Seymour Hersh’s latest revelations, that US intelligence knew Assad didn’t use chemical weapons in Khan Shaikoun in April are earth-shattering, and of crucial relevance to Australia and our military commitment in the war on Syria. We cannot allow them to be buried.
Several months after the alleged Sarin attack on Ghouta, Syria in August 2013, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh had an article published in the London Review of Books called ‘Whose Sarin?’ It described in detail what Hersh’s contacts in US intelligence knew about that attack, and how they had warned the White House there was little evidence that the Syrian government was responsible – but rather that it was a provocation intended to invite US intervention.
This wasn’t news to the Syrian or Russian governments, or to those of us in the West closely following the ‘dirty war on Syria’ – as Tim Anderson has rightly titled it. It would have been news for the misled audience of Western corporate media, including Australian followers of the ABC and SBS and serious print media.
Astonishingly however, the revelations of ‘Whose Sarin’, and Hersh’s subsequent expose’ on the ‘Red line and the Rat line’ – of weapons and jihadist fighters brought by the CIA from Libya through Turkey to fight the Syrian Army – sunk almost without trace in Australia. I believe that the letter I wrote to the regional ‘Border Mail’ (a Fairfax group daily for Albury Wodonga) was the only mention of Hersh’s truths in Australia. A similar silence existed in the UK, where Ian Sinclair’s letter to the Independent stood alone.
Well now it’s happened again, but the situation is – incredibly – far more serious. While Obama ‘copped out’ of his proposed ‘punitive strike’ on Syria in September 2013, thanks to Russian intervention and possibly that of his advisers, President Trump doubled down on his impulsive reaction to videos of ‘Assad’s latest victims’ in Khan Shaikoun and launched a massive cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase only two days later, before there was any investigation and verification of what had happened.
As with Ghouta four years earlier – since when all of Syria’s CW stocks had been verifiably destroyed – Syrian and Russian authorities immediately recognised the Khan Shaikoun attack as a provocation or false flag, contrived by parties seeking a pretext for US ‘intervention’ to save their rapidly failing ‘revolution’. The main source of the allegations and videos of a ‘Sarin bomb’ attack was the Al Qaeda linked ‘White Helmets’, who are heavily funded by US and UK agencies, and feted in the West as brave ‘Syrian civil defence’.
For those not in thrall to the Western media narrative, the appearance of the White Helmets’ logo only casts doubt on a report, and this fraudulent and criminal enterprise is well known to the Russian government, as spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova explains at length in this recent press briefing.
Presumably because of the serious doubts about Syria’s responsibility for what happened in Khan Shaikoun, the LRB commissioned Seymour Hersh to investigate and write an article for them. But what Hersh uncovered didn’t please the LRB, and they declined to publish what they had already paid him for, because it would make them look too sympathetic to the Syrian and Russian governments.
The appearance of Hersh’s article – “Trump’s Red Line” – in the German weekly Welt am Sonntag effectively relegated it to the alternative media network of opinion across the divide, where most of the truth about the West’s war on Syria resides, but even here his revelations have made waves.
Not only does Hersh – or his US intelligence sources – completely undermine claims that Syria – ‘Assad’ – launched a chemical weapon attack on April 4th, but he provides extensive evidence that US agencies were quite well aware that the story was false, even before it took place. As he explains, under the terms of the deconfliction agreement between Russia and the US coalition forces, full information about Syria’s intent to strike Khan Shaikoun was provided to the US command. The proposed target was a meeting of leaders of jihadist groups in control of the town, on the morning of April 4th.
Hersh also describes how some intelligence officials tried to stop Trump from taking action that they knew would be totally illegitimate and dangerously provocative, but to no avail. Trump’s own emotional intelligence told him Syria must be punished.
Why this story is important for Australians to know, and why I once again penned a letter to the ‘Border Mail’, is because Australia is a significant partner in America’s illegal military manoeuvres in Syria, and so we must assume that our intelligence agencies were party to the same damning intelligence about the Khan Shaikoun attack as were those from the US. And what our intelligence agencies know our leaders also know, as they stand up and curse the crimes of Syria’s elected President, Bashar al Assad, while praising the ‘decisive action’ of America’s elected President Trump.
The close cooperation between US and Australian forces was demonstrated all too well during the joint strike on the Syrian Army base protecting Deir al Zour airport last September – which was also the cause of an immediate cancellation of their agreement with Russia. While Australian forces were likely unaware of the covert agenda of US command in ordering that quite deliberate attack to assist IS fighters, it illustrates just how Australian interests are not served by our alliance with the US, and in fact are seriously damaged.
What has been revealed by Seymour Hersh clearly has the potential to expose the reality of the illicit and lethal war on Syria being led by the US, and now supported by the whole Western world thanks to a decade of lies and misinformation spread through our mainstream media. ‘Unburying’ it may be our last chance to stop the current dizzying slide into global war, with Australia supporting the chief war-maker.
David Macilwain lives a simple and independent life with his partner on a small farm in country Victoria. Their extended visits to countries across the Islamic world, including Yemen, Syria and Iran over the last decade have helped drive the political ‘keyboard activism’ that now vies with rustic pursuits for his time. New interest in and contact with Russia, and association with the Syria Solidarity Movement, helps direct this cyber-excursion.