Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?

Exclusive: Journalist Seymour Hersh has unearthed information implicating Turkish intelligence in last summer’s Sarin attack near Damascus that almost pushed President Obama into a war to topple Syria’s government and open a path for an al-Qaeda victory, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Last August, the Obama administration lurched to the brink of invading Syria after blaming a Sarin gas attack outside Damascus on President Bashar al-Assad’s government, but new evidence – reported by investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh – implicates Turkish intelligence and extremist Syrian rebels instead.

The significance of Hersh’s latest report is twofold: first, it shows how Official Washington’s hawks and neocons almost stampeded the United States into another Mideast war under false pretenses, and second, the story’s publication in the London Review of Books reveals how hostile the mainstream U.S. media remains toward information that doesn’t comport with its neocon-dominated conventional wisdom.

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

In other words, it appears that Official Washington and its mainstream press have absorbed few lessons from the disastrous Iraq War, which was launched in 2003 under the false claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was planning to share hidden stockpiles of WMD with al-Qaeda, when there was no WMD nor any association between Hussein and al-Qaeda.

A decade later In August and September 2013, as a new war hysteria broke out over Assad allegedly crossing President Barack Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons, it fell to a few Internet sites, including our own Consortiumnews.com, to raise questions about the administration’s allegations that pinned the Aug. 21 attack on the Syrian government.

Not only did the U.S. government fail to provide a single piece of verifiable evidence to support its claims, a much-touted “vector analysis” by Human Rights Watch and the New York Times – supposedly tracing the flight paths of two rockets back to a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus – collapsed when it became clear that only one rocket carried Sarin and its range was less than one-third the distance between the army base and the point of impact. That meant the rocket carrying the Sarin appeared to have originated in rebel territory.

There were other reasons to doubt the Obama administration’s casus belli, including the irrationality of Assad ordering a chemical weapons strike outside Damascus just as United Nations inspectors were unpacking at a local hotel with plans to investigate an earlier attack that the Syrian government blamed on the rebels.

Assad would have known that a chemical attack would have diverted the inspectors (as it did) and would force President Obama to declare that his “red line” had been crossed, possibly prompting a massive U.S. retaliatory strike (as it almost did).

Plans for War

Hersh’s article describes how devastating the U.S. aerial bombardment was supposed to be, seeking to destroy Assad’s military capability, which, in turn, could have cleared the way to victory for the Syrian rebels, whose fortunes had been declining.

Hersh wrote: “Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed.

“‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’

“The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.”

According to Hersh, the administration’s war plans were disrupted by U.S. and British intelligence analysts who uncovered evidence that the Sarin was likely not released by the Assad government and indications that Turkey’s intelligence services may have collaborated with radical rebels to deploy the Sarin as a false-flag operation.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan sided with the Syrian opposition early in the civil conflict and provided a vital supply line to the al-Nusra Front, a violent group of Sunni extremists with ties to al-Qaeda and increasingly the dominant rebel fighting force. By 2012, however, internecine conflicts among rebel factions had contributed to Assad’s forces gaining the upper hand.

The role of Islamic radicals – and the fear that advanced U.S. weapons might end up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists – unnerved President Obama who pulled back on U.S. covert support for the rebels. That frustrated Erdoğan who pressed Obama to expand U.S. involvement, according to Hersh’s account.

Hersh wrote: “By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the [U.S] cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’”

‘Red Line’ Worries

Recognizing Obama’s political sensitivity over his “red line” pledge, the Turkish government and Syrian rebels saw chemical weapons as the way to force the President’s hand, Hersh reported, writing:

“In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability.

“‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond [to small chemical weapons attacks] in March and April.’”

The dispute between Erdoğan and Obama came to a head at a White House meeting on May 16, 2013, when Erdoğan unsuccessfully lobbied for a broader U.S. military commitment to the rebels, Hersh reported.

Three months later, in the early hours of Aug. 21, a mysterious missile delivered a lethal load of Sarin into a suburb east of Damascus. The Obama administration and the mainstream U.S. press corps immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Syrian government had launched the attack, which the U.S. government claimed killed at least “1,429” people although the number of victims cited by doctors and other witnesses on the scene was much lower.

Yet, with the media stampede underway, anyone who questioned the U.S. government’s case was trampled under charges of being an “Assad apologist.” But we few skeptics continued to point out the lack of evidence to support the rush to war. Obama also encountered political resistance in both the British Parliament and U.S. Congress, but hawks in the U.S. State Department were itching for a new war.

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a bellicose speech on Aug. 30 amid expectations that the U.S. bombs would start flying within days. But Obama hesitated, first referring the war issue to Congress and later accepting a compromise brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to have Assad surrender all of his chemical weapons even as Assad continued denying any role in the Aug. 21 attacks.

Obama took the deal but continued asserting publicly that Assad was guilty and disparaging anyone who thought otherwise. In a formal address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013, Obama declared, “It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.”

Suspicions of Turkey

However, by autumn 2013, U.S. intelligence analysts were among those who had joined in the “insult to human reason” as their doubts about Assad’s guilt grew. Hersh cited an ex-intelligence official saying: “the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

“As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular.

“’Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’

“Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’”

According to the thinking of Turkish intelligence, Hersh reported, “Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’”

Hersh added that the U.S. intelligence community has been reluctant to pass on to Obama the information contradicting the Assad-did-it scenario. Hersh wrote:

“The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’”

Like the bloody U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, last year’s near U.S. air war against Syria is a cautionary tale for Americans regarding the dangers that result when the U.S. government and mainstream media dance off hand in hand, leaping to conclusions and laughing at doubters.

The key difference between the war in Iraq and the averted war on Syria was that President Obama was not as eager as his predecessor, George W. Bush, to dress himself up as a “war president.” Another factor was that Obama had the timely assistance of Russian President Putin to chart a course that skirted the abyss.

Given how close the U.S. neocons came to maneuvering a reluctant Obama into another “regime change” war on a Mideast adversary of Israel, you can understand why they are so angry with Putin and why they were so eager to hit back at him in Ukraine. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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23 comments on “Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?

  1. LinguaFranca on said:

    Thank you for responding to reader requests for information about Turkish false flag operations and for republishing Sy Hersh’s LRB piece here on Consortium News. By doing so, you prove yet again that you are not part of the media blackout so prevalent in today’s Western news outlets.

  2. hillary on said:

    “the U.S. intelligence community has been reluctant to pass on to Obama the information contradicting the Assad-did-it scenario. ”

    As with Iraq the public is told that we all have the same information .
    The problem is ONLY information favorable to the neocon agenda is passed on.

  3. Marshall D. Moushigian, Esq. on said:

    This is all part of Erdogan’s Ottoman Empire re-building project which, naturally, involves the kicking the Armenian Genocide back into high gear. When will the world learn that you cannot trust Turkey.

  4. James on said:

    Wow, Gulen has taken its war against Erdogan to a whole new level. To those of you who do not know the Gulen movement and its battle against Erdogan, just do a Google search on them. I am not sure if the author was aware of it or not, but he is surely being used by the Gulen movement to discredit Erdogan.

  5. lumpentroll on said:

    I have often wondered about the role played by Pulitzer prize winning state asset journalists like Seymour Hersh.

    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda. –The Redirection, Sy Hersh (March 5, 2007)

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all

    That was 7 years ago. To judge the results consider the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria (150000 dead), Iraq, Lebanon and so many more! The strategy has been a dismal failure on all fronts except one —

    It’s been exceedingly good for bankers, weapons makers, media conglomerates (including state journalists), war profiteers, spooks, oligarchs, etc.

    Remember all that hopey changey stuff you heard back then?

    The 2007 financial collapse (liquidity crisis or whatever) began exactly 5 months after this article was published.

    Someone wanted to pin the whole mess in Syria on Erdogan; no surprise considering his uppityness over another staged event — the flotilla incident — a setup that possibly backfired.

    Erdogan is a born, bred and trained political asset of the Deep State who’s gotten off his leash and managed to turn the tables (I predict the missing plane from flight 370 will crash into his official residence sometime very soon;) If you want to see how the Deep State works you need only look at the sniping between Erdogan and the CIA controlled Gulen Movement.

    Erdogan is as cynical and psychopathic as any member of his class anywhere in the world. His actions in Syria are payback.

    Meanwhile none of these folks would hesitate to used Sarin gas in Syria, Gaza or Texas.

    • Susan on said:

      Check out the Introduction to Mark Curtis’ book, “Secret Affairs” to see how both Britain and the U.S. have colluded with and trained these extremists for years. http://markcurtis.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/secret-affairs-introduction.pdf

    • Dan Huck on said:

      I don’t think Erdogan is off his leash, but he certainly gives the appearance of being a nationalist loose cannon.

      The Israel and US deep state continue to have faith in their corruption-compromised Muslim Brotherhood operatives with whom they play games of acceptance/rejection, and who in turn yell and scream about the devilish Israelis when it seems appropriate.

      Mursi and al-Shater in Egypt are examples of the MB operatives we nurtured and brought along. If Mursi had been able to keep things calm and manage the economy more effectively, Sinai would have found it’s way back to the Israelis. Did MSM ever do such an outstanding job of co-opting EVERY journalist and blogger in the western world as they did fomenting the outrage towards the Egyptian masses and military after we were unable to save the day for the MB? Did any young political operative ever get the continuous ‘blessed by the MSM’ treatment as was given to the Clinton protege and employee, disciple of MB deep-pockets Khairat al-Shater, (and son of Mursi’s international relations person) Gehad el-Haddad?

      All these people are in jail now, but in Egyptian politics, as it was for Hitler in Germany, that can be merely a staging ground for the next act. Khairat al-Shater, who Ambassador Burns visited in jail, has spent 12 years in jail so far for MB ‘activism’ which too frequently involves parading hooded thugs, weapons and dead people.

      Has the Egyptian el-Sisi government killed as many MB activists in past 6 months as Israel killed Palestinians in it’s wars on the inmates of the Gaza prison which it accomplishes in a few weeks? The really big problem with Egypt is they are not with us in the war on Syria. Nothing to do with democracy. Mursi was getting ready to formalize support for Syria’s (invader) rebels.

      All of this is intriguing in light of an interesting ‘report card’ and analysis re Erdogan of Turkey’s performance in an article by Deniz Arslan in Sunday’s Zaman with input from Jonathon Schanzer,VP, Foundation for Defense of Democracies – (Israel Firsters) -,etc. http://bit.ly/QUEGvR

      It’s a tricky business, keeping the Arab on the street happy, and it might be a little tough on the alcoholic beverage industry, but Erdogan, the MB man on the job, with under the radar help (with right of denial) from ourselves and Israel, has kept the Syria ‘patriots’ going. Has this Great Game been debated in the Congress? Is this what we want our country to be doing with our money? Is it rational for ourselves and the Israelis to think we can take over the world with underhanded policies?

      Too bad we don’t have Harry Truman or Joe McCarthy around in the Senate. Traitors would be in jail, a former President and Vice President would be implicated, it might jumpstart the kind of activism President Thomas Jefferson thought would be needed if we were to hold onto our liberty.

      • lumpentroll on said:

        Whether Erdogan is off his leash or not, I think we would agree he is helping, not hurting the deep state, Israel and the neocons.

        Are you aware of the struggle for control of the Brotherhood? Again, it might be a ruse but there are signs that Qatar and Turkey are seriously pondering a turn toward Russia and Iran.

        Read this:

        english.al-akhbar.com/content/what-will-come-saudi-qatari-feud

        • Anonymous on said:

          Thanks for the reference to this article.

          Turkey will feint to the left and go to the right, I believe.
          It appears plausible, if Qatar chooses to cooperate with a Russia –
          Tehran group, that avenue may have the greatest potential for saving what is left of the Syrian people, their culture, their religions, and any livelihood opportunities in the short term.

          Our involvement means Iraq stye devastation. Do al-Nusra types offer hope for community rebuilding?
          However, for Saudi, who have the US possibly, and Israel, and al-Quida whose promises to reform, which they might choose to believe, what else do they have?
          Erdogan may go the way of Mursi. Our deniability is rapidly vanishing.
          The CW issue, it would appear, continues to lay at the feet of the Turks, the Saudis & Israelis, and ourselves.

          We know what the bankers want the US to do, as Sen McCain has said, bomb, bomb, bomb! If there is one US Senator who believes he could get backing for Hearings to get to the bottom of our involvement in all of this, it might help in defanging the monster which has grown while we slept.

      • lumpentroll on said:

        Also this:

        Qatar sends a new positive message to Hezbollah

        http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/qatar-sends-new-positive-message-hezbollah

        Watch out for Zaman. It is an organ of the AKP.

  6. istlota on said:

    I have never seen the US press as compromised as it is now, not even during W’s rush to war with Iraq over similarly tainted ‘proof’ of chemical WMD usage by Saddam.

    One of the few American media outlets which have not completely ignored this story is the Huffington Post. But, sadly, they made it a story about whether Hersch’s information is reliable [never once bothering to mention the highly relevant fact that Hersch's investigative journalism was reliable enough to win him the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting]. What is so bad about what Huffington Post is doing is that they slurped up Hersch ‘s earlier pieces [without questioning his credibility] back when Hersch was publishing pieces exposing W’s lies.

    • lumpentroll on said:

      The boundaries of ‘respectable’ mainstream dialogue — aka Consensus Reality — are determined by the two poles of a false left/right dichotomy.

      The Huff post and NYTimes act as ‘gatekeepers’ for the left seemingly contradicting the more prevalent right wing narrative at Wapo, Fox, CNN.

      You need to read the Huff post very carefully. What is excluded is far important than what is conceded.

      BTW — I am not saying that left vs. right dichotomy is meaningless as some folks insist. I am only suggesting that viewing the world of politics through this prism severely limits your understanding of issues in the interests of the ruling class. The objective is to make you cheer for either Team Red or Team Blue without thinking it through for yourself.

  7. Hillary on said:

    ” The strategy has been a dismal failure on all fronts except one ”
    ..

    you forgot the PNAC neocon agenda first put forward on behalf of Israel.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-neocons-project-for-the-new-american-century-american-world-leadership-syria-next-to-pay-the-price/5305447

  8. So can we talk about war crimes, impeachment, prosecution now?

    It’s been obvious to the non-indoctrinated world that Obama Inc. with his Saudi, Turkish and Qatari partners have been helping Al Qaeda type jihadists destroy Syria, after similarly bombing Libya so that Al Qaeda styled jihadist lunatics could take over there. Since we have been in an alleged “war” against these types of people, perhaps installing them into power in multiple nations where they had no power previously could be considered a bad thing? How about treason?

    How about all that bluster and crocodile tears about the dead children of Ghouta (and other previous massacres) being directed at the US allied Jihadi lunatics who actually perpetrated the mass murders? Those children are just as dead, but all we hear are clinical tit for tat claims from intelligence leakers.

    Where’s the justice for an empire of such extreme brutality that it gives Stalin and Hitler a run for their money?

    It’s not enough to talk about who was “wrong” and how “mistakes were made.” That’s not justice.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Reading some of the conclusions based on the Hersh article in London Review of Books, it seems he makes a case for a CIA ratline to smuggle weapons to the insurgents from Libya to Syria via Turkey – speculation that’s been around for a long time. The bottom line is that Benghazi was not an “embassy” but a consular annex. No matter how anyone wants to slice it, the Ambassador’s place of duty would have been the embassy in Tripoli, not the annex in Benghazi. But suddenly, now that there’s evidence for a real coverup, everybody’s quiet, especially the neocons. They must have gagged Darryl Issa with a tennis ball to keep him quiet.

  9. Yes, since Aug 2013 , I was fairly sure that Turkey orchastrated the Sarin gas attack on Damascus alGhuta area , and the accusation of alAssad regime was rediculous, for how could it have done such an act of suicide only two days after the arrival of UN team invastigating similar allegations ? Turkey , from the very start of the Syrian revolution has provided various alQaida affiliated terrorist groups with logistic , financial and military support and facilitated their save passage to Syrian territories , and the latest leak of Turkeys Intelligence boss saying how he could easily orchastrate a military attack on Syria , and further the incursion from Turky ,on the 21st March to Syrian North Western town of Kessab of thousands of alNusra terrorist with full military backing from Turkey , is yet another clear evidence of Turkey’s military involvement in Syria .

  10. JWalters on said:

    “[F]irst, it shows how Official Washington’s hawks and neocons almost stampeded the United States into another Mideast war under false pretenses, and second, the story’s publication in the London Review of Books reveals how hostile the mainstream U.S. media remains toward information that doesn’t comport with its neocon-dominated conventional wisdom.”

    Too true. The entire “war on terrorism” is a production of war profiteers, using Jewish supremacists from Eastern Europe to start a religious war. Religious wars are the hardest type to stop.
    http://examine.webs.com

  11. ji90 on said:

    Exclusive? Hersh does what he has done since My Lai- take other’s work after its out and then “discover it” as his “own”. It was the alt media that was all over this scandal from DAY ONE. Now Hersh will come in and try to claim credit- like he did with the CPT’s work on Abu Ghraib- then he made a million off their work when the photos came out and made the story “sexy & saleable” for him.
    Arab journalists & Inner CIty Press at the UN CONTINUOUSLY raised the fact that Turkey was behind the Mar 21 attacks- (and they were in KHAN AL ASSAL) but no one listened cause hey? as the French Ambassador said to one from Lebanon: “You’re not a real journalist”. It was widely discussed / known all over the internet of Turkey’s involvement and NATO flying Libyan ‘rebels’ and weapons into Syria via Turkey was raised already in Jan 2013- and by everyone all over the internet immediately after Benghazi. What Hersh missed- because its not as widely discussed is the SAUDI and MOSSAD role in the Ghouta WMD scam.
    Hersh is an over hyped MSM fraud. John Coleman named him as a pet of the RIIA- he certainly doesnt do his own investigative pioneering work, he uses others, then claims its his. Give credit where credit is due- and its not to the guy that shows up nearly a year after its already widely spread on alt media.
    FAIL.

  12. ohmyheck on said:

    “A reluctant Obama”? Did we read the same Sy Hersh article, Mr. Parry?

    “From the beginning of the crisis, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt….”

    “Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – – would be a military blunder…The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course.”

    “…many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’”

    “… ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’:”

    If that doesn’t sound like a Class-A War Mongerer, please, Mr. Parry, tell me what does.

    And this doesn’t sound comforting-

    -”‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president,..”

    Bubble-living has its downsides.

    But then we have this Catch-22-

    ” Although the strike plans were shelved, the Obama administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ … ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’

    Sheesh. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    But this is absolutely frightening:

    “the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.”

    The President of The United States did NOT know what he was going to start World War 3?! Well out here past that nice bubble, LOTS of people were more than aware of this fact.

    If this is what we have for leadership, I am simply speechless.

  13. Rehmat on said:

    Right after a week of the sarin attack, British MP George Galloway had blamed Israel for providing the chemical weapon to the rebels via Saudi Arabia.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/08/27/galloway-israel-gave-chemical-weapons-to-syrian-rebels/

  14. Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich on said:

    Both Hersh and Parry are outstanding. However, there are several holes in Sy’s piece which have also been ignored by Parry. The most obvious is that Israel supplied the intelligence on the sarin use – they “overheard” Syrians, remember? Moreove, the rocket mentioned: ockets which according to former UN inspectors bore a strong resemblance to a 1970’s American weapon—the SLUFAE . Although SLUFAE had been shelved, the concept was built upon by several countries—namely Israel. According to the former UN inspector, “a very similar munition was found 3-5 years ago, during one of the Israeli excursions,” into Southern Lebanon”. Further, there is the strong possibility that the rockets with Cyrillic markings (attributed to the Soviets) can be traced back to the “Bear Spares” program.The Bear Spares program was devilishly clever in that it armed conflicts with captured weapons (such as Iraq). Both Israel and Egypt made the “Bear Spares” program feasible – major contributors. Neither country has their chemical weapons under scrutiny – they have not signed the chemical weapons treaty. The article also leaves out training and arms supply through Jordan. It also leaves out the Saudi role. As far back as 2009, neocons have been trying to undermine Erdogan. How can a NATO member and ally of Israel be the “hero of the Moslem world”? Prior to the Hersh report, “Defend Democracy” called his win a fraud. All this needs to be examined with scrutiny – and it has not.

  15. Baldur Dasche on said:

    How refreshing to note that the same old same old is now being applied to a new crisis in Ukraine.

    “You just hear what you want to hear and disregard the rest.’ Paul Simon said that and it might be as poetically applicable if, way down deep somewhere, it wasn’t being used again as an excuse for some ‘humanitarian bombing’. It’s ALWAYS about bombing.