Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 08, 2013

Hersh On Obama's Lies About Syrian Chemical Weapons

A month ago Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote about CIA analysts who threatened to resign over the Obama administration allegations about the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Syrian government:

With all evidence considered, the intelligence community found itself with numerous skeptics in the ranks, leading to sharp exchanges with the Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. A number of analysts threatened to resign as a group if their strong dissent was not noted in any report released to the public, forcing both Brennan and Clapper to back down.

Now Seymour Hersh writes about the case and finds that the CIA knew that Jabhat al-Nusra, a fundamentalist gang fighting the Syrian government, was capable of producing Sarin, the toxic chemical weapon that was used in a suburb of Damascus:

In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
[I]n recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening.

MoA has maintained since the very first reports of the chemical weapon use that this attack was likely a false flag event. We also criticized allegations by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch about the origin of the rocket debris found after the attack. The new Hersh report now completely debunks those allegations.

One piece in Hersh's case about al-Nusra's capabilities to produce Sarin comes from a somewhat mysterious cable:

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the [senior intelligence] consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin.
Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

My assumption is that this cable came from Russia. But, as Hersh writes, the U.S. military had come to confirming conclusions.

The Hersh report is published in the London Review of Books, not in Hersh's usual outlet the New Yorker. According to a Buzzfeed report the piece was, at a time, supposed to be published in the Washington Post. The LRB is a reliable publication based in the United Kingdom and will surely have fact-checked Hersh's reporting. One wonders why the U.S. publications refrained from publishing his report.

Posted by b on December 8, 2013 at 14:24 UTC | Permalink

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What matters most is, what is the policy, intelligence is of secondary importance, in fact if intelligence does not fit the policy, then it can be ignored or in the case of Syria, cherry picked, the US imagining itself to be the masters of the universe nearly led to a middle east conflagration,thank goodness for Putin.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 8 2013 15:02 utc | 1

So the definitive version of the Kerry/Rice/Powers push to war (and by "war" one means an attempt to become al Qaeda's air force in their terror war on a secular, popular, multi-ethnic government in Syria) languishes in the London Review of Books?

Not surprising, really. The US media has found quite a niche as the one way conduit for US government press releases. They quite like it that way. The paychecks are consistent and their Mercedes don't explode.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 15:14 utc | 2

In light of this Hersh revelations, it is extremely important we not forget this kind of garbage, coming from that "progressive" outlet Mother Jones Yep, the Ghouta Gas Attacks Were Carried Out By the Assad Regime by cheap hooker named Kevin Drum. So nice to see the "progressive" media take up for the Democrats where Judith Miller left off for George W. Bush.

The Mother Jones article is based entirely on the conjecture of "weapons experts" (likely that flim-flam artist "Brown Moses") and the "flight paths" of those physics experts at the New York Times - now totally debunked by what Hersh has documented.

But for all the B.S. about "flight paths" and "small caliber rockets" the Mother Jones article most important piece of "evidence" actually comes in their last sentence which reads - "Sorry, Rush." This of course is the red meat to the most puerile and braindead of the Obamabots that this isn't, after all, about right, truth, justice, and the fate of a nation of 25 million, but its actually about making Rush-fucking-Limbaugh look wrong.

The applicable part of the Hersh article begins with:

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally....

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 15:31 utc | 3

Thanks for this interesting article. Re source of the al Nusra report, my personal thought is also Russia--along the lines of Baghdad to Tehran to Moscow.

Posted by: China Hand | Dec 8 2013 16:37 utc | 4

If Shedd can't or any of the 'unnamed officials' won't produce the mysterious cable there is really nothing here but conjecture piled upon conjecture into a yet another routine MoA straw man. A bit surprised at Hersh going this route, although not really. Publish or perish.

So, Obama acted in haste, did he? You mean his rushing the attack on Syria?

Oh wait...and he certainly didnt even rush into that non-decision. In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to hem and haw and find ways to avoid the military response implied by the 'red line cross'.

As always, look at the actions not the machinations behind the scenes, even moreso when they are alleged and surmised machinations as opposed to proven fact that led to...nothing. The fact remains that the US, in tandem with their global capitalist partners the Russians, did force Assad's agreement to fork over his chemical weapons stockpiles and set up unprecedented peace talks in Geneva.

So yeah, there are those two small, inconsequential elements to ignore in the pursuit of your hugely indictive yet meaningful of nothing that occurred in reality.

Does b wish Syria had retained its chemical weapons stocks?

One wonders. This Hersh article is almost as airless as b's recent headline asking whether war with China is imminent.

Nothing here except more red meat juvenilia for the regulars to chew up and spit out.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 8 2013 16:50 utc | 5

The Hersh report is published in the London Review of Books, not in Hersh's usual outlet the New Yorker.

Do you wonder why is this?

My first encounter and reading about East Ghouta attack was from the New Yorker magazine.

A classical propaganda's pamphlet, aimed to disseminate a lies and cause an intervention. A careful reader will notice contradicting details from NYM article against original report from Ghouta by Syrian Support Group and Mohammad Salaheddine "who lives in the Damascus area and works for Al Aan TV, which is based in Dubai." Conflicting reports are particularly noticeable when it comes to question of "delivery weapons" from MRL rocket to artillery shell, large caliber mortar than "localy manufacture rocket". Every new report stated different caliber. Endless chain of blatant lies, no consistency that only can be spread by the Gov. media, without attempt to hide or make sense of them.

While I do not believe that the U.S. was not ready (alone) to intervene, it is probably aimed to get together "community of the nations" towards that goal.

Maybe S.H. doesn't want to discredit own house. I did not read his text nor I will it is just exercise of imperial media power or maybe of SH's own. One doesn't have to be MIT scientist to figure out what is this all about.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 17:09 utc | 6

@ Neretva

Had this story come out prior to the US decision not to attack Syria because of the crossed red line, or even better (from a newsworthiness standpoint) had the US attacked Syria, then this story would have huge significance.

As it is, nyet. It may still figure in news stories "as reported by Seymour Hersh" mainly because of Hersh's prominence and track record as an investigative reporter.

But the story's importance is negated by the fact that the US never attacked.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 8 2013 17:42 utc | 8

Here's Louis Proyect in the world's weakest "kill the messenger" attempt I've ever seen. If Mr. Proyect thinks the reputation of the man who exposed Abu Gharib and My Lai wilts with just a quick internet spam job from the "Unrepentant Imperialist", he's really ought to think twice.

But this weak attempt is to be expected. After all, Louis has al Qaeda's CIA-supplied glo-stick buried so firmly up his behind that he starts squealing whenever anyone even mentions their name. So nothing new here from Louis. Another impotent copy-pasting internet troll. Another apologist for western imperialism and the medieval terror that makes it possible.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 17:55 utc | 9


"Had this story come out prior to the US decision not to attack Syria because of the crossed red line..."

I do not understand, the SSG's report is dated 8/22/2013, the NYM story 8/23/2013 only day after. I do not know what was the date when the US decided "not to attack" but it was couple months later.

So the fact IS that the Iraqi regime never had CW, irrespective of the time line, prior or after the US/UK aggression. Just as Syrian regime did not commit atrocities at East Ghouta nor earlier in the north.

So what are you telling me here?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 17:57 utc | 10

I'm responding as to why Hersh's story dated 12/8/13 is published in the LRB rather than in the New Yorker (or other major media outlet).

This is not news, it is a non-story because regardless of who said what to whom inside the US Spy Factory Obama chose not to attack Syria over CW.

In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, but there has yet to be official declaration by the UN regarding who released CW in Ghouta, your heartfelt cheerleading for Assad's innocence notwithstanding.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 8 2013 18:20 utc | 11

What Donkeytale is telling you here is that he would headline the classic story of a big bully being run off after getting punched in the nose by his potential victim as "Gentle Giant Has Change of Heart."

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 18:24 utc | 12

Who cares what the UN says.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 18:31 utc | 13

according to the Russians: CW attack in Khan al-Assal

Russia: Syrian opposition made, used sarin nerve gas

"Churkin said the results indicate it "was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin." He said the samples indicated the sarin and the projectile were produced in makeshift "cottage industry" conditions, and the projectile "is not a standard one for chemical use."

The absence of chemical stabilizers, which are needed for long-term storage and later use, indicated its "possibly recent production," Churkin said.

"Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal," Churkin said.

"According to information at our disposal," he added, "the production of 'Basha'ir 3' unguided projectiles was started in February 2013 by the so-called 'Basha'ir al-Nasr' brigade affiliated with the Free Syrian Army." "

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 18:38 utc | 14

I would argue it is significant to note that Susan Rice, John Kerry as well as Obama all were on TV searing up and down that it was Assad that attacked Ghouta and anyone suggesting otherwise is a nutty conspiracy theorist. Now it turns out the information at their disposal supported no such certainty. To say the least.

Are you saying that, since no overt attack actually took place, we should ignore their out and lies on the matter?

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 8 2013 18:39 utc | 15

Jesus....WTF is Donkeytale's point? The deception needs to be exposed on ALL fronts, just not only from the chemical weapons issue. An attack on Syria is/was not the point. The point is to further the public's perception of Assad as the devil's spawn, and the opposition as the white nights riding to the rescue. How would our policy sell if it was exposed that the opposition were the actual perpetrators of a chemical weapons attack?

The reluctance Obama exhibited to attack Syria means NOTHING. Of true relevence is the overall deception, masking what is actually happening in Syria, and why. Staging false flag events, leveling false accusations, and justifying policy through media propaganda campaigns is the real issue here.

What about it, Donkeybutt??? Are you saying the means, (lies), justify the end?? If so, in the near future, Assad will not have chemical weapons. But hey, the radical Islamists, seeking to unseat Assad will still have them. Is that the end you defend?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 8 2013 19:14 utc | 16

POA, donkeytale is a troll, like foff. Remember they turned up simultaneously. They were detailed here, if I may use a military term. Foff I hope and believe has been banned, and the irritating donkeytale remains with his fatuous arguments, but at least he isn't as completely rude & off the point as foff was.

Now, my comment is, why hasn't Hersh mentioned the Turkish sarin busts, which were hushed up by the Turkish govt after the initial flurry of the finds and arrests, and hence should be right up his street? Answer, surely: he doesn't mind discrediting the Obama govt's honesty, but he won't criticise the Erdogan govt. So he is playing a game here of some sort, led as always by his source, who is probably CIA. What game is Hersh playing? We shall see.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 8 2013 19:22 utc | 17

The fact remains that the US, in tandem with their global capitalist partners the Russians, did force Assad's agreement to fork over his chemical weapons stockpiles and set up unprecedented peace talks in Geneva.

So, Ukraine, and the previous "colo(u)r revolutions" were just feints, and Russia really is not worried that Nato is creeping ever closer? It's merely simulating opposition? You're going to have to give us more to go on than your own opinion, er, I mean, fact.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 8 2013 19:22 utc | 18


I suspect you dont care what anybody says, ever, who disagrees with your belief system.

But the UNSC also has vetoed taking action inside Syria. Are you saying that vote that vote should be ignored as well?


LOL. Gentle Russian Bear punches Gentle Giant?


Hersh presents reports of evidence is all, none of us knows from reading the Hersh's report the context or really even whether other evidence exists inside the CIA that discredits these reports. He didnt even present the "mysterious report" itself that I can see.

I believe this story is little but a useful indicator as to why neither the UN nor the US has taken an official stand on which side was culpable for the CW attack in Ghouta. There is serious doubt on all sides, except for on the internet of course...where everybody is an expert about all the truth they hold in their hearts.

To paraphrase Neretva, who cares what Rice and Kerry say? Or Lavrov and Putin, for that matter...

The results speak louder than the words when it comes to diplomacy.

Thus, as I said above this is not a news story as much as it is snausages for internet rabids...enjoy!

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 8 2013 19:36 utc | 19

This is not news, it is a non-story because regardless of who said what to whom inside the US Spy Factory Obama chose not to attack Syria over CW.

It has only been 3 months since that lead up to war in Syria, so there is no excuse for forgetting the chronology behind it. Obama did not "choose" not to attack, he was unable to attack and so took the Russian proposal. The timeline of what happened:

Aug 27 2013 - Reuters - Syria strike due in days, West tells Opposition.

Western powers have told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces within days, according to sources who attended a meeting between envoys and the Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul. The meeting at a hotel in downtown Istanbul was between senior figures of the Syrian National Coalition, including its president, Ahmad Jarba, and envoys from 11 core "Friends of Syria" alliance members, including Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who is now Washington's pointman with the opposition.

Aug 29 2013 - Huffington Post - British Parliament Votes Against Military Intervention in Syria.

British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes Thursday, a stunning defeat that will almost guarantee that Britain plays no direct role in any U.S. attack on Bashar Assad's government.

Sept 5 2013 - Huffington Post - House greets Syria War Resolution with Skepticism.

This sucker could go down. And unlike the Wall Street bailout, there is unlikely to be a do-over. A resolution authorizing military force against Syria barely made it out of the hawkish Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- with the majority of Republicans opposing it -- and now is facing withering skepticism in Congress.

Sept 9 2013 - Reuters - Russian proposal opens New US options on Syria.

President Barack Obama said on Monday the United States would explore Russia's potential "breakthrough" plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control but would keep the pressure on Damascus by asking Congress to authorize U.S. military strikes.

Obama was ready to go, he was moving bombers, ships and missiles around Syria. Even after he lost the British, he was still committed to going in. But when he couldn't get Congress on board and with 28% support for a war, he was forced to postpone it and take the Russian face saving method. So the fact that Obama used faulty intelligence is important. The fact that Analysts in the Defence Intelligence Agency were willing to resign over the cherry picking of intelligence is also newsworthy.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 8 2013 19:38 utc | 20


Hersh is always at the center of these "games", Rowan. The game itself will play out, no doubt with Hersh helping to manipulate the board play. But, that being so, it does not change my belief that this so-called chem attack was part of the game, a false flag event.

And really, I'm not so sure we will "see". Intrigue layered over intrigue, it is becoming almost impossible to discern the undoubtedly sinister motives behind the actions of our government. Obama is such a fraud, such a poser, that he has become an enigma to me. In many respects I consider him far worse than that hapless monkey Bush, who was easy to read as a malleable and dimwitted pawn of the neocon agenda. But Obama's intelligence, and background, make him far harder to read. He strikes me as nobody's pawn. But then, he's such a great actor that only his actions are evident, and his actual intent, his allegiences, are deeply hidden. Worse, I don't see the end of his tenure as a light at the end of the tunnel. I fear the next Presidential term may herald our government's "goal" of these last three decades becoming clearly evident, and I fear it is going to be far from "representative" of the people's best interests.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 8 2013 19:46 utc | 21

Syrian opposition starts to fear the CW experts report?

Posted by: Mina | Dec 8 2013 19:49 utc | 22

It's breathtaking: donkeytale says pay no attention to deception and cover up in intelligence community, even though it happened a few years ago with tragic consequences for the whole world...because...Team Obama didn't attack Syria after all.

And donkey has no facts of his own, only accusations that the story is meaningless because of what the actors ultimately did. His logic is blinding., isn't it?

The donkey wishes that we wouldn't examine the methods of the US administration while he accuses us of being fond of Mr. Assad. Where have we seen that tactic before?

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 8 2013 19:50 utc | 23

@19, To paraphrase Neretva, who cares what Rice and Kerry say? Or Lavrov and Putin, for that matter...

No, the paraphrase is, the UN is a fig leaf for the US, to wear when it suits them.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 8 2013 19:50 utc | 24

Donkeytale, I know him well. He's keeping his powder dry as to not be banned, and his free time is infinite. One could say he's a low-rent Proyect with a sense of humor. I can't decide which is worse.

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 8 2013 20:30 utc | 25

While some of Hersh's analysis is wrong (e.g. the rockets are not home-made, they are a government development), most of it is correct, and there is even some evidence for rebel culpability that he missed.

A full analysis of the chemical attack by multiple experts and contributors can be found here:

Posted by: sasa | Dec 8 2013 20:33 utc | 26

What donkeytale omits to mention is that, in fact, Syria was attacked and is being attacked, daily, by Obama's agents, and Louis Proyect's comrades.

They, of course, racists to the core, regard the drip, drip of be-headings, school massacres, bombings and ambushes as mere bagatelle involving Arabs, Turks and their fellows.
100,000 dead in Syria- the great majority at the hands of US allies. Fifty a day dying in Iraq. Twenty death squad actions daily in Afghanistan. Another chemistry teacher killed in Iran. It is all good fun in the contact sport of imperialist aggression.

donkeytale is spinning Obama's criminality into clever diplomacy by the most deserving Peace Prize winner ever. He prevented the war that he almost started. An amazing achievement, unparalleled since Munich where the conquest of Czechoslovakia was held up for weeks.

And the Geneva talks, consistently postponed because Obama's creatures- and anyone who regards the 'jihadists' the Turks, Jordanians or Saudis involved in Syria as anything more than US puppets is an idiot- refuse to attend and/or impose impossible pre-conditions, what of them?
donkeytale has the answer: if they take place it will be thanks to Obama (MoveOn and the Democratic machine, too). They were his idea, part of his grand plan, like peace with Iran, and retreat from Afghanistan.

Here's a reason why Hersh's story is worth telling: if it is true and if, as MoA has been suggesting for some months now, the "attack" in Ghouta was a carefully staged provocation designed to provide a casus belli for the US, the deaths of the people, including many children, brought into Ghouta, tranquilised and then murdered by cold blooded sadists employed by the US taxpayer, these deaths, hundreds according to MSF, Human Rights Watch and Kerry, are indications not of the inhumanity of the baathist government (although God knows not even they were accused of anything more depraved than a chemically armed missile attack) but of the most shocking war crime in modern history.

It is that attack on Ghouta and the casualties in it which needs to be accounted for. And those responsible to be brought to justice or the public's attention.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 8 2013 20:38 utc | 27

too many tоварищ куклы, here.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 20:43 utc | 28

And the point is that even if we didn't have Hersh or people like sasa et al, even if we didn't "have" this place, the circumstantial and material evidence was overwhelming from very early on without much analysis at all(in pretty much all other recent US covert aggression and US sposored coup activity as well). So he analysis is really only required as rebuttal, and even then it's a ridiculous a time-suck since the party line is defined and upheld by amoral State trolls who DGAF about anything but their paychecks and probably have incentives for how many replies they can get and total time engaged.

This is one of the appeals of Anonymous with the youth of today, no formal messenger to attack. Whether or not this is true and its a legit structure, one can't deny the importance of the idea. Hersh is simply too late with this semi-story to remain relevant.

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 8 2013 20:46 utc | 29

Trying to remember... Wasn't there a missile fired toward Syria from Spain or in the Mediterranean shortly after Ghouta? Wasn't it taken out by Russians or some such? If so, does anyone have a link to the story, please?

As for the trolls assertion the Obama never attacked Syria... well I'm sure they mean by air... but clearly arming and encouraging attacks from multiple borders over a couple years span and more fronts than we can count makes any assertion of "never attacked" ridiculous on so many levels.

It's who Zusa is and what they do. And don't forget Israel has attacked by air several times. It's not like U.S. ever disapproved of it, before, during or since those attacks.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 8 2013 20:54 utc | 30

@20 not only is Obama/Brennan cherry-picking intelligence important, but the growing understandings that AQ-aligned groups have the capability to brew chemical weapons, have used them on civilians and that the Saudis are bankrolling them. Maybe that story isnt WaPo-friendly.

The story would make it harder for the US to support opposition groups in Geneva no matter how much Israel and KSA would like that.

Posted by: ess emm | Dec 8 2013 21:07 utc | 31

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Dec 8, 2013 12:33:50 PM | 7

Donkeytale mark 2

Posted by: brian | Dec 8 2013 21:15 utc | 32

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 8, 2013 2:50:17 PM | 23

what did u expect from a donkey? even Louis (Donkeytale mark 2) is hauling ass to take down Hersh...interesting to see he is here monitoring this site and doing has finest to spin for the imperial regime. Marx must be spinning in his grave

Posted by: brian | Dec 8 2013 21:19 utc | 33

In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, but there has yet to be official declaration by the UN regarding who released CW in Ghouta, your heartfelt cheerleading for Assad's innocence notwithstanding.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 8, 2013 1:20:55 PM | 11

interesting donkey....butt your defence of alnusra and other alqaeda affiliates weakens your case. Assad is innocent...we have the word of Louis, the MSM, left wing media,et to confirm that

Posted by: brian | Dec 8 2013 21:23 utc | 34

What they actually tried to rework the Massacre in Timisoara.

99% of you never heard of this, nor even know where that city is!

This is what "they" want us to believe.

or this

Romanian doctor told how she witnessed the massacre of pro-democracy protesters by the armed forces in the Romanian city of Timisoara Sunday and helped treat the scores of wounded mowed down in the streets.

"I saw children dying, old men dying and women dying," said the 27-year-old doctor, whose name United Press International is withholding for her protection. She spoke haltingly and in tears by telephone from Bucharest, the Romanian capital, saying she felt she had to speak out."I saw in the night of Sunday the 17th of December many persons who were shot - they were dead, or alive but (many were) in a critical condition," she said.

"The army was shooting at ambulances. We saw hundreds of bodies loaded into great trucks and taken away no one knows where," she said.

The doctor, who said she and colleagues treated the dying and the wounded in the streets of Timisoara, said that until Tuesday she had been in the Transylvanian city but had since returned to Bucharest to stay with her family.

"I am still shocked," she said. "I'm afraid of what will happen to me and my family. But I hope everyone will hear my words. I'm ready to do anything. I hope to live, because I'm very young, but I am ready to die," she said.

"The most terrible thing was that people were shot in their houses," the doctor said. "They were shot where there were lights at the window. I came with a student on the train from Timisoara. Two of his colleagues were shot in their room while they were eating. They were shot because the lights were on."

Four Bulgarians who were in Timisoara at the start of last weekend's violence gave the Bulgarian state news agency BTA one of the most graphic accounts of the tragedy.

They spoke of a center city square being "strewn with corpses" and said they had watched a soldier bayonet a woman standing with a child.


and this is what actually happened.

“The Romanian ‘Revolution’ was entirely televised, all those of us who believed for years with Gil Scott-Heron that ‘the revolution will not be televised’ were shaken by it. In truth, there were two revolutions: a real revolution that was not televised and that continues, particularly in Timisoara, and a studio revolution that fooled the entire world. Who could forget the piles of corpses stacked like cordwood in front of the Timisoara cathedral?…Or the image of the mother and child shot with a single bullet, lying in the arms of death? Watching these images in New Orleans via CNN, I was moved and enraged, along with millions of others in the world. We now know. The mass graves discovered in Timisoara and presented to the world as proof of the Hitlerite insanity of Securitate were in fact bodies dug out of a pauper’s cemetery with autopsy scars visible. Many of them were in an advanced state of decay…And the extraordinary picture of the mother and her baby killed with the same bullet, seen thousands of times on all the world’s TV screens, was a gross collage. A woman who had died of alcoholism had had an unrelated dead baby placed on her chest for video purposes.“

or this

Coroner: Romanian Massacre Never Happened

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 8 2013 21:24 utc | 35

missile incident took place before sept 4

The Ghouta chemical attack occurred on 21 August 2013 ...ergo missile incident occured after... probably out of frustration at failure of GHOUTA false flag also to kickstart US war

Posted by: brian | Dec 8 2013 21:27 utc | 36

'Here's a reason why Hersh's story is worth telling: if it is true and if, as MoA has been suggesting for some months now, the "attack" in Ghouta was a carefully staged provocation designed to provide a casus belli for the US'

no if or maybe about it...US democrat regime was seeking a reason to attack that made the Supreme War Crime look R2P

Posted by: brian | Dec 8 2013 21:30 utc | 37

btw, the final (contrary to the Ghouta hackjob) Sellström report which was scheduled to come out in late October is still not published and I wasn't able to find any information about why not. This should have included the investigation of a number of other alleged CW attacks, including most importantly the one in Khan-Al-Assal that Russia has publicly blamed on Al-Nusra and triggered the formation of the Sellström team in the first place.

Anastasia Popova of Russian TV has recently claimed that she and her team have provided Sellström himself and also Pillay and cohorts with the material of their visit that took place just a week after the event. And she claims that the witnesses she interviewed were murdered by an Al-Nusra death squad on the day the Sellström team arrived in Syria. Three days before the Ghouta event. I suspect the results of their investigation are far more conclusive than would be politically correct to publish, and what Hersh writes about the US assessments of Al-Nusra capabilities confirms this suspicion.

Posted by: CE | Dec 8 2013 21:45 utc | 38

Mr Flim Flam, Moses von Brown has already prepared and sent a response to the Hersh article as an article at Foreign Policy. To be published shortly.

In it he seriously stretches the range of the missile to suit his agenda and as well creates a fictitious army zone of control in Northern Jobar which he claims was the launch location.

He omits to mention that twelve LOUD and BRIGHT missiles fired from an army zone at night would have been visible for miles around and especially to the besieging insurgents - who have failed to report any such event despite reporting night launches from a base further North (that couldn't have been the source due to range limitations).

He also claims that the SAA has had possession and use of the missile 'family' - which is true. The high explosive version is being used for certain. What he omits to mention is that the 'chemical' version has never been seen in SAA use, and that the 'chemical' version is only approximately the same dimensions as the high explosive version and could well be a reverse-engineered copy of the standard high explosive missile.

As Hersh points out, the missiles could be made in any workshop with minimal tooling and with access to 122mm motors which the insurgents have in abundance.

P.S. I haven't seen the FP article but I know what it will contain.

Posted by: Charles Wood | Dec 8 2013 22:56 utc | 39

thanks for the article b!
@27 - ditto.

"One wonders why the U.S. publications refrained from publishing his report."

i might be slow, but that sure comes across as sarcasm, lol.. those us publications are the problem operating as major propaganda outlets and essentially inciting war on false premises.

Posted by: james | Dec 8 2013 22:56 utc | 40

why is it when i use the html tags around b's quote it extends to the rest of may message? thanks in advance for anyone who knows.

Posted by: james | Dec 8 2013 22:57 utc | 41

Hersh suggest this near the end of the article: "It appears possible that at some point he [Obama] was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans."

This seems reasonable to me, precisely because Obama's backflip was so sudden and so unexpected that it took everyone by surprise.

Indeed, it was astonishing in it's suddenness considering the head o' steam that had built up and was just ready to explode.

There had to be a reason for that backflip. And it wasn't Lavrov's lifeline(tm) because Obama had already thrown the buck over to Congress before the Russians came in and saved everyone's face.

Hersh's suggestion makes sense; the very suddenness of that backflip suggests that someone had taken Obama aside and told him that the rebels were responsible and - make no mistake, Mr President - if you go ahead with this attack then those facts will come out.

If that is true (and, yeah, that is an "if") then the next question is "who?", closely followed by "why?".

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 8 2013 23:11 utc | 42

@41 - is it possible you left off the "slash" in the ending tag? Often happens to me. See below for the correct usage.


Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 23:20 utc | 43

We are still peering through the fog of war to see what happened. It is clear that the Sarin attack was to be the justification for US intervention in Syria; Libya all over again.

Except, the plan derailed big time.

First who needed American air support? Clearly the Saudi supported Jihadists.

Second, Israel’s survival depends on placing Western “Peace Keeping” forces between its borders and Hezbollah and the Sunni militias; especially, once Islam stops fighting among itself.

Two things changed since Libya. First Westerners are tired of never ending Middle East wars and being screwed by the Elite. Second, Russia intervened on the side of the Assad regime and forced President Obama to back down and then handed him a face saving alternative to intervention, destruction of the regime's chemical weapons.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Dec 8 2013 23:20 utc | 44

@41-43 Make that


Posted by: guest77 | Dec 8 2013 23:21 utc | 45

@Eureka Springs: Putin essentially confirmed in Nov. 28th statement on the Kremlin website that American missiles launched from Spain on Sept. 3rd were shot down by a Russian missile defense system.

Putin said the Voronezh radar station "detected launches from the
Mediterranean region, and effectively proved its effeciency and reliability."

Posted by: LLza | Dec 8 2013 23:37 utc | 46

"...if, as MoA has been suggesting for some months now, the "attack" in Ghouta was a carefully staged provocation designed to provide a casus belli for the US,..."

I should make it clear that by "MoA" I am referring not to "b" but to the collective opinion of the regular and honest posters at this site.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 8 2013 23:48 utc | 47

thanks guest - i believe i have been doing it correctly but it doesn't come out right.. here is trying with your moniker(guest)only, isolated by the on both sides of your moniker..

Posted by: james | Dec 8 2013 23:54 utc | 48

i give up!

Posted by: james | Dec 8 2013 23:55 utc | 49

@42 I think that is an excellent theory. There is a slew quotes from the Obama team - especially Rice and Kerry - that make it clear that they had simply jumped to the conclusion that Assad had done it. Immediately they began talking about airstrikes before even a preliminary case had been made. And even with all of his vehemence and anger, even Kerry was talking about "judgement calls", it was obvious that they had little more than YouTube videos, some Israeli "intercepts", and the tweets of that parade of clowns like Brown Moses to base their war on.

As the case became based entirely on the statements of the administration - and they refused to present anything concrete for "national security reasons" - even the media realized they couldn't point to any definitive proof, relying solely on the administrations statements. This is a big difference with Iraq where the press began making the case for the administration. In this case, the press parroted the Obama claims, but put no effort into confirming them as far as I could tell. The same was true for most honest pundits - I recall several statements like "well, we have to take the president at his word..." with few committing to anything more concrete. One got the sense from the media that they would go along, but they wouldn't be blamed.

And the silence from the American people - there was a real disbelief and anger there that was positively deafening. The left and independents had memories of Iraq and their distaste for war. The right had their Obama hatred and their Islamophobia.

Now, I don't think Obama would think twice about bombing Syria based on faulty evidence, but the involvement of the Russians surely made things a little more serious. The Russians claimed "we have our plans..." and it is worth, I think, speculating on what those plans might have been. I don't know about the "missile shoot down" story referenced in @46 (I've never heard anything solid), but it is entirely possible that the Russians could have started shooting down the slow moving American tomahawks. Had the Russians engaged in such a harmless defensive maneuver, would Obama had dared give the order to fire on a Russian ship? After all, it is one thing to lie your way into a war with Iraq, it would entirely another to have the whole world watch you get into a shooting match with the Russians based on something that would eventually come out as lies.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 9 2013 0:14 utc | 50

@49 Test Test Test

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 9 2013 0:16 utc | 51

@42 and @50. That is some very good conjecture. It was clear from June on that the US was heading towards war in Syria and that there were some very influential people close to Obama who were pushing for that goal. Obama obviously felt uncomfortable with doing so but he seemed (at least in June 2013) letting circumstances push him in that direction. The sarin attack in August seems almost certainly a false flag operation that came close to pushing Obama over the edge. There must have been someone inside the administration that was blocking those CIA reports from coming to the attention of kerry and obama. The big question is who was the mole that did this.

We should not forget that whatever schemes were going on they came very close to sending the US into another ME war. Hersh's report is very important to bring attention to this problem and perhaps open up a purge that will remove the/those moles.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 9 2013 0:36 utc | 52

#52...."The sarin attack in August seems almost certainly a false flag operation that came close to pushing Obama over the edge"

So you're contending that Obama was simply duped? That he is/was unaware that Assad was not the perpetrator of the attack???


Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 9 2013 0:56 utc | 53

Its worth going over the archives (front page, on the left, August/September 2013) - it was quite a roller coaster. The US attack seemed on, then off, then very much on with a vengance again - only to evaporate at the very last moment with Kerry's "accidental proposal" and the Russian and Syrian acceptance of it.

Its all worth going over - but especially this positively essential post by b: A Short History Of The War On Syria - 2006-2014

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 9 2013 2:13 utc | 54

I woke up this morning (UK time) still without an idea in my head over this; then I started my early morning trawl through the sites, which I do more or less alphabetically, and when I came to DEBKAfile (for which I have a sneaky fondness) and saw this, I knew who Hersh is working for. He's working for Bibi vs Barack. The idea will be to paint Obama as not caring whether "AQ" gasses "the Jews," just like "Auschwitz all over again." Since Bibi is in bed with Bandar (all these b's), they can stage any old evidential events they like.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 9 2013 4:29 utc | 55

Posted by: LLza | Dec 8, 2013 6:37:50 PM | 46

(donkey/tale/brain please note (and make up as much feelgood drivel as you like))

That article is the final nail in the coffin of the US superpower/impunity myths.
Thanks a lot. Well spotted...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 9 2013 5:42 utc | 56

@PissedOffAmerican | 53

You are right, Obama perfectly well knew Assad was innocent and the very idea he was "duped" doesnt hold the water. This can be effectively proven by the fact big part of Intelligence community opposed to Obama's desired "conclusions" so White House had to concoct their own report from cherry picked bits of intelligence and then present assumptions as facts. It was done under Obama's supervision in WH itself. I would even say its more likely Obama green lighted CW red-flag.

Much like Bush wasnt duped by fake Iraq's CW intelligence either.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 9 2013 9:00 utc | 57

Note the wordsmithing by the govt spox:

Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

However the Hersh piece asserts that the consultant said:

He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin.

Those are certainly not guarenteed to be the same thing. Particularly if the rebels were getting outside help, say from a nearby country or two and their intelligence services? Who could that be...?

Posted by: Base | Dec 9 2013 9:06 utc | 58

#53 POA

What we are saying is that obama is operating with the information that is given to him. It has been clear for some time that Obama did not want to go to war against Syria. However what is also clear is that he could be manipulated into war. He made one really stupid statement about red lines (summer of 2012 or so) that created a real incentive for the Syrian rebels to engage in chemical war. This caused him to come very close to going to war against Syria. He came very close to respond with war against this false flag operation. Somehow, and I do not not what happened, Obama backed off. Lavrof and Putin created an opening that allowed the US to back down. That is undisputable history. The big question is why. My point above is that #42 and #50 engaged in reasonable conjecture that provided an answer to that big why.

On the other hand, POA, you have nothing to add to this analysis other than your own opinions, which are worth very little based on your history here.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 9 2013 10:35 utc | 59

Eureka @30. One of the interesting aspects of the Israel target missile was that it was designed to mimic the flight characteristics of a Shahab missile. Who uses Shahabs? Iran. If the target missile had not been detected and publicized by the Russians, one can readily imagine the play the Zionists would have made of a Shahab missile being fired towards Israel. Note I say 'towards', rather than 'at' Israel. The Silver sparrow is a two stage target, which explains the apparent discrepancy between the statement by Israel that one missile was fired and the Russians that two entities were detected.

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 9 2013 10:52 utc | 60

@59 I'm not sure were exactly on the same page. I don't see where they "why" is at all.

I think he knew he had no case, that Kerry/Rice/Power, the Israelis, and the Saudis were leading him in based on the flimsiest of lies, that the whole country (the DoD included) as well as the UK were balking. But even at this point, he may have gone for a small scale tomahawk strike just to save "face", but when the Russians said "no" even to that... Obama realized he would not get away so easily.

I don't think there were any hidden shenanigans. Simply a US president finally looking into the abyss of revolt at home and genuine resistance abroad and showing the keen sense of a donkey which hears a rattle along the trail ahead and refuses to move forward, despite the kicking and screaming of his rider.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 9 2013 12:07 utc | 61


It could be that Obama was confronted with the fact that people like Seymour Hersh had a hold of the information that he and his cronies in the CIA thought was unknown by mere mortals. Information that he and they'd had all along.

He'd seen, as all of us have seen, the Iraq lies unravel ... he hadn't signed up to play George Bush XLIII, he'd signed up to play Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama. He complained that taking the W fall was not in his contract ... and they grudgingly let him off the hook. A deal's a deal. 'Honor' among thieves and murderers. They let him bail. He's the prima donna in this 'masterpiece' and when he stomps his foot ... he rarely stomps his foot ... they'll humor him.

His real earning years begin in 2016, after all. Look at Bill Clinton.

And the scam had unravelled, after all.

He'd known it was 'intelligence' fixed around policy all along.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 9 2013 12:39 utc | 62

@61 I'm not being consistent at all here, going back and looking at Johnboy's statement.

But It doesn't indicate that Obama necessarily had a change of heart - that he was totally convinced Assad did it and then was floored to find out the rebels had (he still claims Assad did it) - just that perhaps the deniability was gone and so Obama had little choice but to back off.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 9 2013 12:42 utc | 63

Ya gotta love ToivoS smearing POA, and endorsing 42 & 50. The weakness in each of those (preferred by ToivoS) 'conjectures' is that there is absolutely no reason to assume that any worthwhile "truth" will come out of a US Administration - and certainly not in time to avert a catastrophe for many civilians.
-Vietnam truth? Nope.... too late.
-Iraq truth? Nope (the Chimp did bob around on the floor in the Oval Orifice, looking for WMDs under chairs and coffee tables, not long after Iraq had been fucked. But it was too late). So-o-o fun-neee....????
-Libya truth? Nope ... nothing but continuing bullshit about saving people.
-Truth about the 9/11 Inside Job? Nope ... not a whimper.

The only thing wrong with the POA comment Toivo didn't like is that it was too short and unconvoluted, straight to the point and unambiguous.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 9 2013 13:33 utc | 64

I agree with Johnboy and others. O changed his mind because he was presented with hard evidence which in the hands of people at The Hague tribunal could make a difference.
Hollande was taken by surprise as he had the army ready to strike on the night of 31st August but that was oukazed by O at the latest minute, as was revealed by Le Canard Enchaîné, which is the sole serious French newspapers.

As for the CW report, it is now due Dec 15th (check "innercitypress" once a while for the next delay).

Sasa has published his own analysis of Hersh's paper.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 9 2013 14:20 utc | 66

Shakespearian: did Qaddafi pay for Sarkozy election campaign?
A former minister of Sarkozy who may be implied is waiting for the judge's convocation

Posted by: Mina | Dec 9 2013 14:52 utc | 67

This is good:

Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2013 14:54 utc | 68

Thanks all.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 9 2013 15:02 utc | 69

@53 "So you're contending that Obama was simply duped? That he is/was unaware that Assad was not the perpetrator of the attack???"

No, that is a straw man argument.

As others have already pointed out, a venal politician (heck, is there any other sort?) might not be convinced that Mr Nasty Man Did Done Did It, yet still decide that it suits his purpose to *sound* convinced that Mr Nasty Man is as guilty as sin.

And if the politician is really venal then he might decide to go a-smiting just because it is the path of least resistance; everyone is hollerin' at me to smite him and, yeah, OK, it's simply easier to smite this bastard just to shut everyone up.

He can get himself into that corner *even* *though* he knows full well that Assad didn't launch those CW's.

But what does he do if he is then taken aside and:
a) He didn't do it, Mr President
b) I've now told you that, and
c) I'll testify to that fact.

What's a President to do when his plausible deniability is pulled out from under him like a cheap rug?

Pretty much what Obama did, I'd suggest....

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 9 2013 15:54 utc | 70

jfl @ 62: "He'd known it was 'intelligence' fixed around policy all along."......IMO, no doubt.

@ 64:"The only thing wrong with the POA comment Toivo didn't like is that it was too short and unconvoluted, straight to the point and unambiguous."...Yes!

Thanks to all, good read this morning.

Posted by: ben | Dec 9 2013 16:03 utc | 71

Pat Cockburn on the US and Bandar

Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2013 17:06 utc | 72

From RT:

Posted by: ben | Dec 9 2013 17:19 utc | 73

The reason why Snowden decided to quit the NSA is simply because he decided that these w....ers were less than serious and had it too easy when they managed to sell to their superiors that they should spy on on-line gamers instead of doing complicate stuff involving exotic languages and remote-controled sensors

Posted by: Mina | Dec 9 2013 17:36 utc | 74

Remember this:

In a brief Rose Garden announcement Aug. 31, President Barack Obama delayed military action against Syria until after Congress has returned to Washington and voted on authorization for use of force. The last-minute decision was precipitated by a number of factors, including an outpouring of bipartisan Congressional demands for full debate and vote. All told, half the Members of the House of Representatives signed letters to the President, citing Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and the 1974 War Powers Resolution giving Congress the sole authority to go to war.

As of Aug. 30, the President had made the decision to order military strikes without authorization either from Congress or from the United Nations Security Council. Five U.S. guided-missile destroyers were in place in the eastern Mediterranean, and Pentagon sources indicated that there were 50-75 "high value" and infrastructure targets already selected for cruise-missile attack.

According to sources close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sometime just before the President called off the attacks, JCS chairman Martin Dempsey, just returned from meetings with allied military commanders in Jordan, went to the President and warned him that the attack plans he had signed off on were likely to fail, and that there was a danger that the U.S. would be drawn deeper into the Syria mess. Under those circumstances, President Obama would be facing even stronger criticism if he went ahead without first getting Congressional authorization. The sources indicated that Dempsey's last-ditch effort to appeal to the President's growing concern about his collapsing approval ratings clearly had an impact.

On the same day, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of highly respected former U.S. intelligence officers from the CIA, DIA, State Department, and FBI, issued a widely-circulated open letter to General Dempsey, calling on him to resign if the President ordered military strikes without Congressional approval (see National).

Maybe Dempsey really did threaten his (and maybe others) resignation should Obama go ahead without congressional authorization. It seems certain, though, that he deserves at least some credit for taking the haste out of this thing.

Posted by: CE | Dec 9 2013 17:50 utc | 75

Hersh on Democracy Now about his recent piece: Part 1 Part 2

This is also interesting. The Syrian Electronic Army (pro-government hackers) captured the email and facebook talk of one Matthew VanDyke who is a "journalist" fighting on the Lybian and Syrian insurgent site.

In his facebook chats with various journalists and with the "Brown Moses" blogger he tells people in May 2013 that the insurgents do have chemical weapons. You can read those conversations here.

Also in there is that VanDyke as well as Brown Moses have a "Diamond" sponsor who is financing them and who is placed in Virginia, USA. Guess yourself who might be that ...

Posted by: b | Dec 9 2013 18:08 utc | 76

Would you offer your views on what happens in countries where the revolution fails? I hear stories from Syria that suggest a purge of possible opponents who may be actors in the political future, a "purification". How the regime expects to win hearts and minds when their soldiers are now robbing and looting "cleared" districts suggests they are storing resentment for the future. Maybe there is no fear in the regime of free elections, because all political opponents have been cleared.

I speculate that the Non Syrian opponents want Assad out of the settlement is because they want a free hand to exploit the riches of Syria. Assad and the regime control all the levers of the economy and they want to hang onto them. There were stories in 2010 of Gulfies buying land on behalf of Jewish between Qunietra and Damascus in anticipation of the Peace Highway. Maybe the regime wouldn't cut a deal and had to be forced out, another reason for the war.

Posted by: Jasmaz | Dec 9 2013 18:18 utc | 77

many countries had an interest in the chem attack being blamed on the syrian govt.

the syrian govt had no interest and would receive no benefit from perpetrating that act.

obama deliberately lied.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 9 2013 19:48 utc | 78

also meant to say: louis proyect is an idiot.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 9 2013 19:49 utc | 79

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 9, 2013 2:49:10 PM | 79

Louis is not an idiot if he was thered be no problem. Hes clerver sly and tricksy, and has suddenly taken to defending against islamophobia in his personal war on Assad, after his personal war on Gadaffi. There is a time and place for everything: but right now islam in its fundamentalist form is the problem. Louis for reasons of his own is attackig a secular inclusive state and serving fundamentalists muslims in their cause....hes not doing his reputation as the Unrepentent Marxist any good.

Posted by: brian | Dec 9 2013 20:49 utc | 80

Posted by: b | Dec 9, 2013 1:08:17 PM | 76

Democracynow has been a loyal servant of the 'arab spring' and ther jihadis making use of it: as in Libya and now syria. Hershs piece can not have been very welcome

Posted by: brian | Dec 9 2013 20:51 utc | 81

Pat Cockburn on the US and Bandar Posted by: bevin | Dec 9, 2013 12:06:50 PM | 72
That article sums up everything about Counterpunch that makes it worthless.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 9 2013 20:54 utc | 82

the Empire fights back

Posted by: brian | Dec 9 2013 20:55 utc | 83

Syrian Electronic Army hacked Brown Moses (Eliot Higgins) email and guess what? Weapons "expert" - who worked in the ladies undergarment industry - Brown Moses and pro-terrorist Matt VanDyke conspired to HIDE info that the "rebels" had chemical weapons:

Posted by: revenire | Dec 9 2013 20:59 utc | 84

Oops b I didn't see your post. Apologies.

Posted by: revenire | Dec 9 2013 21:00 utc | 85

@72 @82

in what is otherwise a good piece, Cockburn pushes the Assad gassed Ghouta line! He cant have read the Hersh piece let alone Moth Agnes.

'The Saudi initiative is partly fuelled by rage in Riyadh at President Obama’s decision not to go to war with Syria after Assad used chemical weapons on 21 August. Nothing but an all-out air attack by the US similar to that of Nato in Libya in 2011 would overthrow Assad, so the US has essentially decided he will stay for the moment. Saudi anger has been further exacerbated by the successful US-led negotiations on an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear programme'

'after Assad used chemical weapons on 21 August'

this sort of casual thowaway line will impress in readers minds it must be true

Posted by: brian | Dec 9 2013 21:02 utc | 86

Not only is that Cockburn article crap, but just about everything that appears on Counterpunch is crap (including, obviously, L Proyekt, but he's just the most personally offensive and least charming of them). For ten years these creeps have been telling us that the mighty USA can't do anything about "rich donors in the Gulf." And this Cockburbn is still saying it. The entire Cocjburn family is just mouthpieces. Never believe anything until it's been denied by a Cockburn.

Now this Hersh session with Any Goodman is also basically crap, IMH. Hersh sounds as if he's either drunk or hysterical. Among other things he says " The Israelis are not going to tolerate a jihadist government inside Syria, or even any area that the jihadists will claim as an area of sharia law. They’ll hit it." This is the same sort of shit as saying that the US can't do anything about "rich donors in the Gulf." It's "OMG, we're just a pitiful, helpless giant." And it's nonsense in both cases. Israel is no more a truant against US policy than the Gulf states are. This is all just deniability.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 9 2013 21:14 utc | 87

I must have seen a different Hersh interview than Rowan. Hersh was anything but hysterical; his manner was not quite nonchalant, a little nervous, but he seemed much the same as he always appears for interviews. I noticed that he shrugged his shoulders repeatedly during the chat with Amy Goodman. The repeated shrugs seemed to say "what do you expect?" This fixing of the evidence around policy is happening again.

Hersh seemed unnerved at the end of the interview when he had to come to grips (or maybe hasn't fully confronted his own cognitive dissonance) as it relates to Obama. Here is a president of whom he says he generally approves, whom he voted for twice; but at the present point the guy is tampering with evidence in a most dangerous way. This is not merely abnormal, in Hersh's view, but has entered the realm of the criminal.

He calls Obama the brightest and best president we will have. Although what the criteria for "best" is, I couldn't begin to say. Well, by the end of the interview, the deception of this particular leader does shock him. And to his credit, Hersh does stop Goodman cold, when she tries to fly the notion that this president changed his decision because of the huge upwelling public opposition to the attack. Hersh is having none of that, based on what he knows; and he believes Obama was totally willing to flout public opinion.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 9 2013 21:56 utc | 88

It is interesting that Rowan Berkley is fan of Lyndon LaRouche, (is it because he is antisemite?) and not Cockburn.

As far as I am concerned there is just few degree of separation between them.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 9 2013 22:08 utc | 89

b, that's huge indeed. I couldn't resist reading it before it might get off line

Someone ( mentions VD as having been in jail 6 months from february to august 2011, i doubt it;
as for the link you gave, scroll down to 15 August 2013, that's pretty close to the Ghouta 21st attack and see what they were planning with some new Libyans coming (Syr Per's stats has kept having good numbers of Libyan djihadists)

Posted by: Mina | Dec 9 2013 22:45 utc | 90

"Not only is that Cockburn article crap, but just about everything that appears on Counterpunch is crap..."

This is sheer self indulgence and sectarianism.
The Cockburn article is interesting, as is the case with most analysis it should not be taken as absolute truth but as a useful point of departure for readers. I too disagree, as is quite evident to anyone who reads my posts, with the attribution of the Ghouta attack. But so what?
If we only posts links after ensuring that every word and nuance conforms with the political line most pleasing to us we will post very few links. And, if the education that I get from the links others post is any indication, this will be a loss.
I suspect, idiotic as it must appear to adults, that Rowan's beef with the Cockburns has much to do with the late Alexander's contempt for 9/11 "truthers." It is not a contempt that I share, just as I do not share his weird, stalinist, view of climate change but to disregard the many services that he performed and that his brother still performs is to cut off one's nose to spite one's face.
Hersh certainly doesn't strike me as either drunk or hysterical, Rowan on the other hand, and in sharp contradistinction, seems extremely exercised.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2013 23:00 utc | 91

Why Hersh went with the LRB:

From today’s Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: Why did the piece appear in the London Review of Books and not in your traditional place where you publish, in The New Yorker or, as it was expected to appear, in The Washington Post, with Executive Editor Marty Baron saying the sourcing in the article didn’t meet the Post’s standards?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, that’s what he told me in an—or one of his editors said in an email, after the story, when it had been, I thought, scheduled to run for a few weeks, was—and, you know, he’s—look, he’s the boss. He’s a rational, good editor, and he’s entitled to say it didn’t meet—the information I got is that it didn’t meet the standards of The Washington Post. And I respect that. He’s no fool, you know, and I don’t know the guy, but everything I heard about him is that he’s a very competent editor. I know people that worked with him when he was that the L.A. Times, which he was. And so, I don’t begrudge an editor to say what he wants. You know, look, people like me, we really wear out welcomes very quickly. You know, sometimes you get tired of reporters coming in and saying, you know, the sky is always black, and it’s not sunny. And that’s what we do. So, investigative reporters, we have a very short shelf life. You know, we’re the Bad News Bears.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Dec 9 2013 23:10 utc | 92

Articles written by Hersh or Greenwald or some other "status symbols" of US journalism are followed by various comments.

Intentionally or not, such article full of octane which purpose is to elevate an authors to new level, or at least to maintain an old one. In article penned by Michael Calderone one of those follow-ups articles.

Now we know that “there was little interest” at The New Yorker; At WP: Executive Editor Marty Baron decided “that the sourcing in the article did not meet the Post's standards.”

more, "While The New Yorker is renowned for its fact-checking department, government officials have taken issue with Hersh's findings."

According to this, The New Yorker first asks government officials, for the fact and if they are OK than they publish them!?

So, "poor" Hersh, out of desperation, published it across the pond.

When you work for Huffington, TNYT or WP or any other you have to be asshole first and employ good measure of self-censorship and take the pen.

Yet, None of them will point to an article from the New Yorker descibed here:

Is that "renowned fact-checking department"?

Maybe as a kids they play too much of game known as the Broken Telephones. Just maybe...

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 9 2013 23:17 utc | 93

Obviously, S. Hersh wished something to say about CW and the Syria's crisis. Something like this couldn't pass up without his mentioning, which is OK. A difficulties arises when Hersh was ready to publish it, given that major media are owned and controlled by US Government. I do not doubt that he had no problem finding publishing house.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 9 2013 23:39 utc | 94

Who are these guys?
Cockburn has just won the Editorial Intelligence Comment Award 2013 for Foreign Commentator of the Year.

I have to admit that Cockburn is rather daft with his comments about Assad's 'responsibility' for CW, and what can only be naiveté re: KSA being 'independent' actors, or else he's deliberately lying/obfuscating. Not one of his best pieces. BUT, it does raise an important issue, WTF is US foreign policy trying to accomplish with this schizophrenic bullshit with so-called allies?

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 9 2013 23:44 utc | 95

Note that in that Democracy Now! interview to which b links Hersh does mention the incident in Adana, Turkey where Al Nusra activists were arrested, allegedly with sarin in their possession that they intended to use to attack the U.S.-Turkish air base in Incirlik just outside Adana. He says that he did not mention the incident in his LRB article because the Turkish government toned down the story, so that he did not have good enough sourcing for it, but it's clear from what he says in the interview that he thinks the initial reports were correct, and that the Islamism of the Erdogan government is what accounts for the toning down.

By the way, with respect to the Ghouta incident, am I the only one reminded of that excellent old movie out of the DDR, Der Fall Gleiwitz?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 10 2013 0:02 utc | 96

I wonder if you people have any opinions on the report on Ghouta that appeared on Global Research in mid-September by Sergei Balonokov. He is a free-lance journalist who also writes for Peppermint Press and Executive Intelligence Review. He argues that the dead children seen in the Youtube clips were actually victims of the Israeli atomic bomb attack on Damascus that occurred on July 4, 2013 (contrary to public opinion there was no sarin gas attack at all on August 21). Apparently Mossad agents swept through the crater left by the atomic bomb and gathered up all the dead children who were not burned too badly and drove them to Ghouta in the dead of night in Crescent Cross ambulances they had purloined. Balonokov also has an interesting theory on 9/11 that revolves around the strong possibility that the perpetrators were actually radicalized members of the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect led by one Yossi Finkelstein-Kretz who had set off a small nuclear devices in the WTC and the Pentagon. They were angry at Lady Gaga and Coca-Cola apparently. This seems like the right place for such a query.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Dec 10 2013 0:59 utc | 97

So Louis, how does it feel to be such a tiny, tiny man that you'd double down on your defense of fundamentalist head choppers, child killers, and imperialist toadies before admitting you simply misread the political situation?

Do you miss your principles Louis? Do you think of them now and again?

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 10 2013 1:22 utc | 98

@92 Funny how tossing one's principals in the garbage works. First you're supporting a terror war, then you have to start leaving your little rabbit pellet urls around about the man who exposed two major war crimes, and next thing we see you're tossing out everything every self-respecting Leftist knows about self-censorship and media manipulation.

What's the next principle to go Louis? The world is probably going to focus its attention on a Syrian machinations of a certain medieval monarchy soon ... so can we expect the "unrepentant Marxist" to pen a defense of feudalism soon?

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 10 2013 1:46 utc | 99

Of course Obama was "willing to flout public opinion". One who is leading the lie and drawing the dumbest red lines while clearly hoping they would cross said lines and already shipping spooks and weapons for years into his crime scene, is certainly willing to flout... as long as drone, I mean red mist tuesday lunch is not interrupted.

One who had Sec's of State like HRC (fresh out of Libya) and JK running around doing and saying what they did. One who has persecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined... is determined to usurp public opinion.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 10 2013 2:13 utc | 100

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