Archive | April 14th, 2017

BREAKING: Assad Speaks to BBC. Chemical Attack “100% Fabrication.” US Working “Hand and Glove” with ISIS

NOVANEWS

Assad tells the BBC that the Idlib province chemical attack Is “100% fabrication”.

 

Assad finally gives his thoughts on the Idlib province chemical attack. Assad is calm, measured, and his comments are intelligent and coherent.

Here is what Assad told the BBC…

“We gave up our arsenal 3 years ago. Even if we had them we wouldn’t use them. We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.”

“Our information, that the West, mainly the United States, is hand and glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack.”

“There was no investigation, no complete evidence about anything, the only things were allegations, and propaganda and they struck.”

You can watch the video here.

Zerohedge adds

Following yesterday’s icy meeting in Moscow between Rex Tillerson and Russian diplomat Sergey Lavron, the propaganda campaigns between the U.S., Syria and Russia seem to be ratcheting up to full force.

Speaking with the BBC earlier this morning, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. account of the recent chemical weapons ‘attack’ in Syria was a “100% fabrication” which can only lead him to the conclusion that the West must be working “hand and glove with the terrorists.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on BREAKING: Assad Speaks to BBC. Chemical Attack “100% Fabrication.” US Working “Hand and Glove” with ISIS

President Al-Assad: Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Weapons Incident Totally Fabricated ”Video”

NOVANEWS

President Al-Assad: Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Weapons Incident Totally Fabricated.. the US is Not Serious in Achieving Any Political Solution

 

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to AFP in which he said what happened in Khan Shaikhoun is a fabricated story, stressing that Syria does not possess a chemical arsenal and that even if it has such an arsenal, it will not use it.

He made it clear that Syria can only allow any investigation in the Khan Sheikhoun incident when it’s impartial.

The President said that the United States is not serious in achieving any political solution.

He stressed that Syria’s firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn’t been affected by this strike.

Following is the full text of the interview;

Question 1: Mr. President, first I want to thank you very much to receive me for an interview. Mr. President, did you give an order to strike Khan Sheikhoun with chemical weapons last Tuesday?

President Assad: Actually, no-one has investigated what happened that day in Khan Sheikhoun till the moment. As you know, Khan Sheikhoun is under the control of al-Nusra Front, which is a branch of Al Qaeda, so the only information the world have had till this moment is published by Al Qaeda branch. No-one has any other information. We don’t know if the whole pictures or videos that we’ve been seeing are true or fabricated. That’s why we asked for an investigation to what happened in Khan Sheikhoun. This is first.

Second, Al Qaeda sources said that the attack happened at 6, 6:30 in the morning, while the Syrian attack in the same area was around noon, between 11:30 to 12. So, they’re talking about two different stories or events. So, there was no order to make any attack, we don’t have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago. Even if we have them, we wouldn’t use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.

Question 2: So what happened this day?

President Assad: As I said, the only source is Al Qaeda, we cannot take it seriously. But our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand in glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack, It wasn’t an attack because of what happened in khan Sheikhoun. It’s one event, its stage one is the play that we saw on the social networking and on TVs, and the propaganda, and the stage two is the military attack. That’s what we believe is happening because it’s only few days – two days, 48 hours – between the play and the attacks, and no investigations, no concrete evidence about anything, the only thing were allegations and propaganda, and then strike.

Complete Video of Interview

Question 3: So, who according to you is responsible about this alleged chemical attack?

President Assad: The allegation itself was by Al Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, so we don’t have to investigate who, they announced it, it’s under their control, no-one else. About the attack, as I said, it’s not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now, and you have the proof that those videos were fake, like the White Helmets for example, they are Al Qaeda, they are al-Nusra Front who shaved their beards, wore white hats, and appeared as humanitarian heroes, which is not the case. The same people were killing Syrian soldiers, and you have the proof on the internet anyway. So, the same thing for that chemical attack, we don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun? Were they dead at all? Who committed the attack if there was an attack? What’s the material? You have no information at all, nothing at all, no-one investigated.

Question 4: So you think it’s a fabrication?

President Assad: Definitely, a hundred percent for us, it’s fabrication. We don’t have an arsenal, we’re not going to use it. And you have many indications if you don’t have proof, because no-one has concrete information or evidences, but you have indications. For example, less than two weeks, around ten days before that attack, the terrorists were advancing in many fronts, including the suburbs of Damascus and Hama which is not far from Khan Sheikhoun, let’s suppose we have this arsenal, and let’s suppose that we have the will to use it, why didn’t we use it when we were retreating and the terrorists were advancing? Actually, the timing of that attack or alleged attack was when the Syrian Army was advancing very fast, and actually the terrorists were collapsing. So, why to use it, if you have it and if you have the will, why to use it at that timing, not when you were in a difficult situation, logically? This is first.

Second, if you want to use it, if you have it and if you want to use it – again, this is if we suppose – why to use it against civilians, not to use it against the terrorists that we are fighting? Third, in that area, we don’t have army, we don’t have battles, we don’t have any, let’s say, object in Khan Sheikhoun, and it’s not a strategic area. Why to attack it? What’s the reason? Militarily, I’m talking from a military point of view. Of course, the foundation for us, morally, we wouldn’t do it if we have it, we wouldn’t have the will, because morally this is not acceptable. We won’t have the support of the public. So, every indication is against the whole story, so you can say that this play that they staged doesn’t hold together. The story is not convincing by any means.

Question 5: With the US airstrike, Trump seems to have changed his position on you and Syria drastically. Do you have the feeling that you lost what you have called a potential partner?

President Assad: I said “if”. It was conditional. If they are serious in fighting terrorists, we’re going to be partners, and I said not only the United States; whoever wants to fight the terrorists, we are partners. This is basic for us, basic principle, let’s say. Actually, what has been proven recently, as I said earlier, that they are hand in glove with those terrorists, the United States and the West, they’re not serious in fighting the terrorists, and yesterday some of their statesmen were defending ISIS. They were saying that ISIS doesn’t have chemical weapons. They are defending ISIS against the Syrian government and the Syrian Army. So, actually, you cannot talk about partnership between us who work against the terrorists and who fight the terrorism and the others who are supporting explicitly the terrorists.

Question 6: So, can we say that the US strike changed your opinion on Trump?

President Assad: Anyway, I was very cautious in saying any opinion regarding him before he became President and after. I always say let’s see what he’s going to do, we wouldn’t comment on statements. So, actually, this is the first proof that it’s not about the President in the United State; it’s about the regime and the deep state or the deep regime in the United States is still the same, it doesn’t change. The President is only one of the performers on their theatre, if he wants to be a leader, he cannot, because as some say he wanted to be a leader, Trump wanted to be a leader, but every President there, if he wants to be a real leader, later he’s going to eat his words, swallow his pride if he has pride at all, and make a 180 degree U-turn, otherwise he would pay the price politically.

Question 7: But do you think that there will be another attack?

President Assad: As long as the United States is being governed by this complex of military industrial complex, the financial companies, banks, and what you call deep regime, and works for the vested interest of those groups, of course. It could happen anytime, anywhere, not only in Syria.

Question 8: And, your army or the Russians will retaliate if it happens again?

President Assad: Actually, if you want to talk about retaliation, we are talking about missiles coming from hundreds of miles, which is out of our reach, but actually the real war in Syria is not about those missiles; it’s about supporting the terrorists. This is the most dangerous part of this war, and our response is going to be what we started from the very first day: is smashing the terrorists everywhere in Syria. When we get rid of the terrorists, we wouldn’t worry about anything else at that time. So, this is our response. It’s a response, not reaction.

Question 9: So, what you say means that retaliation by the Syrian Army or by the Russians will be very difficult, because the boats are very far?

President Assad: For us, as a small country, yeah, of course it is, everybody knows that. It’s out of reach. I mean, they can have missiles from another continent. We all know that. They are a great power, we’re not a great power. Talking about the Russians, this is another issue.

Question 10: Would you accept the findings of OPCW investigation?

President Assad: Since the very first time, when we had in 2013, I think, the first attacks by the terrorists on the Syrian Army by chemical missiles at that time, we asked for investigation. We were the ones who asked for investigations every time there was chemical attacks or allegations about chemical attacks. We asked. And this time, we were discussing with the Russians yesterday and during the last few days after the strike that we’re going to work with them on international investigation. But it should be impartial. We can only allow any investigation when it’s impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won’t use it for politicized purposes.

Question 11: And, if they accuse the government, would you step down?

President Assad: If they accuse, or if they prove? There’s a big difference. No, they are already accusing the government, and if you mean by “them” the West, no, we don’t care about the West. If you mean the chemical agency, if they can prove that there’s an attack, we have to investigate who gave the order to that attack. But a hundred percent, as Syrian Army, we don’t have, and we cannot – even if we want, we cannot – we don’t have the means to commit such attack, and we don’t have the will.

Question 12: So, you mean that you don’t have chemical weapons?

President Assad: No, no, definitely, a few years ago, in 2013, we gave up all our arsenal, and the chemical agency announced that Syria is free of any chemical materials.

Question 13: Because the Pentagon said that there are chemical weapons in the airbase, you deny it?

President Assad: They attacked that airbase, and they destroyed the depots of different materials, and there was no sarin gas. How? If they said that we launched the sarin attack from that airbase, what happened to the sarin when they attacked the depots? Did we hear about any sarin? Our Chief of Staff was there a few hours later, how could he go there if there was sarin gas? How could you only have six martyrs if you have hundreds of soldiers and officers working there, but there was sarin, and they didn’t die. The same fabricated videos that we’ve been seeing about Khan Sheikhoun, when the rescuers tried to rescue the victims or the supposedly dead people or inflicted people, but actually they weren’t wearing any masks or any gloves. How? Where’s the sarin? They should be affected, right away. So, this is all allegation. I mean, this attack and these allegations is another proof that it was fabricated and there was no sarin anywhere.

Question 14: If you say that you didn’t give any order, it is possible that the chemical attack could have been carried out by a rogue or fringe element from the army?

President Assad: Even if you have a rogue element, the army doesn’t have chemical materials. This is first. Second, a rogue army cannot send an airplane at their will, even if they want. It’s an airplane, it’s not a small car to take it from place to place or a small machinegun to use it. You can talk about somebody who has been using his pistol on his behalf the way he wants and break the law, that could happen anywhere in the world, but not an airplane. This is second.

Third, the Syrian Army is a regular army, it’s not a militia. It’s a regular army, it has hierarchy, it has very clear way of orders, so this kind of “rough personnel tried to do something against the will of the leadership of the army” never happened during the last six years of the war in Syria.

Question 15: Did the Russians warn you before the US attack? And were they present in the airbase?

President Assad: No, they didn’t warn us because they didn’t have the time to warn, because the Americans called them maybe a few minutes before the launching, or some say after the launching, because it takes time to reach the base. But actually, we had indications that there was something that was going to happen, and we took many measures in that regard.

Question 16: Do you confirm that 20% of your air force has been destroyed in this attack as the Americans said?

President Assad: I don’t know what’s the criteria, what’s the reference of 20%, what’s the hundred percent for them? Is it the number of airplanes? Is it the quality? Is it, how to say, the active airplanes and stored airplanes? I don’t know what do they mean by this. No, actually, what we and the Russians announced about a few airplanes being destroyed, most of them are the old ones, some of them were not active anyway. This is the reality, and the proof is that, since the strike, we haven’t stopped attacking terrorists all over Syria. So, we didn’t feel that we are really affected. Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn’t been affected by this strike.

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 mourning. 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?

Question 18: Don’t you see that Khan Sheikhoun is a huge setback for you? For the first time in six years, the US attack your army and yesterday after a brief honeymoon, yesterday Tillerson said that reign of Assad family is coming to the end, don’t you think that Khan Sheikhoun is a huge setback for you?

President Assad: There is no reign of Assad family anyway in Syria. He’s dreaming, or let’s say, he’s hallucinating, so, we don’t waste our time with his statement. In reality, no. Actually, during the last six years, The US was directly involved in supporting the terrorists everywhere in Syria, including ISIS, including al-Nusra, including all the other like-minded factions in Syria, this is clear, and this is proven in Syria. While if you want to talk about the direct attacks, actually only a few months ago, there was a more dangerous attack than the recent one, just before Obama left, I think a few weeks before he left, it was in Deir Ezzor in the eastern part of Syria when they attacked a very strategic mountain, it was a Syrian base, a regular Syrian Army base, and that helped ISIS to take over that mountain, and if the Syrian Army wasn’t resilient and strong enough to repel ISIS, the city of Deir Ezzor would have been now in the hands of ISIS, means a direct link between Deir Ezzor and Mosul in Iraq, which would have been a very strategic gain to ISIS. So, actually, no, the American government was directly involved. But this time, why did they attack directly? Because, as I said, the terrorists in that area were collapsing. So, the Unites States didn’t have any other choice to support their proxies, the terrorists, but to directly attack the Syrian Army because they sent them all kinds of armaments and it didn’t work.

Question 19: So, for you, it’s not a huge setback?

President Assad: No, no, it’s actually part of the context, the same context for six years; it took different shapes, but the core of the American policy and the Western policy towards what’s happening in Syria, it hasn’t changed at all. Forget about the statements; sometimes we have high-pitch statements, sometimes you have low-pitch statements, but it’s the same policy.

Question 20: You have gradually pushed most of the rebels into Idleb, do you plan to attack it next?

President Assad: We’re going to attack terrorists anywhere in Syria, Idleb or any other place. What’s the timing, what’s the priority, this is a military issue and should be discussed on the military level.

Question 21: You said before that Raqqa is a priority for your government, but the forces advancing on the city are mostly US-backed Kurds, aren’t you afraid of being excluded from the liberation of Raqqa?

President Assad: No, we support whoever wants to liberate any city from the terrorists, but that doesn’t mean to be liberated from terrorists and being occupied by American forces, for example, or by another proxy, or another terrorists. So, it’s not clear who is going to liberate Raqqa. Is it really Syrian forces that are going to hand it over to the Syrian Army? Is it going to be in cooperation with the Syrian Army? It’s not clear yet. But what we hear is only allegations about liberating Raqqa. We’ve been hearing that for nearly a year now, or less than a year, but nothing happened on the ground. So, it’s just, let’s say, a hypothetical question, because there is nothing concrete on the ground.

Question 22: The US and Russia are the co-sponsors of Geneva process. Because of the tension between the two countries, do you think that this process can continue?

President Assad: Look, there’s a big difference between the process being active, which could happen anytime, to reactivate the process and to be effective. Till this moment, its’ not effective. Why? Because the United States is not serious in achieving any political solution. They want to use it as an umbrella for the terrorists, or they want to get in this forum what they didn’t get on the ground in the battlefield. That’s why it wasn’t effective at all. Now, it’s the same situation, we don’t see this administration serious in that regard, because they still support the same terrorists. So, we can say yes, it could be reactivated, but we cannot say we expect it to be effective or productive. No.

Question 23: After six years, Mr. President, aren’t you tired?

President Assad: Actually, the only thing that could make pressure on you is not the political situation, not the military situation; actually the human situation in Syria, the daily blood-letting, the daily blood-shedding, the suffering and the hardship that inflicted every house in Syria, this is the only painful thing that could make you feel tired- if it is accurate to say “tired”- while if you talk about the war, about the politics, about the relation with the West, no, I don’t feel tired at all, because we are defending our country, and we’re not going to get tired at all in that regard.

Question 24: What makes you lose sleep?

President Assad: Again, the suffering of the Syrian people. The humanitarian interaction between me and every Syrian family directly or indirectly, this is the only thing that could deprive me from sleep from time to time, but not the Western statements and not the threat of the support of the terrorists.

Question 25: Today, there are people from Foua’a and Kefraya who will move from their village to Damascus and to Aleppo. You are not afraid that in fact it will be a displacement of population, that the Syria after the war will not be the same Syria as before?

President Assad: The displacement in that context is compulsory. We didn’t choose it. We wish that everyone could stay in his village and his city, but those people like many other civilians in different areas were surrounded and besieged by the terrorists, and they’ve been killed on daily basis, so they had to leave. But of course they’re going to go back to their cities after the liberation; that happened in many other areas where the people are going back to their homes. So, it’s temporary. Talking about demographic changes is not in the sake or in the interest of the Syrian society when it’s permanent. As long as it’s temporary, we wouldn’t worry about it.

Journalist: Mr. President, I want to thank you very much for this interview.

President Assad: Thank you.

Journalist: It was very interesting, and thank you very much for talking with me.

President Assad: Thank you.

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What is the “Reality” of Syria’s “Popular Revolution” which Sparked Six Years of Violence

NOVANEWS

Conversations with Eva Bartlett and Steven Gowans.

 

The following episode of the Global Research originally aired January 13th, 2017.
Stephen Gowans’s book, Washington’s Long War on Syria, is on sale as of this month. Gowans is touring Central Canada in April and May. Find a complete list of speaking locations at this link. [MAW}

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Over the last several weeks, the population of the major Western countries has been inundated with messages and appeals in the wake of devastating human rights abuses and war crimes committed by the Syrian government with the help of its Russian allies.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris shut off its lights over the holiday season as a show of support for the devastated people of the Southwest Asian country. Authoritative humanitarian organizations like Amnesty International and Medecins Sans Frontiers have likewise been doing what they can to prick the consciences of the world’s peoples in support of the Syrian people.

However, not everyone is echoing the narrative of Syrians besieged by air strikes from a brutal Russia and a dictatorial Syrian military.

Independent journalists on the ground are relaying word that Assad is actually quite popular, and that the main threat seen by the civilian population is coming from the terrorist groups who are labelled ‘rebels’ by Western leaders.

What is the reality of the ‘popular revolution’ which sparked six years of violence and thousands of casualties?

What is truly the result of  Assad cracking down on peaceful demonstrators?

On this week’s Global Research News Hour, we attempt to separate myth and reality when it comes to reporting on the situation in Syria.

We start with a conversation with Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett. She has reported from Gaza during the Israeli assaults there in 2008/9 and 2012. And since April 2014, she has travelled to various parts of Syria no less than six times, including four visits to the ravaged city of Alleppo. Her reports are at odds with the common Western narrative about the Syrian peoples’ victimhood under Assad and the threat he and the Russian government pose to the welfare of civilians in the country. She shares with listeners her on the ground reports. We then allow her to respond to the attacks she has received from so-called fact-checking bodies seeking to discredit her.

Bartlett’s website is ingaza.wordpress.com

We then hear from Steven Gowans. The Ottawa based author of the ‘What’s Left’ blog and of the new book Washington’s Long War on Syria gives listeners a breakdown of the nature of the so-called revolution against President Bashar al-Assad, the myth of it originating in non-violent protests, and the actual reasons for Washington’s involvement in the country. 

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca 

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Assessment of White House Intelligence Report About Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria

NOVANEWS
 

Text below is an assessment of the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017.

Dear Larry,

I am responding to your distribution of what I understand is a White House statement claiming intelligence findings about the nerve agent attack on April 4, 2017 in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. My understanding from your note is that this White House intelligence summary was released to you sometime on April 11, 2017.

I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4. This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.

However, if one assumes, as does the White House, that the source of the sarin was from this location and that the location was not tampered with, the most plausible conclusion is that the sarin was dispensed by an improvised dispersal device made from a 122 mm section of rocket tube filled with sarin and capped on both sides.

The only undisputable facts stated in the White House report is the claim that a chemical attack using nerve agent occurred in Khan Shaykhun, Syria on that morning. Although the White House statement repeats this point in many places within its report, the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity.

The report instead repeats observations of physical effects suffered by victims that with very little doubt indicate nerve agent poisoning.

The only source the document cites as evidence that the attack was by the Syrian government is the crater it claims to have identified on a road in the North of Khan Shaykhun.

I have located this crater using Google Earth and there is absolutely no evidence that the crater was created by a munition designed to disperse sarin after it is dropped from an aircraft. The Google Earth map shown in Figure 1 at the end of this text section shows the location of that crater on the road in the north of Khan Shaykhun, as described in the White House statement.

The data cited by the White House is more consistent with the possibility that the munition was placed on the ground rather than dropped from a plane. This conclusion assumes that the crater was not tampered with prior to the photographs. However, by referring to the munition in this crater, the White House is indicating that this is the erroneous source of the data it used to conclude that the munition came from a Syrian aircraft.

Analysis of the debris as shown in the photographs cited by the White House clearly indicates that the munition was almost certainly placed on the ground with an external detonating explosive on top of it that crushed the container so as to disperse the alleged load of sarin.

Since time appears to be of the essence here, I have put together the summary of the evidence I have that the White House report contains false and misleading conclusions in a series of figures that follow this discussion. Each of the figures has a description below it, but I will summarize these figures next and wait for further inquiries about the basis of the conclusions I am putting forward herein.

Figure 1 shows a Google Earth image of the northeast corner of Khan Shaykhun where the crater identified as the source of the sarin attack and referred to in the White House intelligence report is located.

Also shown in the Google Earth image is the direction of the wind from the crater. At 3 AM the wind was going directly to the south at a speed of roughly 1.5 to 2.5 m/s. By 6 AM the wind was moving to the southeast at 1 to 2 m/s. The temperature was also low, 50 to 55°F near the ground. These conditions are absolutely ideal for a nerve agent attack.

When the temperature near the ground is low, and there is no sun and very slow winds, the dense cool air stays close to the ground and there is almost no upward motion of the air. This condition causes any particles, droplets, or clouds of dispersed gas to stay close to the ground as the surrounding air moves over the ground. We perceive this motion as a gentle breeze on a calm morning before sunrise.

One can think of a cloud of sarin as much like a cloud of ink generated by an escaping octopus. The ink cloud sits in the water and as the water slowly moves, so does the cloud. As the cloud is moved along by the water, it will slowly spread in all directions as it moves. If the layer of water where the ink is embedded moves so as to stay close to the ocean floor, the cloud will cover objects as it moves with the water.

This is the situation that occurs on a cool night before sunrise when the winds move only gently. Figures 5 and 6 show tables that summarize the weather at 3 hour intervals in Khan Shaykun on the day of the attack, April 4, the day before the attack, April 3, and the day after the attack, April 5. The striking feature of the weather is that there were relatively high winds in the morning hours on both April 3 and April 5. If the gas attack were executed either the day before or the day after in the early morning, the attack would have been highly ineffective. The much higher winds would have dispersed the cloud of nerve agent and the mixing of winds from higher altitudes would have caused the nerve agent to be carried aloft from the ground. It is therefore absolutely clear that the time and day of the attack was carefully chosen and was no accident.

Figure 2 shows a high quality photograph of the crater identified in the White House report as the source of the sarin attack. Assuming that there was no tampering of evidence at the crater, one can see what the White House is claiming as a dispenser of the nerve agent.

The dispenser looks like a 122 mm pipe like that used in the manufacture of artillery rockets. As shown in the close-up of the pipe in the crater in Figure 3, the pipe looks like it was originally sealed at the front end and the back end. Also of note is that the pipe is flattened into the crater, and also has a fractured seam that was created by the brittle failure of the metal skin when the pipe was suddenly crushed inward from above.

Figure 4 shows the possible configuration of an improvised sarin dispersal device that could have been used to create the crater and the crushed carcass of what was originally a cylindrical pipe. A good guess of how this dispersal mechanism worked (again, assuming that the crater and carcass were not staged, as assumed in the White House report) was that a slab of high explosive was placed over one end of the sarin-filled pipe and detonated.

The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures.

If this is in fact the mechanism used to disperse the sarin, this indicates that the sarin tube was placed on the ground by individuals on the ground and not dropped from an airplane.

Figure 8 shows the improvised sarin dispenser along with a typical 122 mm artillery rocket and the modified artillery rocket used in the sarin attack of August 21, 2013 in Damascus.

At that time (August 30, 2013) the Obama White House also issued an intelligence report containing obvious inaccuracies. For example, that report stated without equivocation that the sarin carrying artillery rocket used in Damascus had been fired from Syrian government controlled areas. As it turned out, the particular munition used in that attack could not go further than roughly 2 km, very far short of any boundary controlled by the Syrian government at that time. The White House report at that time also contained other critical and important errors that might properly be described as amateurish. For example, the report claimed that the locations of the launch and impact of points of the artillery rockets were observed by US satellites. This claim was absolutely false and any competent intelligence analyst would have known that.

The rockets could be seen from the Space-Based Infrared Satellite (SBIRS) but the satellite could absolutely not see the impact locations because the impact locations were not accompanied by explosions. These errors were clear indicators that the White House intelligence report had in part been fabricated and had not been vetted by competent intelligence experts.

This same situation appears to be the case with the current White House intelligence 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, like the earlier Obama White House Report, was not properly vetted by the intelligence community as claimed.

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.

I am available to expand on these comments substantially. I have only had a few hours to quickly review the alleged White House intelligence report. But a quick perusal shows without a lot of analysis that this report cannot be correct, and it also appears that this report was not properly vetted by the intelligence community.

This is a very serious matter.

President Obama was initially misinformed about supposed intelligence evidence that Syria was the perpetrator of the August 21, 2013 nerve agent attack in Damascus. This is a matter of public record.

President Obama stated that his initially false understanding was that the intelligence clearly showed that Syria was the source of the nerve agent attack. This false information was corrected when the then Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, interrupted the President while he was in an intelligence briefing. According to President Obama, Mr. Clapper told the President that the intelligence that Syria was the perpetrator of the attack was “not a slamdunk.”

The question that needs to be answered by our nation is how was the president initially misled about such a profoundly important intelligence finding? A second equally important question is how did the White House produce an intelligence report that was obviously flawed and amateurish that was then released to the public and never corrected? The same false information in the intelligence report issued by the White House on August 30, 2013 was emphatically provided by Secretary of State John Kerry in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee!

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

The Congress and the public have been given reports in the name of the intelligence community about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, technical evidence supposedly collected by satellite systems that any competent scientists would know is false, and now from photographs of the crater that any analyst who has any competent at all would not trust as evidence.

It is late in the evening for me, so I will end my discussion here.

I stand ready to provide the country with any analysis and help that is within my power to supply. What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security.

Sincerely Yours,

Theodore A. Postol

***

APPENDIX

Selected Quotes from the White House Report

The United States is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin.

We have confidence in our assessment because we have signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting, that tells a clear and consistent story.

We assess that Damascus launched this chemical attack in response to an opposition offensive in northern Hamah Province that threatened key infrastructure. Senior regime military leaders were probably involved in planning the attack.

Shaykhun at 6:55 AM local time on April 4

Our information indicates that the chemical agent was delivered by regime Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft

Our information indicates personnel historically associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program were at Shayrat Airfield in late March making preparations for an upcoming attack in Northern Syria, and they were present at the airfield on the day of the attack.

Hours after the April 4 attack, there were hundreds of accounts of victims presenting symptoms consistent with sarin exposure,

Commercial satellite imagery from April 6 showed impact craters around the hospital that are consistent with open source reports of a conventional attack on the hospital after the chemical attack.

An open source video also shows where we believe the chemical munition landed—not on a facility filled with weapons, but in the middle of a street in the northern section of Khan Shaykhun. Commercial satellite imagery of that site from April 6, after the allegation, shows a crater in the road that corresponds to the open source video.

observed munition remnants at the crater and staining around the impact point are consistent with a munition fthat functioned

Last November, for instance, senior Russian officials used an image from a widely publicized regime chemical weapons attack in 2013 on social media platforms to publicly allege chemical weapons use by the opposition.

We must remember that the Assad regime failed to adhere to its international obligations after its devastating attacks on Damascus suburbs using the nerve agent sarin in August 2013, which resulted in more than one thousand civilian fatalities, many of whom were children. The regime agreed at that time to fully dismantle its chemical weapons program, but this most recent attack

[Complete] White House Intelligence Report Provided To Me [Author] on April 11, 2017 [Full text of Report]

The Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons on April 4, 2017

The United States is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin, against its own people in the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib Province on April 4, 2017. According to observers at the scene, the attack resulted in at least 50 and up to 100 fatalities (including many children), with hundreds of additional injuries.

We have confidence in our assessment because we have signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting, that tells a clear and consistent story. We cannot publicly release all available intelligence on this attack due to the need to protect sources and methods, but the following includes an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis of this attack.

Summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Assessment of the April 4 Attack

The Syrian regime maintains the capability and intent to use chemical weapons against the opposition to prevent the loss of territory deemed critical to its survival. We assess that Damascus launched this chemical attack in response to an opposition offensive in northern Hamah Province that threatened key infrastructure. Senior regime military leaders were probably involved in planning the attack.

A significant body of pro-opposition social media reports indicate that the chemical attack began in Khan Shaykhun at 6:55 AM local time on April 4.

Our information indicates that the chemical agent was delivered by regime Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft that took off from the regime-controlled Shayrat Airfield. These aircraft were in the vicinity of Khan Shaykhun approximately 20 minutes before reports of the chemical attack began and vacated the area shortly after the attack. Additionally, our information indicates personnel historically associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program were at Shayrat Airfield in late March making preparations for an upcoming attack in Northern Syria, and they were present at the airfield on the day of the attack.

Hours after the April 4 attack, there were hundreds of accounts of victims presenting symptoms consistent with sarin exposure, such as frothing at the nose and mouth, twitching, and pinpoint pupils. This constellation of symptoms is inconsistent with exposure to a respiratory irritant like chlorine— which the regime has also used in attacks—and is extremely unlikely to have resulted from a conventional attack because of the number of victims in the videos and the absence of other visible injuries. Open source accounts posted following the attack reported that first responders also had difficulty breathing, and that some lost consciousness after coming into contact with the victims— consistent with secondary exposure to nerve agent.

By 12:15 PM local time, broadcasted local videos included images of dead children of varying ages. Accounts of a hospital being bombed began to emerge at 1:10 PM local, with follow-on videos showing the bombing of a nearby hospital that had been flooded with victims of the sarin attack. Commercial satellite imagery from April 6 showed impact craters around the hospital that are consistent with open source reports of a conventional attack on the hospital after the chemical attack. Later on April 4, local physicians posted videos specifically pointing out constricted pupils (a telltale symptom of nerve agent exposure), medical staff with body suits on, and treatments involving atropine, which is an antidote for nerve agents such as sarin.

We are certain that the opposition could not have fabricated all of the videos and other reporting of chemical attacks. Doing so would have required a highly organized campaign to deceive multiple media outlets and human rights organizations while evading detection. In addition, we have independently confirmed that some of the videos were shot at the approximate times and locations described in the footage.

Further, the World Health Organization stated on April 5 that its analysis of the victims of the attack in Syria showed they had been exposed to nerve agents, citing the absence of external injuries and deaths due to suffocation. Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres; MSF) said that medical teams treating affected patients found symptoms to be consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin. And Amnesty International said evidence pointed to an air-launched chemical attack. Subsequent laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims detected signatures of the nerve agent sarin.

Refuting the False Narratives

The Syrian regime and its primary backer, Russia, have sought to confuse the world community about who is responsible for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people in this and earlier attacks. Initially, Moscow dismissed the allegations of a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, claiming the attack was a “prank of a provocative nature” and that all evidence was fabricated. It is clear, however, that the Syrian opposition could not manufacture this quantity and variety of videos and other reporting from both the attack site and medical facilities in Syria and Turkey while deceiving both media observers and intelligence agencies.

Moscow has since claimed that the release of chemicals was caused by a regime airstrike on a terrorist ammunition depot in the eastern suburbs of Khan Shaykhun. However, a Syrian military source told Russian state media on April 4 that regime forces had not carried out any airstrike in Khan Shaykhun, contradicting Russia’s claim. An open source video also shows where we believe the chemical munition landed—not on a facility filled with weapons, but in the middle of a street in the northern section of Khan Shaykhun. Commercial satellite imagery of that site from April 6, after the allegation, shows a crater in the road that corresponds to the open source video.

Moscow has suggested that terrorists had been using the alleged ammunition depot to produce and store shells containing toxic gas that they then used in Iraq, adding that both Iraq and international organizations have confirmed the use of such weapons by militants. While it is widely accepted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has repeatedly used sulfur mustard on the battlefield, there are no indications that ISIS was responsible for this incident or that the attack involved chemicals in ISIS’s possession.

Moscow suggested this airstrike occurred between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM local time on April 4, disregarding that allegations first appeared on social media close to 7:00 AM local time that morning, when we know regime aircraft were operating over Khan Shaykhun. In addition, observed munition remnants at the crater and staining around the impact point are consistent with a munition that functioned, but structures nearest to the impact crater did not sustain damage that would be expected from a conventional high-explosive payload. Instead, the damage is more consistent with a chemical munition.

The Syrian regime has used other chemical agents in attacks against civilians in opposition held areas in the past, including the use of sulfur mustard in Aleppo in late 2016. Russia has alleged that video footage from April 4 indicated that victims from this attack showed the same symptoms of poisoning as victims in Aleppo last fall, implying that something other than a nerve agent was used in Khan Shaykhun. However, victims of the attack on April 4 displayed tell-tale symptoms of nerve agent exposure, including pinpoint pupils, foaming at the nose and mouth, and twitching, all of which are inconsistent with exposure to sulfur mustard.

Russia’s allegations fit with a pattern of deflecting blame from the regime and attempting to undermine the credibility of its opponents. Russia and Syria, in multiple instances since mid- 2016, have blamed the opposition for chemical use in attacks. Yet similar to the Russian narrative for the attack on Khan Shaykhun, most Russian allegations have lacked specific or credible information. Last November, for instance, senior Russian officials used an image from a widely publicized regime chemical weapons attack in 2013 on social media platforms to publicly allege chemical weapons use by the opposition. In May 2016, Russian officials made a similar claim using an image from a video game. In October 2016, Moscow also claimed terrorists used chlorine and white phosphorus in Aleppo, even though pro-Russian media footage from the attack site showed no sign of chlorine use. In fact, our Intelligence from the same day suggests that neither of Russia’s accounts was accurate and that the regime may have mistakenly used chlorine on its own forces. Russia’s contradictory and erroneous reports appear to have been intended to confuse the situation and to obfuscate on behalf of the regime.

Moscow’s allegations typically have been timed to distract the international community from Syria’s ongoing use of chemical weapons—such as the claims earlier this week—or to counter the findings from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations (UN) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which confirmed in August and October 2016 reports that the Syrian regime has continued to use chemical weapons on multiple occasions long after it committed to relinquish its arsenal in 2013. Russia has also questioned the impartial findings of the JIM—a body that Russia helped to establish—and was even willing to go so far as to suggest that the Assad regime should investigate itself for the use of chemical weapons.

Moscow’s response to the April 4 attack follows a familiar pattern of its responses to other egregious actions; it spins out multiple, conflicting accounts in order to create confusion and sow doubt within the international community.

International Condemnation and a Time for Action

The Assad regime’s brutal use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and poses a clear threat to the national security interests of the United States and the international community. Use of weapons of mass destruction by any actor lowers the threshold for others that may seek to follow suit and raises the possibility that they may be used against the United States, our allies or partners, or any other nation around the world.

The United States calls on the world community in the strongest possible terms to stand with us in making an unambiguous statement that this behavior will not be tolerated. This is a critical moment— we must demonstrate that subterfuge and false facts hold no weight, that excuses by those shielding their allies are making the world a more dangerous place, and that the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons will not be permitted to continue.

We must remember that the Assad regime failed to adhere to its international obligations after its devastating attacks on Damascus suburbs using the nerve agent sarin in August 2013, which resulted in more than one thousand civilian fatalities, many of whom were children. The regime agreed at that time to fully dismantle its chemical weapons program, but this most recent attack—like others before it—are proof that it has not done so. To be clear, Syria has violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the UN Charter, and no drumbeat of nonsensical claims by the regime or its allies can hide this truth. And while it is an embarrassment that Russia has vetoed multiple UN Security Council resolutions that could have helped rectify the situation, the United States intends to send a clear message now that we and our partners will not allow the world to become a more dangerous place due to the egregious acts of the Assad regime.

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French Media: Bashar al-Assad’s full interview BBC interview

NOVANEWS

Image result for ASSAD CARTOON

HANDS OFF SYRIA 

“… I was very cautious in saying any opinion regarding him before he became President and after. I always say let’s see what he’s going to do, we wouldn’t comment on statements. So, actually, this is the first proof that it’s not about the President in the United State; it’s about the regime and the deep state or the deep regime in the United States is still the same, it doesn’t change. The President is only one of the performers on their theatre, if he wants to be a leader, he cannot, because as some say he wanted to be a leader, Trump wanted to be a leader, but every President there, if he wants to be a real leader, later he’s going to eat his words, swallow his pride if he has pride at all, and make a 180 degree U-turn, otherwise he would pay the price politically. …”

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