Michael Weiss writes: Between 69 and 100 people have died so far, and hundreds more are still suffering from being poisoned, or from the follow-up airstrike on a nearby hospital that was treating them from being poisoned. As the bodies pile up, so too do the Kremlin conspiracy theories for whodunnit or whether or not this atrocity was even done at all.
Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry’s new spokesperson, has taken a leaf from her predecessor’s playbook. On Wednesday, she intimated that despite a U.S., EU assessment that around 60 people were gassed by the regime from the air using sarin—a nerve agent Assad has previously admitted to have stockpiled—the whole ordeal was an elaborate bit of playacting.
In a press conference, Zakharova darkly commented on the “too-calm behavior of the representatives of this organization under emergency conditions,” by which she meant the White Helmets, an internationally funded and trained group of first-responders who often pull victims from the rubble of Russian, Syria and American bombing raids. Her government has vilified them as being either agents of regime change, al-Qaeda or both. Though her characterization of the rescue workers’ composure is at odds with press accounts describing how some “grew ill and collapsed from proximity to the dead.” But then, this is a woman who previously said that Donald Trump won the presidency because American Jews decided the election.
Speaking of Trump, one of his allies in the tin-hatted corner of the internet, the conspiracy site InfoWars, ran several articles and segments on Wednesday calling the atrocity a “false flag attack.” One article said the attack hadn’t been carried out by Assad but by the White Helmets, which InfoWars labeled as a “an al-Qaeda affiliated group funded by George Soros and the British government.” [Continue reading…]