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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Report: Red Flags Across the Red Line

138 Alleged Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria
And 159 Question Marks Over Government Blame

March 4, 2017

The infamous Ghouta alleged sarin attack nearly triggered US military strikes in 2013, by virtue of clearly crossing a "red line" set by president Obama exactly one year earlier. He warned everyone how any use of chemical weapons would (be presumed the work of Syria's government and) likely trigger strikes against the government. And so this threat could also serve as an invitation to rebels, if they were capable: create the impression of 'a regime CW attack,' and you might get the kind of military help recently given to Libya's armed rebellion. Whether it was a failed threat or an accepted offer, innocents started dying regularly in random chemical attacks blamed on the regime, beginning in late 2012 and continuing to the present, over four years on.  

This whole time, western powers and anyone bent on regime change in Syria have have proceeded on the notion that “CW=Assad,” almost by definition. This has from the start (mid-late 2012) flown in the face of some evidence, since grown to undeniable proportions, that rebels were behind at least some attacks. In April 2016, a rebel group (Jaish al-Islam) acknowledged some of their chlorine weapons were used to deadly effect in Aleppo. But some evidence suggests the same group was gassing fugitive religious minorities in the Ghouta area three years earlier, and simply blaming the "regime" for all of it.
 
These and others feature ignored question marks or red flags which have emerged in the course of research into them. Now  138 alleged attacks (using sarin, chlorine, other or unclear) have been collected, placed in context in time and space in a 6-page table. Each entry has basic details (location, date, poison, broken-down death toll) and identified red flags (marked X, and see definition below) with the briefest notes, and links to some explanation for the curious. 

(sample, from the 2013 section - red = gov blamed, green = rebels blamed, brown = contested)
This includes hopefully all of the major alleged chemical attacks in the Syrian conflict, from 2011 through the end of 2016, and many of the minor ones, excluding those attributed to Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh). Those incidents are likely about as reported, and so of less interest here; to include them here would take too much fresh research and settle too little controversy in the bargain.
The more interesting incidents that are included here are primarily blamed on Syrian government forces or allies, but some claims were lodged by Damascus, complaining the foreign-backed “terrorists” had gassed Syrian soldiers repeatedly (27 alleged instances are included here). The prevalence of those red marks indicate these chemical killings might all be committed by “FSA,” “moderate Islamists,” or Jabhat al-Nusra. This is where the information jihad aspect might be seen playing out in the space between competing claims. ISIS has killed 1,000 with poison gas? Assad is believed to have killed more in a day, once. But 7 flags' worth of evidence suggests “moderates” - using gas chambers - did it on his behalf.
The table is too big to show here - download/view the PDF
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Summary: 
- 159 red flags
- 138 Alleged Incidents, from Nov. 17, 2012 to Feb. 9, 2017
-- 109 Attributed to Syrian Gov./allies
-- 27 attributed to opposition forces
-- 2 clearly contested (both sides blame each other)

- Total Fatalities (range):
- Civilian: 612-1,910 (Most variation is with 8-21-2013 Ghouta incident)
- Rebels: app. 84
- Gov/allies: app.128-143

Red flags:
Placed in the form of a red X, these are abundant here, representing signs the author has noted (more are likely to be found) that rebels/terrorists might have been behind the incident. These include attacks on Syrian soldiers (red x on green line) and a red x on a pink line means blamed on the government, but perhaps falsely. These may include deliberate chemical execution (as in gas chambers) of people held prisoner by opposition forces, including soldiers and government loyalists, religious enemies, and rival fighters.
This is a somewhat arbitrary system, but it gives an idea of how widespread and consistent such clues are across this time-line of back-and-forth allegations. The tally: the 138 listed incidents yield 154 red flags between them. So, there are more identified causes for concern with the “CW=Assad” notion than there are reported incidents, even including ones blamed on rebels (but again, not including ISIS).
Causes for red flags, largely noted briefly in the notes/links column, include:

• Government or other credible claim of CW use against soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) or allies, or civilians of minority groups (ex: Khan al-Assal, 3-19-2013, Nawa 4-24-2014, Daraya 2-15-2015, Ishtabraq 4-15-2015, etc.)
• Credible hostage claims (ex: 4-29-2013)
• Hostage evidence: claims the victims are IDPs (internally displaced persons - did they flee, or get kidnapped? Ex: 11-17, 11-23-2012, Hama/Idlib 4-11, 4-18, and 5-22-2014), gender segregation, starvation or torture, etc. (ex: Ghouta 8-21-2013, Jobar 8-20-2014)

• Signs of family targeting: (same killed near in time and space, etc. (ex: Sarmin 3-16-2015), related FSA fighters died together or alongside related civilians (ex: 5-27 and 6-23-2013, 5-3 and 10-31-2015, etc.)
Alternate poisons indicated (ex: 3-16-2015, opiates or such indicated, chlorine reported)
• Chlorine victims who just passed out in their homes and breathed too much, or 'sat there and died' - illogical claim (see here)
• Far too many people died or were reported dead for the opposition's story to make sense (Ghouta, 8-21-2013)
•Proven rebel execution of a survivor of the attack (Ghouta, 8-21-2013)
•Suspect timing (incomplete) – when “Assad” decides to gas people during a UNSC session about just that (ex: 4-16-2015), one year to the day after Obama's red line threat/offer, and as UN CW “inspectors” arrived in the area (ex: Ghouta 8-21-2013)
•The attack coincides with, and was likely coordinated with, another attack that merits red flags.
 

Also note:•Red flags are not proof that the allegation is false, and many of these likely mean nothing. But these problems are probably too frequent and consistent to ignore the broad pattern.
•The lack of a red flag does not mean the story is just as reported. In fact, considering the prevalence of these causes for concern, it's perhaps safer to presume all of these are suspect, and possibly laundered crimes of opposition actors or, in some cases, simply made up. But let's not presume anything and consider the evidence. 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Caustic Logic ,i stumbled on ur blog yesterday ,i have to say u've done a great job ,i don't know how i've never seen it before but then again i'm tired of politics,i'm lebanese so politics and news are a daily habit here.

    I just wanna ask u about the Caesar articles,do u belive the photos were stages?? Coz i don't think thats the case,here in Lebanon we know what the Assad regime can do.

    Are u syrian or an arab?coz u seem to know arambic but i think u are bases in the states.

    Anyway,great job overall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, you seem legit so I'll respond (off-topic area, but up-front, I get it). I'm a USAan, but can read W.Arabic numbers with ease, and getting to know the alphabet and some words. (others help with real translation). I'm just good with such stuff.

      The photos, actually, kind of staged. That's my theory. The dead people are real, horrible, and many in number. That's true. It's all or largely filmed down the hill from Assad's palace. But lots of clues in Fail Caesar part 6, etc. (it's all over, deserves an organized report I'm trying to do...) says they were mostly prisoners, thousands, badly-treated, exterminated (mostly with chemicals, to be explained in full...), dumped, with "Mukhabarat ID#s" scribbled on.

      Government finds, processes, takes ID photos, and buries the victims. They try to save some found alive (devices seen - feeding and breathing tubes, etc.) They ignore the stupid numbers, some terrorist trick. "Caesar" has agreed to not ignore it, take the pics and "confirm" with his own handwritten cards. Bodies accelerate as he's there, 'til he cuts town with the last photos Aug. 20, 2013. (and odd timing, that)

      I suspect the victims were captives of local rebels/terrorists, likely including or mainly Jaish al-Islam. They may have bought other peoples' surplus. Soldiers, Alawites, Shi'ites, Christians, secular Palestinains, families of soldiers, etc. Starved, bound, tortured sometimes, neglected usually, and then gassed. It's horrible. Crime of the Century, perhaps.

      Syria's demonized government knows what's up, and it's probably about what I see. But they refuse to just explain this, for some reason ... I've asked them about that. (part 10)

      So, I have some bottle-necked reports, and the chemical aspect remains sort of delicate, but the final explanation is long overdue. I've left it there for now but will come back to it soon. (still waiting for some big break first, maybe. Feelers are out for one.)

      Delete
  2. Mohammed Mostafa al-Beanoni Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Zamalka 8/21/2013
    Mohammad Eman Byanouni Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo 8/21/2013 Chemical and toxic gases
    http://therawrreport.net/article/2015/02/17/syria-list-names-chemical-attack-east-ghouta-nyc-082214

    The Baytounji Family
    http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/02/syria-chlorine-allegations-baytounji.html
    http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/02/assessing-hrws-latest-chlorine-report.html

    Incident 5
    Location: Al-Sakhour district, Aleppo city
    Date: November 20, 2016, around 01:00
    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2016/12/19/the-cl2-before-the-storm/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Anon. You (and another anon?) are on-topic, but cross-posted I guess, with some of the semi-random links. Thanks for these, which I try to keep up with and check into.

      Here, I guess you're suggesting a possible relation between Byanouni and Baytounji? Nah, just a verbal similarity. The two versions of the one clarify it's got totally different sounds. Vowels can be read quite differently, and some consonants. But not an n for a t, or dropping the j. (no time to show the Arabic letters involved) So this is - at least as typed in - two different names. The linguistic roots and implications could from opposite ends of the Muslim world.

      (Of course I checked the VDC and found, as it seems you did, no mentions of Baytounji anywhere. As noted at the post about them, they seem to appear as unidentified barrel bomb victims, and there were an additional 4 men/blank people in the same pool, no IDs provided to the VDC).

      Cheers.

      Delete

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