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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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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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