"So did Bashar al-Assad use gas? The Russians must know. They are in the air bases, in the ministries, in the military headquarters. And if they say the Syrians did not use gas, then they had better be sure. The Russians had advance warning of Trump’s 59 Cruise missiles. Many hours of warning – not the one hour that Washington claims – and would have ensured that Syrian jets were way out of the air base. Russians are not to be killed in the Syrian war; their presence would have meant casualties.
Did the Syrian army, a trifle arrogant, perhaps, after their capture of eastern Aleppo decide to try to bring the war to an end in a quick way? The question must be asked. In the past, villages in which army officers lived – and in which their families lived – have been gassed. The Syrians blamed the Turks for giving the gas to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and Isis. The Russians said earlier gas attacks on Damascus used chemical components shipped via Turkey to Syria from Libya.
The pictures seem to be decisive. Terrifying. Ghastly. But we must also remember the 250,000 civilians of eastern Aleppo, who became 150,000 and then 90,000. The Syrian war has become the most poorly reported conflict in the world. How many dead has it caused? 400,000? 450,000? Or 500,000, the latest figure. How do we complete the figures for death by gas? To believe the Syrian government? When the last gas attack in Damascus took place, the UN, in a brief paragraph in the middle of their subsequent report, said that the chemical shells had been “compromised” by being moved between different locations.
But then we come to the Russians. They underwrote the Syrian removal of all gas weapons. They saved Obama’s pitch after he had threatened – and then withdrew – the warning of an air attack on Syrian chemical weapons. Now the Russians have seen what Trump will do when he believes (if he does believe) the use of gas attacks. And the Russians, so I’m told, knew all about the US raid – and long before it occurred. Would they really have left any Syrian aircraft on the airbase? Would they have left any such weapons at the runway? Or in hardened bunkers?
In reality, the US attack on Syria says more about Trump-Putin relations than about America and the Middle East. That’s a problem for Rex Tillerson to work out. And Bashar al-Assad, of course. Be sure, the phone calls between Damascus and Moscow will last long into the night."
All those supporters of Trump - who, heaven's only knows, got him headed for the White House - are in a for more than a rude awakening and shock. Whatever Trump "promised" is just not going to happen....as Paul Krugman so clearly spells out in his latest op-ed piece "Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump" in The New York Times.
"Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.
Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.
The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trum…
The Brits have just brought in legislation which allows for unprecedented "snooping" in a Western democracy - says Edward Snowden. Let truthdig explain....
"On Tuesday, the United Kingdom instated the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, a piece of legislation described by whistleblower Edward Snowden as “the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.”
The law, informally known as the “Snooper’s Charter,” spent over a year in Parliament before it was passed. The Guardian reported:
"The new surveillance law requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months and give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data.
It also provides the security services and police with new powers to hack into computers and phones and to collect communications data in bulk. The law requires judges to sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records, but the measure has been descri…