[Marxism] Douma, Chlorine Gas and Occam’s Razor | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 22 15:47:51 MST 2019

Regrettably, I must again answer a CounterPunch article that portrays 
the Douma chlorine gas attack as a false flag. It relies on the 
testimony of “Alex”, another OPCW whistleblower who agrees with Ian 
Henderson. (For his safety, the Courage Foundation felt it necessary to 
conceal his last name. Since nobody has assassinated a single Assad 
supporter in the West, let alone beat one up in the past eight years, 
this measure seems specious.) Unlike Henderson, Alex was a member of the 
official Fact-Finding team and therefore spoke with more authority. In a 
November 15th CounterPunch article titled “The OPCW and Douma: Chemical 
Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors”. , 
Jonathan Steele promotes Alex after the fashion of Jonathan Cooke and 
Ian Henderson only five months ago.

Jonathan Steele was the former chief foreign correspondent for the 
Guardian. He had an opinion piece in The Guardian dated September 21, 
2018 titled “If ending Syria’s war means accepting Assad and Russia have 
won, so be it.” It refers to Russian planes dropping leaflets urging 
Idlib rebels to surrender. One supposes that if they ignore the 
leaflets, the bombs that Russian jets are dropping on Idlib hospitals 
might do the trick. Indeed, it was the chlorine gas attack of April 7. 
2018 that convinced Douma’s rebels and their supporters to pack their 
bags and relocate to Idlib, a Gaza like enclave for Syria’s outcasts.

I first became aware of Steele’s politics back in 2012 when he cited a 
Doha poll expressing support for Assad, once again in an opinion piece 
for the Guardian. The poll revealed that 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to 
stay, motivated by fear of civil war. If you took a few minutes to 
analyze the polling methodology, you’d learn that only ninety-eight 
Syrians living inside the country took part in the survey. To 
participate in the poll, they had to be on the Internet. In other words, 
if you were a farmer or a baker from the countryside with nothing more 
advanced than a flip phone, your opinion did not count.


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