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25 June 2017


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Is Hersh used as a conduit? Undoubtedly. Politicans and officials do try to use journalists as conduits. Is Hersh aware of that? Well, he's been around for a while so he's probably noticed it by now.

EA, journalists no doubt are useful tools and often used to spread earlier defined messages. The lazier they are, or the less time they have to check, the more reliable they are. Those contacts tend to be cultivated quite a bit. I was involved in such matters.

Is Hersh as easily guidable as others? I somewhat doubt. Partly he follows his own nose.

Meaning, he surely does not only pretend, but he has connections and sources that allow him to talk to people closer to the facts. And he is familiar with the context. Could that lead him into something like a larger rumor mill too. Without any doubt. People that serve in whatever positions have private opinions too. Besides, 'secret source' gives a bit of a cover. Could he be misused in the process? Absolutely. Can they tell him everything they know, if they are still in the business. Obviously not.

From that perspective, this feels a bit, well yes what? Redundant? If you remain aware, he is only approaching matters to the extend he can. Nutshell: I not only trust him he did not invent it, I also trust him he has experience enough to deal with his sources carefully. But apparently an increasing amount of people in the media considers him dangerous. He walks a thin line, and no doubt inspires some that are more speculative, fascinated by abysses opening up.

Nevertheless I'd be uneasy to see the transcript you refer to used as exhibit A of the rebuttal.

In any case the scenario of a "security adviser" or whatever type of interested party trying to get direct information from the frontlines sounds pretty realistic to me.

Adam Larson

Seconding Pmr9's request for more info. Hersh says north side of town, but southwest of town is an interesting spot with an apparent 2-story house, perhaps made of brick, that may have been attacked that day, but apparently not at the time of the 6:45 attack. Details: http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/06/idlib-chemical-massacre-sw-fog-area.html

As for intel sharing, not sure if that can line up right. If the attack was at 11:30, wouldn't it be planned that way? No evidence for an attack at 6:45, just a likely recon flight, that the Jihadis would have synchronized with.


EO, Kujat is a fascinating guy like our host. Already was on the Ukraine. But there is of course this Wikipedia snippet:

Since July 2016, Kujat is a member of the Supervisory Board of the Berlin based Research Institute 'Dialogue of Civilizations'[4] (DOC), allegedly financed by Vladimir Yakunin,[5] until 2015 CEO of the Russian Railways and by some sources considered a member of the Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

I wrote so before, I have highly mixed feelings concerning Sahra Wagenknecht. But she's no doubt the most well known face of Die Linke by now. I am familiar with her from her early times in the PDS.

Concerning German media. Too complex to put it into a nutshell. We have specific post WWII media laws with rules for the public channels. Can you understand?

But obviously we don't live on an information Iisland with no connection to the world. I was pretty startled when Bellingcrat surfaced as British research institute in the news. On Syria there obviously always was the difficulty to get the needed images, and with the images the sources of those influenced content. Meaning it was probably pretty similar to the GB or the US. The little icons told you about the source, e.g. the White Helmets. What how many did realize? Besides obviously, to take a random pick, the WAPO or the NYT are read and American perspectives thus influence our media too. Thus without any doubt, we are neatly aligned with the dominating American narratives. Not always, as was the case with the Iraq war, but mostly.


looks like a slow motion advance to recapture the Golan and push israel out of the west bank and back to the 67 lines.
the 2 powers have set up base to control the wider situation as pressure is applied.as per usual a republican government was mustered to do the dirty.the propaganda war has laid the foundations and kushner is doing the negioate with bibi.what could possibly go wrong.hohoho and away we go


I am a Production Designer for film, TV and production shows, lately trying my hand in producing complete projects. It involves reading a lot of scripts, and also more often than not, trying to improve them, this being Turkey, not Hollywood. I am no expert in scriptwriting, but only to the extent to distinguish good ones from bad ones, with the added advantage of seeing the finished product through my mind's eye as I read it.

Especially when adopting a novel into a screenplay, the storyline has to be told through dialogue, that means conveying information to the reader through casual conversation. Too much information, gives the game away and makes the conversation convoluted, loaded, artificial, like a briefing only not through direct statements, but related conversations.

Not responding to each other means the conversation is not strictly between the two parties communicating with each other, responding to each other's thoughts, displaying empathy, arguing, and relating in which case referential information is relevant only to the extent that it helps carry the communication forward.

I don't know LeaNder, I can't give you a blow by blow analysis of how I arrived to my point. Evidence? None, we are not talking about anything concrete here, there is no event or story to prove or disprove. I can only say this, from the information displayed in this conversation, a journalist can write a complete informative piece about how things are within the Trump administration and the mess in Syria. Then if one wants to adapt that article into a screenplay, this will be the conversation one will have. Also, if you take the first sentences of each actor and delete the rest of the informative stuff following, then you may have a natural conversation without the briefing data. Try it.

For your information, I read almost everything here on this site, and only post opinions about subjects I am familiar with and knowledgeable about, as much as I like to see my writings on print here. If expertise was a requirement to post an opinion here, where would you be?

Arioch The

this "We-got-a-fuckin-problem.html" chat is totally unbelievable.

At best it is a staged show "for the record"
At worst Hersh made it up

This in turn makes his other articles on topic - his conclusions derived from that chat - far less plausible.

Chris Chuba

The Russians have given up on the Information War outside of formal meetings at the U.N. They are only focusing on the ground war, basic diplomacy, and handling us like the screaming toddlers that we are. I think that this is a mistake but Lavrov isn't returning my phone calls. The Russians could have at least produced a detailed timeline of events for the day to see if the toxic smoke theory was plausible.

Regardless of Russia's failings, our MSM should always have the mentality 'you have to prove your case' not 'the other guy has to prove you are wrong'. Our Pentagon made a very specific claim and our MSM has accepted every aspect of it without question. It's as if they would consider it rude to question their conclusions. Wow, the Vietnam era press corp is dead and buried. We now have Stepford Wives working in the MSM, our govt officials (not the politicians) can make any claim whatsoever and have it accepted as absolute truth.

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media" -
Noam Chomsky

(15yrs ago, quoting Noam Chomsky was incomprehensible)

Yeah, Right

"The absence of an unequivocal denial that US forces were given the alert must be confirmation that it was received. Right?"

No, that doesn't follow.

It can simply mean that the MSM is now so complicit that its "reporters" refuse to pose obvious questions to the various spokesmodels at the Press Briefings at State or the Pentagon.

After all, if you are never asked a tough question then you never need to explain yourself......

Yeah, Right

"The Russians have given up on the Information War outside of formal meetings at the U.N."

Yeah, apparently they have.

Didn't I just point out one obvious example?

"I think that this is a mistake but Lavrov isn't returning my phone calls."

I agree, which is why I find it so inexplicable that they don't release a transcript of the deconfliction conversation that Hersh reported in his article.

I would, and I don't understand why the Russians don't.

Yeah, Right

It reads like a thread from some kind of real-time chat forum rather than an email exchange.

How credible that is would be determined entirely by knowledge of the identity of the two chatterboxes.

Which, obviously, we don't know.

Though - equally obviously - both Hersh and the editors at Welt do know their identity and find it quite credible that those two gentlemen would indulge in such an ungentlemanly exchange.

They do sound mighty pissed-off, don't they?


Oh, dear, should I excuse?

For your information, I read almost everything here on this site, and only post opinions about subjects

I'll take this as meaning I should better follow your example. ;)

One point, I had a quite interesting American prof who wrote a book on 'Literature and/as Film'. He confronted us more generally with this question. Could it be that the movies to some extend shape our perception of the reality? Making us unable to differ between reality and fiction? He gave a couple of examples from reality were people mistook what was happening with a movie. In some cases with not so fortunate results.


Would have been nice if Sy Hersh would have done a lil investigative journalism relative to the Obama administration. His gleeful reporting of Abu Gharib hurt our efforts in Iraq. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been reported, but was definitely done in a way for political reasons. However, I do agree with him on this Syrian gassing issue.


ding ding ding.

ToivoS, Bellingcat is funded by Google.


English Outsider

LeaNder - thanks for that information. Clearly I misread your original comment and made some false assumptions. Profuse apologies. I read you now as warning that Hersh is a seasoned journalist and knows his way around, but might be getting a bit cranky. Let's hope that a cracked pot can still hold water, then.

There are several people I respect who voted for Sahra Wagenknecht. Faut de mieux stuff, I suppose. I'll never forget her standing up in the Bundestag like Joan of Arc while the rest of them howled at her like a Bierhalle mob. I put her in the same category as George Galloway and to a lesser extent Corbyn over here. A real mess politically but has the guts to speak out in a very hostile environment. I do love a conviction politician even though - are you listening Donald? Where are you, Bernie? - they usually lead me up the garden path. Perhaps one day one will come along with some half-way decent convictions and stick to them. Perhaps one day pigs will fly.

Jonathan House

Would have been nice if Sy Hersh would have done a lil investigative journalism relative to the Obama administration.

he did. see, e.g.
"The Red Line and the Rat Line" 2014 April London Review of Books
"Whose Sarin" 2013 Dec also LRB


Perhaps Trump knew that the intelligence people were right but had decided to launch the missiles as a piece of political theatre.

English Outsider

LeaNder -

We are picking our way through the vast criminal enterprise that is the Syrian war. The Western powers have set on and assisted in setting on great numbers of fighters in order to destroy a country. The death, suffering and destruction caused is unimaginable. We can no longer pretend that this has occurred as a result of some deftly organised colour revolution gone wrong. We can no longer pretend that we are intervening in some ambiguous internal dispute. In response to Putin's magisterial rebuke "Do you even now not realise what you have done?" we can only say "We do." And as Tillerson has recently made clear, we'll do exactly the same again in Iran if we can.

All this while the bulk of the population of the West is entirely unaware of what is occurring, even uninterested, and if ever they become uneasy a picture of a dead child can hastily be presented to them and that, without further enquiry, sets their minds at rest.

The fight to get the truth out about what is happening, and the fight to suppress that truth, is today called the information war. You and I - because I'm certain that you and I are on the same side - have to come to that unequal fight with clean hands. We may not be the most effective warriors - I've only managed to explain to a handful of people what's happening in Syria and if you've done better I don't expect you've been able to do much better - and certainly not, for my part, that adequately equipped, but as long as the facts we set out are irrefutable and the conclusions clear we can get a blow in now and again. There must be thousands of people reading the Colonel's site who are also getting their blows in. If we stray by even the slightest from provable fact then those blows have no effect.

Sy Hersh has given us a well researched and authoritative report on one tiny corner of the Syrian disaster. I can't use it. There are no names given. The reported conversation might have been edited or reconstructed. Neither the White House nor the State Department has issued a comment or denial that will enable us to take a cross bearing. It's something to tuck away in the back of one's mind while waiting for further confirmation. It's not something we can email to a friend and say "Here's a smoking gun if ever I saw one.

So I'm not trying to run Hersh down, or his report. I'm just saying it's no use to me personally. If you know more about it, as you probably do, then I hope it'll be of some use to you. In this unequal information war we need all the help we can get.


Come sir, the administration does not need to wait for the media to ask the question. They can issue a press release or statement at any time.



The President is a demanding customer. And we like it that way, because it shows that he depends on us and values what we do. Let me give you an example to illustrate the point.

I got a call from the President one afternoon back in April. He wanted to talk about some disturbing images that were coming in from Syria. I’m sure you saw many of them yourselves—scenes of innocent civilians writhing in agony, the apparent victims of a chemical weapons attack.

The President had a very direct message for me: Find out what happened. So we immediately assembled a crack team of Agency experts. They began piecing together the evidence, working closely with some outstanding partners from across the Intelligence Community.

The next day the President called his cabinet together. As we sat down, he turned to me and asked what we had learned. I told him that the IC had concluded that a chemical weapon had indeed been used in the attack, and that it had been launched by the Syrian regime.

The President paused a moment and said: Pompeo, are you sure? I’ll admit that the question took my breath away. But I knew how solid the evidence was, and I was able to look him in the eye and say, Mr. President, we have high confidence in our assessment.

The President never looked back. Based on the Intelligence Community’s judgment, he made one of the most consequential decisions of his young administration, launching a strike against the very airfield where the attack originated.

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