On September 28 the French mission to the UN claimed that two hospitals in east-Aleppo had been bombed. It documented this in a tweet with a picture of destroyed buildings in Gaza. The French later deleted that tweet.
It is not the first time such false claims and willful obfuscations were made by "western" officials. But usually they shy away from outright lies.
Not so the US Secretary of State John Kerry. In a press event yesterday, before talks with the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault about a new UN resolution, he said (vid @1:00) about Syria:
Last night, the regime attacked yet another hospital, and 20 people were killed and 100 people were wounded. And Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women.These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes. And those who commit these would and should be held accountable for these actions.No opposition group has claimed that such an extremely grave event happened. None. No press agency has a record of it. The MI-6 disinformation outlet SOHR in Britain, which quite reliably notes every claimed casualty and is frequently cited in "western" media", has not said anything about such an event anywhere in Syria.
The grave incident Kerry claimed did not happen. Kerry made it up. (Was it supposed to happen, got canceled and Kerry missed the memo?) Kerry used the lie to call for war crime investigations and punishment. This in front of cameras, at an official event with a foreign guest in the context of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
This is grave. This is nearly as grave as Colin Powell's false claims of WMD in Iraq in front of the UN Security Council.
Early reports, like this one at CBSNEWS, repeat the Kerry claim:
Kerry said Syrian forces hit a hospital overnight, killing 20 people and wounding 100, describing what would be the latest strike by Moscow or its ally in Damascus on a civilian target.But the New York Times write up of the event, which includes Kerry's demand for war crime investigations, does not mention the hospital bombing claim. Not at all. For the self-acclaimed "paper of record", Kerry's lie did not happen. Likewise the Washington Post which in its own write up makes no mention of the false Kerry claim.
The latest AP write up by Matthew Lee also omits the lie. This is curious as Matt Lee is obviously aware of it. The State Departments daily press briefing yesterday had a whole section on it. Video (@3:30) shows that it is Matt who asks these questions:
QUESTION: Okay. On to Syria and the Secretary’s comments earlier this morning, one is: Do you know what strike he was talking about in his comments overnight on a hospital in Aleppo?This goes on for a while. But there was no hospital attack in Rif Dimashq nor in Aleppo. Later on DoS spokesman Kirby basically admits that Kerry lied: "I can’t corroborate that."
MR KIRBY: I think the Secretary’s referring actually to a strike that we saw happen yesterday on a field hospital in the Rif Dimashq Governorate. I’m not exactly positive that that’s what he was referring to, but I think he was referring to actually one that was --
QUESTION: Not one in Aleppo?
MR KIRBY: I believe it was – I think it was – I think he – my guess is – I’m guessing here that he was a bit mistaken on location and referring to one --
QUESTION: But you don’t have certainty, though?
MR KIRBY: I don’t. Best I got, best information I got, is that he was most likely referring to one yesterday in this governorate, but it could just be an honest mistake.
QUESTION: If we could – if we can nail that down with certainty what he was talking about --
MR KIRBY: I’ll do the best I can, Matt.
It also turns out that Kerry has no evidence for any war crimes and no plausible way to initiate any official international procedure about such. And for what? To bully Russia? Fat chance, that would be a hopeless endeavor and Kerry should know that.
Kerry is desperate. He completely lost the plot on Syria. Russia is in the lead and will do whatever needs to be done. The Obama administration has, apart from starting a World War, no longer any way to significantly influence that.
Kerry is only one tool of the Obama administration. Later that day the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, made other accusations against Russia:
The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directedthe recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.Translation: "WE DO NOT KNOW at all ("we are confident", "we believe", "directed") who did these hacks and WE DO NOT HAVE the slightest evidence ("consistent with","based on the scope and sensitivity") that Russia is involved, so let me throw some chaff and try to bamboozle you all."
The former British ambassador Craig Murray calls it a blatant neocon lie. It was obviously the DNC that manipulated the US election by, contrary to its mandate, promoting Clinton over Sanders. The hackers only proved that. It is also easy to see why these accusations are made now. Murray:
That the Obama administration has made a formal accusation of Russia based on no evidence is, on one level, astonishing. But it is motivated by desperation. WikiLeaks have already announced that they have a huge cache of other material relating to Hillary’s shenanigans. The White House is simply seeking to discredit it in advance by a completely false association with Russian intelligence.The Obama administration is losing it. On Syria as well as on the election it can no longer assert its will. Trump, despite all dirty boy's club talk he may do, has a significant chance to catch the presidency. He (-44%) and Clinton (-41%) are more disliked by the U.S electorate, than Putin (-38%). Any solution in Syria will be more in Russia's than the Washington's favor.
Such desperation can be dangerous. Kerry is gasping at straws when he lies about Russia. The president and his colleagues at the Pentagon and the CIA have more kinetic means to express themselves. Could they order up something really stupid?
Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.