"CHEMICAL WARFARE" CLAIMS AGAINST SYRIA EXPOSED BY INDEPENDENT
Special to PV
Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media" has published a detailed
briefing note on "The alleged chemical attack in
Douma on 7 April 2018, and other alleged chlorine
attacks in Syria since 2014." Essentially, the note shreds the claims by
NATO powers that the Syrian government has engaged in chemical warfare against
its own population.
document can be read at
A summary of the
note points to a number of significant findings.
statements by the US and French governments that a nerve agent had been used in
the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018
were rebutted by the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons] Fact-Finding mission which reported that neither environmental samples
obtained on-site nor blood samples from purported victims contained any trace
of nerve agent. This indicates that the US and French governments were poorly
informed at the time of the US-led missile attack on Syria on 14 April.
Prime Minister misled the House of Commons by
stating on 16 April that the OPCW team had been prevented from visiting the Douma attack site by the Syrian authorities and the Russian
military, and may also have misled the House by stating that the US-led missile
attack was `specifically targeted at three sites' allegedly associated with chemical
weapons (rather than targeted on Syrian military infrastructure as reported
OPCW Fact-Finding Mission did not reach any conclusion as to whether a chemical
attack had taken place. The detection of chlorinated organic compounds in environmental
samples is consistent with release of chlorine from a gas cylinder at the two
alleged attack sites, but this does not distinguish between a chemical attack
and a staged incident.
agreed that the images showing bodies of victims lying close together in an
apartment building were not compatible with exposure only to chlorine,
from which the victims would have been able to escape by moving to the windows
or leaving the building. This is supported by experience of industrial
accidents with chlorine in which those exposed are usually able to escape.
no nerve agent degradation products were detected and the positions of the
victims’ bodies are not compatible with death from chlorine exposure on the
spot, the only remaining explanation is that the victims were killed by
observations favour a managed massacre rather than a chemical attack as the
explanation for the Douma incident.
The positioning of the gas cylinders is more consistent with staging than with
an air-dropped munition at the site where most
victims were shown, a fire was lit in the room
underneath the gas cylinder. For chlorine to be useful as a weapon, it would
have to be released
on an industrial scale as in 1915 rather than as a
single cylinder or barrel dropped from the air.
by the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission that chlorine had been used as a weapon in
Syria between 2014 and 2017 were based on secondary sources without on-site
violates a precept that OPCW had set for itself in 2013.
conclusions of the Fact-Finding Mission that use of chlorine in alleged attacks
in Syria between 2014 and 2018 was `likely' or supported `with a high degree of
confidence' relied on witnesses and samples provided by purported
non-governmental organizations with access to opposition-held areas of
the briefing note explains, these organizations included: a “CBRN Task Force” set up by
an agent of the intelligence service of a state committed to one side in the
Syrian conflict; Same Justice / CVDCS, a
Brussels-based organization whose operations are not transparent; and the White Helmets, who would
be implicated if these incidents were staged
relation to one of the incidents from which the CBRN Task Force collected
materials — the alleged chlorine barrel bomb attack in Talmenes
on 21 April 2014 — the UN/OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism found clear evidence of staging at
one of the two alleged locations.
a widely-publicized incident in Sarmin on 16 March
2015, the deaths of a family of six were allegedly caused by a chlorine barrel
bomb. For this incident the alleged munition is
implausible, the alleged mode of delivery is improbable, and the images of the
child victims in hospital are consistent with drug overdose rather than
chlorine exposure as the cause of death. Despite evidence that the incident had
been staged, the Leadership Panel of the UN/OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism
— Gamba, Meritani and Schanze — relied on information obtained from unspecified 1other
sources' to conclude that a Syrian air force helicopter had
dropped a chemical weapon."
Group (Paul McKeigue, Jake Mason, David Miller, Piers
Robinson) was established to research the areas of "organised persuasive
communication" (including propaganda and information operations) and media
coverage, with respect to the conflict in Syria and related topics. But it
remains dubious whether their briefing note will be reported by Western media
The group is open
to academics and independent researchers, and is "not aligned to any state
or non-state actor. In line with ethical expectations, the research group
is committed to the upholding of international law and human rights
The group's aim
is "to facilitate networking, the development of research papers and
research grant bids and to provide a source of reliable, informed and timely
analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers. This will be accomplished
through a commitment to the production of rigorous and independent research.
The aim is to examine carefully the various accounts of the conflict in Syria
to build an empirically grounded account both of the conflict itself and of the
apparatus, practice and content of organized persuasive communication
(including propaganda) in relation to the conflict. It is vital in any such
endeavour that all available information, and all reputable or appropriate
scientific research methods, are utilised to contribute to evidence-based
accounts of the conflict and the war of words that accompanies it."
(The above article is
from the September 1-15, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading
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