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Hersh: Trump’s Decision To Launch Cruise Missiles Against Syria Ran Counter to Intelligence That There Was No Chemical Attack

June 26, 2017 (EIRNS)—Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, in a new expose published in both English and German in Welt am Sonntag, reports that President Trump issued the order for the cruise missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase on April 6

"despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon."

Hersh’s is an important expose confirming that the allegations that Assad launched a chemical weapons attack were completely fake. It comes at a time when, under Russian leadership, a substantial de-escalation of violence in western Syria has been accomplished and considerable progress has been made against ISIS in southeastern Syria. It also comes less than two weeks before the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where there’s strong possibility that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin may meet face-to-face for the first time.

Therefore, a repeat of the false flag scenario of a chemical attack blamed on Assad would be disastrous. "The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy," the senior intelligence advisor told Hersh.

"The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack."

"The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha,"

Hersh reports. "Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence."

Hersh describes, in considerable detail, how the deconfliction process between the U.S. and Russian militaries in Syria works, including how they share intelligence information and inform each other of planned strikes. Outright cooperation and collaboration is not allowed by the U.S. ops order governing the engagement with the Russians, but coordination is, and it extended to the Syria air strike on Khan Sheikhoun. Hersh reports that the Russians had passed on intelligence that there would be a high-level jihadi meeting, there, in a particular building, and that they were working with the Syrian air force, to include the provision of guided weapons, to destroy that site while the meeting was underway. The Americans involved in that coordination ridiculed the notion that the Russians were helping the Syrians drop a chemical weapon on the town. There was just no way they could fake it and make it look like a conventional 500 lb bomb when a leak would kill those loading the bomb on the airplane unless they were in hazmat suits. After the attack, there was evidence from MSF that the symptoms from those who died indicated exposure to a range of chemicals, including those consistent with chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers, in other words, what the Russians said, that there were chemicals in the building that they weren’t aware of that were spread as the result of secondary explosions after the initial hit.

Nonetheless, the media machine went into high gear after the attack to blame Assad and the Russians without any evidence whatsoever, and certain members of the Trump administration, among them Nikki Haley, played right along. "What doesn’t occur to most Americans" one senior advisor to the U.S. intelligence community told Hersh,

"is if there had been a Syrian nerve gas attack authorized by Bashar, the Russians would be 10 times as upset as anyone in the West. Russia’s strategy against ISIS, which involves getting American cooperation, would have been destroyed and Bashar would be responsible for pissing off Russia, with unknown consequences for him. Bashar would do that? When he’s on the verge of winning the war? Are you kidding me?"

Hersh says that the provenance of the pictures Trump—and all media consumers—saw, was "unknown." But totally missing from Hersh’s account is the British role in manipulating Trump with fake information, leading him to make the decision for the cruise missile strike on April 7. British Defense Minister Michael Fallon practically bragged about this in the hours after the strike.

"The American defense secretary Jim Mattis consulted me early yesterday evening about our assessment of the regime’s culpability for the chemical weapons attack and we reviewed the need to understand and to deal with any likely Russian reactions to the attack,"

Michael Fallon told BBC Television early on April 7.

"He was then reviewing the different options to put before the president, he then called me later on to advise us of the president’s decision and to give us notice of the attack and our prime minister was kept informed throughout,"

Fallon said.