Archive | June 1st, 2017

NATO and EU wonder which Trump will turn up

NOVANEWS

Hoping for the best, fearing the worst: EU and NATO leaders are braced for their first meeting with US President Donald Trump on their home turf on Thursday.

The trepidation in Brussels, a city Trump once dubbed a dangerous “hellhole,” is palpable as he has up-ended one long-held certainty about US ties after another.

On the campaign trail Trump dubbed NATO — the US-led alliance credited with keeping the peace in Europe for the past 70 years — “obsolete” and unsuited to tackling the real threat of Islamist terror, while he has since accused allies of not paying their way.

As for Europe, he backed Britain’s shock Brexit vote, saying the European Union was a would-be superstate doomed to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.

The president has since rowed back at least in part on these positions.

But analysts say that is part of the problem. Which Trump will turn up?

“I think everyone is still asking themselves what is Trump’s policy on NATO and the EU,” said Markus Kaim of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

Adding to the uncertainty, the president is embroiled in a major political scandal over his ties to Russia, having pushed hard for an improvement in relations that the Ukraine crisis plunged into a deep freeze.

EU meeting most difficult
Trump meets European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday morning.

He then travels to the new futuristic NATO headquarters building on the Brussels outskirts for a meeting of all 28 allies, of which 22 are also EU members.

Tomas Valasek, director of the Carnegie Europe think-tank in Brussels, said that of the two meetings, the one with the EU meeting had the bigger “potential to go bad”.

“We have never (seen) a policy actually to undermine NATO, and the same cannot be said of the EU,” Valasek said.

For the NATO meeting, “the best possible result … is (that) NATO will continue to not be obsolete and continue to be big, beautiful and important,” he said.

“The worst outcome is the possibility that things are said, either in the meeting or worse outside, and then there we’ll need a walkback and that will fuel the doubts about the US commitment to the alliance.”

A key test will be whether Trump backs NATO’s core “all for one, one for all” Article 5 collective defence commitment, as all his predecessors have done.

Trump caused uproar when he suggested on the campaign trail he would check first if a NATO ally was up to date with its dues before he would consider coming to its aid.

“Overall, the signals since Trump took office have been more positive so there are quite high hopes. But his every word will be scrutinised under the magnifying glass by the allies,” said one European diplomat who asked not to be named.

Defence spending, terrorism
The president’s NATO priorities are clear.

First, get the allies to share more of the burden and meet a target agreed in 2014 to allocate two percent of annual economic output to defence in response to a resurgent Russia which had just annexed Crimea.

Second, he wants them to focus on the Islamist terror threat and agree to NATO formally joining the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition fighting the jihadis in Syria and Iraq.

All NATO allies have joined the coalition on an individual basis but now Washington wants the alliance itself onboard to give a powerful symbol of political support.

Some member states, including France and Germany according to diplomatic sources, fear NATO could get bogged down in a ground war in one of the world’s most volatile regions and compromise its standing with Arab powers.

They also do not want NATO going too far beyond its current, limited training mission in Iraq and end up taking over control of the operation, as it did in Afghanistan in 2003.

Ian Lesser at the German Marshall Fund of the United States said Trump’s trip “will be critical in setting the tone for the new administration’s engagement with the EU, and above all, NATO.”

“The allies will certainly hope that this brief visit bolsters rather than erodes transatlantic affinity. There is a risk that the visit will veer off course on this score,” Lesser said.

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US grants ‘Israel’ extra defence aid

NOVANEWS

Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu said Washington has added tens of millions of dollars in extra defence aid for the Nazi regime, a day after US President Donald Trump wound up a visit.

He did not say over what timeframe the money would be disbursed. The addition comes on the heels of a weekend announcement of a massive US-Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime arms deal.

Under a 2016 agreement, Washington already bankrolls Nazi  military spending to the tune of $3.8 billion dollars annually over 10 years, making the Jewish state the top recipient of US assistance.

“Three days ago, the US added another $75 million to the aid package for the missile defence programme,”  Naziyahu said at a memorial ceremony for Nazi dead in the 1967 Six-Day War.

He did not elaborate.

Nazi regime relies heavily on US military aid. Its total defence budget amounts to some $16 billion, excluding US assistance.

Washington announced a $110-billion US sale of ships, tanks and the latest anti-missile systems to Saudi Arabia on Saturday as Trump began a two-day visit to the Gulf state before travelling on to the Nazi state.

Phased over a 10-year period, US administration officials say it is the biggest single arms deal in American history.

In the first public comment by an Nazi official, Nazi Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday he was uneasy over the deal, calling it part of a “crazy” regional arms race.

“I’m not at peace with any arms race and the huge Saudi purchase for sure doesn’t add much to our peace of mind,” he said in an interview with Israeli army radio.

Nevertheless, Lieberman said, “We are following developments and are aware and have ways of dealing with this.”

“It’s not just the Saudis, its also the Emirates, also the Qataris, also the Iranians; they are all acquiring weapons, he said.”

“Weapons deals in the Middle East just in 2016 reached $215-216 billion and this is no small sum,” Lieberman said.

“It needs to be understood that there is a crazy arms race going on, the amount of arms all the players in the region are acquiring and the desire to produce weapons in places like Yemen and Lebanon.”

The White House said that in talks with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, “President Trump underscored the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, including to the maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge.”

The thrust of the deal with Riyadh aims to help the Saudi military bolster its defences to deter bitter rival Iran and its missile programme, which Netanyahu has said potentially poses an existential threat to the Jewish state.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on US grants ‘Israel’ extra defence aid

North Korea says ballistic missile test successful

NOVANEWS

North Korea confirmed its recent test-firing of a ballistic missile was “successful”, the state-run news agency KCNA reported Tuesday, a day after the projectile landed in waters close to Japan.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “guided” the launch — the third missile test by the nuclear-armed regime in less than three weeks — which was carried out in defiance of UN sanctions warnings and US threats of possible military action.

“The ballistic rocket flew toward the east sky where the day broke and correctly hit a planned target point… after flying over the middle shooting range,” the report said.

South Korea’s military earlier said the Scud-type missile travelled eastward for 450 km (280 miles). Japan said it believed it had fallen into its exclusive economic zone, extending 200 nautical miles from the coast.

The missile test triggered swift condemnation from US President Donald Trump who said it showed “disrespect” for neighbouring China, the North’s sole major ally, which has sought to dampen tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programme.

Several rounds of UN sanctions have done little to stop the isolated regime from pushing ahead with its ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental US.

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US begins sending arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria

NOVANEWS

The United States on Tuesday began providing small arms to Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria, the Pentagon said, fulfilling a pledge that has infuriated Turkey.

The weapons transfers have begun ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture Raqa, the last major bastion for IS in Syria.

“We have begun to transfer small arms and vehicles to the Kurdish elements” of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said, referring to a Kurdish-Syrian Arab alliance fighting IS.

The weapons include AK-47s and small-caliber machine guns, Rankine-Galloway added.

President Donald Trump this month approved arming the fighters from the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), drawing strong condemnation from Turkey.

Ankara says the YPG is linked to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatists, who have waged an insurgency since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people inside Turkey.

Turkey’s concerns about the YPG were significant enough for Ankara to launch its own military operation inside Syria in August 2016, dubbed Euphrates Shield.

The operation had the dual goals of targeting IS and the Kurdish militia, particularly to prevent the YPG from controlling a contiguous strip of territory along the Syria-Turkey border.

While the Kurds have failed to link up the two “cantons” under their control in the northeast with the Afrin region to the west, the Turkish operation has largely floundered.

The SDF have now advanced to within a few miles of Raqa on several fronts, and this month captured the strategic town of Tabqa and the adjacent dam from the jihadists.

Washington has sought to placate Ankara by saying the weapons will be handed out judiciously, and that it will monitor these to make sure they don’t go into Turkey.

The Pentagon insists the SDF are the only fighting force currently on the ground capable of seizing Raqa.

Still, Washington must strike a careful balance. Turkey is a NATO ally and home to a key airbase that the US-led coalition uses to hit IS.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US begins sending arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria

Wall Street Funds Hold Hundreds of Millions in Sanctioned Russian Bank Subject to Kushner Probe

The 2017 Memorial Day weekend will inevitably go down in history as the three-day span when remembrances of our military veterans took a media backseat to President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and everything Russian.

One of the key areas under multiple probes is a meeting Kushner held in December with Sergey Gorkov, the Chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), a Russian state-owned bank which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014 for Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine. What this meeting was about has yet to be officially determined.

Reuters reported on Saturday that

“FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.”

Financial dealings with a Russian bank that remains under U.S. sanctions can result in serious penalties – or not. Wall Street On Parade conducted research into filings made at the Securities and Exchange Commission for fixed income securities issued by Vnesheconombank and found that some of the biggest names in Wall Street banking and mutual funds in the U.S. hold, cumulatively, hundreds of millions of dollars in notes and bonds issued by the Russian bank.

To read complete article on Wall Street on Parade click here 

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Wall Street Funds Hold Hundreds of Millions in Sanctioned Russian Bank Subject to Kushner Probe

The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun April 4 2017 Attack

NOVANEWS
The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun April 4 2017 Attack: NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims
 

Introduction

On April 26/27 2017 the New York Times released a video titled How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike. This video provides extensive forensic evidence that the New York Times used to develop its conclusions about an alleged nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. In this report, I show that NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.

The New York Times video of April 26 was immediately followed by a New York Times article titled The Times Uses Forensic Mapping to Verify a Syrian Chemical Attack. This second article describes the same erroneous conclusions of the forensic analysis reported in the earlier video, but unlike the video, it does not show the extensive forensic evidence that could be used to determine the veracity of its conclusions.

On May 5, Human Rights Watch released a report titled Death by Chemicals that also used extensive forensic evidence similar to that discussed by the New York Times. The Human Rights Watch report showed forensic evidence that was supposed to indicate the existence of an alleged the sarin release site. In my last report, I showed that this forensic video-evidence also directly contradicted the conclusions in that report.1

The forensic evidence and analytical claims in all of these reports can be traced back to a single source, an organization called Bellingcat. This organization represents itself as “specializing in analyzing information posted online.” As will be shown in what follows, not a single claim made by Bellingcat is supported by the forensic evidence it used to reach its conclusions.

The particular evidence of concern in this report are claims made by Bellingcat about three sites that were attacked by air on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun with general-purpose bombs. The alleged locations of the locations of the sarin release site and the three sites that Bellingcat concludes were attacked with general purpose bombs are shown in Figure 1 below from the New York Times video.

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Location of the sarin release site and three sites in Khan Sheikhoun that Bellingcat alleges were attacked with general-purpose bombs on April 4 2017. The alleged sarin release site that Bellingcat incorrectly asserts that there is forensic evidence of an airdropped sarin-releasing munition ( see reference 1 below for a complete discussion of that false claim)

1 The Human Rights Watch Report of May 1,2017 Cites Evidence that Disaffirms Its Own Conclusions About the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4,2017, May 8, 2017

The method used by Bellingcat to find the areas of bomb damage depend on line-of-sight data established from a panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun on the day of the attack – April 4, 2017 (see Figure 2). This composite panoramic view was derived from a video-scan of the horizon taken north of Khan Sheikhoun looking south. As can be seen from the composite panoramic shown below in Figure 2, there are three bomb-debris clouds rising from the three areas that Bellingcat asserts were bombed on April 4.

The detailed analysis that will be presented later in this paper will show that this panoramic scene could not have been recorded on April 4, 2017 as claimed by Bellingcat.

Postol 2

Location of bomb-debris clouds at three sites in Khan Sheikhoun that Bellingcat alleges were attacked with general-purpose bombs on April 4 2017. The detailed analysis of Bellingcat’s own forensic evidence shows that this panoramic scene could not have been recorded on April 4, 2017.

Later in this report I will show using basic information about the fundamental characteristics of bombs that debris clouds 2 and 3 are the result of the detonations of single 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bombs.  Debris cloud 1, which has a considerably larger base diameter than clouds 1 and 2, indicates that it was created by an attack using 2 or 3 bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound weight-class or it was possibly created by secondary explosions in an ammunition dump that was hit with single or multiple bombs. That is, the damage area associated with bomb-cloud 1 is predictably considerably larger than the bomb- damage areas associated with debris clouds 2 and 3.

The Bellingcat analysts used this panoramic view from the wrong day to establish lines of sight to each of the bombed areas. They then used before and after satellite images to search along the lines of sight for areas of bomb damage. In spite of all the evidence that Bellingcat had that indicated the panoramic was from the wrong day, they still found three locations where they allege bomb damage occurred.

This report shows that NONE of the bomb-damage areas identified by Bellingcat and shown in the New York Times video show any indication of bomb damage from 500 to 1000 pound bombs. That is, the data from the panoramic view is clearly and unambiguously inconsistent with the claims of bomb damage from the satellite photographs. In fact NONE of the forensic data claimed by Bellingcat in the New York Times as evidence of general-purpose bomb damage on April 4 supports the conclusions that are said to have been derived from the forensic data. In all, when these false claims about information provided in the forensic data are brought together with the claims about a sarin release site, the conclusion is inescapable that all of the evidence referred to by Bellingcat in the New York Times shows no evidence to support their narrative.

This means that the narratives put forward by the New York Times, and the closely related Human Rights Watch report of May 1, are all based on forensic evidence and conclusions that are unambiguously false.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat are as follows:

  1. The panoramic view that is alleged to have been recorded on April 4, 2017 shows that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction from the reported weather in Khan Sheikhoun on that day. This is not a minor

If the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as shown in the panoramic view alleged to have been recorded on April 4, the sarin from the alleged sarin-release site would have drifted into open fields and would not have reached any populated areas for more than half a kilometer. Hence, there would be no casualties from a sarin release at this site as alleged by the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat.

Given the small size of alleged sarin releasing container (containing no more than 5 to 10 liters), and the large distance between the nearest populated area and the sarin-release site, even with near ideal weather conditions for a deadly sarin dispersal, there would have been essentially NO casualties from the sarin-release in any densely populated areas downwind.

  1. The three areas where Bellingcat claims bomb damage occurred show NO evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds that indicate the delivery of 500 to 1000 pound bombs.
  2. One of the bomb damage sites (bomb damage area 2) is not along the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view as claimed by Bellingcat. As such, the location of this bomb damage site contradicts the data from the panoramic view that was allegedly used to find
  3. Video of an alleged bombing of a target in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun shows a large area of heavy bomb damage that is completely inconsistent with the minuscule or nonexistent bomb damage in the three bombed sites allegedly found by Bellingcat from the alleged events on April 4, 2017.

The bomb-damage video from March 2015 shows a bomb-debris cloud that is much like the large bomb-debris cloud 1 allegedly produced on April 4, 2017.  While the area bombed in March 2015 shows extensive and unambiguous severe bomb damage, the area where Bellingcat alleges bomb damage at site 1 on April 4 shows only minuscule or no bomb damage. This raises very serious questions about the veracity of Bellingcat’s claims about the forensic evidence of bomb-site damage.

In summary, video sequences of the alleged bombing in March 2015 show that three bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound class were dropped on the target.

Before and after satellite images also shown in the New York Times video of the alleged site that was bombed in March 2015 show an area of roughly 400 feet diameter that was completely demolished by the alleged bombing attack.

Damage site 1 identified by Bellingcat as being associated with a similar very large bomb-debris cloud created on April 4, 2017 shows only minuscule or no damage relative to the vast area that was demolished in March 2015.

  1. The before and after satellite images used by Bellingcat were taken 44 days apart between February 21, 2017 and April 6, 2017. This means that even if there were bomb damage seen in the April 6 images, it would not be possible to uniquely identify that damage with the April 4

However, since there is NO bomb damage in any of the three bombed sites that Bellingcat identified, this is not an issue with regard to Bellingcat’s analysis. However, it does indicate that if Bellingcat had found bomb damage in the before and after satellite imagery, it could not be ascribed unambiguously as having occurred on April 4

  1. Although the New York Times video shows a bomb debris cloud in March 2015 and a completely demolished site associated with that bombing, it appears that nobody performing the analysis of the forensic data asked an obvious question; why was a bomb debris cloud associated with a large area of heavy ground-damage in one case but either no damage or minuscule damage from the bombing could be found in the other three cases where bomb-damage debris clouds were observed?
  2. How Bellingcat reached any of its conclusions in the face of coherent and internally consistent forensic evidence to the contrary is inexplicable – the complete lack of any forensic evidence of bomb damage generated by the use of the panoramic view allegedly recorded on April 4, 2017; the inconsistencies in the the wind direction observed in the panoramic view with weather reports for April 4; and an analytic process that failed to observe bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds or wind directions that could credibly carry a deadly sarin release plume into range of any densely populated area.
  1. These egregious errors and glaring internal inconsistencies in the forensic analysis suggest that the analysts may have had a predetermined narrative, but could not find any forensic data to support it. So they simply solved their problem by asserting that there was forensic evidence that does not
  2. This evidence suggests that New York Times management did not check the accuracy of the facts supporting the narrative of events on April 4, 2017 that the Times has been publishing, and continues to

***

The remainder of this report will focus on the specific forensic evidence presented in the New York Times video. The discussion will show, with example by example of forensic evidence from the New York Times video, that the interpretation of every piece of forensic evidence in the video is spurious, leading to the absolute and unambiguous conclusion that none of the findings asserted in the video are supported by the facts.

The structure of the remainder of this report is as follows:

The report will first describe the basic design features of general-purpose bombs. It will then explain how the bombs inflict damage, the spatial scale and destructive effects caused by the detonation of such bombs, and the characteristics of the easily observable bomb-debris clouds that are generated by the bomb detonations.

In next section will show how the panoramic was allegedly used to find the three bomb-damage sites. We will show that the alleged locations of the observed bomb damage sites in the panoramic view were at ranges of roughly 1 to 2.5 miles from the camera. We will also show that one of the alleged bombing-sites is not aligned with the line-of-sight in the panoramic view. This raises further questions about the veracity of the analysis produced by Bellingcat.

After this we will show the video evidence of before and after satellite imagery of the three bombed areas that were allegedly identified by Bellingcat with the line-of-sight data from the panoramic view.

It will be shown that there is absolutely no evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb- debris clouds shown in the panoramic view.

In the section that then follows, video frames of the alleged bombing in March 2015 extracted from the New York Times video will show that the debris cloud generated from the March 2015 attack indicate 3 bombs were used in that attack.

The satellite imagery provided in the New York Times video of the severely damaged area from that attack will be shown.  The point of showing these video frames from the New York Times video is to show that both the Bellingcat and New York Times analysts who put together the video had to know that there was extensive bomb-damage on the ground associated with the large debris cloud from the March 2015 attack. As such, they should have known and expected to find a large area of demolished buildings extending over at least a city block at site 1, where either multiple bombs were dropped or there were extensive secondary explosions on the ground.

***

References for Interested Readers:

The New York Times video can be found at:

TIMESVIDEO

How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike
By Malachy Browne, Natalie Reneau and Mark Scheffler, April 26, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005063944/syria-chemical-attack-russia.html

The New York Times video can also be found on YouTube / watched below:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=How+Syria+and+Russia+Spun+a+Chemical+Strike

The advantage of using YouTube is that readers with sufficient interest can download the video directly onto a computer and easily study it frame by frame.

The New York Times article that describes how the analysis and the video was done and its conclusions can be found at:

The Times Uses Forensic Mapping to Verify a Syrian Chemical Attack
By Malachy Browne, May 1, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/insider/the-times-uses-forensic-mapping-to-verify-a-syrian-chemical-attack.html?_r=0

The Human Rights Watch report that has been shown in reference 1 to have no forensic evidence to support its claim that an airdropped sarin dispersing munition was used on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun can be found at:

Death by Chemicals
Human Rights Watch, May 5, 2017

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

The panoramic that forms the foundation of the alleged Bellingcat methodology that was supposedly used to locate the bomb-damage sites that show no evidence of bomb damage is shown below:

Postol 3

Above Composite from Top of Page 24 of the Human Rights Watch Report Death by Chemicals, first published on May 5, 2017.

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

The video that was used to construct a panoramic view can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWvDisOxJi0

Khan Sheikhoun During the Bombing Attack on April 4, 2017

Some Basic Facts about General-Purpose Bombs

This section provides basic information about general-purpose bombs that is relevant to understanding the forensic data used in the New York Times video with regard to the alleged bombing attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017

The diagrams below provide basic information about the design of “general-purpose bombs” and the physical effects associated with their use.

A basic general-purpose bomb is roughly 50% by weight explosives and 50% by weight metal casing (see Figure 3). This design choice is used to increase the lethality and destructiveness of the bomb. When the explosives in the bomb detonate, the heavy metal casing is shattered into numerous fragments by the hot expanding high-pressure explosive gas products, accelerating them to quite high speeds, of order 2 km/s. These high-speed fragments can do tremendous damage to a target even before the shockwave generated by the expanding explosive gases arrives at elements of the target (the fragments travel faster than the shockwave except at very short distances from the bomb casing).

Postol 4

The above diagram shows a Russian general-purpose bomb, which in terms of concept is the same as those used in the West. Half of the weight of general-purpose bombs is explosives and the other half is metal casing. When the explosives detonate they shatter the metal casing into thousands of fragments that weigh several grams each and travel at nearly 2 km/s (about 4500 mph).  These high speed fragments can create tremendous damage to the target before the shockwave arrives.  They also create a spray of lethal fragments that greatly increase the killing range against exposed personnel.

Figure 4 below shows the vast number of fragments that are typically produced by general-purpose bombs with casings of various wall thicknesses.

Postol 5

Fragments generated by the explosion of the munition that is roughly 50% weight by explosives and 50% weight by metal casing. These fragments travel at a speed near 2 km/s (about 4500 mph).

Figure 5 on the next page shows the early phases of the detonation process. The detonation of the explosives in the bomb produce violently expanding high-temperature gases which act like a fast moving piston on the metal casing and the surrounding ambient air. In the process of expanding, the casing shatters, pieces are accelerated to high speeds, and a shell of compressed ambient air forms a shockwave of compressed air that propagates outward on its own at slightly above the speed of sound (0.34 km/sec or about 760 mph) causing damage to structural elements that it encounters. The hot expanding gases from explosive mixing with entrained ambient air create a “bubble” of hot gases that is left behind at the detonation point as the shock propagates into the surrounding environment.

This bubble of hot gases then buoyantly rises from the detonation point, carrying entrained dust, pieces of target debris, and bomb remnants along with it as it rises.

Postol 6

When a general-purpose bomb explodes it creates a volume of hot air from the mixing of the extremely hot gases produced in the explosion with nearby surrounding air that is incorporated into the turbulent expanding explosive gases. Fragments from the casing can cause serious damage to surrounding structural elements before the blast wave arrives and can kill people at many hundreds of meters range.  For bombs in the weight-range of 500 to 1000 pounds, the resulting “bubble” of hot buoyantly rising air initially left behind at the point of detonation carries target debris and other materials with it to an eventual full altitude of between 1000 and 1500 feet. The cloud has an overall shape like a mushroom where the crown is the remnant of the initial bubble of hot air from the initial explosion.

As shown on the next page in Figure 6, the initial explosion creates a dust cloud that is made up of the original hot expanding gases along with a “pedestal” of dust that is kicked up by the shockwave as it expands beyond the area of initially hot expanding gases. As the dust cloud evolves in time, it develops into a mushroom shaped debris-cloud where the original hot bomb gases form the crown of the cloud and the suction created by the rising crown of hot gases creates a “stem” which contains dust from the pulverized target.

Postol 7

Two examples of bomb-debris clouds from general-purpose bombs in the weight-range of 500 to 1000 pounds. The early debris cloud on the left is from two or three bombs hitting around the same location. The later-time debris cloud on the right is probably generated by a single general-purpose bomb in the 1000 pound weight-class.

There are various methods that have been developed to estimate the size of the crown of the debris cloud and its height.  These estimation techniques are fundamentally approximate, as the cloud can be shaped by the temperature profile of the air, wind shear, and ambient winds. However, when a large bomb hits a target the result is a debris cloud that is unambiguously connected to the size of the munition that has been used. This fundamental fact of physics reveals that the New York Times video about the attack on Khan Sheikhoun makes claims that are completely incompatible with the forensic evidence they show.

Looking at the disparity between the absence of bomb damage that the New York Times analysts show in their video and what the target area would have to look like begs the question, “how could the analysts have possibly made the egregious mistake of thinking that the photos provided by Bellingcat indicated actual bomb-damage commensurate with the observed bomb-clouds in the panoramic view?”

Postol 8

This illustration shows an example of a numerical estimation procedure for making rough estimates of the weight of general- purpose bombs from bomb debris cloud dimensions observed in combat.  The equations are derived from fitting data to numerous observations of bomb explosions. Figures 3 through 6 are from materials left to me by my dear friend and colleague, Richard Lloyd, who died from cancer on October 31, 2014. One of his last requests to me was that the accumulated treasures of his research be made available for public policy analysis.

Figure 8 below shows rough estimates of the blast overpressure versus range for general-purpose bombs of different weights. These curves include the fact that roughly half of the weight of the general-purpose bombs is explosives and the remaining weight is casing.

Damage from General-Purpose Bombs

A widely-known and documentable fact is that a blast overpressure of 30 psi from such a bomb will result in the complete demolition of an urban structural target. As shown in the Figure 8 graph, a 1000 pound general-purpose bomb will cause this result at a range of about 50 feet.  As a result, the detonation of a 1000 pound general-purpose bomb will completely demolish urban structures that have not been built to military specifications over a circular area of roughly more than 100 feet in diameter.

An important additional consideration is that the level of damage done to a target from bomb blasts is highly dependent on the nature of the structure. In the case of the bombing attacks on buildings of the type that populate Khan Sheikhoun, variations in the strengths of building walls can make a very large difference in the size of an area that is essentially “flattened” by a bomb-hit. Although a blast overpressure of 30 psi will almost certainly knock the walls out and cause the complete collapse of a building, a blast overpressure of 20 psi could well produce the same result. This means that the diameter of an area completely demolished by a 1000 pound bomb could be between 100 and 150 feet. In the diagrams we subsequently show we will designate the areas that could be completely demolished in terms of concentric circles with diameters of 100 and 150 feet consecutively.

Postol 9

The above graph shows the blast overpressure versus range for general-purpose bombs of various weights. As can be seen by inspecting the graph, a blast overpressure of about 30 psi will occur at 50 feet from the detonation point of 1000 pound bomb.

The Panoramic View:  Looking South from North of Khan Sheikhoun

Figure 9 on the next page shows the panoramic constructed by Bellingcat which forms the foundation and basic source of analysis used by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch in their published forensics-based analyses of the Syrian air attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.

The analyses assert that this panoramic shows that three separate targets were hit with general-purpose explosive bombs on April 4, 2017 in addition to a fourth sarin-dispersing airdropped munition with an explosive charge that was too small to create the large and visible bomb-damage debris clouds that could be observed at long-range shown in this panoramic.

The New York Times video claims that this panoramic allowed them to locate where the 500 to 1000 pound explosive bombs were dropped.  The described analysis process on the surface appears straightforward, but a more expert review of the forensic evidence shows that the analysis and its results are profoundly in error.

The analysts first determined the line-of-sight to each of the debris clouds relative to the known locations of thee minarets and the flat mound that is in the middle and foreground of the panoramic view. As a result of its very distinct appearance, the flat mound and its well defined edges, is a feature that can be be used to get a relatively precise estimate of the bore-site of the camera that produced the panoramic.

Such a mound is known among archaeologists as a, tell, which is formed from the accumulated remains of a series of walled towns built successively on top of each other.  In the case of Khan Sheikhoun, this mound dates back about 4000 years to the bronze and iron ages. This particular mound is about 200 to 250 m long and 18 to 25 m high.

A very important immediate issue is raised when the motion of the bomb-debris clouds in the panoramic view is examined. The general direction of the debris-clouds is to the east. As shown in Figures 10 and 11, this instantly raises the question about how the alleged sarin release site could have created so many casualties so quickly. In Figure 10, the wind conditions obtained from weather reports suggests that a sarin release at that site would have carried sarin directly into a nearby heavily populated area immediately to the east northeast of the alleged release site.  If enough sarin had been released, and if it also was released in a way that effectively caused it to quickly evaporate, then the wind as reported by weather stations in the area would have carried a relatively dense cloud of sarin vapor and droplets into the adjacent population area causing heavy casualties near the sarin-release site.

However, if as shown in Figure 11, the wind was gently blowing to the east, the sarin would have instead created a plume that would have had to travel in excess of 600 to 700 m before encountering a densely populated area.  Even relatively large amounts of sarin released on the ground near the alleged sarin release site would be unlikely to create a killing area at this range unless an airdropped munition of perhaps 1000 or 2000 pounds very efficiently dispensed the sarin at altitude above the ground. It is therefore clear that the assumption that the panoramic view was taken on April 4, 2017 directly contradicts the claim that a large group of people were poisoned by a sarin release from this particular site as alleged by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts.

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The above panoramic derived from a video taken north of Khan Sheikhoun looking South shows the three bomb debris-clouds. The debris cloud labeled 1 is almost certainly from either multiple 500 to 1000 pound bombs, or possibly from single or multiple bombs that hit an ammunition dump causing secondary explosions. Clouds 2 and 3 appear to be from single bombs hitting targets. As will be shown in a later section of this paper, if the target locations claimed by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts were correct, clouds 1 and 2 would be about 1 mile from the camera and cloud 3 would be about 2.5 miles from the camera.

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This satellite image shows the alleged location of the sarin release site and the predicted direction of the sarin plume as indicated by weather reports on April 4, 2017.

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This satellite image shows the direction the sarin plume would be carried from the alleged sarin release site if the panoramic view used in the New York Times analysis was in fact taken on April 4, 2017. Gigantic amounts of sarin would be needed to kill and injure people at the roughly 600 m range where there is a center of population.

In summary, the inconsistencies in the forensic evidence from the panoramic view should have raised fundamental questions about the assumption that the panoramic view was recorded on April 4, 2017. It then should have raised questions about the use of this panoramic view has a foundation for the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat analyses. If the sarin release site was at the location alleged by all three organizations, the only way significant casualties could be generated would be if the wind was blowing to the west northwest as predicted by the weather reports on April 4, 2017.

If the wind is instead blowing to the east, as shown in the panoramic, the sarin release cloud would move across empty open fields for a distance of 600 to 700 m before encountering a dense center of population. In order to achieve lethality at such a long range, the nerve-agent plume from a release at ground-level would need to have efficiently dispersed many tens of liters of sarin in extremely stable weather conditions that would keep the sarin plume low to the ground as it moved towards the population center. As shown in reference one critiquing the Human Rights Report of May 1, 2017, there is absolutely no evidence of any kind of a munition at the alleged sarin release site that could be nearly large enough to carry the amounts of sarin needed to cause casualties at these large ranges. It therefore seems that the panoramic view contradicts the conclusion that the sarin release site was the source of a nerve agent attack and that the panoramic was recorded on April 4, 2017.

The Consistency of the Panoramic Data with the Alleged Locations of Bomb-Damage

As already noted, the New York Times video claims that the panoramic view provided the analysts with line-of-sight data from the video camera to the three locations where 500 to 1000 pound explosive bombs were dropped.

We will now examine the before and after satellite images used by the New York Times analysts to conclude they had found the three bomb-damage sites associated with the three bomb-damage debris clouds seen in the panoramic video.

Figures 12 and 13 show a satellite photograph of Khan Sheikhoun as displayed in the New York Times video. Figure 12 shows satellite photograph exactly as it is presented in the New York Times video and Figure 13 shows the same image but with locations labeled so as to provide the reader with orientation.

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This satellite image published in the New York Times video analysis shows the alleged locations of the sarin release site and the three bomb-damage sites identified with the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun.

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This satellite image published in the New York Times video analysis shows the alleged locations of the sarin release site and the three bomb-damage sites identified with the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun.

The alleged location of the camera north of Khan Sheikhoun looking South has been provided by Bellingcat, so it is possible to use the bomb-damage locations found by Bellingcat and the location of the camera to verify Bellingcat’s findings.

Figure 14 below shows the manipulations of the panoramic view so it can be used together with the satellite images of Khan Sheikhoun to determine the line-of-sight to the damage areas. Figure 15 on the next page shows Bellingcat’s determination of the location of the bomb damage locations and the vector directions to the damage sites on the satellite image.

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The above set of images show how the alleged locations of bomb-damage sites can be used to verify their consistency with the panoramic view. This is done by scaling the size of the panoramic view so that debris-cloud 1, debris cloud 3, and the archaeological flat mound are all in alignment as shown in Figure 15 on the next page. The scaled panoramic view is also rotated so that its length is perpendicular to the line-of-sight of the camera that recorded the panoramic view. This is then overlaid on a satellite image that includes the area where the camera was operating. The result of this process is shown in Figure 15.

What is immediately evident from an inspection of Figure 15 is that although the edges of the flat archaeological mound and the centers of the debris-clouds 1 and 3 align with the line-of-sight of the camera, debris-cloud 2 is not aligned. Since the precision of the imagery is quite high, there is no doubt that the location of the bomb-damage site 2 identified by the New York Times analysts is inconsistent with the panoramic view that was assumed by Bellingcat and the New York Times to be recorded on April 4, 2017.

The next step in the process of determining the veracity of the alleged the alleged forensic evidence associated with events on April 4, 2017 as claimed by Bellingcat and the New York Times is to look at the before and after photographs of the damage sites.

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As can be seen from inspecting the alignments of the locations and the camera line-of-sight, the flat mound and debris-cloud locations 1 and 3 are aligned. However, debris-cloud 2 is badly out of alignment with the other objects. This lack of registration between the alleged bombing locations and the camera line-of-sight is another very strong indication that the analysis of the panoramic view is not consistent with the asserted claims about bombing locations and levels of damage on April 4, 2017.

The Evidence of Bomb Damage Allegedly Found from the Panoramic Data

The first issue that should have raised questions for the Bellingcat and New York Times analysts is the time between the before and after satellite photographs.  The “before” satellite images were taken on February 21, 2017 and the “after” images were taken on April 6, 2017. This is a time interval of 44 days.

As a result, if Khan Sheikhoun was under air attack anytime within a 44 day time-period, damage from these earlier attacks could potentially be mistaken for damage inflicted on April 4, 2017. However, as a review of the data will show, this issue is not of concern – the reason being that there is no evidence ofbomb damage of any kind at any of the three sites identified by the New York Times.

Figure 16 shows debris-cloud 3 as seen from the camera that recorded the panoramic view. As already noted, the analytical method used by the New York Times to find the bombed site is critically dependent on the use of line-of-sight data from the panoramic view. The analysts claim to have located the bomb- damage by searching satellite imagery along the vector direction determined by each bomb-debris cloud.

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Bomb cloud 3 indicates the detonation of a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb. If the site located by Bellingcat and the New York Times was correctly located, the debris cloud in this image would be at a range of about 2.5 miles. At the time the image was taken the cloud-top was at an altitude of about 500 to 600 feet. Given the size of the explosion, the expected levels of damage from a bomb of this size would be extensive if it had landed in an area populated by buildings.

Figure 17 below below shows the before and after satellite photographs that Bellingcat and the New York Times analysts allege show evidence of bomb damage associated with bomb-debris cloud 3.

The “before” satellite image from February 21, 2017 is shown on the left and the “after” satellite image from April 6, 2017 is shown on the right

It is instructive to look at the before and after satellite photographs in several stages, so as to get a sense of the level of damage that Bellingcat and the New York Times is alleging was the result of an explosion by a 500 to 1000 pound bomb. This can be done by looking at Figure 17 which is labeled “Find the Damage!

The author has tested roughly a dozen people without special knowledge of bomb effects to determine how evident damage is from this composite dual image photo. None of these people were able to find the bomb damage from the unmarked before and after images in this graphic.

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The above before and after photographs are supposed to show the bomb damage done in the area associated with debris-cloud 3 identified in the panoramic shown in figure 16. The author has shown this New York Times photograph to perhaps a dozen nonspecialists and asked them to find the bomb-damage area. None of them succeeded.

The bomb damage locations claimed by the New York Times are indicated in Figure 18 as being within the yellow circles.  It is worth reflecting on the claim made by the New York Times that this is a location where a 500 to 1000 pound bomb exploded creating a debris cloud that was observed at a range of roughly 2.5 miles!

A very careful look into the before and after yellow circles overlaid onto the before and after images shows a small dark region in the “after” image on the roof of a building where the New York Times alleges that a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb exploded on April 4, 2017. Associating such a negligible level of possible damage with the identified delivery location of a 500 to 1000 pound bomb is ludicrous and completely at odds with essentially everything known about the effects of explosives and bombing.

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The above before and after photographs are supposed to show the bomb damage done in the area associated with debris-cloud 3 identified in the panoramic shown in Figure 16. The author has shown this New York Times photograph to perhaps a dozen nonspecialists before the yellow circles identifying the alleged bomb-hits were added to the photo and asked them to find the bomb- damage area.  None of them succeeded.

Figure 19 below shows the size of the area where severe bomb-damage from a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb are expected and predictable at location 3, as identified by the New York Times.

The yellow circle filled with hatching shows the area where buildings would be demolished. The large red dot on the left shows the building that would have been demolished if the bomb had hit in the location where the New York Times analysts allege there was bomb damage. The large red dot to the right of that building shows a building across the street from the demolished building that would also have almost certainly been completely destroyed.

In the case of that building (see Figure 20), the blast overpressure on its front wall facing the street would essentially cause the complete failure of the outer walls facing the blast point. This would result in the collapse of loadbearing structures and the floors in the front half of the building facing the alleged bomb impact point. The rear of the building might have survived collapse, but the effects of the blast wave funneling through the structure could well cause the collapse of the back half of the building as well.

Hence, an informed guess about the level of damage on that building would be “probable partial or total collapse.” In any case, nobody who knew anything about the effects of explosives could have possibly misidentified a minuscule blemish on the roof of a large building as evidence of an attack with a 500 to 1000 pound bomb. The level of damage alleged by the New York Times at this location is simply ridiculous when compared with the evidence used to identify this location as the bomb detonation site seen from 2.5 miles in the panoramic view.

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The above before and after photographs show what levels of damage would have occurred if the debris cloud 3 had been properly associated with the location of the identified target area. The inner circle has a diameter of roughly 100 feet, within which 30 psi or more blast would have caused the complete demolition of the building. The outer circle of diameter roughly 150 feet, shows the area within which a 15 psi or more blast could knock down masonry walls and buildings that are not constructed of steel reinforced concrete.  In essence, a knowledgeable analyst who believed this site had been hit by a bomb large enough to create the debris cloud seen in the panoramic would have known to expect very heavy damage and demolished buildings at this location.

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In summary, NOTHING associated with this alleged forensic evidence of bomb damage at location 3 shown in the New York Times video supports the Times’ narrative of this event in Khan Shekhoun on April 4, 2017.

Alleged Bomb Damage at the Site Associated with Debris Cloud 2

The bombed area associated with bomb-debris cloud 2 shows exactly the same astounding disparity between levels of predictable and expected damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb relative to what is identified as bomb damage by the New York Times and Bellingcat analysts.

Figure 21 shows the location of bomb cloud 2 as seen in the panoramic view of Khan Sheikhoun from the North looking South.

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Bomb cloud 2 indicates the detonation of a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb.  If the site located by the New York Times was correctly identified, the debris cloud in this image would be at a range of about 1.5 miles. At the time the image was taken the cloud-top was at an altitude of about 500 to 600 feet. Given the size of the explosion, the expected levels of damage from a bomb of this size would be extensive if it had landed in an area populated by buildings.

Figure 22 shows a video frame from the New York Times video that is constructed from a composite of a section of the Bellingcat panoramic view, and an elaborate three-dimensional representation of Khan Sheikhoun looking from north to south. The locations of the three bomb-debris clouds and the archaeological mound are all identified with markings to make it easier for the reader to compare these features in both figures 21 and 22.

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The bottom half of the above composite image from the New York Times video published on April 26, 2017 shows the two debris clouds from explosions that allegedly occurred in an attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. The composite image asserts that the two identified bombing sites were determined with line-of-sight analysis using the panoramic image from the video camera north of Kan Sheikhoun. The analysts claim to have used line-of-sight data in combination with digital satellite imagery to locate the areas where the bombs shown in the lower half of the composite fell. However, examination of the satellite images of the location 2 where the bomb allegedly exploded shows no evidence of bomb damage.

The disparity between the expected and observed levels of bomb-damage at the identified location of site 2 where allegedly a 500 to 1000 pound bomb fell are just as dramatic as in the case of site 3.

Figure 23 at the top of the next page again provides the reader an opportunity to see the uncluttered before and after satellite images of the bombed area.  Even after knowing and studying the claims by the New York Times analysts about the damage at this site, it is still difficult even with foreknowledge to quickly find the area of claimed damaged.  Individuals with no prior knowledge of the claims of damage in the before and after images shown in the New York Times video have an equally hard time finding the damage alleged by the New York Times in this case (site 2) as in the case of site 3.

Figure 24 in the middle of the next page identifies the alleged bomb-damage location with yellow circles in the before and after images of the alleged hit-location. The after image shows a small slightly oblong dark area on the roof of a building. According to the New York Times analysts, this is the identified area of bomb-damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb.

Figure 25 is an image from the New York Times video where it is alleged that photos of the bomb-damage have been taken on the ground at site 2. This particular photograph indicates an astonishing disparity between the bomb-damage that would occur if a 500 to 1000 pound bomb came through the roof at that location and the damage claimed by the New York Times analysts.

As shown in Figure 26, on the following page, a 500 to 1000 pound bomb would have completely demolished the building it hit and would also have demolished the building across the street, which can be seen in the photograph in Figure 25, allegedly taken at damage location 2.

The yellow hatched inner circle in Figure 26 shows the circular area of roughly 100 feet in diameter where the detonation of the bomb would produce a blast overpressure of 30 psi or more!

Such a high level of blast overpressure would completely demolish structures beyond and within the inner circular area shown in the figure. The outer circle shows the area in which a 15 psi overpressure or more would occur. A 15 psi overpressure would be enough to severely damage or knock down most stone masonry walls of the type that appear to be ubiquitous in the construction used in Khan Sheikhoun. Thus, almost all of the buildings along the entire length of the block in figure 26 would have been demolished or rendered unusable. Yet the New York Times claims an ambiguous possible small hole in the roof that is seen on a low resolution satellite image is evidence for bomb damage that should have shown demolished buildings across the area at issue.

Finally, it should be noted that the location of site 2 is NOT along the line-of-sight to debris-cloud 2 in the panoramic view. Thus, the New York Times claims damage from a large bomb in an area that is not along the observed line-of-sight in the panoramic view that shows no evidence of bomb damage associated with a bomb-debris cloud allegedly used to find the bombed location.

This complete disconnect between the bomb-damage at both sites 2 and 3, and the serious line-of-sight discrepancies associated with the identified location of bomb-damage site 2, are serious internal inconsistencies with the narrative produced by the New York Times and its analysts. In the next section on bombing site 1, even more serious inconsistencies and discrepancies between claimed findings in the New York Times video and ground-truth will be identified and discussed.

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The before and after satellite images of site 2 where the New York Times analysts assert bomb damage from a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb is shown above. It is a useful exercise for the reader to try to find the differences that indicate bomb-damage in the image from February 21, 2017 and from April 6, 2017.

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The two yellow circles in the before and after images show the minuscule feature in the after image associated with the observed debris-cloud 2 that is claimed as evidence of damage from a 500 to 1000 pound bomb.

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The image on the left side of the above video frame from the New York Times video shows a photograph of the alleged bomb damage at the site where debris cloud 2 was generated in the attack on April 4, 2017. It is not possible to determine if this damage area is in any way associated with a satellite image. However, it is easy to determine that the damage in the photograph could not possibly have been so small if a 500 to 1000 pound general-purpose bomb had gone through the roof at this location. A photograph from the same spot would simply show nothing but rubble, including the rubble of the building wall across the street behind the parked vehicle. An actual photograph of this location after a hit with a 500 to 1000 pound bomb would show that the surrounding buildings had been completely demolished.

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The areas of expected bomb-damage at site 2 where a bomb-debris cloud was observed in the panoramic view, are shown in the markings projected over the after satellite image taken on April 6, 2017. The large red dot in the center of the hatched yellow circle shows the spot where New York Times analysts claim a 500 to 1000 pound bomb hit. The hatched yellow circle shows the outer limits of an area where the blast wave from the bomb would be roughly 30 psi or higher. This level of blast overpressure would demolish all the buildings within and beyond the inner circle. The outer yellow circle shows the area within which a 15 pounds per square inch or more would occur. This level of overpressure would be enough to cause the collapse of or extreme damage to stone masonry walls of the type that appear to be ubiquitous in building construction in Khan Sheikhoun. Thus, the level of damage associated with such a bomb-hit should essentially be the “flattening” of almost all the buildings along the full length of the block. It should be no surprise why this class of general-purpose bomb was called a “blockbuster” in World War II.

Yet Another Set of Contradictions:

The New York Times Claims of Damage at Bomb-Site 1

Figure 27 is derived from the same New York Times video frame as in Figure 22. The important difference between these two figures is the overlay of markings that provide information to the reader.

In particular, there are three ellipses shown in yellow that indicate roughly the size of areas of destruction expected from bombing attacks. The smallest and right-most ellipse shows the estimated size of the area of destruction at debris-cloud site 2, which has been discussed in detail in the prior section.

The left-most ellipse shows an area that was completely demolished when it was bombed in March 2015. The New York Times video shows video that it alleges was taken of the March 2015 attack (see Figure 29). The video shows that three bombs were dropped on the target. The video also shows the initial development of the bomb-debris cloud from that attack (Figure 28) and aerial photographs of the damaged area (Figure 31), which extends over a roughly circular diameter of about 400 feet. The size of this area is consistent with the dropping of three 500 to 1000 pound bombs onto the target.

As can be verified by examining the panoramic view of bomb-debris cloud 1, it is very clear that this cloud has a significantly larger base-diameter than debris-clouds 2 and 3. The base-diameter of the debris-cloud 1 is more than twice that of debris-clouds 2 and 3. The area covered by the base of this debris cloud is between four and six times larger than the area covered at the base of the other two debris-clouds.

This is exactly the expected result from a bombing that uses three bombs rather than one.

These observations strongly suggest that debris-cloud 1 is explained by a multiple bomb attack. Another possibility is that a single bomb was dropped on a large ammunition dump and secondary explosions led to the creation of a debris-cloud and area of ground-damage that had a very large base-diameter. In either case, the debris-cloud indicates a very much larger area of destruction than what should have been found at sites 2 and 3 – assuming that any bomb-damage was observed at these other two locations consistent with the debris-clouds seen in the panoramic.

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The markings on the above image identify important indicators that raise questions about the veracity of the New York Times analysis. The three yellow ellipses show the rough size areas that should have been subjected to high levels of damage in the form of demolished buildings. As has already been shown, no such damage is present in either the bombed sites associated with debris cloud 2 and debris cloud 3. The left-most ellipse shows the area damaged in March 2015.  The New York Times video contains video of the bombing that it claims was taken in March 2015. The New York Times video also shows before and after satellite images of the area demolished in March 2015. Direct comparison of the size of the debris clouds from the March 2015 attack and bomb-debris cloud 1 that the Times alleges was the result of a bombing attack on April 4, 2017 indicate that the size of the severely damaged area associated with debris-cloud 1 should be about the same as that associated with the site that was bombed in March 2015. In spite of the fact that the New York Times analysts provided evidence of extreme large-scale damage associated with the March 2015 attack, they allege infinitesimal bomb damage at site 1.  Thus, the analysts were informed of the large spatial scale of the demolished area from the attack of March 2015 but still claim infinitesimal damage at site 1 is convincing evidence of an attack involving multiple bombs or large secondary explosions. This is yet another inexplicable inconsistency in the analysis put forward in the New York Times video and by Bellingcat.

The remaining images and their subtitles provide all of the information about the serious discrepancies between the bomb damage recognized by the New York Times analysts at the bombing site associated with the March 2015 attack and the minuscule bomb-damage asserted by the analysts to indicate a similar bombing at site 1 on April 4, 2017. The images and subtitles tell the story so there is no point in repeating it further in this main text.

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The above photograph shows the late debris cloud from a bombing in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun of a target area (referred to above as “silo”) discussed in the New York Times video published on April 27, 2017. The sequence of video frames from that video shown in Figure 29 below show that three bombs were dropped on the site. Note that the base of the debris cloud is very close to the same size as the base of the large debris cloud 1 in the panoramic image that is incorrectly identified as having been taken on April 4, 2017.

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Plates A through F show the sequence of events that indicate three bombs were dropped on a target that was alleged to be the site of a warehouse and silos in Khan Sheikhoun in March 2015. Plate A shows the target immediately before the impact of the bombs. Plate B shows the three distinct early debris clouds from the bombs that were dropped, and plates C and D show the evolution of the debris cloud from the three nearly simultaneous bomb explosions. As will be shown in the Figure 30, the base dimensions of this debris cloud is very close to that of the base dimensions of the debris cloud 1 in the panoramic view.

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The image of the late-debris cloud from the March 2015 (derived by scaling Figure 28 above) attack is inset on images of debris- clouds 1 and 2 allegedly from a bombing attack on April 4, 2017, according to the New York Times video. The inset images from Figure 28 were scaled so that the buildings in the foreground of each of the two original images would be roughly on the same spatial scale to facilitate a visual comparison of the two bomb-debris clouds. As can be seen, even accounting for uncertainties in the scaling, the very large base diameter of debris-cloud 1 indicates that multiple bombs were used in that attack.

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The images of the target hit in March 2015 are shown in both the satellite image on the left and the image on the right taken by a small drone carrying a television camera. As can be seen, the area severely damaged is about 400 feet across.

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The above satellite photograph shows the “silo” target prior to being bombed in March 2015.  Also shown in the satellite image are the alleged bomb-damage locations from the April 4, 2017 attack as determined by the line-of-sight data of the bomb-debris clouds from the panoramic view. The size of the areas that should have been heavily damaged at sites 1 and 2 are also shown. Since the debris-cloud associated with damage at 1 is comparable in size to the area demolished in March 2015, it is reasonable to expect that an area of similar size should have also been demolished. Since the image above was produced by the analysts associated with

the New York Times video, the question arises why did they associate minuscule to nonexistent damage at site 1 with a major bombing when they were fully aware of the large scale area of destruction associated with the bombing in March 2015.

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The satellite photograph used as the base-image in Figure 32 above is also well-suited to show the off-alignment of bombing site 2 relative to the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view.  This shows that an area of potentially several square blocks could have been totally demolished if the two bombing sites were actually along the line-of-sight established by the panoramic view. Since there is no significant damage exhibited in the satellite photographs of both alleged bombing sites, this underscores the absurdity of the claims made in the New York Times video when compared to the actual forensic evidence.
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Summary and Conclusions

This seemingly narrow technical discussion of the disparity between forensic evidence that allegedly indicates a nerve agent and bombing attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 is of profound importance to US national security and to our democracy.

The White House produced a false intelligence report on April 11, 2017 in order to justify an attack on the Syrian airbase at Sheyrat, Syria on April 7, 2017. That attack risked an unintended collision with Russia and a possible breakdown in cooperation between Russia and United States in the war to defeat the Islamic State. The collision also had some potential to escalate into a military conflict with Russia of greater extent and consequence.

The New York Times and other mainstream media immediately and without proper review of the evidence adopted the false narrative produced by the White House even though that narrative was totally unjustified based on the forensic evidence. The New York Times used an organization, Bellingcat, for its source of analysis even though Bellingcat has a long history of making false claims based on distorted assertions about forensic evidence that either does not exist, or is absolutely without any evidence of valid sources.

On September 17, 2013 the New York Times published on its front page a totally bogus false claim based on an alleged analysis produced by Bellingcat that concluded using untrue assumptions about the excessively long range of a sarin-carrying munition that the nerve agent attack on August 21, 2013 had originated from a site deep inside Syrian government controlled territory.  My colleague, Richard Lloyd, and I produced analysis and reported to Times management that that the munition could travel could only travel two kilometers or less nearly, not the 10 km range that formed the foundation of the conclusions published by the Times.  Yet in spite of the uncontested accuracy of this science-based fact, the New York Times stuck to its rhetoric and did not make any effort to re-examine the foundations of the narrative it knew had to be false in the face of these facts.

This history of New York Times publishing of inaccurate information and then sticking by it when solid science-based forensic evidence disproves the original narrative cannot be explained in terms of simple error. The facts overwhelmingly point to a New York Times management that is unconcerned about the accuracy of its reporting.

The problems exposed in this particular review of a New York Times analysis of critically important events related to the US national security is not unique to this particular story. This author could easily point to other serious errors in New York Times reporting on important technical issues associated with our national security. In these cases, like in this case, the New York Times management has not only allowed the reporting of false information without reviewing the facts for accuracy, but it has repeatedly continued to report the same wrong information in follow-on articles. It may be inappropriate to call this “fake news,” but this loaded term comes perilously close to actually describing what is happening.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat and reported by the New York Times are as follows:

  1. The three areas where Bellingcat claims bomb damage occurred show NO evidence of bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris clouds that indicate the delivery of 500 to 1000 pound bombs.

If the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as shown in the panoramic view on April 4, the sarin from the alleged sarin-release site would have drifted into open fields and would not have reached any populated areas for more than half a kilometer. As such, there would be no casualties from a sarin release at this location as alleged by the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, and Bellingcat.

Given the small size of the container (containing no more than 5 to 10 liters) that was alleged by Bellingcat as carrying sarin, and the large distance between the nearest populated area and the sarin- release site, even with near ideal weather conditions for a deadly sarin dispersal, there would have been essentially NO casualties from the sarin-release in any densely populated areas downwind.

  1. One of the bomb damage sites (bomb damage area 2) is not along the line-of-sight determined by the panoramic view as claimed by Bellingcat. As such, the location of this bomb damage site contradicts the data from the panoramic view that was allegedly used to find
  2. Video of an alleged bombing of a target in March 2015 in Khan Sheikhoun shows a large area of heavy bomb damage that is completely inconsistent with the minuscule or nonexistent bomb damage in the three bombed sites on April 4, 2017 allegedly found by Bellingcat. The bomb-damage video from March 2015 shows a bomb-debris cloud that is much like the large bomb-debris cloud 1 allegedly produced on April 4, 2017. While the area bombed in March 2015 shows extensive and unambiguous severe bomb damage, the area where Bellingcat alleges bomb damage at site 1 on April 4 shows only minuscule or no bomb damage. This raises serious questions about the veracity of Bellingcat’s claims about the forensic evidence of bomb-site

In summary, video sequences of the alleged bombing in March 2015 show that three bombs in the 500 to 1000 pound class were dropped on the target.

Before and after satellite images also shown in the New York Times video of the alleged site that was bombed in March 2015 show an area of roughly 400 feet diameter that was completely demolished by the alleged bombing attack.

Damage site 1 identified by Bellingcat as being associated with a similar very large bomb-debris cloud created on April 4, 2017 shows only minuscule damage relative to the vast area that was demolished in March 2015.

  1. The before and after satellite images used by Bellingcat were taken 44 days apart between February 21, 2017 and April 6, 2017. This means that even if there were bomb damage seen in the April 6 images, it would not be possible to uniquely identify that damage with the April 4
  2. However, since there is NO bomb damage in any of the three bombed sites that Bellingcat identified, this is not an issue with regard to the Bellingcat However, it does indicate that if Bellingcat had found bomb damage in the before and after satellite imagery, it could not be ascribed unambiguously as having occurred on April 4
  3. Although the New York Times video shows the debris cloud and the completely demolished site associated with that bombing, it appears that nobody performing the analysis of the forensic data asked the question why in one case a large debris cloud was associated with a large area of heavy ground- damage and in all the other cases there was either no damage or only minuscule evidence of some kind of small
  4. The complete lack of any forensic evidence of bomb damage generated by the use of the panoramic view; the inconsistencies in the the wind direction observed in the panoramic view with the weather reports for that day; and an analytic process that observed bomb damage consistent with the observed bomb-debris cloud in the March 2015 bombing but no significant bomb-damage in the three bombings on April 4, 2017 leads to findings that are inexplicable with regard to the
  5. These egregious errors internal inconsistencies in the forensic analysis suggest that the analysts may have had a predetermined narrative, but could not find the forensic evidence to support it. So they simply solved their problem by asserting that there was forensic evidence that does not
  6. This evidence suggests that New York Times management did not check the accuracy of the facts supporting the narrative of events on April 4, 2017 that the Times has been publishing, and continues to.

By Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT.  Postol’s main expertise is in ballistic missiles. He has a substantial background in air dispersal, including how toxic plumes move in the air. Postol has taught courses on weapons of mass destruction – including chemical and biological threats – at MIT.  Before joining MIT, Postol worked as an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment, as a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory.  He also helped build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study weapons technology in relation to defense and arms control policy. Postol is a highly-decorated scientist, receiving the Leo Szilard Prize from the American Physical Society, the Hilliard Roderick Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Richard L. Garwin Award from the Federation of American Scientists.

Original .pdf can be viewed here:  The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017_NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims_(May29,2017)_Standard

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War and Terrorism: What’s Behind the Massive Kabul Blast? “ISIS Claimed Responsibility”

NOVANEWS

Wednesday morning’s powerful blast, believed to have been from explosives in a water-transporting vehicle, killed scores, injuring hundreds more in Kabul, Afghanistan’s heavily protected diplomatic district.

The blast destroyed dozens of vehicles, damaged numerous buildings across a wide area, leaving a huge crater in the ground.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attack, saying its fighters had nothing to do with it. Kabul’s 1TV channel reported ISIS claiming responsibility for what happened.

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The Taliban’s official spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid (Source: Daily Pakistan)

It’s unclear how a security breach this great could have happened. Though hard to impossible to check all vehicular and other movements into and around high-security areas, perhaps there’s more to Wednesday’s incident than reported.

America, NATO and their regional rogue state allies support ISIS. Why would it carry out an attack close to where Western and other diplomatic embassies are located, causing enormous carnage, one of the deadliest incidents in the country since US-launched aggression in October 2001?

US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) head General John Nicholson Jr., CENTCOM chief General Joseph Votel, and other Pentagon commanders want more US troops sent to the country.

Trump’s military and national security advisors recommend deploying an additional 50,000 US forces – to prop up Kabul’s pro-Western puppet regime, along with continuing endless war, unwilling to acknowledge a long ago lost cause.

Was Wednesday’s blast a terrorist incident like many others in US war theaters? Or was it something else unknown at this time, perhaps to get Trump to authorize sending thousands more US combat troops to Afghanistan?

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Security forces stand next to a crater created by massive explosion in front of the German Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. (Source: ABC News)

Obama continued Bush/Cheney’s war after pledging to end it. Now it’s Trump’s.

Will he continue the futility of the past 16 years, America’s longest war, sending more US forces to pursue a lost cause?

Or will he responsibly end America’s aggression, bringing to a close one of the most disturbing chapters in its history?

In the wake of Wednesday’s blast, along with phony reports about Russia supplying the Taliban with weapons, he’s most likely to escalate America’s longest war, not end it.

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The “Liberation” of Mosul: Another Fallujah, Dresden – or Hiroshima?

NOVANEWS
 

“In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.” – (Howard Zinn, 1922-2010.)

When the US, UK and their fellow destroyers of nations embarked, in October last year, on erasing Iraq’s ancient Mosul in order to save it, did they reflect on the enormity of the cost to humanity and history of their actions now and that of their genocidal, illegal invasion and fourteen year occupation – and counting? (Not forgetting the bombing of the country 1991-2003.) There was a quasi pull out in 2009, but a reported 16,000 mercenaries remained in the US Embassy compound.

Mosul, situated on the Tigris River, was first mentioned in name by the Greek writer Xenophon in 401 BC, although the area was inhabited from probably the 25th century BC. As Fallujah, near destroyed by the US in 2004 was known as City of Mosques, Mosul has been known as City of Churches. The population however, has been richly diverse: Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens, Kurds, Yazidis, Shabakis, Mandeans, Kawliya, Circassians.

Sunni Islam has been the largest religion, but Salafism, Christianity, Shia Islam, Sufism, Yezidism, Shabakism, Yarsan and Mandeanism all coexisted in and around this ancient, hauntingly beautiful city. (1)

Mosul, as so much of Iraq, has suffered unimaginably under ISIS – but it is hard to spot the difference from how Iraq suffered under the US and UK (and are again.) The US bombed the city during the 2003 invasion, murdered Saddam Hussein’s two sons and fifteen year old grandson there in July 2003 – no Judge or jury, just US ISIS style summary executions – as across the nation.

Robert Fisk wrote of US atrocities in Iraq (2) as related to him by an American veteran. There is a US Army “Warrior creed” which:

“allows no end to any conflict (but) total destruction of the ‘enemy.’ It allows no defeat… and does not allow one ever to stop fighting (lending itself to the idea of the ‘long war.’) It says nothing about following orders, it says nothing about obeying laws or showing restraint. It says nothing about dishonourable actions…”

Fisk writes (September, 2006):

“From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to Bagram, to the battlefields of Iraq and to the ‘black’ prisons of the CIA, humiliation and beatings, rape, anal rape and murder have now become so commonplace that each new outrage is creeping into the inside pages of our newspapers.” Note “inside pages”, as so “commonplace.”

“Looser Rules of Engagement.”

In April this year, it was revealed (3) that the US Air Force on a bomb-fest over Mosul – and indeed wider Iraq and Syria – were operating under “looser rules of engagement.” Moreover:

“Lt Gen McFarland, now orders air strikes that are expected to kill up to ten civilians without prior approval from U.S. Central Command …” And this is “liberation” from ISIS? (Emphasis added.)

Presumably the family of eight reported killed by a US bomb in late October, including three children, one just two years old, were one of the General’s “expected” kills.

Air strikes in Iraq and Syria have: “ … destroyed 6,000 buildings with over 40,000 bombs and missiles have inevitably killed much higher numbers of civilians.” Apocalyptic horror. Of course US and UK presence in air and on the ground in Syria are entirely illegal.

So the people of Mosul and Syria’s cities, towns and villages are hostage to ISIS/Daesh and other head chopping factions fighting with US weaponry. US forces on the ground are “advising” the Iraqi army – which has absorbed militias ever bit as terrorizing as ISIS. US forces themselves have, of course, a gruesome history of terror and gathering body parts as “souvenirs.” (4)

In Word War 11 it was skulls, ears, teeth; in Vietnam penises. In Afghanistan it was fingers “and other body parts” (5) and in Iraq it was reportedly fingers, with dead bodies being tied to US tanks in Fallujah and as Ross Caputi wrote (Guardian, 13th March 2012)

“Some of my closest friends mutilated dead bodies, looted from the pockets of dead resistance fighters, destroyed homes, and killed civilians.”

Destruction – a “Partial” List.

And ponder further on the US “liberation” of Mosul. As Nicholas J. Davis has written (6) earlier this year, Award-winning Iraqi environmental scientist, Mosul-born  Prof. Souad Al-Azzawi (Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines) compiled a partial list of air strikes on the city:

*Many government buildings have been destroyed. U.S. officials told USA Today, attacks are often conducted at night to minimize civilian casualties, but security guards and civilians in neighboring buildings have of course been killed.

*Telephone exchanges have been systematically bombed and destroyed.

*Two large dairies were bombed, killing about one hundred civilians and wounding two more.

*Multiple daytime air strikes on Mosul University on March 19th and 20th killed ninety two civilians and wounded one hundred and thirty five, mostly faculty, staff, families and students. Targets included the main administration building, classroom buildings, a women’s dormitory and a faculty apartment building.

(Note: Mosul University was one of the largest educational and research centres in the Middle East. Near unbelievably, the murderous ISIS primitives are thought to have destroyed over 8,000 books and 100,000 manuscripts – but the US destroyed near the entire faculty.)

*50 civilians were killed and 100 wounded by air strikes on two apartment buildings, Al Hadbaa and Al Khadraa.

*A mother and four children were killed in an air strike on a house in the Hay al Dhubat district of East Mosul on April 20th, next door to a house used by Islamic State that was undamaged.

*Twenty two civilians were killed in air strikes on houses in front of Mosul Medical College.

*Twenty civilians were killed and seventy wounded by air strikes on the Sunni Waqif building and nearby houses and shops.

*U.S. air strikes on April 24th damaged the Rashidiya water treatment plant in West Mosul and the Yarmouk power station in East Mosul.

*Banks and a bottling plant were bombed, more dead and maimed.

*An air strike on a fuel depot in an industrial area ignited an inferno with 150 casualties on 18th April.

*Bombs have damaged a food warehouse, power stations and sub-stations in West Mosul, and flour mills, a pharmaceutical factory, auto repair shops and other workshops across Mosul.

More US destruction and arguably war crimes are listed at (7.)

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The aftermath of the US bombing of Mosul University (Source: NewsVice)

General Mattis’s “Annihilation Tactics.”

To further assess what a US “freed” Mosul might look like, here is a brief summary of what Fallujah’s 2004 “freedom” cost (8):

“The 1st Marine Division fired a total of 5,685 high-explosive 155mm artillery rounds during the battle. The 3rd Marine Air Wing (aviation assets only) expended 318 ‘precision’ bombs, 391 rockets and missiles, and 93,000 machine gun and cannon rounds.

When the Iraqi army re-took the remains of the city from ISIS/ISIL, as ever advised by the US, The Telegraph headline said it all: “Fallujah in ruins after Iraqi forces retake ‘90%’ of the city from ISIL.”

On Sunday 28th May US Secretary of Defence James Mattis (image on the right) stated that

the U.S. military is to use “annihilation tactics” to defeat ISIS fighters in Mosul telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.”

Mattis knows a bit about “annihilation tactics”, he headed Camp Pendleton’s Ist Marine Division in Iraq which were integral to the massacres in Fallujah in April and November 2004.

Speaking to a group of soldiers about how to behave in Iraq during a 2003 speech he ordered:

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

Fallujah’s mass graves are silent witness to the diligent obedience to Mattis’s orders.

“Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight … It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you …”, he told a conference in San Diego, in 2005. (9)

When the US is not shooting and bombing Mosul’s families in the cursed name of liberation, it is displacing them. Figures to 19th May show in excess of 526,000 men, women and children fleeing their homes and all they own. In the month to 2nd December 2016 over one thousand civilians were killed. On May 26th One hundred and five civilians were killed. On 30th May in the Az Zanjili district of the city, at least two hundred people were reportedly killed in a bombing lasting several hours and dozens of homes “completely flattened.” (Al Araby, 30th May.) The figures in human cost, hour by hour, day after day, would surely fill volumes.

On 27th May the US had dropped leaflets telling people to leave the Old City, Mosul’s ancient heart, a city referred to as Al Fayha (the Paradise) and the “Pearl of the North.” US forces however, care as little as ISIS for life, limb or the Middle East’s haunting Pearls and Paradises.

Mosul Will Be “Destroyed.”

Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, has stated that Mosul, formerly home to two million souls, will be completely “destroyed” and “uninhabitable” by the time the terrorists have been driven out. (Independent, 15th February 2017.) Another ancient jewel destroyed in the name of “freedom.”

Behind the figures are people living the unimaginable. As this was being finished, a message came from a Mosul-born friend, who writes:

“The American Coalition are lying … Civilians in Mosul are getting killed by the bombing and Iraqi and coalition ground missiles. They keep bombing each area for one or two weeks killing hundred of civilians and when the area is empty from any snipers …

“Two of my mother’s cousins houses in Thawrah area were bombed three days ago. Fourteen family members died. Four women, eight children the oldest is ten, and two men. People reclaimed seven bodies and other seven still under rubble. They couldn’t save any survivor under the rubble because the bombings are still going on intensively on the area.

“Those are my relatives and I know very well that they have nothing to do with IS.

“This is the New US/(Prime Minister) Abadi strategy … In Hay al Refaiae, last week my other cousins moved into five houses with their families with also an eighty seven year old old mother to avoid the American Coalition bombing. All five houses were destroyed – with the whole surrounding area. Three of them were injured.”

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A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an ISIS-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq on Mar. 4, 2017. (Source: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)

“Why Do I Get So Angry?”

Another letter was sent to a friend by his father, also used with permission and gratitude:

“People ask me: Why do I get so angry?

“Below is a scene today from Mosul, my home town. It is a scene repeated a thousand times over, all around Mosul. Yesterday the U.S. Air Force undertook 158 bombing missions over the city of Mosul. Every bridge across the Tigris in Mosul is now destroyed, the Sugar Factory has been bombed, a 5-Story medical centre has been demolished, the entire airport has become rubble, much of the city’s infrastructure including water and electricity have ceased to function, the University of Mosul buildings have been leveled, thousands of homes have been rendered unlivable, and of course no one is counting the civilian dead and the refugees.

“And all for what? To destroy the Islamic State? Is this the same so-called Islamic State whose factions have been supported, financed, and trained by the CIA over the past five years in order to bring about regime change in Syria?

“Since 2003, the United States has bombed Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan … and presently it has its eye focused on Iran. And yet, we have the gall and temerity to talk about the savagery and barbarism of the Mongolian hordes of eight centuries ago.

“I really do wonder why people keep asking me: Why do I get so angry?”

Thinking the Unthinkable.

In the title I query the outcome of this criminal decimation and cite Hiroshima. Parts of Iraq already have higher cancer and birth defect statistics than Hiroshima and Nagasaki, linked to the depleted uranium weapons used by the US and UK from 1991 to now.

Donald Trump has demonstrated his casual fecklessness with weapons of mass destruction by dropping the largest “conventional” weapon ever used on Afghanistan and fifty nine radioactive and chemically toxic Tomahawk Cruise missiles on Syria, neither country had been proved of doing anything but simply existing.

On the Presidential campaign trail, Mark Halperin of Bloomberg asked Donald Trump, whether he would use nuclear weapons against ISIS.

“Well, I’m never going to rule anything out”, replied Trump.

When pushed by Chris Matthews of MSNBC on this issue, Trump said:

“Somebody hits us within ISIS – you wouldn’t fight back with a nuke?” (10.)

Iraq is near destroyed on the Blair and Bush lies that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Trump does and it seems, is prepared to think the unthinkable. Will the UN, the relevant world bodies, the “international community” wake up, before it is too late, before a swathe of Iraq and Syria’s people are vapourised, with twenty seven centuries of history ?

Notes 

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul
2. https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/168/34929.html
3. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/01/escalating-us-air-strikes-kill-hundreds-civilians-mosul-iraq
4. http://www.globalresearch.ca/military-deviancy-and-war-trophies-body-parts-forearms-and-souvenir-stars-and-stripes-from-predator-drones/5343963
5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/09/12-us-soldiers-charged-wi_n_710409.html
6. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/01/escalating-us-air-strikes-kill-hundreds-civilians-mosul-iraq
7. http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-destruction-in-iraq-extensive-us-war-crimes-apocalypse-in-mosul-in-the-guise-of-bombing-isis/5522167?print=1
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Fallujah  
9. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61672-2005Feb3.html
10. http://www.alternet.org/world/us-killing-innocent-civilians-iraq#.WK-GMtAyeUE.twitter

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Keeping Secrets: Theresa May, Manchester and the Corporate Media

NOVANEWS

Back in 2011, my BSNews co-editor, Mike Raddie, reported to the Metropolitan Police that suspected British citizens were providing funding and support for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). Two weeks later, after no response from The Met, Mike contacted them again to be told that his report had been logged, but that the content was redacted. This was ‘unprecedented’ the officer told him.

2017: A significant observation was made by political blogger, John Hilley, this week regarding the facts which have come to light surrounding MI6/MI5 collusion with Manchester based Libyan and British-Libyan Jihadists in order to topple Gaddafi under Theresa May’s watch as Home Secretary. Hilley wrote: ‘Proper reporting of this story should be enough to bring down Theresa May’.

Think about that for a moment. We are now days away from one of the most important elections for decades, with Jeremy Corbyn rapidly closing the poll gap between himself and May, and the BBC, ITV News, Sky News and Channel 4 News are choosing not to tell the British voting public that the Tory leader oversaw, and (necessarily) approved, the withdrawing of terrorist control orders for known Jihadists in Manchester that they might travel freely between that city and Libya and so aid the UK government’s effort to overthrow Gaddafi. They are choosing not to inform voters, at this most crucial time, that Theresa May knew, ‘a thriving community of listed terrorists exists…in the midst of the British public, without any intervention by the UK government, security or intelligence agencies’ (Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report, May 24th.)

Source: BSNews

‘No intervention’ by our intelligence agencies, we now know, was not strictly true, of course, because thanks to an explosive Middle East Eye article published last Thursday we see it was exactly the kind of ‘intervention’ voters should have knowledge of before attempting to judge how fit Theresa May is to run their country, especially in the context of the cynical and corrosive Tory characterisation of Corbyn as a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. MEE revealed the full extent of MI6/MI5 collusion with members of the proscribed terrorist group, LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group), carrying interviews with sources who stated that in 2011 their control orders were lifted and ‘within days’ their passports returned. This, conveniently, just as the scheme to remove Gaddafi was heating up – one source reveals he was even asked by an MI5 officer, ‘are you willing to go into battle?’

Interestingly, another source explains that he was, ’employed to edit videos showing Libyan rebels being trained by former SAS and Irish special forces mercenaries in Benghazi’, the city in which a ‘massacre’ provided the rationale for Western intervention. Media Lens, in their alert ‘The Great Libya War Fraud” observe:

‘the smearing of Jeremy Corbyn fits well with the similarly uniform propaganda campaign taking the ‘threat’ of Iraq ‘WMD’ seriously…then, also, the corporate media system assailed the public with a long litany of fraudulent claims. And then there was Libya’.

The piece continues under the sub-heading, ‘The Benghazi Massacre: No Real Evidence’:

‘coming so soon after the incomplete but still damning exposure of the Iraq deception – with the bloodbath still warm – the media’s deep conformity and willful gullibility on the 2011 Libyan war left even jaundiced observers aghast. It was clear that we were faced with a pathological system of propaganda on Perpetual War autopilot.’

Media Lens also tweeted:

‘The Benghazi massacre threat was a fraud. But shouldn’t heads now roll at the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Times…?’

We might well take all this into account when reflecting on the Syrian situation: Aaron Klein, in his 2015 book Benghazi: The Real Story (What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know) claims, as Global Research  reports:

‘The U.S. special mission in Benghazi and the nearby CIA annex were utilized in part to coordinate arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting the Syrian regime, with Ambassador Christopher Stevens playing a central role…’

And Tony Cartalucci writes in his piece on the Manchester bombing that,

Irish passport-holding Libyan Jihadist Al-Mahdi al-Harati trains fighters in Syria (Source: Liwa Al-Umma Facebook Page)

‘LIFG members would not only assist the US and British governments in the 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government, they would also move on – with Western arms and cash – to NATO member Turkey where they staged an invasion of northern Syria’.

He then draws our attention to a 2011 report in The Telegraph:

‘Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group ‘met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey’ said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.’

Cartalucci asserts that

‘Libyan terrorists would expand to hundreds, possibly thousands of fighters and later merge with other Syrian militant groups including Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise Jabhat al Nusra. In Libya, LIFG fighters have divided themselves among various warring factions, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates…’ He concludes that, ‘revealed once again is a convenient intersection of terrorist and US/British interests – this time in pursuit of regime change in Syria in the wake of successful US/UK backed regime change in Libya.’

That the corporate media propaganda ‘autopilot’ used for Libya is in full operation regarding Syria hardly needs emphasising, and those good old ‘radicals’ at Channel 4 News are right at the forefront as documented by independent British journalist in Syria, Vanessa Beeley, in her must-read piece ‘Fake News Week: Why Channel 4 “News” Owes an Apology to Syria’ . Because to understand why Theresa May allowed a network of known Jihadist terrorists to thrive in the middle of Manchester, and to comprehend why the corporate media is willfully keeping this from the British people, we need to understand the overarching modus operandi of the British corporate state – of which the corporate media is a vital component. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan…it is always the same MO, the same bullshit justifications for war accompanied by the same amplification  – rather than the challenging –  of them by the ‘mainstream’ media.

We have heard comments aplenty about Jeremy Paxman’s ‘ferocious’ grilling of Theresa May in recent days, but did he question her on any of these sickening ‘Libyan’ revelations in what was, after all, supposed to be a democratic exercise in determining her suitability as Prime Minister? He did not. And the same goes for that other corporate media ‘rottweiler’ Andrew Neil. Both of these six-figure earning, puffed-up egomaniacs conducted a charade of savage inquisition whilst leaving the most critical questions in their back pockets with their hefty paychecks. What a disgusting sham. The rottweilers are nothing more than myrmidons. It is thanks to charlatans like this that the British public is left to fatally compartmenalise on geopolitcal issues rather than seeing the pattern of psychopathic Perpetual War praxis operating without interruption through the bloody decades:

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s founding members had fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, returning to Libya determined to establish an Islamic state and coalescing as the LIFG in the mid-1990’s. In 1996 they carried out a failed assassination attempt against Gaddafi which was, according to MI5 whistleblower, David Shayler, funded by MI6, this being one of the reasons he left MI5. Shayler explained he was ‘physically sickened by the fact that MI6 wanted to sponsor Islamic extremists and carry out terrorism’. A sentiment he expanded upon in a book by fellow MI5 whistleblower and his partner at the time, Annie Machon, excerpts of which are available on Machon’s website:

‘I joined the service to stop terrorism and prevent the deaths of innocent people, not to get involved in these despicable and cowardly acts. I still cannot believe that the Prime Minister has refused to take my evidence or investigate this matter as this decision has sent out a clear message to the intelligence services that they can fund terrorism, conspire to murder people with impunity, and take enormous risks with our security. After all, would you give an individual you hardly know, who has admitted to connections with Al Qaeda, an enormous sum to carry out a terrorist attack, when you know the group he is leading is opposed to the values of Western society? It is difficult to imagine a greater disregard and contempt for the lives and security of the British people’.

David Shayler and Annie Machon outside the Old Bailey 2002 (Source: BSNews)
How tragically these words echo now. How terribly prescient they are in light of the Manchester bombing. And how illuminating regarding the unceasing, shameful programme of deep-state depravity which has continued unseen for years, serenaded by the rhetoric of  ‘peace and freedom’ spewed out by the Thatchers, Blairs and Mays, leaders happy to send off successive generations of young soldiers to fight and die in their corporate wars accompanied by the drumbeat of their media’s approval while the innocent civilian dead piled up in pitiable monument.

Ten million that number stands and rising, according to historian Mark Curtis who has documented, based on declassified government files, the consequences of Britain’s inglorious foreign policy since World War II. Mark is well placed to remark that ‘the culture of lying to and misleading the electorate is deeply embedded in British policy-making’ enabled by the elite’s ‘endemic contempt for the general population.’ A contempt which meant that, ‘Labour and Conservative governments have connived with militant groups linked to Al Qaeda to control oil resources, overthrow governments and promote Britain’s financial interests. (Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion With Radical Islam)

‘Labour and Conservative’. But that contemptible consistency may now be under threat with the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn. No wonder they’re terrified of him. A life-long peace campaigner apparently uninterested in personal power who appears to genuinely care about people? This is not business as usual. He is different in kind, not degree, and he is to be stopped. Only Tony Benn has come anywhere as close as Corbyn to being in a position to halt the neoliberal project in the UK with his challenge to Dennis Healey for the 1980 deputy Labour leadership. Declared The Nation  in 2014:

‘they hated him for it…but they also feared him, because Benn represented not just Labour’s conscience but its soul – a living link to the radical England of the Levellers, the Chartists, the Suffragists and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.’

Exactly the same can be said of Corbyn. A man like this should never, according to the script, end up in the seat of power. But should he win, and despite all efforts of the corporate media this outcome becomes daily less remote, we can only wait and see what pressures a corrupted political system will bring to bear. How does a dissident run a country? How will he avoid a slide towards expediency when he’s swimming in sewage? And how will he interact with an intelligence community indistinguishable from the terrorists we claim to abhor?

All of these things are a matter of conjecture, but what is not is the fact that the corporate media is keeping information from the British people which would, if properly reported, be the end of Theresa May’s campaign – in fact, her political career. It would also be the autopsy of the diseased system which spawned her – and who knows where that might lead? And that’s the point. The corporate media, being a fundamental organ of that diseased system, would be dealing itself a fatal blow in revealing state corruption this deep. It will never do it. This information is an existential threat.

Immediately then, we have to ask ourselves: do we want the corporate news media to decide the outcome of this election? Because that is what’s happening. And if it does, then democracy is dead – as much as its gasping body had any breath left. If the answer is no then we must challenge the so-called journalists who are participating in this travesty and expose the system which trains. promotes and rewards them for their obedience. In the longer term, we must build change into our society from the bottom up, through our communities and with our solidarity underpinning a fight for social justice.

The worst has already happened. Families in Manchester, in Iraq,  Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and everywhere else our governments have spread their poison, will never again hear their children’s voices or see their smiles. And so, those who sleep soundly at night knowing they have caused this carnage must never be allowed to sleep so peacefully again.

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Former ICC Official Says ‘Israel’ Will Be Convicted of War Crimes

NOVANEWS

The former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo has said that the investigation being carried out by the ICC concerning the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, will most likely result in condemnation of Israeli officials since the establishment of settlements is considered a continuing war crime.

He added that the settlements constitute a clear legal violation of the Rome Statute and the rules of international law, which prohibit an occupying power from transferring its civilian population to an occupied territory.

During a special panel discussion organized by Al-Quds University yesterday evening, Ocampo said that the prosecutor’s office has gone a long way in examining the issue of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

He denied the statements attributed to him by an Israeli newspaper a year and a half ago that settlements are not illegal, pointing out that it was not the first time that the Israeli press has presented its own interpretation of statements.

In particular, he stated that what was reported in the newspaper at that time is contrary to his firm legal convictions that the transfer of the civilian population of an occupying force onto occupied land constitutes a war crime.

Ocampo explained that the case brought by the State of Palestine before the ICC has caused huge discomfort among the Israeli side and is moving the Israeli government from an attack posture to one of defence, citing a quote by an Israeli official that Israel is recruiting more lawyers than soldiers as a result of the Palestinian complaint.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Former ICC Official Says ‘Israel’ Will Be Convicted of War Crimes


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