Monday, June 26, 2017

Rogue State, Rogue President

Seymour Hersh on the chemical attack that wasn't:

"On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the US 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 US, 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. The provenance of the photos was not clear and no international observers have yet inspected the site, but the immediate popular assumption worldwide was that this was a deliberate use of the nerve agent sarin, authorized by President Bashar Assad of Syria. Trump endorsed that assumption by issuing a statement within hours of the attack, describing Assad's 'heinous actions' as being a consequence of the Obama administration's 'weakness and irresolution' in addressing what he said was Syria's past use of chemical weapons." (Syria: Trump's red line,, 25/6/17)


Grappler said...

I was going to post this in a comment to you this morning, MERC, but you got there first.

Apparently Bellingcat is in damage control trying to discredit Hersh. Both Hersh and Postol are saying that the Khan Sheikhoun attack was not as painted in the Western media - and by Bellingcat whose bias is palpable - always the Syrian Govt and Russia are to blame.

Here is a background article:

Note that LRB that took over from the New Yorker in publishing Hersh but has now succumbed to pressure. Well done "Welt"!

Here is a conversation on the same website - again from Hersh - between a US soldier and a Security Advisor.

MERC said...

Thanks for that G. Just read The Fog of War. This extract says it all: "The first reporter from a Western newspaper to reach the town worked for the British Guardian. His article included several quotes from people who claimed to be eyewitnesses: 'We could smell it from 500 meters away,' one said, referring to the gas. Yet sarin is odorless." And what Hersh says about the cowardice of the press is spot-on.