Robert Fisk Reports Head of Douma Clinic Denies Chemical Weapons Attack 360

Robert Fisk is one of the very few excellent investigative journalists still employed in the UK. He is twice winner of the British Press Awards‘ Journalist of the Year prize, and seven time winner of the British Press Awards’ Foreign Correspondent of the Year. He is extremely smart and knows the Middle East very well. He has just made his way – not accompanied by Russian or Syrian government officials – to Douma and this is what he reports.

If you care to search for Robert Fisk on twitter, the attacks on his reputation and integrity at this very moment from achieve nothing neo-con trolls and media lackeys are astonishing. He is in Douma – they are at their desks.

It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it.

UPDATE you can now read Fisk’s brilliant report from Douma here. Excellent journalism with appropriate scepticism of all sides, and vital information of the nature of the jihadists the UK/US/Saudi Arabia and Israel so desperately support.

360 thoughts on “Robert Fisk Reports Head of Douma Clinic Denies Chemical Weapons Attack

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    • Yalt

      It’s worth noting in that piece that, before he got to Douma, Fisk also seems to have thought the attack was probably genuine:

      “This does not mean any excuses for the Syrian government – though I suspect, having seen Russia’s Syrian involvement with my own eyes, that Putin might have been getting impatient about ending the war and wanted to eradicate those in the last tunnels of Douma rather than wait through more weeks of fighting. Remember the cruelty of Grozny.”

      That’s a partial answer to Pyotr Grozny’s question below, looking for an explanation of the discrepancy between Fisk and Cockburn. There was none–they were working from similar frames, until one of them actually arrived on site.

      • joel

        Absolutely. He was convinced the chemical attack had happened and that Assad – and Putin – were behind it.

        • Bayleaf

          Fisk did not say he was convinced. He said he “suspected” that “Putin might have been getting impatient”. Nice spin but no cigar.

          • joel

            Not sure what you think I was trying to spin. My point is, Fisk went to Douma believing there had been a chemical attack and that Putin could have been behind it. It’s for those who are now trying to smear Fisk as a puppet of Putin and Assad.

          • Yalt

            Of course not. He’s not “convinced” of anything now, either. Fisk isn’t in the conviction business–it’s what distinguishes him from all too many of his colleagues.

  • Simon CH

    Fisk’s report doesn’t prove anything. Why does he automatically suppose the doctor was speaking the truth ?

    • TheBiggerTheLie

      True. Like yourself and the British government, I’m more inclined trust the account of our allies, Jaysh al-Islam, Al-Quaeda in Syria.

    • HateWarMogering

      Then perhaps we should doubt our politicians as well – and in fact we should – our establishment and the military/Industrial complex has a vested interest in bombing Syria. The doctor doesn’t.

      The utter shameless censorship of perspectives, critical of our governments, by MSM strikes right at the heart of our so called “Western Values” we all hold onto so dearly. Freedom of Speech – yeah whatever!

    • flatulence

      It is not ‘proof’, it is a report. One from a multi award winning journalist who himself is quoted as saying “there are no good guys among the Syrian warlords”. He’s not taking sides, he doesn’t even vote, he’s just reporting on the evidence he himself has witnessed and reporting based on a code that seems to be dying along with the death/massacre of modern investigative journalism.

      It is of course your own choice as to how true you think this, or any other report is, and how that fits in with your personal narrative on the truth of global events. It’s just a shame we are forced to go to such lengths to divine a satisfactory version of the truth from so many sources and amongst so much blatant spin, lies, and propaganda. Shame even more that so many just gobble it up. -Not aimed at you, the fact that you are here reading means your eyes are more open than the majority of the populace, whatever your views.

    • bj

      Reporters and journalists aren’t in the business of proving anything.
      Glad to assist.

  • Allan

    I can’t believe he went there! How was he even able? If he was able, where are the BBC reporters?

        • Allan

          The reverse is probably also true. They are allowing in journalists who they know will not take the BBC line

          • Crackerjack

            i.e. tell the truth!

            I thought it was shamefull that our MSM use terrorist propagandists as their “sources” but when I saw our Prime Minister using their “intel” as backing for our illegal bombing of a Sovereign state, well I don’t know where that leaves us as a nation.

            A reminder of the type of propaganda the BBC are serving up to the credulous


            How does a child in a basement know a “barrel” has dropped let alone went pfft?

          • Crackerjack

            Hmm they have re-edited it. The one I posted last night was much more damning as propaganda. But importantly the mother describes white smoker. That is certainly not Chlorine but more likely pulverised morter and plaster. Backing up the doctors story

          • wendy

            well it would look rather odd bbc newss teams in hazmat suits whilst all around them in standard clothing.

      • Barden Gridge

        This video you linked to
        is a combination of “Syrian Opposition” footage and, in the bits where the girl is speaking, what I assume to be BBC footage.
        There is a “BBC” watermark on the left throughout.
        The section from about 2 seconds in to 12 looks like it’s the same source as the later section which is marked “Syrian Opposition Video”.
        I bet they didn’t want to put that label on the first bit because they know it lacks credibility and they didn’t want the carefully coached interview bit to be overshadowed.

        • Crackerjack

          Many Thanks for the analysis BG but what I find even more disgusting is that they can change the video! I posted that on the “British Government’s Legal Justifications” thread last night at 21:27 (you added a comment) and it was completely different. It was basically a JAI propaganda video.

          The BBC really can rewrite history! 1984

        • Eileen Foulner

          Listen to the little girl and what she says happened. How when she said she was asleep did she know the planes came and shelled them and covered them in dust? She was obviously a very resilient child, for both in the video where doctors were attending to her, she dis not seem to be frightened and later seemed to be enjoying the whole episode? Having thought children for years this is not the actions of a child who has been through what must have been a terrifying attack.

        • thewoodsbeyondthetrees

          My first impression when viewing this video was how bright eyed and vivacious this little girl seems, as though she’s retelling an exciting fairy tale, not revealing some horrific and terrifying recent event.

    • kweladave

      “where are the BBC reporters?”.
      That is a very, very good question.
      I try to avoid BBC news now. But the few reports I do catch are “from our correspondent in Beirut (or even Istanbul), never Damascus or Aleppo. Did hear the other day (very recent) where they named the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights as the source for the info.

      My understanding is that journalists are allowed to enter & roam about Government controlled areas without close supervision, it’s the ‘rebel’ areas where journalists have been beheaded/kidnapped – even on video.

      One dismal exception I’ve just found is by the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen entitled “Aleppo ‘haunted by violence and death’ – BBC News”. What a contrast with earlier joyful scenes of Syrians celebrating the relief of Aleppo. A truly VILE piece, stitched together. Was he actually in Aleppo when this was shot?

  • Capella

    Theresa May’s sole justification for military action was the “humanitarian” need to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The video of “gassed” children was cited by MP after MP as a justification for their illegal bombing.

    Robert Fisk exposes the lie in one short report. What “intelligence” did MI6 provide during their Privy Council briefings for MPs?

  • John Goss

    And RT have been saying the same for nearly a week – but of course that does not count. As you say, Fisk is a very smart journalist who lives in the Middle East. I recollect that he was one of the first to report the western bombing of a market in Baghdad in the no-fly zone prelude to the Iraq War. I gave him an honorable mention alongside John Pilger and Peter Oborne in my latest blog.

    • John Goss

      I look forward to reading Robert Fisk’s report on this. He writes for The Independent. Is that perhaps why May had such an uncomfortable look on her face as she lied through her teeth earlier this evening?

  • John Connor

    It’s astonishing that no other journalists are doing the basics. OK access is difficult but I clearly they’re not interested in anything but confirming the MSM narrative and keeping the paychecks coming. Where is their integrity. I read dynamite on blogs everyday and it goes unreported and uninvestigated

    • John Goss

      “Where is their integrity”?

      They have none John. They suck up to their neocon masters like lickspittle spaniels. I do spaniels a disservice. They are much worse. And I like spaniels.

    • Martin Hawes

      ‘access is difficult’ – does that also explain why no one has managed to interview DS Nick Bailey in darkest Salisbury, or find out who took that photo of the Skripals shortly before they succumbed to poison?

    • Dave

      Privy council membership is a trap. Allegedly membership allows you to see the evidence! When Charles Kennedy was shown the evidence, he realised there was no evidence, but he wasn’t allowed to point out the lack of evidence as he was shown it in confidence. Its a sort of Sir Humphrey moment. You are shown the evidence, but there isn’t any and you’re not allowed to say so. Charles Kennedy never revealed the lack of evidence until many years later. Hence you get reports that Corbyn isn’t trusted to see the evidence about Salisbury or Douma, as if that reflected badly on him. Instead it means he’s not trusted to keep quiet about the absence of evidence, once shown it!

      • Soothmoother

        A question for you giyane. I quite often look at the Crescent Magazine website. I find it quite informative as it gives a Muslim perspective that I don’t see any where else. What is your opinion of this website and it’s content?

        • giyane


          I definitely do try to avoid conflict and argument with my Muslim brothers and sisters.
          I do find that my assumptions about life in general and politics is overwhelmingly different from any of those coming from the Asian sub-continent and the Arab world. I find it is closest to those coming from Kurdistan and Africa. I assume that is because I have, like those countries come to from Christianity and possible the whole Biblical tradition.
          Kurdistan was the host country of the Captivity in 500 AD. After the Mesopotanians converted to Islam in the Mosaic tradition they later changed to Xtianity and Islam..
          Actually that is 2,500 years of continuous Islamic worship. By contrast India, for want of a better term, converted to Islam partially only 1,200 years ago, bypassing Christianity completely until recent times.

          There is simply no point in trying to explain to a Muslim who has come to Islam from Hinduism that Christianity is not the same sort of animism as Hinduism because they can only see it in that way. Therefore they miss the vast humanity of Christian belief. They appreciate it, in the form of the welfare state, but then they revert to hating it as a form of polytheism.

          My main concern on this blog is trying to explain Islam to Christians, along the journey I myself travelled. You’d have to ask an Arab or a Bengali to explain Islam without reference to the Christian faith.

      • labougie

        Dave –
        You have it in one. One bends to Authority, which can only be learned on the playing fields of Eton.

        • Jo Dominich

          Dave, a bit like Catch 22 – you can only see Major Major when he is out! Or, the Emperor’s New Clothes, you are being told he has them on but to your naked eye, you can clearly see what his hubris will not allow him to see, that he has none on! Nobody wanted to say anything though!

      • Crackerjack

        Thank you for that Sharp Ears. Deselection has to be back on the cards for these reptiles

  • fwl

    Some are co-opted by fear, others greed, others pride believing they have an inside track on the bigger picture.

    Biologists tell us that we are only part who we think we are, and that much of is made up of other life forms. We used to think our immune systems had noble macrophage eating up that which harms us, but now we see in part that these “good” worker cells betray us aiding and abetting cancer cells to spread, that the macrophages are autonomous and were not there to serve the body after all (or if they are it’s an ongoing mystery).

    I haven’t a clue what’s going on, but remain cynical and it’s good to have voices that question. Voices from different backgrounds who would not thank me to include them in the same sentence, voices like Craig but also Major General Shaw. Robert Fisk too. RIP Charles Kennedy.

  • berlingooner

    just googled and this blog article is actually top of the google SERPs for that keyword set. The Spirit Radio podcast is 2nd in the results with the Independent nowhere. Seems Fisk pushed that radio clip out as added insurance. Interesting to see how far it gets by the morning but it’s a critical piece of reporting and must be making the foreign office sweat a bit.

  • giyane

    Mrs May met Abdullah in Salman a couple of weeks ago to talk cash for re-building Syrian infrastructure.
    Now that it has been positively proven that there were no Novichok poisonings in Salisbury and no chemical attacks in Douma, what is Mrs May going to do with the Saudi cash?

    Last week she was floating a new deal for the NHS whereby we pay more tax to save the NHS from collapse.This week she is floating ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Syria.
    Question is what can she possibly do now to convince Abdullah bin Salman that she wants to help him so she can leverage his hard cash? The only thing she can do now is to start bombing Damascus, knowing there is no legal or moral justification for doing this.

    71 USUKFR missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defences.. That means in Trumps terminology USUKFR were technically out-gunned. If she attacks to get the Saudi cash she goes down as the first military defeat for the UK since Suez. If she doesn’t get the Saudi cash the City of London goes bankrupt.
    Decisions . Decisions. If I was her I would come out of No 10 tomorrow morning and gracefully quit the job.

  • Tony

    that is a good question, the sort of question we should be asking of everything. Its multiple medical staff who are seen in the WH film who have said the same thing. They may be lying, so I am assuming at this point a good reporter will be looking for further corroboration.
    This to my mind is how a responsible Government should behave as well. That we have leaders who are willing to risk WWIII based on a Social media report from terrorists is terrifying.

  • Akos Horvath

    The Independent has two great ME correspondents. Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn. Both of them actually travel the region and know what they are talking about. Nobody comes close to them in the British press. Counterpunch regularly carries their articles too. On the other hand, The Indy also employs lightweight establishment hacks like Kim Sengupta. But in the propaganda department it’s impossible to beat The Guardian and the Beeb.

  • Jones

    overwhelmingly obvious the powers are following the narrative of what fits their policy not what’s true, shocking there’s no thirst for investigation and politicians are willing to believe May at face value when there’s much contrary evidence, i guess they are more concerned with sucking up to further their career than further the truth.

    • Jo Dominich

      Hi Jones, I couldn’t believe a Labour MP Sheerman saying he was passionately pro-USA as he has always thought of them as the beacons of democracy in the world and he had been disgusted by all the anti-USA invective at the UNSC meetings last week by various nations. Methinks the man should resign his seat. He has allowed his personal passions to get in the way of proper thinking, evidence and investigation.

  • duplicitousdemocracy

    I’ve been of the opinion that Fisk bears a grudge against Syrian involvement in Lebanon and never heard him say a good word about Assad, he must be convinced to publicise this. The way the British parliament is baying for blood, we haven’t seen the last of the RAF hit and run shenanigans. I’ve never heard so many clueless people in a single debate, from both sides too.

    • Laguerre

      However Fisk is persona grata in Damascus. He can get a visa and go there, which the others can’t.

    • Jo Dominich

      If I understand things correctly, Dennis Skinner MP repeatedly got to his feet but was denied the opportunity to speak. I wonder why?

  • Guy St Hilaire

    Bless your heart for doing what you are doing ,exposing the lies that we in the West are being told 24/7 .

  • John Goss

    I wonder if Theresa May’s spooks can see me waving. If they can they can tell Mrs May that I am waving her goodbye. If she waves back I’ll know that like Stevie Smith she is not waving but drowning. 🙂

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Goss April 16, 2018 at 22:18
      In which case, it is your duty to throw her an anchor!

  • FranzB

    Here’s Lord West on the BBC today questioning the standard narrative. He suggests that the gas attack might have been launched by Assad’s opponents.

    Interestingly, when he tries to suggest that what is needed is to end the civil war, the BBC interviewer interupts him straight away. It’s Saudi Arabia who is funding the Jihadists and Turkey who is supplying them. But we can’t criticise Saudi Arabia and Turkey of course because British jobs in the armaments industries depend on good relations with them.

    • fwl

      Thanks for posting Lord West’s interview. It was good too see that the BBC gave him plenty of opportunity to set out his reservations. Shame Sky didn’t feel the same way with Major General Shaw.

      You’ll think I’m bonkers, but Lord West, whilst coming from an entirely different background to Nigel Farage shares Farage’s skill in confidant and plain speaking with a charming demeanor even when under attack. It’s only when you hear them that you realise how rare this sort of skill is.

    • _

      I think the difference is between journalism based on hearsay (Cockburn) and testimony (Fisk). Not one of Cockburn’s best moments.

    • Laguerre

      The Cockburn article was not about whether or not Asad had used gas – it was about the limited nature of the F/UK/US airstrikes and their lack of effect. In any case he is not in Damascus.

  • David

    Slightly off topic – can someone explain to me how you target a chemical weapons store with missiles / bombs without releasing (or at least running the risk of releasing) the chemicals / gas?

    • giyane


      Assad got rid of all his WMD ages ago. The chemical facility that was targeted may have contained chlorine because every single public water supply needs it, Syria included. That’s a normal part of daily life. USUKFRIS may also have wanted to destroy evidence of other chemical form the time that Assad was doing extraordinary rendition for USUKIS. These would be in containers with European and other western labels on them. USUKIS in my humble opinion, including General Mattis whom I greatly respect for his restraint, were not targeting WMD, which did not exist, but rather, stores of psychotic drugs used in extraordinary rendition.
      The main driving force of all institutions is to protect themselves, and in this case the intelligence services of many countries might have been implicated if these chemicals were be present.

      Thanks also to Sharp Ears above for publishing the utterly cynical crocodile tears of some of the Labour right. They know better than us how damaging it would have been for Western psychotic chemicals to be found in Assad’s stores with European labels on them, BECAUSE THEY SUPPORTED THE USE OF EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION at the time , and they are war criminals from under Tony Blair and George W Bush.

    • bj

      They were really not that SMART weapons, you see.

      The first missile created a dangerous chemical compound. That’s why a second missile was needed, to destroy that compound. That second missile created some collateral life-endangering chemical compounds. So a third missile had to sort that out. This third missile unfortunately … you get the picture.

      And so that is how, with three buildings destroyed, the Coalition (the Allies if you will — both to be articulated and pronounced with great pomp) needed about 35 missiles per.

  • Sharp Ears

    280kms South west of Damascus, this has been happening. By e-mail. Sorry I do not have a link.

    Dear friends

    Physicians for Human Rights Israel’s delegation returned from the Gaza Strip after providing medical treatment to 380 patients and operating on 15 of them: “In the most advanced hospital in Gaza it felt like the 1970s. If things remain this way, most gunshot casualties will have to undergo amputation”.

    On Thursday, April 12, a delegation of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) entered the Gaza Strip for an emergency visit to provide what little help they could to the local health system faced with a massive influx of injured demonstrators, on top of its ordinary patients. The delegation members left Gaza the following day, apart for vascular surgeon Dr. Jamal Hijazi of Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, who remained in the European Hospital for four days to help the local staff treat dozens of injured patients. Dr. Hijazi was horrified by the conditions under which the local medical staff work:

    “We’re talking about the lack in the most basic instruments. For instance, Doppler [pulse device], which is essential for determining whether the blood flows and reaches the feet. So the medical staff try to feel around according to body heat. You feel like you have been thrown into the desert and told to treat the injured. Even in a field hospital the situation is better than in the hospitals in the Strip”.

    “In the hospital where I worked, for example, there’s no antibiotics. The patients are told to arrive from home with the antibiotics they have bought in advance. There was a situation where I had to use a sewing thread. Very fine sewing threads are unavailable, you must improvise with thicker threads. There are no disinfectants, sometimes we disinfect by washing with saline solution rather than a disinfectant. You operate on someone and you may succeed in the operation, but there is high likelihood for the patient to be infected because the entire environment has not been properly disinfected”.

    The other doctors on the delegation worked in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and in Dar al-Salam Hospital in Khan Younes. The delegation included pediatrician Dr. Raid Haj Yahya, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mustafa Yassin, diabetician Dr. Arin Haj Yahya, liver and kidney transplant surgeon Dr. Abed Khalaileh, and psychologist Dr. Mahmoud Said. The delegation was headed by PHRI’s Salah Haj Yahya.

    The delegation members treated 380 patients and performed 15 orthopedic and vascular operations. The delegation also supplied Gaza with medical equipment for orthopedic surgery: external stabilizers and implants for thigh and knee replacement surgery worth $40,000. The delegation also brought insulin received through direct donations and various medicines.

    The hardships in the Gaza Strip, and particularly in its health system, are the result of an 11-year siege imposed by Israel, as well as of the recurring outbreaks of fighting and the destruction these entail. They are also caused by the severe crisis in the relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which leads to denial of funding and deliveries of medical supplies and medicines by the former – at the expense of the civilians in the Gaza Strip.

    Delegation director Haj Yahya returned with a heavy heart: “The impact of the siege and the crisis between the Authority and Hamas in Gaza is felt in every aspect. Both the poverty on the streets and people’s despair and the conditions we come across in the hospitals, when we are told that 45% of the medical equipment for emergency and operating rooms are missing. On Thursday night, they began discharging injured patients only because they had to prepare the hospitalization rooms for the new casualties. When we spoke with the injured, some of them told us that they were hit while standing with their back to the fence, and at a distance of 700 and 800 meters from it”.

    As an NGO, we do the best we can, but we are well aware that this is a drop in the ocean, and that what is required is real change on the leadership level – Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Egypt and the international community – if we want to protect and respect the lives and human rights of all those living in the region, in Gaza as in Israel.

    Sincerely yours,
    Salah Haj Yahia, Director of PHRI’s Mobile Clinic.

  • Hatuey

    Congratulations to the majority of people who comment on this website and of course Craig Murray. All of you were on this days and days ago, well ahead of the curve. This Fisk stuff is like last week’s news to us, thanks to contributors on here.

    I’d heard the story of someone turning up and shouting “gas” well before this Fisk revelation.

    I guess that means the war is over and we can all go home?

  • Dolly

    Thank you for posting this. It’s such an important story.

    It’s amazing to me, the problem we face of promoting and disseminating reliable information. Here it is for the world to see, and yet we face enormous obstacles in making sure the word gets out.

    The first step the naysayers take is to malign the place in which the story appears. (Fake news!) “Why isn’t [CNN, the BBC, the Times] reporting that, if it’s true?” (Um… because CNN / the BBC / the Times are in bed with the elite?)

    The second step is to malign the journalist. If you point out that someone internationally famous, such as Robert Fisk, is right there in Douma, reporting from the hosptial, and he’s known for being reliable, the accusations start flying — oh he must have an agenda then. He must be in league with [the Russians / the terrorists / etc.]…or he’s just been “duped” this time, or…whatever.

    On top of all that, the third step is often to carpet-bomb the post with crazy-pants comments (not here, thankfully — you seem to have mostly “real” commenters), rife with (1) parroting of the official talking points (“US intelligence believes Assad gassed his own people”); and/or (2) comments that agree with the post but that also start adding things that are obviously not true (such as, all of this being the fault of “the Jews”). In other words, the false “agree-ers” are made to look as crazy or unsavory as possible, thus encouraging us regular folks to reject the information in the original story. We don’t want to be associated with crazies who rant against “the Jews”!

    If an alternative viewpoint does get some attention in the mainstream media (such as your recent interview regarding the Skripals, which was removed for your being too “boring” (!) ), the mainstream voices are very rude, confrontational and dismissive. That’s the fourth step, when all else fails — a direct attack by the mainstream media, who find any disagreement to their propaganda very threatening.

    So while truly independent journalists are “free” to give us the truth, and they have some good ways to get the information out to the public (such as your deservedly popular blog), their information is immediately cast as suspect, no matter what they do.

    I watch it happen over and over, and it’s so frustrating. One would think that Robert Fisk being right there in Douma, telling us that the doctors say it didn’t happen, would make this THE BIG STORY today. Everywhere. THE big story. Sigh.

  • John Goss

    I see that Robert Fisk discovered that it was a White Helmet who shouted “Gas” and caused the panic. Good for him. One day the Sandhurst educated James le Mesurier, funded by the west, will end up in prison with Mark Thatcher and all the others who have got away with murder.

    The above page needs updating to include his latest false flag MI6 promoted event in Gouta hospital.

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