industryterm:chemical weapons

  • ‘How do they sleep?’ Roger Waters calls out US, UK & France over ‘faked’ Douma chemical attack — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/459638-roger-waters-douma-opcw

    Citing newly leaked OPCW documents casting doubt on the April 2018 ‘chemical attack’ that triggered a bombing of Syria, rock star Roger Waters is calling out everyone who believed in the ‘murderous fairytale’ of the White Helmets.

    US, UK and France launched air strikes against Syria in April last year, after an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, northeast of Damascus. The claims came from the White Helmets, a self-styled ‘civil defense’ organization backed by Western governments and embedded with the Islamist militants in Syria.

    “The White Helmets probably murdered 34 women and children to dress the scene that sorry day in Douma,” Waters posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, next to a video of his April 2018 concert in Barcelona in which he challenged the group as “a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for the jihadists and terrorists.”

    Waters added he hopes that those in the media and the governments in Paris, London and Washington that bought into the White Helmets’ “callous and murderous fairytale are suitably haunted by the indelible images of those lost innocent Syrian lives.”

    Internal OPCW documents leaked earlier this week cast doubt on the organization’s final report about the Douma incident, which claimed chlorine was ‘likely’ used against civilians. Syrian and Russian soldiers that liberated the town from militants found chlorine containers and a laboratory for producing chemical weapons. Moscow has suggested that the OPCW hedged its report because it did not want to contradict the US narrative.

    #syrie #propagande

    • Intéressant : Brian Whitaker a publié un assez gros point sur cette « fuite ». Leaked document revives controversy over Syria chemical attacks
      https://al-bab.com/blog/2019/05/leaked-document-revives-controversy-over-syria-chemical-attacks

      A leaked document which contradicts key findings of an official investigation into chemical weapons in Syria has surfaced on the internet. Described as an “engineering assessment” and marked “draft for internal review”, it appears to have been written by an employee of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — the international body charged with the investigation.

      In April 2018 dozens of people were reportedly killed by a chemical attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, and western powers responded with airstrikes directed against the Assad regime.

      In March this year, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW issued a report which found “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic chemical had been used as a weapon in Douma and suggested the chemical involved was chlorine gas, delivered by cylinders dropped from the air.

      Although the investigators’ brief did not allow them to apportion blame, use of air-dropped cylinders implied the regime was responsible, since rebel fighters in Syria had no aircraft.

      The 15-page leaked document takes the opposite view and says it is more likely that the two cylinders in question had been “manually placed” in the spot where they were found, rather than being dropped from the air. The implication of this is that Syrian rebels had planted them to create the false appearance of a chemical attack by the regime.

      Whitaker, sur ce sujet, s’est régulièrement illustré par une dénonciation virulente de ce qu’il appelle les « truthers » sur la Syrie. Encore très récemment :
      https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/how-a-yellow-cylinder-became-a-propaganda-weapon-in-syria-cc696a0bb0d9

    • Après, personnellement, le fait de conclure directement à l’analyse opposée (« les casques blancs ont fait le coup ») sur la foi d’un seul rapport minoritaire non retenu dans le rapport final, ça me semble excessivement prématuré.

  • Breaking: Jihadist rebels attack northwest Hama with suspected chemical weapons, 20+ hospitalized
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-jihadist-rebels-attack-northwest-hama-with-suspected-chemical

    The jihadist rebels launched several rockets and artillery shells towards the government-held towns of Raseef and Aziziyah in northwestern Hama this evening.

    According to a military source close to the scene, over 20 people were hospitalized after the projectiles struck the civilian neighborhoods.

    The source said the Suqaylabiyeh Hospital reported that most of the victims were suffering from asphyxiation after one of the jihadist projectiles landed in a civilian area.

    He added that the Syrian military believes chemical weapons were used by the jihadist rebels during tonight’s attack.

    #syrie #gaz

  • MbS: The New Saddam of Arabia? – LobeLog
    https://lobelog.com/mbs-the-new-saddam-of-arabia

    As Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has terrorized his opponents at home and abroad, fear has spread within the Saudi kingdom. Has he become the new Saddam of Arabia? As Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s, MbS is cementing his power domestically and regionally through fear and economic largesse under the guise of fighting Iran, Islamic radicalism, and terrorism.

    Much like the tyrant of Baghdad did in Iraq, MbS has crushed his domestic and regional opponents. Both of them have enlisted the support of foreign powers, especially the United States and Britain, to buttress their hold on power in their territories and expand their reach internationally. They both spoke the language of “reform,” which appeals to Western audiences, and both demonized Iran as a promoter of regional instability and a source of evil internationally.

    They both used chemical weapons against their opponents—Saddam against his Kurdish citizens and against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war; MbS against civilians in Yemen. Saddam threatened and later invaded his neighbor Kuwait. MbS has waged a vicious campaign against his neighbor and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar and threatened to invade it.

    Saddam and MbS also cynically donned the mantle of Sunni Islam in their hypocritical claims against the so-called Shia Crescent and its main proponent Iran. Saddam’s “Republic of Fear” seems to be slowly morphing into a “Kingdom of Fear” under MbS.

    #arabie_saoudite

  • U.N. fears chemical weapons in Syria battle with ’10,000 terrorists’ | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-un/u-n-fears-chemical-weapons-in-syria-battle-with-10000-terrorists-idUSKCN1LF

    U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said there was a high concentration of foreign fighters in #Idlib, including an estimated 10,000 fighters designated by the U.N. as terrorists, who he said belonged to the #al-Nusra Front and #al_Qaeda.

    [...]

    “We all are aware that both the government and al-Nusra have the capability to produce weaponized chlorine.”

    Via “angry Arab”

    #Syrie

  • Disinformation Wars – Foreign Policy
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/25/disinformation-wars


    An activist protests in front of the European Union headquarters in Brussels, on May 22.
    John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

    Russian disinformation has become a problem for European governments. In the last two years, Kremlin-backed campaigns have spread false stories alleging that French President Emmanuel Macron was backed by the “gay lobby,” fabricated a story of a Russian-German girl raped by Arab migrants, and spread a litany of conspiracy theories about the Catalan independence referendum, among other efforts.

    Europe is finally taking action. In January, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act came into effect. Designed to limit hate speech and #fake_news online, the law prompted both France and Spain to consider counterdisinformation legislation of their own. More important, in April the European Union unveiled a new strategy for tackling online disinformation. The EU plan focuses on several sensible responses: promoting media literacy, funding a third-party fact-checking service, and pushing Facebook and others to highlight news from credible media outlets, among others. Although the plan itself stops short of regulation, EU officials have not been shy about hinting that regulation may be forthcoming. Indeed, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared at an EU hearing this week, lawmakers reminded him of their regulatory power after he appeared to dodge their questions on fake news and extremist content.

    The recent European actions are important first steps. Ultimately, none of the laws or strategies that have been unveiled so far will be enough. The problem is that technology advances far more quickly than government policies.The problem is that technology advances far more quickly than government policies. The EU’s measures are still designed to target the disinformation of yesterday rather than that of tomorrow.
    […]
    For example, stories from RT and Sputnik — the Russian government’s propaganda outlets — appeared on the first page of Google searches after the March nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom and the April chemical weapons attack in Syria. Similarly, YouTube (which is owned by Google) has an algorithm that prioritizes the amount of time users spend watching content as the key metric for determining which content appears first in search results. This algorithmic preference results in false, extremist, and unreliable information appearing at the top, which in turn means that this content is viewed more often and is perceived as more reliable by users. Revenue for the SEO manipulation industry is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

    #deep_fake

    Le mot de la #Brookings_Institution sur les (gros) investissements à faire pour lutter contre la #désinformation.

    Celle des Russes, en tous cas.

  • Syria cooperation highlights progress in Egypt-Russia relations as hurdles remain | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/05/01/feature/politics/syria-cooperation-highlights-progress-in-egypt-russia-relations-

    Phone calls between high-ranking Egyptian and Russian officials have brought the two countries into accord on the Syrian crisis, according to an Egyptian government source, in what is one of several breakthroughs on pending Cairo-Moscow diplomatic discussions.

    The government source, who is involved in Egyptian-Russian diplomatic relations, says communications between the two countries were at their peak prior to the mid-April joint airstrikes carried out by the United States, United Kingdom and France against government facilities in Syria. Talks centered on possible approaches to the conflict, to be taken in the event that the then-potential tripartite strikes were carried out, that would ensure that Islamist groups do not reap any political gains.

    Egyptian-Russian cooperation was and remains mainly an exchange of information aimed at curbing Saudi Arabian and Turkish-backed militias that were deployed to Syria to “overthrow” President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to the source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

    The alliance falls in line, the source adds, with Cairo’s position on the situation in Syria: Assad remaining in power is the best available option, despite Cairo’s reservations on certain aspects of the way he’s managed the conflict. Tellingly, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s speech the Arab League summit in Dhahran in mid-April was free of any condemnation of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta — the stated reason for the tripartite airstrikes — as much as any endorsement of the strike.

  • What Red Lines And Foreign Intervention Look Like for Syrian Civilians.
    https://www.newsdeeply.com/syria/community/2018/04/16/what-red-lines-and-foreign-intervention-look-like-for-syrian-civilians
    https://newsdeeply.imgix.net/20180416110042/AFP_1427SU.jpg?w=640&fit=max&q=60

    I have lived in the Syrian capital of Damascus since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. I haven’t left Syria for more than a week, and even then it was only to Beirut and only recently, which means only after seven years of war.

    I was in Damascus when U.S. president Donald Trump announced that the U.S., the U.K. and France would launch a joint airstrike targeting Syrian military facilities. I was in Damascus when the strikes hit. I didn’t see them from my house, but I didn’t have to witness the explosions with my own eyes to be able to understand what it means for Syria and what it means for us civilians on the ground.

    Anyone who has followed Trump’s speeches since he was elected president can see that he has always criticized the peaceful approach of former president Barack Obama’s administration and its soft policy decisions regarding the use of chemical weapons. This is particularly true regarding Obama’s 2013 declaration that there would be a strike in Syria – a threat he never followed through on. Looking at it this way, it seems Trump didn’t want to go back on his own initial statement that threatened retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, because this would ruin his image on an international level and he would be viewed in the same way as Obama, who he has publicly criticized.

  • Decentralisation is the solution against network-effect monopolies.
    https://hackernoon.com/decentralisation-is-the-solution-against-network-effect-monopolies-904d9

    Decentralisation is the solution against network-effect monopolies. But do we really understand the true cost?Strong network effects that monopolise humanity are one of the biggest threats of technology. It started with the physics waking up to the nuclear bomb. Chemistry waking up to the chemical weapons and the biology with it’s bio weapons and gene editing.Tech just had it’s first encounter with abuse of central powerThe world’s largest democracy getting hacked has spooked everyone and #blockchain might seem like a default answer. But with more power comes even greater responsibility. The world is still considering the money laundering implications of crypto currencies. All the world leaders have spent considerable effort in the last few decades to cut off funding for terror, drugs, (...)

    #network-effect-monopolies #decentralization #ubi #monopoly

  • THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 13, 2018
    United States Assessment of the Assad Regime’s Chemical Weapons Use
    https://www.defense.gov/portals/1/features/2018/0418_syria/img/United-States-Assessment-of-the-Assad-Regime%E2%80%99s-Chemical-Weapons-Use

    […]
    Multiple government helicopters were observed over Duma on April 7, with witnesses specifically reporting a Mi-8 helicopter, known to have taken off from the Syrian regime’s nearby Dumayr airfield, circling over Duma during the attack. Numerous eyewitnesses corroborate that barrel bombs were dropped from these helicopters, a tactic used to target civilians indiscriminately throughout the war. Photos of barrel bombs dropped in Duma closely match those used previously by the regime. These barrel bombs were likely used in the chemical attack. Reliable intelligence also indicates that Syrian military officials coordinated what appears to be the use of chlorine in Duma on April 7. Following these barrel bomb attacks, doctors and aid organizations on the ground in Duma reported the strong smell of chlorine and described symptoms consistent with exposure to sarin.
    […]
    In this case—as with previous instances of regime chemical weapons use—United States experts considered alternative explanations beyond the Syrian regime’s culpability for chemical weapons use. Within hours of the first allegation of chemical use on April 7, Syria’s state-run news agency painted the reports as a smear campaign by the last remaining opposition group in East Ghouta, Jaysh al-Islam. We have no information to suggest that this group has ever used chemical weapons. Further, it is unlikely that the opposition could fabricate this volume of media reports on regime chemical weapons use. Such a widespread fabrication would require a highly organized and compartmented campaign to deceive multiple media outlets while evading our detection. The Syrian regime and Russia have also claimed that a terrorist group conducted the attacks or that the attacks were staged are not consistent with the existing body of credible information. The Syrian regime, conversely, has already been condemned by United Nations (UN) investigators for past and continued chemical weapons attacks. It is the only actor in Syria with both the motive and the means to deploy nerve agents. The use of helicopters further implicates the regime; no non-state group has conducted air operations in the conflict

  • Syrian Chemical Weapons Prompts Missile Volley From Trump – Foreign Policy
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/14/syrian-chemical-weapons-use-prompts-missile-volley-from-trump

    Friday’s U.S.-led missile attack against Syria aimed at sending an unmistakable message that any future use of chemical weapons would trigger a military response from the West.

    If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council Saturday at an emergency meeting convened by Russia in an attempt to protest the strike.

    But the limited nature of the strikes sent another unintended message: the United States has no intention of using its firepower to halt the mass killing of civilians through conventional means, degrade Syria’s military forces, or to challenge Russia and Iran’s military positions is Syria.

  • Russia says Syrian ’chemical attack’ was staged - BBC News
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43747922

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said a reported chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents.

    The US and France say they have proof it took place and, alongside the UK, are considering military retaliation.

    Russia, which has military forces deployed in Syria in support of the government, has warned that US air strikes risk starting a war.

    The UN’s secretary general has said the Middle East is “in chaos” and the Cold War is “back with a vengeance”. Antonio Guterres was speaking to a special meeting of the UN Security Council, called by Russia.

    Independent chemical weapons inspectors are expected to arrive in the area of the alleged attack on Saturday.

    During a press briefing on Friday, Mr Lavrov said he had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack was staged as part of a “Russophobic campaign” led by one country, which he did not name.

    The White House says it is continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies about how to respond.

    A delegation from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will start its investigations in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region on Saturday but few details are expected to be released about its movements for safety reasons.

    The suspected attack, denied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, was carried out in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, reportedly killing dozens of people.
    Control over the town has since passed from rebels to the Syrian and Russian military authorities.

    The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a Syrian opposition network which records alleged violations of international law in Syria, said bodies were found foaming at the mouth, and with discoloured skin and burns to the eyes.

    On Thursday, unnamed US officials told NBC News they had obtained blood and urine samples from victims which had tested positive for chlorine and a nerve agent.

    The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hayley, told the network: “We definitely have enough proof but now we just have to be thoughtful in our action.”

    French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had “proof” that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons but did not give further details.

  • Syrie: Macron a la “preuve” d’attaques chimiques - International - LeVif.be
    http://www.levif.be/actualite/international/syrie-macron-a-la-preuve-d-attaques-chimiques/article-normal-825921.html

    La France a « la preuve » que le régime syrien a utilisé des armes chimiques le 7 avril près de Damas, et prendra ses décisions en « temps voulu », en coordination avec les Etats-Unis, sur d’éventuelles frappes en représailles, a déclaré le président Emmanuel Macron.

    Mais au même moment, Mattis...
    “said the administration is still awaiting evidence that may depend on Syria allowing a team of inspectors into the country to survey the Damascus suburb where the alleged attack last weekend killed dozens, including children.

    That process that could take days, and any findings will not determine who committed an attack, he said.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/jim-mattis-us-still-waiting-on-evidence-of-syria-chemical-attack

    #syrie

  • Theresa May temporise avant d’envisager des frappes en Syrie sans vote au Parlement
    http://www.lemonde.fr/syrie/article/2018/04/11/theresa-may-temporise-avant-d-envisager-des-frappes-en-syrie-sans-vote-au-pa

    Downing Street l’assure : Theresa May est prête à s’engager en Syrie, même sans attendre un éventuel accord du Parlement. La première ministre britannique, lors de conversations téléphoniques, mardi 10 avril, s’est mise d’accord avec les présidents américain et français sur « la nécessité pour la communauté internationale d’une réponse » aux attaques en Syrie « afin de faire respecter l’interdiction mondiale de l’usage des armes chimiques », détaille un communiqué officiel.

    Les avions Tornado sont prêts à décoller de la base militaire britannique d’Akrotiri (sud de Chypre). Mais Mme May, souvent raillée pour son caractère #excessivement_méthodique et sa lenteur à décider, semble prendre son temps pour réunir les arguments dont elle pourrait avoir besoin si elle se heurtait à des critiques parlementaires. Le communiqué de Downing Street évoque prudemment les « informations à confirmer » faisant état d’une attaque à l’arme chimique à Douma, près de Damas.

    Si même Mme May n’est pas (encore…) convaincue par les preuves… qu’on ne lui a visiblement pas (encore…) présentées, c’est bien à cause de sa pusillanimité bien connue (chicken !, en anglais).

    • Vu par les Britanniques :

      Syria decision looms for May - BBC News
      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-43724946

      But some do say the PM is taking her time. On one level, they say this is just her character, to be cautious and methodical, to play it by the book. She wants to work out what is in the UK national interest, to understand what other countries want to achieve, to assess all the options and consequences

      And yes, that involves assessing the risk of losing a vote in Parliament on this. The scars of David Cameron’s defeat over proposed military action in Syria in 2013 have not entirely healed. This will matter if any military action is not a one-off but a sustained strategy that envisages air strikes the next time Syria drops chemical weapons and the next.

      Crucially, I am told that Mrs May also wants to make sure that the case against Syria is as comprehensive as possible. She wants as much information as possible about the suspected chemical attack on Douma - above all, so she can say who was responsible.

      She wants to make sure she has her ducks and arguments in a row for the potential political flak she could face. The discussions are similar to those over the Salisbury nerve agent attack, namely that Mrs May wants to be able to stand up in Parliament and say there is “no plausible alternative” to Syria being responsible.

      There was a distinct note of caution in the official Downing Street account of the May/Trump phone call. This spoke of “reports” of Syrian chemical weapons attacks which were evidence of President Assad’s brutality “if confirmed”.

      There are signs that the US and the French are also taking their time. Monsieur Macron seems keen to act but even he spoke yesterday of a decision “within days”. French sources tell me they expect another Macron/Trump call “in the next 48 hours”.

    • Theresa May is warned against joining in on a strike against Syria | Daily Mail Online
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5601407/Theresa-warned-against-joining-strike-against-Syria-MPs-say.html

      Theresa May resists US rush to bomb Assad without more evidence the Syrian regime is to blame for ’barbaric’ chemical attack on civilians
      • PM last night warned not to press ahead with a strike on Bashar Al Assad’s troops
      • MPs told Theresa May it would be a ’huge mistake’ for her to bow to pressure 
      • Mrs May and Donald Trump vowed to end to chemical weapon attacks in Syria
      • Though the PM indicated she needed more proof of Assad’s involvement first 
      • There is no legal requirement for Mrs May to consult MPs ahead of air strikes

    • OPCW Will Deploy Fact-Finding Mission to #Douma, Syria
      Tuesday, 10 April 2018

      https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-will-deploy-fact-finding-mission-to-douma-syria

      THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 10 April 2018 — Since the first reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, were issued, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been gathering information from all available sources and analysing it. At the same time, OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations.

      Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment. This has coincided with a request from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly.

      Background

      Set up in 2014, the on-going mandate of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) is “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic”. The OPCW cannot and will not release information about an on-going investigation. This policy exists to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process and its results as well as to ensure the safety and security of OPCW experts and personnel involved. All parties are asked to respect the confidentiality parameters required for a rigorous and unimpeded investigation.

      As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

      Over ninety-six per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

      #Syrie #OPCW

  • Conflict displaces almost 700,000 Syrians in deadly first months of 2018 | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/apr/10/conflict-syria-displaces-almost-700000-people-2018-un-united-nations

    Almost three-quarters of a million Syrians have been forced out of their homes by fighting in the first months of 2018, according to the senior UN official coordinating the crisis response.

    #syrie #réfugiés #migrations #déplacés
    With growing anticipation that retaliatory US strikes may be launched imminently in response to the latest suspected use of chemical weapons in Douma, Panos Moumtzis, regional humanitarian coordinator for the country’s crisis, issued a bleak picture of continuing large-scale displacement.

    “I am deeply concerned about the continuing massive displacement of close to 700,000 Syrians since the beginning of the year due to ongoing hostilities in the country,” Moumtzis said in a statement.

  • U.N. Links North Korea to Syria’s Chemical Weapon Program - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/world/asia/north-korea-syria-chemical-weapons-sanctions.html

    North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.

    The evidence of a North Korean connection comes as the United States and other countries have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on civilians, including recent attacks on civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta using what appears to have been chlorine gas.

    The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators. North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.

    The report highlights the potential danger posed by any such trade between Syria and North Korea, which could allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while also providing North Korea with cash for its nuclear and missile programs.

    The possible chemical weapons components were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments by North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, according to the report, which has not been publicly released but which was reviewed by The New York Times.
    […]
    Though experts who viewed the report said the evidence it cited did not prove definitively that there was current, continuing collaboration between North Korea and Syria on chemical weapons, they said it did provide the most detailed account to date of efforts to circumvent sanctions intended to curtail the military advancement of both countries.
    […]
    The report, which is more than 200 pages long, includes copies of contracts between North Korean and Syrian companies as well as bills of lading indicating the types of materials shipped. Much information was provided by unidentified United Nations member states.

    #WMD, le retour. Ça manquait…

  • How Dirt Could Save Us From Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/how-dirt-could-save-humanity-from-an-infectious-apocalypse

    Brady is creating drugs from dirt. He’s certain that the world’s topsoils contain incredible, practically inexhaustible reservoirs of undiscovered antibiotics, the chemical weapons bacteria use to fend off other microorganisms. He’s not alone in this thinking, but the problem is that the vast majority of bacteria cannot be grown in the lab—a necessary step in cultivating antibiotics.

    Brady has found a way around this roadblock, which opens the door to all those untapped bacteria that live in dirt. By cloning DNA out of a kind of bacteria-laden mud soup, and reinstalling these foreign gene sequences into microorganisms that can be grown in the lab, he’s devised a method for discovering antibiotics that could soon treat infectious diseases and fight drug-resistant superbugs. In early 2016, Brady launched a company called Lodo Therapeutics (lodo means mud in Spanish and Portuguese) to scale up production and ultimately help humanity outrun infectious diseases nipping at our heels. Some colleagues call his approach “a walk in the park.” Indeed, his lab recently dispatched two groups of student volunteers to collect bags full of dirt at 275 locations around New York City.

    #antibiotiques #bactéries #terre #sols

  • Panique : Netanyahou, l’Iran et le Hezbollah
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/panique-netanyahou-liran-et-le-hezbollah

    Panique : Netanyahou, l’Iran et le Hezbollah

    A la lumière de la confirmation avec les effets psychologiques et politiques à mesure de la victoire syrienne de Deir ez-Zour, le long commentaire ci-dessous d’Alastair Crooke sur la “panique Netanyahou” prend une singulière importance. Les Syriens d’Assad ont, avec l’aide des Iraniens et surtout du Hezbollah, et le soutien aérien massif de la Russie, emporté une victoire stratégique qui marque évidemment un tournant dans le conflit syrien, et sans doute un tournant décisif. Le concours du Hezbollah dans cette bataille, comme dans la majeure partie du conflit, constitue un élément majeur de ce conflit, et l’une des préoccupations fondamentales de Netanyahou.

    Crooke analyse dans toute son ampleur la très difficile situation du Premier ministre israélien qui (...)

    • Une attaque aérienne israélienne la nuit dernière, contre une position syrienne proche de la frontière libanaise avec des missiles air-sol tirés d’avions israéliens ayant pénétré prudemment l’espace aérien libanais (et pas syrien), signale cette extrême nervosité israélienne, mais sans convaincre de l’efficacité de la chose. Les Israéliens ne sont pas en position de force. Selon plusieurs sources, les Russes tiennent complètement l’espace aérien de la région, notamment avec l’arrivée de cinq avions d’alerte et de contrôle de l’espace aérien à très grandes capacités Beriev A-50 désormais basés en Syrie. D’autre part, DEBKAFiles signale que le Hezbollah devrait être conduit à changer complètement ses tactiques et sa stratégie suite aux victoires remportées en Syrie, ce qui rend complètement caduc le scénario utilisé par les forces armées israéliennes dans des manœuvres en cours pour ttester ses capacités de l’emporter sur le Hezbollah : « In the remaining seven days of the exercise, the IDF still has a chance to update its scenario », écrit ironiquement DEBKAFiles.

    • L’article d’Alaistair Crooke pointé par dedefensa

      The Reasons for Netanyahu’s Panic – Consortiumnews
      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/01/the-reasons-for-netanyahus-panic

      The increasingly “not to be” constituency of the Middle East has a simpler word for Netanyahu’s “#ethnic_nationalism.” They call it simply #Western_colonialism. Round one of Chas Freeman’s making the Middle East “be with Israel” consisted of the shock-and-awe assault on Iraq. Iraq is now allied with Iran, and the Hashad militia (PMU) are becoming a widely mobilized fighting force. The second stage was 2006. Today, Hizbullah is a regional force, and not a just Lebanese one.

      The third strike was at Syria. Today, Syria is allied with Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Iraq. What will comprise the next round in the “to be, or not to be” war?

    • @simplicissimus : Pour aller dans ton sens, le timing israélien est intéressant, juste après le désencerclement de Deir-Ezzor, commepour dire on est là. Et il vient appuyer, si l’on peut dire, le rapport de l’ONU accusant - same player shoots again - la Syrie d’attaque chimique.

    • “Just to be clear: if 2006 marked a key point of inflection, Syria’s “standing its ground” represents a historic turning of much greater magnitude. It should be understood that Saudi Arabia’s (and Britain’s and America’s) tool of fired-up, radical Sunnism has been routed. And with it, the Gulf States, but particularly Saudi Arabia are damaged. The latter has relied on the force of Wahabbism since the first foundation of the kingdom: but Wahabbism in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq has been roundly defeated and discredited (even for most Sunni Muslims). It may well be defeated in Yemen too. This defeat will change the face of Sunni Islam.
      Already, we see the Gulf Cooperation Council, which originally was founded in 1981 by six Gulf tribal leaders for the sole purpose of preserving their hereditary tribal rule in the Peninsula, now warring with each other, in what is likely to be a protracted and bitter internal fight. The “Arab system,” the prolongation of the old Ottoman structures by the complaisant post-World War I victors, Britain and France, seems to be out of its 2013 “remission” (bolstered by the coup in Egypt), and to have resumed its long-term decline.”

    • If Israel did strike Syrian arms facility, it may have shot itself in the foot

      www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.811226

      While Thursday’s alleged attack may have seen Israel widen its definition of what it deems a threat, it may give Iran an excuse to increase its military presence and lead Russia to declare Syrian airspace a no-fly zone

      By Zvi Bar’el | Sep. 7, 2017 | 10:20 PM

      The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center is the code name for part of the Syrian unconventional weapons industry. The center, better known by its French acronym CERS, is commanded by a Syrian general. It is also responsible for Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturing plants, which are reportedly located in three separate sites: Two near Damascus and the third close to the city of Masyaf, northwest Syria, only about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the Khmeimim Russian Air Force base near Latakia.

      According to official Syrian reports, Israeli planes attacked CERS from within Lebanese territory early Thursday morning. The reports do not provide details of the damage to the facility and what it made. But an official statement said the attack was meant to raise the morale of Islamic State fighters after they suffered serious casualties in the fighting around Deir ez-Zor. According to President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Israel not only founded ISIS, it also aided in its recent operations.

      It is not completely clear whether this facility, where they manufacture long-range missiles and artillery shells, also continues to assemble chemical weapons shells. But if Israel knows about such production at the plant, then there is no doubt the United States and Russia know about it too.

      We can assume Israel informed Washington before the attack and received the necessary nod of approval. As far as Russia is concerned, meanwhile, it seems Israel decided to attack from within Lebanese territory to avoid the need to coordinate its operation with the Russians – as is required from the understandings between the two air forces whenever Israel sends fighter jets into Syrian territory – and to prevent the information from leaking out.

      This was not the first alleged Israeli aerial attack in Syrian territory, of course. But the timing is quite interesting. It comes after Russia threatened to veto any UN Security Council resolution that describes Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and a short time after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi – a meeting Netanyahu returned from without any Russian commitment to bring about an Iranian pullback from Syrian lands.

      As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, Russia has made a commitment that Israel’s security interests will not be harmed as a result of the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria.

      But the Russian interpretation of the meaning of harming Israel’s security interests is not necessarily the same as Israel’s definition. Given that the presence of Hezbollah forces in Syria is seen as a threat to Israel, how much more so is the presence of pro-Iranian forces deployed near Israel’s eastern border on the Golan Heights, as well as in the area near Daraa in southern Syria?

      At the same time, Russia – which itself does not define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – would find it difficult to force the group’s forces out of Lebanon. That’s mainly because of Iran’s position that sees Hezbollah as an essential foundation for preserving its influence in Lebanon and as an important tactical force in the Syrian war. Unlike in Lebanon, where Iran needs Hezbollah to force the hand of the Lebanese government when necessary, Iran’s influence on the Assad regime is direct and in no need of intermediaries.

      Russia, which has acted to limit Iran’s freedom of operation in Syria, recognizes that it must coordinate its actions with Iran if it wishes to fulfill its aspirations to stabilize Assad’s rule.

      The Aleppo lesson

      Russia has already learned its lessons from Aleppo, when it thought it could implement the cease-fire agreement that was reached at the end of last year without coordinating with Iran – and then realized that the Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah were preventing rebel soldiers from boarding the buses that were meant to take them out of the city, on Iran’s orders.

      The Iranian explanation was that because Tehran was not a partner to the agreement, it was not obligated by it. Russia has avoided Syrian negotiations since then, whether local or international, without Iranian participation.

      The attack on the weapons facility, especially one suspected of producing chemical weapons, is seemingly an act that should not cause an aggressive Russian response. Four years ago, Russia convinced then-President Barack Obama at the last minute not to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons in Aleppo, and in return co-signed a tripartite agreement in which Syria agreed to destroy or send to Russia its entire chemical weapons inventory. Now, Russia may attempt to prove that the facility did not produce such weapons, but it is doubtful it will strain itself too much in doing so.

      By the way, that 2013 agreement included chlorine gas too, which the Syrian army still continues to use.

      Russia also understands that Israel’s alleged attack on the suspected chemical weapons plant, similar to the U.S. cruise missile strikes on Syria after the chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun in April, is considered to be a legitimate action by the international community.

      Even Russia made it clear back in 2013 that it would not object to an attack on chemical weapons stores if the UN decided on such a step, and if it is proved Syria did use such weapons.

      The new element in the latest attack – if Israel did indeed carry out such an attack – is that Israel now defines what it sees as a threat in a much broader sense.

      The question is whether Russia will accept this definition as part of Israel’s strategic worldview – which sees Syria as a threatening enemy state. Russian agreement to expanding that definition could grant Israel approval for other attacks – such as against Syrian Air Force bases, or even against Syrian ground forces, with the argument that they are considered a threat.

      And so, if until now there was a red line between the Russian and Israeli air forces, this time the attack could lead at the very least to Russia imposing stricter “aerial discipline” on Israel. If this happens, Russia could declare that any foreign planes entering Syrian airspace would be considered a legitimate target for the Russian Air Force, except for coalition planes fighting against the Islamic State.

      Saving the United States

      From Washington’s perspective, Israel has pulled its chestnuts out of the fire. Following numerous reports on the renewed use of chlorine gas by the Syrian army, the Americans would have been forced to act. And this could have caused its relations with Russia to deteriorate even further.

      But the “service” Israel has provided to Washington just sinks it even deeper into the Syrian arena. This time, not only as an interested observer knocking on the doors of the superpowers in order to promote its own security interests, but as an active partner whose military presence adds yet another component to the array of forces (which already includes Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria).

      But the Israeli element could threaten to spoil Russia’s plans. For example, Iran, Turkey and Russia are about to establish a security zone in the Idlib province, where most of the militia forces of the Al-Shams Front (formerly Nusra Front), which is affiliated with Al-Qaida, are concentrated. This is a region where Iran and Turkey have opposing interests, even though both are interested in a cease-fire.

      Turkey wants to use this region as a strategic base for military operations against the Syrian Kurdish regions that border Turkey. Iran sees Idlib province as a strategic outpost to serve as a base for its control of Syria. All three countries are planning a combined attack against the rebel centers, if Russia is unable to enforce a cease-fire according to the model that was built in the southern provinces.

      It would seem Israel has no real interest in the Idlib province, except for the concern about Iran’s expansion and settling in there. But the takeover of Idlib – like the military campaign in Deir ez-Zor in southeastern Syria, where ISIS continues to rack up losses – is preparing the diplomatic channels for a permanent agreement.

      Russia is striving to demonstrate control of Idlib and Deir ez-Zor by the end of next week, when the representatives of the various parties in the Syrian civil war are set to meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. The Russians want to present such a takeover as proof of a total victory by the Syrian regime, a victory that would destroy the opposition groups’ tools for applying pressure.

      Syrian-Russian control of these two provinces would strengthen the diplomatic working assumption that Assad will continue to be Syrian president, especially since opponents of his regime in Europe, the United States and Turkey – and even Saudi Arabia – have nearly completely withdrawn their demands to remove him as a precondition to any negotiations.

      Such a result would obligate Israel to be a partner, even if only indirectly, in the process of establishing a new Syrian government; in the debate over the status of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria; and the guarantees that Russia, and not the United States, can provide in response to the possible threats resulting from such an agreement.

      Double-edged sword

      Israel may very well conclude that the greater its military involvement in Syria, whether through sporadic attacks or by tightening its military ties to rebel groups, it more it will strengthen its position when the time comes to formulate a political settlement.

      But such a view can be a double-edged sword. It will grant Iran a wonderful excuse to increase its military presence in Syria; Russia may reduce or even eliminate its aerial coordination with Israel and declare Syrian airspace a no-fly zone; and Hezbollah could turn the Golan Heights into a legitimate front against Israel as part of its balance of deterrence with it.

      There is a big difference between the ability to attack specific targets and a permanent situation of two hostile fronts, one facing Syria and the second Lebanon – especially when Israel’s most important backer, the United States, is sunk deep inside itself and does not want to intervene at all.

  • Etats-Unis : l’état d’urgence est décrété à #Charlottesville, où se rassemblent des militants d’extrême droite

    Le gouverneur démocrate de la Virginie, Terry McAuliffe, a déclaré un état d’urgence à Charlottesville, où de nombreux militants d’extrême droite veulent dénoncer le retrait d’une statue du général sudiste Lee. Un véhicule a foncé dans un groupe de contre-manifestants, tuant au moins une personne.
    [edit vu ailleurs : TROIS morts et 19 blessé-e-s]

    http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/usa/etats-unis-l-etat-d-urgence-est-decrete-a-charlottesville-ou-se-rassemb

    http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2017/08/12/aux-etats-unis-un-rassemblement-d-extreme-droite-interdit-a-charlottesville_

    La #fachosphere de twitter, très active comme à son habitude, a très vite lancé la rumeur que le conducteur serait un « jeune déséquilibré » antifa et anti #Trump, qui se serait « trompé » de manif... Le jeune en question, Joel Vangheluwe, a très vite démenti mais la rumeur était déjà partie et infectait jusqu’aux mainstream français pendant un temps...
    https://www.facebook.com/joel.notavailable

    Pour le contexte, je ne sais pas trop ce que vaut ce site mais il recense pas mal de sources d’automedias sur twitter sur le déroulé de la manif interdite, les affrontement entre suprémacistes blancs et antifas, mais aussi les milices et les flics...
    http://theantimedia.org/charlottesville-state-of-emergency

  • Dans le monde magique du NY Times, les États-Unis ont envahi l’Irak pour en faire la première pierre d’un Moyen-Orient démocratique… : Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/world/middleeast/iran-iraq-iranian-power.html

    When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.

    From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.

    In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.

  • US threats and actions in Syria are those of a rogue state
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/394811-syria-assad-us-war-regime

    “When Trump’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, asserts - as she did recently - that the US is sending “not only Assad” but also “Russia and Iran a message,” and that Washington is putting them “on notice,” she does so as the tribune of a rogue state.

    Haley issued her ‘warning’ on the back of the recent dubious claim that Washington had intelligence confirming Syrian forces were preparing a chemical weapons attack. The claim and resulting threat revealed that the US continues to arrogate to itself the status of the world’s policeman, with the right to act as judge, jury, and – as the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have learned to their disastrous cost in recent years – executioner. It describes arrogance beyond measure, conforming to the worldview of an empire whose guiding mantra is “Rome has spoken; the matter is finished."

    Haley: ’Our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,’ https://t.co/hVKLBMO8CP
    — RT America (@RT_America) June 28, 2017

    The “matter” so far as Syria is concerned is regime change, which it becomes increasingly clear is Washington’s primary objective going forward, using its military campaign against ISIS as a stalking horse to justify the build-up of its military presence in the country with this in mind. Seen in this light, the recent spate of US attacks on Syrian forces on the ground and in the air takes on an entirely different connotation – i.e. less to do with protecting US-backed ground troops, as claimed, and more to do with testing Russia’s response and resolve when it comes to supporting its Syrian ally.

    In the immediate and short term, the partition of Syria between east and west appears underway – at least if Washington has its way – evidenced by the recent visit to Syria by Brett McGurk of the US State Department. The stated purpose of his visit was to meet the “council planning to run Raqqa” after it is taken from ISIS. Thus here we have a US official visiting a sovereign state without the prior permission of said sovereign state’s legitimate government to discuss the administration of a part of its territory. This is imperialism by any other name, consonant with the actions of a country that is inebriated with that most potent of cocktails, unipolarity and might is right."

  • Assad préparerait une attaque chimique selon Washington, qui menace Damas - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1059269/assad-preparerait-une-attaque-chimique-selon-washington-qui-menace-da

    Ce Bachar, il est tellement bête qu’il ne mérite pas d’être sur terre comme disait l’autre ! Non seulement il fait des attaques chimiques tactiquement inutiles, mais en plus il le dit à l’avance. La #syrie, toujours aussi surréaliste !

    A moins que ce ne soit une réacrtion aux nouvelles révélations de Seymour Hersh : « Une enquête menée par le célèbre journaliste Seymour Hersh prétend que les autorités américaines savaient que l’armée syrienne n’avait pas utilisé d’armes chimiques à Khan Cheikhoun en avril dernier », fort peu relayées comme il se doit (https://francais.rt.com/international/40209-donald-trump-disposait-il-preuves-tangibles-justifiant-attaque-al).