The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun April 4 2017 Attack: NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims

Global Research, June 01, 2017

Introduction

On April 26/27 2017 the New York Times released a video titled How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike. This video provides extensive forensic evidence that the New York Times used to develop its conclusions about an alleged nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. In this report, I show that NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.

The New York Times video of April 26 was immediately followed by a New York Times article titled The Times Uses Forensic Mapping to Verify a Syrian Chemical Attack. This second article describes the same erroneous conclusions of the forensic analysis reported in the earlier video, but unlike the video, it does not show the extensive forensic evidence that could be used to determine the veracity of its conclusions.

On May 5, Human Rights Watch released a report titled Death by Chemicals that also used extensive forensic evidence similar to that discussed by the New York Times. The Human Rights Watch report showed forensic evidence that was supposed to indicate the existence of an alleged the sarin release site. In my last report, I showed that this forensic video-evidence also directly contradicted the conclusions in that report.1

The forensic evidence and analytical claims in all of these reports can be traced back to a single source, an organization called Bellingcat. This organization represents itself as “specializing in analyzing information posted online.” As will be shown in what follows, not a single claim made by Bellingcat is supported by the forensic evidence it used to reach its conclusions.

The particular evidence of concern in this report are claims made by Bellingcat about three sites that were attacked by air on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun with general-purpose bombs. The alleged locations of the locations of the sarin release site and the three sites that Bellingcat concludes were attacked with general purpose bombs are shown in Figure 1 below from the New York Times video.

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Location of the sarin release site and three sites in Khan Sheikhoun that Bellingcat alleges were attacked with general-purpose bombs on April 4 2017. The alleged sarin release site that Bellingcat incorrectly asserts that there is forensic evidence of an airdropped sarin-releasing munition ( see reference 1 below for a complete discussion of that false claim)

1 The Human Rights Watch Report of May 1,2017 Cites Evidence that Disaffirms Its Own Conclusions About the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4,2017, May 8, 2017

The method used by Bellingcat to find the areas of bomb damage depend on line-of-sight data established from a panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun on the day of the attack – April 4, 2017 (see Figure 2). This composite panoramic view was derived from a video-scan of the horizon taken north of Khan Sheikhoun looking south. As can be seen from the composite panoramic shown below in Figure 2, there are three bomb-debris clouds rising from the three areas that Bellingcat asserts were bombed on April 4.

The detailed analysis that will be presented later in this paper will show that this panoramic scene could not have been recorded on April 4, 2017 as claimed by Bellingcat.

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Location of bomb-debris clouds at three sites in Khan Sheikhoun that Bellingcat alleges were attacked with general-purpose bombs on April 4 2017. The detailed analysis of Bellingcat’s own forensic evidence shows that this panoramic scene could not have been recorded on April 4, 2017.

Later in this report I will show using basic information about the fundamental characteristics of bombs that debris clouds 2 and 3 are the result of the detonations of single 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bombs.  Debris cloud 1, which has a considerably larger base diameter than clouds 1 and 2, indicates that it was created by an attack using 2 or 3 bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound weight-class or it was possibly created by secondary explosions in an ammunition dump that was hit with single or multiple bombs. That is, the damage area associated with bomb-cloud 1 is predictably considerably larger than the bomb- damage areas associated with debris clouds 2 and 3.

The Bellingcat analysts used this panoramic view from the wrong day to establish lines of sight to each of the bombed areas. They then used before and after satellite images to search along the lines of sight for areas of bomb damage. In spite of all the evidence that Bellingcat had that indicated the panoramic was from the wrong day, they still found three locations where they allege bomb damage occurred.

This report shows that NONE of the bomb-damage areas identified by Bellingcat and shown in the New York Times video show any indication of bomb damage from 500 to 1000 pound bombs. That is, the data from the panoramic view is clearly and unambiguously inconsistent with the claims of bomb damage from the satellite photographs. In fact NONE of the forensic data claimed by Bellingcat in the New York Times as evidence of general-purpose bomb damage on April 4 supports the conclusions that are said to have been derived from the forensic data. In all, when these false claims about information provided in the forensic data are brought together with the claims about a sarin release site, the conclusion is inescapable that all of the evidence referred to by Bellingcat in the New York Times shows no evidence to support their narrative.

This means that the narratives put forward by the New York Times, and the closely related Human Rights Watch report of May 1, are all based on forensic evidence and conclusions that are unambiguously false.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat are as follows:

  1. The panoramic view that is alleged to have been recorded on April 4, 2017 shows that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction from the reported weather in Khan Sheikhoun on that day. This is not a minor

If the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as shown in the panoramic view alleged to have been recorded on April 4, the sarin from the alleged sarin-release site would have drifted into open fields and would not have reached any populated areas for more than half a kilometer. Hence, there would be no casualties from a sarin release at this site as alleged by the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat.

Given the small size of alleged sarin releasing container (containing no more than 5 to 10 liters), and the large distance between the nearest populated area and the sarin-release site, even with near ideal weather conditions for a deadly sarin dispersal, there would have been essentially NO casualties from the sarin-release in any densely populated areas downwind.

  1. The three areas where Bellingcat claims bomb damage occurred show NO evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds that indicate the delivery of 500 to 1000 pound bombs.
  2. One of the bomb damage sites (bomb damage area 2) is not along the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view as claimed by Bellingcat. As such, the location of this bomb damage site contradicts the data from the panoramic view that was allegedly used to find
  3. Video of an alleged bombing of a target in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun shows a large area of heavy bomb damage that is completely inconsistent with the minuscule or nonexistent bomb damage in the three bombed sites allegedly found by Bellingcat from the alleged events on April 4, 2017.

The bomb-damage video from March 2015 shows a bomb-debris cloud that is much like the large bomb-debris cloud 1 allegedly produced on April 4, 2017.  While the area bombed in March 2015 shows extensive and unambiguous severe bomb damage, the area where Bellingcat alleges bomb damage at site 1 on April 4 shows only minuscule or no bomb damage. This raises very serious questions about the veracity of Bellingcat’s claims about the forensic evidence of bomb-site damage.

In summary, video sequences of the alleged bombing in March 2015 show that three bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound class were dropped on the target.

Before and after satellite images also shown in the New York Times video of the alleged site that was bombed in March 2015 show an area of roughly 400 feet diameter that was completely demolished by the alleged bombing attack.

Damage site 1 identified by Bellingcat as being associated with a similar very large bomb-debris cloud created on April 4, 2017 shows only minuscule or no damage relative to the vast area that was demolished in March 2015.

  1. The before and after satellite images used by Bellingcat were taken 44 days apart between February 21, 2017 and April 6, 2017. This means that even if there were bomb damage seen in the April 6 images, it would not be possible to uniquely identify that damage with the April 4

However, since there is NO bomb damage in any of the three bombed sites that Bellingcat identified, this is not an issue with regard to Bellingcat’s analysis. However, it does indicate that if Bellingcat had found bomb damage in the before and after satellite imagery, it could not be ascribed unambiguously as having occurred on April 4

  1. Although the New York Times video shows a bomb debris cloud in March 2015 and a completely demolished site associated with that bombing, it appears that nobody performing the analysis of the forensic data asked an obvious question; why was a bomb debris cloud associated with a large area of heavy ground-damage in one case but either no damage or minuscule damage from the bombing could be found in the other three cases where bomb-damage debris clouds were observed?
  2. How Bellingcat reached any of its conclusions in the face of coherent and internally consistent forensic evidence to the contrary is inexplicable – the complete lack of any forensic evidence of bomb damage generated by the use of the panoramic view allegedly recorded on April 4, 2017; the inconsistencies in the the wind direction observed in the panoramic view with weather reports for April 4; and an analytic process that failed to observe bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds or wind directions that could credibly carry a deadly sarin release plume into range of any densely populated area.
  1. These egregious errors and glaring internal inconsistencies in the forensic analysis suggest that the analysts may have had a predetermined narrative, but could not find any forensic data to support it. So they simply solved their problem by asserting that there was forensic evidence that does not
  2. This evidence suggests that New York Times management did not check the accuracy of the facts supporting the narrative of events on April 4, 2017 that the Times has been publishing, and continues to

***

The remainder of this report will focus on the specific forensic evidence presented in the New York Times video. The discussion will show, with example by example of forensic evidence from the New York Times video, that the interpretation of every piece of forensic evidence in the video is spurious, leading to the absolute and unambiguous conclusion that none of the findings asserted in the video are supported by the facts.

The structure of the remainder of this report is as follows:

The report will first describe the basic design features of general-purpose bombs. It will then explain how the bombs inflict damage, the spatial scale and destructive effects caused by the detonation of such bombs, and the characteristics of the easily observable bomb-debris clouds that are generated by the bomb detonations.

In next section will show how the panoramic was allegedly used to find the three bomb-damage sites. We will show that the alleged locations of the observed bomb damage sites in the panoramic view were at ranges of roughly 1 to 2.5 miles from the camera. We will also show that one of the alleged bombing-sites is not aligned with the line-of-sight in the panoramic view. This raises further questions about the veracity of the analysis produced by Bellingcat.

After this we will show the video evidence of before and after satellite imagery of the three bombed areas that were allegedly identified by Bellingcat with the line-of-sight data from the panoramic view.

It will be shown that there is absolutely no evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb- debris clouds shown in the panoramic view.

In the section that then follows, video frames of the alleged bombing in March 2015 extracted from the New York Times video will show that the debris cloud generated from the March 2015 attack indicate 3 bombs were used in that attack.

The satellite imagery provided in the New York Times video of the severely damaged area from that attack will be shown.  The point of showing these video frames from the New York Times video is to show that both the Bellingcat and New York Times analysts who put together the video had to know that there was extensive bomb-damage on the ground associated with the large debris cloud from the March 2015 attack. As such, they should have known and expected to find a large area of demolished buildings extending over at least a city block at site 1, where either multiple bombs were dropped or there were extensive secondary explosions on the ground.

***

References for Interested Readers:

The New York Times video can be found at:

TIMESVIDEO

How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike
By Malachy Browne, Natalie Reneau and Mark Scheffler, April 26, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005063944/syria-chemical-attack-russia.html

The New York Times video can also be found on YouTube / watched below:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=How+Syria+and+Russia+Spun+a+Chemical+Strike

The advantage of using YouTube is that readers with sufficient interest can download the video directly onto a computer and easily study it frame by frame.

The New York Times article that describes how the analysis and the video was done and its conclusions can be found at:

The Times Uses Forensic Mapping to Verify a Syrian Chemical Attack
By Malachy Browne, May 1, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/insider/the-times-uses-forensic-mapping-to-verify-a-syrian-chemical-attack.html?_r=0

The Human Rights Watch report that has been shown in reference 1 to have no forensic evidence to support its claim that an airdropped sarin dispersing munition was used on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun can be found at:

Death by Chemicals
Human Rights Watch, May 5, 2017

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

The panoramic that forms the foundation of the alleged Bellingcat methodology that was supposedly used to locate the bomb-damage sites that show no evidence of bomb damage is shown below:

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Above Composite from Top of Page 24 of the Human Rights Watch Report Death by Chemicals, first published on May 5, 2017.

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

The video that was used to construct a panoramic view can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWvDisOxJi0

Khan Sheikhoun During the Bombing Attack on April 4, 2017

Some Basic Facts about General-Purpose Bombs

This section provides basic information about general-purpose bombs that is relevant to understanding the forensic data used in the New York Times video with regard to the alleged bombing attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017

The diagrams below provide basic information about the design of “general-purpose bombs” and the physical effects associated with their use.

A basic general-purpose bomb is roughly 50% by weight explosives and 50% by weight metal casing (see Figure 3). This design choice is used to increase the lethality and destructiveness of the bomb. When the explosives in the bomb detonate, the heavy metal casing is shattered into numerous fragments by the hot expanding high-pressure explosive gas products, accelerating them to quite high speeds, of order 2 km/s. These high-speed fragments can do tremendous damage to a target even before the shockwave generated by the expanding explosive gases arrives at elements of the target (the fragments travel faster than the shockwave except at very short distances from the bomb casing).

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The above diagram shows a Russian general-purpose bomb, which in terms of concept is the same as those used in the West. Half of the weight of general-purpose bombs is explosives and the other half is metal casing. When the explosives detonate they shatter the metal casing into thousands of fragments that weigh several grams each and travel at nearly 2 km/s (about 4500 mph).  These high speed fragments can create tremendous damage to the target before the shockwave arrives.  They also create a spray of lethal fragments that greatly increase the killing range against exposed personnel.

Figure 4 below shows the vast number of fragments that are typically produced by general-purpose bombs with casings of various wall thicknesses.

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Fragments generated by the explosion of the munition that is roughly 50% weight by explosives and 50% weight by metal casing. These fragments travel at a speed near 2 km/s (about 4500 mph).

Figure 5 on the next page shows the early phases of the detonation process. The detonation of the explosives in the bomb produce violently expanding high-temperature gases which act like a fast moving piston on the metal casing and the surrounding ambient air. In the process of expanding, the casing shatters, pieces are accelerated to high speeds, and a shell of compressed ambient air forms a shockwave of compressed air that propagates outward on its own at slightly above the speed of sound (0.34 km/sec or about 760 mph) causing damage to structural elements that it encounters. The hot expanding gases from explosive mixing with entrained ambient air create a “bubble” of hot gases that is left behind at the detonation point as the shock propagates into the surrounding environment.

This bubble of hot gases then buoyantly rises from the detonation point, carrying entrained dust, pieces of target debris, and bomb remnants along with it as it rises.

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When a general-purpose bomb explodes it creates a volume of hot air from the mixing of the extremely hot gases produced in the explosion with nearby surrounding air that is incorporated into the turbulent expanding explosive gases. Fragments from the casing can cause serious damage to surrounding structural elements before the blast wave arrives and can kill people at many hundreds of meters range.  For bombs in the weight-range of 500 to 1000 pounds, the resulting “bubble” of hot buoyantly rising air initially left behind at the point of detonation carries target debris and other materials with it to an eventual full altitude of between 1000 and 1500 feet. The cloud has an overall shape like a mushroom where the crown is the remnant of the initial bubble of hot air from the initial explosion.

As shown on the next page in Figure 6, the initial explosion creates a dust cloud that is made up of the original hot expanding gases along with a “pedestal” of dust that is kicked up by the shockwave as it expands beyond the area of initially hot expanding gases. As the dust cloud evolves in time, it develops into a mushroom shaped debris-cloud where the original hot bomb gases form the crown of the cloud and the suction created by the rising crown of hot gases creates a “stem” which contains dust from the pulverized target.

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Two examples of bomb-debris clouds from general-purpose bombs in the weight-range of 500 to 1000 pounds. The early debris cloud on the left is from two or three bombs hitting around the same location. The later-time debris cloud on the right is probably generated by a single general-purpose bomb in the 1000 pound weight-class.

There are various methods that have been developed to estimate the size of the crown of the debris cloud and its height.  These estimation techniques are fundamentally approximate, as the cloud can be shaped by the temperature profile of the air, wind shear, and ambient winds. However, when a large bomb hits a target the result is a debris cloud that is unambiguously connected to the size of the munition that has been used. This fundamental fact of physics reveals that the New York Times video about the attack on Khan Sheikhoun makes claims that are completely incompatible with the forensic evidence they show.

Looking at the disparity between the absence of bomb damage that the New York Times analysts show in their video and what the target area would have to look like begs the question, “how could the analysts have possibly made the egregious mistake of thinking that the photos provided by Bellingcat indicated actual bomb-damage commensurate with the observed bomb-clouds in the panoramic view?”

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This illustration shows an example of a numerical estimation procedure for making rough estimates of the weight of general- purpose bombs from bomb debris cloud dimensions observed in combat.  The equations are derived from fitting data to numerous observations of bomb explosions. Figures 3 through 6 are from materials left to me by my dear friend and colleague, Richard Lloyd, who died from cancer on October 31, 2014. One of his last requests to me was that the accumulated treasures of his research be made available for public policy analysis.

Figure 8 below shows rough estimates of the blast overpressure versus range for general-purpose bombs of different weights. These curves include the fact that roughly half of the weight of the general-purpose bombs is explosives and the remaining weight is casing.

Damage from General-Purpose Bombs

A widely-known and documentable fact is that a blast overpressure of 30 psi from such a bomb will result in the complete demolition of an urban structural target. As shown in the Figure 8 graph, a 1000 pound general-purpose bomb will cause this result at a range of about 50 feet.  As a result, the detonation of a 1000 pound general-purpose bomb will completely demolish urban structures that have not been built to military specifications over a circular area of roughly more than 100 feet in diameter.

An important additional consideration is that the level of damage done to a target from bomb blasts is highly dependent on the nature of the structure. In the case of the bombing attacks on buildings of the type that populate Khan Sheikhoun, variations in the strengths of building walls can make a very large difference in the size of an area that is essentially “flattened” by a bomb-hit. Although a blast overpressure of 30 psi will almost certainly knock the walls out and cause the complete collapse of a building, a blast overpressure of 20 psi could well produce the same result. This means that the diameter of an area completely demolished by a 1000 pound bomb could be between 100 and 150 feet. In the diagrams we subsequently show we will designate the areas that could be completely demolished in terms of concentric circles with diameters of 100 and 150 feet consecutively.

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The above graph shows the blast overpressure versus range for general-purpose bombs of various weights. As can be seen by inspecting the graph, a blast overpressure of about 30 psi will occur at 50 feet from the detonation point of 1000 pound bomb.

The Panoramic View:  Looking South from North of Khan Sheikhoun

Figure 9 on the next page shows the panoramic constructed by Bellingcat which forms the foundation and basic source of analysis used by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch in their published forensics-based analyses of the Syrian air attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.

The analyses assert that this panoramic shows that three separate targets were hit with general-purpose explosive bombs on April 4, 2017 in addition to a fourth sarin-dispersing airdropped munition with an explosive charge that was too small to create the large and visible bomb-damage debris clouds that could be observed at long-range shown in this panoramic.

The New York Times video claims that this panoramic allowed them to locate where the 500 to 1000 pound explosive bombs were dropped.  The described analysis process on the surface appears straightforward, but a more expert review of the forensic evidence shows that the analysis and its results are profoundly in error.

The analysts first determined the line-of-sight to each of the debris clouds relative to the known locations of thee minarets and the flat mound that is in the middle and foreground of the panoramic view. As a result of its very distinct appearance, the flat mound and its well defined edges, is a feature that can be be used to get a relatively precise estimate of the bore-site of the camera that produced the panoramic.

Such a mound is known among archaeologists as a, tell, which is formed from the accumulated remains of a series of walled towns built successively on top of each other.  In the case of Khan Sheikhoun, this mound dates back about 4000 years to the bronze and iron ages. This particular mound is about 200 to 250 m long and 18 to 25 m high.

A very important immediate issue is raised when the motion of the bomb-debris clouds in the panoramic view is examined. The general direction of the debris-clouds is to the east. As shown in Figures 10 and 11, this instantly raises the question about how the alleged sarin release site could have created so many casualties so quickly. In Figure 10, the wind conditions obtained from weather reports suggests that a sarin release at that site would have carried sarin directly into a nearby heavily populated area immediately to the east northeast of the alleged release site.  If enough sarin had been released, and if it also was released in a way that effectively caused it to quickly evaporate, then the wind as reported by weather stations in the area would have carried a relatively dense cloud of sarin vapor and droplets into the adjacent population area causing heavy casualties near the sarin-release site.

However, if as shown in Figure 11, the wind was gently blowing to the east, the sarin would have instead created a plume that would have had to travel in excess of 600 to 700 m before encountering a densely populated area.  Even relatively large amounts of sarin released on the ground near the alleged sarin release site would be unlikely to create a killing area at this range unless an airdropped munition of perhaps 1000 or 2000 pounds very efficiently dispensed the sarin at altitude above the ground. It is therefore clear that the assumption that the panoramic view was taken on April 4, 2017 directly contradicts the claim that a large group of people were poisoned by a sarin release from this particular site as alleged by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts.

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The above panoramic derived from a video taken north of Khan Sheikhoun looking South shows the three bomb debris-clouds. The debris cloud labeled 1 is almost certainly from either multiple 500 to 1000 pound bombs, or possibly from single or multiple bombs that hit an ammunition dump causing secondary explosions. Clouds 2 and 3 appear to be from single bombs hitting targets. As will be shown in a later section of this paper, if the target locations claimed by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts were correct, clouds 1 and 2 would be about 1 mile from the camera and cloud 3 would be about 2.5 miles from the camera.

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This satellite image shows the alleged location of the sarin release site and the predicted direction of the sarin plume as indicated by weather reports on April 4, 2017.

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This satellite image shows the direction the sarin plume would be carried from the alleged sarin release site if the panoramic view used in the New York Times analysis was in fact taken on April 4, 2017. Gigantic amounts of sarin would be needed to kill and injure people at the roughly 600 m range where there is a center of population.

In summary, the inconsistencies in the forensic evidence from the panoramic view should have raised fundamental questions about the assumption that the panoramic view was recorded on April 4, 2017. It then should have raised questions about the use of this panoramic view has a foundation for the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat analyses. If the sarin release site was at the location alleged by all three organizations, the only way significant casualties could be generated would be if the wind was blowing to the west northwest as predicted by the weather reports on April 4, 2017.

If the wind is instead blowing to the east, as shown in the panoramic, the sarin release cloud would move across empty open fields for a distance of 600 to 700 m before encountering a dense center of population. In order to achieve lethality at such a long range, the nerve-agent plume from a release at ground-level would need to have efficiently dispersed many tens of liters of sarin in extremely stable weather conditions that would keep the sarin plume low to the ground as it moved towards the population center. As shown in reference one critiquing the Human Rights Report of May 1, 2017, there is absolutely no evidence of any kind of a munition at the alleged sarin release site that could be nearly large enough to carry the amounts of sarin needed to cause casualties at these large ranges. It therefore seems that the panoramic view contradicts the conclusion that the sarin release site was the source of a nerve agent attack and that the panoramic was recorded on April 4, 2017.

The Consistency of the Panoramic Data with the Alleged Locations of Bomb-Damage

As already noted, the New York Times video claims that the panoramic view provided the analysts with line-of-sight data from the video camera to the three locations where 500 to 1000 pound explosive bombs were dropped.

We will now examine the before and after satellite images used by the New York Times analysts to conclude they had found the three bomb-damage sites associated with the three bomb-damage debris clouds seen in the panoramic video.

Figures 12 and 13 show a satellite photograph of Khan Sheikhoun as displayed in the New York Times video. Figure 12 shows satellite photograph exactly as it is presented in the New York Times video and Figure 13 shows the same image but with locations labeled so as to provide the reader with orientation.

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This satellite image published in the New York Times video analysis shows the alleged locations of the sarin release site and the three bomb-damage sites identified with the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun.

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This satellite image published in the New York Times video analysis shows the alleged locations of the sarin release site and the three bomb-damage sites identified with the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun.

The alleged location of the camera north of Khan Sheikhoun looking South has been provided by Bellingcat, so it is possible to use the bomb-damage locations found by Bellingcat and the location of the camera to verify Bellingcat’s findings.

Figure 14 below shows the manipulations of the panoramic view so it can be used together with the satellite images of Khan Sheikhoun to determine the line-of-sight to the damage areas. Figure 15 on the next page shows Bellingcat’s determination of the location of the bomb damage locations and the vector directions to the damage sites on the satellite image.

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The above set of images show how the alleged locations of bomb-damage sites can be used to verify their consistency with the panoramic view. This is done by scaling the size of the panoramic view so that debris-cloud 1, debris cloud 3, and the archaeological flat mound are all in alignment as shown in Figure 15 on the next page. The scaled panoramic view is also rotated so that its length is perpendicular to the line-of-sight of the camera that recorded the panoramic view. This is then overlaid on a satellite image that includes the area where the camera was operating. The result of this process is shown in Figure 15.

What is immediately evident from an inspection of Figure 15 is that although the edges of the flat archaeological mound and the centers of the debris-clouds 1 and 3 align with the line-of-sight of the camera, debris-cloud 2 is not aligned. Since the precision of the imagery is quite high, there is no doubt that the location of the bomb-damage site 2 identified by the New York Times analysts is inconsistent with the panoramic view that was assumed by Bellingcat and the New York Times to be recorded on April 4, 2017.

The next step in the process of determining the veracity of the alleged the alleged forensic evidence associated with events on April 4, 2017 as claimed by Bellingcat and the New York Times is to look at the before and after photographs of the damage sites.

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As can be seen from inspecting the alignments of the locations and the camera line-of-sight, the flat mound and debris-cloud locations 1 and 3 are aligned. However, debris-cloud 2 is badly out of alignment with the other objects. This lack of registration between the alleged bombing locations and the camera line-of-sight is another very strong indication that the analysis of the panoramic view is not consistent with the asserted claims about bombing locations and levels of damage on April 4, 2017.

The Evidence of Bomb Damage Allegedly Found from the Panoramic Data

The first issue that should have raised questions for the Bellingcat and New York Times analysts is the time between the before and after satellite photographs.  The “before” satellite images were taken on February 21, 2017 and the “after” images were taken on April 6, 2017. This is a time interval of 44 days.

As a result, if Khan Sheikhoun was under air attack anytime within a 44 day time-period, damage from these earlier attacks could potentially be mistaken for damage inflicted on April 4, 2017. However, as a review of the data will show, this issue is not of concern – the reason being that there is no evidence ofbomb damage of any kind at any of the three sites identified by the New York Times.

Figure 16 shows debris-cloud 3 as seen from the camera that recorded the panoramic view. As already noted, the analytical method used by the New York Times to find the bombed site is critically dependent on the use of line-of-sight data from the panoramic view. The analysts claim to have located the bomb- damage by searching satellite imagery along the vector direction determined by each bomb-debris cloud.

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Bomb cloud 3 indicates the detonation of a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb. If the site located by Bellingcat and the New York Times was correctly located, the debris cloud in this image would be at a range of about 2.5 miles. At the time the image was taken the cloud-top was at an altitude of about 500 to 600 feet. Given the size of the explosion, the expected levels of damage from a bomb of this size would be extensive if it had landed in an area populated by buildings.

Figure 17 below below shows the before and after satellite photographs that Bellingcat and the New York Times analysts allege show evidence of bomb damage associated with bomb-debris cloud 3.

The “before” satellite image from February 21, 2017 is shown on the left and the “after” satellite image from April 6, 2017 is shown on the right

It is instructive to look at the before and after satellite photographs in several stages, so as to get a sense of the level of damage that Bellingcat and the New York Times is alleging was the result of an explosion by a 500 to 1000 pound bomb. This can be done by looking at Figure 17 which is labeled “Find the Damage!

The author has tested roughly a dozen people without special knowledge of bomb effects to determine how evident damage is from this composite dual image photo. None of these people were able to find the bomb damage from the unmarked before and after images in this graphic.

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The above before and after photographs are supposed to show the bomb damage done in the area associated with debris-cloud 3 identified in the panoramic shown in figure 16. The author has shown this New York Times photograph to perhaps a dozen nonspecialists and asked them to find the bomb-damage area. None of them succeeded.

The bomb damage locations claimed by the New York Times are indicated in Figure 18 as being within the yellow circles.  It is worth reflecting on the claim made by the New York Times that this is a location where a 500 to 1000 pound bomb exploded creating a debris cloud that was observed at a range of roughly 2.5 miles!

A very careful look into the before and after yellow circles overlaid onto the before and after images shows a small dark region in the “after” image on the roof of a building where the New York Times alleges that a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb exploded on April 4, 2017. Associating such a negligible level of possible damage with the identified delivery location of a 500 to 1000 pound bomb is ludicrous and completely at odds with essentially everything known about the effects of explosives and bombing.

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The above before and after photographs are supposed to show the bomb damage done in the area associated with debris-cloud 3 identified in the panoramic shown in Figure 16. The author has shown this New York Times photograph to perhaps a dozen nonspecialists before the yellow circles identifying the alleged bomb-hits were added to the photo and asked them to find the bomb- damage area.  None of them succeeded.

Figure 19 below shows the size of the area where severe bomb-damage from a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb are expected and predictable at location 3, as identified by the New York Times.

The yellow circle filled with hatching shows the area where buildings would be demolished. The large red dot on the left shows the building that would have been demolished if the bomb had hit in the location where the New York Times analysts allege there was bomb damage. The large red dot to the right of that building shows a building across the street from the demolished building that would also have almost certainly been completely destroyed.

In the case of that building (see Figure 20), the blast overpressure on its front wall facing the street would essentially cause the complete failure of the outer walls facing the blast point. This would result in the collapse of loadbearing structures and the floors in the front half of the building facing the alleged bomb impact point. The rear of the building might have survived collapse, but the effects of the blast wave funneling through the structure could well cause the collapse of the back half of the building as well.

Hence, an informed guess about the level of damage on that building would be “probable partial or total collapse.” In any case, nobody who knew anything about the effects of explosives could have possibly misidentified a minuscule blemish on the roof of a large building as evidence of an attack with a 500 to 1000 pound bomb. The level of damage alleged by the New York Times at this location is simply ridiculous when compared with the evidence used to identify this location as the bomb detonation site seen from 2.5 miles in the panoramic view.

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The above before and after photographs show what levels of damage would have occurred if the debris cloud 3 had been properly associated with the location of the identified target area. The inner circle has a diameter of roughly 100 feet, within which 30 psi or more blast would have caused the complete demolition of the building. The outer circle of diameter roughly 150 feet, shows the area within which a 15 psi or more blast could knock down masonry walls and buildings that are not constructed of steel reinforced concrete.  In essence, a knowledgeable analyst who believed this site had been hit by a bomb large enough to create the debris cloud seen in the panoramic would have known to expect very heavy damage and demolished buildings at this location.

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In summary, NOTHING associated with this alleged forensic evidence of bomb damage at location 3 shown in the New York Times video supports the Times’ narrative of this event in Khan Shekhoun on April 4, 2017.

Alleged Bomb Damage at the Site Associated with Debris Cloud 2

The bombed area associated with bomb-debris cloud 2 shows exactly the same astounding disparity between levels of predictable and expected damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb relative to what is identified as bomb damage by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts.

Figure 21 shows the location of bomb cloud 2 as seen in the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun from the North looking South.

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Bomb cloud 2 indicates the detonation of a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb.  If the site located by the New York Times was correctly identified, the debris cloud in this image would be at a range of about 1.5 miles. At the time the image was taken the cloud-top was at an altitude of about 500 to 600 feet. Given the size of the explosion, the expected levels of damage from a bomb of this size would be extensive if it had landed in an area populated by buildings.

Figure 22 shows a video frame from the New York Times video that is constructed from a composite of a section of the Bellingcat panoramic view, and an elaborate three-dimensional representation of Khan Sheikhoun looking from north to south. The locations of the three bomb-debris clouds and the archaeological mound are all identified with markings to make it easier for the reader to compare these features in both figures 21 and 22.

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The bottom half of the above composite image from the New York Times video published on April 26, 2017 shows the two debris clouds from explosions that allegedly occurred in an attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. The composite image asserts that the two identified bombing sites were determined with line-of-sight analysis using the panoramic image from the video camera north of Kan Sheikhoun. The analysts claim to have used line-of-sight data in combination with digital satellite imagery to locate the areas where the bombs shown in the lower half of the composite fell. However, examination of the satellite images of the location 2 where the bomb allegedly exploded shows no evidence of bomb damage.

The disparity between the expected and observed levels of bomb-damage at the identified location of site 2 where allegedly a 500 to 1000 pound bomb fell are just as dramatic as in the case of site 3.

Figure 23 at the top of the next page again provides the reader an opportunity to see the uncluttered before and after satellite images of the bombed area.  Even after knowing and studying the claims by the New York Times analysts about the damage at this site, it is still difficult even with foreknowledge to quickly find the area of claimed damaged.  Individuals with no prior knowledge of the claims of damage in the before and after images shown in the New York Times video have an equally hard time finding the damage alleged by the New York Times in this case (site 2) as in the case of site 3.

Figure 24 in the middle of the next page identifies the alleged bomb-damage location with yellow circles in the before and after images of the alleged hit-location. The after image shows a small slightly oblong dark area on the roof of a building. According to the New York Times analysts, this is the identified area of bomb-damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb.

Figure 25 is an image from the New York Times video where it is alleged that photos of the bomb-damage have been taken on the ground at site 2. This particular photograph indicates an astonishing disparity between the bomb-damage that would occur if a 500 to 1000 pound bomb came through the roof at that location and the damage claimed by the New York Times analysts.

As shown in Figure 26, on the following page, a 500 to 1000 pound bomb would have completely demolished the building it hit and would also have demolished the building across the street, which can be seen in the photograph in Figure 25, allegedly taken at damage location 2.

The yellow hatched inner circle in Figure 26 shows the circular area of roughly 100 feet in diameter where the detonation of the bomb would produce a blast overpressure of 30 psi or more!

Such a high level of blast overpressure would completely demolish structures beyond and within the inner circular area shown in the figure. The outer circle shows the area in which a 15 psi overpressure or more would occur. A 15 psi overpressure would be enough to severely damage or knock down most stone masonry walls of the type that appear to be ubiquitous in the construction used in Khan Sheikhoun. Thus, almost all of the buildings along the entire length of the block in figure 26 would have been demolished or rendered unusable. Yet the New York Times claims an ambiguous possible small hole in the roof that is seen on a low resolution satellite image is evidence for bomb damage that should have shown demolished buildings across the area at issue.

Finally, it should be noted that the location of site 2 is NOT along the line-of-sight to debris-cloud 2 in the panoramic view. Thus, the New York Times claims damage from a large bomb in an area that is not along the observed line-of-sight in the panoramic view that shows no evidence of bomb damage associated with a bomb-debris cloud allegedly used to find the bombed location.

This complete disconnect between the bomb-damage at both sites 2 and 3, and the serious line-of-sight discrepancies associated with the identified location of bomb-damage site 2, are serious internal inconsistencies with the narrative produced by the New York Times and its analysts. In the next section on bombing site 1, even more serious inconsistencies and discrepancies between claimed findings in the New York Times video and ground-truth will be identified and discussed.

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The before and after satellite images of site 2 where the New York Times analysts assert bomb damage from a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb is shown above. It is a useful exercise for the reader to try to find the differences that indicate bomb-damage in the image from February 21, 2017 and from April 6, 2017.

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The two yellow circles in the before and after images show the minuscule feature in the after image associated with the observed debris-cloud 2 that is claimed as evidence of damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb.

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The image on the left side of the above video frame from the New York Times video shows a photograph of the alleged bomb damage at the site where debris cloud 2 was generated in the attack on April 4, 2017. It is not possible to determine if this damage area is in any way associated with a satellite image. However, it is easy to determine that the damage in the photograph could not possibly have been so small if a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb had gone through the roof at this location. A photograph from the same spot would simply show nothing but rubble, including the rubble of the building wall across the street behind the parked vehicle. An actual photograph of this location after a hit with a 500 to 1000 pound bomb would show that the surrounding buildings had been completely demolished.

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The areas of expected bomb-damage at site 2 where a bomb-debris cloud was observed in the panoramic view, are shown in the markings projected over the after satellite image taken on April 6, 2017. The large red dot in the center of the hatched yellow circle shows the spot where New York Times analysts claim a 500 to 1000 pound bomb hit. The hatched yellow circle shows the outer limits of an area where the blast wave from the bomb would be roughly 30 psi or higher. This level of blast overpressure would demolish all the buildings within and beyond the inner circle. The outer yellow circle shows the area within which a 15 pounds per square inch or more would occur. This level of overpressure would be enough to cause the collapse of or extreme damage to stone masonry walls of the type that appear to be ubiquitous in building construction in Khan Sheikhoun. Thus, the level of damage associated with such a bomb-hit should essentially be the “flattening” of almost all the buildings along the full length of the block. It should be no surprise why this class of general-purpose bomb was called a “blockbuster” in World War II.

Yet Another Set of Contradictions:

The New York Times Claims of Damage at Bomb-Site 1

Figure 27 is derived from the same New York Times video frame as in Figure 22. The important difference between these two figures is the overlay of markings that provide information to the reader.

In particular, there are three ellipses shown in yellow that indicate roughly the size of areas of destruction expected from bombing attacks. The smallest and right-most ellipse shows the estimated size of the area of destruction at debris-cloud site 2, which has been discussed in detail in the prior section.

The left-most ellipse shows an area that was completely demolished when it was bombed in March 2015. The New York Times video shows video that it alleges was taken of the March 2015 attack (see Figure 29). The video shows that three bombs were dropped on the target. The video also shows the initial development of the bomb-debris cloud from that attack (Figure 28) and aerial photographs of the damaged area (Figure 31), which extends over a roughly circular diameter of about 400 feet. The size of this area is consistent with the dropping of three 500 to 1000 pound bombs onto the target.

As can be verified by examining the panoramic view of bomb-debris cloud 1, it is very clear that this cloud has a significantly larger base-diameter than debris-clouds 2 and 3. The base-diameter of the debris-cloud 1 is more than twice that of debris-clouds 2 and 3. The area covered by the base of this debris cloud is between four and six times larger than the area covered at the base of the other two debris-clouds.

This is exactly the expected result from a bombing that uses three bombs rather than one.

These observations strongly suggest that debris-cloud 1 is explained by a multiple bomb attack. Another possibility is that a single bomb was dropped on a large ammunition dump and secondary explosions led to the creation of a debris-cloud and area of ground-damage that had a very large base-diameter. In either case, the debris-cloud indicates a very much larger area of destruction than what should have been found at sites 2 and 3 – assuming that any bomb-damage was observed at these other two locations consistent with the debris-clouds seen in the panoramic.

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The markings on the above image identify important indicators that raise questions about the veracity of the New York Times analysis. The three yellow ellipses show the rough size areas that should have been subjected to high levels of damage in the form of demolished buildings. As has already been shown, no such damage is present in either the bombed sites associated with debris cloud 2 and debris cloud 3. The left-most ellipse shows the area damaged in March 2015.  The New York Times video contains video of the bombing that it claims was taken in March 2015. The New York Times video also shows before and after satellite images of the area demolished in March 2015. Direct comparison of the size of the debris clouds from the March 2015 attack and bomb-debris cloud 1 that the Times alleges was the result of a bombing attack on April 4, 2017 indicate that the size of the severely damaged area associated with debris-cloud 1 should be about the same as that associated with the site that was bombed in March 2015. In spite of the fact that the New York Times analysts provided evidence of extreme large-scale damage associated with the March 2015 attack, they allege infinitesimal bomb damage at site 1.  Thus, the analysts were informed of the large spatial scale of the demolished area from the attack of March 2015 but still claim infinitesimal damage at site 1 is convincing evidence of an attack involving multiple bombs or large secondary explosions. This is yet another inexplicable inconsistency in the analysis put forward in the New York Times video and by Bellingcat.

The remaining images and their subtitles provide all of the information about the serious discrepancies between the bomb damage recognized by the New York Times analysts at the bombing site associated with the March 2015 attack and the minuscule bomb-damage asserted by the analysts to indicate a similar bombing at site 1 on April 4, 2017. The images and subtitles tell the story so there is no point in repeating it further in this main text.

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The above photograph shows the late debris cloud from a bombing in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun of a target area (referred to above as “silo”) discussed in the New York Times video published on April 27, 2017. The sequence of video frames from that video shown in Figure 29 below show that three bombs were dropped on the site. Note that the base of the debris cloud is very close to the same size as the base of the large debris cloud 1 in the panoramic image that is incorrectly identified as having been taken on April 4, 2017.

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Plates A through F show the sequence of events that indicate three bombs were dropped on a target that was alleged to be the site of a warehouse and silos in Khan Sheikhoun in March 2015. Plate A shows the target immediately before the impact of the bombs. Plate B shows the three distinct early debris clouds from the bombs that were dropped, and plates C and D show the evolution of the debris cloud from the three nearly simultaneous bomb explosions. As will be shown in the Figure 30, the base dimensions of this debris cloud is very close to that of the base dimensions of the debris cloud 1 in the panoramic view.

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The image of the late-debris cloud from the March 2015 (derived by scaling Figure 28 above) attack is inset on images of debris- clouds 1 and 2 allegedly from a bombing attack on April 4, 2017, according to the New York Times video. The inset images from Figure 28 were scaled so that the buildings in the foreground of each of the two original images would be roughly on the same spatial scale to facilitate a visual comparison of the two bomb-debris clouds. As can be seen, even accounting for uncertainties in the scaling, the very large base diameter of debris-cloud 1 indicates that multiple bombs were used in that attack.

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The images of the target hit in March 2015 are shown in both the satellite image on the left and the image on the right taken by a small drone carrying a television camera. As can be seen, the area severely damaged is about 400 feet across.

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The above satellite photograph shows the “silo” target prior to being bombed in March 2015.  Also shown in the satellite image are the alleged bomb-damage locations from the April 4, 2017 attack as determined by the line-of-sight data of the bomb-debris clouds from the panoramic view. The size of the areas that should have been heavily damaged at sites 1 and 2 are also shown. Since the debris-cloud associated with damage at 1 is comparable in size to the area demolished in March 2015, it is reasonable to expect that an area of similar size should have also been demolished. Since the image above was produced by the analysts associated with

the New York Times video, the question arises why did they associate minuscule to nonexistent damage at site 1 with a major bombing when they were fully aware of the large scale area of destruction associated with the bombing in March 2015.

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The satellite photograph used as the base-image in Figure 32 above is also well-suited to show the off-alignment of bombing site 2 relative to the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view.  This shows that an area of potentially several square blocks could have been totally demolished if the two bombing sites were actually along the line-of-sight established by the panoramic view. Since there is no significant damage exhibited in the satellite photographs of both alleged bombing sites, this underscores the absurdity of the claims made in the New York Times video when compared to the actual forensic evidence.
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Summary and Conclusions

This seemingly narrow technical discussion of the disparity between forensic evidence that allegedly indicates a nerve agent and bombing attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 is of profound importance to US national security and to our democracy.

The White House produced a false intelligence report on April 11, 2017 in order to justify an attack on the Syrian airbase at Sheyrat, Syria on April 7, 2017. That attack risked an unintended collision with Russia and a possible breakdown in cooperation between Russia and United States in the war to defeat the Islamic State. The collision also had some potential to escalate into a military conflict with Russia of greater extent and consequence.

The New York Times and other mainstream media immediately and without proper review of the evidence adopted the false narrative produced by the White House even though that narrative was totally unjustified based on the forensic evidence. The New York Times used an organization, Bellingcat, for its source of analysis even though Bellingcat has a long history of making false claims based on distorted assertions about forensic evidence that either does not exist, or is absolutely without any evidence of valid sources.

On September 17, 2013 the New York Times published on its front page a totally bogus false claim based on an alleged analysis produced by Bellingcat that concluded using untrue assumptions about the excessively long range of a sarin-carrying munition that the nerve agent attack on August 21, 2013 had originated from a site deep inside Syrian government controlled territory.  My colleague, Richard Lloyd, and I produced analysis and reported to Times management that that the munition could travel could only travel two kilometers or less nearly, not the 10 km range that formed the foundation of the conclusions published by the Times.  Yet in spite of the uncontested accuracy of this science-based fact, the New York Times stuck to its rhetoric and did not make any effort to re-examine the foundations of the narrative it knew had to be false in the face of these facts.

This history of New York Times publishing of inaccurate information and then sticking by it when solid science-based forensic evidence disproves the original narrative cannot be explained in terms of simple error. The facts overwhelmingly point to a New York Times management that is unconcerned about the accuracy of its reporting.

The problems exposed in this particular review of a New York Times analysis of critically important events related to the US national security is not unique to this particular story. This author could easily point to other serious errors in New York Times reporting on important technical issues associated with our national security. In these cases, like in this case, the New York Times management has not only allowed the reporting of false information without reviewing the facts for accuracy, but it has repeatedly continued to report the same wrong information in follow-on articles. It may be inappropriate to call this “fake news,” but this loaded term comes perilously close to actually describing what is happening.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat and reported by the New York Times are as follows:

  1. The three areas where Bellingcat claims bomb damage occurred show NO evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds that indicate the delivery of 500 to 1000 pound bombs.

If the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as shown in the panoramic view on April 4, the sarin from the alleged sarin-release site would have drifted into open fields and would not have reached any populated areas for more than half a kilometer. As such, there would be no casualties from a sarin release at this location as alleged by the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat.

Given the small size of the container (containing no more than 5 to 10 liters) that was alleged by Bellingcat as carrying sarin, and the large distance between the nearest populated area and the sarin- release site, even with near ideal weather conditions for a deadly sarin dispersal, there would have been essentially NO casualties from the sarin-release in any densely populated areas downwind.

  1. One of the bomb damage sites (bomb damage area 2) is not along the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view as claimed by Bellingcat. As such, the location of this bomb damage site contradicts the data from the panoramic view that was allegedly used to find
  2. Video of an alleged bombing of a target in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun shows a large area of heavy bomb damage that is completely inconsistent with the minuscule or nonexistent bomb damage in the three bombed sites on April 4, 2017 allegedly found by Bellingcat. The bomb-damage video from March 2015 shows a bomb-debris cloud that is much like the large bomb-debris cloud 1 allegedly produced on April 4, 2017. While the area bombed in March 2015 shows extensive and unambiguous severe bomb damage, the area where Bellingcat alleges bomb damage at site 1 on April 4 shows only minuscule or no bomb damage. This raises serious questions about the veracity of Bellingcat’s claims about the forensic evidence of bomb-site

In summary, video sequences of the alleged bombing in March 2015 show that three bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound class were dropped on the target.

Before and after satellite images also shown in the New York Times video of the alleged site that was bombed in March 2015 show an area of roughly 400 feet diameter that was completely demolished by the alleged bombing attack.

Damage site 1 identified by Bellingcat as being associated with a similar very large bomb-debris cloud created on April 4, 2017 shows only minuscule damage relative to the vast area that was demolished in March 2015.

  1. The before and after satellite images used by Bellingcat were taken 44 days apart between February 21, 2017 and April 6, 2017. This means that even if there were bomb damage seen in the April 6 images, it would not be possible to uniquely identify that damage with the April 4
  2. However, since there is NO bomb damage in any of the three bombed sites that Bellingcat identified, this is not an issue with regard to the Bellingcat However, it does indicate that if Bellingcat had found bomb damage in the before and after satellite imagery, it could not be ascribed unambiguously as having occurred on April 4
  3. Although the New York Times video shows the debris cloud and the completely demolished site associated with that bombing, it appears that nobody performing the analysis of the forensic data asked the question why in one case a large debris cloud was associated with a large area of heavy ground- damage and in all the other cases there was either no damage or only minuscule evidence of some kind of small
  4. The complete lack of any forensic evidence of bomb damage generated by the use of the panoramic view; the inconsistencies in the the wind direction observed in the panoramic view with the weather reports for that day; and an analytic process that observed bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris cloud in the March 2015 bombing but no significant bomb-damage in the three bombings on April 4, 2017 leads to findings that are inexplicable with regard to the
  5. These egregious errors internal inconsistencies in the forensic analysis suggest that the analysts may have had a predetermined narrative, but could not find the forensic evidence to support it. So they simply solved their problem by asserting that there was forensic evidence that does not
  6. This evidence suggests that New York Times management did not check the accuracy of the facts supporting the narrative of events on April 4, 2017 that the Times has been publishing, and continues to.

By Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT.  Postol’s main expertise is in ballistic missiles. He has a substantial background in air dispersal, including how toxic plumes move in the air. Postol has taught courses on weapons of mass destruction – including chemical and biological threats – at MIT.  Before joining MIT, Postol worked as an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment, as a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory.  He also helped build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study weapons technology in relation to defense and arms control policy. Postol is a highly-decorated scientist, receiving the Leo Szilard Prize from the American Physical Society, the Hilliard Roderick Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Richard L. Garwin Award from the Federation of American Scientists.

Original .pdf can be viewed here:  The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017_NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims_(May29,2017)_Standard

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CESSPOOL OF LIES: WESTERN MEDIA AND THE TOXIC FANTASY

Ziad Fadel

Get a nice look at the Marlboro Man on the upper right side of the picture.  Gee, he must not be too worried about the Sarin gas!  Maybe he’s immune to Sarin gas since there really isn’t any around him anyways.  This photo was taken in Khaan Shaykhoon, probably by the bunglers at HRW or AI.   

http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-news-and-false-flags-against-syria-why-the-assad-government-most-likely-did-not-commit-the-gas-attacks-in-khan-shaykhun/5586223

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/91460435/syria-hoax-australian-university-at-centre-of-proassad-push

 

Only British directors could goof this one up.  Filmed on location in Idlib, watch how the illustrious White Helmets prepare an actor for the horrors of being buried alive.   The CIA could not have done a worse job.  Read Brandon’s article on the subject:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/05/photos-from-syria-show-white-helmets-and-nusraqaeda-are-the-same-organization.html

Image result for zainab al-hosni

Zaynab Al-Husni seen in a photo taken after she was beheaded, strangled, raped, butchered  and skinned alive by Assad’s thugs.  Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way seeing she absconded from her home because her brothers were out to get her for some personal transgression.  In any case, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International got on the Humiliation Bandwagon with this corker of a story.  You could see the NYT also on the same bandwagon.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/world/middleeast/woman-believed-killed-by-syrian-forces-turns-up-on-tv.html

Well, folks, its like summertime reruns.  The same old rehash of the self-same tired narratives we have been watching for the last six years.  I just don’t have the gumption to regurgitate the worn out mantras used by the prostituted Western press about Assad’s this, or Assad’s that – it’s become too enervating.  But, when the president of the U.S. falls for this folderol, you know you’ve got a serious problem.

I remember back in 2013 when the propaganda machine run by MI6 in Syria bungled another story.  You see, they were trying to label Assad’s militias and intelligence services as cruel henchmen.  They aimed to do this by showing Assad’s men burying “honest”, “decent” and “well-meaning” reporters alive.  They rehearsed the scene so much that some people managed to sneak the tapes out and you could actually see them repeatedly burying the same person alive ad nauseam.

And there were the professional liars who could have done in serious news celebrities had it not been for the curious social and sexual status of the victim.  In this case, we are talking about Anderson Cooper who was so mesmerized by the acting abilities of Danny Abdul-Dayem that you could vicariously feel the perverse attraction between the 2 men – an obscene, lip-smacking, nay, orgiastic spectacle only sodomites and pederasts can possibly appreciate.  There was “Danny the Syrian”, a British citizen with an accent indicating a privileged upbringing, who, because of his raw courage and righteousness, his insistence on justice and dignity, found his way to war-torn Syria to chronicle the excesses of Assad’s military machine.  Huddled amongst modest, kerchiefed women, he blasted the regime which was purportedly indiscriminately bombing city centers, killing innocent civilians by the handful, pummeling anything that smacked of resistance to his cruel rule; his reign of terror; his archetypal republic of vampirism and slavery.  Why, he was so sincere, it is amazing nobody nominated him for some Nobel prize, a la the White Helmets.

Image result for danny abdul dayem

No, Danny did not receive any prizes after it was revealed he was nothing more than a career flim-flam man who was selected by MI6 to act out a scenario conjured up by some screenwriter contracted to the infamous British spook agency to make Assad look really bad.  Oooooooh.  Danny met his end, not by a bullet to the head, which would have been our preferred method of removing him from the tv screen.  No.  He met his end when some good soul transported a video Danny was filming of Syrian Army artillery shellacking the area where he was supposedly hiding (in Homs) and which showed him clearly giving directions to a crew of cameramen, sound men and special effects coordinators.  It was hilarious.  Even more evocative, was Anderson Cooper’s questioning him about that scene.  Danny just couldn’t give a decent answer.  Exeunt.

Nowhere in history has this level of propaganda been used so repeatedly in order to oust the sitting president of a member state of the U.N.  No other place!  Sure, Dr. Goebbels was a brilliant propagandist who managed to electrify Germans during WWII, but his ornate lying was not directed solely at one leader of another country in order to enflame its masses to rise up and destroy their own country.  Even Iraq, during George W. Bush’s days, was subjected only to one theme:  the possession of banned WMDs.  In Syria we have much more than CW as a target for perseverative lying in the Western Media.  We are watching the evolution of a complex, interwoven, coordinated and continuous pattern of obstinate adherence to a set of thematic targets which admit no other alternatives.  Once a reporter breaks from the accepted theme, he or she is blackballed and relegated to the “independent alternative media”.  Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, a two-tour Army veteran of the Iraq War,  had her patriotism impugned by a Democratic party member because she stood up for international law and the demands of her own Constitution.  One can only imagine the suffering Richard Black endures when he weighs in intelligently on the subject.

Ph.D. theses will be written about the nomenclature devised by the Western Press with guidance by the CIA, NSA, MI6, Turk MIT, Zionist Mossad, Saudi, Qatari and Jordanian General Intelligence Services and the French DGSE.  Suddenly, groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, are labeled “rebels” as though Chechen terrorists fighting against Dr. Assad’s government were “rebelling” against his rule.  It didn’t matter to the prostitutes in New York whether the “rebels” were Syrian or not.  What mattered was the promotion of a narrative which ascribed to terrorists the characteristics of a people fighting for dignity and freedom against a coarse, oligarchical tyranny represented by the Assad family.  The Western Press refused to even refer to the terrorists as “militants” because that might shake the carefully constructed image of a band of moderate freedom fighters locked in battle with a despotic regime.

The word “regime” was used so often to challenge the legitimacy of Dr. Assad’s presidency that it started a wave of tit-for-tat responses in readers’ comments.  I would read the angry responses to typically propagandistic articles with phrases such as “the Obama regime” or the “Hollande regime”.  You could tell people were picking up on the “neo-con terminology of choice” and were punching it straight back at the prostituted authors of these deplorably shabby articles.

Opposition members in Europe were rarely, if ever, outed as rented mercenaries working for the rag-headed Arabians of KSA, the UAE or Qatar.  No way!  Not one reporter ever wondered who was paying for the 5 star hotels in which these mostly failed exiles lived.  The Fake News Media never mentioned to a single reader that they were completely disconnected from the terrorists who ruled some streets during the onset of the insurrection.  Names were bandied about with no explanation of how or why they had some special characteristic that singled them out for celebrity or popularity in their own country.  Some exiled opposition members were completely ridiculous:  George Sabra who was showcased, at first,  because he was supposedly a Christian was an emcee on a children’s program in Damascus.  He was essentially a clown with no experience in politics.  On top of that, the authors of these lame-brained articles did not tell the readers that this pious Christian was, in truth, a rabid atheist and communist.  Others, like Ghassan Hitto, a Kurd, have not been to Syria for over 30 years having dodged the draft and relocated to Texas.  Still, others like Khaled Khoja, were not even Syrians – Khoja is a Turk.  Another, who was inextricably tied to the Saudis, was Ahmad Jarba, a scion of the Shammar tribe of Syria who was a convicted pimp, swindler and procureur.  You never got to read that in the Western Press.

The consistency in the reportage is the most telling clue of all.  Once might ask himself or herself, how is it that the NYT, the WP, WSJ, PBS, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Jerusalem Post, Al-Jazeera, Al-‘Arabiyya, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, and the rest, all present with the same reporting?  How can that happen without an agenda laid out in purple prose directing the news media to follow in lockstep with the scenario spelled out for them by the intelligence services mentioned in the foregoing?  It seems almost surreal.  The only explanation is that the Deep State, or some very powerful cabal of billionaires, or, maybe, governments, sent out their messengers to blackmail these news organs:  “You’ll follow this plan or you won’t ever get to the White House.”  Perhaps, they were bought by promises of special treatment at Whitehall, the Department of State, the Quai D’Orsay, or the German Auswaartiges Amt.  That crucial scoop which makes reporters salivate was held in front of them like bait for a ravenous wolf.  Or, maybe,  the Western News Media is under the control of the International Zionist Movement.  All I know is that there is a programmatic character to the way the corporate media presents the news on Syria.

Remember the exciting episode when Richard Engel was kidnapped?  I sure do. This dyslexic ultramaroon and uber-Zionist was reportedly detained and kidnapped by “pro-Assad shabiha militiamen” when he was traveling in Syria illegally with a crew of boner-heads.  Why, as soon as he was released through some purported interventions, 5 days after the event, he went on the Today Show and proudly denounced President Assad’s thugs as the perpetrators.  Well, once again, we have a story, which, interestingly, in this case was exposed by the NYT.  It turns out that Engel’s story just didn’t add up.  And, as it turned out, Mr. Engel, a lapdog for Zionist katsas and assorted fairy tale writers,  admitted his story was wrong.  He was kidnapped by the heroic FSA, or some group affiliated with America’s darling “rebels”.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/16/media/richard-engel-nbc-news/

 

Besides the lying from Engel, what was even more involving was the fact that both NBC News and Vanity Fair, both of which ran orotund reports about the ordeal and the evil of Assad would not publish retractions.  Embarrassed to au plus haut point, they would not revisit the issue hoping their readers would live out their lives believing Dr. Assad’s blackguards were still responsible.  We, at SyrPer, still argue that the whole episode was deliberately skewed to bamboozle the American viewer.      

And does anybody remember the Der Spiegel reporter, Erich Follath,  who came up with one of the most bombastic lies in the history of propaganda.  Yes. That’s the one who disseminated a lie so incredible that even his own principals wouldn’t kite it beyond the first publication.  According to this birdbrain, Syria has a second and third nuclear weapons facility, this time, not on the Euphrates near the abandoned village of Al-Kibar, but, across the breast of Syria at Al-Qusayr, on the Lebanese border.  The article is gut-wrenchingly funny and should be read by all my friends:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/evidence-points-to-syria-still-working-on-a-nuclear-weapon-a-1012209.html

You see his logic?  Iran, a powerful regional player with industrial capabilities, took decades to get its nuclear program rolling.  But, we Syrians, are such geniuses that we are able to have a kit to build a nuclear weapon with just one North Korean scientist.  And all this is being done in an area which used to be controlled by terrorists!  You have got to now believe that there is no redemption for these hacks in the West.  And by the way, the uranium found at Al-Kibar  by U.N. inspectors turned out to be from the missiles fired by the Zionist bombers.  There was no reactor there, only a factory for rockets after a tragic disaster at another factory in Aleppo.

But, look at the fervor!  American and Western politicians are so determined to get President Assad that they have turned into feral, rabid monsters.  John McCain for one, is so involved in the effort, he huffed-and-puffed his way out of a meeting between Syrian Christian priests who were lobbying Washington to stop attacking their leader.  He could not sit while these clerics pushed the narrative that Dr. Assad protected minorities.  I have already written about the fact that McCain has been promised millions of dollars by the Saudis as the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  He is looking at a massive fortune. The same was true of Hollande and Cameron – both miserable sycophantish coprophiliacs to the unctuous and soiled boors of Arabia. The whole pot of fandangle built on a promise of lucre in exchange for a Brobdingnagian constellation of pure mendacity.  Shame has no place in the company of these charlatans – they wouldn’t know it if they saw it.

These lies have brought Syria to ruin.  The people of Syria have been tortured by lies.  There should be a criminal charge for lying that causes so much agony.  The perpetrators of the lies should spend their lives in a jar like the Sybil of Cumae.  When asked what she wanted, the Sybil responded, “I want to be dead”. That’s what I want for all these criminals.  Ziad
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USA considers itself as a leading expert on “human rights” while threatening to leave UNHRC

Russia rejects US-led human rights

Tue Apr 4, 2017 7:38AM
The photo shows UN Security Council in session. (Photo by AFP)
The photo shows UN Security Council in session. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has opposed a US bid to hold a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on human rights as a major cause of global conflicts later this month during the American presidency of the 15-nation body.

On Monday, the Security Council approved April’s agenda without including the Washington-proposed debate on human rights, with Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Petr Iliichev saying the Security Council is not the venue for such discussions.

The Russian diplomat argued that “just a general statement that international peace and security are threatened by human rights violations is not true.”

He further argued that other UN bodies, including the General Assembly and the UNHRC already deal with human rights.

“Why are we taking everything to the Security Council?,” he asked. “Then those bodies should be dismantled.”

US Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose country holds the council’s rotating presidency this month, later insisted that Washington “fully expects” to hold the debate on April 18.

“If you look at the conflicts we have in the world, they always go back to the human rights issues on the ground within those countries,” Haley said.

“It will be a broad debate, not intended to single out any countries, but more just to talk about the topic and how that relates to conflict and if there are things that we can be doing going forward,” Haley further told UN member states on Monday.

US Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley listens to a question during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters on April 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by AFP)

Washington has accused the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of being biased against the Israeli regime. The US ambassador also questioned whether the body served any value “except for this that sit on it that protect themselves.”

The development came a day after the administration of US President Donald Trumo hinted that it would not publicly criticize Egypt’s human rights record during President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s Monday visit to the White House.

Meanwhile, UN diplomatic sources said China has also expressed reservations over the debate, which would be the centerpiece of the US council presidency, along with a meeting on peacekeeping to be held Thursday and another one on North Korea on April 28.

When asked about the proposed meeting, China’s Permanent UN Representative Liu Jieyi said, “We are trying to work that out.”

Iliichev has also said Moscow would call for a rare procedural vote to block the move should the US fail to reach an agreement with Russia and China and presses ahead with the meeting.

A procedural vote needs nine votes for passage, and vetoes cannot be cast by Permanent council members — Russia, China, the US, France or Britain.

Washington has threatened to quit the UNHRC, while Haley stated on Thursday that her team was reviewing what the body had done well and “everything that they’ve done that’s just absurd.”

“If we don’t see changes, then yes we’ll pull out. But I think they deserve to know what we expect of them,” she added.

Saudi Aggression on Yemen: 20+ Martyred in New Massacre at Al-Hudaydah [Graphic Content]

 11-03-2017 | 10:48

Local Editor

In a new horrible massacre against Yemen, more than 20 people have been martyred in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a marketplace in the town of al-Hudaydah in Yemen. Graphic footage appears to show debris and bodies burning in the aftermath of the bombing.

According to AFP, 26 people were martyred in the airstrike.

Al-Masirah TV channel reported that 27 people were martyred and dozens wounded in the attack.

The Red Sea port of al-Hudaydah is Yemen’s fourth-largest city, with a population of around 400,000, located in the west of the country.

Riyadh and its allies have been accused of war crimes by humanitarian groups after their airstrikes hit residential areas and public gatherings on numerous occasions.

Human Rights Watch [HRW] reported in October that the Saudi coalition, “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes.”

In late February, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said that around 10,000 people have been martyred in the country since Saudi Arabia intervened, with 7 million people close to starvation.

According to World Health Organization figures, more than 7,400 people have been martyred, with around 1,400 of them being children.

The UN Security Council on Friday convened for a report by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien on the humanitarian situation in a number of countries, including Yemen.

O’Brien said that, with regard to Yemen, “only a political solution will ultimately end human suffering and bring stability to the region.”

Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, said that “the settlement of the conflict in Yemen lies exclusively in political realm and can be achieved only through negotiations in accordance with a balanced and mutually acceptable settlement plan.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, communications and advocacy director at Human Rights Watch [HRW], Middle East & North Africa, said that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is “increasingly unsustainable” and the urgent action must be taken by both sides in the conflict to stop the country plunging further into a “deep humanitarian catastrophe” as the situation “cannot continue like this for very long.”

“We ourselves, at Human Rights Watch, were able to document 61 apparent unlawful airstrikes, all conducted by the coalition, some of which may amount indeed to war crimes and that have killed nearly 900 civilians and have hit civilian areas, including markets, schools, hospitals and private homes,” he said.

He called on western powers, who are continuing to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons despite the damning evidence of its human rights violations in Yemen, to immediately halt deliveries.

“We clearly recommend that the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others should suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until they curtail their unlawful airstrikes in Yemen and until also a credible investigation is conducted about those violations,” the HRW representative said, adding that previous investigations conducted by the coalition do not appear to HRW to be “fair or credible.”

Benchemsi also slammed the blockade “organized by the Saudi-led coalition”.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

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Don’t be fooled by @KenRoth, a Zionist jew, & the “White helmets” & their fake videos

Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets Video, Macabre Manipulation of Dead Children and Staged Chemical Weapons Attack to Justify a “No-Fly Zone” in Syria

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli

WhiteHelmetsOneFingerSalute

An examination of a White Helmets video, conducted by Swedish medical doctors, specialists in various fields, including paediatrics, have revealed that the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or simply fake, including simulated emergency resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.

The Alleged Sarmin Attack

There has been a recent, intense, publicity campaign that has capitalised on the Oscar for best documentary being awarded to the NATO and Gulf state funded organization, the White Helmets and their Netflix documentary producers [1] The White Helmets had previously been winners of the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, given to them in Sweden in 2016. [2] These various awards have ensured that the White Helmet fictitious “saving-childrens-lives” videos have been re-circulating across corporate and social media, a major PR coup for the sponsors of this questionable organization.

Central to this PR campaign and just prior to the Oscar award ceremony, Human Rights Watch published a “retrospective” report on February 13th 2017, focusing on spurious accounts of chemical attacks on the recently liberated city of Aleppo. This familiar HRW propaganda piece recycled a previous report from April 2015 detailing an alleged chlorine gas attack in Sarmin, Idlib [4].

Footage of the aftermath of this attack was provided, at the time, by none other than the White Helmets, which brings us to the macabre video, uploaded by this alleged first responder NGO to YouTube on March 15th 2015 [5]

 

Kenneth Roth’s obsessed ‘denouncing’ of unverified chlorine gas attacks, allegedly, carried out by the Syrian state against its own people

Ken Roth has waged a longstanding campaign for military intervention in Syria and the No Fly Zone, effectively a declaration of war

 

The “Sarmin attack” report published by HRW in April 2015 is, in itself, a remarkable feat of evidence engineering. HRW refers to two witnesses – anonymous “Sarmin residents” – stating they have “heard” helicopters “shortly before the attack”. They heard them but did not see them. Both witnesses also reported hearing “no explosions” [4] In the entire HRW report there is not one reported sighting of a helicopter, the existence of which should be an essential element of the White Helmet claims, uncritically reproduced by HRW and never questioned by the UN.

One of the key witnesses cited in the HRW, April 2015, report is a White Helmet operative by the name of Leith Fares [6]

“Leith Fares, a rescue worker with Syrian Civil Defence, told Human Rights Watch. “A helicopter always drops two barrels.” “You know, we were at first actually happy,” Fares said. “It is usually good news when there is no explosion.” [4]

A notably peculiar factor of the White Helmet footage of this alleged attack is that they do not film any external shots of the attack itself, despite their declared anticipation of being targeted, having “heard” helicopters.

Instead, the only footage is of an enclosed indoor space with no contextual filming to evidence where they are in Syria or that an attack has just taken place. The indoor environment certainly resembles a makeshift hospital emergency room. White Helmet “rescuers” parade in and out, manhandling and maneuvering the limp, lifeless bodies of three children. The naked bodies of these children have no external, visible injuries and do not respond when the various “medics” perform all manner of ostensibly “life-saving” procedures, in a haphazard effort to resuscitate these children.

“A Macabre Scene”

In order to obtain qualified clinical opinions, I sent the video to eminent Swedish medical specialists. I stressed that, particular attention, must be paid to the Syringe needle procedure (seemingly, intracardiac injection) carried out on one of the children, as seen in the screen shot from the video, below [Click on the image for the video]:

Dr Leif Elinder, a known Swedish medical doctor profile, author and specialist in paediatrics, summarised the following in his reply: [7]

“After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children”.

Further, I received a detailed clinical statement from Dr Lena Oske, a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner. In her statement, Dr Oske referred to the presumed, adrenaline injection, performed in the White Helmet video (excerpt in the photo above). Her specialist opinion dismisses the procedure conducted in the White Helmet video, as unqualified and incorrect. Furthermore, she describes the earlier assessment of the procedure by a colleague who had exclaimed:

“If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

Excerpts from Dr Lena Oske’s statement to SWEDHR: [8]

Intracutaneous injection with adrenalin may be used if any other resuscitation measure does not succeed. Especially under precarious circumstances – such as in field emergency settings– where safer ways for the administration of medication (i.e. endotracheal, intravenous, or intraosseus) might be difficult or unavailable. But not in the way shown in the video”.

“In order to perform the injection, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) has to be interrupted, and then the CPR resumed immediately after. Which is not done in the procedures shown in the video.”

And referring to a correct medical procedure, the Swedish specialist MD adds:

“The technique is simple. Long needle, syringe with 1 mg adrenaline, find the 4th or 5th intercostal space and insert the needle just adjacent to the sternum, left side, deposit the medication after checking you are in the right position (aspiration of blood and no resistance), take out the needle and immediately resume CPR! So, the doctor who wrote the comment, ‘If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child’ was right! What a macabre scene; and how sad.” [8]

[Both colleagues, doctors Leif Elinder and Lena Oske, are senior members of SWEDHR, and on behalf of the SWEDHR board I fully endorse each other’s statements.]

‘White Helmets’ Associations with Nusra-Front, Al-Qaeda in Syria

It is also important to highlight that the so called White Helmets who have bestowed upon themselves, the title of Syria Civil Defence, are actually fraudulently mimicking the REAL Syria Civil Defence, established in Syria (not in Turkey) in 1953 and the only Syria Civil Defence officially recognised as such, by the (UN affiliated) International Civil Defence Organisation, based in Geneva.

This UK/US shadow state building project, in Syria, has been extensively investigated in the prominent work of independent journalist, Vanessa Beeley. [9] The authentic Syria Civil Defence serves an estimated 80 percent of the Syrian population inside Syria that lives under the protection of the Syrian state in Syrian government held territory.

Conversely, the White Helmets operate exclusively in Nusra Front and ISIS terrorist-controlled areas and therefore would service less than 20 percent of the remaining Syrian civilian population, when one takes into account the sheer numbers of foreign mercenaries and militants who also occupy those areas. Added to which, these “moderate” extremist held areas are continuously dwindling as the Syrian armed forces and their allies inexorably reconquer the national territory of Syria and release it from the grip of externally funded terrorism. As the terrorist factions are pushed out of liberated areas, such as East Aleppo, we clearly see the White Helmets depart in tandem.

Evidence of the White Helmet affiliation to the various terrorist factions is extensively documented. There are evidenced reports on one of the more prominent White Helmet leaders, Mustafa al Haj Yussef, in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib where many of the East Aleppo terrorists and their civil defence have fled.[11] These reports detail his declarations of allegiance to various extremist factions such as Ahrar Al Sham, responsible for many of the ethnic cleansing pogroms across Syria. Yussef has openly called for the shelling of civilians in Damascus during the 2014 elections. He has advocated robbery, looting and sectarian punishments and murder under certain circumstances. Imagine a Red Cross official calling for such reprisals, and you can understand how extraordinary this behaviour is for an Oscar winning, “neutral, apolitical, impartial” allegedly, humanitarian NGO.

Yusef’s affiliations and behaviour are not the exception, the majority of White Helmet operatives have demonstrated the same ideological allegiances to extremist, armed groups in Syria.

The UN Theatre of the Macabre

The final scene of this “drama” is the closed-door session at the UN Security Council, where the White Helmet video we have referred to, took centre stage at a performance by former US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

Predictably, the shocking scenes of children’s lifeless bodies being crudely manipulated and “arranged” combined with the theatrical and entirely ineffectual “life-saving” interventions – as depicted by the White Helmet movie – emotionally impacted upon the UN decision makers. In Samantha Power’s words:

“I saw no one in the room without tears. If there was a dry eye in the room, I didn’t see it” [12]

Unfortunately, UN officials were so distracted by the macabre performance they had just witnessed, that they did not think to ask for a translation of the various instructions being issued by the “medics” in the film. A rudimentary element of any investigation process must be to clarify context, particularly when the results have potential to precipitate a terrifying conflict escalation between the US and Russia on Syrian soil.

SWEDHR took the time to get the dialogue in the White Helmet movie translated. At 1:16 the doctor in full light green and a gray & black jumper says:

”Include in the picture (meaning in the film or the frame -translators note) the mother should be underneath and the children on top of her, hey! Make sure the mother is underneath.”

Perhaps, if the video had been subtitled, the UN officials might have queried this overt staging of an event that one must assume, was chaotic, harrowing and stressful. Perhaps, they would have found it strange, that in the midst of a “chemical weapon” attack, one of the medics, attempting to save the lives of three Syrian children, would be concerned with the positioning of their bodies for the camera.

Objective: No Fly Zone

The UNSC showing of the White Helmet footage, coincided with a universal call for a No-Fly Zone from NATO and Gulf state funded “moderate rebel” and terrorist groups, who depend upon the White Helmets for their civil defence. This international No-Fly-Zone campaign gathered momentum on the back of the UNSC tears over the White Helmet video of the alleged Sarmin chlorine gas attack, and was even supported in the Swedish media. [13]

In a later Channel 4 report on the alleged Sarmin chlorine gas attacks, during which they aired a brief, sanitized segment of the White Helmet video, Samantha Power declared:

“This document that we record now will be used at some point in a court of law, and the perpetrators of this crime need to have that in mind” [14]

In addition to calls for a No-Fly Zone and the analogous term ‘Safe Zones’, it should not be overlooked that all of the dubious and misrepresented media reporting emanating from the White Helmets is also being used to justify a continuous program of crippling US-led sanctions against Syria. According to a 2016 leaked UN internal report [15], US and EU economic sanctions on Syria are causing ‘huge suffering among ordinary Syrians’ and prohibiting the delivery of essential, humanitarian aid.

Conclusion

UN representatives were moved to tears by the spectacle presented to them by the White Helmets. An appropriate response, to the black art performance of the White Helmets, whose acting talents have propelled them onto Hollywood’s red carpet. In any sane world, however, the misuse, the propaganda abuse, of the children being exploited as props in a war that will inevitably kill more children, should also qualify the White Helmets for due process in a court of law and condemn their sponsors to prosecution in the European Court of Human Rights.

As for war-hawk, Samantha Power’s threats, echoed by her puppet human rights organisations, controlled by western corporate elites, I would like to mention that the war in Syria started when the US and NATO states, in unholy alliance with Gulf State tyrannies, funded, trained and armed the “moderate” extremist forces which have since invaded and terrorized the Syrian state and its people, who have steadfastly stood with their elected government against the tide of regime change propaganda and proxy military intervention.

In the final judgement, when the international court for war crimes puts the immoral warmongers on trial, they will be condemned and found guilty of abhorrent crimes against Humanity by all the decent people of this world.

Notes.

[1] The nomination done by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took place January 27, 2017. The award decision was taken February 26. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report sustaining the not-proved allegations by the White Helmets against the government of Syria was published Feb 13, 2017, right in the middle of the period between the nomination and the decision of the Oscar award to the film White Helmets.

[2] M Ferrada de Noli, “Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?” The Indicter Magazine, 25 November 2016.

[3] “Syria: Coordinated Chemical Attacks on Aleppo“. HRW, 13 February 2017.

[4] “Syria: Chemicals Used in Idlib Attacks”. HRW, 13 April 2015.

[5] “ الدفاع المدني ادلب_سرمين:محاولة لأنقاذ الأطفال بعد اصابتهم بالغاز الكيماوي 26_3_2015”. Uploaded by الدفاع المدني السوري في محافظة ادلب [“Syrian Civil Defence, Idlib”]. YouTube video published 16 March 2015.

[6] Leith (or Laith) Fares is repeatedly found in both Arab and Western news giving statements –from a variety of locations in Syria– to visiting Western journalists. For instance, while in the Human Rights Watch report Fares gives the notion of being present at the alleged event in Sarmin, in Arab News is given that Leith Fares is “a rescue worker in Ariha”, and that “(Fares) told AFP his team had pulled at least 20 wounded people out of the rubble.”

‘Laith Fares’ keeps also an uploading account in You Tube with anti-Syria propaganda videos, and on behalf of White Helmets political positions. [5]

Laith Fares’ YouTube account reaches 204 upload videos.

[7] Dr Leif Elinder’s email communication to the author, 4 March 2017.

[8] Dr Lena Oske’s email communication to the author, 4 March 2017.

[9] Vanessa Beeley, “The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake ‘White Helmets’ as Terrorist-Linked Imposters“. 21st Century Wire, 23 September 2016.

[10] Vanessa Beeley, ” Syria White Helmets Hand In Hand With Al Qaeda”. YouTube, published 22 January 2017.

[11] Vanessa Beeley, ” ‘President’ Raed Saleh’s Terrorist Connections within White Helmet Leadership“. 21st Century Wire, 10 December 2016.

[12] Nick Logan, “UN officials in tears watching video from alleged chlorine attack in Syria”. Global News, 17 April 2017.

[13] See video “Sweden’s elites endorse H. Clinton No Fly Zone War with Russia & Syria”. The Indicter Channel, YouTube, published 22 November 2016.

[14] Quoted from ”UN tears over Syria chlorine attack video”. Channel 4 News. YouTube video published 17 April 2015.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, US and EU sanctions are ruining ordinary Syrians’ lives, yet Bashar al-Assad hangs on to power, The Independent (UK), October 2016.

Acknowledgements

The author wish to thank independent journalist Vanessa Beeley for invaluable feedback.

Prof-Marcello-Ferrada-de-Noli-4-Jan-2016-no-glasses-redc-Hanna-to-The_Indicter-644x634Professor Dr med Marcello Ferrada de Noli, formerly at the Karoilinska Institute and ex Research Fellow Harvard Medical School, is the founder and chairman of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of The Indicter

Apart of research works published in scientific journals,  his op-ed articles have been published in Dagens Nyheter (DN), Svenska Dagbladet (Svd), Aftonbladet, Västerbotten Kuriren, Dagens Medicin,  Läkartidningen and other Swedish media. He also has had exclusive interviews in DN, Expressen, SvD and Aftonbladet, and in Swedish TV channels (Svt 2, TV4, TV5) as well as international TV and media (e.g. Norway, Italy TG, Cuba, Chile, DW, Sputnik, RT, Pravda, etc.).

Reachable via email at editors@theindicter.comchair@swedhr.org

Follow the professor on Twitter at @Professorsblogg

Apartheid Measure: «Israel» Denies HRW Staff Visas

Local Editor

The apartheid “Israeli” regime denied the new director of a prominent NGO – Human Rights Watch [HRW] – from a work permit, accusing the group of an “extreme, hostile and anti-‘Israel’ agenda.”

Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir

The “Israeli” accusations against the organization, which documents human rights abuses around the globe, follows a growth in official hostility to local human rights activists under the right wing government of “Israeli” PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

For its part, HRW condemned the move as “ominous turn” adding it “should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

The new policy emerged after the “Israeli” regime’s authorities turned down a visa for its new “Israel” and Palestine director, Omar Shakir who is a US citizen. The rejection had been advised by the entity’s so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a letter rejecting Shakir’s visa application, the “Israeli” entity accused the New York based group of “public activities and reports [and being] engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights.”

The group denied the claim pointing out it had written critical reports on human rights violations on both sides.

The denial of the visa was confirmed in a letter on February 20 when “Israeli” authorities informed it the request had been rejected because HRW is “not a real human rights group”, the group said in a statement. The entity’s so-called foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed the decision.

HRW, he said, had “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-‘Israeli’ organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

But Nahshon added that the group was not banned and its Israeli and Palestinian employees would still be permitted to work in Israel and issue reports.

Suggesting a wider policy, Nahshon said other organisations such as Amnesty International would be assessed on a case by case basis.

The right-wing “Israeli” regime has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.

For his part, Iain Levine, deputy executive director of program at HRW condemned the move, saying: “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

He went on to say: “It is disappointing that the ‘Israeli’ government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”

The latest moves come in the midst of a wider chilling of the atmosphere in the “Israeli” entity against human rights activists.

Commenting on the decision to deny his visa Omar Shakir compared the entity to a list of authoritarian regimes.

“We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement,” Shakir said. “With this decision, ‘Israel’ is joining the list.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

24-02-2017 | 12:17

Israeli Soldier Found Guilty of ‘Manslaughter’ After Execution-Style Killing of Palestinian

[ Ed. note – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, has responded to the verdict by calling Azaria’s trial a “show trial.” ]

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court Wednesday convicted an Israeli soldier of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of a severely wounded Palestinian in the flashpoint area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.

Elor Azarya, now 20, was the only Israeli official to be charged with the death of a Palestinian in 2016 —when at least 111 Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces and settlers, according to Human Rights Watch.

According to rights group Yesh Din, of the 186 criminal investigations opened by the Israeli army into suspected offences against Palestinians in 2015, just four yielded indictments.

The case of Azarya and the killing of 21-year-old Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif was caught on film by Israeli NGO B’Tselem and received widespread condemnation from rights groups and the UN who condemned the incident as an “extrajudicial execution” of al-Sharif who had already been shot for allegedly attempting to stab another soldier.

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Ayman Odeh, member of the Israeli parliament’s Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset — told Ma’an Wednesday that the “main difference in this case was the presence of cameras which documented the crime thanks to B’Tselem.” The court notably ruled Wednesday that B’Tselem’s videos were authentic and admissible.

Odeh stressed that there have been hundreds of similar crimes and that “the rulers of Israel are the occupation’s criminals who produced murderers like Azarya.”

A report released this week by Human Right Watch further documented evidence that Israeli authorities have endorsed a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians since a wave of unrest began in October 2015, that has left 246 Palestinians and 34 Israelis killed since.

The three-judge panel handed down the sentence for the case, which was being monitored by an International Criminal Court prosecutor as a sign of credibility of Israel’s legal system.

Violent clashes reportedly broke out in front of the courtroom between Israeli police and hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting against the likely conviction, chanting: “Azarya was born free,” “the people of Israel support and salute this hero,” and “Muhammad is dead,” according to reports from social media and Israeli outlets.

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Amid the more than two-hour-long lead up to the final verdict’s announcement, social media reports from Israeli journalists inside the courtroom were already predicting a conviction due to the Israeli judge Maya Heller’s detailed refutation of every claim made by Azarya’s defense team.

While the defense has argued Azarya believed the immobilized man could have reached for a knife or had been concealing explosives underneath his jacket, the judge said she completely accepted prosecution’s argument that the soldier committed an unjustified revenge killing for the Palestinian’s alleged attempted attack.

Azarya’s version has been thoroughly contradicted during the duration of the trial by his commandersand experts, who stated that al-Sharif did not constitute a threat at the time of his death, and that him wearing a jacket was not suspicious given the weather that day.

The judge pointed out that the trial had already proven the knife was too far from al-Sharif’s body, who was immobile and severely wounded on the ground after already being shot, and Azarya himself had changed his story a number of times and had been evasive to cross examinations throughout the trial.

Heller reportedly addressed the defense team saying, “you can’t have it both ways,” as they have attempted to claim that al-Sharif was already dead when Azarya shot him while simultaneously arguing the soldier felt threatened.

She also noted his statement after the shooting, that the “terrorist deserves to die,” saying that it carried “serious significance,” and called the “expert testimony” of former Israeli army generals on behalf of Azarya “regrettable” and “ill-informed”.

Manslaughter charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Azarya can appeal both the conviction and the sentence to the Israeli Military Appeals Court.

A court reporter for Israel’s The Jerusalem Post said that the judge’s “one-sided” conviction made the decision more vulnerable to appeal, as judges had not expressed any sympathy to the defense’s argument.

According to Haaretz, it is likely the sentence will not come close to the 20-year maximum, based on research showing precedent for Israeli soldiers who have been indicted and tried for manslaughter in a number of cases since 2000, the majority of whom were not convicted and accepted a plea bargain instead.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin may also face a request to pardon him, according to Haaretz. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has already stated that Azarya should be granted an immediate pardon, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also reportedly not ruled out the possibility of a pardon.

A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlined a number of instances when senior Israeli officials have either openly called for the extra-judicial killing of Palestinians or have failed to condemn the calls.

Sari Bashi, the Israel advocacy director at HRW said in the report that “it’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill.”

“In some cases, officials directly responsible for the conduct of law enforcement officers have publicly encouraged them to kill rather than to arrest suspected attackers when feasible,” the report read.

Senior Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, initially called for the recognition of the Israeli military’s “rules of engagement” in the wake of al-Sharif’s killing.

However, breaking under pressure of the support for Azarya by the Israeli general public and politicians, Netanyahu later came out in support of the soldier himself and replaced Yaalon with ultra-right Lieberman as defense minister who in 2015 publicly stated his support for killing alleged Palestinian attackers, writing on his Facebook page: “No attacker, male or female, should make it out of any attack alive.”

HRW noted that Israel’s shoot to kill policy has received widespread support among Israeli citizens, citing a 2016 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute which found that 47 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the sentiment that “any Palestinian who carries out a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been captured and clearly does not pose a threat.”

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