Douma: Three Years On

How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

Eva Bartlett

Hassan Diab (left) in a hospital in Douma after being hosed down with water, though allegedly a victim of chemical weapons, Hasan would later testify there was no chemical weapon attack

May 20 marked the start of the 2021 Syrian presidential elections. Syrians around the world outside of Syria will cast their votes—if their embassies haven’t been closed, or voting prohibited, in the countries they reside in that is.

As I wrote last week,

Western leaders hypocritically claimed concern for Syrians and wanted to ensure they live democratically – by funding and arming terrorists from around the world to slaughter them and destroy their homes, governmental buildings, and historic and cultural places–but continue to do everything in their power to make it difficult-to-impossible for Syrians to exercise their rights to vote for their president.

In closing Syrian embassies around the world, the regime-change alliance made very clear that they do not want the Syrian people to exercise their democratic right to vote in presidential elections past and future. They know that Syrians would come out in masses to vote for their president.

Otherwise, Syrians will, on May 26, vote in Syria. This is a historic moment: after 10 years of would-be regime change in Syria, ten bloody years of unnecessary war on Syria, Syrians voting, whether for Assad or not, are voting in defiance of the West’s attempts to install a puppet government.

In their attempts to overthrow President Assad, the West and allies have concocted accusation after accusation about alleged atrocities committed by Syria. Among the many fabrications, the more recent and perhaps notable was that of the April 2018, Douma “chemical attack” allegations.

The Douma “Chemical Attack”

Three years ago on April 7, France, the UK and the US (FUKUS) and their allies, along with the entirety of Western corporate media, alleged that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons on civilians in Douma, just northeast of Damascus.

The allegation was that a chemical agent airdropped onto the town had killed dozens of civilians.

As I wrote at the time, the West’s claims to have evidence to back these allegations was a transparent lie: what they had were dubious, unverified, video clips and photos shared on social media, provided by the Western-funded White Helmets and other partial and non-credible sources with affiliations to, and admiration for, Jaysh al-Islam and co-terrorist groups in eastern Ghouta.

One week later, the night before Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors were due to visit Douma (at the request of the Syrian government), FUKUS launched 103 missiles at Syria. Bombing within Damascus itself and putting the lives of Syrian civilians at risk.

They carried out this attack without waiting for any evidence at all, much less a full investigation by the OPCW. Far from a concern for the truth, or wanting to “protect” Syrian lives, FUKUS’ response was clearly about applying both political and military pressure to the government they had been trying to change for almost a decade.

Indeed, the immediate attribution of guilt to the Syrian government, alongside the promptness of the retaliation, suggests at least foreknowledge of the “attack”, if not outright responsibility for it.

Independent Media on the Ground in Syria

In contrast to the propaganda put forth from outside of Syria – by dubious propaganda outlets like Bellingcat, as well as most of Western media – a number of journalists actually went to the area in question and spoke with medical personnel and residents.

These include Russian and Syrian media, followed by foreign journalists including One America News Network, Vanessa Beeley, Robert Fisk, Germany’s ZDF, and myself.

We learned: there was no indication that any of the people brought in to the medical point had been exposed to a chemical agent; they were, instead, treated for normal shelling injuries, as well as for breathing difficulties due to the combination of smoke, dust, and their having taken refuge for extended periods in basements; they were all sent home after treatment, no one died in the makeshift hospital.

We also heard of the horrific suffering of civilians in eastern Ghouta, under the savage rule of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, and the other terrorist factions occupying the region. In fact, most residents I spoke with were more desperate to emphasize how awful life had been under their rule than talk about what they clearly viewed as lies, the chemical allegations.

In one particularly notable early report, RT interviewed the 11-year-old boy, Hassan Diab, starring in the clip that went around the world: a clip showing Diab being hosed down in a chaotic hospital room, allegedly being treated for exposure to a chemical agent.

The boy told RT:

We were outside, and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me. The doctors started filming us here [in the hospital], they were pouring water and taking videos.

The Hague Press Conference

Diab and sixteen others — including a resuscitator, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, an emergency paramedic with the Syrian Red Crescent, a doctor with the emergency department — then spoke at The Hague.

Their testimonies dismantled the claims about a chemical attack in Douma.

But, as I recently wrote, instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered at the “obscene masquerade” regarding the testimonies.

Yes, the same media which uncritically endorsed the Twitter account of a seven-year-old English-illiterate Aleppo girl as gospel in the lead up to the liberation of Aleppo refused to consider the testimonies of seventeen civilians from Douma.

The same media refused the revelations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) whistleblowers who spoke out, damning the final OPCW report for its glaring omissions – omissions that completely changed the narrative around Douma.

In October 2020, the UN Security Council itself refused to allow Jose Bustani, former general director of the OPCW, to speak. I urge people to read Bustani’s words on the cover up of OPCW expert findings around the Douma allegations.

It should be noted that it was largely due to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media that OPCW whistle-blowers spoke out, and thus that the report has been questioned. You can read some of their diligent research here.

As for Jose Bustani, for the sake of brevity, I will include just some of his words below, again encouraging readers to read his words fully.

[S]erious questions are now being raised over whether the independence, impartiality, and professionalism of some of the Organisation’s work is being severely compromised, possibly under pressure from some Member States.

Of particular concern are the circumstances surrounding the OPCW’s investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, on 7 April 2018. These concerns are emanating from the very heart of the Organisation, from the very scientists and engineers involved in the Douma investigation.
If the OPCW is confident in the robustness of its scientific work on Douma and in the integrity of the investigation, then it has little to fear in hearing out its inspectors.

If, however, the claims of evidence suppression, selective use of data, and exclusion of key investigators, among other allegations, are not unfounded, then it is even more imperative that the issue be dealt with openly and urgently.

For more nuance and details on the OPCW scandal, the suppressing of critical evidence in order to suit the regime changers’ narrative of a chemical attack having occurred in Douma, read Kit Klarenberg’s April 2021 article, in which notes:

The report released to the public was trimmed to just 34 pages, with all ballistic, forensic and witness evidence gathered by the Douma FFM, which completely dispelled the notion of a chemical attack, and pointed directly or indirectly to a staged incident, removed […] the West and allies continue to push the official, and incorrect, OPCW story, now going as far as ensuring Syria no longer has a seat at the OPCW table.

Clearly, no matter how much evidence against, and testimonies that counter, the West’s claims about a chemical attack in Douma, FUKUS is hell-bent on cramming this narrative down our throats. All in the name, of course, of concern for Syrian civilians. The same civilians the West is strangling under increasingly brutal sanctions against the Syrian people.

Testimonies From On the Ground in Douma

While much is being made of the official OPCW report and the ensuing OPCW leaks which contradicted the chemical claims, it is important to also consider the many testimonies of Syrian civilians and medical personnel, not only on the issue of a chemical attack or not, but also on the details of their lives under the savage rule of terrorist groups.

Vanessa Beeley went to Douma in April 2018, going to the makeshift hospital where the dousing scene was filmed. “All said it was not a chemical attack. Civilians in area confirmed this also. Shops hve re-opened, rebuilding has started, nobody presented any symptoms of CW attack,” she tweeted at the time.

Her subsequent article included testimonies of medical personnel and civilians, including Dr Hassan Ouyoun, who noted that he had not issued any death certificates for the April 7 “chemical attack victims,” and raised a number of important points:

I didn’t give any death certificate as a result of a chemical poisoning incident. This is a point against the White Helmets. How was the death “evaluation” carried out? Who did the examination? Who identified the cause of death? How was the burial carried out without a certificate from a doctor?

Valid concerns. And yet, Western media and talking heads instead ran with the dubious footage and narratives supplied by the White Helmets and terrorist-affiliated allies.

I myself went by taxi to Douma in late April, 2018, also going to the by then infamous hospital room in question. I returned to the district in early May to visit neighbouring towns.

As I wrote after my visit, the man I spoke with, Marwan Jaber, said that while hospital staff were treating normal bombing injuries and breathing cases, “strangers” entered screaming about a chemical attack and started hosing people with water.

Patients’ symptoms were “not in line with the symptoms of a chemical attack. There wasn’t pupil constriction or Broncho-constrictions leading to death,” Jaber recalled. “The symptoms we received were all symptoms of choking, patients affected by the smoke and regular war injuries. They came here, we treated them, and dispatched them home,” Jaber said, noting that none, not one, had died.

Nor were any of the hospital staff affected, as one might expect they would be had a chemical agent been used. The staff, as seen in the video produced by the White Helmets, wore no protective clothing, as would have been necessary when dealing with a toxic chemical.

In Marwan Jaber’s opinion, the unfamiliar men who barged into the hospital screaming weren’t trained in medicine. He went so far as to doubt whether they’d finished high school.

Life Under Terrorist Occupation

Before walking around Douma and speaking with residents, I walked down some of the wide and very long, well-reinforced tunnels which Jaysh al-Islam terrorists used to move below ground, including in vehicles, to avoid detection from the Syrian army and allies.

From my article:

As I walked around Douma, I asked residents about life there and especially about whether they believed there was a chemical attack in their town. Some replied they had no idea about an attack. But most replied decisively no, there hadn’t been any.

At a stand selling vegetables and fruits, Tawfeeq Zahran replied that he believed Jaysh al-Islam had spoken of a chemical attack to frighten them, to make them fear the Syrian army and government. Men around him nodded their agreement. They spoke more about their starvation under Jaysh al-Islam and about the public executions by sword that the terror group had routinely carried out.

A group of young men selling baked goods waved me over, handing me one. They also replied that they knew nothing of an attack. They were more concerned about the fact that, under Jaysh al-Islam, they couldn’t get the flour needed for their baked goods, much less food to live. This was a constant among every civilian I met: Their hunger and terror under Jaysh al-Islam’s rule.

Since most people I met in Douma and neighbouring villages wanted to speak about life under terrorist rule, I wrote a follow-up article focusing on that.

The chemical story was to them largely unimportant. But the terror they endured still haunted them, and likely will the rest of their lives.

Mahmoud Al Khaled, who spoke to Vanessa Beeley about the White Helmets’ involvement in organ theft, wasn’t the only Syrian civilian to speak about this. In December 2018, I wrote about a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

That panel, along with the countless testimonies Vanessa Beeley and Maxim Grigoriev respectively collected, are essential listening and reading for those who want to understand the true nature of the White Helmets.

How any sensible person, much less any credible journalist or body, could rely on the White Helmets’ narratives regarding chemical attacks in Syria is truly baffling.

How the West Forgot Kidnapped Civilians and Ignored Executions

“Concern for Syrian civilians” has been the disingenuous rallying cry for all those pushing the Western war on Syria, from politicians to the press. But this “concern” only applies when it suits.

The Western media don’t actually care what civilians witnesses have to say about the so-called “chemical attacks”, the Western media don’t investigate what life is like for Syrian civilians living under terrorist occupation, or having their organs trafficked by Western-backed White Helmets.

And the Western media didn’t write about civilians kidnapped — used as slave labour, tortured, killed, and some freed when eastern Ghouta was liberated — because their scripts didn’t tell them to, or because they didn’t know: they weren’t in Syria, nor following Syrian media carefully.

Vanessa Beeley was, however, in Syria, and at the time tweeted:

As it turned out, although thousands were expected to be released, Jaysh al-Islam terrorists had apparently executed the vast majority.

Al Masdar reported:

With expectation to free up to 5 thousands captives, it turned out that only 200 of them remained alive throughout years of captivity.

Sources said that Jaysh al-Islam manipulated the Syrian government and Russian mediators by providing fake lists of the captives with the objective to secure a surrender deal whereby it militants can safely leave their bastion to the country’s north.

Thousands of the kidnapped were executed by their captors or died of illness, hunger or fatigue while forced to dig tunnels.

Hundreds of distressed families desperately waited for their kidnapped relatives at al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus as the last 2 buses carrying around 100 captives arrived at the overcrowded facility.

The day of their release, abductees spoke to Syrian media: they were kidnapped by Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra in December 2013 from the industrial area of Adra, north of Damascus. They were kept in cages and humiliated, tortured, forced to dig tunnels, including children. Children and adults were starved, children deprived of education and even of sunlight.

Thousands of kidnapped civilians, brutalized, tormented, starved, and the majority executed or died in inhumane, unlivable, circumstances, and not a peep from Western media. The same media that claimed to have sources all over eastern Ghouta.

A search from the period of March to August 2018 revealed only Syrian, Chinese, Russian, and Iranian news sites reporting on the issue. Deafening silence from Western media. Vanessa Beeley was one of the only Western journalists who cared enough to report on it, although at the time, waiting at the site where the kidnapped civilians would be brought, in order to speak with them and share their horrific experiences.

At the time of the abductees’ release, the Guardian’s Istanbul-based Shaheen devoted a scant few sentences to mentioning the matter, referring to them as “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” with no mention that they were civilians, including women and children, no mention of their numbers, and none of the outrage that would have filled days of Guardian articles were they “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” taken by the Syrian army.

Reuters also made scant mention of the abductees, also merely referring to them as prisoners, with no indication that they were Syrian civilians, including children.

Terrorists’ Chemical Capabilities

Some, while aware that the OPCW lied about Douma, still believe the corrupted body investigated honestly about previous chemical claims.

But there is much to indicate that is not the case, and much to indicate that, in fact, it has been terrorist factions that have many a time used chemicals against civilians and against the Syrian army.

Journalist Sharmine Narwani, in March 2018, exposed the likelihood that a chemical lab which she visited in Eastern Ghouta was used to manufacture chemicals which terrorists used in staged attacks.

This week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated some Eastern Ghouta farmlands between Shifouniyeh and Douma and discovered a well-equipped chemical laboratory run by Saudi-backed Islamist terrorists. Not a single Western reporter showed up to investigate the facility.
It is now indisputable that Western-backed and Gulf-financed Islamist militants have the capabilities to produce the chemicals of war inside the battlefield – and not in the makeshift way that media suggests. This lab demonstrates that militants can amass foreign-made equipment, create production lines and procure difficult-to-obtain components.

When Vanessa Beeley went to Douma, she visited a chemical lab in an area controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, seeing a gas cylinder which looked similar to the famous Douma “chemical attack” cylinder.

Interestingly, a CNN journalist who was with the delegation Beeley was with chose to ignore the scene.

Presumably, it didn’t fit in with his scripted narrative on Douma.

When she interviewed civilians in Hamouri, eastern Ghouta, a month before the chemical allegations, Beeley learned that terrorist factions and their White Helmet accomplices had intended to stage an attack then, but it was derailed by Syrian civilians who came out demonstrating with Syrian flags.

On the 6th of March, in Hamouriya, we decided to protest against Failaq Al Rahman and we raised the Syrian flag. We marched against the terrorist occupation. They (Failaq Al Rahman) and the White Helmets were preparing a chemical attack which they intended to blame on the Syrian Arab Army as they closed in on the militants. They were furious with us for our march and for raising the Syrian flag, because it ruined their plans.

Very hard to present a “chemical attack” with scenes of cheering, flag-waving, Syrian civilians…

Fast forward to Saraqib, Idlib, February 2020, not long after it was liberated, where Beeley saw a former al-Nusra training centre containing another chemical lab.

Meanwhile, there are numerous instances of terrorist factions using chemicals against Syrian civilians.

Narwani’s Ghouta article also noted:

In Syria, the trouble began in December 2012 when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (a former IS ally), took over the country’s only chlorine manufacturing plant, a joint business venture with the Saudis located east of Aleppo. Damascus issued an immediate warning to the UN: “Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.”

Three months later, in what is viewed as the first real CW incident of the Syrian conflict, 26 people – the majority of them (16) Syrian soldiers – were killed in the village of Khan Assal in Aleppo in a reported chlorine attack. The next day, the Syrian government requested that the UN investigate the attack.

A few days later, there was another alleged chemical incident in Adra, northeast of Damascus, followed by a reported attack in Saraqeb, and then in Ghouta in August – the CW incident that almost triggered US military strikes. A Jordanian reporter on the ground in Ghouta interviewed witnesses who said the Saudis had provided militants with chemical weapons and that some had been detonated by accident.

Saudi-backed Jaysh al-Islam, publicly admitted in 2016 to using toxic agents in mortar attacks against Kurds in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood. “During the clashes one of the Jaysh al-Islam brigades used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations,” the group said in a statement about the chemical attack, in which it claimed the perpetrator would be held accountable.

In November 2016, I spoke with the former director of al-Kindi hospital who told me of 65 casualties of what he and other doctors believed to be some sort of chemical attack, committed by terrorist factions.

In December 2018, Vanessa Beeley spoke with residents of the Khalidiyyah district of Aleppo where a week prior terrorists had committed a chemical attack, as well as in two other districts of the city.

In her upload of the residents’ testimonies, Beeley noted:

Nusra Front (rebranded as HTS) embedded in the Layramoun industrial area were responsible for the shelling of these districts with a total of 5 or 6 modified munitions containing toxic substances believed to be related to Amonium Nitrate (usually used as a chemical fertilizer).

Within hours of the attack, more than 150 civilians, including many children were treated for the effects of the toxic gas in the Aleppo hospitals – according to Dr Zaher Batal, head of the Aleppo Medical Association. Symptoms were streaming eyes, respiratory difficulty and tightness of the chest.

In March 2019, Vanessa Beeley wrote of a suspected chemical attack northwest of Al Suqaylabiyah, writing:

I was in Al Suqaylabiyah when this attack took place and I was able to visit the local hospital that received the 34 victims which included three children, one severely affected with respiratory problems. Victims complained of breathing difficulties, skin blisters, eye sensitivity, nausea and shock syndrome after the attack. One victim, Nawfal Tawbar, described the 1m high dense white smoke that enveloped the area after the mortars had exploded.

Clearly, there are numerous incidents of terrorist groups both having the capability to commit chemical attacks and their having actually done so.

Previous “Chemical Attack” Allegations

Douma was not first “chemical attack” the West accused the Syrian government of carrying out. Over the years there have been many others, all of which were marked by the same inconsistencies of narrative and evidence of foreknowledge that mark the “official story” on Douma.

At Khan Sheikhoun for example, as I wrote in my 2018 Douma article:

It is worth recalling that their report in the previous year, on the allegations of a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, contained “irregularities,” to put it mildly. The most glaring irregularity (mentioned in the annex section of their report) was the admission of 57 “victims” to hospital before any alleged attack even could have occurred. Another unexplained irregularity was sarin showing up in urine but not in blood tests from the same sample.

And at Ghouta, from the same article:

In 2013, the West and its media had accused the Syria government of a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta…These accusations were shot down by reports from investigative journalists, particularly Seymour Hersh, who concluded that terrorists possessed sarin and the workshops to manufacture rockets. Indeed, I saw one of these mortar and rocket workshops when in Saqba, eastern Ghouta. Massive amounts of missiles of varying sizes lay, as-yet unused, inside the workshop.

According to Mint Press News, Saudi Arabia also gave chemical weapons to terrorists in Ghouta for the 2013 attack. The Mint Press article cited anti-government fighters who said they’d been given chemical weapons which they didn’t know how to use, naming Saudi Prince Bandar as the source. So, in early May, I went to Kafr Batna where, in August 2013, hundreds of people had allegedly been treated at the Tuberculosis Hospital.

Mohammed al-Aghawani, administrator of the Tuberculosis Hospital which treated hundreds of alleged “chemical victims”, told me:

There was no chemical attack. I wasn’t at the hospital that night, but my staff told me what happened. Around 2am, there was suddenly noise, shouting, cars arriving at the hospital, bringing civilians. Some people, armed men, said there was a chemical attack. Some of them had foreign accents. They took people’s clothes off and started pouring water on them. They kept bringing people in till around 7am. Around 1,000 people, mostly children, alive, from nearby villages like Ein Terma, Hezze, Zamalka. Many people later said their children never came back.

Vanessa Beeley interviewed Ahmed Toumeh, a 42 year old from Hamouriya, about an alleged “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013:

Since the “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013 that supposedly killed 1300, people were fooled into not seeing it was an act between Nusra Front and their civil defence. When the chemicals were used, they had hospitals ready always two days before – they had information in advance of the supposed attacks. How could they know unless they were involved?

At that time (2013) there had been an earlier chemical attack by terrorist groups against the Syrian Army in Khan Al Asal. The Syrian government had invited UN investigators to Damascus. The same night the UN inspectors arrived, they (Nusra Front and White Helmets) prepared for the ‘chemical attack’ in Zamalka.

Everything was prepared. The video was filmed and produced, the water sprayers had been prepared two days in advance.

Many people were fooled by this act and from then on the White Helmets added to the image. They would film themselves rescuing children who were not hurt and they would take a wounded person and film him to change public opinion, to criminalise the Syrian government, portray the Army as destructive.

Shooting The Messengers

Those offering on-the-ground, substantive accounts countering the mainstream claims on Douma have been smeared and disregarded as Syrian or Russian propagandists. Ironically, most of those doing the smears have never set foot in Syria, much less Douma.

When Pearson Sharp, Vanessa Beeley, and myself shared our findings from Douma, we were predictably lambasted by Western corporate media like the BBC. And when others questioned the murky narrative, they too were smeared. As Vanessa Beeley wrote:

Academics, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, came under concerted attack as did other members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media when they analysed the events and questioned the veracity of it being a chemical attack. In the UK, the Times published no less than four articles labeling myself and the “rogue” academics as “Assad’s useful idiots,” timed to perfection on the day that the UK, US and France launched their unlawful bombing campaign against Syria. A bombing campaign that was fully enabled by the ignominious rush to judgement by corporate media in the West.

The Atlantic Council is a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things.

They produced a whitewash article to discredit independent reporting on Syria, in which they dedicated a considerable segment to attacking both Vanessa Beeley and myself:

Many of the attacks on the White Helmets were both voiced and amplified by a group of pro-Assad bloggers, of whom the most prominent were British citizen Vanessa Beeley and Canadian citizen Eva Bartlett. These, in turn, were supported online by a group of Twitter users who have repeatedly targeted critics of the Assad regime. Neither Bartlett nor Beeley can be viewed as a credible or impartial commentator.”

A perhaps unintended result of their linking to articles we’ve written around Douma, and the White Helmets, is that open-minded readers might become informed instead of blindly believed the Atlantic Council’s nonsense.

There were more smears, but as usual they copy-pasted from prior ones, and don’t actually delve into the content of what we presented, which is testimonies of civilians — named civilians, even – in contrast to the “unnamed sources” or “media activists” Western corporate media so fondly make up.

An aspect of such character assassinations is implying that the reporting we do is effortless and we are essentially toured around by the Syrian government.

What the average reader may not realize is that even for ourselves, people known in Syria by now, there are the same bureaucratic procedures that all journalists must follow.

Further, unlike corporate journalists who have obscene funding and teams of people to help with research, translations, subtitling and even the logistics of planning a trip to Syria (visas, flights, travel from Lebanon, accommodation), we do everything on our own, with help from Syrian friends (accurate translations) and at our own expense.

Former producer Patrick Corbett elaborated on this to me a few years ago, saying:

If you’re working for a network like NBC, CBC, what people don’t realize is that behind the scenes you’ve got so much backup in every way. First of all, before you go out, you’ve got a team of researchers preparing things for you. You’ve got people who have contacts everywhere.

When you go to a place like Syria you have a fixer; a fixer is a local person who has contacts, can take you places..things like that. You go with things like a satellite phone, so you’re always in touch with your home base. If you have any problems, they’ll get people to you….

They’ve got somebody who will work with you doing your voice-over. When somebody stands in front of the camera, that’s not what’s coming out of their head, its what’s coming out of the corporate entity that is that news producing organization. They get paid six figure incomes to do what they do.

BBC Producer Admits (then Retracts) the Truth

While the BBC is guilty of some of the worst war propaganda against Syria in this 10 year war against the Syrian people, it is worth mentioning that one of the BBC’s producers vocally expressed his skepticism over the “evidence” provided after the alleged events of April 7, 2018.

As Vanessa Beeley noted in 2019:

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an “esteemed colleague” of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent.

Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that “after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

…Almost immediately after the alleged incident in Douma, he tweeted out his frustration that “activists and rebels” had used “corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.”

The emotive wording of Dalati’s tweet, he was “sick and tired” of such manipulation of events, suggested that this was not the first time children had been used as props in a macabre war theatre designed to elicit public sympathy for escalated military intervention in Syria disguised as a necessary “humanitarian” crackdown on “Assad’s gassing of his own people.”

Dalati had been referring to the arranging of two children’s corpses into a “last hug” still life composition, a photo that went viral, rocketed into the social media sphere by activists who had collaborated with the brutal Jaish al-Islam regime while it tortured and abused the Syrian civilians under its control.

Whatever the reason for Dalati’s exasperation, the tweet was deleted before a watered down version appeared. Dalati claimed that a “breach of editorial policy” and lack of context was behind this alteration. Apparently BBC employees are not allowed to be “sick and tired” of the exploitation of children to promote a war that will inevitably kill more children. Simultaneously, Dalati’s account was protected, making tweets visible only to approved followers.

Critical Issues Beyond Douma and the OPCW

While the issue of the OPCW coverup and distortion of facts on the ground is important, there are many other issues sidelined by media, including well-intended media.

There’s the fact that countless hospitals have been attacked — severely damaged or destroyed — by terrorists, to the silence of Western media and politicians. This in turn means Syrians in areas where hospitals have been damaged or destroyed are denied medical care.

The suffering of civilians under terrorist rule is one. Thankfully, as most of Syria has been liberated from terrorist rule, there are now fewer civilians subject to their barbarism.

What has not been eradicated and has only gotten worse and worse are the criminal, brutal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

An article from the South African Broadcasting Corporation noted:

Electricity rationing in Syria has reached its highest levels due to the government’s inability to secure the fuel needed to generate electricity. This is mainly due to the damaging international economic sanctions led by the Western powers including the IIT protagonists France, UK and the US.

[…]The value of the Syrian pound has crumbled to almost nothing. Today it is about 3,660 pounds to one US dollar. An average wage is less than 2 US dollars a day.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019…is credited with bringing about starvation, darkness, plague, misery, robbery, kidnappings, increased mortality rate and the certain destruction of a nation that was once a beacon of hope across the Middle East.

International aid no longer reaches Syria compared to pre-Caesar Act. Many agencies are scared of falling foul of the harsh Act, which in short makes life a living hell for millions of ordinary Syrians.

In his overview of the Douma chemical lies, Kevork Almassian, of Syriana Analysis, also spoke of the harsh realities Syrians endure now, thanks to the war and the brutal western sanctions against Syrians:

Just imagine that for a second, that you have to wait for two to three to four hours to buy one package of bread that can suffice you maybe for two days for you and your family. Just imagine that you have to wait 20 to 48 hours on a gas station to fill a little bit fuel for your car. It’s unimaginable, you cannot imagine that because you’re not living that, but it is happening now in 21st century.

It is high time to put the Douma hoax to rest. It’s also beyond time to acknowledge the huge sacrifices of the Syrian army (and allies) in fighting terrorism and restoring peace to Syria.

Meanwhile, while cynical Western war propagandists mock the Syrian presidential elections, Syrians in Syria and around the world hold massive demonstrations in support of their president, as they did in 2014.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett


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May 28, 2021 9:44 AM

Adding even more suspicion to the Khan Sheikhoun episode was the appearance of Shajul Islam as a doctor at the local hospital which accepted the victims. His licence to practice as a doctor here in the UK was removed but medical authorities would not say why.
Islam had previously been charged with kidnapping John Cantlie, a journalist in Syria. The trial collapsed because Cantlie was allowed to return to Syria and had been captured yet again by extremists. The other witness retracted his statement, fearing for Cantlie’s life if he continued as a witness for the prosecution. Only weeks after the case Shajul Islam was again back in Syria.
I suspect Cantlie and Islam are both UK intelligence assets and it was only through their own incompetence that they ended up involved in a terrorism trial.

May 28, 2021 1:03 AM

What I most fear is that the people of Syria will give up.
However much they might like/admire/respect their leader, they might also find themselves considering the possibility that submitting, and doing whatever Biden, Johnson, the CIA – or whoever – wants them to do, might just lessen their hardship… What a nightmare.

At least there can now be little doubt in the minds of reasonably informed people that brutal foreign policy is now the fashion of the century as far as the official western ‘authorities’ are concerned.

May 28, 2021 7:31 AM
Reply to  wardropper

What I fear most is that the people of “the West” (which includes Australia) gave up years ago.

May 29, 2021 12:47 AM
Reply to  NickM

Always assuming that you have something to give up, of course…

May 28, 2021 9:27 PM
Reply to  wardropper

FWIW: I may be overly-influenced by Vanessa Beeley’s optimistic and openly admiring reports on the strength and resilience of the Syrian people, but if it’s any consolation I think that, at least generally, they are too wise and resolute to seek relief and prosperity by making deals with the devil, aka the Great Satan.

May 29, 2021 12:48 AM
Reply to  Ort

I know only one Syrian, and he is a thoughtful, considerate person, willing to learn, yet genuinely confused by his short stay in the land of the Great Satan’s little brother.
If other Syrians are like him, I think you may be right about their wisdom and resolute character. I do hope so.

David G Horsman
David G Horsman
May 30, 2021 9:34 PM
Reply to  wardropper

I knew a family in Calgary 2 years ago that had just arrived. They were very nice people.

May 27, 2021 9:02 PM

If we had a BBC worth its salt, people like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley would be interviewed at length.
Or they’d be invited to make a ‘Panorama’ episode on Syria.
That would be a real restoration of freedom and journalism.
One can dream . . .

Jul 24, 2021 9:18 PM
Reply to  Einstein

That is never going to happen becasue the British Brainwashing Corporation is OWNED by the perps.

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
May 26, 2021 1:05 PM

Our masters will continue to bless the bombing of villages into dust, and support the likes of the Saudi genocide in Yemen. Jonathon Cook comments: “We have a media worthy of Stalin

The Western Media is Key to Syria Deceptions, Al Qaeda Propaganda
By Jonathan Cook
Global Research, May 27, 2019

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
May 26, 2021 12:51 PM

18 U.S. Code § 1001 – Statements or entries generally
Complete text: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1001

Paul Vonharnish
Paul Vonharnish
May 26, 2021 12:57 PM

“Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction!!!” “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mas destruction!!!” Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction!!!”

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
May 26, 2021 10:27 AM

This detailed article lays out the jaw dropping reality that is the grotesque hypocrisy of the West and their so called “rules based international order” – this completely hollow term that, for example, former Australian Foreign Ministers Julie Bishop and Alexander Downer were very keen to use. Without blushing of course. An “order” based on slaughter and blatant imperialism and the deaths of so many people, the funding and support of jihadist terrorist headchoppers, and the destruction of entire countries – Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and the bombing of others, like Serbia and Sudan. But no R2P “humanitarian intervention” to help the people of Palestine then? No harsh sanctions levied at Israel then? No mass outcry about media offices being bombed in Gaza then? As for the complete ethical and moral bankruptcy of the Western mainstream media; as with Syria, and now with the scamdemic: lies upon lies upon lies.… Read more »

May 26, 2021 8:25 AM

Many thanks to Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and those who publish their work.

They opened my eyes.

May 26, 2021 8:21 AM

“Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent.” Who for a public figure has remarkably little biographical information in the public domain. He’s said to be Scottish, married and to have started – as he meant to carry on – in fiction working for ‘Screen Two’. What did his parents do? Where did he go to school? How rich is he, and where did his money come from? Don’t ask impertinent questions! Let’s just say that with a name like that I doubt he went to one of Alastair Campbell’s “bog-standard comprehensives” and Sommerville is a name that’s cropped up elsewhere in elite-media circles. His frugality with personal information is put down to “privacy” concerns. You know, the privacy that’s being stripped from everybody. Instead, they put out an oh-so-hilarious story of him getting high next to some burning drugs that shows he’s a likable chap and one of us. Oh,… Read more »

les online
les online
May 26, 2021 7:24 AM

General Wesley Clark, 4-star US Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia said in an interview that 7 countries were going to be taken down, – starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and Iran… So any Western/Allied allegations against Syria promoted in the corporate propaganda media are most likely propapanda…
Libya and Iraq have been broken into ‘statelets’…. It’s currently Syrias and Lebanon’s turn…

les online
les online
May 26, 2021 7:27 AM
Reply to  les online

Syria would have been smashed by now if it hadnt been for Those Russians

May 26, 2021 8:50 AM
Reply to  les online

Those Russians would not have been there if Syria had not shown its mettle.

“There was a stone in the middle of the road
In the middle of the road there was a stone”

Actually 2 stones; the other one was Hezb’Allah who sent troops from Lebanon to help Syria.

Actually 3 stones, Iran also sent troops. And helped financially.

Actually 4 stones, China did not send troops but helped financially.

Actually 5 stones, Palestinian refugees in Syria took up arms against NATZO’s ISIS.

Actually 6 stones, if you count The Free Press: Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and Truther sites such as OffG.

Each stone a stumbling block for the wicked.

David G Horsman
David G Horsman
May 30, 2021 9:42 PM
Reply to  NickM

Let’s not forget Matte of The Grayzone.

David G Horsman
David G Horsman
May 30, 2021 9:41 PM
Reply to  les online

Lol. We call that a twofer. Russia defeats Nazism. Then fascism in the ME?

May 26, 2021 8:26 AM
Reply to  les online

Didn’t Clark also say something about the era of nation-states being over? I can’t find the quotation.

Anyway, one guess which issue Clark (and his son) now peddles:


Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
May 26, 2021 7:00 AM

What needs to happen in ‘the West’ is lists of journalists, editors, news outlets, TV station anchors etc etc to be drawn up who uncritically parroted the Washington lies, since they need to be banned for life from the profession of journalism. Nothing will change until these salivating would-be murderers have their right to work removed, because everyone agrees that those who would murder with impunity have no right to a life of freedom. We need to stop pussyfooting around with ‘I have coolly presented the facts but demanded no punishment as a result’ and say to psychopaths like journalists at the Guardian: ‘the people who most need a chemical weapons attack are people like YOU’. They need to be shamed, they need to be humiliated, they need to be excoriated, they need to have their passports removed, their houses taken away from them. When they know what it is… Read more »

Derek Williams
Derek Williams
May 26, 2021 8:24 AM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

I couldn’t agree more Rhys – there should be a price to pay for all the bullshit peddling by news media globally – from smug TV anchors to newspaper journalists who ridicule anyone who challenges “ their” narrative and who knowingly pump out the propaganda.
Scum in the main.

May 26, 2021 6:30 AM

“In the middle of the road there was a stone
There was a stone in the middle of the road”

The stone was Syria.

The stone was people with heart and courage and a brain with a passion for the truth. People like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley.

OffG is one of those stones, for the unrighteous a stumbling block.

May 26, 2021 5:12 AM

Anyone else having trouble accessing off G today…are you guys under attack?

May 26, 2021 6:31 AM
Reply to  Edith

Got through thanks to their IT shield.

May 26, 2021 8:52 AM
Reply to  NickM


May 28, 2021 1:07 AM
Reply to  Edith

No problem here.

les online
les online
May 26, 2021 2:33 AM

In his article ‘Israel Mows the Lawns’ in The London Review of Books,(30 July 2014) Mouin Rabbini explained: the term is used by Israeli military to describe it’s every so often full-scale assaults on Gaza to prevent Gazans thinking there can ever be a ‘return to normal’ – demoralisation, as well as destruction, is the intention…
Syrians must feel the same – due to the Israeli Air Force’s constant intrusion into Syria to bomb and destroy ‘targets’.

karen elliot
karen elliot
May 26, 2021 3:49 AM
Reply to  les online

I’m not sure when i first began to suspect that the White Helmet videos were faked… Might have been from noticing how they followed a format that started with the camera holder running along rubble-strewn street with the camera deliberately unfocused, then an unfocused scene of digging an ‘injured’ child from some rubble… An injured child seems to be central to all propagandistic ‘news’…

May 26, 2021 6:47 AM
Reply to  les online

Thanks to Russian anti-aircraft defense system in Syria, NATZO planes are no longer free to merrily waltz all over the country “razeing to the ground” at pleasure. They sneak up at night to the periphery, lob a few missiles then scuttle off like naughty boys who break windows and run away.

May 26, 2021 2:06 AM

Could it be that the DDOS attack is related to this article?

May 26, 2021 6:57 AM
Reply to  Nottheonly1

OffG has been under such attack for some years now, but they seemed to have weathered it. This renewed attack may be just a part of a recent concerted attempt to suppress all Truther sites. Even the Duran and the Saker have announced that henceforth they will need to choose their words extra carefully or else…

The first casualty of war is the truth. We are fighting a war: the war of Anglo Zionazi Capitalism against the human race.

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 26, 2021 1:48 AM

It appears that chemical warfare has been replaced of late by biological warfare perhaps ? PCR tests do not enumerate its victims. The battle lines are now clearly and globally delineated , The rich against the poor as it has always been .

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 26, 2021 12:55 AM

Is there any question about whether or not the chemical agents used in Syria are all of American manufacture ? Initially supplied to Iraq by Rumsfeld and CIA when Iraq looked like it was about to loose it war with Iran circa the 1980s. Tons of these materials disappeared into CIA control and were sold on under duress as a form of Danegeld to finance CIA black ops creating Americas fears of WMD as well as making our allies the Saudis and Israelis nervous .

May 26, 2021 7:09 AM
Reply to  Jim McDonagh

I think some of them come from Porton Down in Salisbury. Manufacturers of Novijoke and other bio-chemical warfare agents.

By the way, Porton Down is not entirely evil; they can beat swords into ploughshares if asked. They also developed (and still sell) a very useful vaccine against Foot and Mouth Disease. Porton were ready to roll out their vaccine in the great F&M epidemic of the 90s but Tony B.Liar asked Neill Ferguson to make him a mathematical model which showed the vaccine would not work. Which Neill did. Leaving the B.Liar regime a free hand to indulge in Tony’s favourite occupation: filling the land with the stench of burning corpses.

susan mullen
susan mullen
May 26, 2021 8:18 AM
Reply to  NickM

The Queen was thrilled, too. So much so that she awarded young Ferguson with Order of the British Empire, OBE, for his services on 12/31/2001, per BBC. “Professor Neil Ferguson For services to Epidemiology and the Control of Infectious Diseases. (Witney, Oxfordshire)”..http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/uk/2002/new_year_honours/1734715.stm

May 26, 2021 8:56 AM
Reply to  susan mullen

Thanks for that info, Susan. As Hilaire Belloc said a century ago, the English moneyed classes have turned the Throne into their hired hand.

May 26, 2021 10:08 AM
Reply to  NickM

Have you seen this vid. — https://www.bitchute.com/video/TT0CyN2qMNhp/ slaughtered on suspicion   

May 25, 2021 11:16 PM

And here we are, grizzling about a little lockdown and some nasty little pricks.

May 26, 2021 7:12 AM
Reply to  NixonScraypes

Lots of nasty little pricks, actually. Many of them in very high office.

Freeborn John
Freeborn John
May 25, 2021 10:37 PM

Douma, the biggest own goal in geopolitical history.
Had the powers to be just admitted that it MAY have been staged, that they MIGHT have been being fed a false narrative and yes the whole situation in Syria is confusing and multi faceted,then this story would not be a story and would have died a natural death thirty months ago.
But no.
They are cocksure and arrogant and had to double down.
So now more people have become aware of organisations like Chatham House, The Atlantic Council, BBC Media Action, and the deep corrupting tendrils of those who prefer to work in the dark.

May 26, 2021 1:43 AM
Reply to  Freeborn John

It’s called the “Streisand Effect” – try to cover things up and create widespread public attention for the cover-up. But the people behind this are above the law and just keep doing what they are doing.

Donald Duck
Donald Duck
May 26, 2021 7:03 AM
Reply to  Freeborn John

You could also throw in the Council For Foreign Relations AIPAC the ADL and JINSA for good measure.

May 25, 2021 10:20 PM

My Government supports the apartheid state of Israel
My Government supports the religious fanatics and the head-choppers of Syria & Libya
My Government supports the neo-Nazis of Ukraine
My Government attempted a coup in Belorussia
My Government imprisons and torturers a man for telling the truth
My Government poisons its own people and criminalises those who dare ask questions
My Government hides the wealth of others
My Government believes it occupies the moral high-ground
My Government thinks it is a world power
My Government??

May 25, 2021 10:27 PM
Reply to  Carnyx

Excellent article… as usual Eva

S Cooper
S Cooper
May 25, 2021 10:46 PM
Reply to  Carnyx

“My Government First mistake. Believing it is YOURS. Second Mistake. Believing it is a government. It is a CRIME SYNDICATE run and owned by a gang of WAR RACKETEERING CORPORATE FASCIST OLIGARCH MOBSTER PSYCHOPATHS.”

“No matter where you are, at most you are merely one its many victims. In all likelihood you are one of its pieces of property. It owns you. Sorry to break the news to you.”

May 26, 2021 1:52 AM
Reply to  S Cooper

That sums it up and nicely is definitely not the correct term. It’s a total disgrace what these fuckers are allowed to get away with while millions are dying because of their crimes. All because low brow assholes admire the big club – even though they will never be part of it. George Carlin was one of the brightest bulbs ever to be born in the USA.

Donald Duck
Donald Duck
May 26, 2021 7:16 AM
Reply to  S Cooper

‘They own you.’ How very true, particularly of Europe, which can only be considered to be an American occupied zone since 1945. The spinelessness of the European political, military/intelligence and media class must be one of the most abject surrenders since WW2. More so since the slavish inclusion of the Eastern European regimes.

May 26, 2021 7:18 AM
Reply to  Carnyx

“The Government of your country? You little whippersnapper, *I* am the government of your country! I and my Jewish partner. Not that foolish gabble shop in Westminster”. — Billionaire Arms Manufacturer, in Major Barbara by Bernard Shaw.

May 25, 2021 10:01 PM

central banks
atomizing countries
sovereign nations
hell 0
serbia libya iraq

turning them into civil vaccinated citizens
with human rights
under policy acts and statutes
birth bonded slaves
united colours benetton

a barbera lerner spector world
of refugee on the move

blow shit up
atomize history
bastardize the people
mix it up
erase evertyhing for the new version
of history simon scharmas
bbc his story of greater israel
the oded yinon years

moving populations is the key

blow shit up fund counter insurgency
sir frank kitson gang counter gang
pseudo gang

after the slaughter get the world bank in to fund re con struction

one world standardized for your safety
while we all cook within
from 5g phased array
24 and 7

May 25, 2021 9:54 PM

Nothing will suffice to set the record straight. Because the record is stuck on “overthrow” with no chance for change.

The western fascists won’t give up, won’t stop lying, won’t stop bombing, won’t stop financing and arming terrorist networks, won’t stop preparing for the big war, won’t stop stealing Syria’s grains and crude oil, won’t stop breaking international laws, won’t stop perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Because the West is the best – they say.

And the pathetic presstitutes are all on board – eager to get their share of the for-profit-lies.

While I appreciate the thoroughness of the article and the brave and outstanding journalistic work that led to it – it is more than ever reminiscent of Don Quijote de La Mancha. Riding against the fascist windmills of rabid militarism, mass murder and deception.

May 26, 2021 7:21 AM
Reply to  Nottheonly1

Do not despair, they and you are Not The Only Ones.

“The Kingdom comes like a grain of mustard seed, the smallest of seeds but it grow tall and golden” — New Testament.

May 26, 2021 7:45 AM
Reply to  Nottheonly1

The western fascists won’t stop preparing for the big war, won’t stop perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The natural conclusion is that sooner or later they’ll get in war against Russia & China, and won’t stop until their final defeat : their own overthrow.
From that it follows that the article is something like writing against the Axis powers in, say, 1938-1940. It’s not articles or other individual struggles that saved people from, say, fascism. Ultimately, people are always saved or doomed by forces beyond their individual powers, and even beyond their powers of comprehension.
But writing and posting articles like this does two good things : makes a contribution, however small, to the overall result, and (two) protects the psychological health of the author, and perhaps some of the readers.

May 26, 2021 8:36 AM
Reply to  Dors

“The natural conclusion is that sooner or later they’ll get in war against Russia & China, and won’t stop until their final defeat : their own overthrow.”

There’s no “natural conclusion” to this at all. The point of the war is not that it be won (or even fought) – it’s that the threat of it be held over our heads for as long as it’s useful and vaguely plausible. Elimination of the “enemy” is the last thing they want.

BTW has anyone else noticed how “woke” types who run screaming at the thought of prejudice are primed full of anti-Russian and anti-Chinese bile that spews out at the slightest provocation? I don’t mean mere dislike of those nations’ governments which is thoroughly justified.

May 26, 2021 9:14 AM
Reply to  Dors

Dors, spot on. I go to Truther sites for psychological reassurance. OffG provides virtual evidence for the real existence of sane people. None of us are completely sane, nor sane on the same issues, but recent world events seem to be more like an outbreak of mass psychosis than normal politics. What a pity Carl Jung is no longer alive; his last book on mass illusion was called Flying Saucers. Jung would have loved to study modern examples of “We create our own reality”.

May 26, 2021 8:31 AM
Reply to  Nottheonly1

“Because the West is the best – they say.”

These days justified by reference to the “rules-based international order”. Rules that they wrote, they interpret and they break with impunity.

May 25, 2021 9:17 PM

Amigos de offguardian, por favor analicen lo que está pasando en Chile, está de locos la cosa en este país….

[deepl translation: “Friends of offguardian, please analyze what is happening in Chile, things are crazy in this country ….” -ed]

May 26, 2021 2:04 AM
Reply to  rod

Most of Latin America is ripe for civil war. Except UY, where way too many people wear three masks and a faceshield.

May 25, 2021 8:51 PM

FUKUS. Now there’s an appropriate acronym.

May 25, 2021 9:43 PM
Reply to  Hsuan

It would be more befitting if it would add up to “FUKTHEM”.