This is the second part on my series on the Douma false flag ‘chemical attack’. Please read Part 1 if you have not already for an outline of the Syria conflict and the establishment and OPCW narrative about this ‘chemical attack’. Part 2 will consider 6 main points of evidence and argument showing why the Douma attack was staged. As a cumulative case they form a very strong argument for this position.
1. The Logic of the ‘Attack’: Nonexistent
The first problem with the claim that Assad carried out a chemical attack in Douma is basic logic.
At this point in the Syrian conflict, the jihadists were clearly losing the war. Syrian and Russian forces had successfully defeated the jihadists in many areas of the country; one of the most significant of these was the Syrian Army’s victory in Aleppo. Conventional weapons were doing a perfectly good job at defeating the jihadists. It follows that there was simply no rational purpose for a gas attack at this point of the conflict, nor any significant motivation for Assad to randomly attack civilians. Furthermore, Assad is keenly aware of the fact that the West is looking to demonise his government and that any chemical attack will be used as a motivation to intervene further in Syria.
On the other hand, the failing rebels had a strong motive to fake a chemical weapons attack. They could attempt to use the international outrage in order to try and get the West further involved in the conflict and save their weak position. The West would also have a further incentive to promote this faked gas attack as real to justify the vilification of Assad as an ‘animal’ who needs to be overthrown.
Logic alone thus suggests that we should be sceptical of the official narrative, unless one wants to make the baseless claim that Assad is an irrational maniac. Now of course, if there was strong evidence for the position that Assad really did gas his own people, we would just have to accept that he is in fact an irrational leader who doesn’t understand military strategy or a maniac who enjoys killing for the sake of it. But there is no evidence for this as we shall see.
2. The Syrian Witnesses State: No Chemical Attack
At the OPCW in the Hague not long after the alleged attack (26 April 2018), Syrian witnesses stated that there was no chemical attack and that the hospital scene was staged.
Hassan Diab, an 11-year old boy who appeared in the White Helmets video filmed at the hospital, stated that: “We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me.”
Several others also testified. Ahmad Kashoi said: “There were people unknown to us who were filming the emergency care, they were filming the chaos taking place inside, and were filming people being doused with water. The instruments they used to douse them with water were originally used to clean the floors actually. That happened for about an hour, we provided help to them and sent them home. No one has died. No one suffered from chemical exposure.”
The counter argument to this point is to claim that the testimony of the witnesses at the Hague was a ‘Russian stunt’. Of course, the Russian government is not any more trustworthy than any other government. The idea that the Russian government somehow got ordinary Syrians to give false testimony to the OPCW was, of course, possible. There is no evidence for that position, though, and the argument that the attack was staged has only increased with the passage of time.
3. BBC Reporter Admits White Helmets Video was Staged
In Feb 2019, BBC Producer Riam Dalati stated that he believed the Douma hospital scene (described in Part 1) was staged.
“After almost 6 months of investigations, I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged. No fatalities occurred in the hospital.” Dalati wrote on his Twitter account. He later made the account private. For clarity, Dalati did believe that there was some sort of attack in Douma but that there was no evidence of the chemical agent Sarin (throughout the discussion of the Douma ‘attack’ there was a significant ambiguity over whether the chemical agent was Sarin or chlorine. Dalati’s position stated that no Sarin was used and whether chlorine was used would have to wait for the OPCW report which had not yet been released).
The reason that this is particularly notable is that this is a producer working at the BBC, an establishment media outlet that has promotied the official narrative on the Syria conflict and Douma. Many people dismiss evidence on the question that is raised by someone who works for RT, for example, because they say that they are promoting the Russian government’s opinion. A BBC producer stating things against the official narrative is harder for them to dismiss, though of course, the British MSM ignored this story.
4. The Henderson Report
This leaked report, written by a member of the OPCW Douma Fact Finding Mission, is beyond damning. If the first three points of evidence mentioned so far are suggestive of a staged attack, the Henderson report tears the Assad gas attack narrative to shreds.
This report was first leaked in May 2019 to the website Syria Propaganda and Media, a site run by academics sceptical of the official Syria narrative.
The Henderson report analyses the cylinders said to have possibly been the source of chlorine in the offical report. It proceeds to put forward two possible hypotheses about the cylinders at the two locations: that the cylinders were dropped from a helicopter and contained chlorine (i.e. the establishment narrative that an Assad gas attack took place), and the hypothesis that the cylinders were manually placed in their locations (i.e. the staged hypothesis).
The report looks at factors such as whether the cylinders being dropped from height can account for the damage observed at the scenes that the two cylinders were found (locations 2 and 4). The study does this through the usage of simulations.
The analysis of the cylinder at Location 2 found that the damage to the cylinder was not consistent with what would have been expected to have been observed had the cylinder been dropped from height. It also concluded that the crater in which the cylinder was placed was more likely caused by a mortar or similar explosion. Location 4 also showed similar inconsistencies, such as the cylinder showing an implausibly high amount of corrosion, and that the damage to the cylinder was unlikely on the aircraft hypothesis.
Henderson concludes: “Observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.”
Or, to summarise this in another way, the ‘staged’ hypothesis is more plausible than the ‘Assad gas attack’ hypothesis according to the ballistic evidence.
5. The Wikileaks Documents
That, however, was not the end of the leaked documents relating to this scandal. In November 2019 an internal OPCW email was leaked to WikiLeaks.
This email was addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and was written by a member of the FFM team on the ground in Douma. It compared the initial drafted report to the final (redacted) report that was released to the public and expressed multiple concerns about how the evidence was presented in the final report. It argues that the final report’s conclusion that it is ‘likely’ that chlorine was released from cylinders is grossly overstated.
The email says that while it was possible that chlorine was released from cylinders at loacations 2 and 4, there “was insufficient evidence to confirm this.” The final report also overstates the level of chlorine found in the atmosphere at the scene, claiming that ‘high’ levels were detected when in reality only trace quantities were found.
The draft report also contained evidence regarding observed symptoms which was redacted from the final report. The observed symptoms were not consistent with chlorine exposure. The email also notes how Henderson’s evidence regarding the ballistics of the cylinders was excluded from the final report.
Another document was leaked on the 14th December. This is a memo addressed to the Director General at the OPCW. It states that the “FFM report does not reflect the views of all the team members that deployed to Douma. Only one FFM team member (a paramedic) of the so-called ‘FFM core team’ was in Douma.”
It states that “The consensus within the FFM team was that there were serious incionsistencies in findings. After the exclusion of all team members other than a small cadre of members that who had deployed (and deployed again in October 2018) to Country X, the conclusion appears to have turned completely in the opposite direction.”
There were also other documents released by Wikileaks but this covers the main points: that evidence against the ‘Assad gas attack’ narrative was suppressed.
6. Ian Henderson is a Credible Source
At this stage, it is looking very bad for those who want to maintain the ‘Assad gas attack’ narrative. One way they attempt to get out of this problem and maintain their narrative is to suggest that individuals like Ian Henderson are simply ‘disgruntled employees’ who shouldn’t be listened to. The Director General of the OPCW stated that the Douma whistleblowers were “individuals who could not accept that their views were not backed by evidence.”
The OPCW claimed that Henderson “was not a member of the FFM” and had a “minor supportive role”. In fact this is a complete lie, and more leaks, this time to Aaron Mate of the Grayzone demonstrate this fact.
Firstly, documents show that Henderson was listed as a member of the team. Even worse for the OPCW, another leaked document shows that the organisation was happy for Henderson to lead visits to the locations of the cylinders if that became necessary. Documents from within the OPCW also show that Henderson was considered to be an excellent inspector who “can expect to be selected to lead the most demanding and sensitive assignments.”
This cascade of evidence is looking extremely bad for those who want to maintain the fiction that Assad gassed his own people at Douma and that this imperialist narrative is supported by evidence. Part 3 will discuss the logical contortions of those who want to maintain this false narrative.