empire watch, latest, Syria, USA

Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

by Ray McGovern, via Information Clearing House

The mainstream media is so hostile to challenges to its groupthinks that famed journalist Seymour Hersh had to take his take-down of President Trump’s April 6 attack on Syria to Germany, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

June 26, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is challenging the Trump administration’s version of events surrounding the April 4 “chemical weapons attack” on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun – though Hersh had to find a publisher in Germany to get his information out.

In the Sunday edition of Die Welt, Hersh reports that his national security sources offered a distinctly different account, revealing President Trump rashly deciding to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase on April 6 despite the absence of intelligence supporting his conclusion that the Syrian military was guilty.

Hersh draws on the kind of inside sources from whom he has earned longstanding trust to dispute that there ever was a “chemical weapons attack” and to assert that Trump was told that no evidence existed against the Syrian government but ordered “his generals” to “retaliate” anyway.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Marine General, now Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis ordered the attacks apparently knowing that the reason given was what one of Hersh’s sources called a “fairy tale.”

They then left it to Trump’s national security adviser Army General H. R. McMaster to further the deceit with the help of a compliant mainstream media, which broke from its current tradition of distrusting whatever Trump says in favor of its older tradition of favoring “regime change” in Syria and trusting pretty much whatever the “rebels” claim.

According to Hersh’s sources, the normal “deconfliction” process was followed before the April 4 strike. In such procedures, U.S. and Russian officers supply one another with advance details of airstrikes, such as target coordinates, to avoid accidental confrontations among the warplanes crisscrossing Syria.

Russia and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the flight path to and from Khan Sheikhoun in English, Hersh reported. The target was a two-story cinderblock building in which senior leaders – “high-value targets” – of the two jihadist groups controlling the town were about to hold a meeting. Because of the perceived importance of the mission, the Russians took the unusual step of giving the Syrian air force a GPS-guided bomb to do the job, but the explosives were conventional, not chemical, Hersh reported.

The meeting place was on the floor above the basement of the building, where a source whom Hersh described as “a senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community,” told Hersh: “The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons, and ammunition … and also chlorine-based decontaminates for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial.”

A Bomb Damage Assessment

Hersh describes what happened when the building was struck on the morning of April 4:

A Bomb Damage Assessment by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of fertilizers, disinfectants, and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground.

According to intelligence estimates, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92.”

Due to the fog of war, which is made denser by the fact that jihadists associated with Al Qaeda control the area, many of the details of the incident were unclear on that day and remain so still. No independent on-the-ground investigation has taken place.

But there were other reasons to doubt Syrian guilt, including the implausibility of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad choosing that time – while his forces were making dramatic strides in finally defeating the jihadists and immediately after the Trump administration had indicated it had reversed President Obama’s “regime change” policy in Syria – to launch a sarin attack, which was sure to outrage the world and likely draw U.S. retaliation.

However, logic was brushed aside after local “activists,” including some closely tied to the jihadists, quickly uploaded all manner of images onto social media, showing dead and dying children and other victims said to be suffering from sarin nerve gas. Inconsistencies were brushed aside – such as the “eyewitness” who insisted, “We could smell it from 500 meters away” when sarin is odorless.

Potent Images

Still, whether credible or not, these social-media images had a potent propaganda effect. Hersh writes that within hours of watching the gruesome photos on TV – and before he had received any U.S. intelligence corroboration – Trump told his national security aides to plan retaliation against Syria. According to Hersh, it was an evidence-free decision, except for what Trump had seen on the TV shows.

Hersh quotes one U.S. officer who, upon learning of the White House decision to “retaliate” against Syria, remarked:

“We KNOW that there was no chemical attack…the Russians are furious – claiming we have the real intel and know the truth…”

A similar event had occurred on Aug. 21, 2013, outside Damascus – and although the available evidence now points to a “false-flag” provocation pulled off by the jihadists to trick the West into mounting a full-fledged assault on Assad’s military, Western media still blames that incident on Assad, too.

In the Aug. 21, 2013 case, social media also proved crucial in creating and pushing the Assad-did-it narrative. On Aug. 30, 2013, then-Secretary of State John Kerry pinned the responsibility on Assad no fewer than 35 times, even though earlier that week National Intelligence Director James Clapper had warned President Obama privately that Assad’s culpability was “not a slam dunk.”

Kerry was fond of describing social media as an “extraordinarily useful tool,” and it sure did come in handy in supporting Kerry’s repeated but unproven charges against Assad, especially since the U.S. government had invested heavily in training and equipping Syrian “activists” to dramatize their cause. (The mainstream media also has ignored evidence that the jihadists staged at least one chlorine gas attack. And, as you may recall, President George W. Bush also spoke glowingly about the value of “catapulting the propaganda.”)

Implications for U.S.-Russia

To the extent Hersh’s account finds its way into Western corporate media, most likely it will be dismissed out of hand simply because it dovetails with Moscow’s version of what happened and thus is, ipso facto, “wrong.”

But the Russians (and the Syrians) know what did happen – and if there really was no sarin bombing – they recognize Trump’s reckless resort to Tomahawks and the subsequent attempts to cover up for the President. All this will have repercussions.

This is as tense a time in U.S-Russian relations as I can remember from my five decades of experience watching Russian defense and foreign policy. It is left to the Russians to figure out which is worse: a President controlled by “his generals” or one who is so out of control that “his generals” are the ones who must restrain him.

With Russia reiterating its threat to target any unannounced aircraft flying in Syrian airspace west of the Euphrates, Russian President Putin could authorize his own generals to shoot first and ask questions later. Then, hold onto your hat.

As of this writing, there is no sign in “mainstream media” of any reporting on Hersh’s groundbreaking piece. It is a commentary on the conformist nature of today’s Western media that an alternative analysis challenging the conventional wisdom – even when produced by a prominent journalist like Sy Hersh – faces such trouble finding a place to publish.

The mainstream hatred of Assad and Putin has reached such extraordinary levels that pretty much anything can be said or written about them with few if any politicians or journalists daring to express doubts regardless of how shaky the evidence is.

Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh’s earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn’t go off onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation.

According to Hersh, the LRB did not want to be “vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russia governments when it came to the April 4 bombing in Khan Sheikhoun.” So much for diversity of thought in today’s West.

Yet, what was interesting about the Khan Sheikhoun case is that was a test of whom the mainstream media detested more. The MSM has taken the position that pretty much whatever Trump says is untrue or at least deserving of intense fact-checking. But the MSM also believes whatever attacks on Assad that the Syrian “activists” post on social media are true and disbelieves whatever Putin says. So, this was a tug-of-war on which prejudices were stronger – and it turned out that the antipathy toward Syria and Russia is more powerful than the distrust of Trump.

Ignoring Critics

The MSM bought into Trump’s narrative to such a degree that any criticism, no matter how credentialed the critic, gets either ignored or ridiculed.

For instance, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity produced a memo on April 11 questioning Trump’s rush to judgment. Former MIT professor Ted Postol, a specialist in applying science to national security incidents, also poked major holes in the narrative of a government sarin attack. But the MSM silence was deafening.

In remarks to Die Welt, Seymour Hersh, who first became famous for exposing the My Lai massacre story during the Vietnam War and disclosed the Abu Ghraib abuse story during the Iraq War, explained that he still gets upset at government lying and at the reluctance of the media to hold governments accountable:

We have a President in America today who lies repeatedly … but he must learn that he cannot lie about intelligence relied upon before authorizing an act of war. There are those in the Trump administration who understand this, which is why I learned the information I did. If this story creates even a few moments of regret in the White House, it will have served a very high purpose.”

But it may be that the Germans reading Welt am Sonntag may be among the few who will get the benefit of Hersh’s contrarian view of the April 4 incident in Khan Sheikhoun. Perhaps they will begin to wonder why Chancellor Angela Merkel continues with her “me-too” approach to whatever Washington wants to do regarding tensions with Russia and warfare in Syria.

Will Merkel admit that she was likely deceived in parroting Washington’s line making the Syrian government responsible for a “massacre with chemical weapons” on April 4? Mercifully, most Americans will be spared having to choose between believing President Trump and Seymour Hersh.

Ray McGovern works with the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27 years as a CIA analyst, he was Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch; he also prepared the President’s Daily Brief, and conducted the early morning briefings of President Reagan’s top national security advisers.
This article was first published by Consortium News


  1. Now over a month later, the US is lying again and attempting to get the World ready for another attack on Assad’s forces by stating that Assad is planning “another” chemical attack on his own people. We know that no chemical attack was made the last time, so another one is impossible. I hope the Russians are ready to shoot down any missile flying towards a Syrian target from US ships or planes. Someone has to bell the rabid cat.

  2. Frank says

    It seems the Anglo-zionist media has instigated a thoroughgoing political inquisition, a quite unprecedented peace-time reign of terror with regard to the current geopolitical crisis. Any brave soul who does not follow and repeat the narrative of the media hive-mind will be subjected to relentless calumny and vituperation from both the media whores and their political allies. What we face is no less than a massive attack on reason and morality by crypto-medievalist mysticism in the service of power. As no less a personage than George Washington once said, borrowing the famous axiom from the British radical Thomas Paine, ‘these are the times which try men’s souls.’ Indeed they are.

    This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: witchcraft or reason is the binary choice. The soft option is, of course, witchcraft since it serves power and is rewarded by power. The harder option, one which involves personal sacrifice, is somewhat more demanding … this has been the case down the centuries. And yet … Opposition is mandatory. As Martin Luther King rightly spoke:

    “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?

    There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”

    Thus truth must be defended above all else at whatever cost, personal or otherwise. Because only when we are guided by truth can we have sanity.

    ”Here the ways of men divide; if you wish to desire for peace of mind and happiness then believe … if you wish to be a disciple of truth then inquire.” (F.Nietzsche – Letter, June 1865.

  3. BigB says

    OffG; forgive the double post – but it seems that I have a differing view on the Hersh report…

    “Re: Hersh report – facts? I read the original report and I am bemused. How did 24 TLAMs (Tomahawk missiles) with at least 5 guidance systems – including satellite data linkage; GPS; terrain mapping; linkage to the Ross or Porter control ship and to other missiles if necessary – get lost in a bit of smoke? Weren’t they designed to operate in battlefield conditions where thick smoke is probably going to be encountered? A lot. Can ISIS protect themselves by burning tyres???

    The addendum dialogue – surely Hersh is just taking the piss – “I guess it really didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.” Does this alleged conversation not seem… made up???

    You guys can call it factual: I’m calling it a limited hangout to whitewash the CIA/Pentagon – Hersh’s real employers. Those missiles didn’t get lost in smoke; no matter how thick.”

    I’m not saying the report is wholly wrong, just that Sy is being careful with his ‘facts’ – as usual. For the record, I do not believe for one second that Trump ordered the attack unilaterally, against the better judgement of his peers. I don’t preclude that Trump is a violent and wilful sociopath – just that he is not alone.

    • BigB.
      If you think De Welt would put this lot up without checking the facts, you are mistaken. Hersh is nobody but his own man.
      WELT AM SONNTAG is aware of the location of the deployment. For security reasons, certain details of military operations have been omitted.
      I don’t speak German and the translation is bad but the German social media is exalting Hersh and so are some of the big US sites. You’re on your own on this. One of the comments on US blog site(possibly Vet.Today)explains how and why the Tomahawks can and do go astray. He’s an ex USAF pilot. Will try and find the article for you.

      • BigB says

        Fair enough, we’ll have to disagree on this one. Maybe not on this site, but not everyone rates Sy so highly – Doug Valentine calls him “CIA-mour Hersh” – he’s been doing limited hangouts since 1969. If someone can point me to his follow up piece, where he admits he got it completely wrong about My Lai; I’ll gladly read it.

        BTW: by his analysis 35/36 TLAMs hit Ash Shai’rat – even with a reduced payload (220lbs of LBX) – they didn’t do much damage? Russians admitted 23 strikes. Something doesn’t add up – somewhere there are some missing missiles???

        Happy to read any link that can explain how 35/36 out of 59/60 TLAMs went astray… I’m curious myself… As are Raytheon…

        • Hi BigB.
          With regards Raytheon, I’ve already come across an article which was linked from a main site some time ago. Someone who is well into tactical deployment etc.(I’m a dunce on the subject). Apparently this is not the first time Raytheon would rather not have to explain why their babies didn’t reach their target, they have had to refute “reports” on their performance previously. Then of course there was the Patriot versus scud debacle in which the Patriot was denounced for it’s apparent failure in the Persian Gulf War(I do remember that one)and it was a member of the House of Government oversight commission(or some such organisation)who stated there was doubt regarding ANY success of Raytheons Patriot missiles. I imagine everyone has heard of the Sparrow and Sidewinders but failures are rarely reported and are often put down to the electrical and computerized delivery system(which they also supply)and various “malfunctions”. Since that time Raytheon have been back and forth to courts regarding misleading claims etc. etc.
          I wouldn’t put too much stock in anything Raytheon claim regarding their products. There is a saying “Too big to fail” and as has been proven in the past with banks etc. it simply isn’t true.
          Tactical weaponry and modern avionics, battleships etc.(except for the SU 34 and the Admiral Kuznetsov) are just not my thing. I’m not being dismissive of people who have a keen interest in such things, it’s just that it’s a bit above my pay grade and I tend to let better informed people do the talking.
          Best wishes, Susan.
          p.s. Isn’t it this year the US government will award a huge $billion dollar contract in favour of Raytheon over Lockheed – some contest going on regarding the bids and contract fiddling? I know Lockheed were miffed and created a furore, don’t remember much else though(told you I was a dunce).

          • BigB says

            Susan: I’m not really arguing about the content of the article: more the subtle shift in the onus of blame – away from Pompeo, Votel onto Trump. Mad Dog Mattis, Dunceford, and McMaster hardly get a mention. The mention Mattis gets is a ‘thank heavens for the military!!! The CIA were all “playing the game right”… If Trump had gone with the ‘Obama’ option – there would have been immediate resignations… Please, gimme a break… these are probably the same guys that ordered Khan Shaikhun… the retaliation… then had it rubberstamped by Trump – not the other way around. 🙂

            If it wasn’t for the ‘military’ (CIA/Pentagon/Deep State run) – there would be no war. They call the shots. They effectively run the POTUS. That’s the shift of emphasis Hersh makes. For them. IMO.

            • BigB says

              Susan: PS. getting an article rejected is sure to draw attention to it? You know all about ‘Mockingbird’; but have you read Udo Ulfkotte “Journalists for HIre: How the CIA Buys the News”? Perception management is very subtle… Probably a complete coincidence that he died of a ‘heart attack’…

              • Heart attack?
                Yeah, what a coincidence indeed. And how convenient.
                Did you hear the one about pigs might fly?

            • John says

              I have a friend who subscribes to the theory that the Pentagon – not the White House – runs America.
              The POTUS – he claims – is mere window-dressing, so the US can make the claim it is a democracy.
              Being President is prestigious and provides a base for amazing wealth for life.
              Other than that, the presidency is just a front man – so far.

              • BigB says

                The Pentagon run foreign policy: in Trump’s case that is no theory. Even on the campaign trail he indicated he would defer to his Generals: that’s exactly what he has been doing. According to the Nation, everything runs through the Mattis /McMaster axis. In turn, his Generals have empowered local commanders to act independently. 10 days after Khan Sheikhoun, a local commander in Afghanistan dropped the MOAB on his own authority: pretty scary when you think about it.

                • I certainly didn’t realise the commander who dropped the MOAB was given carte blanch to do so. Thanks for the heads up and also the link to the nation.

            • Can’t and won’t argue with your very astute and valid points. Whilst some on alt. news are saying Trump was upset and sad about the kids being killed(doesn’t seem to bother him in Mosel), I’m not entirely convinced he just doesn’t want to admit he is owned by the CIA and it is they who are now shifting the blame onto him. What a fouled up way to run a country – nearly as bad a Britain.

    • John says

      It really didn’t matter who was elected – Trump or Clinton.
      Both had daughters married to ultra-extremist zionists.
      Whoever the US public voted for didn’t matter.
      They would still end up with the zio-military-industrial-financial complex in charge.
      If Sanders had stopped the Clinton theft of the candidacy then things might have turned out differently.
      But Sanders did not really have the cojones to withstand the Clinton mob manipulations and so lost out.
      So, too, did the people of the United States.
      Maybe he never really wanted to win?

    • A lot of US servicemen are mightily pissed off for voting Trump over Clinton, precisely because they thought Trump would get them “the f*** out of this shithole” with his (as it turns out)empty promises. According to one site the number of service personnel opting out on return from deployment has seen a big up tick recently. A quote from memory “we’re training ******* terrorists out here and there’s nothing moderate about them”. granted I cannot know the veracity of the quotes, since they are given anonymously, but even so……

    • I suspect that you are correct, BigB. Hersh seems to be playing the part of a cog in the control and command mechanism of the American establishment. The “Russian-Trump collusion” accusation is now approaching exhaustion, and something else now needs to fill that void, something else by which to keep Trump on his leash – or rather, to continue deflecting attention away from where real responsibility for anything lies (i.e. the military-industrial-intelligence complex & Co.). At the very least, like Chomsky and his ilk — what we might designate as the pseudo-left — he operates within the purview of an outlook that is not fundamentally at odds with the zeitgeist of liberalism or the American establishment.

      Nevertheless, I do take his disclosure and exposé for what it’s worth, in this particular case, as a substantive corroboration that Khan Sheikhoun was not a “chemical attack.”

      From a strictly working class perspective, that is all that matters, that I come to understand that the “chemical attack” meme is nothing but a dog whistle that is supposed to elicit from me in my working class ignorance and naivety a knee jerk hatred for an ‘evil’ Assad and thus have me cheer on the destruction of Syria.

      Whatever ends Hersh ultimately serves, wittingly or otherwise, however at odds his politics may be with mine, in this instance he serves me and my designs well enough if I can use him to disabuse some of my peers of some of their delusions about the ‘purity’ of the West’s involvement in the Middle East, and by the same token, it’s abiding incentives for involving itself anywhere else.

      • Glad you entered into the fray Norman. I like BigB even though I don’t always agree with everything he says, he is honest and fair. It would certainly be a strange world if we all agreed on everything so your response was very much what I wish I could have given. I followed the link he gave and found the Nation Post very intelligible. There really are some excellent commenters on this site and only one lame troll who left when he couldn’t find a footing.
        🙂 Susan.

        • BigB says

          Susan: it would be a bland and uninteresting world if we all agreed. And what would we have to learn! 🙂

          • You seem to have a very good handle on things, as does Norman, so now you have me wondering about Sy Hersh(I found an old article of his and it was of a very different slant)and also your previous mention:”You guys can call it factual: I’m calling it a limited hangout to whitewash the CIA/Pentagon – Hersh’s real employers. Those missiles didn’t get lost in smoke; no matter how thick.”
            Although I wouldn’t put any faith in Raytheon, it does give me pause for thought on what the real intention of bombing Shayrat? air base was. Certain people have suggested that perhaps US intel was actually up to date (probably not the usual state of affairs)and the limited damage was intended. Don’t know where I stand on this, so if you find out anything, can you put it up on the site.
            Going to try and find the military information exchange site I sometimes visit, although they are mostly hobbyist, their knowledge is excellent.
            The Pentagon/CIA might have cash to burn on a military showing off stunt, but it happens to be an expensive one for US Tax payers.
            Then there is this footnote:”For the record, I do not believe for one second that Trump ordered the attack unilaterally, against the better judgement of his peers. I don’t preclude that Trump is a violent and wilful sociopath – just that he is not alone.”
            Now that I’m in listening mode, care to expand on your thinking, right now I’m groping in the dark not quite knowing which way to turn.
            If I understood the direction of your thinking, Trump was “advised” of the terrible thing the aggressive(no irony)Assad has done and that it would be in his best interests to respond with a show of might (which as we all know is right……ahem) and he hoped to deflect the anti Trump brigade(as promised by said CIA “adviser”)to give him time to consolidate his position as POTUS and Sy helped out with an unrelated alternative article in a German publication putting the blame squarely back in Trump’s corner?
            What a tangled web to deflect responsibility from the guilty “It wasn’t us” brigade.
            Mind boggling! But entirely within the realm of possible.

            • John says

              Does anyone seriously believe Trump ordered the missile attack on Syria as a result of his emotional response to alleged pictures of injured children?
              Time to grow up, folks!
              Why did he approve the dropping of a MOAB in Afghanistan?
              In both cases, because his approval ratings were dipping to record lows, and he believed – rightly enough – that his gung-ho supporters would flock back to his standard if he threw some explosives at foreigners.
              Trump does have a single principled bone in his body.
              He’s the mafia’s man in the White House.
              He’s just doing what it takes to keep his mafia bosses happy.
              He has learned the lesson of what happens to anyone who crosses the mafia from the Kennedy boys.

            • BigB says

              Re: the attack on Ash Shai’rat – I think John just answered that: ratings. Simple as.
              I speculated in comments on these two articles on this site:
              “A multi-level analysis of the US cruise missile attack on Syria and its consequences”
              “MIT Professor says White House claims of Syrian chemical attack “cannot be true””
              Subsequent to these, I remember Assad saying that Syria basically had no air defence on the night; their S-200s had been taken out in the ‘civil uprising’ or terrorist takeover. The Russians have ‘superior’ electronic warfare capabilities: whether they used them is a moot point. There are two main scenarios – the Russians gave them “bluesky” – and the missiles really are that bad and no longer fit for purpose. Or the Russians disabled some of them electronically. Either way Raytheon gets the no bid contract to make the Block V Tomahawk! After the incident, the Russians took control of the Syrian airspace: which brings us bang up to date. If the Russian air defences weren’t so formidable – the Coalition would still be providing the terrorists with air cover – instead of getting the Israelis to do it for them!!

              • BigB.
                Came across another chat between Sey Hersh and Ken Klippenstein on Alexsandr Dugin’s The Fourth Rev. War site(by Zakira Entradi).
                Sy seems to be evasive and non committal about various aspects(he is definitely dodging the issues of some of KK’s questions)which would seem to confirm your previous suspicions regarding exactly where Hersh stands – or should that be sits, as in “on the fence” when it comes to certain questions. After hearing your views and taking them on board, Sy is talking a lot but not saying too much, I ‘m hearing a lot better, thanks to you(and Norman and John). It’s worth noting what is NOT said and how what is said tells the listener nothing much.
                Still find Sy an excellent source and if he has to be non committal with regard to some questions it is likely to keep favour with his informants, or so I like to believe.


                There is also a tweet which may or may not be notable from a Londoner:Nizar Nayouf @nizarnayouf
                Sirens of the #Syrian Shayrat airbase,bombed by #US 2 months ago,set off 30 minutes ago,while the near villages’people fleeing their homes!
                1:46 AM – 30 Jun 2017 · Croydon, London
                Have heard nothing more about al Shayrat so don’t know if it was a drill or false alarm.
                🙂 Susan

              • Hi again BigB.
                Just realised you said Syria’s S-200’s. I thought Russia had brought in the S300 minimum as promised also to Iran. Really will have to pay more attention to my Syrian sites and Col. Cassad, if I’m going to keep up. Feel like I have lost the plot with regard the S300 delivery back in 2016, unless of course they are based elsewhere. Fiddlesticks!

                  • John says

                    In the same way as the so-called UK nuclear deterrent is “independent” so too may be Assad’s missile systems.
                    By which I mean that just as the US in reality controls the UK’s nuclear deterrent missile system so too may Russia control Syria’s missile system so that they can only be launched with Russian approval.
                    While the Syrians might be tempted to fire off the missiles, there may be an over-riding control which the Russians exercise to ensure that no hasty actions by the Syrians triggers conflict between Russia and the US.
                    That – at least – is my guess.
                    When the former Soviet Union placed missiles on the island of Cuba in 1962, I believe they retained control over the launching of their missiles then too. Is that not the case?

                    • BigB says

                      I believe Russia wanted to install its missiles in Cuba because, at the time, they had an extremely limited ability to strike from the USSR. So they would have retained control.

                      No disrespect to you, but I think we could end up playing ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’ – neither side want the other to know their operational capability – and they certainly don’t want us to know!

                      I believe that Syria was in control of its own air space at the time; and the Russian systems weren’t active as part of the deconfliction protocols. Why it might have suited the Russians to let this attack happen; is that they now control the airspace and their systems are now active: and will target Coalition incursion after the Su-22 incident. Next step, target the IDF; that have flown 5 terrorist air cover sorties in the last week or so, in the Golan region.

      • BigB says

        Absolutely Norman, in the broader context, Sy’s debunking of the mainstream narrative is useful: his veteran heavyweight reputation gives us impetus – but against whom? Expendable and probably inconsequential politicians? Meanwhile the truly repressive mechanisms are still at work. Maybe I was making a point for the purists and the converted: but the CIA/Pentagon/MIC are out of control. Trump certainly has neither clue nor control. The picture Hersh paints of military and intelligence moral rectitude doesn’t square with empirical reality. Today Mattis said the Pentagon had evidence of “active preparations” at Ash Shai’rat for another chemical attack: and that “I think that Assad’s chemical program goes far beyond one airfield.” You and I both know he’s lying: almost certainly without any input from his so called Commander in Chief. 😉

        • Entirely agree!

          Hersh writes in manner that deflects attention away from the real nexus of American power, maintaining the illusion for his readership that the the CIA/Pentagon/MIC are actually under government oversight, i.e., putatively under the control of an accountable body of elected representatives.

          The truth is rather different: effectively, these unaccountable bureaucracies most emphatically do not operate under the auspices of the state, but as the state itself.

          If this is the case — and it is — the U.S. is ipso facto a totalitarian regime.

          See the post by Husq: H. R. Brown essentially makes the same point that you do.

          • BigB says

            Exactly!!! The whitewash is that the Intelligence Community (IC)/Pentagon are stacked full of patriots that the democratically (???) elected political Executive ignore. The skein for the Proles is that if they elect a ‘strong leader’ – Tulsi Gabbard for instance – then they will bring the IC/Pentagon under Executive and Judicial control and “make America great again”…

            Closer to the truth is that the IC/Pentagon are run for and by a Shadow Government/Deep State/MIC that work directly for the real money and powerbrokers – the supranational apolitical >1%. Politics is ‘bread and circuses’ for the Proles. The real powerbase ensures Continuity of Purpose and Continuity of (Shadow) Government. There has been an open coup against the American people – and by extension the rest of humanity (aka. the GWOT) – unfolding in public (though nearly exclusively hidden in plain sight) since 22nd November ’63 – the day they shot JFK. Hersh serves this agenda, not the interests of the people, IMO (In his hearsay blackwash of JFK {Dark Side of Camelot} – and I’m certainly not of the cult of Kennedy – Hersh concluded Oswald and Ruby acted alone???)

            Did they now?!?!

          • John says

            It has always seemed to me that the assassination of JFK revealed very little as to the workings of the deep state.
            They were able to suborn or silence everyone involved in that escapade.
            Far more revealing was the series of enquiries into the activities of Oliver North.
            There was an example of a President and administration which was totally out of touch with what was going on.
            North was clearly involved in a whole host of activities, none of which were publicly known about or authorised.
            Congress knew nothing about North’s activities until they held enquiries into the activities of the Contras.
            North was involved in using federal assets to buy and sell who knows what to the Iranian regime.
            He was also involved in training and equipping terrorists to overthrow a democratically elected government.
            They were involved in mass killings and mass rapings, including of US nuns and priests.
            There was also a high probability of his being involved in smuggling drugs into the United States.
            His punishment for all these unlawful activities?
            Absolutely nothing. If anything, his notoriety has been hugely rewarded.
            If anyone wants to understand how the US deep state operates, take a look at Oliver North.

            • BigB says

              Agreed. Iran/Contra turned over the stone and briefly exposed the Deep State. Most particularly, the existence of the very “Continuity of Government” programme to which I refer. The ‘Shadow Government’ is not a concept as such, as many continue to think – it is a functioning actuality; only (partially) revealed in the so called ‘Deep Events’. Peter Dale Scott is the go to source for Deep Politics. I also recommend Webster Tarpleys “Unauthorised Biography of George Bush Snr”… You don’t think North acted on his own initiative? Probably the only true thing he said was that he was only following orders…

            • John. Re Oliver North, it was in US(deep state) interests to muddy the waters, make contra claims and bury the truth by obfuscation of all related events wherever they were occurring and to redirect by sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors so that no-one could really track who did what. This is probably true as far back as Lincoln’s assassination and likely to continue as it is currently until becoming POTUS is viewed as hazardous to one’s health.
              Nothing is beyond the ridiculous and certainly not in the realm of “conspiracy theory nuts” since invariably real truths and facts are eventually unearthed(just not necessarily in the lifetimes of those who did the dirty deeds)and when the facts are unveiled, people will still be saying “unbelievable”(gasp, shock, horror).
              Charges had to be dropped, most likely because North was probably just one of many employed in the NGO’s to do exactly what he did, as a matter of course in direct violation of the Boland?Agreement.
              Just blogged an article regarding Court Jester Pompeo who tried to blame Agee for a CIA Asset’s death(Pompeo simply lied his socks off) and then their is the matter of Petraeus versus Snowden and Assange, whereby the latter two are still denounced but Petraeus is really a saint in disguise.
              What a fouled up state of affairs in the US Dystopia fondly referred to as the home of the brave and land of the free by it’s zombie citizens.

              • BigB says

                Susan: In his last act as POTUS, Bush the Greater Evil pardoned all those with charges against them – including the pre-emptive pardon of Weinberger. Other than Nixon, that’s the only other time that’s been done. I think that’s called self-preservation; or perhaps Deep State preservation?

                • Bush and his grandpappy certainly had their fingers in some very rotten pies and avoiding prosecution for his corruption would certainly have been in his best interests, so it is no stretch of the imagination where mutually benefiting interests overlapped, any and all CIA/Deep state assets would be given a get out of jail card.
                  I’m a firm believer in the deep state, not just in the US but in the UK and various other nation states. Wealth and power going back many years have always been the puppeteers, but I won’t speak further here since it is far reaching and off topic.
                  I also believe that not all “conspiracy theorists” are nut jobs – far from it in many instances.

  4. Just been on to Norman Pilon’s blog (Taking Sides) a welcome visitor to OffG comments section. He found an article from Wall of Controversy devoted to Si Hersh and Die Welt:
    “Seymour Hersh is perhaps most highly respected investigative journalist alive today. He earned his reputation as the first to bring the world’s attention to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
    During the Syrian War, Hersh has twice investigated claims that Assad crossed chemical “red lines”, first in Ghouta in August 2013, and more recently in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last April. The evidence he has uncovered disproves the official narrative of both incidents. Faced with such inconvenient truth, however, the mainstream media simply ignores him.
    Here are extracts from his latest piece on the alleged sarin atrocity at Khan Sheikhoun, although I very much encourage all readers to follow the links to read the full article published in yesterday’s Sunday edition of Die Welt:
    “”Within hours of the April 4 bombing [and alleged chemical attack], the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan…””””
    Norman supplies a embed link to WOC and this is http: https://wallofcontroversy.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/seymour-hersh-conclusively-debunks-trumps-red-line-the-gas-attack-was-no-such-thing/

  5. betrayedplanet says

    It is truly a nightmare that we are faced with so many useless, mentally ill and sociopathic politicians leading us in what is now an exceptionally dangerous situation. Assad has not in recent years by all accounts used chemicals on his people, it has been fabricated in order to use war for profit and regime change. The UK will sadly follow suit, intent as Mays government are to further enrich the already super rich and create a serfdom for the rest in their new Brexit offshore haven, the people in the UK are an irrelevance as has been proven by the Grenfell tragedy amongst other crimes against their own, disabled, ill,old.
    A major rejection of this criminal government is essential in order to try to prevent more slaughter of innocents in the ME and blowback here in the UK. Where are the voices of sanity as we continue our descent into an illegal hell. I lose sleep at night when I think of this country bombing innocent civilians in my name. It is frankly a living hell knowing these people are hellbent on as much destruction as possible all the while cutting services , wages, decaying infrastructure, schools, housing, hospitals in crisis, where will it end?
    An other alarming factor is the Larsen Ice Shelf which is almost severed from the Antarctic and will soon expose the huge sheets of ice behind it to the warming seas, Michael Gove the ignorant Minister for the Environment does not believe in climate change even though many esteemed climate scientists say there is little time left as in 30 years or so, perhaps less once the Arctic is ice
    Not too much reason to be hopeful these days.

  6. Many thanks for this article. Some really good journalism makes it’s way onto off-G. Intel Today has also covered Si’s accounts.(A much smaller site, keen but limited).
    Have to wonder whether there is a feeling that because the MSM has lied so much they are fearful of how stupid and unreliably dishonest they will be perceived and cannot bring themselves to say “Oops, we were wrong” It’s quite amazing that the MSM has dedicated so much front page space to vilifying Trump, yet when he does something totally reckless and dangerous in defiance of any evidence supporting his actions, he is forgotten, but his criminal actions are praised. They must have known he was in breach of International Law and in danger of escalating a conflict beyond the ME and into Europe – possibly at the expense of millions of lives if Trump continues on this irresponsible road to Armageddon.
    Even the pseudo left are playing the Imperialist tune.
    The mentality behind this egregious double standards deception and outright dishonest distortion of the truth should see them in the ICC for empowering terrorism at the very least. Rather difficult to do so when their own governments are actually funding and weaponising those same terrorists.
    Every day I open up my laptop to read the latest and greatest only to throw my hands in the air saying “I don’t believe these world leaders and msm assholes”, then have to knuckle down and try to get the word out from the real news sites in what I sometimes think are futile attempts to alert the masses to the truth in defiance of msm lies. It is frightening to realize that, but for sites like OffG and so many others, the world would likely be living the aftermath of a global holocaust, courtesy of the US and it’s imperialist allies.
    Memo to myself:”give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the fortitude to change the things I can and the wisdom to know which is which! adapted from Reinhold Neibuhr’s Serenity Prayer(there’s nothing serene about this daily battle).
    According to Seymour Hersh’s investigation:
    “Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.”
    “The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives.”
    “Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region…….”
    See also from Intel Today :RELATED POST: Former DIA Colonel: “US strikes on Syria based on a lie”
    Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson: “The Syrian chemical attack story is a hoax.”

    • John says

      I concur fully with mohandeer’s statement but would go further by saying that he – and all of us – must remember just what the global mass media actually is.
      It is a propaganda outlet for the rich, powerful and famous.
      It does not exist to tell the truth but to enhance the power of the already powerful.
      Individuals who work within the mass media are more concerned about adding to their own characteristics as a “brand” in order to maximise their own incomes, as well as their own power as communicators and actors.
      Increasingly, it is niche publications like offGuardian and even long-established publications like The Lobster [see http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/%5D which are the sole sources of real facts and real truths.

  7. John says

    If the terrorists manufacture another incident and Trump responds in the predictable way, I wonder if the Syrians will simply say “Sod it” and shoot down US aircraft and/or missiles?
    Then, the ground will have been laid for a full-out war right across the whole of the Middle East.
    Ultimately, it will be Trump’s stupidity and incompetence that will be blamed for this.
    Trump will go down in history as the Gavrilo Princip of the 21st Century.

    • The war you fear will not be limited to the ME. Russia and China know this is a possibility given the insanity prevailing in the White House, past and present. We keep our fingers crossed that the millions now aware of the MSM duplicity with Imperialist right wing governments thanks to sites on the Social Media still dedicated to the truth, will rise up and cause enough trouble to stop the few slaughtering the many.

  8. Dead World Walking says

    “France will be completely aligned with the US on this”
    That says it all.
    Aligned with the most rapacious empire in history.
    Doom approaches.

  9. Husq says

    Oooh, look. Right on cue.

    Wed Jun 21, 2017

    President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and France no longer considered his departure a pre-condition to resolving the six-year-old conflict.

    “The use of chemical weapons will see a response, including by France alone,” he said. “France will therefore be completely aligned with the United States on this.”


    Tuesday 27 June 2017
    The White House has declared that it believes Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preparing to carry out another chemical weapons attack, and warned that the Syrian leader and his military would “pay a heavy price” if it went ahead.


Comments are closed.