Remarks by Mr. Maxim Grigoriev, Head of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, at an Arria-formula meeting of UNSC member states
Let me introduce myself. I am director of NGO “The Foundation for the Study of Democracy” that holds consultative status in United Nations Economic and Social Council. Our volunteers have been to Syria more than ten times and interviewed several hundreds witnesses of different events.
NGO “The Foundation for the Study of Democracy” conducted an independent evaluation of the Douma incident on 7 April, 2018.
We have interviewed:
• Fifteen witnesses in the Douma Hospital;
• 10 residents of a house in Douma where human bodies were found;
• 300 residents of houses, situated within one kilometer from the building where the bodies were found.
The testimony of witnesses is an undisputable proof that the chemical attack in Douma was falsified.
We went to the Hospital that was filmed by the ‘White Helmets’. The hospital personnel and Syrian civilians completely refuted these staged rescues.
An example of testimonies of a doctor who witnessed these events is on the screen.
Our findings prove that no people suffered from chemical attacks in the Douma Hospital and that the White Helmets’ statements were all fabricated.
We interviewed 10 residents of the house where human bodies were found in Douma. By all means, this is the first thing to be done to investigate the accident. The fact that OPCW Mission did not do this proves their low level of competence or lack of willingness to reveal the truth.
Volunteers assisted us in conducting poll among three hundred residents of the buildings which are situated within one kilometer from the building where the bodies were found.
Task: to identify the dead bodies on the video footage.
The results of the poll: no one of the 300 interviewed residents of the area recognized any of the bodies in the video footage mentioned in the OPCW report.
Conclusions based on the interviews with the permanent residents of the building where the bodies were found are:
• witnesses who stayed there all day of the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon on 7 April, 2018, were not affected;
• according to the evidence given by the witnesses, their children and elderly parents who stayed in the building on 7 April, 2018, were not affected either;
• among the bodies shown on the video footage there are no residents of the building that allegedly was subjected to a chemical attack, or of its nearby buildings.
These facts unequivocally prove that the incident on 7 April, 2018, was fake, as well as that the dead bodies belonged neither to the residents of the building NOR even to people from the neighborhood, but were brought from elsewhere for staging.
It can be inferred therefrom, that it is highly likely that these people had been killed especially to organize this falsification.
Now I will cite exact words of some of the witnesses who were permanent residents of the section of the house where the bodies were discovered.
Seham Hayti, forty two years old.
Question: How long have you been living in this building?
Answer: 5 years.
Question: With whom do you live?
Answer: 5 children. 21, 19, 18, 12, and 7 years old.
Question: Were you at home on the seventh of April last year as well?
Answer: Yes. We were here.
Question: Some videos have appeared on the Internet featuring dead bodies in this building. Had this been the case, would it have killed all your family as well?
Question: And what happened to you?
Answer: Well, nothing.
Question: I will show you another video. Watch it carefully. Is this your staircase?
Question: Do you recognize any of these people? Have they ever lived here?
Answer: I don’t know any of them. They had been brought here from the medical center. They brought the bodies here and staged the whole thing.
Next witness is Imam Kraim, twenty years old, permanent resident of the house.
Question: Last year, on the seventh of April, were you here with your family?
Question: Did you and your parents stay and spend every night in this building?
Question: On the Internet, it was stated that people who stayed in this building died of this chlorine. But if your parents and you stayed in this building for the whole last year and your parents remained indoors as they were sick, it means they should have died as well if chlorine had actually been there.
Answer: We stayed here every day. My father and mother. We did not feel anything. Had there been anything, they would have fallen sick.
Next witness is Mahmud Mehbal, fifty seven years old, permanent resident of the house too.
His exact words are on the screen.
Question: Have you been here on the seventh of April last year?
Answer: I have.
Question: Last year, a video footage showing the bodies of dead people appeared on the Internet, it stated that this building had faced a chemical attack. How can you explain that people’s bodies were in the building and you did not experience any damage to your health?
Answer: It never happened at all.
Next witness is Nada Ajar, twenty three years old, permanent resident of the house too.
Her exact words are on the screen.
Question: Please, have a look at these pictures and a video footage. This video footage has appeared on the Internet, it was filmed in this building, in particular in this apartment. The video footage states these people died here of a chemical attack. Please, have a look and say if you know anyone of them.
Answer: I don’t.
Question: Please, take a look at them once again, do you recognize any of these people?
Answer: No, I don’t recognize anyone.
Next witness is Qamal Ali Fustuki, twenty four years old, baker
His exact words are on the screen.
Question: What happened to your brother?
Answer: My brother was killed in an artillery shelling. They brought his body here, took a picture of it and told he had died in a chemical attack. Just over there.
Next witness is Muhamed Shkhader Abdulkader, forty years old, driver, permanent resident of the house.
He eye-witnessed how the falsification was organized.
I quote his exact words (you can see them on the screen): The fighters were shooting at the windows, not allowing us to watch. The militants brought dead bodies by cars ... In this street I saw ten to fiteen dead bodies of people unfamiliar to me. End of quote.
Next witness is Faez Omar Fattum, forty five years old, butcher, permanent resident of the house.
He also eye-witnessed how the falsification was organized.
I quote his exact words (you can see them on the screen): ‘We live on the first floor. We were attacked by fighters. With their faces covered, they were shooting in the air. We were forced to go outside … The White Helmets were there too … The fighters brought the dead bodies from prison Al Thoba’. End of quote
Those witnesses to the falsification tell how exactly it all happened:
• The fighters who came with the White Helmets, brought dead bodies, intimidated locals, shot at windows, forcing some people to leave their homes and isolating the rest in their apartments. Then, they brought the bodies outside and filmed the footage.
• One body the fighters left outside was identified by a witness. It was his brother who had earlier been killed in an artillery shelling and taken by fighters from hospital. The remaining bodies, as the witnesses supposed, were brought from the Al Thoba prison where fighters kept the people they captured, including women and children.
• Taking into account that other bodies had no injuries, the witnesses are confident that the people featured in the video recordings were killed just to organize the falsification.
The testimony presented above unequivocally proves that the chemical attack on 7 April, 2018, was falsified.
When preparing the report:
- OPCW abstained from inquiring the abovementioned witnesses who were permanently residing at the place of incident and were ready to testify. By all means, this is the first thing to be done to investigate the accident. The fact that OPCW Mission did not do this proves their low level of competence or lack of willingness to reveal the truth;
- OPCW used data provided by people who may not have been present at the scene of incident, and who were inquired in Idlib Governorate and in other countries;
- OPCW deliberately used falsified materials provided by the “White Helmets” as the main basis for their conclusions.
On 11 March 2019, a briefing was held at OPCW. I presented our report ”White Helmets: fact checking by eyewitnesses and former volunteers”. It contains numerous proofs that falsification of chemical attacks was an essential part of the work of White Helmets and they can not be considered as a credible source of information.
Officials of OPCW concealed conclusions made by its experts, deleted a number of vital facts from the report, and falsified the report itself.
For the first time over 23 years of its existence, Officials of the OPCW take part in falsification of a report. This is an unprecedented blow to the reputation of the OPCW.
Secretary-General of the United Nations is depositary of the Chemical Weapons Convention. OPCW works based on this CWC.
NGO “The Foundation for the Study of Democracy” prepared a letter addressed to the Secretary-General (показать) that contains testimonies of above mentioned witnesses. I kindly request to circulate it among Security Council members in order to reveal the truth about the falsification of chemical attack in Douma on 7 April, 2018.