The Routine Use of Fake Images and Video Footage by the Western Media


Senator (1k+ posts)

The Routine Use of Fake Images and Video Footage by the Western Media

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Image. CNN Report: “Chinese Cops” in Tibet: Footage of a protest movement in India, 2008

It has become routine for the mainstream media including network TV to present fake images and footage of protest movements.

This process of manipulating the truth and presenting fake images is nothing new. When it is discovered, CNN or the BBC will invariably apologize for having used the “wrong image”, from the “wrong country” from its extensive archives.

The February 2014 anti-government riots in Venezuela were “documented” by numerous fake images.
“Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24C Caracas weather, I assume.”

“This one is so iconic! But CNN had to admit that the graphic photo depicting a Venezuelan cop threatening a protester was actually taken in Singapore. See Constructing the Deception of the Anti-Government “Protests” in Venezuela: A Photo Gallery, Global Research, 18 February 2014

Green Square Tripoli, 2011.
Libyans are seen celebrating the victory of Rebel forces over Gaddafi in this BBC News Report (see below)

Examine the footage: It’s not Green Square and it’s not the King Idris Flag (red, black green) of the Rebels.

Its the Indian flag (orange, white and green) and the people at the rally are Indians.
Perhaps you did not even notice it.

And if you did notice, ”it was probably a mistake”, according to the BBC: “we’re so sorry, got it mixed up”

The Tibet 2008 Riots
Scroll down for complete report.

Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms are shown repressing Tibet demonstrators in China.
CNN, March 14, 2008 1?.36”

But the cops are not Chinese. They are Indian.

Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.

No khaki uniforms in China. These are the uniforms of China’s “Armed Police”.

Most people who viewed the CNN report failed to notice that these Chinese cops with khaki uniforms and mustache do not look Chinese.
I think the issue is that most viewers trust CNN. They would not –by any stretch of the imagination– accept the fact that CNN is quite deliberately falsifying the news using fake video footage.
Think Twice.
CNN has got its countries mixed up. Sloppy journalism or media fraud?
The following text written in April 2008 shows how CNN reported on the Tibet riots by using footage of a protest movement which occurred in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, February 22, 2014, updated, August 10, 2015

[HR][/HR]Western Media Fabrications regarding the Tibet Riots

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, April 16, 2008

On the day of the Lhasa Riots (March 14, 2008), there is evidence of media fabrication by CNN.
The videotape presented by CNN in its News Report on the 14th of March (1.00pm EST) was manipulated.

VIDEO: Tibet monks protest against Chinese rulers (CNN, March 14, 2008)

The report presented by CNN’s Beijing Correspondent John Vause focused on the Tibet protests in Gansu province and in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

What was shown, however, was a videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India.
Viewers were led to believe that the protests were in China and that the Indian police shown in the videotape were Chinese cops.

At the outset of the report, a few still pictures were presented followed by a videotape showing police repressing and arresting demonstrators in what appeared to be a peaceful protest:
“CNN received these photographs from Gansu province, where there is a large Tibetan population”


[CNN Vause reports on the protest movement in Gansu province. (starts at 1'.00)]
CNN received these photographs from Gansu province, where there is a large Tibetan population. [still photographs followed by video footage] According to Students for a Free Tibet, about 2,000 protestors took to the streets earlier today. They were there for about three hours. They flew the Tibetan flag and called for an independent Tibet. All of this comes after days of unrest in Tibet after monks, who were marking the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.(CNN News, 1.00pm EST, March 14, 2008)
The voice over of John Vause then shifts into reporting on violence in Lhasa. The videotape however depicts the Tibetan protest in Himashal Pradesh, India.

And what could be worrying here to Beijing is that these demonstrations are being joined by ordinary Tibetan civilians, lay Tibetans. The targets here are ethnic Chinese. We’ve been told by one Chinese woman that she was attacked by Tibetan rioters. Her injuries sent her to hospital.

Also under fire here, Chinese-owned businesses, as well as government offices, and also the security forces.
According to U.S.-based human rights groups, the three main monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa have now been surrounded by Chinese troops, and they’ve been sealed off.

We’ve also heard over the last couple of days, according to human rights groups, that more than a dozen monks have been rounded up and arrested. And there are reports, unconfirmed, that at least two people have been killed.

Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms
The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s report, had nothing to do with China. The police were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the Northeastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.
Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.
1?.27-1?.44? video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks
Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report?


Alleged Chinese cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in China , CNN, March 14, 2008 1?.36”

Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008 1’40?

Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.
Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.
Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.
Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and mustache do not look Chinese.
Look carefully.
They are Indian cops.

The videotape shown on March 14 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China.
In a March 13 Report by CNN, demonstrators are being arrested by Indian police in khaki uniforms during a protest march at Dehra, about 50 km from Dharamsala in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

VIDEO: Tibet Protest movement in India, CNN, March 13, 2008

Indian police arrested around 100 Tibetans on Thursday, dragging them into waiting police vans, as they tried to march to the Chinese border to press claims for independence and protest the Beijing Olympics.” (REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar (INDIA))

Below are images from CNN’s report on March 13, on the protest movement in Himachal Pradesh, India:

Compare these images to those in the March 14 CNN report. Same cops, same uniforms, same Indian style mustache

Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008 0?.53?

Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008 1?.02?

Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008, 1?.18?

Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008 2.04?

We invite our readers to examine these two reports as well as the Transcript of the March 14 CNN program.
The CNN’s March 14 report on the Tibet Protest movement in China shows Chinese cops in khaki uniforms, yellow lapels and berets. While the videotape is not identical to that of March 13, CNN’s coverage of the events in China on March 14 used a videotape taken from the coverage of the Tibet Protest movement in India, with Indian cops in khaki uniforms.

The video footage was not provided to CNN by a third party. It was part of CNN’s videotaping of the protest movement in Dharamsala on March 13.

The protest movement in India on March 13 was “peaceful”. It was organised by the Dalai Lama’s “government in exile”. It took place within 50 km of the headquarters of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

The Western media was invited in to film the event, and take pictures of Buddhist monks involved in a peaceful, nonviolent march. These are the pictures which circled the World.

So what has occurred is that CNN has copied and pasted its own videotape of the Tibet Protest movement in India and has fabricated a Gansu Province/ Lhasa, China “peaceful” protest movement with Chinese cops in khaki British colonial style uniforms.

The Chinese never adopted the British style khaki uniform and beret.
These uniforms do not correspond to those used by the police in China. (See photograph below)

No khaki uniforms in China. These are the uniforms of China’s “Armed Police”.

Meanwhile, the images of the violent riots in Lhasa, in which a criminal mob set fire to shops, homes and schools, burning several people alive, and stabbing innocent civilians with knives were not shown on network TV in the US and Western Europe. Small segments of the riots in Lhasa were shown out of context and with a view to accusing the Chinese authorities of repressing a “peaceful protest”.(
see coverage of the Lhasa Riots by China’s CC-TV)

While the videotape used is not identical, both CNN reports, however, show the same cops in khaki uniforms and the same Tibetan demonstrators in India. The footage used in support of CNN’s March 14 coverage of the protext movement in China has nothing to do with China. it happened in India.

CNN has got its countries mixed up.
Sloppy journalism or media fraud?

VIDEO: Tibet monks protest against Chinese rulers (CNN, March 14, 2008)

VIDEO: Tibet Protest movement in India, (CNN, March 13, 2008)

March 14, 2008 Friday

[with Don Lemon and John Vause reporting from Beijing]
LEMON: All right. So this place, we know, should be known for peace. Right? But that is not what is happening here lately.
Buddhist monks demonstrating for independence from China. Ethnic Tibetans join in, and soon — soon streets are filled with screams, with gunfire, with rioting. And so far the Chinese government has refused to allow CNN to even enter Tibet.
Our John Vause brings us what he knows. He’s in Beijing.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest information from our sources in Lhasa tell us that the streets are basically deserted, except for patrols by police cars and armored military vehicles.
We’re told fires are still burning and phone lines are still down, but electricity has been restored. And the situation there now is described as relatively calm. But these protests do appear to be spreading to the east of the country.

CNN received these photographs from Gansu province [still picture followed by live video of Indian protest], where there is a large Tibetan population. According to Students for a Free Tibet, about 2,000 protestors took to the streets earlier today. They were there for about three hours. They flew the Tibetan flag and called for an independent Tibet. All of this comes after days of unrest in Tibet after monks, who were marking the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

And what could be worrying here to Beijing is that these demonstrations are being joined by ordinary Tibetan civilians, lay Tibetans. The targets here are ethnic Chinese. We’ve been told by one Chinese woman that she was attacked by Tibetan rioters. Her injuries sent her to hospital.
Also under fire here, Chinese-owned businesses, as well as government offices, and also the security forces.

According to U.S.-based human rights groups, the three main monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa have now been surrounded by Chinese troops, and they’ve been sealed off.
We’ve also heard over the last couple of days, according to human rights groups, that more than a dozen monks have been rounded up and arrested. And there are reports, unconfirmed, that at least two people have been killed.

Beijing has now moved to seal off Tibet, banning foreigners and journalists from traveling there. Flights and train services have also been canceled.
John Vause, CNN, Beijing.

This is not the only example of media fabrication where video images and photographs are manipulated.
What really happened.

Compare CNN’s report using a fake videotape to the coverage of the Lhasa riots on China State TV.

coverage of the Lhasa Riots by China State Television CC-TV

Who is Telling the Truth?

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Senator (1k+ posts)
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???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ??

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Senator (1k+ posts)
The BBC “Saving Syria’s Children” Documentary: Staged Events, Fake Video Footage

By Robert Stuart

Analysis of the 30 September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and related BBC News reports, contending that sequences filmed by BBC staff and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a school in Urm Al-Kubra are largely, if not entirely, staged.

On 29 August 2013, as the UK House of Commons vote on possible military intervention in Syria was underway [1], BBC News at Ten broadcast a report by Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway which claimed that a Syrian fighter jet had dropped an incendiary bomb containing a “napalm-type” substance – possibly thermite – on the playground of an Aleppo school.

The report contained harrowing scenes of teenage boys and young men, their skin apparently in tatters, racing into what the report describes as “a basic hospital funded by handouts” to be treated for burns. In one particularly disturbing scene a tableau of young men writhe, drool and groan, seemingly in great distress.

Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims ‘like the walking dead’
– Ten O’Clock News, BBC One, 29 August 2013 (03:02 – 03:19)

Alleged victim Ahmed Darwish appears to await instruction
before turning to address the camera
On further viewings, however, this scene in particular is strikingly odd. The young men are initially quiet and static. The central figure (Mohammed Asi) looks directly into the camera for several moments before raising his arm, at which point the group instantly becomes animated and starts moaning in unison.

Asi begins to stagger and lurch; the boy in the black vest suddenly pitches onto his side, briefly looking up again in the same direction as the others before ultimately slumping onto his front; the boy in red (Anas Said Ali) raises his head and peers quizzically around, while the boy in the white shirt rises effortlessly to his feet before pulling up a chair. [2] As the camera pulls back a boy in a yellow ‘Super-9’ t-shirt (Lutfi Arsi) rises from the floor, flailing his head and torso and rolling his eyes as a team of medics sweeps in. Some images from the sequence are reproduced below. [3]

This and other questionable elements in this brief report prompted my first letter to the BBC on 4 October 2013.

While I was completing this letter, on 30 September 2013, the BBC broadcast a follow-up news report shortly prior to the transmission of the Panorama special Saving Syria’s Children the same evening.

Comparing the 29 August and 30 September reports a discrepancy in the soundtrack was apparent. In the first, Dr Rola Hallam (her face covered by a mask) had referred to “napalm”, in the second she said “chemical weapon”. I commented on this in the PS to my letter. The audio editing was subsequently discussed by former UK ambassador and blogger Craig Murray here and here. [4]Speculation on this point has since been widespread (see for example this RT report). My own concern remains on the evidence of wider fabrication in the hospital scenes.
The BBC’s initial response of 2 December 2013 dealt largely with the editing of Dr Rola Hallam’s words. My correspondence with the BBC has continued. Some of the main points which have arisen are as follows.

Date and time of the alleged incident

Fuller details here.
According to the BBC’s reports the alleged attack took place on Monday 26 August 2013. [5] Accounts of the time of the alleged bombing span a range of six hours.

A Human Rights Watch report which the BBC cited in its correspondence with me states (p12) that the attack occurred “around midday”; the same HRW report links to a further report by the Violations Documentation Center in Syria – a regularly cited BBC source – which claims (p4) the attack took place at 2.00pm and quotes an activist who says he first heard rumours of a “chemical attack” at 3.00pm.

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ reporter Ian Pannell has categorically stated that the attack happened “at around 5.30pm at the end of the school day”. Notably, this is contradicted by Pannell’s sole BBC colleague on the programme, its cameraman, director and producer Darren Conway, who has indicated that the alleged victims he filmed at Atareb hospital – some miles from the location of the attack – began arriving “between three and five”. Video of the Frontline Club event at which this contradiction arose remains unpublished: the Frontline’s justification for this change in its usual policy appears unpersuasive.

Another alleged eyewitness claims the attack may have occurred as late as 6pm.

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ cameraman, director and producer Darren Conway at the Frontline club on 15 October 2014, responding to a question about the time of the alleged 26 August 2013 “playground napalm bomb”: “It was the end of the day, yeah, I mean I don’t remember the exact time… …I would say it was around, I don’t know, between three and five, something like that.” (Footage filmed privately Conway is speaking from his perspective as having been present at Atareb Hospital as the alleged victims arrived; Conway’s sole BBC colleague on “Saving Syria’s Children”, reporter Ian Pannell, has categorically stated that the alleged attack on the school in Urm Al-Kubra – some miles away from Atareb – occurred “at around 5.30pm at the end of the school day”. See

The Demotix photographs

Fuller details here.
A series of eighteen photographs showing two alleged victims originally appeared on the photo journalism website Demotix dated 25 August 2013. Demotix later amended the date of the photographs to 26 August. When the images were dated 25 August, Ian Pannell denied that they featured victims from his report [6]; after the date had been changed, the BBC acknowledged thatthey did.

Conflicting accounts of first victims

At 31 minutes in Saving Syria’s Children Dr Saleyha Ahsan is shown attending to the first alleged victim – a baby, accompanied by his father. Ian Pannell’s narration at this point states “no-one’s quite sure what’s happened.” Only subsequently do the “dozens” of other alleged victims begin to arrive. This sequence of events is portrayed in several other accounts, including others given by Dr Ahsan.

However in an interview with Australian broadcaster ABC on 27 November 2013 Dr Ahsan gives an entirely contradictory account (from 02:38):

“It was quite a quiet day and I was beginning to hink ‘ooh gosh I’ve really got my timing wrong ‘cause what’s the point in me being here if I’m not going to be helping out?’ and then suddenly, standing to my left I just saw this rather strange vision I ju… I I felt as if I was having an out of body experience because I couldn’t quite work out what I was seeing, there was a boy, covered in this strange white dust, had wide staring eyes, his clothes were hanging off him, and he had this huge laceration on the side of his face, and his skin looked like it had areas of burn, and he was saying in a very calm voice ‘where shall I go okhty?’ which means sister in Arabic…”

In this version, the baby and his father do not feature at all. Instead Dr Ahsan states “it was quite a quiet day” prior to the arrival of the person she now claims was the first victim – a boy covered in “strange white dust”, who had a “huge laceration on the side of his face” and who spoke to her, asking her where he should go. This clear and vivid account is entirely irreconcilable with what viewers saw in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.

On the website of the charity The Phoenix Foundation, launched in January 2015, Dr Ahsan writes:
The sound of an ambulance siren and then the screams first of all from a baby and then young girls – that I still hear as I write this – alerted me that something disastrous had happened.

Previous accounts make no mention of an ambulance siren heralding the baby’s arrival (including, most notably, Dr Ahsan’s “quiet day” ABC interview). Moreover, the reference to the screams of “young girls” immediately following those of the baby appears to contradict ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, in which the first alleged victims to arrive after the baby are adolescent males. In fact only one young female alleged victim (Siham Kanbari) appears in the entire Atareb hospital sequence. [7] [8]
A further complaint (see here and here) regarding apparent breaches of the Geneva Convention by Dr Ahsan in Libya in 2011 has been lodged with the BBC and copied to Amnesty International’s Libya Team.
Grinning victim

This information was submitted to the BBC by email on 5 November 2014. Fuller details here.
The image below is from a sequence originally transmitted in the BBC News report of 29 August 2013. [9] The slim boy in the black vest at the right of the picture, allegedly the victim of a “napalm-type substance”, is looking into the camera and grinning broadly.

The same boy appears at 31:56 in Saving Syria’s Children, apparently moments later, running into the hospital with his jeans lowered and again at 35:15 exclaiming “cover me” while allegedly being treated for his injuries by Dr Saleyha Ahsan. (See further images here).

If this boy’s injuries are not genuine then presumably those of the others arriving in the pick up truck with him – at least – are also fabricated. These include Mohammed Asi, of whom Ian Pannell has provided this image purporting to show him “two weeks after the attack in hospital in Turkey” and Anas Said Ali, whom the BBC claims died “a few days later in hospital in Turkey”. [10]

Alleged injuries of baby and his father

Fuller details here.
The baby featured from 31 minutes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ does not appear to have suffered “severe burns” as claimed in the narration, and certainly not the 80% burns (elsewhere “full-body burns”) claimed by Dr Hallam which, as the high percentage indicates, would cover the majority of the infant’s body. Rather, he appears unscathed and in no unusual degree of distress (click images below to enlarge).

At 31:18 Dr Ahsan’s advises “this baby needs to be picked up” and the child is robustly handled by Dr Ahan and the supposed father. If the baby had suffered severe burns covering up to 80% of his body this would appear extremely inappropriate and reckless.

Subsequent accounts of the infant’s injuries range from “nasty scolds [sic] on his legs” (Dr Ahsan) to Dr Hallam’s “80%”or “full-body” burns.

A BBC News article by Ian Pannell states that the baby’s father “was also burnt and sat helplessly on a stretcher clutching his son”. Dr Hallam states here (from 22:17) that the infant’s father “also had a burnt face” and here that he “had head burns”. However the supposed father (seen over Dr Ahsan’s left shoulder at 31:16 and again holding the baby at 31:31) is animated, vocal and appears unscathed. [11]

The baby’s alleged father (right), who according to Dr Hallam “also had a burnt face”

The baby’s alleged father, speaking and gesturing animatedly to someone off-screen.
According to Ian Pannell he “was also burnt and sat helplessly on a stretcher clutching his son”​

Plausibility of injuries and demeanour of alleged victims

A practicing doctor has offered this opinion of the alleged injuries presented in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’:

I have watched the panorama BBC documentary. Makes for interesting viewing but I think the scene of the school children coming in with the burns was an act.

I worked on trauma and orthopaedics last year for four months, so I have worked with burns victims first hand. These victims displayed what appeared to be “less painful” burns. They were able to sit down, be touched by others even talk. This is not how a severe burn victim would present. Most victims:

  • would be screaming the place down in agony. Even after treatment and with all sorts of pain drugs they still hurt and still scream.
  • Many burns victims cannot even focus enough to follow instructions such as sit down and wait because of pain. This young boy, I found very odd (I don’t think it is cultural thing as pain is pain and it can drive a person mad).
  • would have difficulties with their airways, almost immidiatley, hence in the UK many are intubated and treated in ITU. This shows them able to speak and breathing very well no obvious signs of respiratory distress like coughing, shallow breathing etc. In such an attack the poisons are inhaled.
  • They say they douse them in water (wouldn’t the high spray of the hose cause more problems to burnt skin).
  • when they came to the hospital they have evidence of this white powder on their skin but not evident burn blisters which fill with fluid with in minutes. Some are shown with skin hanging off but the flesh beneath is not that convincing it actually looks like more skin.
  • The walk is very odd. why??
  • The other concern in burns is their fluid status as they will be losing large amounts of fluid through their burns. The cannula is essential to resuscitate them. Im not sure what A and E that doctor worked in but I have not worked in A and e this year and I have placed I think almost 6 cannulas in peoples feet. [12]Any access is essential in burns, a standard training skill!
  • If the poison was dropped from above (a plane) their hair would have been lost and patches would be evident. Many still had a full heads.

Alleged victim Ahmed Darwish (click to enlarge)​

Ahmed Darwish appears to await instruction before turning to address the camera

Alleged victim Lutfi Arsi A doctor comments:
“Some are shown with skin hanging off but the flesh beneath is not that convincing it actually looks like more skin” (click to enlarge)

The doctor’s opinion is congruent with that of former UK ambassador Craig Murray who, in a 31 March 2014 email regarding the nomination of Ian Pannell and the “Chemical School Attack” report for One World Media awards, wrote: “having personally been in my career in rather similar conflict situations, I was struck by the strange absence of panic and screaming both by patients and surrounding family – I have seen people in that sort of pain and situation and they are not that quiet and stoic, in any culture.”

Most of the alleged victims presented in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ are notably calm and quiet. Some mill around in the hospital and its yard.

  • From 33:05 – 33:46 Lutfi Arsi (in the yellow ‘Super 9’ t-shirt) calmly inspects his fellow alleged victims, helpfully directs a member of staff towards them, ambles to the back of the room, pulls up a chair and takes a seat.
  • In the same sequence note the exaggerated swaying and lurching of the man in the white t-shirt at the back of the room; identifiable by the three black marks on his t-shirt, this is the supposed teacher who some time later (judging by the addition of bandages to his arm) provides a relaxed and cogent interview, partially translated here. (See images immediately below) [13]
  • At 36:52 Anas Said Ali speaks, incongruously, in English (“I’m so bad, so bad”) .
  • At 38:13, allegedly suffering 86% burns, Lutfi Arsi sits up to peer inquisitively at the camera.

Compare the demeanour of these alleged victims with footage of napalm bombing survivor Kim Phuc.
The “victims” presented in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ appear to have retained their eyebrows, despite white cream suggesting treatment for facial burns. Note in particular the undamaged eyebrows of the alleged teacher and those of Siham Kanbari “a few weeks after the attacks in hospital”.

In her decision of 26 September 2014 the BBC Senior Editorial Complaints Adviser cites the opinion of a “consultant plastic surgeon with training and experience in the presentation, prognosis and outcome of traumatic burns injuries”. This opinion does not take into account the possible use of medical simulation techniques such as HOSPEX, discussed immediately below.

More (non-BBC) footage of the alleged victims presented in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is on the “Free Halab” blog.

Alleged teacher (white t-shirt with black marks) swaying and lurching from 33:38 to 33:46
in Panorama prior to giving relaxed and cogent interview below.

Alleged teacher interviewed here Black marks on t-shirt identify him
as the swaying figure seen from 33:38 to 33:46 in Panorama (above)

Alleged teacher. Note undamaged eyebrows.​

HOSPEX medical simulation techniques

Fuller details here.
In a BBC Newsnight report of 11 August 2014 Dr Saleyha Ahsan, one of the two British doctors featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, described “how British Army medical services prepare for deployment using HOSPEX” (Hospital Exercises), a “macro-simulation replicating exactly the conditions medics will face in the field”. Dr Ahsan states:

“The principle behind ‘macro simulation’ is that it’s as close to reality as possible. Actors and make-up artists mimic even the most severe of injuries”.

The level of expertise in fabricating injuries and emergency situations demonstrated in this report would appear to be more than adequate to account for the hospital scenes in Saving Syria’s Children. In the report Dr Ahsan states that the officer in charge of the operation, Brigadier Kevin Beaton, was her squadron commander in Bosnia and inspired her to study medicine.

Compare the first image below, featuring a “simulated burns casualty played by a professional actor” and published in an article about the Army Medical Services Training Centre (AMSTC) near York, where HOSPEX exercises are held, with the subsequent image of Victim X from the BBC Ten O’Clock News report of 29 August 2013:

Above: image and caption from 2008 Army Medic article about the AMSTC facility near York

‘Victim X’ from BBC Ten O’Clock News 29 August 2013

As noted below, it may be significant that Atareb hospital staff were attending a battle first aid training course in Turkey on the date of the alleged napalm bomb attack.

Identity of western male filmed at Atareb hospital

A western male in a grey shirt and spectacles appears at 2:06 in the BBC News report of 30 September 2013. He is carrying a camera and demonstrates concern that the BBC’s interview with Dr Rola Hallam is recorded without interruption, extending his arm to prevent others getting into shot.

The presence of this person is perplexing, as at no point in its correspondence has the BBC suggested that the Panorama crew in Syria at that time consisted of anyone other than reporter Ian Pannell, cameraman/producer Darren Conway and fixer/translator Mughira Al Sharif, plus presumably local drivers/minders.
In an appeal review request of 28 December 2014 another complainant directly asked the BBC to identify the man in the images below. In its rejection of this request the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee ignored this question, along with several other potentially significant points.

Update: The editor of Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, Tom Giles, has commented here.

Women wearing identical clothes

Fuller details here.
A woman wearing a black dress with a distinctive gold design rushes throughAtareb hospital gates at around 36 minutes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with a man claiming to be her father (they appear of similar age).

In other footage from Atareb, shot after nightfall, a younger woman is seen wearing an identical dress and blue headscarf. This woman claims that she and other alleged victims are students in “Orm Alkubra academy”, all of whom are under 18 (transcript here). A medic in the video observes that, while the majority of alleged victims required transfer to other hospitals, the young woman, with only 20% burns, was “among the lucky ones”. [14] [15]

It is abundantly plain that the two women are separate individuals: not only is the age difference readily apparent, the younger woman in the non-BBC footage explicitly states that she is a student under the age of 18, while the woman who features in Panorama is entirely implausible in this role. Further, Dr Saleyha Ahsan has stated that the woman seen in Panorama (in daylight) was waiting to be evacuated to a Turkish or border hospital, whereas the medic in the non-BBC footage (shot after dark) explicitly states that this was not necessary in the case of the younger woman.

The question arises as to why these two different women should apparently have shared the same clothing.
On 8 August 2014 BBC Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser Natalie Rosestated (p16) that the two women were “clearly the same individual”.

Same clothes worn by younger woman later same day

Same clothes worn by younger woman

FSA commander attests attack did not take place

This information was submitted to the BBC on 13 October 2014.
A team of Syrian investigators which has been researching the alleged attack has been in contact with a former commander of the Al-Tawhid Brigade who was based in Aleppo province in August 2013 and who was in close contact with events in Urm Al-Kubra. The team has provided me with the commander’s name.

The commander attests that the “napalm bomb” story is untrue and that none of the events depicted by the BBC occurred. He has provided this brief declaration (his voice is disguised) which the lead investigator has transcribed as follows:

In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful.

We the fighters of the Free Syrian Army in the North West areas of the City of Aleppo we declare that we were present in this region in August 2013 and we did not meet any air strike with the substance of Napalm on Urum al Kubra or on any other region in the North West Aleppo countryside and we deny the cheap fabrication of the BBC and of the stations that imitate her because it undermine the credibility of the Free Syrian Army. Saying this we do not hesitate to criminalize the criminal acts of the Assad regime and its murderous extermination of its people. And we have done a field investigation with the help of the delegate of the Free Syrian Red Crescent and this has conducted us to confirm what we are saying : no victims, no traces and no memory with anybody of the alleged air strikes with the substance of Napalm. And may peace be upon you and the mercy of God and His blessings.

The commander has agreed to provide a full statement to the BBC providing that his identity is protected. He is also willing to testify publicly under appropriate international protections. The commander, who is now attached to another faction allied to the Free Syrian Army, has offered to provide BBC journalists with safe transit from Antakya, Turkey to Urm Al-Kubra to interview witnesses assembled by the Syrian team and to conduct their own investigation.

A July 2014 telephone conversation between two members of the Syrian investigative team, transcribed here, provides an account from another local resident who also affirms that the alleged napalm bomb attack did not occur.

Identification of participant in hospital footage
Fuller details here. This information was submitted to the BBC on 2 September 2014and 13 October 2014.
A 51 year old Dutch-Armenian woman (first two images below) contacted me through Facebook in June 2014 to request that I remove a screengrab from ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ which I had posted on the site, claiming that she was in it and that she did not wish others to see it.

Although the woman was not featured in the particular image I had posted, I interpreted her words as possibly meaning she had been photographed or filmed at Atareb hospital on 26 August 2013, the day of the alleged attack. The woman did not respond to my requests for clarification.

Some weeks later I came across this video shot at Atareb hospital on 26 August 2013 in which at 20:36 a woman is briefly seen having white cream applied to her face and hands (third image below). The resemblance between this person and the woman who contacted me is extremely striking and they would indeed appear to be one and the same.

The woman’s Facebook page demonstrates that she has previously travelled between Syria and the Netherlands, where she resides. There is a gap in her Facebook posts in the weeks around 26 August 2013.

Dr Rola Hallam and Hand in Hand for Syria

Dr Rola Hallam, who features throughout Saving Syria’s Children, is described as “a British doctor visiting for the charity Hand in Hand for Syria”.

Dr Rola Hallam in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

Dr Rola Hallam, Newsnight, BBC2, 30 August 2013
(‘Syria crisis: Doctor criticises Miliband over MPs’ vote’

On 30 August 2013, the day after the first BBC report on the alleged attack, Dr Hallam appeared on Newsnight expressing her disappointment at parliament’s rejection of a military strike against Syria.

Dr Hallam’s father is Dr. Mousa al-Kurdi. [16] According to a February 2013article written Dr Hallam’s colleague, Dr Saleyha Ahsan, Dr al-Kurdi is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”. In an Al Jazeera interview Dr al-Kurdi proclaims the Syrian National Council to be the “representative of all Syrians” and relates how, following his address to the Friends of Syria summit in Istanbul in 2012 (attended by Hillary Clinton), he told Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu “You’re not doing enough” and demanded of Professor Davutoğlu and several other foreign ministers, including Victoria Nuland of the US State Department, “either you defend us or you arm the Syrian Free Army to defend us – you have the choice”.

At a Save the Children event in November 2013 Dr Hallam stated that her father “is certainly not a member of the Syrian National Council; he is a gynaecologist, who like most Syrians has taken an interest in what’s happening in his country”.

Dr Hallam is a member of the charity Hand in Hand for Syria’s executive team. Hand in Hand’s original three-star logo is plainly based on the flag adopted by the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council. In 2014 the charity removed the stars from its logo.

Until July 2014 the Facebook banner of Hand in Hand’s co-founder, Faddy Sahloul, read WE WILL BRING ASSAD TO JUSTICE; NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES. The image was removed shortly after this comment on an article in The Guardian newspaper was made.

Further questions about the financial affairs and political affiliations of Hand in Hand for Syria have been raised by Dr Declan Hayes of the University of Southampton in a 436 page dossier and here. Dr Hayes’ research has been submitted to the police and the Charity Commission. This video also asks questions about Hand in Hand for Syria’s ethics and motivations.

The Facebook banner of Hand in Hand for Syria founder Faddy Sahloul, deleted July 2014​
Original logo of Hand in Hand for Syria bearing the three stars of the Free Syrian Army/Syrian National Council flag​

Dr Hallam (white mask and green scarf) strolls unhurriedly upstairs at Atareb Hospital on
26 August 2013 in the midst of what she later described as a “mass casualty event“ in
the first five seconds of this video, one of those collected on the Free Halab blog.

Atareb: “a basic hospital funded by handouts”

In June 2014 Hand in Hand for Syria launched a fundraising campaign which identified the hospital featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ as Atareb Hospital, Aleppo.

A campaign page dated 10 June 2014 (since deleted) on Hand in Hand for Syria’s website stated that Atareb Hospital opened in May 2013 as a small A&E unit and that (my italics):

“The hospital’s funding comes from a European donor which supports global emergency response. This funding reaches Hand in Hand for Syria via an INGO partner. Although that funding is still very much in place, after one year our agreement with our INGO partner has come to an end – and the funding has to come through a partner.”

This makes clear that funding for Atareb Hospital – “from a European donor”, “via an INGO partner” – was secured prior to Ian Pannell’s description (03:17) of it as “a basic hospital funded by handouts”. [17] Indeed, images on the Atareb Facebook page posted before 26 August 2013, the day of the “napalm bomb”, depict a relatively well-equipped facility, including a kidney dialysis machine and surgical and x-ray facilities. (Please note there are some highly distressing images on the Atareb Facebook page).
The campaign page states that Atareb “now offers 68 beds and a wide range of services – from maternity and neo-natal facilities to many outpatient departments, three excellent operating theatres and a laboratory”. Elsewhere, Atareb is described as “One of the country’s most sophisticated remaining hospitals” with operating costs, according to Dr Hallam, of “between $60,000 and $70,000 a month”. Atareb’s current facilities are further indicated in the campaign materials.

The Syrian team investigating the alleged attack has produced this report which provides further information on the connections between Hand in Hand for Syria and Atareb Hospital, which the report claims “is facing very serious problems of administration, honesty, transparency and professionalism.” [18]

Post on Atareb Hospital’s Facebook page showing a new dialysis machine in use over one month prior to Ian Pannell’s description of Atareb as “a basic hospital funded by handouts”.

Regular Atareb Hospital staff absent on day of alleged attack

A post on Atareb Hospital’s Facebook page shows that on 26 August 2013, the date of the alleged attack, hospital staff were “attending a battle first aid training course in Antakia, Turkey”. This may indicate that some of the medics filmed by the Panorama team were not regular Atareb staff members.

Violations Documentation Center in Syria

A report by the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (a regularly cited BBC source) links to a list of 41 alleged victims of the attack. Several of the names are identifiable as those ascribed to individuals featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, however their date of death in all cases is given as 26 August 2013.

While this reflects the Panorama account in respect of Lutfi Arsi (Loutfee Asee on the list), whom the BBC claims “died on his way to hospital in Turkey”, it contradicts it in respect of Anas Sayyed Ali (Anas al-Sayed Ali), whom the BBCclaims “died a few days later in hospital in Turkey” and whom Dr Ahsanstates (p15) died “two weeks later”; Ahmed Darwish (Ahmad Darwish), who was filmed by Panorama “a few weeks after the attack in hospital in Turkey”; Siham Kanbari (Siham Qandaree), also filmed later in the same hospital and whom Dr Ahsan has stated died on 20 October [19]; and Mohammed Asi (Muhammad Assi) who is pictured in an image provided by BBC Audience Services “two weeks after the attack in hospital in Turkey”.

The list omits Mohammed Kenas who according to Panorama “died on the way to hospital in Turkey”. [20]

The list includes a Muhammad Abdullatif, age 15. Mohammed Abdullatif is the name of the adult eyewitness who appears in the 29 August 2013 BBC News report (02:54) and in this non-BBC footage of the same “interview”.

Videos on the ‘Free Halab’ blog

The collection of videos of the alleged events of 26 August 2013 assembled by the “Free Halab” blog poses further questions as to the veracity of the BBC’s account.
For example, the opposition fighter speaking in this film [21] shot at Atareb Hospital on the day of the alleged incident, refers to “seven martyrs and about 50 wounded from the religious college for women and girls”. [22] This contradicts the BBC’s account in which the majority of student victims are seen to be adolescent males. [23]

This fighter in a video from Atareb Hospital on the day of the alleged attack refers to “seven martyrs and about 50 wounded from the religious college for women and girls”. Most alleged victims filmed by the BBC are adolescent or older males.

Misleading and manipulative editing

The hospital scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and associated BBC News reports are extensively and misleadingly edited. Some examples are:

  • At 02:08 in the 29 August 2013 BBC News report Mohammed Asi is shown climbing down from a truck, accompanied by Dr Ahsan’s words “more coming? More? More?” However Asi had already been shown walking into the hospital from 01:44.
  • At 34:08 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ the narration states “within minutes the hospital is overwhelmed” over footage of Lutfi Arsi being carried into the hospital. However this is Arsi’s third appearance in the programme, having previously been seen at 32:26 and from 33:05 – 33:44.
  • Victim X is shown arriving in the hospital yard at 35:35 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, heralded by Dr Ahsan’s words “I think there’s more coming, I think there’s more coming”, despite his having previously seen being “treated” inside the hospital from 34:36 – 34:55.
  • A woman exclaims “yama yama yama” as she enters the hospital at 34:02; the same audio clip is also used over footage of Victim Y entering the hospital at 31:44.

On 23 April 2014 BBC Complaints Director Colin Tregear wrote:
…the programme-makers felt they were justified in using footage out of chronological order “to show the mayhem and the mood of what was happening around”. I am satisfied that the editing would not have affected the audience’s overall impression of what took place.

Victim who “fought to be allowed into hospital” had already been treated

In a contemporary BBC World Service report Ian Pannell states (at 3:06) “Fathers and mothers, desperate for help, fought to be allowed into the hospital, cursing their president Bashar al-Assad”.

However the cries and rants heard at this point are those of the alleged father and mother of the woman in the black dress seen at 2:37 in the BBC Ten O’Clock News report of 29 August 2013 (compare audio).
On 23 April 2014 the BBC explained (pp 6 & 7) that in this sequence the woman had already been treated inside the hospital with white burns cream. She then “went back outside” (to be evacuated to a Turkish or border hospital according to Dr Saleyha Ahsan) prior to rushing back through the hospital gate (at 36 minutes in Saving Syria’s Children) with her family to declaim Assad to the BBC camera.

To say that the family was at this point fighting “to be allowed into the hospital” is therefore false. Furthermore, none of the alleged victims in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ are seen fighting “to be allowed into the hospital” – they are carried or walk inside, entirely unimpeded.

In his BBC web article of 30 September 2013 Pannell repeats the claim that “Fathers and mothers” “fought to be allowed into the hospital” but here substitutes the phrase “desperate for help” with “desperate for news”.

Ian Pannell claimed that here this family was fighting “to be allowed into the hospital”. The BBC later stated that the woman in the centre had already been treated. See

Bias and lack of analysis in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

On 2 July 2014 Susan Dirgham, National Coordinator of Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria, lodged a complaint about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ invoking sections of the BBC Editorial Guidelines which relate to Accuracy, Impartiality, Fairness, Conflicts of Interest and Accountability. Ms Dirgham’s complaint was rejected by the BBC as untimely.

Mughira Al Sharif

Mughira Al Sharif is credited as “Fixer/Translator” on ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. He can be glimpsed at various points in the programme, most distinctly at the wheel of the car which takes Ian Pannell through an ISIS checkpoint (at 10:33).
A 2011 article tells how Sharif helped to found the Syrian Revolution Istanbul Committee and reports his aim as being “to help bring down the Syrian regime”.

Sharif’s Instagram site contains numerous images demonstrating his fervent support for armed opposition forces in Syria, including one in which he proudly bears the standard of the Idlib Martyrs Brigade. Several images jocosely celebrate the involvement of children in the conflict, with captions such as “the youngest revolutionary”. [24]

An image in which Sharif poses with “some friends” in the armed opposition was posted on Monday 26 August 2013, the day of the alleged napalm bomb attack. Notably, Sharif was clearly not so traumatised at witnessing dozens of allegedly injured and dying children and teenagers at Atarab hospital that he felt any qualms about posting another celebratory image of child fighters the next day.

Both Susan Dirgham in her letter to the BBC of 2 July 2014 and another complainant have argued that Al Sharif’s involvement in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ breaches BBC Editorial Guidelines.

BBC Worldwide blocks You Tube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

Fuller details here, updates here and here.

At the start of July 2014 BBC Worldwide began blocking You Tube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, including the copy I had been linking to in mycorrespondence with the BBC and that referenced by Susan Dirgham in her complaint to the BBC.

I began substituting links in my blog to correspond with an alternative You Tube copy of the programme. On 20 July this too was blocked. (On 23 July it was removed by the channel owner). Notably, part one of a version originally shown on Australian television and which included excerpts from the hospital scenes was blocked sometime after 20 July, while part three – which features no Panorama footage – remains available. [25]

The final existing You Tube copy of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was blocked by BBC Worldwide between 25 and 28 July 2014. Dozens of other Panorama programmes remain freely available on the site.

The UK BBC iPlayer version of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ expired on 30 September 2014 (17 October with BSL). This copy adheres to the timings in this blog and can be downloaded here. A somewhat higher quality copy is here.

On 1 August 2014 BBC Worldwide provided this response to questions about the You Tube blockings.

At least four full-length You Tube copies of ‘Saving Syria Children’ have been blocked by BBC Worldwide since the start of July 2014.

Substitution of footage – BBC Newsnight 29 August 2014

Fuller details here. Subsequent correspondence with the BBC here, here, here and here.

This edition of BBC2’s Newsnight was devoted to the consequences of the UK Commons vote on intervention in Syria exactly one year previously. It included footage of the “napalm bomb” incident accompanied by the narration “by chance, just as MPs voted, these images of a chemical [sic] attack were shown for the first time”.

A subsequent broadcast on the BBC News Channel some hours later substituted the “napalm bomb” images with footage from an alleged chemical attack on Saraqeb, Northern Syria on 29 April 2013, originally broadcast in a BBC News report of 16 May 2013. The images were not identified and the substitution was not acknowledged. The narration continued to inform viewers that the substituted images had been “shown for the first time” on the evening of 29 August 2013.

This matter is now the subject of a separate complaint to the BBC. (Links to correspondence above).

Update July 2015: the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit has acknowledgedthat the substitution of footage represents a breach of BBC editorial standards for accuracy. Concerns about BBC editorial policy and practice raised by this matter remain to be pursued.

Breaches of Geneva Convention by Dr Saleyha Ahsan

A further complaint (see here and here) regarding apparent breaches of the Geneva Convention and other concerns regarding the ethics and integrity of Dr Saleyha Ahsan has been lodged with the BBC.

Original BBC reports

Other reports and commentary

Some of the analysis in these reports has been superceded. I do not agree with every interpretation contained in them.

Complaints correspondence with BBC

Correspondence between the BBC and myself (and latterly another complainant) is logged here.


[1] Hansard reports the two Commons votes on Syria on Thursday 29 August 2013: Division No. 69 (9:59pm) on the Labour amendment and Division No. 70 (10:17pm) on the government motion.
The Daily Telegraph’s live reporting of the day’s events notes between 22:15 and 22:30:

As MPs vote, the BBC is playing a report into a horrific incendiary weapon strike on a school near Alleppo. Many children have been badly burnt.

[2] In its initial response the BBC stated that that boy in the white shirt “appears relatively unscathed”. The same boy appears at 01:17 in this non-BBC video from the day, calmly walking downstairs accompanied by the caption “These are not performing actors”.

[3] Note that the left hand curtain at the back of the room has been pulled back from its previous position (see below and images 6 – 10 here).

[4] Craig Murray has more recently commented here.

[5] In an article for Foreign Policy Dr Saleyha Ahsan, one of the British doctors featured in Saving Syria’s Children, gave the date of the alleged attack as 27 August, a highly surprising error for a journalist to make, especially considering her statement that “out of all the war zones I have ever been to, today has been by far the worst”.
In a 3 October 2013 article Dr Ahsan wrote “This month, Dr. Hallam and I found ourselves in a school that had been hit by a napalm-like bomb”. This seems intended to suggest that Doctors Ahsan and Hallam were present at the school as it was allegedly being attacked, rather than at the hospital treating the alleged victims; “this month” is also odd as Dr Ahsan claims elsewhere to have visited the school two days after the attack, i.e. on Wednesday 28 August .

[6] The Demotix images had been used to illustrate the “napalm bomb” incident in contemporary UK and international media reports.

[7] Dr Ahsan now gives Siham (or “Seham”) Kanbari’s age as 16, whereas previously both she and Ian Pannell had stated she was 18.

[8] A display at The Phoenix Foundation’s launch stated “A French class was taking place just as the bomb was dropped”. Ian Pannell states that Siham Kanbari “had been in a maths class when the blast ripped through the window”.

[9] The screengrab is from BBC Two’s Newsnight of 29 August 2014. Issues surrounding this programme are discussed here.

[10] On page 15 of this Human Rights Watch report Dr Ahsan claims that Anas Said Ali died “two weeks later”.

[11] The female nurse who appears alongside Dr Saleyha Ahsan at 31:17 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ also features in an image on this site dated 17 June 2014, apparently treating a child combatant at Atareb Hospital. The site names the child as fifteen year old Mujahid Omar and claims he has spent three years in the “revolutionary movement service”. Hand in Hand for Syria’s logo is visible on the nurse’s white tunic, raising further questions for this UK registered charity (see section above Dr Rola Hallam and Hand in Hand for Syria).

Hand in Hand for Syria nurse (left) next to Dr Saleyha Ahsan (checked shirt), ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ (31:17)

Hand in Hand for Syria nurse (left) next to Dr Saleyha Ahsan (checked shirt, holding infant), ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ (31:17)

Hand in Hand for Syria nurse apparently treating a child fighter at Atareb Hospital in an image posted on this website in June 2014

[12] The reference is to 37:37 in Saving Syria’s Children where Dr Saleyha Ahsan attempts to insert a cannula into Mohammed Kenas‘ foot, stating “As you can see there’s nothing coming up for me to put a cannula in”.

“Im not sure what A and E that doctor worked in but I have not worked in A and e this year and I have placed I think almost 6 cannulas in peoples feet. Any access is essential in burns, a standard training skill!” – practicing doctor on the efforts of Dr Saleyha Ahsan to insert a cannula at 37:37 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

[13] On 18 July 2014 BBC News published a short “retrospective” on the “napalm bomb”. From 32 – 40 seconds the background figures in the hospital, includingLutfi Arsi and the alleged teacher, are heavily blurred.

[14] Note also this portion of the transcription of the younger woman’s words:

… while escaping they called us to return to the school as the war-plane has not finished bombing yet .. they were sure that it will bomb again .. and then the war-plane bombed us .. I did not hear any sound but all what I saw is people burning .. I got burnt and so my friends .. we did not know what happened and why .. a war-plane bombed us and bodies in flames all over the place .. I felt like it is the judgement day.
The highlighted sections are strikingly similar to the words “told” to NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel by a female witness, as reported in this (subsequently deleted) NBC article (note in particular the reference to “Judgement Day”):
A girl who witnessed the attack told NBC News’ Richard Engel that the plane attacked the school twice.

“As we were going inside the classroom, it hit again. I didn’t hear anything. We just saw people burning,” said the student, who was not identified. “My classmates were burning. It felt like Judgment Day.”

This matter is further discussed here.
Note further the reference to the plane attacking the school twice; the BBC andHuman Rights Watch (p13) claim there was one strike on a residential building followed by a second on the school (as indeed does the young woman in the translation above).

[15] After the younger woman in the black dress and blue scarf has finished speaking another young woman appears in this video (at 02:30). She appears unscathed.

[16] Until at least October 2013 the Deputy Commander of the Free Syrian Army was identified as a Colonel Malik al-Kurdi.

[17] On 30 September 2013 Ian Pannell describes Atareb as as a “field hospital”. Dr Hallam also refers to Atareb as a “field hospital” at 38:04 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.

[18] The team’s second report detailing local insurgent factions is here.

[19] The BBC now states that Siham Kanbari died on 19 October.

[20] This Human Rights Watch report, which uses the Violations Documentation Center information as the basis for a list of deaths from the “Urm al-Kubra Attack”, states (p20) that “A witness told Human Rights Watch that one of the dead was identified as Mohamad Feda Khenass, 15 years old”.

[21] At some point prior to 8 April 2015 the You Tube channel (“Aleppo and Idleb”) which hosted this video was terminated. Please refer to this copy. The fighter who speaks in the film also appears at 3:25 in this video, hosted by a You Tube channel which has published videos with titles including Captain Abdul Rahman wandering in Daash headquarters of the Abu Bakr al-Ansari and A Daash headquarters in the eastern Ghouta Msraba.

[22] I understand that other videos in the collection contain similar references to a religious teaching centre specifically for females. It is questionable whether it would be likely or indeed permissible for a male teacher to be engaged at a girls’ religious school. The BBC’s reports also feature a male headmaster, named by Dr Ahsan as Mohammed Abu Omar. Both men’s attire would seem to be incongruously casual for staff of a “religious college”.

[23] Other elements in the “Free Halab” videos warrant further scrutiny, for example the plausibility of the claim which I understand is made by the medic interviewed here that he was able to listen to the conversation between the pilot of the MIG and his command centre via a walky-talky.

[24] The Frontline Club states that it’s highly unusual decision not to publish video of an interview with ‘Saving Syria’s Children’” cameraman, director and producer, Darren Conway, in which Conway contradicted his colleague Ian Pannell over the time of the “napalm bomb”, was made in order “to protect those colleagues whose names were mentioned that work in extremely dangerous locations”. As noted here the only individual named in reference to Conway’s then most recent work, in Syria, was “Mughi”, or Mughira Al Sharif, who is both listed in the credits of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and who, as demonstrated above, openly proclaims pro-opposition sentiments on social media and elsewhere.

[25] On 17 March 2015, within hours of being posted and with only one view, another video (copy here) containing scenes from Saving Syria’s Children was blocked.

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Senator (1k+ posts)
Two Years Ago: The Ghouta Chemical Attacks: US-Backed False Flag? Killing Syrian Children to Justify a “Humanitarian” Military Intervention

By Julie Lvesque and Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today, August 21st commemorates the East Ghouta False Flag Chemical Attacks (August 21, 2013), which were used to build up a pretext by the Obama administration and its NATO allies to launch a humanitarian war against Syria, on the grounds that the Syrian government was killing their own people. This event was part of the build up towards the launching of Obama’s bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq on the grounds that it was “going after the ISIS”.

This article was first published in September 2014.

Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix, author of the controversial ISTEAMS Report

The chemical attacks which took place in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 could be the most horrific false flag operation in history.

To date, available evidence indicates that numerous children were killed by “opposition rebels”, their bodies manipulated and filmed with a view to blaming the Syrian government for the attacks, thus sparking outrage and galvanizing worldwide public opinion in favor of another bloody, imperial US-led war.

While confirming the use of chemical weapons against civilians, the UN report has failed to identify the authors of the attacks:

Instead of a non-politicized investigation and lab analysis, the UN investigation of alleged nerve-gas attacks inside Syria was led by Professor Ake Sellstrom, a man of mystery who keeps a veil of secrecy around his research and political-military relationships…

This cosmetic veneer of Swedish neutrality has been deftly exploited by Israel and NATO to perpetrate falsehoods throughout Sellstrom’s work for the UN, including denial of the chemical-and-biological causes for “Gulf War Syndrome” and the shipments of U.S. chemical weapons to the Saddam Hussein regime…
What is publicly known about Sellstrom is that the biochemist heads the European CBRNE Center [Center for advanced Studies of Societal Security and Vulnerability, in particular major incidents with (C)hemical, (B)iological, (R)adiological, (N)uclear and (E)xplosive substances], at Umea University in northern Sweden, which is sponsored by the Swedish Defense Ministry (FOI)…

Umea University is deeply involved in joint research with Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), the Haifa-based university that provides state-of-art technology to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and its intelligence agencies. Several departments, which are involved in joint Israeli research, participate in multidisciplinary studies at Sellstrom’s CBRNE center…

American ambassador to the UN Samantha Power made emphatically clear that the “nerve gas used in Syria was more concentrated than the nerve gas in Iraq.” Her statement should be rephrased as: “Saddam may have trans-shipped U.S.-supplied nerve gas into Syria, but it wasn’t our nerve gas used against Syrian civilians.”
That is the essential point of the Sellstrom report: To take Washington off the hook for being the major supplier of nerve gas precursors, formulations, delivery technology and storage systems to the Middle East, including Israel, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and very possibly Syria (during the Clinton era of good will).

The UN report of chemical weapons on Syria lacks basic credibility due to the duplicitous record of its chief inspector, Ake Sellstrom, who is politically and financially compromised at every level. (Yoichi Shimatsu, The Sellstrom Report: The United Nations’ Syria Inspector Shills for NATO and Israel)

A day before the release of the UN Mission report, another carefully documented report by Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix and the International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS) was released with minimal media coverage. (To read the full report in pdf click here large pdf slow download)
Its findings are unequivocal: the videos used by the US and its allies as evidence to blame the Syrian government were staged.

The study says:

From the moment when some families of abducted children contacted us to inform us that they recognized the children among those who are presented in the videos as victims of the Chemical Attacks of East Ghouta, we decided to examine the videos thoroughly…

Our first concern was the fate of the children we see in the footages. Those angels are always alone in the hands of adult males that seem to be elements of armed gangs. The children that trespassed remain without their families and unidentified all the way until they are wrapped in the white shrouds of the burial. Moreover our study highlights without any doubt that their little bodies were manipulated and disposed with theatrical arrangements to figure in the screening.

If the studied footages were edited and published to exhibit pieces of evidence to accuse the Syrian State of perpetrating the chemical attacks on East Ghouta, our discoveries incriminate the editors and actors of forged facts through a lethal manipulation of unidentified children. (Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix and the International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS), The Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta Used to Justify a Military Intervention in Syria)

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who examined the report writes:
The independent ISTEAMS study contradicts the assertions of the Obama Administration and the entire US Intelligence Community […] through simple observations of the video material that has been put forward as evidence by the United States.

The ISTEAMS report does not deny that chemical weapons were used or that innocent Syrians have been killed. What the study does is logically point out through its observations that there is empirical evidence that the sample of videos that the US Intelligence Community has analyzed and nominated as authentic footage has been stage-managed. This is an important finding, because it refutes the assertions of the representatives of the US Intelligence agencies who testified that the videos they authenticated provide evidence that a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government took place in East Ghouda. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Look With Your Own Eyes: The Videos of the Chemical Attacks in Syria Show Tampered Scenes)

A lot of things do not add up in the footage presented by the US government.

The same little boy in red is in two different locations

At least nine of these children appear in different footage from different locations

A little boy that appears in two different videos with two different scenarios

Among a series of important findings, the ISTEAMS report notes that even though the attacks are said to have killed up to 1400 people, mostly children appear in the videos and several corpses are shown in different videos said to have been shot in various locations.

While this report seriously challenges the assertion that the Syrian government was behind the attacks, it was not covered by the Western mainstream media, toeing the imperial line and parroting Washington’s claims, which still lack evidence and credibility.

In addition, some controversy arose pertaining to allegations that the rebels were responsible for the attacks and used chemical weapons provided by Saudi intelligence. Dale Gavlak, the co-author of an article containing these allegations, now wants to dissociate herself from the article and is facing threats. Her career is in jeopardy:
The MintPress article, published on 29th August, through interviews with rebels, family members, and villagers in Eastern Ghouta, alleges that elements within the opposition were responsible for the alleged chemical weapons attack on 21st August, and that those chemical munitions had been supplied through Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan…

Dale is under mounting pressure for writing this article by third parties. She notified MintPress editors and myself on August 30th and 31st via email and phone call, that third parties were placing immense amounts of pressure on her over the article and were threatening to end her career over it. She went on to tell us that she believes this third party was under pressure from the head of the Saudi Intelligence Prince Bandar himself, who is alleged in the article of supplying the rebels with chemical weapons.

On August 30th, Dale asked MintPress to remove her name completely from the byline because she stated that her career and reputation was at risk. She continued to say that these third parties were demanding her to disassociate herself from the article or these parties would end her career. On August 31st, I notified Dale through email that I would add a clarification that she was the writer and researcher for the article and that Yahya [Ababneh] was the reporter on the ground, but did let Gavlak know that we would not remove her name as this would violate the ethics of journalism. (Phil Greaves, Syria: Controversy surrounding MintPress Chemical Weapons Ghouta Report)

The information according to which Saudi intelligence was allegedly implicated in the Ghouta chemical attacks was mentioned by a UN official who wished to remain anonymous:
A senior United Nations official who deals directly with Syrian affairs has told Al-Akhbar that the Syrian government had no involvement in the alleged Ghouta chemical weapons attack: “Of course not, he (President Bashar al-Assad) would be committing suicide.”

When asked who he believed was responsible for the use of chemical munitions in Ghouta, the UN official, who would not permit disclosure of his identity, said:“Saudi intelligence was behind the attacks and unfortunately nobody will dare say that.” The official claims that this information was provided by rebels in Ghouta…

The UN official’s accusations mirror statements made earlier this year by another senior UN figure Carla del Ponte, who last May told Swiss TV in the aftermath of alleged CW attacks in Khan al-Asal, Sheik Maqsood and Saraqeb that there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels had carried out the attack. Del Ponte also observed that UN inspectors had seen no evidence of the Syrian army using chemical weapons, but added that further investigation was necessary. (Sharmine Narwani and Radwan Mortada, Questions Plague UN Syria Report. Who was behind the East Ghouta Chemical Weapons Attack?)

All of the above leads us to believe that this attack was one of the most horrific crimes committed in modern history, a diabolical staged operation which consisted in killing small children, producing fake video footage and photo ops of the corpses, all of which was intended to fabricate a pretext for military intervention under a humanitarian mandate.

The mainstream media which has obfuscated these crimes bear a heavy burden of responsibility. The New York Times has smeared the findings of Mother Agnes and her team, accusing her of “defending the regime” and “playing the Christian card”. The NYT casually dismisses the evidence that the videos are fake. Read the ISTEAMS Report and then judge for yourself.

The war criminals who designed and launched this diabolical staged operation must face justice.
Procedures in the United Nations Security Council directed against the Syrian government must be suspended.
We invite our readers to consult the ISTEAMS Report, as well as the following GR articles and video production: Please share these articles and the ISTEAMS report!

GRTV VIDEO: How the Syrian Chemical Weapons Videos Were Staged

The Full ISTeam Report The Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta Used to Justify a Military Intervention in Syria, Mother Agnes Mariam and the International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS), Geneva, 15 September 2013 [pdf slow download]

The Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta Used to Justify a Military Intervention in Syria By Mother Agnes Mariam, September 16, 2013

One Nun Puts the US Intel Community to Shame Over “Stage-Managed” Syria Footage By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, September 24, 2013

Syria: Fabricating Chemical Lies. Who is Behind the East Ghouta Attacks? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 17, 2013

The Sellstrom Report: The United Nations’ Syria Inspector Shills for NATO and Israel By Yoichi Shimatsu, September 18, 2013

The Syria Chemical Weapons Attack: Human Rights Watch is Manipulating the Facts By Richard Lightbown, September 24, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s “Chemical Bandar” behind the Chemical Attacks in Syria? By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, September 06, 2013

Syria: Controversy surrounding MintPress Chemical Weapons Ghouta Report By Phil Greaves, September 22, 2013

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Senator (1k+ posts)
Western Media is fake, manipulated and brain washed their own nations.

Poor westerns have no Idea about truth. They are badly brain washed by their secret agencies, media and politicians.


MPA (400+ posts)
I understand all examples of incorrect videos shown in Prof. Michel's report above are genuine mistakes. Out of hundreds of thousands of video reports shown on these channels, you can expect to have some honest mistakes. BUT, regardless of whether this is intentional or not, the fact of the matter is ordinary western people care least of world politics. What is happening in India, Russia or China or anywhere else in the world has nothing to do with them. They do care when people form their own country die or their jobs are effected!!

The two subjects that every Pakistani talk about all the time, Religion and Politics, are the two least talked about subjects in that part of the world. So what CNN or Fox or BBC show on their news channels, matters next to nothing!!

The most active time of (American) politics is when a new president is elected!

God bless us all!


Senator (1k+ posts)
Two Years Ago: How the Syrian Chemical Weapons Videos Were Staged

By James Corbett, Mother Agnes Mariam, and
Prof Michel

Detailed Video Analysis on GRTV

August 21, 2013: Obama’s insidious and criminal objective in August 2013 was to use these attacks with a view to justifying a humanitarian war against Syria.

This GRTV report was first broadcast in September 2013 in the month following the East Ghouta Chemical Attacks

In the wake of the Syrian chemical weapons attack, shocking footage of the victims of that attack were widely circulated in an effort to raise the ire of the public and spur support for military intervention.

Now, a new report on that footage finds troubling inconsistencies and manipulation with the video that calls the official narrative of the attack and its victims into question.
This is the GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon submitted the findings of the UN chemical weapons inspection team dispatched to Syria last month to gather evidence on the August 21st chemical weapons attack in Ghouta.

The report has been used as justification for the US and UK’s allegations that the attack originated from the Syrian government, but it does not in fact reach this conclusion. The inspection team’s mandate was limited to determining if an attack took place, not where it originated from, limiting their findings to a simple statement of fact:

“On the basis of the evidence obtained during our investigation of the Ghouta incident, the conclusion is that, on 21st August 2013, chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”

The determination of where the attacks originated from is of course the key issue geopolitically speaking. If the attack originated with the Syrian government it would mark a serious escalation in the conflict, but if the weapons were launched by the terrorist insurgency it would mean the attack was a false flag provocation, designed to draw the US and its allies into armed military intervention in the country.

As analysts have been at pains to point out, the motive for such an attack has always suggested that it was more likely that the terrorists were the culprits in Ghouta, not the Syrian government. They have been losing the ground war against Syrian government forces for months, and they knew that the use of chemical weapons was the “red line” that Obama had set as the threshold for military intervention. Those who argue Assad’s culpability have to believe that not only did he suddenly and inexplicably resort to using chemical weapons on his own people for no strategic military reason, but that he waited until UN chemical weapons inspectors arrived in the country before doing so.

The background and history of the conflict also provide ample evidence that the terrorists have chemical weapons in their possession, and are trained and motivated to use them. Last December it was reported that US forces were training the terrorist forces in the the handling of chemical weapons. Also last December the insurgents released a video showing their chemical weapons operations and threatening to use them against government supporters. And in July of this year, Russia submitted an exhaustive 100-page report to the UN outlining how the terrorist insurgency was in fact to blame for the March 19th chemical weapons attack in Khan al-Asal on the outskirts of Aleppo.

But in the light of this latest chemical weapons attack, the UK, the US and France have all released their own intelligence studies blaming Assad for the incident and calling on the “international community” to increase pressure on the Syrian government. The reports, however, contradict each other in numerous places, with wildly different estimates of casualties in the events suggesting that the intelligence agencies that produced the report cannot even agree on the most basic details of the attack.

Now, new evidence is emerging that the attacks were used and manipulated by the terrorists in order to provoke the US and its allies into armed intervention in Syria. This evidence suggests that the videos used by the US and its allies to conclude what happened in Ghouta were in fact carefully stage managed to portray a narrative that would pin the blame for the attacks on Assad.

The first indications of this plot emerged early on, when expert analysis of the videos suggested inconsistencies in the footage itself.

That analysis was later expanded on by a report from ISTEAMS, a Syria-based human rights group working in conjunction with the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. In this thorough report, published on on September 16th, numerous discrepancies and inconsistencies in the footage are documented.

The report documents through eyewitness testimony and video evidence that the affected areas had been largely abandoned by local residents in the days prior to the attack. Yet in the footage of the aftermath, there are large numbers of child victims who are portrayed. There exists very little footage of parents with their children, and what little footage exists portrays some of the parents apparently “discovering” their children on multiple occasions in different locations. Other footage shows the same children arranged in different formations in geographically distant neighborhoods. The report concludes that the footage was carefully stage managed to create the greatest emotional impact on foreign audiences. These videos were then used by the Obama administration to convince the Senate of their case for military intervention.ISTEAMS President and one of the key researchers on the report, Mother Agnes Mariam, joined The Corbett Report to discuss the problems with the official narrative of the chemical weapon attack emanating from Washington and its allies last month.

The ISTEAMS report raises many troubling questions about the scenes in the Ghouta videos. Were the victims of the attack local children? If so, why were they there after these areas had been largely abandoned? Where are their parents? In the days after the attack, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, an advisor to the Assad government, provided an equally troubling answer to these questions to Sky News.

These reports dovetail with videos posted by the Mujahedeen Press Office to YouTube just six days before the attack confirming that the terrorists had kidnapped hundreds of women and children from the rural villages of Alawite stronghold Lattakia to use as bargaining chips in the conflict. Were these kidnap victims moved to Ghouta to be killed in the chemical weapons attack? Is this why so many children were there in these largely-vacated areas, and why so few parents appear on video mourning their children?

Although further research and investigation is urgently needed by third-party organizations to establish the identity of the Ghouta attack victims and the whereabouts of the kidnapped Lattakian families, the reports, if true, are evidence of the most disgraceful war crimes imaginable and the most cold-blooded manipulations of evidence to suit an agenda. Earlier this month, Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky appeared on GRTV to discuss the nature of the terrorist insurgency.

Now, the US and its allies are trying to use the UN’s new report in combination with the video “evidence” of the attack’s aftermaths to justify the use of military force to back up the Syrian chemical disarmament process. Some are even calling for Assad to face war crimes prosecution on the back of this and similarly manipulated evidence.

In order to prevent this war agenda from proceeding any further or these propaganda images from being used in the pursuit of military intervention, it is vital that this latest ISTEAMS report is downloaded from Global Research, widely disseminated, and thoroughly investigated.

Complete Report of the ISTEAM: The Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta Used to Justify a Military Intervention in Syria (pdf)

See also:

The Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta Used to Justify a Military Intervention in Syria By Mother Agnes Mariam, September 16, 2013

Syria: Fabricating Chemical Lies. Who is Behind the East Ghouta Attacks?By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 17, 2013