November 4, 2017
Consortium News.com

As Israel threatens an expanded war against Syria and Lebanon, an emotional justification is the alleged April 4 sarin attack that was blamed on the Syrian government despite huge holes in the evidence, as Rick Sterling reports.

By Rick Sterling

In early 2003, it was claimed that Iraq was a threat to other countries. Despite ten years of crushing economic sanctions plus intrusive inspections, supposedly Iraq had acquired enough “weapons of mass destruction” to threaten the West. It was ridiculous on its face but few people in power said so. Establishment politicians and media across the U.S. promoted the idea. In the Senate, Joe Biden chaired the committee looking into the allegations but excluded knowledgeable critics such as Scott Ritter. This led to the invasion of Iraq.

Photograph of men in Khan Sheikdoun in Syria, allegedly inside a crater where a sarin-gas bomb landed.

Today we have something similarly ridiculous and dangerous. Supposedly the Syrian government decided to use a banned chemical weapon, which they gave up in 2013-2014. Despite advancing against the insurgents, the Syrian government supposedly put sarin in a Russian chemical weapon canister and dropped this on the town Khan Sheikhoun which has been under the control of Syria’s version of Al Qaeda for years. To top off the stupidity, they left paint markings on the canister, which identify it as a chemical weapon.

Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing there are many “White Helmet” activists in the town along with their cameras, videos, computers, Internet uplinks and Western social media promoters. Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing that neoconservatives, neoliberals and Zionists are keen to prolong the conflict and drag the U.S. and NATO into it more directly. Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing the one thing that could trigger direct U.S. aggression in the conflict is the use of chemical weapons: the “red line” laid down by Barack Obama.

If the above sounds unlikely, it is. But even if these accusations should be laughed out of the room, as they should have been in 2002, let’s take the claims about the event at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4 seriously if, for no other reason, than that certainly the consequences will be serious if the exploitation of this incident is not stopped.

What Happened at Khan Sheikhoun?

The report titled “Seventh report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism” was provided to select governments and media on Oct. 26. The world’s media announced the key finding without criticism or question: the sentence that the committee is “confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin in Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.”

About 36 hours later, the report was leaked via the Internet. But the die was already cast as establishment media had “confirmed” Syrian guilt.

Following are key contradictions and inconsistencies in the report produced by the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the U.N. and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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