Khan Sheikhoun, Syria: The nerve agent attack that did not occur

Global Research, April 19, 2017
Washington’s Blog 18 April 2017

Analysis of the Times and Locations of Critical Events in the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at 7 AM on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria

This analysis contains a detailed description of the times and locations of critical events in the alleged nerve agent attack of April 4, 2017 in Khan Shaykhun, Syria – assuming that the White House Intelligence Report (WHR) issued on April 11, 2017 correctly identified the alleged sarin release site.

Analysis using weather data from the time of the attack shows that a small hamlet about 300 m to the east southeast of the crater could be the only location affected by the alleged nerve agent release. The hamlet is separated from the alleged release site (a crater) by an open field. The winds at the time of the release would have initially taken the sarin across the open field. Beyond the hamlet there is a substantial amount of open space and the sarin cloud would have had to travel long additional distance for it to have dissipated before reaching any other population center.

Video taken on April 4 shows that the location where the victims were supposedly being treated from sarin exposure is incompatible with the only open space in the hamlet that could have been used for mass treatment of victims. This indicates that the video scenes where mass casualties (dead and dying) were laid on the ground randomly was not at the hamlet. If the location where the bodies were on the ground was instead a site where the injured and dead were taken for processing, then it is hard to understand why bodies were left randomly strewn on the ground and in mud as shown in the videos.

The conclusion of this summary of data is obvious – the nerve agent attack described in the WHR did not occur as claimed. There may well have been mass casualties from some kind of poisoning event, but that event was not the one described by the WHR.

The findings of this analysis can serve two important purposes:

  1. It shows exactly what needs to be determined in an international investigation of this alleged atrocity. In particular, if an international investigation can determine where casualties from the nerve agent attack lived, it will further confirm that the findings reported by the WHR are not compatible with the data it cites as evidence for its conclusions.
  2. It also establishes that the WHR did not utilize simple and widely agreed upon intelligence analysis procedures to determine its conclusions.

This raises troubling questions about how the US political and military leadership determined that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged attack. It is particularly of concern that the WHR presented itself as a report with “high confidence” findings and that numerous high-level officials in the US government have confirmed their belief that the report was correct and to a standard of high confidence.

Methodology Used in This Analysis

The construction of the time of day at which particular video frames were generated is determined by simply using the planetary geometry of the sun angle during the day on April 4. The illustration below of the sun-angle geometry shows the Day/Night Sun Terminator at the location of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. The angle of the sun relative to local horizontal is summarized in the table that follows the image of the planetary geometry along with the temperature during the day between 6:30 AM and 6 PM.

The next set of two side-by-side images shows the shadows at a location where a large number of poison victims are being treated in what appears to be the aftermath of a poisoning event. The shadows indicate that this event occurred at about 7:30 AM. This is consistent with the possibility of a nerve agent attack at 7 AM on the morning of April 4 and it is also consistent with the allegation in the WHR that an attack occurred at 6:55 AM on that day.

The timing sequence of the attack is important for determining the consistency of the timelines with the allegations of a sarin release at the crater identified in the WHR.

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MIT professor exposes ‘egregious error’ & evidence tampering in US report on Syria sarin incident

From RT

April 14, 2017

A closer look at photos from the town of Khan Shaykhun shows that the chemical attack site was tampered with and that the US report blaming the Syrian government can’t be true, says the MIT professor skeptical of the White House narrative.

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.

https://www.rt.com/usa/384800-syria-gas-professor-addendum/