This is making the claim that there was a gas attack in Syria very difficult to believe. Robert Fisk is one of the great journalists of our age

By   /   April 17, 2018  /   23 Comments

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Robert Fisk is one of the great journalists of our age…

This is making the claim that there was a gas attack in Syria very difficult to believe.

Robert Fisk is one of the great journalists of our age…

The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks — and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the ‘gas’ videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.

War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

As Dr Assim Rahaibani announces this extraordinary conclusion, it is worth observing that he is by his own admission not an eye witness himself and, as he speaks good English, he refers twice to the jihadi gunmen of Jaish el-Islam [the Army of Islam] in Douma as “terrorists” – the regime’s word for their enemies, and a term used by many people across Syria. Am I hearing this right? Which version of events are we to believe?

I’m as highly skeptical of the rush to blame Russia for this Syrian gas attack as the whole poisoning of the Russian spy on British soil.

There seems to be an enormous amount of manipulation going on and in the instantaneousness of social media it is becoming impossible to work out when we are being lied to and when we are not.

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23 Comments

  1. Francesca says:

    An American news report on the ground in Douma that corroborates Fisk’s account
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSXwG-901yU

  2. Francesca says:

    My fear now is that we will have to endure another “outrage” to sweep these embarrassingly flimsy Salisbury and Douma attacks out of the news cycle
    Stand by, they’re coming thick and fast

    • Francesca says:

      I accidentally posted this on the Standard
      dammit!
      But here’s the latest new blockbluster news outrage that will sweep this embarrassing stuff off page 1

      Shock confession from Stormy Daniels!!

      “I fucked Vladimir Putin while Lavrov pissed on a photo of Mother Theresa.
      We were all high on military grade cocaine”

      I’m not usually this vulgar, but really, what next!!

  3. Siobhan says:

    If ‘they’ had treated the Skripal poisoning with the same due process and caution as they did the Levchenko poisoning the authorities might have at least some credibility…as it stands it all appears increasingly farcical.

    And the scary thing, with the poisoning AND Syria is half the population, and pretty much all the media appear to have very short memories and, apparently, no faculty for critical thinking.

    I would sympathise if these people had been educated under Nationals NCEA system, but darn it, they are older than that…

  4. ababy says:

    full debate with a conscience vote required

  5. garibaldi says:

    Any one with half a brain should be aware of the lies and deceit of our wall to wall Western propaganda and behaviour.
    It is such a pity that the masses have been dumbed down so much with the constant lies and endless “bread and circuses” that they no longer have half a brain, and willingly believe all the bullshit they are fed by the lying arseholes who are hell bent on a one-world Zionist empire.
    This current situation is a recipe for end times. The blame lies with the Anglozionists ,of which NZ is party to.

  6. Aaron says:

    There’s really easy way to know bullshit is involved – France, UK,US sent missiles to blow up a building they said was involved in an alleged chemical weapons program – the result of which should have been to release deadly chemicals into the air.

    Fortunately there were no deadly chemicals in the building in question but by their own word those 3 countries responded to chemical warfare deaths by deliberately doing something that would release the same chemicals into the atmosphere in the middle of a town.

  7. Ed says:

    Craig Murray on Fisk and Syria.
    Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004

    “If you care to search for Robert Fisk on twitter, the attacks on his reputation and integrity at this very moment from achieve nothing neo-con trolls and media lackeys are astonishing. He is in Douma – they are at their desks.

    It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it.”

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/04/robert-fisk-reports-head-of-douma-clinic-denies-chemical-weapons-attack/

  8. I would far sooner take note of the good writings of Fisk, Pilger and Chomsky than any thing put out by America and Israel.

    These three have spent most of their lives investigating the atrocities created by the USA and their partners in crime, Israel and to a slightly lesser degree, the UK.

  9. Tony Veitch (not etc) says:

    A plausible explanation?

    “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

    From The Independent, posted by No Right Turn, and referred to above by Martyn.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

  10. Francesca says:

    Even the SOHR (AbdulRahman a Muslim brotherhood sympathiser who the MSM like to use as a go to archivist for Syrian govt atrocities..lives above a draper shop in Coventry,most of you will know the spiel)
    while recording deaths caused by airstrikes, does not mention chemical weapon attacks on THAT day April 7th
    In two reports he put out , he mentions suffocation from extreme smoke and dust inhalation

    The first report: http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88799
    “reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that some of the casualties and injured people had been subjected to suffocation due to the demolition of basements of houses as a result of the heavy and intense shelling of Douma city, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta.”

    2.The second report http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88805
    “The trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory of Rights that the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces’ control in the Eastern Ghouta, which is the stronghold of Jaysh al-Islam, and the Syrian Observatory published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta.

    Make of that what you will

  11. Mjolnir says:

    “I’m as highly skeptical of the rush to blame Russia for this Syrian gas attack as the whole poisoning of the Russian spy on British soil.”

    After reading Frank’s analysis and the material he’s dug up, i’m not surprised either, Martyn. At first I was sucked in by the Western narrative that Syria had carried out this atrocity. After looking at the facts uncovered by Frank and others, i’m now convinced that we’ve been hoodwinked. Whats worse is that our msm is playing along, and any inconvenient questions have been shelved away, out of sight.

    We have not been wellserved by our msm.

  12. Red Buzzard says:

    NOT the mainstream media:

    ‘Bullhorns: Syria attacked’

    https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/424245-us-syria-attack-weapon/

    “The US-led attack on Syria is a gross violation of international law. Furthermore, the public has still not been presented with evidence that the Syrian state used any chemical weapons. A new phase of the Syrian proxy war has needlessly been opened up. Another war of choice.

    CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda and Dmitry Babich.”

  13. countryboy says:

    U$A?
    Twin Towers?
    Yeah, but building 7?

    John Bolton?
    Feverish supporter of Iraq invasion. 170,000 killed.

    John Bolton. NSA boss.
    Let me introduce you to the wonderful John R Bolton.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Bolton

    Bolton has been called a “war hawk” and is an advocate for regime change in Iran and North Korea and has repeatedly called for the termination of the Iran deal.[19][20] He was a supporter of the Iraq War and continues to support his decision.[21] He has continuously supported military action and regime change in Syria, Libya, and Iran.[22][21] He has been labeled as a “neoconservative.”[23] However, Bolton rejects the term,[24] claiming he does not focus on democracy promotion.[25][26][27]

    Here’s an idea.
    How about building a wall around the U$A to keep the mad, greedy, psychopathic fuckers in?
    Capitalism/neo conservatism/neo liberalism is a virus. A disease. An addiction. And it’s heartlessly pimped at us by any means at their disposal.
    And at the black heart of it? The Banks. I know, I do go on.
    China has it sorted out though. They’ve kept their communist regime but have allowed ‘ money’ to go on a rampage there. They know, to defeat the enemy, one must know the enemy. Don’t try to repell the enemy at the ramparts. Open the gates, let them in… Then. Ahhh. then…

  14. dave brown says:

    I wouldnt believe anything Fisk says about Syria. His ‘journalism’ is to parrot the Assad regimes line that he is against imperialism, and that the rebels are jihadis trained by the CIA for ‘regime change’.

    This is a lie as it repeats Assad’s justification for turning his military against peaceful popular democratic uprisings so that children and women became labelled terrorists.

    Fisk’s latest lie is to provide an alibi for Assad by claiming that the gas attack on Douma was not gas but ‘oxygen starvation’ caused by dust and rubbish.

    He did the same to claim that Assad’s 2O13 gas attack was a rebel attack.

    The islamophobia is not very deep here.

    Islamophobes cannot credit that the Syrian people can fight their dictator because they must be the dupes of sectarian jihadis and ‘Islamic fascists’ (created by the US and its lackeys).

    The irony is the Assad up to 2016 was losing his war on the people whose struggle was hampered by lack of SAMS against barrel bombs showing that the US support for regime change was as figment of the fake anti-imperialists and RT socialists.

    Imperialist Russia stepped in as did its client state Iran, so that the depleted secular’ “Syrian Army” became made up mainly of sectarian foreign mercenaries.

    Yet far from being dominated by jihadis, the rebel armies fought for basic democratic rights of freedom of speech and assembly that was expressed in the local democracy created in the occupied cities.

    So the reversal of the popular uprising resulted from the imperialist intervention of Russia and hordes of sectarian mercenaries.

    Assad was saved by criminal genocidal bombing and genocidal use of chemical weapons against the popular revolution.

    Over 500,000 dead and yet he cannot refrain from using chemical weapons to destroy all resistance. He gassed Douma to force the rebels out.

    All the imperialist powers including the US and Russia are the enemy of the Syrian people. They divided up and ruled over the Middle East after the defeat of the Ottoman empire and and now joined by Russia Today.

    It’s time the ‘anti-imperialists’ who write off Syrian people to champion the secular socialist Assad started to fight their own imperialism at home. They may be surprised to find that they are supported by the Syrian people and attacked by the fascists who support Assad.

    Only the popular revolution of the Arab peoples can rid the region of imperialism and their local lackeys from Netanyahu to Khomeini.

    For a genuine left critique of Fisk’s role as an embedded Assad journo read this article from 2016 by Idrees Ahmad

    https://pulsemedia.org/2016/12/03/robert-fisks-crimes-against-journalism/

  15. simonm says:

    And as for the US and Britain whinging about Russia using its UN Security Council veto…

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/42-times-us-has-used-its-veto-power-against-un-resolutions-israel-942194703

  16. Francesca says:

    Ok
    On the 4th March the Skripals were found slumped on the park bench
    On March 21, the OPCW begins its work collecting samples to test for nerve agent
    17 days has elapsed, and yet the findings when they come show the nerve agent in a very pure form (meaning there has been very little additive that you might use to adapt the chemical so it sticks on a door knob or retards onset , or persists in the environment.Rain, snow or even fog has not washed the agent away
    Hell, todays Independent even say decontamination will take months and areas of Salisbury are now cordoned off

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/salisbury-polisoning-latest-police-security-barriers-cordons-sergei-skripal-nerve-agent-a8308456.html
    Over at Douma in Syria however, the OPCW team are being told by the French that there’s very little point being there as all the nerve agent will have degraded and disappeared, it just doesn’t hang around that long
    The Americans say that the Russians will have “tampered ” with the site
    Photos of Hazmatted Russian soldiers should be appearing round about now, though I note the OPCW
    the inspectors are wearing ordinary clothes

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/17/syria-russia-says-inspectors-will-be-allowed-into-douma

    These guys (the media, the FUKUS are getting desperate now

  17. Rubbish. Here are five reasons:

    Reason #1: Assad had good reason to use chemical weapons because Jaysh al Islam fighters had refused to surrender and after the chemical massacre they were forced to surrender in ten hours . Before the chemical attack, Assad had attacked Douma for 2 days, and could not advance because of Jaysh al Islam resistance. Of course Assad would have taken Douma even without the chemical attack, but probably at the cost of heavy losses . In this way, Assad took Douma without a fight.

    Reason #2: Assad has used chemical weapons dozens of times in the past without facing any significant consequences for doing so. In 2013 Obama came close to doing something, but drew back in spite of solid evidence that Assad had indeed crossed over his so called ‘red line’. Last year Trump made a minor, token strike against Assad’s forces in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun sarin attack. (Again, the evidence is solid ). It is notable that these two examples are not the only times that Assad has deployed chemical weapons, they are just the most famous ones. There is convincing evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons dozens of times over the course of the past seven years. Assad was taking a gamble for sure, but it wasn’t completely stupid or foolhardy. Past experience indicates that while chemical attacks might provoke a great deal of media heat and noise, they do not lead to significant intervention.

    Reason #3: There is solid and believable open source video evidence for the attacks. The single most reliable source here is the British blogger Elliot Higgins, who runs a site called Bellingcat. Please, go to his site and watch the videos. Watch them a couple of times. Listen to the voices of the people who discover the dead bodies with white foam coming out of their mouths and noses. Look at the outdoor scenes which show the devastation wrought by months and years of barrel bombs. Try to imagine that this evidence is somehow faked, or that the people died of some other cause. (There are literally hundreds of Russian media sources which will help you do this by the way, but I want you to watch the videos and really think carefully about the idea that they are ‘staged’)

    Reason #4: The idea that the rebels had a serious and credible motive for ‘faking’ the attacks is highly questionable. Chemical attacks against them have failed to provoke any serious or consequential intervention by other forces in the past, so why should they go to great lengths to fake such attacks now in order to attract such intervention?

    Reason #5: The explanations and theories put forward by the armies of Assad apologists are massively unconvincing. The most prominent example here is that of Robert Fisk, who paints a picture of a vast underground network of tunnels and caves beneath Douma. The rebels lead a ‘troglodyte’ like existence deep underground, and Fisk meets up with a doctor lurking in one of these subterranean lairs. He doesn’t actually come out and say it, of course – Fisk is way too clever for that. He merely quotes the doctor’s story and asks us to ‘consider’ it. Well, OK then, let’s consider it:

    “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

    If you didn’t watch the videos I mentioned above, go back and watch them. See if you can spot any underground tunnels or caverns. I couldn’t. Maybe the ‘cellars and basements’ are deep enough underground for dust clouds to suck all the oxygen out from them? Maybe the devious rebels carried the bodies from deep underground caves and tunnels and placed them in the building shown in the videos? And then cleverly applied make up to make it look like they were all frothing at the mouth? Again, there are armies of Putin-bot trolls out there with sophisticated versions of all this shit, so you can go for life here if you want to. I don’t.

    Please see my blog for the links:

    http://psuedorealityprevails.blogspot.co.nz/2018/04/five-reasons-douma-chemical-attack-was.html

    Also read this article: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/syria-2018-iraq-2003-180419144317070.html