Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

As Alternative Facts Sites Deny Growing Proof, Anti-War Patrick Cockburn, “Mounting Evidence” of Chlorine Gas Attack in Douma.

with 22 comments

Alternative Fact media and Web sites continue to cast doubt on the Chlorine gas attacks in Syria.

Yesterday  the Morning Star published this,

Today, the pretext for escalating Britain’s military involvement in Syria is that the Assad regime — the internationally recognised, legitimate and elected government in Damascus — is guilty of a poison gas attack on the citizens of Douma.

Film of the aftermath, broadcast across the world in recent days, shows a troupe of very camera-conscious young men washing down the victims, all of whom are children, most of them looking more bewildered than wounded or incapacitated, and without a distressed parent or relative in sight.

Skwawkbox peddles this line,

The gas attack

The video footage of distressed children and adults being given inhalers and oxygen in Douma has been powerful – but has not been verified.

Russia has said it found no trace of a chlorine attack in Douma when its personnel visited the town. Many will immediately and understandably dismiss that statement – but the Russians may not have been the only ones to visit.

Russian media claim that the Red Crescent – the equivalent of the Red Cross in Muslim areas – also visited the city and found nothing to suggest a chemical attack had taken place. This information can currently be found only in Russian sources – but should be easily verifiable if true. The SKWAWKBOX has sent a press enquiry to Red Cross headquarters to ask whether the organisation will verify or deny the claims.

Horrific incidents in the Middle East have been fabricated on at least one occasion. The ‘Nayirah testimony’ to US politicians in 1990, for example, helped to cement the case for the 1990-91 invasion of Iraq.

The Canary makes the following speculations,

1) Syrian opposition forces may have chemical weapons.

2) Assad regime was on the verge of victory in the area anyway.

3) The sources are linked to the anti-Assad opposition.

By contrast on the ground reporter and long-term writer on the region Patrick Cockburn writes today,

How can we know that a chemical weapons attack took place in Syria?

Analysis: Even seemingly blatant war crimes can be denied in a war characterised by lack of access. But evidence pointing to chemical attack continues to mount

…the Russian military claim that the attack was faked by pro-opposition activists and that samples taken from the site of where the civilians died were not toxic. The Syrian government issues blanket denials when accused of using poison gas.

But there is mounting evidence from neutral observers to confirm that chlorine was used last Saturday. The World Health Organisation says that local health authorities in Douma, with whom it is cooperating, confirm that on the day of the alleged bombing they treated 500 patients with the symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals. It reports that “there were signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to the central nervous systems of those exposed”.

Other evidence for the gassing of civilians is cumulatively convincing: large gas cylinders, like those used in past chlorine gas attacks, were filmed on the roof of the building where most bodies were found. Local people report that Syrian government helicopters were seen in the area at the time of the attack. Such helicopters have been used in chlorine gas bombings in the past.

The Russian and Syrian government accounts of what happened, varying between saying there were no attacks or that evidence for them has been fabricated, are contradictory. A Russian spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the use of “smart missiles” on Syrian government forces could be an attempt to destroy the evidence.

Will an attack by the USA, endorsed by President Macron and Teras May help?

For all the furore about the proposed missile strike on Syrian forces – likely to happen in the very near future – it is difficult to see what it will achieve other than as a general sign of international disapproval of the use of chemical weapons. Hawks in the US and Europe may want to use the occasion to reopen the door to armed intervention in the Syrian civil war with the aim of weakening or displacing Assad, but the time for this is long past, if it was ever there.

There is a widely held myth that US air strikes against government forces in 2013, which President Barack Obama is blamed for not having carried out, would have brought the war to a different and happier conclusion. But such air strikes would only have been effective if they had been conducted on a mass scale and on a daily basis in support of ground troops. These would either have been Sunni Arab armed opposition forces, which were already dominated by al-Qaeda-type movements, or the US army in a rerun of the Iraq War of 2003.


Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm

22 Responses

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  1. From someone on the ground in Douma: https://twitter.com/VanessaBeeley/status/984372991537635328

    Need to be a bit less hasty in letting your eagerness to get digs in from muting your critical faculties…


    April 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

  2. Since when did the much-esteemed journal, the Morning Star – the ‘flagship’ of the Left – become an “alternative facts” website and “fake news outlet”?


    April 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

  3. Since when did the much-esteemed journal, Skwawkbox – the ‘flagship’ of the Left – become an “alternative facts website” and “fake news outlet”?


    April 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

  4. So SKWAWKBOX has started citing Vanessa Beeley,

    She is a known apologist for the Assad regime.

    “Beeley frequently criticises the White Helmets in her role as editor of the website 21st Century Wire, set up by Patrick Henningsen, who is also a former editor at Infowars.com.

    In 2016, Beeley had a two-hour meeting with Assad in Damascus as part of a US Peace Council delegation, which she described on Facebook as her “proudest moment”. She was also invited to Moscow to report on the ; there, she met including the deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Maria Zakharova, director of information and press at Russia’s foreign ministry.”


    “Smeared, feared and followed by the Establishment” no doubt….

    Andrew Coates

    April 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm

  5. Assad is not going to be going down like Saddam and Gaddafi. Not with an ally like Putin.


    April 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm

  6. We won’t be seeing Assad being decapitated at the end of a rope or crawling from the sewer to be bludgeoned to death by jeering crowds on our TV screens anytime soon. Russia will kick some serious ass if Trump, May and Macron try and topple Assad.


    April 12, 2018 at 4:43 pm

  7. How would YOU feel if you were fighting for your life because Assad is fighting for his very life! The stakes couldn’t be higher for Assad.

    Chemical Ali

    April 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm

  8. He has a friend in Vanessa Beeley who sounds a bit like Piers Corbyn these days.

    Andrew Coates

    April 12, 2018 at 5:10 pm

  9. SKWAWKBOX finds ‘curiosities’ in Yulia Skripal’s ‘statement’:

    “I was discharged like from Salisbury District Hospital like on the 9th April 2018 like u know wot I mean like innit. I was treated there like with obvious clinical expertise like and with such kindness, that I have found I missed the staff like immediately, innit….

    For the moment like I do not wish to speak to the press likeor the media like u know wot I mean like, innit, and ask for their understanding like and patience like whilst I try to come to terms like with my current situation like, innit.”

    Inspector Clueless

    April 12, 2018 at 5:24 pm

  10. Meanwhile…

    Andrew Coates

    April 12, 2018 at 5:31 pm

  11. Vanessa Beeley

    April 12, 2018 at 5:48 pm

  12. Theresa May bombing Russia could be Maggie Thatcher’s Falklands War. She desperately needs a war with Russia if she is to have any to survive politically. Bombing Putin into oblivion will ensure challengers for the Tory leadership such as Rees-Mogg and Johnson are headed off at the pass.

    Peruvian Peace Plan (lost in the post)

    April 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm

  13. Theresa May bombing Russia could be Maggie Thatcher’s Falklands War. She desperately needs a war with Russia if she is to have any chance to survive politically. Bombing Putin into oblivion will ensure challengers for the Tory leadership such as Rees-Mogg and Johnson are headed off at the pass.

    Peruvian Peace Plan (lost in the post)

    April 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

  14. Is she behind this?

    Andrew Coates

    April 13, 2018 at 5:22 pm

  15. Are we really supposed to believe what the BBC and the UK Government are telling us? Both have been caught lying before. They are proven liars the pair of them.

    Red Shadow

    April 13, 2018 at 7:35 pm

  16. […] Comrade Coatesey, who’s been on the case, here and […]

  17. No Red Shadow, we are supposed to believe the facts! The BBC just report them. If you don’t trust UK governments, fine, but do you trust Putin, Assad etc? I presume then you won’t be voting labour at the next election then if you don’t trust UK governments.

    Steven Johnston

    April 23, 2018 at 9:33 am

  18. Uripal – That is a shame as Assad is a thieving, murdering ******, who would deserve such a fate. But then you gave the game away by talking about Putin kicking some serious ***, so I know you are being sarcastic.

    The same goes for you, Mr Chemical Ali, with your comments about Assad fighting for his life! LOL, Assad is a mad martinet, who fights with other people’s lives! He will fight to the very last drop of their blood, not his. If he loses the war he and his wealthy and well heeled wife will be desperately crawling around, kissing *** and trying to find a safe haven to end their days. Preferably in the lap of luxury with all they have stolen from the workers of Syria.

    Steven Johnston

    April 23, 2018 at 9:48 am

  19. War crimes: Mehdi Hasan on superb form in an important article on why it wouldn’t actually matter if Assad was guilty of using chemical weapons in Ghouta. Not sure whether the link will show up here, but if not go to the Intercept website.and/or Bob From Brockley, who’s got a link to it on his most recent post.

    Jim Denham

    April 23, 2018 at 11:24 am

  20. What is this drivel about Theresa May needing a war with Russia to win an election? Surely that is a kite even the most irrational leftie could not get off the ground.

    Steven Johnston

    April 23, 2018 at 11:55 am

  21. Talking of irrational lefties.

    “he candidate, Mandy Richards, already faces calls to stand down – with Worcester’s former Labour MP, Mike Foster, saying she should be “sacked immediately”.

    Ms Richards is also the subject of a high court restraining order, and has been banned from bringing court actions without the permission of a judge after she spent an estimated £500,000 in taxpayers’ cash on false claims.

    She had alleged that MI5, MI6, the Metropolitan Police, the Army, Thames Water, the Royal Mail, Hackney Council, her GP and others were harassing her.

    In 2017, after a terrorist murdered 5 people including a police officer at Westminster, she Tweeted a video with the caption “Westminster ‘terror attack’ investigation. Are we being lied to again?”.

    “Labour candidate Mandy Richards Tweets about the Westminster terror attacks
    Ms Richards added the comment: “Glad someone asking right questions about terror coverage. #JoCox incident conveniently bereft of evidence too.”

    This was a reference to the murder of MP Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist in 2016.

    And following the terrorist bombing of Manchester Arena, which killed 23, she Tweeted: “Can news agencies,police or anyone else for that matter explain why still no images/footage of physical damage at #ManchesterArena?”.

    Andrew Coates

    April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm

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