LogoPhere Home
LogoPhere Blog - WordPress version



"--takin' the BS outa' the (B)logo(S)phere (and the MSM) one shovel-full at a time "



~ January 02, 2016 ~
Apr08|17 - Fig numbers, text errors, and links checked/repaired

Deconstructing Obama's false 
Syrian sarin syllogism

"Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August."  
         -- Seymour Hersh, Whose sarin? (Dec19|2013)


Part 1 of 3 -- Sourcing the sarin

Denis O'Brien, PhD

Part 2 -- "Assad's sarin-rockets" hoax 

Part 3 -- "Premise I and the Sarin Myth"

Sarin (methylphosphonofluroidate) 

Good on Ray McGovern and his small army of retired intelligence colleagues who self-apply the name Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Two years down the road, these tenacious and smart people refuse to let go of an incredibly important war crime: the highly videoed and publicized Ghouta (al-Ghutah) Massacre that killed hundreds of people in a number of communities near Damascus on Aug21|2013. It was the massacre seen 'round the world almost in real-time as the terrorists uploaded videos to YouTube showing hundreds of dead and (presumably) dying Syrian kids, women, and men.  And the videos all screamed the same meme: The people had been gassed with the organophosphate neurotoxin sarin that had been fired into Ghouta by Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Arab Army (SAA).  

Within days Barack Obama had joined the terrorists' chorus and was screaming, at least rhetorically, that Assad's sarin-filled rockets killed (precisely) 1429 Syrian civilians in Ghouta, which included (precisely) 426 children.  And it was on the basis of that assertion that Obama very nearly ordered a retaliatory attack on Assad, which would very likely have dragged the US into another war in the Middle East with who-knows how many dead Americans and dead Syrians paying the price.  Perhaps dead Russians, Turks, Brits, and Frogs as well.  

On Oct01|2013, about six weeks after the massacre, eight of McGovern's VIPS folks signed an open memo to John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in which they politely demanded that the US and Russia make public all of the information they had backing up their respective positions that Assad was or was not responsible for the sarin attack on Ghouta.  Three weeks prior to the VIPS' open memo I sent my own blatently megalomaniac open letter to Congress in which I futilely laid out my opinion, based on my training in neuropharmocology, that the victims seen in the Ghouta videos could not have been gassed with sarin -- they didn't show any of the very extreme symptoms that one would expect to see in sarin victims, particularly large numbers of dead sarin victims.     

Apparently, the VIPS folks didn't get a response to their open communication either, so on Dec22|2015 a larger crowd of them signed another open memo to Kerry and Lavrov, again demanding proof of their respective positions. The VIPS' concern appears to be that sarin is such an extreme chemical weapon (CW), for reasons explained in Part 3 of this series, that if any terrorists have access to it, it could be a threat to the entire world, and so if Obama or Lavrov had evidence that Assad had used sarin or had not used sarin, that was information we all need to be aware of.  If Obama is going to announce to the world that Assad has used this horrible toxin, then Obama should be willing and able to back-up that very extreme allegation.  So far he hasn't, and I can confidently say this to Mr. McGovern and his associates: Don't wait up on this because Obama will never be able to prove that Assad gassed those people in Ghouta.      

Obama's deadly syllogism

I don't know whether you've noticed it or not -- a lot of the MSM haven't -- but Assad is no longer the bogey man he was after the Ghouta Massacre when Obama and Kerry referred to him as a "thug and murderer" and repeatedly accused him of "gassing his own people," which was their unending, demotic mantra from the day of the Ghouta Massacre through 2013 and well into 2014. Before the fickle winds of international politics shift completely and Assad's rehabilitation obscures our collective memory, it is important -- for this discussion and for posterity -- to recall the syllogism by which Obama connected Assad to the Ghouta Massacre.  Here is that syllogism: 

  • Premise I: the hundreds of dead people in Ghouta we see in the YT videos were killed by sarin;
  • Premise II: only Assad's military had access to sarin and only they had the technology to handle it and weaponize it, which is to say load it into rockets that were fired into Ghouta;
  • Conclusion: therefore, only Assad's military could have been responsible for the Ghouta Massacre.  

QED: Assad "gassed his own people."

It was this deadly logic based on fuzzy "facts" that Obama used publicly to justify his plans to attack the sovereign nation of Syria.  In this series I will review the evidence that disproves both Premise I and Premise II beyond any reasonable doubt, which means that Obama's conclusion that Assad was culpable for the Ghouta Massacre is not, and was not ever, justified.  I will also review evidence I have previously presented that points to the terrorists in Ghouta as being the ghouls who gassed the  hundreds of children, women, and men seen in the YoutTube videos.  Also, I will discuss very disturbing ramifications of the unavoidable conclusion that these terrorists have access to sarin and the means to produce it -- ramifications suggesting that 2016 could be a very, very bad year for the world's civilized countries who are now at war with these terrorist groups.    

We now know that back in the autumn of 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel developed and pushed plans to drop 2000-lb bunker-busters on Syria from B-52's and to fire enough cruise missiles to take out the entire Syrian government in retaliation for Assad's alleged infraction of Obama's infamous "red-line."  According to Seymour Hersh's essay The Red Line and the Rat Line, published in Apr|2014,  Obama very nearly bombed the b'jezus out of Syria.  That was precisely what Assad's enemies -- the Syrian terrorists, Turkey, and the Government of Ysrael (GoY) -- wanted. I'm not sure the world appreciates how close we came. The attack plans were so far advanced that Obama gave Bibi Netanyahu a 48-hour heads-up that the attack was imminent, according to the Ysraeli press.   


Seymour Hersh

But such an attack could have easily turned the whole Middle East into ground zero for WWIII if Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, and, possibly, China, backed Assad up. Hopefully, history will record and we will all remember to our dying days that the only difference between Bush's 2003 Iraq-hawks, such as Cheney/Rumsfeld/Powell/Rice, and Obama's 2013 Syria-hawks, such as Kerry/Power/Brennan/Hagel, is that Bush was a lot dumber than his hawks, which is to say we have to give Obama credit for not being sucked into another bloody Middle East maelstrom.  But as for the hawks in both administrations, they were comparable with respect to their willingness to put American bodies into bags.  Hagel is now whining about how he was treated by the White House when he was fired as Defense Secretary, but in retrospect it is now clear that Hagel's truculent, misinformed advocacy for an unjustified attack on Syria more than justified Obama's booting him out the door.  

"Unjustified attack?"  Yes, for the evidence now strongly suggests that Obama's syllogism was false, meaning that Obama's conclusion that Assad "gassed his own people" was also false. While Premise II of Obama's syllogism has been very competently deconstructed by Hersh and others, as described below and in Part 2, Premise I is based on a very important lie that has barely been touched on, and that is the lie that sarin was used to kill all of those people we see in the Ghouta videos.  I refer to this lie as the Sarin Myth.  The evidence will also establish that while the Ghouta-video victims were almost certainly poisoned, they were not gassed by sarin but by an agent that is used in mass executions and is not even considered a CW: either carbon monoxide or cyanide.  And it wasn't Assad who used it.  

In this Part 1 of this series I focus on Obama's allegation that only Assad's SAA had access to sarin.  In Part 2 I review Obama's assertion that the sarin was fired into Ghouta by SAA rockets.  And in Part 3 I deconstruct the Sarin Myth and present evidence that it was the terrorists who gassed scores of Syrians and then videoed their victims in a very nearly successful attempt to draw Obama into their war against Assad.  

Falsifying Premise II - Step 1:  Determining who stepped over Obama's red-line.

Hersh's Red Line/Rat Line piece and his previous piece Whose Sarin?  (Dec|2013) were direct, all-out, frontal attacks on the veracity of Obama's Premise II.  According to Hersh's research, Assad's CW people were not the only players in Syria in early 2013 with access to sarin and the technology to produce it.  Hersh identifies al-Nusra Front (aka al-Qaeda in Syria ) as one terrorist group in Syria who had sarin and who had access to the chemical components for producing sarin and the know-how to do so.  Specifically, Hersh asserts that in early 2013 the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) David Shedd had intelligence that al-Nusra was operating a sarin production facility in Syria and was seeking precursor chemicals from "Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators."  

Let's let this point sink in real well before moving on because it's important.  Hersh is saying that in 2013 when Obama, Hagel, and Kerry were telling the world that only Assad had sarin and the ability to make it, and when they were planning retaliatory strikes that would surely kill a larger number of Syrian soldiers and civilians than the number of victims in Ghouta -- through this whole period -- they had intelligence telling them that Assad was not the only player in this game with sarin.  They were doing exactly what Bush had done: they were jacking up a deadly war in the Middle East by giving the world information they knew to be false.  That is what Hersh is really saying.   

In the last couple of months Hersh's falsification of Obama's Premise II has been strongly supported by Turkish Member of Parliament Eren Erdem who has made accusations in the Turkish Parliament and who has gone public with evidence that in 2013 Turks were supplying sarin precursors to a group that evolved into Da'esh (aka ISIS) in Syria.  What's more, Recep Erdoğan's government knew about that activity and facilitated it. It's an explosive story that the American MSM is totally ignoring -- ya' gotta' wonder why.  Could it be because it's a story that completely supports Putin's and Lavrov's assertions in 2013 that Assad was not responsible for the Ghouta Massacre?

Eren Erdem

Erdem's accusations originate from an incident that sounds very much like one described by Hersh, although there is some confusion as to which terrorist group was involved, confusion arising from the fact that these bloody wahhabi groups were rapidly evolving and changing allegiances and names during that time.  According to Erdem, in 2013 Turkish and Syrian smugglers were busted in Turkey for supplying sarin to Da'esh in Syria, but they were all released by Erdoğan's people before they could be tried. 

Here is a snip from RT summarizing some of Erdem's allegations: 

As for his accusations about Turkish businessmen being involved in supplying Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) with the poisonous gas sarin and other reactants needed for chemical warfare, Erdem maintained this statement was made based on the results of a Turkish court investigation in 2013.

Erdem revealed that five Turkish citizens had been arrested by the Adana Chief Prosecutor's Office as a result of an investigation coded 2013/139. A Syrian national was prosecuted in Turkey for procuring chemical agents for Islamist groups in Syria. At the same time, Erdem noted all the persons arrested within the framework of the 2013/139 investigation were released a week later.

Erdem's accusations align very closely with Hersh's accusations in Red Line/Rat Line, which were published more than a year earlier.  It looks like they are both relying on arrest and prosecution records that are, presumably, public.  Here's Hersh's version:

Last May [that would be 2013], 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’. -- Hersh, The Red Line and the Rat Line.

As I say, Hersh goes on to allege that the US knew of this sarin-bust months before the Ghouta Massacre and months before Obama began telling the world that only Assad's military had sarin or the capability to produce it.  

Predictably, Erdem has been accused of "treason" by the Turkish tyrant Erdoğan, which further supports the theory that Erdoğan has been at least complicit, if not active, in getting sarin into the hands of terrorists in Syria.  Nor should it be forgotten that it was a Turkish state-run news agency -- Anadolu Agency -- that magically obtained and published the first images of the Ghouta Massacre, which appeared on YouTube even as some of the victims were gasping their dying breaths.  Andalou Agency has been described as Erdoğan's mouthpiece by two reporters who once worked for it.  IOW, the evidence against  Erdoğan as the one who stepped over Obama's red-line appears to be much stronger than the evidence against Assad -- and it was much stronger at the time, according to information Hersh claims the Obama administration had.  

Conclusions and caveats

  • Obama's allegation that only Assad had sarin and the ability to produce sarin is almost certainly false. Obama's syllogism fails because there is now strong evidence that Assad's people were not the only players in the area who were playing with sarin; consequently, his conclusion that Assad gassed his own people has certainly not been established beyond a reasonable doubt. 
  • Given the fact that Obama's evidence has never been made public in spite of requests from VIPS and the media, it may be fairly presumed that Obama was intentionally lying when he accused Assad of gassing his own people.  What's more, there is Hersh's evidence that Obama knew that the Assad allegation was false when Obama made it.  If he didn't know, then Hagel and at least some intel people were withholding the truth from him, and that could suggest a very dangerous situation.
  • Although Obama and Kerry have continued to insist to this day that "Assad must go," back in early 2014 they went dead silent with respect to their inflammatory meme that Assad "gassed his own people."  Obama's astonishingly sudden pivot away from attacking Syria and his sudden hostility toward Netanyahu/GoY, both of which occurred in 2014, suggest to me that Obama received intel at the last moment -- probably from the Russians -- that convinced him that Assad was not culpable and that GoY had been feeding USG false information about Ghouta.    
  • Hersh's and Erdem's accusations against Erdoğan are very troubling.  For if Erdoğan played any role in supplying sarin or sarin precursors/production components to terrorists in Syria -- or ANYWHERE -- then Erdoğan was the one who stepped over Obama's red-line.  Worse, he could very well be guilty of past war crimes in Ghouta and future war crimes throughout the world should that sarin be used against the many western enemies of the Syrian terrorists.

And there is one last point I want to emphasize that so far as I know has not been made in the MSM or blogosphere but is incredibly important.  Hersh's question "Whose Sarin?" has been a focal point for all of us trying to deduce who is responsible for the Ghouta Massacre, but it has far greater import.  For if these wahhabi barbarians in Syria have sarin or the ability to produce sarin, then the everyday people of Russia, the US, France, the UK and every other country now fighting the terrorists in Syria are in grave danger wherever they may gather.  For there would be no more efficient or terrifying way to export the war from Syria to western countries than with sarin attacks.  It doesn't have to be delivered by rockets.  It could be sprayed from a  spray bottle obtained at a local dollar store; it could be sprayed in larger volumes from pressurized tanks carried in a truck, or a car, or a Cessna; it could be delivered by drones as easily as Amazon.com plans to deliver books that way.  And as the people of Tokyo know, it could be poured into plastic baggies and spilled out onto the floors of subway cars, or department stores, or synagogues, or concert venues.  Once one has sarin and/or the ability to make it, the possibilities for delivering it are numerous, cheap, and easy.  

Mr. McGovern and his colleagues are right: Obama needs to quit messing around with this and come clean, not just with Americans, but with the entire world, which is what the VIPS people have been demanding.  Obama has been dicking around with dangerous people like Erdoğan, and he has been dicking around with the bizarre idea of pitting moderate Sunni terrorists against immoderate Sunni terrorists in Syria.  He should collaborate with Putin and Assad and wipe the Sunni wahhabi menace out as completely and as quickly as possible, and then -- and only then -- come back to the question of whether Assad has committed crimes against his own people and what the USG can or should do about that if it is in fact true. 

It has been over two years now since the Ghouta Massacre and Da'esh has not carried out an international sarin attack.  But if these barbarians have sarin, it's just a matter of time.  And if they pull off one or more sarin-catastrophes, Obama will carry his part of the blame for the maladroit way he has tried to use the Syrian terrorists to bring down Assad and the way he has backed the real terrorists: Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who enable and facilitate this very dangerous situation.     

In Part 2 of this series we will look more closely at the second half of Obama's Premise II: the allegation that sarin was fired into Ghouta by means of Assad's rockets. 

--- Denis O'Brien, PhD/Esq.



Copyright, Denis O'Brien, 2005-2016 ~ ~ All rights reserved.