Skousen: No Evidence of Chemical Attack in Syria – None — Deliberate falsification of intelligence in order to fool Trump into backing out of his desire to pull out of Syria and get him to attack Assad’s forces

World Affairs Brief, April 20, 2018 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
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NO EVIDENCE OF A CHEMICAL ATTACK IN SYRIA—NONE
The US backed rebels in Syria already have a long history of setting off chemical weapons and blaming the attacks on the Syrian government, so it was fair to assume that the latest purported chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria was yet another false flag attack to give the US an excuse to strike pro-government forces again and dissuade Trump from pulling out of Syria. Now we finally have heard from a few unbiased Western journalists who entered Douma and interviewed 40-50 common citizens near the reported event, and they say virtually no one says they saw, smelled or even heard about any chemical attack there. Had a real attack occurred, everyone in town would know about it, especially those close by. These statements completely match the claims of Russian chemical experts who inspected the alleged sites of the attacks a few days afterward and found no evidence of chemical residues. In the end, this attack appears to be a total falsification, which means the “assurances” with “high confidence” by US, French and British intelligence nothing but a massive fraud. This week, I’ll detail how the terrorists and their allies fooled a world eager into believing this big lie.
The actual attack was reduced to 3 targets, each of which the US falsely claimed was connected to Syria’s chemical weapons program. As the Navy Times pointed out, the US fired the missiles from ships and platforms far away from Syria to minimize Russia’s potential to intercept or retaliate directly to the attack.

The US chose to shoot from areas where no Russian ships were nearby to intervene: The coalition launched 105 weapons against Syria, but zero came from the Cook or the Churchill.

To Syria’s surprise, many of the missiles came from the Red Sea. The cruiser Monterey fired 30 Tomahawk missiles, and the destroyer Laboon fired seven.

Other missiles came from the North Arabian Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where the destroyer Higgins and the Virginia-class submarine John Warner were called into action, respectively.

The three-pronged attack successfully hit a trio of targets which the U.S. considered to be at the core of the Syrian chemical weapons program. Despite earlier threats, high-end Russian defense systems made no attempt to intercept the missiles.

Of course, that’s because the Russians chose not to expend expensive S-400 missiles when they knew the US was only going to target empty buildings. Ziad Fadel of Syrian Perspective gave this version of events which claimed many of the missiles were shot down:

The targets were already known by the Syrian government since the Russians had negotiated them with Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Since everybody knew Trump was going to do something, sometime, some way, all precautions were taken to protect lives and materiel. Syria’s most advanced jets were stored in fortified hangars or flown to bases such as Humaymeem where Russian personnel are stationed.

The attack involved two U.S. cruise missile carrying destroyers in the Red Sea; tactical aircraft flying from one aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean; and several B-1 bombers traced to new runways in American-occupied Al-Tanf near the Jordanian-Iraqi borders. The British flew a wing of Tornado bombers carrying cruise missiles out of Akritiri Airbase in Cyprus while the French used their Mirages and Rafal bombers based in Jordan.

The combined forces used 110 cruise missiles 71 of which were either intercepted and destroyed by Syria’s Pantsir air defense systems or were electronically toppled by a force which will remain unmentioned. Only 39 cruise missiles reached any target, many of them falling harmlessly in the Syrian Desert.

The only targets hit were a scientific research facility in Barza which contained classrooms and laboratories. All material had been removed so that the Americans could claim falsely that they had destroyed a CW-related institution. Another building which the Americans were allowed to destroy was a military warehouse in Homs, at Misyaaf, which the Americans could not hit because all the missiles aimed at that target were electronically toppled. As the cruise missiles were being deflected, they exploded on the ground injuring 3 civilians. The NATO allies also fired 12 missiles at the Al-Dhumayr AB east of Damascus. Russian news says all 12 were downed by Soviet-era air defense systems.

Of the 110 cruise missiles fired, 14 of them were American Tomahawks. Most of the others were British and French. None of the British or French missiles hit any target. -Complete failure and a lesson to the allies of the U.S. [no confirmation of this].

A helicopter airbase near the Lebanese border was also struck. However, because the attack took place in the early hours, nobody was at the base and, conveniently, no aircraft were to be found.

The Wall of Propaganda to Justify this attack on a sovereign nation: Just before the strikes, French president Macron presented his “proofs” that Syria was guilty of chemical attacks on its own people. The French arguments represented a sophisticated pattern of verbal deception. USA Today aired the French “assumptions of guilt.”

A report by France concludes the Assad regime was behind the April 7 chemical attack on civilians in the Douma suburb of Damascus, the first detailed governmental assessment laying out the justification for the U.S.-led allied strikes on Syria.

“Beyond possible doubt, a chemical attack was carried out against civilians at Douma,(and) there is no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces as part of a wider offensive in the Eastern Ghouta enclave,” according to the report issued Saturday by the French government.

The report, based on technical analyses of witness accounts, photos and videos that appeared around the same time as a Syrian government offensive in Douma, was provided by the French embassy in Washington.

Notice the contradictory language: “Beyond possible doubt” vs “no other plausible scenario.” No other plausible explanation means they are dealing with argumentation and not real evidence. Sure enough, everything the French say is based upon witness accounts, photos and videos—all of which were provided by the very terrorists and supporters (White Helmets) that created the event.

“After examining the videos and images of victims published online, (French intelligence services) were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated,” the report said.

There it is again: “high degree of confidence.” That NOT the same as “beyond possible doubt.” Who do they take us for? Illiterates in logic?

French analysts examined photos taken in two locations that depicted the following symptoms consistent with a chemical attack:

Suffocation or breathing difficulties,

Mentions of a strong chlorine odor and presence of green smoke in the areas affected,

Extreme salivation and secretions from the mouth and nose

Cyanosis, or blue coloration of the skin due to poor oxygen flow.

Burns to the skin and cornea.

“No deaths from mechanical injuries were visible,” the report said. “All of these symptoms are characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid.”

But these are also symptoms of toxic smoke inhalation from explosives. The area around the bakery was subject to aerial bombing by Syrian helicopters, so there were bound to be people affected by severe smoke inhalation in the surrounding houses with windows blown out. USA Today did, at least, give the Russian version:

“Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent,” according to a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a statement issued by the Kremlin. “Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.”

Russian claims were backed up this week by a very honest US news outlet, One America News who sent a reporter to Douma. Since the visit was facilitated by the Syrian government, which now has control of the area, the reporter, Pearson Sharp, went out of his way to pick random people on the street to interview—some 40-50 people directly surrounding the area of the alleged attack. Here is his video response. Take a few minutes to watch.
In addition, Russia says they have proof that the US is arming rebels with chemical weapons specifically to blame such chemical attacks on Syria. Soil samples show no signs of Sarin or Chlorine.
But, leave it to naive Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, to denigrate Russian claims.

“Russia’s desperate attempts at deflection cannot change the facts,” she said. “A large body of information indicates that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in Douma on April 7th. There is clear information demonstrating (Syria leader Bashar) Assad’s culpability. The pictures of dead children were not fake news. They were the result of the Syrian regime’s barbaric inhumanity.”

But photos and videos can lie. They can be taken in other locations, at other times, and/or the victims can be suffering from other effects not from chemical weapons. So what may look convincing at first glance may not be the truth at all. This is exactly what happened, and we now know how this attack was faked. Tucker Carlson interviewed former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford who says Assad didn’t do it. Watch it here. It is short.
Ford says several western journalists have interviewed people in the area and can find no one who said there was a chemical attack. They even interviewed doctors at the hospital where the incident was filmed including people having their heads hosed down. He said the doctors said people had come in due to smoke inhalation. They were being treated when suddenly the White Helmets rushed in yelling “gas attack” and start hosing down people and filming it.
Ford also pointed out that the sites that had been bombed by the US, Britain and France had been inspected as recently as last November and got a clean bill of health. “This has all the hall marks of an intelligence fiasco,” he said. Actually, the latest inspection was 3 weeks ago!
No intelligence agency is that inept. This was deliberate falsification of intelligence in order to fool Trump into backing out of his desire to pull out of Syria and get him to attack Assad’s forces. Only 3 sites were hit, down from 22 that Trump’s warmongering staff had proposed. This extreme reduction in targets was due to Russian threats of reprisals if any of their personnel were hit. Here are satellite images of the sites hit, including the Barzah scientific research Center, which was labeled as a chemical weapons research lab and obliterated.
Had Barzah been developing chemical weapons the bombing would have released many dangerous chemicals into the Barzah neighborhood, but no such gases left the facility. You can see from this Wikipedia article that Barza was not a chemical weapons site:

The Barzah scientific research centre, also known as the Barzah Scientific Research Facility, was a facility of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC or CERS) located in Barzeh, Damascus. The agency was established in 1969 with help from the French government research agency. CERS is engaged in research and engineering applications in the following areas: signal processing, telecommunications networks, Arabic-language computers, solar energy, the chemical and bacteriological pollution of rivers, sewage treatment and the construction of waste water treatment facilities, plastics, high performance lubricants and mechanical systems, and artificial intelligence.

According to Timmerman’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya, some research topics pursued by the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center are possibly consistent with both civilian and military research programs. These topics include signal processing, waste water treatment, and high performance lubricants. Timmerman writes that Russia had no role in developing this center. [Notice, none involve weapons, let alone chemical weapons.]

In a press conference, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Marine General Joseph Dunford on April 13 2018 claimed that this center is used for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological weaponry. Three weeks earlier, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had concluded that there were no chemical or biological weapons being developed, tested, or produced at the site.

Previous reports by OPCW stated that Investigators from the organization inspected Barzah facility from 14 to 21 November 2017 and their report concluded that the analysis of samples taken during the inspections did not indicate the presence of scheduled chemicals in the samples, and the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention during the second round of inspections at the Barzah facility.

It is little wonder that the Syrian and Russian governments are so upset over this attack. Russia Today stated bluntly that Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States. The Russian envoy to the OPCW said,

“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” [White Helmets] which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.

Russian radiological, chemical and biological-warfare units carefully examined the scene of the alleged attack mentioned in the NGOs’ reports immediately after the liberation of Douma from the militant groups, Shulgin said. He then drew attention to the fact that the Russian military specialists found “not a single piece of evidence” substantiating the claims about the alleged chemical attack. Instead, they found local witnesses who said that the video allegedly showing the aftermath of the perceived attack was in fact staged.

The timing of the attack was also bewildering, the Russian diplomat said, adding that the Syrian government had absolutely no reason to gas its own citizens when the city was already almost liberated from the militants. Under such circumstances, the accusations against Damascus look “absurd,” he said. “The senselessness of these claims is striking,” Shulgin added, referring to the statements of Western leaders.

The US and its allies are not interested in a real investigation into the alleged Douma attack, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said [that’s why the US attacked before the OPCW went in on the weekend]. Washington, London and Paris immediately pinned the blame for the incident on Damascus, and launched strikes against Syrian military and civilian facilities without waiting for the OPCW team even to start its investigation on the ground.

Shulgin extended his gratitude to the OPCW investigators for their work in Douma and called on the organization’s executive council to adopt a document supporting their efforts. He also denounced the actions of the US, the UK and France as “military aggression,” adding that “this crime can be by no means justified.” Washington, London and Paris “are playing the hypocrite as they pretend to be the defenders of the international law. In fact, however, no one except for their allies… has any doubts that the major threat to the world comes from these ‘leaders’ of the Western [political] camp,” Shulgin said.

Meanwhile, the OPCW investigators are expected to start their work in Douma on Monday. They met with Syrian officials on Sunday to discuss the details of their work. Damascus says it hopes that the experts will “stay neutral and not yield to pressure.” The OPCW team plans to finish its work on Wednesday and present its preliminary report to the UN before its departure from Damascus, local media report.

Despite the egregious false premises of the attack, the globalist/neocon warmongers are still not satisfied. The establishment world is complaining that the strike did “little to degrade Assad’s capacity to wage war, or target the fighters from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah supporting him.” It was worse than little. It did virtually nothing—in order to avoid Russian retaliation. Breitbart recorded globalist Senator Lindsey Graham’s complaint:

On Monday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) responded to the strikes on Syria by saying it was “an underwhelming response.” Graham also said there isn’t “a strategy about why Syria matters. It seems like we’re willing to give to the Russians and the Iranians without much of a contest.”

Graham said, “Missed opportunity, didn’t lay a glove on Assad’s capabilities to wage war. We’re becoming the chemical weapons police. We don’t have a strategy about why Syria matters. It seems like we’re willing to give it to the Russians and the Iranians without much of a contest. The ISIS people heard we’re leaving. The Kurds are in a world of hurt. Because they’re very much exposed. And the military strike itself was a tactical response well short of what I thought was justified. So, he’s been a good commander-in-chief in general, but this is a major step backwards.”

He added, “Assad did not pay a big price. And Russia and Iran heard our Pentagon go out of their way to make sure that we’re not going to get in a conflict with Russia and Iranians in Syria and the president announced that we’re leaving, as the missiles were flying, he announced we were leaving. I think this is a disaster for us in Syria.”

The only thing he said that was correct was that Trump immediately went back to his stated desire that US troops should still leave Syria as soon as possible. That won’t happen because as long as Trump can be manipulated by false chemical attacks they will keep coming.
In fact, the war to overthrow Syria has been going on for decades as Professor Jeffrey Sachs explained to MSNBC. I’m surprised that Sachs was actually permitted to get this story out to the audience.

“We started a war to overthrow a regime. It was covert. It was Timber Sycamore. People can look it up, the CIA operation together with Saudi Arabia. Still it’s shrouded in secrecy which is part of the problem in our country. A major war effort, shrouded in secrecy, never debated in congress, never explained to the American people, signed by President Obama, never explained, and this created chaos. And so throwing more missiles in just now is not a response… Ending the fight means that we stop trying to overthrow a government, we stop trying to support rebels who are committed to overthrowing the government. That is where this war continues because we today, to this day back rebels that are trying to overthrow a government, contrary to International Law, contrary to the UN Charter, contrary to common sense, contrary to practical path. We can’t do it and it’s just creating ongoing crisis to the extent of facing imminent confrontation with Russia.”

Frankly, I don’t think we are going to see any Russian retaliation. There is a lot of hype in the alternative news media about WWIII being imminent, but I’m convinced the near complete Russian stand down proves my point about Russia not being ready yet to take on the US military. Russians did bring in a lot of reinforcements to make good on their threat to the US, which weren’t used. They seem to be content for the moment to allow the US and the West to further their reputations as international bullies. That helps justify an attack on the West at some future opportunity and crisis.
Russia has already sufficiently cowered the US into a relatively ineffective strike. Syria used its Soviet era S-200 Pantzir ABMs to shoot down a number of the US Tomahawk cruise missiles. Of the 105 missiles that were fired, Trump bragged that all hit their targets. That’s highly unlikely given the poor percentage of missile hits in the April 2017 strike on Al-Shairat airbase. The Syrians claim they got over 70 of the US missiles, as detailed previously. The US certainly isn’t going to admit to any losses, but the Tomahawk isn’t hard to shoot down, so I think it is likely that some were shot down by Assad’s anti-missile forces.
The Russians also suspended the “Flight Safety” agreement over Syria with the US. That means there will be no fair warning about either nation’s flights any more, which leads to more instability. All of this, combined with the presence of tens of S-400 anti-missile and aircraft systems, means that it is unlikely the US will want to test Russia’s resolve with more strikes. Gen. Mattis even told the press this was a “one time strike.”
I was frankly surprised that the Russians didn’t employ at least some of their S-400s to counter the US one-sided strike. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary. Not only did this keep them from expending their stockpiles of S-400 interceptors but it also denied the US military the opportunity to electronically eavesdrop on the S-400’s anti-jamming capabilities.
Shutting Down the Critics: As Paul Watson points out at Infowars.com the mainstream media in the UK where he resides continues to be very hostile to anyone who challenges the ubiquitous claims about Syrian blame for the chemical attack:

In an extraordinary exchange, a BBC News host told a former Navy Admiral that he shouldn’t question the motivation behind military intervention in Syria because “we’re in an information war with Russia”.

Admiral Lord West expressed doubt that the alleged chemical weapons attack which led to air strikes on Syria was actually carried out by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, asserting it “doesn’t ring true” and asking “what benefit is there for his military?”

“We know that in the past some of the Islamic groups have used chemicals, and of course there would be huge benefit in them labeling an attack as coming from Assad,” he added.

After questioning the impartiality of evidence presented by groups like the White Helmets and the World Health Organization, West revealed that he had been put under pressure before to lie about war.

“I had huge pressure put on me politically to try and say that our bombing campaign in Bosnia was achieving all sorts of things which it wasn’t. I was put under huge pressure, so I know the things that can happen,” said West.

The BBC’s Annita McVeigh then made the stunning suggestion that West shouldn’t be truthful and shouldn’t question the narrative behind the attack on Syria because his words might help Russia.

“Given that we’re in an information war with Russia on so many fronts, do you think perhaps it’s inadvisable to be stating this so publicly given your position and profile, isn’t there a danger that you’re muddying the waters?” she asked.

In that moment, McVeigh basically let slip that the BBC is just as biased as RT or any other Kremlin controlled outlet when it comes to acting as a propaganda mouthpiece for the state.

West replied: “I think the answer is, if there’s a real concern, let’s face it, if [Assad] hasn’t done it then that is extremely bad news. If Assad hasn’t carried out the attack, I think it’s just worth making that clear. I think our government’s policy towards Assad has not been clever since 2013.”

The former head of the British Armed Forces Jonathan Shaw echoed West’s concerns when he told Sky News last week that Assad had no motivation to carry out chemical weapons attack, before being abruptly cut off.

White House Struggles with Trump over how to hit Syria: Trump still has a big problem with leakers deep inside the White House. The differences of opinions between National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary Mattis were paraded before the world in several exposees. Here’s what the NY times leaked about the decision-making process:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged President Trump to get congressional approval before the United States launched airstrikes against Syria last week, but was overruled by Mr. Trump, who wanted a rapid and dramatic response, military and administration officials said.

Mr. Trump, the officials said, wanted to be seen as backing up a series of bellicose tweets with action, but was warned that an overly aggressive response risked igniting a wider war with Russia. Friday night’s limited strikes on three targets, which lasted under two minutes, were the compromise.

The debate reflects a divide between Mr. Trump and the defense secretary, who, like no other member of the cabinet, has managed to maintain a cordial relationship with the president even while reining him in.

Administration and congressional officials said the hawkish Mr. Bolton is not expected to defer to the defense secretary; already, neoconservative members of the Republican foreign policy establishment have started to air concerns that Mr. Mattis is ceding strategic territory to Iran and Russia in Syria. [Bolton, despite previously not favoring regime change in Syria came out very forcefully for a big series of strikes against Syria. He was also overruled by Mattis.]

Mr. Mattis is widely viewed by global leaders as the strongest and perhaps most credible voice on foreign policy in an administration that has been rocked by firings and resignations among senior presidential advisers. [Perhaps by globalist leaders, but not by me. He bought into all the false intelligence about Syrian blame, which was totally false.]

On Tuesday, Mr. Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the Syria airstrikes in closed-door meetings. As he pressed his case last week, before the allied strikes with Britain and France, Mr. Mattis lost the battle over getting congressional authorization. But he won the larger war.

Mr. Mattis prevailed in limiting the strikes to three targets that did not risk endangering Russian troops scattered at military installations around Syria. Nor did the 105 missiles hit Syrian military units believed to be responsible for carrying out an April 7 suspected chemical weapons attack on Douma, near Damascus.

In the end, the narrowly targeted strikes belied [and contradicted] Mr. Trump’s description Friday night of a larger coordinated response that could take days or weeks. But there have been no additional strikes since then, and the Pentagon said no more are being planned. “This is a one-time shot,” Mr. Mattis said on Friday… It marked the second public divergence of views between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mattis over Syria in the past two weeks.

Mr. Trump did not necessarily want to hit Syria hard enough to bring Russia into the war, administration officials said. But he did want to appear aggressive in his response [Typical of Trump’s ego driven decision process]. “He just wants the big show,” said Derek Chollet, an assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration. “So Mattis was probably pushing on an open door.”

This paragraph from Seymour Hersh’s account from April of last year, explains the way in which Trump can be easily manipulated by photo images of hurt children—which is what Ivanka Trump used to goad the president into bombing Syria last year.

They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs [doesn’t do any real study or reading]. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’

That’s precisely why I have lost all confidence in the President to do the right thing, or even to follow through on his promises, based on good instincts. He simply does not have the knowledge base or historical experience in conspiracy to counter the propaganda he is fed.

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