Thornberry Talks Up Assad

Emily Thornberry is rightly under fire for talking up Assad’s popularity in a bizarre interview with Prospect magazine:

“There is an argument that if [President Bashar al-Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular as the rebels told the west at the outset then he wouldn’t be there. I think there has been a depth and a breadth of support for Assad that has been underestimated.”

Prospect were certainly unimpressed, reporting: “Not once in our discussion on Syria is she critical of the Assad regime”. The Shadow Foreign Secretary rather gave the game away later on in the interview:

Assad may not get special blame, but others do. Foreign forces, she says, need to leave. That includes Britain, which is currently taking part in air-strikes against IS. “They’re not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people. Any of them.” She lists the countries involved. “UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Turkey, America, Britain—have I missed anyone?” She has. “Russians!” she adds, quickly.

Grim…

Thornberry: I Don’t Accept Russia is Blocking Chemical Weapons Inspectors

Thornberry has been listening to Seumas again. The audience wasn’t impressed…

FCO and MoD Fury at “Utterly Reckless” Labour Syria Trip

The Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have expressed fury after a Labour MP and peer travelled to Syria earlier this month in defiance of government travel advice. Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Maurice Glasman travelled to Kobani on 4 April, with the Corbynista MP extraordinarily live-tweeting his location as the delegation moved through Syria. The first the FCO and MoD knew about the trip was when they received intelligence that a British MP and peer were in Syria. This sparked panic across the two departments, with officials furious that the lives of British armed forces would be put at risk if they had to be sent in should something go wrong.

The FCO clearly advises “against all travel to Syria” and warns “there is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Syria”. A serving MP’s decision to defy this advice and then live-tweet his location has led some Whitehall officials to lobby for an investigation into the trip. Officials at the Ministry of Justice and Home Office are worried that the visit could legitimise others considering travelling to Syria, and have expressed concerns about the impact the trip could have on ongoing court cases involving other Britons who have returned from the country.

A government source said: “This was an utterly reckless act that could have led to our armed forces being put in danger had they been kidnapped. It is mind-numbingly stupid given the political climate and could have severe consequences in terms of ongoing court cases over here.”

A second government source said: “Travel advice is very clear – by going to a dangerous region you are not only putting yourself at risk but also the individuals who would have to take part in a rescue operation. It’s incredibly stupid of an MP to do this and shows a real lack of judgement.”

Russell-Moyle wrote up his experience in Syria for the far-left website Evolve Politics and spoke about it at the Stop the War rally last night. Taking the Corbynista delusion on Syria to new stupid extremes…

UPDATE: Statement from Russell-Moyle:

“I did inform the FCO before I departed, informing them of our movements. I met with UK Ambassador in Iraq, the UK Consul-General in Erbil before & with him on the day we returned to debrief. We received security protection form Gov. of Kurdish Iraq and Northern Syrian Government.”

Yet the first the FCO and MoD heard about the trip was while he was there…

May Wins Syria Vote 314-36

This was only a non-substantive vote on the motion that the House had heard the situation on Syria, but nonetheless a resounding win for the government after Labour MPs were sent home early. Which just about sums up parliament’s view on Corbyn’s position – the Labour leader humiliated… 

Top Corbynista MPs Attend Pro-Assad Rally

Labour MPs tonight joined a pro-Assad rally alongside protesters with flags, hats and scarves bearing the face of the Syrian tyrant. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson, Emma Dent Coad and Lloyd Russell-Moyle were among those present at this evening’s Stop the War demo at Parliament Square. Williamson told an audience waving pro-Corbyn placards and communist flags that there was no evidence for the Douma chemical attack and that Assad had no motive to carry it out. Echoing Kremlin talking points, Williamson said:

“Why would the Assad regime at this stage of the appalling conflict in Syria, where he’s virtually won the battle for Eastern Ghouta, launch a chemical weapons attack when it would be bound to bring on the wrath of the West? … The motive is questionable, the evidence – where is the evidence? It just isn’t there. And it’s no coincidence, it seems to me, that on the day before the OPCW inspectors were due to start their inspection, these air strikes took place. What is going on? There are very serious questions, it seems to me, that need to be answered.”

One Assad supporter told Guido said the Syrian leader had not done anything illegal and that it was the UK parliament that was acting illegally. He added his message to Jeremy Corbyn was “well done”.

Corbyn’s Labour…

Shami: You Can’t Just Punish Assad For Using Chemical Weapons

Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti has made clear Labour would not act against the Assad regime even if OPCW inspectors found evidence of chemical weapons use in Douma. Appearing on the Today programme, Shami was asked what a Labour government would do if UN inspectors confirmed the position of Western governments. She refused to address the question before saying:

“You can’t use force under international law just to punish Syria for bad behaviour.”

John Woodcock weighed in:

Labour backbenchers will be worth watching this afternoon…

Corbyn: I’d Only Back Syria Action If Russia Doesn’t Veto It

Corbyn continues to say intervention in Syria should only take place through the UN. Which Russia has repeatedly vetoed…

May Press Conference Live

May and Trump Statements

Morning Star Suggests Douma Attack Was Set-Up

The sickos who write Corbyn’s favourite paper have plumbed new depths by suggesting the Douma chemical attack was a set-up. The paper’s editorial calls Assad the “legitimate” ruler of Syria and suggests the children in the harrowing images from the scene were not really gassed. Remember they previously backed the slaughter in Aleppo.

“Today, the pretext for escalating Britain’s military involvement in Syria is that the Assad regime — the internationally recognised, legitimate and elected government in Damascus — is guilty of a poison gas attack on the citizens of Douma. Film of the aftermath, broadcast across the world in recent days, shows a troupe of very camera-conscious young men washing down the victims, all of whom are children, most of them looking more bewildered than wounded or incapacitated, and without a distressed parent or relative in sight.”

This is the paper Corbyn chooses to have delivered to his office. Does he agree?

Piers Corbyn Tweets Infowars Video and Claims Syria Gas Attack Was “Fake”

Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers has tweeted an Alex Jones Show Infowars video featuring Paul Joseph Watson which suggests the chemical attack on Douma was not carried out by the Assad regime. He tagged his brother Jeremy in the tweet. Piers also tweeted:

“HAHA the #Syria #ChemicalWeaponsAttack was #FAKE.”

PJW should really get Piers on his show…

Corbyn Refuses to Blame Assad For Chemical Attack

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s London election campaign, Corbyn refused to blame the Assad regime for the gas attack in Douma, instead calling on “all parties to cooperate with the UN… so we can find out exactly who delivered that chemical weapon”. Just as he refused to condemn Assad for the chemical attack at Khan Sheikhoun last year. Compare and contrast with when Russia accused Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in 2013. Then, Corbyn immediately went on Russia Today to endorse the Kremlin line… 

Corbyn and Seumas’ Record of Siding With Assad

Last night’s statement from a Labour “spokesperson” on the Douma gas attack – no wonder no one wanted to put their name to it – was a textbook case of Corbynista equivocation in the face of evil committed by a regime opposed by the West. Corbyn’s record on Syria speaks for itself.

He accepted a free trip to meet Assad paid for by a Palestinian group which blames Jews for the Holocaust, posing with the Syrian leader alongside Jenny Tonge, and writing afterwards that the junket had shown him evidence that “the Israeli tail wags the US dog”.

He was the chair of Stop the War when they compared Assad to Churchill and repeatedly promoted Assad apologists, and he continued to back the group when they were condemned by Peter Tatchell for silencing victims of the Assad regime, and accused by Syria Solidarity UK of tacitly supporting Assad.

Following the Khan Sheikhoun gas attack, Corbyn refused to blame Assad despite Britain, the US and France all agreeing there was no doubt the regime carried it out. He did however appear on Russia Today to immediately endorse Russian reports of Syrian rebels using chemical weapons. He called for an independent UN investigation“. When such an investigation later found the Assad regime responsible, Corbyn said nothing.

He received a briefing from Declan Hayes, a notorious Assad apologist who has denied that the regime has used chemical weapons. He dined with Marcus Papadopoulos, who claimed “there was no massacre at Aleppo“.

Corbyn’s chief aide Seumas Milne has repeatedly apologised for the Assad regime, writing that warnings of chemical attacks by Assad were a “reprise of the falsehood that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq”, praising Russian intervention in Syria as a “check to unbridled US power” and criticising Nato for working against the Assad regime.

Milne’s deputy in the leader’s office Steve Howell is even worse – he’s repeatedly openly sided with Assad and accused the West of spinning the Aleppo slaughter.

Corbyn’s favourite newspaper, the communist Morning Star, actually backed Assad’s slaughter in Aleppo as “providing aerial support to troops fighting to drive extremists out”.

Corbyn famously said that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. On Syria he doesn’t even pretend to be neutral.

Top Corbyn Aide Sided With Assad and Putin

Following Guido’s story yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn gets a lot of criticism in today’s papers for his links to an Assad-supporting genocide denier. Of course it should come as no surprise that the Labour leader’s office is sympathetic to people with such views. Take Steve Howell, Corbyn’s deputy director of strategy and comms, one of his most senior aides (and a former colleague of Seumas Milne at the Stalinist newspaper Straight Left). His Twitter feed is full of tweets promoting Assadists, siding with Assad and Putin, accusing Western media of spinning the Aleppo slaughter, blaming Ukraine on the West, defending Russia Today, and even spinning Russian hacking of the US election in support of Putin.

These views are commonplace at the very top of Corbyn’s Labour…

Corbyn Not Sure If Assad Regime Carried Out Chemical Attack

Jeremy Corbyn tells the BBC that inspectors need “space” to “make sure we know who did that terrible chemical weapons attack” in Syria. Britain, America and France all say there is no doubt the Assad regime carried out the attack. Corbyn doesn’t seem so sure…

B-Rex: Boris Johnson Meets Rex Tillerson

The G7 meeting of foreign ministers is underway in the picturesque Italian city of Lucca, Tuscany. Boris Johnson – under fire all weekend for a decision to cancel a planned trip to Moscow – has already met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the margins of the meeting. Earlier BoJo name-checked Rex, saying Britain would “support… efforts by Rex Tillerson to try to move the process forward”…

Miliband Dances While Syria Burns

During the 2015 general election campaign, Ed Miliband suffered from a major – and very understandable – public perception problem: everyone thought he was weak. To prove his balls, the Labour Party leader claimed to have stopped a war. He told Jeremy Paxman in a leader’s debate:

“This government proposed action in Syria. The bombing of Syria, right? I was called into a room by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, because president Obama had been on the phone – the leader of the free world, right? I listened to what they said, and over those days I made up my mind, and we said no, right? I think standing up to the leader of the free world shows a certain toughness I would say.”

This was Ed Miliband’s ‘I’m-tough-enough’ pitch: ‘I’m tough because I opposed military action in Syria…’

Ed Miliband did successfully sabotage British government intervention in Syria – however the way he went about it was anything but tough or principled. On Thursday August 29, 2013, Miliband derailed David Cameron’s plan for UK airstrikes on Assad targets by majority of 13 votes. During an eight hour debate, the former Prime Minister’s voice faltered and he looked moved to tears when describing horrific videos showing the victims of Assad’s chemical attacks writhing in agony. Tough-as-nails Milband said of the emotional Prime Minister: “I believe he has to make a better case than he did today”…

This was a betrayal and hypocrisy. When Miliband was first “called into a room” with David Cameron, he gave the Prime Minister his assurance that if he could appease Labour backbenchers then he would support military action. Over the week that followed Miliband prevaricated on that decision, asked for concession after concession, and – as was briefed to the Guardian – generally “buggered around” the government. Miliband led Downing Street on a merry dance during a time of crisis and uncertainty:

  • Miliband said he wanted to see the government’s legal advice. Cameron published it.
  • Miliband said Britain must go to the UN and also get weapons inspectors’ reports. Cameron did.
  • Miliband said he wanted two votes before military strikes. Cameron agreed to two votes.

At the eleventh hour, when the level of backbench disquiet became clear during a shadow cabinet meeting, Miliband changed his mind. He shafted the Prime Minister by phone the night before the crucial vote. As was pointed out at the time: “His overriding concern was the internal politics of the Labour Party”…

On Friday Ed Miliband appeared on Channel 4’s The Last Leg. He danced in a stupid skit to A-ha’s classic Take On Me. Miliband said on the show:

“The horrible scenes, ghastly scenes… obviously make me think about it [whether blocking military action was the right decision], I have thought a lot about it and whether it was the right thing to do but I think in the end, in my heart of hearts I do feel it was.”

Ed Miliband still uses his Syria sabotage to claim he’s tough. As he was during that crucial week in 2013, Miliband is still dancing whilst Syria burns…

Trump Bombs Assad Airbase

The US has launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base used during this week’s gas attack. President Trump said in a statement:

“It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” 

Number 10 said:

“The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airbase was “almost completely destroyed”. At least four Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike. At last the west stands up to Assad…

Bashar-ing the Bishop: Rowan Williams to Speak at Pro-Assad Conference

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will share a platform with two Syrian government officials loyal to the butcher Bashar Al-Assad. Williams – who is now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge – will address a conference hosted by The European Centre for the Study of Extremism, described by Syrian campaigners as a pro-Assad puppet organisation. The former Church of England leader will speak alongside Ali Haidar, a minister in the Assad government and general secretary of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (which runs a notorious militia fighting for Assad), and Bishr Riyad Yaziji, another Assad government minister. Both Haidar and Yaziji are asset freeze targets of the British government…

The conference will also be attended by Hamid Baeidinejad, the Iranian Ambassador to the UK. Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock was a patron of the group, but last week withdrew his support citing its “pro-Assad stance“:

Williams has proven more stubborn, despite pleas from an alliance of UK Syrian interest groups:

“We are concerned that a great many people who we expect not to share pro-regime sympathies are involved with this propaganda exercise.”

Williams is understood to be issuing this standard reply to concerned:

“I have made it clear that I have no intention of defending the Government of Syria against well-founded charges of human rights abuses, and I have as yet seen no clear evidence that the event is designed simply as a propagandist exercise. You may be sure that I should strongly resist any attempt to make it such. My concern is simply to ask what can be done to move the discussion further towards a just and sustainable peace, guaranteeing the democratic rights of all.”

UPDATE: Rowan Williams tells Guido:

“No other comment beyond the fact that I’d hope others will wait to see if this conference actually delivers a independent perspective.”

Kinnock did the sensible thing and pulled out as soon as he was made aware of the situation, remarkable that Williams is still attending…

Morning Star Backs Aleppo Slaughter

star

The Stop the War Coalition are getting headlines this morning for their tacit support for Russia. The communist Morning Star go one step further, actually endorsing the slaughter in Aleppo as “aerial support to troops”:

“There are no totally accurate historical parallels, but Mitchell’s effort, backed up predictably by Labour MP John Woodcock, to present Russian aerial support to troops fighting to drive extremists out of eastern Aleppo as on a par with the nazi destruction of Guernica during the war to defend democracy in Spain is sickeningly perverse.”

Where should we be looking instead, according to the tankies at the Morning Star?[…] Read the rest

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