Do not trust anyone. Assad is not responsible for the abominable chemical gas attacks in Ghouta in 2013 and in Idlib in 2017. War is an abomination. Bombs and missiles are an abomination. The US led coalition has ‘dropped’ more than 73,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq and Syria in the last three years. Gas attacks, any weapon intended to maim and kill are an abomination. But so too is lying and blaming, for a climate of hate leads to climates of death. The rushed 2013 UN Report on the Ghouta chemical gassing has been discredited though it remains centrepiece at the United Nations after an investigation of a few weeks, with a cobbling together of overnight reports by bloggers and biased ‘agencies’ – in effect copy and paste desktop ‘research’ stuff .
A former US Congressional staffer and current Massachusetts Institute of Technology research affiliate, Subrata Ghoshroy ripped into the integrity of the September 26, 2013 UN report on the Ghouta tragedy five weeks earlier, August 21.
A UN team visited Ghouta on August 27 and 29. Weeks later the UN released its report with a convulsion of conclusions. Sarin gas was used and it was argued that surface to surface rockets shot in the sarin to Ghouta, a suburb of eastern Damascus. It is believed that 1,429 died, including 426 children.
Ghoshroy examined the UN report and published his analysis as to the integrity of the UN report. “Prior to the publication of the UN report, two other significant reports were made public. One was reported in the New York Times and the other a report by Human Rights Watch… The UN report, which was issued sometime after these reports, repeated their conclusions.” These reports were not factual and were speculative opinion based write ups.
Ghoshroy argues that the UN report scuttled serious investigation and took up an agreement of the conceptually based speculative conclusions from the hastily produced and published recent reports. According to Ghoshroy, the New York Times piece “took centre stage in the UN report.”
Social media went into overdrive – particularly after the YouTube video uploads – on August 21, 2013 of the attack on residents of Ghouta. Ghoshroy writes, “As reports were coming in, the US, French, and the British governments were starting to claim that there was a massacre. The most stunning of these claims was an assertion by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State that 1,429 people died apparently from nerve gas inhalation of which 426 were children.”
“Noam Chomsky remarked during a lecture at MIT on September 10, 2013 that it reminded him of similarly precise body counts that the Pentagon used to issue after encounters with the Viet Cong. They were largely made up, he said.”
Ghoshroy believed that at the time of the Ghouta attacks it was impossible to raise “an impertinent question in the midst of the media onslaught accompanied by commentary from ‘independent’ experts.” He wrote of the ‘experts’ that “several of them were veterans of the UN inspection team before the invasion of Iraq.” I disagree on this point with Ghoshroy and that we must challenge potential untruths at all times, in particular when they first alleged.
Ghoshroy continued, “For example, Charles Duelfer, the Deputy Head of the UN team and later Chief of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group after the fall of Saddam Hussein, was a regular. A veteran of the US Government programs in space and nuclear weapons, he was the top CIA officer directing the investigation of Saddam’s regime and its WMD programs, his website says. Another was David Kaye, who was the Chief UN inspector for Iraq, who is now at the Potomac Institute – a beltway think tank funded mainly by the Pentagon. A third was Raymond Zilinskas, a former inspector with expertise on chemical and biological weapons, who is now at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He once spoke enthusiastically about the evidence presented at the UN Security Council by Gen. Colin Powell about WMD in Iraq, which was discredited later as false. These experts were seemingly speaking in unison that there was overwhelming evidence showing that Syrian government forces were behind the chemical weapons attack. Neither the US government, nor its allies like Britain and France could wait for the report of the UN inspection team, which was in Damascus at the time. “
Ghoshroy wrote, “From my research and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the UN report as well as human rights organizations like the Human Rights Watch were influenced by bloggers and analysts closely tied to the US and its allies to prove that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attacks. Consequently, they produced reports that are of questionable quality and not above reproach. This is especially true about the UN team’s comments about the rockets being the delivery vehicles for the nerve agent. The UN team had the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used in the alleged attack on August 21, but not who was responsible for it. In order to carry out its mandate, the team relied on laboratory reports of analysis of collected blood, urine, soil and other environmental samples. It also analysed samples from rocket parts, munitions, etc. In addition, it conducted a limited number of interviews with survivors and doctors. It finished its work on September 13 and Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, released the report on Monday, September 16 calling it a “war crime.””
The New York Times report was published September 4, weeks before the UN report. The story was ‘based’ on the speculations of ‘leading weapons experts’. But the article did not name the ‘experts’ and did not explain how these unnamed individuals arrived at their conclusions.
Ghoshroy should not be taken as the ‘gospel’ however he is a former US Congressional staffer, a credible researcher and his analyses and questions alarmingly expose the investigative work of the United Nations, of big news media and mainstream human rights agencies.
I do not believe that Bashar Al Assad had anything to do with the chemical attacks (including Ghouta, in eastern Damascus – 2013). The tragedy of Syria, the warring, the terror continues, abominably. I don’t believe there is any immediate solution, with the ways forward long ago obliterated.
The April 4 missile barrage on Al-Shayrat was nothing new. It was more of the same. The London based independent agency Airwars monitors civilian casualties from international airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Airwards has logged 7,912 ‘coalition’ strikes in Syria in three years. In nearly 1,000 days of strikes in Syria and Iraq, nearly 73,000 bombs and missiles have been dropped with at least 3,000 civilians killed. I have already written widely on this.