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8 ways White House “evidence” exonerates Assad from chemical attack

The rock solid evidence that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack is weak and heavily relies on social media.

Alex Christoforou

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The White House has finally released some “evidence” they claim shows Assad carried out last week’s chemical attack, and the “evidence” was mostly derived from social media accounts, sprinkled with the standard…”we have more intelligence, but we cannot release at this time” rhetoric.

For his part, Secretary of Defense James Mattis looked to quickly quash doubts over which party was responsible for the “sarin gas” attacks, saying there was “no doubt” that the Assad regime “planned it, orchestrated it, and executed it.”

We should, of course believe the Generals and military men…they could not possibly benefit from more war, and the US Pentagon has never doctored evidence in past conflicts (Iraq, Serbia, Vietnam, Libya, Ukraine).

Much like with MH17, we have social media, from “trusted” social media accounts, being used by the White House to assign blame to Russia.  The report released blames Assad for the chemical weapons attack, but the real evil in the report is Russia and Putin.

To hell with evidence, The New York Times is happy with social media tweets and FB status updates to come to a final judgement. It’s called journalism in a millennial age…

The White House accused the Russian government on Tuesday of engaging in a cover-up of the chemical weapons attack last week by Syrian forces that prompted American missile strikes, saying that United States intelligence and numerous contemporaneous reports confirmed that the Syrians used sarin gas on their own people.

In a declassified four-page report that details United States intelligence on the chemical weapons attack and contains a point-by-point rebuttal of Moscow’s claims, the White House asserted that the Syrian and Russian governments had sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and “false narratives.”

The strongly worded document calls for international condemnation of Syria’s use of chemical weapons and harshly criticizes Russia for “shielding” an ally that has used weapons of mass destruction.

…Much of the report was devoted to rebutting Russia’s claim that the chemical attack last week was actually the result of a Syrian airstrike against a terrorist ammunition depot in Khan Sheikhoun that contained chemical weapons. The report also cited a video and commercial satellite imagery that showed that the chemical weapon had landed in the middle of a road, not at a weapons facility.

White House officials said United States intelligence agencies do not believe that the Islamic State or other terrorist groups have sarin gas.

You can view the full White House document below.

Here are some key points which prove how flimsy the evidence truly is, and how, given such flimsy evidence in a four page report, almost lead to a world war between nuclear powers, the entire world should take pause and stop Trump’s madness ASAP.


1. The White House “cannot publicly release all available intelligence on this attack due to the need to protect sources and methods.”

Of course the WH cannot release the evidence. Just trust them.

On a side note, the 2013 report from the Obama White House started almost the exact same thing, and UN determined rebels were behind the Ghouta attack.

2. All the so-called videos and satellite imagery cited in the report that traces back to Assad is nowhere to be found. No sources referenced. Nothing. Sure the report has parts which sound cinematically compelling, but with ZERO video or photographic evidence…it’s all hollywood scripted words.

There was a White House background briefing given about this report, but the Trump Administration is not releasing video of said briefing, only a transcript with a name reading, “SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL.”

3. NO ONE was willing to put their name on the report. NO ONE! This says a lot. No one wants to be on record for these lies put in writing.

4. The opening paragraph says the US is “confident” Assad carried out the attack. Not definite, not 100%, just “confident”. I am confident I will become a multi-millionaire, and own 3 homes. Confidence is nice, but it is not fact.

5. In first paragraph, the source of the claims are “observers at the scene.” ISIS and Al Qaeda observers perhaps?

6. US is confident in their assessment because they have all kinds of signals intelligence (images or video not provided), geospatial intelligence (satellite imagery not provided), laboratory samples “collected from multiple victims” and “credible open source reporting”. Would that be the credible White Helmets?

7. The problematic section entitled, “Summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Assessment of the April 4 Attack.”

Let’s take it paragraph by paragraph. Red underline highlights interesting comments and wordplay in the text.

WH Syria1

The words “maintains the capability” and “intent to use” are red flags. The US also maintains the capability and intent to launch nuclear weapons. Does not mean they will do it.

“The opposition” is interesting wordplay for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Assad was winning not losing. This paragraph deliberately tries to assign a false motive to the crime. Fact is Assad was winning the war against ISIS in Syria. Also notice the word “probably”. Not definitely…but “probably involved.”


WH Syria2

“Pro-opposition social media reports” this simply means ISIS, Al Qaeda and White Helmets social media accounts. They have nothing to gain from baiting the US into attacking Assad…correct?


WH Syria3

“Indicates” the chemical weapon was delivered by an Su-22. No proof of this “indication”, and not backed by solid imagery. No imagery is provided to show this was indeed the aircraft claimed.

Once again the word “indicates” shows up to say that “personnel historically associated” with chemical weapons attacks were at Shayrat airbase.

Really? Who are these personnel? Names please. How does the White House know these personnel committed previous chemical weapons attacks? Is there a file and historical evidence? Please share Mr. Trump?


WH Syria4

After the attack, “there were hundred of accounts of victims” with sarin exposure symptoms. Who are these hundreds of victim accounts?

Were these accounts gathered from social media? White Helmets social media? Or ISIS social media accounts? Why not share these accounts with the public? Are they so secretive and classified that the WH cannot release these accounts which show sarin gas symptoms…diagnosed over social media?

“Open source accounts posted” from “first responders”…this is clearly White Helmets. Here is some disturbing White Helmets propaganda, as they fake saving babies, while actually killing babies. 

And since when were the White Helmets chemical weapons experts, or experts in diagnosing chemical agent exposure?


WH Syria5

“Broadcasted local videos included images”…why not share the videos and images broadcast so we can see where they came from?

“Commercial satellite imagery”…”showed impact craters around the hospital.” Craters around a war zone. That would be uncommon, right? If the imagery was commercial then why not release it? Was the hospital destroyed…photos would be useful to confirm this destruction.

Finally…“medical staff with body suits on”…you mean these guys, wearing these body suits?

fake helmets


8. The last two pages of the four page document is all about trying to explain how Moscow “misinforms” the public, and has a “history” of trying to draw attention away from Assad’s atrocities. The document spends more time trying to convince the reader how evil Russia is, then actually focusing on proving Assad committed the crime with factual evidence.

I am no lawyer, but my guess is that this argument would not even hold water in Judge Judy’s TV court room.


I am not alone in my assessment at this laughable White House document that is being used to push the world towards war. At least Colin Powell had some “anthrax” tubes to show. Trump’s war propagandists do not even treat us to visual aids to firm up this lie.


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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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