Richard Black, a Virginia state Senator, has returned from a trip to Syria and says he has uncovered evidence that Britain’s MI6 intelligence service is planning an imminent chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people, which it will then blame on Syrian President Assad.
“Around four weeks ago, we knew that British intelligence was working towards a chemical attack in order to blame the Syrian government, to hold Syria responsible,” Mr Black said on Al Mayadeen, a news channel based in Beirut.
Mr Black later clarified that he meant the British are not planning to carry out the attack themselves, but to either direct rebels to do so or stage a false flag attack, which the international community will blame on Assad.
Mr Black also said some chemical attacks previously reported to have occurred in Syria were British fakes, pulled off with help from volunteer first responders known as “White Helmets”.
“From what I can tell, they have been planning a fake attack, not a genuine one, but one where they actually move people out of a town and they have trained people to portray victims of a gas attack,” Mr Black said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And the plan is to use the White Helmets who have always been involved in these notorious deceptions, to portray an attack.”
Independent reports: The State Department flatly rejected Mr Black’s allegations, which echoed what it called “outrageous” Russian and Assad-regime claims that Britain and the US have carried out chemical attacks with help from the White Helmets.
“The Syrian regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons,” a State Department official, who discussed the matter condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to do so publicly, said in an email. “Russian and regime denials have no credibility, nor does the increasingly offensive and outrageous Russian propaganda accusing the US and the UK of planning and executing CW attacks in order to justify retaliation in Syria … the White Helmets are a humanitarian organisation that has saved thousands of lives and continues to respond to bombardments by Russian and regime military forces.”
A spokeswoman for the British Embassy did not respond to a request for comment on Mr Black’s claims, which drew condemnation from some Middle East experts.
“Wrap your head around this: an elected American official is parroting Russian-Assad Regime-Hezbollah propaganda on a TV channel closely affiliated with (if not under the direction of) a designated foreign terror org, Hezbollah,” tweeted David Daoud, a Washington-based research analyst at the think tank United Against Nuclear Iran.
Critics said Mr Black was being used, perhaps unwittingly, as a tool for Syrian propaganda as government forces massed for an assault on Idlib province, the country’s last rebel-held stronghold. It is home to almost 3 million people, including hardened fighters who refused to surrender elsewhere. A least half of the population are civilians.
“I’m just an individual who is deeply concerned about achieving peace and stopping the slaughter in the Middle East,” Mr Black said. “Americans go all over the place all the time and the only reason that they focus on me is because I tell the truth about what I’m seeing and what’s going on.”