NEO – Denial of Turkish Involvement in Sarin Gas Attack

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul
Hagia Sophia – Istanbul

Denial of Turkish Involvement in Sarin Gas Attack is a Very Convenient Admission

… by  Seth Ferris,      … with  New Eastern Outlook,  Moscow


A man must sometimes stand alone against the unknown
A man must sometimes stand alone against the unknown

[ Editor’s note:  Seth Ferris takes us behind the scenes into, literally, the Byzantine politics of Turkey, where Erdogan has been juggling a lot of geo-political balls without having any blow up in his face… so far.

Sure, the phone call intercepts have been an embarrassment, but what world stage politician worries much about embarrassment as long as they are not deposed, arrested and having their assets confiscated?

They protect themselves by having plenty of dirt to take others down with them, if anyone thinks they will be an easy target.

Add into the mix that a new chemical attack has happened in Syria, and the US has not deployed advanced weapons into Syria to try to stem the receding tide of the insurgents and terrorists. Seven more captured Syrian soldiers have been beheaded after dragged through the streets of their last stop.

I am still trying to figure out how these top US officials think they are going to keep all of this carnage off their tab, immunity or not, when Bush(43), Cheney and Rumsfeld, are going to be some of the most hated Americans in history.

Why anyone would want to follow their lead is beyond me, but then again, I am not a sociopath. Maybe it was the corporal punishment I got as a kid that saved me, or later discovering and learning a lot about my Southern heritage roots.

Shame and disgrace have always been major negatives to me. I guess I am old-fashioned, a strange twist of fate for someone who came of age in the 1960’s… Jim W. Dean ]


–  First published April 9, 2014  –


What do bunkers hold?
What do bunkers hold?

There is a simple rule of thumb when it comes to any government’s press service statements: Don’t believe anything until it has been officially denied.

There is also a second rule of thumb: if the truth is then made obvious, it isn’t as simple as it appears.

Damming reports have recently emerged suggesting that the Turkish and American intelligence services have jointly “cooked intelligence” in order to impose a fully fledged shooting war on Syria. This has, of course, been officially denied.

Well they would, wouldn’t they? And, we would see it that way, wouldn’t we?

Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winner in Journalism
Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winner in Journalism

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has begun dropping bombshells which may finish off a string of carefully spun stories at the most inopportune of times.

His revelations may prove to be the straw which broke the US administrations “back” over Syria. Or maybe they are breaking another back entirely, under the convenient cover of damaging the US.

Hersh has posted a report which includes investigative material which is taking the mainstream media by storm, entitled “The Red Line and the Rat Line.”

This takes as fact what I previously suggested in this journal, that the Sarin gas attack in Syria last summer was a US operation, and alleges that an al-Qaeda affiliated organisation, the al-Nusra Front, and Turkish intelligence were also involved in planning and executing it.

Obama’s White House and the Turkish government have both been quick to categorically dismiss this story. They take exception to even the suggestion that the Turkish government was involved in the attack.

“We have seen Mr. Hersh’s latest story, which is based solely on information from unnamed sources and which reaches conclusions about the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria that are completely off-base,” said the White House press office.

Then explain why Hersh’s conclusions are wrong, and what sources are there for the US version of what happened? Strangely, or perhaps not, the White House does not mention this, nor does it give the many examples it could give of its own record of acting on the basis of unnamed sources – the invasion of Iraq being a glaring example.

The London Review of Books has republished Hersh’s article, which presents the Turkish government as culpable for the Sarin attack, which killed anywhere between several hundred and over a thousand people, depending on the source and discounting how many of these were crisis actors to start with.

As the Washington Post reported in August 2013, “varying opposition claims put the death toll in the hundreds; some saying it was more than a thousand.”

Was Mary Shapiro right?
Was Mary Shapiro right?

Earlier email intercepts, and investigative journalists working out of Georgia and the US, have confirmed that this attack was designed to create the pretext for a fully fledged war in Syria, and that it was staged from the onset.

Emails between Jennifer MacDonald, the wife of a defence contractor, and a friend named Mary Shapiro show her reassuring her friend that her husband had “comforted her” by saying that (Syrian) “kids weren’t hurt, it was done for cameras.”

If this claim has any other source than her husband, or is in any way inaccurate, let the White House press service demonstrate this – after all, they have had many months to do so, and it is in their interest to do so.


Is the story credible?

How much American involvement with Syrian rebels
How much American involvement with Syrian rebels?

Hersh’s inability to get his first story on this topic, Whose Sarin?, published was a telltale sign that the story was too hot to handle then because it was true. These are the tactics always resorted to when official lies are exposed.

Ask Michael Morpurgo. Many years ago he wrote a book about AIDS which stated that it was not transmitted through heterosexual sex but purely through homosexual activity and drug use.

Though this is a medical opinion, not a political statement, and was backed up by considerable documentation and research, he was unable to get a mainstream publisher in his native US.

When he took his book to the UK he got no publisher at all, apart from The Observer newspaper, such was the strength of the gay political lobby and its desire not to be blamed for the death and destruction of the AIDS pandemic. At the same time fabulous theories about the fate of the Romanovs, or the Tomb of Christ, were hitting the bookshelves without anyone saying a word.

The London Review of Books finally published Hersh’s new story, and there is no reason why it should not have done so. Seymour Hersh is not an isolated mad-hatter with a record of fabricating wild theories, but a respected international affairs journalist who has had a long career of producing accurate and well-received articles, and of changing history.

The London Review of Books is a high-level publication which is always vastly oversubscribed with articles. Anything published there has to meet a very high journalistic standard, whether or not you agree with its conclusions. So being published there gives the article the semblance of credibility it needs to override the official denial.


So do the facts we know from elsewhere. Many in the intelligence community have been alleging for some time that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan, who is not exactly the international flavor of the month, supports the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction within the rebel opposition in Syria, and other Islamist rebel groups.

This allegation is made whenever it suits the US and its allies to paint Erdogan as a malign influence. Now the same allegation is made by main stream media, and the US is an actor in the plot, while the Obama White House tries to pretend there cannot be any truth to stories it has been so freely repeating for its own ends for long enough.

Hersh states in his article that according to his deep throats in a “multitude” of former senior US intelligence officials from an array of different agencies he has spoken to, “We knew there were some in the Turkish government 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.”

The White House’s reference to “unnamed sources” reveals how keen it is to get its hands on at least one of Hersh’s alleged senior US intelligence officials. We know this because we remember that the White House was similarly keen to identify Deep Throat, the informant who blew open the Watergate scandal which forced President Richard Nixon to resign.

Even though Nixon is now officially vilified, Deep Throat was still attacked by the White House as a traitor, not a lover of justice and upholder of American values, when his identity was finally revealed many years later.


Why now?

Hersch’s article implicating Ergogan and his Turkish inner circle merely reaffirms earlier made claims on how the Sarin gas used in Syria was produced, claims denied at that time too.

So we may ask why this article has appeared in print now, and not previously – unless, of course, we really want to know the answer if Turkey alone supplied the Sarin or not.

Obviously the refusal of the mainstream press to publish his initial story is a factor. There are many scandal stories widely known within the media which are not published because it is too difficult legally to do so with the evidence available. But if they can be made watertight the same media outlets embrace them enthusiastically, as in this case, so that the author can show they were right and the outlet can show that it is above lawyers’ libel lawsuits.

Second, the local elections in Turkey did not turn out as badly for Erdogan as predicted by western media. If people voted for him, he must be right. Therefore the suspect YouTube story about the Erdogan orchestrated attacked on the Turkish-controlled Mosque within Syrian territory is going to be accepted for now, on the principle of benefit of the doubt, unless it can be shown to be false.

Third, intel sources in Georgia and in the media know of weapons transited from Georgia to Syria, via Turkey, and that Turkish intelligence is providing protection for former intelligence assets who had been involved in the logistics of organising material and flights carrying Jihadist terrorists to be fielded against Assad.

All this had previously been reported, but then fell through the cracks of analysis. Hersh has merely linked all the pieces together, but maybe this linkage is now all too convenient for those who sought to stifle it before.


What does Hersh’s article purport to achieve?

Obviously Seymour Hersh has an interest in exposing the Turkish link with the gas attack in Syria, be his allegations true or false, even if his motivation is simply to tell the truth. He is to be applauded for has alleging what he has alleged, but maybe there is more to this than appears at first impression.

Revealing information previously reported in this journal by Henry Kamens about sarin and foreign fighters in Syria is reproduced below in the following email snip: [full article here]

“Re: Megis Kardava

‘Greetings, Zviad.
FYI, I thought this should be circulated. It is an article by Henry Kamens. My interest is to expose the distant actors who escape immediate attention viz. the attack on Syria.

Megis Kardava is known to be under the protection of Turkish intelligence, thanks to his use of terror and trafficking of foreign fighters and weapons to further Turkey’s geopolitical interests in Syria and Iraq.’”

The full article in Kamen’s contribution to VT describes how a number of economic and territorial concessions unusual in another sovereign state have been handed to Turkey to sweeten this US-Georgian-Turkish collaboration, including continuity of oil supplies to Turkey at preferred rates from Northern Iraq, which is essential for the maintenance of trafficking networks and payoff to political networks of patronage, and to fund the terrorists in Syria.

The VT article also comments:  “It is also alleged that payment is made in Gold for oil purchases – both from Iraq and Iran, again with Georgia being the transit county in some cases, and the financial mechanism.”

All this this line of thinking has been swallowed in its entirety by Seymour Hersh. The result has been damaging to both the US and Turkey. But which of these two full-fledged NATO member nations thinks it is more able to withstand negative spin press stories?


What is really going on? … here’s the bottom line

String of pearls: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran
String of pearls: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran

Governments the world over have a sordid history of saying one thing and doing another. They will deny that there is a problem in a social welfare area, such as homelessness, then later to quietly take steps to address that non-existent problem.

They will say that such and such a world leader is their friend but not hand over most of the foreign aid nor conclude the big deals until he is out of the way.

The US could never admit to doing what it thinks Hersh accuses it of doing in his article, implicating the U.S. in providing material support to terrorists. But his revelations will not have any real effect on political processes in America.

The US will also deny what Hersh said about Turkey, but his claims are not fresh. The US makes the same tired rehashed claims about Turkey when it chooses to, though not directly and not in relation to any specific incident.

Why this a contradiction? This story is being published now because it is being spun on itself. The US is hoping that it will damage Turkey, and in particular Erdogan. It won’t admit this of course, but if someone has to take the flak for the continuing failures in Syria, will it be the US or its weaker ally Turkey?

Erdogan is making the wrong noises from a US point of view, which wants to recast modern Turkey as a new Ottoman Empire. We can expect him to be pushed out by internal forces over this story, with US assistance, while the US continues publicly proclaiming his innocence.

If Turkey can be blamed for US failures in Syria, where it loses ground by the day, it can be presented as Turkey’s conflict which the US was duped into supporting before it knew the full facts. Now-unreliable Turkey can be dumped and the US can extricate itself from Syria before it becomes another Vietnam. Hersh will have done the White House’s and NATO’s dirty work, whether intentional or otherwise.

Maybe the whole Syrian conflict was merely an attempt to entrap Turkey rather than a response to bringing democracy to one of their NED designated “authoritative regimes”. Maybe, too, the world would be a better place if its self-appointed Uncle Sam policeman actually sought to uphold justice and honesty once in a while.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

Editing: Jim W. Dean and Erica P. Wissinger




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Jim W. Dean was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022.  He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.