April 14, 2017
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Theodore Postol, who wrote a preliminary review of the US government claims earlier this week and shared his findings with RT, examined photographs of the attack site and concluded that the report endorsed by the White House “could not be true.”
Senior US administration officials who briefed the media on Tuesday admitted the White House intelligence was partly “based on the pro-opposition social media reporting,” which “tells a very clear and consistent story about what we think happened.”
Postol’s six-page addendum, made public on Thursday evening, “unambiguously shows that the assumption in the [White House report] that there was no tampering with the alleged site of the sarin release is not correct.”
That assumption was “totally unjustified,” wrote Postol, “and no competent intelligence analyst would have agreed that this assumption was valid.”
By implication, the report was not reviewed and released by competent intelligence experts – “unless they were motivated by factors other than concerns about the accuracy of the report,” the professor added.
Postol’s key argument is a series of photographs of the crater where the container holding sarin was supposedly air-dropped. He pointed to a photograph of several men inspecting the site, wearing loose clothing and medical gloves.
“If there were any sarin present at this location when this photograph was taken everybody in the photograph would have received a lethal or debilitating dose of sarin,” he wrote. “The fact that these people were dressed so inadequately either suggests a complete ignorance of the basic measures needed to protect an individual from sarin poisoning, or that they knew that the site was not seriously contaminated.”
Another photo shows the crushed contained half-buried in the crater, while in other photos is has been dug up and repositioned.
On Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed that it was his agency which concluded that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, which persuaded Trump to fire 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase last week.
“We were good, and fast,” Pompeo said at an event in Washington, DC, “and we got it right.”
The US missile attack caused tensions between Washington and Moscow, leading to a suspension of a military hotline intended to “deconflict” operations over Syria and the US-led coalition scaling back its strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL.)
The Syrian government has denied using or even possessing chemical weapons. Syria’s compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention was certified by international observers in 2013, the Russian General Staff said, noting that this did not include two sites on territory controlled by the rebels.