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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Latakia Massacres: The "Moderate" Backdrop

Latakia Massacres: The "Moderate" Backdrop 
November 22, 2015
(last edits Dec. 4)

The clearest blame for the 2013 Latakia Massacres, in Human Rights Watch's investigation, fell on Islamist groups not beholden to Western-approved “moderate” opposition, as is supposedly the case with the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Those units under its central command anyway were not clearly implicated in the killings, which is convenient since they answer to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the Turkey-based "legitimate representatives of the Syrian people," to some minds.

This SNC proclaims the usual standards for things like Human Rights. On the basis of this affiliation, being almost the SNC's army, the Free Syrian Army presents itself as a moderating force in the Latakia offensive and beyond. They claim to be bitterly opposed both to the Syrian government and to Islamic extremists, with no gripe against civilians of any religion or political belief and no tolerance for violations of human rights - for civilians anyway. 

However, FSA fighters on the ground are disparate, only loosely linked to the SNC or even the FSA's command, and those with a notable presence on the battlefield tend to be Islamist and often brutal. The true prevalence of sectarian attitudes among them is worth considering, as some were clearly involved in the battles that enabled the massacres, and possibly in the killings themselves.

If the attitudes of those fighters follows the patterns presented below, it's a bad sign. Whatever its fighters and commanders did or didn't do, leaders of the "moderate" FSA and linked SNC (and their activist support network) helped make the crime happen. Some encouraged the criminal thinking that fed into the massacre, while others have moved to conceal the crime or even blame it on "the Assad regime." Others yet apparently assisted in the kidnapping of hundreds of civilians and in conveying the terrorist groups' demands. And that's just from what we can see publicly.

The SNC Affirms its Principles
The SNC's first word on the August 4 rebel takeover and massacre in Latakia was this on August 5: "The Syrian Coalition applauds Free Syrian Army fighters on the Syrian Coast, as well as their fellow fighters across Syria.” Noting they were previously used for "artillery strikes on innocent civilians," they gushed at the “liberation” of "the military posts of Inbata, Baruda, and Tela.”

Shamieh Darwish protected by a rebel fighter on a video
released by Ansar al-Din. She and here disabled son were
then executed and buried in the backyard.(HRW report)
But these areas are towns, not military posts. That's why there were civilians there, who were massacred, mainly on the 4th (see picture at right for one of those found in the "post" of Barouda). On the 5th the SNC says these “posts” arenow under the control of FSA fighters who will now defend and protect civilians in those areas." At this point there were no more free-range civilians - all had been killed, captured, or run too far away to kill anyway.

Was the FSA actually there? Was it there the day before? The double use of "now" suggests they meant to leave this question open but leaning towards late arrival. It also suggests they and probably the SNC know damn well there was a massacre that day. But they never stopped, punished, or even reported one. 

The statement goes on to affirm that the FSA has no problem with the Alawi or any group of Syria's people and promised again "the new Syria will ... safeguard the rights of all citizens." Within days of this test case of the "new Syria," there were credible reports of an atrocity and the SNC felt compelled to come back with this "principled" refutation on August 9:
The FSA issued a statement about the Syrian Coast in which they pledge to protect civilians and families in the area, ... they will only target ... Assad’s militia. The statement emphasizes that the role of the FSA is not to target civilians but to protect them from Assad forces.
They say nothing about protecting them from the Islamist brigades that seemingly took the lead in this glorious “liberation.” There's no open mention of a massacre or rumors of one, but it seems these were the reason for this reminder.

After Human Rights Watch issued its report on the aftermath of the victory in October, the FSA's Supreme Military Council (SMC) was given and failed this chance (HRW PDF) to address the problem. The SMC said it “wholeheartedly condemns the alleged atrocities...” It's alleged - neither confirmed nor denied. Why the difficulty in figuring out whether or not a massive bloodbath occurred just one day prior to their alleged period of control, and somewhat into that period?

The killings, the statement continues, were allegedly “committed by extremist groups," and "we stress that the (five centrally blamed groups) do not represent the values of the FSA or the Syrian revolution. These extremists have attacked the FSA and have killed numerous FSA officers.” But if any of those FSA guys were killed during this joint operation, it would be "friendly fire" by the Islamists they either chose to fight alongside, or pretended to fight alongside, just to seem relevant. Take your pick.

Reuters reported in October, as HRW's report came out, a response from Syrian National Coalition spokesman Khaled Saleh said the SNC condemns all human rights abuses and if any had been committed by rebels affiliated with the coalition, they would face justice." His written statement was quoted as saying "all the brigades that work for us" were always held to regular standards of "human rights or international laws," and punished for violations if found guilty. It sounds like this is limited to Idriss-commanded FSA, a sector quite possibly not involved directly in the killings. "The incidents in Latakia are not an exception and we will treat them as we treated previous cases," Saleh added. Otherwise, everything says, the moderates will describe the killers as unaffiliated "enemies" and keep on cooperating with them anyway to avoid battlefield irrelevance.

Consider this even sharper statement from the SNC, as quoted by Global Post, that almost blames the Syrian government for the massacre: “The incident reported by HRW in today's report does not represent an effort by the true Syrian opposition, but rather a shameful one-time attack by outlier extremist groups that thrive under the hand of [President Bashar al-Assad's] regime” the statement read.They  forgot to mention the hand of Iran or Russia in the creation of these groups, whose Latakia massacres at least "thrived" in an area removed from government control. In fact, the same SNC had just described the area as under the control of the "Free Syrian Army." Islamist slaughter jackals enjoyed free reign there. "Allegedly."

And like the FSA, the SNC leaders in Turkey never reported, confirmed, denied, or brought up the very real atrocity until someone else forced them to address it. And then, as we can see, they addressed it poorly. They don't even know if it happened, but they seem sure it was a "one-time attack," certainly not part of any dangerous pattern set to repeat or needing careful study. No, they suggest it was a bad crime, by groups that thrive and grow under Syria's government ... but it was just a fluke, and apparently not worth mentioning.

It's at least ironic that on Aug. 4 - the day the massacre was launched and seemingly the worst day by far, as hundreds of Alawites were being slaughtered just a ways south, the Syrian National Coalition in Turkey requested "an Immediate Investigation into Human Rights Abuses" in Syria, all of which they thought were by "Assad." And then, in October, their allied FSA's supreme military council said out loud it “encourages Human Rights Watch and the international community to focus on the institutional crimes against humanity being committed by Assad’s security apparatus,” apparently instead of this "alleged" terrorist crime. The SMC has therefore moved to hush this up, to protect the killers who were allies of the FSA and maybe the FSA itself. The SNC leaders in Turkey rubber stamped this "moderate" decision by FSA central command, its most civilized branch.

FSA/SNC Members Call for “Balance of Terror” 
Anas Ayrout, CNN Arabic image
Anas Ayrout, CNN Arabi Salafist preacher, would-be Baniyas emir, member of Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, "Sheikh" Anas Ayrout spoke to Reuters' Khaled Oweis on July 10, 2013, "by telephone from Istanbul, where he attended a meeting of the opposition National Coalition (SNC), of which he is a member." In a public message to Syria's anti-government fighters, less than a month before some of them carried out their massacre, Ayrout said, in part, the following: 
 "One has to concentrate on their strongholds and on their dwellings and their infrastructure. If (Alawites) continue living as they're doing in peace and safety while wedded to the regime they will not be affected. They will not think of abandoning Assad ... (Alawites) are relaxed while areas that have slipped out of regime control are always under shelling (by government forces), always in pain ... If you do not create a balance of terror, the battle will not be decided. ... We have to drive them out of their homes like they drove us out. They have to feel pain like we feel pain ... We do not favor a sectarian war. But they brought it upon themselves."
He later "clarified," as CNN Arabic reported, (Google translated) "I deny what was attributed to the statements, inciting the content on the Alawite sect.” Is he disputing what Oweis put in parentheses? Who else with "homes" and "areas" could he mean that "brought (a sectarian war) upon themselves?" Ayrout also took the chance to “stress my full commitment to the principles of Syrian Revolution and full equality for all Syrians and," as if offering a qualifier, "in conformity with the law of God." And he complained about media distortion.

Citizens no longer "immune," a "balance of 
terror" ... attempted. (HRW report)
But an August 14 report from Al-Monitor passed on Ayrout's comments along with some other statements in a similar tone. SNC member Saleh al-Mubarak, for example, "told Al-Monitor that he endorses the opposition’s attack on Latakia’s countryside “so that the battle may be moved to the ruling family’s heartland, and the Alawites be given notice that they cannot be safe if the rest of the people are unsafe.”" FSA commander Mohammad Moussa is quoted as saying "the objective is to reach Qardaha (the ruling Assad family's home town) and hurt them like they are hurting us. The Alawites have been huddling in their mountain thinking that they can destroy Syria and remain immune."

All three seem to be saying the same; The Alawi as a whole are "destroying Syria" without consequence, by supporting the government as it supposedly attacks all Sunnis, who are all rebelling. To solve the problem the whole Alawi community must be hurt, become unsafe, feel terror, flee and - it was hoped - stop supporting the government so all that can stop. 

That's the essence of terrorism, and these folks publicly argued that the battle to liberate the Syrian people could not be achieved without it. And they're probably right. Lots of terrorism on the ground and by NATO from the Sky, with no humanitarian stoppers, could finally win this in a matter of, say 27 months tops. It's not a popular thing to say, but for the rebel victory so many insist on, this will have to happen sooner or later. For that to happen and be sustainable (supported by public opinion) someone would have to make the case for it first, as these guys were bravely doing.

They don't say anything about killing off all the Alawi (like some on their side have), but killing at least some is inevitable under any such course of action. And, again, these goals were voiced from leaders of the SNC/FSA, whose fighters would swear they were there to protect. How did or would the Free Syrian Army balance the acknowledged need to terrorize the citizens of Latakia with their stated goal of protecting them?

SNC Kidnapping Manager? 
Even if no FSA fighter or Islamist SNC chatterbox is implicated in personally shooting or slicing the families of Sheikh Nabhan Mountain, one of the latter - a border-crossing Islamist organizer of some importance - is implicated in the part where about 200 citizens were stolen. 

"respected Aussie imam"
Fedaa Majzoub
Fedaa Majzoub, an Australian member of the SNC and founder of the Turkey-based "Syrian Islamic Council," is considered a "respected Aussie imam," described as an "honest broker" trying to "build bridges" between the SNC and the newly-created FSA, by one journalist who interviewed him on August 7, 2012. He was in Salma, Latakia at the time, one year before the massacre in question launched from there. (Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 7, 2012

His younger brother Mustafa Majzoub was a "respected cleric" doing "humanitarian work," according to family propagandists including Fedaa, when he was killed fighting near Salma, just 12 days after Fedaa's interview there. (VDC has Aug 19 and non-civilian). Mustafa had called for Jihad against the Alawites, and clearly did die in fighting, shortly after helping capture (and perhaps "slaughter") dozens of "Shabiha." And this was at the edge of the 2013 massacre, as if hoping it would happen then. (see Crikey, Jan 2014) Fedaa was there too ... "building bridges" at the future massacre launch site, bridges later used to impart a bit of FSA-SNC “legitimacy” and expectations of "moderation" to that genocidal campaign.

Dr. Tim Anderson writes for Pravda how Fedaa was involved in the hostage-taking portion of this massacre as well as with the attack on the nearby Christian village of Kessab in March, 2014. As for the former, in December 2013 Syria's Communications Minister Omran al-Zoubi told an Australian delegation including Anderson how Majzoub was responsible for the kidnapping of 106 people in Latakia, using Australian telephone networks, and yet moved freely through Europe with no sign of concern from any of those governments. Majzoub denies involvement in the Latakia kidnapping, telling Aussie media "I heard about it, I know about it but I was not involved in it at all." He claimed he had been in Europe, working on preparations for the Geneva peace talks, and suggested the smear was made up to tarnish his reputation in these talks. (see again Crikey). 

However, Majzoub admits his involvement in the Kessab kidnappings, which happened after these prior charges. But he called them a humanitarian evacuations. A Turkish journalist set out to refute "baseless accusations" against his country spoke to "one of the top officials of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Fedaa Majzoub, who organized the evacuation." He said "we captured the town as a part of our war strategy. ... Young Armenians and Arabs left the town. We helped the old people and sent them to Turkey." (see also Pravda).

So relocating non-Sunni people in the path of extremist offensives, with the work done by the attackers after the conquest, is sometimes his area of expertise. But he says, as surely as his brother was a civilian, someone else must have run that aspect in the 2013 case. Maybe Fedaa just doesn't have good enough contacts in or interest in the Salma front? Maybe the Geneva stuff was keeping him so busy his slow Australian phone couldn't make the necessary calls in the remaining time? 

Now let's consider the hostages he probably helped manage (referring to details covered for now at the intro post). If Fedaa was involved, his contacts would be someone in the mix of people who ended up doing the holding. HRW heard at least 225 captives, first split-up between ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA), and Suqour al-Izz. Only the apparent bad guy/fall guy groups for sure had any number – 120 to ISIS, and 105 to allied JMA, as seen in a video with the group's local leader (still at right). The woman speaking is in that says there are “about 105” of them. It sounds like the Syrians implicate Majzoub in this batch especially, and 106 might be the exact number. 

HRW heard that all 200+ prisoners (or at least "control over the hostage file") were transferred to Ahrar al-Sham in September, who are made to seem the good guys in this drama. It's worth noting Suqour al-Izz's leader was in charge of financing the operation, with Ahrar al-Sham's leader as a deputy. ISIS and JMA were hoping for payment to fund their operations, just then greatly expanding, and probably got it direct, from this allied, "moderate," and well-funded group (rich donors in the Persian Gulf).

Many of the children at least were eventually released (the rest, I'm not actually sure...). But along the way, of course their husbands, fathers, etc. were murdered, their homes were destroyed, and then they suffered whatever abuses in the captivity of people who think of them as devil-inspired infidels. That's generally not clear, but one boy at least listed by HRW as a hostage (Jaffar al-Sheikh Ibrahim, age 7) is also reported (Jaffar al-Sheikh, but age 4) as dead, stabbed to death by his captors, on or before August 7.

Anyway, Fedaa Majzoub, who is respected, insists he had no hand in managing this “humanitarian relocation” like he did in Kessab. But all the clues suggest minister al-Zoubi was probably correct.

"Opposition Activists”
Finally, let's consider the nonviolent activists who help the opposition fighters report their version of events to the world, and are generally treated as credible and dedicated to truth and justice. Three at least come into focus in this Latakia offensive … one of whom died, one with a similar name, and one of whom is unnamed but does surprisingly well on the truth part. 

Among those killed on the bloody first day was Abo al-Hasan Ammar, as the VDC records him, a civilian from Salma. Occupation: Media Activist, killed 2013-08-04 by shooting. Notes: “Martyred during covering the battles taking place in Lattakia Suburbs.” 

There doesn't seem to much information about him around; he's not Ammar Hassan, media spokesman, Member coordinators revolution, Latakia News Network, as mentioned here. (L.N.N. Youtube channel - nothing added since August, 2013, but late in the month, long after the 4th). This activist with a similar name was still speaking on August 6 as "Ammar Hassan, a local activist in Latakia," telling Reuters' Oweis 60 rebel fighters died in the offensive and "Assad is sending huge reinforcement from Latakia, but liberation will continue.” 

Rather this is the Abou Al Hassan Ammar (FSA spokesman) listed as killed in action at the Wikipedia page for 2013 Latakia offensive, citing a Facebook post now gone (but copied here). The date isn't mentioned, and VDC's data isn't gospel, but it seems he died on the 4th. It does seem strange to have 2 media activists in the same small area with Hassan and Ammar in the names, but not too strange. Both names are common. Alternately, this is somehow one guy, and Oweis spoke to him before he died, or he died after the 6th. 

As for Abu Hassan, with a fighter-like nom-d'guerre, he was more than likely he a straight supporter of the operation, killed while filming it. However … consider how pro-rebel and Assad-blaming but ostensibly moderate activists like Razan Zaitouneh sometimes report on extreme crimes of the Islamist groups and wind up disappearing. With such a massive and important crime planned for that day, with such complicated PR aspects to manage, any deaths in the slim media pool might be of interest. That is, it's possible he was distrusted by someone involved and assassinated at the outset, to prevent him reporting the wrong things. 

At any rate, Abu Hassan cannot be the activist(s) HRW spoke to, who wound up covering events (his replacement(s)?) One who might be Ammar Hassan, but unnamed, sounds like he might have been wearing a black ski mask. Responsible for coordinating between the attacking groups (ISIS, etc.), he alerted HRW to the murder of over 100 men and abduction of hundreds of women and children so: “We caught 150 women and 40 children, and killed all the men … We want a prisoner exchange without conditions,” or else … unspecified. That's an opposition activist, and he's not the first of his kind. 


  1. Hey, Dude. Whew -- it's a complex post and it'll take a while to sort through it.

    I dropped in b/c my focus remains on Ghouta. If I could just figure out who the fucks were that gassed those people, I could die with a smile on my face, as The Stranger once said.

    As you know there was a lot of talk from the Carmelite nun about the people kidnapped in Latakia ending up in the morgues in Ghouta. And this fits with my conclusion that the people in the Ghouta vids had been gassed with carbon monoxide or cyanide, definitely not sarin as Obama, and Kerry, and all the world claimed.

    So we're 2 years down the road and I have yet to see any hard evidence that any of those folks missing from Latakia are the same folks in the Ghouta vids. The nun seems to have disappeared.

    In that Jan2014 Crikey article you link to the mayor of Latakia says the kidnapped folks are all accounted for, alive, and authorities are trying to work out terms for their release. So the case that hundreds of dead Syrians in Ghouta came from Latakia seems . . . well, weak.

    Do you know if that release ever happened? I mean, 2 years downstream what is the status of the kidnapped people?? Did Mother Agnes-whats-her-name ever definitely tie the Latakia kidnap victims to the dead people in the Ghouta vids? -- and by that I mean has anyone definitely identified the dead people by saying: "This kid in the blue top and pants is my nephew so-and-so from such-and-such village, and that woman dead on the floor in the salmon-colored dress is my daughter so-and-so from such-and-such a village.

    The Latakia Massacre is obviously extremely troubling, but if it is connected to the Ghouta Massacre, there is a war crime here that is so massive that no person with a conscience should let go of it until the perps are ID'd and punished. IMO. (I'm getting a Simon Wiesenthal complex and I ain't even Jewish.)

    1. Denis, always glad for the occasional words. I know kids were released, need to do moree research to figure out the rest. A weak spot.

      I've been saying for a while all Ghouta victims seem to be in Ghouta, presumably from nearby. But that point you mention is a good support I never thught of, thanks. If you haven't seen it: daeth tolls at the bottom, "our estimate."

      Maybe "they" (who exactly?) knew both events were coming, let the critics think the one fed into the other, for a false lead. But they don't seem to connect. Just two massive crimes, both needing punished.

      The Stranger is/was that Seattle paper with the famous personal ads, right?

  2. CL -- that Stranger I quoted was Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski. Likely before your time :-) Eh?

    "And the reason I say it is . . . well, sometimes there's a man, an' I won't say 'a hero' because what's a hero? But sometimes there's a man . . .an' he's the man for his time and place." – The Stranger. Yeah, I think that’s the goal we should each aspire to: being the man or woman for our own time in our own place.

    This note is more in response to your Jun09|15 piece on the death toll of Ghouta, which you link to in your comment above.

    Assuming that we agree that identifying the perpetrators of the Ghouta Massacre is one of the most worthwhile tasks we web-warriors could accomplish, your work on the body count is incredibly important. Even a ballpark number of say 200 one way or the other would help limit the hypotheses as to what happened and who was responsible.

    Unfortunately, nothing that comes out of Ghouta can be trusted. I would not trust a single one of those Arabic sources without knowing who the authors are and what role they played. Once you come to the conclusion that those people were killed not by Assad or SAA but by the rebels/insurgents, then nothing any rebel/insurgent group says can be trusted. That’s the trap the UN/OPCW fell into. As you note, Sellstrom eventually admitted as much – they are a bunch of liars. Those so-called “medics” are the biggest liars of all. Unfortunately, only the rebels/insurgents have the data we need and there is no way to verify what they say. That’s why the numbers are all over the place.

    I mean, look at the ratios of the dead to "affected" in your June post. The ratios are, like: 0.72, 0.18, 0.06, 0.03 Why would those ratios vary by a factor of up to 25-fold? I don’t know who the “Violations Documentation Center” are, but I would consider their numbers as about as reliable as Eliot Higgins’ or Rami Abdulrahman's.

    Speaking of whom . . . I always thought Kerry got spoofed with that ridiculously precise number of 1429. I mean, look at that number – most Muslims would immediately see “1492,” one of the most deadly and important years in the history of Islam. Even bin Laden alluded to it when justifying the hit on the WTC. Seems like either Obama et al. were getting spoofed or there was a message in that number. Who in their right mind would have even suggested such a precise number of dead in the days immediately following the attack before anyone could verify any fatalities? Even the UN/OPCW, who went in there days later, did not investigate, sample, or even see a single corpse.

  3. Muttering continued . . .

    I think a more germane question than how many dead there were is: Who were they? My position remains that the people we see in the morgues in Kafr Batna were executed by being gassed w/ CO or CN. That tells me they must have been Shia/Alawi. Kurds is an outside possibility. But the point is that these Sunni bastards were not going to execute Sunni children. The victims had to come from somewhere, it almost certainly wasn’t Ghouta. They were not pulled from their beds that night and they did not flee into the dark b/c of a sarin attack – we know that because every single one of them is fully dressed in street clothes.

    Taking Mother Agnes’ lead that the Ghouta victims were from Latakia, I perused the all of the vids/still shots from Latakia I had. There weren't too many and I thought if I could just identify one of those Latakia kids as being a victim in the Kafr Batna morgues, it would be a huge piece of the puzzle. I never did, but the absence of an ID means absolutely zilch. There was one website that purported to match photos from Latakia with photos from Ghouta but I was never convinced that the same people were shown.

    I wonder if there is a collection or list of those Latakia vids from mid-2013 just prior to the Ghouta Massacre. I have probably missed some and would like to inspect every one I can find.

    In Mother Agnes’ ISTEAMS report there is a rather large list of kidnapped victims from Latakia – gender, age, village. I’ve been waiting for HRW to go back in there an confirm those identities and interview survivors to determine how many came back. You say that the children were released, but I have never seen the evidence of that. Would love to see what you have. BTW, that HRW report on Latakia was absolutely amazing, given the risks they must have taken to get in there when they did.

    In addition to the point that al-Nursra would not have gassed Sunni children, one of the strongest arguments against all the Ghouta bodies being locals was Mother Agnes' assertion that the Ghouta area was a ghost town in Aug 2013. I can see the rebels/insurgents trying to hold on against Assad’s shelling, i.e., young males. But I can't see whole families just sitting it out, which suggests that those kids/women we see were imports.

    And yet the vids of KB show men/women/kids completely dressed milling around outside the SunMorgue, some stressed, some not so much. And we've got the vid of the young folks, mostly girls, sitting around on the floor of the SunMorgue late at night before it was filled with bodies. They are all in street clothes, too. Where did these people come from? Who are they? Did any of them end up on the floor of the SunMorgue the next day? – not that I can see.

    1. Just too busy/tired for a good response now. But here's A response. Will be back.

    2. OK, partial response:

      - 1429 as 1492, hadn't thought of that. Interesting - not the same Islamic (A.H.) year, but most Muslims I think know the Western system... might be sign to Westerners, too, or a total coincidence. Close to the highest numbers offered, maybe the same as one we haven't seen yet.

      - Hostages: HRW's report has a list of dead and of captives for checking. Sounds like none released at the time. I think the ACLOS page has release news for the kids, but I may be mixed up. If you wait, I plan to review that and search for all news/ask around, and do another post to cover the hostages in more detail. (will wait 'til after FSA-ISIS post is done, which it finally almost is)

      - Victim ID: Agreed, obviously all details provided by opposition are suspect, but neither surely true, surely untrue, or guaranteed pure either way. We take what's reported, try to remember that's all it is.

      - Only non-Sunnis? Right idea, except they'd also happily kill Sunni families and kids as well, if they were of soldiers, pro-government, too secular, unknown loyalty, in the wrong place when non-Sunnis were scarce, etc. More to the point, watever religion/politics/whatever, they can be seen visibly to be, probably, people the rebels had imprisoned beforer poison gas killed them. I'm thinking you missed this post, and will find it exciting. Other than being a bit thin on your contributions. :)

      - Lebowski, didn't recognize but I love that movie. The dude is one of my investigative inspirations, to not let my thinking about any case get too "uptight." :)

      - Other: I may need a prod.

  4. CL, no, I had not seen your Jun04|15 post on before-after body analysis. As per usual, some very interesting observations and a lot of things to think about. I quickly viewed the long WhiteMorgue vid in early 2014 and included it in my table of vids at #17. There are a number of my comments there:


    That vid really needs to be dissected frame by frame, there is so much information. At the time what was important to me was that, like Kafr Batna, it shows a large collection of bodies and not a single one indicating the massive vomit, urine, feces that would be virtually universal in a population of people killed by sarin. Also, w/ exception of a couple of naked kids, everybody in street clothes. Did you guys at CLOS dissect this vid? If you did, it would save me wading back through it.

    Do we know where that building is? You say you think it's a mosque, but the first 7:18 is definitely some sort of garage complex/workshop. For instance, there's a crawl pit for getting under vehicles and you can see the garage doors.

    At 7:18 the scene suddenly cuts to a different looking venue, but the same bespectacled, chubby dude is on the mic and the pillars/floors look like they are of the same construction. That room also looks like a large shop of some sort, for instance there's 4" PVC sewer pipe elbows lying around. The high ceilings do look like a mosque, I guess. Never been in one, and do my best to stay out of churches and synagogues. But there is a huge amount of info in that vid. It unsettles me to think that all those dudes walking around and yabbering on the camera are probably the ones who killed those kids.

    I note that when I added that vid to my table in early 2014 there had been 85,749 hits, and when I just looked at it 97,774. So it is possibly still getting a few hundred to 1000 hits/month. A lot of people still want to know WTF happened.

    Matching bodies is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, eh? If the clothes of a body are indisputably the same, or indisputably different, then that will be all I need to accept/reject an ID. Especially helpful for kids who have bright, capricious clothes. But if the two photos being compared were taken days apart, it is really tough to make a call. Like you have done, I sort of add up the points that make the case and see if I can explain any marks or features that are contrary. Ears can be very helpful but the angle of the head can make them look quite different from one photo to the next.

    Note that in the WhiteMorgue quite a few pants are pulled down, but I don't see any syringes or syringe wrappers, But I gotta' have another look to be sure.

    1. First, the latest link is May 12 post visual evidence the victims were prisoners. WhiteMorgue doesn't come up much in that.

      I haven't analyzed the WM video carefully, just to do a basic count, some correlation. I noticed some mucous issues, but nothing Sarin-like as you say.

      Is it a mosque? I was thinking that at one point, still maybe. Location not clear at all (different places are given, Douma most frequently and logically, but no geolocation seems possible - apparently not An-Natr school, popular morgue there, but maybe near) Garage clues (pit) might help. Didn't notice that. Disturbing content, yes. The baby-shaker is especially infuriating, as usual.

      Looking at your analysis now.


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