One year ago, Eric Zuesse put words in Seymour Hersh’s mouth in an article titled “Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya’s Sarin to Syrian Rebels” picked up by several ‘alternative’ news sites including Strategic Culture Foundation:
One year on, this patent disinformation has been disseminated widely, so far as finding its way into the almost always astute Corbett Report:
In otherwise excellent reporting, at minute 2:07, we discover Zeusse’s disinformation referred to in both audio and screenshot:
Prior to Turkey’s President Erdogan shutting down pretty much all independent (those unsupportive of Erdogan) media in Turkey, it had been reported (preserved article HERE) some overzealous local police and prosecutors uncovered Turkish intelligence had facilitated delivery of sarin nerve agent to Islamic State in Syria, used to murder over 1,300 Syrians. The plan was to blame this on Basher al-Assad and force Obama to make good on his ‘red line’ threat towards Assad’s removal. According to the reporting, this had been covered up, that is, until a pair of CHP opposition deputies (members of parliament) had brought the criminal investigative file into public and included this following:
“CHP deputies Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker held a press conference in İstanbul on Wednesday in which they claimed the investigation into allegations regarding Turkey’s involvement in the procurement of sarin gas which was used in the chemical attack on a civil population and delivered to the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to enable the attack was derailed.
“Taking the floor first, Erdem stated that the Adana Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into allegations that sarin was sent to Syria from Turkey via several businessmen. An indictment followed regarding the accusations targeting the government.
““The MKE [Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation] is also an actor that is mentioned in the investigation file. Here is the indictment. All the details about how sarin was procured in Turkey and delivered to the terrorists, along with audio recordings, are inside the file,” Erdem said while waving the file”
What did Hersh actually say?
Independent of this preceding reporting, Seymour Hersh, in his essay ‘The Redline and the Ratline’, attributes the August 2013 sarin attack (blamed on Assad) to Turkey, from altogether different sources via American intelligence:
“‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’”
Hersh also cites DIA intelligence that independently matches the Zaman reporting on Turkey providing the sarin precursor chemicals to Islamic radicals except Al-Nusra (al-Qaida) rather than Islamic State:
“‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’”
Then, Hersh appears to be referring to the same intelligence agency endeavors reported in the (now shut down newspaper) Zaman story covering the CHP deputies in Turkey:
“Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention”
Hersh then cites the DIA again, pointing to Turkey supplied sarin precusors, pointing to a Turkish company as suppliers, for purpose of acquiring “sarin precursor” chemicals:
“The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’.”
None of this points to the ‘ratline.’ Hersh then places a * between paragraphs to change the subject away from the sarin story and moves onto the Libya arms channel. When Hersh does refer back to the subject of sarin in the larger context, he again locates that in Turkey:
“By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT [Turkey’s CIA] was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’
After another * break and moving to conclusions, Hersh again cites USA intelligence source:
“‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’”
What Hersh had actually been describing is, a failing clandestine policy, the ratline, leading to an increasingly desperate Turkey employing a homegrown (in Turkey) plot to provide nerve gas to Islamic militants to gas the Syrian civil populace and blame it on Assad; to draw the USA in more deeply. Nowhere in his article(s) does Hersh claim Hillary was involved with ordering the gas attack, nor does Hersh ever point to the sarin components originating in Libya. But Zuesse, I presume an atheist, behaves like a fundamental Christian interpreting Bible prophecy with his:
“Hersh also said that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad. «By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria». Hersh didn’t say whether these «arms» included the precursor chemicals for making sarin which were stockpiled in Libya, but there have been multiple independent reports that Libya’s Gaddafi possessed such stockpiles, and also that the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a «rat line» for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey”
After Zuesse claims Hersh said the Americans were premeditated co-conspirators in the sarin attack (Hersh said no such thing), Zuesse ‘sort of’ admits Hersh actually didn’t make that claim, while reading tea leaves that must have ayahuasca hallucinogen residue when going on to make his case Hersh is saying (without saying) the USA delivered the sarin in context that actually shows Hersh never inferred as much.
Hillary is a world class criminal without having to lay false blame on her giant ass. What Zeusse had done is, deflect blame from the real perpetrators of the attack with Sarin at Ghouta, Syria, in August, 2013. Those perpetrators are, at the top, President Erdogan of Turkey and his intelligence chief Hakan Fidan. Zuesse blew it. His story is bollocks.
That the Corbett Report would pick up what amounts to a lie and run with it, points to the dangers of not vetting stories; and perhaps, harboring prejudiced associations; where a Turkish Sufi news outlet (the Zaman shut down by Erdogan) by default associated with Fetullah Gulen, would have reliably reported the facts must give close Corbett Report associate (and more often astute) Sibel Edmonds a case of hives.
And, of course, none of Zuesse’s disinformation does anything to help the Turkish member of parliament who’d blown the whistle and revealed the investigative files which determined the sarin precursor chemicals had been imported by Turkish companies, FROM EUROPE, and then delivered by Turkish intelligence to Islamic militants:
“All basic materials are purchased from Europe. Western institutions should question themselves about these relations. Western sources know very well who carried out the sarin gas attack in Syria
“As for his accusations about Turkish businessmen being involved in supplying Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) with the poisonous gas sarin and other reactants needed for chemical warfare, Erdem maintained this statement was made based on the results of a Turkish court investigation in 2013”
Note: The confusion between sources of whether sarin was being delivered to Islamic State or al Nusra (al Qaida) appears to stem from these events were occurring about the time al Qaida in Iraq and Levant (includes Syria) was splitting into the separate groups Islamic State and al Nusra (or perhaps indicates Turkey supplying both)