Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 22, 2019

Douma, Chlorine Gas and Occam’s Razor

Filed under: Counterpunch,Syria — louisproyect @ 10:47 pm

Jonathan Steele makes the case for Bashar al-Assad’s innocence


Regrettably, I must again answer a CounterPunch article that portrays the Douma chlorine gas attack as a false flag. It relies on the testimony of “Alex”, another OPCW whistleblower who agrees with Ian Henderson. (For his safety, the Courage Foundation felt it necessary to conceal his last name. Since nobody has assassinated a single Assad supporter in the West, let alone beat one up in the past eight years, this measure seems specious.) Unlike Henderson, Alex was a member of the official Fact-Finding team and therefore spoke with more authority. In a November 15th CounterPunch article titled “The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors”. , Jonathan Steele promotes Alex after the fashion of Jonathan Cooke and Ian Henderson only five months ago.

Jonathan Steele was the former chief foreign correspondent for the Guardian. He had an opinion piece in The Guardian dated September 21, 2018 titled “If ending Syria’s war means accepting Assad and Russia have won, so be it.” It refers to Russian planes dropping leaflets urging Idlib rebels to surrender. One supposes that if they ignore the leaflets, the bombs that Russian jets are dropping on Idlib hospitals might do the trick. Indeed, it was the chlorine gas attack of April 7. 2018 that convinced Douma’s rebels and their supporters to pack their bags and relocate to Idlib, a Gaza like enclave for Syria’s outcasts.

I first became aware of Steele’s politics back in 2012 when he cited a Doha poll expressing support for Assad, once again in an opinion piece for the Guardian. The poll revealed that 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war. If you took a few minutes to analyze the polling methodology, you’d learn that only ninety-eight Syrians living inside the country took part in the survey. To participate in the poll, they had to be on the Internet. In other words, if you were a farmer or a baker from the countryside with nothing more advanced than a flip phone, your opinion did not count.

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  1. Since the trolls of the Democratic Party have created a fraudulent spectre of Russisans hiding under every bed and the the shitsmeared Rump in the WH–who is certainly a money launderer for the Russian mob–as an actual asset of the KGB, it isn’t surprising that some people keep falling for the lies about Syria that scum like the younger Blumenthal, Beeley, etc. continually and IMO deliberately foist on the naive American public. Not to swallow this Russian horseshit is to become an asset of the State Department and Satan himself!!!!

    The greatest harm caused by Russian inluencers in the US isn’t election tampering, IMO, it’s the damage done to the left by this kind of deception.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — November 23, 2019 @ 3:45 pm

  2. I thought yaish al islam was dominant in Douma. HTS was in other locations in Eastern Ghouta. There was also a FSA group. I remember infighting between groups.

    Comment by Bob — November 23, 2019 @ 9:32 pm

  3. That does not mean that I support Asad. I only think that the rebels should not start an arm resistance which would obviously turn to civil war. Any civil war is worse than dictatorship. Also, they relied too much on the help of USA, which was not interested for them to win ( when did the USA support some progressive forces ??) The USA was only interested to create chaos in Syria.

    Comment by yugoslav — November 24, 2019 @ 7:23 am

  4. From yugoslav: “I only think that the rebels should not start an arm resistance which would obviously turn to civil war.”

    What you are saying is that no rebels should ever start an armed resistance. Any resistance worth its salt will turn into civil war.

    Comment by davidberger6799 — November 24, 2019 @ 6:39 pm

  5. Bob has correctly pointed out that the group in control of Douma was Jaish al-Islam, not HTS. Another point of correction: you say “The team also gauged the amount of chlorine either in the corpses or in the soil “. They couldn’t asses the state of the corpses because they had already been buried (in accordance with Islamic rites. The OPCW did apply for exhumation but the Syrian government blocked it. (The Russians, who of course were in charge of the site for several months afterwards, also showed no inclination to carry out an exhumation either. Funny that.
    The hypotheis put forward by the British Working Group (Tim Hayward, David Milller et al) is that no one died from chlorine poisoning in Douma – the corpses were really prisoners captured by JaI who were executed, transported through the steets of Douma and deposited in the two apartment buildings, all without anyone noticing. I must say, Louis’s invocation of Occam’s razor here has never been more appropriate.

    Comment by Tettodoro — November 25, 2019 @ 6:03 pm

  6. Oh by the way, something Steele omitted to tell his readers: Major-General John Holmes is not only a “distinguished former commander of Britain’s special forces” but also a Director of the British Syrian Society, a looby group set up by Bashar al-Assad’s father in law.

    Comment by Tettodoro — November 25, 2019 @ 6:12 pm

  7. @Tettodoro

    “The hypotheis put forward by the British Working Group (Tim Hayward, David Milller et al) is that no one died from chlorine poisoning in Douma – the corpses were really prisoners captured by JaI who were executed, transported through the steets of Douma and deposited in the two apartment buildings, all without anyone noticing. I must say, Louis’s invocation of Occam’s razor here has never been more appropriate.”

    With regard to the actual use of chemical weapons in Douma, you are arguing a straw man. Neither the official theory nor the Working Group one is the most likely. The most likely explanation for what happened in Douma was reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on the same day the presumed chemical attack happened: a few tens of people horribly and tragically suffocated to death because of the dust caused by conventional bombardments while they were hiding in the basement of their homes.

    This explanation would agree with the following facts:

    1) The Syrian Army had no reason to use chemical weapons in Douma. It already had their enemies surrounded and beaten, and it could get them to surrender with a few more days of conventional attacks (like they did). There was no benefit in using CWs.

    2) The supposed chlorine cannisters were likely placed by hand. This is the conclusion of the suppressed engineering report. On the other hand the final OPCW report has to twist the facts by reporting the result of simulations ran with unusually low drop altitudes in order to just make it possible for the cylinders to exhibit the observed behaviour. Ian Henderson’s report is scientifically much more credible than the conclusion of the final report (I have a scientific education and, believe it or not, it’s very easy to tell a professional report apart from a confused, inaccurate and ambiguosly-worded one like the OPCW’s).

    3) The Chlorinated Organic Compounds concentration in the samples that the OPCW tested was so low that their presence didn’t appear to stand out from the background. The leaked email mentions parts per billion, that is trace level, while the OPCW decided to withold that very important detail from the final report (talk about transparency…). This means that there are no reasons to believe that chemical substances were present in unusually high quantities in Douma. According to Wikipeadia, Chlorine gas is lethal in 30 minutes in quantities of 1000s of parts per million. If we are to believe that people died on the spot, as the official western narrative would have us believe, then the concentration of gas used would need to be even higher and as such it’s unlikely that it would have left behind just trace quantities of chlorinated compounds.

    4) The positions of the bodies found in the apartment buildings were clearly manipulated, which points to tempering. This mirrors the manipulation of the yellow cannisters that I talked about in bullet point number 2.

    5) The hospital scene was basically staged. The people who were filmed were not consenting “actors”, but according to witnesses the situation was artificially spurred by unknow personnel bursting into the ER room and starting to shout that a chemical weapon attack had happened. This provoked a panic and the hosing of kids and adults. The physicians who were attending to people admitted that the symptoms they had to deal with didn’t match those they expect from chemical weapons poisoning.

    6) The whole ambigousness and vague language of the OPCW’s own final report is a manipulation indictment in itself. To a person that is acquainted with technical documents, that report feels sloppy and craven. It feels like its authors were trying to suggest a specific outcome without actually laying it out in unambigous and strong terms so that they could disclaim responsibility for a job very poorly done. For example, why not including the concentrations of chemicals found in samples? That way people would have been able to judge for themselves. Why the lack of transparency on the issue of the cylinders drop simulations? Why suppressing a sound engineering report without even mentioning that at least some of the ispectors had come to very different conclusions from those the report espoused? This lack of transparency and sloppiness borders on the fraudolent.

    In the end, it’s Occam’s Razor itslef that points to the fact that the official narrative about Douma is the least likely.

    Comment by Leonardo — December 8, 2019 @ 1:07 pm

  8. The supposed chlorine cannisters were likely placed by hand. This is the conclusion of the suppressed engineering report.

    Really? Citation, please, you fucking meathead.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 8, 2019 @ 1:32 pm

  9. You regime change apologists are funny. The way you get triggered and immediately start your name-calling/shaming is something people can always rely upon. Anyway, the source and quotation:

    Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma incident – Executive Summary, page 8, paragraphs 32 and 33:

    “32. At this stage the FFM Engineering sub-team cannot be certain that the cylinders at either location arrived there as a result of being dropped from an aircraft. The dimensions, characteristics and appearence of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.

    33. In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from an aircraft.”


    Comment by Leonardo — December 8, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

  10. Well, I’m glad that you reject the absurd Working Group theory – and it should be clear from my post that my “occam’s razor” comment was directed at that. So we seem to agree on that, but not on what follows . A link to the SOHR would be appreciated, as the pieces I’ve read from them don’t seem to claim pretty much the opposite. I’m not going to try and review the entire debate on Douma with you here – but let memake a few comments on things that I know a bit abouy. On yourpoints in order
    1. This is the standard apologia for Assad regime actions – but a. a battle nearly won is not a battle won -negotiations with JaI had broken down & some form of military response was going to be necessary – the use of chlorinewas cheap, quick and effective as the results showed. It also had the benefit of injecting fear into the local population which is of course the foundation of the Assad regime.
    2. Its not quite acccurate to call it a “surpressed engineering report” -its the work of one specialist who was tangential to the investigation and it was submitted after the Official report proabably went to press. But you are right that its salience rests on drop heights – Henderson modelled a narrow range of drop heights,if you extend thepossible drop heights then the diffference between Henderson and the official report evaporates. Given the specific situation in Douma – afinal push to break resistance, an overcast night,and the streets full of dust and smoke, its entirely possible that attack helicopters could have been operating at low altitudes.
    3. As you know we are dealing here with the products of chlorine reacting with other materials; its my understanding that lab analysis of samples from sites where these reactions occured would produce “trace levels” even if the original exposure had involved concentrated chlorine. The tell-tale factor is not the levels identified in the analysis but the co-presence of several reaction products. We only have indirect reports of the alleged “control”sampling that is supposed to have shown similar levels in other environments, and some of them don’t make sense. But in any event we don’t know what or where such sampling nvolved.
    4.Everybody who has looked at the visual record from day 1 acknowledges that bodies have been moved at some point. But whether that involves “manippulation” is another point. Manipulation to what end. If you were going to stage a scene why would you stage it, get it recorded, and then “manipulate” it underminingthe initial staging?
    5. There is no evidence of the hospital scene being deliberately “staged”. The doctors gathered by the Russians all testified that the patients they treated were victims of dust and smoke inhalation but beyond that there is no consensus.some describe the sort of panic you refer to ; others don’t. .The video evidence suggests that some of the “hosing” was carried out by medical staff,one of the Russian witnesses at the Hague said this was being done to clean people who had been caught upin the dust and smoke in the street.The clinic was crowded with doctors,paramedics , casualties and relatives. even before the victims of smoke inhalation arrived; and there were over 1000 people living in shelters attched to the hospital – it would have required any deliberate act to start a panic there, ifone did indeed break out.
    6. I’m not going to defend the literary merits of the OPCW Report. Brian Whitaker has suggested that an earlier draft rewritten to incorporate some of the criticisms of dissenting inspectors, which might explainsome of its lack of coherence.

    Anway – one thing is clear from alll this: War crimes were being committed in Douma – bombing of homes, medical facilities, and medical staff, and the denial of food as a weapon of war – whether the means were chemical or conventional.

    Comment by Tettodoro — December 8, 2019 @ 6:55 pm

  11. Sorry – my rushed typing has left a lot of errors cluttering the above – but Ithink the gist should be clear

    Comment by Tettodoro — December 8, 2019 @ 6:59 pm

  12. Sorry, I didn’t realize that you were referring to Ian Henderson’s report. Look, you Assadist turd, if the tanks were “manually placed” in order to provoke “regime change” or whatever bullshit you believe, you have to engage with the obviously implausible circumstances that would go along with that narrative. You say that dust killed the 40+ people in the lower floors, right. SO WHY IN THE FUCK DID SOMEONE GO THROUGH THE TROUBLE TO PUT CHLORINE TANKS ON THE UPPER FLOORS? Reading the kind of garbage that you and other Assadists write is like reading about “controlled demolitions” on 9/11. Just like the 9/11 Truthers, you are a fucking cult. Your love of Assad makes you open to any nonsense. You are worse than the Stalinists buying into the Moscow Trial idiocy in the 1930s.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 8, 2019 @ 6:59 pm

  13. @luisproyect

    For the same reasons we are talking about it right now: because there are a lot scientifically illiterate people that can be made to believe anything as long as it suits their prejudice.The Douma incident was sloppily set up. I don’t think it was the result of a sophisticated operation. I think it was more the desperate gamble of a group of jihadis that were on the brink of annhilation and tried to provoke the long awaited US intervention by exploiting an opportunity that presented itself during those final days of the Ghouta siege.

    Apart from that, I will only reiterate that your stale rethoric won’t work with me. Stay on target please. Discuss the merit. Stop the name calling and don’t try to evade the question by bringing irrelevant topics like the 9/11 attacks.
    You bark a lot but you didn’t face the issues raised by the Henderson report. Interesting…

    Comment by Leonardo — December 8, 2019 @ 8:10 pm

  14. The Douma incident was sloppily set up.


    What the fuck are you talking about? You claim that a bomb was dropped on a building, which then created a lot of dust that killed 40+ people. How the dust settle into the bottom floors? The only damage shown in photos was to the rooftop and the floor just beneath it. Did the dust grow feet, slip under the door, and tip-toe down the basement? AND YOU HAVE THE FUCKING NERVE TO TALK ABOUT UNSCIENTIFIC. In scientific terms, it is chlorine gas that sinks downward, not dust. How deep is your love for Assad that you would make a jackass out of yourself on the Internet? What makes you assholes tick? Why don’t you go to a psychiatrist and find out why you are so devoted to a war criminal? There might be some medication that would help.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 8, 2019 @ 8:44 pm

  15. @Tettodoro

    Here you can find some of the articles the SOHR published during the relevant days. I didn’t include later news because they are irrelevant. I don’t care about the later narrative. I care about the news that were coming from the ground while the events were happening.


    1) On the contrary, what you are suggesting is standard regime change apologia. The temporary break down in negotiations didn’t make chlorine gas use any more necessary nor advantageous. Jaish Al Islam was already done for. they had no way out. One more day, or ten, didn’t make any difference for the Syrian Army. But even if you want to assume that the use of chlorine was needed to accelerate an already quick-looking defeat, you will still have a hard time trying to weight the presumed benefits with the certainty that the attack would provoke some kind of Western reaction, which might include an all out aerial campaign against Syria. It doesn’t add up, from a rational perspective.
    Also, the first news coming from the White Helmets and the first assessment by the US and France included the accusations of the use of organophosphorus substances, that the OPCW didn’t find traces of. This is another hint that someone was likely making it up by faking symptoms that were not explainable only with chlorine.

    2) It was suppressed indeed. We now know that the internal dissent was much larger than a single employee’s. And in science you don’t just pass under silence an assessment you have requested unless it is utterly wrong. It would be like neglecting outliers in the abscence of valid reasons. Also, like I said, that assessment was scientifically much more sound than the conclusions of the final report which didn’t even compare different hypothesis (and the reason is pretty clear now: they didn’t want to include an hypothesis whose likelihood was greater than the one management wanted them to reach).
    Also, it’s not true that Henderson modelled a narrow range of drop heights. Don’t know where you got that. On the contrary, Henderson modeled a pretty wide range of drop heights (500 m to 2000 m), but only reasonable heights that made sense according to the known flying patterns of Syrian airforce helicopters and planes. It’s the OPCW final report that contained only the simulations of two drop heights, and both were adjusted to produce exceedingly low impact speed in order to reproduce the observed damage. But the corresponding drop height was so low (50 to 150 m) that it would have exposed the helicopters to very dangerous rifle ground fire. And that’s why the Syrian Army is not know usually to operate its choppers at such low heights.

    3) I don’t know where you derive your understanding. The most rational, even if naive, expectation is that the amount of chemical byproducts grows with the amount of chemicals released. Anyway, if what you are saying were to be true then any kind of analysis or investigation would basically be useless because a signal that doesn’t emerge from the background noise is not a signal at all. There would be no way to tell an event from a non-event.
    I honestly don’t know what readings people can expect after a chlorine chemical attack, but in this article (which concerns a different attack) the readings were said to be 0.3 parts per million, That would be about 100 times higher than the figure reported in the email. Two orders of magnitude is definitely a lot.


    4) The bodies were moved and rearranged, sometimes just to take more compelling pictures. It’s pretty clear somebody wanted to get the best exposure out of the incident. As for the rationale of moving the bodies even if that would cause accusations of manipulation, I can’t say (I’m not one of those who moved them). But different pictures appeared on different rebel news outlets. It’s likely that different photographers were at work at different times and some of them might have decided to make the pictures more emotional by rearranging the bodies to suit their needs.

    5) Like I said, it was staged in the sense that while some people were being treated there for injuries that were not releated to chemical attacks, some organized activists came and provoked a panic related to a chemical weapons attack in order to film the reaction. Riam Dalati of BBC acknowledged this issue after what he says were “six months of investigations”:

    Comment by Leonardo — December 8, 2019 @ 9:22 pm

  16. @luisproyect

    I never said a bomb was dropped on THAT building. This is something you decided for yourself. Don’t blame it on me.

    Thanks for the suggestion of seeing a psychiatrist.

    In exchange I will suggest you to take some blood pressure medication… it seems you are getting worked up the longer you debate…

    Comment by Leonardo — December 8, 2019 @ 9:27 pm

  17. Above you wrote: “a few tens of people horribly and tragically suffocated to death because of the dust caused by conventional bombardments while they were hiding in the basement of their homes.” So, does this include the apartment building that is the subject of this post I wrote? Do you think your evasions and double-talk will convince anybody? I FUCKING TOLD YOU THAT THIS EXACT BUILDING WAS THE ONLY RECORDED INCIDENT OF MASS CASUALTIES THAT DAY. IT WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT WAS THE SUBJECT OF THE OPCW INVESTIGATION. So what is your point? That these 40+ people died because of dust? How did the mother-fucking dust get into the lower floors, you miserable piece of shit? Where did you learn to lie like a rug, btw? In my 50 years on the left, I have never run into a bigger degenerate than you.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 8, 2019 @ 9:35 pm

  18. I already made my point. You are just inferring things i never said.

    People died all around the neighborhood because of SAA aerial attacks. I linked some articles published on the SOHR websites, on and around april 6 to 8, 2018, and they report that multiple casualties happened because of suffocation in the basements of houses collapsed as a consequence of the intense bombing by Syrian and Russian air forces. You can check them yourself if you are really interested:


    We also know for CERTAIN that bodies were moved and their positions manipulated. You are assuming they died in the places they were photographed at, but no evidence was ever presented that support such a conclusion.
    If someone wanted to stage a chemical incident he only needed to gather at least some of the bodies in a single place in order for photographers to take pictures. We also know that rescue operations and the removal of casualties are activities the White Helmets are routinely involved in. So they did have the access and the means. And they also had the will, since we know they they were among the first to report the news of a chemical attack. Here’s the Tweet where they describe the symptoms of what they erroneously say was “most likely” the effect of an organophosphate:

    Comment by l.eonardo — December 9, 2019 @ 11:56 am

  19. Look, you fucking idiot, not one of the four SOHR articles you linked to above contains the word “dust”. They refer to bombs causing apartment buildings to collapse upon the people seeking protection in the basements, which of course was not evident in the photos shared by the OPCW in their investigation of the building with the two chlorine tanks. Even Ian Henderson says nothing about rubble causing the death of people at the bottom of the building in question.

    So, accepting the premise that this building did not collapse, you want us to believe that jihadists went around collecting up to nearly 50 corpses and put them in wheelbarrows to carry them there and then hauled them down to the lower floors (not the basement). Then, they found some weaponized chlorine tanks lying around and went through the same exercise, making sure to drill holes in the ceilings which they supposedly penetrated? Don’t you realize that this kind of idiocy makes 9/11 Truthers look lucid by comparison?

    You find it convenient to make up excuses for the Assad dictatorship on an ad hoc basis, improvising like a jazz musician on LSD. You can’t get away with that bullshit here, you moron. You got this business about a dust storm from Robert Fisk, who was embedded in the Syrian army just like CNN reporters were embedded in the American army when Iraq was invaded. If you are going to get your laughable “false flag” story straight, at least be consistent. Or maybe keep it up since it shows how ignorant and unscrupulous Assadists are.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 9, 2019 @ 1:31 pm

  20. Thanks for the SOHR links. But they don’t provide a lot of corroboration of your argument. You asserted that the SOHR said that “a few tens of people horribly and tragically suffocated to death because of the dust caused by conventional bombardments while they were hiding in the basement of their homes.” But the article that comes closest to that only says that *some* of the 30 deaths recorded on Saturday occured from suffocation and then goes on to ennumerate 11 deaths that occured in a location on the outskirts. In a later article that you miss they state that there were 21 deaths *over two days* linked to suffocation. (And also appear to give credence to the “chemical attack” explanation.) If we subtract tthe 11 deaths that occured on the outskirts that leaves10 suffocation deaths in Douma city over two days – which doesn’t fit your scenario at all.http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88981
    On another point – there is little point citing Riam Dalati – its a c.30 word tweet and he has declined to provide any detail. He wasn’t in Douma and we don’t know who he spoke to , or what they said. The statement that no fatalities occured in the hospital is probably true – but I don’t think anyone ever claimed that they had. And of course he has nothing to say about what happened at the Apartment building,

    Comment by Tettodoro — December 9, 2019 @ 3:39 pm

  21. @Tettodoro

    It looks like you have missed this part:

    “The trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory of Rights that the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces’ control in the Eastern Ghouta”.

    I know what I’m talking about. I have been following this case for quite a while now.

    Comment by Leonardo — December 9, 2019 @ 10:02 pm

  22. @luisproyect

    My god, aren’t you abusive? It’s surprising that Counterpunch allows someone so abusive and abrasive as you to write for them. It doesn’t cast them in a good light.

    Now you are desperately arguing about a word. What Fisk reported is consistent with what the SORH reported:

    “War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”


    Not only there is no contradiction (both dust and buildings collapse might have concurred in killing those poor people), but such discrepancies are expected in a situation so confused as the one that was going on in Douma: the doctors were working. I’m pretty convinced most of them were reporting what people told them and what they could infer from the symptoms they were treating. And those symptoms didn’t include chemical weapons poisoning symptoms.
    What all these tales have in common is that not a single one of them even hint at the prospect that the people could have suffocated because of chemical poisoning. You nitpick about a word and summarily dismiss what is the proverbial elephant in the room. Add to that what the leaked email told us about the trace quantities of COC found in samples all around Douma and the call for the OPCW to release all the technical analysis should be a given.

    As far as moving the bodies go, please tell me: did the bodies buried themselves? Did they walk to their burial site? They didn’t, right? Which means that someone had to move them. The simple plain truth is that you can’t know when those bodies were first moved and where they were taken to. Neither can I. I’m not saying that’s what happned for sure. I’m saying that, given all the other issues I pointed out, the fact that they might have been moved by the same people that staged the incident is the most likely explanation.

    You are not thinking this through rationally. I’m fed up of people that anchor their activism their moral indiignation much more than on what they actually know. Grow up.

    Comment by Leonardo — December 9, 2019 @ 10:39 pm

  23. “As far as moving the bodies go, please tell me: did the bodies buried themselves? Did they walk to their burial site?” Are you a mental patient or something? Transporting corpses to a cemetery is normal. Transporting them to the lower level of an apartment building is not, especially in light of Muslim burial norms.

    Also, just as I suspected, you were simply citing Fisk who has become such a shitty reporter that a term “Fisked” has been coined to describe his post-2011 reporting.

    I am pretty much done with you but for those who want to see Fisk and his dust storm and other crap debunked, go here:





    Comment by louisproyect — December 9, 2019 @ 11:02 pm

  24. it seems to me that what Leonardo says is much better off the Occam knife than the theories put forward by supporters of the United States military intervention in favor of the Gihadists

    Comment by xavi — December 10, 2019 @ 5:56 pm

  25. Yeah, those Gihadists are really scary. Their leader Abu Al-Mishagoyim once bit off the head of a rat while walking barefoot across a bed of burning coals.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 10, 2019 @ 7:42 pm

  26. @ Leonardo I woould say as a general rule “always read your sources carefully” but its especially important when dealing with the SOHR. So some points -1. the SOHR report you quote talks about the numbers who ” were killed today, Friday” but “Friday” is 6 April* – the day *before* the Douma attack took place. OK the article is datelined 7 April and it talks about “the number of persons killed since Friday” which could mean over the previous week or could mean that the report has muddled its days and is really talking about Saturday 7th April; 2. most of the information in this passage is not about Douma but the whole of Est Ghouta; the passage you rely on says “the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces’ control in the Eastern Ghouta”. Yes, “the last area beyond the regime forces’ control ” was Douma so *maybe* that it what it is referring to – but elsewhere where it is referencing Douma it say so explicitly. – so maybe it isn’t. And the figure of “more than 70” is linked to “the number of *injuries* today – not* deaths* .As I said earlier, this report doesn’t provide a lot of corroboration for your hypothesis.

    Comment by Tettodoro — December 12, 2019 @ 5:17 pm

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