ICYMI: You’re being lied to about chemical warfare in Syria… can you trust the media?

News Van, Media
News Van, Media

This year in review, originally posted September 23, 2015

To promote US support of Islamist Rebels in Syria, westerners were lied to about the use of “chemical warfare”. The media failed to report that the claims against the Syrian government were proven to be false. Evidence was produced by several agencies, but one person was responsible for getting the truth out to these various agencies. A nun, Mother Agnes Mariam, brought forth evidence that proved that it was not the Syrian government that used chemicals. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for her research and report to the UN about the accusations. But interestingly, even after the truth was reported, western media chose to promote Obama and the Islamists and never reported the evidence Mother Agnes provided that proved the claims were false. Mother Agnes has lived in Syria for 20 years. She resides in Damascus, right next to the neighborhood in which claims were made that chemical weapons were used against civilians.

What most people do not know is that UN inspectors originally entered Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government. The Syrian government had notified the UN several weeks earlier that anti-government Rebel groups were using chemical weapons after they had attacked and took control of a chemical factory east of Aleppo. As a precaution, the Syrian Army consolidated all of its chemical weapons into a heavily guarded compound to prevent the Rebel groups from being able to gain further access to any chemicals. The Syrian government also reported that a Rebel group had launched a chemical attack against the Syrian Army in Khan Al-Assal on March 19, 2013.

At the request of the Syrian government, a team from the UN went to Syria. While there, accusations were made by Rebel groups that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the al-Ghouta area of Damascus. The UN investigated al-Ghouta and published a report. The report did not state who they thought conducted the attack because they had absolutely no evidence that could direct them to a culprit. They stated that they only had evidence that it “appeared” that chemical weapons were used in al-Ghouta—but they also stated that the materials found looked as if they had been “moved” into al-Ghouta.

The UN inspection team led by Ake Sellstrom stated that they collected “convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin was used” and that the “fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled and moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.” The team also stated that they had “very limited time to conduct a detailed survey.” The team had been limited because Rebel groups were firing on the neighborhood—which forced the UN team to leave.

The caliber of the surface-to-surface rockets that carried the sarin was determined to be Soviet BM-14 series 140mm. This launcher type had not been part of the Syrian Army’s inventory for decades. It had been replaced decades ago by the newer BM-21 and Chinese-made Type 63 launchers. None of the old launchers were in the Syrian Army’s possession, but the old BM-14s are still widely used by various Islamist groups in other regions. The launchers are very compact and could have easily been brought into Syria by Rebel groups (Rebel groups consist of foreigners from those areas who continue to use these old launchers).

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by the Rebel fighters. She stated: “There are strong, concrete suspicions … [that] … sarin was used by the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.” Del Ponte said the inquiry has yet to see “any direct evidence suggesting that government forces have used chemical weapons”.

Though the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, did not state who was responsible for the chemical attacks, Western media went into high gear, accusing the Syrian government—with no evidence or proof of any kind. Regarding Del Ponte’s statement, White House spokesman, Jay Carney, responded by stating that it was “highly skeptical that Syrian rebels used chemical weapons” … “We find it highly likely that chemical weapons, if they were used in Syria, and there is evidence that they were, that the Assad regime was responsible.”

Without any concrete proof or evidence of any kind as to who conducted the attacks, calls then came from the Whitehouse for the US to launch military action against the Syrian government. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were the most prominent among those calling for intervention. Del Ponte’s statements were then criticized and western media sided with the Obama admin and began promoting the idea of chemical weapons being used by the Syrian government instead of the more likelihood of chemicals being used by Islamist insurgents.

The US admin then nominated and endorsed a sample of video footage that had been released by a Rebel media outlet and used it to try to provide proof that the Syrian government was responsible. It was later proven that these videos were staged. But meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry played these staged videos and in his speech to reporters on August 30, 2013, he used extremely manipulative words to promote the false claims. Kerry said, “with our own eyes” several times to make reporters believe they were seeing chemical attacks “with their own eyes”—when it was nothing but staged video of the same bodies of children moved from location to location to make it appear as if they were different children and different locations within al-Ghouta, where the alleged attacks took place.

Kerry requested that the videos be watched by the general public. But the general public was not allowed to see the entire videos. No, because if the public had seen the videos in their entirety, some alert person would have noticed that these were the same children’s bodies used over and over. Instead, video snippets and still photos taken from the falsified video were released to the public in order to make them, too, believe they were seeing it “with their own eyes”.

But Mother Agnes, who lived right next to the neighborhood in question, knew the attacks could not have possibly happened in that neighborhood. The al-Ghouta neighborhood had been evacuated due to bombings by Rebel groups and it was vacated long before the chemical attack supposedly took place. Mother Agnes then brought up yet another big problem with the alleged chemical attack: The Victims.

Why were the victims mostly children? Why were these children unidentified—no family members came to claim the bodies. Why was there almost no women found with these children? The mother’s bodies would surely be near their children’s.

Syrian parents or other family members would normally claim the bodies for burial. Where were they? How did these children’s bodies suddenly appear in an abandoned neighborhood? How was it possible that so many children could suddenly appear in a neighborhood where civilians no longer resided?

Mother Agnes said at the time: “This is, you know, scary, so did they deliver them? We want to know who gathered those children and who killed them. I will tell you something–why this accusation [against the Syrian government] and then a rapid call to immediately enter in a war [i.e. foreign intervention]?” Mother Agnes then went to work carefully looking at all of the videos the Obama admin and western media was using as evidence against the Syrian government. With the help of an International Support Team (iSTEAMS) she carefully documented evidence that the videos had been staged. The report was submitted to the UN. All investigations against the Syrian government ended. But oddly, western media gave the report and its findings no coverage at all.

Mother Agnes’ report proved that the videos were an obvious attempt to falsify information in order to cause western military intervention and to back Islamist Rebels. Mother Agnes thoroughly analyzed each video and revealed a number of facts that challenged the Western media’s version. According to Western media reports, the attacks were said to have killed over 1400 people. But according to the videos, the same bodies are shown repeatedly in different locations to make it appear as if 100’s of children died in the different areas of the neighborhood–an abandoned neighborhood.

Mother Agnes highlighted the fact that there were no public funerals, nor any announcements. This was totally outside of both the cultural and religious norms and traditions of the Syrian people. Were these children murdered by the Rebel insurgents and disrespectfully buried without the proper rituals–as a sign of disdain? Where are the remaining 1,400 corpses the Western media claims to have been killed?

Mother Agnes then discovered the answers to these questions: Dozens of Alawites (a religious minority in Syria) had been kidnapped by a Rebel group just before the alleged chemical attack took place. Around 150 women and children were kidnapped from 11 villages in the Latakia region. After the kidnappings, the Rebels then massacred 100’s of Alawites in these villages. Mainstream media in the US failed to cover any of these events in Latakia because it was not on the agenda of the Obama administration to report the atrocities committed by the Rebels. But these kidnapped children, who were later killed, were the bodies used for the “chemical weapons” accusation against the Syrian government.

Relatives from Latakia heard about the dead children in the videos and began coming forth telling their stories of the children that were abducted by the Rebels. They were able to identify their relatives in the videos. They had not known what happened to their kidnapped family members until they heard about the questions Mother Agnes was asking (Latakia is far from Damascus; they did not hear about it right away). As family members from Latakia came forward to claim their dead, it became apparent that the bodies of these children were prostituted to pave the way for a foreign military intervention in Syria.

Mother Agnes was able to identify and acknowledge the abducted children who were murdered by Rebels and filmed by Rebels in their attempt to make it appear as if these children were from al-Ghouta. The following is a list of the abducted children and their ages:

Mohammad Kamal Chehade (9), Rand Kamal Chehade (11), Nasr Kamal Chehade (7), Nagham Jaoudat Chehade (13), Nathalie Jaoudat Chehade (5), Bachar Jaoudat Chehade (2), Hamza Ahmad Chehade (9), Aamer Ghassan Yahya (8), Haydar Nazem Chehade (12), Zein Nazem Chehade (3), Mehrez Barakat Chehade (13), Bachar Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (12), Ahmad Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (13), Jaafar Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (14), Jaafar Adam Ismael (2), Yazan Haydar Haydar (11), Duaa Wael Mariam (baby), Alaa Wael Mariam (baby), Ahamad Ayman Mariam (baby), Farah Ayman Mariam (baby), Marah Ayman Mariam (baby), Mohammad Ayman Mariam (baby), Dalaa Ayman Mariam (baby), Haydar Fayyad Mariam (baby), Khodor Mazen Traybouche (baby), Dina Mounzer Darwich (baby), Bana Mounzer Darwich (baby), Chame Mounzer Darwich (baby), Ali Barakat Darwich (baby), Abdel Karim Barakat Darwich (baby), Aabir Barakat Darwich (baby), Taym Hani Chkouhi (1), Loukman Bassem Fatime (9), Nibal Bassem Fatime (8), Sylvia Bassem Fatime (6), Ghaydak Wafik Ibrahim (10), Mokdad Wafik Ibrahim (14), Aalaa Nazem Selim (baby), Rima Nazem Selim (baby), Racha Nazem Selim (baby), Limar Ramez Selim (baby), Salem Ramez Selim (baby), Chamess Ramez Selim (baby), Sali Ramez Selim (baby), Tim Aazab Selim (baby), Batoul Samir Selim (14), Lougein Talal Selim (15), Wajad Talal Selim (baby), Jawa Talal Selim (baby), Hanine Talal Selim (baby), Rima Talal Selim (baby), Houssein Ayman Ibrahim (3), Zahraa Ayman Ibrahim (8), Mariam Ayman Ibrahim (5), Batoul Ghassan El Koussaybe (15), Wakar Ghassan El Koussaybe (14), Sandass Ghassan El Koussaybe (13), Zeina Adnan Fatima (6), Houssein Adnan Fatima (4).

Mother Agnes’ report puts the entire US Intelligence Community to shame for endorsing video footage that is clearly faked. The US government and mainstream media have been playing a terrifying game. Islamist Rebels kidnapped and killed these children, brought them to a vacant neighborhood, and placed weapons they had used that contained chemicals.

Also disturbing in the videos were males handling the dead bodies of the children. Mother Agnes states: “From the moment when some families of abducted children contacted us to inform us that they recognized their children among those who are presented in the videos, we decided to examine the videos more thoroughly … Those angels are always alone in the hands of adult males that seem to be part of armed gangs. Our study highlights without any doubt that their little bodies were manipulated with theatrical arrangements.”

Mother Agnes’ Report confirms that the videos presented on September 5th to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had been deliberately manipulated, that the bodies of dead children had been moved from one location to another in a staged event. The study proves that the al-Ghouta tragedy was a carefully planned and staged event involving the US sponsored “opposition rebel forces”. These videos were used as evidence by the US Senate Committee in the drafting of its resolution in favor of punitive strikes directed against Syria (Resolution 2021, September 5, 2013). The Senate Committee stated that the videos pointed to “clear and compelling evidence”. In the words of John Kerry in his statement before the Senate Committee: “The images [in the videos] are sickening. And in my view, the world cannot ignore the inhumanity and the horror of this act.”

I say, the true “horror of this act” is that the US participated in creating an enormous Islamist force inside Syria that continues to commit atrocities against the Syrian people on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the US portrays the national forces as the bad guys, while it is the Syrian national forces who protect and defend those villages attacked by Islamists. We should be supporting the Syrian people–not the Islamists. Photos: Rebels used the same bodies, moved to different locations, in order to make it seem like different locations within al-Ghouta.


Original post by Cheri Berens on Facebook, reprinted with permission.

Photo credit Terry Ross

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.