Nicholas πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Profile picture
Apr 18, 2018 β€’ 28 tweets β€’ 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In the thread below I critically analyse Robert Fisk's article for the independent in which he fails to find any evidence for a chemical attack in #Douma.

See thread below. πŸ‘‡…
Firstly, the headline itself uses the word "doubt" and ultimately this appears to be the purpose of the article - to give the pretence of impartiality while repeatedly posing seemingly innocent questions which feed the conspiracy theorists.
Fisk says he interviews one single doctor in Douma who contradicts the official Russian and Syrian narrative that the videos were faked. Fisk does not point this out.
Instead he puts forth a wholly new story: the victims were real but they were affected by dust.

There is no attempt by Fisk to challenge this. He simply reports it, uncritically.
Fisk, of course, has presumably seen the contents of the videos showing the victims of the attack. Victims who, according to the WHO, displayed signs of chemical weapons poisoning.
Why does he not ask the doctor to explain this discrepancy? Or acknowledge the existence of multiple images of the dead showing them with burned corneas, and with froth pouring forth from their mouths?

(I have previously posted images of this. This time I shall refrain).
Notice also the language Fisk uses. "Profoundly uncomfortable". He is clearly implying that we should be troubled by the difference between the doctor's account and the western accusations of the use of CWMD.
Here is a doctor, a senior one, he admits the video is real, so we should trust him. He then explains away the accusations.

Fisk does not fact check these claims with other doctors outside of Syria.

Can dust inhalation cause these injuries?
Nor does Fisk wonder why he has been allowed to interview this particular doctor or whether his testimony could be the result of pressure from a regime which even he later notes is a "dictatorship".
Having reported one version of events, Fisk then uses the clever phrase "This is not the only story in Douma" - as if to suggest he is about to present a contrasting one.

But he simply (conveniently) finds more people who deny there was a chemical attack.
Fisk noted that tens of thousands of locals and rebels had already been bussed out of the area. He fails, however, to acknowledge that by definition he is interviewing people likely to be pro Assad.
Again he places doubt on the accusations of the use of gas this time by use of sentence structure - ending the sentence with the emphasis on doubt.

His use of the word "troglodyte" is accurate, but subtly suggests the same "gunmen" (not women or children) are primitive.
He emphasises that he wasn't supervised yet fails to wonder why this might be the case, in a country where it is extremely difficult for outside journalists to be granted visas and where over 150 have been murdered in recent times.
Fisk acknowledges here that there were other journalists present. Fisk finds one doctor and no locals who speak about the use of chemical weapons.
But other journalists in the same group *do*. This screenshot is from a report by CBS.
CBS not only manage to visit the building where the victims died, they find a survivor from the gas attack, are able to link him to one of those in the open source videos who perished and also take a photo of the empty gas cannister.
Given that Fisk admits he had total freedom to go where he wanted, why did he not go to the scene of the crime?

He uses his failure to find any critics as evidence that the people must surely be being truthful.
There are *multiple* eyewitness accounts of the attack, reported in a wide variety of publications. Fisk, as a journalist, is presumably aware of these. But he doesn't mention any in his article which conveniently ends upon yet another seemingly innocent, but leading question.
For what it's worth, here are some eyewitness testimonies. They mention gas. They do not mention dust. They are taken from a number of different people who would all need to be lying, and lying consistently, in order for the "dust theory" to be true.
I shall include some extracts from this New York Times article.…
Notice how this account corroborates the CBS report about the canister found on the roof.
This is from the Guardian
And from Al Jazeera
Also from Al Jazeera
Finally an interview.…
Another good thread on the same article here.

unroll please

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