Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

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

By Ray McGovern

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

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile from the Mediterranean Sea into Syria, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Bomb Damage Assessment

Hersh describes what happened when the building was struck on the morning of April 4: “A Bomb Damage Assessment by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of fertilizers, disinfectants, and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground.

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

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

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

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

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

Potent Images

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

The photograph released by the White House of President Trump meeting with his advisers at his estate in Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017, regarding his decision to launch missile strikes against Syria.

Hersh quotes one U.S. officer who, upon learning of the White House decision to “retaliate” against Syria, remarked: “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious – claiming we have the real intel and know the truth…”

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

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

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

Implications for U.S.-Russia

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ignoring Critics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

130 comments for “Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

  1. Tom
    July 8, 2017 at 22:33

    Why is it so hard for Hersh to get his work published here? One reason is because many other reporters were cable news producers who decided to go independent and make more money. Many of them market themselves as being “experts” on terrorism. Which means that they don’t like it when someone else tries to move in on their turf.

  2. July 5, 2017 at 22:41

    “Hersh draws on the kind of inside sources from whom he has earned longstanding trust to dispute that there ever was a “chemical weapons attack” and to assert that Trump was told that no evidence existed against the Syrian government but ordered “his generals” to “retaliate” anyway.” I think that folks here are way to uncritical of Seymour Hersh. Since when has the ‘establishment’ been a safe source of info?

    I’m not saying Hersh’s reporting, based on deep state sources, is automatically bad. But I think we should be cautious and I can give you two reasons why. And Consortium News can help me with that, because it has done it’s fair amount of reporting on the terrorist White Helmets (one example: Hersh, who voted for Obama twice (and he knows what kind of murderous president Obama was) is himself of the establishment. Is it Hersh’s role to play the good guy (for the state), the way Avaaz emailed its registered members to save whales and so on, so that one day, when push came to shove, Hersh could blow away progressive public opinion with a pro NATO or pro state department narrative, the way Avaaz one day out of the blue was asking all of its caring members to support a no fly zone in Syria (the prelude to regime change)?

    Hersh, in his discussion with Aaron Maté of his Die Welt article on The Real News said (and didn’t say) two things that caught my attention. He mentioned the White Helmets but hardly said boo about them, although they only help to feed all the carnage there. He said that the best thing you can say about them is that they are first responders in rebel held territory. That’s it. In connection with a lot of this, Hersh keeps saying “I don’t know,” and it only makes people love him more because of his ‘honesty’. But why doesn’t he know more about Syria? (Is it because his deep state associates and his precious NYT don’t want us to know?) And why does he not (second big problem) give credit to independent investigative reporters – Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett – on the ground there, who DO know? Those journos have lots to say about the terrorist “activists,” who both Hersh and McGovern say little about. By extension they say little about the journos who ‘are’ informing us about them. Why are independent sources, who not only know, but know ‘before’ Hersh does, disappeared by this brave reporter who all worship?

    The ironic thing about all of this is that when I point to Hersh’s dynamite book (about which Hersh seems to lack the courage of his convictions; See his Politics & Prose Bookstore discussion of it), “The Dark Side Of Camelot,” in order to try to counter Camelot propaganda which has a fierce grip everyone, Right and Left, I’m dismissed or ignored.

    Where’s the sober, critical thinking on the Left that it needs to show?

    Vanessa Beeley:

    Eva Bartlett:

    Barbara McKenzie:

  3. July 1, 2017 at 12:48

    Looks like the Pentagon might have to back out of its ‘7 countries in 5 years’ plan.
    It’s so shameful what our glory-seeking Generals have done to America’s fine young men and women, to America’s honor…… America’s soul. To our Fathers.

  4. Dunno
    June 30, 2017 at 16:07

    Some folks call the Don’ s contemporary major investors and his true current handlers the “Red Mafiya”, the “Kosher Nostra”, or just the plain old “Jewish Mob.” But this intertwined gang of Jewish billionaires (which combines both old and new Jewish money since Israel is essentially a real estate development of the Rothschild family — Rothschildlandia) is actually a transnational or trans-world criminal organization with strong connections to worldwide Chabad Houses (some of which law enforcement agencies have identified as “providing fronts for organized crime and Israeli espionage”). This supra-national Jewish criminal organization has the overall goal of maintaining and promoting the criminal designs of a sinister form of global Zionism (After all, it was Moses Hess who was not only the prophet of communism but also the prophet of Zionism, as well as the avid disciple of the Ibero-Jewish philosopher and lens grinder, Baruch Spinoza who resided in the Netherlands during the 17th century and who basically invented modern atheism).

    While researching the late Jewish-Polish mob figure, Felix Przedborski (a prime subject of the famous “Atlas Report”) I decided to look for an image for such a thug. So, I typed in — ‘felix przedborski atlas’ and low and behold a full-range of imagery appeared before my widening eyes. Felix certainly looks like the thug that he once was; however, there were so many other fascinating images on this Google image page that I found it to be irresistible not to continue scrolling down to the bottom of this very interesting page. Voila! It was near the bottom of this delightful page that my discerning eye was snagged by an image that looked not too dissimilar to the cover of a book that I had just begun to read, which incidentally includes an English-language copy of the Atlas Report.

    The name of this gripping book is, “The Nebula: A Political Murder Traces Back to NWO’s Absolute Power”; it was written by Walter J. Baeyens, a Belgian writer, and it has a foreword that was written by Wayne Madsen. However, the image on Google, although similar does have some notable variations; its title is: “Russian Mafia Israel Nebula”

    So after checking to see if the website (that the image was from) was safe, I went onto this website which is known as What an amazing plethora of information and controversy! It was on this website that I soon discovered the following eye-opening article by the same gentleman who had written the foreword to the Nebula book that I had just begun to read. The name of this article, which, of course, was written by Wayne Madsen and which appears on website near the top is: Trump’s “Russia” ties are with the “Red Kosher Nostra,” not the Kremlin. That title certainly piqued my interest because I had reached a similar conclusion, which does not necessarily exclude any Trump ties to the Kremlin — after all, Russia is run like a kleptocracy.

    Sometimes I think that it is a very small world wide web that I rely on. But then, I dunno? Anyways, I have to tell you that Mr. Madsen’s article really kicks some flabby tushy. Wayne Madsen has revealed who the Don’s real daddy is, Semion Mogilevich. Thank G-D not all Jews support this thuggish gang of evil predators.

  5. f.fong
    June 30, 2017 at 00:58

    trump may start a was…just remember who beat tha nazis…it was the russians…the usa terrorist state ..but they control the news media and hollywood

  6. Abe
    June 28, 2017 at 17:44

    “Hersh’s investigations have not only undermined evidence-free claims being promoted in the west to destabilise Assad’s government but threatened a wider US policy seeking to ‘remake the Middle East’. His work has challenged a political and corporate media consensus that portrays Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Assad’s main ally against the extremist Islamic forces fighting in Syria, as another dangerous monster the West needs to bring into line. […]

    “Hersh is being forced to publish ever further from the centres of power whose misinformation his investigations are challenging. […]

    “The danger with Trump’s ‘retaliatory’ strike, based on zero evidence of a chemical weapons attack, is that it could have killed Russian soldiers and dragged Putin into a highly dangerous confrontation with the US. Also, the intelligence community fears that the media have promoted a false narrative that suggests not only that a sarin attack took place, but paints Russia as a co-conspirator and implies that a UN team did not in fact oversee the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile back in 2013-14. That would allow Assad’s opponents to claim in the future, at a convenient time, yet another unsubstantiated sarin gas attack by the Syrian government. […]

    “Four questions

    “Hersh’s investigation contributes to a more complex and confusing picture of events in Khan Sheikhoun. In the absence of an independent investigation, there is still no decisive physical evidence to confirm what happened. That makes context and probability important factors for observers to weigh.

    “So let us set aside for a moment the specifics of what happened on April 4 and concentrate instead on what Hersh’s critics must concede if they are to argue that Assad used sarin gas against the people of Khan Sheikhoun.

    “1. That Assad is so crazed and self-destructive – or at the very least so totally incapable of controlling his senior commanders, who must themselves be crazed and self-destructive – that he has on several occasions ordered the use of chemical weapons against civilians. And he has chosen to do it at the worst possible moments for his own and his regime’s survival, and when such attacks were entirely unnecessary.

    “2. That Putin is equally deranged and so willing to risk an end-of-times conflagration with the US that he has on more than one occasion either sanctioned or turned a blind eye to the use of sarin by Assad’s regime. And he has done nothing to penalise Assad afterwards, when things went wrong.

    “3. That Hersh has decided to jettison all the investigatory skills he has amassed over many decades as a journalist to accept at face value any unsubstantiated rumours his long-established contacts in the security services have thrown his way. And he has done so without regard to the damage that will do to his reputation and his journalistic legacy.

    “4. That a significant number of US intelligence officials, those Hersh has known and worked with over a long period of time, have decided recently to spin an elaborate web of lies no one wants to print, either in the hope of damaging Hersh in some collective act of revenge against him, or in the hope of permanently discrediting their own intelligence services.

    “Hersh’s critics do not simply have to believe one of these four points. They must maintain the absolute veracity of all four of them.”

    Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
    By Jonathan Cook

  7. Dunno
    June 28, 2017 at 14:47

    Jared Kushner just returned from Israel where he acted like a bitch-boy go-between for PM Netanyahu (“Jared Kushner’s Roadmap to Nowhere”, New York Magazine). The Independent has also recently reported: “Israel ‘giving secret aid to Syrian rebels’, report says.” So, I dunno about you, but I suspect that Jared may have carried back some faux intel from his new best-buddy and bitch-master Bibi Netanyahu about Assad’s preparations for another FAKE sarin gas attack. Just how brainless is Trump? It is pathetic that he relies on Jared effin’ Kushner for anything important, let alone peace in the Middle East. At what price comes loyalty to Trump? Is Jared Kushner an honest broker for the American people and the USA? I don’t believe that for one NYC second! It is clear where Jared’s interests lie – Israel.

    Everyone, who is actually concerned about the irrational behavior of our unindicted criminal POTUS, should really read Seymour Hersh’s article in Die Welt. Furthermore, I recommend that you also search out Timothy O” Brien (the author of “Trump Nation”): he has written a series of articles that he has published this week on the Blumberg View. These pieces of excellent investigative journalism are about the Don’s criminal connections to billionaire “Russian” crime bosses, as we’ll as their American and Far East co-conspirators (can you say Felix Sater – Port Washington Chabad’s 2014 “Man of the Year.” – the youtube video of the award ceremony is a classic kiss-ass piece).

    Trump knows that he is guilty of committing innumerable frauds and of committing numerous federal, state, and municipal crimes; therefore this dishonest man is overly-desperate, but what is more concerning is the fact that he is also a perfect example of the arrogance of ignorance. Thanks for bringing this important news to us Bob and Ray; you guys make a terrific team.

  8. June 27, 2017 at 22:29

    When will Amy put out this story?
    I am very concerned that she is falling in line with Jeremy Skahill whose anti Assad position led him to blackball Mother Agnes Maryam from a major anti war conference in UK because she was an early doubter of the Ghouta bombing. The left worships the water Skahill walks on and has been all to ready to believe the Gulf of Tonkin and WMD accusations against Bashar Assad. Anyone who questions the official line is labeled as being in support of all of Assad’s governmental doings. We didn’t have to like Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule to oppose the U.S. attack on Iraq. Let’s learn from history and prevent Trump’s attempts to make another Lybia in Syria.

  9. Barry Kissin
    June 27, 2017 at 20:58

    I debunked the supposed chemical attack of April 4, 2017 in an op-ed published by Op-Ed News on April 11 at
    The very latest is this phenomenal announcement yesterday (June 26) by WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer as follows:
    “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack. As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
    By way of adding fuel to the fraudulent fire, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweeted: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
    One indication of the degree of contrivance at work is the reaction of surprise and mystification evinced by both the Pentagon and the State Department, as reported by BuzzFeed News at

  10. Abe
    June 27, 2017 at 14:08

    Which is worse: a Vice-President controlled by “his generals” or one who is so out of control that “his generals” are the ones who must restrain him.

    America suffered with Dick Cheney. We knew Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney was no friend of ours. It took “generals” to restrain him.

    Mike Pence, you’re no Dick Cheney.

    Or are you?

  11. Mike Hastie
    June 27, 2017 at 13:59

    The war is not meant to be won it is meant to be continuous.
    George Orwell

    When I left Vietnam as an Army medic, I realized the Pentagon was the most evil piece of real estate the world has ever seen.
    Mike Hastie

  12. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 27, 2017 at 02:28

    The BBC today:
    The US statement warned President Bashar al-Assad of “a heavy price” if another strike occurred.
    Nikki Haley: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people,” she tweeted.

    More US aggression! “Blamed”: Freudian slip, accidental earnestness?

  13. June 27, 2017 at 01:44

    John McCain gave the order. McCain thinks he should be President. Thinks he was robbed.

  14. June 27, 2017 at 00:21

    Ray, the point should be made that there is zero credible evidence that the Syrian government has EVER used chemical weapons. Ever. It never happened and is simply a myth that ignorant Americans believe.

  15. Tom
    June 26, 2017 at 23:51

    Have Hersh or McGovern ever been sued for libel or defamation? No. Do they have an axe to grind against a source? No. That’s an enormous threat to the corporations.

  16. fudmier
    June 26, 2017 at 20:03

    Mr. Alatalo, are you saying that
    “holding a member of the 527 governor group or its support persons accountable (even if fake or invented evidence is used to encourage panic in theater), does not occur because the constitution a-structurally divides the people of our society into the fully-accountable governed group (340,000,000 unpaid persons always accountable to the non-accountable governor group) and the never-accountable governor group (527 paid, members+their paid supporters)?
    all political power has been distributed, by the constitution, to the never-accountable governor group”?.
    The larger fully-accountable governed group has no power to host indictments, prosecution or punishment against members of the never accountable governor group? <=is that what you are saying?

  17. June 26, 2017 at 14:59

    U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration – notably United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who (Colin Powell-like) held up images at the Security Council of dead children, on front pages of newspapers worldwide, afterward literally threatening Syria with war – told the world they “have the evidence”. Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and all others in the administration who lied about “the evidence” owe humanity an honest explanation. These are extremely dangerous people who must become held accountable for extremely disturbing, war-promoting words and actions.

  18. Abe
    June 26, 2017 at 13:56

    The 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun incident in an Al Qaeda controlled area of Idlib was obviously perpetrated for maximum propaganda effect to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention, that entered into force and becoming binding international law on 29 April 1997.

    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 11 April 2017 Trump White House’s “assessment” of the Khan Shakhun incident.

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

    A 19 April 2017 Israeli “assessment” presented by anonymous military officials included evidence free claims that Syrian military commanders has 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 Associated Press 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.

    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.

    The 26 April 2017 French “National Evaluation” included evidence free claims of a “Clandestine Syrian chemical weapons programme” based on “allegations” of Syrian “chemical use” laundered by Higgins and Kaszeta. The French purportedly based their conclusions on “analysis” of the 29 April 2013 chemical incident at Saraqeb, also in Al Qaeda controlled Idlib.

    BBC News video report of the Saraqeb incident described the smell at the scene as being very strong. The strong odor of alleged aerial “grenades” was described in a statement from the BBC video: “These are smelly, and a lot of them were used.”

    Another lengthy statement from the BBC report on the 2013 Saraqeb incident: “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.”

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

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

    Evidence pointing to possible collusion between Ifake “citizen journalist” bloggers like Higgins and Kaszeta at Bellingcat, and senior officials in the American, Israeli, and French governments represents a grave national security concern for the United States.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      June 27, 2017 at 06:10

      Thank you!
      This is clarifying. What will happen with Western governments as more and more realise their complete moral collapse?

      It seems practically impossible for an ordinary citizen like me to grasp the whole picture. Real authorities are required.

    • Skip Scott
      June 27, 2017 at 10:28

      Thanks again Abe. Always learn a lot from your posts. It is a shame you don’t have a wider audience.
      As Lin Cleveland said a while back, “We’ve been relegated to a sound-proof free-speech zone.” And even that is at risk now.

    • Abe
      June 26, 2017 at 18:17

      The 25 June 2017 article by Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat attacks the recent article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

      Higgins objects to the use of the term “organophosphates” in the article by Hersh:

      “the claims around the chemical exposure are also worth examining. Hersh refers to ‘a Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military” of the strike, which he provides no source for, which supposedly states “a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement’. He describes the symptoms seen in victims as ‘consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.’ Here it is worth pointing out that organophosphates are used as pesticides, not fertilizers, and it’s unclear if this error is from Hersh himself or his anonymous source.”

      Contrary to Higgins’ claims, the term “organophosphates” has both a broad and a specific meaning.

      The term “organophosphates” broadly refers to any of several organic compounds containing phosphorus, some of which are used as fertilizers and pesticides.

      Phosphorus-containing fertilizers made from rock phosphate and bonemeal (a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones and slaughter-house waste products) are “organophosphates”.

      The term “organophosphates” also specifically refers to phosphorus-containing organic compounds used in insecticides, medications, and nerve agents, that act by inhibiting cholinesterase.

      In fact, Higgins is in error because the term “organophosphates” applies to both pesticides and fertilizers.

      Here is the relevant paragraph from Hersh’s article:

      “In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.”

      Higgins claims that the case made by Hersh in the London Review of Books articles “Whose sarin?” (19 December 2013) and “The Red Line and the Rat Line” (17 April 2014), “fell apart under scrutiny” by Higgins and Dan Kaszeta.

      In fact, the case made by Higgins and Kaszeta about the August 21st 2013 chemical attack in Damascus was debunked.

    • Abe
      June 26, 2017 at 18:22

      Today, Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta of Bellingcat blog are in the vanguard of propaganda about chemical attacks in Syria.

      The Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, UK Guardian, Time online, and public radio outlets have generously provided media platforms for Higgins and Kaszeta.

      Back in 2013 and 2014, Higgins and Kaszeta of Brown Moses blog were in the vanguard of propaganda about chemical attacks in Syria.

      After the August 2013 chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, US President Barack Obama was ready to launch an air strike to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Two days before the planned strike, Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval for the military intervention. The strike was subsequently cancelled when President Bashar al Assad offered to relinquish the Syrian Army’s chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia.

      The Syrian government maintained that the gas which killed hundreds of Syrian civilians in Ghouta had been used by terrorist groups in the hope that the West would blame Assad and turn its strategic weapons against the regime. Russian sources stated that the chemicals had not been sold to Assad, but had come from stocks sold by Moscow to the former Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.

      On 17 April 2014, American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published “The Red Line and the Rat Line” in the London Review of Books. Hersh reported that British intelligence had confirmed to the Americans that the gas used at Ghouta did not come from the Syrian Army’s chemical arsenal. According to Hersh’s information, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had allowed the Americans to ship a ‘rat line’ of weapons from Libya via Turkey to the Syrian militants.

      On 22 April 2014, Higgins and Kaszeta published an article in the UK Guardian attacking Hersh. However, the technical claims of Higgins and Kaszeta’s were found to be either inaccurate or irrelevant.

      In a 22 May 2014 letter to the London Review of Books, Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology addressed the controversy.

      Lloyd and Postol stated unequivocally that “Higgins, a blogger who, although he has been widely quoted as an expert in the American mainstream media, has changed his facts every time new technical information has challenged his conclusion that the Syrian government must have been responsible” for the attack. Postol later presented a detailed refutation of published statements in the media made by Kaszeta.

      Nevertheless, the claims of Higgins and Kaszeta continue to be cited by governments and mainstream media.

      Lloyd and Postol’s concluding remarks from 2014 remain relevant today:

      “We do not claim to know who was actually behind the attack […]. But we can say for sure that neither do the people who claim to have clear evidence that it was the Syrian government. The mainstream American media have done a disservice to the public by allowing politically motivated individuals, governments, and non-government organisations to misrepresent facts that clearly point to serious breaches of the truth by the White House.

      For a detailed rebuttal of all of Kaszeta’s claims regarding the 2013 Ghouta chemical attack:

      Accurate analysis of all primary and secondary evidence relating to the 21 August 2013 chemical attack at Ghouta indicate it was carried out by opposition forces. According to the most likely scenario, they used looted incendiary rockets, refilled them with sarin they manufactured themselves, and launched them from a rebel-held territory 2 km north of Zamalka.

      The New York Times’ quiet retreat on its earlier certainty about the 2013 chemical attack will not prevent it from enthusiastically embracing new propaganda claims from the likes of Higgins and Kaszeta.

  19. Patricia Victour
    June 26, 2017 at 11:36

    I saw former MIT professor Ted Postol debunking the “Assad did it” narrative, along with other similar stories that are now being supported rather than debunked, on RT America right after the incident happened. Now, is Postol a “Putin stooge?” I think not. American press and the American Deep State are terrified of RT – and with good reason. RT dares to expose the other side of stories that the status quo wants to skew the narrative on in their favor, and it has been reporting far more accurately for months on the Syrian debacle than any US source. So much for freedom of the press here.

  20. fudmier
    June 26, 2017 at 07:47

    Re: Sam F “I have proposed an institution of serious public debate conducted textually between university experts. The public should be encouraged to read the commented summaries of expert debate, representing all viewpoints, produced by a national college of policy debate, Otherwise they rely upon dramatized in-person debates that primarily contest social pressure, illusions, bad reasoning methods, and the stuffed suits and sponsored shills who pass for experts. The in-person debates are staged battles rather than rational examinations. ”

    What we need MR. F is university experts (if such experts exists) to broadcast to their students, especially then one’s tolerate enough to graduate, how constitutional separation of its peers into two groups (In America, for example, the 527 elected governors and their supporting people vs the 340,000,000 governed) operates to strengthen the few and weaken the many.
    University experts or propagandist should show their students the true impact of separation by constitution; it is one of the most powerful anti-democratic forces that can be imposed on a society. Constitutions that separate and strip one people “the governed” of their powers, and bestow those powers on the favored group, not only silence the governed, but also selectively filter and redirect the better opportunities to the members of the governor classes. Separation renders the members of the governed classes competitively weaker. In representative governments, the filtration process builds strength into one group (method=”access designed restriction” ADR). ADR renders each new generation of governor class persons relatively stronger, and each parallel new generation of governed class persons relatively weaker. ADR explains 1% ownership of 92% of the total wealth and many other “unbalanced [name the type] phenomena” as well.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 26, 2017 at 09:58

      fudimer, your proposal sounds perfect. I hope you will keep us posted here. Certainly some college is independent enough to present in this way. I’m thinking of the Snowden links assembled by the University of Arizona. Or even the Kennedy Presidential Library.

  21. Herman
    June 26, 2017 at 07:32

    Madness? Cowardly. Opportunistic? All of the above regarding our MSM? How much of this is caused by the fear of losing access to government information needed to fill their written and oral reports? How much to fear of their corporate bosses who are tied into the government narrative? And how much to the fear of being out there by yourself. How many Seymour Hersh’s are there, anyway. Or Helen Thomas’s. Thank goodness we at least have “fake news” and Postol. McGovern, Hersh , Parry and others like them.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 28, 2017 at 04:46

      And people like Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beelry, and Tulsi Gabbard…who actually go there.

  22. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 26, 2017 at 06:22

    Most likely, I have simply missed some piece of information in the complicated Syrian development, but anyway, reading this, I was confused that the Syrian air attack is said to have occurred in the early morning. I seem to recall that other articles have stated that whereas the opposition and the West claim the sarine attack occurred at that time, Syria and Russia have claimed that they did not bomb in the morning, only around noon.

    It would be useful to see a list of the alleged Syrian autrocities and the available evidence on them: the 2013 sarine attack, the 2017 sarine attack, the thousands executed in the prison outside Damascus (Amnesty) and the in-prison crematorium to handle the corpses (US Dept of State), etc. Facts speak, if correct. How far have the UN investigations come?

    I read yesterday (Bloomberg) that Angela Merkel, then in opposition, favoured German participation in the Iraqi war. Fortunately, kanzler Schroeder did not.

    • F. G. Sanford
      June 26, 2017 at 08:50

      2nd attempt to post this comment. The crematorium hoax has been thoroughly debunked. Nice try.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        June 26, 2017 at 15:13

        That is my impression, too. IF so, the embarrassment to the US government is monumental. A lie construed for their purposes, which cannot but remind of Nazi crimes. If it were a try, a lie, it was utterly distasteful. Not “nice”.

        The incoherency regarding the time of the attack, and apparently other as well (Abe below) are troublesome, and should be explained. It is crucial to determine the truth! The US and Western governments have worked hard to achieve no credibility, so why should anyone trust them on this, or anything else?

    • FobosDeimos
      June 26, 2017 at 16:03

      You are perfectly right Martin. I wrote several comments back then about the inconsistencies between the Syrian and Russian accounts of what happened on April 4. I was insulted and treated as an imperialist stooge for simply pointing out that: (a) People were indeed killed by poisonous gas immediately after an aerial attack carried out in the morning of April 4; (b) The spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said right away that apparently a Syrian Air Force plane had attacked a terrorist target during the morning, and that (unknown to Russians and Syrians alike) chemical substances and ammo were stored in the basement of the attacked building; (c) the Russians said that the poisonous gases could habe been unintentionally released after the Syrian bombing; (d) the Syrian Government immediately disavowed the Russian account in its entirety: the Syrians said that (i) there were no deaths; (ii) it was all a fake; and (iii) Syria had attacked some rebel forces around NOON (not in the morning). Facing such a stark contradiction from Assad, the Russians started to retract their earlier story, althoug not fully. In the meantime, as Ray McGovern and Seymour Hersh point out, Trump ordered the 59 Tomahawks to be launched as “punishment”, killing many people. Now, FINALLY, Seymour Hersh comes up with an honest report on what really happened, and there you have it: the terrorists’ building bombed by the Syrians during the MORNING; the basement full of ammunition and chemical substances and the poisonous gases (NOT SARIN) being dispersed over to Khan Sheikhoun as an unintended consequence of the Syrian bombing. Yes, Trump lied as usual. Yes, the MSM is a pile of sh*t, BUT: it would have been MUCH better for everybody if the Russians had insisted more forcefully on the accuracy of their initial communiques, even if that meant overruling the nonsense coming from their Syrian allies.

      • Gregory Herr
        June 26, 2017 at 20:18

        I think you may be over-stretching this discrepancy thing. Syria did not deny the arms depot attack, the U.S. was notified of the operation per U.S.-Russian agreement, and Assad’s comments about the whole thing being a hoax refers generally to the idea of the SAA using chemical weapons and specifically to the “rescue” video.

        • FobosDeimos
          June 26, 2017 at 20:58

          Well, unfortunattely Assad is still saying that the Syrian Air Force bombed another location in Idlib, at noon. He still vehemently denies having bombed during the morning, and he still says that the whole thing was a hoax. He even suggested that the dead bodies were of people who had died before. I am sorry but Hersh’s report clearly signals that the Russians’ initial reaction was to tell the truth, but apparently Assad could not even perform the simple task of acknowledging this “collateral damage”just like the cynical US forces do all the time. It would have been sooo much better! ,

        • Abe
          June 27, 2017 at 22:00

          Riding a peculiar hobby horse for over two months, FobosDeimos has repeatedly asserted that a “huge discrepancy” exists between the Syrian and Russian accounts of the 4 April 2017 Syrian Air Force strike at Khan Shaykhun.

          In the 13 April 2017 interview to Agence France-Presse [full text at ], President Assad said the Al Qaeda claims that a Syrian Air Force jet attacked Khan Sheikhoun with chemical weapons was a complete “fabrication”.

          From the interview to AFP, here are Assad’s specific remarks concerning the Syrian Air Force strike at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017:

          Question 17: “You know, your government said in the beginning that you hit a chemical weapon depot. Is it true?”

          President Assad: “It was a possibility, because when you attack any target related to the terrorists, you don’t know what’s in it. You know that this a target; it could be a store, it could be warehouse, it could be a depot, it could be a camp, it could be a headquarter, we don’t know. But you know that the terrorists are using this place and you attack it, like any other place, and that’s what we’ve been doing since the beginning of the war on daily bases, on hourly bases sometimes, but you cannot tell what’s within this. So, that was one of the possibilities that the airstrikes attacked a depot of chemical materials, but this is conflicting again with the timing of the announcement, not because only the terrorists announced it in the morning, but because their media, their pages on Twitter and on the internet announced the attack a few hours before the alleged one, which is 4 in the morning. 4 in the morning, they announced that there’s going to be a chemical attack, we have to be ready. How did they know about it?”

          Assad acknowledged the possibility that “the airstrikes attacked a depot of chemical materials”. This statement is consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense report that the Syrians bombed a warehouse belonging to rebels which “may have contained a rebel chemical arms stockpile”.

          However, both the Syrians and the Russians have consistently identified the Syrian Air Force strike at Khan Shaykhun as separate and distinct event from the chemical incident.

          FobosDeimos has falsely asserted that the Syrian account “flatly contradicts” the Russian account of the Syrian Air Force strike at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.

      • Abe
        June 27, 2017 at 01:02

        Allegations by FobosDeimos of “discrepancies” between the Syrian and the Russian accounts of the Khan Shaykun incident were debunked by me back in April.

        See my detailed rebuttal of FobosDeimos in the comments at

        Regardless of the accuracy of specific information presented by Hersh on 25 June 2017, the potential for another false flag sarin attack remains a serious concern.

        • FobosDeimos
          June 27, 2017 at 13:14

          Your allegations have been debunked by Seymour Hersh and Ray MacGovern. Greetings.

          • Abe
            June 27, 2017 at 21:12

            Eh, not so much, FobosDeimos, for all the reasons discussed below. Mazel Tov.

      • Abe
        June 27, 2017 at 18:58

        Seymour Hersh’s 25 June 2017 article about “Trump‘s Red Line” presents an unofficial version of the Syrian Air Force bombing, citing anonymous US sources that include “a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency”.

        While Hersh’s article does not agree with the Russian and Syrian accounts concerning the specific timing of the mission, all accounts agree on the most relevant basic point:

        Chemical munitions were not used by the Syrian Air Force in bombing the Al Qaeda controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, Syria on Tuesday, 4 April 2017.

        There have been no significant discrepancies between the Syrian and Russian accounts of Syrian Air Force activity on that day.

        As reported by Reuters on 4 April: “The Syrian government said it had not used chemical weapons, ‘not in the past and not in the future’, and the Syrian army ‘categorically’ denied it was involved in the Tuesday attack. Russia said it had conducted no operations over Khan Sheikhun on Tuesday.”

        Briefings by Syrian and Russian government officials featured identical accounts that Khan Sheikhoun was bombed by a Syrian Air Force jet around 11:30 am on 4 April 2017.

        During a briefing at the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation in Moscow, spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov stated that the destruction of an ammunition depot in Khan Shaykhun was carried out by Syrian aircraft.

        Konashenkov said: “According to the objective monitoring data, yesterday, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (local time) the Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts of the Khan Shaykhun town. On the territory of the depot, there were workshops, which produced chemical warfare munitions. Terrorists had been transporting chemical munitions from this largest arsenal to the territory of Iraq. Both international organizations and the authorities of the country had repeatedly proved their usage by terrorists. These chemical munitions had been also used by militants in Aleppo, their using was registered in the end of the previous year by the Russian specialists. The poisoning symptoms of the victims in Khan Shaykhun shown on videos in social networks are the same as they were in autumn of the previous year in Aleppo. At that time, all the facts of chemical weapons using in Syria together with the soil samples were protocoled and transferred to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. However, the experts of this international organization, having received all the materials and samples, which prove the using of chemical weapons by terrorists in Syria, are still examining them. We assert that the presented information is completely objective and credible.”

        Syria’s top diplomat, Walid Muallem of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic, acknowledged the Syrian air strike on an ammunition depot in Khan Shaykhun. Foreign Minister Muallem said: “The first air raid conducted by the Syrian army was at 11:30 am [08:30 UTC] on that day and it attacked an arms depot belonging to Al-Nusra Front that contained chemical weapons. […] I stress to you once again: the Syrian army has not, did not and will not use this kind of weapons – not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that attack our civilians with their mortar rounds […] Al-Nusra Front and ISIS and other organisations continue to store chemical weapons in urban and residential areas.”

        Asked whether Syria would present proof that it was not involved in the attack, Muallem said: “How am I supposed to go to Khan Shaykhun if it’s held by Al-Nusra?” Muallem emphasized the Syrian governments support for an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the and cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic: “We provide the OPCW and the UN with intelligence on the transfer of chemical substances from Iraq and into Syria, or from Turkey into Syria, but an investigation is for the OPCW.”

        Muallem mentioned that his country’s past experience with international inquiries had not been “encouraging.” Muallem said that any fact-finding mission into the chemical incident “must guarantee that it is not politicised, that it has broad geographic representation and that it is launched from Damascus, not Turkey” because Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists operating in Syria have been supplied and reinforced primarily via Turkey.

        • Skip Scott
          June 28, 2017 at 08:09


          Thanks again for your comments, you obviously do a lot of research. The discrepancy I see with Assad is him talking about the twitter posts at 4am. If this is true, it is strange. And of course the timing of the attack. Did the terrorists engage in some type of theatrical falsehood? And was that prior to the actual airstrike at 11:30am? If that’s the case, it is a strange coincidence, especially if the strike caused a chemical release that killed people. The one thing I don’t believe is the MSM nonsense of Assad using chemical weapons. Perhaps we will never know the full story, but I am thankful to Seymour Hersh, Robert Parry, Ray McGovern, and you Abe for doing the hard work of real investigation.

        • Abe
          June 28, 2017 at 10:55

          It’s clear that none of the parties have presented “completely objective and credible” information, least of all the United States and its “close allies” who are backing Al Qaeda in an effort to dismember the Syrian state.

  23. john wilson
    June 26, 2017 at 04:37

    So why did Hersh take so long to produce his article and why no mention of the farcical white helmets who played such a vital theatrical role in duping the rest of the world?

    • June 26, 2017 at 05:02

      It probaby has a lot to do with the fact that the U.S. corporate media, especially the New York Times and the Washington Post, won’t publish the Pultizer prize-winning journalist, as he doesn’t do what the government tells him. That he had to seek out a German newspaper to publish this article, and that the London Review of Books published his last one on Syria, says more about the depths to which the U.S. media has sunk than it does about Seymour Hersh’s writing, which is as sharp as ever.

      Trump launched his 59 missiles in early April this year. Seymour Hersh writes investigative articles, not reports. He researches them thoroughly, which takes time, then he has to fight to get them published. Give the guy a break!

  24. June 26, 2017 at 04:27

    Not wanting to quibble, I’d still like to point out that Die Welt is part of the Western corporate media, and is mainstream. I think U.S. journalists in particular should try to look more carefully at their use of the words ‘mainstream’ and ‘corporate’ media so as not to confuse their readers. From this article many could conclude that terms refer only to U.S. media outlets rather than all Western media outlets including European ones. When newspaper proprietors, like Rupert Murdoch own media empires that stretch across the globe, the terms have to be understood. Unless, of course, the terms are meant to apply to the Anglophone corporate media in the U.S., in which case, that position should be changed.

    Here in Europe – I’m an Norwegian/English person living in Spain – we regard the European media as part of the Western media. Die Welt, with a circulation of around 180,000 readers, which is around 20,000 more than the Guardian, is the third biggest selling national in Germany.

    Seymour Hersh’s article can be accessed in English at the link.

    • Michael Morrissey
      June 26, 2017 at 05:53

      I live in Germany and would not have known about the Welt article without having read Ray’s piece and links to the original English, also published by Die Welt. The German versions, though, are available only to online subscribers. And as of this writing, I can confirm Ray’s observation that no other MSM organ has picked it up, either in the US or elsewhere (google “Seymour M. Hersh” for the past week.)

      My local German paper today was full of coverage of the SPD party congress in Dortmund yesterday, where candidate Schulz and former chancellor Schröder apparently gave rousing speeches and strongly criticizing Merkel. It would be great if they would use this piece by Hersh (and much more, of course) to follow Ray’s advice and finally get out of Big Brother’s pocket.

      • June 26, 2017 at 06:41

        I don’t quite see the point you’re trying to make. I’m not German, I don’t live in Germany and I don’t speak German. I got to read the article through Facebook.

        My point was more to do with the fact that Ray McGovern, and many other Anglophone journalists, are giving the impression that the corporate, or mainstream, media is an American thing. Though it is rare for leading European news outlets to publish articles radically out of line with American government thought, they are still part of the Western mainstream media, and worth investigating from time to time as they can feature alternative points of view, like the Boston Globe occasionally does. But, unlike most US and British outlets, they often publish translations of articles.

        I try to get as many different views on the news as possible and Americans should be made much aware of foreign news outlets – whether alt-news or mainstream – in order to be abe to judge for themselves what is happening in the world

        • Michael Morrissey
          June 26, 2017 at 10:04

          I was agreeing with you. What I meant was that even though Die Welt is MSM, not that many Germans will read it either, and unfortunately the politicos are not likely to take it up either. Schröder is the only one with any guts, in my book, having defied Bush 2 in Iraq, but that’s not saying a lot.

  25. backwardsevolution
    June 26, 2017 at 03:33

    Ray McGovern – good report, but my radar is up. Slap me down if you feel differently.

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

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

    Are we supposed to believe that Trump did this all on his own? That he acted against all evidence to the contrary and went rogue because he watched “The View”? Is this plausible? “How many Tomahawks should we launch, Mr. President?” And Trump replies, “Oh, I think 59 ought to do it”? Come on! Isn’t it more plausible that Trump was told something like this: “Gee, Mr. President, can we afford not to act?” Or: “Although we don’t really have the evidence yet, Assad has done this before. According to the White Helmets, a lot of innocent people just lost their lives. It’s despicable!” Or: “Mr. President, you said just yesterday that you were calling off the wolves in Syria, so that bastard Assad figured he could get away with it.”

    Of course, I agree that Trump should not have bombed Syria, but I don’t for a second believe that he made this decision himself. He no doubt had a lot of help from his friends (sarc). Even though he stupidly acted, very little physical damage was done.

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

    I agree it is tense, but I don’t believe Putin thinks for a second that the “generals” are having to restrain Trump. I think he knows better than that. These generals are chomping at the bit.

    Trump campaigned on stopping all wars, but he has been hounded like no other President by the media, the Clinton Democrats, the intelligence community – everybody. These people are equally culpable in what happened. Jump, jump!

    These guys are not stupid. They know Trump is not a seasoned politician, that he is not up to speed on foreign policy, the backstabbing involved in politics. An easy mark.

  26. exiled off mainstreet
    June 26, 2017 at 01:56

    Hersh proves that Trump was conned by the propaganda apparatus on the deep state and it was apparently the military which restrained him from an immediate start of WWIII and kept his response, which as is documented was a 180 degree turn and a violation of his campaign promises, to a minimum which did not result in immediate war. His weaknesses are shown in the Die Welt article and we can only hope that he has enough of a learning curve not to believe bs propaganda further. It is doubtful we can survive if this does not happen.

  27. June 25, 2017 at 22:44

    Link of interest below:
    Seymour Hersh: US Knew No Chemical Weapons Used by Syria
    June 25, 2017 Jim Carey

  28. Randal Marlin
    June 25, 2017 at 22:13

    From the point of view of propaganda analysis, this story is a gem. Seymour Hersh has a high degree of credibility. His account dovetails well with all the other materials I have read, particularly with that of Theodore Postol, the MIT rocket and munitions expert.
    It shows how some people might have been genuinely mistaken, while others were likely deliberately deceptive or willfully blind.

    Barring more credible evidence to the contrary, we now have a pretty good litmus test for evaluating the credibility and honesty of scores of different sources and media outlets. It requires patient study of many different news stories and commentaries, noting the different times of publication, interests and track-record of those responsible for the stories, but I think it should be a very revealing exercise. This will involve a backward search, to see what media were saying, but also forward-looking observations, to see what will be said about Hersh’s revelations. Which media will show they were genuinely mistaken by printing a corrective analysis of their earlier, misleading accounts?

    Thanks to Ray McGovern, Seymour Hersh and Die Welt for this. Now let’s watch to see how the MSM handle this. Thanks also to Oliver Stone, whose work will have the effect of making the general population more receptive to Hersh’s and Postol’s revelations and likely other still-to-come examples of deceptions by a government under the sway of the military-industrial neocon complex.

  29. elmerfudzie
    June 25, 2017 at 21:54

    Ray, I don’t now who tricked who, or what exactly is a ” Jeff Bezos” or what the hell a de-confliction process or zone is. What does come to mind is the word latitude- that’s what the citizens owe to a fledgling Trump presidency. After all, he’s just a real estate mogul, gambler, former womanizer, now an old man, with mental faculties that gradually slip from second gear into third (auto mechanic transmission talk here). A newly elected POTUS with a few inopportune “senior moments” on the public record. American voters have learned to handle this sort of political personage- ever since the Reagan years- that is. Sixty million bucks thrown at an airfield somewhere in Syria. I’m aghast!, at a million bucks per tomahawk, echoing another oft quoted figure… a million bucks per foot soldier (for training purposes). These wasteful military expenditures are simply appalling! It’s gut wrenching, the unjustified support of private enterprise, hijacked from an ever dwindling tax revenue base, (no middle class left) squeezed out for advanced weaponry R & D, when in stark contrast, our local church parishioners are witness to seldom seen, street indigents, “bag ladies” and the like, devouring free food in the school basement and guzzling hot, bottled water. Not a single so called “free loader” exhibiting a “beer belly”, obviously, drifters, tired, emaciated . . Flat tummies behind a pant buckle literally, tied tight, with dirty shoes, tattered clothes, haggard and scaly sunburned skin. No shame America?? I now ask CONSORTIUMNEW S readers; What on earth can stir or arouse or give awareness to this shame? A shame that acknowledges and re-acts to helping citizens, desperate, street wise, abandoned, physically and or mentally broken?. Again, to wit, an unemployed college kid who refuses to spread her legs to repay an overdue tuition bill? or the deranged, wandering about (any-city) USA, in middle class tinsel town, with no-one there with statutory over site to ensure that a RX is offered or administered to the homeless and mentally imbalanced. Ronald Reagan, (I now spit on the floor while recalling him) withdrew federal monies to support psyche wards and hospitals catering to the needy. So many wrecked lives are now, staggering about and into the busy street intersections, of America, ignoring the stop signs. What about the fate of our mentally ill? treated and released! The old, grey, with holes in their tattered shoes, suffering- IN ORDER TO FINANCE, an endless series of “kinetic-actions” delivered by NATO forces against Libya, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen ( both proxy wars ) …Trump must be made to SEE!! and if he is incapable or is intentionally shielded from considering these truths, then blame must rest entirely on a two party political system, blocking out a public outcry for legitimate third parties. Offering equal major media time and fair political contribution practices to third parties, whatever their size or philosophical affiliation. Trump is in office because our beltway lobbyists and corrupt Congress refuse to allow a new political paradigm.

    • Kiza
      June 25, 2017 at 22:23

      I like it.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2017 at 23:32

      Your comment elmerfudzie puts a face to the hard realities people endure after the elite politicians put their finishing touches to the policies they create. And to think that we are living in the 21st Century, and we pride ourselves on our being educated and humane.

  30. Michael K Rohde
    June 25, 2017 at 21:38

    Where is the vaunted “free press” lionized in our First Amendment to protect us from a run away government acting with impunity against the voters’ and legislative’ wishes. They are acting in concert with our government when the government is executing the press’ foreign policy preferences. So when the government agrees with the press’ agenda it is ok to bomb civilians and kill innocents but not ok if they pick the wrong side? I don’t pretend to know who makes these decisions about whose lies to publish but it makes it really hard for an interested voter to decide. Frankly, the press seems to favor “Regime Change” in Syria and as long as our military and foreign policy apparatus agrees with that their story gets told. If not then it is a conspiracy, the Russians, the Boogie Man or bad Karma. We do not have an independent press when Seymour Hersh has to pass editing to get published. We have an agenda which we are not setting.

  31. Earl J. Sharp
    June 25, 2017 at 21:05

    Thanks Ray. That helps to explain a lot!

  32. June 25, 2017 at 20:56

    is the hirsh report available somewhere? certainly trust this piece by mcgovern but it would be nice to read the for all the references to trump’s alleged dishonesty, people don’t seem to understand that being an asshole doesn’t warrant dishonesty…the man truly believes everything he says..he watches tv, stars on tv, and sees suffering babies on tv, and that’s enough to react like most tv viewers that believe what they are told by media mind managers…if the babies had been reduced to a bloody pulp, as they are when regular munitions from the land of the free hit them, the pictures would have been too we saw cute dead babies, and that’s what the schmuck saw and reacted to,,,he may be the most honest putz to ever occupy the subsidized residency in d.c.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2017 at 23:23

      Ray McGovern left a link to the Seymour Hersh report in the first sentence of the second paragraph of this article….see the word ‘report’ in blue, that’s the Hersh article.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      June 26, 2017 at 02:07

      Die Welt, the German paper, ran the article in English. The McGovern article, as noted, has a link to the Die Welt article, which, though run by a German paper, is published in English. The fact the article is in Die Welt is interesting since the paper, historically part of the rightwing Springer press empire, is fully supportive of the Merkel government. It may indicate that Merkel’s government is seeking to gain more independence from the US. It is also interesting that Macron, the US bankster cutout, is apparently changing his earlier views, and has indicated that France no longer supports the overthrow of Assad.

  33. June 25, 2017 at 20:31

    Merkel stated at a campaign event end of May that Germany could no longer rely on the United States because of its President, also said relying on the Western nations is an issue because of Brexit, and Germany will have to take control of its own destiny. Macron, while making the statement that France would no longer support removal of Assad, did state that “Assad opposes his people” so this is peculiar, from where does he get that? It does seem that machinations of the West, especially the US, are becoming increasingly transparent to people of other nations, and the recent lying and manipulation of people through propaganda is not as effective as the government and military liars believe it to be even in the US. It looks like an unraveling is starting to occur, and we should all bring whatever information, thoughts, meditation to bear on this unraveling continuing. Thank you, Ray, as always, for your flashlight of truth.

    • Skip Scott
      June 26, 2017 at 08:15

      All of Europe has been flooded with refugees, and has been denied profitable trade with Russia. Hersh’s article being published at all is like a crack in a dam. It is a sign that the corporate overlords are losing their influence because they never cared about the consequences their vassals bear for their insanity.

      Thanks so much Ray for your hard work for truth and peace.

    • Skip Scott
      June 26, 2017 at 08:35

      I think Macron is new to the game, and is hedging his bets, so to speak. He is a weasel waiting to see which way the wind blows.

  34. ranney
    June 25, 2017 at 19:37

    Thanks Ray, as always, your voice provides a moment of sanity in an increasingly insane world. Please keep it up. We need to hear from you.

  35. Zachary Smith
    June 25, 2017 at 18:52

    Seymour Hersh had to take his take-down of President Trump’s April 6 attack on Syria to Germany…

    As of the time I’m making this post, there is not a single “mainstream” US news source even mentioning this story. When I typed in “Seymour Hersh” as a google news search term, at the very top of the result page was a link to the freaking bellingcat site. That hero really trashed the amateur Hersh’s story! As the blogger at the xymphora site joked, Higgins must get paid extra for such a rush job!

    The neocons managing the Corporate Media have decided that trashing Trump must not be done on matters where he is doing what Israel wants done. Inventing silly crap to beat him up with is fine, but when the man makes a total ass of himself while doing what the neocons want done they’ll just pretend the ‘impulsive’ ‘ignorant’ ‘fool’ part didn’t happen.

    Mr. McGovern has done a public service in bringing this to the attention of the many Americans who would have never heard of it if Jeff Bezos and all the rest of the neocons had their way.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2017 at 23:19

      I loss all faith in our corporate owned media a longtime ago, but I really got annoyed on the night of the 59 Missile bombing how the anti-Trump media turned tail and praised Trump’s decision to the fullest. I mean how demented have we as a society become, when news anchors such as Brian Williams gets his rocks off while watching death bound missiles being fired off of an American war ship? I’m sorry Brian, that’s a place I’d rather not go. Why, even in the case of real danger I would refrain from celebrating an avenging death sentence. Our American society desperately needs to stop this insanity, and the sooner the better.

  36. June 25, 2017 at 18:43

    @Chris Jonsson

    Don’t be naive. Tillerson said that Assad could stay about a week before Trump decided to bomb.

  37. Chris Jonsson
    June 25, 2017 at 18:17

    Also France’s Macron endorses Russia, Assad against ISIS The recently elected French president said Wednesday he is looking to drastically change his country’s course on Syria and will no longer seek the removal of the war-torn country’s leader.
    He said he would abandon efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who faces an insurgency led by various rebel groups backed by the West, Turkey and Arab Gulf states and jihadist groups such as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda. Macron said Assad, who enjoys support from Russia and Iran, was not the enemy of France and that, with Russia’s support, French foreign policy in Syria would focus on targeting jihadist groups, whose supporters have killed hundreds in France.

  38. Chris Jonsson
    June 25, 2017 at 18:09

    I read that Angela Merkel is resisting cooperating with US on new sanctions against Russia.

  39. F. G. Sanford
    June 25, 2017 at 17:52

    Of course, most Americans won’t ask the question. But, I think it needs to be asked. And, they need to hear the answer I suspect makes the most sense. “Why would Germany publish this article when nobody else in the Western world will?”

    First, because Germany is well aware of the nature of the regime the US inserted into Ukraine and it perceives that regime to be a threat to European civilization. After all, Germany has no fond memories of Nazis. Second, because in the long run, Germany has more to lose from economic sanctions on Russia than it has to gain from an economic relationship with the US. Third, because Germany does not want a nuclear slag heap on its eastern frontier. Fourth, because Germany does not want to be dragged into a pointless war based on a NATO Article Five pretext, especially by the corrupt, feckless and sycophantic Baltic State governments which the US currently claims to “reassure”. Fifth, tensions related to concerns about Islamophobia are on the rise in Germany.

    And, last but not least, German military analysts probably doubt that the US would prevail in a war against Russia, but they’d rather not find out for sure. The US economy is failing, and as the noted US historian Chalmers Johnson presciently predicted, it lacks the resolve to make needed reforms. Johnson has been dead for some time. The inevitable collapse typical of overextended empires fraught with corruption and inept leadership is a scenario that continues to validate his assessment. In fact, it appears to be accelerating. Germany can see it coming.

    Russia’s plan appears to be strategic resolve but at a limited pace in hopes of war avoidance. The US strategy appears to be limited war in order to delay the inevitable. But the inevitable is coming. The American population in general cannot grasp any of this as a serious possibility thanks to endless propaganda. At some point, the Russian Federation may decide it has no choice but to resort to an edifying military response. That response would be intended eliminate any doubt that the US is risking military devastation. Sure, that works both ways. Is it really worth it?

    • Sam F
      June 25, 2017 at 22:11

      Good points about German interests and views of a future US collapse. Given a very few years, the overextended empire “fraught with corruption and inept leadership” may find itself in a worse quagmire than Russia’s Syria. The “resolve to make needed reforms” often comes after the collapse, when the Hoover equivalent says “there is nothing the government can do for you” and loses the next election. But with no FDRs on the air, the collapse will go deeper.

      It is amazing that Merkel took the risk of admitting so many refugees. I personally offered the Obama White House to take all 10,000 Syrian refugees the US had promised to take, if it would donate a very large surplus facility in Baltimore and a budget sufficient only for basics: no reply. Perhaps Germany has more guts and more compassion left in its people, and its mass media. Or fewer zionists.

      • June 26, 2017 at 00:12

        I cannot say if Germany has fewer zionists or not, but Merkel let those ‘refugees’ in out of obedience to Brussels. Who benefits from Arabs leaving Arabia, if not the zionist.
        Also the surplus labour will drive wages down, a plus in the eyes of the corporate elites.

        • Sam F
          June 26, 2017 at 06:33

          Good points. I suggest that she and her party had compassion as well, as they have enough well-behaved immigrants to augment the labor pool, and could not possibly house all of the refugees that zionist actions will create in the Mideast. Of course it led to backlash, and too many refugees were difficult or criminal. But as a massive humanitarian action it said much of Germany today. Now they must do their good work on the source side of closing borders. I should list Italy and Greece among the great national actors on behalf of the refugees.

    • Pool W.
      June 26, 2017 at 02:00

      An extremely cogent comment, and one with which I agree. I have found Chalmers Johnson’s views on the arc of U.S. empire to be enlightening.

    • venice12
      June 26, 2017 at 08:55

      “First, because Germany is well aware of the nature of the regime the US inserted into Ukraine and it perceives that regime to be a threat to European civilization.”

      A threat like this one – among others;

      “A Ukrainian family entered Germany in September 2014 and deceived local authorities, applying for refugee status as Syrian refugees.

      Five months later, the German migration office confirmed the request in written form. A personal interview was not conducted.
      they boasted about tricking German authorities into believing them.

      Despite the fact that their deceit was revealed, the family tries to challenge the actions of German officials in court. “Refugees” refer to the legal principle of legitimate expectation, according to which individuals can protect their interests in case the authorities seek to abolish a decision they once made.”

    • Abe
      June 27, 2017 at 13:21

      The US strategy appears to be unlimited proxy war via Al-Qaeda rebrands in order to delay the inevitable. But yes, F.G., the inevitable is coming soon.

      Endless propaganda via the First Draft coalition is designed to ensure that the US population will be on their feet, pumping their fists and shouting “USA! USA!” when the edifying military response is delivered.

      The coalition of the clueless is busy planning to stage a 75th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of the European SS, but the real fireworks will be in southern Eurasia. Sure, the Arabs have the oil, but the Israelis aren’t the only ones equipped with matches.

    • July 5, 2017 at 21:27

      The German state is no friend of the people. What do we know about Die Welt?

  40. June 25, 2017 at 17:23

    According to Hersh (or his sources) Trump didn’t attack Syria for political reasons. He wasn’t FORCED as apologists claimed. No, Hersh reports that Trump just bombed on whimsy.


    I never bought the politically forced argument – Trump could’ve pushed back just as he had on ‘fake news – and I don’t buy this one.

    Yeah, Trump was determined to bomb (just as Obama had been in 2013) but the rush to bomb reeks of PRE-PLANNED action.

    Something that Trump wanted (or needed) to do before meeting the Saudi King.

    • June 25, 2017 at 17:58

      …and to send a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom he was having the “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen”.

    • Skip Scott
      June 26, 2017 at 08:31

      I think Trump wanted to deflect criticism of his efforts at detente with Russia. He saw an opportunity and he grabbed it. I think his pushing back days are behind him, unfortunately. He’s had his trip to the woodshed. He knew he could count on his generals and the MSM to back him, because regime change in Syria has been their top priority for the last couple years or so.

      • June 26, 2017 at 21:09

        ’11-dimensional chess’ was thoroughly discredited after that card was played by Obama apologists.

        Now we have Trump apologist trying to pull the same trick.

        • Skip Scott
          June 27, 2017 at 08:13

          I’m no Trump apologist, if that’s what you’re saying. He’s now joined the War Criminal club. I’m just saying that as things are now, I doubt if anyone can stand up to the deep state. The Yinon plan is the name of the game, and until we undo the power of the deep state, it doesn’t matter who the President is.

          The “11 dimensional chess” theory obviously doesn’t apply to Trump. He is a narcissistic buffoon. Nor did it apply to Obama. He also did mostly as he was told, as has every president since JFK.

          • June 27, 2017 at 22:56

            I use “apologist” broadly.

            IMO crazy charges from partisan opponents are used to divide people. Obama was called a socialist Muslim, Trump is called a Russian sympathizer. It causes an emotional reinforcement of one’s partisan association. Even weak supporters find sympathy with their group preference and become “apologists”.

            I believe that this reinforcement of the duopoly is by design. Instead of rational debate we get a shit show led by a faux populist.

          • Skip Scott
            June 28, 2017 at 07:28


            I think the partisanship you refer to has become obsolete if you are referring to Republicans Vs. Democrats. It is a false duopoly by design. The partisanship now is more Globalizers Vs. Non-Interventionists. Warmongers Vs. Peacemakers. I don’t care if they’re a D, or an R, or any other letter, I’m with the non-interventionist peacemakers. And there are damn few of them in the US government these days.

      • July 5, 2017 at 21:25

        His pushing back days were behind him almost from the start. Michael Flynn, the least anti-Russian hawk, had to go and Trump obliged. His Carrier act was pathetic. With Carrier, he did exactly what he said he wouldn’t, and the major media, not yet against this swamp muck (?) didn’t say anything about it, at least that I know. ( Of course, The corporate owned media wouldn’t talk about the reality behind Carrier anyway.

  41. Danny Weil
    June 25, 2017 at 17:15

    According to Hersh, it was an evidence-free decision, except for what Trump had seen on the TV shows.”

    And this of course is a criminal act, an act of aggression. But Americans are not used to evidence. they want to believe what they want to believe and the mainstream media, or rather the corporate media, allows them to do just that.

    That Hersch had to go to Germany to tell the truth is indicative of how far America has truly deteriorated.

    • Sam F
      June 25, 2017 at 21:56

      Yes, the degeneration that actually leaves no mass media outlet here (or in UK) willing to risk dissent, is utterly appalling.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 26, 2017 at 09:09

      Exactly, Danny Weil. That is important, and frightening.

  42. June 25, 2017 at 17:14

    Hersh is uncritical about: Why the rush to bomb now?

    Why did Trump against his own advise to Obama and his campaign promises?

    Weeks later, Trump meets the Saudi King. Then tweets his support for the King’s anti-Qatar stance.

    When should one start to be skeptical?

  43. Nancy
    June 25, 2017 at 16:45

    It’s now up to other States to call the US out for its lies and waring – the US is lost in its own web of deception.

  44. June 25, 2017 at 16:44

    I think Hersh could’ve been more critical. Could’ve provided more info.

    I know that’s not his style, but accepting the narrative that lays the blame solely on Trump is myopic. Especially given that Trump is breaking ‘America First’ campaign promises by getting us deeper into ME conflict and possibly even nation-building (Kurds).

    And what this about no investigation “on the ground”???? “On the ground” is a poor reason for not linking to MIT Prof. Postal’s insightful investigation.

  45. Virginia
    June 25, 2017 at 16:23

    Ray, thanks so much for an article we can share widely which will correct the lie about Assad using chemical weapons. The MSM refused to pay attention to the MIT poison expert’s analysis, but I do believe that Hersh, with your help, will change many minds.

    Always appreciate your contributions to CN.

    • Sam F
      June 25, 2017 at 21:53

      Yes, another fine article from Ray McGovern, for which thanks very much.

  46. Mark Thomason
    June 25, 2017 at 16:09

    It is not mere group think. It is the warmongering again, of neocons and interventionist hawks from both parties.

    Their return to dominance is the Deep State’s price for taking down Trump.

    They are selling the same demands to Trump as their price for not taking him down. Double dealing and lies is their stock in trade, so that should surprise nobody.

  47. Cal
    June 25, 2017 at 16:08

    New Trump same as all the old Trumps. ..of with all their heads.

  48. RussG553
    June 25, 2017 at 16:05

    It is so frustrating, Ray (hope I can call you that; we are of the same vintage), that we who know the truth realize the general populations of the West will not be given the opportunity to hear it. This is so similar to the plight of the lemmings. Is there no chance of a new MSM outlet that will reveal the truth? Or will they be ‘Clintoned’ before even starting?

    • Libby
      June 25, 2017 at 21:12

      It is dismaying to watch a wall of controlled, when not intentionally misleading, information go up before a docile and unquestioning public. When the truth no longer matters in a democracy, there is only tyranny and its acceptance by the majority. Alternative media outlets are our only hope, assuming enough listen to them.

    • Sam F
      June 25, 2017 at 21:51

      They won’t get the advertisers to afford broadcasts, cable contracts, and content-free entertainment to appeal to the lemmings.

      • backwardsevolution
        June 26, 2017 at 01:38

        Sam F – the people need their own public station with no advertisers, and could be paid for with money (1%) taken from the defense budget. This station, instead of showing documentaries on whales and music from the 60’s (although some of this is good too), could actually do some good programs on, for example, immigration. These programs should be interesting and exhaustive, covering all areas of the subject matter with graphs and facts, and so well done they could be used as a resource. The program could be called “Who Benefits?”

        After airing these programs (and maybe they go on for several weeks, like the Putin interviews), they could then invite on experts who are pro immigration, who could state their reasons for why it is good for the country, how much, who benefits and who doesn’t, blah, blah, and then have some experts on who are against immigration, stating in simple terms their reasons for being against.

        After the informative programs and the experts are heard, they could then have several weeks of lively debates. IOW, beat the subject dead, leave nothing on the table. Not everyone would watch, but for those who don’t and want to argue with you, you can at least point them to these programs.

        Just the plain facts and whether something (whatever the subject matter is) actually benefits the country as a whole.

        • Dave P.
          June 26, 2017 at 02:49

          backwardsevolution: If we have a public station like that, and start doing what you wrote: start telling the people about Wall Street corruption, CIA deeds, the Neoliberal Globalists plan, the danger of nuclear war . . . one can guess what is going to happen.

          As for you immigration comment, If you start telling people that there were 190 million folks in 1965, and now there are 325 million (official estimate! one can easily add about 10 millions to the number), and tell them that in 2,050 it is going to be at least 450 millions out of that white folks are going to be about no more than 210 millions.
          I can only guess what is going to happen in those red states where people have no clue what is happening. In fact, in the countryside, even in blue states, I do not think people know what is going on regarding this issue. Even in the cities people are not informed on this immigration issue, what is really going on underneath the surface right beneath their eyes. I myself is cut off from lot of this information, and catch up on it when I visit old friends in different cities. Last month, I visited Toronto to see my cousins and friends, and caught up on the immigration issue in Canada. That Justin Trudeau is a full fledged Neoliberal Globalist even more active in NeoCon’s plans to implement their Global agenda.

          The Neoliberal Globalists have these worldwide plans for the economic system they want to impose at any cost – all these resources Finance, Materials, and humans. They are the deciders on this issue of immigration; people have no control over it.

          • venice12
            June 26, 2017 at 08:46

            Don`t you all watch Russia Today. ? There you can hear and see everything you are asking for.

            Or have they banned it in the US?

        • Sam F
          June 26, 2017 at 06:16

          Certainly we need mass media protected from the influence of economic oligarchy. This is why I suggest amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of mass media (and elections) to limited individual contributions. That implies no advertising, only product news from independent sources, and advertising should be strictly regulated by law for honesty, and to keep it out of private communications channels..

          Fortunately most entertainment need not be very expensive to produce. That which is costly is primarily the filming of stars and mass destruction, and will generally have to charge separately.

          I have proposed an institution of serious public debate conducted textually between university experts. The public should be encouraged to read the commented summaries of expert debate, representing all viewpoints, produced by a national college of policy debate, Otherwise they rely upon dramatized in-person debates that primarily contest social pressure, illusions, bad reasoning methods, and the stuffed suits and sponsored shills who pass for experts. The in-person debates are staged battles rather than rational examinations.

          • Bob Van Noy
            June 26, 2017 at 09:04

            Excellent idea Sam F. Thanks. I think if we continue to “imagine” just solutions, then we will be better prepared to advance them at first opportunity. I see a televised national panel arguing multiple issues along with unfettered commentary…

          • backwardsevolution
            June 26, 2017 at 13:51

            Sam F – you’re right, programming like this doesn’t need to be expensive, and it also doesn’t need to be boring and stuffy. And you’ve got to get the right people, mediators who know all sides of a particular issue inside and out and who can call people on their responses so that the subject matter is really exhausted. I’ve watched debates where the mediator left so many questions on the table that I might as well have been watching paint dry, for all I learned (didn’t). In fact, it was an exercise in frustration just watching the damn thing.

            There must be programs preceding these debates that are fact-filled, with heavy use of visual graphs, charts, interesting and up-to-date showing all sides of an issue as well. Experts and knowledgeable lay people should review this programming long before it is aired in order to make sure it covers everything, and if it doesn’t, then additional information gets added, stuff gets edited. IOW, a real fact-filled resource that people can go to in the future.

            And you’ve got to be careful about the experts who participate in these debates. Who gets chosen? Half the time, when I watch so-called experts on TV, they use textbook terminology (which people are not familiar with), industry babble, or their vocabulary leaves you running for a dictionary because you didn’t understand the words they were using. The two experts know what each other is talking about, but the audience is left in the dark. These debates should be informative and the subjects need to be pulled apart in language that is easily understood for the public. And, yes, I agree with you, you don’t learn anything when the debates become shouting matches and a game of one-upping your opponent.

            At the end of the programs and debates, some questions should be asked: was anything left unsaid? Were all angles covered? When people watch these programs and debates, are they going to come away with a real broad, in-depth knowledge of the subject matter? Will they be better-informed voters? Do they end up getting to see the gears of a particular system?

            Not stuffy and boring, a little slang, a little sarcasm, examples to show what would have happened if different decisions had been made in the past, and who benefited and who lost when decisions were made, who were the movers and shakers.

            I would want people to come away saying, “Jesus, I can’t believe I didn’t know that before!”

  49. June 25, 2017 at 16:02

    Interesting article
    I believe because of: “The Heinous Hypocrites and Their Fancy Titles”…
    There are millions of people dead, millions are refugees, their countries have been destroyed and our ruling hypocrites spout the words “rule of law.” Has there ever been a gang of human reptiles (are they even human?) so evil, dressed in expensive suits and operating out of houses of power called “parliaments” and other houses of ill repute? These criminals, or gangsters, or bandits, or reprobates (Add your own epithet) are up to their filthy necks in the blood of the victims of their planned carnage….
    [read much more at link below]

    • June 25, 2017 at 16:48

      I read and bookmarked your link / blog. I imagine that the patriots in America who have courage and honesty. and know what is happening like those of us who inform ourselves here and elsewhere (especially who read Information Clearinghouse) must be organizing, arming, funding and training right now to take out some of those targets I think about.

    • mike k
      June 25, 2017 at 22:39

      Tell it like it is Stephen!

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 26, 2017 at 08:54

      Stephen J. As always thank you for your list of links. I for one deeply appreciate your in depth research. I didn’t see a single inappropriate one. Thanks…

  50. robjira
    June 25, 2017 at 16:02

    Trump or Hersh…? Hmmm, might have to think about this one… (/biting sarcasm)

    • turk151
      June 25, 2017 at 18:12

      Exactly when has Seymour Hersh said something that was not true?

  51. Beard681
    June 25, 2017 at 15:59

    So what we have is a dottering old man, attacked on all sides by the establishment, and virtually accused of treason in Russiagate, turning to the one tried and true path to political popularity – war. Mission accomplished neoCONs!

  52. June 25, 2017 at 15:48



    • June 25, 2017 at 16:05

      yes, sarcasm (sorry; got carried away) ray

      • June 25, 2017 at 21:51

        I suppose it is an act of mercy to spare folks the psychological crisis caused by cognitive dissonance … as it were, preventing a melt down of the special snowflakes sheltering in place in their safe spaces!

      • June 25, 2017 at 23:49

        I thought it was a great finish.
        Most North Americans are sure that President Putin is the devil incarnate, and it is difficult to say anything about him which does not end in the suffix, “…itler” from Hitler.
        It was a pleasant surprise when my cousin, a former ‘putler’ hater said to me, “putler seems like a rational dictator.” Apparently he has been watching Oliver Stone’s interviews of President Putin.
        Perhaps Seymour Hersh’s investigative piece could do it’s part in chipping away at the group think.

      • Peter Loeb
        June 26, 2017 at 06:04


        An excellent article, Mr. McGovern!

        According to my understanding, Tomahawk Missiles
        are manufactured by defense contractor RAETHEON
        which is headquartered in Massachusetts

        Even the most “liberal” lawmakers never ever take
        positions —on anything– which impacts negatively on
        Raetheon. (This is no different than lawmakers in other
        states regarding defense contractors in their districts).

        This information may not have fit into the focus of this

        —-Peter Loeb. , Boston, MA, USA

    • Kiza
      June 25, 2017 at 21:06

      Not only that then also:
      “conventional wisdom” instead of “vicious criminal lying for the purpose of pillaging and killing”

      You got to be kidding Ray. I appreciate that you are being critical of the US establishment, Presidents and other assorted garbage doing all these war crimes – you do have good intentions, but you like most US critics of US policy start from a terribly mild/low point of criticality. We who live outside of the US MSM, group-think and thinktank Washington bubble of war profiteers would never believe anything that comes from US officials or MSM anyway. We would believe North Korea rather than US, let alone nations such as Russia and China, who I do not believe were ever caught lying, unless one accepts the ubiquitous lying of the US establishment as the truth. We do not need the US conscience, Mr Saymour Hersh, to publish the truth in some obscure international magazine (London Review of Books, Die Welt etc). It would actually be a huge surprise if we would ever encountered truth coming out of US establishment.

      I hope you can appreciate that the US-generated bull, of which your article is critical, is fully absorbed only by US. In more detail, there is a sliding slope which dissipates the US-generated bull:
      1) the US consumers of MSM,
      2) the vassal/Western country consumers of MSM,
      3) the vassal non-consumers of MSM (visitors to CN),
      4) the US non-consumers of MSM (visitors to CN), and
      5) citizens of all other nations not exposed to the “conventional wisdom” of the bat-shit crazy (the Russians hacked our elections) and war criminal US nation (with a notable exception of the majority of CN commenters and article writers).

      Finally, regarding the 59 cruise missiles, as I stated before, the main problem is that it is just too easy for US to do war crimes, whilst the US has not even felt war, let alone someone else’s war crimes on itself. In other words – the US only dishes out but never receives war. Do US citizens honestly believe that it will be like this forever, endless crime spree without payback or punishment ever? Good luck with that.

      • Kiza
        June 25, 2017 at 21:44

        This reminds me that last night I watched the final fourth installment of the Putin Interviews. In this one I found my favorite Stone-Putin interaction of all four parts. Stone presents to Putin what the US establishment and MSM have been saying about the Russians hacking the US Presidential Elections (which Putin knew) and then Stone sincerely wonders why Putin and Russia never tried to defend themselves against accusations. Putin politely answers: “You are assuming that we (Russia) must pay attention to everything that comes out of US, this is an internal US matter for us”. In other words, I am not afraid of you and I will not honor your stupidity with my self-defense. In other words, is it a smart to address the asylum for the criminally insane and try to convince the inmates that they are delusional?

        • Dave P.
          June 25, 2017 at 22:40

          Kiza: Very True. The arrogance of Western Nations has assumed such proportions that first they perpetrate crimes like these staged chemical attacks, then they tell the victims they are guilty of it, and order them to prove their innocence. This includes Russia too, this “hacking U.S. election” case. Most likely, it may be CIA or some CIA’s subsidiary who did it. With NSA, and all the other intelligence agencies U.S. has, they probably know who did it.

          “Stone sincerely wonders”. Yes, that is right. Excellent work By Oliver Stone.

      • Dave P.
        June 25, 2017 at 22:05

        Kiza: Excellent. Every word speaks for itself – like the the words of a Writer- who is true to his calling – sees the World as it is, and writes it.

        “Conformist nature of today’s Western Media” write Ray McGovern. He must be kidding. There is no such thing as Free Media left in the Western World today. Like in Nazi Germany, with just a few exceptions in Europe, the Western Media is the propaganda arm of The West’s War Machine inflicting this death and destruction, and destroying the very fabric of life of vulnerable Nations on Earth, from which it will be very difficult for them to recover.

        But I do laud Ray McGovern for his very long courageous fight against all these evil powers in Washington. He deserves our admiration.

        • Kiza
          June 25, 2017 at 22:32

          Agree, especially about Ray’s courageous contribution. I am too easy to criticize but it is just that I do crave for direct writing without softening-up polite phrases for easy digestion of the unpleasant reality.

          Why do not we start putting things straight, for example: all that can ever come out of the Main Sewage Media is sewerage.

          • Dave P.
            June 25, 2017 at 22:51

            Kiza, you see in U.S., one has to be politically correct. One has to say just the right words according to the fashion or as given by the Media. In homes, if you ever happen to (which is very rare!) discuss any political issue, you have to be very polite and only use the words which are in the the Main Street Media narrative, and not hurt the feelings of others even slightly. The writers of the articles grew up in this environment as well. So, they show some restraint. There are people like us who say things as it should be said – the Truth.

          • Kiza
            June 26, 2017 at 01:54

            Perhaps we should ask the relatives of a whole Iraqi family in Mosul desiccated by the US bombs or the parents of the 8 year old Palestinian boy whose head has been chopped off by the “moderate rebels” that US supports in Syria, what they think about the “polite” US society.

      • tina
        June 25, 2017 at 22:50

        Here is my remedy.. Lillet with a little sweet wine over ice, and a lemon twist. If you are bold, which I am not, The james bond 007, Gin, Vodka, Lillet shake In a cocktail mixer, serve cold. I refuse anymore to be a knee jerk reaction person. I will always promote reproductive rights, social justice, journalism , freedom for the press, whether it is FOX news, sky news, or the WSJ, the NYT, I do not care. I am no libertarian, but I do be believe in a free press, no advertising.

        Stay well

      • Kiza
        June 26, 2017 at 03:00

        Israel has been bombing Southern Syria and killing Syrian troops and civilians for the second day in a row, in support of Al Nusra military offensive. It is the US dual citizens and the Israelis who are the cancer of humanity. Do they think that they will be able to get away with both killing and own victimhood forever?

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