I’m a neocon, i.e. a liberal with a brain, i.e. a conservative who isn’t obsessed with stopping people having fun and enjoying life. I’m all in favour of President Trump replacing Obama’s kiss-ass policy towards terrorists with a kick-ass policy.
It is very important however to kick the right ass. Sadly the cruise-missile strikes on Shayrat Airbase, whilst reasonably effective, were directed at the wrong target. Syria clearly had nothing to do with the gas attack at Khan Shaykhun. Whoops! Just as well only six people died, the sort of death toll we would expect on a bad Saturday night in Nottingham. In the words of ‘Allo ‘Allo’s Captain Alberto Bertorelli, “Whadda mistakea to makea”.
There were two other terrorist attacks last week of course. My condolences to the Russian and Swedish governments and the friends and families of those who lost their lives in the Islamic terrorist attacks on the great cities of St Petersburg and Stockholm. Sweden and Russia are both Christian countries, in the front line of the Global War on Terror.
The cui bono principle is a key tool of intelligence analysis. Who gains? I respectfully agree, for the first time, with the Iranian analyst Mosib Na’imi, who was quoted on Sputnik and in the New York Times as saying that a gas attack at this juncture would be a ‘crazy move’ for Assad. Quite.
The Syrian strongman had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by mounting an air strike at this time on his own nationals with a Weapon of Mass Destruction, even a small one, let alone a deadly nerve agent like Sarin.
What is more a WMD attack would have to be cleared with Moscow, on whom Assad depends from support. There is not the slightest indication that Moscow even knew about this attack in advance, let alone authorised it.
I have no doubt that a Russian intelligence-gathering drone may have been spotted in the sky over Khan Shaykhun after the attack. The GRU would have been as surprised as everybody else was, except possibly for the Germans, and would have been anxious to find out what was going on, i.e. which idiot had let off poison gas in Idlib Province?
The real target of the attack was American/Russian relations, which have plunged to a low last seen in the First Cold War. Anglo-Russian relations have also suffered, as witnessed by Boris Johnson’s caving in to State Department pressure to call off his visit to Moscow. That in turn begs the question of what the State Department were afraid that Boris might find out in Moscow, such as who was actually responsible.
Another key tool of intelligence analysis is timing. What else was happening in the world? This involves connecting dots, which in turn requires thinking, which in turn rules out the MSM and politicians, except Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), who has publicly questioned Assad’s involvement. I shall be supplying a courtesy copy of this column to the Congressman.
With apologies to his distinguished colleagues, I hadn’t realised that there was a legislator with a brain in the House of Representatives! Next thing you’ll know there’ll be a Member of Parliament with a brain! (I should explain to readers that the last MP with a brain was my old friend, that nice man the late Enoch Powell, who was unfairly smeared as a racist for his pains).
The massacre at Khan Shaykhun came after the attempt to set up President Trump over allegations of improper collusion with the Russian FSB (!) had effectively collapsed, with the revelation that Britain’s GCHQ had tapped the Republican candidate’s phones at the request of the CIA, who were backing Senator Clinton. It was also timed before the first meeting between a senior member of the Trump Administration and a senior member of the Russian Government.
The only gainer here is Germany, which is desperate to drive a wedge between America and Russia, and also between Britain and Russia. Different factions of the covert German DVD control both ISIS and al Qaeda, the only credible candidates for immediate responsibility. Gassing babies is a German thing, no offense intended, and ultimate responsibility for this atrocity clearly rests with our community partner the Hun.
Germany’s attempt to prevent Brexit by assassinating British Prime Minister Theresa May had also recently failed (see my column of two weeks ago), opening up the possibility of the UK withdrawing from NATO, not least because the leading European NATO power had been responsible for an Act of War against the UK. The denunciation by Britain of the Treaty on European Union, combined with the Trump Administration’s distancing itself from NATO, has made driving a wedge between the Western Allies and Russia an imperative for Germany.
The White Helmets
The involvement of the Islamist White Helmets para-terrorist organisation, together with the location, suggests that al-Qaeda affiliated rebels were responsible. On July 30th 2006 the White Helmets were closely involved in the Hezbollah gas attack, using Zyklon-B, in the village of Q’ana in southern Lebanon. In that atrocity Hezbollah murdered some 26 Moslems in a propaganda operation aimed at Israel.
They were aided in this by propaganda organizations sympathetic to terrorism such as Human Rights Watch, with its dubious funding sources (no offense intended) and Wikipedia, which as I know to my own cost gives house-room to suspected German operatives like ‘Psychonaut’. Even today Wikipedia (see e.g. its shamefully biased entry “Allegations of War Crimes in the 2006 Lebanon War”, accessed April 7th 2017) still blames Israel for the deaths at Q’ana. No doubt they’ll be repeating blood libels against Jews next – Wikipedia really are an anti-semitic, neo-fascist disgrace, no offense intended.
I exposed Hezbollah’s involvement in the Q’ana Massacre in Spyhunter. There has been no serious attempt to refute my arguments. Unfortunately, for political reasons, it has suited governments, including the Syrian, to suppress the truth.
Damascus is now paying the penalty for its dishonesty. Had the truth about Q’ana been more widely known this mode of terrorist attack would not have been repeated at Khan Shaykhun. It’s upsetting. One of my purposes in writing Spyhunter was to expose known methods of terrorist operation, in the hope that they would not be repeated.
Lacking high intelligence, with respect, the media and Western politicians fell for the anti-Israel line over Q’ana hook, line and sinker. Lacking knowledge that Q’ana was a set-up they are not connecting the dots, not that any of them, with the honorable exception of Congressman Massie, possesses the intelligence to connect the dots in the first place.
Was It Sarin?
I not only query Syrian involvement, indeed I don’t even regard Syria as a credible candidate for responsibility for this outrage, as presently advised I’m not buying Sarin ([(CH3)2CHO]CH3P(O)F). There are a number of arguments against Sarin.
A Nazi-era nerve agent developed by our community partners IG Farben (Wikipedia, ludicrously, excuse IG Farben of being an accessory before the fact to war crimes by suggesting that IG Farben, arguably the most criminal corporation in history, stumbled across Sarin whilst trying to develop a new pesticide (!), a statement about as rational as suggesting that Beethoven stumbled across his magnificent Ninth Symphony whilst writing a jingle for Radio Berlin), Sarin is highly toxic, about 80 times more lethal than Zyklon-B.
The death-toll at Khan Shaykhun just isn’t high enough for Sarin – they were far too many survivors, particularly for an aerial attack, in which the nerve agent would be dispersed in lethal concentrations over a wide area. This is good news if you’re the one being gassed – if Jerry offers you a choice of WMD before gassing you, don’t ask for Sarin, go for something fluffier, like phosgene. It’s bad news for General McMaster and Reince Priebus, who flogged Sarin to President Trump, who I suspect doesn’t like being made a fool of by his subordinates.
The next problem is the apparent lack of symptoms of Sarin poisoning in the survivors. One of the missing symptoms is diarrhea. With a Sarin attack what we like to see is lots of diarrhea. Basically a ward of survivors should look and smell like a dodgy restaurant in Delhi after a carelessly prepared curry.
Then we have the lack of full-body suits and the apparent lack of casualties amongst the medical staff and the ironically-named White Helmets (they’re black hats pretending to be white hats). Sarin can not only be inhaled you can have dermal absorption, i.e. through the skin. With the low level of protection seen in the broadcast images we would be expecting casualties amongst those attending the victims.
The child/adult ratio is also wrong, as it was at Q’ana. Seeking to cynically exploit what they see as Western sentimentalism, Islamic terrorist organisations murdering their own people for propaganda purposes usually go for a high percentage of children, the younger the better. They love murdering babies, as dead babies make good TV.
They don’t understand us of course – sentimentalism and a love of children are signs of strength, not weakness. The strongest are usually the gentlest.
The next issue I have is with the alleged delivery system, a Sukhoi Su-22. This aircraft could deliver a WMD package, but it’s also capable of carrying recon packages. The timings I have are: an Su-22 overhead at 0651LT, but no signs of illness or casualties until 0700LT or shortly thereafter. That timeline doesn’t work for Sarin, which is usually lethal inside 10 minutes.
The timeline works best for Al Qaeda affiliates on the ground waiting for an early-morning recon run then setting up an explosion with a view to putting the blame on the Syrian Air Force.
And where are the overheads of the actual attack? We’ve been favored with plenty of overheads of the American response but I’ve seen none of the alleged Syrian air strike. I also query why a valuable WMD package like Sarin would be entrusted to a single aircraft without a fighter escort in a combat zone like Idlib Province.
Then you have the problem of where the Sarin came from. I’m not aware that the Syrians had a large, viable stockpile of Sarin. Most of the Syrian Sarin was shipped over from Iraq in the six months leading up to the Iraq War. We’re talking five years’ shelf life, max, for that old stuff. It’s acidic, and tricky both to store and handle.
There is also no evidence of any large-scale movement of Sarin antidotes such as atropine into the Khan Shaykhun area. No way was this attack not planned, even though it was probably put together in the last few weeks, as the manufactured allegations against President Trump collapsed and Britain served her Article 50 notice. The White Helmets wouldn’t go anywhere near a Sarin attack without adequate supplies of atropine or another antidote. They’re not genuine humanitarians. I would be expecting bulk supplies of
antidote being moved into the attack area in the 48 hours leading up to the attack.
I’m thinking phosgene. I don’t think it’s mustard gas, as I don’t see much sign of blistering. At any rate I think we’re looking a much less lethal chemical agent, with respiratory ingestion only. Phosgene (COCl2) is much easier to store, it has a longer shelf life and there’s plenty of it about in Syria. It’s a much better candidate than Sarin.
General McMaster and Reince Priebus
Basically anyone who sold this load of old cobblers to the President is going to have to go. That includes General McMaster and that obnoxious little man, no offense intended, Reince Priebus. It doesn’t matter whether they knew it wasn’t the Syrians or not – they called it wrong, and as a result the USA has mounted an armed attack on the armed forces of a regime which however dodgy was not involved. I hold no brief for President Assad, but he is clearly innocent of the grave charge leveled against him, on this occasion at any rate.
Syria has been blamed by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the New York Times, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. The chances of those clowns, no offense intended, agreeing on something and getting it right are lower than Wonderful Charm’s chances were of winning the Grand National.
Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave!
A lie is a lie however many times it is repeated. The claim that Iraq had no WMDs never had any basis in reality. Her WMDs were mostly shipped to Syria before the war started.
Saying that we found no WMDs after we invaded takes the case no further. We weren’t meant to. It’s about as sensible as saying that the Great Train Robbers were innocent because no cash was left at Leatherslade Farm after the police took it away. What matters is what was there before the boys were shopped (by their bagman, a GO2 asset, to whom I shall refer only as Echo, as to date he has managed to evade prosecution) and the rozzers rolled up.
Having been duped for 14 years into believing that Saddam had no WMD programs Western publics are now starting to wake up. They are finding that there are more WMDs floating around the Middle East than they had been led to believe. I bet the stuff used at Khan Shaykhun came out of Iraq.
Tim Piggott-Smith and Brian Matthew
Two sad departures this week from the world of the arts. Tim Piggott-Smith may not be overly familiar to American audiences, but he was a very fine actor on both stage and screen and will be much missed. I particularly enjoyed him in The Chief, a rather good TV police drama.
Brian Matthew was one of the greatest disc jockeys who ever lived. He knew the Beatles, the Stones and just about everybody. He presented Sounds of the Sixties on BBC Radio 2 for over 26 years and was regarded by his many fans, including myself, as an old friend, even if we never had the privilege of meeting him. RIP to them both.