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The Neocon-Zionist Alliance for War


by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh | November-December 2003

UNDER THE INFLUENCE of a cabal of the so-called neoconservatives, the Bush Administration openly embarked on an ambitious project to recast the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East – and perhaps beyond. Not only has this created insecurity and turbulence in the Middle East, it has also thrown most of the post-World War II international alliances, treaties, and institutions into disarray and confusion.

The relentless mobilization for war and militarism has also contributed to the undermining of both civil liberties and economic conditions of the overwhelming majority of the American people. While arms manufacturers are showered with massive amounts of tax dollars, nothing effective is done to stem the rising tide of unemployment and economic insecurity for the poor and working people.

The disproportionate allocation of resources in favor of arms industries is directly contributing to the undermining of both physical infrastructure (such as roads, bridges and ports) and soft/social infrastructure such as health care, education and nutrition.

Under a carefully orchestrated war atmosphere, and under the guise of a fiscal stimulus package, a huge capital-friendly tax cut is proposed that will drastically redistribute national income/resources in favor of the wealthy. Millions of Americans have witnessed their retirement savings disappear by the bear and corrupt market, and more than a million filed for bankruptcy last year alone.

Unsurprisingly, then, despite the somewhat artificial and somewhat coerced patriotism, many Americans are worried about their economic situation and, like many people in other parts of the world, anxious about international relations and world peace and stability.

What makes the foreign policy projections of the Bush Administration’s team of neoconservatives particularly dangerous is their self-righteous sense of being on a mission; hence their impatience in dealing with complex situations, their intolerance for discussion, debate and dissent, and their tendency to opt for pre<->emptive/adventurous shortcuts.

This strategy of Washington’s war-making cabal of neoconservatives in constantly contriving new external enemies seems to be derived from the political philosophy of H.L. Mencken, who maintained: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”(1)

Thus, for example, in the face of legitimate questions about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush administration hurriedly invaded the country in an attempt to preempt further questions and/or a national debate on the issue. Likewise, in the wake of death and destruction in Iraq, and in the face of mounting economic problems at home, they are threatening war against Iran, Syria and other countries.

The Administration’s war juggernaut seems to be following the logic of the proverbial bicyclist who has to keep riding forward or else he will fall over; that is, embarking on new adventures and creating new problems as a way of dealing with the existing/old ones!

What then lies behind the Administration’s tendency toward a permanent state of war – pursued in the name of “preemption,” “regime change” and “war on terrorism”? Official explanations such as weapons of mass destruction, Saddam’s threat to the United States – or his connection to Al Qaeda, never actually claimed but cleverly hinted by U.S. officials – can now easily be dispensed with as flimsy pretexts for the invasion of Iraq.

Critics have pointed to a number of driving forces/factors to war. An obvious factor is said to be the President’s political need to maintain his 9/11-induced strong status as Commander-in-Chief, and his need for re-election on security/defense grounds. A second hypothesis attributes the Administration’s drive to war to its desire to divert attention from corporate scandal and economic recession.

Expansion of the American empire is offered as a third explanation. Control of the major sources of oil constitutes a widely cited fourth factor in the administration’s drive to war.

Whatever the contributory impact of these factors, they are not, in my view, the major driving forces behind the Administrations war machine. The Administration’s war juggernaut, rather, seems to be driven by an alliance/axis of two other forces: the Military-Industrial Complex and the hard-line Zionist proponents of a “Greater Israel” in the “Promised Land.”(2)

As I shall explain shortly, both of these forces perceive their interests better served by fomenting war and tension in the Middle East region. It is this convergence of interests on war and convulsion in the region that lies behind the current alliance of these two powerful forces.

This alliance is represented by a cabal of closely connected individuals who are firmly ensconced in the Pentagon. They also hold powerful positions within the National Security Council, the White House, the Congress and, to a lesser extent, the State Department. Not all hold official positions in the government apparatus. They also work within and through various lobbying think tanks, unofficial interest groups, consulting/research institutes, and the media.

Some of the well-known figures of what I call “the cabal” are Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), Paul Wolfowitz (Under Secretary of Defense), Richard Cheney (Vice President), Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board), Douglas Feith (Defense Dept.), James Woolsey (former Director of Central Intelligence), David Wurmser (State Dept.), William Kristol (Editor, The Weekly Standard), Michael Ledeen (Oliver North’s Iran/contra liaison with the Israelis), Elliott Abrams (National Security Council), Lewis Libby (Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff), Fred Ikle (Defense Policy Board), Zalmay Khalilzad (White House), David Wurmser (State Department), Dov Zakheim (Defense Department), Peter Rodman (Defense Department), Richard Armitage (State Department), Norman Podhoretz (well-known doyen of the neoconservatives), David Frum (President Bush’s speech writer), John Bolton (State Department), Frank Gaffney (Director, Center for Security Policy), Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute), Martin Peretz (editor-in-chief, The New Republic), Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic), and former Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.).

The number of the publicly known think tanks through which the Alliance operate include The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hudson Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and Center for Security Policy (CSP).

Some of the well-known publications that support, formulate, and propagate the views of the Cabal are: The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, National Review and the Washington Times.
Role of the Military-Industrial Complex

Because I have dealt with the role of the Military-Industrial Complex in the Bush Administration’s drive to war in an earlier article, I shall be brief here. (That earlier article, “Behind the Drive to War: Bush’s Escalating Military Budget,” can be viewed at: http://www.counterpunch.org/zadeh1025.html, and a version appears in Against the Current 102.)

My brief discussion of the issue here consists largely of excerpts and paraphrases from that earlier article. The theory behind the military industries’ tendency to war is straightforward: peace is simply not good for the business of these industries. War, by contrast, means good business; not only in terms of production and/or sales in general but also in terms of the industry’s appropriation of a big chunk of the nation’s tax dollars.

Excluding the elusive costs of the military adventure in Iraq, the official Pentagon budget for the fiscal year 2004 will amount to nearly $400 billion, the highest item in the Federal budget. Officially, military spending is the second highest item in the Federal budget after Social Security payments. But Social Security is a self-financing trust fund. So, in reality, military spending is the highest budget item.

In fact, if the social security trust fund is excluded from the Federal budget, as it should be, the military budget will be more than one-third of the entire Federal budget. President Eisenhower’s warning near the end of his second term against the potential dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex seems to have been prompted largely by this intrinsic tendency of the Complex towards war and militarism.

Of course, tendencies to build bureaucratic empires have always existed in the ranks of military hierarchies. By itself, this is not what makes the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex more dangerous than the military powers of the past empires. What makes it more dangerous is the “Industrial” part of the Complex.

In contrast to the United States’ military industry, arms industries of the past empires were not subject to capitalist market imperatives. Furthermore, those industries were often owned and operated by imperial governments, not by market-driven private corporations. Consequently, as a rule, arms production was dictated by war requirements, not by market or profit imperatives, which is often the case with today’s U.S. arms industry.

The fact that powerful interests within the Military-Industrial Complex derive “war dividends” from international conflicts explains why representatives of the Complex have almost always reacted negatively to discussions of international cooperation and detente (tension reduction). Thus, for example, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Korean War and “Communist threat” were used as pretexts to overrule those who called for limits on military spending following the end of the World War.

Representatives of the Military-Industrial Complex, disproportionately ensconced in the State and Defense Departments, succeeded in having President Truman embark on his famous overhaul of the U.S. foreign policy, which drastically increased the Pentagon budget and expanded the military-industrial establishment.

Likewise, in the face of the 1970s’ tension-reducing negotiations with the Soviet Union, representatives of the Complex rallied around Cold Warrior think tanks such as the “Committee on the Present Danger” and successfully sabotaged those discussions. Instead, once again they managed to reinforce the relatively weakened tensions with the Soviet Union to such new heights that the 1980s came to be known as the Second Cold War – hence the dramatic “rearming of America,” as President Reagan put it.

Similarly, when the collapse of the Soviet system and the subsequent discussions of “peace dividends” in the United States threatened the interests of the Military-Industrial Complex, representatives of the Complex invented the “threat of rogue states to our national interests,” and successfully substituted it for the “threat of communism” of the Cold War era – thereby, once more, averting efforts at cutting the military spending. They also moved swiftly to exploit regional tensions and perhaps instigate certain states to react in a manner that would make the application of the term “rogue” to such states plausible. Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, was the first to fall into this trap.(3)

Thus, long before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, beneficiaries of war dividends were searching for “rogue states” and other pretexts to justify and further expand the Pentagon budget. The needs of these beneficiaries of “war dividends” for international convulsions helps explain why they viewed the monstrous attacks of 9/11 as an opportunity for remilitarization.

These attacks were treated not as crimes, which they actually were, but as war on America. Once it was thus established that the United States was “at war,” military buildup followed logically. What is more, President Bush and his circle of war-making advisors have made their declared war on terrorism open-ended and permanent.

It is open-ended because the President’s close advisors seems to have no difficulty finding terrorism by definition; that is, “by deciding unilaterally what actions around the world constitute terrorism,” or by arbitrarily classifying certain countries as “supporters of terrorism,” as Bill Christison, retired CIA advisor, put it.(4) Justification of war has never been made so simple, requiring merely the fancy of the beneficiaries of “war dividends.”
The Role of Militant Zionism

Just as the beneficiaries of war dividends view international peace and stability inimical to their interests, so too the hard-line Zionists perceive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors perilous to their goal of gaining control over the promised “Land of Israel.”

The reason for this fear of peace is that, according to a number of United Nations resolutions, peace would mean Israel’s return to its pre-1967 borders; that is, withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But because proponents of greater Israel are unwilling to withdraw from these territories, they are therefore afraid of peace.

Hence their continued efforts at sabotaging peace negotiations, including the heinous crime of assassinating the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for having signed the Oslo Peace Accord with Palestinians. By the same token, these proponents view war and convulsion (or as David Ben-Gurion, one of the key founders of the State of Israel, put it, “revolutionary atmosphere”) as opportunities that are conducive to the expulsion of Palestinians, to the territorial recasting of the region, and to the expansion of Israel’s territory.

This judgment is based neither on theory, nor on conjecture, nor on simple logic. It is based on the well-known Zionist philosophy of establishing a Jewish state in the “Promised Land.” As a leading journalist and historian in Israel, Tom Segev, puts it:

“The idea of transfer [of Palestinians from their land] had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl’s diary. In practice, the Zionists began executing a mini-transfer from the time they began purchasing the land and evacuating the Arab tenants ... ‘Disappearing’ the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence . . .With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer – or its morality.”(5)

Because the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Palestine were not Jewish but Muslim and Christian Arabs, the question that faced the planners of a Jewish state in Palestine was, therefore, how to bring about the necessary removal of Palestinians from their land. Obviously, expulsions could not be brought about during normal, peaceful times; war and application of force were deemed necessary.

But launching war and applying force in the name of expulsions would be politically disastrous. Rather, any opportunity afforded by wars in the region was to be exploited. David Ben-Gurion explained the importance of the convulsive social circumstances to the objective of expelling the Palestinians and expanding the Jewish territory in these words: “What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out – a whole world is lost.”(6)

The “great hours” arrived in the 1948 war, under whose cover they managed to expel 750,000 Palestinians (more than 80 percent of the indigenous population), and thus achieve “an overwhelmingly Jewish state.”(7) But while the state that was thus created achieved the objective of “overwhelmingly Jewish population,” it fell short of achieving the second major goal of militant Zionist planners: capturing the entire Palestine, the “Land of Israel,” from Jordan to the Mediterranean. It remained for another war, the 1967 war, to gain control of additional land, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Occupation of additional land, however, could not this time be accompanied by commensurate expulsion of its inhabitants. (About 30,000 Palestinians were expelled in 1967, compared to hundreds of thousands in 1948.) Additional territory, therefore, also meant an additional dilemma: the so-called “demographic problem.” The non-Jewish inhabitants of the occupied territories, combined with their higher rates of population growth, were viewed as a long-term threat to the ideal of “overwhelmingly Jewish state of Israel.”

Years of wrenching debate over how to resolve this “dilemma” led (by the 1980s) to a major fissure in the ranks of the Israeli leaders. The realist faction, headed by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his co-thinkers, gradually became convinced that the goal of capturing the entire Palestine based on the overwhelmingly Jewish population was unattainable.

The time had arrived in their view for Israel to consider the “land-for-security” proposals, along with the underlying ideas of two independent, side-by-side states of Israel and Palestine. This line of thinking eventually became the basis for the so-called Oslo Peace Accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The hard-line proponents of “Greater Israel” such as Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, by contrast, insisted on redoubling the “necessary” efforts to achieve the goal of capturing the “Land of Israel.” They acknowledged that, for the time being, certain conditions (the important friendly relations between the United States and a number of Arab states, the large Palestinian population in the occupied territories, and world public opinion) were not favorable to achieving this goal.

But they argued that some of those conditions could be changed, including geographic boundaries and territorial configurations of a number of countries in the region. Specifically, the hard-liners called for Israel to bring about the dissolution and fragmentation of the Arab states into a mosaic of ethnic groupings. This had been Ariel Sharon’s vision in planning the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as far back as 1982.

Thinking along those lines, Sharon stated on March 24, 1988, that if the Palestinian uprising continued, Israel would have to make war on her Arab neighbors. The war, he hinted, would “provide the circumstances” for a massive removal of the Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from inside Israel proper. This implication is an unmistakable revival of David Ben-Gurion’s view that “revolutionary times” provide opportunities for population transfer from the “Land of Israel.”
USSR’s Demise and the Unholy Alliance

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed a major obstacle to that plan. As long as the Soviet Union existed as the countervailing world power to the United States, when the world in general and the Middle East region in particular were divided into East-West blocs of influence, the United States simply would not abandon or antagonize its Arab/Muslim allies in the region by supporting the Zionist plan of another overhaul of the geography of the region.

In pursuit of their goal of establishing a Jewish state in the “Land of Israel,” the Zionist leaders have always tried to portray their interests as coinciding with those of the United States. By the same token, they have also always tried to portray the opponents of their expansionist policies as enemies of the United States. But as just noted, such attempts at manipulation were not fully effective during the Cold War atmosphere.

In the aftermath of the Cold War era, however, those schemes began to resonate in a new way. This was not because the Zionist strategists suddenly became smarter, or the U.S. policy makers in the region suddenly became more susceptible to Zionist influence. Rather, the interests of the Military-Industrial Complex now converged with those of the hard-line Zionists in a continuing convulsion in the region.

This analysis contradicts the view/judgment that the U.S.-Israeli relationship represents a case of “tail wagging the dog;” i.e. that the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is shaped by the Israeli/Zionist leaders. While, no doubt, the powerful Jewish (and religious right) lobby exerts considerable influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the efficacy and the extent of that influence depends, ultimately, on the real economic and geopolitical interests of the U.S. foreign policy makers. In other words, U.S. foreign policy makers would go along with the demands of the Zionist lobby only if such demands also serve the interests of those policy makers (not necessarily the interests of the American people, or U.S. “national interests” in general).

In their search for substitutes for the Soviet threat of the Cold War era, proponents of U.S. militarism found a strong, well-established network of politically savvy allies: militant Zionists. Because the interests of these two powerful groups converged over fomenting war and convulsion in the Middle East, an ominously potent alliance was forged between them – ominous, because the mighty U.S. war machine was now supplemented by the Zionist lobby’s unrivaled public relations capabilities.(8)

The hawkish warmongers in and around the Bush Administration who have come to be known as neoconservatives serve the interests of this alliance. “Rogue states,” “war on terrorism,” “preemptive strikes” and “regime change” have been some of the politically useful products of the creative minds of the spin-doctors of the unholy alliance.

Not surprisingly, soon after the demise of the Soviet Union, representatives of the alliance embarked on a joint offensive against a whole host of long-established international institutions and conventions, arms control treaties and, most importantly, the Oslo peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In place of those long-established multilateral treaties and conventions, they now called for American unilateralism and/or militarism, along with an overhaul of the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.

The alliance promotes its views and plans through an extended but tightly knit web of interlocking and/or overlapping network of influential think-tanks and lobbying entities, mentioned earlier in this essay. Some of these lobbying think tanks and their major political players have direct Israeli connections. For example, Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence, was a co-founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The other co-founder of MEMRI, Meyrav Wurmser, was a member of the Hudson Institute, while her husband, David Wurmser, headed the Middle East Studies Department of the American Enterprise Institute. Richard Perle, a major player in the neoconservative movement, was both a “resident fellow” at the American Enterprise Institute and a trustee of the Hudson Institute.(9)

Focusing on two of these influential think-tanks, JINSA and CPS, Jason Vest (reporting for The Nation) effectively unmasks “the close links among the two organizations, right-wing politicians, arms merchants, military men, Jewish billionaires, and Republican administrations.”(10)
“A Strategy for Securing the Realm”

In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War era, these think-tanks and their neo-conservative spin-doctors published a number of policy papers which clearly and forcefully advocated plans for border change, demo<->graphic change and regime change in the Middle East.

For example, in 1996 an influential Israeli think tank, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, sponsored and published a policy document, titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which argued that the Netanyahu government should “make a clean break” with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza.

It presented a plan whereby Israel would “shape its strategic environment,” beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran.(11)

The document, intended as a political road map for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu, was prepared by a “Study Group” which included Richard Perle (American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader), James Colbert (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), Douglas Feith (Feith and Zell Associates), Robert Loewenberg (President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies), David Wurmser (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies), and Meyrav Wurmser (Johns Hopkins University).

The dual role that a number of these individuals play is remarkable in serving as advisor both to the Likud party/government and to President Bush’s Administration (Perle is now a member of the Defense Policy Board; Feith is an Assistant Secretary of Defense; and Wurmser is special assistant to State Department chief arms control negotiator John Bolton).

In an “Open Letter to the President” (Clinton), dated 19 February 1998, a number of these lobbyists, along with a number of their cohorts in the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, recommended “a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.” The letter further proposed: “It will not be easy – and the course of action we favor is not without its problems and perils. But we believe the vital national interests of our country require the United States to [adopt such a strategy].”(12)

Similarities between the recommendations made in this 1998 letter to President Clinton and those made in the 1996 report to the Likud party/government of Benjamin Netanyahu are unmistakable. The only difference is that whereas the 1996 report stressed the “national interests” of Israel the 1998 letter stressed the “national interests” of the United States.

Contrary to the neoconservatives’ claims, their belligerent policies serve neither the interests of the ordinary citizens of the United States, nor of the Jewish people. They serve primarily the interests of the U.S. arms manufacturers and the interests of militant Zionism – as perceived by its (misguided) leaders.

In September 2000 – the same month, coincidentally, when Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem sparked the Second Intifada and the subsequent descent into chaos – another think-tank of the warmongering cabal of neoconservatives, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), issued a report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.”

This report explicitly projected an imperial role for the United States the world over, and specifically an expanded U.S. presence in the Middle East region, using the claims against Saddam Hussein’s regime as a pretext: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”(13)

This sample evidence clearly shows that the Military-Industrial-Zionist alliance had intended to invade Iraq and recast the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East long before the 9/11 atrocities. Indeed, evidence indicates that, aside from its triggering effect, those atrocities had very little to do with such plans.

Not surprisingly, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, representatives of the Military-Industrial-Zionist alliance began calling for war not just against Osama Bin Laden and/or Al Qaeda but also against a number of countries that allegedly supported or harbored terrorism. Thus on September 20, 2001 the neoconservative strategists of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) sent a letter to President Bush arguing that the “war on terrorism” must also include punitive measures against Iraq, Iran, and Syria:

It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack [of 9/11] on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism . . . . We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.(14)

In the 29 October 2002 issue of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, two of the leading figures of the neoconservative cabal, reveal more of the plan of changing regimes and reestablishing a new world order:

When all is said and done, the conflict in Afghanistan will be to the war on terrorism what the North Africa campaign was to World War II: an essential beginning on the path to victory. But compared with what looms over the horizon – a wide-ranging war in locales from Central Asia to the Middle East and, unfortunately, back again to the United States – Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle . . . But this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously.(15)

This ominous projection of another world war was made more explicit by Eliot Cohen three weeks later in a Wall Street Journal rticle, titled “World War IV”:

“Osama bin Laden’s War?. . . A less palatable but more accurate name is World War IV. The Cold War was World War III . . . The enemy in this war is not ‘terrorism’ . . . but militant Islam. The enemy has an ideology, and an hour spent surfing the Web will give the average citizen at least the kind of insights that he might have found during World Wars II and III by reading ‘Mein Kampf’ or the writings of Lenin, Stalin or Mao.”(16)

Professor Cohen is not alone in this portrayal of radical Islam as “the enemy,” the “threat to Western values,” and the culprit in “the clash of civilizations.” His ideological cohorts in crafting this insidious theory include Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Samuel Huntington, Charles Krauthammer and a whole host of other co-thinkers.(17)
Defining the President’s Mission

Despite certain concessions to the demands of the neoconservatives, both Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton stopped short of fully complying with those demands. With the arrival of their candidate Bush Jr. in the White House, however, neoconservative strategists redoubled their efforts. As they competed with the traditional, multilateral approach favored by State Department’s Colin Powell, in order to win the President over to their policy of unilateralism, neoconservative strategists began to define foreign policy issues and objectives in religious, missionary, and mythical terms.

As James P. Pinkerton (of New York Newsday) puts it, the neoconservatives:

“word-creations, such as ‘moral clarity,’ ‘axis of evil’ and ‘Bush Doctrine,’ spread far and wide. These word-weavings were repeated over and over again, in magazines, books and cable news shows. Bush became Winston Churchill, Saddam Hussein became Hitler, the Arabs were ripe for Americanization, and the U.S. military became the sword not only of vengeance, but also of do-gooding and nation-building.”(18)

Not accidentally, the strategy of couching foreign policy in missionary terms worked. As a born-again Christian, and with little patience for nuances and gray areas, the President was energized once he was led to view his international responsibilities as “missions.” The missionary approach was further reinforced by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

As Stephen Sniegoski put it, “Neoconservatives have presented the September 11 atrocities as a lightning bolt to make President Bush aware of his destiny: destroying the evil of terrorism.” Norman Podhoretz, one of the neoconservative strategists, gleefully describes the “transfigured” President:

A transformed – or, more precisely, a transfigured – George W. Bush appeared before us. In an earlier article . . . I suggested, perhaps presumptuously, that out of the blackness of smoke and fiery death let loose by September 11, a kind of revelation, blazing with a very different fire of its own, lit up the recesses of Bush’s mind and heart and soul. Which is to say that, having previously been unsure as to why he should have been chosen to become President of the United States, George W. Bush now knew that the God to whom, as a born-again Christian, he had earlier committed himself had put him in the Oval Office for a purpose. He had put him there to lead a war against the evil of terrorism.(19)

Having helped define the President’s “mission,” the neoconservative cabal took the most advantage of the thus energized President. By deliberately couching their nefarious objectives in missionary terms, and repeatedly defining their enemies, real or imaginary, in biblical language (“axis of evil, evil-doers, good vs. evil, day of reckoning,” and the like), they had no difficulty getting the President to carry out their agenda, including the invasion of Iraq.

Whether in light of the less-than successful mission in Iraq, along with all the underlying instances of deception, disinformation, and political scandal, the President will continue to (or can) carry out the rest of the neoconservatives’ plan of “World War IV” beyond Iraq remains to be seen.

In summary: Two major forces behind the Bush Administration’s policy of war and mischief in the Middle East are (a) the Military-Industrial Complex, and (b) the Zionist proponents of establishing a Jewish state in the “Land of Israel.” The perceived interests of both of these forces converge on the promotion of war and convulsion in the region. It is this convergence of interests on war that explains the unholy alliance between representatives of these two ominously powerful interest groups.

Militant Zionists, striving to capture the <170>Land of Israel,<170> have always tried to portray opponents of their policies of expulsion and expansion as enemies of the United States, and to thereby get the U.S. military force to fight and/or support their wars of territorial extension. Under the bipolar world of the Cold War era, however, the United States needed its Arab/Muslim “allies” in the Middle East; this meant that, in its support of Israel, the U.S. could not at the time afford to abandon those allies and comply with the Zionist demands of regime and/or border change in the region.

But the collapse of the Soviet system and the end of the Cold War changed this geopolitical scenario. As representatives of the arms industries sought substitutes for the Soviet threat of the Cold war era, they found in radical Islam a plausible candidate, long promoted by a number of theoretical leaders of militant Zionism and their ideological cohorts as a major “threat to Western civilization.”

The interests of militant Zionism in fighting “radical Islam” now converged with those of the U.S. military industries.(20) The cabal of neoconservative warmongers in and around the Bush Administration largely represents this alliance.

What can be done to rein in this dangerously unbridled force?

There is no doubt that the neoconservatives’ adventurous foreign policy is a threat to world peace and stability. There is also no doubt that their policies are also menacing U.S. citizens’ civil liberties, undermining their social safety net programs, curtailing the working people’s rights and opportunities, plundering national resources, and creating a huge fiscal strain.

Equally there is no question that the neoconservatives’ pyrrhic success – so far – in shaping the U.S. foreign policy, including the invasion of Iraq, has benefitted from heavy doses of deception, disinformation, and Machiavellian manipulations. The question, rather, is: How long can the cabal of neoconservatives get away with telling so many lies, committing so much fraud, and doing so much damage – both domestically and internationally?

External/international resistance to the neoconservatives’ adventures will obviously help. But the crucial, restraining opposition has to come from within, that is, from the American people. Such opposition to neoconservatives’ destructive policies is bound to unfold.

There are strong indications that, as Eric Margolis points out, “The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the uglier the guerrilla war will get. And the more Americans will realize they were led into this needless conflict by a [President] manipulated by a cabal of neo-conservatives whose primary loyalty is not to the United States.”(21)

There is hope that as the American people realize that their sons and daughters are losing their lives because some policy makers lied, or that they are losing their jobs and livelihood because their national resources are squandered on the production of the means of destruction, they will demand the kind of accountability that will go some way to make the perpetrators of war and deception pay for their destructive policies.

Notes1. As cited by Carlton Meyer in: http://www.g2mil.com/May2003.htm

2. It is important to distinguish between hard-line/militant and moderate Zionists. While almost all Zionists would say that they dream of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, they greatly differ over what this really means. Generally speaking, two broad approaches have evolved over this issue: the moderate and the hard-line approaches.

Moderate Zionists do not deny the right of non-Jews to live in Palestine. They favor the idea of accommodation and peaceful coexistence with the non-Jewish natives of Palestine, either as a democratic, federal state, or as two independent states. Accordingly, they do not support the idea of forceful occupation of land, expulsion of indigenous people, and the establishment of a Jewish state based on exclusively or overwhelmingly Jewish population. Albert Einstein is the most well-known proponent of this approach.

Hard-line Zionists, by contrast, aim at capturing the “entire Palestine,” the “Promised Land,” stretching from Jordan to the Mediterranean, and establishing a state there based on exclusive or overwhelming majority of Jewish people. Accordingly, they advocate the policy of physical expulsion of the Palestinians from this “Promised Land.” “The iron wall,” a phrase put forward by Vladimir Jabotinsky in the 1920s, as the appropriate policy for militant Zionists to adopt in Palestine, succinctly captures this approach. It is this approach of Zionism, the hard-line approach, that I critique in this essay.

3. Evidence of such a trap surfaced in subsequent U.S. Congressional hearings on the issue. For example, an official message delivered to Saddam Hussein by the U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie on 25 July 1990, just days before the invasion of Kuwait, pointed out: “We have no opinion on . . . conflicts like your border dispute with Kuwait ... Secretary of State James Baker has directed our official spokesman to emphasize this instruction . . . I have direct instructions from the President.” For this and more evidence see, among other sources, International Viewpoint, No. 200, February 18, 1991, 4; Douglas Kelner, The Persian Gulf TV War Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1992; and James Ridgeway (ed.), The March to War, 1991.

4. “The Disastrous Foreign Policies of the United States,” Counterpunch, May 9, 2002: http://www.counterpunch.org/christison0806.html

5. Tom Segev, “One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate” (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000), 404-5; as quoted in Stephen J. Sniegoski, “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel,” http://www.thornwalker.com:16080/ditch/snieg_conc1.htm. For a history of Zionist ideas on expulsion, see e.g. Benny Morris, “Righteous Victims” (New York: 1999); Nur Masalha, “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ’Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948” (Washington: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1992).

6. Quoted in Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Introduction to German edition (10 July 2002), http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/id127.htm.

7. See Sniegoski, op. cit.

8. For some of the strategies through which the Zionist lobby manipulates the public opinion, especially in the United States, see, for example, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1395.shtml.

9. The literature on the neo-conservative think tanks, their family-like close ties, and their relentless scheming to further the interests of the war industries, on the one hand, and those of militant Zionism, on the other, is plentiful. Here is a sample: (a) Stephen J. Sniegoski, op. cit., http://www.thornwalker.com:16080/ditch/snieg_conc.htm; (b) Brian Whitaker, “US think tanks give lessons in foreign policy,” The Guardian, August 19, 2002: http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,777100,00.html; (c) Richard H. Curtis, “Israel’s Lobby Tries to Widen Net Against Terrorism,” “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,” December 2001: http://www.wrmea.com/archives/december01/0112026.html; and (d) Akiva Eldar, “An Unholy Alliance with the Christian Right: Gary Bauer and Likud,” Counterpunch, April 8, 2003: http://www.counterpunch.org/eldar04092003.html.

10. Jason Vest, “The Men From JINSA and CSP,” The Nation, September 2, 2002: http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=vest&c=1.

11. Sniegoski, <MI>op. cit<D>. The original document, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” can be viewed at: http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm.

12. The signers include many of the same Bush administration advisors and neoconservativbe figures mentioned earlier. See “Open Letter to the President,<170> February 19, 1998, http://www.iraqwatch.org/perspectives/rumsfeld-openletter.htm; Sniegoski, op. cit., http:// www.thornwalker.com:16080/ditch/snieg_conc2.htm; Frank Gaffney, “End Saddam’s Reign of Terror: Better late than never,” National Review Online, February 21, 2002, http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/gaffney022101.shtml.

13. The sponsors of the report included Richard Cheney (Vice President), Donald Rumsfeld (secretary of defense), Paul Wolfowitz (deputy secretary of defense), and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, was also a co-author of the report. See Sniegoski, op. cit.

14. The letter’s signatories included William Kristol, Gary Bauer, Eliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Eli Jacobs, Michael Joyce, Donald Kagan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Randy Scheunemann, Stephen J. Solarz, Leon Wieseltier and Marshall Wittmann. William Kristol & others, “Toward a Comprehensive Strategy: A Letter to the President,” September 20, 2001, http://www.nationalreview.com/document/document092101b.shtml; also in: “Project for the New American Century,” http://www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.htm.

15. Robert Kagan and William Kristol, “The Gathering Storm,” The Weekly Standard, October 29, 2002: http://theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/000/384thhhq.asp.

16. Eliot A. Cohen, “World War IV,” The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2001, >http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95001493. After arguing that “the enemy in this war is not terrorism . . . but militant Islam,” Professor Cohen goes on to suggest that the first battle in this war should start with Iraq: “Iraq is the obvious candidate.” Even if we assume that Professor Cohen is right in saying that “the enemy is militant Islam,” it is not clear why, then, he suggests that the war against militant Islam, “World War IV,” should start with Iraq. Not much love was lost between the secular Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and militant Islam. Nor have ties been found between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda.

17. See, for example, (a) Bernard Lewis, “What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response,” Oxford/New York 2001; (b) Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” New York 1997; (c) Charles Krauthammer, Interview, “Middle East Quarterly,” December 1994; and (d) Daniel Pipes, “There are no Moderates: Dealing with Fundamentalist Islam, The National Interest,” Fall 1995.

18. James P. Pinkerton, “The Iraq War, or America Betrayed,“ ny-Newsday.com, July 15, 2003: http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-vppin153372005jul15.story.

19. Sniegoski, op. cit. Norman Podhoretz, “In Praise of the Bush Doctrine,” Commentary, in http://www.ourjerusalem.com/opinion/story/opinion20020904a.html.

20. For a sample of views expressed within the neoconservative handlers of the President’s foreign policy in favor of “World War IV” see, for examples, (a) Justin Raimondo, “World War IV: Has it arrived?” in http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j040403.html; (b) Gail Russell Chaddock, “Tracing the Roots of America’s war in Iraq: `Neocon’ architects of a muscular US policy eye more regime changes in the region,” in http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0409/p03s01-uspo.html; (c) Herald Tribune, Special to World Tribune.com, Friday, April 4, 2003, “What’s Next? U.S. Set Sights on Iran, North Korea,” in http:// 216.26.163.62/2003/ss_wmd_04_03.html.

21. Eric Margolis, “U.S. Falling Into Bin Laden’s Trap,” Toronto Sun, July 6, 2003, in http://www.canoe.ca/Columnists/margolis_jul6.html.

ATC 107, November-December 2003

(sourced from)

Al-Jazeera Films False Flag Fake Chemical Attack Against Civilians in Syria

4 May 2017



A false flag fake chemical attack against civilians has recently been filmed by al-Jazeera stringers in Syria, and it was ordered from a European country, a military and diplomatic source revealed on Thursday.

"The "effectiveness" of the White Helmets' TV-spectacle of accusing Syrian authorities of attacking civilians in Khan Shaykhun with sarin inspired terrorists to continue filming the fake 'series'. According to info confirmed via several channels, al-Jazeera television channel stringers have recently filmed a staged, fake scene of an alleged chemical attack against civilians by the Syrian Army," the source told Sputnik.

The source said around 30 fire engines and ambulances, as well as 70 local residents with children transported from a refugee camp were used in the filming across three locations in Idlib province, including Jisr Shughur.

"A multiple simultaneous uploading of filmed fake footage with 'screaming' social media comments was due to take place in the next few days (by Sunday) at the separate command of a mastermind and sponsor of the film in one of the European countries," he added.

This filming appears to be ordered from a European country, the source said.

In December 2016, Egyptian police detained a man for making staged "wounded children" photos, which he was planning to use to misrepresent on social media as photos of destruction and injured people in Syria's Aleppo.

On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces claimed that 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a suspected chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, blaming the Syrian government. Damascus vehemently rejected the accusations and said militants and their allies were responsible.

Early April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib, which Washington blames on the Syrian government. Russia described the attack as an aggression against a sovereign state.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Sputnik that Western states are blocking attempts to investigate the Idlib chemical incident because in the event of a probe it will be established that the "attack" was a false flag and lie.

The OPCW announced in January 2016 that Syria’s weapons arsenal had been destroyed in accordance with an agreement reached after the 2013 Ghouta attack.

Syria and Khan al-Assal Massacre: A forerunner to False Chemical Flag in Khan Sheikhoun against Syria

 APRIL 13, 2017 


In Khan al-Assal over 150 people were brutally murdered by al-Qaeda affiliates and remnants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in 2013. Yet, the significance of Khan al-Assal applies to the chemical issue, whereby the Syrian government is adamant that terrorists were responsible for a past attack – just like recent intrigues in Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. Hence, when viewing the methodology of the massacre, then something doesn’t meet the eye because it appears to have been done based on other motives. This notably applies to covert operatives from sinister shadows. In other words, this bears all the hallmarks of the recent bombing of Syria in 2017 by President Donald Trump because something is afoot. Therefore, all roads to Khan al-Assal in 2013 and Khan Sheikhoun in 2017 point to the enemies of Damascus in relation to events involving chemicals.

Khan al-Assal massacre in 2013 and Chemical False Flag related to 2017

Officially, the terrorist group called the Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade in 2013 claimed responsibility but the behaviour of the massacre leads to doubts about the sole responsibility of just terrorist forces. In the past, certain special covert operations have taken place against airfields and to firmly entrench various sectarian terrorist forces in northern Syria. Given the importance of Khan al-Assal in relation to the reported chemical attack and with the Russian Federation providing evidence which firmly pins chemical usage on terrorist forces – then was the massacre aimed at specific individuals and aimed at a cover-up related to this incident?

Khan al-Assal massacre in 2013 and events on the ground then

It was known that the Syrian armed forces were making headway in Homs and in other parts of Syria in this part of 2013. This reality makes the attack against Khan al-Assal appear even more like a covert operation because it is unimportant militarily given the recent setbacks by sectarian forces. While Ansar al-Khilafa claims responsibility for the massacre, and al Nusra played its part, it is doubtful that such an operation is possible without extremely professional individuals being involved. Therefore, the timing of the attack would indicate that covert operatives were involved and hiding in the shadows, whereby terrorist groups held to be accountable became a convenient cover for the many intrigues against Syria. After all, only America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom could gain from this massacre because it can help to literally “bury the truth” about their respective false pretexts, in relation to the chemical issue.

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the barbaric massacre by stating that, “The gunmen of the two terrorist groups have perpetrated a brutal crime two days ago in Khan al-Asal which they captured on July 22nd, 2013.”

The ministry further stated, “The fighters of the two extremist groups have committed genocide against the captives of the Syrian officers and soldiers as well as against the pro-government civilians.

Dr. Riad Haddad, the Syrian Ambassador based in Moscow at the time of the massacre in 2013, was in no doubt that the barbaric massacre in Khan al-Assal was aimed at erasing the chemical false flag. He stated to Ria Novosti that “The main goal of this carnage which was committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and Ansar al-Khliafa brigade is killing all witnesses on the use of the chemical weapons use by the armed terrorist groups.

Surely, with infighting at the time between al-Qaeda affiliates and the FSA; internal tensions between various al-Qaeda groups; Nusra and the FSA attacking the Kurds near the border with Turkey and in other areas; alongside setbacks against the Syrian armed forces; then Khan al-Assal makes no strategic sense apart from covering up the crimes of the chemical attack. Also, the nature of the coordination of the attack hints to the involvement of special operatives and a planned attack from much higher.

It must be remembered that while the Syrian government was open to a proper investigation by the United Nations (UN) based on neutral observers; this unnerved many nations within the Gulf and Western terrorist alliance. The terrorist operation – or the joint covert operation – is known to have taken place by some individuals in virtually full disguise and having professional military builds – alongside the vast majority of ordinary members of both terrorist groups that did the massacre itself. It resembles a joint operation whereby the orders were planned by “outside forces” and because of strong motivational factors that lead to a cover up.

RIA Novosti stated, “Over the weekend “it became known about the atrocious killing” of some 150 people by militants from extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and Ansar al-Khilafah during an attack on Khan Assal, a town outside the northern city of Aleppo, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

RIA Novosti continued, “Both militant groups, which have conducted joint operations in the past, have claimed credit for taking control of Khan Assal on July 22-23 and killing more than 100 soldiers.

Like usual, the leaders of America, France, Turkey, and the United Kingdom in 2013 all remained mainly silent about this brutal massacre. These four NATO powers also have collectively agreed to allow NATO Turkey to be a conduit for al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist forces entering northern Syria via Turkey. Similarly, weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists, sectarian forces, and covert operatives are happening based on the role of NATO Turkey. However, this seems to be bypassing a mainly compliant and propaganda based media.

Carla Del Ponte in this period headed an independent commission of inquiry in relation to the possible usage of chemicals for the United Nations. She expressed, “investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated… This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about the chemical false flag it was stated that “It appears that the axis-of-evil against Syria will tolerate beheading people, daily terrorism, religious cleansing, killing journalists, kidnapping Christian bishops, taking UN personnel and making them hostages, killing mainstream Sunni clerics which support the independence of Syria, throwing people from rooftops and destroying Christian churches and Shia mosques. Will political elites in Ankara, Doha, London, Paris, Riyadh and Washington now “ see the light” and acknowledge that their “terrorist and sectarian freedom fighters” are simply barbaric? Or, will the mass media peddle more lies in order to brush the latest news about sarin gas under the carpet; in order to meet the demands of political elites that have various agendas in destabilising and crushing the last major secular Arabic-speaking nation in the Middle East?

It is clear that America, France, Turkey, and the United Kingdom have a lot of blood on their hands because all four nations have supported Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their “unholy and immoral war.” This applies to helping the terrorist, military, and covert ratlines against Syria. The massacre in Khan al-Assal didn’t serve the agenda of al-Qaeda affiliates and the FSA in relationship to the current military situation at the time in Syria. However, the massacre and barbaric atrocity did serve nations with “a false flag agenda” that needed to cover up the chemical angle.

US and bombing of Syria in 2017

Sadly, in 2017 it seems once more that Syria is being accused without any international investigation into an alleged chemical attack that took place recently. After all, with the Syrian armed forces being in better shape now than at any other time since outside nations began to destabilise Syria, then why would the government in Damascus commit such an own goal?

Equally, just like then, it is clear that some images don’t make sense. For example, some images show a little child with her throat cut – yet, with Syria bombing from the sky then how could chemicals kill like this? Similarly, the alleged evidence is tainted by the source being the White Helmets – and other players being involved including Turkey manipulating information for personal gains. This is based on images of the White Helmets being seen firmly within sectarian and Takfiri networks with links to al-Qaeda and other brutal sectarian forces.

Modern Tokyo Times says, “The devastating loss of innocent life in Khan Sheikhoun is truly tragic but sadly it is just a propaganda scoop for the enemies of Syria. Instead, real questions should be asked. For example, why did sectarian terrorists allow children to be in such close proximity to a munitions area known for making weapons?

It should be noted that allies of America – and the intrigues of Obama prior to Trump – have all assisted various sectarian forces and militias that have links to al-Qaeda and other brutal Takfiri groups. Yet, somehow, it is fine for NATO Turkey to be an open conduit for international jihadists. Similarly, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are never held accountable for supporting brutal sectarian forces that follow the mantra of “Alawites to the grave, Christians to Beirut.” Therefore, the usual Gulf and NATO powers – including France and the United Kingdom – are never held accountable for the cleansing of Alawites, Christians, Yazidis (Iraq), and endless terrorist attacks against the Shia.

Events in Khan Sheikhoun in 2017 resemble past brutal intrigues in Khan al-Assal way back in 2013. Likewise, past propaganda videos involve kidnapped Alawite children by several Sunni Takfiri groups, who were killed for propaganda purposes. Alas, once more the mass media and gullible international politicians are open to Gulf and NATO propaganda – with some leaders openly being devious – because of an agenda being set in the corridors of power in America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

In all truth, why would Syria and the Russian Federation seek to provide the enemies of both nations with ample power to isolate them further – and, to enforce the political elites of Moscow to abandon Damascus? After all, it is abundantly clear that the situation is more stable and encouraging for the government of Syria in 2017. Similarly, the timing of the intrigue came shortly after America appeared to be softening against Syria. Hence, two birds were killed with one stone in Khan Sheikhoun – this applies to maintaining the conflict in Syria and boosting more pressure on Assad in order to oust him – and, secondly, the naivety of Trump means that American and Russian relations are in tatters once more.

[by Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker] -  APRIL 13, 2017

http://moderntokyotimes.com/?p=6954

Also see | http://handsoffsyria.blogspot.com/2017/05/assessment-of-wh-intelligence-report.html

Intelligence Veterans Voice Doubts on Syrian Crisis


April 26, 2017

Two dozen former U.S. intelligence professionals are urging the American people to demand clear evidence that the Syrian government was behind the April 4 chemical incident before President Trump dives deeper into another war.

AN OPEN MEMORANDUM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Subject: Mattis ‘No Doubt’ Stance on Alleged Syrian CW Smacks of Politicized Intelligence

Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, during a recent trip to Israel, commented on the issue of Syria’s retention and use of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations to dispose of the totality of its declared chemical weapons capability in accordance with the provisions of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman hold a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 21, 2017. (U.S. Embassy photo by Matty Stern)

“There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.” To the contrary, Mattis noted, “I can say authoritatively they have retained some.”

Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”

Both Mattis and Lieberman seemed to be channeling assessments offered to reporters two days prior, on April 19, 2017, by anonymous Israeli defense officials that the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian village of Khan Shaykhun was ordered by Syrian military commanders, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s personal knowledge, and that Syria retained a stock of “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.

The Israeli intelligence followed on the heels of an April 13, 2017 speech given by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that, once information had come in about a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the CIA had been able to “develop several hypothesis around that, and then to begin to develop fact patterns which either supported or suggested that the hypothesis wasn’t right.” The CIA, Pompeo said, was “in relatively short order able to deliver to [President Trump] a high-confidence assessment that, in fact, it was the Syrian regime that had launched chemical strikes against its own people in [Khan Shaykhun.]”

The speed in which this assessment was made is of some concern. Both Director Pompeo, during his CSIS remarks, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, during comments to the press on April 6, 2017, note that President Trump turned to the intelligence community early on in the crisis to understand better “the circumstances of the attack and who was responsible.” McMaster indicated that the U.S. Intelligence Community, working with allied partners, was able to determine with “a very high degree of confidence” where the attack originated.
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Mike Pompeo, now CIA director, speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. February 2012. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Both McMaster and Pompeo spoke of the importance of open source imagery in confirming that a chemical attack had taken place, along with evidence collected from the victims themselves – presumably blood samples – that confirmed the type of agent that was used in the attack. This initial assessment drove the decision to use military force – McMaster goes on to discuss a series of National Security Council meetings where military options were discussed and decided upon; the discussion about the intelligence underpinning the decision to strike Syria was over.

The danger of this rush toward an intelligence decision by Director Pompeo and National Security Advisor McMaster is that once the President and his top national security advisors have endorsed an intelligence-based conclusion, and authorized military action based upon that conclusion, it becomes virtually impossible for that conclusion to change. Intelligence assessments from that point forward will embrace facts that sustain this conclusion, and reject those that don’t; it is the definition of politicized intelligence, even if those involved disagree.

A similar “no doubt” moment had occurred nearly 15 years ago when, in August 2002, Vice President Cheney delivered a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney declared. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” The message Cheney was sending to the Intelligence Community was clear: Saddam Hussein had WMD; there was no need to answer that question anymore.

The CIA vehemently denies that either Vice President Cheney or anyone at the White House put pressure on its analysts to alter their assessments. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the record of certainty – and arrogance – that existed in the mindset of senior intelligence managers and analysts only further erodes public confidence in the assessments produced by the CIA, especially when, as is the case with Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – the agency was found so lacking. Stuart Cohen, a veteran CIA intelligence analyst who served as the acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, oversaw the production of the 2002 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to make case for Iraq possessing WMD that was used to justify war.

According to Mr. Cohen, he had four National Intelligence Officers with “over 100 years’ collective work experience on weapons of mass destruction issues” backed up by hundreds of analysts with “thousands of man-years invested in studying these issues.”

On the basis of this commitment of talent alone, Mr. Cohen assessed that “no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal … and reached any conclusion or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached,” namely that – judged with high confidence – “Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council.”

Two facts emerge from this expression of intellectual hubris. First, the U.S. Intelligence Community was, in fact, wrong in its estimate on Iraq’s WMD capability, throwing into question the standards used to assign “high confidence” ratings to official assessments. Second, the “reasonable person” standard cited by Cohen must be reassessed, perhaps based upon a benchmark derived from a history of analytical accuracy rather than time spent behind a desk.
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Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003, citing satellite photos and other “intelligence” which supposedly proved that Iraq had WMD, but the evidence proved bogus.

The major lesson learned here, however, is that the U.S. Intelligence Community, and in particular the CIA, more often than not hides behind self-generated platitudes (“high confidence”, “reasonable person”) to disguise a process of intelligence analysis that has long ago been subordinated to domestic politics.

It is important to point out the fact that Israel, too, was wrong about Iraq’s WMD. According to Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli Intelligence Officer, Israeli intelligence seriously overplayed the threat posed by Iraqi WMD in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War, including a 2002 briefing to NATO provided by Efraim Halevy, who at the time headed the Israeli Mossad, or intelligence service, that Israel had “clear indications” that Iraq had reconstituted its WMD programs after U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998.

The Israeli intelligence assessments on Iraq, Mr. Brom concluded, were most likely colored by political considerations, such as the desire for regime change in Iraq. In this light, neither the presence of Avigdor Leiberman, nor the anonymous background briefings provided by Israel about Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, should be used to provide any credence to Secretary Mattis’s embrace of the “no doubt” standard when it comes to Syria’s alleged possession of chemical weapons.

The intelligence data that has been used to back up the allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use has been far from conclusive. Allusions to intercepted Syrian communications have been offered as “proof”, but the Iraq experience – in particular former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s unfortunate experience before the U.N. Security Council – show how easily such intelligence can be misunderstood and misused.

Inconsistencies in the publicly available imagery which the White House (and CIA) have so heavily relied upon have raised legitimate questions about the veracity of any conclusions drawn from these sources (and begs the question as to where the CIA’s own Open Source Intelligence Center was in this episode.) The blood samples used to back up claims of the presence of nerve agent among the victims was collected void of any verifiable chain of custody, making their sourcing impossible to verify, and as such invalidates any conclusions based upon their analysis.

In the end, the conclusions CIA Director Pompeo provided to the President was driven by a fundamental rethinking of the CIA’s analysts when it came to Syria and chemical weapons that took place in 2014. Initial CIA assessments in the aftermath of the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons seemed to support the Syrian government’s stance that it had declared the totality of its holding of chemical weapons, and had turned everything over to the OPCW for disposal. However, in 2014, OPCW inspectors had detected traces of Sarin and VX nerve agent precursors at sites where the Syrians had indicated no chemical weapons activity had taken place; other samples showed the presence of weaponized Sarin nerve agent.

The Syrian explanation that the samples detected were caused by cross-contamination brought on by the emergency evacuation of chemical precursors and equipment used to handle chemical weapons necessitated by the ongoing Civil War was not accepted by the inspectors, and this doubt made its way into the minds of the CIA analysts, who closely followed the work of the OPCW inspectors in Syria.

One would think that the CIA would operate using the adage of “once bitten, twice shy” when assessing inspector-driven doubt; U.N. inspectors in Iraq, driven by a combination of the positive sampling combined with unverifiable Iraqi explanations, created an atmosphere of doubt about the veracity of Iraqi declarations that all chemical weapons had been destroyed. The CIA embraced the U.N. inspectors’ conclusions, and discounted the Iraqi version of events; as it turned out, Iraq was telling the truth.

While the jury is still out about whether or not Syria is, like Iraq, telling the truth, or whether the suspicions of inspectors are well founded, one thing is clear: a reasonable person would do well to withhold final judgment until all the facts are in. (Note: The U.S. proclivity for endorsing the findings of U.N. inspectors appears not to include the Khan Shaykhun attack; while both Syria and Russia have asked the OPCW to conduct a thorough investigation of the April 4, 2017 incident, the OPCW has been blocked from doing so by the United States and its allies.)
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Photograph of men in Khan Sheikdoun in Syria, allegedly inside a crater where a sarin-gas bomb landed on April 4, 2017.

CIA Director Pompeo’s job is not to make policy – the intelligence his agency provides simply informs policy. It is not known if the U.S. Intelligence Community will be producing a formal National Intelligence Estimate addressing the Syrian chemical weapons issue, although the fact that the United States has undertaken military action under the premise that these weapons exist more than underscores the need for such a document, especially in light of repeated threats made by the Trump administration that follow-on strikes might be necessary.

Making policy is, however, the job of Secretary of Defense Mattis. At the end of the day, Secretary of Defense Mattis will need to make his own mind up as to the veracity of any intelligence used to justify military action. Mattis’s new job requires that he does more than simply advise the President on military options; he needs to ensure that the employment of these options is justified by the facts.

In the case of Syria, the “no doubt” standard Mattis has employed does not meet the “reasonable man” standard. Given the consequences that are attached to his every word, Secretary Mattis would be well advised not to commit to a “no doubt” standard until there is, literally, no doubt.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS)

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator (GG-12) HQ, Department of the Army

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

----------------------------


.

Turkish Journalist Ali Ornek's take on the OPCW's "Report" on the Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack


Following are Journalist Ali Ornek's consequtive 22 tweets on the subject





I) OPCW haven't sent an investigation team to Khan Sheikhoun to gather first-hand evidences and samples yet.
[https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-director-general-shares-incontrovertible-laboratory-results-concluding-exposure-to-sarin/]





1a) Khan Sheikhoun is at the southern edge of the 'rebel' held teritory in Idlib and it is a two-hour drive from Reyhanlı (Turkey) to KS




1b) AlQaeda affiliated Tahrir al-Sham, that controls KS hasn't called for an OPCW investigation contrary 2 Assad.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-president-al-assad-khan-sheikhoun-chemical-weapons-incident-totally-fabricated-the-us-is-not-serious-in-achieving-any-political-solution/5584931



1c) Also, it's Russia that preassures on OPCW to send experts into Syria to probe Idlib chemical incident.
https://www.rt.com/news/384837-lavrov-syria-chemical-investigation/



1.d) If OPCW didn't send an investigation team into Syria, then what is the source of 'samples' for its reporting. Of course Turkey.

II) Turkey has always been the most ardent partner of the international coaliton that seeks regime change in Syria. US ex-VP Biden:




II.a) Initial reports of Turkey on the KS contradicting each other, raising the questions if the reports politically manipulated.

II.b) The initial report of Turkish chemical team (CBRN) experts concludes that what caused the deaths in KS was not SARIN but CHLORINE.




II.c) A day after CBRN report given to OPCW, the watchdog confirmed the initial reports of CBRN team.

[ https://www.opcw.org/news/article/media-brief-reported-use-of-chemical-weapons-southern-idlib-syria-4-april-2017/ ]



II. d) But Turkish Health Min. based on same tests on the same victims ignored CBRN report, said SARIN was used. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/world/middleeast/chemical-attack-syria.html]





II. e) Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ claimed “autopsies were conducted with WHO while WHO official denided [ http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/autopsy-results-show-chemical-weapons-used-syrian-attack-turkish-minister-242896067 ]



II.f) Previously, Bozdağ was blamed for using his authority 2 close an investigation abt a jihadi cell arrested with SARIN by opposition. [http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/bekir-bozdag-dan-savci-ya-sarin-gazi-fircasi-islami-orgutlere-haberimiz-olmadan-operasyon-yapmayin-93116.html]





Note: Prime suspect, released from prison thanks to a report saying confiscated chemical isn't sarin -laterly turned out to be 'mistake'-

Note 2: Second expert report stated Ahrar al-Sham cell (that has presence in Khan Sheikhoun) caught up with SARIN.  Syria Feature: 1 Convicted, 5 Acquitted in “Sarin” Case in Turkey



...

II. g) So the latest OPCW report, as well as Lister's accusations mainly based on contradicting Turkish reports +

II g-2) samples given under the authority of a minister accused with the spoliation of evidence abt Syrian rebels operations to obtain CW

III) Lister refers US report blaming Assad which distorts the truth on the most vital part: Motivation of the attack.

III. a) Acc. to White House Syria report, desperate situation of Assad in Hama front leads him to use CW. [ https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/04/11/world/middleeast/document-Syria-Chemical-Weapons-Report-White-House.html ]




III b) But for opposition, 'Assad recaptured 90% of the territory' left jihadists in a desperate situation.
           [http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=64045 ]




III c) MIT professor Ted Postol -higly regarded expert- challenges White House on the technical parts of the report [ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/66712.html ]
** Also see : http://handsoffsyria.blogspot.com/2017/05/assessment-of-wh-intelligence-report.html **

IV) And finally Lister, funded by Qatar http://freebeacon.com/national-security/questions-raised-about-ties-between-brookings-institution-qatars-government/ Qatar is claimed to be state-sponsor of ISIS.




Also see: Hillary In Leaked Email: Saudi Arabia And Qatar Are Funding ISIS




END.

20 April 2017

SOURCEhttps://twitter.com/ornekali/status/855058299670102016

Also see | http://handsoffsyria.blogspot.com/2017/05/assessment-of-wh-intelligence-report.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Moon of Alabama published the following article on April 20, 2017 partially based on the work and tweets of Ali Ornek
*
Chlorine, Not Sarin, Was Used In The Khan Sheikhun Incident

Those who blame the Syrian government for the allegedly chemical incident in Khan Sheikhun on April 4 are now playing up the analysis of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). But the results of the OPCW tests are inconsistent with all observed and reported technical and medical facts of the incident.

Yesterday the OPCW Director General Ambassador Üzümcü, a Turkish career diplomat and former NATO ambassador, released the first analytic results of the OPCW investigation into the Khan Sheikhun incident:
The bio-medical samples collected from three victims during their autopsy were analysed at two OPCW designated laboratories. The results of the analysis indicate that the victims were exposed to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance. Bio-medical samples from seven individuals undergoing treatment at hospitals were also analysed in two other OPCW designated laboratories. Similarly, the results of these analyses indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance.
Director-General Üzümcü stated clearly: “The results of these analyses from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance.
"Sarin or Sarin-like substance" is noted three times a row. Sarin is also mentioned in the headline. Someone is pushing that meme - hard.

But the OPCW did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred in Khan Sheikhun. It suggested nothing about the incident itself. It only talked about bio-medical samples of several persons - nothing more, nothing less. It also did not give any hint of how much exposure the persons in question received. Was it a minimal traceable amount that had no effect or did they die from it? The OPCW does not say.

A "Sarin like substances" could be a different chemical weapon than sarin - soman is a possible candidate. It would be more consistent with the "smell" several witnesses described after the incident. Many general insecticides belong to the same class of chemicals as sarin and soman. They are organophosphorus compounds. (Sarin was originally developed as an insecticide). All of such compounds could be a source of the exposure found by the OPCW. These chemicals degrade within hours or days. A forensic analysis will not find the original substance but only decomposition products of some organophosporus compound. That is the reason why the OPCW result is not fixed on sarin but also mentions "sarin like substances".

Another question is where those samples come from. Who "collected" them? And what is the chain of evidence that connects the samples to the incident? The OPCW has not send an investigation team to Khan Sheikhun. No samples were taken in Khan Sheikhun by its own inspectors. While Russia and Syria have asked for OPCW inspections on the ground, Tahrir al-Sham, the renamed al-Qaeda in Syria which controls the Khan Sheikhun area, has not asked for inspectors. Without its agreement any investigation mission is simply too dangerous. None of the OPCW inspectors is interested in literally losing his head to those terrorists.

Al-Qaeda propaganda organizations in Khan Sheikhun were the first to claim that sarin was used on the ground. "Western" media and governments later repeated those claims before any further investigations could have been done. The very first claim I found was made by the former British doctor Shajul Islam who works for the terrorists. This video of him of "doctors "and "patients" in an emergence room in Kgan Sheikhun was pure theater, taken over a longer time period. The main presenter, Shajul Islam, is a well-known criminal Takfiri with links to the British secret service. He talks of sarin even though the "patients" around him show no signs of sarin effects and the emergency personal in the video is unprotected against potent chemical agents.

A White House assessment later claimed that it had evidence that sarin was used. It used the claim to justify the bombing of the Syrian military airport Al Syairat. But the White House assessment contains no evidence. It includes a number of factually false statements. It claims, for example:
]T]he World Health Organization stated on April 5 that its analysis of victims of the attack in Syria showed the had been exposed to nerve agents
The WHO report from April 5 stated no such thing. It only noted:
[S]erious reports of the use of highly toxic chemicals in an attack in Khan Shaykhun

It WHO made no analysis of its own. It only mentions "reports".

Immediately after the incident, bodies of dead and wounded were brought to Turkey where they were taken into hospital. Al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda aligned personal must have transported them. It is a three hour car ride from Khan Sheikhun to the Turkish border.

The incident happened on April 4. First reports by the Turkish government news agency Anadolu mentioned only chlorine:
At least 100 people were killed Tuesday when Assad regime warplanes carried out a chlorine gas attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, according to Syrian opposition Health Minister Firas Jundi.
...
A local civil defense official earlier told Anadolu Agency a regime aircraft carried out a chlorine gas attack on the town early Tuesday.
The first OPCW statement on April 4 referred to chlorine, not sarin or similar:
The OPCW is investigating the incident in southern Idlib under the on-going mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which is “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic”.
The first report of the Turkish government also said chlorine. The UN Security Council convened on April 6 to discuss the incident. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported:
Turkey sent a report to the United Nations just before a U.N. Security Council meeting to address accusations that the Syrian government staged a chemical weapons attack on April 4, stating that the gas used in the attack was chlorine gas.Turkey’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear teams (KBRN) prepared an initial report over the possible material of the alleged chemical attack, relying on the symptoms of and tests conducted on the victims and their testimonies.
The report stated that the initial findings of the tests conducted on around 30 victims brought to Turkey for treatment pointed to a chlorine gas attack.
Thirty victims were immediately brought to Turkey after the incident. But the Turkish doctors and CBRN specialist did not consider sarin, but chlorine gas -a much less potent chemical- to be involved. (Chlorine is not designated a chemical weapon under the chemical warfare regulations. This fact is often obfuscated for propaganda reasons. ) The symptoms of chlorine ingestion and the effects of sarin exposure are quite different. It is extremely unlikely that the emergency doctors and chemical weapon specialists misdiagnosed the issue when the patients arrived and were taken care of. The 30 casualties arriving in Turkey were not the casualties of a sarin incident.

But then the Turkish Health Ministry started to tell a different story:
The poison used in the deadly chemical bomb attack in a rebel-held part of northern Syria this week was the banned nerve agent sarin, the Turkish Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
...
“According to the results of preliminary tests,” the statement said, “patients were exposed to chemical material (Sarin).”
...
The Turkish statement did not elaborate on how the sarin had been identified in the assault on Tuesday, but it said some of the telling symptoms seen in the victims included “lung edema, increase in lung weight and bleeding in lungs.”
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Response Database:
At high exposure levels, irritation of the upper respiratory tract and accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) contribute to a sensation of choking.

But that is from the CDC entry for chlorine.

The CDC entry for sarin mentions "fluid accumulation in the airways" as one symptom among many more conspicuous ones. It does not mention an edema in the lungs.

Contradicting the first Turkish reports the Turkish Health Ministry claimed "sarin" (in parenthesis?!). But the symptom it described as proof was not of sarin but of chlorine exposure.

The Turkish Justice Minister also made a statement, but did not mention sarin at all:
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters that "Autopsies were carried out on three of the bodies after they were brought from Idlib. The results of the autopsy confirms that chemical weapons were used," quoted by state-run Anadolu news agency."This scientific investigation also confirms that Assad used chemical weapons," Bozdag added, without giving further details.
...
Bozdag said autopsies were conducted with the "participation" of officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the southern province of Adana together with officials from Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

But WHO immediately countered Bozdag's claims that it was involved in the postmortem, saying the organisation did not conduct autopsies, adding: "It is not our mandate."
...
[It] also stressed that no samples or swabs had been taken by WHO despite claims by the Adana prosecutor that "examples" had been sent to the organisation and the OPCW
.

The Justice Minister claimed that samples had been given to the WHO and OPCW from the very first autopsies. But the WHO clearly denies that. I find no OPCW statement on this. Did it receive any of those first samples or only some that were later produced by Turkish authorities?

In 2013 a Turkish court, under Justice Minister Bozdag, set one suspected Ahrar al Sham member free after he was caught with sarin precursors. The person was later sentenced in absentia as he had fled back to Syria. Ahrar al Sham, while not in charge, has a presence in Khan Sheikhun.

The neuroscientist and neuro-pharmacologist Denis O'Brien, a Ph.D. with a research and teaching career in that field, analyzed the symtoms of the casualties that were depicted in the various videos coming out of Khan Sheikhun. His detailed diagnostics and chemical-biological explanations are humorously titled Top Ten Ways to Tell When You're Being Spoofed by a False-Flag Sarin Attack.

O'Brian notes the total absence of feces, urine, vomit and cyanosis (turning blue) in the videos. Sarin exposure causes, according to the CDC database, "Nausea, vomiting (emesis), diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping." Sarin effected patients would spontaneously shit, pee and vomit all over. But the casualties in the videos, even the "dead" ones, have clean undies. The "clinic" in the videos has clean floors. The patients show red skin color, not oxygen deprived blue. The patients in the videos were not effected by sarin.

Medical personal and rescue workers in the videos (example) and pictures also show none of the typical sarin symptoms. Sarin degrades relatively fast. Half of the potency will be gone within five hours after release (depending on environmental factors). But these rescue workers and medical personal were immediately involved with the casualties. They do not wear any reasonable protection. They would have been dead or at least effected if sarin would have been involved in any relevant concentration.

The Turkish doctors and chemical weapon specialists who received the first patients diagnosed chlorine exposure, not sarin. The first news and Turkish reports to the UN speak of chlorine, not sarin. It is only the Turkish Health Minister who mentions sarin - in parentheses, but then lists a symptom of severe chlorine exposure as one of sarin. Neither the casualties nor the unprotected medical personal involved in the incident show any effect of sarin exposure. The only one who claimed "sarin" early on was an al-Qaeda alligend former doctor in a staged propaganda video.

Fifteen days after the incident the OPCW say that samples (it was given?) "indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance".

Turkey has been the supply and support lifeline for Ahrar al Sham as well as for al-Qaeda in Syria. The samples given to the OPCW were taken by Turkish personal in Turkey. The current head of the OPCW is a Turkish civil servant. It is in the interest of Turkey and its terrorist clients in Syria to blame the Syrian government for chemical weapon use.

The medical and technical evidence is not consistent with a sarin attack by the Syrian government. All of the videos and pictures of the incident were taken in al-Qaeda controlled territory. All witnesses were under al-Qaeda control. How much of the incident was staged for videos (see al-Qaeda doctor video linked above) or how many of the witnesses were told to lie is not testable under current circumstance. The Syrian government insist that it had given up all its chemical weapons and keeps no stocks. The Russian government also asserts that no chemical weapon attack took place.

The OPCW analysis may well have found that samples it received indicated some organophosphorus exposure. But the chain of evidence for these samples is very dubious. The amount of exposure was not defined.

The observable facts of the incident do not support the conclusion that sarin was present in the Khan Sheikhun incident.

Note: Part of the above is based on the work and tweets of Ali Ornek