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BBC Distances Itself From Claims Of Its Own Producer That Douma Chemical Attack Scene Was Fake

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The scandal with the fake White Helmets video from the Syrian city of Douma is developing.

On February 13th, BBC Syria’s producer Riam Dalati claimed that he could “without a doubt” prove that the Douma hospital scene following the alleged chemical attack in April 2018 was staged.

“After almost 6 months of investigations, i can prove without a doubt that the #Douma Hospital scene was staged. No fatalities occurred in the hospital.

All the #WH, activists and people i spoke to are either in #Idlib or #EuphratesShield areas.

Only one person was in #Damascus.

05:33 – 13 February 2019,” Dalati tweeted on his personal, verified Twitter account, which has since been made private. The thread can be found on Web Archive.

He further continued:

“Truth is James Harkin got the basics right in terms of Douma’s “propaganda” value. The ATTACK DID HAPPEN, Sarin wasn’t used, but we’ll have to wait for OPCW to prove Chlorine or otherwise. However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect.”

He also gave some additional details:

“I can tell you that Jaysh al-Islam ruled Douma with an iron fist. They coopted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation. In fact, one of the 3 or 4 people filming the scene was Dr. Abu Bakr Hanan, a “brute and shifty” doctor affiliated with Jaysh Al-Islam. The narrative was that “there weren’t enough drs” but here is one filming and not taking part of the rescue efforts. Will keep the rest for later.”

His statement widely circulated in Russian media and also received responses from Russian officials. The Russian embassy in the UK tweeted that it is “remarkable” that MSM completely ignored the claim.

TASS cited Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who slammed the revelation on the fabricated Syria attack as a “theater of absurd.”

“Over the past years, and not only in Syria, we have seen just a tragifarce performed by the Western community and mass media, which on the one hand, speak about high democratic goals and allegedly take care about civilians of a sovereign state, and on the other hand, they just do not give a damn about all laws, the international law, freedoms and rights of a nation and certain people,” Zakharova noted.

“The culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer who confirmed based on his own research that the footage [in Syria’s Douma] had been staged with direct participation of the “White Helmets,” Zakharova said

According to Zakharova, the situation around Syria mirrors the events, which had developed around Iraq. “As a rule, given modern technical opportunities, the truth emerges nearly in six months or a year. But this time is enough to do a lot, and the Western states, which carried out escapades in Syria, had actually sought this,” she noted.

The Russian Ministry of Defense also provided a comment. The official representative of the Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov said what he expected the West’s reaction to the new claims would be.

“Many of today’s top-ranking politicians in the United States and Europe, then tearing their throats in ‘defending the peaceful Syrians from the terrible chemical attacks of the regime” and sanctioning missile and air strikes on Syria, will try to forget the topic in order to avoid moral, political and criminal liability,” the Russian MoD said.

Konashenkov added that Moscow was not surprised by the appearance of discrediting details, but was concerned about the consequences.

“This is primarily about the vote pushed through June 2018 by the manipulations of Washington, London and other Western capitals to give the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) a so-called attribute, that is, “prosecutorial “functions,” he clarified.

Sputnik received a comment from a BBC spokesperson, according to whom the BBC Syria producer acted on his own and his claims are “personal opinions” that he had expressed, distancing itself from his conduct.

“The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen”, the BBC spokesperson said.

In the tweets of Riam Dalati he mentioned a February 9th investigation by James Harkin, published in The Intercept.

In the long article, Harkin speaks about Jaysh al-Islam’s rule in Douma, among others.

This is the conclusion of the investigation:

“What government pummels its citizens with bombs and chlorine to get them to pressure rebels to leave their city? At the same time, Jaish Al-Islam was sending volleys of improvised rockets into Damascus and snatching activists and members of religious minorities for ransom or to be disappeared. It’s between these two violent truths that the real story of the Syrian conflict begins to emerge — not in a bewildering collage of images sent from a war zone, designed to terrify and outrage.”

Prior to this, directly following the alleged gas attack in Douma in April 2018, Dalati tweeted that in attempts to discredit the viral “last hug” photo and his disgust at pro-rebel activists and rebels’ conduct.

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  • seawolf

    What a shame !!!!

  • Javier

    What a surprise !!!

  • Julian Clegg

    The Web Archive version of Riam Dalati’s Twitter ( http://web.archive.org/Dalatrm/status/1095677403198906369 ) was not available when I clicked on the link. Perhaps deleted on the author’s request. I dare say he is under pressure – threats, even.