American Free Press has repeatedly questioned the allegations that the Syrian government and military used chemical weapon on their own people. Now, respected journalist Seymour Hersh confirms this with a new report detailing his extensive interviews with U.S. officials. The problem for Hersh, though is that his account seems odd when one considers the military-industrial complex’s efforts to oust Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Could Hersh have fallen victim to a planned disinformation campaign?
By Paul Craig Roberts
Seymour Hersh, America’s most famous investigative reporter, has become persona non grata in the American Propaganda Ministry that poses as a news media but only serves to protect the U.S. government’s war lies. Among his many triumphs, Hersh exposed the American My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib torture prison run by the Americans in Iraq. Today his investigative reports have to be published in the London Review of Books or in the German media.
From Hersh’s latest investigative report, we learn that President Trump makes war decisions by watching staged propaganda on TV. The White Helmets, a propaganda organization for jihadists and the “Syrian opposition,” found a gullible reception from the Western media for photographs and videos of alleged victims of a Syrian Army sarin gas attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun. Trump saw the photos on TV and, despite being assured by U.S. intelligence that there was no Syrian sarin gas attack, ordered the U.S. military to strike a Syrian base with Tomahawk missiles. Under international law this strike was a war crime, and it was the first direct aggression against Syria by the U.S., which previously committed aggression via proxies called “the Syrian opposition.”
Reporting on his sources, Hersh writes: “In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4.”
The belief that sarin gas was involved in the attack comes from what appears to be a gas cloud. Hersh was informed by U.S. military experts that sarin is odorless and invisible and makes no cloud. What appears to have happened is that the explosion from the air attack on ISIS caused a series of secondary explosions that produced a toxic cloud formed by fertilizers and chlorine disinfectants that were stored in the building that was hit.
U.S. officials spoke with Hersh, because they are disturbed that Trump based a war decision on TV propaganda and refused to listen to the detailed counter-assessments of his intelligence and military services. A national security source told Hersh: “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts. He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says, ‘Do it.’ ”
Concerns about Trump’s purely emotional reaction to TV propaganda persist. Hersh reports that a senior national security adviser told him: “The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy” (the flare-up of tensions between Syria, Russia and America). The issue is, what if there’s another false-flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and harder. He’s incapable of saying he made a mistake.”
As we know, the White House has already released a statement predicting that Assad is preparing another chemical attack, for which, the White House promises, he will “pay a heavy price.” Clearly, a false-flag attack is on the way.
By all means, read Hersh’s report. It reveals a president who makes precipitious decisions likely to cause a war with Russia.
I do not doubt Sy Hersh’s integrity. I accept that he has accurately reported what he was told by U.S. officials. My suspicions about this story do not have to do with Hersh. They have to do with what Hersh was told.
Hersh’s report puts Trump in a very bad light, and it puts the military/security complex, which we know has been trying to destroy Trump, in a very good light. Moreover, the story strikes me as inconsistent with the subsequent attack on the Syrian fighter-bomber by the U.S. military. If the Tomahawk attack on the Syrian base was unjustified, what justified downing a Syrian war plane? Did Trump order this attack as well? If not, who did? Why?
If national security advisers gave Trump such excellent information about the alleged sarin gas attack, completely disproving any such attack, why was he given such bad advice about shooting down a Syrian war plane, or was it done outside of channels? The effect of the shootdown is to raise the chance of a confrontation with Russia, because Russia’s response apparently has been to declare a no-fly zone over the area of Russian and Syrian operations.
How do we know that what Hersh was told was true? What if Trump was encouraged to order the Tomahawk strike as a way of interjecting the U.S. directly into the conflict? Both the U.S. and Israel have powerful reasons for wanting to overthrow Assad. However, ISIS, sent to do the job, has been defeated by Russia and Syria. Unless Washington can somehow get directly involved, the war is over.
The story Hersh was given also serves to damn Trump while absolving the intelligence services. Trump takes the hit for injecting the U.S. directly into the conflict.
Hersh’s story reads well, but it easily could be a false story planted on him. I am not saying that the story is false, but unless we learn more, it could be.
What we do know is that the story given to Hersh by national security officials is inconsistent with the June 26 White House announcement that the U.S. has “identified potential preparations for another chemical attack by the Assad regime.” The White House does not have the capability to conduct its own foreign intelligence gathering. The White House is informed by the national security and intelligence agencies.
In the story given to Hersh, these officials are emphatic that not only were chemical weapons removed from Syria, but also that Assad would not use them or be permitted by the Russians to use them even if he had them. Moreover, Hersh reports that he was told that Russia fully informed the U.S. of the Syrian attack on ISIS in advance. The weapon was a guided bomb that Russia had supplied to Syria. Therefore, it could not have been a chemical weapon.
As U.S. national security officials made it clear to Hersh that they do not believe Syria did or would use any chemical weapons, what is the source for the White House’s announcement that preparations for another chemical attack by the Assad regime have been identified?
Who lined up UN ambassador Nikki Haley and the UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon to be ready with statements in support of the White House announcement? Haley says: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.” Fallon says: “We will support” future U.S. action in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
How clear does an orchestration have to be before people are capable of recognizing the orchestration?
The intelligence agencies put out the story via Hersh that there were no chemical attacks, so what attacks is Nikki Haley speaking about?
A reasonable conclusion is that Washington’s plan to use ISIS to overthrow Syria and then start on Iran was derailed by Russian and Syrian military success against ISIS. The U.S. then tried to partition Syria by occupying part of it, but were out-manuevered by the Russians and Syrians. This left direct U.S. involvement as the only alternative to defeat. This direct U.S. military involvement began with the U.S. attack on the Syrian military base and was followed by shooting down a Syrian war plane. The next stage will be a U.S.-staged false-flag chemical attack or alleged chemical attack, and this false flag, as has already been announced, will be the excuse for larger scale U.S. military action against Syria, which, unless the Russians abandon Syria, means conflict with Russia, Iran, and perhaps China.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books available from the AmericanFreePress bookstore.