Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Locations/Zamalka/Ghost house

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Location of ghost house relative to alleged CW rocket impact sites


See also Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Locations#Zamalka ghost house

The ghost house is located in the eastern part of Zamalka, an area that has seen a lot of bombardment by UMLACA type rockets according to the HRW report. The exact location is here on Google Maps.

Planted bodies?

Green silk pants on one of the female victims: not a speck of dust – despite the house being completely covered in loose plaster. (Note the blood dripping from the hand.)
A copy of the four five relevant videos including the youtube pages they were posted onto has been saved for posterity and can be downloaded here.

Can you name the 10 reasons why I believe these bodies are planted? Do your own analysis, I do not want to (mis)guide you.

Video Description: Video portrays an a building inspection in which a number of families are found dead 36 hours after a chemical weapons attack which took place on Damascus suburbs on the 21st of August 2013 early morning time (presumed at 2:00am)
This video was taken in the Zamalka area of the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus suburbs.

The link comes from Matthew Asheville's blog Syria Analysis:

Yeah, the "chemical attack" story may turn out to be bogus, but somehow you must still be able to blame "Assad". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

The video shows no context, it is far too concentrated on massacre porn. We see no proof that anyone ever lived in the house. Plaster and dust everywhere, most likely because the building is unfinished. If the people live here, how do they keep their clothes clean and free of the dust? One could also argue, that all the gravel and plaster came from the explosion. If so, why did not any of the dust settle on the bodies?
The crucial question is, why were the bodies planted? Most likely because the "activists" felt they need in situ footage and non other was available. Why no in situ footage of the chemical attack? Two likely reasons: 1) Many of the victims in fact died in termobaric blasts. The signs of the explosion would be visible at the attack site. 2) Some of the victims were gassed "in some confined space." -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:20, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Well put, fair point. It doesn't even work well to show people allegedly in their homes, but these guys just don't usually seem to care. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:59, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone even counted the victims? I count at least ... eight? Two women, a man (shirt: EMPIRE), three boys, baby girl, older girl whose face is now the grossest. Decay, I guess about three days worth, minimum. Note that puffing tongues and mouths ofen accompanies decay, but it takes a bit longer - either they're older or it's a mix of FAE pressure/etc. and decay. notes: the woman on the stairs has had her right forearm slashed badly, a chunk of that flesh lays on the stairs, dust-free - but not much visible blood - some has soaked into the dust and dried, but not like from a sliced artery (1:17). Does sarin do that? I don't know what to make of the baby's flattened face (1:33). Is that what a pressure wave does to a softer skull? Or was her face smashed some other way? The man seems to have blood from the top of his head, like a gunshot. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:59, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Coming back to this much later, the first victim, "Empire" shirt, the blood being near his head doesn't mean it's from his head. That's intact, not shot. Don't know how I missed it before, but there is a good sized hole in the middle of his throat, best seen at 0:44 in the "entire family" video. I'm thinking that's where the blood came from. Both boys with too much blood must be executed too, not sure how. And the woman in green pants has blood from her mouth, probably an internal injury somehow. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:40, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Seeking higher ground?

The video description says it was shot 36 hrs after the attack, so ~9am 22 August. I do not see were anyone is claiming that these people lived in this building under construction. I think that the most like explanation is that these people were seeking higher ground to escape the chemical fumes when they died. That's why they are all found in the stairwells. Probably they could access the building because it was unfinished, -clayclay (talk) 01:17, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your input, Clay. Please watch the other three videos and their publishing date. You can sign your posts by clicking the button second to right in the editing mode or just typing four times "tilde", this sign ->~<- --CE (talk) 01:29, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Yay, Clay! True, I realized 36 hours later on ... NOT three days as implied, and about what the other videos suggest. Less contradiction then. But there are problems with that theory of seeking higher ground from the fumes: the apparent gunshot to the head that kept the man from getting any higher than ground level, and the apparent slash to the first woman's right forearm, plus possible gunshot to the boy in the yellow-and-black shirt. And of course, their being 4-8 days decayed already, 36 hours after the gas attack. We're pretty sure that means they died well before it, not from it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:27, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Adam, CE, did you notice the English captions now state the place as Zamalka?
Thank you Clay bringing the issue up. The video has English captions. If I recall correctly, the question of the people living in the house was specifically discussed on the video. As I wrote earlier: Interestingly the guides are saying they know the people lived there, despite one of the visitors commenting that it does not look as if anyone lived in the house..
I now looked through the video again, looking for this specific issue in the captions, but could no longer find it. Looks like the captioning has been updated after we first had this discussion here. YouTube gdata says the video was last updated 2013-09-06T21:17:02.000Z There are other changes in the captions that I notice, like at 0:38 it now says Film him. Let me know if can one realize that it's because of chemicals? (Or was I just sloppy in transcribing.) It also gives important new detail, I think I would have picked up if it had been in the transcript earlier (at 4:28) Are there still inhabited houses? --Yes, sure.Between yesterday and today we found more then 40 corpses and we are still searching.
P.S – I have opened a new thread on the rescue work aspect at Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Rescue work#Zamalka. Maybe we should move this whole stuff to /Zamalka ghost house.
Because of the Douma connection I have earlier dismissed this house as an odd outlier and likely hoax. Few people died in Douma. Placing the house in Zamalka, with 400 reported deaths, now places it in the center of the tragedy. What do you think Clay, would this house be an indicative example of the situation where the rescue worker found the victims in the early hours of August 21? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:45, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

The same explanation is offered in this article, with a video clip from the same house.

People died trying to reach upper floors of buildings
"People started hearing from the mosques that they have to go to move to higher buildings[to escape the gas]," says this man.
"They found this abandoned building and they ran up to the upper levels, but they were already affected.
"So those people died while they were trying to go up. Today we found them here."
"They didn't manage to escape it quick enough.
"We found more than 40 bodies since yesterday and the search is still on. If you come with us we can show you more."

I am highly critical of all the witness testimony in the three videos. When eyewitnesses are speaking about people they knew, they would specify them as neighbors or relatives. If they only refer to the victims as "people", then it usually means that a pile of bodies just mysteriously appeared out of thin air and they are desperately trying to find an explanation for the victims demise – one that would fit the political agenda of the day. (These people were killed by Gaddafi's snipers. They just left them there to rot.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:29, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Planted by the known massacre managers?

See also Douma Hostage Massacre

This is disgusting. I hadn't seen the video until now, and I watched it to see how it fits with one I was going to post. Hell, those are the same kids, filmed by a different team! I was over at urs checking what she has to say about the Douma-Harasta gang (I mentioned that yesterday). Remember the group of dead people who also showed up as hostages in other videos? Where we matched the Coca-Cola t-shirt? In this group, Urs says, there's one outstanding "propagandist" who comments the videos, and she's female (never to be seen on camera but with a distinct voice, she says). Now urs has found another video with her voice, uploaded yesterday, and it shows the same kids on the stairs as yours does, but filmed by a different team including that propagandist. Here is the video. It says something like they are still finding victims of the 21st attack, and is dated Aug 28 (uploaded to youtube date Aug 27). I didn't check yet if they are "arranged" differently (this stuff is digusting). Should be possible to find out which video is earlier - i suspect the one with the "propagandist".

Thanks for bringing that in, awesome. Will read in a minute.These people, Harastans in Douma, I guess it usually is - they seem fascinated with the power of decay. Always, summers in their control, days are taken advantage of to hit us in the stomach as much as the heart. Their massacre from late June last year was like that too. Wasn't that the one with chicken giblets/kids' genital pulled out of trash bins as well? Must be someone's philosophical notion been running things there, and of course this will be filmed in Douma. Right? Let's see if I can compare videos. Eh, will try in a minute. First check says same-day filming, little if any changing. At least some victims look just the same. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:10, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

See Urs' report here, it has some videos from the UN investigators in Zamalka yesterday, surrounded by "rebels". Here they enter Ghouta, followed by "Al Qaeda". --CE (talk) 10:58, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Cool add. Zamalka. Not much info, but could set a locale, if important enough. I'm not keeping up like I could, but this adds to the UN response stuff below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:10, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

There is one more video of the house at the end of this article. Also shows some of the environment. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:16, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Note the Liwa al-Islam logo on the pickup truck coming to collect the bodies.

Excellent. 0:47 into it, with the remains of a "mystery rocket", in the middle is a guy with purple shirt with white stripes. Here he is entering the "ghost house". Also in the last seconds we see the skinny guy with the black baseball cap, blue shirt and black trousers seen at the left of the linked image. Somehow he lost the mouth protection he wore on the cap. --CE (talk) 02:50, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

On this video we have the whole massacre tourist team touring the neighboring houses just before the Liwa al-Islam truck arrives with lone body already on-board. --Petri Krohn (talk) 02:46, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Proof that these people didn't die on the 21st?

Three of the children on the videos

Urs has found more videos which are likely proof that these people didn't die on the 21st. A first video was uploaded on the 22nd and shows a small truck load of corpses, among them absolutely clearly the boy with the very green t-shirt and likely the boy with the yellow t-shirt (to the right of the woman to the right of the "green" boy.) The hand and arm of the boy look as if they are in rigor mortis, the face of the woman shows strong signs of decay, I don't know if she is also a match with Petri's video (edit: she definitely is).

The second video - and be warned, this is really stomach turning -, uploaded on the 23rd and dated 22nd, shows three children in advanced state of decay being moved to and thrown into a hole. The little girl could be a match with Petri's video, but it seems her skirt is a different pattern of red-black, but the terribly decayed boy in the middle wears a tracksuit which seems to be a clear match with the one the kid lying on his belly at 4:36 in Petri's video wears.

Which means the videos in the stairway must have been filmed days before the "chemical attack", or at least that the people didn't die on the 21st, doesn't it? --CE (talk) 21:57, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

What are the people saying? Are they referring to the gas attacks. The ANAChannelEng video has English captions. Let's see. Film him. Let me know if one realize it is because of chemicals? (0:38) Interestingly the guides are saying they know the people lived there, despite one of the visitors commenting that it does not look as if anyone lived in the house. When the three boys are buried, they are claimed to be "unknown." -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:57, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
P.S. It does not matter when and where these where people killed. Even if they were killed by "Assad", statements made by Douma body snatchers cannot be the basis for starting World War III. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:29, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Don't worry, they're desperate and will fail miserably. This for your enjoyment, Petri. :o) --CE (talk) 23:39, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Wow, this is getting interesting. Little surprise, three of the four videos discussed won't convert for me. Non-sharing mentality. But they did post the videos and I got screen grabs saved. I haven't compared all the clothing, but it looks like the same people. That is decay and lots of it, or else thermobarics effects are exactly like decay. Skin blackens, tongue puffs up to fill the mouth, fluids leak out, infected veins become visible, eyes pop out, belly blots, skin starts turning to slime. Maggots are frequently just not visible at the lower resolution. Comparison graphics will be in order, but no ickier than needed (not tonight). Dumped in a hole AFTER being found - a rebel mass grave, for those with no family they're ready to confront yet. On the 22nd at latest. And they were like five days dead by then. Just found on the 24th or 28th, later posted videos say. The latter suggests they think it's seven days decay and the first later video was too early for that to be deaths from the 21st. But they did that rotting, and got scooped up, and buried away from observers, no later than the 22nd, 10 AM Syria time (to be dated 22 if uploaded immediately). Estimated death date, broadly: Aug. 14-18, assuming the 22nd video also wasn't held back from earlier yet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:05, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The three children are the boy in red-blue tracksuit, girl in red, and boy in yellow shirt (RA on front). -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:25, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

True, we don't need pictures. I'll finish this up. Six of the eight are seen in these burial scenes, the first two seen, a man and a woman, are not included. Comparing the one in situ video I saved to stills from the two Aug. 22 videos, the common victims, in order of appearance in the video, nearly 100% matches in each case = 100% certainty it's the same people:
  • boy in red-shouldered, black-trunked track shirt
  • Woman in black coat, patterned headscarf
  • baby girl in red-and-black dress
  • boy in black-yellow-green t-shirt, "R A" on front
  • boy in bright green t-shirt, "Cristiano Ronaldo" #7 whatever football team, left sleeve missing (will his fan club fund our research?)
I was kidding, but it turns out he personally welcomed a Jabhat al-Nusra member Osama Abdul Moshen (who was famously tripped while fleeing into Hungary, after fighting Kurds and instigating violence against them, PYD reports) as he arrived in Spain to land an instant job with Real Madrid football club - as Rudaw reports. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:35, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
  • older girl in yellow and black t-shirt, "Hello Kitty," black capri short pants. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

(For good measure, a graphic is forthcoming, just clothes mainly.) Also, a note on the ooze from the older girl's mouth and maybe the baby's. This might be the same stuff unspecified chemical victims exude. Especially in the baby's case, it looks more like remnants of the foamy stuff people struggle with. The older girl, sorry - more like her guts turned to cottage cheese and someone stepped on her. But anyway, ickifying process aside, it seems possible there was a chemical component to their deaths ... no later than August 18 or so. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:48, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Fifth video

Logo of the Shariah Board for Support of Syrian Revolution

Urs has written another piece about this today, she found a fifth video published on September 5. It's another walk through the stairwell, with the guy in the blue jeans and white/blue shirt who leads the group into the house in the original video, and someone else who films. Urs thinks it shows the corpses in an even greater state of decay, but maybe that's just because of better video quality - which could be useful for better determination of how long they are dead already. A professional should look at this. The first kid seen gets turned around on his back, where he lays in the original video, so maybe this one is earlier. Here it is. --CE (talk) 15:28, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

The video has a Coordinating Committee logo. If we could identify it, them maybe we could find the original upload. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:45, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I can read some Arabic letters and might be able to get that. Later when I can deal with the video. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:35, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Interesting video. Didn't mine it for details, just checked that tiny logo. Luckily in HD, so a blow-up (just uploaded) might peg it. The letters, I don't know. Al-something, h or m, something, other words, any of the three perhaps the area name. In the middle, I think an off-centered scales of justice, like in Irbeen legal office stamp. So a variation, or another area's legal office stamp. To launder massacre victims as CW victims, might help to have video made by legal-minded folks to set it towards official truth and hopefully the Syrian history books. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:57, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Nice work locating the logo, Petri. Urs has found their facebook page and an entry about the video, dated September 5 like the upload. They write it "was handed over to a commission of international observers who came to investigate the chemical..." So they propagandized the UN with it after they did so with HRW? Charming. That group are disciples of Qaradawi, apparently have their own paramilitary "religious police" and the leader is according to Urs one Sheikh Saeed, the same Sheikh in that one video with the lined up dead in white and the one camera-friendly baby "still" in the truck (did we pin down that logo? (edit: In case we didn't, I checked. Liwa Al-Islam of course)). Here he's preaching at an orphanage. Group is operating in whole Damascus region, likely had a hand in this charming new sectarian fatwa fides reports about. --CE (talk) 23:53, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
How did Urs find the connection? Did she read our wiki?
Yes, we have Liwa al-Islam written everywhere. Including in the flag in the office of the alleged hospital worker Abu Akram in the alleged Erbin Medical Center. See video. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:54, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
One way of searching for connections would be by googling for the YouTube id. In this case the original upload seems to be this one, the one Urs found earlier is a copy. Google says it is also posted by the Ein Tarma Coordinating Committee. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:07, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Proof That One Did Die on the 21st?

I just wrote up my first blog post on this case: The Family Killed Ahead of Schedule. A few things added: placement relative to alleged sarin rocket impact (just NE of this building they're in the SW corner of). They're barefoot. Long coats because it can be chilly at 2 am in a warzone? But no shoes ... they run there, then up several floors with a half-inch of dust on every step, get one dusty heel on their bare feet, maybe ... Obviously that supports their baing carried there already dead and shoeless like an executed hostage would be. It seems we missed that before, or I did. Anyone else catch it? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:42, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

And, important: the baby in red and black clothes and pink skin (#G1 there) is NOT dead a week like the other 7. She's non-bloated, a fresher color, and still displays rigor mortis, locking in her final pose she was left in before she was brought here to finish the scene (face-down, palms down, arms bent, knees bent to the side). That means she's dead well under 24 hours. And it's nearing sunset on the 22nd, while the attack was around 2 am on the 21st. She was killed probably the afternoon or evening after the attack reports and placed here shortly before the propaganda videos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:42, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

Signs of life?

Does the evidence show any signs that the victims have been alive in the house? There are some symptoms, like dripping blood, vomiting, Ronaldo making snow angels that could be interpreted as signs of life. I do not think they are, but we would need a stronger argument to dismiss them.

What I do not see in the evidence is any sign that the victims ever moved in the house. The positions are planted. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:02, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

The man and one boy seem shot in the head, but even dead blood can spill an the ground. They could hev been dead before being put here. Should have thought of that more before saying they were clearly executed here in my article mentioning them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:20, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, too bad we don't have good quality photos of the scene. The footprints and marks in the dust around them could show if there was more of a scuffle and murder by each body, or something more like a work crew setting down a load. IF it wasn't all too disturbed by then... --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:20, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Rebel Prisoners?

As first covered here, the fully-clothed nature of the Ghouta victims is generally odd for a 4 am gas attack, and the women wearing long black winter coats here are especially odd, in August. The implication is there's another story. My thoughts on those coats mainly:

  • Who keeps coats long after winter: the homeless, nowhere else to put it, don't want to loose it. Prisoners not issued uniforms - similar to the last, can take it off in the prison, but will put it on during field trips to abandoned buildings.
  • Was it just allowed? Mothers, instinctively, to hide babies, food, etc. beneath. Any shield you're allowed, you'll bring it.
  • Or was it ordered? A later thought and probably more relevant: adult female prisoners of Islamists must remain covered. A black Hijab (full-body head-to-toe dress) is preferred, but more "modern" women (hated by Islamists but worth money, possibly) don't even own a hijab to bring with. So, they're told cover your hair and wear one of your long black coats.

--Caustic Logic (talk) 01:20, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Footnote 18, HRW report

On page 9 of the HRW report PDF, there is a footnote 18 which lists a couple of videos their "witness" from the "Zamalka Media Center" takes responsibility for. "The witness confirmed to Human Rights Watch that he video-taped and uploaded the following videos". The last one in this list, listed twice for some unknown reason, is the one described above under Planted by the known massacre managers?, the one that was allegedly filmed on August 28, showing how they "still find victims". This means that the HRW informant takes credit for a video that definitely not shows what it claims to show, instead uses material of people that have been dead and in a progressive state of decay six days earlier, almost certainly dead before the alleged CW attack, for propaganda purposes. Which calls everything this person says and delivers into deep question. This clue was found (by me) some time ago already but somehow only discussed in private while this wiki had one of its downtimes. Yesterday the person who found three of the four videos and has followed the output of those "massacre managers" for a long time, has posted a detailed analysis of these findings (German language). --CE (talk) 15:46, 24 September 2013 (UTC)