Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Letter to CJ Chivers of the New York Times about the improbable narrative on Syrian gas attacks

Mr Chivers,

There are several things about the alleged Syrian gas attack at Ghouta story which don’t seem to pass the smell test.

I’m dubious about the claims that Syrian regular forces were responsible given the use of IRAM (Improvised Rocket Assisted Munition) as a delivery mechanism. Isn’t this more likely to be some militia such as Hezbollah or Al Nusra or one of the US contra fronts?

Given the internecine fighting between anti government forces and the extreme brutality used in these fights, I don’t think it is a given that an attack on rebel territory is ipso facto certain to be of government regular troops origin.

A number of qualified commentators have commented on how the medical and other personnel have been able to handle the bodies without protective gear and without any apparent ill effects. Very odd if we are looking at sarin don’t you think?[1]

Cui bono? There is every motive for the FSA forces who are losing the war to try to change the equation. Likewise there is no motive for the government, which is winning the war, to do so.

Finally, the explanation for why the inspectors were unable to reach a site a few miles from the city center from Damascus just doesn’t hold water. We are told they came under fire from snipers, but no-one was injured.

We both know that is at best utterly improbable. Snipers just don’t work that way.

Snipers disabled the lead vehicle and took out the front windshield and then… did nothing? Really?[2]

Given the “dodgy dossier” and Dr. Kelley’s subsequent “suicide” with almost no blood found at the scene and no fingerprints recoverable from the knife or other objects allegedly found at the scene[3], and the blatant lies pedaled by Colin Powell and credulously amplified by the media including the Times in the leadup to the Iraq war, and given the lack of any direct confirmation at all of the origin of this attack, I smell a rat.

If you do too, please have the courage to go public with your concerns and skepticism.

Also being elided in the Times coverage seemingly is that waging aggressive war is a war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Principles. There is no possible justification for an unprovoked US attack on Syria under customary law absent an attack on the US or a UN Security Council resolution.

And under the US Constitution such actions require a declaration of war from Congress, the in my view, unconstitutional War Powers Act notwithstanding.

Is the New York Times going to repeat all its mistakes from the Judy Miller years? Have you learned nothing at all? You are all falling for the exact same tricks of disinformation again, if not actually knowingly and intentionally going along for the ride.

best regards,

–Henry

[1] AFP reports:

“At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the
people that are helping them are without any protective clothing and
without any respirators,” said Paula Vanninen, director of Verifin, the
Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
“In a real case, they would also be contaminated and would also be having symptoms.”

John Hart, head of the Chemical and Biological Security Project at
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said he had not seen
the telltale evidence in the eyes of the victims that would be
compelling evidence of chemical weapons use.

“Of the videos that I’ve seen for the last few hours, none of them
show pinpoint pupils… this would indicate exposure to organophosphorus
nerve agents,” he said.

Gwyn Winfield, editor of CBRNe World magazine, which specialises in
chemical weapons issues, said the evidence did not suggest that the
chemicals used were of the weapons-grade that the Syrian army possesses
in its stockpiles.

“We’re not seeing reports that doctors and nurses… are becoming
fatalities, so that would suggest that the toxicity of it isn’t what we
would consider military sarin. It may well be that it is a lower-grade,”
Winfield told AFP.
Syria opposition says 1,300 dead in chemical attacks by army

Haaretz reports:

Western experts on chemical warfare who have examined at
least part of the footage are skeptical that weapons-grade chemical
substances were used, although they all emphasize that serious
conclusions cannot be reached without thorough on-site examination.
Dan Kaszeta, a former officer of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps and a
leading private consultant, pointed out a number of details absent from
the footage so far: “None of the people treating the casualties or
photographing them are wearing any sort of chemical-warfare protective
gear,” he says, “and despite that, none of them seem to be harmed.” This
would seem to rule out most types of military-grade chemical weapons,
including the vast majority of nerve gases, since these substances would
not evaporate immediately, especially if they were used in sufficient
quantities to kill hundreds of people, but rather leave a level of
contamination on clothes and bodies which would harm anyone coming in
unprotected contact with them in the hours after an attack. In addition,
he says that “there are none of the other signs you would expect to see
in the aftermath of a chemical attack, such as intermediate levels of
casualties, severe visual problems, vomiting and loss of bowel control.”
Steve Johnson, a leading researcher on the effects of hazardous
material exposure at England’s Cranfield University who has worked with
Britain’s Ministry of Defense on chemical warfare issues, agrees that
“from the details we have seen so far, a large number of casualties over
a wide area would mean quite a pervasive dispersal. With that level of
chemical agent, you would expect to see a lot of contamination on the
casualties coming in, and it would affect those treating them who are
not properly protected. We are not seeing that here.”
Additional questions also remain unanswered, especially regarding the
timing of the attack, being that it occurred on the exact same day that
a team of UN inspectors was in Damascus to investigate earlier claims
of chemical weapons use. It is also unclear what tactical goal the
Syrian army would have been trying to achieve, when over the last few
weeks it has managed to push back the rebels who were encroaching on
central areas of the capital. But if this was not a chemical weapons
attack, what then caused the deaths of so many people without any
external signs of trauma?
Following alleged sarin attack || Defense Minister: Assad used chemical weapons multiple times in Syria But Western experts are skeptical that nerve gas was used Wednesday, and describe other viable scenarios.

[2]
Despite Sniper Fire, U.N. Team Reaches Syria Inspection Site
Source: NYT

LONDON — Snipers opened fire Monday on a convoy of United Nations inspectors heading toward the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, disabling the lead vehicle with multiple shots to the tires and windshield, the United Nations said, but the inspectors still managed to visit two hospitals, interview witnesses and doctors and collect patient samples for the first time since the attack last week that claimed hundreds of lives.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that he had instructed his top disarmament official, Angela Kane, who was visiting Damascus, to register a “strong complaint to the Syrian government and authorities of opposition forces” to ensure the safety of the inspectors after the assault. There was no indication that any member of the inspection team had been hurt.

Mr. Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters at a regular daily briefing at United Nations headquarters in New York that the assailants, who had not been identified, fired on the first vehicle in the convoy, which was “hit in its tires and its front window, ultimately it was not able to travel further.”

Mr. Haq said the inspectors, who numbered about a dozen, resumed their trip to a suspected attack site in a Damascus suburb after the vehicle was replaced, visiting two hospitals and interviewing witnesses, survivors and doctors. “They took a number of relevant samples, they feel very satisfied with the results of their work,” Mr. Haq said. A second visit was planned for Tuesday.
Despite Sniper Fire, U.N. Team Reaches Syria Inspection Site

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement after the assault that he had told his top disarmament official, Angela Kane, who was visiting Damascus, to register a “strong complaint to the Syrian government and authorities of opposition forces” to ensure the inspectors’ safety. There was no indication that any inspection team member had been hurt.

Mr. Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters at a regular daily briefing at United Nations headquarters in New York that the assailants, who had not been identified, fired on the first vehicle in the convoy, which was “hit in its tires and its front window.”

“Ultimately,” he said, “it was not able to travel farther.”

Kerry Cites Clear Evidence of Chemical Weapon Use in Syria

[3] New suspicion over Kelly death – MP

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

28 August, 2013 Posted by | chemical warfare, customary law, gas, international law, lies, military, news, politics, propaganda, scanlyze, war | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swiftboating

Swiftboating

President George Bush Jr. was not “swiftboated” — his Democratic opponent in the Presidential election of 2004, Senator John Kerry, was. Kerry was a Vietnam combat veteran who received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star.

Bush Jr. had served stateside in a National Guard unit, and was later accused of failing to report for duty or take his required physical for more than a year.

To counter the possible impact of the contrast between the military record of the two candidates, a group of prominent Republican supporters helped to organize and provided most of the funding for an organization critical of Kerry’s war record called, “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” (SBVT). According to wikipedia:

“SBVT characterized itself as a non-partisan group both in the legal sense and in spirit, yet several prominent individuals who assisted SBVT also have had close ties to the Republican Party. According to information released by the IRS on February 22, 2005, more than half of the group’s reported contributions came from just three sources, all prominent Texas Republican donors: Houston builder Bob J. Perry, a longtime supporter of George W. Bush, donated $4.45 million, Harold Simmons’ Contrans donated $3 million, and T. Boone Pickens, Jr. donated $2 million. Other major contributors included Bush fundraiser Carl Lindner ($300,000), Robert Lindner ($260,000), GOP contributor Aubrey McClendon ($250,000), George Matthews Jr. ($250,000), and Crow Holdings ($100,000).”

Military career of John Kerry
George W. Bush military service controversy
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth

Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 April, 2010 Posted by | 2004, big lie, Bob J. Perry, Bronze Star, Bush, Crow Holdings, election, George Matthews Jr., George W. Bush, politics, President, propaganda, Purple Heart, Republican, Robert Lindner, scanlyze, Silver Star, Swift Boat, swiftboating, T. Boone Pickins, US, USA, Viet Nam, war, war record | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bizarre Air Force Low-level “Photo-op” Terrorizes New York

Bizarre Air Force Low-level “Photo-op” Terrorizes New York

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN are reporting that today, April 27, 2009, an “Air Force I lookalike” and two F-16 jet fighters frightened New Yorkers with low-level maneuvers over Manhattan and New Jersey.

Photo by New York Times reader Dan Kohn, of two Air Force jets conducting low-level maneuvers over ManhattanPhoto by New York Times reader Jim Brown showing low-level flyby of Air Force AF-25 jetJim Brown's photo of Air Force Jet flying low-level maneuvers over New York

Many office buildings were evacuated and people who had lived through 9/11 were re-traumatized. The New York Times reported that during the exercise, the Dow-Jones dropped 40 points in ten minutes.

The Associated Press reported, “A Boeing 747 used by the president was escorted over lower Manhattan by an Air Force fighter jet Monday as part of a government photo opportunity and training mission, causing a brief panic among office workers near ground zero.”

The Wall Street Journal had this:

The U.S. Air Force confirmed that an “aerial photo mission,” which involved an F-16 fighter jet, had been carried out Monday in the area of New York City by the Presidential Airlift Group, which according to the White House Web site is responsible for maintaining and operating presidential airliner Air Force One.

“This mission was conducted in conjunction with normally scheduled continuation training for assigned aircrew members,” the Air Force said in a statement. The mission was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EDT.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the maneuver wasn’t an emergency and was coordinated in advance with state and local officials. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, said initially the agency had no knowledge of the low-flying plane, according to a spokesman. But several Port Authority executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing investigation, said that the agency received a memo from the FAA, but not until sometime Monday morning.

“Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media,” the memo instructed. “Public affairs posture for this effort is passive.”

The memo specifically directed local agencies not to tell the public about the photo shoot, according to a government official. The memo detailed the nature of the event and the flight details, saying there would be a transport and fighter aircraft flying over New York Harbor.

Note WSJ story has been updated: 8th WSJ UPDATE: Airplane ‘Photo Op’ Angers 9/11 Witnesses

The WSJ now notes:

The White House had planned a second photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One in Washington D.C next month. The follow-up session would have taken place May 5 or May 6, using the nation’s capital as a backdrop, according to two government officials.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Washington photo session is being reconsidered, given the reaction to Monday’s flight in New York.

You think?

I am really curious about the “photo-op” aspect of this mission. Has nobody heard of Photoshop? Was this still photography, or part of some video project? Who and where were the photographers?

What was so important about this mission that there could be no prior public announcement, and why must the planes operate at such low altitudes over a populated area?

Very odd indeed.

see:
Air Force One Photo-Op Scares the Crap Out of Manhattan
Low-level flight panics New York
Readers: Did You See the Low-Flying Jet Over Lower Manhattan?

Update: More from CNN:

After a YouTube video showed panicked New Yorkers scrambling as a Boeing 747 flew frighteningly close to the lower Manhattan skyline, a former Homeland Security adviser questioned whether the man who approved the flyby should remain in his White House office…

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River.

The YouTube video shows dozens of people standing in a parking lot, watching the plane approach. As it nears, they begin to run. Someone unleashes an expletive. “Run, run!” says one person. “Oh my God,” cries another.

Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy

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27 April, 2009 Posted by | 9/11, Air Force One, government, New York, news, photo-op, propaganda, scanlyze, state of fear, terrorism, US Air Force | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gore ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Film Contains Nine Factual Errors, UK court decision finds

Gore ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Film Contains Nine Factual Errors, UK court decision finds

Newly-minted Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth contains nine significant errors of fact which absent guidance and an opposing point of view, would be sufficient to ban the film from being shown in UK schools.

The case was brought by school governor Stewart Dimmock.

The BBC has more:

Mr Justice Burton told London’s High Court that distributing the film without the guidance to counter its “one-sided” views would breach education laws.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families was not under a duty to forbid the film, provided it was accompanied by the guidance, he said.

“I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act”, he said.

The nine errors alleged by the judge included:

  • Mr Gore’s assertion that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of ice in either West Antarctica or Greenland “in the near future”. The judge said this was “distinctly alarmist” and it was common ground that if Greenland’s ice melted it would release this amount of water – “but only after, and over, millennia”.
  • Mr Gore’s assertion that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming – the court heard the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established the snow recession is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.
  • Mr Gore’s reference to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears had actually drowned “swimming long distances – up to 60 miles – to find the ice”. The judge said: “The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm.”

Gore climate film’s ‘nine errors’

See also, Do several convenient half-truths make “An Inconvenient Truth”?

If anyone in blogurbia has a link to the complete decision, please post it in comments below.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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12 October, 2007 Posted by | 1996 Education Act, Al Gore, alarmism, An Inconvenient Truth, BBC, Britain, charts, Chicken Little, data representation, England, film, global warming, graphs, Great Britain, half-truth, High Court, IGPCC, inconvenient, London, London High Court, movie, Nobel Peace Prize, nobel prize, politics, propaganda, skepticism, Stewart Dimmock, truth, UK, United Kingdom | 1 Comment

Man tasered, arrested for asking good questions of Sen. John Kerry

I just found on youtube this video of a young man at a University of Florida q and a session with Senator John Kerry. The man, Andrew Meyer, congratulates Kerry for being (in his view) the real winner of the 2004 election, asks Kerry why he doesn’t support the impeachment of Bush and then asks is it true that he and Bush are both members of Skull and Bones. Whereupon the uniformed officers grab him and begin to try to manhandle him out. He is shouting that he didn’t do anything. The officers wrestle the young man to the ground and taser the poor fellow. A member of the audience then begins shouting, “police brutality! police brutality!”

This video is shocking, and horrible. It depicts Nazi-like behavior from those who are sworn to uphold the law. And the man’s questions are good questions and deserve answers, not torture and abuse.

The Andrew Meyer
Search on “taser” at Digg.
Skull and Bones (wikipedia)
Student Tasered at campus forum for Kerry
Kerry Responds to Taser Incident
CNN: Your e-mails: Reaction to police using Taser on student
Students stunned — and tired — about Taser incident
College cop: After being shocked, student said we ‘didn’t do anything wrong’
Instant Political Martyrdom via YouTube

A interesting comment on the subject posted by Benjamin Wood:

“When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

“These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

“An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery.” (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).

“Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense.” (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

“One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

“Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529.

Taking Sides in a Tasing

Student Protest at FU against the Tazing of the Bro

Comment by Benjamin N. Dictor, Student, University of Florida
google news comment
Google Comment – 10 hours ago

The conduct of the police officers at Monday’s forum with John Kerry is nothing short of an embarrassment for both the University of Florida and the City of Gainesville as a whole.

We will not be quick to recover from the wounds that we all suffer as a result of the complex betrayal on behalf of the University of Florida Police Department. As if the suppression of thought is not in itself, heinous enough a crime, the unabashed abuse of physical force by those sworn to protect us leaves trust broken and wounds open.

This incident will be remembered as a physical assault as well as an assault on reason itself. How dare law enforcement act in such a manner! We, the students of this university, must not allow this aggression to stand!

Benjamin N. Dictor

skull bones & bush & kerry a WIN WIN for the skull & bones

Another case of alleged police overkill: Death Squad in Delaware: The Case of the Murdered Marine

Submitted to The Lede blog on nytimes.com:

In the case of the Tazing of the Bro, I am reminded of the words of Frederick Douglass:

“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

Andrew Meyer, whatever his motives, was asking reasonable and legitimate questions which the speaker had agreed to address. This is not a police state; the police may not use force to subdue someone for saying “blowjob” or “Skull and Bones” or taking 90 seconds to ask three questions in a row.

The democratic system of government is dependent on the free market of ideas. The widest possible range of views, correct and incorrect, must be aired and debated, so that the people may choose the best policies and the representatives to implement them. In the United States, it is We the People, not the government, which is sovereign. In the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, in his First Inaugural Address:

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it.”

Andrew Meyer acted in the finest patriotic tradition of Paul Revere, Crispus Attucks, Tom Paine and Patrick Henry. Bravo, Sir. Bravely and well done. Bravo!

HENRY EDWARD HARDY
Ann Arbor, MI
scanlyze.wordpress.com


Don't Taze Me Bro

Dahlem memorial tagged with Meyer quote
Comment: Florida cops were out of line Tasering student at speech

Interesting poll on Washingtonpost.com, at this writing, 42% of respondents say along with Benjamin Dictor (quoted above), “This incident is ‘an assault on reason itself.’ America has become a police state and this is evidence of that.” An additional 11.5% opine, “If you have to Tase anyone bro, Tase John Kerry. FREE SPEECH RULES!”.

Note the snide photo caption (probably falsely) attributed to AP: “Could public forums benefit from more Tasering? (AP)”

How can this caption possibly be considered appropriate to the circumstances by the Post?

It seems that the Post is exploiting this incident for its “entertainment” value. How sick and wrong of the once-respected Washington Post.

Andrew Meyer, Free Speech and the Joy of Tasers: Were the Police Justified Or Should They Be Punished?
Florida Student Is Shocked at Kerry Forum

Beck said he “enjoy[s] watching” Taser videos; O’Reilly rolled out “Don’t Taze me, bro!” bumper stickers
Google “Andrew Meyer” (276,000 references on google 2007-09-20)
Hentoff on the Tasering of the First Amendment
Why are students getting Tasered on video?
THE SHOCK HEARD AROUND THE WORLD.
Andrew Meyer, John Kerry and Campus Security: Clusterfuck Royale.
Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident: A Psychological Study in Issues of Power, Anger and Authority
University comes away shocked, burned

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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18 September, 2007 Posted by | 2004 election, abuse, Andrew Meyer, Associated Press, Bush, censorship, Florida, free speech, John Kerry, lede, manufacturing consent, New York Times, news, nonlethal weapons, oppression, police, police brutality, politics, propaganda, scanlyze, shocking, Skull and Bones, spin, taser, Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle, torture, University of Florida, video, Washington Post, youtube | 3 Comments