typical 122 mm artillery rocket and the modified artillery rocket used in the sarin attack of August 21, 2013 in Damascus. At that time (August 30, 2013) the Obama White House also issued an intelligence report containing obvious inaccuracies. For example, that report stated without equivocation that the sarin carrying artillery rocket used in Damascus had been fired from Syrian government controlled areas. As it turned out, the particular munition used in that attack could not go further than roughly 2 km, very far short of any boundary controlled by the Syrian government at that time.
The White House report at that time also contained other critical and important errors that might properly be described as amateurish. For example, the report claimed that the locations of the launch and impact of points of the artillery rockets were observed by US satellites. This claim was absolutely false and any competent intelligence analyst would have known that. The rockets could be seen from the Space-Based Infrared Satellite (SBIRS) but the satellite could absolutely not see the impact locations because the impact locations were not accompanied by explosions. These errors were clear indicators that the White House intelligence report had in part been fabricated and had not been vetted by competent intelligence experts.
This same situation appears to be the case with the current White House intelligence report. No competent analyst would assume that the crater cited as the source of the sarin attack was unambiguously an indication that the munition came from an aircraft. No competent analyst would assume that the photograph of the carcass of the sarin canister was in fact a sarin canister. Any competent analyst would have had questions about whether the debris in the crater was staged or real. No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it. All of these highly amateurish mistakes indicate that this White House report, like the earlier Obama White House Report, was not properly vetted by the intelligence community as claimed.
What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security.
Sincerely yours,
Theodore A. Postol
Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Massachusetts Institute of Technology”
If you are somehow not yet familiar with the al-Qaeda apologists known as the White Helmets, who the US is referring to as a ‘source’, start here:


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