April 8, 2017 - No. 12
Against U.S. Attack on Syria
Oppose U.S. Air
Strikes Against Syria!
No to Escalating the Military Conflict!
Hands Off Syria!
• Make Canada
a Zone for Peace!
Positions on U.S. Air
• United States Government
• Government of Canada
• Syrian President and Legislative
• Russian President and Officials
Positions on April 4
of Chemical Weapons in Syria
• Deputy Prime Minister of Syria
Says Army Did Not and Will Not Use Chemical Weapons Even Against
• Information Provided by Russian
• What the U.S. Said at April 5 UN
Security Council Meeting
• Another Dangerous Rush to
Judgment in Syria
- Robert Parry -
• Why Is Media Citing Man Accused
of Kidnapping Journalists as Credible Source on Syrian Chemical
- Ben Norton -
Join Demonstrations Against U.S. Attack
Oppose U.S. Air Strikes Against Syria!
No to Escalating the
Hands Off Syria!
Windsor picket April 7, 2017 against U.S. air strikes on Syria.
The U.S. launched a criminal attack against Syrian
targets at 8:40 pm on April 6. Fifty-nine Tomahawk Land Attack
Missiles were launched from U.S. destroyers in the eastern
Mediterranean Sea targeting aircraft, aircraft shelters, fuel and
other storage, ammunition, air defence systems, and radar at the
Shayrat Airfield in Homs province.
The airfield has played a significant role in the
army's recent battles against ISIL in central, northern and
eastern Syria to liberate cities, including Palmyra, Raqqa and
Deir Ezzor. Talal al-Barazi, Governor of Homs told media that
casualties included the deaths of five soldiers and nine
civilians, four of them children from nearby villages hit by
U.S. imperialist president
Donald Trump used the pretext of deaths due to the April 4 use of
chemical weapons on civilians, which he blamed on Syrian President
Bashar Al Assad, to launch the attack. It is reported that the chemical
weapons belonged to forces in the pay of the Anglo-American
imperialists and were released when the Syrian armed forces bombed what
they thought was an arms depot of the terrorists -- an airstrike
the Russians had already informed the Americans would take place. It is
increasingly evident that the chemical weapons were used by terrorist
groups as part of a deliberate provocation to blame the Syrian
President. Without waiting for an investigation on who used the
chemical weapons, the Trump administration declared the Syrian
government guilty and targeted the airfield from which the Syrians
launched their attack on the arms depot.
The aim is to ensure that there is no peaceful,
resolution of the conflict in Syria under the auspices of the
Syrians themselves along with those countries they have sought
assistance from, including Russia. The cruise missile attack comes
after 1,000 U.S. ground troops invaded the country in the past
weeks with another 1,500 expected to enter soon after. On April 1, the Trump
administration announced that it will no longer disclose the
number of U.S. troops in Syria.
News agencies report that there will be no further
strikes until "another decision is made." Russia, which was alerted
through military channels before the attack, announced the suspension
of military communications, called "deconfliction," designed to prevent
accidental collisions between the air forces of the two countries
operating over Syrian airspace. The following day, the Trudeau
government declared that it "fully supports" the attack.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
firmly condemns the use of chemical weapons and targeting of civilians
along with the refusal of the Americans, Canadians and other
allies to permit warranted conclusions to be drawn from proper
investigations into their use so as to bring those responsible to
justice under the proper procedures prescribed under international law.
on all its members, supporters and friends and all Canadians to condemn
the U.S. air strikes carried out under the pretext of high ideals and
and protests to oppose this dangerous escalation of military
force and Canada's support. Go all out to make Canada a zone for peace!
Begins Ground Invasion of
Syria," TML Weekly, March 25, 2017.
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Action outside U.S. consulate in Vancouver, April 7, 2017.
The U.S. intervention in Syria violates the UN Charter
and as such is illegal. Syria has not
attacked the United States. The U.S. cannot claim self-defence
and the action is not authorized by the Security Council of the
United Nations. Despite not conforming to international law,
along with the Trump Administration, the Trudeau government is
saying the attack is a moral imperative to stop a brutal dictator
they say has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
They are reporting as a fact that the Syrian government is
responsible for the use of some form of chemical weapon against
the population in Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province on April 4. The
attack is reported to have killed at least 70 people. This is the
pretext for the latest criminal U.S. air strikes against Syria on the
night of April 6, which the Government of Canada supported the
A main source of the information and the video footage
of the attack being repeated on cable news stations is the White
Helmets. The group claims to be a civil defence organization yet since
its founding by a British mercenary in 2013 has been an outspoken
advocate of military intervention in the form of a U.S. "No Fly Zone"
over Syria. The images and video footage they produce are all to
support these calls for military intervention.
The White Helmets footage depicts men dressed in the organization's
uniform, without gloves or other safety protection, tending to and
spraying with hoses people lying on a muddy street.
Idlib is among the last
significant areas in Syria held by so-called rebel groups. When Aleppo,
some 60 kilometres away, was liberated in December, foreign-sponsored
armed groups, affiliated organizations such as the White Helmets and a
small number of civilians were evacuated to Idlib. Control of Idlib as
well as Khan Sheikhun, where the April 4 attack took place, is held
mostly by the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliated group that has
gone by various names including the latest, Tahrir al-Sham. Al Nusra is
accused of having used chemical weapons in the past; its members have
been arrested in Turkey for sarin gas possession and they left behind
in Aleppo a facility used for chlorine gas production, found after the
city was liberated.
The Syrian army general command issued a statement on
condemning and categorically denying any involvement in the
crime, and stated that it has not and will not use any chemical
weapons. The army command stated that foreign-sponsored groups
"accuse the Syrian Arab Army of using toxic gases against them or
against civilians at anytime they fail to implement the targets
of their sponsors and operators or when they are unable to
achieve any advantages on the ground in a desperate attempt to
justify their failure and to maintain the support of their
In an interview with the
Lebanese network al-Mayadeen TV on
April 4, before the U.S. air strikes, Syrian Deputy Foreign and
Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad said that a few weeks ago,
the Syrian government informed and provided evidence to the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and
the United Nations' Security Council that organizations,
including Al-Nusra were transporting and storing toxic substances
in Syria. He affirmed that Syria stands against using chemical
weapons by anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstances.
The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical
Convention, which aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons
of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production,
acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical
weapons by States Parties. On June 23, 2014, the OPCW confirmed
that Syria had successfully disposed of its chemical weapons
stocks and production facilities.
Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired
senior officer of
U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green
Berets) provided the following account on his website on April 7:
Donald Trump's decision to launch cruise missile strikes
on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie. In the coming days the
American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that
Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in
Idlib. Here is what happened:
1. The Russians briefed the United States on the
proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months
ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate
and deconflict (i.e., prevent U.S. and Russian air assets from shooting
at each other) the upcoming operation.
2. The United States was fully briefed on the fact that
there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believed was a
weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
3. The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional
weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion.
That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing
from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to
store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included
organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed
4. There was a strong wind blowing that day and the
cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
5. We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The
so-called "first responders" handled the victims without gloves. If
this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill
you. How do I know? I went through "Live Agent" training at Fort
McClellan in Alabama.
There are members of the U.S.
military who were aware this strike would occur and it was recorded.
There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows
that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military
chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia.
Calgary, April 7, 2017.
Creating a pretext to justify aggression is the tried
and true method of the U.S. imperialists. They have not been able to
pursue their striving to control Europe and dominate Asia with approval
under international law from the Security Council of the United
Nations. Thus, they have created humanitarian crises with crimes so
heinous that they expect world public opinion to clamour for them to
act as liberators. Acting as liberators is indeed what they were
supposed to do in the period before World War II when instead the
British, with the full support of Canada's prime minister, engaged in
the Munich Betrayal and during the war delayed opening a Second Front
that would alleviate the pressure on the Soviet Union and its people,
who bore the brunt of Hitler's murderous offensive.
they are not liberators, they are the perpetrators of crimes
against peace and crimes against humanity, the very crimes
condemned by the Nuremberg Trials, where the principles on which
the post-war international rule of law is based were
The missile attack on the Syrian air base April 6 is
latest such atrocity of the U.S. war machine. In October 2016,
the U.S. killed or wounded more than 160 Syrian soldiers who were
defending the city of Deir Ezzor against Daesh/ISIS. This
demonstrated yet again direct U.S. support for this so-called
Islamist reincarnation of the U.S.-created Al-Qaeda.
Attempts to persuade the peoples of the world of a
moral imperative to justify intervention on humanitarian grounds have
proven to have been manufactured from the time of the first Iraq war in
1991 and the dismemberment of Yugoslavia by NATO in 1999. Then and
since, the U.S. and big European powers have themselves staged criminal
massacres to create humanitarian crises, which they then blame on one
regime after another, accusing them of being barbaric rogue states.
Evidence shows that the
pretexts are set in motion or directly put in place by the imperialist
powers' own covert agencies and that the big powers and their media
cite the falsified "evidence" as pretexts for their use of force to
take over those countries that they covet.
The results are disastrous, they leave death and wanton
destruction in their wake. U.S. regime change operations in the
Middle East have now created among the worst humanitarian refugee
crises ever experienced by humanity.
The U.S. has resolved no problem on the basis of its
invasions and acts of aggression in one country after another. It
spawned Al-Qaeda and ISIS and despite its continued presence
experienced one defeat after another. This isolated the U.S. and led
the Obama administration to try to change tack to realize U.S.
ambitions through other means, including negotiations, as it did with
Iran, along with massive expansion of drone and other targeted
The Trump administration has now smashed this to
with its missile attack in Syria on April 6. It thinks that this
will serve notice to all those fighting to preserve their
sovereignty. The boorishness of the new U.S. president is such
that he thinks that by launching this attack, even while the
Chinese president was with him at an official dinner at his
private estate in Florida, that the Chinese will do the U.S.
bidding to "rein in" the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
under the threat of nuclear destruction at the hands of the
TML Weekly calls on Canadians to draw warranted
conclusions and appreciate the need to take independent political
stands. Doing so will prevent the propaganda of the Government of
Canada and liberal apologists for aggression and war and so-called
humanitarian imperialism from being able to claim a mandate for their
crimes. The non-fabricated war crimes and daily crimes against humanity
for which these imperialists are responsible show that we cannot look
for a cure from the gods of plague. They reaffirm that amidst all the
lies, half-truths and disinformation it is most important to take a
stand of principle that conflicts must be resolved on a peaceful,
political basis and Canada must become a zone for peace, not an
accomplice of the U.S. imperialists.
In this issue, TML Weekly is providing readers
the positions of the Syrians, Russians and U.S. on the April 4
reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army and their
positions on the U.S. missile attack on Syria on April 6. Along
with this, news and commentary from various sources is provided
to show evidence that it was not the Syrians who used chemical
weapons in that country on April 4.
All Out to Make Sure Canada Is a Zone
Oppose U.S. Aggression Against Syria!
Do not Permit the Dangers
of War to Increase Further!
1. See "Call to Nominate
Group for Nobel Peace Prize," TML Weekly, October 1,
2016 and Enver
Villamizar, "Promotion of "White Helmets" Serves
Nefarious Aims," TML Weekly, December 10, 2016.
2. Seymour Hersh, "Whose sarin?" London
"In the months before the [2013 Ghouta] attack, the
intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified
reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order -- a planning
document that precedes a ground invasion -- citing evidence that
the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had
mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of
manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra
should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked
intelligence to justify a strike against Assad."
"Turkey indicts 11 linked with Syria militants caught
sarin gas," PressTV, September 14, 2013.
"Turkey intercepts chemical shipment from Syria," al
Akhbar, November 4, 2013.
"This is Where Syrian Rebels Obtain Chemical Weapons,"
Sputnik, November 12, 2016.
"Syrian Army Discovers Saudi-Made Chemical Weapons in
Aleppo," Alwaght, January 11, 2017.
Semper Tyrannis, April 7, 2017.
4. The Munich Pact of 1938 was
an agreement between the heads
of the British Empire, France, Hitlerite Germany and Fascist
Italy for the partition of Czechoslovakia, signed in Munich on
September 29. It provided to Hitler the transfer to Germany of
the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia, with all its installations
and fortifications, factories, plants, raw material reserves, and
means of transportation, and provided territorial
concessions to other regional powers. The Munich Pact aimed to
divert fascist aggression towards the countries of eastern Europe
and the Soviet Union and prevent any anti-fascist united front
Positions on U.S. Air Strike
United States Government
Action outside the White House, April 7, 2017 condemns U.S. air strikes
the previous night. Immediate actions took place in a number of U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke shortly after the
attack, saying "Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on
the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was
launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the
United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly
chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned
chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical
Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security
Trump stated, "Years of previous attempts at changing
behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically. As a
result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region
continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its
"Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in
seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to
end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God's wisdom
as we face the challenge of our very troubled world," he
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke about "the
circumstances that exist on the ground in Syria with the presence
of a battle underway to defeat ISIS, the presence of Al-Qaeda
elements inside of Syria and a civil war that is underway." He
stated that an "existential threat" in Syria is "if there are
weapons of this nature available in Syria, the ability to secure
those weapons and not have them fall into the hands of those who
would bring the weapons to our shores to harm American
Tillerson said the plans to launch the attack were a
deliberative process" and that "the response from our allies, as
well as the region and the Middle East has been overwhelmingly
supportive of the action we've taken." Tillerson said that "Other
things were considered. Those were rejected for any number of
reasons. In my view, the president made the exact, correct
H.R. McMaster, U.S. National Security Adviser issued a
statement claiming that the U.S. "confidence level has just
continued to grow in the hours and days since the attack,
associated with additional evidence, especially with so sad,
sadly, with the victims that are being treated and confirmation
of the type of agent which was used, which is a nerve agent."
McMaster stated, "There were three options we discussed with the
president, and the president asked us to focus on two options in
particular, to mature those options, and he had a series of
questions for us that we endeavored to answer. ... After a
meeting of considerable length and a far-reaching discussion, the
president decided to act and that's the general sequence of
events. So, two rather large and formal meetings, but really a
whole series of discussions since the time of the attacks."
The U.S. State Department issued its own report focused
the technical details of the attack. It also stated that the
attack "was a proportional response to Assad's heinous act.
Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian
air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that
aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on
April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using
chemical weapons again. ... Initial indications are that this
strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and
support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield,
reducing the Syrian Government's ability to deliver chemical
Demonstration in New York City, April 7, 2017.
Government of Canada
In the House of Commons on
April 7, Prime Minister Trudeau
confirmed that Canada was given advanced warning of the strike
via a briefing from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to
Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, who then informed the Prime
Minister. Trudeau stated that he spoke with U.S. President Trump the
morning of April 7 and voiced his support for the strike. The Prime
Minister said in the House, "In the face of such heinous war crimes,
all civilized peoples must speak with one voice."
The exchange in the House of Commons reveals the
about-face of the Trudeau
government on the legitimacy of military action without UN Security
Council authorization. It
shows the Trudeau government saying one thing the day before the
attack, and another after
receiving marching orders from the U.S. when it acts unilaterally and
then claims to speak for
all "civilized nations."
(Carleton, CPC): [T]he Prime
Minister is being dangerously
naive on Syria. Yesterday, he said that the United Nations Security
Council needed to have a
meeting, pass resolutions, and hold an investigation to find out who
was originally responsible
for the chemical attacks against Syrian civilians, including children.
Only hours later, the
United States launched missile strikes against the origins of those
very chemical attacks. Why
is it that the Prime Minister continues to put all of his faith in the
Security Council, which has
failed to confront Bashar al-Assad?
Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.): [L]ast
the United States
Secretary of Defense briefed Canada's Minister of National Defence in
advance of the
American military strike in Syria. The Minister of National Defence
then immediately briefed
me. This morning, I spoke with the President directly and emphasized
that Canada agrees that
Assad's repeated use of chemical weapons must not continue. In the face
of such heinous war
crimes, all civilized peoples must speak with one voice. That is why
Canada fully supports the
United States' limited focused action to degrade the Assad regime's
ability to launch such
attacks. We continue to support diplomatic efforts with our
international partners to resolve
the crisis in Syria.
Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC): [...]
[Y]esterday that was not the Prime Minister's position. At that point,
he said it was not even
clear who was responsible for the chemical attacks on Syrian civilians,
and that the UN
Security Council needed to hold another meeting, which would include a
veto power by the
Russian federation. When will the Prime Minister stop being so
dangerously naive and
confront this dictator and tyrant?
Justin Trudeau (Prime
Minister, Lib.): [L]ast
Defense briefed our Minister of National Defence in advance of the
American military action
in Syria. The Minister of National Defence immediately conveyed the
information to me, and
I spoke with the President directly this morning. I emphasized that
Assad's repeated use of
chemical weapons must stop. In the face of these war crimes, all
civilized societies must
speak with one voice. That is why Canada fully supports the United
States' limited, focused
action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to perpetrate such
attacks. We continue to support
diplomatic efforts with our international partners to resolve the
crisis in Syria.
also reiterated Canada's aim of bringing about regime change in Syria
and to lay grounds to criminalize anyone who presents a dissenting
opinion. He said:
"We know that we must use
diplomacy to create a secure and peaceful regime for the people of
"Nevertheless, we recognize
that the actions taken by the U.S. were necessary to degrade the Assad
regime's capabilities and, as I said yesterday, to send a clear message
that anyone who supports the Assad regime is partly responsible for
these chemical attacks."
Then came these remarks from
the Defence Minister:
Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence,
Secretary of Defence briefed me in advance of the American military
action in Syria. I then
immediately briefed the Prime Minister. As we saw this morning, the
Prime Minister spoke
with the President of the United States directly and emphasized that
Assad's repeated use of
chemical weapons must not continue.
In the face of such heinous war crimes, all civilized
people must speak
with one voice. That
is why Canada fully supports the United States' limited, focused action
to degrade the Assad
regime's ability to launch such attacks. We continue to support
diplomatic efforts with our
international partners to resolve the crisis in Syria.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office the
of April 7 stated:
"Canada fully supports the United States' limited and
action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical
weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many
children. President Assad's use of chemical weapons and the
crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people
cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to
continue with impunity.
"This week's attack in southern Idlib and the suffering
Syrians is a war crime and is unacceptable. Canada condemns all
uses of chemical weapons.
"Canada will continue to support diplomatic efforts to
resolve the crisis in Syria."
Vancouver action at U.S. Consulate, April 7, 2017.
Syrian President and Legislative Assembly
Damascus Syria, September 9, 2013
U.S. aggression against Syria is "an irresponsible and
short-sighted action that holds no military or political
prospects," the Syrian presidential office said in a statement
circulated by the news agency SANA the day following the U.S. air
The missile strike pursues a goal of rendering support
accomplices of the U.S. from among terrorist groups active in
Syria, the statement reads. "The Syrian Arab Republic states in
response that this aggression will only strengthen Syrians'
resolve to crush mercenaries' gangs and will accelerate the pace
of military operations against them," it adds.
For its part, the Syrian People's Assembly condemned
aggression in the strongest terms, SANA reports.
"This blatant aggression came in defence of the
terrorist organizations and in an attempt to revive them since
Israel failed to carry out this mission before," the Assembly
said in a statement. It added that the United States, the sponsor
of terrorism in the world, began to practice terrorism against
Syria after its terrorist tools failed to achieve any progress
against the Syrian Arab Army.
"This new U.S. aggression, added to the aggression on
units in Deir Ezzor and the bombing of the Euphrates Dam
faciliities, reveals again the falsity of the U.S. allegations of
combating ISIS terrorist organization," the statement said. It
also extended greetings to the steadfast Syrian people and wished
a speedy recovery to the wounded, SANA says.
The Syrian Arab Army will not be deterred by this
aggression from defeating terrorism and its
supporters and clearing the entire Syrian soil of terrorism,
the Legislative Assembly said in conclusion.
Russian President and Officials
Russian officials on April 7 condemned the U.S. strike
against a Syrian airfield as an "act of aggression." In addition,
Russia called off its use of a shared military communications channel
that had been used to prevent possible midair collisions between U.S.
and Russian pilots, TASS reports. Called the deconfliction line, it was
established in October 2015 after several close calls between U.S. and
Russian air forces in Syrian skies. It is now suspended as of April 8.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of
"far-fetched pretext" to attack Syria following this week's
chemical weapons strike, the news agency TASS reported.
"Washington's move deals a
significant blow to the
Russia-U.S. relations, which are already in a deplorable shape,"
a Putin spokesperson said.
Asked at a news conference whether the U.S. attack was
viewed by the Kremlin as an act of aggression against Russia's ally,
the President's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said "Definitely....
Since we are rendering assistance to the Syrian military in line with
the relevant request from the Syrian authorities, we view Syria as our
"As for the changes in the geopolitical situation after
attacks, let's watch the situation develop together. So far, one
can definitively say that the strikes impaired the fight
against terrorism," Peskov said.
"What is unambiguous is the fact that the strikes [by
on Syria] de facto were
delivered in the interests of the ISIL
[the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization
outlawed in Russia], Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist
organizations," he said.
Regarding exchanges of information via military
about its operations in Syria, Peskov confirmed that Russia has
suspended the Memorandum on preventing military incidents and
ensuring aviation security that was signed with the U.S.
"Technically the channels remain, but no information
exchanged," Peskov said. "This Memorandum lost its meaning last
night when the attack was carried out," he added.
Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the Defence Committee in
Federation Council, condemned the cruise missile strikes at the
Shayrat airfield, stating that the operation could endanger any
further joint military operations.
"This could eliminate the ongoing cooperation between
and U.S. forces in Syria," Ozerov said, as reported by RIA
He further stressed that
the operation may destroy
anti-terrorism efforts in the country.
"The U.S. rocket strike could tank the effort to combat
terrorism in Syria," Ozerov said.
Another member of the Federation Council, Konstantin
Kosachev, echoed Ozerov's remarks, stressing that future
cooperation with Russia in Syria is now unlikely.
"Either way, Russian missiles continue to target
while the American rockets hit government forces that spearhead
the effort against terrorists," Kosachev said. "I am afraid that
with such an approach the desired Russo-American anti-terrorist
coalition in Syria -- that has so frequently been discussed since
[President] Trump came to power -- will not come to fruition," he
As well, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's
Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov
told TASS on April 7 that claims of chemical weapons being
present at the Shayrat Airfield hit by U.S. strikes are
groundless. "This is a clumsy attempt at least somehow to justify
the actions running counter to the fundamental norms of
international law," he said.
Positions on April 4 Use of Chemical
Deputy Prime Minister of Syria Says Army
Did Not and Will Not
Use Chemical Weapons
Even Against Terrorists
Walid al-Moallem, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister,
Foreign and Expatriates Minister, reaffirmed at an April 6 press
conference in Damascus that the Syrian Arab Army did not
and will not use any kind of chemical weapons even against the
terrorists who target the Syrian people.
Al-Moallem pointed out that this lie about the Syrian
army came from countries known for conspiring against Syria, whether
through support for terrorists or other attempts to disrupt
the political process.
"All of you learned about
the statement of the Command of the Army and the Armed Forces and the
statement of the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry that was sent to the
Council and sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the statement of Deputy Permanent
Representative in New York, and all of these statements
stressed that our forces could not have used chemical weapons --
neither in the past nor in the present, and neither could they use them
in the future in any place, and that we condemn such
criminal acts," al-Moallem said.
Al-Moallem reminded the press conference that Syria had
already joined the OPCW and submitted successive reports, with the OPCW
confirming the accuracy of the Syrian data in
He questioned the timing of the smear campaign against
Syria. He pointed to favourable developments in recent weeks, including
the active movement toward national reconciliation,
the interdiction of terrorist attacks in Jobar and the northern
countryside of Hama by the Syrian Army, and the absence of terrorist
groups at the latest peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan,
whose presence would have blocked the proceedings.
He also referred to the fifth round of talks in Geneva,
where the "Riyadh delegation" of opposition groups had only one
demand, which is to take power.
"When all these attempts failed, they came up with the
lie of the army's use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun," said
The Foreign Minister explained that the campaign of
accusing the Syrian army of using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun
started at 06:00 am on April 4, while the first air raid carried out by
the Syrian army only took place at 11:30 am, targeting an ammunition
store of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists that it subsequently became known
included chemical weapons.
He went on to clarify that the evidence that the target
was an ammunition depot is that the affected area shown in video
footage from the "White Helmets" and the London-based
"Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" was relatively small, and that
had this been an airstrike that used chemical weapons, the affected
area would have had a radius of more than half a
He stressed that ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other
terrorist groups have continued to store chemical weapons in cities and
inhabited areas, pointing out that Syria has sent more than 100
cables to the UN Security Council and the OPCW. These included
information on the entry of chemical materials from Iraq to ISIS and
Jabhat al-Nusra and from the Turkish border
"This chorus that was launched in the international
arena is made up of states that are well-known for conspiring against
Syria," said al-Moallem.
"I reiterate that the Syrian Arab Army has never used
and will never use this type of weapon, not only not against our
people and our children, but not even against the terrorists who
are killing our people and our children and attacking civilians in the
cities with their random shells," al-Moallem added.
He stressed that it is not reasonable that the Syrian
army would use chemical weapons at a time when it has been achieving
victories on various fronts that have led to changes in the
positions of some countries in the international arena and "at this
time when we are optimistic about the world public opinion's
realization of the reality of the terrorist plot against
"And we are aware that the main beneficiary of all that
is happening is Israel, and it is strange to see Netanyahu almost
weeping for what happened in Khan Sheikhoun," al-Moallem
He commented on a statement
to the Security Council made by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
on April 5 in which she said the U.S. does not have information on
happened in Khan Sheikhoun, but nonetheless the U.S. points its finger
Al-Moallem said it is normal that they do not have
information since the chorus of accusations directed at the Syrian army
started only an hour after what happened in Khan Sheikhoun
became public. He wondered how could the U.S. not have information
about what happened, while UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
had that information and said that the
chemical weapons came from the air, but that he forgot to name the
Answering a question about whether Syria would welcome
an international committee of inquiry into the use of chemical weapons
in Khan Seikhoun, al-Moallem said that on April 5,
the Russian representative to the Security Council submitted ideas on
forming a neutral and non-politicized committee with broad
representation to probe the incident. He added that Syria's
experience with such committees that have come to Damascus is not
encouraging as they typically leave Damascus with one set of data but
present another when they return home.
He pointed out that Syria constantly coordinates with
the Russian side on this matter.
In response to a question on whether the aim of this
campaign against Syria was to foil the political process, the Minister
said this depends on the developments during the coming few
days at the UNSC and through the Russian-U.S. communications, noting
that "Syria is keen to make the political dialogue a success, but if
their goal is to disable it, then let it be."
Al-Moallem noted that a new terrorist assault was
launched on April 6 in the northern countryside of Lattakia as part of
the continued attempts by backers of the terrorist organizations
to disrupt the political process after their recent failed attacks in
the Jobar and Hama countryside.
The Foreign Minister cited other goals that could be
behind this campaign against Syria, including to cause U.S. President
Donald Trump to change his recent opinion on Syria,
which al-Moallem said may have been achieved to a slight degree, or to
pressure the Russian side that provides real and sincere support to
Syria in its struggle against terrorism. The latter
is unlikely to be achieved especially after the two statements issued
by the Kremlin on continued support to Syria's army and legitimate
government. Likewise, another possible aim, to
pressure Damascus to change its stances and principles, will be
difficult to achieve.
Asked about the announcement by Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan on preparing for a new operation to invade Syria after
the conclusion of the so-called "Euphrates Shield" operation,
al-Moallem said Erdogan had declared on April 5 that his next target is
Manbij, adding that the Syria government will "let him go ahead and we
will see what he will do."
Responding to a question on whether Syria would accept
a committee of inquiry convened by the UN, al-Moallem said:
"We have to ensure that this committee is not
politicized, has wide geographical representation and that it starts
from Damascus and not from Turkey. We have many questions on this
subject and when we have made sure that these questions have convincing
answers, then we will give you our answer."
Information Provided by Russian Defence Ministry
On April 5, spokesperson for the Russian Defence
Ministry addressed an April 4 Syrian aviation airstrike on the eastern
outskirts of Khan Sheikhun, the news agency TASS reported.
"According to Russian airspace monitoring systems,
between 11:30 and 12:30 local time the Syrian aviation carried
out an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhun,
targeting a major ammunition storage facility of terrorists and a
cluster of military hardware. The territory of this storage
facility housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with
toxic agents," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
"From this major arsenal, chemical-laden weapons were
delivered by militants to Iraq. Their use by terrorists was
confirmed on numerous occasions by international organizations
and official authorities of the country," he said.
The spokesman added that these projectiles were similar
those used by militants in Syria's Aleppo, where their use was
recorded by Russian military specialists.
"Video footage from social networks shows that those
in Khan Sheikhun demonstrate the same symptoms of poisoning as
the victims of the Aleppo attack had last fall," he added.
The official said that Russia has handed over all
about the incident to the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is still studying them.
"We assure that this information is completely unbiased
true," he added.
What the U.S. Said at April 5
UN Security Council Meeting
Posted below is an excerpt from the remarks of Nikki
Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations said at the
April 5 Emergency UN Security Council Meeting on Chemical Weapons.
Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures, to children
at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of
desperate parents. We saw rows of lifeless bodies. Some still in
diapers. Some with the visible scars of a chemical weapons
Look at those pictures. We
cannot close our eyes to
pictures. We cannot close our minds of the responsibility to act.
We don't yet know everything about yesterday's attack. But there
are many things we do know.
We know that yesterday's attack bears all the
the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. We know that Assad
has used these weapons against the Syrian people before. That was
confirmed by this Council's own independent team of
investigators. We know that yesterday's attack was a new low,
even for the barbaric Assad regime.
Evidence reported from the scene indicates that Assad
using even more lethal chemical agents than he did before. The
gas that fell out of the sky yesterday was more deadly, leaving
men, women, the elderly, and children, gasping for their very
And as first responders, doctors, and nurses rushed to
the victims, a second round of bombs rained down. They died in
the same slow, horrendous manner as the civilians they were
trying to save.
"We all also know this: Just a few weeks ago, this
attempted to hold Assad accountable for suffocating his own
people to death with toxic chemicals. Russia stood in the way of
this accountability. They made an unconscionable choice. They
chose to close their eyes to the barbarity. They defied the
conscience of the world. Russia cannot escape responsibility for
this. In fact, if Russia had been fulfilling its responsibility,
there would not even be any chemical weapons left for the Syrian
regime to use.
There is one more thing we know: We know that if
done, these attacks will continue.
Assad has no incentive to stop using chemical weapons
long as Russia continues to protect his regime from consequences.
I implore my colleagues to take a hard look at their words in
this Council. We regularly repeat tired talking points in support
of a peace process that is regularly undermined by the Assad
Time and time again, Russia
uses the same false
deflect attention from their allies in Damascus. Time and time
again, without any factual basis, Russia attempts to place blame
There is an obvious truth here that must be spoken.
truth is that Assad, Russia, and Iran have no interest in
The illegitimate Syrian government, led by a man with
conscience, has committed untold atrocities against his people
for more than six years. Assad has made it clear that he doesn't
want to take part in a meaningful political process. Iran has
reinforced Assad's military, and Russia has shielded Assad from
If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to
we need to see them use it. We need to see them put an end to
these horrific acts. How many more children have to die before
The United States sees yesterday's attack as a
the highest level, an assurance that humanity means nothing to
the Syrian government.
The question members of this Council must ask
this: If we are not able to enforce resolutions preventing the
use of chemical weapons, what does that say for our chances of
ending the broader conflict in Syria? What does that say of our
ability to bring relief to the Syrian people? If we are not able
to enforce resolutions preventing the use of chemical weapons,
what does that say about our effectiveness in this
If we are not prepared to act, then this Council will
meeting, month after month, to express outrage at the continuing
use of chemical weapons, and it will not end. We will see more
conflict in Syria. We will see more pictures that we can never
I began my remarks by saying that in the life of the
Nations, there are times when we are compelled to take collective
action. I will now add this: When the United Nations consistently
fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the
life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.
For the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the
is finally willing to do the same. The world needs to see the use
of chemical weapons and the fact that they will not be
1. For the month of April, the
United States is serving as President of the United Nations
Security Council, a position that rotates every month among the 15
members. The U.S. will be responsible for setting the agenda for the
meetings, managing the distribution of information to Council members,
and communicating the Council's actions to the public.
Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria
Rally in Union Square, New York City, April 7, 2017.
With the latest hasty judgment about Tuesday's
[April 4] poison-gas
deaths in a rebel-held area of northern Syria, the mainstream
U.S. news media once more reveals itself to be a threat to
responsible journalism and to the future of humanity. Again, we
see the troubling pattern of verdict first, investigation later,
even when that behavior can lead to a dangerous war escalation
and many more deaths.
Before a careful evaluation of the evidence about
tragedy was possible, The New York
Times and other major U.S.
news outlets had pinned the blame for the scores of dead on the
Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. That revived demands that
the U.S. and other nations establish a "no-fly zone" over Syria,
which would amount to launching another "regime change" war and
would put America into a likely hot war with nuclear-armed
Even as basic facts were still being assembled about
Tuesday's incident, we, the public, were prepped to disbelieve
the Syrian government's response that the poison gas may have
come from rebel stockpiles that could have been released either
accidentally or intentionally causing the civilian deaths in a
town in Idlib Province.
One possible scenario was that Syrian warplanes bombed
rebel weapons depot where the poison gas was stored, causing the
containers to rupture. Another possibility was a staged event by
increasingly desperate Al Qaeda jihadists who are known for their
disregard for innocent human life.
While it's hard to know at this early stage what's true
what's not, these alternative explanations, I'm told, are being
seriously examined by U.S. intelligence. One source cited the
possibility that Turkey had supplied the rebels with the poison
gas (the exact type still not determined) for potential use
against Kurdish forces operating in northern Syria near the
Turkish border or for a terror attack in a government-controlled
city like the capital of Damascus.
Reporting by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh and
statements by some Turkish police and opposition politicians
linked Turkish intelligence and Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists to
the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus that killed
hundreds, although the Times
and other major U.S. news outlets
continue to blame that incident on Assad's regime.
On Tuesday, the Times
assigned two of its most
anti-Syrian-government propagandists to cover the Syrian
poison-gas story, Michael B. Gordon and Anne Barnard.
Gordon has been at the front lines of the neocon
change" strategies for years. He co-authored the Times' infamous
aluminum tube story of Sept. 8, 2002, which relied on U.S.
government sources and Iraqi defectors to frighten Americans with
images of "mushroom clouds" if they didn't support President
George W. Bush's upcoming invasion of Iraq. The timing played
perfectly into the administration's advertising "rollout" for the
Of course, the story turned out to be false and to have
unfairly downplayed skeptics of the claim that the aluminum tubes
were for nuclear centrifuges, when the aluminum tubes actually
were meant for artillery. But the article provided a great
impetus toward the Iraq War, which ended up killing nearly 4,500
U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Gordon's co-author, Judith Miller, became the only U.S.
journalist known to have lost a job over the reckless and shoddy
reporting that contributed to the Iraq disaster. For his part,
Gordon continued serving as a respected Pentagon
Gordon's name also showed up in a
supporting role on
the Times' botched
"vector analysis," which supposedly proved that
the Syrian military was responsible for the Aug. 21, 2013
sarin-gas attack. The "vector analysis" story of Sept. 17, 2013,
traced the flight paths of two rockets, recovered in suburbs of
Damascus back to a Syrian military base 9.5 kilometers away.
The article became the "slam-dunk" evidence that the
government was lying when it denied launching the sarin attack.
However, like the aluminum tube story, the Times' "vector
analysis" ignored contrary evidence, such as the unreliability of
one azimuth from a rocket that landed in Moadamiya because it had
struck a building in its descent. That rocket also was found to
contain no sarin, so it's inclusion in the vectoring of two
sarin-laden rockets made no sense.
But the Times'
had landed in
the Zamalka area and determined that it had a maximum range of
about two kilometers, meaning that it could not have originated
from the Syrian military base. C.J. Chivers, one of the
co-authors of the article, waited until Dec. 28, 2013, to publish
a halfhearted semi-retraction.
Gordon was a co-author of another bogus Times'
story on April 21, 2014, when the State Department and the
Ukrainian government fed the Times
two photographs that
supposedly proved that a group of Russian soldiers -- first
photographed in Russia -- had entered Ukraine, where they were
However, two days later, Gordon was forced to pen a
retraction because it turned out that both photos had been shot
inside Ukraine, destroying the story's premise.
Gordon perhaps personifies better than anyone how
journalism works. If you publish false stories that fit with the
Establishment's narratives, your job is safe even if the stories
blow up in your face. However, if you go against the grain -- and
if someone important raises a question about your story -- you can
easily find yourself out on the street even if your story is
No Skepticism Allowed
Anne Barnard, Gordon's co-author on Tuesday's Syrian
poison-gas story, has consistently reported on the Syrian
conflict as if she were a press agent for the rebels, playing up
their anti-government claims even when there's no evidence.
For instance, on June 2, 2015, Barnard, who is based in
Beirut, Lebanon, authored a front-page story that pushed the
rebels' propaganda theme that the Syrian government was somehow
in cahoots with the Islamic State though even the U.S. State
Department acknowledged that it had no confirmation of the
When Gordon and Barnard
teamed up to report on the
Syrian tragedy, they again showed no skepticism about early U.S.
government and Syrian rebel claims that the Syrian military was
responsible for intentionally deploying poison gas.
Perhaps for the first time, The New York Times cited
President Trump as a reliable source because he and his press
secretary were saying what the Times
wanted to hear -- that Assad
must be guilty.
Gordon and Barnard also cited the controversial White
Helmets, the rebels' Western-financed civil defense group that
has worked in close proximity with Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and has
come under suspicion of staging heroic "rescues" but is
nevertheless treated as a fount of truth-telling by the
mainstream U.S. news media.
In early online versions of the Times' story, a
the Syrian military was buried deep in the article around the
27th paragraph, noting: "The government denies that it has used
chemical weapons, arguing that insurgents and Islamic State
fighters use toxins to frame the government or that the attacks
The following paragraph mentioned the possibility that
Syrian bombing raid had struck a rebel warehouse where poison-gas
was stored, thus releasing it unintentionally.
But the placement of the response was a clear message
the Times disbelieved
whatever the Assad government said. At
least in the version of the story that appeared in the morning
newspaper, a government statement was moved up to the sixth
paragraph although still surrounded by comments meant to signal
the Times' acceptance of the
After noting the Assad government's denial, Gordon and
Barnard added, "But only the Syrian military had the ability and
the motive to carry out an aerial attack like the one that struck
the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun."
But they again ignored the alternative possibilities.
that a bombing raid ruptured containers for chemicals that the
rebels were planning to use in some future attack, and the other
was that Al Qaeda's jihadists staged the incident to elicit
precisely the international outrage directed at Assad as has
Gordon and Barnard also could be wrong about Assad
only one with a motive to deploy poison gas. Since Assad's forces
have gained a decisive upper-hand over the rebels, why would he
risk stirring up international outrage at this juncture? On the
other hand, the desperate rebels might view the horrific scenes
from the chemical-weapons deployment as a last-minute
Pressure to Prejudge
None of this means that Assad's forces are innocent,
serious investigation ascertains the facts and then reaches a
conclusion, not the other way around.
However, to suggest these other possibilities will, I
suppose, draw the usual accusations about "Assad apologist," but
refusing to prejudge an investigation is what journalism is
supposed to be about.
however, apparently has no concern anymore
letting the facts be assembled and then letting them speak for
themselves. The Times weighed
in on Wednesday with an editorial
entitled "A New Level of Depravity From Mr. Assad."
Another problem with the behavior of the Times and the
mainstream media is that by jumping to a conclusion they pressure
other important people to join in the condemnations and that, in
turn, can prejudice the investigation while also generating a
dangerous momentum toward war.
Once the political leadership pronounces judgment, it
career-threatening for lower-level officials to disagree with
those conclusions. We've seen that already with how United
Nations investigators accepted rebel claims about the Syrian
government's use of chlorine gas, a set of accusations that the Times and other
media now report simply as flat-fact.
Yet, the claims about the Syrian military mixing in
of chlorine in supposed "barrel bombs" make little sense because
chlorine deployed in that fashion is ineffective as a lethal
weapon but it has become an important element of the rebels'
UN investigators, who were under intense pressure
United States and Western nations to give them something to use
against Assad, did support rebel claims about the government
using chlorine in a couple of cases, but the investigators also
received testimony from residents in one area who described the
staging of a chlorine attack for propaganda purposes.
One might have thought that the evidence of one staged
would have increased skepticism about the other incidents, but
the UN investigators apparently understood what was good for
their careers, so they endorsed a couple of other alleged cases
despite their inability to conduct a field investigation.
Now, that dubious UN report is being leveraged into
new incident, one opportunistic finding used to justify another.
But the pressing question now is: Have the American people come
to understand enough about "psychological operations" and
"strategic communications" that they will finally show the
skepticism that no longer exists in the major U.S. news
Robert Parry is an investigative journalist known for
his role in covering the
Iran-Contra affair and CIA cocaine trafficking in the U.S. scandal in
1980s. He was
awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 and the
I.F. Stone Medal for
Journalistic Independence by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2015. Parry
has edited Consortiumnews.com since 1995.
Why Is Media Citing Man Accused of
Kidnapping Journalists as
on Syrian Chemical Attack?
Calls for regime change in Syria are once again filling
the airwaves, and President Donald Trump has said he is
considering further military intervention in the country.
Media outlets have been pouring fuel on the fire of
of the key voices calling for Western intervention that is being
amplified by corporate news networks is Shajul Islam, a doctor in
the al-Qaeda-controlled Syrian province of Idlib. Islam has
accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack
on civilians and dozens of major media outlets have cited his
claims, while conceding that they have not been independently
verified. Meanwhile, these news publications have failed to
disclose a crucial detail about the doctor: He was accused in
court of kidnapping journalists in Syria.
In October 2012, Shajul Islam was arrested in the UK
charged with kidnapping two photographers, one British and one
Dutch. He was accused of providing medical treatment for the
Salafi jihadist extremist group in Syria that held the
journalists hostage. The case eventually fell apart and the
charges against Islam were dropped because the prosecution was
not able to hear evidence from the victims, who were the key
witnesses. The attorney said this restriction served "to
frustrate the trial from the point of view of the
John Cantlie, one of the journalists Islam was accused
kidnapping, was unable to appear at the trial because he was
still a hostage. He was kidnapped along with James Foley, the
American journalist who was beheaded on camera by Mohamed Emwazi,
an ISIS foreign fighter from London.
Islam's younger brother, Razul, reportedly entered
volunteer as a foreign fighter in the ranks of ISIS.
Sometime in 2016, Shajul Islam smuggled himself back
Syria and is now working in Idlib.
Even hawkish pundits who
have repeatedly called for
Western military intervention in Syria have acknowledged that
Idlib is "the heartland of al-Nusra," in reference to Jabhat
al-Nusra, Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate.
Syrian al-Qaeda and other extremist rebel groups have
constructed a brutally repressive regime in Idlib. They have
ethnically cleansed religious and ethnic minorities, banned music
and instituted a violent theocratic system in which women accused
of adultery are publicly executed. Amnesty International
documented Salafi jihadist groups' use of summary killings,
torture, abductions and sectarian violence in the province.
On April 3, an alleged chemical attack in Idlib killed
of civilians. The details around the incident are murky.
At a press conference April 4, Staffan de Mistura, the
special envoy for Syria noted, "We have not yet any official or
reliable confirmation." Federica Mogherini, high representative
of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, likewise said,
"We also do not have evidence at the moment."
A statement by the the
Organization for the Prohibition
Chemical Weapons did not apportion blame and noted it "is in the
process of gathering and analysing information."
However, the U.S. government, which has spent billions
the past several years arming and training rebels committed to
overthrowing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, immediately said the
Syrian government had used chemical weapons, an accusation the
Syrian and Russian governments deny.
Media outlets were quick to jump on board and echo the
government's claims. Shajul Islam became a key source for the
accusation that the Syrian government had used sarin gas against
Numerous media outlets cited Islam's claims and social
posts, including CBS News, Fox News, McClatchy, the Daily Beast,
Voice of America, the New York Daily
News, the New York Post,
Vocativ, Bellingcat, Euronews, Middle
the Mirror, Metro, the Daily Mail, the Sun and
NBC News and Middle
East Eye published profiles of
without identifying him.
Even right-wing pro-Trump media outlets that have
opposed U.S.-led regime change in Syria have suddenly had a
change of heart, now that the president is on board. PJ Media and
Western Journalism also uncritically cited Shajul Islam without
providing any context.
In another report, NBC News said it spoke with Islam,
described as "a London surgeon who was volunteering in a hospital
just outside Idlib." NBC added that it "was not able to verify
either account from the ground."
Most of the publications similarly provide just a
background on Islam, noting he was "trained in the UK and now
works in northern Syria." None mentioned the accusations of
Several media outlets that are now uncritically
Islam's unverified claims have previously reported on the fact
that he was once charged with working with an extremist group in
In the frequently cited
videos Islam posted to social
he openly called for more foreign intervention in Syria and
reiterated talking points that have for years been echoed by
supporters of regime change.
"We urge you to put pressure on your government, put
on anyone, to help us," Islam said. "I'm trying to make awareness
so that people will support us and support our work and give us
the equipment we need to continue saving lives."
Islam also claimed the alleged chemical attack is one
string of such incidents, insisting, "These gas attacks are
continuing every day and no one is doing anything to stop these
He tried to frighten civilians in the West claiming,
it's the civilian population of Syria; soon it would be the
civilian population of America, in a subway or something." In
reality, experts recognize that Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat
al-Nusra, the most powerful force among the rebels in the country
(in its rebranded forms), poses the actual threat to civilians in
the West, not the Syrian government.
safety concerns he was not able to share his location.
other issues about Syria. Ambiguous "activists"
and rebel groups committed to overthrowing the Syrian government, some
of them linked to al-Qaeda, are often cited as sources in media reports.
outlets as a "monitoring group." Yet even
the New York Times, which
often draws from SOHR's claims, has
acknowledged that it "is virtually a one-man band" run out of the home
of a man in a small town in England who has not been to Syria in more
than a decade.
jihadists militias in Syria who has
embedded himself with al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise, as a supposed
independent observer of the war.
Ben Norton is a
journalist and writer based in New
York City. He writes for AlterNet,
and Accuracy in
Reporting and Salon.
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