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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Abdelhamid al-Yousef: The Proof Man?

Idlib CW Massacre 4-4-2017
April 22, 2017
(rough, incomplete) 
last edits Sept. 26, 2017

Questioning the Bereaved Father Claim
Abdelhamid Al-Yousef is the famous bereaved father of 9-month-old twins Ahmed and Aya, as reported, who wee killed in the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attackof April 4. His sad story and dramatic photos made many news stories on their own merits, and he's also the most visible member of the alleged central victims, the Al-Yousef family. With some 13, 19, 22, 25, or 28 members killed, (or perhaps through intermarriage, up to 74 of the first 75 reported),  the Yousefs also have at least eight alleged survivors - men and older boys - who have spoken to the media, mostly in Turkey, including this de facto chief spokesman (see the bottom for some thoughts on the family meaning)

Here, some of the most common reports are glossed over (lack of time) to explore and clarify a few central points - this might be useful to get a fuller picture, but wont provide one in itself.

At right, as famously seen holding the twins before they were buried - he doesn't seem to really resemble them. Ahmed has strange marks on his face, like a scraped cheek - livor mortis, was left laid face-down for some time after death, for what it's worth.
First, photos of the children in life were published, but not of him with them, or either with the wife-mother, named as Dalal. This is something we've seen before, usually adult male survivors, explain how everyone else died - and the story is often absurd, besides questionable. Often photos are provided of individual members, as easily as killers stealing a photo album could do. Usually, we don't see these alleged dads in context, because it didn't happen - he's a friend of the family's killers. (see for example the surviving dads of the Abdulrazaq Family targeted in the infamous 2012 Houla Massacre, who each escaped, most of them with one mute baby and no one else, spoke to the media, and swear the family never converted to Shi'ism, and was killed by Assad's militia's because they were still Sunnis)

This case is different from those, either from being true or being a better-planned fake. CBS News interview (Youtube video), adds photos of Abdelhamid al-Yousef, or a good lookalike with similar (or same?) black jacket, posing with the babies, and all seeming happy like a family. (one at right - note: Alaa al-Yousef is a journalist on this report, unrelated) (note 6-22: along the way I learned he's local, more an "activist," and a cousin of Abdelhamid's in the same town, who also claims to have mild (secondary) sarin exposure, and went to Turkey with Abdelhamid, etc.
 He seems like an in-family manager  of sorts)

However, that doesn't prove he's their father. This family could have been kidnapped recently, or even before the babies were born, and he could have been the friendly kidnapper who could make the kids smile, take selfies of it, and build himself into a well-planned story of their impending death. That's "for all we know." Other options exist, including his being their father, or some cousin, or a truly sympathetic "social worker" the Islamists had working with this former Shi'ite family as they tried to hold to their forced conversion to Sunnis. Again, "for all we know."

Okay, that's the provocative intro. The rest is semi-sorted explorations. See also good stuff coming together at ACLOS talk page. The controlled media's message so far is he's their father - fact.  Call it fake news if you must, but this isn't a known fact. No photos of the whole family to see if the wife is as good with easy, baby-like grins, for example. A lack of resemblance, ... maybe more I'm not seeing yet. This isn't as bleeding obvious as most cases I've tackled.   

Many Appearances and Different Looks, and Basic Story
decent but long video analysis by stfnews on Facebook, with some satanic fluoride conspiracy stuff (??) later on... but the early points seem valid, at least as a starting point. Here, the main issue raised is how he was seen in a video, presumably just after the attack,

Seen after the attack, presumably not long after, getting an IV drip, in street clothes, no sign of decontamination (he's not half-naked in the mud, nor among those anyone has spotted there). He appears sleepy or doped up or drained, perhaps consistent with a sarin episode, and shows little sign of harm, not that either of us is clear on what that would be, x-time after unknown exposure

The video isn't gone. I found a copy, in Arabic, (Zaman al-Wasl (Lebanon), uploaded as news April 6) after passing over at least one other posting or version earlier. I guess the one cited by stfnews and shown here is Zaman's English version (titles seem similar, except language and opposite corner of display). and But this comes with Google-translatable text:

This gives "Abdelhamid Yousef, 28, who lost 19 members of his family and relatives." It says it's the day after the attack (April 5) and he's "inside the house of one of his relatives." as he says "My parents, Ahmad, Ayya (the twins) and my wife Dalal were martyred." "We thought at first that it was like all the strikes or a regular raid," he said. "I saw my family and the family of neighbors outside." "I went to the house of my brother, then I went to the first group and asked for the second ambulance, but I (grew weak) and I collapsed here."

He cites no smell, no clue it was a chemical, until he saw others unconscious, as he ran ahead to help - by the time he got back, his wife and kids had succumbed - they had hidden in the basement from the regular bombing, unaware of a heavier-than-air vapor. Ah, so that's why we've got a surviving and talkative dad to explain how the rest died...

Note: Most other witnesses describe a clear and unpleasant smell and yellow, irritating gas, clarifying the toxic nature of this event. He ... didn't notice that? Because he's been told the regime's sarin is colorless and odorless, so he describes it that way?

He tells the same basic to story to Hadi Abdullah, in the same exact "yellowjacket" suit and dark undershirt, grips the interviewer's arm, it seems to me, when he keeps asking too many questions (taking control of the interview?)

compilation graphic - not all scenes, but a few, emphasis on the two different outfits - He does another interview seated on a porch in the same outfit, wearing headphones (presumably to hear a remote interviewer?). He seems to have spoken to many outlets here, including to Hadi Abdullah again. He's widely filmed in the same outfit weakly visiting the grave of his twins, so they're already buried and this must be April 5... A busy day of grieving and educating.



clockwise from upper left, all scenes in the "yellowjacket outfit, presumably same day:
  • scene A) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQO_kGi4Gxs - Zaman al-Wasl 
  • scene B) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpRBEi9n_uE - AlJazeera Mubasher, Hadi Abdullah interview
  • scene C) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj3QVFgiXFg&index=154 - sips water, seems drained, crying as he speaks, (in an interview via headphones?) (another view of that scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7_c4uUOCFs)
  • scene D) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAyY7NBpw28 - weak at the gravesite (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Jf2ERDKwE Hadi Abdullah, D and B)
  • scene E ...
  • scene F (not included) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkPVbVdQ8q

A scene G (not included, BBC video) shows him dressed the same and tuckered out after all this activity, resting with an iv drip connected to his left hand. From all this, I propose the othe other intubated scene is prior to this, so the last scenes of the day are A and then G.

But he's getting IV treatment a day or more after the event? Sure, that's plausible - depletion of various nutrients, etc. might require continued treatment. And because that makes sense, it may be a visual effect they concocted. And maybe ... this is the last of the watered-down sarin they smuggled into his bloodstream over a couple of days before sending in for testing (see below).

So back to the scene with the red jacket where he buries the babies - I haven't done any timeline analysis on dates, upload times, other relevant evidence times, but ... is that the day of the incident? He was given all-unseen treatment from actual sarin exposure, reunited with his babies, and did that burial photo op within ... same day (near sunset)? Next day (near sunrise or sunset, depending)? Either way, it seems to me all the yellowjacket scenes were the following day.

If so, the STF News argument is nullified. That outfit isn't what he was wearing when he was allegedly gassed, and the tubes are for some later treatment. In fact, even the clothes he buries the babies in may not be originals - they seem almost conspicuously ill-fitting, odd slippers, slacks too short, light jacket, too short in the sleeves. It looks pathetic enough I wonder if someone rich donated the snazzy suit he was seen in next day.

But what was he wearing at first? Maybe ... they're even smart enough to consider the SLUDGE syndrome this time, as they never have before. Even in this attack, otherwise, the shown victims display no signs of serious vomiting, drooling, tearing eyes, urination, or diarrhea. But maybe they have a secret photo of Abdelhaimd in his soiled original clothes, being handled by people in hazmat gear just after the alleged sarin attack. I doubt they went this far, but... it seems they may have gone some distance for once, and I feel like not underestimating it. After all, this is a big deal story - Ghouta 2.0. So if they do have this, release it and shame us for embarrassing the poor bereaved father, I still call fake. He probably just overdosed of coffee and diuretics, castor oil, whatever, after eating lots of food, or some similar kind of trick.

Promoted to Turkey: The Proof Man Down The Line?
Later appearances/performances: He gave the gray tracksuit interview and the CBS interview, at least ...

And he was in Turkey, meeting "president" Erdogan on April 7 in Hatay, near the border (a scene from that at right). Al-Yousef is quoted as saying here "As Syrians, our brother Recep Erdogan is our only hope."  (TRT World)

Was he there in Turkey just for this meeting, just for being famous? Was he taken to meet the brave voice of Aleppo, Bana Alabed? Maybe. maybe meeting with Bana and Abdelhamid, Erdogan, and his ally and former ambassador to both NATO and Israel, Ahmet Uzumcu, the current head of the OPCW, investigating the sarin claims Al-Yousef is helping lodge. I could see Abdulhamid saying to Ahmet "I've always respected your work, sir, to rid the world of chemical weapons. In fact, I named my dead son Ahmed in your honor." (and maybe he or they did, a few days earlier as they were concocting the story...) (for the record I doubt it would get this silly, I just wanted to include that thought anyway)

But I presume he wasn't there just for media appearances or more follow-up medical help - he was probably getting tested for sarin exposure, with an eye to giving those results a media appearance.  Why claim sarin, go to Turkey, and not get a positive result reported? It's quite easy to do, at least relative to the possibly immense payoffs of a lie this big.

In one video he's seen sipping water, as shown here. This isn't odd, except it might be. Either way, it reminds me of my own theory of the easiest way to fake a sarin test in support of a fake attack story (see the sarin evidence). You sip a weak dilution of sarin in water, or some tea maybe. Allow a few minutes between sips for each micro-dose to be metabolized, and the effects will be minimal - just brief tinglings of the real thing, likely with some cumulative issues as you sip for ... a few hours? Off and on for a few days? I don't really know. 

Whatever it takes, it's an easy way to voluntary sarin exposure, to get those molecules technically inside in the body of an allied person willing to tell the false story about this "Assad regime sarin attack." Story and *scientific proof* in one place. Bingo. And this might be just how "Abdelhamid Al-Yousef" got the positive results I expect he yielded.

FWIW: in the first scenes, he puts on a pathetic show, skinny and weak, wobbly, requiring help, and everyone helps - He was likely skinny and weak before, some preexisting issue - he also seems unusually prone to sweating here all through his meeting with Erdogan - possibly a drawn out mild sarin crisis, or just his preexisting issue, or something else.

The metabolic process will ensure the test cannot specify if it was military-grade or terrorist-made (but then, OPCW and other authorities seem to admit it's terrorist grade and just being used by "the regime" anyway). Nor, I think, will it show if it came from a bomb dropped near him or from something he volunteered for, nor just how much there was and how quickly it hit him.

But I bet he didn't suffer any of the lung damage reported for other victims who died and were examined in Turkey. (ACLOS)

In review: He has himself in photos with the dead kids - seen burying them, visiting them there, telling the story over and over - he's well set to be the proof man down the line - his story has sarin, I predict his blood will show it too, and he'll make the news again as a science-confirmed victim of "just what we all said" - and my best guess how he got that way is a slow-motion voluntary exposure to a moderate dose.

<add 6-20>More sarin signs: His especially "grief-stricken" character, so widely-noted, stems largely from his uncharacteristic profuse crying, just really sobbing ... and sometimes you can hear lots of mucous with it, here dripping freely from both nostrils as he sobs (BBC video). Profuse production of tears, and perhaps mucous, are signs of sarin exposure, along with the weakness and sweating he displays. That could be seen as lining up, but no other supposed victims display these signs, and they should clear up quickly, within a few hours. He keeps showing realistic but mild signs for days.<end 6-20>

Explaining the Al-Yousefs
There's another surviving Abdul Hameed Yousef (same name, different transliteration, different man, presumably different middle name?), and an Abdelqader al-Yousef - are among at least six surviving men and two teenage boys of the family, who claim they were in the sarin plume and effected, saw people die all around them but all survived fine, with a few surviving women spoken and children for but not shown, and most women, children, and elders reported dead (again, ACLOS).

The reality of this "Al-Yousef family" is really being driven home here, heavily-sponsored with promoted alleged witnesses. This is frequent to higher-profile marketed massacres - it's said this is the largest family around, which means the most common name - it's a large rug you could sweep other IDs under - I suspect there's a single family with some 22-28 members killed, and their name is not Yousef at all - in fact, I suspect it's something everyone would recognize as members of a minority group, and hence all these efforts to assure us those were all some of them Sunni Yousefs. This guy Abdelhamid kissing Erdogan's head and praising Trump's air attack, would clearly be the leading edge of that effort.

<add 6-20> Huffington Post: The grief-stricken father" carried his twins "to a mass grave where 22 members of his family were being buried. Each branch of the clan got its own trench." This isn't the usual norm. In wartime, perhaps. But people usually use individual graves in a family-preferred cemetery. Mass graves with common trenches remind me more of how terrorists bury their victims after events like the Houla Massacre or the Ghouta chemical massacre. (from a video of that scene, likely just the trench they were dumped in)<end 6-20>

Add 4-22: There's also a story of an Abu Amash family that lost 46 members in this incident. It's even said that family is intermarried with the Yousefs, which meant about 68-74 victims - out of 75 then reported. (ACLOS) As shady as that would be, it's dubious. The claim of 46 dead was lodged by a supposed survivor speaking to the New York Times, while no one else mentions any dead or survivors of this name, and the VDC's list of 95 killed includes none of this name. The VDC does list 6 earlier deaths of this name, all from Khan Sheikhoun, who have died so far from 2011 to present. Are they missing 46 who died at once? This might well be interesting, but what it means isn't clear yet. Is the death toll of the attack 138+? Or is this the real name of the real core target family, which the VDC gave scattered new names to? <end add 4-22>

Add 5-7: Abeulhamid is a militant, at least part-time, but he never mentioned it. Various social media photos on his account show this, as collated for a detailed report by Clarity of Signal, working with others from A Closer Look On Syria (not myself). So he's perhaps an insider with the very Islamist rebels under suspicion here. The article claims he's linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, as most functioning militants in this area would be, to some extent. Details elsewhere...

There's also an older brother, Abdul Karim Ahmad al-Yousef (30, to Abdelhamid's 28/29) who reportedly died alongside his unnamed wife, but not any children. (ACLOS list). He's seen in a photo posing proudly with his brother's alleged kids, as if to say "see, I am too their uncle." (Facebook) But unlike Abdelhamid, this brother allegedly died. He's shown in a photo dead, but looking possibly alive and just drugged (via ACLOS). 

I suspect there will be some interesting and belated research soon into Abdelhamid's cousin Alaa Al-Yousef. ... and now that I've mapped the correct wind direction, and got a reported locale for Abdelhamid's house, we can see it's the furthest UPwind from the alleged sarin release crater than any other located home. (see wind direction explainer)

It's also said Amira/Abeer Saleh was off at work (maybe in the fields NE of town?) while her kids had the bad luck to survive a close-by rocket strike, get relocated to Abdulhamid's house down the street, and apparently get stuffed in the basement with his kin before he set out to save others as they died. Did they all fail to smell the noxious and apparently heavy vapor no one would want to share a basement with? Anyway ...Interesting note: Amira/Abeer has the same last name as her kids. Significance discussed here at ACLOS. <end add 5-7>
  
June 20 Updates
Important link established: Abdelhamid's children and wife are apparently seen in a gruesome scene, loaded in the back of a van with four alleged neighbor girls (Al-Saleh) said to die with them. The wife and one Saleh girl are bleeding from the nose, which is not a sarin symptom, and there are some indications they were executed hostages. See the hostages in Abdelhamid's house?
Let's consider the Invisible Marriage said to spawn Ahmed and Aya. I think we've seen about a dozen photos of Abdelhamid with the twins, and even one of his similar-looking brother Abdelkarim with the them, besides several of just the twins. But there are still none of him and the wife, the wife and the twins, all of them together, or the wife at all. I think that's a clue. Captive babies just months old can just blithely smile with the friendly kidnapper easier than captive moms with deep, sad stories in their eyes. It could be that more were tried, but none of them looked right.

He even has a story for this lack of photos, which means it's not just a fluke - none are shown because none exist. As the Daily Mail reported:
'I cannot forget my martyred wife and children, and my brothers, and their wives and children', he said.
But he does not even have any photos of his beloved wife of two years left to console him, as they were all destroyed in the attack that ripped through his hometown.
'In my house all the photos I had of my wife and everything I owned was burnt.'

He had all these pictures and videos of the kids on his phone or online, but all pics of or including his wife, were only in print, and they all happened to burn. And this is in a fire not otherwise mentioned in his reports, just a safe-seeming place where he left everyone (in most versions of the story - see below).  But now we learn, also, there was a fire raging inside as sarin seeped in and killed everyone... Huh! And that's why we'll never see his wife except dead in that van with a likely head wound.

His "wife of 2 years" - in fact exactly two years since their alleged marriage on April 4, 2015. He told CBS News (Youtube video), as the reporter voices over at 1:40, the attack "happened on Abdelhamid's second anniversary with his wife Dalal."  But there are no images to support this marriage ever happening. There are/were photos on his Facebook page of what seems the men's room at a wedding, posted just six weeks before the babies were born. But it's apparently for his brother's wedding.(Qoppa999 on Twitter). It doesn't seem there's anything on there showing anything from his own wedding. <end 6-20>

<add 6-22>He's also inconsistent in wearing a wedding ring. This seems to be about as standard in the Arab world as anywhere; married people wear a special ring on the third finger... not sure if a certain hand is specified. And I don't know if Arabs tend to be as adamant about taking it off as little as possible. SO this is inconclusive, but... in the photos he's shared on Facebook, one from November 2016 shows him with a ring of some kind on his left hand. But another photo (undated, but probably about the same time or a bit earlier) shows no such ring on either hand as he holds baby Aya. All other photos are inconclusive; on July 16, 2016, he has his hands in his pockets, a habit from other photos before the alleged wedding. There are no other photos I know of in the right span. He doesn't wear a ring in memoriam; in most post-attack videos, in the yellowjacket outfit, he has no ring on either hand, but a girly bracelet, perhaps Aya's, on his left wrist. <end 6-22>

Story Trainwreck
<add 6-20> I've been meaning to finally collate and compare Abdelhamid's various interviews. As the possible "proof man," I expected his story might line up, at least with itself, a bit better than usual. But I find he's about as incoherent as most, offering a shifting story laced with clues he's just making this all up. (a bit rough for now)

Abdel Hameed Alyousef, Syrian Father, Bids Farewell To Twins Killed In Attack
By Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Press / The Canadian Press, via Huffington Post
Posted: 04/05/2017 5:01 pm EDT Updated: 04/07/2017 10:57 am EDT
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/04/05/syria-chemical-attack-twins-killed_n_15835170.html
When the airstrikes hit, he was with the twins. "I carried them outside the house with their mother," the 29-year-old shop owner told the AP. "They were conscious at first, but 10 minutes later we could smell the odour." The twins and his wife, Dalal Ahmed, fell sick. He brought them to paramedics and, thinking they would be OK, went to look for the rest of his family. 
Why would he think they were ok if they fell ill for no clear reason, and he had to take them to paramedics? And if they had gotten any medical help, why did they wind up dying? In no other version does he mention this. Otherwise, they seemed so fine, he just left them at home, where they died with no help.

Continuing:
He found the bodies of two of his brothers, two nephews and a niece, as well as neighbours and friends. "I couldn't save anyone. They're all dead now," he said. It was only later that his relatives could bring themselves to tell him that his children and wife had also died.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/the-dead-were-wherever-you-looked-inside-syrian-town-after-chemical-attack
Abdulhamid al-Yousef... had rushed to help the other victims of the attack. He came back instead to find that much of his family had perished, including siblings, nephews and nieces. His wife and children had rushed down to the bomb shelter in their basement, only for the toxic gas to seep into it, which killed them all."
Were the paramedics in the shelter? Heat destroys sarin, but this must have seeped in opposite from the side with the fire burning up his photos?
<add July 25>Most other accounts specify the basement shelter was in another building near their home, not in their own basement. This might be a genuine contradiction, or just a bit of mix-up in reporting. <end July 25>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npB9Cz9Kxn4'
"At 6:40 the plane hit my house. We didn't feel any gas or anything." He carried his wife and kids outside. "While taking the kids out, people told me there's another strike at my family's (parent's?) house. All your family are dead. People were collapsing while talking to me," but had learned a lot first. It's not clear what he did with the wife and kids here, presumably leaving them at home, maybe in the basement shelter. He ran to his parent's house and found his brothers Yaser and Abdulkareem, his niece Shaimaa, and nephews Hamoudi and Ammar, all dead.

Then, he says, "I fainted" and stayed out of it for some time (maybe he means collapsed, without losing consciousness, as he describes below, and maybe he means fainted - which would be another story conflict). "I returned (home?) after four hours to ask where my kids were. I left them ok. I found them all dead. They suffocated to death by gas."
 
Long interview with Hadi Abdullah  (Youtube, partial) (Facebook, fuller) - Most relevant words, slightly condensed:

"It was exactly 6:40 am. we were still sleeping... I woke up to the sound of the strike. It was near my house. That was the first strike."

Note: the strike was only near his house, unlikely to cause a fire in his house, and he generally doesn't mention one, except when it's time to explain the lack of photos for "Dalal." 

"Five minutes later there was another airstrike. My parents live nearby. the second strike hit near their house. Five minutes later, there was a third airstrike near my uncle's house."  

Note: most others say the strikes happened all at once, in a single pass of the jet, around 6:45. I doubt any jet was involved, but the plumes of smoke seen just after seem to be only seconds apart in their evolution. Abdelhamid swears it took a full ten minutes before there could be the three plumes, at 6:50. Only then did he spring into action:

"I gave the twins to my wife. They died. But at that moment they were still alive. I told them to go. I wanted to rescue as many people as I could." He was alright at first, and damn heroic, but he saw neighbors unconscious right away. He heard it was sarin, put on a paper facemask, and kept "carrying people" who had been exposed, for some time. That makes little sense, of course - surface contamination would be almost certain. You feel it in a second, and you'll be paralyzed just as quick. But not with this everyday hero. "I couldn't go back to tell my family that it was sarin" because he was too busy rescuing others. 

Later he explains his cousin Ibrahim died, but Abdelhamid managed to rescue his wife, who survived. "The rescue car drove off" and then he headed to his parent's house. So that was at his first stop, his uncle's place. He skipped that in a version above. So he started at one strike, ran to his uncle's and then to his parent's house, visiting all 3 strike zones? One of the three strikes is about a kilometer south of the others. That's a lot of running to save people before all that sarin - which acts in fractions of a second - finally caught up with him.

At his parent's house, he saw Yasser had died trying to save his youngest son Ammar. They had foam coming from their mouths and "their bodies were very blue." Abdulkareem, his niece, and also Hamoudi, were all dead. There were 4 or 5 bodies total there. A man he calls "Ahmed (Ahmad)" went to check on Hamoudi to find him dead. Abdelhamid's father should be named Ahmed, and he was in his house. But he calls his father "Ahmed," which is unusual, even for him - otherwise he says "my father." Is Ahmed a guy he's making up stories about, and usually refers to properly? 

Then they all couldn't walk. He tried to save his niece who was alive, but he collapsed while carrying her and then couldn't move, and she died. He didn't lose consciousness, but someone pulled him out and rushed him to a hospital where he saw people falling down. He's "not sure how long" he was there," but he asked after his family, and "they told me they were okay." 

"When I went back, I found that 25 members of my family had gone. I asked them where my twin toddlers and my wife are. Where are they? They brought them to me dead." (this is after going back, to his home perhaps, and "they" are family and neighbors?) "My sweethearts, I left them unharmed ... they were suffocated to death." (breaks down here for a while)

At -4:41 as he mentions other people who died, mostly learned later, he suddenly mentions "four kids with my wife and toddler twins" that he otherwise doesn't talk about. That would be the widow Amira Saelh's four kids she says were taken over there while she was away at work. As he puts it, "We have a widowed neighbor with four kids (the oldest was 10). She usually dropped her kids at my home. All of them were killed with my children. No one knew about their deaths." They don't seem present in Abdelhamid's story of rushing his wife and babies to supposed safety. Now he says:
"I checked on them before leaving and they seemed fine. They were going down to the shelter. No one knew about them. When I came back I was told they were at the shelter. We went to bring them out but found that they were all dead." 
In some versions, his wife and kids also died in the shelter, but were already found and shown to him, before he returned home (why?) and helped find the others .. that no one knew to look for, and didn't see? So, when did they all get photographed together in a van? It looks like mid-morning, around 9 or 10 am. He says he returned home about 4 hours after the attack, so around 11 am, and others already knew about his family, so must have had the bodies. But they didn't know about the Saleh kids... until Abdelhamid asked, in his grief, and someone told him they were in the shelter, so they went to bring them out, but sadly found they had died. Okay, so he'd say it's after this that they were all loaded in a van and driven to where the photos were taken. Do we buy this backstory?

More Versions (add July 25): Thanks to @lindajjacobs on Twitter, a few accounts I had missed:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/father-month-twins-killed-syrian-chemical-attack-us/story?id=46677671
Father of 9-month-old twins killed in Syrian chemical attack wants more US airstrikes
ABC News, Apr 8, 2017, 5:53 PM ET
hearing from Abdel Hameed al-Youssef "a farmer" with a wife named "Tallulah" (possible honest error in transliterating Dalal). "Youssef and his wife woke up to an airstrike that hit just 20 meters from their home." They all went outside, the twins hanging around his neck, saw rubble all around, and started walking together. "They continued walking through the neighborhood when two more airstrikes hit nearby." There was no blast, just a strange smell and people starting to collapse.
"At this moment, I felt something was wrong. So I handed over Ahmad and Aya to my wife and I told her to get away from here," Youssef said. "I told her to get to safety." Tallulah took the twins and four of their neighbors' children to find a safe place, while Youssef rescued several neighbors ... ran to his parents' home ("about 100 meters away from the poisonous airstrike") ... hurried to another family member's home nearby ... "and then I fainted," Youssef said."
After he came to, "first responders told Youssef that they found his wife with the twins and the neighbors' kids in a shelter near his house. Tallulah was still holding the children close but she was so ill from the toxic gas that she was unable to walk."

The initial walk together away from their home, and the claim that Dalal was initially alive seem to be unique, but not specifically contradicted by any other stories. The latter might clash with the blood trickling from her nose, if it were from a head wound as I suspect. Her holding the children might clash with the way Ahmed was clearly left face-down for hours after death. But it's possible she held him until the rescuers showed up, and ... then he was left face-down for hours? To develop strong livor mortis like this, it was probably at least 3-4 hours, and possibly much longer, if he were killed before the attack or if the photos of the bodies in the van were taken in the afternoon instead of mid-morning (this isn't certain).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/05/syria-gas-attack-sobbing-father-cradles-dead-twins-19-family/
Early report, April 5:
"The 29-year-old shopkeeper had been asleep with his family when the air strike hit close to his home just after 6.30am. They appeared to be fine, but as a precaution he took them all down to the basement of a nearby building in case of another strike. It was only then, an hour later, that they began displaying symptoms. “The family was all waiting down there and were safe, but then they started choking,” Mr Youssef’s cousin, Alaa, told the Telegraph. “The twins suddenly began shaking and struggling to breathe. Then he watched the chemicals take hold of his wife, then his brother, nieces and nephews. Everyone died down there in the basement, they didn’t have time to get to the hospital,” he said."
This is a seriously different story, but apparently second-hand. There's nothing else to say everyone got in the one shelter where the star witness personally watched them all die while surviving. When he's talking, Abdelhamid is pretty consistent he ran across town to two family homes next to each conventional strike and also each filled with the sarin and with dead family members, always thinking his own family was okay, vainly helping the others, until even his miracle protection finally wore off and he ... passed out for a while. It could be Alaa just had the story mixed up putting all of that in one basement. Alaa's story is a lot simpler than the Abdelhamid's, but the latter is clearly more relevant, and neither makes much sense.

Another story citing this changes a detail:
http://www.concordmonitor.com/Another-chapter-in-a-long-tragedy-in-Syria-9139175
"Alyousef was at work when the bombs fell, but after his wife called him he rushed home. He was relieved to see that everyone appeared to be okay, but he led them all to the basement of a nearby building anyway – just to be safe. In an interview with the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, one of  Alyousef’s cousins said: “The family was all waiting down there..."" 
From there it's the same story. If the cited article ever said he was at work, it was edited later, now saying he was asleep, as all other reports claim. And even if the Telegraph did report this initially, it would be part of Alaa's mangled story that could be honestly confused.

Add 9/26: A Speedy Recovery? Strong video evidence that IF Abdelhamid ever passed out as claimed, he was awake again within about 15 minutes. So why didn't he go save his family for 3+ hours after this?  And why is he safe to touch so soon after running through three different clouds of sarin fog?

5 comments:

  1. I didn't know of your very interesting site before this weekend, when I noticed a reference in Rick Sterling's report on the Caesar file. After reading this post yesterday, I looked through your older posts to see whether you had commented on an earlier incident, which I think took place in eastern Aleppo toward the end of November but prior to the SAA's start of big advances ~Nov 25. This was the incident (since I assume you will also remember it) with the young man in a nice sweater and carrying a smart phone mourning his "relatives" who had, so it was alleged, been killed by the SAA. I suspected very strongly at the time that these were civilians shot by the violent sectarian Islamists controlling east Aleppo while trying to escape, and the young man was simply an actor used to make anti-government propaganda from the crime. The White Helmets photographer who broke down with emotion over the Rashideen massacre (subsequently interviewed on CNN) seems to be another one broadly in the genre.
    I also read your article on the al-Quds hospital bombing. You seem to interpret the evidence as indicating a real bombing from within the building. As you probably also know, the Rashideen White Helmets photographer was also referred to in the Khan Sheikhoun "double tap hospital targetting" video, where he may be the one standing just off screen (the speaker refers to him by name). It occurs to me that it would be an easy stunt to make the light's go off, the camera fall down and have a bang at just the right moment. You seem to lean toward an interpretation of the al-Quds-last-pediatrician-closed-circuit video as showing a real bombing, but one from inside the building rather than a simple cinematic trick. I'm relying on memory of your account, but why do you not seem to consider seriously the latter possibility in that case?

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    1. Hi, anon! I've been very busy...

      Thanks for noticing the exceptional brilliance of my/our work and taking the time to engage it.

      Off the top of my head, the guy is the nice sweater story doesn't ring a bell. I specialize in parts, and miss much of the rest.

      Al-Quds: I never did complete my thoughts on the entrance-area blast. Seems it was at the entrance, outside, angled in, damaged the gated security area, said to kill a guard. I'd buy that. Might be more powerful than the other blasts.
      We see a woman downed on floor 2, but no major damage - wallpaper torn off but no walls collapsed. Same on floor 1 - everythings as intact inside as it is outside, despite the bangs. They weren't powerful, but might have sent out shrapnel. A wounded young girl, perhaps dead, is seen being carried out of the ER by a woman. Power of blast in there is unknown, bit again it didn't knock down or blow a hole in any wall seen after. It wounded, likely killed, a few. Should be no 50+ dead. How big and packed was that ER? Or was the upstirs room Dr. Maaz locked full of a few dozen chained hostages he blew up? Mmmm unlikely. Probably killed, but mostly somewhere else.

      I didn't know of a possible connection to recent hideous attack on the refugees from Foua and Kafraya.

      Delete
  2. Father of Invention: Media Portrayed Grief Stricken Dad Turns Out To Be al-Nusra Front Terrorist https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/05/02/father-of-invention-media-portrayed-grief-stricken-dad-turns-out-to-be-al-nusra-front-terrorist/

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  3. The following link contains two images of the guy I was talking about, as used in Tweets by S. Power and "US Embassy Syria" (i.e. the State Department Syria Desk in Washington?, since the US no longer has an Embassy in Syria): http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/02/syrian-rebels-are-shooting-civilians-trying-to-flee-terrorist-occupied-east-aleppo/
    I haven't tracked down where I read the original story about this incident, but my recollection is that the original sources stated that this young man (actually in a light flannel jacket over a red hooded sweatshirt) was crying over the brutal killing of his "relatives" by the Assad forces.
    The date of the Tweets is Nov 30/Dec 1, 2016. People had been streaming out of eastern districts toward areas of government control as they were progressively liberated, beginning about Nov 25 - with large numbers of them chanting "God bless the Army!" This atrocity story was one means by which that other story was hidden from public view.

    Regarding the Rashideen massacre and the role of the White Helmets, I listened to Vanessa Beeley describe two particular white helmet individuals the Sunday before last on Sunday Wire. One of them was Abd al-Kader Habak, the White Helmets photographer who dropped to his knees in grief over the horror of the bus attack, thereby providing opportunity for another "iconic photo" - thus transforming it into a story about what good people the White Helmets are, impartially concerned with saving Shias as much as Sunnis, and providing an opportunity for additional news stories (CNN's interview with Habak). I started to look into this a little, and here's what I have in my notes:

    https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/18/a-photographer-in-syria-put-down-his-camera-and-picked-up-a-woun/22045292/ April 18, 2017 about the massacre at Ramouseh - Muhammad Alrageb the photographer who took the photo of another photographer Abd Alkader Habak - both White Helmets?

    "Stirring photo captures photographer ditching camera to carry wounded Syrian child to
    A photo of photographer Abd Alkader Habak rushing a wounded Syrian child to safety will join the ranks of other iconic images of the Syrian civil war."

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/middleeast/syria-photographer-bombing-rescue-trnd/index.html?sr=twcnni041817syria-photographer-bombing-rescue-trnd0401AMVODtopPhoto&linkId=36603035 (CNN interview with Habak)
    Media "chooses" iconic images of photographer struck with emotion over Fouaa Kefraya massacre at Rashideen. Then that becomes the story - reason for Skype interview.

    Yes, the same Abd al-Kader Habak was at the Khan Shekhun (supposed) hospital on April 4 when it was (supposedly) struck! https://nz.news.yahoo.com/video/watch/34912837/journalist-captures-moment-airstrike-hits-khan-shaykhun-hospital/#page1 (The "citizen journalist" mentions Habak by name as being present).

    About this latter video, I think the most obvious hypothesis is that it is a camera trick with some pyrotechnics. I'll have to read through what you've written about the al-Quds hospital bombing again to maybe help form my own opinion. Has Dr. Maaz's or others' deaths been in some way substantiated?

    I've just tried to play the video, with no luck. The scene was a young man talking to the camera inside what was purported to be the hospital in Khan Sheikhun, talking about the chemical attack (no victims are actually shown). He mentions the presence of Abd al-Kader Habak, and there is someone in the room standing to his left, who's right side is in and out of the margins of the shoot. It may be Habak, but his face is not clearly seen. The suddenly there is an explosion of some sort. The title of the article introducing the video is as follows: "Journalist captures moment airstrike hits Khan Sheikhun hospital", and I believe the blurb that introduced the video specifically used the phrase "double tap".

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    1. I never caught this or responded, sorry.

      The incident in Aleppo was discussed somewhere at ACLOS, maybe just on the Aleppo category/cat talk page? No - Petri called it a mortar massacre. Jub al-Quba? Very similar if not... Clearly fleeing, reports say around dawn, hit largely in the legs - mortar shell perhaps, and/or bullets - fleeing happens best in the dark, when airstrikes work the worst, and they said it was an airstrike. I don't think that character popped up, but of course he's dubious, brought in to explain a scene that doesn't appear to be what he says.

      The Rashideen WH did strike a decent tone, not cheering the carnage and even denouncing it. (if we mean the same, maybe a couple did) I wasn't impressed. Of course it's horrible, and he didn't specify whose kind of terrorism this was he rejected. Suggests he was leaving it open in case they could blame "Assad" or Iranians/Hezbollah, or maybe just ISIS, or even maybe the al-Nusra types most often seeming to be in possession of the trucks marked W77 like the suicide truck in that massacre was. (newer turn) That he took center stage with this vague denunciation suggests he's in on the info-management aspect, the cover-up, and only wishes there were no cameras, so he could smile about it freely.

      I like how this line turned out: "Stirring photo captures photographer ditching camera to carry wounded Syrian child to A photo of photographer Abd Alkader Habak." Iconic.

      Delete

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