Aletho News


Complaint to Ofcom

Source: BIT
By Laura Dodsworth | 21st December 2021

Dear Melanie Dawes,

We are writing to alert you to a broadcast license complaint we have made about Sky UK. Our complaint concerns a partnership between Sky and Behavioural Insights U.K., Known as the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), a limited company partly owned by the Government. We believe this partnership – and, in particular, Sky’s adoption of BIT’s recommendations about how to help the Conservative Government successfully implement one of its most political contentious policy, namely, Net Zero – contravenes the Broadcasting Code.

The partnership we’re referring to resulted in the publication of ‘The Power of TV: Nudging Viewers to Decarbonise their Lifestyles’ and the launch of Sky’s ‘Sky Zero’ campaign, which recommended that broadcasters make use of “behavioural science principles”, including subliminal messaging (“nudging” in the parlance of BIT, which is colloquially known as the Nudge Unit), to encourage viewers to endorse and comply with Conservative Government policy. Alarmingly, the report recommends broadcasters utilize sophisticated psychological techniques to change the behaviour of children “because of the important influence they have on the attitude and behaviours of their parents”.


We are concerned that this partnership and Sky’s adoption of BIT’s recommendations:

  • Will affect the political impartiality of news and wider programming on Sky’s channels;
  • Reveals an inappropriate relationship between a company which, when the report was published, was part owned by the U.K. Government, and a licensed U.K. broadcaster. Sky referred to BIT as “independent” in its video to promote this partnership, yet Sky will be aware that BIT was at the time part owned by the U.K. Cabinet Office. Until the Cabinet Office’s share was bought by NESTA earlier this month, the company was commonly referred to as “the Government’s Nudge Unit” and advised the Government on how to influence the public using sophisticated psychological techniques, particularly when it comes to getting people to comply with Government policies;
  • Is an attempt to affect viewers’ attitudes and behaviour, including those of children, through the use of indirect, subliminal messaging (“nudging”) with a view to securing their support and compliance with one of the most politically contentious policy of the Conservative Government, namely, Net Zero.
  • Reveals a historic relationship between behavioural scientists employed by the U.K. Government and broadcasters to promote Government policies: “behaviour change via broadcasting and traditional media has historically been aimed at improving public health, boosting gender equality, and reducing violence. Imagine the potential for emissions reductions if the same methods were used to encourage sustainable behaviours!” This historic relationship warrants further investigation since it may include historic breaches of the Broadcasting Code by Sky and other broadcasters.

The Complaint

Below are the specific contraventions of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code that we are concerned about:

2.11 Broadcasters must not use techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred. [Section two: Harm and Offence, The Broadcasting Code.]

The jointly-published report by BIT and Sky reveals their intention to subtly influence viewers’ attitudes and behaviour in indirect, subliminal ways by using sophisticated psychological techniques based on behavioural science. The aim is to change viewers minds, including the minds of children, about a politically contentious issue by using these techniques so viewers aren’t fully aware that an attempt is being made to change their minds. The underlying assumption is that this subtle, indirect messaging is a more effective way of changing people’s attitudes and behaviour than more overt messaging since the messages will be absorbed semi-consciously – catching viewers off guard, as it were, and bypassing their critical faculties. The use of this “nudging” would be less objectionable if these techniques were being recommended to promote an apolitical, uncontentious agenda. But the recommendation of the joint report is that these sophisticated psychological techniques be used to persuade viewers to endorse one of the Conservative Government most politically contentious policies, namely, Net Zero.

The foreword to the report, authored by David Halpern, the CEO of BIT, says:

Societal-level behaviour change is needed to tackle climate change… From changing what we buy and what we eat, to changing the technologies we use to heat our homes and travel, reaching Net Zero is conditional on large numbers of people taking up green behaviours and products.

Broadcast organisations and content creators therefore have a unique opportunity to make a difference for the planet. Through the programs that they produce, the characters that they create, the plot-lines that they develop, and the adverts that they broadcast, content creators have the potential to have a far-reaching impact on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of citizens, and to spark conversations in boardrooms and political arenas alike. They are also pivotally placed to help people sift through the maze of choices and claims, to adopt behaviours – and products – that can get us to a greener future.

The BIT report goes on to recommend a variety of subtle psychological techniques that broadcasters can use to promote this agenda, including using celebrities, on-screen presenters and dramatic characters as “role models”, e.g. advocates for the Net Zero policy, plot-lines, product placement, and editorially endorsing the Net Zero policy in news and current affairs programmes, as well as in drama programmes, travel programmes, DIY programmes and cookery programmes. Indeed, no area of Sky’s output across its various channels is to be left unaffected by this agenda.

Dana Strong, Group Chief Executive, Sky, agrees with this aim. She says in her foreword:

As Europe’s largest media and entertainment organisation, we also want to accelerate our industry’s efforts to drive global progress towards net zero.

However, it is now widely accepted that we must shift the behaviour of millions of people to deliver on our collective net zero goals

We know that what we broadcast has the power to change how we as consumers feel and act. What we see on our screens can shock us, inspire us, educate us, and entertain us. [Our emphasis.]

5.1: News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality. [Section five: Due impartiality and due accuracy, The Broadcasting Code.]

The report suggests that, “Audiences’ knowledge on what to do and how can be improved by documentaries; DIY, travel, and cookery shows; and news coverage.”

This is an explicit call for broadcasters to encourage viewers to comply (“what to do and how”) with a controversial Conservative Government policy in news programmes, which is a breach of the Broadcasting Code’s “due impartiality” requirement.

In addition, the Climate Content Pledge (undertaken by 12 major U.K. media companies, including Sky) promises:

We will incorporate climate change considerations into all our editorial processes, informed by science and behavioural insight.

It is a breach of the “due impartiality” requirement for “climate change considerations”, e.g. promotion of the Government’s Net Zero policy, to be woven into all editorial processes, which include those in news and current affairs.

5.5: Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service (listed above). This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole. [Section five: Due impartiality and due accuracy, The Broadcasting Code.]

As well as news and current affairs, other programming – such as DIY, travel and cookery programmes – must maintain “due impartiality on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current policy”. Yet the joint report by BIT and Sky encourages broadcasters to persuade viewers to comply with a controversial political (and industrial) policy, namely, Net Zero, which is a breach of this requirement. No balance of views and opinions or debate about this controversial Government policy is proposed, only suggestions as to how best to get viewers to change their attitudes and “behaviours” to align with the policy.

5.12: In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented. [Section five: Due impartiality and due accuracy, The Broadcasting Code.]

A commitment to promoting the Conservative Government’s goal of Net Zero will necessitate the exclusion of a wide range of alternative views, including those of numerous members of Parliament, other elected representatives, as well as distinguished climate scientists, experts on energy policy and environment correspondents. Excluding or marginalizing people who dissent from the Net Zero policy is surely a breach of this requirement. Broadcasters have an obligation to ensure viewers are exposed to a wide range of different viewpoints about this politically contentious policy.

9.1: Broadcasters must maintain independent editorial control over programming. [Section nine: Commercial references on TV, The Broadcasting Code.]

The report’s suggestion – that U.K. broadcasters incorporate the recommendations of a company partly owned by the U.K. Government, as it was at the time – implicitly undermines independent editorial integrity.

Product placement

The report recommends product placement to encourage people to support the Net Zero policy. Below are two examples:

Product placement directly impacts behaviour, it can influence key outcomes such as brand attention, knowledge, interest, recall, recognition, and purchase intent, which is encouraging for the potential impact that background green content could have on viewers. This can be explained by the “mere exposure effect”, where people often develop preferences for things simply because they are familiar with them.

Use green product placement and model green actions in the background to improve familiarity, create positive attitudes and norms.

This contravenes Ofcom’s rules which state that “product placement must not impair broadcasters’ editorial independence and must always be editorially justified. This means that programmes cannot be created or distorted so that they become vehicles for the purposes of featuring product placement.”


We find the collaboration between a major U.K. broadcaster and a company that was part-owned by the Cabinet Office until earlier this month to promote one of the most politically contentious policies of the current Conservative Government deeply alarming. The report jointly published by BIT and Sky seems to be unaware of the obligations imposed on broadcasters by the Broadcasting Code to maintain “due impartiality” across all their output, particularly news and current affairs, and the need to expose viewers to a wide range of views when it comes to “matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy”. On the contrary, Sky recommends that all U.K. broadcasters adopt a hard editorial bias when it comes to the promotion of the Government’s controversial Net Zero policy, and proudly boasts that it is adopting these recommendations itself.

We are particularly concerned about Sky’s enthusiastic embrace of subtle and sophisticated psychological techniques, rooted in behavioural science, to promote endorsement of and compliance with the Net Zero policy, as well as its evangelism in trying to get other broadcasters to use these techniques. To take just one example, the use of product placement to try and influence viewers’ attitudes and behaviour towards this controversial policy is a flagrant breach of Section Two of the Broadcasting Code, which explicitly prohibits the use of “techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred”. Far from being concerned that the use of product placement may persuade viewers to endorse a politically controversial policy without their being fully aware of it, BIT and Sky appear to be recommending its use for precisely that reason. The recommendation in the report that such techniques are deployed to change the behaviour of children – and the implication that Sky is currently doing precisely that across all its channels – is unconscionable.

We hope you will investigate our complaint with the urgency we believe it merits.

Yours sincerely,

Laura Dodsworth

Toby Young

CC: The RT Hon Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | Leave a comment

“Do Not Discriminate” Against the Unvaccinated, Japanese Government Tells Citizens

By Noah Carl | The Daily Sceptic | December 21, 2021 

At this point, almost all Western countries have introduced some form of vaccine passport or vaccine mandate. Despite repeated assurances from the Vaccines Minister that this wouldn’t happen here, Britain is no exception.

Things may go further in some European countries. Austria is set to make vaccination mandatory from 1st February next year. And beginning in January, Greece will impose a monthly fine of €100 on all over 60s who remain unvaccinated.

Even the United States – supposedly the ‘land of the free’ – has not bucked the trend toward use of passports and mandates. Several states have introduced them, including some of the biggest like New York, California and Virginia. Healthcare workers with natural immunity have already been fired for refusing to comply.

You might conclude that introducing passports and mandates is just something that all advanced countries do. But that isn’t true, as there’s one major exception: Japan.

Nobody can doubt Japan’s credentials as an advanced country. It’s a member of the ‘Group of Seven’, along with the U.K., U.S., Canada, France, Italy and Germany. And it boasts the world’s third largest economy overall. Japan is known for its technologically advanced society, where the high-speed trains never run more than a few minutes late.

So what is the country’s stance on passports and mandates? So far, it’s completely eschewed them. Not only that, but the Government and Prime Minister have explicitly told citizens not to discriminate against the unvaccinated.

The following notice appears on the website for the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare:

Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided. Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent. Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those who around you to be vaccinated, and do not discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated.

And a similar notice appears on the website for the Prime Minister:

Vaccines will never be administered without the recipient’s consent. We urge the public never to coerce vaccinations at the workplace or upon others around them, and never to treat those who have not received the vaccine in a discriminatory manner.

Western countries still claim to be the foremost defenders of civil liberties. But in the era of Covid safetyism, it seems that mantle has passed to Japan. Perhaps the country will send a delegation of human rights experts to teach the West about individual freedom.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Debbie Hicks Cleared of Breaching UK Lockdown Restrictions

By Toby Young | The Daily Sceptic | December 20, 2021

Debbie Hicks, the anti-lockdown activist who is facing a number of attempts to prosecute her for protesting in various ways, was found not guilty earlier today in Cheltenham Magistrates Court. BBC News has more.

A woman who helped to organise a rally during lockdown has been found not guilty of breaching Covid regulations.

Debbie Hicks attended the Freedom Rally in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in November 2020.

The free speech activist was arrested on the day and faced two charges relating to lockdown regulations.

A district judge has found her not guilty and said police were incorrect to act as though there was a blanket ban on protests at the time.

Cheltenham Magistrates Court was told the Freedom Rally took place in Stratford Park on November 7th, two days after the latest round of lockdown regulations had come into effect.

Those regulations banned gatherings of more than two people.

More than 50 people attended the rally and police, who identified Ms. Hicks as an organiser – something she denied – approached her and told her she might be arrested if she did not leave.

Ms Hicks, who said she was not against vaccinations but wanted to take part in the rally to support “freedom to protest”, remained at the scene and was eventually arrested.

PC Tim Burch, from Gloucestershire Police, told the hearing that officers had been briefed that the rally was “not reasonable” because of the lockdown restrictions coming in.

Ms Hicks, of Stratford Road, Stroud, faced two charges; holding or being involved in a gathering of more than 30 people, and participating in a gathering of more than two people.

She said she was exercising her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights articles 10 and 11 – that deal with freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

“I felt human rights superseded that [lockdown] and it was my right to be there to protest,” she told the court, adding that she was “shocked” by the level of policing on the day.

Clearing her of both charges, District Judge Nicholas Wattam said while the evidence proved she was one of the event organisers, he found the police response to the rally was “not proportionate”.

“I’m concerned that the understanding of police officers on the ground was flawed,” he said, adding that it was not the fault of the police at the event as they were taking their instructions from senior officers.

The judge added that a blanket ban on public gatherings was not in place at the time, and if it had been it would have been a breach of human rights.

Debbie was only able to fight this case because readers of the Daily Sceptic generously contributed to her crowdfunder, meaning she could afford a crack legal team from Murrays Partnership. Wish Debbie luck – she still has four more cases to fight.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | | 2 Comments

Citizens and Experts Call for a Halt to COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in India

By Colin Todhunter | OffGuardian | December 21, 2021

The mass rollout of COVID-19 vaccines should be halted immediately. These experimental vaccines pose serious dangers. That is the message contained in a statement from concerned citizens soon to be forwarded to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The statement’s signatories include medical scientists, doctors, epidemiologists, civil servants, civil society organisations and “deeply concerned mothers, fathers, husbands and wives”.

Concerned citizens of India can sign on to the ‘The Truth of COVID-19 — The India Statement’ prior to its dispatch to the PM in the link provided at the end of this article.

Internationally renowned professionals in the field of medical science have also joined this effort by offering their expertise, including Dr Mike Yeadon, Dr Peter McCullough, Dr Pierre Kory, Dr Roger Hodkinson, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi and Dr Tess Lawrie.

The statement comprises two parts. Part one is a five-page summary of the main points and recommendations. This is supported by part two, a 62-page document which quotes the relevant literature and has dozens of references to back up the assertions made about the vaccines, COVID-19 and the vaccination programme.

Some of the key points and recommendations contained in part one are summarised below.

The statement begins by saying that a coronavirus vaccine has never before been used successfully. One problem has been the development of antibody disease enhancement (ADE). The vaccine produces antibodies, but sometimes this does not prevent disease – it instead makes the disease more serious and ADE can extend into the future (this has been seen before, for example regarding the rollout of a Dengue vaccine in Manila).

All the vaccines use the spike protein and this was thought to be a good idea at first because the virus uses its spike protein to attach to the host cells. But the statement notes this is a blunder and a major catastrophe. The spike protein is the toxic part of the virus that causes major (vascular) disease.

It is now confirmed that the synthetic spike protein of the vaccines is also toxic and is similarly causing the likes of clotting and bleeding disorders.

Many thousands of people taking the vaccine have died. The vaccine leaves the injection site in the arm and, contrary to what was assumed, unexpectedly, travels into the bloodstream, spreading all over the body including with concentrations in the ovaries, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

Moreover, the mass rollout of the vaccines is putting selection pressure on the virus to evolve into strains that are resistant to the vaccine, like Delta and Omicron. This is well-known science that follows the same pattern as, for example, in anti-biotic resistance.

Dr Luc Montagnier, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the AIDs virus, has raised an urgent warning about this phenomenon. The statement notes that this process of new variants will not stop as more and more people get vaccinated.

Data from Israel (where the vast majority are vaccinated) show an increase in hospitalisations and deaths among the vaccinated. This is a repeated pattern occurring in other countries and was predicted by Dr Montagnier and other leading virologists.

The protective effect of the vaccines is also waning and is now below the required regulatory efficacy of at least 50%. The US health agencies are already advising a booster third dose. However, leading vaccine experts and immunologists and the vaccine manufacturers knew this all along. It was hidden though from the public.

It is clear that people who recover from Covid-19 develop natural immunity, which is long-lasting with antibodies that are effective against several viruses or variants. A large percentage of the Indian population, around 70% or more, already have this natural immunity. The statement concludes that vaccines are therefore not required.

As the vaccines can produce antibodies to a protein, syncytin, which, in the future, may cause abortions in women, the assertion is that women of child-bearing age (50 and below) should not be given the vaccines.

The statement notes that children have not had much problem with Covid, but some doctors are suggesting that a third wave will affect them. This is based on speculation, not science. Moreover, the long-term impacts of these vaccines and in particular the toxic spike protein are unknown. It would thus be quite unconscionable to risk the future of children. Given the data, it is clear that the risks of Covid-19 vaccines far outweigh the benefits for children.

India has a major disease burden in terms of communicable diseases, (TB, diarrhoeal, etc) and children are seriously impacted (more than 2,000 children die every day). On the other hand, the incidence and deaths due to COVID-19 are negligible. Children are not impacted by this disease.

In India, levels of serious malnutrition are worrying (and the COVID-related lockdown of the country can only have exacerbated this).

According to the statement, stopping unneeded vaccinations would release the huge sum of Rs 35,000 crores (almost 4.1 billion euros) for a public health system in dire need of resources to deal with killer childhood diseases and for improving the health of the population.

The statement notes that at the very heart of the problem of unsafe vaccines is the endemic conflict of interest that engulfs the institutions of health worldwide, not least in the US (NIA/FDA/CDC) the UK (MHRA) and the WHO.

It is for all the reasons mentioned above that vaccine manufacturers demand to be indemnified from any harm their vaccines may cause. Pfizer and Israel have made an agreement to hide Covid-19 vaccine adverse reactions for 10 years. Yet, these adverse effects are key to understanding vaccine science.

The statement also says that routine RT-PCR testing as presently conducted, including on asymptomatic cases, should be discontinued. PCR-driven ‘cases’ mislead the public on Covid infections. Furthermore, it is clear that the vaccines have failed to provide immunity and also fail to stop transmission from those vaccinated. India has acquired ‘herd immunity’ and does not need these vaccines. Medical science therefore does not support their continued rollout.

The statement concludes:

India must stop the vaccines with immediate effect… Preventive measures, early treatment and treatment protocols through all the stages of the diseases with Ivermectin and other off-label drugs are proven… very early on, India took exemplary action with regard to the ICMR [Indian Council of Medical Research] guideline on HDQ (hydroxychloroquine) and UP state with its public health measure of dispensing Ivermectin, which was an acknowledged success. We need to widen these measures across India. Both are ‘repurposed’ drugs, are medically proven and safe solutions, and there are others in our toolkit of medical products, along with vitamins (D, C and zinc).”

The PM will be urged to implement the recommendations set out in the statement and these will be at a fraction of the cost of vaccines. The funds released will allow the government to invest in overall health infrastructure (children’s health in particular), the economy, farmers and agriculture and the environment.

Concerned citizens of India can sign on to the statement here, where links to both parts of the statement are provided.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Fear mongering and stupidity from The New York Times

By Joel S Hirschhorn | December 21, 2021

This was said today:

“But Omicron may cause such a large increase in cases that it will nonetheless overwhelm hospitals, many of which are already near capacity.”

Every part of this statement is an intentional lie designed to instill fear and make the public accepting of increasing authoritarian, intrusive government actions that have no basis in medical science. It is all about controlling lives, not saving lives.

Here are my critical views:

1. Every bit of real-world evidence shows that omicron variant does NOT pose a serious health threat. Some of the smartest pandemic experts correctly see omicron more as a sign of the end of the pandemic than a worsening of it.

2. Looking at case data is sheer stupidity. The fear mongering already has compelled more people to get tested even though they have no symptoms of concern. Then they get PCR testing, most of which is run at too high a number of cycles and, therefore, produces false positives.

3. There are no good data showing hospitals being overwhelmed; they should not be because omicron does not produce really serious health impacts requiring hospitalization. That is another scare tactic.

4. Meanwhile, the government has totally failed to get large and free supplies of fast, home antigen test kits out to the public. This is the best way to quell fears and control need to go to hospitals because they will show that the vast majority of people have enough innate or natural immunity to keep them infection free.

5. Of course the government still does not tell the public about early home treatments that could quickly fix infection, and also that can be used as a prophylactic to prevent infection. Latest research showed that ivermectin is very effective.

6. Most importantly, all available, enormous information from all over the planet shows that COVID vaccines do not stop people from getting infected, even after booster shots. [Have you noticed all the top politicians fully vaccinated and with booster shots getting breakthrough infections?] So, real world evidence shows vaccine ineffectiveness, but the government keeps pushing vaccine shots and ignoring the great many harmful health vaccine impacts, including deaths. Even worse, governments increasingly PUNISH those who intelligently chose not to get vaccine shots or boosters. Treat them as second-class citizens, ignore the two-thirds of the population with natural immunity from prior infection; do not credit them with better immunity than vaccine immunity. What a corrupt, stupid government and public health system we have!

I now see President Biden as the new near-dead and utterly stupid captain of the Titantic circling around the toilet water, working successfully to flush our society down into the sewer system operated by an army of incompetent and corrupt idiots.

I am still waiting for the much-needed revolution. For that we need more people with working critical thinking skills.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

British Medical Journal slams Facebook’s ‘inaccurate & incompetent’ fact check

RT | December 21, 2021

The British Medical Journal and Lead Stories, a fact checker in the employ of Facebook, are engaged in a war of words over a report on a Pfizer whistleblower that was deemed by the social network to have “missing context.”

On November 2, the British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the world’s most prestigious medical periodicals, published a whistleblowing report that called into question the integrity of data and highlighted issues with regulatory oversight of phase-three trials of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The report was based on testimony by the former regional director of the Ventavia Research Group, a contractor that had assisted in the trials. Brook Jackson claimed several trial sites in Texas had experienced major issues, and alleged that Pfizer had falsified data, broken fundamental trial rules, and been “slow” to report adverse reactions.

The BMJ said the report had been published only after being subjected to both a legal review and an external peer review, and had met the periodical’s exacting editorial standards.

However, from November 10, readers reported that they were having trouble sharing the report on Facebook. Those attempting to share it saw their post flagged with the message “Missing context … Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.” Others were informed that users who repeatedly shared “false information” would see their posts sent to the bottom of Facebook’s feed.

The BMJ has since raised the issue with Lead Stories, which fact checked and labeled the story. In an open letter, the journal asserted that the “fact check” performed had been “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.”

The letter noted a number of flaws in the fact check, including that it did not qualify in what manner the BMJ’s article was inaccurate. It said the fact check report had been given a “nonsensical title” and took issue with Lead Stories having described the BMJ as a “news blog.” The medical publication, one of the world’s oldest and most respected, also took offense at the story having been published on Lead Stories’ own website under a URL that contained the phrase “hoax-alert.”

In its response to the BMJ, Lead Stories said, “The piece carries a scare headline that oversells the whistleblower and overstates the jeopardy.” It said the whistleblower’s claims had concerned just three of the 153 sites at which the vaccine had been tested on 44,000 participants, adding that a less misleading headline would have been more appropriate.

It also questioned the credibility of the whistleblower. “By her own account, Brook Jackson holds a 30-hour certification in auditing techniques focused on proper electronic medical records and data capture as well as lab procedures,” it noted.

Lead Stories said the article has been shared by many anti-vaxxers as proof that the entire Pfizer clinical trial was fraudulent and the vaccine unsafe. It also noted that publication of the story had inadvertently coincided with fake-news reports that Pfizer’s CEO had been arrested for fraud.

Despite this, it said, the piece had only been labeled “Missing Context” – the lightest measure Facebook can apply of several – and that no user traffic to the article had been restricted.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Why is Israel allowed to own Palestinian history?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | December 21, 2021

An investigative report in Haaretz — “Classified Docs Reveal Massacres of Palestinians in ’48 – and What Israeli Leaders Knew” — is a must-read. It should be read in particular by all who consider themselves to be “Zionists” as well as those who, for whatever reason, support Israel, anywhere in the world.

“In the village of Al-Dawayima… troops of the 8th Brigade massacred about 100 people,” reported Haaretz, although the number of the Palestinian victims later grew to 120. One of the soldiers who witnessed that horrific event testified before a government committee in November 1948: “There was no battle and no resistance. The first conquerors killed 80 to 100 Arab men, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with sticks. There wasn’t a house without people killed in it.”

The Haaretz report of nearly 5,000 words is filled with such painful details: stories of Palestinian elders who could not flee the Zionist invasion and ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine (1947-48), and were lined up against various walls and massacred; of an older woman being shot at point-blank range with four bullets; of other elders who were crammed inside a home which was then shelled by a tank and hand grenades; of many Palestinian women raped. The devastating stories just go on and on.

Historians often refer to the way that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of its native inhabitants by making a typical assertion that Palestinian refugees were “… those who fled or were expelled from their homes”. The use of the word “fled” has been exploited by supporters of Israel, who claim that the Palestinians left Palestine of their own accord.

It was also Haaretz that, in May 2013, reported on how Israel’s founding father and first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, had fabricated history to protect Israel’s image. Document number GL-18/17028, which was found in the Israeli military archive, demonstrated how the story of the Palestinians who “fled” — supposedly at the behest of Arab governments — was invented by the Israelis themselves. Sadly, as the latest revelations unearthed by Haaretz prove, Palestinians who stayed behind due to their disability, age or illness were not spared; they were massacred in the most horrific way imaginable.

However, something else struck me about the latest report by the Israeli newspaper. There was (and still is) a constant emphasis by delusional Israeli leaders that those who carried out the many grisly murders were few in number and do not represent the conduct of an entire army. It is important to note here that “army” refers to Zionist militias, some of whom operated under the title of “gang”.

Moreover, much emphasis has always been attached to the concept of “morality” when it comes to those who don uniforms representing the occupation state. Thus, “Israel’s moral foundations” were, according to those early “ethical Zionists”, jeopardised by the misconduct of a few “soldiers”, for which read militiamen and women, and even “terrorists”.

“In my opinion, all our moral foundations have been undermined and we need to look for ways to curb these instincts,” Haim-Mosh Shapira, the then Minister of Immigration and Health, was reported by Haaretz as saying during a meeting of the government committee.

Shapira, who represented the voice of reason and ethics in Israel at the time, was not arguing about Israel’s right to be established on the ruins of colonised — and eventually destroyed — Palestine. Nor was he questioning the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians or the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands during the Nakba. Instead, he was referencing and protesting against the violent excesses which followed the Nakba, once the future of Israel and the destruction of Palestine were assured.

Needless to say, very few Israelis, if any, have been held accountable for the crimes of the past. Seventy-three years later, Palestinian victims continue to cry out for a justice that continues to be deferred.

Shapira’s brand of “humanistic” Zionism, with its selective and self-serving morality, continues to exist to this day. As odd as this may seem, the editorial line of Haaretz itself is the perfect manifestation of this supposed Zionist dichotomy.

Some may find this conclusion to be somewhat harsh. Zionist or not, they may protest that Haaretz has at least exposed these massacres and the culpability of the Israeli leadership. Such assumptions, however, are grossly misleading.

Generation after generation of Palestinians, along with many Palestinian historians — and even some Israelis — have known about most of these “previously unknown” massacres such as those at Reineh, Meron (Mirun) and Al-Burj, as reported by Haaretz. The assumption here is that these massacres were “unknown” until acknowledged by the Israelis themselves. Since Haaretz’s editorial line is driven by Israel’s own misconstrued historical narrative, the killings and destruction of these villages simply didn’t happen officially until an Israeli researcher acknowledged that they did.

Walid Khalidi, one of Palestine’s most authoritative historians, has been aware, as have many others, of these massacres for decades. In his seminal bookAll That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Khalidi speaks of Al-Burj, of which the only sign of its existence now is “one crumbled house… on the hilltop.”

The Palestinian historian discusses what remains of the village of Meron (Mirun) in detail: “While the Arab section of the village was demolished, several rooms and stone walls still stand. One of the walls has a rectangular door-like opening and another has an arched entrance.” His records are very precise.

This is not the first time that an Israeli admission of guilt, although always conditional, has been considered as the validation of Palestinian suffering. Every Palestinian claim of Israeli misconduct, even though it may be verified by eyewitnesses and survivors, or even filmed, remains questionable until an Israeli newspaper, politician or historian acknowledges its validity. Why is Israel allowed to own Palestinian history in this way?

Our insistence on the centrality of the Palestinian narrative is becoming more urgent than ever, because marginalising Palestinian history is a form of denial of that history altogether; the denial of the bloody past and the equally violent present. From a Palestinian point of view, the fate of Al-Burj is no different to that of Jenin; the fate of Mirun is no different to that of Beit Hanoun; and the fate of Deir Yassin is no different to that of Rafah — in fact, the whole of the Gaza Strip.

Reclaiming history is not an intellectual exercise, it is a necessity. Yes, there are intellectual and ethical repercussions, but there are political and legal consequences too. Palestinians do not need to re-write their own history, because it is already written. It is time for those who have paid far more attention to the Israeli narrative to abandon such sophistry and, for once, listen to Palestinian voices. The truth conveyed by the victim is very different to that claimed by the aggressor.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

The OPCW Douma Investigation: Manipulation of Key Toxicology and Related Information Regarding Alleged Victims between the Original Interim Report and the Final Report

Dr Piers Robinson, Convenor, Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media | December 2021

This report, reviewed by three experts, has been extracted from a larger report analysing the OPCW Douma investigation and which will be published in full at a later date. For comments, further information and corrections please contact Dr Piers Robinson at, or

Table of Contents

1. Overview

2. Redaction of Key Toxicology Finding Ruling Out Chlorine Gas as Cause of Death

3. Redaction of Information Concerning Gas Dispersion and Build Up

4. Deletion of Contradictory Information Regarding Location of Deceased in Basements

4.1 Deceased in Basement

4.2 Inconsistencies with Respect to Death Toll and Burial of Victims

5. Obfuscation and Failure to Resolve Unexplained ‘Country X’ Witness Testimony Regarding Nerve Agent Symptoms

6. Unresolved Questions Regarding the Authenticity of Events at Location 2

7. Discussion and Recommendations for Next Steps

1. Overview

This report is extracted from a larger report, in progress, which systematically documents the alterations and redactions observed across the OPCW Fact Finding Mission reports- The Original Interim Report, the Secretly Redacted Interim Report, the Published Interim Report and the Final Report.[1] The focus of this report is on critical information regarding the 43 victims at Douma who are reported to have been killed as a result of the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, 7 April 2018. No traces of any nerve agent such as sarin were found. As is now known, the Final OPCW report, which reported there were reasonable grounds to conclude chlorine gas was used as a weapon, has been challenged by a significant number of experts whilst two former OPCW scientists involved with the investigation have reported what amounts to malpractice and fraud during the OPCW investigation.

This report shows how significant information relating to the Douma victims has been manipulated, with no apparent justification, through alterations or redactions between the Original Interim Report and the Final Report. At the very least this manipulation of information indicates that the circumstances surrounding the deaths are far from clear. At worst the manipulations indicate an attempt to conceal the truth about what happened to the civilians. Key findings are as follows:

  • A toxicology assessment by four NATO toxicologists/pharmacologists from Germany with expertise in chemical weapons poisoning which ruled out chlorine gas as a cause of death was reported in the Original Interim Report but omitted from the Final Report.
  • Information questioning the feasibility of a fatal build-up of gas, especially in the basement of the alleged attack site at Location 2, although clearly set out in the Original Interim Report, was omitted from the Final Report.
  • Contradicting witness testimonies regarding deceased victims at the alleged attack site ‘Location 2’, although detailed in the Original Interim Report, are excluded from or obfuscated in the Final Report.
  • Witness accounts indicating contradictory information regarding casualty numbers and who was responsible for burying them have been obfuscated come the Final Report.
  • Divergent witness testimony between ‘Damascus’ witnesses and ‘Country X’ witnesses, with only the latter reporting symptoms associated with a chemical attack, is clearly demarcated in the Original Interim Report but obfuscated and unresolved in the Final Report.
  • Information regarding the ‘repositioning’ of bodies through the course of the night 7-8 April 2018, evident in open-source images circulated by activists, is clearly stated in the Original Interim Report but downplayed in the Final Report.
  • Information raising question marks over the authenticity of foam-like material observed on some of the victims, whilst mentioned in the Final Report, is left unexplored and unresolved.

The implications of these manipulations are discussed more fully in Section 7. Briefly, the exclusion of the key toxicology assessment ruling out chlorine gas, which indicates that the victims were not killed by chlorine gas at Location 2, is significant because it obfuscates the fact that no clear explanation for cause of death could be established. As such, the deaths of 43 civilians remains unexplained. Conflicting and inconsistent statements from alleged witnesses in ‘Country X’ – numbers and whereabouts of the deceased at Location 2 and nerve agent symptoms – is concerning and, when combined with the downplaying of information relating to the ‘re-positioning’ of bodies and possibly inauthentic foam-like material observed on some of the decedents, indicates that the Final Report elided information potentially relevant to a finding that at least some of the events at Location 2 were manipulated or staged. Finally, the significant discrepancies in witness accounts regarding the number of deceased, their burial in a mass grave along with other victims, as well as obfuscation of exactly who buried the deceased, reinforces the concern that the circumstances surrounding the civilian deaths in Douma on 7 April 2018 have been obfuscated in the Final Report.

2. Redaction of Key Toxicology Finding Ruling Out Chlorine Gas as Cause of Death

The finding that no nerve agents, such as sarin, or their degradation products were present in the environmental and biological samples, together with the fact that chemical analysis showed samples had apparently been in contact with a substance or substances containing a reactive chlorine atom, was puzzling; the signs and symptoms exhibited by the victims was, the investigators argued, inconsistent with poisoning from a choking agent such as chlorine gas. The Original Interim Report proceeds to identify the principal incongruencies – the almost instantaneous occurrence of pulmonary oedema and associated copious frothing at the mouth and nose, and the apparent immediate collapse and death of the victims who were within meters of an escape route – which according to the investigators rule out chlorine gas being the cause of death at Location 2 (see Image 1).

Image1: Photograph taken of some of the victims at Location 2 and distributed via Opposition Media

These principal inconsistencies were confirmed at a meeting held with chemical warfare toxicologists/pharmacologists in early June 2018).[2] Minutes written up for toxicology meeting conclude by stating ‘that the key “take-away message” from the meeting was that the symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine, and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified’. These minutes were confirmed[3] by the other OPCW officials who had attended, including the Head of OPCW Laboratory. These principal inconsistencies are set out clearly in the opening summary section of the Original Interim Report as follows:

‘Some of the signs and symptoms described by witnesses and noted in photos and video recordings taken by witnesses, of the alleged victims are not consistent with exposure to chlorine-containing choking or blood agents such as chlorine gas, phosgene or cyanogen chloride. Specifically, the rapid onset of heavy buccal and nasal frothing in many victims, as well as the colour of the secretions, is not indicative of intoxification from such chemicals.

The large number of decedents in the one location (allegedly 40 to 50), most of whom were seen in videos and photos strewn on the floor of the apartments away from open windows, and within a few meters of an escape to un-poisoned or less toxic air, is at odds with intoxication by chlorine-based choking or blood agents, even at high concentrations.’ (Original Interim Report [Summary]; paras 1.10-1.11, p. 3)

In the ‘Epidemiology’ section of the same report (paras 7.70-7.91; pp: 26-29) it is first noted that the apparent rapid onset of symptoms and death are consistent with a fast-acting nerve agent such as sarin:

A highly debilitating agent, in the opinion of the FFM team, would have to have been released in order to cause the rapid onset of symptoms described by witnesses and observed in the videos where large numbers of decedents are concentrated in different apartments at Location 2. The rapid onset of heavy salivation and frothing from the mouth would be more consistent with exposure to a highly toxic nerve agent than a chocking (sic) agent such as chlorine or phosgene. However, analytical results showed no indication of organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products present in samples collected at the scene of the alleged attack or in biomedical samples from victims’. (Original Interim Report: para 7.81; p. 27)

Before then identifying the principal inconsistencies with respect to chlorine gas:

a) Pulmonary edema [sic] and excessive frothing from the mouth have been reported in cases of exposure to lethal doses of chlorine gas or other toxic chlorine-based agents such as phosgene or cyanogen chloride [7] [8] [9]. However, indications are that pulmonary edema, particularly in the case of phosgene, is a late pathological effect of exposure and in cases of high exposure levels death can result before pulmonary edema develops [8] [9]. The white of [sic] light-cream colour of the froth presented by victims is not in keeping with exposure to choking agents, where secretions are characteristically pinkish in colour when frothing does occur,

‘The rapid, and in some reported cases, immediate onset of frothing described by victims is not considered consistent with exposure to chlorine-based choking or blood agents. The opinion of a number of toxicologists, specialists in chemical-weapons-related intoxication supported this assessment’. (Original Interim Report: para 7.82; pp. 26- 27)

b) In order to produce such rapid incapacitation that victims would be unable to escape the toxic gas from the location of the alleged chemical attack (see 3D layout of the building and description), a respiratory irritant such as chlorine or phosgene would almost certainly need to have rapidly accumulated to very high concentrations. It is considered unlikely, given the location of the suspected source of the toxic chemical as well as the configuration and condition of the building, that such concentrations would not[sic] have been attained, particularly in the basement. Moreover, if such high concentrations had developed, as mentioned above, reports suggest that asphyxiation would have been the likely cause of death before pulmonary edema and frothing could develop [10]. (Original Interim Report: para 7.83; p. 27)

c) ‘It should be expected that on encountering the irritant gas, victims would instinctively have retreated and exited the building, which was within a few metres away.’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.84; p. 27)

d) ‘Based on the above observations, expert opinions of toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons exposure, and published scientific knowledge in this area, the FFM team considers that chlorine gas or other reactive chlorine-containing toxic agents such a phosgene or cyanogen chloride would not have resulted in the severe and rapid frothing symptoms reported by witnesses and observed in video footage and photos.’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.85; p. 27)

However, whilst the Original Interim Report communicates clearly the findings that both the arrangement of bodies and the observed symptoms are not compatible with chlorine poisoning, the Final Report obfuscates this finding as follows.

The Summary section of the Final Report contains no reference to the principal inconsistencies and the ruling out of chlorine gas. Instead, the summary section makes reference to both (a) witness observations alleging 43 decedents at Location 2 and that the FFM did not examine the bodies (Final Report [Summary]: para 2.10; p. 3) and (b) that ‘many of the signs and symptoms reported … indicate exposure to an inhalant irritant or toxic substance’ (Final Report [Summary]: para 2.11; p. 4). It then concludes:  … based on the information reviewed and with the absence of biomedical samples from the dead bodies or any autopsy records, it is not currently possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical’ (Final Report [Summary]: para 2.11; p. 4). The formulation of words used avoids making any explicit statement ruling out chlorine, thus leaving the possibility that chlorine might have been a cause. As such, the key conclusion that chlorine gas was not likely to have been the cause of death, confirmed during the June 2018 consultation with NATO toxicologists, is absent from the Final Report summary.

Furthermore, in an apparent attempt to strengthen the suggestion that the victims were killed in a chemical attack, the Final Report summary (para 2.10; p. 3) claims that ‘[a] United Nations agency also reported cases of death by exposure to a toxic chemical’ and references two UN (Human Rights Council [HRC]) reports[4]. This claim is misleading in that neither of the UN reports, both written while the OPCW’s Douma investigation was still ongoing and which rely primarily on witness testimony, state any firm conclusions regarding cause of death:

The Commission of Inquiry has been investigating this incident. The available evidence is largely consistent with the use of chlorine, but this in and of itself does not explain other reported symptoms, which are more consistent with the use of another chemical agent, most likely a nerve gas. The Commission’s investigations are on-going. (Report A: p. 14).

And in a section of the HRC report headed ‘Ongoing Investigations’:

‘… the Commission cannot make yet any conclusions concerning the exact cause of death, in particular on whether another agent was used in addition to chlorine that may have caused or contributed to deaths and injuries’ (Report B: p. 17).

As such, nothing substantive can be drawn from the cited UN reports as they, in fact, cite clear reservations about the cause of death that undermine the Final Report’s conclusion of chlorine being the likely cause of death.[5] This is a misleading move and one that is reinforced by repeated referencing of the two UN reports in the conclusion section of the Final Report (para 9.5: p. 30-31). Furthermore, it is notable that the latest report from the UN HRC on this issue does not include Douma as one of its 38 cases of chemical weapons use in Syria, because it did not meet the evidentiary threshold necessary to conclude an attack had occurred.[6]

The principal inconsistencies and ruling out of chlorine gas are also expunged from the body of the Final Report. Specifically, the Epidemiology section does at least include the important observation that only a fast-acting agent (which chlorine gas is not) would readily explain the apparently immediate collapse and death of victims at Location 2:

‘The victims do not appear to have been in the midst of attempting self-extrication or respiratory protection when they collapsed, indicating a very rapid or instant onset. This type of rapid collapse is indicative of an agent capable of quickly killing or immobilizing’ (Final Report: para 8.96; p. 29).

However, the principal inconsistencies identified in the Original Interim Report that lead to the conclusion that chlorine gas was inconsistent with the cause of death at Location 2 – immediate appearance of pulmonary oedema and copious visible frothing plus the rapid collapse of victims in piles – are absent. Instead, the ‘Epidemiology Analysis’ spends several paragraphs describing, amongst other things, the various symptoms observed in media and reported by witnesses before concluding that ‘it is not currently possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical’ (Final Report: paras 8.70-8.103; pp: 25-30). Again, as with the summary section, the formulation of words used avoids committing to any explicit statement either ruling out or affirming chlorine use, thus leaving the possibility that chlorine might have been a cause. Via this apparent linguistic sleight of hand, the original finding, that ‘symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine’[7], is elided.

No explanation or justification for this expunging of an unequivocal expert opinion can be identified in the Final Report. Whilst the report does refer to later consultations with toxicologists in September and October 2018, it provides no information about what they said that might help to explain or justify the suppression. It is also notable and concerning that the Final Report makes no mention of the original consultation with the NATO toxicologists; the only consultations shown in the report timeline are those obtained during the Autumn of 2018 (Final Report: Annex 3; pp; 40-41).

3. Redaction of Information Concerning Gas Dispersion and Build Up

Regarding the feasibility of gas concentration reaching lethal levels, a section titled ‘Analysis of the possible route of dispersion of the alleged toxic chemicals or chemicals in Location 2’, included discussion of likely dispersion routes for gas at Location 2 (Original Interim Report: paras 7.24-7.26; pp. 15-16, including Images 2 and 3). In this section the report noted that each level on the staircase had a ‘tall glass-shattered window’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.19; p. 13) which provided routes ‘for horizontal dissipation of the toxic gas towards the exterior’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.25; p. 15). It is also noted that no direct route could be identified through which chlorine gas from the cylinder, which had landed on a balcony several floors up from ground-level, could directly reach the basement: ‘It would also appear that for chlorine to reach lethal concentration in the basement, the gas dispersion would almost certainly need to have come from the exterior, given the absence of a clear dispersion path from within the building’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.25; p. 15).

Images 2 & 3: Sample of diagrams from Original Interim Report relating to building layout and dispersion routes.

Drawing upon this analysis, the Original Interim Report then notes in the Epidemiology Section that:

In order to produce such rapid incapacitation that victims would be unable to escape the toxic gas from the location of the alleged chemical attack (see 3D layout of the building and description), a respiratory irritant such as chlorine or phosgene would almost certainly need to have rapidly accumulated to very high concentrations. It is considered unlikely, given the location of the suspected source of the toxic chemical as well as the configuration and condition of the building, that such concentrations would not [sic] have been attained, particularly in the basement. (Original Interim Report: para 7.83; p. 28)

Unlike the Original Interim Report, the Final Report contains no discussion of possible dispersion routes and the feasibility of dangerous concentrations of gas having built up so rapidly. The existence of glass-shattered windows on the staircase at each level plus the absence of any direct route for gas to pass into the basement are mentioned (Final Report: paras 8.24 and 8.25; pp. 15-16), but no analysis is provided, unlike in the Original Interim Report, as to what these facts mean with respect to the likely dispersion of any chlorine gas. Also of relevance here is the fact that the Original Interim Report documents significant inconsistencies in witness testimony regarding reports of victims in the basement at Location 2 and elsewhere.

4. Deletion of Contradictory Information Regarding Location of Deceased in Basements

Witness testimony regarding the presence of deceased in the basement at Location 2, and information regarding the number of deceased and their burial, are facts present in the Original Interim Report but removed from the Final Report.

4.1 Deceased in Basement

The Original Interim Report noted significant variations in witness testimony relating to the finding of deceased in basements. Specifically:

there were variations … in the numbers of bodies and their distributions throughout location 2 as observed in video footage and photos, compared to the numbers provided by witnesses who were interviewed. According to statements from witnesses, “many people they presumed dead, were lying on the floor of the basement”. (Original Interim Report: para 7.69; p. 23).

The Original Interim Report sets out these discrepancies in a table identifying four witnesses (Witnesses 1919, 1742, 1753 and 1920) who claim to have seen between ‘some’ and ’40-50’ decedents in the basement at Location 2 (Original Interim Report: p. 24 and see Image 4).

Image 4: Table detailing ‘Country X’ witness reports regarding location of mortal victims (Original Interim Report: p. 24)

However, no evidence could be found to corroborate the claims bodies had been found in any basements:

The FFM did not obtain any video footage or photos of dead casualties lying in the basement of location 2 or being removed from there. There were also no photos or video footage available to the FFM team of the other two basements or of decedents, where three witnesses interviewed claimed to have been exposed to chlorine’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.69; pp. 23- 24)

This information is important[8] because it highlights the question of how the victims could have been poisoned and killed in the basement of the building at Location 2 by gas from a cylinder that had landed on a balcony four floors above. As noted above in Section 3 – Redaction of Information Concerning Gas Dispersion and Build Up – the basement only had an entrance from the street. This implied that the chlorine would need to have descended inside the building gone out on to the street and re-entered the basement in lethal concentrations, an unproven and unlikely scenario.

Notably, the Secretly Redacted Interim Report redacts information concerning the lack of evidence for witness claims regarding observing deceased in the basement at location 2. The paragraph cited immediately above is altered in the Secretly Redacted Interim Report to read:

Three of the seven casualties were purportedly exposed at two buildings, the exact locations of which were not known or visited by the FFM team. No photographs or videos of the locations or victims of the alleged attacks at these locations were available to the FFM team. (Secretly Redacted Interim Report: para 7.29; p. 15)

As such, the Secretly Redacted Interim Report obfuscates the key discrepancy noted in the Original Interim Report about the contradiction between witness claims that deceased had been seen in the basement at Location 2 and there being no obvious explanation for how chlorine gas could have entered that basement and reached lethal concentrations. The wording is also deceptive in that, by noting the absence of photographs or videos at the two other buildings, it implies there were video and films available for the Location 2 basement. No mention of this issue is made in the Published Interim Report which states only that ‘[a]nalysis of the testimonies is ongoing’ (para 8.17; p. 11).

The issues raised by these particular witness claims remain unresolved in the Final Report which continues to exclude the detailed table (see Image 4) that appeared in the Original Interim Report. In particular, the problematic claim made by four witnesses that bodies were seen in the basement at Location 2 is obfuscated in the Final Report: Whilst the Final Report refers to some witnesses ‘seeing decedents in the basement of the building’ [at location 2] (Final Report: para 2.10 p. 3 and para 9.5; p. 30), at another point it makes no mention of deceased in the basement at Location 2: ‘Witness accounts place the deceased lying on the stairs, inside apartments on multiple levels of Location 2, inside basements of neighbouring buildings across the area, on rooftops and on the streets’ (Final Report: para 8.62; p. 24). As with the Secretly Redacted Interim Report and Published Interim Report, no mention is made of the fact that the FFM ‘did not obtain any video footage or photos of dead casualties lying in the basement of Location 2 or being removed from there’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.69; p. 23-24).

These obfuscations are not trivial. As already explained, there was no plausible explanation established for how chlorine gas could have travelled down several flights of stairs at location 2, to then move out onto a street and then re-enter the building to enter the basement, and then build up sufficient concentration to cause multiple deaths. A possibility raised by these inconsistencies is that witness reports of there having been deceased in the basement are untrue.

4.2 Inconsistencies with Respect to Death Toll and Burial of Victims

In the Original Interim Report two witnesses (1787 & 1780) report 150-300 total dead (Original Interim Report: p. 24 and see Image 4). In addition, the report also states that the ‘SCD’ [‘Syrian Civil Defence’/White Helmets] were in charge of burying the deceased in co-ordination with the local council. Most of the witnesses reported to be unaware of the location of the burial sites’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.50; p. 21). The Original Interim Report also notes that ‘Witnesses who were involved in burial preparations recounted that the victims of the alleged chemical attack were buried in a mass grave with other casualties’ (para 7.66; p. 23). Additionally, in a 2019 interview with ‘civil society leaders’ from Douma it is claimed, according to the translation, that there were 187 bodies found in ‘bunkers’. As pointed out by Adam Larson, one of the individuals in the 2019 interview was also recorded during the 2013 alleged sarin attack in East Ghouta:

In the subsequent reports there appears to be no further mention of either the higher death toll claims or the reference to burial in a mass grave alongside other victims[9]. The Final Report states:

The FFM could not establish the precise number of casualties; however some sources reported that it ranged between 50 and 500. Other sources denied the presence of chemically -related casualties. (Final Report: para 8.73; p. 26)

In the Final Report it is no longer clarified who was responsible for burying the victims and says instead:

Prior to the military campaign, the SCD was in charge of burying the deceased in coordination with the local council. A number of witnesses reported that they were unaware of the location of the burial sites. (Final Report: para 8.47; p. 22)

This alteration obfuscates whether or not the SCD were responsible for burying the deceased. At the time of the alleged attack in Douma, a British journalist, Jose Ensor, reported that those responsible for the burial were ‘local residents and members of Jaish al-Islam [the militant opposition group in Douma]’ and that the intent was to preserve evidence. Recently, Raed Saleh (Head of the ‘SCD’/White Helmets) was interviewed by the BBC and he stated [according to the BBC translation]:

The dead were buried in one place. It was a mass grave. It wasn’t the first time we buried people like that. Because when these attacks happen, we don’t have enough cemeteries all the time. There are too many dead. We didn’t gather evidence from the bodies themselves. We took samples from things like animal corpse and clothes and other effects. We told investigators location of the grave and met with investigators at the Turkish border to hand over the evidence we had gathered. (BBC ‘Mayday’, Episode ‘The Cylinder on the Bed’).

Overall, alterations and inconsistent claims as to the total number of deceased and who was responsible for burying the civilians inevitably means that key events surrounding the deaths in Douma remain left unclear in the Final Report.

5. Obfuscation and Failure to Resolve Unexplained ‘Country X’ Witness Testimony Regarding Nerve Agent Symptoms

The Original Interim Report states in its Epidemiology section that:

Witnesses interviewed in Damascus present a narrative whereby, on April 7 around the time of the alleged chemical attacks, casualties arrived at Location 1 displaying symptoms commensurate with asphyxiation from dust and fumes as a result of bombing. The symptoms included dysponea [sic], cough and asthmatic exacerbation secondary to exposure to smoke and dust. Witnesses and victims interviewed in Country X describe symptoms that included shortness of breath, a burning sensation in the chest, oral hypersecretion, ocular irritation, visual disturbances, lacrimation, dysphonia, nausea, vomiting, pruritus, and in the case of some surviving victims, constricted pupils. (Original Interim Report: para 7.77; p: 26-27)

The Original Interim Report also notes that hallucinations, which are not a symptom of chlorine poisoning (Original Interim Report: para 7.60; p: 23, were reported. ‘Country X’ witnesses are witnesses interviewed in Turkey, believed to have been arranged via the ‘SCD’/White Helmets, whilst ‘Damascus’ (including Douma) witnesses were interviewed in Syria and had been provided via Syrian government authorities.

The symptoms reported by Country X witnesses include those indicative of both chlorine poisoning and nerve agent poisoning (especially ‘constricted pupils’ and [immediate/rapid] oral hypersecretion) whilst those from Damascus indicate symptoms consistent only with dust and fumes. The Final Report, however, does not clearly delineate the reports from Damascus and Country X witnesses and thus obfuscates this important divergence:

Broadly, patients were reported to display shortness of breath, burning sensation in the chest, oral hypersecretion or foaming, and occular [sic] irritation. Additional complaints were visual disturbance, lacrimation, dysohonia [sic], nausea, vomiting and pruritus. A non-specific number of patients classified as severe manifested with seizure activity described as flexion of arms and wrists. Medical personnel reported the absence of any signs of external trauma. (Final Report, para 8.79; p. 26)

The Final Report also obfuscates the fact that Country X witnesses reported constricted pupils, again a key sarin/nerve agent indicator, by removing it from the list in paragraph 8.79 and instead discussing the reporting of both constricted pupils miosis (constricted pupils) and mydriasis (dilated pupils) in the following paragraph: ‘An unknown number of patients were reported to have manifested miosis or mydriasis. Although interviewed medical staff or physicians did not directly observe miosis, one support staff stated that four casualties who were classified as severe were directly observed to be presenting mydriasis’. (Final Report: para 8.80; p. 27). The fact that hallucinations had been reported, which are not a symptom of chlorine poisoning, was removed from the Final Report.

These important inconsistencies – reporting of a symptom not associated with chlorine poisoning (hallucinations) and symptoms associated with nerve agent poisoning (constricted pupils and [immediate/rapid] oral hypersecretion) ­– coming from Country X witnesses are unresolved in the Final Report.

6. Unresolved Questions Regarding the Authenticity of Events at Location 2

It is noted in the Epidemiology section of the Original Interim Report that: ‘[t]he white or light-cream colour of the froth presented by victims is not in keeping with exposure to choking agents, where secretions are characteristically pinkish in colour when frothing does occur’ (Para 7.82; p. 27). A related issue regarding the authenticity of events at Location 2 concerns the finding that, based on analysis of media, ‘it is apparent that some of the victims have been moved and re-positioned between video recordings’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.69; p. 24). According to Stephen MacIntyre, at least one of the re-positioned victims, indicated by analysis of publicly available video footage,[10] appears to show profuse white foaming only after repositioning:

In another film placed online a boy with profuse foaming from the mouth is shown being moved the following day and here the foam-like material has clearly persisted and is semi-rigid (See here tt 1.13-1.36):

The Final Report does appear to reflect some doubt about the authenticity of the white foam seen on some of the victims noting that ‘[m]any of the victims present with white, foam-like oral and nasal secretions, similar in appearance to fulminate pulmonary oedema but in multiple cases much more profound and seemingly persistent’ (Final Report: para 8.90; p. 28). It also notes that ‘[w]hen comparing adult and paediatric groups, there does not appear to be any correlation in secretion presence, absence or amount’ (Final Report: para 8.70; p. 28). In paragraph 8.98 the Final Report states that:

The airways secretions seen in many cases are similar to those seen with exposure to some chemical weapons, toxic industrial chemicals and toxic does of pharmaceutical agents but are more profound and seem to have a consistency more like viscous foam than secretions typically originating from the upper or lower airways. Notably, there are casualties both with and without secretions that are in very close proximity to one another. (Final Report: para 8.98; p. 29)

However, no analysis of these inconsistencies is offered and the matter is seemingly dismissed by the vague assertion that ‘[i]n general, the presence and context of the airways secretions indicate exposure to a chemical substance’ (Final Report: para 8.98; p. 8.98). 

In addition, the media evidence showing that bodies were reposition during the course of the night of 7-8 April 2018, whilst clearly referenced in the body of the Original Interim Report (‘it is apparent that some of the victims have been moved and re-positioned between video recordings’ (Original Interim Report: para 7.69; p. 24), is relegated to the annex of the Final Report and with the wording altered to: ‘[f]rom the various videos showing the deceased victims throughout the interior of Location 2 some of the victims had been moved between video recordings’ (Final Report: Annex 11; p. 103). As noted above, at least one of the victims, shown in the publicly available video footage,[11] does not show the appearance of white foaming until after the body had been re-positioned. As such the Final Report, through deletions and obfuscations, suppresses information which indicates that certain aspects of events at Location 2 were questionable.

7. Discussion and Recommendations for Next Steps

A scenario in which up to forty-three civilians are supposed to have died almost immediately from chlorine gas poisoning at Location 2 was clearly questioned by the FFM Douma team and then corroborated via a consultation with NATO toxicology experts. The fact that the toxicological assessment ruling out chlorine gas at Location 2 as a possible cause of death was expunged from the Final Report, without any explanation or justification, is of serious concern and indicates that there was an attempt within the OPCW to censor doubts, based on scientific analysis, that the civilians were killed by chlorine gas at Location 2. As detailed in Section 1, it is notable that UN (HCR) reports from 2018 also raised question marks over the cause of death and their recent 2021 report has not included Douma as one of its established cases of chemical attack.

This unexplained redaction is made more worrying by the absence of detailed discussion regarding the likelihood of lethal gas concentrations particularly in the basement at Location 2 – a discussion present in the Original Interim Report but absent from the Final Report – and inconsistent and uncorroborated witness testimony relating to the finding of deceased in the basement at Location 2 and in other basements. Furthermore, witness testimony reporting a much higher death toll and the burying of civilians in a mass grave along with other decedents is absent from the Final Report. At the same time, identification of who was responsible for burial of the deceased is obfuscated in the Final Report. Inexplicable reports of nerve agent symptoms, de-emphasizing information regarding the ‘repositioning’ of some of the deceased, and failing to evaluate fully the questionable white, foam-like material on victims, further contribute to a pattern in which contradictory or ‘inconvenient’ information is being redacted, obfuscated or left unresolved come the Final Report.

In summary, important information which casts doubt on the plausibility of the scenario in which chlorine gas killed 43 civilians at Location 2 – a toxicology report ruling out chlorine gas as a cause of death, analysis of gas dispersion routes questioning the likelihood of a lethal concentration of gas – have been removed from the Final Report with no obvious justification. At the same time, information indicating unreliable or inconsistent witness testimony – reporting of deceased in basements and nerve agent-like symptoms – has been removed and/or obfuscated whilst information indicating possible fabrication – ‘re-positioning’ of bodies and questionable white foam-like material appearing on some of the victims – is downplayed. As such, information that might have contributed to a finding that no attack had occurred – stated in the Original Interim Report as the possibility that ‘b. The fatalities resulted from a non-chemical-related incident’, has been sidelined or is absent from the Final Report, with no supporting scientific justification. At the same time, this apparently selective use of evidence does appear to be consistent with the following claim made in the Final Report:

The FFM team based its findings on whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that chemical weapons were used, based on a reliable body of evidence consistent with other information tending to show that an incident or event happened (Final Report: Footnote 9; p. 8)

This statement suggests that the drafters of the Final FFM report were primarily interested in gathering evidence which supported the allegation that a chemical weapon attack occurred. Such an approach would likely lead to the sidelining counter-evidence and, therefore, is neither objective nor robust and falls short of basic investigative and scientific standards.

With these points in mind, the following steps should now be taken:

1. The OPCW must explain the grounds for removing the original assessment, offered by four NATO toxicologists, that the death of the victims at Location 2 was inconsistent with poisoning by chlorine gas. If it cannot do so, an updated Douma Report needs to reinstate this important conclusion.

2. The mechanism by which there could ever have been sufficient build-up of chlorine gas to kill the victims, apparently immediately, in any part of Location 2, needs to be fully evaluated and then reported.

3. Inconsistent and uncorroborated witness testimony pertaining to the presence of large numbers of deceased in basement areas and the reporting of nerve agent symptoms needs to be revisited and a determination made as to whether these witnesses can be considered reliable.

4. Evidence of ‘re-positioning’ of bodies and the questionable white foam like material needs to be evaluated in detail via an expert-led systematic review of the available photographic images and video footage.

5. More generally, the methodology employed by the team drafting the Douma Final FFM Report needs to be critically evaluated in order to determine the extent to which a pre-determined objective – finding of reasonable grounds to conclude the alleged attack occurred- was obtained through systematic selective use of evidence.

6. In addition, and given the uncertainty regarding the numbers of deceased and their burial, clarification is necessary as to both who was responsible for burying the deceased and the numbers buried. The location of the mass grave(s) should be identified with a view to possible exhumation as part of a war crime investigation. It can be noted that the OPCW, the leadership of the ‘SCD’/White Helmets, Syrian government authorities and Local Leaders from Douma, amongst possible others, would all be expected to assist with these important clarifications. Both the International Criminal Court and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (UNHRC) should be kept updated on all these issues.

[1] The reports are available at, and Download date 3 June 2021.

[2]Minutes of the meeting, written three months  after the consultation, are available here: Download date 14 September 2020.

[3] See Download date 15 September 2020.

[4] REPORT A: United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) – Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic – report, 38th Session, 20 June 2018 (A/HRC/38/CRP.3) and REPORT B: HRC – Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic report to the General Assembly, – 39th Session, 10 – 28 September 2018 (A/HRC/39/65).

[5] It is notable that a New York Times article published on 20 June 2018 reported that the Commission had doubts about the cause of death and withheld information from the official report issued the same day. It quotes an official as saying “with the April 7 attack in particular, more information was needed, including precisely what killed the 49 people. If we’re not sure what the cause of death was, we may be looking in the wrong place”. See

[6] See A/HRC/46/54, Download date 3 June 2021.


[8] It is also important in that it is entirely inconsistent with the video evidence and other witness accounts. No videos were seen (or no witnesses claimed) of bodies in or being moved from the basement.

[9] The Final Report does mention mass burial in paragraph 7.8, p. 10, but excludes information claiming that the deceased were buried alongside other decedents.

[10] Download date 2 May 2021.

[11] Download date 2 May 2021.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

American mercenaries preparing ‘chemical weapon’ incident in east Ukraine: Russia

RT | December 21, 2021

US private military companies (PMCs) are preparing a provocation using chemical weapons in troubled and tense eastern Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed on Tuesday.
Moscow believes there are more than 120 employees of American PMCs operating in the region, where they are working with Ukrainian special forces.

Containers with “unidentified chemical components” have been delivered to the cities of Avdeevka and Krasny Liman in Donbass in order to stage provocations, Shoigu said, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Defense Ministry board, in Moscow, attended by President Vladimir Putin.

The minister, who was sitting alongside Putin and Russia’s top General Valery Gerasimov, provided no further details or evidence of the false-flag chemical attacks that had purportedly been planned.

Tensions have been mounting in eastern Ukraine since last month, when several Western media outlets reported that Russia had been amassing troops near the border and claimed that Moscow was planning a large-scale military invasion of the country.

The US and its allies have promised more sanctions against Russia if such a scenario is realized, but the Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations that it is masterminding any attack, calling them groundless attempts to instill “hysteria.”

Instead, Moscow has blamed the West for encouraging Kiev to use force against the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk by supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government and intensifying the NATO buildup in Eastern Europe.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 4 Comments


Computing Forever | December 18, 2021

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December 21, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 3 Comments