31 May 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Are you sure you have the title of this article right?

Is it really that: "NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims by Dr. Ted Postol" as currently written?

Or is it, as you write at the end of the first paragraph: "NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times."?

FB Ali

The subject of this post is misleading: It seems to say, None of the Evidence supports the Claims by Dr Ted Postol.

I would suggest that by Dr Ted Postol be put in brackets.


punctuation of your title suffers from an Eats Shoots and Leaves problem.



I am not PT and I am weary of editing trivia. pl


Another good take-down by Postol.


- if the damage areas as geolocated by Bellingcat and NYT are much too small for the observed bomb blast from the video - where do we find those damage areas?
After all, the video *is* from Khan Sheikhoun (though unlikely from April 4). So, the effect of the bombs seen in that video should be traceable.

- Postol doesn't discuss the little "plume"/ "blast"/white fog immediately at the left (=east) of the tell.
= P 3, in my numbering here:

---> clearly no normal bomb blast. What are the possible causes/explanations?
I haven't found anything similar looking for comparison.

Publius Tacitus

The title is Dr. Postol's. The article is by Ted Postol. You are misreading the title.

robt willmann

This should be the url citation to the 29 May 2017 article of Theodore Postol in the pdf computer file format, that was presented above--



If you asked anybody who knows who/what Bellingcat is, and then asked them to predict Bellingcat's findings in this circumstance (or any other for that matter), is there any doubt that these predictions would be unanimous?

English Outsider

Publius Tacitus - thank you for that detailed examination.

Dr Postal and the NYT/Bellingcat are on different tacks. Dr Postal is engaging in forensic examination. The NYT/Bellingcat are seeking to persuade. Dr Postal is chained to the facts. The NYT et al are limited only by their ingenuity and inventiveness. The story that Assad gassed his own people is therefore the story that will stick for most of us. President Macron used it the other day without having to worry that it would be contradicted.

The politicians are concerned only with whether the story will hold good for long enough to enable them to justify the next attack. Dr Postal is clearly concerned only with the truth insofar as he can establish it. Two different games. I'm glad SST plays the second; Dr Postal's approach is perhaps old fashioned in this age of post-modern narrative and information warfare but I still regard any other approach as corrupt. Also dangerous, given that the politicians make real life decisions for all of us that are so often based on invention or misconception.

Could I please raise a different point. Earlier you stated:-

"The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.
The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believes was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.
There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties."

I think more facts have come out since. Might I ask if you still consider this to be the most likely explanation for what did happen at Khan Shaykhun?


I shall use the occasion to point out some more serious flaws with the NYT reconstruction:

1) The primary witness for the airstrike allegedly on April 4 is Mohamad Salom Alabd, the media activist who recorded the two main clips.
His YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu9P8LFm0-aPDih2xu_Lhbw

His name is given as Hussam Salloum in most reports, but he must be the same person:

Hussam Salloum, a volunteer with an air raid warning service in rebel-held areas, said the Sukhoi-22 that attacked on Tuesday approached at low altitude, leaving behind three columns of dark smoke and the white cloud nearer to ground level.

"The smoke was white and thick," he told Reuters from Khan Sheikhoun. "The smoke began to spread out across the town, until there was a layer over the town," he said, sending a video filmed from an observation point that showed the plumes of smoke.

This is exactly what we observe in his (first) video: 3 plumes from a conventional attack (P 1, 2, 4), and a fourth one: a little low-level "plume", some "white foggy stuff" (= P 3, in my Twitter pic).

According to the testimony by Salloum, consistent with his video, the fourth strike *must* be P 3. It is next to the tell, but nowhere near the mysterious crater (located further north-east, not seen in the video) - where NYT Malachy Browne places it. So, even the video evidence does not only not support his reconstruction, it clearly contradicts it.

2) Mohamad Salom recorded a second video, showing the same view, but the area covered in white mist, allegedly the poisonous cloud a short while after the bombing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWvDisOxJi0
NYT uncritically adopts this view and blends the 2 videos into one sequence.

Static panoramic view - the bottom part of my Twitter pic linked above: I have indicated F-areas to show the vast extent of "white stuff". I frankly see no possible way to get from situation 1 in video 1 (upper part in my pic) to situation 2 in video 2 (lower part). The best explanation seems to be that video 2 shows just natural morning mist - on a different day.

This is confirmed by the video of a second activist shown in the NYT reconstruction (the only source), from 1:33-1:48.
His first take (1:33-1:37) shows in fact the same plumes as in Sallom's first video - from a different camera position west of KS (= Camera 2 in geolocation by Micha Kobs, https://twitter.com/Qoppa999/status/864118535706075136).

However, his "post-plume" take (1:44-1:48, from same camera position) shows a completely different scene, somehow foggy, but in no way a situation that could emerge shortly after his take 1.
Synopsis of the 4 takes here:

So, in all likelyhood both activists just used some pre-recorded material to suggest something like a "poisonous" cloud (independent of the dating of the bombing video, which is also unlikely from April 4).

3) NYT's "debunking" of the Russian claims is especially mind-boggling. Russia claims to have bombed the *eastern* outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 (around noon). NYT intends to refute this by showing an earlier bombing site from 2015 in the *northern* part of Khan Sheikhoun.
How confused do you have to be to assume this is even a possible refutation?


Good questions.


PT thanks for the analysis. I also note a tree near the site appears to have not lost any leaves. The road seems to have been damaged near the yellow circle- to me this suggests an IED or equivalent with most of the energy directed upwards, with perhaps some flying debris affecting the roof.

I wonder if the Times's analyst was mentally deficient or just smoking something. They could have saved themselves a lot of time and simply not bothered with the analysis - the effect on public discourse would be the same.


The Bilderberg group are meeting at Chantilly Virginia, and White House notables like McMasters are in attendance.

Are they going at the direction or against the direction of POTUS?


Has anyone seen URL for the April 2015 video referenced by Postol. Frustrating that his referencing is dismal.

Keith Harbaugh

The video is
“How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike”

BTW, this video was brought up in the comments on earlier post (dated 2017-04-27) from PT:

Adam Larson

It's said here the wind direction on video is opposite of the day's actual direction. How was the day's actual wind direction determined? When I hear opposite, I think maybe you're using the alleged sarin-affected homes? Those are arranged opposite to (upwind from the crater) the wind we see on video. I find this 180 degree contradiction within the rebel story too interesting to toss off without good reason.

I haven't compared bomb damage yet, admittedly, but have been proceing on the idea the videos are quite likely from April 4.


thanks. I'm new to this site and will also look at earlier reference.


sorry, I meant the MARCH 2015 video on earlier bombing incident cited by Postol. do you have a URL for it?


oh, I see the frames in NYT now. thanks. ignore previous comment.

Adam Larson

I question Postol's acceptance of the wind prediction as factual. It is somewhat opposite of the direction in the video (which isn't to the due east, but partly east). That could mean the video is from another day, or that the prediction was wrong. What stands out to me is how the direction we've established (S-SW wind, to the N-NE, 30-45 degrees on the compass) is exactly opposite of what's required to blow sarin from the bakery crater (alleged release site) to the homes reportedly affected (six placed, and other reports give the same basic area, and no other areas where people were affected). This might be a total coincidence, or confirm that the rebels and we have the same wind direction, and it's the true one, but they read it backwards (like Dr. Postol did at first), maybe the story planners hearing it described as a SW wind, FROM about 220 on the compass, and wrote all their details for a wind blowing TO that direction. If so, oops! Detailed stories were attached to these places, but it clashes with their more reliable video evidence. True stories don't wind up backwards. A central error like that is a hallmark of a made-up story.

If these videos are from another day, we have no visuals of the day's wind, just predictions which may or may not be accurate, and what the opposition claims, which are fairly close, both described as opposite to the video's directions. To me, that's much less interesting. Maybe it's true, but I'm not convinced.

As for the bomb damage, I admit it seems smaller than it should be. But what a coincidence that there's new damage in each of the three spots (and note plumes 1 and 2 can be located from two different views, so it's not an issue of 'somewhere along the line of sight.' The spots are pretty clear). So while he argues the video doesn't show that damage being caused, on whatever day, I have to pause. What other day(s) between Feb. 21 and April 4/6 were those three same spots damaged? And the video, showing plumes in those same spots, what day is that from? It has very similar solar angles to April 4, and must be either that day or close.

Is it possible to correlate the damage to the plumes if we shift the presumed type of weapon? I'm not versed enough to say, but interested in getting it to match up if possible. Not to support the opposition's lame narrative, but just to keep in line with the relevant evidence (and for all the arguments I've heard, I still suspect this video is from April 4, and they faked all their blasts and "sarin fog" in real space on the right day).

Fog analysis - suggests it couldn't have been a sarin bomb, more likely some massive smoke or mist generated for a visual effect.

Other points collected here, and under my name. http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/04/idlib-cw-massacre-4-4-17-masterlist.html

Adam Larson

Are my comments not allowed here?

Adam Larson

P.S. - of the three (now 4) comments I submitted, please just run #2, and sorry about #3. Cheers.


both, of course.


Adam Larson

Too complicated. pl


Adam Larson

Climb down from your high horse. All comments are moderated here either by me or the poster, in this case PT. I was busy yesterday. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad