Intel Vets Voice Doubts on Syrian Crisis

Two dozen former U.S. intelligence professionals are urging the American people to demand clear evidence that the Syrian government was behind the April 4 chemical incident before President Trump dives deeper into another war.

AN OPEN MEMORANDUM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Subject: Mattis ‘No Doubt’ Stance on Alleged Syrian CW Smacks of Politicized Intelligence

Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, during a recent trip to Israel, commented on the issue of Syria’s retention and use of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations to dispose of the totality of its declared chemical weapons capability in accordance with the provisions of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman hold a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 21, 2017. (U.S. Embassy photo by Matty Stern)

“There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.” To the contrary, Mattis noted, “I can say authoritatively they have retained some.”

Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”

Both Mattis and Lieberman seemed to be channeling assessments offered to reporters two days prior, on April 19, 2017, by anonymous Israeli defense officials that the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian village of Khan Shaykhun was ordered by Syrian military commanders, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s personal knowledge, and that Syria retained a stock of “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.

The Israeli intelligence followed on the heels of an April 13, 2017 speech given by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that, once information had come in about a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the CIA had been able to “develop several hypothesis around that, and then to begin to develop fact patterns which either supported or suggested that the hypothesis wasn’t right.” The CIA, Pompeo said, was “in relatively short order able to deliver to [President Trump] a high-confidence assessment that, in fact, it was the Syrian regime that had launched chemical strikes against its own people in [Khan Shaykhun.]”

The speed in which this assessment was made is of some concern. Both Director Pompeo, during his CSIS remarks, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, during comments to the press on April 6, 2017, note that President Trump turned to the intelligence community early on in the crisis to understand better “the circumstances of the attack and who was responsible.” McMaster indicated that the U.S. Intelligence Community, working with allied partners, was able to determine with “a very high degree of confidence” where the attack originated.

Mike Pompeo, now CIA director, speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. February 2012. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Both McMaster and Pompeo spoke of the importance of open source imagery in confirming that a chemical attack had taken place, along with evidence collected from the victims themselves – presumably blood samples – that confirmed the type of agent that was used in the attack. This initial assessment drove the decision to use military force – McMaster goes on to discuss a series of National Security Council meetings where military options were discussed and decided upon; the discussion about the intelligence underpinning the decision to strike Syria was over.

The danger of this rush toward an intelligence decision by Director Pompeo and National Security Advisor McMaster is that once the President and his top national security advisors have endorsed an intelligence-based conclusion, and authorized military action based upon that conclusion, it becomes virtually impossible for that conclusion to change. Intelligence assessments from that point forward will embrace facts that sustain this conclusion, and reject those that don’t; it is the definition of politicized intelligence, even if those involved disagree.

A similar “no doubt” moment had occurred nearly 15 years ago when, in August 2002, Vice President Cheney delivered a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney declared. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” The message Cheney was sending to the Intelligence Community was clear: Saddam Hussein had WMD; there was no need to answer that question anymore.

The CIA vehemently denies that either Vice President Cheney or anyone at the White House put pressure on its analysts to alter their assessments. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the record of certainty – and arrogance – that existed in the mindset of senior intelligence managers and analysts only further erodes public confidence in the assessments produced by the CIA, especially when, as is the case with Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – the agency was found so lacking. Stuart Cohen, a veteran CIA intelligence analyst who served as the acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, oversaw the production of the 2002 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to make case for Iraq possessing WMD that was used to justify war.

According to Mr. Cohen, he had four National Intelligence Officers with “over 100 years’ collective work experience on weapons of mass destruction issues” backed up by hundreds of analysts with “thousands of man-years invested in studying these issues.”

On the basis of this commitment of talent alone, Mr. Cohen assessed that “no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal … and reached any conclusion or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached,” namely that – judged with high confidence – “Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council.”

Two facts emerge from this expression of intellectual hubris. First, the U.S. Intelligence Community was, in fact, wrong in its estimate on Iraq’s WMD capability, throwing into question the standards used to assign “high confidence” ratings to official assessments. Second, the “reasonable person” standard cited by Cohen must be reassessed, perhaps based upon a benchmark derived from a history of analytical accuracy rather than time spent behind a desk.

Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003, citing satellite photos and other “intelligence” which supposedly proved that Iraq had WMD, but the evidence proved bogus.

The major lesson learned here, however, is that the U.S. Intelligence Community, and in particular the CIA, more often than not hides behind self-generated platitudes (“high confidence”, “reasonable person”) to disguise a process of intelligence analysis that has long ago been subordinated to domestic politics.

It is important to point out the fact that Israel, too, was wrong about Iraq’s WMD. According to Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli Intelligence Officer, Israeli intelligence seriously overplayed the threat posed by Iraqi WMD in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War, including a 2002 briefing to NATO provided by Efraim Halevy, who at the time headed the Israeli Mossad, or intelligence service, that Israel had “clear indications” that Iraq had reconstituted its WMD programs after U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998.

The Israeli intelligence assessments on Iraq, Mr. Brom concluded, were most likely colored by political considerations, such as the desire for regime change in Iraq. In this light, neither the presence of Avigdor Leiberman, nor the anonymous background briefings provided by Israel about Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, should be used to provide any credence to Secretary Mattis’s embrace of the “no doubt” standard when it comes to Syria’s alleged possession of chemical weapons.

The intelligence data that has been used to back up the allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use has been far from conclusive. Allusions to intercepted Syrian communications have been offered as “proof”, but the Iraq experience – in particular former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s unfortunate experience before the U.N. Security Council – show how easily such intelligence can be misunderstood and misused.

Inconsistencies in the publicly available imagery which the White House (and CIA) have so heavily relied upon have raised legitimate questions about the veracity of any conclusions drawn from these sources (and begs the question as to where the CIA’s own Open Source Intelligence Center was in this episode.) The blood samples used to back up claims of the presence of nerve agent among the victims was collected void of any verifiable chain of custody, making their sourcing impossible to verify, and as such invalidates any conclusions based upon their analysis.

In the end, the conclusions CIA Director Pompeo provided to the President was driven by a fundamental rethinking of the CIA’s analysts when it came to Syria and chemical weapons that took place in 2014. Initial CIA assessments in the aftermath of the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons seemed to support the Syrian government’s stance that it had declared the totality of its holding of chemical weapons, and had turned everything over to the OPCW for disposal. However, in 2014, OPCW inspectors had detected traces of Sarin and VX nerve agent precursors at sites where the Syrians had indicated no chemical weapons activity had taken place; other samples showed the presence of weaponized Sarin nerve agent.

The Syrian explanation that the samples detected were caused by cross-contamination brought on by the emergency evacuation of chemical precursors and equipment used to handle chemical weapons necessitated by the ongoing Civil War was not accepted by the inspectors, and this doubt made its way into the minds of the CIA analysts, who closely followed the work of the OPCW inspectors in Syria.

One would think that the CIA would operate using the adage of “once bitten, twice shy” when assessing inspector-driven doubt; U.N. inspectors in Iraq, driven by a combination of the positive sampling combined with unverifiable Iraqi explanations, created an atmosphere of doubt about the veracity of Iraqi declarations that all chemical weapons had been destroyed. The CIA embraced the U.N. inspectors’ conclusions, and discounted the Iraqi version of events; as it turned out, Iraq was telling the truth.

While the jury is still out about whether or not Syria is, like Iraq, telling the truth, or whether the suspicions of inspectors are well founded, one thing is clear: a reasonable person would do well to withhold final judgment until all the facts are in. (Note: The U.S. proclivity for endorsing the findings of U.N. inspectors appears not to include the Khan Shaykhun attack; while both Syria and Russia have asked the OPCW to conduct a thorough investigation of the April 4, 2017 incident, the OPCW has been blocked from doing so by the United States and its allies.)

Photograph of men in Khan Sheikdoun in Syria, allegedly inside a crater where a sarin-gas bomb landed on April 4, 2017.

CIA Director Pompeo’s job is not to make policy – the intelligence his agency provides simply informs policy. It is not known if the U.S. Intelligence Community will be producing a formal National Intelligence Estimate addressing the Syrian chemical weapons issue, although the fact that the United States has undertaken military action under the premise that these weapons exist more than underscores the need for such a document, especially in light of repeated threats made by the Trump administration that follow-on strikes might be necessary.

Making policy is, however, the job of Secretary of Defense Mattis. At the end of the day, Secretary of Defense Mattis will need to make his own mind up as to the veracity of any intelligence used to justify military action. Mattis’s new job requires that he does more than simply advise the President on military options; he needs to ensure that the employment of these options is justified by the facts.

In the case of Syria, the “no doubt” standard Mattis has employed does not meet the “reasonable man” standard. Given the consequences that are attached to his every word, Secretary Mattis would be well advised not to commit to a “no doubt” standard until there is, literally, no doubt.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS)

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator (GG-12) HQ, Department of the Army

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

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127 comments for “Intel Vets Voice Doubts on Syrian Crisis

  1. W. R. Knight
    April 26, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Like Trump, like Pompeo, like Mattis, like Lieberman, like Netanyahu, like G.W. Bush. Liars all.

    Birds of a feather, flock together.

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2017 at 4:33 am

      All those saying the Syrian government did it really no they didn’t do it, they have an agenda so lies are what they resort to. From the various pictures we see of the people who were said to be affected by this so called gas, its worth noticing that there were no girls or women to be seen. Why, were they immune or something? As everyone knows, people milling around the the patients were’n’t wearing gloves or masks but were clearly unaffected by this so called Sarin gas. Again, Why? One only has to look at Rex Tillerson’s face to see he is lying.

  2. Stanley Payson
    April 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for your veracity! We need to hear from “the peanut gallery”.

  3. April 26, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    All good people in this group…….I noticed the absence of Ray MacFarland.

    Can we be told why he did not participate in this?

    Dennis Morrisseau
    US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
    –OFF THE TRUMP TRAIN–
    Lieutenant Morrisseau’s Rebellion
    FIRECONGRESS.org
    Second Vermont Republic
    POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
    dmorso1@netzero.net
    802 645 9727

    • Bill Bodden
      April 27, 2017 at 12:25 am

      .I noticed the absence of Ray MacFarland.

      Did you mean Ray McGovern?

    • Ray
      April 27, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Dennis,

      In my view, the most salient conclusion from the evidence at hand has to do with Trump’s unpredictability and his recklessness in ordering “his” generals to fire the Tomahawks before there was time or inclination to do an intelligence assessment worthy of the word. There were no adults in the room. It was a rush to fire more than a rush to judgment, and rather than speak a word of restraint, Trump’s mad-dog defense secretary, his JCS chairman, and his national security advisor were happy to discharge the order to discharge the missiles.

      Only then, was there some attempt to “fix” the intelligence. CIA colleagues were reportedly reluctant to go down that road again, and so McMaster had his political hacks prepare the shoddy four-pager, which has since been ripped to shreds by Ted Postol (whose work needs to be referenced in any commentary like this one). From Postol and from other sources, we are 90 percent sure the generals are lying.

      It was not the “initial assessment that drove the decision to use military force.” The attack does not seem to have been “an intelligence-based conclusion.” The driving force, pure and simple, was Trump. To bury in the middle of the piece a comment that “the intelligence data has been far from conclusive,” well YES TO THAT. (See Ted Postol.) And there was absolutely no military reason to rush ahead absent a well-considered assessment, based on an examination of all the intelligence, re what had actually happened.

      Trump’s mad-dog generals were happy to test their cohones, as well as more sophisticated weapons. Ex post facto, they hustled to “fix” the intelligence (reaching out to the media) and making liberal use of “social media” — which John Kerry famously described as an “extraordinarily useful tool.” This, in my view, is the most important story.

      So why devote the first seven paragraphs to various facets of the deceitful cover story that Postol already demolished. To give space to self-interested assertions that “intelligence” played any significant role does not help. It was unpredictable, reckless Trump – acting rashly for his personal political purposes; and it worked like a charm. A big bump in the polls! And who can say any longer that he is soft on Russia?

      Again, it seems to me clear that there was NO intelligence assessment — preliminary or otherwise; and it seems quite unrealistic to expect a National Intelligence Estimate now or any time soon.

      Ted Postol wrote: “The facts are now very clear: There is very substantial evidence that the president and his staff took decisions without any intelligence, or far more likely ignored intelligence from the professional community that they were given, to execute a missile attack in the Middle East that had the danger of creating an inadvertent military confrontation with Russia.”

      That is BIG; I cannot remember a time (except for a brief episode under Reagan in the fall of 1983 when we were all close to being fried in a nuclear exchange) when the Russians … and now the Chinese and the Koreans have had to prepare against such unpredictable recklessness. This, I think, is the main thing Americans should draw from April 2017. It is safe to expect the Russians to revert to the old hair-trigger “launch-on-warning.” Use ’em, or lose ’em.

      So I think we, indeed, the entire world ought to be concerned about Trump’s behavior on April 4-6, given the abundant evidence that he went off half-cocked and ordered the missile attacks (with or without Ivanka’s pleading). And that the mad-dog four-stars followed orders without demurral and absent any reliable intelligence.

      “What I do is I authorize my military,” Trump told reporters recently. “We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and, frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”

      Right. Fifteen years of unmitigated success!

      Ray McGovern

      .

      • Abe
        April 27, 2017 at 1:36 am

        Status quo ante bellum:

        The American “Government Assessment” is backed by an anonymous “Israeli Intelligence Assessment” and now, the chef d’oeuvre, a French “National Evaluation”
        http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/170425_-_evaluation_nationale_-_anglais_-_final_cle0dbf47-1.pdf

        French claims of a “Clandestine Syrian chemical weapons programme” rely on “allegations” of chemical use laundered by Bellingcat.

        Back in 2003, it was a cascade of grandiose but evidence free WMD claims and waving a little vial at the United Nations.

        Today in 2017, it is the climax of a steady feed of ambiguous WMD allegations, a false flag version of a “death by a thousand cuts”, and waving a bogus French “National Assessment” at Les Nations Unies.

        The French report directly relies on long ago debunked claims about hexamine from Dan Kaszeta, a collaborator with Atlantic Council-funded disinformation operative Eliot Higgins.

        In 2014, professor Theodore A. Postol of MIT concluded that Kaszeta, the mainstream media’s frequently cited “chemical weapons expert” on Syria, was a fraud.

        Kaszeta and Higgins both remains frauds, and the Bellingcat “fake news” site continues to be the media’s (and the Trump administration’s) main source for “experts” on the war in Syria.

        The French report also refers repeatedly to “air strikes” and “air capacities”. The French even make the extraordinary claim that ” Modelling, on the basis of the crater’s characteristics, confirmed with a very high level of confidence that it was dropped from the air.” No evidence or data are presented to substantiate this claim.

        • Coleen Rowley
          April 27, 2017 at 10:12 am

          Your comments about how fraudulent (and unfortunately influential) Bellingcat is (i.e. Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta, a collaborator with Atlantic Council-funded disinformation) are spot on. As you know, Higgins began blogging only a few years ago under the pseudonym “Brown Moses” so that he could assume the identify of being a weapons and munition expert. (I was on a list of otherwise intelligent writers at the time who heralded the expertise of Moses as to his fake (and repeatedly debunked) claims about the earlier (August 2013) chemical attack. (Debunked, among other places, at: http://whoghouta.blogspot.com/ ) If they had known “Moses'” true identity (as a simple out of work young man in UK) who pretended to be an “expert” blogging from his living room, these writers would not have been so gullible.

        • Abe
          April 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

          Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat is now recycling his Brown Moses Blog “analysis” of the 29 April 2013 chemical incident at Saraqeb in Al Qaeda controlled Idlib, Syria.
          https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/04/27/revisiting-syrias-2013-sarin-attack-saraqeb-idlib/

          The French government referred to the Saraqeb incident in its 26 April 2017 “National Evaluation” document.

          Al Qaeda perpetrated the chemical incidents in April in order to exploit the anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention (29 April 1997) for maximum propaganda leverage.

          Higgins’ latest Bellingcat post is particularly interesting because it points to the very early (2013) close media coordination between Higgins, fake “chemical weapons expert” Dan Kaszeta, and BBC News.

          In 2015, Google formed the “First Draft” coalition in 2015 with Bellingcat as a founding member, despite Higgins and Kaszeta’s glaring track record of debunked claims about Syria.

          In a triumph of Orwellian Newspeak, Google’s new “post-Truth” propaganda coalition declared that member organizations would “work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process”.

          Apparently the key method of “verification” is to cite Higgins and Kaszeta, their collaborators at Bellingcat, and the Atlantic Council.

          Designated reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC News, UK Guardian, and other “First Draft” media “partners” write articles based on the “findings” of Higgins & Co.

          Regime change groups like the Atlantic Council, and compromised human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, persistently cite Higgins’ “findings as having been “confirmed” by reporters at key “First Draft” coalition media outlets.

          In 2017, the “First Draft” coalition’s highly streamlined game of fake journalistic “verification” has shifted into overdrive in the aftermath of the Khan Shakhun attacks in Syria.

          This elaborate propaganda ecosystem enabled the Trump administration to launch its Tomahawk missile attack against Syria without significant resistance from the American public.

        • Abe
          April 27, 2017 at 9:38 pm

          Pas de surprise.

          Eliot Higgins parle très bien “français”

          https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/857706444023640069

          Le même vieux chat.

        • Abe
          April 27, 2017 at 10:30 pm

          Dodgy Dossier Redux:

          It’s no surprise that Eliot Higgins backs the French “National Evaluation” as enthusiastically as his Bellingcat and Brown Moses collaborator Dan Kaszeta backs the “assessment” of anonymous Israeli defense officials.

          Higgins told the Washington Post: “With France making a connection between those two attacks because of the presence of hexamine, it would stand to reason the same connection exists with the August 21st, 2013, sarin attacks”.
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/samples-from-syrias-deadly-sarin-attack-bear-assadssignature-says-france/2017/04/26/af5d47e0-2a5d-11e7-86b7-5d31b5fdc114_story.html?utm_term=.a9506105bd6a

          In 2013, in the run-up to the Iraq War, Tony Blair’s British government released a briefing document that was mostly plagiarised from unattributed sources, including a postgraduate student’s thesis and articles in Jane’s Intelligence Review (with some falsifications).

          In 2017, in an apparent run-up to war in Syria, François Hollande’s French government released a “National Evaluation” document purportedly “based on declassified intelligence from France’s own sources”. In fact the document appears to be mostly plagiarised from unattributed sources, mostly Al Qaeda propaganda laundered by Higgins and Kaszeta.

          In 2013, the Obama administration nearly went to war in Syria based on Al Qaeda propaganda laundered by Higgins and Kaszeta. Trump has proven to be far less discerning.

          Kaszeta’s claims about hexamine as a “smoking gun” have long been debunked.

          But the French are now frantically waving their dodgy dossier.

          And Higgins and Kaszeta remain undeterred by reality.

          La même vieille merde.

        • Abe
          April 28, 2017 at 1:05 am

          Eliot Higgins has a real nose for Al Qaeda’s fake news:
          https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/857600504528064512

          In reality, the odor of impure Sarin is quite distinct.

          When pure, Sarin is odorless.

          When impure or contaminated, Sarin may have a slightly fruity odor, similar to a weak ethyl acetate solution.

          Neither pure nor impure Sarin produce a “horrible, suffocating smell”.

          Sarin is not capable of “producing strong smells”.

          Sarin does not smell “like rotten eggs”, “overpowering”, “like cooking gas”, or “like rotten food”.

          I think with 3 confirmed incidents of “eyewitness” tales of “strong smells” we can debunk the claim that Sarin is being described.

          There is the very strong odor of Al Qaeda “chemical realities” emanating from Bellingcat.

          Higgins and Kaszeta can’t smell their own shit.

          Neither can their “partners” in Google’s “First Draft” war propaganda coalition, Israeli intelligence, and the Trump White House.

      • john wilson
        April 27, 2017 at 4:43 am

        What is more sickening about this affair is that leaders from around the world agreed with it purely on the basis of what they were told and they did so before any fantasy intelligence report came out. Our own fool of a man Boris Johnson, was full of this horse sh!t and telling us that it was a measured response to this so called attack. Before this rsole was made foreign secretary, he, like Trump, seemed to be his own man with a modicum of independent though. I’m convinced that when these people get into government someone gets at them and they become completely under the influence of benign forces.

        • Stygg
          April 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm

          More likely malign forces than benign!

        • SteveK9
          April 27, 2017 at 6:45 pm

          Johnson at least encourages me that another country can have jerks to equal our own.

        • Bill Bodden
          April 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

          I’m convinced that when these people get into government someone gets at them and they become completely under the influence of benign forces.

          People like Boris Johnson seem to be common to nations that have the deformity of social class structures such as those that have plagued Britain for centuries letting family idiots continue as if they were normal people. When I decided to read up on the history of the First World War I was astounded at how the likes of General Haig and his clique and their counterparts in the French and German forces could order thousands of their troops out of their flooded, lice- and rat-infested trenches each day to certain death while they lived and dined in luxury in some chateau or stately home callously indifferent to the carnage and horrors of the front lines.

          An article that I read several years ago indicated the DuPont family here in the U.S. would create Potemkin-like offices where they would assign progeny to roles where they wouldn’t do any damage. Unfortunately, other social groups in America are following the old European models greasing the path to decline and fall for the American empire.

          It seemed the angry young playwrights in Britain in the 1950s might have effected a change in Britain’s social life, but the class traditions were so embedded their influence proved to be limited.

          • Bill Bodden
            April 27, 2017 at 9:17 pm

            I was astounded at how the likes of General Haig and his clique and their counterparts in the French and German forces could order thousands of their troops out of their flooded, lice- and rat-infested trenches each day to certain death while they lived and dined in luxury in some chateau or stately home callously indifferent to the carnage and horrors of the front lines.

            The United States has shown since its founding that it has people just as pathologically inhumane as anyone from Europe’s upper strata. Slavery, ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, and many other acts of barbarism through present horrors.

        • Dave P.
          April 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

          John, I think it is the leaders of the Western World, and other Vassal States who agreed with it. The rest of the World knows better. The West has experience of quite a few centuries of perpetuating these kind of lies as a pretext to inflict violence on the weak Nations and it’s people. This cruise missile strike on Syria is just a continuation of it. Boris Johnson – and the British – are always a step ahead.

          The cruise Missile strike is just a prelude to some bigger show to follow.

      • Bill Bodden
        April 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm

        It was a rush to fire more than a rush to judgment,…

        Followed by the lemmings in Congress.

      • Sam F
        April 28, 2017 at 6:29 am

        Trump’s statement “What I do is I authorize my military” is maximally unconstitutional. For the executive to steal warmaking power from Congress, and then delegate that to the military itself, is a military coup.

        It is treason to bring the US to foreign wars, for which there is no federal power under the Constitution, and no such power other than under treaties, which since WWII have only been abused by warmongers to rationalize aggression. That Trump has reversed himself on the abuses of NATO shows that he has found it an avenue to personal abuse of the military. One hopes that he takes another course.

  4. April 26, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference [in Tel Aviv, Israel] with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.”
    Mattis, true to his opportunistic nature, went to Israel to prove in person his usefulness for ziocons. And look to whom the secretary genuflected – to Avigdor Lieberman, the open racists and ex-convict of Moldovan extraction.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 26, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      You are right Anna. Mattis making these accusations against Syria while he is standing in Tel Aviv says it all…the real Masters have spoken. America is fighting a Zionist Wahabi war, it’s that plain and simple.

      • Anon
        April 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

        Since the Saudis are funding their dependent Wahabi extremists in fear of the zionists/US, the mideast wars are zionist wars. Because the Israeli zionists could do nothing without the US money and military aid obtained by bribery of most US politicians by Jews, it is a war of Jews in the US, who appear to be almost 100% zionist, and led with little dissent by zionist promises of special benefits. US Jews and their opportunist followers are now dependent on special benefits from their fascist zionist leaders. Dissent of US Jews is minimal due this extreme dependency upon their fascist leaders.

        History will record that the US wars in the MidEast are ethnic wars of fascist Jews.

        • Joe Tedesky
          April 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

          Anon your comment makes me recall Harry Truman’s retort of how he (I’m paraphrasing) had more Jewish voters than Arab voters. Also as an American I literally can see openly the Zionist influence where in everyday American life I can hardly see any Arab domination over our media and politics. I see the Saudis as buyers, whereas I see the Zionist as controllers. The only ones, as usual, who don’t have a seat at the influential table of our government are the American people…but never fear, they are being entertained and to the halls of power that’s all they need to stay quiet and docile. Now pass the cake.

          • Dave P.
            April 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

            Joe, the Saudis are not only good buyers, they make excellent lackeys to beef up the Big Ego of the Western Ruling Elite. Even mix breed Obama was not immune to it. I vividly remember picture of Obama’s slightly mocking and patronizing looks talking to Gulf States Sheiks in their colorful garbs, at Camp David couple of years ago. He was trying to assure them of the merits of this Treaty with Iran by five Nations.

            One can pretty much predict what is coming in the near future:

            There will be Syrian Regime change. The main NATO Partners U.K., France, Germany are on the band wagon. Of course, Israel is behind it all. And it is going to be bloody.

            There will be a nuclear War, if not in four years, it will be soon after that. It depends when U.S. is sure about it’s first strike capability. It seems like that Russians are not going to accept the loss of their Sovereignty, and become some kind of a Vassal State of the West.

            As far as public Opinion in the West is concerned, anything can be sold to them. Here in U.S. ,the masses have been kind of brain washed for too long a time now.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

            If the U.S. were to do the right thing, and go after these human rights abusers like Israel and Saudi Arabia are, then and only then would matters of all kinds improve. Instead we in America are being led by the very people who we should be going up against. We sell out wares and our souls to these pitiful nations we sponsor while our exceptionalism demands our boosting of spreading liberty and freedom to everyone on this planet, as our leaders think they have cleverly fooled everyone with that is our American goal. Every American should be made to read the Project for the New American Century, and then read the names attached to it…then let’s talk about 911 & decades long wars.

            Dave you and I plus the others here who comment on this sites board may know better, but I’m afraid to most Americans who would hear such things as we are discussing it would just make them think we are antisemitic and tin-foiled hat conspiracy theorist, and with that that’s too bad. I’ll take the abuse, if you want to call it that, but I question can America afford it?

            One last item; for days now I have been writing about S Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, and my reason for talking about it so much, is because no one in our media is. It’s news stuff like this that drives me up a wall. The majority who should be hearing it, are instead getting an ear full about Ivanka, or now Flynn….okay report it, but why so much for so long, and where is the other news? Sorry just had to rant.

  5. Abe
    April 26, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Disinformation produced by fake “chemical weapons expert” Dan Kaszeta and fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins of the UK-based Bellingcat blog made its way into the Trump White House’s “assessment” of the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Shakhun in an Al Qaeda controlled area of Idlib, Syria.

    Kaszeta is now backing evidence free “Israeli intelligence” claims about Syria.

    The Associated Press (AP) report of the 19 April 2017 briefing by anonymous Israeli military officials included evidence free claims that Syrian military commanders ordered the Khan Shaukun attack with President Assad’s knowledge and “estimates” that Syria still has “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.

    The AP report on the Israeli military briefing included an interview with Kaszeta, who said the Israeli estimate appeared to be “conservative”. Kaszeta claimed that “One ton of sarin could easily be used to perpetrate an attack on the scale of the 2013 attack. It could also be used for roughly 10 attacks of a similar size to the recent Khan Sheikhoun attack”.

    Back in 2013, Kaszeta backed similar evidence free claims by Israeli defense officials.

    Collusion between anonymous Israeli defense officials and British bloggers represents a grave national security concern for the United States.

    The U.S. Intelligence Community is responsible for gathering and analyzing the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities.

    The ability of the President and the Secretary of Defense to understand and respond to specific threats as quickly as possible is severely compromised by the production of “Government Assessment” documents based on inaccurate information.

    Of urgent concern is the body of information used to manufacture “Government Assessment” documents. The United States Government’s assessment of the Khan Shaykhun chemical incident relied heavily on “videos”, “social media reports” and “journalist accounts” from Bellingcat.

    Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is defined by both the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), as “produced from publicly available information that is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement.”

    OSINT is intelligence collected from publicly available sources. In the Intelligence Community, the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or clandestine sources).

    The US Intelligence Community’s open-source activities (known as the National Open Source Enterprise) are dictated by Intelligence Community Directive 301 promulgated by the Director of National Intelligence.

    The “Government Assessment” political documents employed by the White House in August 2013 and July 2014 appear to have relied on an extra-governmental species of “open source intelligence” largely supplied by bloggers based in the United Kingdom.

    Assessments of chemical use in Syria in 2013 (Brown Moses blog) and the downing of Flight MH17 and its aftermath in 2014 (Bellingcat blog) were supplied by UK citizen Higgins of Leicester.

    Higgins’ collaborator Kaszeta, a US-UK dual national based in London, provided additional claims of “chemical attacks” in Syria for both the Brown Moses and Bellingcat blogs.

    Since 2013, Kaszeta and Higgins have continued to make ever more dramatic claims about “chemical attacks” in Syria.

    Following the the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, Kaszeta was cited as a go-to “expert” by the BBC, UK Guardian, CNN, Time magazine, Washngton Post. NPR, Germany’s Die Welt and Deutsche Welle, Business Insider, Popular Science, Asia Times and the Associated Press.

    Not content with merely quoting Kaszeta, BBC News online went so far as to publish an essay authored by Kaszeta titled “Syria ‘chemical attack’: What can forensics tell us?” At the end of his BBC News essay, in a furtive effort to quickly “tie the whole narrative together”, Kaszata mentioned that “In 2013, the chemical hexamine, used as an additive, was a critical piece of information linking the Ghouta attack to the government of President Assad.” This intriguing tidbit linked to a December 2013 New York Times article quoting Kaszeta’s own claims about the “very damning evidence” of hexamine.

    However, Kaszeta’s claims about hexamine were already debunked in 2014. Kaszeta continues to claim that Hexamine was used in the 2013 Ghouta attack, despite evidence that Hexamine is not soluble in alcohols, making it ineffective for this purpose.

    Analysis of all primary and secondary evidence relating to the 21 August 2013 chemical incident at Ghouta indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Al Nusra Front or Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Jabhat Fateh al Sham).

    Analysis of evidence relating to the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Shaykhun indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, the latest rebranding of Al Nusra).

    Higgins and Kaszeta have vigorously backed the narrative of an air-dropped chemical bomb in Idlib. However, none of Kaszeta’s articles on Bellingcat, nor any of the numerous citations of Kaszeta by mainstream media, address the complete absence of evidence of an aerial bomb.

    The alleged “Sarin bomb” hole in the road in Idlib has been photographed numerous times from multiple angles. The size, depth and shape of the hole are clear evidence that it was not produced by a falling object such as an air-dropped bomb.

    MIT physicist Theodore A. Postol reviewed the White House report on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria. He noted that the only source the cited as evidence of Syrian government responsibility for the attack was the crater on a road in Khan Shaykhun.

    Postol concluded that the US government failed to provide evidence that it had any concrete knowledge that the Syrian government was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017.

    Postol accurately identified the amateurish nature of the White House report:

    “No competent analyst would assume that the crater cited as the source of the sarin attack was unambiguously an indication that the munition came from an aircraft. No competent analyst would assume that the photograph of the carcass of the sarin canister was in fact a sarin canister. Any competent analyst would have had questions about whether the debris in the crater was staged or real. No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it. All of these highly amateurish mistakes indicate that this White House report… was not properly vetted by the intelligence community as claimed.’

    Postol concluded:

    “I have worked with the intelligence community in the past, and I have grave concerns about the politicization of intelligence that seems to be occurring with more frequency in recent times – but I know that the intelligence community has highly capable analysts in it. And if those analysts were properly consulted about the claims in the White House document they would have not approved the document going forward.

    “We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report.”

    Postol recently told The Nation, “What I think is now crystal clear is that the White House report was fabricated and it certainly did not follow the procedures it claimed to employ.” He added, “My best guess at the moment is that this was an extremely clumsy and ill-conceived attempt to cover up the fact that Trump attacked Syria without any intelligence evidence that Syria was in fact the perpetrator of the attack”.

    Israel has a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia and GCC backers of the Al Qaeda terrorists who have conducted numerous Chemical Weapons (CW) attacks in Syria.

    Israel possesses the means, the motive, and abundant opportunity to supply Sarin nerve agents and other chemical weapons to the Al Qaeda forces in Syria for the purpose of staging false flag chemical attacks.

    The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), an Israeli government defense research facility near Tel Aviv, develops offensive chemical and biological weapons including Sarin.The IIBR facility was involved in an extensive effort to identify practical methods of synthesis for nerve gases (such as Tabun, Sarin, and VX) and other chemical weapons compounds.

    Evidence pointing to possible collusion between Israel, fake “citizen journalist” bloggers like Higgins and Kaszeta at Bellingcat, and officials in the U.S. Government represents a grave national security concern for the United States.

    • Abe
      April 27, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      The April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical incident in Idlib was coordinated for maximum propaganda effect to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

      The Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force and becoming binding international law on 29 April 1997.

      The Chemical Weapons Convention contains four key provisions:

      – destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW;
      – monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging;
      – providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats; and
      – fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.

      The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW is responsible for verification of compliance with the Convention and maintenance of a forum for consultations and cooperation among States Parties.

      The OPCW’s two governing bodies, the Executive Council and the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, held their first sessions in May 1997.

      To date, only three UN member states (Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan) and one non-member observer state i(Palestine) have neither signed the Chemical Weapons Convention nor acceded to it. Egypt has promised to ratify the Convention if Israel, the only state in the Middle East that is known to possess nuclear weapons, signs the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

      Israel is the only UN member state that has signed (13 January 1993) but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. Israel has known stockpiles of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Israel is unwilling to grant OPCW inspectors access to its military bases.

      Syria has signed (14 September 2013) and ratified (14 October 2013) the Chemical Weapons Convention. In the year ending September 2014, the OPCW had overseen the destruction of some 97 percent of Syria’s declared chemical weapons.

      The Khan Shaykhun chemical incident and similar incidents since 2012 present a pattern of terrorist perpetrated attacks designed to provide propaganda support for the Al Qaeda and ISIS forces that have attacked and occupied areas of Syria.

      Known launderers of Al Qaeda and ISIS propaganda include the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta of the UK-based Brown Moses and Bellingcat blogs, and the White Helmets organization created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, an ex-British Army Officer.

    • Abe
      April 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) facility near Tel Aviv was receiving the components of nerve gas weapons aboard El Al Flight LY 1862 that crashed outside Amsterdam on October 4, 1992.

      The El Al aircraft left Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on route to Tel Aviv, carrying three crewmen, one passenger and 114 tons of freight. Seven minutes later, it crashed in a high-rise apartment complex in Bijlmer.

      The crash of El Al Flight LY 1862 became the worst air disaster in Dutch history, killing at least 47 (the actual number is unknown because many victims were immigrants) and destroyed the health of 3000 Dutch residents. Cases of mysterious illnesses, rashes, difficulty in breathing, nervous disorders and cancer began to sprout in that neighborhood and beyond.

      The Dutch government, in collusion with Israel, lied to its citizens saying the plane was carrying perfumes and flowers. In April 1998 again Israel denied there had been dangerous chemicals on board, but in Oct 1998 it was revealed that the plane was carrying 10 tons of chemicals used in the most dangerous of the known nerve gases, Sarin.

      In a 4 October 1998 interview with The London Sunday Times, a former biologist at Israel Institute for Biological Research said “There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon … which is not manufactured at the institute.”

      Karel Knip, science editor in the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, took several years to discover the facts of El Al Flight LY 1862 crash.

      Knip published on 27 November 1999 the most detailed and factual published investigation about the workings of chemical and biological terrorism housed in IIBR.

      The shipment from Solkatronic Chemicals of Morrisville, Pennsylvania to IIBR was under US Department of Commerce licence, contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which the US, but not Israel, is party.

      The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague turns a blind eye to the Israeli WMD activities. Israeli researchers have guided OPCW on methods to detect chemical weapons.

      Knip first found out that the plane was carrying 50 gallons of DMMP a substance used to make a quarter ton of the deadly nerve gas Sarin. The shipment from Solkatronic Chemicals of Morrisville, Pennsylvania to IIBR was sent to Israel under a US Department of Commerce licence in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which the US, but not Israel, is party.

      Knip reviewed the scientific literature produced by IIBR and the microbiology departments of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University since 1950. He was able to identify 140 scientists involved in biological weapons (BW) research. The number could be more as scientists have dual positions or they move around. Many take their sabbaticals invariably in the United States.

      There are strong links between IIBR and Walter Reed Army Institute, the Uniformed Services University, the American Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Center in Edgewood and the University of Utah.

      Knip was able to identify three categories of IIBR production: diseases, toxins and convulsants, and their development in each decade of the five previous decades.

      The IIBR research moved from virus and bacteria to toxins because they are many times more poisonous. Nerve gases known as Tabun, Soman, Sarin, VX, Cyclo-Sarin, RVX and Amiton are all deadly gases and function in the same way.

      Knip sought the assistance of experts in this field such as Professor Julian Perry Robinson, University of Sussex, Brighton, Dr Jean Pascal Zanders of SIPRI, Stockholm and Professor Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford. The scientists guided his research and explained his findings.

      Knip discovered close cooperation between IIBR and the British-American Biological Weapons program as well as extensive collaboration on Biological Weapons research with Germany and Holland. That is probably the reason for the Dutch official silence over the deadly crash over Amsterdam.

      The cooperation with the US is quite open. The Congress “Joint Medical, Biological and Nuclear Defence Research Programs” openly lists cooperation with Israel on nerve agents and convulsants under the guise of finding antidotes. Documents from the US Defense Department’s Office for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics confirm the frequent contributions of Dr Avigdor Shafferman, IIBR director.

      Despite extensive evidence of Israeli development of WMD, including Sarin and other chemical weapons, mainstream media and Western government refuse to consider Israel’s means, motive, and opportunity to enable false flag chemical attacks in Syria.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Abe: Your excellent comment helps to explain why our government is so opposed to Wikileaks.

    • Abe
      April 27, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Déjà vu all over again:

      Bellingcat fake “weapons experts” and “citizen journalists” Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta are “like 2013 all over again, same people saying the same shit”

      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/857706444023640069

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 1:23 am

      And You Can Too!
      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/857464403721150464

      Very limited spaces. Sign up today. Oughta be fun!

  6. Taras77
    April 26, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Really bad news but not surprising that wolfowitz has crawled out from his lair and according to his interview in politico, he has had a long standing contact with mattis (and mcmaster); mattis was wolfowitz senior military advisor when the bush neo cons controlled the pentagon.

    • Sam F
      April 27, 2017 at 8:19 am

      It seems likely that zionists Wolfowitz and Mattis pulled the same trick used to trick the People into Iraq War II, when Wolfowitz appointed known zionist conspirators Perle, Feith, and Wurmser (who had previously conspired to get Netanyahu support to trick the US into Mideast wars for Israel) to head offices at CIA, DIA, and NSA to supply discredited WMD “intelligence” to Cheney et al. For details see Bamford’s Pretext For War.

      The Mattis went to Israel to make these bogus claims shows that he is a traitor against the United States.

      • john wilson
        April 28, 2017 at 4:34 am

        The real question here Sam, is why are the people so easily tricked? Why do they fall for the same lies every time? Although the Iraq war was over a decade ago, the horrors of this lunacy continue unabated so its not as if its something long finished in the distant past.

        • Sam F
          April 28, 2017 at 6:43 am

          Most people are careless TV watchers who expect the government to do the right thing, otherwise someone else will solve the problem. They are afraid of their own kind, and will believe or pretend to believe what they are told by the mass media regardless of fact. If they are given better fact-based alternative journalism, they will reject that because they want mass sources to dictate what is safe to repeat among their own kind.

          Until mass media are run by regulated mass media corporations required to maintain (and monitored for) balanced views and administrations, restricted (along with elections) to funding by limited registered individual contributions, the careless majority will not care about the facts. We cannot free those institutions from economic power precisely because those are the tools of democracy.

          Once it has fallen, the restoration of democracy requires force, not reason.

  7. Benjamin Colby
    April 26, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    I appreciate your effort to keep war hawks and people with special interests in fomenting war from spreading fake news or making unsupported statements that are designed to inflame public opinion.

  8. Weldon Nisly, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Iraqi Kurdistan
    April 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for this VIPS call to truth in a political culture of lies that has so permeated the house of whiteness that it is “normalized.” VIPS helps us remember that lies are not truth and should never be normalized. I too, wondered why Ray McGovern is not on this list?

  9. wendy
    April 27, 2017 at 12:24 am

    yes please, where is ray mc govern in the signatory list? this is very concerning.

    • Sai
      April 27, 2017 at 11:42 am

      I think he’s replied above, Wendy? (there’s a ‘Ray’ signed at the end: Ray McGovern)

    • D5-5
      April 27, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Note that at April 27, 12/29 a.m. Ray McGovern entered the forum, just minutes after these comments. His view is in accord with these Veteran Professionals for Sanity, his outrage more strongly expressed. He also seems critical of the text.

  10. Typingperson
    April 27, 2017 at 12:50 am

    This is the true resistance. Not a bunch of poorly informed, indignant liberals wearing pink pussy hats.

  11. Michael K Rohde
    April 27, 2017 at 1:59 am

    This is too much like Bush the second’s phony war and the CIA’s “slam dunk” conclusion about WMD and Sadaam. In fact we see many of the same voices, i.e., lies, coming from the same neo-con crowd. And at this point we should just substitute agents of Israel for neo-cons because they are operating like they are employed by the Mossad and the state of Israel. How the most powerful nation that ever existed is able to be ordered around the globe like a personal body guard for a nation of 7 million is still a puzzle, but we shouldn’t be surprised at all. Israel has more or less looted close to 300 billion dollars from us since their founding in 1947 and that figure is going up at around 5 billion a year in real dollars. I say looting because their assertions that it is for self defense because they are surrounded by more powerful countries is not true, Israel has had more military power than her neighbors since her birth. She has bombed and invaded her neighbors with impunity and been condemned by the U.N. repeatedly but no sanctions because they order us to veto the resolutions and we do it like the obedient lap dog we have become for the jewish state. That they have concealed this more or less successfully for all this time is remarkable, but Americans started believing Israeli propaganda decades ago and the south and Republicans in general buy the lies and keep giving them more money. And that is why we have went to war twice and apparently they are lining up his Orangeness to invade Syria or Iran, I’m not sure what Israel prefers. We’ll know when our boots are on the ground and the casualties start coming home in boxes. And here we go again. I don’t think their is a historical example of this type of nation state behavior in human history. It is bizarre in the least and most likely criminal at the end of the day. But this America, we do what’s best for our 1% and then take the lumps. We call that democracy. It more resembles a military occupation. Someone needs to start a pool for when we launch more missiles and invade. We haven’t invaded anyone for a while so I suppose it is time.

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2017 at 4:54 am

      Correct Micheal except that it wasn’t like the weapons of mass destruction affair it was exactly the same. It seems to me that the Jews have been a matter of contention since biblical times and one wonders why this is.

    • Anon
      April 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Yes, it is long past time for Israel-Gate, and time to settle accounts with Israel and its Jewish supporters in the US, who control the mass media and elections, and comprise a tyranny from which the United States must be freed immediately.

      Let us get them the hell out of the US and its affairs forever: they are the most extreme racist tyranny on the planet, wherever they go. It looks more and more as though historical discrimination against the Jews has been very well founded indeed, and regrettable only in over-generalization, which was probably not avoidable.

  12. ranney
    April 27, 2017 at 2:03 am

    for those wondering why Ray McGovern is not on this article’s VIPS list, I note that no one in the above comments take note of Ray McGovern’s comment on this article. I think also that he may not quite agree with the “on one hand this, and on the other hand that” spirit of the article. If you go to Ray’s blog you will find a video of an interview with Ray and another fellow who is from the media. In the first 5 minutes of the video you can hear Ray state pretty unequivocally what actually happened and he ends by saying that what we are being told is a “fraud” – his word, not mine (though I agree with it).

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2017 at 5:00 am

      Very interesting Ranney, how does one get to Mcgovern’s blog?

      • Skip Scott
        April 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

        John-

        Here’s his website.

        http://raymcgovern.com

        There is an interview at the bottom of the page that goes into some detail. As you can see from his above comment, he probably didn’t sign this letter because he thought it wasn’t forceful enough.

    • Sunset
      April 27, 2017 at 11:28 am

      I took note! The veterans seem to give at least a little authenticity to a CW claim whereas it was likely a trumped-up excuse to bomb (flex muscle) — to gain political points. Truly, these veterans have their hearts in the right place but they need extreme editing. Initially I wanted to share their open letter broadly, but as I read on I realized I didn’t know anyone who would be willing to wade through it.

  13. April 27, 2017 at 5:04 am

    That idiotic, mentally sick man Trump must be impeached by the decent american people. He is too Dangerous for whole mankind.
    Please Citizen of that great country, wake-up !

    • Sam F
      April 27, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Please be more cautious. Have you given any thought to who would take his place? Have you considered that the forces that reversed his conduct after inauguration are still in place?

      • D5-5
        April 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        Yes, the problem is there is no replacement. However, I would argue he should be dismissed. I sense the danger is his further sinking into irrelevance the more he gives away power, as to Mattis and Sessions. His egotism appears to demand attention and praise, with military muscle now a revelation on how he can assuage it. This could be considered lunacy.

  14. F. G. Sanford
    April 27, 2017 at 5:08 am

    While living overseas, I had a wonderful friend named Ciro. He was quite a humorous character, poignantly irreverent and thoroughly disdainful of anything presumptuous, pompous or ridiculous. Nevertheless, he was devoutly religious and observant to a fault. He kept the obligatory horn and a rosary hanging from his rearview mirror. In the corner of his windshield was a picture of Padre Pio. Every time we passed a church, Ciro faithfully crossed himself. (And, there were a lot of churches in the area.) Every year, Saint Januarius (San Gennaro) was celebrated. A glass vial, supposedly containing his dried, crystallized blood, would be brought forth in a solemn ritual. It would be held above the crowd, and magically liquefy – but not always. It was believed that during years when the “blood” did not liquefy, there were earthquakes and tragedies, or Mount Vesuvius erupted. Knowing Ciro to be a rational, scientifically grounded and critically thinking individual, I asked him about this. I mentioned that I had heard speculation that this was an old alchemist’s trick, that a compound containing ferric chloride or some such concoction had been used to produce this phenomenon in order to amaze credulous spectators. Ciro smiled his impish smile, paused for a moment, and said:

    “Well, of course it isn’t true, but we believe it anyway.”

    The best thing about a Trump Presidency is that, if we survive it, there may be an awakening. We Americans will have to have our noses rubbed in our own excrement in a big, big way before we wake up. We’ll have to get screwed really, really good. It could be military defeat, economic collapse, imposition of an internal coup, or an ecological disaster. It will take the exposure of a monumentally bald-faced lie before Americans wake up. The Warren Commission, Operation Northwoods, Tonkin Gulf, the USS Liberty Incident, the bin Laden saga, non-existent weapons of mass destruction – none of those were big enough. But now, with this profligate administration in control, there is finally hope. As we continue to see intelligence “fixed” to cover mistakes, there may be an epiphany…unless the Russians and Chinese lose patience first. In the meantime, our government will continue to proffer “faith based” intelligence and “fake news”. It isn’t true, but we’ll believe it anyway. Everything will be fine…until it isn’t. Then, we’ll just have to blame the Russians.

    • Skip Scott
      April 27, 2017 at 6:39 am

      F.G.-

      IMHO you are spot on, as usual. I hope we survive the great awakening. At least with Trump the manipulative behavior is so obvious that more people will begin to pay attention to “the man behind the curtain”. I just pray we don’t all get blown all the way to Oz before we can do something about it.

    • hillary
      April 27, 2017 at 8:13 am

      “will take the exposure of a monumentally bald-faced lie before Americans wake up. The Warren Commission ”

      F.G.

      When an event occurs that that fundamentally changes the dynamics of global geopolitics, there is one question above all others whose answer will most assuredly point to its perpetrators. That question is “Cui bono?” If those so indicted are in addition found to have had both motive and means then, as they say in the US, it’s pretty much a “slam-dunk”.
      https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

    • Sam F
      April 27, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Very true; those were great frauds by government leading to great disasters, and this admin may cause a still greater one.

      I will guess that there will be many of those before the major “military defeat, economic collapse, …internal coup, or an ecological disaster” that actually discredits the USG among the credulous. And even then, the disaster that brings such public anger as could restore democracy, would have to be complete military defeat or complete economic collapse.

      It seems likely that a nuclear defeat, years-long 100% trade embargo, or coup by a military minority would be necessary. A coup would not likely provide the restructuring necessary to secure democracy from economic power. While nuclear defeat is disastrous in the short and medium term, it could eventually lead to a redesign of democracy to exclude economic power.

      The most likely method may be a complete trade embargo against the US by BRICS joined later by the EU, which could be done in 20-40 years, but might take 60-80 years or more, when BRICS has full economic self-sufficiency. With the world’s bully-boy isolated to sulk, its oligarchy would have to openly exploit its own people, who would sooner rebel and destroy them.

      It is certainly sad that selfishness, ignorance, hypocrisy, and malice has led the US to such complete perversion of the intentions of the founders. Perhaps history will record that the restoration of democracy had begun when the mass media, oligarchy parties, and the rich are subject to monthly and then weekly militant attacks, and not before. That will take quite an epiphany.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 27, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I value your opinion, and finding hope in this theater of the absurd is heart warming. Thanks for that. I too hope that the Trump era will be the final finale to a long overdue process of corrupting our system of governance and that we will come out the otherside the better for it. The U.S. is a young nation, and I believe it’s next phase needs to be one of confession and repentance for the wrongs committed in our recent pass, plus maybe all the way back to our country’s days of slavery, and our harsh treatment of the Native American. So I guess we could all hope the screw ups will lead us to that place when possibly one of our nation’s gurus will say, ‘Well, of course it isn’t true, but we believe it anyway’. At that moment is when we the people can take over…I hope.

    • john wilson
      April 28, 2017 at 4:41 am

      The Americans like we British have always had our noses”rubbed in it” The idea, Sandford, that we will wake up and stand up to the tyranny of the state is wishful thinking. The average Jo public is really quite stupid and as easily manipulated as a puppet. It has ever been thus.

  15. Mark K
    April 27, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Richard Helms on Intelligence and politics/policy makers concerning underreporting of enemy troops(OB is Order of Battle)

    “MACV, Hiam continues, was adamant that it have the final say. It was not going to be second-guessed even by the Pentagon, much less by CIA civilians, and CIA was not willing to press the point. In late 1967, CIA Director Richard Helms sent a delegation headed by George Carver, his assistant for Vietnam, to Saigon with orders to resolve the issue. After days of nasty debates, Carver pretty much accepted MACV’s terms. According to Hiam, Helms later said “that because of broader considerations we had to come up with agreed figures, that we had to get this OB question off the board, and that it didn’t mean a damn what particular figures we agreed to.”[6] Sam (who had been part of the delegation and who had been infuriated by Carver’s “cave-in”) wrote in his memoir that when his pestering finally got him an audience with Helms, Helms “asked what I would have him do—take on the whole military?” Helms added, “You don’t know what it’s like in this town. I could have told the White House there were a million more Viet Cong out there, and it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference in our policy.”[7]”

  16. mike k
    April 27, 2017 at 7:51 am

    This is a longer version of what is obvious now: The US government lied about the supposed sarin attack by Syria, and now it is covering it up. Don’t expect anything from this white house but lies.

  17. Coleen Rowley
    April 27, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Most readers here are well aware that the Iraq war just didn’t happen. It took an impressive marketing campaign from the Bush White House, Victoria Clarke’s (Rumsfeld’s assistant) “embedding the media” and planting the “talking head” Pentagon/retired generals to create an overwhelming compliant press to shill for war.

    Public opinion against the war was initially high and had to be overcome. Unfortunately, most reporters eagerly spread the “we make our own reality” propaganda and the pundits amplified it. I can remember all the FOX news stories of Saddam sneaking drones into our country to gas our citizens. Colin Powell even alluded to that possibility in his made-up UN speech. It was a shameful example of journalistic malpractice. Few skeptics. Little critical thinking. Even ridicule of those few daring enough to question the official narrative……and it worked. “Shock and Awe” began with what Brian Williams would later find beautiful in Syria: the fireworks of cruise missiles going off. (The beauty of war and killing is déjà vu.) The reporters voices could hardly contain their excitement on CNN… Even cute Katie Couric was dancing on the naval air carriers asking the troops how they were managing their impatience and excitement to get the war launched.

    And in 2011 the United States and NATO moved on to Libya….with the same winning game plan. (Only this time it was liberals and “Move On” types who were leading the charge to show they were tougher than “conservatives.”) Propaganda—total lies—that Gaddafi was going to slaughter his own people and we needed to bomb. Don’t you remember that Gaddafi was giving Viagra to his Army so they could rape the women better?! The press was totally on board, again. And Mission Accomplished, again. Two countries now totally destroyed based on false allegations. This time with a lot less public opposition. Of course years later, when it no longer matters to the people of Libya, the truth officially emerges in a 2016 House of Commons report:

    “Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence. The Gaddafi regime had retaken towns from the rebels without attacking civilians in early February 2011.72 During fighting in Misrata, the hospital recorded 257 people killed and 949 people wounded in February and March 2011. Those casualties included 22 women and eight children.73 Libyan doctors told United Nations investigators that Tripoli’s morgues contained more than 200 corpses following fighting in late February 2011, of whom two were female.74 The disparity between male and female casualties suggested that Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians.”

    And this:

    “We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. It may be that the UK Government was unable to analyse the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight and that it was caught up in events as they developed. It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.”

    And for those U.S. “humanitarians” who revel in their “policeman of the world” killing to create their utopian “liberal world order:

    “In 2014, the most recent year for which reliable figures are available, Libya generated $41.14 billion of gross domestic product and the average Libyan’s annual income had decreased from $12,250 in 2010 to $7,820.28 Since 2014, Libya’s economic predicament has reportedly deteriorated. Libya is likely to experience a budget deficit of some 60% of GDP in 2016. The requirement to finance that deficit is rapidly depleting net foreign reserves, which halved from $107 billion in 2013 to $56.8 billion by the end of 2015. Production of crude oil fell to its lowest recorded level in 2015, while oil prices collapsed in the second half of 2014. Inflation increased to 9.2% driven by a 13.7% increase in food prices including a fivefold increase in the price of flour.29 The United Nations ranked Libya as the world’s 94th most advanced country in its 2015 index of human development, a decline from 53rd place in 2010.30 11. In 2016, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that out of a total Libyan population of 6.3 million, 3 million people have been impacted by the armed conflict and political instability, and that 2.4 million people require protection and some form of humanitarian assistance.”

    Which brings us to Syria. Clearly the same formula has long been at work here that was used in Iraq and in Libya. We see the same foreign policy propaganda reported by our government and dutifully repeated by the press. Are our pundits still on board with whatever our government tells them to believe?! And with time and repetition, has it become easier for the public to accept it? Bush had to jump through a lot of hoops to get us into Iraq. Obama had fewer in Libya. Is there anything at all left to give pause to Trump’s war machine from fully destroying Syria?

    Does anyone in the media understand how dangerous this game of chicken with nuclear armed superpowers Russia and China truly is?! In their hubris, do they understand there won’t even be time to embed themselves into World War III once the buttons are pushed?! And that World War III will not be lethal merely to the unfortunate victims under US bombs but to the entire world?!

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

      I hope that during this next few months more Americans can hear from you Ms. Rowley. You, and people like Ray McGovern surely deserve America’s attention.

    • Skip Scott
      April 27, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Coleen-
      Thank you for your thoughtful commentary. I couldn’t agree with you more. Figuring out a way to stop the lies, or at least having them be believed, is our only hope. I think the fact that the USA has not had a war on it’s own soil in over 150 years has made the civilian population adopt a very unrealistic view of the hell of war. The Vietnam vets get it, and thoughtful people of conscience, but few others. They are being distracted and amused by the MSM as we hurtle towards Armageddon.

    • April 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Agreed…..good piece

    • john wilson
      April 28, 2017 at 5:09 am

      Hey Coleen, a great piece, but here’s a short article I read a while back which might interest you. its called “what happened to Gadaffi’s gold”

      The French proposed UN Security resolution 1973 claimed that a no fly zone imposed over Libya was to protect civilians , but a 2011 email sent to Hillary Clinton – subject ‘France’s client and Gaddafi’s gold suggest less noble motives. The email identifies ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five goals in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence, increase Sarkozy’s influence at home, assert French military power, and to limit Gaddafi’s influence in Francophone Africa. There’s a lengthy section outlining the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves – estimated at 143 tonnes and a similar amount in silver – posed to the French Franc circulating as a prime African currency

      Despite the noble sounding rhetoric to protect the Libyan people there is a confidential explanation of what was really behind this attack on Libya. The gold was accumulated long before the revolt against Gaddafi ( actually, not a revolt but an attack by West sponsored terrorists) and was to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan gold dinar. This was intended to provide Francophone African countries with an alternative to the Frank. So who got the gold and silver bullion?!! In my own opinion the gold is now safely stored in the Federal reserve of the USA ready to be used to start the American’s next war. One things for certain, the Libyan people won’t see any of it !!!

      • Coleen Rowley
        April 28, 2017 at 11:29 pm

        Thanks John. If I remember right, that was Hillary’s private intelligence guy, Sid Blumenthal, that wrote that email to her about French motivation for bombing Libya?

  18. Bill Goldman
    April 27, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Pompey, Mattis, McMaster, Haley, Pence, and Trump are congenital and confirmed liars. It is part of their career makeup and although the VIPS letter makes a sound case, it is a futile exercise. The US is hell bound for war and only Russia and China with their own nuclear arsenals can stop it by firmly committing themselves to. The rest of us are pawns, sheep, and lemilngs.

  19. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    April 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    A number of points concern me:

    – When Israel uses White Phosphorus against the Palestinians, IS THAT USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, or not?!

    – When America uses ammunition coated with depleted uranium, IS THAT USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, or not?

    – Is it just me or others also noticed that Israel was giving NATO intelligence while Mr.Cohen was telling America how rational the assessment is, and the Jewish Neocons were very strategically positioned in the White House, State Department, Defense Department, and almost anywhere else within the establishment!! Noticed the connection?!

    – My last point here is very simple, Is it o.k. for Assad (or others) to kill as much as he (or they) likes as long as he does not use Chemical Weapons?! Why there is a redline ONLY when it comes to Chemical Weapons given my points above about white phosphorus and depleted uranium!!

  20. Louis Sparks
    April 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    The Bozo in the White House has become a tool to the Military Industrial Complex Death-Merchants. They manufactured the lie about the poison gas and don’t care whether or not it is believable any more than they cared about the lies surrounding the Kennedy assignation, the false justifications for the murder of 3,000,000 people in Iraq, etc.

  21. April 27, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I believe we are in the hands of “The Maniacs of Militarism”
    ———————————————————————————-

    The Maniacs of Militarism

    “War is madness” – Pope Francis

    The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
    Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
    Are hell holes of the earth, “The work,” of this insane crew

    Enabled by politicians in positions of power
    These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
    The generals salute their political masters
    Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters

    Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
    Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
    They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
    War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital…

    [more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/04/the-maniacs-of-militarism.html

  22. FobosDeimos
    April 27, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    These are some of the statements made by President Assad to Sputnik TV on April 21, 2017, where he blames Turkey for supplying CW to the “rebels”:

    https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704211052847652-syria-terrorists-chemical-weapons-turkey-assad/

    “DAMASCUS, April 21 (Sputnik) — Damascus is 100 percent certain that terrorists get chemical weapons and other financial and military support directly from Turkey, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik in an interview.

    “Directly from Turkey, and there was evidence regarding this, some of [it has] been shown on the internet a few years ago. You had many parties and parliament members in Turkey who questioned the government regarding those allegations. So, it’s not something hidden,” Assad said.

    He further maintained that financial, armament and logistic support for terrorists in Syria, including recruitment, is provided through Turkey.

    “They don’t have any other way to come from the north. So, it’s a hundred percent Turkey,” Assad said.

    Earlier, Assad warned that new provocations, similar to the one that took place in the Khan Sheikhoun area of Syria’s province of Idlib, could take place in Syria”.

    And here are a few of the recent announcements by Russia about Turkey’s imminent purchase of S-400 anti-missile systems:

    https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704131052623488-ankara-air-defense-system-s400/

    https://sputniknews.com/business/201704211052851543-nato-talks-russia-turkey-s400/

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201704241052930630-erdogan-putin-s-400/

    Is Russia supplying top of the line military equipment to the country indicted by Assad as guilty of killing Syrians?

  23. Bart in Virginia
    April 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    “Note: The U.S. proclivity for endorsing the findings of U.N. inspectors appears not to include the Khan Shaykhun attack”

    Well, it did not listen to Hans Blix in 2003.

    • Scott Ritter
      April 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Actually, they did listen to Hans Blix; Blix refused to close the door on the possibility of Iraqi noncompliance, and indeed the continued endorsement by Blix of the possibility that Iraq retained significant stocks of WMD, and Blix’s statements regarding Iraqi cooperation, were used by the Bush administration to justify its call for war on the grounds that “inspections didn’t work.” Blix’s pleas for more time ti complete his task fell on deaf ears at that point.

      Some excerpts from Blix’s February 12, 2003 presentation to the Security Council (i.e., the last chance to forestal war):

      “Another matter – and one of great significance – is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were “unaccounted for”. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.”

      “In my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 (S/1999/94 and S/1999/356) and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues “deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside…”. The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions.”

      Hans Blix was well aware that the US military was assembling for war; history shown that Iraq was telling the truth — the problem wasn’t with Iraq, but rather inspectors who refused to believe what they were being told. Blix needed to be far more forceful on the lack of evidence sustaining concerns of Iraqi noncompliance, and about the effectiveness of inspections. Instead, he kept the door open to thousands of chemical agent being hidden by Iraq, and the notion that Iraq was able to effectively stonewall the inspectors.

      On the contrary, the US listened to Blix very well.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm

        I salute you Scott Ritter, because I recall from back in 2002 & 2003 how you were the only loud voice with any real knowledge who spoke out against an Iraq invasion….wow, how right you were. I also regret that our media avoids speaking to people like you, if for no other reason for at least to gain a diverse comment or two which would prove healthy, but you of all people understand how powerful the Powers To Be really are. You are a Great American, again thanks for your service (I know that phase gets too overly used, but in your case you deserve it) Joe

      • Abe
        April 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

        Target Syria:

        Scott Ritter, would you agree that when the Trump regime unleashed their Tomahawk Tweet, they were letting the world know exactly “where they’re coming from”?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zE36xco4Ts

      • BannanaBoat
        April 27, 2017 at 10:15 pm

        Your Courage and Intelligence is greatly appreciated. Thank You

      • April 30, 2017 at 5:07 pm

        I was wondering what other contributors here think of the site VeteransToday VT? They make some large claims…some of it seems over-glorified and selfserving…a little like Alex Jones in mil-spec…any thoughts folks?

  24. Herman
    April 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Why no Ray McGovern?

  25. April 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    This is among the most crucial actions Americans can take at this time. There should be a place for ‘ordinary Americans’ to sign!

    • F. G. Sanford
      April 27, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Deena! It’s great to have you post a comment here. I try to follow you on OpEdNews, but that site often annoys me, except for your articles and those of Paul Craig Roberts. Pepe Escobar doesn’t seem to show up much anymore, but the Mike Whitney articles somewhat make up for that. Thanks for your attention!

  26. Taras77
    April 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    The news just gets more irrational:

    -Israeli jets atk targets near Damascus;
    -White House says trump plans to visit Israel on 5/22;
    -Haley to follow in June:
    -Kremlin says Putin-trump visit is not going to happen anytime soon:
    -trump will allow the generals full latitude as to number of troops in syria and iraq;

  27. Rose mullen
    April 27, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    The PEOPLE OF SYRIA say Assad did not gas them. They say that the “rebels” are terrorists funded by the US. They hate the US. They love Assad
    I am sick of what a monster MY COUNTRY has turned into it’s plans to destroy countries. What’s going on ? You are ruining MY WORLD. MY COUNTRY. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Stop it!!!
    EVERYONE KNOWS YOU ARE LIARS. The world is laughing at you bumbling morons!

  28. Taras77
    April 27, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I think this pretty much nails it-trump does not have an independent idea, it is all controlled by the kushners, et al.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/386395-trump-us-puppet-assad/

    I think Paul Craig Roberts was right on the point, he said he has been around Washington for decades, but he has never seen the level of evil which he sees now.

    I zionists have a lock on this govt, the admin, congress.

  29. SteveK9
    April 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    This leaves out the ‘analysis’ of why Assad would do such a thing. When something makes no sense, it’s usually because it’s false.

  30. Bill Bodden
    April 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Meanwhile on the home front the Trump assault continues:

    “Trump tax plan could save him millions under guise of helping small businesses
    The structure of the Trump Organization makes it a prime potential beneficiary – one estimate says the tax plan will save Donald Trump $65m a year in taxes” – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/27/trump-tax-plan-millions-small-businesses

    “This is a classic kind of shell game; this is done all the time in political circles,” Baker said. “The reality is it does very little for small businesses – in most cases it does nothing for them, because they’re already paying taxes at a lower rate. So this is a way of cutting taxes for the very wealthy but hiding it as helping small businesses.”

  31. April 27, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Syrian War Illegal !

    If X President Obama should be prosecuted as H. Clinton should and the Intelligence Agencies lie on the record how can one expect any investigation to be legitimate as is proven by actions of no prosecution in past when their crimes are obvious.

    America and its allies are responsible for these wars and refugees to profit and destroy the western culture and its people.

    The Fed and IRS are illegal—Freedom To Fascism—Aaron Russo-You Tube

    The U.S. Corporation Company rules America.You Tube

    The Act of 1871 Fully Exposed—You Tube

    The Best Enemy Money Can Buy—Antony Sutton-You Tube

    Major Dan’s Diary —You Tube

    1933 Banking Act—You Tube.

    If the above references are not understood and actions taken to correct these illegal acts then all else is irrelevant as the foundation must be solid to act on.

    This fact is absolute as we see the fascist taken over America.

    Divide and Conquer by distraction of real cause of problems.War is the result not the cause.

    All is controlled from the top.China was build up by the west.Russia was build up by the west.North Korea is a distraction.It is all a game to trick fools.

    Antony Sutton and Major Dan’s Diary with War Is A Racket and John Perkins-Economic Hit Man-You Tube with other references—All at You Tube are grounds for conviction.

    Walter Haas—God Bless America

  32. Stumpy
    April 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Is it fair to say, then, that a coup has occurred in the US/UK? Trump/May the trojan horses, hand control of the military to the military, underpinned by the zionist ideology? Is Europe onboard?

  33. ranney
    April 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    I’m pleased to see both Coleen Rowley and Scott Ritter add their thoughts to the comment section. Like other commenters, I especially was glad to see Ritter join in. I hope he and Robert Parry will provide us with more comments in the article section. I would like to know his opinions on what is taking pace in Syria, Yemen etc. if he has any extra information. As always I look forward to Ray MCGovern’s thoughts on any subject he cares to share with us.

    • john wilson
      April 28, 2017 at 5:22 am

      You are right Ranney. I think Scott Ritter should write an article himself bringing his own expertise to the debate. There is an interesting copy of an article by me above in answer to Coleen Rowley that I think will interest you. Its called “what happened to Gaddafi’s gold” The article is all the more interesting because I saw it in the right wing ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper here in the UK!! They are not known for printing anything that might even give a hint of anything contrary to the governments postion.

  34. Tim Jones
    April 28, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Beyond this open memoranda to Americans, there needs to be unified effort to express our views to Congress, the military and Intel via a petition/ letter writing campaign.

  35. James Titcomb
    April 28, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I find it strange that the memo from the IC vets did not include the convincing and comprehensive 3-Part assessment drafted by T. Postol, a chemical weapons expert, who thoroughly debunked the WH’s conclusion that the Syrian government was responsible for the CW attack at Khan Shaykhun, using the gov’t’s own photographic evidence.

    • April 28, 2017 at 9:43 am

      The vets memo is weak on two counts. It’s too ‘objective’ and neutral. It’s ‘not’ normal, when evaluating charges of criminal behavior to ignore ‘moutains’ of circumstantial evidence. Two, Look at the signatures to that letter. You know how the admin of Trump will respond to their plea. “Their a bunch of Putin apologists and pinko commies!” or something along those lines. Just how you get around that, I don’t know. We may have to rely on Bill Black’s insider whistleblowers to take Trump down (https://youtu.be/oACQCo838Oc). And then what? Because that leaves the perverted, evil Deep State intact.

  36. April 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

    “CIA Director Pompeo’s job is not to make policy – the intelligence his agency provides simply informs policy.” Well, That’s the rule, or theory. What kind of policy do we expect from Trump, who is just the accepted, if not chosen, face of the deep state? Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants the crown and the glory that comes with it, and is willing to let others decide policy if that’s what it takes. And speaking of deep state, Mattis may be formally a part of the temporary government of loon Trump, but he’s arguably more connected to the deep state.

  37. Bob Van Noy
    April 28, 2017 at 9:47 am

    This site, based upon Robert Parry’s totally earned dedication to honest journalism, along with a long line of dedicated readers, and real, ethical professionals, is, I am convinced, the most enlightened site on the web. It represents, when we possibly need it the most, real hope for understanding in a criminal environment that is historically humiliating. Many thanks to all participants…

  38. Marko
    April 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

    There’s a new report by Postol commenting on the French analysis up on Washingtonsblog , and it’s not good. Somehow he got confused about what the French report claimed , and tried to argue that the Khan Sheikun event of 4/4/17 could not have been due to the same activities that caused the event at Saraqib , because something. Saraqib was four years ago , and apparently Postol thinks it happened on the same day as KS.

    • Marko
      April 28, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Recent tweet by Charles Lister on Postol’s latest :

      ” Ted Postol had little credibility 24hrs ago. He now has nothing at all.
      – His new report shows he cannot even read, or distinguish dates. ”

      This is gonna get ugly.

      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Why Charlie Can’t Read:

        Charles Lister is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute (MEI), the most important cog in the machinery of the Wahhabi-Saudi Lobby.

        Since September 2016, Lister has managed MEI’s “Countering Terrorism” project. Prior to this, Lister managed nearly three years of intensive face-to-face engagement Syrian armed opposition groups.

        Lister is a frequent source of briefings on the Syrian insurgency to political, military and intelligence leaderships in the United States and across Europe and the Middle East. He appears regularly on television media, including CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera, and his articles have been widely published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, CNN, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, among others.

        Lister previously held positions as a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar and as head of MENA at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London, UK.

        Lister is the author of The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency (2016) and The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction (2015).

        Lister’s main propaganda task is rehabilitation of Saudi-backed Syrian terrorists.

        Conveniently absent from Lister’s July 2016 Analysis Paper for Brookings is any mention Al Nusra’s connection with the 2013 Ghouta chemical incident near Damascus.
        https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/iwr_20160728_profiling_nusra.pdf

      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        Charlie Can’t Read, But the Saudis Pay Him to Tweet in Front of Congress:
        https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-syria-missile-strikes-policy-options/

      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 12:26 pm
      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        Lister made repeated evidence free claims of Syrian “chemical use” during testimony before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 27 April 2017
        http://www.mei.edu/content/article/testimony-syria-after-missile-strikes-policy-options

        Lister also repeated the evidence free claims of anonymous Israeli defense officials that “Israeli intelligence now assesses that Bashar al-Assad has secretly retained at least three tons of Sarin nerve agent”.

        Shilling for the Saudi-Israel-US alliance, Lister shamelessly spouted numerous falsehoods, For example, he claimed without evidence that it was Turkey, not the Syrian armed forces, that “catalyzed a total withdrawal of Al-Qaeda forces from northern Aleppo”.

      • April 30, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        charlies comments dont go far with me…its his job to try to discredit postol…somehow its wrong to admit you misread something and correct your statement? honesty and integrity will always shine thru the darkness…

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

      The Washington’s Blog article does not assert that the Khan Sheikhun event and the Saraqib event “happened on the same day”.
      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/67276.html

      The article points to an obvious contradiction between alleged munitions and their methods of delivery.

      Al Qaeda terrorists and their media agents alleged an aircraft and one air-dropped bomb in the Khan Shaykhun event, and they alleged a helicopter and three air-dropped grenades in the Saraqib event.

      Marko apparently thinks that’s “not good”… “because something”.

      • Marko
        April 28, 2017 at 11:43 am

        Abe’s reading comprehension is about on the same level as Postol’s , apparently.

        Washingtonsblog has pulled down Postol’s post. Like to make a bet that if it goes back up , it’s with a correction?

        Look at the reactions on twitter , at Washingtonsblog or Pat Lang’s comment sections. Everyone thinks it’s “not good” , because it’s not good.

        • FobosDeimos
          April 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

          Good comment Marko.There are still a number of black holes in this horrible affair. The initial strong disagreements between the Syrian version (it was all a hoax, there were no deaths, etc) and the Russian official statement 24 hours after the incident (Syria did strike a rebel warehouse, which happened to store CW, and the toxic substances were carried away by the wind; there were deaths), then an unexplained about-face by Russia, which now seems to have adopted the Syrian view, and more recently President Assad blaming Turkey for supplying the terrorists with CW, and also implying that Nusra had used Turkish CW in the April 4 incident. All of this while Russia keeps praising Turkey’s role in the alleged negotiation process, as it announces the sale of S-400 anti aircraft missiles to Turkey (the country Assad blames for killing hundresd or tousands of Syrian civilians). It’s all very murky, to say the least.

          • BannanaBoat
            April 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm

            Things change, it was widely recognized that Turkey was allowing every kind of support, material and personnel , for terrorists cross its border. Turkey shot down Russian aircraft, but Putin’s diplomacy has greatly altered Turkey’s role in Syria.

        • Abe
          April 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm

          Hallucinating about “strong disagreements” between Russia and Syria, comrade FobosDeimos’ reading comprehension level was amply demonstrated in the comments at
          https://consortiumnews.com/2017/04/14/did-al-qaeda-fool-the-white-house-again/

          We’ll see what happens with this S-400 deal.

          Meanwhile, there’s this peculiar odor to contend with.

      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 12:38 pm

        Marko’s reading comprehension the same as Charlie’s: Not good.

        The Sic Semper Tyrannis article does not assert that the Khan Sheikhun event and the Saraqib event “happened on the same day”.
        http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/04/the-french-intelligence-report-of-april-26-2017-contradicts-the-allegations-in-the-white-house-intel.html

        The article points to an obvious contradiction between alleged munitions and their methods of delivery.

        Al Qaeda terrorists and their media agents alleged an aircraft and one air-dropped bomb in the Khan Shaykhun event, and they alleged a helicopter and three air-dropped grenades in the Saraqib event.

        Keep twittering away, Marko.

      • Abe
        April 30, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        I stand corrected, Marko. My apologies.

        Professor Postol has corrected the error concerning the date of the Saraqib event.

        Error and correction are part of the process of scientific research and journalistic investigation.

        Political propagandists like Charles Lister and Eliot Higgins have no interest in science or journalism
        https://thetruthspeakerdotco1.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/eliot-higgins-internet-joke.jpg

        Your interesting comments at Washington’s Blog and Patrick Lane’s site indicate a particular focus on the

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Before the 21 August 2013 chemical incident at Ghouta, before Dan Kaszeta was promoted to international stardom as an “expert”, way back when he was a mere “specialist” and “US Army Chemical Corps veteran”, Brown Moses blog published a discussion of those alleged Saraqib “grenades” the French have been furiously twittering about.
      http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/chemical-weapon-specialists-talk-sarin.html

      Q: “Considering the various information gathered about these grenades is it likely they would have contained Sarin?”

      Kaszeta: “Not really”

      Q: “Is it possible the could have contained another substance that could have caused symptoms seen in the victims of the attack?”

      Kaszeta: “In the grenades? Seems far fetched”

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      A nostalgic Eliot Higgins has reposted his Brown Moses blog “analysis” of the 29 April 2013 chemical incident at Saraqeb
      https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/04/27/revisiting-syrias-2013-sarin-attack-saraqeb-idlib/

      Higgins’ “analysis” mentions the “smell” of the Saraqeb incident several times.

      In his discussion of alleged “Devices used in the attack”, Higgins states that “The smell at the scene of the attack is described to the BBC as being very strong”.

      Higgins presents a statement from the video report: “It was a horrible, suffocating smell. You couldn’t breathe at all. Your body would become really tired.”

      Higgins presents another statement from video that “These are smelly, and a lot of them were used.”.

      “In this video it’s stated ‘These are smelly, and a lot of them were used.’.”

      Higgins later provides a lengthy quote from the BBC video:

      “I was not present then, but the FSA members came here and said that those chemicals were dropped on the southwestern side of the town. The injuries varies from bad to minor. The symptoms include constriction of the pupil, forth around the mouth, complete loss of consciousness as result of (inhaling) the smoke. The smoke was smelly, and the guy who rushed to help the victims lost consciousness when he got to the site.”

      Probably thinking we may have missed the early quote about how horrible the smell was, Higgins goes to the trouble of repeating the quote:

      ““It was a horrible, suffocating smell. You couldn’t breathe at all. Your body would become really tired.”

      Unfortunately for those alleged “eyewitnesses”, the BBC and its Google-sponsored “First Draft” coalition media “partners”, the French government, Higgins and his pal Dan Kaszeta, none of whom can read, chemical science texts describe the odor of sarin.

      When pure, Sarin is odorless.

      When impure or contaminated, Sarin may have a slightly fruity odor, similar to a weak ethyl acetate solution.

      Neither pure nor impure Sarin produce a “horrible, suffocating smell”.

      Sarin is not capable of “producing strong smells”.

      Sarin does not smell “like rotten eggs”, “overpowering”, “like cooking gas”, or “like rotten food”.

      Based on 3 confirmed incidents of Al Qaeda controlled “eyewitness” tales of “strong smells” we can debunk any claims that Sarin is being described by these individuals.

      However, the very strong odor of Al Qaeda “chemical realities” has been emanating from Higgins and Kaszeta in both their Brown Moses and Bellingcat iterations.

      • April 30, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        things are heating up a bit at good old Consortiumnews…:>) Thanks to all contributors…and of course Consortiumnews.com

  39. April 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I have called and e-mailed the White House and hope others are so doing, sometimes busy signal so hope others are calling, despite it looking like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill and it just falls back down. CN and other sites are the only hope of pushing back against the blizzard of lies.

    Kushner and the Zionist connection does seem to be key. He is a great tool for the neocons and Netanyahu in getting Trump to use his bizarre crop of psychopaths to push the agenda on Syria and Iran, the two pieces de resistance in the Middle East. Werewolfowitz is waxing bullish on Trump now. Clinton would have satisfied Zionists for their continued wars, but maybe Trump offered other possibilities besides. The manufactured narrative is just as Bush and Blair did but now even more whipped up by media and the post-truth era that prevails.

  40. Donnie Ball
    April 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”

    There’s the problem right there: Israel. They’d lie or plant the problem if it’d benefit them and them alone.

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Peddling made-in-Israel propaganda is never ever a problem for Joe Lieberman.

      On 22 July 2008, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held their National Night to Honor Israel with Pastor John Hagee and Senator Lieberman. Lieberman opened his speech by saying “I am your brother Joseph.” In his speech Lieberman re-affirmed his support for CUFI, Israel and Pastor Hagee.

      Lieberman received Hagee’s “Defender of Israel Award” from CUFI in 2009. Accepting the award, Lieberman stated: “The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Israelis living on the West Bank but the regime in Tehran.”

  41. David
    April 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1492111523

    Gush Shalom – 15/04/17

    CUI BONO?

    By Uri Avnery?

    CUI BONO – “who benefits” – is the first question an experienced detective asks when investigating a crime.

    Since I was a detective myself for a short time in my youth, I know the meaning. Often, the first and obvious suspicion is false. You ask yourself “cui bono”, and another suspect, who you did not think about, appears.

    For two weeks now, this question has been troubling my mind. It does not leave me.

    In Syria, a terrible war crime has been committed. The civilian population in a rebel-held town called Idlib was hit with poison gas. Dozens of civilians, including children, died a miserable death.

    Who could do such a thing? The answer was obvious: that terrible dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Who else?

    And so, within a few minutes (literally) the New York Times and a host of excellent newspapers throughout the West proclaimed without hesitation: Assad did it!

    No need for proof. No investigation. It was just self-evident. Of course Assad. Within minutes, everybody knew it.

    A storm of indignation swept the Western world. He must be punished! Poor Donald Trump, who does not have a clue, submitted to pressure and ordered a senseless missile strike on a Syrian airfield, after preaching for years that the US must under no circumstances get involved in Syria. Suddenly he reversed himself. Just to teach that bastard a lesson. And to show the world what a he-he-he-man he, Trump, really is.

    The operation was an immense success. Overnight, the despised Trump became a national hero. Even liberals kissed his feet.

    BUT THROUGHOUT, that question continued to nag my mind. Why did Assad do it? What did he have to gain?

    The simple answer is: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    (“Assad” means “lion” in Arabic. Contrary to what Western experts and statesmen seem to believe, the emphasis is on the first syllable.)

    With the help of Russia, Iran and Hizballah, Assad is slowly winning the civil war that has been ravishing Syria for years, He already holds almost all the major cities that constitute the core of Syria. He has enough weapons to kill as many enemy civilians as his heart desires.

    So why, for Allah’s sake, should he use gas to kill a few dozen more? Why arouse the anger of the entire world, inviting American intervention?

    There is no way to deny the conclusion: Assad had the least to gain from the dastardly deed. On the list of “cui bono”, he is the very last.

    Assad is a cynical dictator, perhaps cruel, but he is far from being a fool. He was raised by his father, Hafez al-Assad, who was a long-time dictator before him. Even if he were a fool, his advisors include some of the cleverest people on earth: Vladimir Putin of Russia, Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Hassan Nasrallah of Hizballah.

    So who had something to gain? Well, half a dozen Syrian sects and militias who are fighting against Assad and against each other in the crazy civil war. Also their Sunni Arab allies, the Saudi and other Gulf Sheikhs. And Israel, of course. They all have an interest in arousing the civilized world against the Syrian dictator.

    Simple logic.

    A MILITARY act must have a political aim. As Carl von Clausewitz famously said 200 years ago: war is the continuation of politics by other means.

    The two main opponents in the Syrian civil war are the Assad regime and Daesh. So what is the aim of the US? It sounds like a joke: The US wants to destroy both sides. Another joke: First it wants to destroy Daesh, therefore it bombs Assad.

    The destruction of Daesh is highly desirable. There are few more detestable groups in the world. But Daesh is an idea, rather than just an organization. The destruction of the Daesh state would disperse thousands of dedicated assassins all over the world.

    (Interestingly enough, the original Assassins, some 900 years ago, were Muslim fanatics very similar to Daesh now.)

    America’s own clients in Syria are a sorry lot, almost beaten. They have no chance of winning.

    Hurting Assad now just means prolonging a civil war which is now even more senseless than before.

    FOR ME, a professional journalist most of my life, the most depressing aspect of this whole chapter is the influence of the American and Western media in general.

    I read the New York Times and admire it. Yet it shredded all its professional standards by publishing an unproven assumption as gospel truth, with no need for verification. Perhaps Assad is to blame, after all. But where is the proof? Who investigated, and what were the results?

    Worse, the “news” immediately became a world-wide truth. Many millions repeat it unthinkingly as self-evident, like sunrise in the east and sunset in the west.

    No questions raised. No proof demanded or provided. Very depressing.

    BACK TO the dictator. Why does Syria need a dictator? Why isn’t it a beautiful US-style democracy? Why doesn’t it gratefully accept US-devised “regime-change”?

    The Syrian dictatorship is no accidental phenomenon. It has very concrete roots.

    Syria was created by France after World War I. A part of it later split off and became Lebanon.

    Both are artificial creations. I doubt whether there are even today real “Syrians” and real “Lebanese”.

    Lebanon is a mountainous country, ideally suited for small sects which need to defend themselves. Over the centuries, many small sects found refuge there. As a result, Lebanon is full of such sects, which distrust each other – Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Maronite Christians, many other Christian sects, Druze, Kurds.

    Syria is much the same, with most of the same sects, and the addition of the Alawites. These, like the Shiites, are the followers of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of the prophet (hence the name). They occupy a patch of land in the North of Syria.

    Both countries needed to invent a system that allowed such diverse and mutually-suspicious entities to live together. They found two different systems.

    In Lebanon, with a past of many brutal civil wars, they invented a way of sharing. The President is always a Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni, the commander of the army a Druze, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite.

    When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Shiites in the south were the lowest on the ladder. They welcomed our soldiers with rice. But soon they realized that the Israelis had not come just to defeat their overbearing neighbors, but intended to stay. So the lowly Shiites started a very successful guerrilla campaign, in the course of which they became the most powerful community in Lebanon. They are led by Hizballah, the Party of Allah. But the system still holds.

    The Syrians found another solution. They willingly submitted to a dictatorship, to hold the country together and assure internal peace.

    The Bible tells us that when the Children of Israel decided that they needed a king, they chose a man called Saul who belonged to the smallest tribe, Binyamin. The modern Syrians did much the same: they submitted to a dictator from one of their smallest tribes: the Alawites.

    The Assads are secular, anti-religious rulers – the very opposite of the fanatical, murderous Daesh. Many Muslims believe that the Alawites are not Muslims at all. Since Syria lost the Yom Kippur war against Israel, 44 years ago, the Assads have kept the peace on our border, though Israel has annexed the Syrian Golan Heights.

    The civil war in Syria is still going on. Everybody is fighting against everybody. The diverse groups of “rebels”, created, financed and armed by the US, are now in a bad shape. There are several competing groups of Jihadists, who all hate the Jihadist Daesh. There is a Kurdish enclave, which wants to secede. The Kurds are not Arabs, but are mainly Muslims. There are Kurdish enclaves in neighboring Turkey, Iraq and Iran, whose mutual hostility prevents them making common cause.

    And there is poor, innocent Donald Trump, who has sworn not to get involved in all this mess, and who is doing just that.

    A day before, Trump was despised by half the American people, including most of the media. Just by launching a few missiles, he has won general admiration as a forceful and wise leader.

    What does that say about the American people, and about humanity in general?

    • Skip Scott
      April 29, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Very interesting commentary, David. I would differ with your opinion that everybody is fighting everybody in Syria.
      I have followed Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett for a while now. She has been to Syria 6 times (at last count), and speaks the language. She states that the majority of Syrians want Assad. The last election had a 70+ percent turnout (including Syrians outside Syria), and Assad won 80+ percent approval. The majority of the Syrian army are Sunni, not Alawite or Shia. They fight for Assad because they don’t want Syria to become the next Libya, or the next Iraq. And the majority of the jihadis are not Syrian, they are from other Arab countries.

  42. Abe
    April 28, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    “the French foreign minister has resorted to the same ambiguous rhetoric used by US politicians in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.

    “Despite this, the French government and those across US, European and Persian Gulf media have attempted to project confidence in this ‘investigation.’ However, should the French government and its allies be so confident in their findings, they would invite a truly impartial, independent party to open up its own investigation, consider and verify this evidence and draw its own, impartial and independent conclusions.

    “The political capital provided to France and its allies by doing this would be enormous, yet no such investigation is being called for by France, the United States or any of the other parties involved in the protracted, violent dismemberment of the Syrian state. The answer to ‘why’ they would forgo such a politically lucrative move can be explained by a total lack of confidence in their evidence, or certain knowledge that their ‘evidence’ is entirely fabricated, and genuine investigations would only confirm that publicly.

    “And in fact, the only calls for a truly independent investigation have come from the Syrian government itself as well as from its allies in Moscow and Tehran. It should be noted that these nations were also among those opposed to the US invasion of Iraq based on similarly fabricated claims.”

    French “Investigation” in Syria Neither Impartial nor Independent
    By Ulson Gunnar
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/04/french-investigation-in-syria-neither.html

  43. Abe
    April 28, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Controversy has been generated surrounding two different pieces titled “French Intelligence Report Contradicts White House Intelligence Report” that were posted on two separate websites on 27 April 2017.

    The pieces purportedly were written by Postol, but neither piece has been confirmed as having been authored by Postol.

    One version of the piece, published on W. Patrick Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrranis site, contains a map with a text box that reads: “Distance between the SAME”
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c72e153ef01bb099557ce970d-popup

    The different version of the piece, published on the Washington’s Blog site, contains a similar map with a text box that reads: “Distance between the SAME alleged Attacks ~ 30 Miles!”

    The word “SAME” appears underlined in bold print with a white font for maximum visibility.

    The first and most obvious question: Was Postol the author of these pieces?

    The second question: Why are there two versions of the map?

    These two critical questions must first must be addressed by Postol himself.

    • Abe
      April 28, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      Washington’s Blog version of piece
      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-French-Intelligence-Report-of-April-26-2017-Contradicts-Allegations-in-White-House-Intelligence-Report-of-April-11-2017_Optimized_.pdf

      Eliot Higgins immediately attempted to discredit Postol without first verifying whether Postol actually wrote the piece.

      You know, the famed Bellingcat method of “citizen investigative journalism”.

      • Marko
        April 28, 2017 at 6:03 pm

        They say that the first thing you should do when you find yourself in a hole is…..stop digging.

      • Abe
        April 28, 2017 at 7:07 pm

        Tell it to Eliot Higgins, Dan Kaszeta, and their Al Qaeda pals who dug the hole in the middle of the road at Khan Shaykhun.

        Most serious discrepancies at Khan Shaykhun:

        A “nurse” told Amnesty International he heard a thump like something was dropped, and then patients started coming into the hospital. The “nurse” said: “The smell reached us here in the centre; it smelled like rotten food.”

        The UK Guardian reported from Khan Shayhun the claim of another “volunteer”: “We could smell it from 500 metres away.”

        Impure Sarin smells like fruit. Pure Sarin is odorless.

    • Abe
      April 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Theodore A. Postol issued a notice of correction, stating that the prior report contained an error concerning the date of an event that was cited by the 26 April 2017 French “National Evaluation”.

      At the top of his current report, Postol states that his analysis of the French intelligence report “focused on an event that occurred not on April 4, 2017 but instead on April 29, 2013”.
      http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/04/correction-to-the-french-intelligence-report-of-april-26-2017-contradicts-the-allegations-in-the-whi.html

      Scientists issue a notice of correction when an error is discovered after publication. Postol accurately detailed the error, the correction, and its implications.

      Corrections are how scientists make progress in our understanding of the world. After all, most new findings are based on previous scientific research.

      Scientists state they’ve made a error, and then correct their report of findings. Investigative journalists do the same.

      Governmental and non-governmental propagandists, conspiracy theorists, and fake journalists attempt to conceal their errors.

      As I noted in my previous comments, Postol continues to accurately point out contradictions in the French analysis concerning alleged munitions and methods of delivery.

  44. Bob
    April 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Please read through the links provided, and you will see America and Israel are behind the Syrian war.

    Trump Train Derailed: Sells out to Neocon Globalists & Attacks Syria. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcjXvnkIERg

    VT ready to expose US Planning behind Idlib Gas Attack http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/04/15/vt-hit-with-stuxnet-as-trumps-complicity-in-gas-attack-is-confirmed/

    Journalist Who Went To Syria Schools Colleague On Syrian Realities – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9F-cHc5Qog

  45. RussG553
    April 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    If the US does not get control or get rid of the Zionists who are in control of the government and the “intelligence” community, the US and perhaps the whole world will be destroyed. And that is it, plain and simple.

  46. Paul
    April 30, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Very informative. My only objection is the idea that intel and Bushies “got it wrong” on Iraq. They got it perfectly right. They knew there were no weapons; everybody includimg.congress knew it was a lie. They knew war, occupation and regime change would create a civil war, which is exactly what they wanted. Once the Iraqis go into fighting each other, western oil companies moved in. Textbook.

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