Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has delivered a devastating hit on that narrowly avoided war on Syria that was sold to the public by President Barack Obama and his minions based on a pack of lies. Just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did with their hogwash about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and Condi Rice's apocalyptic conjecture about smoking guns and mushroom clouds so was the Bashar al Assad regime's alleged sarin gas attack on civilians in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The push for another of those great Middle East military interventions in accordance with the neocon PNAC/Clean Break manifestos was a massive coordinated effort, fully assisted by the same corrupt state-corporate media that has been feverishly hyping Cold War II as well as the warmongering cowardly swine in Congress. The whole thing nearly went down too until Obama decided at the last minute to draw in the Congress as being co-owners of what would have been yet another costly foreign disaster. At that point the latest foreign policy disaster was fortunately avoided although it would have lasting repercussions with 'allies' as well as the neocons.
Hersh's piece which is published in the London Review of Books is entitled "The Red Line and the Rat Line" and among other things implicates the government of Turkey in what was a false flag attack designed to provoke the narcissistic amateur in the White House into honoring his vow to enforce his "Red Line" of chemical weapons use by the Assad government as a trigger for war. I excerpt some bits of this very long article below:
Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.
Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.
For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’
The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’.
Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.
In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.
The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’
In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.
This thing is incredible and in addition to what is the involvement of a NATO ally in what appears to be a false flag gassing of civilians to instigate a US war on Syria is explosive. There were many skeptics about what was obviously a cooked up excuse to bomb Syria but they were nowhere to be found in the pathetic US media the majority of which sent out the presstitutes to wave their pom poms for the military action. Just look at the incessant propagandizing of the last several months over Putin and Russia, it could be reasonably suspected that a good amount of that as well as the neocon led crusade for a regime change in Moscow can be tied back to Putin's assistance in preventing what would be a Middle East war backed on lies and involving a false flag attack. Sound familiar?
And the brief excepts that I chose didn't even include Benghazi, the Republican chief inquisitioner Darrell Issa aka Congressman Grand Theft Auto has pissed away millions of US taxpayer money on whatever limited hangout he could use to grandstand while avoiding actually looking into the truth. Hersh's piece blows the lid off of what now appears to be a covert weapons trafficking scheme run out of the Benghazi consulate to supply the Syrian militant rebels, the "rat line" referred to in Hersh's title. While the neocons and media are relentlessly jacking each other off over Cold War II what we really appear to have is Iran-Contra II with non other than the sainted General Petraeus showing up ala Colonel Oliver North.
There will be more on this coming as the article is dissected by honest writers in the alternative media and trashed in the state-corporate press. This really and truly could lead to Obama's impeachment, the Iran-Contra cowboys nearly took down Ronald Reagan and the same thing could happen to the current so-called leader of the free world.