It wasn’t until I’d clicked into Dissident Voice the other day and found Sy’s new sarin report staring me in the eyes that I’d taken the time to read it. It’s old news by now, and all of you may know it only too well,thus I’m just beating a dead horse. But before featuring it, I’ll begin with a few easy links, and include a link to Peter Lee’s Oct. 23, 2015 essay: ‘Hersh Vindicated? Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Story on False Flag Sarin Attack in Syria’
“This is quite the bombshell delivered by two CHP deputies in the Turkish parliament and reported by Today’s Zaman, one of the top dailies in Turkey.
It supports Seymour Hersh’s reporting that the notorious sarin gas attack at Ghouta was a false flag orchestrated by Turkish intelligence in order to cross President Obama’s chemical weapons “red line” and draw the United States into the Syria war to topple Assad.”
‘Pseudo-left silent on Seymour Hersh’s exposé of US strike against Syria’, Josh Varlin, wsws.org July 5
“The pseudo-left has followed the lead of the mainstream press in studiously ignoring Hersh’s article. As of this writing, the article has received no mention whatsoever in Socialist Worker (the publication of the International Socialist Organization), International Viewpoint (the organ of the Pabloite United Secretariat), Jacobin (a magazine tied to the Democratic Socialists of America) or Socialist Alternative’s website.
These publications and the organizations to which they are tied claim association with socialism, Marxism and even Trotskyism. They all claim to oppose imperialism and the right-wing presidency of Donald Trump. Yet, after Hersh—the veteran investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War—provides detailed evidence that the Trump administration’s pretext for bombing a former colonial country was known to be false, they say nothing.” (Varlin’s list is long, but only too telling, as are some of the most egregious quotes from the cruise-missile ‘Left’.)
In Dave Lindorff’s June 29 ‘Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies About Alleged Assad Sarin ‘Attack’ at Counterpunch, he speaks to one of Hersh’s largest fears having come potentially true:
“Hersh’s Die Welt article comes out just as Trump is now again making up, or is believing, a “fake news” story that Assad is “planning another Sarin gas attack” from the same Shayrat Air Base that the US bombed earlier, with Trump vowing to retaliate more seriously this time if Assad goes ahead with another gas attack. Again, the military and the intelligence community are both saying they see no evidence of planning for a gas attack, and in any case they believe that Assad’s poison gas weapons were all eliminated in the 2013 agreement, as monitored and certified later by UN inspectors.”
Jonathan Cook’s June 27 essay at CP ‘Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View’ includes this tidbit:
“Hersh’s new investigation was paid for by the London Review of Books, which declined to publish it. This is almost disturbing as the events in question.
What is emerging is a media blackout so strong that even the London Review of Books is running scared. Instead, Hersh’s story appeared yesterday in a German publication, Welt am Sonntag. Welt is an award-winning newspaper, no less serious than the New Yorker or the LRB. But significantly Hersh is being forced to publish ever further from the centres of power whose misinformation his investigations are challenging.”
Essentially Hersh says in a very long exposé that Herr Trump totally ignored intelligence reports, both his team’s and Russia’s, both military and NatSec, after he’d ‘seen’ photos of dying children in (perhaps) in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhounand, and attacked Syria.
“Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.“
Within hours of the April 4 bombing, the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan Sheikhoun. Pictures of dead and dying victims, allegedly suffering from the symptoms of nerve gas poisoning, were uploaded to social media by local activists, including the White Helmets, a first responder group known for its close association with the Syrian opposition.”
‘Close association’ is a very polite way of phrasing it, this link will take you to Vanessa Beeley’s oeuvre on the ‘nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize’ UK/US/FSA-sponsored NGO the White Helmets at 21st century wire.
No, apparently the provenance of the photos wasn’t clear, but the president issued a statement indicating that this ‘heinous deed’ was the result of his predecessor having been too of much of a wimp to punish Assad for the last sarin nerve-gassing of his own people. Hersh recounts members of T’s team being ‘dismayed’ by his failure to be swayed by evidence that was contrary to ‘his beliefs’ during discussions over the two days after events at Khan Sheikhounand.
“I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4. In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.
Russian and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the carefully planned flight path to and from Khan Shiekhoun on April 4 directly, in English, to the deconfliction monitors aboard the AWACS plane, which was on patrol near the Turkish border, 60 miles or more to the north.”
Russian intelligence had shared with the US military that a high level meeting was about to take place in a joint Al-nursa/Ahrar al-Sham command and control center in a two-story cinder block building in the town, in what sounds like a strip mall of shops.
“The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.”
And yes, we read ‘jests’ about IS having the cleanest swimming pools evah! Hersh was apparently told that Russian intelligence took the matter straight to the CIA, in part because they could get any undercover agents the hell outta Dodge before they bombed the place. Having made it clear what a Big Deal these ‘high value targets’ were, all branches of the military had to have known what was up, including the fact that the Russians had given the Syrian military one of their (apparently carefully hoarded) precision guided bombs.
The same advisor spoke of the chairman of the joint chief’s (General Joe Dunford) explanation that the US and Russia can coordinate ops, but draw a big fat line between that and doing ‘combined operations’, but there is definitely shared intelligence, as in: hot tips, as with the high value targets in the cinder block building meeting in KS. He went on to explain what a goofy fairy tale it was to think that a ‘regular bomb’ could be handled like an epically dangerous sarin bomb, which would require…a long list of precautions.
“The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground.” [snip]
“MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.”
Dunno how (ahem) ‘unbiased’ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is; for instance see “Doctors” Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claims are Aiding Terrorists’, Tony Cartalucci August 2013, landdestroyer.ca
He names their many corporate funders, but the whole piece is arrrggh-worthy.
It’s hard to characterize the next long paragraphs on Trump’s screeches, Nikki Haley’s, “those dead women and children!”, “Assad atrocity!”, on and on… but belief is stronger than proof. Zo, off to Whiskey-a-Go-Go his team went to decide how to ‘respond’ militarily. No intelligence, no proof, no…nuttin’, and notably Herr T’s own CIA director Mike Pompeo ‘the CIA director whose agency had consistently reported that it had no evidence of a Syrian chemical bomb’…wasn’t even in the room.
Zo…his team gave him four options, he picked the 39 Tomahawks, and apparently bombing Assad’s palace in Damascus was a bridge too far… But reading Rex Tillerson’s reported clueless questions and comments is…a blink-worthy exercise.
“After the meeting, with the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many … No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war. Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” (the rest, including the New Cold War™ by the papers of record dénouement, is here.)
Do you ever make sense, Nikki? Bono always makes sense, in that he’s just another mega-star tool of the Imperium.
“To say that Hersh is an intelligence asset is not to reveal some dark secret. It is simply to concisely, and more bluntly, restate Chomsky’s caveat about Hersh’s stable of high-level sources inside Empire: “Their task is not to tell people the truth. Their task is to tell people what they want them to hear.” It follows that how Hersh sees himself or how others see him is entirely irrelevant to the question of precisely how he makes his living.
Hersh’s sources seek him out, or cooperate, for the very same reason members of the same community seek out Walter Pincus, known infamously as “The CIA’s man at the Washington Post:” To advance their own interests, or the interests of a faction within the security apparatus, or within the so-called Deep State, to which they belong. These people are in the business of misdirection, deception, manipulation, incitement and destabilization. At their most usefully dissident, they are reformists who simply want the U.S. to rule the world with less mess.” [snip]
“There could well be something I haven’t considered but the main point is this: there is absolutely nothing going on here to cheer anyone to the left of liberal Hersh’s basic faith in the system he tells tales on and obvious sympathy for the individuals that keep it running. As with the original story, we’re being manipulated, with information from a single government official we are to accept on faith. Falling for this crap and Hersh’s chest-beating does not make you a renegade. It makes you a rube.”
The link goes to transcript quotes from Hersh on TRNN. Oh, my.
What do you make of it all?