The United States government and the Western corporate media are doing everything they can to continue to prop up the disproven narrative that Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack against civilians in Khan Sheikhoun. After having their story debunked repeatedly, the corporate press keeps coming back for more, even despite having a terrorist confessing to participating in the false flag attack.
Upon expert investigation, however, the more the New York Times and the anti-Syria crowd’s favorite website personality, Bellingcat, talk, the more their claims are disproven.
I agree that the footage is harrowing. However none of it is new and none of it proves that the Syrian government was the perpetrator of a nerve agent attack.
As such, this article merely falls into the category of propaganda.
The kindest alternative description of the article is that it might instead be yet another example of bad reporting that mixes ill-considered assumptions with facts that may or may not be relevant to its conclusions.
This kind of reporting could actually be encouraging such attacks.
If there was a false flag nerve agent attack, this tells the perpetrators that when they engage in the murder of children they can build a stronger false case against the Syrian government and thereby increase their chances of creating political pressure on the US Government to intervene militarily on their behalf.
If people are sickened by the inhumanity of these events, they might want to consider alternative explanations of who might be responsible for the immoralities we are seeing.
However, upon further investigation of the claims made by the corporate press and Bellingcat, Postol was able to provide more detail as to why he thought the attacks at Khan Skeikhoun took place in a much different manner than the way in which they were presented on Western television screens.
As Robert Parry writes in his article, “NYT’s New Syria-Sarin Report Challenged,” for Consortium News,
But the Times video analysis – uploaded on April 26 – contained serious forensic problems, Postol said, including showing the wind carrying the smoke from the three bombs in an easterly direction whereas the weather reports from that day – and the presumed direction of the sarin gas – had the wind going to the west.
Panoramic image of the three bomb plumes that an anti-Syrian government photographer claimed to take on April 4, 2017, in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. MIT analyst Theodore Postol notes that the plumes appear to be blowing to the east, in contradiction of the day’s weather reports and the supposed direction of a separate sarin cloud.
Indeed, if the wind were blowing toward the east – and if the alleged location of the sarin release was correct – the wind would have carried the sarin away from the nearby populated area and likely would have caused few if any casualties, Postol wrote.
Postol also pointed out that the Times’ location of the three bombing strikes didn’t match up with the supposed damage that the Times claimed to have detected from satellite photos of where the bombs purportedly struck. Rather than buildings being leveled by powerful bombs, the photos showed little or no apparent damage.
The Times also relied on before-and-after satellite photos that had a gap of 44 days, from Feb. 21, 2017, to April 6, 2017, so whatever damage might have occurred couldn’t be tied to whatever might have happened on April 4.
Nor could the hole in the road where the crushed “sarin” canister was found be attributed to an April 4 bombing raid. Al Qaeda jihadists could have excavated the hole the night before as part of a staged provocation. Other images of activists climbing into the supposedly sarin-saturated hole with minimal protective gear should have raised other doubts, Postol noted in earlier reports.
There’s also the question of motive. The April 4 incident immediately followed the Trump administration’s announcement that it was no longer seeking “regime change” in Syria, giving the jihadists and their regional allies a motive to create a chemical-weapons incident to reverse the new U.S. stand. By contrast, the Syrian government seemed to have no logical motive to provoke U.S. outrage.
In other words, Al Qaeda and its propagandists could have posted video from an earlier bombing raid and used it to provide “proof” of an early-morning airstrike that corresponded to the staged release of sarin or some similar poison gas on April 4. Though that is just one possible alternative, it’s certainly true that Al Qaeda does not show very much humanitarian concern about the lives of civilians.
Critics of the White Helmets have identified the photographer of the airstrike, Mohamad Salom Alabd, as a jihadist who appears to have claimed responsibility for killing a Syrian military officer. But the Times described him in a companion article to the video report only as “a journalist or activist who lived in the town.”
Postol has issued a scathing critique of the New York Times and Bellingcat. Parry himself interviewed Postol after his critique was issued, but Postol says that he never received a response from the Times or Bellingcat.
The New York Times and other mainstream media immediately and without proper review of the evidence adopted the false narrative produced by the White House even though that narrative was totally unjustified based on the forensic evidence. The New York Times used an organization, Bellingcat, for its source of analysis even though Bellingcat has a long history of making false claims based on distorted assertions about forensic evidence that either does not exist, or is absolutely without any evidence of valid sources.”
This history of New York Times publishing of inaccurate information and then sticking by it when solid science-based forensic evidence disproves the original narrative cannot be explained in terms of simple error. The facts overwhelmingly point to a New York Times management that is unconcerned about the accuracy of its reporting.
The problems exposed in this particular review of a New York Times analysis of critically important events related to the US national security is not unique to this particular story. This author could easily point to other serious errors in New York Times reporting on important technical issues associated with our national security.
In these cases, like in this case, the New York Times management has not only allowed the reporting of false information without reviewing the facts for accuracy, but it has repeatedly continued to report the same wrong information in follow-on articles. It may be inappropriate to call this ‘fake news,’ but this loaded term comes perilously close to actually describing what is happening.
Parry also addresses concerns regarding not only the incident in Khan Sheikhoun but also where the future of reporting and media may be heading as well as the possibility that the corporate press is circling the wagons. He writes,
But the problem of the Times and Bellingcat presenting dubious – or in Postol’s view, “fraudulent” – information about sensitive geopolitical and national security issues has another potentially even darker side. These two entities are part of Google’s First Draft Coalition of news organizations that are expected to serve as gatekeepers separating “truth” from “fake news.”
The emerging idea is to take their judgments and enter them into algorithms to scrub the Internet of information that doesn’t comport with what the Times, Bellingcat and other approved news outlets deem true.
That these two organizations would operate with a pattern of “confirmation bias” on sensitive war-and-peace issues is thus doubly troubling in that their future “groupthinks” could not only mislead their readers but could ensure that contrary evidence is whisked away from everyone else, too.
Indeed. Parry is right to be worried. The clampdown on dissent, critical thought, and the truth in general is a hallmark of totalitarianism, the very breed which has come to the United States and has found an unfortunately welcoming home.
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