Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 06, 2014

Hersh: Turkey Behind Sarin Attacks In Syria

Last December Seymour Hersh wrote that the CIA knew that Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda affiliated fundamentalists in Syria, were capable of producing Sarin and were likely the ones who used it last August in Ghouta near Damascus. The U.S. then claimed that the Syrian government had used the lethal gas and Obama threatened an all out air attack against it. Obama stopped the operation and went to Congress which denied to sanction any attack. A deal proposed by the Russian Federation for Syria to give up all its chemical weapons allowed Obama to publicly back down from his red-line.

Hersh now has a new piece out that goes much deeper into the issue. According to his sources:

  • In 2012 the CIA build a rat-line to provide weapons from Libya via Turkey to the Syrian insurgents.
  • That rat-line was stopped by the CIA after the attack on the U.S. "consulate" in Benghazi but the Turks continued to run it on their own.
  • The Turkish prime minister had bet all his cards one the Syrian insurgency. His intelligence service MIT was supporting not only the Free Syrian Army but also Al-Nusra. When the war turned against the insurgents and the Syrian government was on the verge of winning Turkey needed to change the game.
  • Turkey trained al-Nusra on the production of Sarin and provided the precursor chemicals.
  • After several Sarin incidents, on of which killed some Syrian soldiers, Erdogan pushed the White House to react to the supposed breach of Obama's red-line against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. Obama at first declined.
  • In August 2013 chemical weapon inspectors arrived in Damascus. The Turks used the visit to instigate a spectacular chemical warfare incident in Ghouta. This incident pushed Obama to declare that the red-line had been crossed and that he would use air attacks against the Syrian government.
  • Provided with physical probes from the incident via the Russians and the British U.S. government laboratories found that the Sarin used in Ghouta did not match the Sarin the Syrian government was supposed to have.
  • Knowing that the case was weak and the proposed action would likely escalate throughout the Middle East the U.S. military urged to call the attack off. Obama then threw the ball over to Congress and, after Congress declined to pick it up, took the Russian deal.

The Turks are furious that they did not get the attack they had demanded. Erdogan still needs a victory over the Syrian government and his support for al-Nusra and other radicals continues. As Hersh tells it the U.S. is unable or unwilling to stop him:

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

The story, as Hersh tells it, makes sense and fits the known circumstances. Erdogan has bet his house on the fall of the Syrian government and continues his best to achieve that.

Turkey obviously supports the current onslaught on Latakia and the Armenian town of Kessab in north-west Syria which is led by Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra. Recently over 1,000 mercenaries were flown from north Jordan to Turkey to join the fight. In the last week anti-tank missiles from U.S. production, of which the Saudi government recently bought 15,000, have been used in these attacks.

As the U.S. is unable or, more likely in my view, unwilling to stop Turkey on its way to become another Pakistan something else has to happen to change Erdogan's calculations. What could that be and who could provide it?

Posted by b on April 6, 2014 at 14:17 UTC | Permalink


I think Hersh is wrong about the Yankees being unable or unwilling to stop Erdogan. He wouldn't be acting like such a dolt & ideological time warp unless he had US-NATO's full support. Unfortunately for him, he can't launch a military assault on Syria without inviting Russian retaliation; and even the Yankees & Bibi aren't stupid enough to start that ball rolling.
Erdogan will just have to keep pimping Jihadis for the CIA and KSA. The Turkish military is nothing to write home about and Russia could 'drown it in a bathtub' in 3 days (and "Israel's" in 2).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6 2014 14:50 utc | 1

United states government doesn't give two shits what Turkey does to Syria as long as the United States doesn't have to be openly involved.

Emphasis on the word 'openly'. We are fine providing covert assistance regardless of price, but doing something that could get us criticized internationally like the Libya-style no-fly-zone Turkey apparently wants us to do isn't in the cards.

Anyway, im not convinced that US air attacks would have changed anything at the time. Syria isn't Libya, they actually have air defences.

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 6 2014 14:51 utc | 2

"...something else has to happen to change Erdogan's calculations. What could that be and who could provide it?"

The traditional way to deal with troublesome foreign leaders is either to discredit them with some form of engineered subversion, so as to cause their removal from office, or in the alternative, to kill them.

Posted by: george | Apr 6 2014 15:04 utc | 3

London is well know for libel-tourism. If Erdogan doesn't sue the LRB, it's as good as a confession of guilt.

Posted by: blowback | Apr 6 2014 15:05 utc | 4

It's probably a bit off topic but since the Yankees "lost" Ukraine, and being up the creek without a paddle in AfPak, they're desperate to find a compelling diversion from the half-baked plans which have gone pear-shaped. Rebel Radio/TV is reporting that Hagel is planning to 'strengthen Japan' against threats by N Korea and China - and warning China that its ascent to Great Power Status creates "great responsibilities" (not to behave like a herd of Yankee supremacists?).
The Yankees are so-o-o fucked - and it happened so quickly that their heads are still spinning.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6 2014 15:19 utc | 5

thanks b
"As the U.S. is unable or, more likely in my view, unwilling to stop Turkey on its way to become another Pakistan something else has to happen to change Erdogan's calculations. What could that be and who could provide it?"

a terrorist attack inside turkey might alter his view, especially if it went back to some of the fanatical folks he's encouraging in syria to make the shit happen in turkey instead for whatever crazy ideological reasons they might want to dream up.

Posted by: james | Apr 6 2014 15:55 utc | 6

RT also report that the attacks in turkey last year was done by syrian rebels [not Assad!].

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 6 2014 16:20 utc | 7

I think the aim of the exercise is to exonerate the US in general & the CIA in particular, plus the KSA in general and Bandar in particular, from responsibility for the sarin plot. That's a perfectly basic function of any limited hangout, and that what all Hersh's stories are. He's somewhat like the proverbial lamp-post upon which the intel dogs traditionally relieve themselves. But this is dangerous:

Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 6 2014 17:12 utc | 8

And once again, a piece that should be broadcast far and wide among MSM if it were anything close to an actual vehicle for honest, informative, news, must be published in The London Review of Books and disseminated among independent media sites, ultimately forcing village presstitutes to acknowledge it but not exactly endorse it or examine it's most damming revelations and implications.

Hard to say what's going on vis-a-vis US unable or unwilling to stop Erdogan's support for Al Nusra et al. I'm sure CIA and such are still facilitating support for "rebels", maybe just more covertly and liason-ishly, while WH insiders and State Dept hardliners debate endlessly over what to do. Who really knows they're true intentions and strategy and the training behind it until well after the fact. Only time will tell. But yeah, I'd be worried too if I was Erdogan with thousands of disgruntled, battle-hardened jihadis being forced out of Syria when they finally lose that war. Where do they go? Another shit sandwich served up by reckless US Imperial ambitions gone awry. Thank God the military had the foresight to prevent the all-out bombing campaign and eventual chaos that would have ensured. And this should put another nail in the coffin of the "public pressure stopped a war" meme. Not one mention of any official worried about what we think.

Posted by: Colinjames | Apr 6 2014 17:13 utc | 9

Correction- should be, who really knows... REASONING (not training) until after the fact.

Posted by: Colinjames | Apr 6 2014 17:15 utc | 10

Voltaire Net, 17 September 2013, reported:
Ghouta chemical weapons came from Turkish Army

They have also reported that the chemical weapons came from NATO via the Turkish Army but I can't readily find the link to that piece.

Posted by: Carrie | Apr 6 2014 17:17 utc | 11

>>The Turkish prime minister had bet all his cards one the Syrian insurgency.

Why does Erdogan want to destabilise Syria - why is he betting everything on this? What's the huge payoff that justifies all the hard work and scheming?

Posted by: ahji | Apr 6 2014 17:26 utc | 12

I think the aim of the exercise is to exonerate the US in general & the CIA in particular,

looked that way from the start

blame anyone - the turks, the Saudis - just don't blame the US nor the zios

Posted by: brb | Apr 6 2014 17:31 utc | 13

The attack in Kassab against the Armenians has even brought out bubble heads like Kim Kardashian to support them against Turkey.
Misstep on the part of Erdoghan, who supprisingly is still in power?

Posted by: Fernando | Apr 6 2014 17:32 utc | 14

Based on some recent leaks and western media coverage of Turkey, it certainly seems Erdogan has fallen out of favor with someone who has resources (western intel agencies, Gülen, both?). I wonder how this report relates (does it serve the same purposes as the recent audio leaks or do the leaks hint at why Erdogan has fallen our of favor?).

Posted by: James | Apr 6 2014 17:41 utc | 15

The deafening silence of Turkey's allies is a strong indication that NATO is behind it. If it would be against NATO's intentions and they would be surprised about it, you bet that the Nobel Peace Laureate would already telepromt and Germany's chancellor Kazmierczak and Hollande would already demand consequences for Turkey and the exclusion from the NATO.

It's obviously a NATO plot.

Posted by: Cynthia | Apr 6 2014 18:00 utc | 16

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 6, 2014 1:12:16 PM | 8

My take also from reading his obfuscations over the years. His sources are "interested parties" in the U.S. regime, none of which can be considered reliable sources. These are hardly likely to be honest or desirous of the truth getting out given their roles. The USA, and Israel, use the Turks as expendable go betweens. The Turks don't take a leak without asking permission first. The terrorists in Syria are tightly controlled by their western handlers, especially in important operations like CW false flags, which are planned and coordinated to minute detail.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 6 2014 18:03 utc | 17

@8 - i think rowan is more on with the nature of hersh's post too.

Posted by: james | Apr 6 2014 18:06 utc | 18

Yup and Hersh's narrative - in addition to clearing the CIA, as if - all reinforces the farcical horseshit story peddled by gatekeeper Chomsky and others regarding Syria that the apartheid genocidal state of Israel is just "sitting this one" out and that they just have NO DESIRE to see jihadists break apart or take control of Syria. Nope just a bunch of crazy Turks.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Apr 6 2014 18:25 utc | 19

There's something I don't understand about all this, and I'm sure there is someone here who can clear it up. I don't understand what Erdogan's strategic interest is in destabilizing and overturning the Syrian government. I understand the Neocon state department's interest, I'm somewhat confused about the Israeli interest but I'm sure they would be fine with a US installed regime that gave them a bit of extra Syrian territory to settle, but for the life of me I don't see what Erdogan's interest is. He needs some distraction away from his administration's privatizations and corruption, but he is well in the saddle, as the election showed, so a foreign adventure to shore up domestic support doesn't compute. What is the Turkish interest in a next door failed state?

Posted by: Knut | Apr 6 2014 18:39 utc | 20

Posted by: Knut | Apr 6, 2014 2:39:18 PM | 20

"I don't understand what Erdogan's strategic interest is in destabilizing and overturning the Syrian government."

Turkey could conceivably get a share of the energy reserves off the coast of Syria, and Lebanon, since after Syria, it's probable Israel would order the west to destroy that country also. But I'm sure that the bulk of it would be under western corporate control, with Turkey just getting a few leftover crumbs.

Turkey was also one of the main frontmen for the western attack on Libya. There is even less logic reasons for Turkey to have been involved there. This points to Turkey acting not in Turkey's interests, but acting under orders from more powerful interests.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 6 2014 18:52 utc | 21

The intervention of Erdoğan with Syria is understandable from his
point of view. Because, his government tries to supress Kurdish rebellion in Turkish Kurdistan. In Syria Kurds struggle to obtain the status autonomy and this status will affect the other Kurds. So Erdoğan and his government is afraid of it.
Secondly, Erdoğan has a secterian political view which is affiliated with İhvan ul Muslim organization.

Posted by: ceng kurdo | Apr 6 2014 18:56 utc | 22

@ Knut

I don't see what Erdogan's interest is.

Many reasons:

* Master's orders. Any puppet who isnt following them is gone, one way or another. Thats why I roll eyes anytime I hear how Turkey or Saudis are "rebelling" against US wishes.

* Gas/oil pipeline from Gulf to EU through Syria. It was especially important considering failure to subdue Iran and upcoming (at that time) planned take-over of Ukraine with expected friction with Russia. Now EU is tripply-screwed, its probably why they are pushing for some deal with Iran.

* Extensive funding from Gulf arabs.

* Desire of MB installed in Damascus.

* Potential land-grab for Turkey and Israel.

I'm sure there are more reasons, these are from top of my head.

Posted by: Harry | Apr 6 2014 18:59 utc | 23

I have to admit that it's getting quite sad here on this forum without our valuable Mr. Pragma.
Here a poem from Molana Rumi, one of the greatest poets of all times, just a try :

""This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Posted by: Sufi | Apr 6 2014 19:24 utc | 24

Off topic:

Pro-Russian protesters seize govt buildings in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov
Russia Today, Apr 6 2014 (today)

Thousands of people waving Russian flags flooded the streets of eastern Ukraine on Sunday. Demonstrators in the cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkov seized state offices, while in Donetsk they also demanded an independence referendum...

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 6 2014 19:25 utc | 25

@Harry #23:

Yes, Erdogan is an Islamist, so he is very fond of MB. He is basically a Turkish Morsi. Erdogan was able to castrate his military, while Morsi's military fooled him into thinking that they wouldn't give him trouble.

Thanks b, for saving me the trouble of reading Hersh's piece. I agree with others here that Turkey wouldn't do something so radical on its own. I too am starting to think of him as a gatekeeper, although I didn't before. His sources will only give him such juicy information out of self-interest, not because they respect the public's "right to know".

We used to have one or two people here who can read Turkish. Does anyone know what the response in Turkey is to Hersh's article?

Posted by: Demian | Apr 6 2014 19:25 utc | 26

It is clear that Erdogan has fallen from the Empire's grace and now is being set up as the fall guy for all the dirty stuff going on in Syria. Hersh is being spoon fed info by the CIA for this respect. It is quite obvious that it was the USA who pressured Turkey to support the Syrian crazies. Turks didn´t complain much as they did not get along with Assad. However it is clear that is it the Saudi's had behind the Sarin false flag and not turkey. According to Sibel Edmonds (who speaks fluent Turkish btw) the "leaked" tape is doctored and edited to remove any references to the USA and to implicate the Erdogan government exclusively.

Posted by: Alejandro | Apr 6 2014 19:27 utc | 27

Hersh has been a coverup artist since My Lai, where he left out details of the massive Phoenix Program and the widespread torture/assassination program in Vietnam. He apparently works for an element of the CIA but manages to portray himself as an outsider.

My grand theory of government puts the President and Congress out of the line of authority when it comes to foreign policy. Sometimes, when a Bush or Bush/Cheney or Reagan/Bush occupy the White House and they are in harmony with the permanent government it looks as if the orders are coming from high. But they aren't. (Putting Gates in was an adjustment by the permanent government during the Dubya years.) You will note that when Democrats are in the White House you get glimpses of rebellion in the MIC, but Carter went along with Afghanistan, Clinton went along with finishing the WWII strategy for Yugoslavia and continuing the pain on Iraq and now Obama is sitting by while the Cold Warriors battle for Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

What I am not sure at all about is Ukraine. It was utterly predictable what is happening there. Ukraine will either be a loose federation or will actually lose the eastern provinces. In either case, the IMF will inherit a basket case.

So was this an incredible failure by Nuland et al or was this just the latest bag of shit to be left on Obama's doorstep in advance of the 2014 midterms?

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Apr 6 2014 19:29 utc | 28

Septuagenarian Hersh might be "the proverbial lamp-post upon which the intel dogs traditionally relieve themselves," as RB says, but his reporting is always worth reading, if only to prove the point that the U.S. intelligence community, like any large bureaucracy, is not a monolith; there are pockets, sometimes large, of analysts who are not four-square behind the Obama administration's current -- as Pepe Escobar calls it -- "pivot everywhere." That was one of the takeaways from Hersh's first London Review of Books stories on Ghouta -- a lot of analysts toiling for Great Satan refused to peddle lies, a la Tenet's whoppers about Sadam's mobile anthrax labs and drone air force, that would have been used to justify an attack on Syria.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 6 2014 19:32 utc | 29

US/NATO to Erdogan: "Take care of this small chore and we'll allow you into the EU." But the task isn't simply a small chore. These recent events lead me to think Erdogan's stance against the Zionists for the Mavi Marmara raid was false posturing since the Syria plans were already underway, particularly given the retention of military ties between the two. Instead, it seems that Turkey's being destabilized by its own actions, which will probably worsen until its presidential election.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 6 2014 19:34 utc | 30

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6, 2014 11:19:35 AM | 5

You're right, of course-the Yanks, and Israel lost Iraq too. It was, and is bloody and far too many innocents suffer, but
Russia and Iran are winning.

"Meanwhile, the preservation of the status quo is still the more likely scenario in Iraq – al-Maliki’s victory in the election and his continuing the policy of curbing separatism in cooperation with Russia and Iran. There is also a probability of postponing the elections to a later date, due to the difficult situation in the country, and the main opponents, al-Maliki and Allawi, actually have a tacit agreement on this matter. Al-Maliki’s staying in power is in the interests of Moscow. However, only time will tell what will actually happen. At that, we will not have to wait long."

Posted by: amspirnational | Apr 6 2014 19:35 utc | 31

a lot of analysts toiling for Great Satan refused to peddle lies,

I think it would be much more fair to say that a lot of analysts toiling for Great Satan refused to allow/peddle a particular set of lies on this particular occasion.

doesn't mean they took a vow of honesty for the future though, and it certainly does not mean that what Hersh is peddling as an alternative to the MSM narrative is at all trustworthy

Posted by: brb | Apr 6 2014 19:46 utc | 32

Hersh has been a coverup artist since My Lai, where he left out details of the massive Phoenix Program and the widespread torture/assassination program in Vietnam. . . . . manages to portray himself as an outsider.


and not at all surprising, if true

Hersh is clearly little more than a conduit for some faction within the CIA/Intelligence Community

Posted by: brb | Apr 6 2014 19:47 utc | 33

@ Knut

I don't understand what Erdogan's strategic interest is in destabilizing and overturning the Syrian government.

It's a good question. There are several strands of thinking as to why Erdogan has taken the stance he has obviously taken.

1) Ideological - When talking about the AKP Party that Erdogan leads, its important to remember how AKP is pretty much Muslim Brotherhood, just with a different name to make it more acceptable to the secular Generals. Erdogan himself spent his youth and early career inside the Welfare Party, another Sunni-Islamist party that got banned and led to the formation of AKP. This is important as it highlights why Erdogan would support the Syrian Revolution, which had a sizable Muslim Brotherhood sympathising base originally and also why he supported Morsi in the Egyptian Revolution.

Erdogan has got strong sympathies and feeling of solidarity with these Arab Spring revolutions as many of there policies are his policies... and he hoped his AKP could be a model for the Egyptian and Syrian revolutionaries. which leds me to the second point.

2) Neo-Ottomanism - Another trait Erdogan has is his Neo-Ottoman beliefs with regards to "restoring Turkey as the leader of the Middle East". Someone who knows that Turkey ruled the Middle East for centuries under the Ottoman Empire and thinks that is Turkey's rightful place. Syria itself was a province of the Ottoman Empire and something Turkey considers either "its own" or "its backyard". After the Syrian Revolution, Erdogan likely thought he could turn Syria back into a vassal state of Turkey, if he could just get rid of independent minded Assad. Of course this assumption was based on the idea that the revolution would be over within weeks or months.

3) Green Money - It gets missed in alot of discussions how much Green Money (money from Saudi Arabia and Gulf Countries) has bankrolled the AKP Party as a way of spreading Islamic rule. AKP's President Abdullah Gul for instance worked in the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah Saudi Arabia before becoming President. Erdogan himself made his fortune by holding a 50% stake in Emniyet Foods, which is heavily tied into "green money" and Saudi Arabia.

These would be 3 big reasons explaining the Turkish stance.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Apr 6 2014 19:50 utc | 34

That rat-line was stopped by the CIA after the attack on the U.S. "consulate" in Benghazi but the Turks continued to run it on their own.

Poor, poor CIA. Can they never catch a break? Good thing they 'stopped'...what again? IA w Rowan Berkeley et al, this article is nothing but a balm to the CIA's rep. mixed in with all of the obvious conclusions that any amateur observer could've gathered a few years ago.

Posted by: L Bean | Apr 6 2014 20:09 utc | 35

Hersh's article linked to by b is sleazy.

So Hersh tells us he got this scoop about Erdogan's and Turkey's antics from this former intelligence person who isn't gainfully employed anymore as a spook but nevertheless has all this current spookish information, and trust me says Seymour, this guy has got some inside dope, and maybe if I'm lucky I'll get paid by the word cause I've got this long yarn I'm supposed to spin you.

And while I know its confusing because the disinfo system fawned over Erdogan previously, he was such a swell guy, but the tide has turned now, and I'm trying to do my Seymour best to negotiate this u turn and help the disinfo system throw dirt at Erdogan, cause the geo-political soycomstance has changed. And who knows, there could be a Pulitzer in this for me. I mean they give Nobel Peace prizes to mass murdering war criminals don't they?

Even referring to the attack on Syria as a civil war ought to give anyone pause. Yah we're having a civil war here, with Syria on one side and mercenaries from everywhere on the other, supported by dozens of countries and the global disinfo system.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 6 2014 20:10 utc | 36

Bob in Portland, @#28

I do not disagree, in addition, I can't help but wonder if The Obama campaign wasn't a brilliant psyop to create apathy and hopelessness for the next theater act, never-mind the mid-terms*. Oh, and, 'Bob in Portland, meet Mr.Beale...

SOUNDTRACK to it all...

then, * Intermission.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 6 2014 20:32 utc | 37

@ Knut

You have to consider the sequence of the attack.

Phase 1
Preparations in line with the Feltman-Bandar plan, with the participation of Israeli secret services and rubber stamped by Clinton. The logistics of it came over the jordan and lebanese borders (Daraa, Homs), not Turkey. Aleppo stayed left in lee even a long time after the "rat line" was established.

Phase 2
The attack on Homs was foiled. Had it been successfull, it had split Syria in two and that would probably have done the job - with a northern part of Syria left undestroyed and a Sunni bourgeoisie taking over that would have had to substitute for Damaskus and its countryside - via Turkey, obviously, and the clout of MB all over the place.

Within this two phases Clinton had brought in NATO, GCC (which was reluctant at first, but Qatar pushed heavily in order to get its pipeline) and all the other "Friends of Syria". It was impossible for Erdogan to halt it, in case he wished to. In Phase 2 he seems to have dragged it, but for the purpose to bring forward the Brotherhood (cooperating with Qatar).

Phase 3
UN-mission and massacre - marketing.
This was meant to bring about a palace coup, either by the syrian elite forces, which had led to an infight and breakdown of central power, or by a bulk of the army backed by the Sunni bourgeoisie. (It could be called "Tlass-phase")

So more phases were to follow. Turkey stayed a holder-on trying to climb a place in the machine - control, and this was complicated by the success of Kurdish self-defense and rifts opened in Turkey itself. Fidan might perhaps be loyal to Erdogan, but the MIT surely is not.

And within all that Erdogan sided with Russia, which had special and sophisticated plans in all this, perhaps in much collusion with Obama, while bargaining all over the place, with Turkey itself, with Israel, Cyprus, Irak, Iraki Kurdistan and Egypt. The last "coup" being the takeover of al Gas to find on and off the coast from Latakia to Tartus by a PSA. Meanwhile Syria becoming an incineration plant for arabian and caucasian garbage, with the Syrian regime and Syrian people bound to believe or hope, they count with the personnel and not with the waste.

Posted by: TomGard | Apr 6 2014 20:42 utc | 38

@Robert Snefjella #36:

Another curious thing about Hersh's story is that the word "Israel" does not appear in it, even though there was a report last August stating that Israeli intelligence is seen as central to US case against Syria.

While Israel will almost certainly take no direct part in a military strike, Israeli intelligence information is widely believed to have played a central role in enabling the US’s adamant conviction that Assad’s regime fired chemical weapons at civilians outside Damascus last Wednesday, killing hundreds of people and wounding over a thousand, according to Syrian rebel groups. [...]

The Israeli team in Washington, headed by Netanyahu’s outgoing National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, also includes senior Defense Ministry official Maj.-Gen. (Res) Amos Gilad, the head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate Nimrod Sheffer, and the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Research Branch Gen. Itai Brun. It was Brun, the IDF’s top intelligence analyst, who in April shocked the international community by declaring that the army was quite certain that Assad had used chemical weapons against rebel forces in Syria in March.

This time, too, Israeli military intelligence has reportedly played a key role in providing evidence of Assad’s chemical weapons use. On Friday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the weapons were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, a division under the command of the Syrian president’s brother, Maher Assad. The nerve gas shells were fired from a military base in a mountain range to the west of Damascus, the TV report said.

Hersh also states that Erdogan participated in the recently leaked conversation between Turkish officials about a false flag operation in Syria, which is false.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 6 2014 21:01 utc | 39

In addition to fleshing out details of the sarin attack, an important point that Hersh makes is the size of the target list that Obama was contemplating before taking the deal offered by Lavrov. If you recall, last August Obama was selling an attack on Syria by assuring the public/Congress that the strikes would be limited. This turns out to have been -- as most of us who frequent MofA suspected -- a bald lie.

After the Joint Chiefs submitted a list of 35 all military targets, the Obama White House sent it back to the planners, deeming it not "painful" enough:

The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.
Obama's intention all along has been destruction of the Syrian state.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 6 2014 21:03 utc | 40

"Hersh also states that Erdogan participated in the recently leaked conversation between Turkish officials about a false flag operation in Syria, which is false."

Posted by: Demian | Apr 6, 2014 5:01:17 PM | 39

Yah, Demian, much is missing, and much is spun, in Hersh's yarn.

In reference to the Turkish Tape worm, Hersh oddly inserts Erdogan in square brackets, thus instructing us that in his view that's what the conversation meant, just in case it escaped us. And Hersh relies upon that beacon of integrity, Reuters, for his tawdry tid bit of a 'translation' of the translation of the possibly doctored Turkish Officials gabfest. Gee Seymour, any chance Reuters' version contained references to John Kerry, that icon of honesty and competence, and a no fly zone? Just wondering.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 6 2014 21:36 utc | 41

re 34 Colme

Good arguments.

Nevertheless, I find it difficult to understand why Erdogan would want to go to war in Syria. I have no doubt that he has become a bit crazed by power.

But going to war in Syria has risks that probably already make him reflect.

1) Economic development will be put on hold. Although he has most of his electorate, they won't be very pleased if the economy turns down.

2) Turkish war on Syria will put in question the Arab-speaking border regions, notably Antakya. Although Antakyans are mainly in favour of remaining in Turkey, an invasion will dissolve the border, and who knows where the final result will be.

3) The Syrian Kurds, liberated, will join with the Turkish Kurds, to make an uncontrollable mass.

It would be foolish of Erdogan to commit to such an uncontrollable future. He has become dictatorial, with a reliable vote to re-elect him, it is true. But he has to re-elected by the Anatolian constituency which supports him. They will not be pleased by poverty consequent on war in Arab countries. The Arabs mean nothing for the Anatolian Turks, whether they're Sunni or Shi'a or whatever. If the economy goes down through war, they may decide to vote for other candidates, such as Gülden.

Posted by: Alexno | Apr 6 2014 21:42 utc | 42

Mike Maloney | Apr 6, 2014 5:03:41 PM | 40

That's the reason why I'm with

Robert Snefjella | Apr 6, 2014 4:10:57 PM | 36

Taking the piece not seriously, even not as a psy-op, because Hersh must be nothing short of senile letting himself feed with utterly bullshit. He knows nothing about the Syrian military, nothing about it's structure (making a comprehensive destruction either dispensable or genocidal) hasn't read one of the two or three tactical evaluation papers (one for Brookings, one for Congress and there was another one, classified, by Pentagon) which led to the conclusion, at least 150 to 200k boots on the ground were needed in the second and the finishing phase of bombing Syria into submission. He doesn't even know how many B-52 make up for "several wings" and that you don't bring them anywhere without providing for the ammunition first, which would take weeks.

And above all Hersh tries to sell us (and had selled himself) that Obama was up to kill half a million Syrians by aerial attacks (because many or perhaps most of the mentioned targets are in urban territory) but retracted because "oh, it wasn't the Syrians who suffocated them kids ..."

Posted by: TomGard | Apr 6 2014 21:55 utc | 43

What? The USA can't engineer a bit o' regime change in Turkey?

Why not?

Posted by: Johnboy | Apr 6 2014 21:57 utc | 44

The Russian Spring has arrived and the US and EU are no pleased! no sign of Otpor at this Spring

Posted by: brian | Apr 6 2014 23:15 utc | 45

i'm not sure I'd go along with Herst in placing all the blame on Turkey. Turkey has its limits and Herst ignores them.

Posted by: Alexno | Apr 6 2014 23:15 utc | 46

I think this allegation should reach to the Turkish public.

They have no idea, yet they probably will not claim that Turkey would never do such a thing after learning about this:

Posted by: merenbey | Apr 6 2014 23:37 utc | 47

We're all still waiting on Hersh to flesh out the "Bin Laden Raid 'One Big Lie'" thing, right? Or was that just a teaser for the rest of his career?

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 6 2014 23:48 utc | 48

Posted by: brian | Apr 6, 2014 7:15:00 PM | 45

"The Russian Spring has arrived and the US and EU are no pleased! no sign of Otpor at this Spring"

Looks like winter is over. Pro-Russian protesters seize govt buildings in Ukraine's Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 6 2014 23:49 utc | 49

I think the story sounds coherent. Certainly commentators here are not denying that there was/is a rat line running from Libya, with U.S./UK logistical support, through Turkey to Syria. That much has even been reported by the odious C.J. Chivers. How about Nusra having the capability to launch sarin attacks? Are we denying that? As for TomGard's skepticism regarding Hersh's reporting because of the "total war" aspect of the White-House-demanded revisions in the Joint Chiefs target set, recall that Obama had a meeting (lining up Congressional support for the attack on Syria) with noted warpig senators McCain and Graham -- this was before the Kerry London faux pas and Lavrov deal -- and afterwards they were, as announced to the TV cameras, satisfied that Obama was considering serious military options. Also, we know from recent history -- Iraq -- that the White House will blithely ignore the recommendations of senior military staff (see, Army Chief of Staff Shinseki's advice that Rumsfeld would need several hundred thousand boots on ground) when destroying a country.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 6 2014 23:49 utc | 50

A Russian Spring in another way. A really important interview of Andrei Kostin, President of VTB Bank

"Today I am posting a video of what I think is an extremely important interview of Andrei Kostin, the resident and Chairman of the Management Board of powerful Russian VTB Bank (who basically speaks for Russian banking). At a recent meeting of Russian banker Kostin made the official proposal for Russia to switch from the US Dollar to the Russian Ruble as payment currency for Russian exports. This proposal has received the backing of the CEO of Gazprom, Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft and Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec (for those of you unfamiliar with the names Gazprom, Rosneft and Rostec, I urge you to click on the links to the Wikipedia article about them but basically this is Russian Gas, Oil and Industry - including the powerful Oboronprom - Defense). This proposal has even received the support of Alexei Kudrin. In other words, this proposal has the backing of basically all of the Russian "Big Money".

Once Russia gets the change over in place, others will begin to follow with their own declarations of independence. The first domino has fallen against the second.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 7 2014 0:11 utc | 51

I agree that Seymour Herst’s article is a part of the whole story. The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing for two years with no end in sight. Turkey and the Gulf players wanted to draw NATO in to get it over with. Gassing civilians almost worked.

I am convinced that it didn’t work because Russia sent 12 ships offshore and said “Nyet”. This and the caution from American military officers made the President hesitate. Subsequently, the UK Parliament and the American people rejected the Syrian intervention.

This pissed the neo-conservatives off to no end. They and the NGOs pushed back at Russia in the Ukraine. The Kiev Revolt has reignited the Cold War.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Apr 7 2014 0:15 utc | 52

Somewhat OT:
Majority of Germans against NATO Troops in Eastern Europe and for German Neutrality

Germany still is under de-facto occupation and its government’s policy with regard to NATO is not necessarily German policy, let alone representative of the German population. The majority of Germans are against a NATO presence in Eastern Europe and would like to see a Germany at equal distance from both NATO and Russia, reveals a recent poll

Discussions about foreign, that is both Western and Russian interference in Ukraine, have reopened old wounds in Germany, which 64 years after the end of the war in 1945 and the occupation by allied forces, still is under de-facto administration of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Command. Major decisions in Germany cannot be made without the approval of Washington and London, regardless how much Washington, London and Berlin attempt to sugarcoat the fact behind statements of freedom and democracy. […]

Both the United States and the UK are doing their part to maintain the status quo, to the extend that analysts warn, that any development of close political, economic and energy-related ties between Europe and Russia, and particularly between Germany and Russia, that would challenge the dominance of the US – UK axis over European geopolitics, will be opposed by the USA and the UK. In fact, a high-ranking European NATO admiral confessed during the early 1980s, that the USA and UK, together, would engineer a crisis, if necessary, a war, to oppose that trend.

Some Germans are in denial about this, like our thomas, who seem to have left after I pointed out to him that the US occupiers subjected Germans to an intense indoctrination campaign to make them loath themselves.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 7 2014 0:18 utc | 53

Why does Hersh single out Turkey for responsibility (at least more than he assigns to Saudi Arabia)? Hersh repeats the WSJ story of Erdogan and Fidan's dinner meeting with Obama, Kerry and Donilon. Interestingly, the WSJ story said

Mr. Fidan’s rise at Mr. Erdogan’s side has been met with some concern in Washington and Israel because of his role in shaping Iran policy. One senior Israeli official says it became clear to Israel that Mr. Fidan was "not an enemy of Iran."

Then Hersh mentions Fidan's role in the recent leak of the false-flag planning for the tomb of Süleyman Shah.

So maybe what's happening is Fidan isnt acting in 100% alignment with Israel's interests, so Hersh's DOD sources are hanging him out.

Once Turkey starts toeing the Israeli line on Iran, it will be like nothing ever happened.

Finally, while I am willing to believe KSA was directly involved with the Ghoutta false-flag, logistics seems to make it likely that Turkey was just as deeply involved.

Posted by: ess emm | Apr 7 2014 0:19 utc | 54

I agree with Rowan Berkeley and the others who see this as a CIA operation to continue in Syria while attempting to shift the blame to ... Erdogan's handy.

Barack Obama and the CIA are the devastators of Syria ... Libya, Yemen, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Waziristan, ... Iran.

Posted by: john francis lee | Apr 7 2014 0:52 utc | 55

@ 52

It is not now, nor was it ever, a "civil war" in Syria.

As far as Hersh's article is concerned, stopped reading after the second falsehood. Last thing I need at this late time in life, is some 'name' telling me even more lies.

Posted by: rouge | Apr 7 2014 1:19 utc | 56

Another victory for Western freedom of speech:

Blog has been removed

Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

In a post from a few days ago, the Saker wrote this:

Personal announcement: Should something bad happen

After the weird service interruption today, I have decided to take some precautionary emergency measures. Should something really bad suddenly happen to this blog, for whatever reasons, I will continue blogging at the following address: (please write this down somewhere)


I cannot imagine having both my blog and my email address shot at the same time but, just in case, I have this backup email address now: (please write this down somewhere)

Both of these services ( and are hosted in Russia and appear to be taking security very seriously. I hope that this will provide us all with some redundancy.

In the coming days and weeks, I will try to give some halfway decent appearance to the backup blog at, but its basic functionality is already working, including comments.

I am still looking for a good blog mirroring option, but in the meantime we now have something to fall back on should a sudden long term "outage" or "service interruption" happen. Better safe than sorry.

Sorry for these headaches, but I think I should heed the numerous warnings I am getting from friends and readers.

The backup blog doesn't seem to be working properly yet. I hope the Saker made a local backup of his deleted blog. The Saker's primary email address is (I would be very surprised if Google cancels that.)

I never liked the idea of myself. If you are going to blog, you should administer the blog yourself, instead of having some corporation do it for you.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 7 2014 2:50 utc | 57

Posted by: Demian | Apr 6, 2014 10:50:31 PM | 57

It's working right now.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 7 2014 3:19 utc | 58

thanks Knut for asking that question and to Colm O' Toole and TomGard in particular for providing an informative answer.

Posted by: james | Apr 7 2014 3:26 utc | 59

If I have read that Hersch article correctly then this is what his sources are claiming:
a) The CIA set up a rat-run from Libya through Turkey to Syria i.e. they owned this entire route lock, stock 'n' smokin' barrels.
b) After Benghazi the CIA decided to abandon that rat-run, but just... forgot... to actually shut it down i.e. they abandoned their Clown Car in the middle of the road, doors wide open, keys in the ignition, and the engine still idling.
c) Whereupon Erdogon leapt into that Clown Car and is now madly careering around in it, much to the horror of these CIA (now, though not formerly) "onlookers"
d) Those horrified onlookers can do nothing about this because, you know, The Tears Of A Clown is something even more terrible to contemplate than a Clown-Induced Multi-Car Pile-Up.

And we are supposed to believe that, are we?

Posted by: Johnboy | Apr 7 2014 3:44 utc | 60

Hersh's article did say one interesting thing: "In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country ability to conduct international trade."

I hadn't realized before how important SWIFT was. Russia and China are apparently working on an alternative electronic payment system; if it's successfull it could be huge.

Posted by: Cyril | Apr 7 2014 4:09 utc | 61

It is basic training for field officers (and for stay-at-home case officers who handle defectors, foreign expats etc in US), that no matter how stupid or goddamned loopy your agent, you must humour him or her, even unto death if necessary. An agent, qua agent, is essentially free to stay or go. He or she has to want to stay. So the officer will humour the agent to a fantastic degree. This skill is fundamentally the same as that required by an officer who is engaged in a media psyop, humouring a journalist. But the complexities of a media psyop are much greater than those of merely humouring an agent in the field. I'm sure the CIA are very clearly aware of the fact that never in the entire history of this activity has a complex psyop ever gone unchallenged.

But one thing I will say for sure. If a CIA officer is known to be going soft or as I might put it, doing a Ray McGovern, he will under no circumstances be used as case officer or as the conduit for a disinfo story to a journalist. To imagine that a senior manager might say, "Oh, well, Ray is a sentimental, drivelling, drooling, Jesus-loving sob-sister, or possibly entering into senility and second childhood rather early, so let's put him together with Seymour Hersh, that'll create a wonderful image of whistlebowing." No. Exclude from your minds any idea that any intelligence officer anywhere talks to journalists "off the record" because he or she is remorseful. Do not imagine that the sources for these limited hangouts are as it were, whistleblowers still in place. Get me?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 7 2014 4:14 utc | 62

I think b has called this one well. Looking at the Hersh article, it seems to be a very tightly written one, and doesn't wander off into conjecture. First of all, I see nothing in the text to justify the conclusions of some around here,who offer that Obama is being let off the hook for supporting al Nusra and the rest, while Erdogan is being set up as the "fall guy". The Hersh piece doesn't minimize Obama's criminality, nor does it ignore the president's ambition to do a monstrous level of damage to civilians, and civilian infrastructure, if the attack over the "red line" had come to pass.

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.
And also, there's this:
The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said

Hersh has written something that adds more context, and confirms stories our host has already submitted about Erdogan and his recklessness over the past months. I believe that some people fired from the hip in these comments, without bothering to read the linked article.

And I don't believe that a public hearing in Congress, that shows open policy conflict between the State Department and the Pentagon, provides anything like a reasonable hook, for charges that the Hersh article is nothing but a "limited hangout" operation, to fob off all blame on the Turkish leader.

Hersh confirms the role of the so-called Benghazi "consulate", sending Libyan arms, via Turkey, to Syrian insurgents:

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

And so, I think that b is correct in his assessment here:

"The story, as Hersh tells it, makes sense and fits the known circumstances. Erdogan has bet his house on the fall of the Syrian government and continues his best to achieve that."

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 7 2014 4:48 utc | 63

I always considered Hersh a reliable source but obviously i need to reconsider that sentiment. My only question is, if he is a cia dis-info agent, why won't msm tough his last two pieces? Also, "the redirection" piece from '07ish wad quite prescient and relevatory, was it not? I keep am open mind about everyone and everything and considering the high regard I have for the commentors here I am obliged to consider the possibility, but I'm rather curious why this piece had to come thru LRB if it's really cia propaganda. Or whatever Intel/Admin/MIC agenda it serves.

Posted by: Colinjames | Apr 7 2014 5:10 utc | 64

And please forgive the awkward wrong words, I swype from my phone and forget to pay attention to every sentence.

Posted by: Colinjames | Apr 7 2014 5:13 utc | 65

Do not imagine that the sources for these limited hangouts are as it were, whistleblowers still in place. Get me?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 7, 2014 12:14:18 AM | 62

If Hersh's retired but gossipy confidant is not a fictional character entirely, it could be that he is an alumni of the CIA school for remote viewing. That would explain: how he 'knows' so much of what's going on, in retirement, far from the Langley water cooler.... "It just comes to me through the ether when I sit playing with myself. It's kinda spooky.".... but not why he had to explain it all to Seymour. Maybe they're old buddies? Maybe he was all pent up?

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 7 2014 5:14 utc | 66

I'm glad someone saw the humour in my rather convoluted suggestion, Robert, thank you for that. This isn't an example of a CIA leakist (or limited hangout artist) pretending to be remorseful, but it has happened, and I would watch out for it. Where do you draw the line with these 'ex'-CIA characters? I'm sure Ray McGovern is absolutely genuine, but what about Phil Giraldi? I don't think so. I think he is a living example of the adage that there is no such thing as an 'ex'-CIA officer, unless he or she has become a real 'ex' by becoming a real whistleblower, like John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on waterboarding and is still in prison.

Sibel Edmonds has created a Whistleblowers Alliance, but I can't help thinking any such organisation will rapidly turn into a wilderness of mirrors. But Sibel does have some live sources, particularly in relation to Turkish covert action, and what she has to say about the Devutoglu tape is very interesting. I'm not clinging to the MintPressNews story about Bandar and the sarin, by the way. It was a heroic effort, but it was quite probably fiction fed through Yahya Ababneh to Dale Gavlak, which MPN's editor bought into too hastily. In the end Dale Gavlak was hung out to dry. The chances are not especially high that it was true. The theory that the sarin came from Turkish army stocks may be true, though my impression is that it was home-brewed by Nusra. That isn't really the issue. The issue is: who knew? Who encouraged them? Did it stop with Erdogan or did it go all the way up to NATO Intelligence, the Pentagon and Langley? Did the project perhaps originate with them, not merely get 'heard about' by them at some late stage? And so on.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 7 2014 5:55 utc | 67

I don't necessarily believe the thing about the iraq-sized target set, either: maybe they just put that in so that we would say, "Look at that! What bastards! This is a genuine leak from the very depths of hell!"

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 7 2014 6:16 utc | 68

On a different topic... there are reports that Yanukovich may be back in Ukraine... if so, things are back to interesting...

Posted by: CC | Apr 7 2014 6:58 utc | 69

Whatever happened to Gen. Wesley Clarke's astonishment at learning that there was an agenda to 'regime change' all those countries in the Middle East? Not the really bad ones, of course, like Saudi Arabia.

But back to the drawing board: The problem with Hersh's piece is not that it lacks plenty of facts or considerable coherence. The problem is that it is also cleverly understates, misleads and excludes.

Almost at random, begin with the first sentence: We learn that “Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya”. Well that's a rather pleasant inoffensive way to describe the destruction, based on gross lies, of a beautiful country, the mass murder and rape of its people.

We are told: “We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’ “

But this Turkish bogieman does not explain why our little local radio station in the backwoods of Canada with its two minutes of 'news' every few hours and with several quadrillion possible items to 'inform' us with, chose to repeat over and over that the Syrian government had nerve gassed its own people, and when one switched to a more distant large radio station, day after day, the same 'news'.

It would seem there was a rather weighty agenda.

Later this: “The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were *wrong*. “ [my emphasis] Wrong is when you add 2 and 2 and get 5. The correct word is *Lies*.

Later: “The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack *sought by the White House* would be *an unjustified act of aggression.* [my emphasis]

So was any one else outside the White House "seeking the attack"? (And we are comforted by the realization that the US military only bombs the hell out of people when it is fully justified.)

And “...When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame ...”

Such a placid tepid sentence. Such a nice story. “Go to your room, George! No supper tonight! Bad boy! You are to blame!”

But the above are just samples of the 'flavor' of Hersh's use of language.

Here is a more specific example of the quality of his work: Citing a Senate Intelligence Committee report, he refers to the attack upon “a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens...”. Not much information there. But an eye witness to the events, interviewed by Joyce Riley, on the Power Hour Radio show, broadcast during this winter on short wave, described a fierce several hour battle at the compound where Stevens died. Potential armed help was moments away. It never arrived. Wonder why not?

And Hersh's reference to al-Qaida of course passes quietly by with no hint of their CIA parentage.

A throwaway line, so reassuring, so false: (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.)

And so on. I have commented previously on Hersh's handling of the Turkish Officials 'discussion.

Here is a quote from Hersh. “Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of Erdoğan and his associates, was posted to YouTube.”

Anything wrong with that sentence?

A plausible, coherent piece of writing can also be a refined form of deception.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 7 2014 7:04 utc | 70

Hersh is a human DEBKA, there is truth in what both say.

As to why, the answer is simple. It is all about a new Khazar empire, punish the Rus (Putin alluded to this), punish the Shia, make alliances with Sunni mercenaries. Did you see the meeting between the Pontiff and Obama, did u see the body language, the look of disgust on the Pontiff face. The sudden cancellation of high level meetings between the Holy See and the Zionists in Israel. There is more to come, April 14-15 was meant to be some kind of crowning event, has not worked as planned. Interpret the Mayan Long Count, we are at the edge of something major.

Posted by: hans | Apr 7 2014 10:45 utc | 71

Phoebe Greenwood ‏@pagreenwood 9m
people's republic of #donetsk? referendum to be held before may 11 donetsk's self-proclaimed new leaders announce. sigh..........................NOTE Phoebe is asst editor Guardian Assistant foreign ed at Guardian. Formerly stringer in Israel/ Palestine

Donetsk declares itselfa republic:

Legislature of just proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic asks Putin move in peacekeepers
KIEV, April 7. /ITAR-TASS/. The council of recently proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic turned to the Russian president, asking him to introduce a temporary peacekeeping contingent.
The lawmakers unanimously supported the address of the Republican Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Earlier, the deputies of the Donetsk regional council proclaimed the state sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The corresponding bill was read at the council’s session.
“The territory of the republic within the recognized borders is indivisible and inviolable,” the council said. The legislators also passed a decision on holding a referendum on whether or not the region should join the Russian Federation. It will be held no later than May 11.

tahtakuslar @tahtakuslar 24m
People's Republic of ‪#‎Donetsk‬, request for Russian peacekeeping force until Referenadum day.

Posted by: brian | Apr 7 2014 11:17 utc | 72

Troublesome Turkey Acting all on it's own
Oh dear. If Turkey get's itself into trouble
NATO will simply be forced to respond..

"The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily"

Did the CIA really end support?

‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said.

What about Israel? At Golan? Did Hersh mention that flow through point of both rebels and arms- Not forgetting the support of the IDF?

Just Erdogan's dream to have a Syrian client state?

Blame Turkey?

Posted by: Penny | Apr 7 2014 11:19 utc | 73

Devin Ackles ‏@JournalMinimum 37m
Video of conflict between pro-Russian separatists / pro-Ukrainian locals in #Kharkiv. Separatists attack protesters.

Crimea&East ‏@IndependentKrym 27m
@JournalMinimum proUKr group arrived with giant bus with black screens got out threw granades etc that's how it all kicked off

Posted by: brian | Apr 7 2014 11:25 utc | 74

Bulgarian nationalist party threatens to topple gov't over Russia sanctions #Russianspring

Posted by: brian | Apr 7 2014 11:29 utc | 75

Антимайдан ‏@myrevolutionrus 13m
Сейчас в Харькове. Милиция встала между протестующими. #RussianSpring #Харьков #Донецк #Луганск #Украина #Антимайдан

Posted by: brian | Apr 7 2014 11:49 utc | 76

I'm interested in the Australian front company/Libya rat lines ... and prisoner X comes to mind. Any thoughts?
Hersh is generally close to the mark - but hardly a mention of the Saudi's....

Posted by: mark delmege | Apr 7 2014 11:59 utc | 77

Ok, as a rather concerned Turkish citizen, I'd like to fill people in from our perspective and the facts we know so far.

I'll start with the facts.

* Recently, there were many trailers loaded with "unknown materials" which were stopped for research by the prosecutors of Turkish Republic and the gendermerie (a military force type). The trailers were either not searched or the findings were disclosed. The rumours and general consensus was that trailers carried out weapons for "rebels in Syria".

In addition, there was a "leaked" tape from the foreign ministry about a conversation between 2nd man of the Army, foreign minister, head of MIT - Fidan(turkish intelligence agency) and a few more. The conversation could be summarized as.

Fidan and Turkish Foreign Minister and Army is looking to strike Syria. Fidan offers a few false-flag ideas to gather universal support (including attacking a sacred tomb - Turkish soil located in Syria and sending rockets to a deserted land in turkey from Syria using 4 agents).

Fidan also confesses that Turkey has sent 2000 (two thousand) trailers to Syria so far (btw I can confirm that said weapons were not sent to Azeri-Turkis residing in Syria to protect themselves, instead sent to Jihadist manicas to flame a sectary war.) Fidan confirms the support of radicas and says he is concerned that they can flip sides and rush back to Turkey if they are not supplied with ammo. Army official in the leaked tape also confirmed this and said army was ready for strike for a year.

I am at work atm and do not have more spare time to go on. I'm free for questions later on if anyone is interested in the PoV of Turkish side.

Sorry for the grammar and typos!

Posted by: bored@work | Apr 7 2014 13:02 utc | 78

With all the comments about Turkey's motives, I keep coming back to the same starting point, that despite all the rhetoric and supposition, Turkey will conform to the wishes of the West's/NATO's agenda. It's the $.

Posted by: ben | Apr 7 2014 15:02 utc | 79

A lesser known investigative piece ran in VICE UK by Sara Williams last Thurs.
She revealed some details of CIA/military run rebel training camp in N. Jordan,here's more about it:

Posted by: Brad | Apr 7 2014 16:15 utc | 80

@78 borew@work.. that information has been out in the news here as well.. how is fidan viewed by the general public in turkey? how much has the media in turkey discussed these topics?

Posted by: james | Apr 7 2014 16:34 utc | 81

James is asking how is Fidan viewed by general public in turkey? That is the funny part
Topic is not the weapon trafficing, or the involvment of CIA or the our stand on the subject of war.
The topic is Gülen Assosiation.
I ll give you a brife info about that; Fethullah Gülen became knkown around 80s, he opened his first highschool around 90s. It was a boarding highschool for boys, they kept the education level very high so within ten years they became known for their high level education. Science olimpic teams of turkey at least 50% was F. G. schools students. Later on they started to open intense education center for high level of education, like uni ( In Turkey you have to enter a general exam, and enter the uni according to your points) More or less they had a good reputation on education. F.G. started to open schools all over the world; mostly on war beaten, high level poverty or the new countries like (nigeria, Somali, Asian former russian coutries,etc.he became a huge organization, and started scholarship program for the poors of that country. If you are interested more detailed info you can find it
Before the election every second week there was a voice record leaking in internet media about Erdogan or his team or family members corruption, and people was immediately dividing into two; supporting or opposing. supporters were blaming Gülen group; making a false tape, suddenly roumur started that Gülen is supporting Israel. Gülen became public enemy no1 and still the subject same.
After and during election Erdogan promised vengeance to Gülen group. he even went far enough to send the other coountries the notice that he will be happy if they closed the Gülen schools. I think Ghambia accepted and closed down the Gülen school with the Turkish loan of ......dolar on the way.
Media full of news (no authority) saying F.G. is changin Islam to look good to the other religions (Interfaith dialog)

Posted by: Turkish girl | Apr 7 2014 18:43 utc | 82

@82 - turkish girl. thanks for the overview on gulan. i don't know that much about him other then he lives in the usa. his movement has been likened to a cult by some. how does fidan fit into this, if he does in some way? here is a wiki page for hakan fidan -

Posted by: james | Apr 7 2014 21:16 utc | 83

There are also ruomors that Fidan is an Iranian spy.
How Gülen is fitting into this is, that the Gülen group has a high ranking broucrates. Like judges, barristers, adviser of ministers so on and on. They have been accused of having a paralel power within government. There were some conflict between gülen and government like the 3. bridge project. when there were too many objections to the bridge, Gülens opinion asked by reporter and he answered "For me there is no need to break so many bridges (relationship between the groups) for one bridge." that was the visible start of conflict.
Yes, they are strong in Government,but like now according to the erdogans media clean-up will start.
the blame; like leaking the info of the weapon track to the polis is Gülen`s group job because they are opposed to the war (Because they are on the side of Israel)hinted. And Gülen side of group saying check your Iranian spy about the leakage (Fidan).
there is also the tape of Erdogan conversation with his son leaked to internet media Erdogan was asking his son if his house is clean and son was answering like i have just your money and father was telling him that he is sending his daughter she will tell him what to do with money. And Son was saying he mostly melted the money just 30.000.000€ left and he was also saying that he can buy some villa with this money, so on and on.
All this infos blamed on Gülen org that they have been faked and created. They have been accused of selling the secret info to the israel or Irak.
Today i listened the press conferance of Erdogan. There were a reporter fron Zaman newspaper (Gülen's newspaper)he asked about the report Erdogan recieved from MIT(secret service of Turkey) 8 months ago, and Erdogan said "how would you know it unless, your group are the leaking info of MIT"

I am messed up. There is nothing else other than this conflict in Turkey but no western media even mentioning Gülens name.

Posted by: Turkish girl | Apr 7 2014 22:42 utc | 84

@84 turkish girl. thanks. it is interesting about fidan and the suggestion he is an iranian spy. i see these stories started to pop up in october of 2013. the story from aljazeera is interesting in that it says it quite differently.

this is interesting in so far as the leak about fidan helping to set up a false flag operation.. in so far as israel was pissed at fidan for revealing the israel spy network to iran, i can see how israel would want to paint fidan as a spy for iran and for them to be in some way responsible for the leak on the false flag operation idea that ties back to fidan.

here is a quote from the jerusalem post - also oct 17th 2013 - "Israel, Ignatius writes, ties Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan to the Iranian intelligence. Despite that, Israel's ally the US continued dealing with Fidan on sensitive matters and Washington did not protest the Turkish action directly to Ankara.

Fidan, who is a key adviser to Erdogan, has "rattled" key allies in the past by revealing sensitive information collected by Israel and the US to Iran, according to Ignatius."

in so far as fidan has some connection to the gulan movement, perhaps it would make sense he would create this difficulty for erdogan, but it is all tricky to follow and i am not sure of any of it.

thanks for sharing and i hope you stick around. turkey is a beautiful country that i visited a few years ago for the first time. the people were very warm and welcoming.

Posted by: james | Apr 7 2014 23:16 utc | 85

The cover up financial relations of Turkey with Iran,the Gulf Middle East and Israil is the chore issue. Turkey seems to be the Trojan horse locked in the heart of east + middle east in case of money trafficing, serves all way through, transfers everyting,cihadis,missiles,sarin and information what so ever worths. These countries are all blood brothers.In fact, without seeing the scheme of their current accounts, it's not possible to discover whose hand is in the pocket of the other. Sure AKP is the contractor for all the blood money in the region.

Posted by: Safiye Dirik | Apr 8 2014 8:49 utc | 87

turkish girl@ 82&84

thanks for that overview quite good
Gulen, besides educating for good grades- seems to be part of the gladio b production line- in my opinion, anyway
Though that is not an opinion I am alone in holding
connected to the CIA- training jihadis to fight in the destabilization pipeline that spans from Russia through to Africa and one can connect this network of trained jihadis to many other places

The thing with the whole Gulen/Erdogan dynamic is that Gulen more or less delivered Erdogan his victory?

Then Gulen and Erdogan did there theatre of disagreement over the Mavi Marmara incident-

Gulen has always been for good relations with Israel- Erdogan always has had good relations with Israel though he 'shows' a different face

It's all really quite twisted?!

What I have been trying to figure out is why the destabilization in Turkey, when the Erdogan gov has been such a good lackey
Unless there is a bigger picture? That would be the splitting up of Turkey- with a huge kurdish state
Maybe Erdogan is not so big on that idea?
Of course there is the whole banking issue..

Anywho.. thanks for your response, again. Good to read an internal take on the situation..

And one last point regarding Syria
And the fact that Israel via Golan was not even mentioned as a delivery/cooperative link for chems by Hersh
Just an fyi kind of thing- Lebanese media is reporting that the rebels aka Israeli backed jihadist mercenaries have made gains in Quanaitra

"Rebel groups claimed gains in the city of Aleppo and Qunaitra province bordering Israel Monday"

More advantageous to keep the heat on Turkey

Posted by: Penny | Apr 8 2014 11:10 utc | 88

I will give you another avenue;

Gülen movements aim is the educating next generation to see that there is nothing to be scared of either religion. Not every muslim is el Kaide, not every jews is mossad, not every christian is crusader. So far non of the jihadist connected to Gülen movement actually opposite can be said.(That is one of the problem in Turkey, because he didin't supprot the El kaide)In his school you can see the childeren from every religion. What some people saying is he is creating well educated childeren whom will be in government in their own countries some years later and they will be sympathiser of Türkish and muslim even if not, they wont be the enemy.Due to the Humanal support that Gülen group is giving to the locals they are becoming well loved poeple. CIA report is ridiculous. Gülen groups member are like; if you slap them they will turn their other cheek. And they are creating jihadist!!!!!
Who would have been disturbed about this? Who would be disturbed about not using religion (any of them) as a fighting tool?

Are they killing two bird with one stone? Finishing Gülen movement in Turkey and firing the media with some news, in the mean time like Penny said keep the heat on Turkey.

Posted by: Turkish girl | Apr 8 2014 13:47 utc | 89

The Gulen movement is a CIA front, it's just one of their "nice" fronts. But arguably it's not so nice in Central Asia. In the same way that Lubavitch "Chabad" Hassidim are all entangled with Mossad, because they're so useful, getting everywhere, acting as agents of influence, couriers, community organisers, you name it, in the same way, the Gulen movement, starting from 'education' (and why should central Asia need to import 'educators' from a US-funded Turkish organisation? Is not this already highly suspicious?), develops outwards towards other community functions, becoming an enormous, remote agent of influence for the CIA. Whether it also dabbles in the recruitment of anti-Russian terrorists is not necessarily the point. If you want a close survey of the press (including the local press) on all the endless skullduggery in Central Asia, much of which he blames on Gulen (his info on that generally being from Sibel Edmonds), you must read Christoph Germann each week on Sunday:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 8 2014 13:59 utc | 90

Thanks Turkishgirl! @89

You seem to think that Gulen is not quite as bad (if that is a good choice of words)then some would have us believe?
Understanding you correctly, I hope?
You know that is not the first time I have read that
Someone left a comment at my blog to that affect, so many ways to look at any given situation.......

Posted by: Penny | Apr 8 2014 15:16 utc | 91

@Rowan Berkeley

My take on Gülen movement as a Turkish citizen:

I agree Rowan Berkeley on the CIA part about Gülen. I too think he is heavly related to USA, and being supported as the nice face of Islam. You'll never know when you'll need such a face if you are the CIA I guess :) It is also rumored that the movement is responsible for training agents, gathering intelligence all over the world.

Before the corruption scandal related tapes were released, me and many like me, I guess you can call modern minded Turks, were quite irritated by the Gülen movement. He is just another stereotype of figure who milks religion for power and money. His schools and training centers all around the world is said to gather billions of dollars every year. The movement is quite political, yet they are not represented neither in the parliament nor in any party form. They influence their people by meetings and powerful media organizations. The movements main newspaper "Zaman", sells for about 1 million every day. This figure is more than the total of 2nd and third newspapers, although Zaman is said to be distributed for free and/or as a subscription to the community.

Also as Turkish Girl mentioned above, the movement is rooted deep into bureurocracy, mainly as prosecutors and jugdes. They also had a strong base in the police, but Erdogan's rising their paychecks regularly so they are strongly in favor of Erdogan lately.

Gülen movement is also responsible for the movement against the Turkish Army, which was ran by his prosecutors pretty much. Erdogan gave big support, so many Army Officials and Columnists and non-governmental organization leaders were arrested and sent to jail for 5 years (including the chief of general staff) , with non substantial and/or fake evidences. It took years even for the allegations to be announced...Gülen and Erdogan was hand in hand, or we can even say in the same bed for years against the turkish army and the intellectuals. After Erdogan's corruption tapes were released, the source behind it was said to be Gülen movement. It made sense because they shared the same bed for years. Also Erdogan said "We did everything the Gülen Movement asked" after the initial strike of tape scandal.

Anyways, I think i dived too deep into ex-Gülen&Erdogan love.

In current state, Gülen is the state of the enemy, and everyday Erdogan screams on tv that "We will enter their lairs! Bring Gülen to Turkey and prosecute him".

The dispute between them is making them weaker for sure, but the strength and the amount of corruption between them is scaring me to be honest. Keep in mind of the fact that most of the people in Turkey are forced illiteracy and misinformed about anything and everything every day. Erdogan seems to keep the control, because people still seem to love/admire him. There are many layers of reasons behind Erdogan's current state of being a demi-god for half of Turkey, but i think I already derailed quite a lot from the original point.

I am 32 but I find myself rather educated about the recent political history of Turkey. I seriously do not think that Turkey has ever been in a worse spot when it comes to global politics.

We have a prime minister who steals, cheats in the elections, lies about everything and anything, promotes violence and death, divides the country into half making people choose sides for tightening his supporters, alters the laws, pressures the jurisdriction and the media, creates his army of newspapers and tv channels spamming the same news with same headlines and same pictures... The list could continue with Erdogan and the other people in charge...

On the other hand we have almost %50 of the people behind him, the poor, the illiterate and the political and financial beneficiaries of Erdogan, think he is a "World Leader" ?!?, Turkey is actually bigger than Germany economically and jealous of our future airport building in Istanbul??!, Erdogan is great because he built roads ?!! ...despite the fact that Turkey is enemies with each and every one of the countries surrounding, 1/10 of Germany economically and they don't give two hoots about our airport... and roads yeah... and loads of tragicomical ideas like these.

Sorry for the wall of text, its been a while since I try an article, I had a lot to throw out and certainly failed at it.

Posted by: bored@work | Apr 8 2014 16:46 utc | 92

b and others,

see this interesting blog entry on the backlash against Hersh:

what would you add to it?

Posted by: nickel | Apr 8 2014 17:56 utc | 93

comment #8 rowan makes sense.

Posted by: 5 dancing shlomos | Apr 8 2014 17:59 utc | 94

@92 - bored@work and @89 turkish girl. thanks for sharing your insights from inside turkey. it is a complicated picture for sure.

Posted by: james | Apr 8 2014 18:53 utc | 95

Wherever it comes from, the media still won't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Media blacks out Seymour Hersh exposé of US lies on Syrian gas attack
By Patrick Martin

8 April 2014
Nearly two days after the London Review of Books published a lengthy exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh detailing efforts by the Turkish government to stage a provocation to bring the US military directly into the civil war in Syria, the US media has blacked out the report.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 9 2014 3:11 utc | 96

Tales told by Seymore Hersh - who of course has his merits - in LRB aren't really relevant. But now RT gave Nile Bowie an op-ed which spreads it extensively and that could be relevant.

Hersh's piece can be refuted in a simple way, because the part of "Porton Down" is completely made up or invented and any close observer should know this.

The problem with a two - component Sarin-weapon is, that you have to mix two raw components of the chemical agent that swiftly looses stability, yield and effect, and that these components don't mix easily. So you have to use additives and those adjuvants pose the technical problem.

In Khan al Assal a mix was used that had no additives at all, or uneffective additives, so there were a relativly small number of victims. Russian researchers were on-site early and Russian press revealed later, they had notified their results to western "partners". If Hersh's tale of the "good (russian) source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy" was any good, Porton Down had these results also and would have known, that the stuff used in Khan al Assal could in no way be connected to the much more sophisticated stuff in Al Ghouta.

Second. Within hours two of the labs appointed with the UN-investigation got the samples they knew (and said so) it that been "kitchen sarin" also, or at least something they hadn't seen before, because this time an unusual adjuvant was found. The propaganda-machine tried to make this up as "prove", that "only a government" could have done this, but this was crap, and also it is irrelevant with the Hersh-story, because with this adjuvant it was perfectly clear, it wasn't Sarin of Russian production.
And on the other side, excluding Russian production was good for nothing, because Syria hat its own Chemical Weapons program at least until 1997 and hadn't denied this.
So this Porton Down - story is either completely invented, or they made a fool of ol Hersh.

And I wonder what has become of Nile Bowie, whom I know from his african reports that seemed very well done to me. Did Bowie simply fell for the reputation of Hersh? Didn#t he have enough self-esteem at the time to look at the technical parts of the UN-report himself? Or else?

Posted by: TomGard | Apr 9 2014 15:52 utc | 97

Tales?? What Hersh describes correspond to several reports one can find in MoA, SC, and SyrPer archives.
Here is the Angry Arab take on the blackout

IMO, reading Hersh's paper, I find the release of the leak on Erdogan/Davutoglu and possible military intervention making perfect sense, and probably originating from the US, in an attempt to hold him back
What I don't understand is why Hersh does not mention the famous samples purportedly obtained by Le Monde journalists and analyzed in Paris at the journal's request who then claimed it showed the role of the Syrian army
Another missing element is that it cannot be that only after the fall of Qaddafi the idea came out of using his arsenals to provide weapons to the Syrian rebels through Turkey: this must have been the deal offered to Turkey in exchange of removing without complaining more than two thousand workers, depriving their families and the country of good expat money...

In addition to that, the shipments started from Benghazi before the fall of Qaddafi, as soon as some "young activists" and many bearded guys arrived in pick-ups from Tahrir (the Cairene one, not the Benghazi one) to help their bros remove the "dictator".

Posted by: Mina | Apr 9 2014 18:51 utc | 98

Mina 98

1) How do you define "tale"? That is when someone tells what he is told by someone who has been told: hearsay. By hearsay the bulk of Hersh's piece qualifies for "tales", like any NYT /WaPO bullshit of "secret service sources who prefer not to be named", "anonymous sources from Pentagon /White House" and so on ...

2) All of this hearsay is out of questioning (german: "indiskutabel"), Hersh offers himself as an authority, an institution like the WaPo is and used to be an institution.
Consequently "Angry Arab" deals with Hersh's tales as convenient chatter:

"Now...describes Hersh’s article (and I am not talking about this article here nor will I discuss it in detail), as “shameful conspiracy theory”. Now this is polemical language ... I don’t know whether the contents of Hersh’s article are correct or not ... But the attempt to impose one point of view on Syria has to be challenged. Western Zionists have succeeded in imposing a uniform propaganda narrative ..."

This is nearly avowing: let's set fire against fire, one narrative against the other, and don't you dare smearing the wrong side.
I dealt with the contents and found, beside hearsay there is also inventing. Inventing to the most prominent effect, that the abundant evidence for Bandar "Bush" / Saudi involvement, and therefore direct Israeli and american involvement in the false flag of Al Ghouta completely fell out of consideration.

3) Yes, there was also evidence for turkish participation. Its funny, that Hersh does not mention the most telling of it: That a whole lot of the alleged victims in Al Ghouta presented in war-porno videos and pictures were recognized as kids and woman kidnapped from Lattakia countryside and taken over to Turkey, befor they reemerged on these videos. So one has to suspect, Hersh didn't mention this either, because he is far out to an extend not to know this, or he wanted to avoid any case been made against the participation of the turkish government.

4) Because this is the problem with all the turkish leads to sarin: You can't tell governmental involvement apart from private funding and deep state / MIT / military complicity and flat corruption.
There my point with Khan al Assal comes in: this false flag operation failed miserably because it was dilettantish work. Does this allude to, or against governemental involvement?

5) I don't have the links at hand with evaluations of all the damage and losses Turkey suffered economically of the Syrian war. Are you serious with your insinuation the Turkish government buyed itself in in all those losses to "compensate" for the losses of " depriving families and the country of good expat money of two thousand workers" in Libya?

6) It's right, Belhadj was in Syria as early as Nov. 2011 before he gave over to his irish buddy, forgot the name, and infiltrating the turkish / syria border probable began even earlier, but there you have to refer to point 4 in addition to Turkey being a NATO-member. What do you think turkish border police does when a NATO-officer or secret service operator tells what to do and what to leave and keep their mouth shut?
So here you have to consider what I mentioned earlier: The turkish border stayed outside the battle zone far into 2012, the infiltrated men and weapons were brought south of Aleppo, via Hama and Ar Rastan and via the Orontes plane direction Homs and Homs countryside.

So anyone who implies the Turkish government in ambitions of war separate of international players, seperate of Killary's beadles - instead of being a hanger-on - has to come up with hardcore political evidence and reasoning instead of hearsay and allegations.

I hope I didn't make too much mistakes :)

Posted by: TomGard | Apr 9 2014 20:40 utc | 99

@Mina#98 & @nickel#93:

Thanks for the links to Angry Arab and Interventions Watch. Each of them touch on positive aspects of Hersh's article (even though I have reservations about it). The reality is that Hersh writes about topics for a mainstream/left audience that get virtually no coverage in the American MSM. Even if he had to go to the LRB to get the article published and even if the MSM is still ignoring his article, many of the facts on the ground in the Middle East will trickle out to moderately liberal Americans in a comprehensible narrative because their friends will talk about it and link to it on social media. And because of Hersh's history and stature as a journalist, many of those moderately liberal Americans will give it some weight -- no matter how hard neocons and neolibs try to write him off as a conspiracy theorist. This is especially relevant because, no matter how hard the MSM has been banging the drums for war against Syria for three years, the majority of the American public still opposes intervention.

What I find most frustrating about Hersh's articles, this one as well as "Whose Sarin?" and even "The Redirection" from 2007, is the absence of context of the Israel Lobby, the US Political cycle and Israel's actions. Obama managed the media? Zionist pundits had been demanding intervention for years. The MSM eagerly picked up any crumbs Obama dropped and started singing "Hail, Hail Freedonia!" The American intelligence community hadn't seen any data? The data was supplied by Israel.

All within the millieu of politicians tripping over each other to proclaim themselves more-Israel-loving-than-thou in order to court Zionist donors. It isn't as though Obama woke up one day and thought to himself, "gee, this would be a good day to bomb Syria." Congresscritters have proven their adoration of Israel by passing legislation related to Israel, Syria and Iran which are binding on the Obama administration. Obama has taken on several senior leaders with Presidential ambitions, like Clinton, Biden, Petraeus and Kerry -- each of whom has calculated their public statements not only in relation to the Administration's policies but in how their words will be perceived by Zionist donors.

Hersh himself wrote seven years ago about all of the policies and programs that the Bush administration was setting in motion and funding in the Middle East, including in Syria and Iran. These policies were well underway when Obama became president and Clinton took over as SoS. These programs were well underway when Ambassador Ford offered advice, communications training and "humanitarian" support to Democracy groups in Syria as well as support for the training camps for "activists" in southern Turkey before there were refugees.

The parties Hersh fingers certainly deserve their share of blame. But without the context of the Israel Lobby, Israel and American politics, Hersh's framing narrows in on Obama and Turkey alone.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Apr 9 2014 22:45 utc | 100

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