of a


The Chemical Weapons Hoax and the Scripting of War Crimes Against Syria

or, Getting the Truth Out of Ghouta - A Closer Look at the August 2013 Chemical Weapons Atrocity

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. THE CRISIS


This rush e-book is a preliminary version with chapters 1 and 2 only. Further chapters are in the planning stage:






Written and published by John-Paul Leonard, ProgressivePress.com, September - October 2013

Lies pass through three stages. First, they are accepted as self-evident. Second, they are violently opposed. Finally, they are ridiculed.

This book aims to help overcome the first stage by concentrating on the second, with an occasional resort to the comic relief of the third -- the best place to be. Let truth have the last laugh over the lie. ROTFL!


It is early in the morning of August 21, 2013, a year and a day since Pres. Obama declared chemical weapons use by Syria to be a “red line” that will trigger military intervention. Videos and commentaries from Syrian opposition sources are pouring in through the world media, claiming the Syrian government has just attacked civilians with poison gas in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta. Hours later, the US claims it has proof from intercepted phone calls that the Syrian Defence Ministry was behind the attack. Obama and his cabinet are calling allied leaders to mobilize a coalition for a lightning Libya-style bombing campaign.

The next day, Russia Today headlines, “ Russia suggests Syria ‘chemical attack’ was ‘planned provocation’ by rebels.”[1]  On Aug. 23, the US Navy starts moving a task force into position to strike Syria . [2]  

In the week that follows, tension mounts as Syria becomes the top story. The mass media are showing horror footage of dead and dying children from Ghouta. Secretary of State Kerry, the Bonesman who ran as a Democrat against Bonesman Bush, keeps the media on message: all evidence points to the use of chemical weapons; THUS a war crime by the “Assad regime,” mandating a military intervention under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine. War drums drown out any dissenting note that the US-backed rebels could have been the attackers, excepting a few prestigious voices like Vladimir Putin and Rand Paul.

The juggernaut that brought us the Afghan, Iraq and Libya wars seems to be well on its way in record time. Yet surprisingly, online polls and constituent e-mails to Congress are running as high as 90% against any Syria strike. Only a minority of these ordinary Americans suspect a false flag. Most are saying we can’t afford to be the world’s policeman, or going in there will only make things worse -- we will be helping our sworn enemies, Al Qaeda. Some Congressmen are openly unimpressed by the thin evidence presented by the White House.

Another glitch in the war script comes on Aug. 29, when the British Parliament votes down the government’s motion for war, thanks largely to the new Labour leader Ed Miliband. It’s this august body’s first “No War” vote since 1782, when they declined to pursue the counterinsurgency against the breakaway American colonies.

For once, a vote could be called historic without hyperbole. The US is left with no allies, and the lesson is not lost on Obama. On Aug. 31 he decides to submit his war plan for Congressional approval, a Constitutional requirement observed largely in the breach. Now it has become a battle for US public opinion, and on Sept. 1, I restart my “Dirty War on Syria ” blog,[3] trying do my little bit to muster arguments against the new war.

Obama claims the military option remains on the butcher’s proverbial table regardless how Congress votes when it returns on Sept. 9, while he and his minions keeps twisting their arms as hard as possible. Around Sept. 5th or 6th things look tense, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House speaker Boehner come out for war, but the rank and file are not falling in line. The chips are down for the war party, and Israel drops its disguise of disinterest, as AIPAC cranks up an assault on Congress.[4] The war motion is headed for a resounding defeat in the House and a close call in the Senate, and the vote is delayed.

Something different happens on Sept. 9. Syrian President Assad is interviewed on CNN to give his viewpoint. And in London, Kerry remarks that if Assad turns over the chemical weapons in the next week (sic), he could avoid an American attack. The State Department, hellbent on “limited strikes,” then backtracks, but the idea is picked up by the Russians.

The rest of September involves the hammering out of a plan between Russia and the US for the disarming of Syria ’s chemical weapons. By the end of the month, the headlines are about a Tea Party Congress defunding and shutting down the government -- ill winds for a new war.

At this point I interject my own opinion: Putin and Assad snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Syria ’s chemical weapons are its only strategic deterrent. They make the world safer by diminishing the risk of a first strike by Israel . Above all, they have kept Syria safe from a ground assault by the US , while defenseless Iraq and Libya were pulverized. At least, this decision to disarm Syria nation should be thrown open to discussion by Syrians, since the fate of the nation hinges on it.

There is good reason to believe the US war party is secretly very pleased with the outcome, a UN resolution “much better than expected.” [5] The US gave no quid pro quo in exchange for Syrian disarmament, such as abandoning its campaign to destroy this independent nation by unconventional warfare.

Putin and his team gained some psychological points in exchange for the strategic chips. The Russians took a bold step by breaking the taboo and bringing false-flag discourse into the open. Putin wrote a great op-ed in the NY Times, and enjoyed a surge of popularity in the US . There is increased awareness now that the “rebels” are actually fanatical Al Qaeda terrorists with the almost supernatural power to vindicate even George Bush, as they really do “hate us for our freedoms.”

Nevertheless, this was an ordinary stick-up, a daylight robbery -- “Give up your weapons or your life!” The victim Syria was first attacked with CW, then blamed for CW, then robbed of its CW, of its right to self-defense. It was robbed by its mortal enemy, the US , through its controlled media, its vassals, and its catspaws on the ground. Russia , the victim’s only ally, played a key role as well, and Israel discreetly directed in the background.


“We are sure the rebels have got sarin. They would need foreigners to teach them how to fire it. Or is there a ‘third force’ which we don’t know about?
“If the West needed an excuse to attack Syria , they got it right on time, in the right place, and in front of the UN inspectors.”
-- Robert Fisk quoting a Syrian journalist in The Independent, UK , Sept. 22, 2013.[6]

Recent history records too many such hyper-convenient excuses. If we step back 14 years, we find the uncanniest parallel is the alleged massacre of civilians by Serbian forces in the village of Račak in 1999, that unleashed NATO’s apocalyptic, three-month aerial blitzkrieg which laid Serbia to waste. It was “the first massacre in history conducted before an invited audience” -- OSCE inspectors were already on the scene, called in by the Serbian side, but fatally headed by an American officer who ran death squads in El Salvador in the 1980’s. [7]

On August 21, 2013, UN inspectors had just arrived in Damascus, Syria , on the invitation of the government, to investigate a smaller, earlier chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan al Assal, which was already known to be the work of terrorist rebels. When the new, much larger chemical weapons explosion occurred in the suburb of Ghouta in the wee hours of Aug. 21, the UN staff were staying just two miles from the scene. They were soon diverted from Khan al Assal to Ghouta, sparing the US and its anti-Syrian bloc an embarrassing report on a chemical weapons attack by their own side.

Once again, as in Serbia , the US war party immediately seized on the killings and began to gear up to bomb Syria , ready to defy the UN Security Council. And in both crises, Russia played a weak hand as well as it could to oppose US aggression.

In Yugoslavia in 1999, the US-trained rebels were called the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in 2013, they were named the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The KLA’s tactic at Račak was to change the clothes on their own battle dead overnight and pass them off as civilians. The real villagers had already left to escape the fighting. In Syria , the FSA used the same tactic to produce false-flag massacre videos in Houla and countless other towns. In 2013, the suburb of Ghouta was also a ruined, abandoned ghost town even before the chemicals atrocity.

In 1999, hysterical KLA reports were spread over list serves and the Internet. Since 2011, the FSA and their supporters upload videos to Youtube, which are eagerly peddled by the mass media and the White House.

Just as the Kosovo false-flag massacre gave the green light for a genocidal bombing campaign, the Ghouta false flag was meant to unleash US bombers for three months on a growing list of Syrian targets.

For props, the FSA also use their civilian victims as well as corpses of their own battle dead. This is documented for the massacres in 2012 at Houla, Tremseh and Daraya, in a video I made for Youtube, “The Foreign Subversive Army Massacres its Human Shields.”

The emotional effect of war propaganda images is greatest when child victims are shown. Indeed, children predominate in the videos supplied by the FSA to represent the Ghouta atrocity, and to such an unnatural extent that experienced observers have questioned their authenticity.

The foremost researcher probing these anomalies is Mother Agnes de la Croix, a Catholic nun and objectively non-partisan observer based in Syria , whose earlier work I relied on in the Daraya video. She and her team are spending many hours comparing video footage, and finding a raft of damning discrepancies, such as the video fakery presented on the cover

Mother Agnes’ explosive evidence points in a frightening direction: many if not all the dead and dying children shown to Congress and the world were not gassed that night in Ghouta, but kidnapped earlier by the FSA and used as props in a staged propaganda feat. As far-fetched and diabolical as that may seem, the mountain of circumstantial evidence accumulates so heavily that the conclusion appears inescapable. We will come to those detailed findings in a moment.

Since Račak and 9/11, as the world has grown weary of war, the body counts needed to provoke a reaction have multiplied. Yet the parallels between Ghouta and Račak remain too precise to be accidental or spontaneous. Both bands of fighters were trained by the US , played on the US media, and are evidently following the same playbook for fabricating and exploiting provocations.

Indeed, terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky asks, “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?” He writes,

“On August 13-14, 2013 [a week before the casus belli in Ghouta], Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major and irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military command­ers and representatives of Qatari, Turkish, and US Intelligence [“Mukhabarat Amriki”] took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors. Very senior opposition commanders who had arrived from Istanbul briefed the regional commanders of an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria .

“The opposition forces had to quickly prepare their forces for exploiting the US-led bombing in order to march on Damascus and topple the Bashar al-Assad Government, the senior commanders explained. The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive.

“Indeed, unprecedented weapons distribution started in all opposition camps in Hatay Province on August 21-23, 2013.... The weapons were distributed from store-houses controlled by Qatari and Turkish Intelligence under the tight supervision of US Intelligence.

“Opposition officials in Hatay said that these weapon shipments were “the biggest” they had received “since the beginning of the turmoil more than two years ago.”

“Senior officials from both the Syrian opposition and sponsoring Arab states stressed that these weapon deliveries were specifically in anticipation for exploiting the impact of imminent bombing of Syria by the US and the Western allies.”[8]

Evidently, the push to strike Syria had nothing to do with humanitarian concern and everything to do with supporting a ground assault on Damascus. The White House, of course, could not admit this when questioned as to the purpose of the strikes and what they hoped to achieve. This impression of aimlessness did much to undermine public and Congressional support for the war drive. Nor was the failure to gain the support of the British Parliament or the American people in the war party’s script.

We know of at least one version of an actual Pentagon playbook for the destabilization and destruction of independent nations like Syria . The leaked “Unconventional Warfare Manual,” an official handbook of dirty or soft war tactics, presents a step-by-step methodology for overthrowing target governments. It begins with fomenting dissent, moves on to building revolutionary organizations and spreading chaos, then to guerrilla warfare, and finally to “humanitarian intervention” by the world cop.

The Pentagon’s dirty little war book states:

“The intent of U.S. [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives… For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.”[9]

Now you know why your rulers have been funding Al Qaeda, since they founded it in 1979, to “accomplish U.S. strategic objectives” in Afghanistan .

Waking up on the Al Qaeda side in a full-fledged war, Westerners may forget how the war in Syria started two and a half years ago -- with the best intentions by the nicest people. Knots of them waving protest signs and green colonial Syrian flags in the street, bloggers assailing Assad the dictator, hope and change in the air. Yet that was only the first step in the manual -- to foment popular dissent and protests against the government. The shooting started immediately, evidently provoked by Gladio-type commandos who fired on both soldiers and protestors.[10] The UW script was then skipped all the way up the scale to the advanced phase of armed insurgency, following the accelerated Libyan scenario. There was no need to patiently build radical revolutionary movements. These already exist -- the Takfiri sectarian extremists, fostered and fed for two centuries by Britain ’s great assets, the Saudi princes.


Fox News: I’m sure you’ve seen the videos that we have seen of the child gagging on the ground, of the people vomiting on the floor.

President Assad: Yeah, but no-one has verified the credibility of the videos and the pictures. No one verified them. The only verified things are the samples that the [UN] delegation went and took; samples of blood and other things from the soil and so on.

Fox News: Which is what they say they have.

President Assad: But you cannot build a report on videos if they are not verified, especially since we lived in a world of forgery for the last two years and a half regarding Syria . We have a lot of forgery on the internet. [11]

Forgery by the US-backed opposition in Syria has indeed been too rampant to even catalogue. Faked “activist videos” and faked telephone intercepts were all the evidence Obama administration could offer Congress.

The “civilized” terrorists in Washington work hand-in-glove with the hot-headed terrorists on the ground. Not only do “our leaders” jump to capitalize on terrorist false flag massacres before the dust settles, but in some cases, like Ghouta, we know they actually instigated them. The timing of their atrocities is synchronized with strategic moves against Syria on the international chessboard.

Sanctions and air-strikes were key steps in the evil empire’s game plan. In November 2011, an American think tank enumerated these “options to assist the Syrian opposition:”

Option (1):  Impose Crippling Sanctions on the Syrian Government...

Option (2):  Provide Assistance to Syrian Opposition Groups...

Option (3):  Limited Retaliatory Air Strikes.

Option (4):  Impose No-Fly / No-Go Zones in Syria .[12]

Kerry’s single-minded focus on “limited airstrikes” after Ghouta made the goal of these killings obvious.

For their part, the rebels know full well that they have no chance of success without mustering Western support by powerful propaganda. Fabricating evidence is simply part of the equation -- and all’s fair in love and war.

Oftentimes one is nearly taken in by their media exploits, until the details come in. I was able to analyze carefully three of their major false-flag massacres in 2012, Houla, Tremseh and Daraya, as noted above.


The FSA attacked an army checkpoint that was protecting an Alawite village in Houla district on May 25, 2012. They then ransacked it, slit the throats of the children and laid them out on the floor for Youtube. Meanwhile their propaganda arm claimed the villagers were martyrs of an army artillery barrage. The disconnect between video and text didn’t faze William Hague and Hillary Clinton, who jumped to impose sanctions on Syria , and made them stick. The incongruity leads one to suspect a reverse cause and effect: the empire wanted to impose sanctions at this time, and the necessary massacre was prepared to order.


The usual pattern of haste was repeated in the Daraya massacre in August, 2012, which the terrorist-corporate media complex blamed on forces loyal to Assad. Three days after it happened, before any Western journalist had yet ventured to brave the fire of rebel snipers in the area, a NATO teleconference decided in principle that the alliance would strike Syria -- something like Congress giving the President the green light for war. This conference was organized very quickly, before any contrary evidence should come to light, basing its decision solely on activist videos and statements. If the rebels are indeed the authors of the crimes they publish, that is why they are always first with the footage.

The rebel tactics in Daraya are clear from the subtitle of my video: the FSA massacred its human shields. The terrorist bands kidnapped civilian hostages, killed them and lined up the bodies for the cameras, claiming a massacre by Assad forces.

One is left wondering how many of the civilian dead imputed to the government really were victims of the rebels instead.


The Tremseh false flag massacre on July 12, 2012, followed the same pattern as at Račak, with the FSA depicting their own dead fighters as civilians. US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice immediately called for a UN resolution against Syria , which would be a tripwire for aggression. But even the New York Times wondered why there were no women and children among the dead, after the exile opposition organization, the SNC itself, noted that all the dead were men between ages 19 and 36.

The cumulative effect of all the false flags and disinformation is to thoroughly demonize the targeted government with a build-up of rogue reports, illusory images and loose logic.

Terrorism has always been psychological warfare. Terrorists kill and then blame the deaths on the state. Complicit pundits then casually hold the target government accountable for inflated casualty totals, when in fact most of the dead are either rebels, or killed by the rebels.

Brainwashing Western-style is heavily dependent on imagery over reason. It is presented as entertainment, including Hollywood special effects. Most of us have seen dozens of car accidents in real life, without any of the wrecks bursting into flame. Yet a Hollywood car crash most often disgorges a sensational fireball, because that’s entertainment. This viewing habit makes it easy to fool people that, say, an airplane crash can explode a steel skyscraper.

In Syria , a CNN team has been accused of blowing up a pipeline for an “explosive news story” -- and blaming it on Assad to boot. We should never forget the lies that paved the way for the genocidal war on Iraq . There was fake yellowcake at the UN, and the “anonymous” Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter in Congress, with her wild tale of Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators. Her fake tears moved Congress to wage war.

Assad noted this defect in his interview with Charlie Rose: “We’re not like the American administration. We’re not a social media administration or government. We are the government that deals with reality.”

A Syria-based group made a heroic effort to dissect the reality of the rebel videos which the Obama regime used to push Congress to the brink of war. The group ISTEAMS, headed by Catholic nun Mother Agnes de la Croix, assembled a report[13] on the anomalies they found.

Taken together, the discrepancies point to a strange and shocking conclusion: the scenes were staged, the videos are fake. Rebel psychological warfare units evidently prepared them before Aug. 21. They then uploaded them to Youtube immediately after the staging of a low-grade release of chemicals in the early hours of Aug 21, which may have claimed some real victims. Opposition NGO's then fed the hysteria about a CW massacre to the world media.

The first odd thing is the hour chosen for the event: around 2 or 3 a.m., under cover of darkness. Any independent observers could have slept through it. By the time they awoke, the show would be all over.

Ghouta was already depopulated by fighting, except for rebel bands and a few of their families. Street scenes of the aftermath after daybreak show men only. Yet the footage of victims is predominantly of children -- of course evoking the strongest emotions for propaganda. In an interview with a child survivor, a boy says none of his friends or neighbors were hurt, because they all left beforehand.

Women victims are scarcely seen at all, except for one view of shrouded bodies in a separate room. Were the actors strict Islamists who didn't want to show the faces of the actresses? Or were the victims kidnapped and the women raped and killed first? It is reported that families in Latakia, in a different part of the country, recognized their missing or kidnapped children in the videos.

None of the victims are ever identified in the videos. Their names are simply not known; instead, a number is written on each forehead. If rescuers went into houses to bring them out, as they claim in the videos, they would know who the patients were by where they lived. If the families came to the clinics by themselves, they would have given their names. The US claims an exact figure of 1429 dead, but so far I have not seen any reports of the victims' names. Can you imagine a clinic or a doctor not asking a patient their name?

A narrator, identified as a Revolutionary Council Commander, says, “The martyrs are 865, they are all unidentified. They are numbered on their foreheads as you can see... so that if their parents come they will be able to recognize them.”

How is it possible that all 865 are unidentified? Only if they have been brought in as props or actors. If they were families sleeping in Ghouta and awakened in the chemical attack at 3 a.m., they would go to the clinic together. Any who survived, would be able to identify their next of kin. This is really quite a conclusive point.

There is not a single video of a funeral, and only one shot of a grave, with only eight bodies in it. Funerals and posters in memory of the dead are a very important part of the culture in this part of the world. Why were they not filmed for their propaganda value?

There is not a single scene of a family or a mother with her child. There is only one alleged father carrying his daughter into the clinic. He is ranting an anti-Assad diatribe, and saying she calls me father. We then see him ranting over a little boy's body, not his own son, suggesting he is a rebel actor. Ten minutes after the scene with his “dead daughter,” a video is uploaded from another location with her still alive -- yet the first video showed her dead on arrival.

A clip from a Cairo morgue is presented as a scene from Ghouta. US Secretary of State Kerry also presented a famous photo of bodies from Iraq to the UN as Ghouta victims, following an old error made by the BBC after an earlier false-flag massacre.

Scenes of children's bodies laid out on the floor are presented in different videos as scenes from different villages. However, many of the same dead children are shown in these different places at the same time! The logical explanation is the bodies were not transported, only the images were.

Illustrations: Ten children (numbered 0 to 9) are posed as dead in two different videos from two different places, Al Marj and Kafarbatna. The eleventh child, the girl in yellow, is seen in a third video from yet another place, Jobar.

AlMarj Kafarbatna

The same little boy is shown in different scenarios supposedly filmed in five different areas, Ain Tarma, Hammouria, Irbin, Zamalka and Jobar. The videos were uploaded only minutes apart, a little after 4 a.m. Some of the footage is shared between the videos, but differently edited. Fancy footwork indeed!

Two sisters shown dead in Irbin also come up in a photo of dead children in Kafarbatna.

The children's bodies are often shown with their shirts pulled up to show their little bare tummies, increasing the emotional effect. Many of them appear to be anesthetized rather than dead.

The “rescuers” and “medics” mostly look like Al Qaeda fighters, with the obligatory beards.

There is almost no indication of ambulances or other medical transport efforts, in spite of the alleged scale of the disaster. Sirens are heard only twice in the videos, an ambulance is seen only once. Scenes of arriving patients show private cars with only a single victim.

In one scene described as rows of dead bodies, a nurse is giving one of them an injection. During a disaster with a great shortage of antidotes, why would they inject a dead body? Unless it is with sarin. The UN report showed no sarin in soil or hair samples, only in blood samples...

And finally, when ISTEAM published their report on Sept. 15th, with links to the suspect videos, Youtube quickly removed most of them...[14]

Mother Agnes in an interview on Russia Today: “I am not saying that no chemical agent was used in the area – it certainly was. But I insist that the footage that is now being peddled as evidence had been fabricated in advance. I have studied it meticulously, and I will submit my report to the UN Human Rights Commission based in Geneva.”

On Sept 11, Press TV reported, “ Russia says the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has confirmed that the videos and photos purporting to show the victims of a chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, were fabricated.”

Assad is absolutely right in saying Kerry has no evidence. There are good reasons why it took many years for videos to be accepted as evidence in court. Even today, courts require an unedited original. What is served up by the rebels on Youtube are heavily edited pastiches with no chain of custody. Enough when you are looking for any excuse to bomb and destroy a plucky, independent little nation.

[1] http://rt.com/news/russia-syria-chemical-attack-801/

[2] http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/08/28/2539341/syria-chemical-weapons-saga/

[3] http://www.progressivepress.com/blog/dirty-war-syria

[4] http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/06/322396/aipac-set-to-drag-us-into-war-on-syria/

[5] http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/09/27/2690111/why-the-un-syrian-chemical-weapons-resolution-actually-better-than-expected/

[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/gas-missiles-were-not-sold-to-syria-8831792.html

[7] As Richard Cottrell in  Gladio, Nato’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe, p. 438


[9] Going Rogue: America 's Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast, http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/7688

[10] See “Who pulled the trigger first?” and “The Biased Broadcasting Corporation” in my “Dirty War on Syriahttp://www.progressivepress.com/blog/dirty-war-syria weblog.


[12] http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/towards-post-assad-syria-options-united-states-and-minded-nations-further-assist-anti-regi-0

[13] http://progressivepress.com/dox/AgnesVids/IsteamsGhoutaSep18.pdf

[14] Some that could be retrieved are cached here http://www.progressivepress.com/dox/AgnesVids/