Two Years Ago — Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Debunks The Alleged Syria Chemical Attack

“A source told me that Pompeo had personally briefed Trump on April 6 about the CIA’s belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was likely not responsible for the lethal poison-gas incident in northern Syria two days earlier — and thus Pompeo was excluded from the larger meeting as Trump reached a contrary decision.”

Robert Parry – Consortium News

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern

April 9 2017 — Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern explains what he has learned from his sources about how the Syrian “chemical attack” actually went down. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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UPDATE (April 9 2019) — In the days following the publication of this post, a MIT professor (Theodore A. Postol), several renown journalists (Robert Parry, Seymour Hersh ), many former members of the US IC (Including ex-CIA Ray McGovern), former diplomats and even Colonel Wilkerson (Former Chief of staff of General Colin Powell) went public to denounce the official narrative of the Kahn Shaykhun attack.

One year later… On Saturday (April 7 2018), dozens of people were reported to have been killed in a chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta region. According to Carla Ortiz and Robert Fisk — who, unlike the BBC experts, were actually in Douma — no such gas attack actually occurred in Douma on April 7 2018. (Please, read my exclusive interview with Carla Ortiz!)

RELATED POST: Exclusive Q&A with Carla Ortiz from Ghouta, Syria [UPDATE — OPCW : Chlorine likely used in Douma attack]

RELATED POST: Robert Fisk — “No Gas Attack Occurred In Douma On April 7th”

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In their final report (March 2019), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claims that data gave “reasonable grounds” that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place in Douma (Ghouta), Syria, on April 7 2018.

Please, notice that “Reasonable grounds” is not at all conclusive. (I think they probably have used this expression because they can not say it was an attack, as opposed to a staged event.)

The OPCW report explains that:

“The OPCW’s conclusions were based on environmental samples, witness interviews and other data gathered by members of a fact-finding mission that visited a number of sites in Douma two weeks after the attack.”

The information reported is rather bizarre and certainly contradicts the facts witnessed by Carla Ortiz who was in Douma at the time.

“OPCW inspectors did not received permission (from their side) to access all the sites in order to gather all the information,” Carla Ortiz told me last year an exclusive interview.

In early March 2019, the BBC TODAY radio programme broadcast a long piece on the Skripal case and the 2018 Douma (Ghouta) chemical weapon attack.

[Here is the link to the whole programme : Today – 02/03/2019 – BBC Sounds The interview begins at 1 hour and 10 minutes.]

The three “experts” were Gordon Corera, Hamish de Bretton Gordon and Kier Giles (from the Chatham House pro-spook think-tank).

In this  interview, Hamish de Bretton Gordon referred to the OPCW report and stated that the organisation had confirmed that the 2018 Ghouta incident was in fact a chemical weapon attack carried out by the Syrian government, although he seemed to be saying that this attack must have had the approval from the Russians.

This  is obviously a false statement as it is clear that the OPCW does not attribute blame for the attack.

The FFM’s mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria. It does not include identifying who is responsible for alleged attacks.”

This is not journalism. It is a clear example of BBC spreading disinformation and propaganda.

END of UPDATE

The Facts

On 4 April 2017, the town of Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, was struck by a heavy airstrike followed by massive civilian chemical poisoning.

At the time of the attack the town was under the control of Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, blamed the attack on the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the Russian and Syrian governments said it was caused by the Syrian Air Force’s destruction of a nearby rebel-operated chemical weapons warehouse.

In response, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat Air Base, which U.S. Intelligence believed was the source of the attack.

Ray McGovern

According to the former CIA Analyst:

“Syrian aircraft ‘knew’ there was a weapons cache in this particular rebel-held area.  That was correct, and the Syrian aircraft bombed it.

What seems not to have been known was the existence nearby of a large storage facility for chemicals.  That too was damaged, releasing a cloud of chemicals that the wind blew south and poisoned those villagers.”

The most likely scenario

As I reported recently, here is what most likely happened:

The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.

The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believes was a weapons and explosives depot for Islamic rebels.

The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.

There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.

We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you.

Where is CIA Director Mike Pompeo?

As President Trump was launching his missile strike against Syria, CIA Director Pompeo and other intelligence officials were nowhere in sight.

Back row from left: Deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Sean Spicer, President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, chief strategist Steve Bannon, senior adviser Stephen Miller, national security official Michael Anton. Front from left: Chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security adviser HR McMaster, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

According to Spicer’s tweet, the people present are looking at a screen showing Vice-President Mike Pence, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Joseph Dunford, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Robert Parry — from Consortium News — reports the following:

“Before the photo was released on Friday (April 7 2017), a source told me that Pompeo had personally briefed Trump on April 6 about the CIA’s belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was likely not responsible for the lethal poison-gas incident in northern Syria two days earlier — and thus Pompeo was excluded from the larger meeting as Trump reached a contrary decision.”

“You don’t see Pompeo or Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats or any other intelligence official. Even The New York Times noted the oddity in its Saturday editions, writing: “If there were C.I.A. and other intelligence briefers around, … they are not in the picture.” [Robert Parry – Consortium News]

RELATED POST: CIA Director Mike Pompeo — Who Is Who in World Intelligence and Security Agencies?

ABOUT Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John Kennedy to that of George H.W. Bush, and prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

RELATED POST: Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: “Michael Morell’s Comments are Reckless and Vapid”

Interview

REFERENCES

Khan Shaykhun chemical attack — Wikipedia

Decoding the Trump ‘war room’ photograph — BBC News

Where Was CIA’s Pompeo on Syria? — Consortium News

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Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern debunks the alleged Syria ‘Chemical Attack’

One Year Ago — Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Debunks The Alleged Syria Chemical Attack

Two Years Ago — Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Debunks The Alleged Syria Chemical Attack

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