As if on cue, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — putative watchdog of world government use of the noxious agents in its very name — announced Thursday sarin gas, or a sarin-like substance, had indeed caused the deaths of nearly 100 people in a supposed chemical ‘attack’ in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria in early April, which the U.S. and Western allies insist had been carried out against innocent civilians at the behest of the Assad regime.
Except, gaping holes and unavoidable discrepancies paint the report. In fact, the entire incident constitutes a monstrous propaganda campaign to enjoin support for ousting President Bashar al-Assad — an objective dear to the United States — no matter the repercussions.
According to the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission — which refused to assign responsibility for the attack until further collaboration with the United Nations — sarin or a sarin-like substance killed and injured scores of civilians in an “alleged” attack on April 4 in the Idlib Province town.
Superficially, this confirms an account by the Trump administration, which used the ‘attack’ to justify launching 59 retaliatory Tomahawk missiles into the sovereign nation — incidentally, also killing and injuring scores of innocents — in the first act of direct military aggression by the U.S. since a coalition of Western-backed forces entered the fray.
But only superficially.
From the term, ‘attack,’ to culpability of the Syrian president, nearly every detail surrounding the horrific Khan Sheikhoun incident finds dispute in facts simply not presented by the corporate press and U.S. officials — who require your support to continue and escalate otherwise needless involvement in Syria.
Active military engagement in Syria — thus, profit, regime change, and domination — hinge on your acceptance of the chemical attack narrative.
In early April, news began circulating that hundreds of Syrian civilians suffered horrendous injuries and excruciating deaths from an unknown chemical agent officials first surmised to be sarin — a conclusion adhered to unquestioningly by the Trump administration and the hawkish mainstream press — which they claimed had been unleashed in a direct assault on civilians.
From the outset, however, that narrative didn’t add up.
Why would Assad — on the eve of negotiations to bring the first semblance of peace in years, no less — attack his own people, ensuring the full force of the largest military on the planet would swiftly bite back? He wouldn’t. No rationale — no motivation imaginable — fits the repertoire of any national leader seeking to maintain control over and the favor of the populace under their guidance.
Instead, as some surmised at the time, the cause of the mass chemical poisoning had been far less overtly malevolent. An airstrike carried out by Syrian forces, coordinated with Moscow, and announced to the U.S., decimated a former rebel-held depot housing chemical munitions, sending noxious gases aloft where wind disseminated contaminants into a populated area.
Almost immediately, Theodore Postol — professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — slayed a prominent video piece from mainstream media on the alleged attack, asserting, “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.”
Analyzing wind speed and direction, lack of appropriate protective gear for sarin worn by first responders, size of the crater left by the explosion, and a number of other mitigating details imperative to a fair examination of what actually occurred at Khan Sheikhoun, Postol scientifically eviscerated the ‘Assad attack’ propaganda.
Not that the corporate press or U.S. officials gave the esteemed professor’s critique the time of day.
Postol’s account of events gave doubters of the official story further vindication when award-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh, obtained internal communications between a security adviser and active duty U.S. soldier evincing astonishment Trump gave the green light to bomb Syria in response to the ‘attack’ — since, apparently, American forces were well aware no attack had taken place.
Despite curious calls for international, independent investigation, the U.S. and United Nations balked — claiming for months the situation on the ground too precarious to risk investigators’ lives.
Thus, the assumption of a Syrian government-ordered attack lived on — a fictitious yarn sufficiently appalling to engender popular support for the goal of ousting the ostensively evil brute, Assad. This isn’t to say the Syrian leader sits on bloodless hands; but, assigning false blame damages any shred of diplomacy and hope for the common goal of destroying the Islamic State — no matter the animosity otherwise stoked by the gordian knot that is the Syrian war.
Without further probe of the April 4 incident, Washington and its darling corporate presstitutes condemned the Assad regime for an attack that never occurred — guaranteeing, in the short run, the sleep-walking masses would fail to question putative ‘authorities’ on the matter.
But, as Washington continued loudly proffering the attack narrative as if steel truth, no investigation of Khan Sheikhoun ever took place on location.
Then, out of the blue this week, the Trump administration and mainstream media abruptly proclaimed — sans evidence, of course — the Assad regime intended to carry out ‘another’ ‘attack’ on civilians using chemical weapons. Convenient, in that the claim came with an astounding assertion any such ‘attacks’ would inarguably be at the behest of Assad — giving the U.S. a self-aggrandized impetus for again acting aggressively against the forces of the elected Syrian government and its none-too shrinking violet ally, Russia.
If anyone attacks anyone in Syria with chemical agents, the U.S. sanctimoniously whined, Assad did it — and he will pay in another onslaught of retaliatory airstrikes — no questions asked, no investigation initiated, no ounce of due diligence to determine the actual perpetrator necessary.
When independent journalists in alternative media shredded this threadbare, pre-blame ploy as a setup to initiate another round of aggressive airstrikes by the U.S. military, Washington declared via the corporate press its warning about an impending, nebulous Assad-ordered atrocity effectively foiled said attack.
In other words, the temper tantrum of a baseless prognostication and an as-yet unnecessary allegation scared a nation’s leader into re-thinking his plan to kill innocent people who might otherwise support his rein.
Compounding the idiocy unfolding across self-righteous headlines, the OPCW suddenly stepped up to the plate — after nearly two months of scoffing, stalling, and deflecting — announcing within hours of the farce that is a foiled non-attack its Fact Finding Mission found the April ‘attack’ had been carried out using sarin. Or, maybe, a sarin-like substance.
To reiterate, OPCW never visited the site.
Claiming unsafe conditions, not a single member of the chemical weapons watchdog group traveled to Khan Sheikhoun to interview survivors, test samples, or otherwise diligently investigate the purely ephemeral claim Assad gassed his people. Not one.
Trust us, OPCW thus says — mirroring the equally logic-defying argument Washington spews — ‘It’s true because we told the world it’s true.’
What we’re being told about Syria holds little basis in reality — in fact, just a cursory glance dismantles nearly the entire voluminous body of pro-regime change propaganda crafted by the U.S.
Acknowledgment and an education in the facts, however, will do nothing to stave off foolhardiness existent in igniting a full scale war with Russia and other Syrian allies — which will happen if Washington continues prodding Damascus with the stick of pompous accusation in its own sandbox.
Assad and Vladimir Putin have thus far displayed an exemplary paragon of patience for the Trump administration’s impudent ramblings and military force — but indications are that won’t continue much longer.
After all, if the U.S. wants to fight terrorists — such as the farcically termed ‘moderate rebels’ it supports in myriad ways — the offer of cooperation with its traditional foes still stands.
Until then, facts belie true intent — and the sovereign nation of Syria maintains as any the right to defend itself against an invading and aggressive force.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain.