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What a Khan Sheikhoun False Flag Conspiracy Would Actually Mean

July 4, 2017

By Eliot Higgins

Translations: Русский

Since the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4th 2017 multiple attempts have been made to dismiss what happened as being part of a conspiracy against the Syrian government. A wide range of conspiracy websites and alternative media reported claims and theories around the attack being a false flag, with even Russia Today reporting President Putin describing the attack as a false flag.

Despite the wealth of witness statements, analysis of samples collected from the ground, reports by the OPCW, and other information, there’s still many people who cling to the idea the attack was a false flag conspiracy theory against the Syrian government. But what would this actually mean?

Any conspiracy theory would, of course, need conspirators, and the scale of the Khan Sheikhoun attack would require a lot of them. Often the involvement of the White Helmets in the aftermath of attack is held up as the key piece of proof needed to show that the attack was a false flag, generally with the usual accusations of them being an imperialist funded Al Qaeda allied (if not just Al Qaeda) organisation that spends the majority of its time faking rescue videos, if not outright murdering and robbing people. It’s often claimed (erroneously) all samples from the site and victims were collected by White Helmets, and therefore the samples cannot be trusted.

Let us assume, therefore, that samples have been tampered with, and the OPCW have tested doctored samples, what would this actually mean?

First, those doctoring the samples would have to have access to Sarin, as samples tested by the OPCW have found Sarin along with other related products from the production process and degradation of Sarin. They’d also make sure it included hexamine, which was detected in previous Sarin attacks, and claimed by some to link that Sarin to the Syrian governments manufacturing process, including French intelligence in their recent National Evaluation of the Khan Sheikhoun attack.

They’d also have individuals collecting samples for the Syrian government also doctor those samples with Sarin and hexamine, so tests by the Syrian governments labs and OPCW would show the presence in those samples as well.

Then they’d even have volunteers or unwilling victims expose themselves to Sarin and cross the border with Turkey, where some would die from Sarin exposure, and where the OPCW would run tests on the living and dead which resulted tests results consistent with exposure to Sarin.

Then they would ensure that all witnesses told the same version of events, even those exposed to Sarin, which indicated the origin of the Sarin was one crater in Khan Sheikhoun. This includes insuring that the locations victims were reportedly found were all consistent with a spread of Sarin from the crater in the same direction.

This consistency of witnesses telling the same version of events would also be required if the sample tampering scenario was abandoned and instead some version of a device being denoted by some opposition faction, or an attack with a rocket of some sort by an opposition faction was proposed, which just happened to be filled with Sarin that contained hexamine to make it look like Syrian government Sarin.

Now after all these shenanigans, which the OPCW falls for completely (unless they’re also complicit) we have the Russians and Syrians presenting a totally different version of events where a chemical weapons warehouse in the East of Khan Sheikhoun was bombed. Although it happened hours after the attack was first reported and documented, let’s imagine you’re still clinging to this scenario.

The question is then why does the Syrian and Russian government not publish any evidence to support their claim? Even something as simple as publishing the co-ordinates of this chemical weapons warehouse would allow anyone to check April 6th 2017 satellite imagery available on Terraserver to see if there’s a destroyed building. Every piece of open source evidence and the OPCW reports run counter to this claim, so if it really was a conspiracy against Syria, then revealing this information would expose a massive conspiracy that resulted in the US wrongly bombing Syria, and threatening Syria with further attacks.

Yet Russia and Syria stays quiet, so what does that mean? Well it can only mean one thing, that Syria and Russia themselves are complicit in the conspiracy to fake a Syrian chemical attack, resulting in Syria being falsely accused of using chemical weapons by the US, and being bombed as a result.

Or Russia and Syria are simply lying, and Syria really did use Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun.

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

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78 Comments

  1. Eric Sauders

    This site is weird. It has a sort of sparse look and some kind of alternative/indie aesthetic, but the general thrust of the content seems like it comes straight from the CIA script. For example, I thought the “White Helmets” had been discredited. After all, they can only operate with the approval of al Qaeda (if they are not simply a PR arm of al Qaeda). And where are the White Helmets in Mosul where the US has committed the same crime as Syria by killing some civilians in a bombing campaign to defeat head-chopping terrorists? Gee, it’s all so mysterious… unless one has some sort of inkling that this is just more war propaganda with a cool, alternative media veneer. Then it all makes sense.

    Reply
    • Louis Proyect

      And where are the White Helmets in Mosul where the US has committed the same crime as Syria by killing some civilians in a bombing campaign to defeat head-chopping terrorists?

      —-

      The same crime as Syria? Wow, that’s some admission from someone likely working in a Moscow basement.

      Reply
    • Lars

      What a silly argument! “The White Helmets simply MUST be a CIA psyop, because they’re not rescuing people in every theater of the syrian civil war, including IS’s territories in Iraq”.

      Not only is your post filled with silly arguments, it also has nothing to do with the actual subject of the Bellingcat article. “seems like it comes straight from the [syrian govt.] script

      Reply
      • Dan

        //$100,0000,000//
        I think to be mathematically correct you should write that as $10,000,000i.
        The i is used in mathematics to denote an imaginary number, which is clearly what that figure is

        Reply
    • DDTea

      You realize “the White Helmets” is not their official name, right? They are “Syrian Civil Defense.” It’s an organization of Syrians. They started in rebel-held parts of Syria in reaction to Assad’s wanton, indiscriminate aerial bombardment.

      Please, help me to understand your addled mind and feverish fantasies: why would you expect Syrian Civil Defense to be present in ISIL-occupied Mosul?

      Reply
      • Francesca

        They are not recognised by the International Civil Defence Organisation
        whereas the true Syrian civil Defence is, in fact they are a founding member of the ICDO
        For all the massive funding they receive from NATO countries, they do not put out an annual report, undergo auditing, or appear to be accountable by any independent agency. I know, because I have contacted them and repeatedly asked for this information
        Crickets zzzz….Surely with the largesse given them they could be a little less shonky in this regard.
        Other charities have to comply

        Reply
      • Francesca

        Why did they not then extend their operations to where the “rebels” were firing hell cannons in to civilian areas of govt held territory
        SARC seem to be able to liaise with govt agencies with no difficulties

        Reply
      • duplicitousdemocracy

        There already was and still is a Syrian Civil Defense, recognised by the ICDO. The White Helmets were started by James Le Mesurier a former British officer with extensive ties to the intelligence services, they weren’t a naturally evolving organisation. They are funded by anti Assad governments and have been repeatedly exposed as closely connected to terrorist factions. Scott Ritter has recently labelled them inept and totally clueless with regards video footage of their dangerous attempts at rescuing trapped victims. Their ability to man-handle alleged Sarin victims without protective clothing is impressive though. I’d have thought Bellingcat would have questioned this death defying feat but no………

        Reply
        • DDTea

          Bellingcat questioned it and answered it: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/04/20/anatomy-sarin-bomb-explosion-part-ii/

          There is not likely to be enough agent on a living victim’s skin to cause significant secondary poisoning. This is especially true after hosing the victims down with water. That being said, medical staff *did* experience some secondary poisoning from the sheer number of victims, but not enough to kill them.

          Now please explain: why are you seeing cause for suspicion where basic, cursory reading should show you that none exists?

          Reply
          • duplicitousdemocracy

            So the Sarin disappears when it makes contact with skin. Sarin does leave evidence around the bomb crater, but doesn’t leave it on victims clothing. The alleged attack site was a mile and a half from the White Helmet ‘base’. Victims were alleged to have been scattered around the missile site but we never saw any of those. Youssef was interviewed by Hadi Abdullah in what can only be described as a very poor amateur dramatics scene where the latter was seen to restrain himself from laughing. This is Alice in Wonderland material.

          • DDTea

            Drop some water on your skin. Check on that drop in 15 minutes. Is it still there? Sarin evaporates just like water does. And considering that most of these victims were probably exposed to vapors rather than liquid agent, there is even less of it present on their skin or clothing.

            The residues/evidence of Sarin is from non-volatile reaction byproducts (DIMP, TPP, pyroester), decomposition products (pyroester, IMPA, MPA), and admixtures (hexamine).

            “Victims were alleged to have been scattered around the missile site but we never saw any of those. ”

            Because rescuers are focused on rescuing, not video taping. And if this were a false flag attack with theatrics, such a scene would be very important to show. Strange that this alleged amazing, elaborate, multinational false flag operation failed to show it.

    • Clay Claiborne

      The White Helmet are more properly known as Syria Civil Defense, which I think goes a long ways towards explaining why they don’t operate in Iraq. In Syria they have saved thousands of lives and for that reason no amount of piling on by the barrel-bomb terrorists and their supporters can ever discredit them.

      Reply
      • duplicitousdemocracy

        There is no verifiable evidence to support White Helmet claims of saving thousands of lives and certainly the people of Aleppo were less than complimentary about them. Likewise, there is scant evidence of these mysterious barrel bombs that the rebels claimed to have been raining down on them. A few grainy images of helicopters dropping curious looking bombs is not conclusive. What is conclusive is the largely intact hospitals scattered around Aleppo that activists (including the White Helmets) claimed had been flattened. The only one that could be seen to be in ruins was the Al Kindi hospital, the result of a double suicide bombing and the scene of the mass execution of Syrian Arab Army soldiers. Your sick friends recorded the slaughter so there is clear evidence of this particular crime.

        Reply
        • Clay Claiborne

          So, not only has Assad not used sarin. He hasn’t even used barrel bombs. Is that your story?

          Reply
          • duplicitousdemocracy

            Not unless you can show me evidence of either. Seems the bellingcat groupies are quick to demand evidence of others, not so eager to supply it themselves. The OPCW, that you believe when it condemns Assad without adhering to the correct protocols are suddenly NOT believed when they oversaw the destruction of his chemical weapons and the equipment to manufacture it? The simple fact is that proper investigation has not been possible because of inaccessible rebel areas not government areas. Is that the fault of Assad? Both the Russians and the Assad government were amenable to inspections of Syrian facilities, even inviting them. Is it their fault the British and French opposed it? So far as barrel bombs are concerned, I’ve not seen one single example of them being used and considering the amount of cameras available when the White Helmets are putting on a show, don’t you think that’s a little odd? Grainy images of helicopters dropping bombs with fin type accessories on them prove what exactly?

          • Clay Claiborne

            Bashar al-Assad still has ‘hundreds of tonnes’ of chemicals stockpiled, former Syrian weapons research chief claims
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/14/bashar-al-assad-still-has-hundreds-tonnes-chemical-weapons-former/
            “They [the regime] admitted only to 1,300 tonnes, but we knew in reality they had nearly double that,” said Brig Gen Sakat, who was one of the most senior figures in the country’s chemical programme. “They had at least 2,000 tonnes. At least.”

            Brig Gen Sakat
            https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/world/middleeast/werent-syrias-chemical-weapons-destroyed-its-complicated.html
            Mr. Kerry and others tried to refer to the elimination of Syria’s “declared” stocks, a nuance often lost in news reports.

            This whole thing depended on the honesty of those who make CW to kill people.

        • Clay Claiborne

          Assad ‘dropped 13,000 barrel bombs on Syria in 2016’, watchdog claims
          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/bashar-al-assad-syria-president-regime-13000-barrel-bombs-rebels-aleppo-douma-2016-a7521656.html
          Monitor says Syria drops barrel bombs despite U.S. warning; Syria denies
          http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-airstrikes-idUSKBN17D105
          Syria – Barrel Bombing Compilation
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApZdvz_n4ro
          Fact are stubborn things Bashar fanboy

          Reply
          • Mad Dog

            Just gotta love it. Assad is just such a lovable guy, treats his people with respect just like his father did. That is why he is so popular that he feels free to run in an election. But the ruthless capitalists would not let that happen and instigated all those terrorist demonstrations with bomb carrying babies and RPG’s hidden under all those burkas. Poor Assad.

          • Ghostship

            Perhaps you can explain the difference between barrel bombs and conventional general purpose and fragmentation bombs? As far as I can make out, barrel bombs are nothing more nor less that a locally produced version of GP/fragmentation bombs if you discount the alleged use of chlorine gas because it makes no sense whatsoever.

  2. Bubslug

    “… we have the Russians and Syrians presenting a totally different version of events where a chemical weapons warehouse in the East of Khan Sheikhoun was bombed.”

    I agree that the “accidental dispersal from a warehouse bomb hit” story doesn’t seem plausible. However, in the initial information it might have seemed that way to the Russians and Syrians. Certainly it’s true that some counter-claims on that storyline (i.e. the “silos” were not hit after 2015) are not true as the “silos” area was hit, including at least one hit on the roof of the abandoned warehouse since February 2017.

    To me the most plausible storyline is that the rebels used a ground based “improvised sarin device” timed to release in conjunction with an overflight of Syrian warplanes. As for the conventional explosive “bomb” clouds, seen on multiple videos, including aftermath videos of the impact site, the damage from these impact is too small to have been from 250 or 500 lb bombs. These impacts look more like a 122 mm grad rocket attack.

    It’s a murky story, but probably the most convincing evidence this was a false flag is the rebels staging “rushing into the hospital with victims” events using victims that at that time were likely dead for 4 hours, based on sun angles and seeing the same victims dead in earlier videos.

    Reply
    • Louis Proyect

      I read in Duran.com that the “victims” were actually out of work actors flown in on an airplane owned by Moishe Rothschild, the scion of the clan who converted to Wahhabism in 1997. Moishe is reported to have played a role in the WTC bombing, recruiting the elevator maintenance guys who planted the explosives on the floors where the jets hit. Apparently they were highly skilled Mossad operatives who had been part of Oliver North’s arms for hostages conspiracy.

      Reply
  3. Francesca

    There has been no independent evidence gathering here, by the OPCW, French intelligence,UN or whatever. Idlib is governed by Al Queda/Al Nusra, and affiliates. In fact it is ruled by sharia law and is very much a party to the hostilities.
    So sorry, not convinced. you’re pushing shit uphill with this one.
    How is it that when “activists and local journalists” accused the US led coalition of bombing SARC headquarters in Idlib city, you found no evidence of the weapon to quote
    “There are no obvious visual indicators, like weapon remnants, that could identify the perpetrator of the attack, or the cause of the damage”
    That the same is the case for Khan Shaykoun does not prevent you from rushing in with a “slam dunk” accusation
    I’ve followed you for a long time, and now am sorry to say you lack true professionalism and integrity
    A disappointment

    Reply
    • DDTea

      Have any evidence that’s what happened? Simple request. Show us your proof, you charlatan.

      Reply
      • Mad Dog

        Really? Where and is it credible? Some guy here posts an outlandish amount of money given to them. Really? Where did that info come from. Where are these actors willing to be gassed. Where are those first responders willing to just run into a Sarin contaminated area for fun. The conspiracy theorists here have about as much credibility as the flat-earthers. Why is it so hard to believe that thugocracy called the Syrian gov’t, would do such a thing. Their past actions? And here we have another brave soul stating that there is a : true Syrian civil Defence. Bwa ha ha, there is nothing true run by the Syrian gov. They are not rightful rulers, their institutions are med for the benefit of Alawite buddies, their Army freely fires on civilians. There is nothing true about that institution. And it is baffling to me to see folks defending this farce! Assad and his cohorts started this thing long ago and when anyone had the balls to protest, peacefully, they were brutally put down. His father did the same, but yet we have all these defenders of the faith! Egads.

        Reply
      • Ghostship

        The whole case that Assad and/or Syrian Government forces did it rests of the alleged weapons casing that appeared so prominently in the alleged crater. Where is this casing? Has it been delivered to some western intelligence agency? If not, why not? On the day of the alleged attack and for some days after there seemed to be no problem moving people from Khan Shaykoun to Turkey, so why wasn’t the alleged weapons casing past to someone in the west for further analysis? Could it be that the alleged casing wasn’t actually what is was claimed to be? Perhaps the organisers of the propaganda effort know this and have destroyed it to preserve their fictional claims. Without the casing the Khan Shaykoun narrative in the western media and on this site falls apart. Perhaps Bellingcat can contact their local sources to find out what happened to the casing?

        Reply
    • Francesca

      To Mr Higgins
      My previous comment should read
      “How is it that when “activists and local journalists” accused the US led coalition of bombing a SARC headquarters in Idlib city, you could come to no conclusion because
      : presumably you were not prepared to take the locals word for it
      :”there are no obvious visual indicators, like weapon remnants, that could identify the perpetrator of the attack, or the cause of damage”
      Well the same is the case for Khan Shaykoun, and yet you have rushed to a judgement against Syria

      Reply
      • DDTea

        Who are his paymasters? America? Turkey? Because he seems to rush to judgement against them as well: unambiguously showing America bombed civilians at the Al-Jinnah mosque; and identifying Erdogan’s bodyguards in the recent DC brawl.

        Reply
  4. Clay Claiborne

    Elliot, if you want to really cash in with this site, just set up a troll booth and start charging them to post. Be sure to make provisions to accept payment in rubles.

    Reply
  5. duplicitousdemocracy

    Mr Higgins, you being the diligent investigative journalist must surely be aware of the chain of custody protocols that must be adhered to and that custodians have to be trusted by all involved parties. Which trusted organisation collected the samples? Furthermore, why were the OPCW not instantly despatched to Shayrat air base to investigate accusations that chemical weapons involved in the Khan Sheikhoun attack originated from there? The elephant in the room is that anyone daring to venture into Khan Sheikhoun to attempt to take samples would have been on the next beheading video. The video of the mourning father who allegedly lost his twin son and daughter is nothing short of comical but if you’ll believe that, you’ll believe anything.

    Reply
    • DDTea

      The other elephant in the room is that the OPCW is afraid of the Syrian regime. They were attacked by an unknown sniper when they tried to approach Ghouta in 2013–an incident believed to be linked to regime intelligence, especially given the regime’s delay in permitting the OPCW to even enter Ghouta.

      A more detailed explanation of why the OPCW did not visit Shayrat airbase is here:
      https://tcf.org/content/commentary/havent-chemical-weapons-inspectors-gone-syrias-shayrat-air-base/

      Key paragraph:

      “However, Western diplomats and people associated with inspection missions in Syria have hinted to me that they fear that the Syrian government or its allies could arrange an accident or lure inspectors into a trap, if they were to get too close to some undesirable truth. One person associated with OPCW inspection missions claims that the Syrian government may even have been involved in staging the May 2014 incident described above. “What does it take for them to call their intelligence services and arrange this?” the person says. “Not much.””

      Reply
      • Mark

        Thanks for the link. But that’s not the key paragraph, it’s the most speculative though. Much more likely reasons are stated in the article, I encourage others to read it.

        DDTea, in general I’ve appreciated your contributions, but you’ve been producing more noise yourself lately. The Ghouta sniper example is particularly poor.

        Reply
    • Clay Claiborne

      You show a sad lack of humanity. Do you doubt that the Assad regime has murdered thousands of Syrian childern?

      Reply
  6. Adrian D.

    It’s not just the ‘chain of custody’ for the physical ‘evidence’ that diminishes the OPCW’s findings – from there report – it’s how they accept the digital media too:

    “3.9 As mentioned above, in accordance with the OPCW procedures, as applicable, the FFM categorised evidence as primary, secondary and tertiary. The ascribed alues
    took into consideration corroboration between interviewee testimonies, pen-source
    research, documents and other records, and the characteristics of the samples
    provided. No metadata forensic analysis was carried out on the electronic records
    provided by the witnesses.”

    The last sentence here essentially confirms that there’s no digital ‘chain of custody’ either. There’s no way they could be certain that the images and videos were taken when they were said to have been or if the Exif or other data had been tampered with.

    Reply
  7. Ayatollah Ghilmeini

    It is amazing to read the comments here. Rational thought and analysis be damned. Brown Moses Blog, Bellingcat’s predecessor did compelling work on the Ghoutta gas attack and the the downing of the Malaysian Airliner.

    The point is that Higgin’s process is the same. He may not be right in this instance but there is zero evidence ISIS has or had the industrial ability to create Sarin. As for the Syrian Government, how can anyone race to defend what they have done and what they are doing; their war crimes are straight out of WWII Eastern front actions by Hitler’s Reich – forced population transfers based on religious background, subjecting civilian populations to tactical airstrikes, targeting hospitals with barrel bombs, mass institutionalized torture (google Cesar Archives) and even the first functioning crematorium for disposing of enemies since Auschwitz. Their war crimes cup fairly overflows.

    This is not to deny the savage brutality of ISIS and al Qaeda, true to their criminal murderous natures, they can and should be regarded as a factory for war crimes in their own right.

    No one should defend either side in this war. You have two rabid evil dogs and they both need to be put down. Pull your blinkers off and look at these criminals as they truly are. By what political ideology can any person of good intention take a side in this evil fight?

    Lastly, there is Russia and Putin. In terms of pure power play and getting things done on the map, this is Machiavellian Metternichism at its best. Sadly, as we learned in 1991, sooner or later, Russian ambitions eventually collapse with the world’s only third world country with a first rate military.

    This blog uses its best sources to publicly analyze what is going on. They don’t have their own investigative team and no one can really safely go into Syria who is not armed or backed by their own force.

    Reply
    • duplicitousdemocracy

      The vast majority of internally displaced have opted to take refuge in government controlled areas. That’s an undeniable fact. The terrorists don’t have to make Sarin, they ship it in from Turkey (try using Google to research the terrorists caught with it and then mysteriously released without charge). The Caesar Archives were found to be many SAA soldiers images and full of discrepancies. World war II, Hitler crimes and Auschwitz? Captagon? Are you aware that Syria was a secular country so why would Assad suddenly be drawn into segregating the country on religious grounds? Hospitals that were supposedly targeted by barrel bombs were found to be still functioning after your terrorist friends left Aleppo. Hell cannon usage never gets mentioned by critics of Assad even though they were capable of demolishing a house and fired from every street corner. If the choice is Idleb or Damascus, I know where I would be headed for.

      Reply
      • DDTea

        We’re well aware of the terrorists caught with antifreeze. But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that’s Sarin. They had enough to make a few kg’s, if everything went perfectly. That’s not enough to for either the Ghouta incident or the Khan Shaykhun incident–not by a long shot.

        “Are you aware that Syria was a secular country so why would Assad suddenly be drawn into segregating the country on religious grounds?”

        Above all, Assad’s priority is preserving his family’s grip on power by any means necessary. Indeed, the earliest months of the uprising were non-sectarian. A wonderful article today on how Assad kindled sectarianism as a tool for divide and conquer against his own people is here: https://warontherocks.com/2016/08/assad-or-we-burn-the-country-misreading-sectarianism-and-the-regime-in-syria/

        I think you need to explain why so many hardened Shia partisan militants are now fighting on behalf of Assad. Folks from India, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon–all riding into battle praising Ali and Shia saints, chanting Shia slogans, vowing to avenge Zaynab and defend Assad in the same breath. I think Assad’s secularism is irrelevant to the facts on the ground.

        Reply
        • duplicitousdemocracy

          Ah, so your problem is the Shia? Chanting slogans is heinous, yet countless mass executions by psychos from the other sect don’t warrant a word? Putting your prejudice aside, removing all outside interference would be a valid point but I don’t hear you complaining about Saudi and the dozens of other countries which ‘rebels’ have invaded Syria from.

          ‘I think you need to explain why so many hardened Shia partisan militants are now fighting on behalf of Assad’

          No, you see I don’t have to explain anything about Shia or Sunni because it means nothing to me. I don’t do religion. I will condemn any crime committed by either. If you really were interested in what is best for Syria, you would be a critic of all outside influence. There is one thing though…. As an ‘unbeliever’, I could wander around Damascus. However, I don’t think i’ll be chancing my neck with your friends in Idleb any time soon. I won’t be reading Emile Hokayem’s explanation of the problems in Syria, not when he thinks that ISIS are a better option than Assad. Don’t insult me, the least you can do is give me a link to a credible observer.

          Reply
          • oui oui

            how many are you here these days , stranger , you appear in crisis
            stranger – June 30th, 2016
            Trolls work in organized groups:

            -Greg is playing a Russian troll and invite users to debunk easy riddles. He is playing on self esteem of commenters and is forming a negative appearance of a ‘Russian troll’.
            -Dude is trying to associate everybody who disagree with that appearance and label all together. He addresses emotions.
            -Others appeal to the mind and thoroughly and patiently explain how we should understand facts.
            -Mr Fox is posting direct, rude and fake statements just if anybody believe.
            -Rick is aggressively and consicely attacking personalities who disagree.

            Real people are watching astonished at all this mess.

            ” #FSB equates internet trolling to neo-Nazi propaganda, extremism, other forms of trolling.
            Asks to report to eliminate whenever they are”.

            Putin: On the internet, as in any other sphere, freedom must in no way substitute for permissiveness and impunity.

            Putin: people who fabricate false information and use it for political purposes are worse than prostitutes.

      • Clay Claiborne

        Your across-the-board defense of Assad gives you away. What you say is your strongest criticism of him?

        Reply
        • duplicitousdemocracy

          Where was my ‘across the board defence’ of him? I’ve just been open minded enough to research, draw my own conclusions and not been tainted by any religious or national prejudices. I’ve no doubt that Assad is no angel. To be a political leader anywhere in the world requires ruthlessness. The alternative to Assad is a much larger version of present day Libya. I don’t need to be an Assad ‘fanboi’ to want to save the Syrian people from that. Your 9 minute compilation of barrel bombs was probably four individual ones replayed/zoomed in/edited. Not a huge collection from 13,000 alleged barrel bombings, is it? Frankly, even if they did use copious amounts of them, they are no worse than the equally inaccurate use of the hell cannons. 500,000 Syrians returning to Syria is an undeniable fact. The correlation between this and the government success should give you a clue as to why they are going home.

          Reply
      • Clay Claiborne

        Assad is not at all popular among any Syrian refugees we can communicate with. Please post the links that backup your “undeniable fact”

        Reply
  8. Germann Arlington

    It seems that your reports usually accept unproven statements as facts and you quickly switch to debunking “conspiracy theories” despite providing no actual evidence to support the official theory.
    Why do you accept it so willingly?

    “Despite the wealth of witness statements”
    How could there be a wealth of witness statements if the alleged attack took place very early in the morning and most of the witnesses were indoors?
    Who would be the majority of the witnesses in this case?

    “analysis of samples collected from the ground”
    Just about everybody have agreed bye now that CW was released in the area.
    The main question is: who released it.

    “reports by the OPCW, and other information”
    OPCW and all official sources accepted reports by witnesses that the CW was delivered by air. I am not entirely sure that the witnesses are unbiased but even that is besides the point.
    Please correct me if I am wrong:
    If CW was derived by air it must have come in a bomb or a missile.
    The bomb/missile must have burst in order to disperse the gas.
    The explosion to burst the bomb/missile must not have been too powerful or it would have destroyed the gas.
    There should have been the remains of the bomb/missile in the close proximity of the explosion.
    There should not have been no sizeable craters resulting from the use of the bomb/missile as the explosion had to be not too powerful (this point I am not particularly sure about and I will stand corrected if you can explain how such crater can be formed.

    “there’s still many people who cling to the idea the attack was a false flag conspiracy theory against the Syrian government.”
    Well, I am not interested in conspiracy theories but I have not seen an official theory which could explain all the facts.
    You are trying to debunk conspiracy theories because they can’t explain all facts but neither does the official version. Why aren’t you debunking the official version then?

    Reply
    • Clay Claiborne

      You keep talking about “The Official Version.” Which version is that? Both the Russians and Syrians claimed they bombed a terrorist chemical weapons warehouse. Is that the official version because that has been debunked. Now even the Russians agreed that it was sarin from the crater in the road. How about the Hersh version? WE now know that is complete BS. If the strike was against 4 high value targets and every intel officer in the region knew that as Hersh claims, why have neither the Russians nor the Syrians mentioned this reason even once? Why are they now agreeing the sarin came from the crater in the street. What happened to Hersh bomb in a two story cinderblock building with insecticide stored in the basement.

      Or by “official version” do you mean the version told by the people being murdered by Assad, that they intercepted messages and tracked a plane from Shayat and dropped a bomb on Khan Sheikhoun that had a slight explosion and dispersed a substance that started killing people. Is this what you call “the official version” because it is being repeat by everybody not tasked with exonerating Assad.

      Are you also one of these people that has seen no solid evidence of the Assad Regime using barrel-bombs on civilians? Please answer this last question first.

      Reply
      • Germann Arlington

        I mentioned before: the official version is the one you accept without question.

        Did you accept Russian and Syrian version of events?
        Not as far as I am aware.
        You accepted the official publicised in the mass media and promoted by US and UK governments version of events.
        The version which appeared in the press before the SW smoke settled.
        And you never bothered to question any facts in this version no explain any inconsistencies.

        I am afraid that I don’t think that people who were murdered by Assad could tell their story/version (once again the assertion on your part).
        The people murdered by moderate rebels can’t tell their story either.

        Reply
        • Clay Claiborne

          You don’t know what you are talking about. My first post on Khan Sheikhoun was on 4 April and sited sources from Khan Sheikhoun.
          http://claysbeach.blogspot.com/2017/04/after-trump-drops-assad-removal-from-us.html

          “I am afraid that I don’t think that people who were murdered by Assad could tell their story/version” DO YOU THINK THIS IS A JOKING MATTER? These people have survivors to tell their stories for them – unfortunately for your side.

          Now about those barrel-bombs. Does Assad use them or not? I will not answer another comment from you until you answer this question. If you can’t even admit that we will all know why and know arguing with you about the sarin attack is pointless. Might as well be arguing with Assad,

          Reply
          • Germann Arlington

            I thought that the whole thing started from Sarin attack but of course you seem to find proof of that in the fact that Assad has used barrel bombs and that the civilians were killed by such bombs before.
            Americans have killed civilians too and by far not all their weapons are laser guided, can it serve as proof of their involvement in Sarin attack on 4 April?

            It seems that instead of just linking to irrefutable proof, which you guys seem to have plenty of, you keep redirecting the discussion to other events.

            On 4 April CW was released in Idlib, within hours it was presented as evil Assad using CW on civilians.
            That is what I have read so far:
            There is evidence that Sarin or Sarlin-like substance was used, this is the official line of OPCW FFM.
            OPCW FFM decided not to carry out onsite inspection deeming it too dangerous despite it being inside the friendly rebels controlled territory.

            ” The release that caused exposure was likely to have been initiated in the
            crater in the road, located close to the silos in the northern part of the town.”
            What caused the crater?

            The CW was released early in the morning at which point majority of victims were in their homes (so they could not testify about the delivery method, could they?).
            Allegedly there were number of rebels on lookout for evil Assad bombers and they were notified about the (possible?) incoming bombing raid.
            They did not alarm the civilians but continued observations. (If they were not informed about the targets of the raid I can see the reason for not waking up the civilians early in the morning.)

            Within hours of the CW release the claims of evil Assad Sarin attack were printed all over the news around the world.
            This happened before any investigation could even start.
            All press coverage was based on claims by moderate rebels.

            None of the questions related to the method of delivery were ever answered bit all claims from one source (moderate rebels) were repeated around the world.
            Despite the normal legal approach that the guilt must be proven the media and the Western politicians were demanding irrefutable proof of innocence to be provided by Assad (and Russians).

            I understand that there is absolutely no way that I can persuade you to answer the questions related to this incident until you manage to divert the conversation to completely different subject.
            What you do next is up to you.

          • Germann Arlington

            “Now about those barrel-bombs. ”
            Was CW in Idlib delivered by barrel-bombs?

  9. Mad Dog

    Not sure what this means exactly, “no explain any inconsistencies.”, but the biggest inconsistency seems to be the Russian version of events, just like we saw in the MH11 shootdown. So, please tell us where the warehouse, a central tenet of the Russian (and Hershel) versions, is located. Please don’t give us the well worn “no one can access the area” reply because according to the Russkies, they were monitoring the warehouse over time and knew exactly where it was. If not, how could then claim to have targeted it? And with the plethora of drones the have in the area, they could fly over the supposed remains of the warehouse and show us how it exploded spewing terrorist CW all over the place. ………still waiting……crickets…..

    Reply
    • Germann Arlington

      “the biggest inconsistency seems to be the Russian version of events”
      Should not you look at the official (not Russian, nor Syrian but the one repeated in all newspapers around the world for weeks) version of events first?
      This version is full of holes but you are pointing at Russian version.
      Syrian and Russian versions are the defence against the inconsistent (and probably false) accusations.
      As far as I knew it in free world the burden of proof is on prosecution.
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/burden_of_proof

      Reply
      • kraaiiii

        I work at a large company, if someone did something out of order or against the rules en the did it well knowing it was wrong and the did it anyway, the always got a straight answer a plausible story shifting the blame to another or circumstance. The know there’s a change the get caught and are prepared for it and when there doing the thing thats not allowed there busy covering there tracks. The ones who got nothing to do with it are surprised by de accusations, always give a story’s not plausible or not even possible, it’s basic human behavior. If the Russian or Syrian version where consistent and perfect in every detail and not such vaguely inconsistent story as it now is, i would surly suspect them.

        Reply
    • Germann Arlington

      Re: “no one can access the area”
      OPCW FFM decided not to go their despite it being under friendly moderate rebels control (and not under Assad’s control) deeming it too dangerous.
      Why?

      Reply
  10. Adrian D.

    I’m really interested to hear where I can find any of the ‘wealth’ of witness statements that are mentioned in the OP and elsewhere on this site. So far I’ve found very few (HRW ‘Death By Chemicals’, Syrians For Truth & Justice, Amnesty, MSF, SAMS and OPCW – all of which are sketchy to say the least.

    Please point me to any that I’ve missed. Thank you.

    Reply

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