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Sudden Escalation: US Warships Fire Missiles Into Syria

The global threat level just spiked
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 11:40 PM

One of my worst fears has come to pass: the US has launched a missile strike against the Syrian government -- something Hilary Clinton had suggested she would do, but Trump has now done.

The ostensible reason for the attack is that Syria has been accused of using a toxic nerve agent against its own civilians on Tuesday, killing upwards of 100 people.

I remain skeptical of the official account. Following the attack, I analyzed the information available, and let’s just say that the case for that accusation would not have stood up in a court of law.

The claim of using poison gas rests on a small number of ‘eyewitness’ accounts -- which are, even when the observers are neutral, pretty much useless in a time of war.  Which direction a missile came from, whether it carried the agent in question or instead hit an existing storage depot full of the stuff can only be determined after careful review.

Nothing of the sort happened here. There's not been enough time for careful review producing conclusive results. And those ‘witnesses’? There's plenty of initial evidence that casts serious doubts about their authenticity.

Instead, an accusation was leveled, the US media faithfully reported it as if it were gospel truth. Meanwhile Trump was presented with a few narrow options, and pushed to select one while under great political pressure to distance himself from Russia -- and do it decisively.  Almost magically, Tuesday's gas attack presented him with just such an option to do so.

Well, now it’s Game On.

I stand by my earlier reports explaining why I think going to war with Russia is a very, very  bad idea. My October report Do We Really Want A War With Russia? remains a great primer for those looking to understanding this dangerous situation.

Of course, how Russia responds will determine everything. But according to Dmitry Orlov, whom I spent time with on a panel two weeks ago, the people of Russia are highly supportive of Putin and overwhelmingly believe that they are being cornered into a war they don’t want by nefarious and aggressive western forces.

With this mindset, it’s not hard to imagine a hardened resolve emerging in Russia to act in self-defense.

And just to make it clear: I consider this act to be rash, unnecessary, inflammatory, and a possible trigger for escalating the conflict between the US and Russia.

Hopefully things quiet down from here and Putin, once again, proves to be a cool and calm player. But if not, and if things start escalating further, I will issue an ALERT for you to accelerate preparations.

If you haven't yet read our report How To Prepare For War, now would be a good time.

The thing I worry about most is that if Russia does escalate, and a true kinetic war begins, the US military will find out if its anti-missile technologies are a match for Russian anti-ship missile technology. As I've written before, I have my doubts.

If not, then we may very rapidly see a sudden and dramatic reversal of fortunes that knocks the US military might down a peg or two -- resulting in a loss of projected power (real and perceived). That risk leads to a dumping of US dollars by foreign entities that no longer feel they have to hold them out of a forced sense of allegiance.

That is, things could very quickly spiral out of control.

Of course, a full-out war between America and Russia could get a lot worse than a weakened currency, but…well…we won’t go there yet.

As you're flooded over the next few days with emotional material (the very definition of propaganda) about the horror of the Syria gas attack, please remember that it was only last week that a US coalition, and the US specifically, that dropped bombs in Iraq that killed 240 civilians.

Virtually zero news commentators are discussing this right now. To my eye, this reveals that the US concerns, whatever they may be, are not about protecting civilians from death and destruction.

The nerve gas ‘event’ in Syria could have been created by either side (or sides), and of them all, the Syrian government had the very least reason to do it.  They were already winning, and would have known that such a move would have resulted in something like the attack that just happened. 

My view is that Trump got suckered into this.

But now it’s done. And we all have to see what happens next.

Adam and I, as well as my wife Becca, are busy conducting our annual Peak Prosperity seminar, which kicked off tonight -- so our time online will be a bit sporadic over the next three days. But we'll be monitoring developments closely, and will provide updates as this unfolding situation demands.

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62 Comments

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Russia told in advance...

Russia's reaction is all the market cares about.  They are saying that Russia was told in advance.  I bet we close (maybe even open) up tomorrow.  

Obama went to congress the last time Assad killed some people with gas (1400 of them), and it was a pretty strong "No" vote for military action.  I guess Trump doesn't need Congress.

If America cared about human dignity we would be bombing N Korea.  American culture laughs at North Korea because their leaders are so mockable,... but there really is nothing funny about what's happening over there. 

Shamba's picture
Shamba
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seems our govt is going to get their war after all

I feel like Chris does about us going to war well, those who want it probably going go get it now. Do they truly think they can make it turn out the way they want it, too??? Russia will be able to fight back better than Libya and Iraq did -- have they thought of that??   And if we actually put our forces within their borders we will reallybe surprised what they can do.  They have had enough of invaders actually fighting on their own land--they remember the Great Patriotic War --WW2--like it was yesterday. We will be fhe ones who will need God's help.

Thanks for all you do, Chris.

Barnbuilder's picture
Barnbuilder
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American Culture

I think if we cared about human dignity we wouldn't be bombing anybody unless we were directly mortally threatened or attacked. Our country has never felt the devastation of war except for our own Civil War where we fought ourselves. The most devastating war in our history.  I understand there are geopolitical reasons involved for the natural gas pipelines at question.  But is it really worth the loss of thousands of civilians so one government gets to advance it's interests?   I did my part in uniform for this country as did most of my family for the past 4 or 5 generations.  No more. I'm done. I will defend MY home, MY township and MY county. After that the corruption gets way to big and I have no say in policies or outcomes so I refuse to hold any allegiance past what I have input to. If North Korea has threatening satellites over NA, we can take them down I assume. Well let's do it today. If North Korea attacks the South, let us support the South with material support but not with our troops. South Korea can put millions of computers, cell phones, appliances and automobiles into our economy. They have I believe five times the population of the North. I think they are pretty capable of defending their own interests.

debu's picture
debu
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Information Sources

This Scott Horton interview today with the always enlightening Philip Giraldi (ex-CIA) is worrying, to say the least. (Horton does a lot interesting interviews and is well worth bookmarking for those who listen to podcasts.)

For ME geo-politics and military affairs Pat Lang's (ex-US military intelligence) Sic Semper Tyrannis has been invaluable to me both for the blog posts and the offerings by the highly informed commenters. It has had pretty much everything right about Syria for a few years now. I've been following it all day today trying to make sense of what is happening.

Giraldi and Lang are both intelligence community dissidents trying to kick back against neo-con bent ME foreign/military policy has taken over the past decades.

@Macro2682 it would not occur to me include the terms "human dignity" and "bombing" in the same sentence.

Mark_BC's picture
Mark_BC
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I now pretty much

I now pretty much instinctively believe the opposite of what the media tells me. Those previous gas attacks several years ago; I read in the alternative media were actually perpetrated by western-backed forces but falsely blamed on Assad. And then a couple years ago there was that intentional US bombing of the hospital which killed civilians and Doctors Without Borders personnel.

Just like the Muslim terrorist attacks in the western world are fake, I take any news of this gas attack as being fake and an excuse for Trump to bomb Syria. Once we accept this, we can then analyze why Trump is doing this, assuming it's even him making the call at all, I'm sure it's all under orders from the higher-up elites.

Who knows why but we may find out soon. Maybe this is the beginning of the collapse that we've all been predicting for eternity and they need this as the diversion to start it all off. Or maybe it will all simmer down, who knows.

reflector's picture
reflector
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a correction

macro2682 wrote:

Obama went to congress the last time Assad killed some people with gas (1400 of them), and it was a pretty strong "No" vote for military action.  I guess Trump doesn't need Congress.

i would request that we not repeat neo-con warmonger propaganda here, instead we should get the facts correct.

assad DID NOT kill some people with gas.

it was the US-backed rebels that did that, in a failed false flag attempt:

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2013/may/0...

btw, corbett report just did a very good short 5-minute video on the syria situation, with ongoing open source investigation at this link:

https://www.corbettreport.com/breaking-us-strikes-syria-russia-set-to-re...

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Agree w/barnbuilder

I agree with you Barney.  I dont want to be at war with anyone. I'm just saying that if we are going to tell ourselves that we need to go to war because a bad man gassed 70 people, we need to Recognize that that Kim brainwashes and enslaves an entire nation. 

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davefairtex
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cui bono

Who benefits from the poison gas attack?  Let's see.

  • Not Assad.
  • Not Russia.
  • ISIS
  • CIA interventionists & neocons that want the US to intervene

Just saying.

One more observation made by a journalist observing the fuss of the pre-gulf-war-2 persuasion campaign:

"When contemplating war, beware babies in incubators."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p25s02-cogn.html

cmartenson's picture
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Count on it

macro2682 wrote:

Russia's reaction is all the market cares about.  They are saying that Russia was told in advance.  I bet we close (maybe even open) up tomorrow.  

Obama went to congress the last time Assad killed some people with gas (1400 of them), and it was a pretty strong "No" vote for military action.  I guess Trump doesn't need Congress.

If America cared about human dignity we would be bombing N Korea.  American culture laughs at North Korea because their leaders are so mockable,... but there really is nothing funny about what's happening over there. 

First, it's a 99% guarantee that the ""markets"" close up today as they are under the full control of the Fed and its proxies (Citadel, JPM, etc) and have been for some time.  The ""markets"" will close green and the headlines (written in advance, already at the 'printers' as we speak) will say things like "investors cheered America's resolve in dealing with a humanitarian tyrant" and other such nonsense.

In the months before and after the illegal attack of Iraq under Bush the II, Alan Greenspan visited the White House more times than all other prior Fed Chairmen combined throughout history.  And some of (y)our feckless Congresscritters have the gall to suggest that auditing the Fed would compromise its political neutrality.  Heh heh.

At any rate, this attack on Syria had as much legitimate basis as the original attack on Iraq (none) and Russia is pointing out the obvious things:

“This step deals significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state,” Peskov said and added that the US has been ignoring the use of chemical weapons by terrorists and this is dramatically aggravating the situation, in Putin’s opinion.

“The main thing, Putin believes, is that this move [by the U.S.] doesn’t draw us nearer to the end goal in the fight with international terrorism and on the contrary, deals a serious setback to the creation of an international coalition in the fight with it,” Peskov said.

* * *

Other Russians took the opportunity to opine as well, led by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov who said the US missile attack on a Syrian airbase is an act of aggression under a far-fetched pretext and is reminiscent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Quoted by Tass, the top Russian diplomat said "It is an act of aggression under a completely far-fetched pretext. This is reminiscent of the situation in 2003, when the US and the UK, along with some of their allies, invaded Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council and in violation of international law."

"When speaking about the military intervention in Iraq many years after it happened, Tony Blair (who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007) acknowledged that they had misled everybody," Lavrov emphasized. "Now they did not even bother to provide any facts referring only to photos," he noted. "They indulged in speculations on children’s photos, on evidence provided by various non-governmental organizations, including the so-called White Helmets, which staged various 'incidents' to instigate action against the Syrian government."

Moscow will demand truth of Idlib events, Lavrov stressed. "It is regrettable that all these causes do more harm to the already damaged relations between Russia and the United States. Hope remains that these provocations will not entail irreversible effects," Lavrov said.

(Source - ZH)

I consider these to be quite reasonable and calm comments provided with essential context.  Russia could be dialing up the rhetoric but are choosing, for now, to attempt to calm things back down, as they did after Turkey shot down an SU-24 last year.  

Whoever is pulling the strings in DC is quite powerful and they will not be denied.  They have wanted war with Russia for a long time, and are pulling every trick to get there with the complete subservient, fawning backing of the US press.  Again.

The neocons are back in power.  Good luck everyone.  You're going to need it.  These folks are very dangerous, deluded, and will not stop until they have destroyed as much as they can.

cmartenson's picture
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Here's how dumb this was

This account comports with the facts as I understand them at this time (from the excellent link to Sic Semper Tyrannis provided above by Debu):

Donald Trump's decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.  In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
  5. We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called "first responders" handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through "Live Agent" training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.

There are members of the U.S. military who were aware this strike would occur and it was recorded. There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia.

This is Gulf of Tonkin 2. How ironic. Donald Trump correctly castigated George W. Bush for launching an unprovoked, unjustified attack on Iraq in 2003. Now we have President Donald Trump doing the same damn thing. Worse in fact. Because the intelligence community had information showing that there was no chemical weapon launched by the Syrian Air Force. 

Here's the good news. The Russians and Syrians were informed, or at least were aware, that the attack was coming. They were able to remove a large number of their assets. The base the United States hit was something of a backwater. Donald Trump gets to pretend that he is a tough guy. He is not. He is a fool. 

This attack was violation of international law. Donald Trump authorized an unjustified attack on a sovereign country. What is even more disturbing is that people like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and NSA Director General McMaster went along with this charade. Front line troops know the truth. These facts will eventually come out. Donald Trump will most likely not finish his term as President. He will be impeached, I believe, once Congress is presented with irrefutable proof that he ignored and rejected intelligence that did not support the myth that Syria attacked with chemical weapons.

It should also alarm American taxpayers that we launched $100 million dollars of missiles to blow up sand and camel shit. The Russians were aware that a strike was coming. I'm hoping that they and the Syrians withdrew their forces and aircraft from the base. Whatever hope I had that Donald Trump would be a new kind of President, that hope is extinguished. He is a child and a moron. He committed an act of war without justification. But the fault is not his alone. Those who sit atop the NSC, the DOD, the CIA, the Department of State should have resigned in protest. They did not. They are complicit in a war crime.

(Source)

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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Well Timed

Was this timed to coincide with Trump's visit to China and his recent comments about North Korea? It would seem like he is in peacock mode and, under the threat of not being taken seriously, can now point at a missile strike and say, "See that? That's what I can do." At any rate, what a completely moronic act. What does it even solve? I'm guessing it's one-nil to the Deep State. The Resource Wars continue...

pat the rat's picture
pat the rat
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war

I know a thing or two about war and none of it is good!

MAV's picture
MAV
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Why does this say by Adam Taggart?

It was written by Chris.

I kind of get when podcast posts say By Adam when he writes an introduction (but it is still confusing).  This article seems to have been written entirely by Chris but still says by Adam?

agitating prop's picture
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Mark_BC wrote: I now pretty

Mark_BC wrote:

I now pretty much instinctively believe the opposite of what the media tells me. Those previous gas attacks several years ago; I read in the alternative media were actually perpetrated by western-backed forces but falsely blamed on Assad. And then a couple years ago there was that intentional US bombing of the hospital which killed civilians and Doctors Without Borders personnel.

Just like the Muslim terrorist attacks in the western world are fake, I take any news of this gas attack as being fake and an excuse for Trump to bomb Syria. Once we accept this, we can then analyze why Trump is doing this, assuming it's even him making the call at all, I'm sure it's all under orders from the higher-up elites.

Who knows why but we may find out soon. Maybe this is the beginning of the collapse that we've all been predicting for eternity and they need this as the diversion to start it all off. Or maybe it will all simmer down, who knows.

The mainstream have always lied. Be careful about believing Alex Jones and the alternative news community, though. They have somehow fashioned Donald Trump into a saint involved in a pitched battle against the 'deep state,' in a war of good against evil. LOL. He is a fool, a transparently vain egoistic malignant narcissist. I hope it is FINALLY abundantly clear to those who did a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," that they have been royally duped. The enemy of Hillary is not your friend either.   

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Macro, North Korea would be a

Macro,

North Korea would be a smouldering cinder right now if they didn't have nukes themselves. Becoming a nuclear power is the ONLY way a small country is guaranteed security. I don't like them, hate what they are doing, but understand it.

Tim Ladson's picture
Tim Ladson
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Hope and Change

a.p.

Trump's supporters are now feeling the pain Obama's supporters felt, waiting 8 years to realize they had been had. Trump's supporters didn't have to wait for their reality check, it came early and without Obama's silver tongued eloquence.

Tim   

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The Saker on last nights attack

For any unfamiliar, "The Saker" is a Russian military analyst now retired and living in the USA.

SITREP: Important update on the US attack on Syria

I have an important update: based on Russian sources, including video footage and the reports of one Russian journalist on the ground, Evgenii Poddubnyi, it has become clear that the US strike was largely symbolic.  Here is the evidence:

  1. The Russians were given a warning which they, of course, passed on to the Syrians.  The Americans must have assumed that this would happen.
  2. The Syrian airbase was lightly damaged: a few number of aircraft were damaged or destroyed, but many of these were in repairs and could not fly.  Fuel storage tanks were destroyed.  A number of aircraft bunkers were damage or destroyed.  A few barracks were also destroyed.
  3. There were 6 or 7 casualties, which is very little.
  4. Crucially, the runways did not suffer.

Now here is the really intriguing thing: it appears that only 23 out of a total of 59 US cruise missiles hit the base.  The rest are unaccounted for.  This could be due to all sorts of reasons, including Syrian and Russian air defenses or Russian electronic warfare.  I tend to believe that the latter is the cause.  But then, this begs another question: why did the Russians let 23 of the cruise missiles through?  Possibly to appease Trump and not force him to re-strike.  Other possibility, to make sure that the political fallout from this stupid and reckless attack still come back to hurt the United States (had they destroyed all the cruise missiles this would not happen).

As for the Russian political reaction, I find it rather flaccid: Russia has condemned the attack and suspended the Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents in the course of operations in Syria signed with the US.

I am very underwhelmed to put it mildly.

PS: needless to say, no chemical weapons or chemical weapon storage facilities were damaged: we know that since NOBODY, including the Russian reporters, were even carrying, nevermind wearing, any gas masks or, even less so, full chemical protection suits.  This is hardly surprising since, of course, they never existed in the first place.

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good info

thanks for the post, SP

let's hope this analysis is correct; trump's syria reversal on syria didn't make sense.

maybe this was just a PR campaign: "see, i'm tough on russia, not their friend at all", meant to put the whole narrative of trump as a compromised agent of russia to rest.

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Rector
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Crazy Like A Fox

This whole event was a false flag with the hope that a war would follow.  Trump gave them a response, but no real change.  There won't be a war in Syria.

Instead, watch North Korea.  Our deal maker president will make a deal with Xi that will allow us to get rid of NK, allow the Chinese to save face, and we will either trade financial instruments or the South China Sea in return.  Watch for a pullout of US forces in SK as soon as regime is decapitated.

These things have a logic - it's dangerous to assume major players like Trump are just "stupid".

Rector

cmartenson's picture
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You're right, I wrote it

MAV wrote:

It was written by Chris.

I kind of get when podcast posts say By Adam when he writes an introduction (but it is still confusing).  This article seems to have been written entirely by Chris but still says by Adam?

Good eye!

The explanation is...we are at Rowe conducting a seminar...I was already in bed when this broke...Adam roused me and we went down the hill to WiFi...as I scanned and wrote, Adam was busy prepping the article space for submission and finding the appropriate links.

I finished writing and then passed everything over to Adam, and it got posted form his account.

Chalk this up to two guys who are operating on little sleep and moving fast.

:)

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Authorship fixed

Yep -- Chris wrote the piece, as he's already clarified. I've just been able to log on for the first time today (as we've been occupied with the seminar) and have corrected the author name.

Sorry for the confusion folks. As Chris said, little sleep + busy schedule + late night military provocation of Russia = good chance of a screwup somewhere. Apologies to all that it was mine. 

cheers,

A

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WHAT WE DON'T KNOW

Aloha! I am sitting here in Hawaii totally removed from mainstream "anything". I do not even have a tv here so I only go off internet "noise"! I can tell you this. You have to chose your truths carefully in this world now because what we "don't know" could fill Disneyland to over flow capacity! If I go outside my compound here this is what I see ... No bombs, no CNN news trucks, no NSA, no Syrian rebels, not even a Trump golf course that he would let Obama caddy on. I am biased as is every American because we are far removed from the suffering of the middle east. I have seen suffering first hand, but just not this week! We have all seen NIMBY and we are it!

QUESTIONS:

1-Where is Assad? Or more to the point his denial? You would think fool me once shame on me! Where is his strong denouncement or does Putin now speak for him? Hard to say.

2-The attack did not happen in Iblid like some mainstream news says. It happened in a small town south of there named Khan Sheikhun. Did anyone look at a map? See my map below.

3-Could it have been a Lebanon or Turkey involvement? Who would want to destabilize a Sunni majority in Syria? I think the answer is a Shia(Shiite) regime. Most Shia reside in Iran and Iraq but sizeable populations are in Lebanon and Turkey and some in Syria as well, but less. All well known terrorist regimes as we know.

4-Why do we care? If it were not for politics most of us would not even pay attention. I am sure plenty of kids die every day in Syria and all through the middle east and the world and no news is reported. Why do we care? Politics. Lets face it if we all really cared we'd be on the next flight to Damascus!

5-Did Obama and Hillary start this? Read this from the Huffington Post to get some background. I think you have to be eclectic with your search for truth and not just have your biased news source at your fingertips all the time. Certainly Hillary lied to the UN and as all US warfare goes there is the CIA part, which pretty much has been the formula since Vietnam.

6-What political parties in Syria want civil war? Syria and Ba'athism have links, which is more Sunni. The Arab Revolt of 1916 was part of Ba'athist roots and actually was original intended to unite the Arab world. There is also a socialist leaning to Ba'athism. Not so much totally Communist like the USSR was, but a more closer stance towards modernizing the Arab world. Like all things politics there are multiple sects and splinter groups. These ties go back to Black September and the 1972 Munich Olympics which were Palestinian and came from the Jordanian uprising against King Hussein and so came into play the PFLP and as-Sa'iqa. Assad wants to retain power that much we do know. He is the ruling General Secretary of the Socialist Ba'ath Party. 

7-The Socialist Ba'ath Party. Does socialism have values other than do what ever it takes to stay in power? I guess that is the same for all the 1% ruling class no matter what politics. More to the point that is a characteristic of the human condition. Greed, power, wealth, fame ... everything that makes Hollywood and Washington DC tick!

So we can connect the terrorist dots all the way from the 1972 Munich Olympics to Assad in Syria today. So you can see the past is still very much alive and well! As with all things media you need to go outside the USA to find more truthful reporting or at least add foreign press to your NIMBY assessments of the world! I think this Guardian report has some "truthiness" to it! 

I think that is about all we can expect from all media ... "truthiness"! But I think a good rule to live by is "the truth is somewhere in the middle". Maybe because of that fact our Founding Fathers(Cisgenders) decided that we should perhaps limit our war activities in foreign lands. They wanted to "limit" wars not expand them! But it seems Obama and Hillary along with the Bush family interpreted their own versions, which included "neocon visions" of triumphant splendor! But are "purple thumbs" worth it?

Right then ... like when I started this ... believe whatever you want to believe ... or don't ... just don't bet your sons and daughters on any of it and carry on bravely!

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War Games start at 0:45

maybe they just want to see how the "machine" works

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Misleading context vs. outright lying

Mark_BC wrote:

I now pretty much instinctively believe the opposite of what the media tells me.

It's tempting to just believe the opposite what the media and government tells us, but IMO that's just as dangerous as believing everything they do say.  So I at least try to resist the temptation to think they're always lying.  I think the better way to put it is to treat everything they say as an unverified possibility, not to be believed until verified through multiple other channels and to be looked at under the scope of "who benefits?".  Everyone has an agenda, and alternative media and especially Russian and Chinese media are no exceptions.  I'd rather deal with a lack of certainty than be manipulated.  Or at least not easily manipulated.

That all being said, however, the various agendas, the question of "who benefits", the speed of the US response, and the information thus far leads me to give the official US storyline a low probability of being accurate.  I'll allow for the small possibility that the official story is correct; perhaps Assad is no longer a rational actor or some other faction in the Syrian military took it upon themselves to carry out a chemical attack.  But to believe that I'd need a metric shit-ton of evidence backing it up and we don't have that, at least not yet.  

What I see as most probable is that the US officials don't really know for certain one way or the other if this was a deliberate chemical attack, but they also don't care and so have decided for their own reasons it makes sense to take advantage of the situation.  If you see something as an 'enemy', the ends (removing the enemy) will justify the means (using questionable information to advance your agenda).  And if you move and escalate the situation quickly enough, the question of who's to blame will be made moot anyway.  As Chris pointed out, Trump has a selfish motive to play along and probably didn't need to be convinced or coerced.  Maybe he finally got around to watching "Rules for Rulers" and decided having more 'keys to power' on his side was more important than caution and patience.  I don't think it's likely that US officials deliberately set this situation up.... but I think there's a moderate chance our allies in the region (Saudis, Turkey, Syrian rebel forces) could have done so.

The strike is getting a lot of airplay on the news here in Mongolia too, though there's a night and day difference in the context how it's presented here versus the American media.  The context here seems to be presented that there were civilian deaths from chemical weapons and the US blamed Syria and attacked shortly afterward... the American media context is that Assad attacked with chemical weapons and the US struck back in retaliation.  Funny to think I'm probably getting a more accurate understanding from a news program where I only understand one word in four.

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"Fake war crime... fake response"

Some things to chew on from Scott Adams of Dilbert:

I’m going to call bullshit on the gas attack. It’s too “on-the-nose,” as Hollywood script-writers sometimes say, meaning a little too perfect to be natural. This has the look of a manufactured event.

My guess is that President Trump knows this smells fishy, but he has to talk tough anyway. However, keep in mind that he has made a brand out of not discussing military options. He likes to keep people guessing. He reminded us of that again yesterday, in case we forgot.

So how does a Master Persuader respond to a fake war crime?

He does it with a fake response, if he’s smart.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159264981001/the-syrian-gas-attack-persuasion

I have to say, the relatively limited impact and symbolic nature of the Tomahawk strike so far does seem to be along the lines of a 'fake response'...

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investment opportunity? :-)

The Raytheon stockholders must be happy.  They build the drones and cruise missiles that were used in these attacks.  What's really scary is that they also build the anti-missile missiles that the delusional neocons believe are 100% infallible in protecting them (not us) from ICBMs.  The Pentagon has given up on the midcourse systems since they are so complex, unreliable, and easily countered.  They are now focusing in on the relatively easy to design launch phase interceptors since they track extremely hot exhaust gases and don't have to fly 100 miles into space to hit their target.  They wouldn't be of any use against Russia and China since their launch sites are so far away from any possible launch site of our own.  The neocons must therefore prop up N Korea as the ultimate evil so that they can justify placing ships/subs that are armed with these missiles off of their coast.

The media's response reminds me of this H Goring quote:

.....the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

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ITS THE MONEY STUPID!

Aloha! It's not about morals in Syria. Innocent lives taken by evil regimes. It is about the money! The oil and gas money to be precise! Why else is the West in the middle east? M-O-N-E-Y!!

Putin if you recall a ways back held Europe hostage shutting off the gas one winter. Along comes Obama and Hillary who in 2009 start up a deal to move Qatar oil and gas into Europe through Syria also. By 2011 we have the start of a Syrian civil war with well armed CIA backed rebels. Turkey cares because Turkey wants to be the hub so that regime gets all the transfer fees. Now the truth is that Russia is in competition with Europe/USA and with Turkey as to who gets the biggest portion of the pipeline oil money! I hear Sympathy For The Devil playing faintly in the background!

Here is a report from Australia that defines the players and the pipeline routes. Here is another report from Martin Armstrong who ties it all in. Since when have any politicians ever cared about dead children other than propaganda fodder?

It turns out the truth is not evil rebels or evil oil, but the one thing that greases the gears in Moscow and Washington DC and Damascus and Tehran and Brussels and Sacramento is ... MONEY!!!

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Cross pollination: John Michael Greer and The Saker

Cross pollination

I enjoy seeing many of the bloggers that I respect and learn from cross pollinating each other's world views. 

One recent example is the retired Russian military analyst "the Saker" discovering John Michael Greer's novel, Twilights Last Gleaming.  [I whole heartedly recommend it also.]

The Saker writes:

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article for the Unz Review entitled “The Empire should be placed on suicide watch”. As always, I also reposted it on my blog. One of the commentators, J.L. Seagull posted a comment which intrigued me. He wrote:

(…) we continue to be trapped in an illusion that we are still a massive power and can simply “pull through” the current state of things, as if it is a little speed bump rather than the beginning of the end.  I agree with the Saker. All that is needed is a single, concrete military failure for that hallucination to be totally shattered. John Michael Greer described precisely how this can happen in his book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.” If the American military were to fail, the illusion of a united country would dissipate before our eyes and the country would be gone within weeks — either in a peaceful breakup or a violent one, depending on how Washington would attempt to respond.

This got me very interested in the book he mentioned. While I personally had a pretty clear idea of how the USA could completely collapse and break-up, I had never heard of such a hypothesis discussed in details in an English language text, and even less so in a fiction book. I ordered the book and two days later I began reading it. And what a fascinating book it turned out to be.

I don’t want to give away the entire plot as I hope that many of you will decide to get the book, but I will just say that I find the book highly realistic: it begins by a supposedly “easy” military attack by the US military on a weak and more or less defenseless country which turns into a disaster due to a fundamental miscalculation. At that point, the USA does exactly what the opposing side predicts and doubles-down and that turns out to be a fatal mistake which, through a domino effect, ends up in the dissolution of the USA. ...

The book is highly realistic in the sense that the author clearly did an excellent job researching his topic and because each “domino fall” is, by itself, credible. Truth be told, the author does assume that each time before the next domino falls the President commits yet another blunder or, at least, does not take correct action. Is that realistic? Well, when I see the kind of Presidents the USA has had in the past couple of decades I would say that yes – this assumption is realistic. Still, what Greer’s describes is a “perfect storm” and we can all hope that in the real world such a crisis could be averted.

There two aspects of this book which I find the most remarkable.

First, Greer clearly points to a mindset of imperial hubris as the main cause for the eventual collapse of the USA.

Second, Greer very skillfully illustrates how otherwise powerful and complex [high tech] weapons systems can be defeated by creative tactics.

Again, I don’t want to go into the details because the book is a real page-turner and I hope that you will read it with as much enjoyment as I did.

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It all ends the same way, eventually.

Ask any Canadian veteran. April 9, 1917  -  Vimy Ridge

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Greer

Thanks for the suggestion, SP.  I know of Saker, and have heard of Greer but not read him.

It is available on Kindle.  Looking forward to reading it this w/e.

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Re:Debu

One other Observation. I was on the road all day yesterday, but the news reports keep on referring to the bomb crater as confirmation of the attack. One "Huge" Problem. Chemical weapons do not leave craters! They use low yeild explosives and are detenated as air burst in order to spread the agent over a wide area. A ground impact would render it nearly useless unless you were right next to it, 

I also see reports on Youtube (See "Israeli News Live" channel) that shows pictures of the children killed, all had blunt trama wounds the head. Also about 170 people were kidnapped about a week ago, but I not sure if the missing have been found as the dead. Its likely that if there is a connection between the 170 kidnapped people and those killed in the alledged chemical attack will be investigated by the alt-media. 

Although all this is largely pointless, since Western gov't fully control the news released to the public. They could declare that the Dalia Lama is the Devil and the public will beliveve it as fact. 2017 is 1984! (George Orwell) We'll always been and war with Russia and always will.  

I am just waiting for the FCC to establish the department of Truth (aka Ministry of Truth in 1984 book)

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Doug
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chemical delivery systems

Quote:
One other Observation. I was on the road all day yesterday, but the news reports keep on referring to the bomb crater as confirmation of the attack. One "Huge" Problem. Chemical weapons do not leave craters! They use low yeild explosives and are detenated as air burst in order to spread the agent over a wide area. A ground impact would render it nearly useless unless you were right next to it,

Actually, there have been many delivery systems developed over the years, many of which release their payloads upon contact with the ground, leaving small craters as in the Syria attack:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Chemical_weapon_delivery_systems

https://fas.org/programs/bio/chemweapons/delivery.html

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Second the Greer recommendation

Twilight's Last Gleaming was superb.  Creative and compelling, a real page turner.

I was bigly depressed at the news of this strike at first.  Now I've decided to be patient and wait and see.  It's stirred the pot in fascinating ways without being much more than symbolic. 

Casey

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The symbolic cruise missiles

Having dinner with the leader of a foreign country at the exact time you are launching missiles at a country who is the friend of a friend of your guest at table is part of the puzzle of why make a show now. What was said in Florida around a dinner table may never be known. Maybe throwing 59 Tomahawks at a target is the manly way to make an impression on (or belittle) your company. How did Comrade Xi take this? Will we ever know?

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The symbolic cruise missiles

Having dinner with the leader of a foreign country at the exact time you are launching missiles at a country who is the friend of a friend of your guest at table is part of the puzzle of why make a show now. What was said in Florida around a dinner table may never be known. Maybe throwing 59 Tomahawks at a target is the manly way to make an impression on (or belittle) your company. How did Comrade Xi take this? Will we ever know?

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Look who is laying out red lines now...

The infantile and transparent attempts at intimidation don't seem to be going according to plan after 'chemical attack in Syria- the sequel!' Chances are really high that China also just went back to putting their full support behind North Korea after the cleverly timed dinner insult.

Russia and Iran warn US they will 'respond with force' if red lines crossed in Syria again

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Another viewpoint

Since there is 100% consensus on this blog that Assad did not use chemical weapons in this event, it gives me great pleasure to offer an alternative narrative. It strikes me as odd that people can reach conclusions when facts are not yet fully revealed or vetted. Should we not be in fact finding mode for a few days?

The following from Defense News:

April 4 



6:50 a.m. local time — A Syrian fixed-wing aircraft, most likely a Su-22 launched from Shyrat airfield, drops a munition that strikes in the middle of a street at Kahn Sheikoum. “We know the routes that these aircraft took. We know that these aircraft were overhead at the time of the attack,” the first Pentagon official said. 



Subsequent analysis of the crater caused by the missile would show “staining” around the explosion site, in line with the signs of a chemical warhead. Despite early claims from Russia and Syria that the chemical attack were caused by an explosion at a chemical weapons factory being maintained by anti-Assad rebel groups, the Pentagon official said the crater evidence shoots that option down. 



7:00 a.m. local time — Intelligence shows the first “reflections” of the potential use of a nerve agent, which include causalities arriving at a local hospital. Shortly afterwards, a small unmanned system --  “either regime or Russian”  -- flies over the hospital, gathering intelligence at the scene before departing.  “About five hours” after it was first spotted, the UAV returns, and shortly thereafter the hospital is struck by a fixed-wing aircraft. 



“We don’t have positive accountability yet, but [why] somebody would strike the hospital, potentially to hide the evidence of a chemical attack about 5 hours after it was clearly seen that was a hospital with ambulances and civilian traffic, is a question that we’re very interested in,” the first official said.

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Doug
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Supported by Politifact.com

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/apr/07/unproven-onl...

Quote:
So, was the chemical attack a hoax orchestrated to draw the United States into Syria’s civil war?

We found no credible evidence of it. While doubters have raised eyebrows, asked questions and offered theories, there’s little in the way of proof that their claims are anything more than speculation.

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"Oded Yinon" Redux?

“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East (GlobalResearch.ca)

Quote:
The Yinon Plan, which is a continuation of British stratagem in the Middle East, is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.

Preparing the Chessboard for the “Clash of Civilizations”: Divide, Conquer and Rule the “New Middle East” (GlobalResearch.ca)

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Misdirection

The only fact at this point is that very few people have any real knowledge of what happened unless they were directly involved.

You don't prove innocence, the burden in on proving guilt. If you want to do it the other way then you should at least give time and opportunity to do so. Rex Tillerson says for the US there is "no doubt" that Assad made these attacks which is a remarkably strong assessment based on no investigation. The only 'no doubt' assessment is that the US Government doesn't want to even consider that this wasn't a mad dog attack by a suicidal Assad bent on making a meaningless gesture with no strategic advantage, just because. That doesn't mean that the US orchestrated things but it does clearly show that it was so convenient for some in power that they don't want to even question it. The truth, whatever it is, is unimportant for those wanting Assad out. Interestingly enough, the Russians were confident enough to ask for an independent investigation before the rush to judgment/attack. Moot now.

In any case, the US made its show 'attack' which had little real effect on Assad's ability to make war. The only thing that has convincingly been accomplished is the ratcheting up of tensions with Russia. Who wanted that? I don't claim to know who did what in the chemical attack, but I do know who is trying to jack me around with smoke and mirrors now.

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a deleted dailymail article on the 2013 false flag gas attack

it doesn't make any sense for assad to use chemical weapons and give the usa an excuse to enter the fight. especially when he had basically defeated the rebels.

much more plausible is the explanation that this was another one of a long string of false flag events, which the usa has an extensive history of executing, as an excuse to commit acts of violence which would otherwise be unthinkable.

here is an article from the dailymail, a popular uk media outlet, about the original syria false flag gas attack in 2013, notice the dailymail pulled the article (cia pressure?) but it can still be found at webarchive.org:

U.S. 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad's regime'

http://web.archive.org/web/20130130091742/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...

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Squirrels?

On a somewhat regular basis we will go to the door, open it, point and shout squirrel, squirrel.The dogs go charging out barking intently looking for the squirrel to chase. We get a chuckle every time at how gullible they are.  I always wonder when there is such a big news story that says "OMG, OMG look over there" if there isn't some half obscured topic someone doesn't want us to look at?

Hmmmm ?

AKGrannyWGrit

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Food for thought...

This is the most cogent and well hypothesized article I have seen yet. Credit to JC Collins @ Philosophy of Metrics. I once again highly recommend his website for remarkably accurate geopolitical and economics trend analysis. A valuable site to add to the list of places for intelligent and insightful discourse, without the rhetoric or fake news crap.

https://philosophyofmetrics.com/great-war-eurasia/

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Great article

Thanks for posting Jan. yes

SS

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I have to laugh to keep from crying

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Maths

sand_puppy wrote:

Now here is the really intriguing thing: it appears that only 23 out of a total of 59 US cruise missiles hit the base.  The rest are unaccounted for.  This could be due to all sorts of reasons, including Syrian and Russian air defenses or Russian electronic warfare.  I tend to believe that the latter is the cause.  But then, this begs another question: why did the Russians let 23 of the cruise missiles through?  Possibly to appease Trump and not force him to re-strike.  Other possibility, to make sure that the political fallout from this stupid and reckless attack still come back to hurt the United States (had they destroyed all the cruise missiles this would not happen).

Perhaps the reason is just simple maths: 59 - 23 = 36, which is the Number of simultaneously engaged targets by one unit S-300PMU2. It looks like they had one s300 to stop the missiles, if they had two, I don't imagine a single cruise missile would have hit. My french is terrible, but I think this is a video of the cruise missiles being intercepted:

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Seconded (correction, Thirded)

Good find and very interesting/thought provoking article. Thank you westcoastjan!

https://philosophyofmetrics.com/great-war-eurasia/

westcoastjan wrote:

This is the most cogent and well hypothesized article I have seen yet. Credit to JC Collins @ Philosophy of Metrics. I once again highly recommend his website for remarkably accurate geopolitical and economics trend analysis. A valuable site to add to the list of places for intelligent and insightful discourse, without the rhetoric or fake news crap.

https://philosophyofmetrics.com/great-war-eurasia/

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It's all quite confusing

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0:35

Whoops.

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CHS on signalling

http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-medias-missing-point-syria-empire.html?m=1

So, based on Charles' thoughts on signalling, should we hope the cruise missile attack was a signal primarily intended to reference North Korea?  China is apparently moving 150,000 troops to their border with North Korea and the US has dispatched a carrier battle group to nearby waters.  Maybe Trump and Xi came to some kind of agreement about North Korea...

If the cruise missile attack on Syria is not followed by further US involvement there and "something" happens to remove North Korea as a threat to cause nuclear war, I guess the cruise missile attack could be considered "worth it" from some perspectives.  This is especially true if China and the US cooperate in defanging North Korea; North Korea gets on the road to becoming a stable society with China's help; and the US withdraws most or all of its military forces, including the dreaded THAAD missile system, from South Korea once things have stabilized (possibly based on an actual peace treaty after 63+ years).  Considering the "auspicious" timing (Trump and Xi were meeting as the missiles flew), should we also be open to the idea that US special forces and intelligence agencies help set up the gas incident in Syria, so all of this could happen?

And if China and the US take joint action to defang North Korea we can start seriously hoping neither of the North Korean satellites that pass over the US every day are capable of an effective EMP blast to demolish the US electrical grid.  I, for one, am 3-4 years away from where I want to be to cope with that.

"Welcome to the Hunger Games. And may the odds be ever in your favor."

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