On June 25, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh released a bombshell article revealing a number of facets regarding the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria and the resulting volley of Tomahawk missiles fired by the United States at the al-Sha’aryat airbase in response. Hersh’s article provides the reader with what many of us already knew and wrote about at the time; i.e. that the Syrian military did not conduct a chemical weapons attack and that the United States was fully aware of that fact. Still, the U.S. government opted to use the attack as a justification for launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase that resulted in the deaths of Syrian soldiers, civilians, and children from the nearby village.
Hersh’s article shows that not all key personnel were on board with the decision to launch Tomahawk missiles at al-Sha’aryat or even of the whole Syria/Iraq mission. The article reveals real concerns amongst knowledgeable personnel that the Russians will not continue to act as the cooler heads and that Russia has long wanted peace in the region. Most notably, it reveals the fact that there is a “secret agenda” moving forward in regards to Syria, Iraq, and Russia. Hersh’s article also points to the President as the individual who made the decision to launch attacks in Syria, against the advice of the military and intelligence community.
While much of this information is already well known, it bears closer scrutiny to understand and unearth what is really going on behind the scenes in the American government.
In his article, “Trump’s Red Line,” Hersh writes,
On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”
Within hours of the April 4 bombing, the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan Sheikhoun. Pictures of dead and dying victims, allegedly suffering from the symptoms of nerve gas poisoning, were uploaded to social media by local activists, including the White Helmets, a first responder group known for its close association with the Syrian opposition.
Hersh goes on to lay the blame at the feet of President Trump, pointing out that the National Security team was dismayed at his insistence to launch the Tomahawk missiles. He writes,
To the dismay of many senior members of his national security team, Trump could not be swayed over the next 48 hours of intense briefings and decision-making. In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4.
Hersh’s chat protocol between a security analyst and an American soldier, which was also published by Welt, does indeed show a major disagreement between the analyst and the soldier and the Trump policy to launch strikes. It also shows that both the analyst and the soldier disagree with the entire mission in both Iraq and Syria as well as the U.S. policy toward Russia.
Hersh presents a picture of Trump as a reactionary and narcissistic watcher of television news, anxiously awaiting the ability to be seen as a hero or at least the focus of attention. He writes essentially that Trump saw reports of the deaths of civilians in Khan Sheikhoun and made the decision right then and there to bomb Syria, a decision he stuck to even after all the intelligence surrounding the chemical attack had been shown to him and it was demonstrated that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons. According to Hersh, the intelligence community, the military, and national security team were all frightened that the reckless Trump would push us into World War Three and thus sought to guide him into launching an attack that showed force but wasn’t enough to actually create the pretext for Armageddon. Hersh paints a picture that shows a military and intelligence community telling the Russians before the missiles were launched so that a confrontation could be avoided.
In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.
Russian and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the carefully planned flight path to and from Khan Sheykhoun on April 4 directly, in English, to the deconfliction monitors aboard the AWACS plane, which was on patrol near the Turkish border, 60 miles or more to the north.
The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun, as shared with the Americans at Doha, was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U.S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The two groups had recently joined forces, and controlled the town and surrounding area. Russian intelligence depicted the cinder-block building as a command and control center that housed a grocery and other commercial premises on its ground floor with other essential shops nearby, including a fabric shop and an electronics store.
“The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.
One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. “They were playing the game right,” the senior adviser said. The Russian guidance noted that the jihadist meeting was coming at a time of acute pressure for the insurgents: Presumably Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham were desperately seeking a path forward in the new political climate. In the last few days of March, Trump and two of his key national security aides – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – had made statements acknowledging that, as the New York Times put it, the White House “has abandoned the goal” of pressuring Assad “to leave power, marking a sharp departure from the Middle East policy that guided the Obama administration for more than five years.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a press briefing on March 31 that “there is a political reality that we have to accept,” implying that Assad was there to stay.
Russian and Syrian intelligence officials, who coordinate operations closely with the American command posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. “It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,” the senior adviser told me. “Every operations officer in the region” – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – “had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.” The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community.
The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations. But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence. If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”
The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. According to intelligence estimates, the senior adviser said, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders, and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92. A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that “eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.” MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.
The internet swung into action within hours, and gruesome photographs of the victims flooded television networks and YouTube. U.S. intelligence was tasked with establishing what had happened. Among the pieces of information received was an intercept of Syrian communications collected before the attack by an allied nation. The intercept, which had a particularly strong effect on some of Trump’s aides, did not mention nerve gas or sarin, but it did quote a Syrian general discussing a “special” weapon and the need for a highly skilled pilot to man the attack plane. The reference, as those in the American intelligence community understood, and many of the inexperienced aides and family members close to Trump may not have, was to a Russian-supplied bomb with its built-in guidance system. “If you’ve already decided it was a gas attack, you will then inevitably read the talk about a special weapon as involving a sarin bomb,” the adviser said. “Did the Syrians plan the attack on Khan Sheikhoun? Absolutely. Do we have intercepts to prove it? Absolutely. Did they plan to use sarin? No. But the president did not say: ‘We have a problem and let’s look into it.’ He wanted to bomb the shit out of Syria.”
At the UN the next day, Ambassador Haley created a media sensation when she displayed photographs of the dead and accused Russia of being complicit. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked. NBC News, in a typical report that day, quoted American officials as confirming that nerve gas had been used and Haley tied the attack directly to Syrian President Assad. “We know that yesterday’s attack was a new low even for the barbaric Assad regime,” she said. There was irony in America’s rush to blame Syria and criticize Russia for its support of Syria’s denial of any use of gas in Khan Sheikhoun, as Ambassador Haley and others in Washington did. “What doesn’t occur to most Americans” the adviser said, “is if there had been a Syrian nerve gas attack authorized by Bashar, the Russians would be 10 times as upset as anyone in the West. Russia’s strategy against ISIS, which involves getting American cooperation, would have been destroyed and Bashar would be responsible for pissing off Russia, with unknown consequences for him. Bashar would do that? When he’s on the verge of winning the war? Are you kidding me?”
Trump, a constant watcher of television news, said, while King Abdullah of Jordan was sitting next to him in the Oval Office, that what had happened was “horrible, horrible” and a “terrible affront to humanity.” Asked if his administration would change its policy toward the Assad government, he said: “You will see.” He gave a hint of the response to come at the subsequent news conference with King Abdullah: “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies – babies, little babies – with a chemical gas that is so lethal … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line . … That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact … It’s very, very possible … that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
Within hours of viewing the photos, the adviser said, Trump instructed the national defense apparatus to plan for retaliation against Syria. “He did this before he talked to anybody about it. The planners then asked the CIA and DIA if there was any evidence that Syria had sarin stored at a nearby airport or somewhere in the area. Their military had to have it somewhere in the area in order to bomb with it.” “The answer was, ‘We have no evidence that Syria had sarin or used it,’” the adviser said. “The CIA also told them that there was no residual delivery for sarin at Sheyrat [the airfield from which the Syrian SU-24 bombers had taken off on April 4] and Assad had no motive to commit political suicide.” Everyone involved, except perhaps the president, also understood that a highly skilled United Nations team had spent more than a year in the aftermath of an alleged sarin attack in 2013 by Syria, removing what was said to be all chemical weapons from a dozen Syrian chemical weapons depots.
At this point, the adviser said, the president’s national security planners were more than a little rattled: “No one knew the provenance of the photographs. We didn’t know who the children were or how they got hurt. Sarin actually is very easy to detect because it penetrates paint, and all one would have to do is get a paint sample. We knew there was a cloud and we knew it hurt people. But you cannot jump from there to certainty that Assad had hidden sarin from the UN because he wanted to use it in Khan Sheikhoun.” The intelligence made clear that a Syrian Air Force SU-24 fighter bomber had used a conventional weapon to hit its target: There had been no chemical warhead. And yet it was impossible for the experts to persuade the president of this once he had made up his mind. “The president saw the photographs of poisoned little girls and said it was an Assad atrocity,” the senior adviser said. “It’s typical of human nature. You jump to the conclusion you want. Intelligence analysts do not argue with a president. They’re not going to tell the president, ‘if you interpret the data this way, I quit.’”
The national security advisers understood their dilemma: Trump wanted to respond to the affront to humanity committed by Syria and he did not want to be dissuaded. They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’
On April 6, Trump convened a meeting of national security officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The meeting was not to decide what to do, but how best to do it – or, as some wanted, how to do the least and keep Trump happy. “The boss knew before the meeting that they didn’t have the intelligence, but that was not the issue,” the adviser said. “The meeting was about, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do,’ and then he gets the options.”
The available intelligence was not relevant. The most experienced man at the table was Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who had the president’s respect and understood, perhaps, how quickly that could evaporate. Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whose agency had consistently reported that it had no evidence of a Syrian chemical bomb, was not present. Secretary of State Tillerson was admired on the inside for his willingness to work long hours and his avid reading of diplomatic cables and reports, but he knew little about waging war and the management of a bombing raid. Those present were in a bind, the adviser said. “The president was emotionally energized by the disaster and he wanted options.” He got four of them, in order of extremity. Option one was to do nothing. All involved, the adviser said, understood that was a non-starter. Option two was a slap on the wrist: to bomb an airfield in Syria, but only after alerting the Russians and, through them, the Syrians, to avoid too many casualties. A few of the planners called this the “gorilla option”: America would glower and beat its chest to provoke fear and demonstrate resolve, but cause little significant damage. The third option was to adopt the strike package that had been presented to Obama in 2013, and which he ultimately chose not to pursue. The plan called for the massive bombing of the main Syrian airfields and command and control centers using B1 and B52 aircraft launched from their bases in the U.S. Option four was “decapitation”: to remove Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, as well as his command and control network and all of the underground bunkers he could possibly retreat to in a crisis.
“Trump ruled out option one off the bat,” the senior adviser said, and the assassination of Assad was never considered. “But he said, in essence: ‘You’re the military and I want military action.’” The president was also initially opposed to the idea of giving the Russians advance warning before the strike, but reluctantly accepted it. “We gave him the Goldilocks option – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” The discussion had its bizarre moments. Tillerson wondered at the Mar-a-Lago meeting why the president could not simply call in the B52 bombers and pulverize the air base. He was told that B52s were very vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area and using such planes would require suppression fire that could kill some Russian defenders. “What is that?” Tillerson asked. Well, sir, he was told, that means we would have to destroy the upgraded SAM sites along the B52 flight path, and those are manned by Russians, and we possibly would be confronted with a much more difficult situation. “The lesson here was: Thank God for the military men at the meeting,” the adviser said. “They did the best they could when confronted with a decision that had already been made.”
Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired from two U.S. Navy destroyers on duty in the Mediterranean, the Ross and the Porter, at Shayrat Air Base near the government-controlled city of Homs. The strike was as successful as hoped, in terms of doing minimal damage. The missiles have a light payload – roughly 220 pounds of HBX, the military’s modern version of TNT. The airfield’s gasoline storage tanks, a primary target, were pulverized, the senior adviser said, triggering a huge fire and clouds of smoke that interfered with the guidance system of following missiles. As many as 24 missiles missed their targets and only a few of the Tomahawks actually penetrated into hangars, destroying nine Syrian aircraft, many fewer than claimed by the Trump administration. I was told that none of the nine was operational: such damaged aircraft are what the Air Force calls hangar queens. “They were sacrificial lambs,” the senior adviser said. Most of the important personnel and operational fighter planes had been flown to nearby bases hours before the raid began. The two runways and parking places for aircraft, which had also been targeted, were repaired and back in operation within eight hours or so. All in all, it was little more than an expensive fireworks display.
And now we come to the main gist of the article – that the villain is Donald Trump. Hersh writes,
“It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, there might have been some immediate resignations.”
Here is where we come to some very important questions not only about the incident itself but about the information being presented by Seymour Hersh. First, no one truly doubts that the U.S. military and intelligence community knew all along that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons at Khan Sheikhoun. (Please see my article, “Chemical Weapons 2017: What Just Happened In Syria?” for a critique of the official narrative surrounding Khan Sheikhoun published less than 48 hours after the incident.) The track record of Western power and their proxy terrorists in Syria is enough to raise serious doubt as to who used the weapons and Assad, smart as he is, is not likely to use chemical weapons on a strategically insignificant area in front of the world and cross one of America’s many stupid “red lines.” Not only that, Hersh’s article is confirmation that the Russians alerted the U.S. military as to what was going to happen days in advance.
So the questions that immediately crop up almost all surround Trump himself. How much did Trump actually know? Was he told the attack never happened? Did he actually make the decision to launch missiles himself? Was Trump really the only person who wanted to bomb Syria? Does Trump really have that much authority? Was Trump influenced to bomb Syria? Was he forced? And what of the network that made the issue a “chemical attack by the brutal dictator Assad?” Were they cowering in the corner afraid of Trump’s choices or were they actually doing something?
To reduce the incredibly reckless and immoral foreign policy decision down to the ego of one man who, interestingly enough, continued the same policy and stupid decisions as his predecessor, is just too simplistic. After all, Trump has publicly given carte blanche to his “military command,” a policy move that has given right wing Republicans wet dreams for decades. Even Slate, always ready to criticize the CIC for crimes, real or imagined, ran a story entitled “No Strategy In Syria” where it stated,
Earlier this month, President Trump decided to let Secretary of Defense (and retired four-star general) James Mattis set U.S. military policy in Afghanistan. Now he seems to be handing the military the same carte blanche on the more fraught battlefields in Syria.
The Military Times confirmed what Slate suspected. It says,
A U.S. Air Force general confirmed American pilots made the call to shoot down Syrian aircraft on three separate missions this month and defended their actions as self-defense.
On June 18, an F/A-18E Super Hornet conducted the U.S. military’s first air-to-air kill involving a manned aircraft in nearly two decades when it downed a hostile Su-22 Fitter south of Taqbah.
Meanwhile, on June 8 and again on June 20, F-15E Strike Eagles shot down Iranian-made Shaheed drones over At Tanf as the unmanned aerial vehicles approached or dropped munitions near U.S.-backed forces on the ground.
“We’re trying to de-escalate,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, told Military.com. “We’re here to fight ISIS, but we’re going to protect our forces from Syrian pro-regime entities.”
While neither Slate, Military Times, nor Trump announced publicly that Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis has carte blanche in Syria, it appears that such is the case and that Mattis has given field commanders the option of starting World War Three. It is thus a scary prospect to acknowledge that what stands between us and thermonuclear world war is rabid warmonger relic nicknamed “Mad Dog” and the discretion of a possibly trigger-happy pilot.
While Trump’s temperament should not be discounted, isn’t it possible that Trump was not the ultimate authority making the decision to attack Syria at the time? In the conversation between the security analyst and the American soldier published by Welt, note that both individuals wonder to one another who was behind the decision; was it POTUS or someone else?
What is interesting about Hersh’s presentation is that he claims that Trump’s decision was going against the advice of the intelligence community and military advisers. So, we are being asked to believe that the national security apparatus which has been responsible for the organization, funding, and directing of terrorism not only in Syria but across the world and the U.S. military which has been doing the same and who would put World War Three in the hands of “commanders in the field” were dismayed by Trump sending token Tomahawks to a Syrian airbase? This writer, for one, isn’t buying it.
After all, who is part of Trump’s national security and military team? The entire cabinet is made up of warmongers, intel corporations, banks, and rabid Zionists; they are leftover neocons from the Bush era. These are not the poster children of cooler heads and peaceniks by any means, yet we are supposed to believe they are dismayed at the prospect of Trump’s decision. Remember, during the Obama years, as much of a willing puppet as he was, it was Obama himself that was less willing to engage in more and more warfare in Syria despite the urging of his national security team and intelligence apparatus, an apparatus that contains both in policy and in physical presence regardless of which president is in office. Nevertheless, the agenda marched ahead with Obama just as it is marching ahead with Trump.
And how much authority and sway does Trump actually have over his own policies? This is an important question since a number of Trump’s promises on the campaign trail did carry over into his election only to be scuttled by some unseen force behind closed doors. Remember, Trump’s tough stance on Saudi Arabia, his desire for a closer relationship with Putin, and his desire to back away from NATO all started taking shape early on in the Trump administration but the President suddenly did an abrupt 180 turn. Suddenly, Trump was provoking WW3, praising NATO and Saudi Arabia. Presidents backing away from campaign promises is one thing. Presidents realizing they have no power upon being elected is quite another. I would suggest that we are witnessing the latter with the requisite and expected dose of the former. Trump has likely found himself in the same situation as JFK: allowed to assume the role of the presidency due to his own ignorance and willingness to play ball and self-incriminate in his personal life only to realize that, upon becoming president, he is surrounded by enemies on all sides sharpening their knives if he dares get out of line.
And what of Hersh’s revelation that the Russians told the United States about the Syrian military’s operation beforehand? While not heavily discussed, this is incredibly important. Giving the U.S. notice that the Syrian military would be dropping a bomb on this particular facility would then give the U.S. time to organize an impromptu White Helmets propaganda production, possibly even loading the chemicals into the building shortly before the bomb. This would explain the White Helmets ability to immediately arrive on scene with cameras blazing in time to catch great video of all the “chemical weapons victims.”
It is also important to note the role of the Western corporate media here. Hersh is apt to point out the role that they played in creating an environment of fear, panic, and anger at the horrors in Syria now being shown to the American public and blamed on Assad. The corporate media blamed Assad from the very first moment the first report aired which created an environment of pressure on Trump to “do something.” Trump had to respond to the incident somehow. Unfortunately, in warmonger America, simply stating the facts that Assad didn’t do it isn’t good enough, as right and left wingers are already frothing at the mouth demanding that someone be killed and Syria be invaded regardless. Of course, Trump should have done just that; i.e. stated Assad’s innocence. But Trump, being what he is, did not.
What is most likely here is not the situation that Hersh presents. It is more likely that the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus colluded with their corporate media department and capitalized on this incident and Trump’s narcissism and perceived political necessity. It is more likely that “advisors” like Trump’s rabid Zionist son-in-law who has been given frightening levels of access to the president and the government in an official capacity as Trump’s senior advisor, simply told the president that launching missiles was what he was expected to do by the Deep State and Trump complied. Trump could also have been told by advisors that the story was already out and the narrative already accepted and therefore he had to do something to appease the pro-war leftists, Democrats, and Republicans.
In this regard, Hersh’s article is possibly a limited hangout operation, not on the part of Hersh, but on the part of the intelligence community who wish to do more damage to the President’s public support and his ability to act independently of the “Deep State.” It is their ability to announce the tragic massive fraud of Khan Sheikhoun while looking like the level heads and the good guys of the situation. Trump, of course, comes off looking like the lone assassin, the lone madman so eaten up with narcissism that he is putting the country at risk. But while Trump is undeniably a narcissist and he is undeniably putting the country at risk, it is the fact that he is listening to and obeying the Deep State apparatus that is the danger, not that he is ignoring them.
While most of the above is speculation, it is also put into proper historical context, not only in the Trump administration but also in the history of other administrations over the past several decades, most notably that of Kennedy and Nixon, neither of which point to a promising end for Trump.
What is clear, however, is that the U.S. establishment knew that there was no chemical weapons attack and the corporate media, at best, knew there was no evidence of an attack. Still, the narrative was peddled continually through every mainstream outlet in America and the West, the strike was ordered and carried out. In this sense, the personal involvement and responsibility of Donald Trump is a red herring. It is and always was the Deep State that has been in control of foreign (and domestic) policy initiatives. It is merely the carrying out of a plan set in motion long ago, written about in the early ’80s and again in the ’90s and once again in the plans of the PNAC group. It has been discussed at various corporate financier think tanks and openly at a number of globalist and Zionist confabs. The presidents of the United States have changed numerous times over the past few decades but this agenda has always moved forward without so much as a hiccup, except perhaps for the damaged reputation of the individual president.
It is fashionable and trendy in American media today to take swipes at Donald Trump and even considered a necessity in some areas of discourse before any other statements can be made. However, America has a much bigger problem than Trump and it is becoming more and more obvious by the day. If the Deep State apparatus is not exposed and neutered soon, we may very well find ourselves in a third world war. (For more from the author of “Frightening Implications for Presidential Power: New Evidence That Trump Did NOT Order the Syrian Strikes” please click HERE)