Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 20, 2017

DDTea takes on the Assadist trolls

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 3:15 pm

It is really amazing that despite the vast network of pro-Assad websites that can be relied on to put forward “false flag” narratives on the sarin gas attacks in East Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun, there is still an obvious organized effort to discredit the articles on Bellingcat that put the blame on Assad. Bellingcat was launched by Elliot Higgins in 2014, just two years after he started the Brown Moses blog to counteract the “axis of resistance” propaganda that dominated the coverage of various hot spots, especially Syria and Ukraine.

Elliot’s specialty was using “open source” material from the Internet, including Youtube videos, satellite images as well as social media including Facebook and Twitter accounts by those on the scene.

Early on Elliot began to rely on the analysis of Dan Kaszeta, the managing director of Strongpoint Security Ltd who lives and works in London and who has 26 years experience in how to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. Dan was instrumental in bringing to bear the evidence of hexamine in the soil of East Ghouta as proof that Assad was responsible for the attack. As Kaszeta explained, hexamine is a key ingredient in weaponizing sarin gas. No matter how strenuous the efforts of Assadist trolls to discredit this testimony, they never managed to explain why Assad surrendered 80 tons of the stuff after a deal was brokered by Russia in 2013 to prevent Obama from punishing Assad, which never was his intention in the first place.

Since the Khan Sheikhoun attack has generated a virtual repeat of the troll attack on Bellingcat that took place in 2013, Kaszeta reminded Elliot’s readers why it was used in the first place in an article titled “Amines and Sarin – Hexamine, Isopropylamine, and the Rest…”. As might be expected, the trolls have been active trying to undermine the analysis found in the article, which is always connected by necessity to a “false flag” explanation.

They have their work cut out for them now that a commenter who calls himself DDTea has become a regular at Bellingcat drawing upon his considerable expertise. As a PhD student in chemistry who does not use his real name for obvious reasons, DDTea is not only a walking encyclopedia of the chemistry of sarin gas and other such weapons but is a formidable polemicist like Kaszeta. The two of them in combination with Elliot Higgins are like a trio of Van Helsings that are more than a match for the Assadist Draculas who bare their fangs on Bellingcat on an ongoing basis.

Here is DDTea’s latest reply to them under Dan’s article. Priceless.

I’ve posted this elsewhere, but people are repeating the same, tired claims that, “this seems suspicious.” Yet nobody can offer an alternative theory to explain the evidence, so I’ve gone ahead and proposed one myself. You will see it is far more plausible than the specious notion that a government aircraft dropped a bomb of Sarin. This theory is based on the reports of experts who should be trusted without further thought.

The Syrian regime bombed an Al-Nusra warehouse full of sarin, which was being delivered to and used by ISIS in Iraq [1]. However, this sarin did not poison anybody: instead, a cloud of burning plastic may have disseminated in the air [2], which caused symptoms remarkably similar to Sarin poisoning—especially the foaming mouths. Simultaneous with this air bombardment on a warehouse, Al-Nusra detonated a bomb on top of a pipe full of Sarin [3] to create a crater, thus giving the illusion of an airstrike that didn’t actually happen. They chose not to recover the tube to conceal their evidence when they went back to “tamper” with the crime scene–while recording it from multiple camera angles and releasing footage online, no less. As others have speculated (even here on bellingcat), this tampering may have involved spreading sarin and degradation products around the crater to create the illusion of a sarin attack, even though they already dispersed sarin.

But this Sarin didn’t poison anyone either! Instead, Al-Nusra took a bunch of Christians and gassed them with carbon monoxide or cyanide or other “rubigenic toxin” [4] in a basement. They then drove their victims to the hospital, where they were drugged with something to cause miosis [4]. Simultaneously, a bunch of collaborators were sent to Turkish hospitals to convey a false flag cover story about a regime airstrike with poison gas. To this date, they are still repeating the same false story–conspiring down to the finest details of their story when questioned separately. The OPCW was in on it, and agreed to falsify evidence together with the Turks—providing false witness to compromised blood samples. Then the rebels went back and tampered [5] with the crater and Sarin tube. The crater has since been filled in so that nobody would find the evidence they planted to frame the regime.

And everyone who disagrees with this version of the truth is a neoconservative imperialist NATO troll who supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

(For the record: Bhopal was caused by methyl isocyanate, not plastic combustion products)
[1] https://www.rt.com/news/383522-syria-idlib-warehouse-strike-chemical/
[3] https://www.scribd.com/document/344995943/Report-by-White-House-Alleging-Proof-of-Syria-as-the-Perpetrator-of-the-Nerve-Agent-Attack-in-Khan-Shaykhun-on-April-4-2017#from_embed
[4] O’Brien, Denis. “The Apr04|17 incident at Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. A series of inquiries. KS Post #1: Analysis of the Shajul Islam video .
” April 5, 2017. http://logophere.com/Topics2017/17-04/17_015-BLA-ShajulIslam.htm
[5] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/addendum-dr-theodore-postols-assessment-white-house-report-syria-chemical-attack.html


  1. I commend bellingcat and DDTea for their patience. I personally don’t really need all the forensics to know that Assad is a mass-murdering tyrant, so I don’t follow these technicalities. But, I wonder how long it will be before the Assadists will actually start using this very convoluted (satirical, I realize) explanation provided by DDTea on their websites, all the while believing that they finally have come up with an answer to the riddle.

    Comment by Reza — May 20, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

  2. Bellingcat keeps saying what needs to be said, amidst the maelstrom of intellectual filth that swirls around these days. Bellingcat today is like a kind of collective George Orwell, fulfilling in todays world the role that Orwell fulfilled in the time of Stalinism. A, patient indeed, teller, of what reality reveals. Schools of falsification are not new. I saw a certain creature of the Iranian regime, Dr Mohammed Marandi, professor of American studies at Tehran University, who obviously decided to surrender all pretence of intellectual integrity decades ago, say on Channel 4 news that ‘MIT reports’ into the Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun sarin attacks both ‘concluded the attacks couldn’t have been carried out by the Syrian government.’

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — May 20, 2017 @ 8:06 pm

  3. Matthew,

    Thanks for bringing up that Marandi guy … He’s a national disgrace.

    His apologetics for the Iranian theocracy know no bounds. At one point, he and another guy (forget his name now) were pushing the line among the diaspora that if you’re not in Iran you should shut up and not criticize the regime; only those who are inside have such rights. I guess they would push the same line about defending political prisoners too? “Only political prisoners in prison can speak up on their own behalf. Everybody else, shut up!” I wouldn’t be surprised.

    They, of course, can speak on everybody’s behalf, no problem.

    The cruelty of their stance is obvious: denying that international solidarity is a human reaction and the most commonly sought help when fighting tyranny. Their line is also totally ignorant of the irony of their position: if you speak up in Iran, you get jailed, tortured and perhaps disappeared. That’s why, if they can, activists ESCAPE from Iran (and jokingly we say that’s why the country’s name is pronounced I Ran), so they can raise their voices without fear of reprisals. These characters are the most shameless. But they are also incredibly stupid; they think their ridiculous line can hide their complicity in the crimes of this tyrannical theocracy, both in Iran and across the region.

    Comment by Reza — May 20, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

  4. Shameless, and stupid, that’s exactly how he struck me, Reza.

    Your emphasising the danger of speaking up from within a reactionary tyranny is so very true. Reminds me of Anna Politkovskaja, ‘Russia’s lost moral conscience’. I bought a copy of her book, ‘Putin’s Russia’ , and there was a little clipping cut from a newspaper , dated 19 January 2009, written-in biro, that someone had left inside. It read; ‘Stanislas Markelov’ – aged 34. Russian lawyer who highlighted human rights abuses carried out by Russian forces in Chechnya. On Monday he briefed journalists on his campaign [related to the murder of a young Chechen girl, Kheda Kungayeva] As he left the briefing, Markelov was shot in the head by a masked gunman. A journalist Anastasia Baburova, 26, who tried to defend him was also shot and killed. He previously represented the journalist Anna Politkovskaja, another Kremlin critic, who was assassinated in 2006′.

    These people are the salt of the earth, the likes of Marandi, evil buffoons about the place.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — May 20, 2017 @ 9:13 pm

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