WMD's Redux? NBC Cites Douma Hoax; Perpetuates 'Official Story'
April 24, 2018
The Independent & Sputnik News & Muraselon.com
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the US media failed to challenge the Bush Administration's rationale for the attack -- Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was not until long after Baghdad was pummeled and Saddam Hussein was toppled that Americans learned that the threat of "weapons of mass destruction" was a lie. It was not the first time Washington had relied on false claims to launch an unprovoked war on a foreign nation. With the latest attack on Syria, it appears we still have not learned our lesson.
As Chemical Weapons Inspectors Reach Douma,
Syria Claims Suspected Attack Was Fake
NBC Nightly News
(April 22, 2018) -- The chemical weapons inspectors reached the city of Douma, now under Russian and Syrian control, two weeks after the suspected attack took place.
Once Again, the US Justifies an Attack Based on Unproven Accusations
Commentary by Gar Smith
(April 23, 2018) – In the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, the American media failed to challenge the Bush Administration's rationale for the attack -- Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was not until long after Baghdad was pummeled and Saddam Hussein was toppled that Americans belatedly learned that the threat of "weapons of mass destruction" was a lie.
This was not the first time Washington had relied on false claims to launch an illegal and unprovoked war on a foreign nation. Now, with the latest attack on Syria, it appears we still have not learned our lesson.
Case in point: The following NBC news clip includes an ITV News interview with a Syrian official and -- more importantly – features a CGTN interview with two doctors who were in Douma on April 7, treating civilians (mostly children according to widely seen videos).
Both doctors corroborated previous testimony from other doctors on the scene who claimed that chemical weapons were not responsible for the breathing problems experienced that day. Instead, it was a case of "hypoxia" triggered by poor air quality caused by an intense sand storm.
During an earlier video with others who had offered medical assistance in Douma that day, one doctor recalled a member of the White Helmets entering a room and yelling "Gas!" But he insisted there was no evidence of the use of a chemical weapon.
British journalist Robert Fisk recently visited Douma and interviewed local doctors who refuted claims of a chemical weapons attack. Instead, they also described a case of "acute asthma" caused by "smoke and dust" from the sandstorm and exacerbated by the poor air quality in the confined space of basements and other civilian shelters.
It is interesting to note that NBC's brief inclusion of the eyewitness reports challenging Washington's alleged "chemical attack" scenario is preceded by a statement accusing Russian and Syrian forces of entering Douma and "destroying" evidence. The eyewitness report is followed by the following statement by NBC's correspondent:
"Despite Syria's controversial claims, the US and its allies have no doubt this was a poison attack. The photos of dead children were not 'fake news.'"
NBC then gives Washington's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley the final word on the matter, when she claims the deaths of the as-yet-unidentified victims "were the result of the Syrian regime's barbaric inhumanity."
Despite being based on an unproven allegation, the US, French and British airstrikes on Syria are then described as "punishment." The focus then shifts to Bassar Al-Assad's brutal bombing of civilian targets on the outskirts of Damascus.
Donald Trump might want to consider the implications of this over-eager rush-to-judgment. If it is OK to punish a foreign country based soley on unproven allegations it could be argued that Mr. Trump -- long the target of a seemingly endless string of accusations and alleged corrupt and criminal activities – should have been impeached and imprisoned months ago.
Syria Attack: Chemical Weapons
Inspectors Retrieve Samples from Douma
Evidence will be analysed to find out whether
such weapons were used on civilian population
Jane Dalton / The Independent
(April 22, 2018) -- International chemical weapons inspectors have collected samples of soil and human tissue from the Syrian town of Douma in an effort to establish whether such weapons were used in an attack there.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW) said it would now consider whether the team needs to make a second visit to the town where at least 40 people are thought to have died from the suspected gas attack.
The samples will be transported to the Netherlands and then on to the organisation's designated labs for analysis.
The experts there will try to determine whether chemical weapons were used in the attack on 7 April, and if so, which.
The US, UK and France carried out joint missile strikes, as a result of the suspected attack, on sites that they said were linked to Syrian chemical weapons programmes.
The OPCW said that based on analysis of the sample results, as well other information and materials collected by the team, the mission would compile a report and submit it to the organisation's member states.
The organisation is not mandated to conclude which side in the conflict used chemical weapons.
Inspectors had arrived in Damascus last weekend to examine the site of the suspected attack, but the team faced several days of delays after an advance security detail was fired upon on Tuesday.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said that Moscow expected the inspectors to carry out an "impartial investigation into all the circumstances of what has occurred", Russia's Interfax news agency reported.
France had suggested that Syria and Russia were covering up evidence of a chemical attack.
The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said on Friday that Russia was obstructing the inspectors' access to the town. He said it was likely that the obstruction was aimed at ensuring that proof of the attack disappeared. But Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, condemned the delay as "unacceptable".
Moscow, whose forces in Syria back President Bashar al-Assad's army, has denied that Syrian forces carried out the alleged attack.
The OPCW has been investigating use of toxic chemicals in Syria's civil war since 2014. Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have started to evacuate three towns in the eastern Qalamoun region in the Damascus countryside, according to Syrian state media.
The evacuations are the latest in a string of population transfers around the Syrian capital that have displaced more than 60,000 people as the government reconsolidates its control.
Agencies contributed to this report.
Syrian Doctor Reveals Why There Was
No Chemical Attack in Douma
(April 23, 2018) -- Commenting on an alleged April 7 chemical weapons attack in Douma during an interview with Sputnik, local medic Mirwan Jaber specifically underscored that he and his colleagues had never treated patients exposed to chemical agents.
Speaking to Sputnik, doctor Mirwan Jaber from a Douma hospital has described a video depicting victims of an alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta as fabricated footage.
"Many people burst into the hospital. Among them were those clad in medical outfit but they were not our employees, and I do not think that they were medics at all. They started shouting something about a chemical attack dousing people with water and all this was filmed. As a result, rumors were spread among Douma residents, something which in turn sparked panic," Jaber said.
He added that the medics did not know the cause of all this chaos and that doctors approached people who were wet from water, but who had no signs that they were damaged by chemical weapons.
According to Jaber, symptoms indicating that a person is affected by a chemical warfare agent include burns or sores on the skin and eyes, as well as coughing, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, involuntary urination and defecation, skin acne, rashes and severely narrowed pupils.
"The participants of the staged video did not have these symptoms," the doctor underlined.
He drew attention to the fact that using chemical weapons typically leads to the death of animals and insects in a kill zone where trees and grass wither, being covered by dust.
"All those who were hit by chemical weapons can be hospitalized long after a chemical attack; a strong smell of fruit, flowers or garlic emerges in the air. As you can see, all this is not the case with Douma," Jaber stressed.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Hasan Diab, the Syrian boy who told Russian Rossiya 24 TV channel about the details of the fake video of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, should speak at the UN Security Council.
Earlier this month, a number of media outlets and Western countries accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7.
The Syrian government and the Russian Defense Ministry rejected the allegations as a false flag provocation, which they said was staged by the White Helmets group to influence public opinion and prod the US to launch a missile strike on Syria.
The views and opinions expressed by Mirwan Jaber are those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
Another Boy Says Got Food For Filming
in Staged Douma Chemical Attack Footage
DOUMA (April 20, 2018) -- One more Syrian boy, 10-year-old Mustafa, who was portrayed as a victim in a video of the alleged chemical attack’s aftermath in the city of Douma, told Sputnik that the kids had been given cookies and bags of potatoes for their featuring in the staged filming.
Mustafa, thereby, entirely confirmed the account of the events shared by another minor participant of the footage, which was used to justify the Western countries’ military action against Damascus.
Earlier in the week, 11-year-old Syrian boy, Hasan Diab, and his father told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that the kids got dates, cookies and rice for featuring in the video. The boy said that he was in a basement in Douma with his mother when someone shouted to go to the hospital. When they came, somebody grabbed him, poured water on him and put him on a bed with other people in order to shoot a video. The man added that there was no chemical attack in the city.
Mustafa lives in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. He long refused to talk to Sputnik correspondents, since Jaish al-Islam* militants, who used to control the major part of the area for years, insisted that people from the government-controlled areas hate children and aim to kill them. The scared boy declined to speak to the camera. Correspondents only managed to take a picture of him from a distance. After a while, the kid got settled and started speaking out.
"[We] Kids were gathered near the hospital and told that we would get cookies and bags of potatoes, if we did everything right. Some people brought large packets, but we were not aware what was inside. Then, we were poured with water from [hoses]. Then, the grown-ups grabbed kids and ran to the hospital. There, we were being filmed. Later, we were given the promised food and told that we were allowed to play, since we were behaving well and did what we were told," Mustafa said.
The boy said that Jaish al-Islam militants pledged to give the kids sweet dates if they followed their instructions. The kid also shared details about children’s plight in the areas of Eastern Ghouta that had been held by militants.
"Usually, we were not allowed to visit schools and play. We had to work. If they [militants] saw some of the kids play, they shouted at them and sent them home," Mustafa noted.
Reports about the alleged chemical attack in Douma emerged on April 7. The European Union and the United States have said the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind the attack, however, Damascus has refuted the allegations, saying the alleged attack was staged by the Jaish al-Islam group to create a pretext for foreign intervention in Syria.
Russia's Foreign Ministry has said the goal of the reports was to provide cover for terrorists and justify the use of military force against Assad.
*Jaish al-Islam — terrorist group, banned in Russia
Terrorists' Chemical Weapon Plant Discovered In Syria's Douma
Sputnik News & Muraselon.com
(April 22, 2018) -- Syrian government forces patrolling Douma have uncovered a makeshift chemical weapons factory, which was apparently used to brew deadly toxins by terrorists who were recently driven from the area.
An ongoing search operation in the Damascus suburb of Douma led to the discovery of a series of underground rooms that were apparently used by terrorists to make chemical weapons.
The labs are located in the basements of residential buildings and are linked by a network of tunnels. The tunnels also connect the labs to underground chemical storerooms and a weapon assembly area where poisons could be loaded into shells or rockets.
A source in the Syrian army told Sputnik that "many chemicals had 'made in Saudi Arabia' labels," and that the area also contained numerous instruction manuals on making poisonous substances and explosives. Specialists working at the site also believe that the facility was used to help stage a provocation involving the use of chemical weapons in an attempt to blame it on Damascus, the source added.
Russian personnel are currently sweeping the area and studying the chemicals and documents that were abandoned by terrorists during their retreat.
Last week, a fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons visited Douma to collect samples in a bid to investigate the alleged April 7 chemical attack.
The Syrian government denied responsibility for this incident, and earlier in March, the Russian Defense Ministry had warned that terrorists in Syria might be planning a false-flag attack involving chemical weapons.
The US, the UK and France opted not to await the investigation results and launched a massive missile strike against Syria, which they claimed targeted government facilities used to manufacture chemical weapons.
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