Author Topic: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0  (Read 11399 times)

linuxfreakus

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Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 06, 2017, 02:33:48 PM »
I hate that I have no freakin clue whether there was an actual chemical attack in Syria or not. The media has been so bad, and I can't find any reliable information one way or the other. Russia and China each have plausible information too besides the US version. The amount of crappy information on Syria we've already been fed doesn't help alleviate my apprehension about believing anything that is reported. Sad that this is what the world has come to.

This is a plea for help...would love to find some reliable reports.  I don't even know where to begin.

DonaldD

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Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 05:01:52 PM »
Good luck finding any real report about this. Your best bet (sadly) would be to watch reports about it in Arabic on local channels in surrounding countries. Sometimes a European source will cover things you won't find here as well. I'm personally not equipped for that kind of search, and so I'm resigned to just assuming I should ignore the story for now. I do pay attention to what MSM says about these kinds of things, though, because certain kinds of reporting perks up my ears and alerts me to what NOT to believe. Personally I find the claim that Assad did this implausible, but of course anything's possible. There have been enough instances in the past where MSM has claimed Assad (or previously, Gaddafi) did something and after some research it appeared to me that it was another party trying to frame them.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 06:47:12 PM »
What convinces me is that it was a rebel stronghold. There was no positive for the rebels to unleash chemical weapons, and a lot of positives for Assad.

Assad's father poured flammable liquid into tunnels and set it alight, convinced that anyone down there was a rebel. It is well within this regime's playbook.

I detest the rebels; the majority of them are Sunni Shariah law *censored*, but this isn't on them. This is honestly a case of both sides being overwhelmingly atrocious.

And I admit chemical weapons are atrocious. But the man is fighting against ISIS Sunni militants. We lost a couple of towers in one city in one state and tortured people for years.

The man's a dick, but I feel it's worth examining what the other side is as well. I honestly don't feel that Syria would be better off under ISIS or an equivalent rather then a Saddam type who kept the psychotics under control with an iron fist.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 06:56:31 PM by DJQuag »

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 07:01:50 PM »
I am embarrassed by the ease with which state-run media outfits like in Russia and China are given credibility while the work of hard-working journalists from multiple media outfits in a country with free press is casually dismissed. I don't know who to blame for the deterioration of our collective respect for journalists, but if I were a conspiratorial person (and I am not) I would say that it almost seems organized so as to undermine any thought that a person might feel they know anything about what's happening out there. All the better to keep a population distrustful of its own journalists so as to make mischief possible.
In a way, it's like we're all living in China now. Instead of democracy and freedom radiating outward from the West as GWB might have naively imagined it, the paranoia and helplessness of autocracies has permeated everywhere.

I'll have none of it. There is no serious reason to have significant doubt about what all the major networks are reporting here - especially with a president that they all openly detest essentially in agreement about the events and the cause. There's basically zero chance the Trump WH and media would be 'colluding' on a thing like this, and zero chance of such a huge story being reported incorrectly without consequences to the reporting bodies.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 07:09:32 PM »
Yeah. It was definitely Assad. The only people claiming otherwise are those who are part of the Russian/Syrian government or those who give credence to Russian sponsored propaganda.  (RT.) It diminishes my confidence in humanity enough when Russians buy into RT, but Americans or Europeans? Jesus. Just wipe us out and let the descendents of the rats try to make a better place in 30 million years.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 10:06:33 PM »
Right there with you, Josh: it's as if critical thinking has completely taken a back seat.  Of course it makes sense that it was the anti-Assad forces who were stockpiling the nerve agents for their own use - which, in the past, seems to have been limited to also inadvertently killing themselves and their neighbours during otherwise harmless attacks by Syrian government forces.  ::)

And the whole question from the initial post is either completely naive or disingenuous; nobody is disputing the facts of the attack, just of the munitions.  Everybody from Syria, to the Russians, to the survivors, they all accept that Syrian planes dropped bombs on the buildings in question.  The only question, if you can call it that, and the one introduced by the Russians, is whether the bombs contained the nerve agent, or whether the nerve agent was stored in the buildings that were bombed.

And waiting for an investigative reporter or some kind of independent super-international-sleuth to comb through the wreckage and figure out the "truth" from the remaining evidence - that is incredibly naive.  There simply cannot be any kind of believable reporting, or reporting that could rise to the level of acceptable to the OP author, if the existing reporting is not already sufficient.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2017, 10:25:29 PM »
I am embarrassed by the ease with which state-run media outfits like in Russia and China are given credibility while the work of hard-working journalists from multiple media outfits in a country with free press is casually dismissed.
I'll have none of it. There is no serious reason to have significant doubt about what all the major networks are reporting here - especially with a president that they all openly detest essentially in agreement about the events and the cause. There's basically zero chance the Trump WH and media would be 'colluding' on a thing like this, and zero chance of such a huge story being reported incorrectly without consequences to the reporting bodies.

Its not that I'm giving Russia/China "credibility" its that those version seem also plausible and I *know* we've been lied to about Syria for while now from the US media, consequently, I have trouble swallowing any of it. There really aren't many companies running the US media and we know from various wikileaks and other evidence that the "deep state" (don't really like that name but it is what it is) has been pulling a lot of the strings in MSM for a long time.

I agree that Trump himself probably doesn't want Syria to blow up, but there are other forces at work too.  Ultimately I see the conflict in Syria as essentially a proxy war where the US side wants to build one pipeline, and the Russian side wants to build a different one and there would be lots of oil and huge money involved.  The people "team" Hillary were supporting stood to gain a LOT from an Aramco IPO... potentially the largest IPO in the history of the world.  That IPO seems a bit more murky now that Hillary lost but the big money players are still pushing for it, just like they're still pushing the anti-Russia new mccarthyism stuff.

Since there basically are no reporters actually in Syria (US ones anyway) all we have to go on are these bizarre reports that come from who knows where ... and as far as smaller of international reports, especially arab language reports that may actually be from people who are there, I just don't know who might be real there either.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 10:42:56 PM »
I honestly don't understand where this neo liberal idea that looking down on Russia is McCarthyism comes from.

The Russian government are arseholes. They kill journalists,  they annex parts of other countries, they have a leader who will rule until he's senile or dead.

I don't give a shat of it *is* conservatives or Republicans, or whoever else, that has to point that out. They're *censored* and we should absolutely be working against their goals.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2017, 11:18:26 PM »
What convinces me is that it was a rebel stronghold. There was no positive for the rebels to unleash chemical weapons, and a lot of positives for Assad.

Are we talking Rebels, or are we talking ISIS? Also, if we're talking Rebels, can we rule out ISIS having picked some WMD's up and pulling a false-flag on Assad?

With Russian, Iranian, and I think some Chinese backing, Assad doesn't need WMD's to subdue an area. He can just bomb or otherwise bombard it into oblivion using conventional arms. All using WMD's would do is bring down international condemnation upon himself.

The joys of fog of war.

The other thing is, if ISIS is involved, as victims or attackers, if not both, nothing can meaningfully be ruled out. This a culture that is known for suicide bombers and suicide attackers. So their view of the "righteous muslims" who were slain by that attack/event is likely to be more than a bit skewed. They died for a glorious cause, and will be richly rewarded in the afterlife.

Compounding things further for that matter, there is no guarantee that kind of screwed up thinking isn't also pervasive within the Rebel camps as well.

So it goes back to: It doesn't make sense for Assad to use the stuff, while the other groups involved in the fighting could very well have rationalized their way into using it, even on their own people.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 06:12:09 AM »
I'm in the group that says it made no sense for Assad to use chemical weapons when he could bomb them even more effectively with regular Russian bombs. Trump just conducted a missile strike on an Assad air base so when we look at who had something to gain and who had something to lose, Assad clearly had everything to lose and nothing to gain by using chemical weapons and it is exactly the other way around for the rebels/ISIS. If Assad wasn't responsible, what does that mean for the future when we reward the use of weapons of mass destruction by attacking the enemy of the ones who used them?

Unless we have reliable agents deep in the Assad regime who know that he did this, I'm not seeing how we can be sure. And we saw how reliable those types of agents can be with the Iraqi air force general who convinced us that Saddam had chemical weapons stockpiles as well as the the Iraqi girl who went before our Congress and testified that Iraqi soldiers were bayoneting infants in incubators in Kuwait hospitals. Plus, even if Assad did this, does that mean we need to take him out of power? This is exactly what Saddam did to the Kurds and yet pretty much everyone says that taking him out of power was one of the biggest mistakes in modern history. And he didn't have the Russian military supporting him with Russian boots on the ground so there was no chance of starting a nuclear WWIII.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 09:17:36 AM »
I honestly don't understand where this neo liberal idea that looking down on Russia is McCarthyism comes from.

Because it is, and it has nothing to do with neo liberalism.  This is not "looking down on Russia"  it is accusing anyone who isn't following the agenda that the elites want followed of colluding with Russia, which is ridiculous because if you look at the ones doing the accusing they have just as many or more "questionable" ties to Russia themselves.  This is not to say that anyone who talks to a Russian official or does business with some company that directly or indirectly profits from Russia is "bad", just pointing out that it is clearly a political witch hunt not unlike what happened with Joe McCarthy.

The Russian government are arseholes. They kill journalists,  they annex parts of other countries, they have a leader who will rule until he's senile or dead.

Minus the leader for life part (sort of since congress/senate can stay for a very long time) the USA does the same thing.  Haven't killed journalists in quite the same numbers... they prefer to just buy them off here or exercise control via their corporate bosses, either way the effect is similar.

Gaoics79

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2017, 12:14:28 PM »
Cherry I am in your camp - I just see no compelling motive for Assad to do this, bastard or not. Quite the extreme opposite actually. I also find the timing of this attack - just after the US announced a softening of its anti Assad position - baffling, and nearly inexplicable. The question I have is why the hell now? Why not 6 months ago? Why not a year ago? Until someone answers that question for me, I can't help but feel like someone is playing us all for fools.

As for why Trump has bought into this? I guess there are two likely explanations: either he has the inside track on this by virtue of being president, or he is being played for a fool too. I have no idea which is true, but the idea of someone *gasp* manipulating a man like Trump? Forgive me if I don't faint.

And Josh, in response to your point about the media, yes it is free unlike Chinese and Russian sources. But your point about all Western outlets agreeing is only pertinent if we assume that every outlet relies on its own independent sources, which I find unlikely in a case like this. It's like pointing to five different brands of chicken and saying that they couldn't *all* be tainted until you find out that they all source from the same processing plant.

And I am curious to know what the source or sources for mainstream reports are? It wouldn't so happen to be the US government, by any chance, would it? Independent and free indeed.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2017, 12:34:35 PM »
And I am curious to know what the source or sources for mainstream reports are? It wouldn't so happen to be the US government, by any chance, would it? Independent and free indeed.

This is, indeed, where most sensitive reports come from about foreign affairs. The way they do it is to get an anonymous "source" and then use one lower source as a clearinghouse to pass it off to the media outlets. If people were to learn in a given instance that "the source" was in the employ of a pro-war think tank then I bet they'd think twice about jumping on board with it immediately. But because it gets channeled down through the MSM it's legitimized, very much like the information equivalent of money laundering. Sometimes these reports probably come from the CIA, sometimes from other agencies, but almost invariably the original source isn't disclosed.

The fact that most major "news" agencies get their information in this way is a result of laziness, budgetary limitations, and also the fact of having a free gravy train of updates being fed to them 'for free'. Why spend lots of money for on-site reporting, equipment, and risk your reporters' lives when you can just get your 24 hour cycle filled by funnel-down from the Pentagon? This is not corruption speaking, but capitalism. The market has led us to this. Functionally it ends up being similar to RT's relationship to the Kremlin, even though the latter is a result of direct fascism and in America's case it's a result of the fundamental inefficiency of the market in certain sectors to achieve results acceptable for 'the common good.'

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 01:01:35 PM »

The fact that most major "news" agencies get their information in this way is a result of laziness, budgetary limitations, and also the fact of having a free gravy train of updates being fed to them 'for free'. Why spend lots of money for on-site reporting, equipment, and risk your reporters' lives when you can just get your 24 hour cycle filled by funnel-down from the Pentagon? This is not corruption speaking, but capitalism. The market has led us to this.

I don't disagree that the market has brought us here, but this state of affairs would be blown up by any evidence (and I do mean any) of the WH/pentagon getting it wrong on anything important. Think about it - the headlines would go on for days that the government misinformed the media who then dutifully reported it to the public - there might even be criminal charges. The media (the serious part of it, anyways) would not be in the risky business of reporting nonsense that could be disproven and would thoroughly discredit both them and the government. It's just too risky - unless, of course, the information had a proven track record of being accurate. And capitalism has given us multiple media outlets that compete for dollars and ad revenue - a great incentive for one of them to try to scoop the others with evidence that the lot of them were wrong.

So yes, they do it because it's lazy and cheap, but they couldn't do it if it wasn't good information because of the risks involved to their bottom line.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:04:43 PM by JoshCrow »

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2017, 01:07:31 PM »
I don't disagree that the market has brought us here, but this state of affairs would be blown up by any evidence (and I do mean any) of the WH/pentagon getting it wrong on anything important.

Define important?  Because there is evidence that a lot of things have been misrepresented about Syria.  I also strongly object to the idea that "market conditions" have brought us to where we are.  The USA is so far from being a free market that its laughable.  The game is rigged and huge corporations hold many many advantages.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:16:29 PM by linuxfreakus »

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2017, 01:15:03 PM »
I don't disagree that the market has brought us here, but this state of affairs would be blown up by any evidence (and I do mean any) of the WH/pentagon getting it wrong on anything important.

Define important?  Because there is evidence that a lot of things have been misrepresented about Syria.

I believe you think that - but I doubt there's anything that rises to the level of "proof of government deception of the public" or it would be everywhere.

I'm curious what stands out in your mind as misrepresentation. I'm quite sure I can explain it to you, whatever it is, as either correct or at least logical based on available information at the time.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:22:04 PM by JoshCrow »

LetterRip

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2017, 01:17:47 PM »
The issue is that the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Turkish government, the 'rebels', and many of the American government sources are all unreliable.

I think Trump desperately wants to go to war - it is generally the easiest way to get ones domestic agenda achieved and to get friendly media coverage and even more limited military action can distract the media from unfavorable coverage of domestic issues.

The Turkish government wants the US to attack Syria.

Both the Syrians and Russians don't want the US involved.

The 'rebels' are certainly capable of doing a false flag operation.

So... then we have to examine the logic of events

1) Both the Russians and rebels confirm that the timing of the chemical attack was after air strike
2) The Russians are claiming that it was a chemical depot of the rebels that released the gas
3) Turkish sources are claiming it was Sarin
4) Syria seems likely to have done a Sarin attack in the past with little repercussions
5) Syria is winning and has the Russians as allies it seems stupid to do such an attack and risk US entering

If it was Sarin - it seems unlikely the rebels have access.  I think Assad is quite possibly dumb enough to take unnecessary risks and it is quite possible his military commanders are willing even if he isn't.

Thus I'd put the balance of probabilities slightly in favor of it being true.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2017, 01:18:03 PM »
I believe you think that - but I doubt there's anything that rises to the level of "proof of government deception of the public" or it would be everywhere.

Exactly, and therein lies the problem... there is not sufficient proof that they are NOT being deceptive either.  People don't know who to believe.

LetterRip

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2017, 01:21:44 PM »
JoshCrow,

Quote
Think about it - the headlines would go on for days that the government misinformed the media who then dutifully reported it to the public

You mean like Iraq - where we were told that the aluminum bodies could only be used for centrifuges, where a report showed that they were impossible to use for centrifuges and were almost certainly rocket bodies?  Or the report of the 'mobile bio/chemical weapons lab' that was a complete fabrication?


linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2017, 01:26:13 PM »
If it was Sarin - it seems unlikely the rebels have access.  I think Assad is quite possibly dumb enough to take unnecessary risks and it is quite possible his military commanders are willing even if he isn't.

Thus I'd put the balance of probabilities slightly in favor of it being true.

I still don't get it.  Why bother? Nerve agents are unreliable and lack of wide area lethality, and dissipate quickly (not to mention short shelf life).  Conventional munitions are easier to get or make, and more effective, and infinitely less likely to provoke the sort of thing that just happened.  What strategic breakthrough could he possibly be hoping to make? Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:33:45 PM by linuxfreakus »

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2017, 01:33:11 PM »
JoshCrow,

Quote
Think about it - the headlines would go on for days that the government misinformed the media who then dutifully reported it to the public

You mean like Iraq - where we were told that the aluminum bodies could only be used for centrifuges, where a report showed that they were impossible to use for centrifuges and were almost certainly rocket bodies?  Or the report of the 'mobile bio/chemical weapons lab' that was a complete fabrication?

Having lived through that, I remember the media showing things like Colin Powell's UN presentation and presenting whatever evidence the government brought forward. I don't remember the media saying definitively "this is true" but merely presenting the government's argument as such. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the media' job?

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2017, 01:35:12 PM »
I still don't get it.  Why bother? Nerve agents are unreliable and lack of wide area lethality, and dissipate quickly (not to mention short shelf life).  Conventional munitions are easier to get or make, and more effective, and infinitely less likely to provoke the sort of thing that just happened.  What strategic breakthrough could he possibly be hoping to make? Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons.

Well, what if you really really hate your enemy and want them to fear you? Why do Mexican drug cartels bother to decapitate victims when they could just shoot them dead?

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2017, 01:35:43 PM »
Having lived through that, I remember the media showing things like Colin Powell's UN presentation and presenting whatever evidence the government brought forward. I don't remember the media saying definitively "this is true" but merely presenting the government's argument as such. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the media' job?

Is there a difference between blasting government claims virtually unopposed all over the media 24/7 and actually claiming they are true?  And bringing in pundits and "experts" to constantly validate those same claims?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:46:00 PM by linuxfreakus »

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2017, 01:41:38 PM »
Well, what if you really really hate your enemy and want them to fear you? Why do Mexican drug cartels bother to decapitate victims when they could just shoot them dead?

Clearly for the shock value, but Mexican cartels are not in the same precarious position that Asad is in... in fact they enjoy the support of the CIA. But even with that, the international attention would still come if the drug gangs began using nerve gas.

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2017, 02:00:46 PM »
Is there a difference between blasting government claims virtually unopposed all over the media 24/7 and actually claiming they are true?  And bringing in pundits and "experts" to constantly validate those same claims?

There is a fundamental difference, yes. The story was the government's claim (which was sensational and certainly deserved wide coverage). This is key, and if you look over major media reporting at the time, you will see they did their job and attributed the beliefs to their authors, and (critically) presented photographs and other bits of evidence that were interpreted incorrectly. But the point is - the evidence was there to inspect, and the claims were there "as claims" rather than "as truths".

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2017, 02:02:51 PM »
Clearly for the shock value, but Mexican cartels are not in the same precarious position that Asad is in... in fact they enjoy the support of the CIA. But even with that, the international attention would still come if the drug gangs began using nerve gas.

Assad's position ceased being precarious - in fact nothing less than the US outright publically stating "we are no longer seeking regime change" literally just preceded this attack. So there goes that, really.

I am reminded of another similar case... why did Saddam do this, you suppose? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_chemical_attack

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2017, 02:06:45 PM »
There is a fundamental difference, yes. The story was the government's claim (which was sensational and certainly deserved wide coverage). This is key, and if you look over major media reporting at the time, you will see they did their job and attributed the beliefs to their authors, and (critically) presented photographs and other bits of evidence that were interpreted incorrectly. But the point is - the evidence was there to inspect, and the claims were there "as claims" rather than "as truths".

I'm fundamentally at a loss for how you can think that the media was objective in the run-up to Iraq.  They never pointed out using anything more than footnotes or fine print the sources of the claims... and those sources were nearly always anonymous too except for public speeches, etc.  Any objections were laughed off, or literally CUT off in interviews.  The coverage was a complete joke.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2017, 02:11:25 PM »
Assad's position ceased being precarious - in fact nothing less than the US outright publically stating "we are no longer seeking regime change" literally just preceded this attack. So there goes that, really.

I am reminded of another similar case... why did Saddam do this, you suppose? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_chemical_attack

Wow.  So with the media constantly printing stories about him, and red scare still going full steam ahead despite the fact that Hillary lost you think that Asad had reason to feel safe and secure?  He is no more or less secure than he was... but as long as Russia is going to keep backing him and he holds up his end of the bargain to let Russia make the pipeline favorable to them... then you might be right because I don't know if we're really crazy enough to go to war with Russia.

Regarding Saddam... I seem to remember a little scandal known as Iran-Contra which the CIA had their little hands in.  Once that all blew up and he was on his own, guess how many chemical/biological weapons we found there? (So yeah, since he is currently backed by Russia, while we are backing ISIS, then maybe you've got a small point, but he also should be able to see that Saddam never gained ANY advantage from that stuff, nor was it very effective tactically)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 02:17:02 PM by linuxfreakus »

Gaoics79

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2017, 02:25:59 PM »
Quote
Why do Mexican drug cartels bother to decapitate victims when they could just shoot them dead?

The cartels have been chopping off heads for years. It is part of their everyday behaviour.

By contrast, we have apparently gone 4 years without any sign of Assad employing chemical weapons. Then right at the moment when the US government is changing its policy to be more favourable to his regime, for the first time ever, Assad inexplicably launches a chemical attack to slaughter a handful of civilians, for no discernible tactical or military benefit, triggering military reprisals against him and sabotaging his own self interest. And he does this because... Evil?

You find none of this suspicious?

Regarding the media Josh, what makes you think they even have the resources to investigate a story like this in any serious way, even if they were so inclined? It's a warzone. You think if this was a false flag someone is going to leave some memoranda lying around that CNN can pull with a FOI request? How much of modern journalism is even concerned with primary sources anymore? I feel like we're getting the same basic "product" repackaged and rebranded by 1,000 different "retailers" all pretending to offer something unique - like some industrial kitchen dolling out the same slop to ten different restaurants with different names and colorful logos, but serving the same food!

I don't know what to believe. I sure as hell don't trust Assad or the Russians but I don't trust CNN either.

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2017, 02:26:30 PM »

I'm fundamentally at a loss for how you can think that the media was objective in the run-up to Iraq.  They never pointed out using anything more than footnotes or fine print the sources of the claims... and those sources were nearly always anonymous too except for public speeches, etc.  Any objections were laughed off, or literally CUT off in interviews.  The coverage was a complete joke.

Fair enough, I'll concede the point. There was too much cheerleading and not enough skepticism.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2017, 03:15:02 PM »
JoshCrow,

Quote
Think about it - the headlines would go on for days that the government misinformed the media who then dutifully reported it to the public

You mean like Iraq - where we were told that the aluminum bodies could only be used for centrifuges, where a report showed that they were impossible to use for centrifuges and were almost certainly rocket bodies?  Or the report of the 'mobile bio/chemical weapons lab' that was a complete fabrication?

How about Bin Laden's 'underground fortress stronghold', pictures of which were shown by the press all around, and which of course were pure fiction literally drawn on someone's desk for fun. But of course there are no "arrests" for such "reporting", because all they're doing is repeating what they're told! And that, JoshCrow, is why the media is utterly unreliable. They changed their business model from investigating on-site to give you first-hand coverage to repeating messages handed down to them. "Reporting" used to mean that they would investigate and then report on the results. Now it means they will relay messages they have been given by others. It's little more than a clearinghouse for many types of news events for which they don't do reporting any more. In the old days you could call them liars for false reporting since they were on site and if they lied you knew if was them who concocted the false story. Now that their mandate is merely to repeat what they're told as long as they've "truthfully repeated it" (i.e. relayed it as is) then they've "done their job", which of course means the actual truthfulness of the reports are not in their mandate, but only accurate reposting like people do on Reddit with stupid gifs (pronounced jiffs). And what's more, people will defend them in the wake of stories being utterly false by saying they're merely reporting what they heard, not their fault! What a crock.

Likewise it's been demonstrated that there are also no arrests for false 'reporting' even when we know the original source, such as with the Iraq WMD fiasco. How can you ever "prove" that no source told that admin there were WMD's? So even when the source is known nothing can be done, and certainly not to the media who, instead of being watchdogs against corruption, have chosen the easy path of playing ball and being a cheap retailer with flashing neon signs.

I don't trust CNN or their ilk one whit. I don't trust RT either, but RT has a funny knack for making truthful reports - so long as they diminish the reputation of their opponents. They cherry pick what they print to favor Russia, and their tone is obviously pro-Russia, but I often find that they avoid printing actual falsehoods. This makes RT a valuable resource for information-gathering, as long as one doesn't ever think that they should be 'trusted'.

Wayward Son

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2017, 06:50:18 PM »
One thing about the false WMD reports during the Bush II Administration is that there were many reports I heard at the time disputing the claim.  I distinctly remember hearing one on NPR on my drive home from work.  While the Administration was adamant about the quality of their intelligence, other sources were skeptical.

So far, I haven't heard skeptical reports from the serious news sources about the gas attack in Syria.  The only major dispute seems to come from Russia and the Syrian government, who contend that it was rebel gas that was released during the attack.  But that is not a credible story, since Sarin gas will burn, and is usually stored unmixed in separate containers for safety.

And so far, no one is talking about a possible suicide use by ISIS or their ilk, probably because it would have had to be timed precisely to work.  (Did ISIS sit with the container for weeks, waiting for an aerial attack?)

While it is best to keep an open mind about sources, and to be skeptical of reports, from my experience the responsible news sources do not usually swallow a government's line without question, and the questions usually surface.  Even though reports can be false, I wouldn't discount all reports when a vast majority of them do not disagree.

Gaoics79

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2017, 06:55:46 PM »
Wayward I just want to understand - what does "vast majority of reports" mean in this context?

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2017, 07:26:19 PM »
One thing about the false WMD reports during the Bush II Administration is that there were many reports I heard at the time disputing the claim.  I distinctly remember hearing one on NPR on my drive home from work.  While the Administration was adamant about the quality of their intelligence, other sources were skeptical.

You're forgetting how long ago that was. It was before media agencies had completely folded on independent reporting. Those days are over.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2017, 07:27:23 PM »
I wouldn't discount all reports when a vast majority of them do not disagree.

I too wonder what "vast majority" is... Like all six of them?  There are six companies controlling 90% of the media in this country.... not sure if it was quite as bad back when Iraq/WMD stuff came out, but I do not recall hearing a whole lot of dissenting opinions about it in the media.  Once it came to the point where it was clear that we were probably going to invade and people started protesting, they kinda covered that a bit, but it was mostly framed as "fringe" or "anti-war", there was no substantive discussion that I ever heard where they meaningfully addressed how obviously questionable the reports were and how other countries hadn't reached the same conclusions.  Talk that I heard on NPR mostly centered around keeping "score" of which people were planning to vote which way, and various repeated claims with undue certainty attached.

LetterRip

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2017, 11:26:05 PM »
The NYT dissented, they came out with the report on Powell misleading the UN regarding the aluminum tubes and questioning the veracity of the mobile lab, and suggesting that the intelligence the government were getting and using from specific sources was highly questionable - the NYT was largely ignored though.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2017, 03:00:24 AM »
Really?  I don't remember that at all.  Was that an opinion piece or was that part of their main coverage?  Was it before the war began? I remember Judith Miller (Pulitzer prize winner) ranting and raving about huge stockpiles and splashy headlines pretty much calling for Saddam's head on a platter.  NYT was one of the worst offenders I thought.

LetterRip

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2017, 05:31:52 AM »
It looks like I was misremembering and it was the Washington Post and other sources (the NYT might or might not have, but that wasn't the source that I quoted at the time).

http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/6/1735.html

Yes it was before the war began, it was immediately after Colin Powell made his case to the UN.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2017, 07:49:59 AM »
If it was Sarin - it seems unlikely the rebels have access.  I think Assad is quite possibly dumb enough to take unnecessary risks and it is quite possible his military commanders are willing even if he isn't.

Thus I'd put the balance of probabilities slightly in favor of it being true.

I still don't get it.  Why bother? Nerve agents are unreliable and lack of wide area lethality, and dissipate quickly (not to mention short shelf life).  Conventional munitions are easier to get or make, and more effective, and infinitely less likely to provoke the sort of thing that just happened.  What strategic breakthrough could he possibly be hoping to make? Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons.

Why drive a truck through a crowd if it won't defeat the military?  Terrorism isn't about winning. It's about inflicting fear. Chemical weapons do that.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2017, 08:06:33 AM »
Russia/Syria is Orderly Evil. (For those who are familiar with DnD.) They believe in rule of law and even taking care of their own, but they'll do *censored*ed up things to enforce it.

ISIS and their friends are neutral evil at best, chaotic evil probably. They do *censored*ed up things and scramble for religious reasons to justify it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. 10/10 I'll defend a secular dictatorship against religious control. The only thing that can convince a good man to do evil is religion.

The chemical attacks are the (for me) red line. If they'd used chemical weapons instead of airplanes,  9/11 would have been several city blocks dead instead of a couple towers.

Assad used chemical weapons this time. I was skeptical the last, but the only people backing Russia here are people scrambling for straws. Ya'll can make excuses. I won't.

The crappy world we live in says we have to accept what is. Except I'm not going to sit here and say that chemical weapons are okay. Not even if the other side is 40 percent Shia law arsholes.

We're better because we have lines that we don't cross. And *censored* Trump for making me agree with him.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2017, 09:35:14 AM »
It looks like I was misremembering and it was the Washington Post and other sources (the NYT might or might not have, but that wasn't the source that I quoted at the time).

http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/6/1735.html

Yes it was before the war began, it was immediately after Colin Powell made his case to the UN.

Ah, yes the Washington Post... that sounds more likely.  I have even recently seen a few sensible pieces in there from time to time... still coupled with some of the most bizarre "fake news" there is... but they at least throw in a little logic once in a while.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2017, 09:40:49 AM »
The only thing that can convince a good man to do evil is religion.

Can't take the rest of your post seriously after reading this gem. On the one hand it amazes me that someone can make an anti-religion argument couched in religious language, and on the other it is stupefying think that anyone could even possibly omit greed, power and fear as motives for taking harmful actions. Please tell me you aren't going to assert that a "good man" would never be subject to these motives  ::)

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2017, 10:47:32 AM »
The only thing that can convince a good man to do evil is religion.

Can't take the rest of your post seriously after reading this gem. On the one hand it amazes me that someone can make an anti-religion argument couched in religious language, and on the other it is stupefying think that anyone could even possibly omit greed, power and fear as motives for taking harmful actions. Please tell me you aren't going to assert that a "good man" would never be subject to these motives  ::)

I'd go so far as to contend that because Religion makes a great gateway for people to obtain Power and Money, often through use of Fear, that the problem isn't religion itself. The problem is people who are greedy and seek power to make it happen.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2017, 10:50:55 AM »
There is no denying that religion is a powerful force for controlling people... but its not the only thing.  It might be a branch of mob psychology along with mass media, and so many other influences.  Plenty of more individual motivations too.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2017, 11:03:37 AM »
Why drive a truck through a crowd if it won't defeat the military?  Terrorism isn't about winning. It's about inflicting fear. Chemical weapons do that.

That analogy doesn't work for me.  Driving a truck through a crowd generally does not lead to missile strikes and international reprisals, just like the beheadings example.  *IF* this was in fact a false flag or even completely faked, then the reason Sarin gas was included was because it makes it much easier to make the claim that it had to be a state actor since ostensibly there would be no way some "random band of rebels" would get their hands on poison gas weapons (even though we heard testimony from CIA director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper that said they [ISIS] can and have used it -- not that these guys haven't been caught lying too).

So yeah... I still don't feel any more confident about knowing anything about this than I did in my first post.  This entire Syria thing is a disastrous mess. I would love nothing more than for us to just stop poking the freakin hornets nest and just stop.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 11:10:29 AM by linuxfreakus »

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2017, 11:13:35 AM »
I'd go so far as to contend that because Religion makes a great gateway for people to obtain Power and Money, often through use of Fear, that the problem isn't religion itself. The problem is people who are greedy and seek power to make it happen.

Because many people are prone to believe in religion or at least in mystical systems, it goes without saying that this is going to be a standard avenue to exploit those people. But the mechanism by which they do this has nothing to do with any inherent facts about religion; it mostly has to do with the fact that people who want to exploit others will use any possible way to do so, and if religion is such a way they'll use that. Calling out religion because of greedy power-mongers is like calling out eating because of TV advertisements peddling candy to kids. Of course there is harm in there, but not because of the impulse to eat! In fact we should properly argue that the impulse to eat is a sign of health, and that this very draw towards something nourishing is ideal grounds for manipulation of the desires towards something ill. But rather than looking at systems and how they're exploited I guess it's easier to just call religion evil.

TheDrake

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2017, 09:39:49 PM »
In addition to the valid discussions in this thread, I'll throw out an idea speculatively. What if this was a loss of command and control by Assad, or a simple mistake of loading the wrong weapons? I could see a general going rogue and using the weapons more than Assad directing that now is the time for them.

I have a hard time believing that if anti-Assad groups had access to such weapons that they would have chosen a false-flag suicide attack rather than using them on Assads forces.

As for Assad being concerned about international condemnation, well I don't think he operates that way, and I doubt that the countries still standing behind him care very much if he uses chemical weapons.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2017, 12:51:03 AM »
Loss of command is possible but maybe even more difficult to prove.  It is not clear to me that any "false flag" would have been a suicide mission... wouldn't we be in on it too and just directed the response elsewhere?  Or are you thinking that Russia and others would have seen where the real strike left from using their own surveillance and pointed out that the response didn't even hit the right target (they already have claimed that the response did very little damage and didn't even touch the runways, but no idea if that has been corroborated, I've been too busy to search)?


TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2017, 12:55:42 AM »
I'm pretty much split on it. I remember the reports from the Obama Administration saying ISIS likely had control of some of the chemical weapons stockpiles Syria had. Thankfully the stuff hasn't turned up elsewhere as of yet.

I can also see a case of Assad using the weapons and hoping to make it look like it actually was the rebels/ISIS who did so. I still think the calculus on his side would make it come out deciding not to. Which means the "other players" in the game make more sense.

As I said previously, this is very much a "fog of war" moment, unless somebody has high quality intelligence intercepts of Syrian Troop commands ordering the chemical attack or someone making an uncoerced confession, it's hard to demonstrate one way or another. With scene contamination and everything else(it is a War zone), forensic evidence is likely to unreliable.

Flip a coin, consult a magic 8 ball for all I care. I just know that for me personally, I'm probably going to withhold judgment on who did what when for a very long time, and honestly expect to never make a final determination on this one.