Source: In Gazza
*“…the White Helmets are handling the corpses of people without sufficient safety gear, most particularly with the masks mostly used , as well as no gloves. Although this may seem insignificant, understanding the nature of sarin gas that the opposition claim was used, only opens questions. Within seconds of exposure to sarin, the affects of the gas begins to target the muscle and nervous system. There is an almost immediate release of the bowels and the bladder, and vomiting is induced. When sarin is used in a concentrated area, it has the likelihood of killing thousands of people. Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin. This has to raise questions.” (from: “Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack“)
This morning, under the orders of President Trump, the US military fired a reported 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, killing at least 6, according to early reports. The false pretext for this is the tired old refrain that “Assad used chemical weapons”, a ‘red line crossed claim’ made–and disproven–in 2013 in Ghouta, and in allegations prior and since. Any actual instances were the western-backed ‘rebels’. All others were fabrications of the NATO aligned media and faux human rights groups.
I’ll keep my own commentary short other than to emphasize that I do not believe for one second that the Syrian government used toxic gases on Idlib last week. My reasons are logical and many, but I will list just a few here and continue with suggested reading/listening:
–The Syrian army had no need to do so, are making advances on the ground in various areas of Syria with conventional means of fighting terrorism. Using a chemical weapon is precisely the ‘red line’ act America and NATO/Gulf/Zionist allies would leap upon to wage their war of ‘regime change’ fully on Syria, as per Libya and Iraq before. Meanwhile, western-backed ‘rebels’ have a history of using toxic gas in Syria (even the UN’s Carla del Ponte admitted this).
-Recently, apparently relations with America, via Trump, had improved. At the time of the alleged gas attacks, relations were looking positive. (That said, today, sadly, Trump has launched an illegal attack on Syria, using at least 59 cruise missiles on a military site and causing unknown deaths. This is an unprovoked act of war. Trump/America have zero evidence that the Syrian government authorized and used toxic gas, something even the United Nations admittedeven the United Nations admitted.)
For the sake of time, because this is an urgent issue that needs clear thinking and a firm stance against American (and Zionist/NATO/Turkish/Gulf) attacks on Syria, I am posting excerpts from a number of good analyses already online. Please share.
“Ex-UK Ambassador: Assad wasn’t behind the chemical attack“, Apr 5, 2017
“Former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford says he believes it is “highly unlikely” that Russia or the Assad regime was behind the attack in Idlib.”
Finian Cunningham, April 6, 2017, “Chemical reaction: Trump in U-turn, bubbling with Syria regime change“:
“Last week, the Trump administration announced it was abandoning a failed US policy of regime change in Syria. This week, however, the White House suddenly back-flipped, saying Syrian leader Bashar al Assad “must go”.
The dramatic U-turn in US policy was, of course, in reaction to the reported chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province on Tuesday morning in which over 80 people were allegedly killed. Among the dead apparently were some 30 children.
Such a vigorous contradictory response from the Trump administration is strongly suggestive that the incident was an orchestrated political stunt; carried out for the purpose of achieving that very outcome by the Syrian militants and their foreign sponsors. It wouldn’t be the first time such a false flag device has been attempted to influence US policy in Syria.
Within minutes of the alleged attack in Khan Sheikdoun, in Syria’s northern Idlib province, Western governments and media were rushing to blame the Syrian air force for dropping chemical weapons on the town. Such claims were based entirely on images and information released by the discredited so-called rescue group, the White Helmets, who are reportedly affiliated with the Nusra terror organization. There was no attempt at verification by Western outlets, just straight-to-screen broadcast.
…The rush to condemn was reflected in the hasty UN draft resolution drawn up by the US, Britain and France. Russia’s acting deputy ambassador Vladimir Safronkov noted that the entire Western position was based on discredited sources like the terrorist-linked White Helmets.
“Taking the White Helmets at face value is not professional and not serious,” said Safronkov. He also added that the Western position was driven by an ideological expedience for “regime change” in Syria.
The last major deadly incident in Syria allegedly involving chemical weapons was in August 2013, when hundreds of civilians, including children, apparently died from exposure to the nerve agent sarin.
As with this week’s incident, Western governments and media were quick to accuse Syrian armed forces of carrying out the supposed attack in East Ghouta, a militant-held suburb of capital Damascus. Horrific images of children gasping for air were likewise given saturated coverage by Western media outlets.
The then Obama administration asserted “conclusively” that the Assad government was guilty of “heinous crimes”. Washington was on the verge of taking unilateral military action because of “red lines crossed”. It was only due to Moscow’s last-minute diplomatic intervention in September 2013 that US military involvement was averted, when a deal was struck by which the Syrian government vowed to decommission its chemical weapons arsenal under the auspices of the UN-affiliated Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Assad government insisted back then that it did not carry out the East Ghouta attack even though it was willing to comply with the Russian-brokered decommissioning deal. It later emerged from investigative reports and Syrian testimonies that the East Ghouta chemical weapons massacre most likely was carried out by militants as a propaganda stunt aimed at forcing the Obama administration’s hand to act on its “red line” threats of military intervention in Syria against the Assad government.
This week, Damascus again categorically denied that its forces had used chemical weapons in Idlib province. The Syrian government said all such weapons had been disposed off under the 2013 disarmament.
…images and video footage released by the White Helmets “aid responders” show no sign that those suffering from chemical exposure were caught up in the aftermath of an air strike. The location indeed appears to be a depot, and the people appearing to administer aid and recording the video footage seem to be doing so with a strange air of calm deliberation.
At one point in the video footage, three semi-conscious adult males are dragged from prone positions on a floor and then propped up against a pillar. The “aid responders” then walk away, but the video footage of the “victims” continues to run. Is that the expected action of “humanitarian responders”?…”
Rick Sterling, April 7, 2017, “The Escalating War on Syria and Need for International Law“:
“…- On 22 March, the government controlled town of Khattab was over-run by militants with some civilians kidnapped and taken to the nearby opposition controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun.
– On 4 April, up to 80 persons, including many children, died at Khan Sheikhoun. Some showed signs of chemical poisoning. Photographs, videos, analyses and other sources are documented at “A Closer Look At Syria”.
– one of the videos features a UK born and raised Dr. Shajul Islam. He received his UK medical license in 2012 but had the license suspended due to reports he was involved in the kidnapping in Syria of journalist John Cantlie.
– Many of the video scenes depict an area set into a limestone quarry with apparent caves and storage depots. There are flat bed trucks with bodies scattered on the ground in this semi-industrial area. Other video show scenes in medical clinic.
– Photographs show “White Helmet” individuals handling bodies without gloves which is very strange if they died or were dying from chemical poison.
Who is responsible?
There are three theories about what happened:
– The western government narrative is that the Syrian “regime” is responsible. They fired illegal chemical weapons into the town, primarily killing innocent civilians and many children.
– The Syrian army acknowledges firing air strikes but deny using chemical weapons at this or any time. This area was the base for militant attacks against government areas in Hama province in the preceding weeks. The Russian Ministry of Defense says that militants had a weapons production factory including chemical weapon ingredients, and that may have been hit and caused the chemical weapon deaths.
– A third theory is the kidnapped civilians from Khattab were killed or poisoned by the militants as part of a staged event.
Evidence Pointing to the Militants
Looking at the facts, history and overall circumstances, it is far more likely the armed opposition is responsible for this event. Here is why:
(1) The incident and publicity help the opposition and hurt the government.
Crime investigations usually begin with the question: Who has a motive? In this case, it’s strikingly clear that the armed opposition and their supporters benefit from this event. They have used the story to further demonize the Assad government and make renewed calls for US and “the world” to intervene.
The Syrian government is making steady advances in many parts of the country. They have no reason to use chemical weapons; they have every reason to NOT use chemical weapons. They know very well that the armed opposition has immediate access to major media.
Accusations that the Syrian government intentionally attacks civilians is contradicted by their policies and actions. As demonstrated last Decembers in Aleppo, civilians are welcomed from opposition areas into government controlled areas. Even Syrian militants are welcomed after they sign an agreement to lay down arms.
It is also relevant to consider timing. There is a pattern of sensational events helpful to the armed opposition occurring simultaneous with critical international meetings or actions. In this case, the events in Khan Sheikhoun occurred the day before an important conference on Syria in Brussels. The conference titled “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” has been effectively sidetracked by news about the chemical weapons attack and the Syrian government being blamed.
(2) Extremists were responsible for the August 2013 Chemical Weapon attack in Damascus.
Western supporters of the armed opposition were quick to blame the Syrian government for the chemical attack in Ghouta on 21 August 2013. However, subsequent investigations by the most credible investigative journalists and researchers concluded the Syrian government was probably NOT responsible. Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry concluded the attack was most likely carried out by militants with support from Turkey. The in depth examination titled WhoGhouta concluded “The only plausible scenario that fits the evidence is an attack by opposition forces.” An MIT study made a detailed trajectory analysis, concluded that the missile could not have been fired from government territory and warned “Faulty intelligence could have led to an unjustified US military action.”
(3) Armed Opposition Groups have a history of Staging Incidents.
From the start, the Syrian conflict has included an information war. Hillary Clinton boasted of “training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.” In December 2012, NBC journalist Richard Engel was reportedly kidnapped and abused by “shabiha” supporters of the Syrian government. Engel and his film crew were “liberated” by Free Syrian Army rebels after a gunfight with the Assad supporting kidnappers. In reality, the entire episode from kidnapping to rescue was a hoax designed to demonize Assad supporters and glorify the “rebels”. The true story emerged years later after the actual events were leaked. When it was going to be made public, Engel finally admitted the truth.
(4) Supporters of the armed opposition have a history of fabricating stories which demonize the Syrian Government.
In February 2014, it was announced that a defecting Syrian military photographer, who was anonymous but code named “Caesar”, had 55 thousand photos showing the torture and murder of 11 thousand innocent Syrian civilians. This news received sensational media attention with live interviews on CNN and front page coverage throughout the western world. The news relied on the judgment of legal prosecutors who “verified” the story and produced a “Caesar Report”. This was released the day before the start of Geneva negotiations. It effectively disrupted the talks and facilitated the “rebels” refusal to negotiate and walk away. In reality, the “verification” and report was commissioned by the government of Qatar which has been a major funder of the armed opposition. Since then it has been discovered that nearly half the 55 thousand photos show the opposite of what was claimed: they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of explosions NOT tortured civilians. That is just one of the findings confirming the fraud involved in this sensational story. A concise expose of “Caesar” is here.
Here are a few examples showing the bias, half-truths and outright false statements regarding the events at Khan Sheikhoun:
– The PBS Newshour typically features two guests who are questioned by the host. The problem is that their guests consistently share the same basic viewpoint. On 4 April, one guest was from the Soros funded Physicians for Human Rights. She claimed, “We know that sarin has been used before by the Assad regime.” In fact that has NOT been confirmed by any credible organization. On the contrary, the most thorough investigations point to sarin being used by the armed opposition NOT the Syrian government. The other guest was Andrew Tabler from the neoconservative Israeli associated “Washington Institute”. His editorial from last Fall makes clear what he wants: “The case for (finally) bombing Assad.” The discussion on Syria at PBS Newshour is consistently biased.
– The New York Times feature story on 4 April was “Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad”. One of the authors, Michael Gordon, was an influential proponent for “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” that justified the 2003 invasion. But that has apparently not hurt his career. In this story on Syria, he and co-author Anne Barnard claim that “American intelligence agencies concluded” the 2013 attack was carried out by the Syrian government. That is false. The intelligence agencies did NOT agree and the “assessment” came from the White House not the intelligence agencies. It is astounding that they either do not know this or they are intentionally misleading the public. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity explained the significance in their memorandum “A Call for Syria – Sarin Proof”.
– DemocracyNow is a popular television/radio show. It is widely considered to be “progressive” but is also highly biased in its presentation on Syria. It almost solely promotes the perspective of those who support the armed opposition and/or western intervention in Syria. On April 5, they interviewed Dr. Rola Hallam. She is infamous for being the key player in the documentary “Saving Syria’s Children” which purports to show a chemical weapon attack in Aleppo but was actually staged. The “documentary” was then broadcast at a critical time trying to influence the 2013 vote in British parliament for an attack on Syria. On April 6, DemocracyNow interviewed another “Syrian” who lives in the West and promotes western intervention: Lina Sergie Attar. Viewers of Democracy Now have no idea that the majority of Syrians support the government and especially the national Army in their struggle against invasion and terrorism.
Public understanding about what’s happening in Syria has been seriously confused by the bad analysis of prominent analysts. Some have suggested that Israel was content to live with Assad. Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren clarified the truth as he said “we always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to those who were backed by Iran.” In short, Israel prefers Al Qaeda or ISIS or, better yet, the conflict to continue so that both sides are destroyed.
Before the conflict began, in 2010, Secy of State Hillary Clinton made demands to Damascus that all revolved around Israeli interests. She wanted Syria to end its alliance with Hezbollah, to reduce its interactions with Iran and to come to an agreement with Israel. In contrast with what some analysts have said, Israeli interests have been a major factor driving and maintaining the conflict. With the liberation of Aleppo and prospect of a victory by Syria and allies, Israeli demands to escalate the war have probably increased.
Some of the world’s most famed political analysts have contributed to the confusion and lack of resistance as the war on Syria has continued. For example, Noam Chomsky on Democracy two days ago said “The Assad regime is a moral disgrace, the Russians with them.” Evidently he believes all or most of the accusations which have said about the ‘regime’. In sharp contrast with Chomsky’s assessment, it’s remarkable that Syria has held together as well as it has in the face of attack by some of the most powerful and rich countries on earth. Over 100 thousand Syrians have given their lives defending their country against the onslaught. Russia has supported their ally in compliance with international law, continually trying to work with the U.S. coalition as a “partner” against terrorism….
…International law has been undermined and replaced by “humanitarian law”. This has contributed to the current disastrous situation whereby the U.S. and NATO are waging aggression under a humanitarian pretext.
International law regarding attacks on sovereign states is clear: it is illegal unless authorized by the UN Security Council or in legitimate self defense. It is clear that Syria poses no threat to any of its neighbors or any other nation. It is also clear that Syria has been the victim for six long years of aggression by foreign states which have funded and promoted a proxy army of fanatics and mercenaries from around the world.
As the former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said: “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” …”
“Similar to 2013 chemical attack, the Western governments, and corporate mainstream media accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, this time in Khan Shaykhun, in Idleb. This video discusses the disgusting and criminal usage of chemical weapons in Syria, indicating that it is not the Syrian government but the Islamist\terrorist groups behind the attacks.”
Proof Gov & Media Lied About S-A-R-I-N G-A-S Attack, April 6, 2017, The Jimmy Dore Show
Other Important Articles:
-Adam Larson, April 2017, “Analysis of evidence contradicts allegations on Syrian gas attacks“
-Robert Parry, April 5, 2017, “Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria“
RT, April 7, 2017, ‘Trump attacked the very people fighting Islamic State’: Scholars, analysts and journalists spoke with RT, offering their opinions on the Trump administration’s decision to attack the Syrian military on Friday.
Brandon Turbeville, April 6, 2017, “Chemical Weapons 2017: What Just Happened In Syria?“
Mark Taliano, April 6, 2017, “Syria Chemical Weapons Red Flags and False Flags“
Julie Lévesque and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, April 6, 2017, “The East Ghouta Chemical Attacks (2013): US-Backed False Flag? Killing Syrian Children to Justify a “Humanitarian” Military Intervention“
Eva Bartlett is an independent Canadian rights and justice activist and freelance journalist. She has spent years in occupied Palestine, documenting Zionist crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.