Full Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


peterms last won the day on November 9 2017

peterms had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

4,814 Excellent

About peterms

  • Rank
    Star Player

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

1,764 profile views
  1. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    Oh Pete, really, that's overstated. He's a science professor with a lot of experience in examining claims against available evidence. He has used these skills to look at the story told, and found it wanting, for the reasons he explains. They may be experts in chemical weapons, but if (for example) they have formed a view about the distance from which a bomb could be launched which appears underinformed as to the basic physics involved, then let's not defer to their narrow expertise and assume that everything in their report is correct. Sometimes in this thread you seem to allude to personal characteristics or connections of people quoted, real or perceived, and jump to dismissing what is said on the basis of who they are, where they are published, or what their other interests may be, rather than addressing the argument. It seems out of character with what you've been posting for the last decade, which is pretty much always well argued, reflective, and considered.
  2. peterms

    U.S. Politics

  3. peterms

    Murdoch Scum

    Breitbart. It just appeared on my twitter feed. From someone else, I don't follow it.
  4. peterms

    U.S. Politics

  5. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    And this is where the strength of their argument needs to be assessed. The piece by McKeigue which I quoted earlier explains where their methods are weak, where their selection of hypotheses to investigate is questionable, amd where their conclusions are challengeable. You discount that on the basis that he is not a chemical weapons expert, regardless that his argument does not rest on being one. It's the "appeal to authority" argument again. Other examples that have come up on this site recently include the Belgrano (watching the discussion with Diana Gould again, having been proven wrong on facts, Thatcher resorts to "I have information you don't because of my position. When it is released in 30 years, you will see I'm right. Until then, you must accept what I say because I am who I am", and in the Skripal thread, that chemist who tweeted multiple bullshit about chemistry while utterly failing to answer the question "How can you tell where it was made", which oddly seemed to have convinced many of his followers, who were perhaps impressed by a qualification and a diagram, despite the lack of logic or ability to understand and reply to a question. It's a poor substitute for rational and critical thought, and I suggest it is better to examine the strength of arguments put forward rather than appeal to the authority of the person making them. But we are beyond that point. Russia has asked OPCW to attend the site, immediately. I expect that invitation won't be accepted, and we will plunge into some reckless demonstration of might, prolonging the conflict further and condemning even more people to a pointless death. Our discussions won't change this foolishness.
  6. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    Hadn't seen this when I responded just now, but the report does say they provided all materials requested.
  7. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    You specifically mentioned flight logs, which the quote I provided shows were supplied. Like the badgers, you're changing the goalposts.
  8. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    So you're quoting the earlier report, I'm quoting the later one. Between the two dates, they have clearly been supplied with the material they requested, since they say so in the later report.
  9. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    P486, you posted his tweets.
  10. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    Where do you get that? I don't find it in the report I linked on Khan Shaykhoun. Instead, I find Cuba, you say? Perhaps best not to quote online gamer and former lingerie worker Eliot Higgins, then.
  11. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    and al Nusra Front controlling the area, and filling the crater with concrete. The report refers to flight records and other records provided by the Syrian government. It says Syrian aircraft "may have been in a position to launch aerial bombs in the vicinity". They also had access to the Pentagon's flight track map, which I suppose they considered a reliable source. The evidence they quote is discussed here by Paul McKeague (MCM refers to the authors, and H1, H2 to different hypotheses of what happened):
  12. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    I don't think that's right. You'll never convince me of that.
  13. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    The concerns of the Russians and others were not only about failing to visit the site, but also about the other problems with the investigation (listed here), and with the conclusions being given a sense of certainty despite those significant problems. Russia proposed amending the terms of reference to make investigations more robust, as they saw it. The US opposed this, and I gather Haley walked out. There's a history to US influence on OPCW, of course. You may have read about the previous OPCW head being removed because the US didn't like him, with John Bolton giving him 24 hours to resign and threatening him like a street thug: Ironically, the threat was about the OPCW seeking to bring Iraq and Libya into the CW agreement so that its stocks of CWs could be verified as destroyed. That wouldn't have been at all convenient, and the US didn't want it to happen - it would have interfered with the developing narrative in support of war. An investigation needs to happen, and the terms of reference need to be agreeable to more than the US and its backers.
  14. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    I gather negotiations proceeded in fits and starts, as they do, over several weeks, with some agreements and some disagreements. Meanwhile the fighting continued. At the point at which the CW incident occurred, three of the four groups had reached agreement, fighters and their families had been getting bussed out for weeks, defeat was certain, and reportedly JaI had some internal disagreements about what to do. So one explanation could be the one given, that hardened fighters who for seven years had been facing all sorts of mortal danger were so shocked and frightened by a number of civilians being killed by a CW attack that they gave up and surrendered. Or possibly that faced with inevitable defeat, they initiated an action that might give them some strategic benefit, even if that particular battle was lost. Another would be that every time there is a strategically significant event, for example Trump's announcement, or OPCW inspectors arriving, there is a CW attack which couldn't be worse timed from Assad's point of view but which he carries out anyway because he is either stupid, or fails to understand the consequences, or is so crazed by blood lust that he doesn't care. Or possibly that these strategically damaging events are not actually self-inflicted damage by Assad, but something conducted in order to cause him strategic damage.
  15. peterms

    U.S. Politics

    Or the US hadn't rejected Russian proposals for an independent review of the source of CW attacks in Syria... The point I made was that it was very clearly known that a CW attack would very likely be followed by a US strike (or more than a single strike). The idea that Assad thought the US had packed up and gone away and therefore he could do anything with impunity is ludicrous, and yet that seems to be the "logic" behind some explanations of the sequence of events. That's quite a leap of the imagination, quite the conspiracy theory. What I am referencing - and it's not a new, unusual, controversial or especially radical notion - is that when faced with domestic problems, politicians typically seize on external events, especially those that can be presented as a threat of some kind and addressed in a dramatic way, to take the focus away from the problem in question.