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30 April 2016


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In last past life, I worked in rapid diagnostics and spent quite a bit time in Thailand (language skills learned back in the day actually having civilian use) setting up a factory for production. When I was out and about doing clinical trials, I got to know the MSF folks in Thailand.

These folks do have a political agenda. They push their weight around in areas that have only a tangential relationship to their stated goals. I do not like the epithet "Social Justice Warrior" but in a sense, MSF is SJW writ large.

Spent a couple of quite pleasant evenings with reasonably senior MSF folks. They were pleasant, very well educated, very insulated creatures who's worldview was that the US was evil and why didn't I just see that all oppression in the world emanated out of DC?

Since they were buying the food and drinks, and one of them was an absolute babe, I listened. Obviously, I did not take them up on their offer to help fight against the twin evils of capitalism and imperialism


You had been an SF medic? I am surprised that you did not humor her for a few days. pl


Everyone who takes an active role in world affairs has a political agenda. Social Justice is as American as apple pie. Tom Paine's Agrarian Justice is more radical than anything proposed by Bernie Sanders.


I did, my attempts at seduction fell flat.

One of the many tragedies of my life.



The point is that MSF in its anti-Americanism is showing itself to be an adversary of the US. pl


"...it has come to have a political agenda." that certainly seems to be the case.


I agree completely. MSF was very quick to publicly claim the AC-130 attack was a war crime, yet were relatively muted in their response to what appear to be much more deliberate targeting of their facilities in Syria by non-US forces. I think we know that the attacks in Syria will not be investigated by anyone involved, much less an international body.

For all its faults, the US military is still the most transparent in the world and more likely than any other to publicly hold its personnel accountable for mistakes. That's not to suggest we do a good enough job in meeting an ideal standard, but can anyone seriously imagine the Russian MOD or the Chinese MND releasing a report like this one?


BTW, PL, have you seen the ISIL head cam video released by Vice News yet?


The video states it was from a battle in March, but it was actually in mid-December. Here is some footage by Kurdistan24 from the Peshmerga side of the battle that shows the aftermath, including the destroyed vehicle featured in the ISIS video:


The post-battle portion starts about 3:30 into the video.

Babak Makkinejad

In Love, as well as in War, offense is always the best.

You should have said something to the effect that Capitalism had improved the lot of more people in more countries than MSF or the ICRC.

The would get them all mad at you and their (and her) juices flowing.

Success might still have been difficult by more likely than not - otherwise.



Who said anything about love? pl


"doing clinical trials"?

could you elaborate.

sorry, I may well support a local equivalent of MSF, if you are referring to Medicines Sans Frontiers and not Mobile Strike Forces.

I did by the way, before the aftermath of 9/11 somewhat politicized me, concentrate merely on politics among us everyday humans. My more general quite possible misguided impression was, it started there.


maybe not

robt willmann

Once again showing that politics should be more or less local, "Iraqi officials declared a state of emergency for all of Baghdad Saturday [today] after protesters loyal to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr breached the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign embassies, including the American one"--


The people also broke into the parliament building, although the "parliament" is not in session. Muqtada al-Sadr is sounding as if he is preparing to run for political office in the U.S. this election season: "Moments before it was breached, Sadr gave what appeared to be an ultimatum, Reuters reported. 'Either corrupt (officials) and quotas remain or the entire government will be brought down and no one will be exempt from that,' he said."


Seymour Hersh's most recent interviews provide some updates on the story of the chemical profile of the sarin used in Ghouta, recently summarized on SST by David Habakkuk.


1. Hersh states that the US had known for four months before the Ghouta incident that the opposition had sarin. That matches the likely time of Mokhtar Lamani's report to the UNSG that Nusra was bringing what appeared to be a nerve agent through the border at Azaz.

2. Syria was trying to get rid of its sarin stocks before the Ghouta attack, but at that time the US was not prepared to meet the costs of disposal.

3. He names Sir Peter Wall, then the chief of the UK defence staff, as the UK official who briefed General Dempsey that the Porton Down lab had shown that the Ghouta sarin was not from Syrian military stocks.

4. Dempsey told Obama that he'd testify to Congress (and prime them to ask the question) that the sarin wasn't from the Syrian military.

5. When Syrian military stocks of the sarin precursor DF were transferred to the MV Cape Ray (the ship kitted out for CW disposal by the US Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center) in 2014, the US was able to undertake its own chemical analysis of these stocks and to confirm that they didn't match the Ghouta sarin.

There is, as David Habakkuk has pointed out, a very narrow time window between 29 August when the House of Commons was assured by the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and the Prime Minister that there no evidence for an opposition CW capability and the evening of 30 August when it is reported that Obama decided to call off the attack on Syria having been briefed by Dempsey. Unfortunately it seems impossible to get an MP or a journalist to ask questions about this in the UK.


"term of art"


No it didn't.

But here you seem to leave your usual or for that predominantly rational pattern:

"The[y] would get them all mad at you and their (and her) juices flowing.

Success might still have been difficult by more likely than not - otherwise"

Never mind I am surely interrupting some an exchange between, hard to guess of what kind, shared states of mind.


MSF has always been an arm of the French intelligence service. In many ways that does explain the volunteers it recruits. One of the major problems of NGOs is to limit infiltration of its organization by intelligence operatives. (been there, done that)


A clever solution most of the ME problems (at last...)


plI agree that anyone who thinks the US would provide any other party access to the data needed to investigate is living in cloud cuckoo land. But why should they believe the accused's account of events is unbiased. As I recall the Iraqis and Iranians claimed they did not have a nuclear weapons program for quite a while, and did allow outside inspection, but that did not stop the US from believing otherwise. Why exactly should the US military be above all suspicion. It is not that I doubt this report it is just that I see some of the things the police and other institutions have tried to cover up and think you are asking a lot more trust than I have seen reciprocated. There are not many, if any, branches of my government I trust including some of the reports from the Army.

Mark Pyruz

As this is an open thread, will relate the following personal experience:

I happen to reside a few minutes away by motorcycle from the site where Donald Trump gave a speech Friday in Burlingame California. While I'm used to such protest scenes taking place in San Francisco, I am not used to seeing such in Burlingame.

There is much I disagree with concerning Trump the candidate. While I am not a muslim (mom raised us Catholic), I generally find myself defending Muslim-Americans based upon the Constitution, a document I have sworn allegiance to in the past, with conviction I might add. I've also until recently worked closely for eight years with a Muslim American working at the five-sided building. I know that the highest level staffs at the place have the highest regard for my former colleague. I think its grossly unfair to such people that Trump adopts such public positions against this group of peoples.

However, that said, the use of Mexican national flags at the Burlingame protest, and the forced improvised ingress route for Trump into the hotel put me off. By unexpected chance I rode my motorcycle through the periphery of the northernmost law enforcement tactical deployment and was saddened that it has come to this, so close to home.


Ive always found the founder of MSF, Bernard Kouchner, similar to the neocons in the US, who started off as Trotskyists and ended up in the right. Kouchner too was a member of the communist party and friends with Castro and is now part of the bomb Iran gang.


Babak Makkinejad

Right you are.

"all's fair in love and war" - in certain important situations, any method of achieving one's objective is justifiable.

The attractive Frenchwoman would not have been impressed by a quiescent man who was trying to gain her favors by not opposing her opinions.

Rather, she would have likely been incensed by a man who denigrated her - and her companions' - cherished notions - and her emotions would have gone from contempt to anger to - potentially - something else.

Fortune, like women, smiles on bold men.



The US armed forces were not "the accused." We freely admitted responsibility and investigated to determine what happened. Whether or not MSF or anyone else believes the results is irrelevant. The CENTCOM commander informed the public of the result of the investigation. If they choose not to believe, too bad for them. "Above suspicion?" Suspicion of what? Of a deliberate attack? If you think that the US armed forces deliberately attacked the hospital in Kunduz you are a simpleton. Think about it. What possible reason would we have for doing that? The facts of the matter were freely admitted. I am not asking for trust at all and never expect it. As for the Bushie IO against Iraq that was deliberate propaganda. you know that. pl



The DGSE is not interested in fostering anti-US attitudes. pl


When one of the co-founders of MSF became foreign minister in the
sarkozy government in France, has been a vocal advocate for humanitarian war, supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and advocated war against Iran in 2008 over the nuclear issue I found it difficult to consider MSF as anti-American. Kouchner has all of the spots of full red blooded US neocon.

Now I do not consider the neocons as American patriots but they have certainly wrapped themselves in our flag. In any case MSF has never looked anti-American to me. Perhaps some of their personnel in Kundoz who experienced that assault came to believe that attack was deliberate but that comes down to the opinion of some local workers who certainly did not have day to day contact with the main organization.

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