Translated by Philippe Leroy
Terrible videos showing dozens of corpses, mostly children, victims of the “Syrian army’s chemical attack” in Khan Shaykhun, have drawn a wide response across the globe. Mainstream media immediately began to spread the horrible footage of Assad’s “atrocities”, without even gaining an insight into the reliability of the broadcasting information. Using this occasion, the US administration was able to show the decisive nature of its new policy in the Middle East and retaliated against the Syrian Shayrat airbase.
However, after that, experts began to look closely at the “proof” of using chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun, thereby embarrassing questions arose.
First of all, footage of the same video, shot by the NGO “White Helmets” and unnamed eyewitnesses, is replicated in the media (CBS, ABC News, CNN, Euronews, Smart News, Associated Press, and others). No other confirmations of a chemical attack taking place are provided.
Secondly, the first reports on the engagement of poisonous substances in Khan Shaykhun appeared on the Internet early in the morning on April 4th, while the air strikes of the Syrian Air Force on terrorist positions were carried out several hours later, at 11am.
According to the report of an “independent” British project of investigative journalism Bellingcat, at 6:22am (UTC) Edlib Media Center started an online broadcast from the site of the tragedy. At 6:33am (UTC) a video showing the corpses of 9 children appeared on Youtube. When clicking on the link, we see that the video was published on April 3rd. According to IT specialists, there is no technical information (where, when, by whom the file was created) on all the videos distributed on the Internet. I.e. all the metadata was previously deleted, and only then did the video appeared on the Internet, therefore it is not possible to establish its authorship, as well as the place and time of the shooting.
Thirdly, in shot we see the operator’s bare hands without any protective means, which raises doubts about the authenticity of what is going on. Experts on chemical weapons note that after the sarin attack death occurs within 15 minutes, and its lethal concentration in the air persists for a day.
However, “White Helmets” video and photo evidence shows that all those who provide assistance to the victims are working without special means of protection, and journalists using only primitive respirators are covering events later on the same day. Footage shows still living people, which indicates that the chemical attack has just occurred, and it is not clear how the cameramen and rescuers haven’t yet died without the use of protective equipment, and why they didn’t show symptoms of poisoning. In addition, the affected children should have died earlier than the adults due to their small weight. The video shows a clear discrepancy – adult men are dead, and young children are alive.
Moreover, when commenting on the effects of the chemical attack, experts point out that a road crater couldn’t have appeared from the gas attack, as the “journalist” Hadi Abdallah demonstrates in a video. The chemical charge is triggered above the ground to cause the maximum damaging effect, otherwise the active substance will burn out without causing harm to others.
Fourthly, the symptoms of the victims of the “chemical attack” also raise a number of questions. Gassing causes convulsions, spasms, uncontrollable excrement, excessive salivation, hidrosis, severe pains, and a growing sense of fear. None of these symptoms are observed in the Khan Shaykhun victims. Corpses lie in natural relaxed poses, but they should be flailing in pain, children should breathe heavily, but they behave calmly, don’t yell and don’t cry. Their clothing and underwear are clean.
With regard to the above mentioned, symptoms of poisoning also appear non-simultaneously and unevenly: some have miotic pupils, others have rough breathing, others have nosebleeds.
Fifthly, the analysis of the “White Helmets” videos by medical specialists indicates that the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun is a simulation.
The chairman of the non-governmental research association “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights” (SWEDHR), Professor Marcello Vittorio Ferrada de Noli and his colleagues studied the actions of the “rescuers” of the chemical attack victims and concluded that: the children shown in the video are more likely to be under the influence of drugs than poisonous substances; epinephrine injection is also done incorrectly and can lead to the death of the child. According to Swedish doctors, the White Helmets activists don’t rescue, but purposefully kill children, so that they can be misrepresent as the victims of the Syrian army.
Opinions of independent analysts have also appeared on the Internet. For example, the US security expert Joel Scausen believes that “the incident in Khan Shaykhun is a fake, and the mainstream media are accusing Assad of chemical attack when the only source of information they rely on are the US-backed Syrian rebels”. According to him, such an incident is part of political manipulation, aiming to exert pressure, including on the US President Donald Trump and his policy in the Middle East.
The media have formed a steady negative image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, so another demonstration of his “atrocities” may possibly create favorable conditions for increasing pressure on the international community, forcing it to take action against Damascus, as well as against the support of Moscow and Tehran. In addition, a detailed information campaign after the story with the chemical attack may be aimed at diverting attention from US air strikes on the Syrian territory and the legitimacy of the actions of the international coalition, as well as the situation in Iraq. After all, now the UN will become bewildered by the investigation of the tragedy in Khan Shaykhun, but not by the victims of the bombing of Mosul or by the issue of violation of Syrian sovereignty.
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