A spokesman for the British government’s Ministry of Truth, Jonathan Fibbs, said: “This recording has been authenticated by government experts who cannot be named for security reasons as one hundred percent genuine. It was sent to us by a source who cannot be named for . . . er, security reasons but which, hand on heart, we can assure you is one hundred percent genuine and not at all fake and we are not even lying this time.
The voice on the tape has been authenticated as being that of Bashar Assad, even though it does not sound like him and has a Kurdish accent but this is because Assad had a cold at the time the recording was secretly . . . er, recorded.”
The government had been taken to task recently for accusing Assad of using chemical weapons on his own people without providing any evidence, apart from an article in the Sun (“ Up Yours, you Syrian Git” by Dick Yobb, Thursday edition) or pointing to a motive that made any sense.
Syria was then bombed before the alleged attack could be confirmed, although an article in the Daily Scare on Tuesday and a BBC documentary provided all the confirmation that was needed to justify turning a couple of Syrian villages into a car park (“We suspect Assad probably did it” and “It’s in the Newspapers so it Must be True”).
Anonymous yet completely trustworthy experts confirm that there is nothing wrong with shooting first and gathering evidence later as this is normal practice in international relations and an accusation by one or more parties with a vested interest in the outcome is usually all that is needed, especially if accompanied by hypocritical moralising and a healthy dose of hysteria.
This miraculous appearance of a hitherto unknown recording, however, proves beyond reasonable thought that Bashar Assad did in fact use chemical warfare agents on Douma on April 7th.
This has saved Western governments spending a fortune backing up their claims by orchestrating weapons inspections, fabricating evidence, arranging for Assad’s passport to be “found” at the scene and so forth.
As a result, several targets, dubbed “suspected” chemical weapons facilities were bombed without establishing first that they were in fact actually chemical weapons facilities and not pea canning factories, industrial estates, bus depots and other lairs of a hideously oppressive regime not approved of by Western powers. The government pointed out at the time that any installation sinister enough to be suspected of something is just asking for trouble.
Anyway, here is the brief recording, in which Bashar Assad can be clearly heard speaking with a Kurdish accent an octave lower than his normal voice. The other participants are unknown and are dubbed “General A” and “General B” for convenience. At one point chimes can be briefly heard in the background, a sound easily mistaken for Big Ben striking three. We are assured that this is not in fact Big Ben but a mosque in Damascus that sounds a lot like it.
Assad: Right, I’ve decided to use chemical weapons on Douma. I want you to arrange a strike.
General A: Do we have any chemical weapons any more? I thought we scrapped them under the auspices of the UN a few years back.
Assad: I had some kept back just in case we needed them. It’s part of a stash I bought from the British a while ago. It is important that the UN never finds out we kept them.
General B: But if we use them, then the UN will know we lied to them.
Assad: I am confident that no one will notice and we we will never be found out. In fact I am so confident I don’t think we even need to take any precautions to hide what we are doing. Just go ahead, drop some barrel bombs, unleash some chemicals, make lots of people sick. Nobody will notice and we will get away with it.
General A: I hope you are right because if anyone does notice, we will have handed to USA and Britain the excuse they have been looking for to attack us. They are really cheesed off that we have beaten ISIS, Al Nusra and their other friends - they invested a lot of money in them only for them to fail miserably. Mercenary armies disguised as rebels do not come cheap. So, using chemical weapons right now would hand them an excuse to help out ISIS and their other allies with air strikes. They will be able to claim they are only attacking our chemical weapons facilities.
Assad: That is a risk we are just going to have to take. I spent a lot of money buying that chemical stuff from the Brits so I really want to use it.
General B: Even when we don’t need to?
Assad: How so?
General B: We have Douma surrounded and the civil war all but won, ISIS and the other CIA-backed fundamentalist groups given a right spanking. So why bother using chemical weapons when we’ve won the game using conventional methods of dismembering children the Americans so kindly sold us a while back? Doesn’t make sense!
General A: He’s right. We could set our cause back years, perhaps even snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You know how much the Americans are just itching for an excuse. “Attacking innocent people with chemical weapons” is still a great propaganda line, even when it isn’t actually true.
Assad: Be all that as it may, I have decided to use chemical weapons. I really have my heart set on it . . .
General A: “You are popular with your people all across Syria Mr President. You win elections by a landslide. Now you risk throwing all that away by attacking them with chemicals. . .
General B: And dropping a few barrel bombs and making a few dozen people sick won’t help much in winning the war - especially as we’ve already won it using traditional means such as burning people’s heads off with things like the phosphorous bombs the Israelis used on the Palestinians . . .
Assad: And nobody criticised the Israelis, did they?
General A: That’s because the Israelis are America’s friends.
Assad: “Well what about what the Saudis are doing to the people in Yemen?
General B: Again, the Saudis are pals with the US and Britain so nobody is going to criticise them, and certainly not bomb them to make them stop. But they will sure as hell bomb us if we hand them an excuse on a platter. I think right now we could do without being bombed by America.
Assad: I keep saying, these are risks I am willing to take even though it gives me no added strategic advantage.
General B: But why Mr President?
Assad: You forget that I am a ruthless dictator . . . well, ruthless elected leader of a secular government at any rate. It’s just the sort of thing I do . . .