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A Shocking Lack of Intelligence in Our Missile Strike on Syria

By Scott Ritter | TruthDig | April 20, 2018

It was a scene that has played out before the American public on multiple occasions in recent history: Representatives of the American defense establishment walked out onto a stage backed by light-blue drapery sporting an oval-shaped sign containing the words “Pentagon” and, below it in smaller letters: “Washington,” along with an image of the unique five-sided building of the same name. With an American flag standing in the background, and standing on a wooden podium emblazoned with the seal of the Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a former Marine general, accompanied by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, a current Marine general, briefed the American public on the details surrounding a U.S.-led missile attack against targets inside Syria, carried out with the United Kingdom and France, that had transpired the night of April 13, 2018, a little more than an hour before Mattis and Dunford took the stage at 10 p.m. (making the timing of the attack around 4 a.m. on April 14, Syrian time).

“As the world knows,” Mattis announced, “the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime. On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important United States national interests. The United States has vital national interests in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.”

Mattis continued: “Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations in consonance with our allies to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research development and production capability. Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.”

Gen. Dunford spelled out the scope of this attack. “The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program … [t]he first target was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area. This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs. We assessed that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment. The third target, which was in the vicinity of the second target, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command post.”

The specificity of language used by Secretary Mattis and Gen. Dunford, declaring Syria to have a chemical weapons program inclusive of a research facility where chemical weapons were produced, a storage facility containing sarin nerve agent precursor production equipment and another that contained chemical weapons equipment and an associated command post, implied a degree of certainty backed by intelligence information sufficient to justify the use of American and allied military force.

Secretary Mattis asserted as much. “I am confident,” he said, “the Syrian regime conducted a chemical attack on innocent people in this last week, yes. Absolutely confident of it. And we have the intelligence level of confidence that we needed to conduct the attack.” When pressed for details about the actual chemical used, Mattis noted, “We are very much aware of one of the agents. There may have been more than one agent used. We are not clear on that yet. We know at least one chemical agent was used.” Later he clarified this statement, declaring, “We’re very confident that chlorine was used. We are not ruling out sarin right now.”

Mattis was asked about a statement he had made the previous day, April 12, when he appeared before the House Armed Services Committee. Then, Mattis put forward a theory that chlorine gas or sarin nerve agent—or a combination of the two—had been used by the Syrian government. He noted, however, that at the time of his presentation, the U.S. and its allies “[didn’t] have evidence” that the Syrian regime carried out the attack on April 7 in the Damascus suburb of Douma. “I believe there was a chemical attack,” Mattis said, “and we’re looking for the evidence.” In response, Mattis noted that his confidence level that the Syrian regime had carried out a chemical attack had increased sometime after he had made that statement.

The next day, April 14, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Dana W. White (a former Fox News publicist and professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as a foreign policy adviser to John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign), together with Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (a 1979 graduate of The Citadel who commanded Marines in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan before being promoted to flag rank and assuming various joint service staff assignments), gave a second briefing where more details about the attack were provided.

In terms of the specificity of the intelligence used to justify the attack, White indicated that she had nothing to add to the statement made by Secretary Mattis the previous night. However, in answering questions, Lt. Gen. McKenzie noted that the U.S. military assessed “that there were probably some chemical and nerve agents in that target.” He also noted that by striking the three targets in question “We are confident that we’ve significantly degraded his [Assad’s] ability to ever use chemical weapons again.” White seconded this assessment. “The strikes went to the very heart of the enterprise, to the research, to development, to storage. So we are very confident that we have significantly crippled Assad’s ability to produce these weapons,” she said.

According to the information contained in these two briefings, the United States had a high degree of confidence in the fact that Syria continued to retain a viable chemical weapons capability despite the elimination of such weapons having been certified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), created under the auspices of the United Nations to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international treaty banning the production, retention and use of chemical weapons (keeping in mind that the Syrians have been accused of using sarin nerve agent, a Schedule 1 chemical, the category of which includes the agent itself, as well as its unique-use precursors).

Moreover, the implication of the statements made by Secretary Mattis, Gen. Dunford, Lt. Gen. McKenzie and Dana White was that the United States possessed intelligence information of such specificity as to permit military planners to assess the level of force necessary to ensure that specific quantities of nerve agent assessed as being present in a facility inside the city of Damascus would be destroyed by the weapons employed. The same holds true for the two chemical storage facilities located near Homs, especially the one assessed as containing sarin nerve agent and its precursors. Moreover, the statements implied that United States was in possession of intelligence information of such quality to permit assessments pertaining to having “crippled” Syria’s ability to produce chemical weapons.

There is one major problem with the information provided by these briefings: It is exclusively drawn from assessments, not fact. When one examines the basis for these assessments, it becomes clear that there was a shocking lack of intelligence available to sustain the predicate used to justify the U.S.-led attack on Syria—that the Syrian government possessed, let alone used, chemical weapons in the city of Douma on April 7.

There is a dearth of information about the specific intelligence information used by the United States, France or the United Kingdom to back up their collective claim that Syria used chemical weapons against Douma on April 7. According to The Guardian, intelligence agencies from all three countries “studied videos” from Douma. American officials in particular noted similarities between the Douma images and those from two previously reported sarin incidents in Syria—East Ghouta, in August 2013, and Khan Shaykhun, in April 2017. The first incident set in motion the events that led to Syria signing the CWC and acceding to the supervised elimination of its chemical weapons capabilities; the second has been used to sustain the premise that Syria had retained, in contravention of its obligations under the CWC, a sarin nerve agent capability. This latter finding underpins the totality of the assessments made in support of the American case for attacking Syria: If Syria possesses sarin nerve agent (as the events in Khan Shaykhun would suggest), then logic dictates that there would be an associated research and development facility complete with on-hand stocks of nerve agent (target one), and chemical weapons storage facilities containing sarin nerve agent and precursors as well as associated manufacturing equipment (targets two and three). No actual proof was required, or offered, to sustain these assessments.

Two issues flow from this line of thinking. First, the Khan Shaykhun incident is not without significant controversy, with its conclusions questioned by numerous experts, journalists and governments. Second, even if one accepts the findings that sarin nerve agent was used in Khan Shaykhun, that fact does not automatically sustain any allegations of sarin use in Douma, especially when there is no evidence to sustain that allegation.

One of the major problems confronting those who contend that both sarin and chlorine were used in the alleged Douma incident is the absolute incompatibility of the two substances. A U.S. Army study from the 1950s found that chlorine serves as a catalyst that promotes the decomposition of sarin nerve agent, meaning that if both substances were either combined or released together, the sarin would rapidly decompose. This reality seemed to escape American officials evaluating the Douma incident, who postulated to The Guardian that chlorine and sarin were stored separately in the same cylinder, ignoring how this would be achieved in a gas cylinder of the type alleged to have been used in Douma.

Only after the U.S.-French-U.K. attack of April 13 did one of the nations involved—in this case, France—provide an assessment outlining the intelligence case behind the Douma allegations. “On the intelligence collected by our services,” the report noted, “and in the absence to date of chemical samples analyzed by our own laboratories, France considers, beyond possible doubt, a chemical attack was carried out against civilians at Douma.” The basis of this conclusion was similar to that which underpinned the American assessment: “After examining the videos and images of victims published online, they (intelligence services) were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated.” Without providing any further information or analysis, the French report concluded that “[r]eliable intelligence indicates that Syrian military officials have coordinated what appears to be the use of chemical weapons containing chlorine on Douma, on April 7.”

In short, the French case for war—and by extension, that of its allies, the United States and the United Kingdom—rested solely on “open source” information provided by opponents of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, for whom military intervention by the West was a long-standing objective. The illogic behind the Syrian government employing chemical weapons in a manner that would invite Western military intervention at a time when the battle for Douma was all but over seems never to have been probed in a meaningful fashion by the intelligence agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom—or France.

Ground Zero

As far as “objective news sources” go, the Abkhazian Network News Agency, or ANNA, would not logically top any list. Based out of the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia, the ANNA is an unabashed pro-Russian online news outlet known for its gritty front-line reporting from inside Syria, where its reporters, at great risk (many have been wounded while doing their jobs), accompany the Syrian army on combat operations against Islamist militants. Their reporting combines hand-held cameras, running alongside infantry and monitoring tactical command posts, GoPro-type cameras attached to tank turrets and cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles hovering overhead, to provide a full-spectrum look at the ground war inside Syria unmatched by any other news source.

On April 5, 2018, the Syrian army’s vaunted Tiger Force, an elite assault unit of around 1,000 men, captured the village of al-Rayyan, on the western approaches to Douma, from fighters of the Army of Islam, a pro-Saudi jihadist group that had occupied Douma since 2013. The advance of the Tiger Force was the latest in a series of offensives carried out by Syria against rebel-held positions in the district of Eastern Ghouta, in which the city of Douma was located, since the beginning of the year. In March 2018 the Syrian army managed to break the rebel-held territory into three separate pockets, prompting thousands of fighters from groups other than the Army of Islam to agree to surrender their heavy weapons and evacuate Eastern Ghouta, together with their families to the northern Syrian town of Jarablus, adjacent to the Turkish border, which was under the control of the Turkish military and opposition forces belonging to the Free Syrian Army.

Only the area in and around Douma, under the control of the Army of Islam and the remnants of other defeated militant groups, held out. By early April, however, the relentless attacks by the Syrian army pushed even the hardened fighters of the Army of Islam to falter, and negotiations were opened with the Russians, leading to a series of temporary humanitarian cease-fires that quickly broke down amid mutual accusations of violations. The capture of al-Rayyan by the Tiger Force took place after the collapse of one such cease-fire and led to the resumption of negotiations between the Syrian government and the Army of Islam for the evacuation of the Islamists and their families from Douma. Earlier evacuations from Douma, involving thousands of militants and their families, had been conducted by the Russian military, which provided security. The negotiations, however, broke down as factions within the Army of Islam balked at having to leave Douma without their weapons.

On the morning of April 7, the Syrian army, supported by the Syrian and Russian air forces, renewed its assault on Douma. ANNA reporters accompanied Syrian troops from the Tiger Force as they overwhelmed the defenses of the Army of Islam, capturing a swath of open ground known as the Douma Farms, penetrating nearly three kilometers into the Army of Islam positions along a 10-kilometer front. The Tiger Force offensive represented the death knell of the Army of Islam; denied the buffer provided by the Douma Farms, the Army of Islam was trapped in the kind of urban terrain the Tiger Force thrived in, having perfected its house-to-house fighting tactics during the battle for Aleppo in 2017. Faced with inevitable defeat, the Army of Islam reached out to the Russians to renew negotiations that would lead to surrendering Douma to Syrian government control.

As the Army of Islam defenses crumbled in the face of the Tiger Force offensive, and the inevitability of defeat settled in among the leadership of the Army of Islam, a coordinated series of messages from various humanitarian organizations with a long history of opposition to the regime of Bashar Assad began to come out from within Douma about a series of chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian air force against the civilian population of Douma.

Among the first, a tweet from the Ghouta Media Center, a well-known outlet for anti-Assad information, was illustrative of what was to follow: “A new #Chemical massacre in #Syria was committed, this time in #Douma_city, 75 civilians were suffocated till death & 1000 suffocation cases, by a barrel was dropped by #Assad helicopters around 9:00pm contains the toxic #Sarin gas, some activists reached bodies in some basements.” Another group, known as the Douma Revolution, published a series of videos on its Facebook page on April 7 that would later be shown repeatedly on Western television channels as evidence of a chemical weapons attack.

By the morning of April 8, news of the alleged chemical weapons attack reached the front lines, where they were dismissed by the officers and men of the Tiger Force. “[Militants] claim we shelled them with chemical weapons,” a senior Tiger Force officer told ANNA reporters during a lull in the fighting on the morning of April 8, as the initial reports of a chemical attack in Douma became public, “but that is a lie, because at the same time we were advancing forward, not one of our soldiers has a gas mask.” Another Tiger Force officer made a similar argument. “We have no protection against the chemical weapons,” he told ANNA. “Those dogs used the chemical weapons themselves and said we did it. If we had that kind of weapon, we would have to carry gas masks. Go to the front and see for yourselves—what are you going to see? We are all here preparing to advance.” A third Tiger Force officer emphasized this point. “We do not have chemical weapons. We breathe the same air. If we had used chemical weapons, we would have suffered ourselves. There are only 20 meters between us. This is just a publicity stunt.”

The “publicity stunt,” however, had served its purpose. By April 8, the White Helmets, the nongovernmental organization lionized by many as a vaunted search-and-rescue organization credited with saving thousands of lives in the face of Syrian and Russian aerial bombardment, and demonized by others as a vehicle for generating anti-regime propaganda and promoting Western military intervention to topple Assad, and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), another NGO possessing a similarly controversial pedigree, had published a joint statement on the Douma attack, the contents of which would be repeated verbatim (and seemingly without question) by Western media outlets and government agencies.

On Saturday, 07/04/2019 at 7:45 PM local time, amidst continuous bombardment of residential neighborhoods in the city of Douma, more than 500 cases—the majority of whom are women and children—were brought to local medical centers with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent. Patients have shown signs of respiratory distress, central cyanosis, excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odor.

During clinical examination, medical staff observed bradycardia, wheezing and coarse bronchial sounds. One of the injured was declared dead on arrival. Other patients were treated with humidified oxygen and bronchodilators, after which their condition improved. In several cases involving more severe exposure to the chemical agents, medical staff put patients on a ventilator, including four children. Six casualties were reported at the center, one of whom was a woman who had convulsions and pinpoint pupils.

SAMS has documented 43 casualties with similar clinical symptoms of excessive oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns. Civil Defense [White Helmet] volunteers were unable to evacuate the bodies due to the intensity of the odor and the lack of protective equipment. The reported symptoms indicate that the victims suffocated from the exposure to toxic chemicals, most likely an organophosphate element.

These reports succeeded in generating the desired results—the United States was joined by the United Kingdom and France in condemning the alleged chemical weapons attack as a violation of international law that demanded an international response. President Trump tweeted out his own response, replete with ominously threatening language: “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price … to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”

By April 9, the U.N. Security Council was meeting in emergency session, leading to the inevitable rhetorical clash between the ambassadors from the United States and Russia. “The Russian regime, whose hands are all covered in the blood of Syrian children, cannot be ashamed by pictures of its victims,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council. She also took aim at Syria’s president, noting, “Only a monster does this.” For its part, Russia’s ambassador stated: “There was no chemical weapons attack,” adding that “[t]he boorishness against my country is unacceptable and exceeds Cold War standards.”

While a war of words transpired in New York, on the ground in Syria the situation was evolving in a manner which began to threaten the narrative marketed by the White Helmets, SAMS and other sources that had peddled the information used by Washington, London and Paris to build a case sustaining the allegation of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government. The Army of Islam, having been thoroughly defeated on the field of battle by the Syrian army, abandoned Douma for refuge in rebel-held Idlib province. As the probability of unfettered access to the actual sites of the alleged chemical attacks became reality, the locations and people captured on film at what had become Ground Zero in Douma were about to be placed under a microscope of scrutiny where fact would ultimately triumph over fiction.

The Inspectors

 At the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, Netherlands, the inspectors maintain a situation center responsible for monitoring news reports from around the world, looking for any initial indication of an event that would fall under the purview. As soon as reports started coming out of Syria of an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, the OPCW Situation Center kicked into action, briefing the director-general, Ahmet Üzümcü, on the developments. After years of experience in Syria investigating similar allegations, the situation center had developed significant contacts with various NGOs on the ground inside Syria, including the White Helmets and SAMS, and contact was established between the OPCW and these entities to learn more about what was transpiring on the ground inside Douma. Using the preliminary assessment of the situation center, derived solely from the images provided by anti-regime activists, that an incident had actually occurred inside Syria, the director-general ordered the Fact Finding Mission (FFM), a standing body of inspectors tasked with investigating chemical incidents in Syria, to assemble and prepare for deployment into Syria. By April 9 a team of nine personnel, all volunteers, including several who were pulled out of training courses, were gathered, and preparations were made for the FFM to travel to Syria under protocols associated with what the OPCW called an “Investigation of Alleged Use” (IAU) inspection under Article X of the CWC, where a state party to the CWC requests assistance in investigating an alleged use of chemical weapons. (The Syrian government had formally requested that the OPCW dispatch a team to Syria on April 10.)

A Title X IAU inspection is limited in scope to simply ascertaining whether a chemical agent was used—there would be no attribution of responsibility. By inviting the OPCW to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the Syrian government (together with its Russian allies, who had joined with Syria in pressing for the OPCW to investigate the Douma allegations) was creating a diplomatic crisis of sorts over the role and function of the inspectors. For the United States, the United Kingdom and France, simply ascertaining whether a chemical agent was used was not enough—they wanted blame attached, and preferably to the Syrian government. The OPCW was not mandated to assign attribution for any alleged chemical incident; as such, the United States pushed a resolution in the Security Council to stand up an investigation team that would be able to assign blame. This resolution was promptly vetoed by Russia.

In the case of Syria, the Security Council had set up an entity, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which worked hand-in-glove with the OPCW to investigate incidents of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria. The only difference was that the JIM was specifically mandated to assign blame for an attack, something it did with no small amount of controversy. In the aftermath of the joint OPCW/JIM investigation and report of an alleged use of chemical agent in Khan Shaykhun in April 2017, where blame was assigned to the Syrian government despite evidentiary issues related to a lack of chain of custody for samples used in the investigation, a failure to inspect the site of the alleged incident, and other investigatory shortfalls, Russia vetoed the extension of the mandate for the JIM, terminating it.

Without a specifically mandated investigatory mechanism to accompany the OPCW into Syria, any report issued by the OPCW would not be able to ascertain the blame needed by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to justify taking military action against Syria, something all three nations were speaking openly about in the days following the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. Indeed, the existence of the OPCW team was viewed by many in the West, including James Mattis, as being irrelevant to the fact-finding process. “We’re trying to get inspectors in,” Mattis told Congress on April 12. “We will not know from this investigating team” who was responsible, Mattis said. “We will not know who did it. Only that it happened.” For Mattis and the other decision makers, who had already reached the conclusion that Syria had employed both chlorine gas and sarin nerve agent in Douma, this wasn’t good enough.

New videos had emerged from within Douma in the days following the alleged chemical attack, provided by the White Helmets, which claimed to show yellow 150-pound chlorine gas cylinders dropped by the Syrian military on targets inside Douma, including one site where numerous deaths were reported. These videos were picked up by the Western media and promoted by anti-regime social media activists such as Elliot Higgins, who posted a detailed assessment of the canisters and their relevance on his Bellingcat website. However, questions soon emerged about the legitimacy of the White Helmet video as proof of a chlorine attack, namely around the lack of damage to the cylinders involved, the lack of any indication that the cylinders contained chlorine gas, or, if they did, any chlorine gas leaked from the cylinders (the regulator valves on both canisters appeared to be undamaged and closed, and the physical integrity of both canisters seemed intact, prompting the question as to how any gas was alleged to have originated from either). Complicating matters further was the fact that, on April 9, a Russian military unit had arrived at the scene of the alleged gas attack to investigate and found no evidence of any chemical attack.

Suddenly, the OPCW fact-finding mission had new relevance. It no longer mattered that it could not assign blame for an alleged chemical weapons incident; the Russians and the Syrians had said that no such attack had taken place, and that no evidence of chemical weapons use existed at a site where numerous casualties from a chemical attack were alleged to have occurred. If the OPCW team confirmed the findings of the Russian reconnaissance team, there would be no case for military action. If, on the other hand, the OPCW team found that a chemical agent had been used in the face of Russian claims that none existed, the United States, the United Kingdom and France would have a stronger case for intervention.

The OPCW advance party deployed to Beirut on Thursday, April 12, and was joined by the rest of the team on Friday, April 13. Their plan was to deploy to Damascus on Saturday, April 14, and begin their work shortly thereafter. If chlorine had been used in Douma, as the White Helmets, SAMS and others claimed, inspectors would be able to find evidence of such in the form of various chloride salts, produced by the hydrochloric acid that was in turn produced through the reaction of chlorine gas with any substance it encountered upon release. The Russian military experts who visited Douma on April 9 were no doubt aware of this. If the OPCW team was able to detect significant traces of chloride salts, then the Russian findings would be debunked, and the claims of the White Helmets, SAMS and others bolstered.

The American-led military attack on Syria took place while the OPCW fact-finding mission assembled in Beirut; on Saturday, April 14, while the team drove to Damascus, Syria was dealing with consequences of this act. Despite this new reality, the Syrian government met with the fact-finding mission to discuss the arrangements needed for the team to travel to Douma to carry out its tasks. Problems soon arose regarding the security of the OPCW team; Russia and Syria claimed that, in the aftermath of the missile strike on Douma, the security environment in Douma had deteriorated when militants, emboldened by the attack, began shooting at Syrian military patrols. This prompted the need for Russia and Syria to find alternative routes into and out of the areas in Douma that needed to be inspected and to clear these routes of debris and mines. On Tuesday, April 17, the OPCW fact-finding mission sent a reconnaissance team to Douma but withdrew after coming under fire, further delaying the arrival of the main body of inspectors and their ability to carry out their assigned tasks.

While the OPCW inspectors waited in Damascus, the Syrian government provided them with access to 22 medical personnel it claimed had treated the alleged victims of the chemical attack, and who could provide testimony that no such attack took place. While the OPCW has not indicated whether these interviews actually took place, or what the findings of any such interviews were, insight into their probable content could be found via Russian media, which aired interviews with two Syrian medical personnel who appeared in the White Helmet video showing victims of the alleged chemical attack being treated in Douma.

In one such interview, a person identified as Khalil Azizah, claiming to be a medical student who works in the emergency room of the central hospital of Douma, declared that “a house in the city was bombed. The upper floors of the building were destroyed and a fire broke out on the first several floors. All those who were injured in this building were brought to us. The residents of the upper floors had signs of smoke inhalation from the fire’s smoke. We provided assistance based upon the symptoms of smoke inhalation. During this time an unknown person came in. I don’t know him. He said that this was an attack using poisonous substances. People were frightened, there was a struggle; the relatives of the wounded began to spray each other with water. Other people without medical training began putting anti-asthma inhalers in children’s mouths. We didn’t see a single patient with signs of chemical poisoning.”

Khalil Azizah claimed that the incident in question took place on April 8, one day after the alleged attack of April 7. However, he referred to the same video shot by the White Helmets and pointed to his image in the video as one of the personnel providing medical treatment. As such, there is no doubt that the incident Khalil Azizah refers to is the same one recorded by the White Helmets. Moreover, Azizah’s narrative of smoke inhalation is consistent with the finding of the French intelligence report on the Douma chemical attack, which noted that, based upon an examination of the images of the alleged victims, one of the possible explanations behind the symptoms produced was “hydrocyanic acid” (the solution of hydrogen cyanide in water). Hydrogen cyanide is something not found in either chlorine or sarin exposure, but prevalent in the smoke produced by structure fires. The presence of hydrogen cyanide would be explained by a structure fire, and as such, Azizah’s testimony provides a viable alternative explanation for the victims being treated by the Douma hospital, as well as those filmed dead at the scene of the alleged chemical attack.

The Western media aired its own recorded interviews of alleged victims who had fled from Douma to refugee camps along the Turkish border. Complicating the story further, reporters from a variety of news outlets had made their way to the actual site of the alleged Douma chemical attack while the OPCW inspectors were stranded in Damascus. A CBS crew was shown the chlorine canister on the roof of the building where the victims of the chemical attack were claimed to have died and interviewed eyewitnesses who claimed to have been present during the attack. Other journalists visited the same location and interviewed eyewitnesses who claimed no chemical attack had taken place.

Meanwhile, the delay for getting the OPCW inspectors into Douma prompted the United States, the United Kingdom and France to speculate that Russia was sanitizing the site of the attack of any evidence that would show chemicals were used, a charge Russia vehemently denied (and something the various news reports conducted at the scene would suggest was not, in fact, the case). Not to be outdone, the head of the White Helmets claims to have provided the OPCW fact-finding mission the locations of “mass graves” containing the victims of the alleged chemical attack. The forensic viability of these bodies (for which no documentation exists and no chain of custody has been provided linking them to the chemical incident in question, if they in fact exist) is virtually nil, and it is unlikely the OPCW would seek to have them exhumed in any event. The allegations of their existence, however, represents the latest in a series of roadblocks that have been placed in the way of the OPCW inspectors.

The truth is out there, waiting on the ground in Douma. There is no doubt that the OPCW fact-finding mission has the forensic investigatory capability to detect the presence of chemical agents at the scene of the alleged chemical attack of April 7. The amount of chlorine necessary to have produced the number of casualties claimed is significant, and as such the chemical residue unique to such an event would be present in large quantities, and easily detected; no amount of “sanitation” by Russia or any other party could eliminate these traces.

This is the truth of the Douma chemical allegations—they can be readily proved or disproved almost immediately upon arrival at the scene by qualified inspectors from the OPCW. The fact that the United States, the United Kingdom and France opted to attack Syria without allowing the OPCW inspectors to first accomplish their mission provides the clearest indication possible that all three nations knew they possessed a shocking lack of intelligence to sustain their allegations surrounding the use of chemical agents by the Syrian government, and that the missile attack of April 13, was little more than a propaganda exercise designed to promote larger policy objectives regarding U.S., U.K. and French policy in Syria. This conclusion holds regardless of what the ultimate finding is by the OPCW inspectors as to what transpired on the ground in Douma the evening of April 7, 2018.

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

What Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria… And Does it Matter?

By Ron Paul | April 23, 2018

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finally arrived in Douma, Syria, to assess whether a gas attack took place earlier this month. It has taken a week for the inspectors to begin their work, as charges were thrown back and forth about who was causing the delay.

Proponents of the US and UK position that Assad used gas in Douma have argued that the Syrian and Russian governments are preventing the OPCW inspectors from doing their work. That, they claim, is all the evidence needed to demonstrate that Assad and Putin have something to hide. But it seems strange that if Syria and Russia wanted to prevent an OPCW inspection of the alleged sites they would have been the ones to request the inspection in the first place.

The dispute was solved just days ago, as the OPCW Director-General released a statement explaining that the delay was due to UN security office concerns for the safety of the inspectors.

We are told that even after the OPCW inspectors collect samples from the alleged attack sites, it will take weeks to determine whether there was any gas or other chemicals released. That means there is very little chance President Trump had “slam dunk” evidence that Assad used gas in Douma earlier this month when he decided to launch a military attack on Syria. To date, the US has presented no evidence of who was responsible or even whether an attack took place at all. Even right up to the US missile strike, Defense Secretary Mattis said he was still looking for evidence.

In a Tweet just days ago, Rep. Thomas Massie expressed frustration that in a briefing to Congress last week the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense “provided zero real evidence” that Assad carried out the attack. Either they have it and won’t share it with Congress, he wrote, or they have nothing. Either way, he added, it’s not good.

We should share Rep. Massie’s concerns.

US and French authorities have suggested that videos shared on the Internet by the US-funded White Helmets organization were sufficient proof of the attack. If social media postings are these days considered definitive intelligence, why are we still spending $100 billion a year on our massive intelligence community? Maybe it would be cheaper to just hire a few teenagers to scour YouTube?

Even if Assad had gassed his people earlier this month there still would have been no legal justification for the US to fire 100 or so missiles into the country. Of course such a deed would deserve condemnation from all civilized people, but Washington’s outrage is very selective and often politically motivated. Where is the outrage over Saudi Arabia’s horrific three-year war against Yemen? Those horrors are ignored because Saudi Arabia is considered an ally and thus above reproach.

We are not the policemen of the world. Bad leaders do bad things to their people all the time. That’s true even in the US, where our own government steadily chips away at our Constitution by setting up a surveillance state.

We have neither the money nor the authority to launch bombs when we suspect someone has done something wrong overseas. A hasty decision to use force is foolish and dangerous. As Western journalists reporting from Douma are raising big questions about the official US story of the so-called gas attack, Trump’s inclination to shoot first and ask questions later may prove to be his downfall.

April 23, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

US Mainstream Media Attacks North Korea for Supporting Palestine in a Disgusting Display of Nuclear Hypocrisy

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | April 22, 2018

While Donald Trump is busy giving himself credit for the efforts of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in to reconcile the two Korean states in the hope of ending the Korean War/Fatherland Liberation War, Trump’s domestic opponents are busy saying that the man who threatened to “destroy” North Korea in front of the UN General Assembly just seven months ago is somehow going “soft” on North Korea. Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to respond with his customary bombast.

But while the typical back-and-forth between Trump and his media critics continues, one mainstream media publication in the US has taken things a step further by trying to damage the spirit of good will surrounding the DPRK’s rapprochement with Seoul. Newsweek has quoted form an official Korean source Minju Joson, regarding Pyongyang’s condemnation of the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators who have been attacked by the military of the Tel Aviv regime during the Great March of Return.

Newsweek published the following statement from the government of the DPRK:

“Israel’s wild act of destroying Mid-east peace and mercilessly killing Palestinians is a hideous crime that deserves denunciations thousands of times. If the U.S. is interested in protecting human rights, it should keep pace with the efforts of the international community to denounce and check Israel’s human rights abuses. But, the U.S. chimed in with Israel in the eyes of the international community, fully disclosing that it is applying double-dealing standards in human rights and politicizing it”.

While the intention of the Newsweek piece was clearly to sow resentment towards the DPRK among Zionist Americans, Newsweek may not achieve the desired result. As the treatment of Palestinians becomes ever more barbaric at the hands of a regime intent on spilling blood in Gaza and the West Bank, even many Americans with Zionist sympathies including actress Natalie Portman have expressed their condemnation of the regime’s activities. While Portman’s stand has been applauded by many, the regime’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has said that Portman’s remarks “border on antisemitism”. This charge is clearly ridiculous for obvious enough reasons, but it is nevertheless being proffered by a regime desperate for legitimacy.

But while the Tel Aviv regime continues to cling on to its illegal nuclear weapons, the DPRK has expressed a willingness to cease testing its weapons while promising the goal of de-nuclearisation in order to achieve peace between Pyongyang and Seoul in line with the desires of the DPRK’s northern neighbours China and Russia.

While North Korea has not actively enraged in the long cold Korean War since 1953, “Israel’s” wars have been endless since 1948. The regime continues to occupy Palestine and part of Syria while it has recently threatened Lebanon with a new invasion.

While North Korea’s uneasy truce with South Korea has not resulted in catastrophe even at the lowest ebbs in relations, the same cannot be said for the Tel Aviv regime’s relations with its neighbours. The Newsweek piece which was intended to slander North Korea has actually helped to raise the important issue of double standards in the US where North Korea’s defensive nuclear programme is presented as something which threatens the world while “Israel’s” offensive and illegal nuclear programme is virtually never discussed. As none of “Israel’s” neighbours have nuclear weapons and as none of the world’s nuclear powers have directly threatened the regime, no country in the world has less of a justification for nuclear weapons than “Israel”. Even in the case of Pakistan and India, two of the world’s most confrontational neighbours with nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan can always justify the presence of its weapons based on the threat posed by the other. “Israel” has no such justification available.

The US hypocrisy regarding the DPRK vis-a-vis the “Israeli” regime is nothing new. These morosely unjust double standards go back decades. In 1967, the American Naval Ship USS Liberty came under a sustained attack from the “Israeli” air-force and torpedo boats without any warning or justification. In spite of Liberty’s commanders sending communications informing “Israel” that they were an “allied” US ship, the attack persisted for hours. Archival material has revealed that some of the pilots were aware that the ship was American, but that they were ordered by their superiors to keep attacking.

Ultimately, 34 Americans died in the attack while 171 were severely wounded. The incident was systematically hushed up by the US government and media. Many researchers suspect that “Israel” had attempted to stage a false flag incident that would later be blamed on Egypt, in order to coerce the US into attacking Egypt and its Soviet ally. Because “Israel” was not able to kill all the men on board, the plan failed as the survivors knew full well that it was “Israel” and not Egypt nor any other Soviet ally that had attacked their ship.

By contrast, the US media could not stop talking about the DPRK’s capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968. There is still no consensus as to whether the US Naval ship that was captured by the DPRK was in North Korean or international waters. Unlike the allied USS Liberty in the Mediterranean, the USS Pueblo was an enemy ship conducting espionage activities against a communist Asian state at the height of the US war in Vietnam. The incident therefore ought to be viewed in this wider content. In any case, the DPRK captured the ship where it remains to this day as a museum piece. One American died during the capture and the rest of the crew were eventually released into US allied South Korea.

Objectively, any American should be able to see that what “Israel” did to the USS Liberty is a vastly bigger issue than what the DPRK did to the spy-ship USS Pueblo. Yet decades later, it is an ever more militaristic “Israel” that is given billions by the United States, while North Korea continues to be sanctioned and threatened by the United States, in spite of the fact that 2018 has seen Pyongyang and Seoul reach a new detente which will see Koreans from both sides of the 38th parallel marching together in the Olympics under a flag of unity.

The events mentioned in this piece are one of the reasons that Palestinians and North Koreans alike, have no faith whatsoever in the United States and the so-called international community it endlessly asks to unite against North Korea, while equally imploring it to abandon Palestine.

So while Newsweek seeks to condemn North Korea for its consistently principled stand as a friend of Palestine, the truth of the matter is that while North Korea has never been a legitimate threat to the wider world, “Israel” not only remains a threat, but has a history of confrontation with almost every country in the region. The fact that the regime continues to slaughter Palestinians protesting for rights to their stolen land is proof positive that while North Korea is embracing peace, the Tel Aviv regime remains more militant than ever.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Who Is Terrance Yeakey?

This video is meant for educational purposes only. All rights belong to it’s rightful owner/owner’s. No copyright infringement intended.

This is a segment taken from the documentary A Noble Lie. You can get more information on this film at the link below: http://www.anoblelie.com

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 2 Comments

Another Dodgy British Dossier: the Skripal Case

In this second part of a series, Gareth Porter compares the same faulty logic employed in two purposely misleading, so-called British intelligence dossiers.

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | April 21, 2018

The British government shared what was supposedly a dossier containing sensitive intelligence to convince allies and EU member states to support its accusation of Russian culpability in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4.

But like the infamous 2003 “dodgy dossier” prepared at the direction of Prime Minister Tony Blair to justify British involvement in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the intelligence dossier on the Salisbury poisoning turns out to have been based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence

British officials used the hastily assembled “intelligence” briefing to brief the North Atlantic Council on March 15, the European Foreign Affairs Council on March 19 and the European summit meeting in Brussels on March 23.

The Need for Dramatic Claims

When Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ordered the production of an intelligence dossier to be used to convince allies and EU member states to join Britain in expelling Russian diplomats, they had a problem: they were unable to declare that nerve agent from a Russian military laboratory had been verified as the poison administered to the Skripals. As the well-informed former Ambassador Craig Murray learned from a Foreign and Commonwealth Office source, the British government military laboratory at Porton Down had been put under strong pressure by Johnson to agree that they had confirmed that the poison found in Salisbury had come from a specific Russian laboratory. Instead Porton Down would only agree to the much more ambiguous formula that it was nerve agent “of a type developed in Russia.”

May and Johnson: Needed dramatic claims

So May and Johnson needed some dramatic claims to buttress their argument to allies and EU member states that the Salisbury poisoning must have been a Russian government assassination attempt.

A letter from British national security adviser Mark Sedwill to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg released publicly on April 13, refers to two key claims in the dossier of a Russian program to research ways of delivering nerve agent, including smearing it on door handles, and of Russian production and stockpiling of nerve agent during the past decade.

But closer analysis of these claims, based in part on information provided by official British sources to the press, makes it clear that the government did not have any concrete “intelligence” to support those Government claims in the intelligence brief.

The Door Knob Claim

The Sedwill letter referred to a Russian “investigation of ways of delivering nerve agent, including by application to door handles” as being part of a broader alleged Russian government program of chemical weapons research and military training.”  The letter was obviously implying that it had some secret intelligence on which to base the charge, and some in the British press pitched in to support the claim.

The first paragraph of a Guardian story on the intelligence dossier said, “Russia had tested whether door handles could be used to deliver nerve agent,” attributing the information to “previously classified intelligence over the Salisbury attack made public Friday.”

In another story about the evidence on the Salisbury poisoning, however, The Guardian, apparently reflecting its understanding of what government officials had conveyed, wrote, “Such an audacious attack could have been carried out only by trained professionals familiar with chemical weapons.” That statement hinted that the alleged Russian “investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles” was actually a speculative inference rather than a fact established by hard evidence.

A report in the Daily Mirror, evidently intended to support the government line, actually showed quite clearly that what was being presented as intelligence on alleged Russian research on delivering nerve agent via a door handle was in fact nothing of the sort. It quoted a “security source” as explaining how that claim in the intelligence paper was linked to the belief of counter-terrorism investigators that the Skripals first came in contact with nerve agent on the handle of Skripals’ front door.

“The door handle thing is big,” the unnamed source told the Mirror. “It amounts to Russia’s tradecraft manual on applying poisons to door handles. It’s the smoking gun.” The source was not saying that British intelligence had firsthand information about a Russian tradecraft manual; it was suggesting that one could somehow deduce from the assumed application of nerve agent to the door handle of the Skripal house that this was a sign of Russian intelligence tradecraft.

The source then appeared to confirm explicitly that this inference was the basis of the specific claim in the intelligence brief that, “It is strong proof Russia has in the last 10 years researched methods to administer poisons, including by using door handles.”

The Murder that Contradicts the Dossier

The idea that only intelligence operatives with formal training could have applied nerve agent to a door handle was not based on objective analysis. MI6, the British foreign intelligence service, knows very well that a 1995 murder committed in Moscow with a nerve agent developed by Soviet-era scientists was carried out by a private individual, not a government intelligence unit.

Court documents in the 1995 murder of banker Ivan Kivelidi, reported by the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, show that in 1994 a Russian criminal syndicate had acquired Novichok nerve agent, which had been synthesized by Soviet scientists, and that it was used the following year to kill Kivelidi and his secretary by applying some of the nerve agent on his telephone receiver.

Boris Kuznetsov, a dissident Russian lawyer involved in the Kivelidi murder case, who fled Russia in 2007 with copies of all the relevant documents, turned them over to the British government after the Skripal poisoning. The knowledge of that episode would account for Prime Minister May’s otherwise surprising acknowledgement on March 12 of the possibility that the poisoning might not have been a Russian government action but the consequence of the Russian government allowing nerve agent to “get into the hands of others”.

An Ongoing Russian Novichok Program?

The Sedwill letter made another sweeping claim of covert Russian production of the line of nerve agent that had been dubbed Novichok. “Within the last decade,” it said, “Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok under the same programme.” If true, that would have been major evidence bearing on the Skripal poisoning, since such a program would be both covert and illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Sedwill: No evidence

But neither the Sedwill letter nor any other statement from the British government has referred to the possession of any evidence for that claim, even in the most generic way. In fact, Prime Minister May said merely that Russia “had previously produced Novichoks and would still be able to do so”.

In contrast to its silence about any kind of information supporting its claim of Russian production and stockpiling of Novichok program in the past decade, the Sedwill letter cited “a combination of credible open-source reporting and intelligence” on the existence of the Russian program that developed the Novichok line of nerve agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

If the UK possessed actual evidence of such a Russian nerve agent program at Shikhany, the former military chemical weapons facility, it presumably would have informed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of the fact and presented its evidence to the 41-member Executive Council, the governing body of the organization. It clearly has not done so, and it has not suggested that it was prevented from doing so by the fear of compromising an intelligence source within the Russian government.

The British government could also demand a “challenge inspection” at the facility. Any member of the Chemical Weapons Convention can call for an immediate inspection, and Russia would have had no option but to permit it. But it has not done so, signifying that it does not have the information necessary to identify the location of the alleged production and stockpiling of such a weapon, nor does it have the name of anyone who has worked on such a project.

Suspect Intercepted Russian Communications

Another claim in the British “intelligence” dossier is an intercepted Russian communication that allegedly supports the Russian nerve gas operation accusation.

The tabloid Express reported its sources saying such an intercept had been “a key part of Britain’s intelligence evidence.” The sources revealed that on March 4, a message from Damascus to Moscow intercepted by a listening post in Southern Cyprus contained the words, “The package has been delivered.” And the same message was said to have reported that two named individuals had “made a successful egress” – meaning that they had left.

But without knowing the context in which either statement was made, such quotes are meaningless. And one must ask how often something like those exact words would be communicated to Moscow from a diplomatic or military outpost somewhere in the world every single day. Furthermore, the second message to which the dossier is said to have referred actually revealed the names of the two men who had departed, so it clearly had nothing to do with a covert operation.

The May government was able to convince 29 other states, including the United States, to take action against Russia by expelling its diplomats, representing a deliberate step toward higher tensions with Moscow. But the intelligence dossier it deployed in that effort, as reflected in the Sedwill letter and media reporting, was far from being the kind of information one might expect to provoke such a major diplomatic move. It was instead, like the original 2003 “dodgy dossier” on WMD in Saddam’s Iraq, essentially a collection of misleading claims based on politically-skewed logic.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

British govt must explain its behavior in Skripal case, Syria strikes – UKIP MEP

RT | April 21, 2018

Although the UK has deemed Russia responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the public needs proof, a UKIP MEP told RT, adding that London should also justify its role in the Syria airstrikes.

Speaking to RT at the Yalta International Economic Forum in Crimea, West Midlands Member of European Parliament (MEP) Bill Etheridge said there is a lot of “murky water” in the Skripal case. “A lot of things that are unexplained, a lot of behavior that does not ring true.”

He went on to explain that “the British course of public opinion doesn’t believe it, so the behavior of our government and security services, they need to explain to us why they are so convinced that the great nation of Russia would wish to attack anyone in our country.”

Etheridge added that no one has provided any “solid proof” that Russia was behind the poisoning. “The current British government position is one where they are taking too strong a position with Russia. They should be having dialogue, they should be having conversation.”

Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the UK town of Salisbury on March 4. Russia has offered its full cooperation and urged London to provide evidence, including nerve agent samples. However, it has not received any.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the incident is “highly likely” to have been staged by British intelligence, while Russia’s envoy to the UK has expressed concern that the investigation by the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) lacked transparency.

Etheridge also addressed the topic of Western intervention in Syria, one week after the UK, US, and France launched airstrikes over an alleged chemical attack that the three allies have blamed on the government of Bashar Assad.

“My belief is… the Syrian civil war is one where Western intervention is not helpful… my position is that there should be no intervention and frankly by intervening in that part of the world in the past, the UK and US have made things worse. As far as I’m concerned, we should stand back from this and allow the Syrian people self-determination.”

“I expect that London will get pressure from the British people to justify themselves and if they cannot justify themselves, there will be protests from British people saying, ‘no war in our name, no conflict in our name.'”

The UK, US, and France refused to wait for the results of an official OPCW investigation into the alleged chemical attack before deciding on military action. This also came despite the Russian military traveling to the scene of the alleged attack and finding no evidence of a toxic agent.

Russia has also stated that it has indisputable evidence that the attack did not take place, with Russia’s Ambassador to the OPCW, Aleksandr Shulgin, stating that it was a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US still paying White Helmets despite $200mn-aid freeze for Syria recovery, State Dept confirms

RT | April 20, 2018

As the US is reviewing funding aimed at helping war-ravaged Syria rebuild, it’s not neglecting the White Helmets – a controversial militant-linked group instrumental to the media campaign against Assad and Russia.

At a Thursday press briefing, journalists asked US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert for an update on the late-March freeze of $200 million earmarked for the recovery of Syria – and if that means Washington will be withholding payments to the White Helmets.

Nauert opened her response with a gushing comment about the organization. “We recognize and appreciate and are very grateful for all the work that the White Helmets continues to do on behalf of the people of their country and on behalf of the US Government and all the coalition forces. They’re doing incredible work in rescuing in some cases, and in other cases it’s recovery efforts. They’re an incredible group of individuals,” she said.

Moreover, she said she “just exchanged emails with them the other day.” Finally cornered into giving a direct answer, she said “As far as I’m aware, all of the work still continues. Peoples’ bills are still being paid.”

The White Helmets (officially called the Syria Civil Defense), a supposedly impartial humanitarian NGO, make no secret of who pays those bills, listing the governments of the UK, Germany, and the US among others on their website. Time and again their reports from the scenes of supposed crimes against civilians by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad – who Washington has wanted toppled for years – have been used to justify accusations against Assad and his ally Russia. This includes the latest alleged chemical incident in Douma near Damascus, which led to a series of missile strikes by the US, UK, and France.

These allegations have now been contradicted by multiple sources, including witnesses from the scene, and even people featured in the White Helmets’ video of the “aftermath” of the “attack.”

The White Helmets rely heavily on positive publicity. They have been featured in two documentaries, one of which won an Oscar in the heavily politicized 2017 ceremony.

A recent attempt at gaining publicity and support for their cause, however, fizzled spectacularly. English singer Roger Waters, a founder of Pink Floyd, stopped his Barcelona gig for a minute last week to mention that a representative of the White Helmets wanted to come up on stage and make a statement. However, Waters had a few words of his own to say.

“The White Helmets is a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for jihadists and terrorists,” he said.

It later turned out that in 2016, the NGO emailed Waters, trying to entice him into a dinner honoring the White Helmets, paid for by a Saudi billionaire. And just days before last week’s concert, a journalist describing himself as “a militant with the Syrian White Helmets” asked Waters for stage time to “send a message to the children of Syria.”

Waters replied to neither email, instead choosing to make his beliefs heard publicly.

“If we were to listen to the propaganda of the White Helmets and others, we would be encouraged to encourage our governments to start dropping bombs on people in Syria,” he said.

Which is exactly what happened a few hours later.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

The Animus Toward Russia Is Nothing New

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 19, 2018

An article in Newsweek last November shows that the U.S. national-security establishment’s animus toward Russia is nothing new. It was the guiding light for the Pentagon and the CIA during the entire Cold War.

Entitled “U.S. Government Planned False Flag Attacks to Start War with Soviet Union, JFK Documents Show,” the article pointed to recently disclosed U.S. military documents that showed that the Pentagon wanted to employ a “false flag operation” to start a nuclear war in the early 1960s with the Soviet Union, especially, of course, Russia.

This false-flag plan, which was developed in 1962, called for secretly building or acquiring Soviet planes that would then be used to attack the United States, which would then give the Pentagon the opportunity to fire nuclear missiles into the Soviet Union under the concept of “self-defense.”

Of course, this wasn’t the only time that the Pentagon presented the president with a false-flag operation. That was what Operation Northwoods was also all about. Also developed in 1962, it called for deadly terrorist attacks and plane hijackings here in the United States carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists. The plan would have enabled the Pentagon to invade Cuba, again falsely and fraudulently under the concept of “self-defense.”

What many Americans still do not realize is that the Pentagon and the CIA wanted to start a nuclear war against Russia and the Soviet Union. The animus against Russia, the Soviet Union, communism, and the rest of the communist world was so enormous that U.S. national-security state officials were convinced that nuclear war was inevitable anyway. Since it was going to happen anyway, they felt, better to start it in the hopes of lowering the costs of Soviet nuclear retaliation.

Why were Pentagon and CIA officials so convinced that war between the Soviet Union (including Russia) was inevitable in any event? Because they were convinced that the Soviets and Russians were leading a communist conspiracy to take over the U.S. and the world. It was a conspiracy, they believed, that was implacable. In their minds, this was a fight to finish. It could not end in any way but all-out war.

Thus, in the minds of U.S. national-security state officials, the only practical way out was either surrender or strike first. “Better dead than red” eliminated the possibility of surrender. And instigating nuclear war (using a fraudulent justification) was, they were convinced, the best way to win it.

Enter President John Kennedy, who came to reject everything the Pentagon and the CIA believed and stood for. At one meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he asked them about the anticipated American casualties in the nuclear war they were recommending. They responded 40 million dead Americans. They considered that to be winning the war because everyone in the Soviet Union would be killed. Leaving the meeting, Kennedy indignantly remarked to an aide, “And we call ourselves the human race.”

To his everlasting credit, Kennedy rejected the Pentagon’s false flag plans for invading Cuba and starting a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. In fact, after the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved, Kennedy entered into an all-out political and bureaucratic war with the Pentagon and the CIA over the future direction of the nation.

That’s when Kennedy declared that he was no longer part of the U.S. national-security establishment’s anti-Soviet, anti-Russia, and anti-communist crusade. In his now-famous Peace Speech at American University, he declared that from that day forward, the United States would live in peaceful, friendly coexistence with Russia and the rest of the communist world. It was a slap in the face of the national-security establishment.

JFK then proceeded to move things in that direction, including the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, proposing a joint trip to the moon (which would have meant sharing U.S. missile technology with the Soviets), and secretly negotiating with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban President Fidel Castro for normalizing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba.

All of this, needless to say, was anathema to the Pentagon and the CIA. In their minds, Kennedy was hopelessly naive. His naiveté prevented him from realizing, they believed, that peaceful and friendly coexistence with the communist world was an absolute impossibility. This was a fight to the finish, they were convinced. In their minds, they had no doubt that Kennedy was traveling the road to surrender or defeat at the hands of the communist enemy.

That’s what made Kennedy such a grave threat to “national security” — a much graver threat than that posed by such leaders as Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Fidel Castro of Cuba, and, later, Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Like all of those leaders who were targeted by the Pentagon and the CIA for regime change, Kennedy was reaching out to the Soviets in a spirit of peace and friendship. Kennedy has to be removed from power, just as those other leaders were. The future security of America required it.

The records revealing that false-flag operation described in the Newsweek article were released last fall as part of that JFK Records Act, which was enacted in the early 1990s and required the Pentagon and the CIA to release all their JFK-assassination related records. While many of the records were released in the 1990s, the Act gave the Pentagon and the CIA another 25 years of secrecy for records that they wanted to continue keeping secret from the American people. That period expired last fall but the CIA, not surprisingly, convinced President Trump to continue keeping them secret, on grounds of “national security.” At the last minute, Trump agreed to extend the time for secrecy by another six months, which expires on April 26. One thing is certain: the CIA will request another extension of time for secrecy, again on grounds of “national security.”

Do you see why it was so important to keep those records secret after the assassination? They had to make it look like everything had been hunky-dory with Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson was simply continuing Kennedy’s policies, when in fact Johnson had long been absorbed into the national-security establishment. The last thing they obviously wanted was for Americans to discover the depth and breadth of the political and bureaucratic war between Kennedy and the U.S. national-security establishment over the future direction of America.

In fact, do you see why it is so important to these people that they continue keeping the tens of thousands of records secret from the American people? Keep in mind that those records are more than 50 years old and that they are claiming that their release will pose a grave threat to “national security.” In other words, that the United States will fall into the ocean or that the federal government will be taken over by the communists or the Russians.

It’s hard to get more nonsensical than that. The reason they still don’t want those records to be released is because they will help to fill out the mosaic of the deep war that was taking place between Kennedy and his national-security establishment and why he needed to be removed from power via a domestic national-security regime-change operation, no different in principle from those taken against leaders in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, and many others. 

For more information, read:

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger
JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne (who served on the staff of the ARRB)
Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob G. Hornberger
The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger
CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Skripals poisoning ‘highly likely’ staged by British intelligence – Russian Foreign Ministry

RT | April 19, 2018

The UK’s behavior after the Skripal incident suggests that the attack was organized by the British spy agencies or was at least beneficial for them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

“It was highly likely that the false-flag incident with the poisoning of the Russian citizens in Salisbury was beneficial for, or perhaps organized by, the British intelligence services in order to mar Russia and its political leadership,” Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, markedly using the same phrase regarding probability as London officials and their allies.

Such a false-flag operation would perfectly fit into the “general Russophobe course of the [UK] Conservative government to demonize our country,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the UK has “frequently committed such acts in the past.”

The “National Defense Strategy of the UK and the banquet speech of PM Theresa May at the end of last year,” also contribute to such version of events, according to Zakharova. The document and May’s speech have clearly envisioned “countering Russia” as one of the main priorities for the UK.

London’s actions in the aftermath of the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in the town of Sailsbury have raised many questions in Moscow. Russia says the UK did everything possible to disrupt the investigation and conceal facts, while squarely pinning the blame on Moscow. Russia has vehemently denied the allegations and repeatedly urged the UK to show some proof, or at least make information on the incident publicly available.

“The firm refusal to cooperate with Russia on the Salisbury poisoning investigation, London’s violations of the consular convention, reluctance to cooperate with the OPCW and concealment of the basic data to conduct a transparent investigation are the shining proofs of that,” Zakharova concluded.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!

By W. Patrick Lang • Unz Review • April 19, 2018

In 2004 I published an article in the journal, Middle East Policy that was entitled “Drinking the Koolaid.” The article reviewed the process by which the neocon element in the Bush Administration seized control of the process of policy formation and drove the United States in the direction of invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the apparatus of the Iraqi state. They did this through manipulation of the collective mental image Americans had of Iraq and the supposed menace posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not all the people who participated in this process were neocon in their allegiance but there were enough of them in the Bush Administration to dominate the process. Neoconism as it has evolved in American politics is a close approximation of the imperialist political faction that existed in the time of President William McKinley and the Spanish-American War. Barbara Tuchman described this faction well in “The Proud Tower.”

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind’s best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. For people with this mindset the explanation for the continuance of old ways lies in the oppressive and exploitative nature of rulers who block the “progress” that is needed. The solution for the imperialists and neocons is simple. Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things. The result was a terrible war against Filipino nationalists who did not want to follow the example of the “shining city on a hill.” No, the “poor fools” wanted to go their own way in their own way. The same thing happened in Iraq after 2003. The Iraqis rejected occupation and American “reform” of their country and a long and bloody war ensued.

The neocons believe so strongly that America must lead the world and mankind forward that they accept the idea that the achievement of human progress justifies any means needed to advance that goal. In the case of the Iraq invasion the American people were lectured endlessly about the bestialities of Saddam’s government. The bestialities were impressive but the constant media display of these horrors was not enough to persuade the American people to accept war. From the bestialities meme the neocons moved on to the WMD meme. The Iraqi government had a nuclear weapons program before the First Gulf War but that program had been thoroughly destroyed in the inspection regime that followed Iraq’s defeat and surrender. This was widely known in the US government because US intelligence agencies had cooperated fully with the international inspectors in Iraq and in fact had sent the inspectors to a long list of locations at which the inspectors destroyed the program. I was instrumental in that process.

After 9/11 the US government knew without any doubt that the Iraqi government did not have a nuclear weapons program, but that mattered not at all to the neocons. As Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate “we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell.” Once that decision was made an endless parade of administration shills appeared on television hyping the supposed menace of Iraqi nuclear weapons. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were merely the most elevated in position of the many vendors of the image of the “mushroom shaped cloud.”

And now we have the case of Syria and its supposed chemical weapons and attacks. After the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013, an OPCW program removed all the chemical weapons to be found in Syria and stated its belief that there were no more in the country. In April of 2017 the US-Russian de-confliction process was used to reach agreement on a Syrian Air Force strike in the area of Khan Sheikoon in southern Idlib Province. This was a conventional weapons attack and the USAF had an unarmed reconnaissance drone in the area to watch the strike go in against a storage area. The rebel run media in the area then claimed the government had attacked with the nerve gas Sarin, but no proof was ever offered except film clips broadcast on social media. Some of the film clips from the scene were ludicrous. Municipal public health people were filmed at the supposed scene standing around what was said to be a bomb crater from the “sarin attack.” Two public health men were filmed sitting on the lip of the crater with their feet in the hole. If there had been sarin residue in the hole they would have quickly succumbed to the gas. No impartial inspection of the site was ever done, but the Khan Sheikoon “gas attack” has become through endless repetition a “given” in the lore of the “constant Syrian government gas attacks against their own civilians.”

On the 4th of April it is claimed that the Syrian Government, then in the process of capturing the town of Douma caused chlorine gas to be dropped on the town killing and wounding many. Chlorine is not much of a war gas. It is usually thought of as an industrial chemical, so evidently to make the story more potent it is now suggested that perhaps sarin was also used.

No proof that such an attack occurred has been made public. None! The Syrian and Russian governments state that they want the site inspected. On the 15th of April US Senator Angus King (I) of Maine told Jake Tapper on SOTU that as of that date the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had not been given any proof by the IC or Trump Administration that such an attack had occurred. “They have asserted that it did” he said.

The US, France and the UK struck Syria with over a hundred cruise missiles in retaliation for this supposed attack but the Administration has not yet provided any proof that the Syrian attack took place.

I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump’s approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time?

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 2 Comments

London systematically destroying evidence in Skripal case – Russia’s UN envoy

RT | April 19, 2018

The UK continues to conceal and destroy evidence relating to the Salisbury incident and have crossed all boundaries in their rhetoric by alleging President Putin’s personal involvement, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia has said.

“The British authorities are engaged in the systematic destruction of evidence,” Nebenzia told the United Nations Security Council, which held a session, called by UK on Wednesday, to discuss the OPCW report and other developments in the Skripal case.

“Skripal’s pets were killed. No samples were obviously taken. The places attended by the Skripals – a bar, a restaurant, a bench, park ground, etc – are all being cleared,” the diplomat said, pointing out that, despite some loud statements about the alleged contamination of the area, “people continue to live in Salisbury as if nothing happened.”

The envoy also reminded the council members that Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who, according to London, are now both recovering from the poisoning by a deadly military grade nerve agent A-234 (‘Novichok’), are kept hidden from the public eye ever since the March 4 incident. In the meantime, London categorically refuses to provide Russia any access to the investigation, and so far has left 45 out of 47 questions addressed to British authorities about the case unanswered.

In a summary of its report, the OPCW didn’t not independently identify the nerve agent used in the Salisbury case nor its origin, but instead only confirmed “the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury.”

The conclusions made by OPCW were based on samples provided by the UK investigators and do not prove London’s claim of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning, Nebenzia noted. “The main thing that the report lacks, and what the British side was so eager to see, is the conclusion that the substance used in Salisbury was produced in Russia,” he said.

The UK Ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, however, downplayed the lack of technical evidence and urged the council members to look at “the wider picture which has led the United Kingdom to assess that there’s no plausible alternative explanation than Russian State responsibility for what happened in Salisbury.”

Extensively using the ‘highly likely’ argument, the UK envoy once again claimed in her address to the UNSC that only Russia had the “technical means, operational experience and the motive to target the Skripals.” At one point she even claimed that “President Putin himself was closely involved in the Russian chemical weapons programme.”

“London apparently thinks the Russian President has a hobby of running chemical weapons programs in his free time. I don’t know whether you appreciate that you’ve crossed all possible boundaries,” Nebenzia replied.

While the UK is yet to produce clear evidence of Russian involvement in the alleged poisoning of the former double agent and his daughter, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley once again attacked Moscow during the council meeting, parroting its ally’s narrative.

“As we have stated previously, the United States agrees with the UK’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the chemical weapons in Salisbury,” Haley said. “Whether that is in their direct act, or irresponsibly losing control of the agent, which could be worse, our support for our British friends and colleagues is unwavering.”

Read more:

Russia’s OPCW envoy exposes ‘eight UK lies’ in Skripal case

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Lebanese Journalist Names Washington’s Goal Number One in Syria

Sputnik – April 19, 2018

Sputnik spoke to Lebanese journalist and commentator Sharmine Narwani to find out more about situation in Syria and Washington’s goals and actions there.

It has been revealed that US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, tried to urge US President Donald Trump to obtain congressional approval before launching airstrikes on targets in Syria last weekend. According to reports, President Trump was however set on the use of military force, and overruled the Pentagon chief’s advice. In other developments, Saudi Arabia is reportedly holding talks with the United States and Egypt about sending an Arab coalition force into Syria.

Sputnik: We’re hearing news that the US is in talks with Saudi Arabia to build an Arab force and send it to Syria. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that he is in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton to plan building this force – what do you make of this, what do you think its purpose is?

Sharmine Narwani: Look Trump wants to clear exit the debacle in  Syria and eliminate the need to spend billions of dollars a year in maintaining US forces there and participating in the war. The recent chemical weapons allegations came shortly after Trump vocalised this desire; but the likelihood of an Arab force to physically base themselves in Syria on the Syrian-Iraqi border is virtually nil. We must view this new tactic with some suspicion. The US has always trumpeted ISIS as its main goal in Syria or the elimination of ISIS. If ISIS is gone, then what’s the need to have foreign forces based on that border? It seemed clear all along that containing Iran’s access from Iran to the borders of Palestine has always been the goal. It’s not as though Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stellar or significant nation-building expertise anyway. And they have many differences – the Saudis and the UEA for instance are heavily involved militarily in Yemen and are overextended there. Egypt has shown reluctance to participate in that Arab conflict, let alone another one with a government that it has actually sort of ideologically supported in the Syrian conflict. So it’s not likely to become a reality.

Sputnik: Of course in the lead up to the Western bombing campaign on Syria the US was saying that President Bashar al-Assad had used sarin gas, but we’ve now found out that they did not have sufficient evidence of this at the time. Also, the New York Times has revealed that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urged Trump to get congressional approval for the strikes, but the president overruled him on that – what does this all tell you about the lead up to the events of last weekend?

Sharmine Narwani: If we look at the recent events leading up to the alleged chemical weapons incident, it took place under cover of two important developments: one was Trump’s declaration of exiting Syria, and removing US troops from there soon. The second would be the Syrian army’s very rapid defeat of terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and the reclamation of that strategically vital territory around Damascus. I think the sort of bringing up Sarin, the nerve gas sarin, it’s always kind of utilised as an emotional trigger, as is the mention of chemical weapons by itself and the general assumption if we’re talking about sarin would be that only states would have access to that particular substance, and not terrorist groups and non-state actors, unlike say with a substance like chlorine that is readily available. So I think it was very deliberately invoked, meaning sarin, to create an emotional response globally.

But Sarin has been used in Iraq by insurgents since at least 2004, in the form of IEDs. Turkey for instance, in May 2013, way later during the Syrian conflict, captured 12 Nusra members, Nusra is the Al-Qaida arm in Syria, they captured 12 Nusra members with significant amounts of Sarin and that was believed to be heading toward Syria. And major US-UK risk analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, in 2016, told us in a report that ISIS has used chemical weapons more than 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.

Sputnik: We’ve heard today that US senators are increasingly becoming concerned at the absence of a coherent US strategy in Syria, where do you see things from here?

Sharmine Narwani: Even during Obama’s term, we talked about there being a lack of coherent strategy. I would say that there is maybe a lack of a coherent verbalised strategy, one that was disseminated to the American public and an international one. There was certainly a strategy behind the scenes, one that was not vocalised and actions speak louder than words, so when we look at the arming, training and financing of terrorists when it was clear that there wasn’t enough Syrian support to topple Assad in the way leaders had been toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. We had the arming, training & financing but there was a very clear strategy, and the goal was number one, regime change, and two, to weaken the most important Iranian Arab state ally. So that was the strategy. When people say there wasn’t a coherent one they probably mean there wasn’t a coherent vocalised one. US actions have certainly shown us that regime change and weakening Iran were in fact the strategy in Syria and this is apparent today because the escalation still continues.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment