In an article which appeared in the London Review of Books Seymour Hersh has delivered a devastating blow to Obama’s illegal war in Libya and Syria, although in the end he flinches and claims that Obama was being manipulated by Turkey’s Erdogan, rather than holding Obama responsible, as he should be.
What Hersh reveals is that Obama was forced to call off his planned massive attack on Syria on Sept. 2, 2013, due to the fact that evidence existed that the chemical weapons attacks in Syria were not carried out by the Syrian government, but rather by the Syrian opposition supported by Obama himself in collaboration with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Britain’s MI6.
Russia obtained samples of chemical materials used in Syria and provided them to Porton Down, the British defense laboratory in Wiltshire, which concluded that the gas used in the August 21 attack in Syria did not match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The Porton Down report was provided to the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, which already knew that Obama’s public claims were wrong. On June 20, analysts for the U.S Defense Intelligence Agency issued a five page report which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell. The paper said that Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk. In May more than ten members of the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with two kilograms of sarin.
Moreover, according to Hersh a person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria investigating the chemical attacks there told him that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack on March 19, 2013.
In late August a senior official in the CIA sent a message: “It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.”
The Joint Chiefs who had been tasked by Obama to prepare a massive attack on Syria to begin on Sept. 2 went to Obama and told him that the attack would be ”an unjustified act of aggression.” As Hersh reports: “It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course.”
According to Hersh the chemical attacks in Syria by the opposition were a false flag operation to be blamed on the Syrian government to give the false impression that Syria had crossed Obama’s Red Line so that he could carry out the attack. Hersh portrays this operation as being run by Turkey’s Erdogan to force Obama’s hand.
However, this is not entirely credible. For instance, although Hersh does not mention it on Sept. 6, 2013, a memorandum was sent to Obama by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in which they report that “on August 13-14, 2013 Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials in Antakya , Hatay Province.”
“Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to a war-changing development, which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria. At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar-al-Assad government.”
In other words this was a pre-planned false-flag operation not run solely by Turkey’s Erdogan, but involving U.S. intelligence under Obama’s direction.
Obama was only forced to stop his planned war crime by the actions of the Russians, the British defense laboratory and most importantly the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff. Moreover, as Hersh reports, the U.S. Congress was not going to be the push over it was in approving George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq based on a similar lie.
Having discussed Obama’s Red Line, Hersh then goes on to discuss the Obama Rat Line. According to Hersh, this what the CIA calls the operation run by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and U.S. to run guns to the Syrian opposition, which includes al-Qaeda. The choice of the term “rat line” is revealing, because the CIA under Alan Dulles and James Angleton previously ran a rat line after World War II to help Nazi war criminals escape.
This rat line, according to Hersh was authorized in early 2012 and was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the al-Qaeda opposition. Hersh says that a secret agreement was reached in early 2012 between Obama and Erdogan according to which “funding for this operation 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. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping.”
The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law which requires that eight ranking members of congress be briefed on covert operations by classifying the mission as a liaison operation.
Here Hersh says that this operation was run by CIA Director at the time David Petraeus. While Petraeus’ involvement is not to be excluded, Hersh fails to mention John Brennan, which others have credibly identified as the person in charge (see Benghazi: the Definitive Report).
Hersh reports that “Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going.” ”Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels.”
If corrected to reflect the actual responsibility of Obama and Brennan, rather than let them off the hook by merely blaming Erdogan, Hersh’s article is further ammunition for the immediate impeachment of Obama.