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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Syria: Ghouta Chemical Massacre(s): Body Recycling

Ghouta Chemical Massacre(s): Body Recycling 
June 7, 2015
(last edits June 21)

In the first days after the August 2013 incident, a number of claims were made about the victims, including that the same ones kept being shown in different spots to inflate the apparent death toll. I can think of 2 cases we noted and considered at ACLOS, both now shown wrong:
* Swedish Expatriates Analysis: girls in gray and yellow confused - errors explained here.
* Another (boy in black and red) is captured in this image, wherever it was published, and mentioned by in this article - this match is disproven with a better match of the same child below (see match 3).

At the risk of sounding arrogant, here are the real matches rolling in - six graphic plates of several images / victims each yield 3 men, and 29 children for 32 victims total seen laid out in at least 2 different displays, often 3 or even 4. First laid out in overall victim analysis context here at ACLOS but put here too for good measure.

Morgue Match 1: Ahmad Ghazi, a Palestinian among several relatives killed, per VDC records, had that distinct torn undershirt and blue plaid over just the shoulders.  He and another guy were seen in 3 spots together, with another man between them in two spots. Bottom left outside view: location unclear, Douma stamp. Upper right, "gray brick C" where the VDC face-shot was probably taken.
Morgue Match 2: identified child victims Diaa Idrees and Ahmad Zaidan plus 4 others seen in gray brick A and in the WhiteMorgue, plus a boy seen in the WhiteMorgue and previously somewhere else in a different body array.
Morgue Match 3: 7 kids matched between Hamouriya pool scene and the WhiteMorgue

Morgue Match 4: 2 girls seen in unknown, gray brick A (not shown) and WhiteMorgue - two others seen at unknown, gray brick A, and WM.

Morgue Match 5: a man not noticed elsewhere, at the WM, amongst five more children seen in the Hamouriya pool.

Morgue Match 6: 4 older boys laid out with men at the WhiteMorgue: 3 are seen in the Hamouriya pool, one of those and another seen earlier in the Saqba schoolyard scene (geo-located - Petri explains here)
Note how all these wind up in the WhiteMorgue, app. 200 bodies total (187 min., maybe well over 200 at fullest). The purpose: those body batches that wind up here can't honestly be added straight across by per-scene headcount. Shared members being identified suggests maybe the whole smaller batch in just a sub-set of the larger batch. However, some victims in the smaller scenes may get split-off and not included in the WhiteMorgue, and so should be added separate of that tally. But we can't say much yet about how many that is.

But other large body arrays do not seem, so far, to feed into the WhiteMorge total and should be added. Kafr Batna's set, Irbeen's hospital basement set, the Moadamiyeh victims, some 30-ish photographed victims buried in Ain Tarma, etc. appear not to be part of any other groups. So for totals, the visual record alone probably supports a minimum 400-500 victims, as it seems so far. I'm thinking the total is a bit higher, but not way higher, than this range - lower than I used to think before I noted this definite body repetition.

Another point to the matches here is that it helps all-but-rule out a Latakia connection. As proposed by many, the hundreds of Alawite civilians recently kidnapped by rebels in Latakia province, near Turkey, were in fact the people rebels gassed and showed on video. That almost requires the victims be killed in Syria's north, as the distance to Ghouta is too great to smuggle so many. Logic suggested these captives - or victims anyway -  came from nearer places. In plate 6 we can see a WhiteMorgue match to two bodies seen at a site that was geo-ocated by Petri Krohn at ACLOS in Saqba district. That means all 200 or so there are also in or near the Ghouta area.

Other sizeable batches of bodies are in Ghouta as well: the 85-100 in Kafr Batna's SunMorgue were also placed also by Petri where they said. The Irbeen hospital victims - app. 63 in number - had NBC News visit the site a week later, in Irbeen, and film it looking the same - unless they lied about what part of Syria they were in. These plus the 78-88 in Moadamiyeh, unlikely to be recycled anywhere else = app. 420+ victims seen in the Ghouta area, and that's almost all of them we can see anywhere. The remainder probably belong as well. That's not proven, but it's apparently not a massive question 

Anyone wanting to dig for their own matches: note that kids are the best to check (various different sizes and more unique clothing combinations) - videos are okay but photos should be checked first where available - matches tend to come in groups, so if you might have one, check for #2 and 3, and if you find those, you're probably onto a real match.


  1. * Swedish Expatriates Analysis: girls in gray and yellow confused - errors explained here.

    CNN reports from the Damascus University Hospital after the attack. The staff claim that they do have patients from Eastern Ghouta. All the patients treated suffered from wounds from conventional weapons. (See start of video Confirmation - "Chemical Attack" in Syria was FAKE –  Sep 4, 2013)

    1 November 2011
    Despite its generally exemplary work, Amnesty International, like the rest of us, in not infallible. This is evident in its 10/25/11 released 39 page report: Health Crisis: Syrian Government Targets the Wounded and Health Workers.

    AI’s conclusion from its “research” in Syria, which consisted significantly of collecting Al Jazeera and Al Arabia type media accounts including the dubious reports on the same subject by CNN’s Arwa Damon and sundry anonymous U-tube clips is, interestingly, virtually identical to what it concluded from its investigation in Libya on the same subject.

    However, there is a great distinction between Syria and Libya, their medical professions
    and their current challenges.

    AI claims this week, without convincing material, probative or relevant evidence that Syrian authorities, including Hospital administrators and staff, have since March 2011 turned Syrian hospital into instruments of repression in order to crush protests and demonstrations.
    AI’s j report claims that Syrians wounded in protests or incidents related to the current unrest “have been physically assaulted in state-run hospitals by medical staff, and in some cases denied medical care, while others taken to hospital have been detained or have simply disappeared.”
    AI offers as its proof of these claims the weakest and seemingly most competition-driven support of any Amnesty International report I have read.
    It reeks of yet another orientalist double standard and ignores similar claims from citizens in western countries of similar actions by their governments.

    Among those I had the opportunity to meet with at Damascus Public Hospital
    and to discuss issues raised by Amnesty International were Dr. Mahmoud Naji (damahosp@mail.s) who is the Director of the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit at Damascus Hospital and Dr. Adib Mahmoud, (damahosp@mail.sy), Damascus Hospital administrator.

    Both the Syria Medical Emergency Association, of which Dr.Naji is a representative
    and the Syrian Medical Association, have large memberships with the reputation of being fiercely independent of and resistant to outside influences.
    At the same time they have achieved individual treatment and medical ethics standards
    that help make Syria’s medical services the highest rated in the Middle East.

    According to Amnesty's report, but without providing convincing collaborative evidence, wounded patients in at least four government-run hospitals had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, both by medical workers and security personnel.

    “Health Crisis: The Syrian Government Targets the Wounded and Health Workers,” Amnesty International falls far below an objective standard and fails to shoulder
    its burden of proof for the charges it levels at Syria’s medical community


  2. The fate of almost 3,000 people who have disappeared in Syria
    since the uprising began in March is to become the focus of a new campaign
    by the activist group Avaaz .

    It says it has compiled the names of 2,918 people who have been seized by regime
    but whose whereabouts are unknown and whose arrest has not been acknowledged.

    Avaaz will launch a website on Thursday that profiles some of those missing,
    providing the person's name, age, job, where they lived and details of their disappearance.
    It claims the number of "disappeared" is increasing significantly each day in Syria.

    The Guardian will have a full report on the campaign tomorrow.

    We have no time to lose -- the people of Libya are being slaughtered by their own government. Click to send a message directly to all the UN Security Council delegations to stop the violence, and share this with everyone -- let's spur the UN to action with a flood of messages:

    Sign the AVAAZ petition to ask the UN to intervene by freezing Gaddafi’s accounts http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_libya_violence/?cl=953096761&v=8457

    “Perriello has had a long relationship with Soros’ Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch


  3. http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_70000.shtml

    Avaaz justifies its call for No Fly Zone in part on White Helmets.

    Given the close interconnections between Avaaz and Purpose, they are surely aware that White Helmets is a media creation. This calls into question their sincerity.

    The manipulators rely on emotional images and messages, not facts. They depend on willing partners in the mainstream media who amplify the easy and glib characterizations of who and what is good and bad. The manipulators depend on their audience not asking questions or investigating on their own. In these times of rapid spread of visual and text information via social media, the potential for deceit is huge.

    Patel was also criticized for Avaaz’s role in Syria,
    which the founder ignored by stating “I spent four years right up close to this stuff,
    this isn’t new for me,” with reference to his years spent in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and Afghanistan while working for the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International.

  4. On February 25, HRW posted a photo of a devastated civilian area in Syria with the tagline “Syria dropped barrel bombs despite ban.” The “ban” HRW is referring to is the ban on bombing civilian areas that applies to both sides in Aleppo after the United Nations stepped in to save the Western-backed terrorists from annihilation. Assad’s forces had surrounded the city and had cut off a major supply route for the death squads from Turkey thus making the ultimate elimination of the jihadist forces a virtual inevitability.

    The Syrian Civil Defense includes more than 2,000 humanitarian volunteers, known as the "White Helmets" for the hard hats they wear, who work as first responders in a country where the medical infrastructure has broken down.

    Another video posted by the group and shot at night showed a very young girl, naked except for underwear and pink shoes, being doused in liquid by people wearing white helmets, her horrified expression illuminated by their headlamps shining on her face.
    This is a good time for a look at just who this Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is, aside from an organization with some pretty impressive video editing skills.

    Here is a report from April 2013 written before the release of the infamous summer of 2013 YouTube clip which almost provoked world war over Syria, and should provide sufficient doubt about the veracity of any YouTube-based clips.

    According to the death squad friendly propaganda organization known as the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, a number of former Iraqi air force pilots are now training ISIS fighters to fly three warplanes captured in Syria - MIG 21 and MIG 23 jets – in apparent preparation to launch air attacks in the Middle East region.
    FOX goes on to report that “ISIS is known to have seized fighter jets from at least one air base it captured from the Syrian army in the eastern Raqqa province earlier this year. Militant websites had posted pictures of fighters with the aircraft, but it was unclear if they were operational.”

    1. Quickly retrieved from spam trap. Otherwise, good luck avoiding it lately. Thx for HRW link - I jokingly suggested they should misuse just that photo (see here). I didn't realize they had! Best update.

      For the record, White Helmets didn't exist at the time of the Ghouta incident, nor ever in that area. In Syria, those jets won't go far. If they can get out of Syria, might be a slight problem.

    2. Im going to do my own matches so I can confirm your post. Any helpful tips on how to make a good match?

    3. Hey! A bit slow here. I love giving tips, but need to refresh … as I recall the main thing is to get immersed in lots of images, video and photos where possible - current sources, not sure -hopefully you have that lined up.

      Then be able to recall clothing combinations mainly. Faces tend to be subjective, harder to match, except by clear features (mole on the cheek, etc. - eyebrow shape and hairline are good points to focus on, difference easy to spot.). Kids are easiest, most varied in size and clothing. Anything you think can tie two bodies as the same. Everyone processes differently.

      And mainly I've learned from other try to first MIS-match a possible match. Make it pass a couple of tests. Not too many though - a gray shirt will look a different shade in two images, etc...

      Importance: moderate. verification could help, and more matches likely to be made, to link body batches and areas (more geolocation might be possible as well - there was a new video from Douma recently … link not handy). Clues of varying value might emerge from some more correlation. It would be cool to have someone (not me) working on that.

    4. Do you happen to have some video sources? since a lot of videos of the 2013 gas attack were taken down on YouTube l

    5. I'm not current. petri Krohn has a good playlist or two, with whatever left... Denis O'Brien's (R.I.P.) logophere.com has perhaps the 13 video DiFi package, and everything from the Kafr Batna SunMorgue (some crossover in early shots, but mostly unique victims there, it seemed to me). And what's the site the oppo. side runs? Syria video archive? They claim they tried to save every CW-related video, and did get most, it seems.

      I leave looking those up to you. :)

      And photos, there are many good ones uploaded at A Closer Look on Syria, a bit random as to which, maybe all findable by subject tags, multimedia... can help with finer points of a possible match.

    6. they say 353 videos for Ghouta saved. I think it says that. Were there that many? https://www.syrianarchive.org/en/collections/chemical-weapons/database?incident=DAM210813


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