Exclusive: Top Missile and Chemical Weapons Expert Debunks Trump’s Claims About Syrian Chemical Weapons

The Trump administration claims that it has proof that the Syrian government dropped chemical weapons from an airplane on April 4th.

But a top missile and chemical weapons expert told Washington’s Blog today that the weapon was not delivered by an airplane at all …

Specifically, we called Dr. Theodore Postol, professor of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT.  Postol’s main expertise is in ballistic missiles. He has a substantial background in air dispersal, including how toxic plumes move in the air. Postol has taught courses on weapons of mass destruction – including chemical and biological threats – at MIT.

Before joining MIT, Postol worked as an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment, as a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory.

He also helped build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study weapons technology in relation to defense and arms control policy.

Postol is a highly-decorated scientist, receiving the Leo Szilard Prize from the American Physical Society, the Hilliard Roderick Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Richard L. Garwin Award from the Federation of American Scientists.

Postol previously debunked the U.S. government’s claims about a 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria, causing the New York Times to back away from one of the main arguments for Syrian government culpability.

Postol told Washington’s Blog that a chemical weapon dropped from a plane would have included an explosive on the inside of the tube containing the chemical agent.

But the photograph the U.S. government released to show the weapon which released the chemicals on April 4th shows that the explosive was placed outside of the tube containing the chemical weapon.

Postol illustrates this fact in a report he released today:

Postol 1Postol 2 Postol 3Postol also notes that the weapon is simply a section of a 122 mm artillery rocket, rather than any type of weapon that would be released from a plane:

Postol 4Postol also told us that – contrary to popular myth – chemical weapons are more effective when there’s no wind, as people are exposed to the chemical for a longer period than if it’s calm (wind lifts some of the chemical upward, so it’s not as concentrated at ground level. On the other hand, a chemical released at ground level on a calm day moves about the same speed as a person walking … 1 to 2 meters per second).

Postol looked up the weather for the area where the chemical incident occurred.  It was quite windy the day before and the day after the incident, but was calm when the chemical release occurred.  So reports by the Russian government that it was windy that day are inaccurate.

Postol believes this provides circumstantial evidence that the chemical was released from the ground, and that the perpetrator intentionally waited for a calm day to set it off.

But Postol also told us that he has evidence that the site has been tampered with.  Specifically, he’s reviewed photographs of the site over time, which show that it has been modified.  [Update: Postol just sent us his Addendum on evidence tampering.] So there’s really no evidence linking the Syrian government with the chemical incident.

Postol told us that the errors, inconsistencies and lack of facts in both the 2013 and 2017 U.S. reports on Syrian chemical weapons incidents show that the reports were not vetted by any experienced intelligence officials.  In other words, these were political rather than fact-based reports.

Postol notes concerning the U.S. government’s report:

[It] does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack.

***

[Like the report on the 2013 Syrian chemical attack, the government’s new report is] obviously false, misleading and amateurish.

***

What the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true.

Many other experts have also expressed doubts about the Trump administration’s claims regarding the chemical incident.

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  • LeseMajeste

    New Front In White House Civil War as Kushner Asserts Authority at NSC

    White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is leading an unprecedented effort to meddle in the White House’s National Security Council, causing mayhem for senior staff who say the president’s son-in-law is interfering in key foreign policy debates, according to Trump administration officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

    Kushner has taken aggressive action to micro-manage the NSC, overshadowing even recently installed National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, according to sources both inside and outside the White House who described Kushner’s behavior as highly unusual and damaging to the country’s national security infrastructure.

    Never before has a White House permitted such a figure to intervene in the NSC, which is traditionally given leeway to investigate foreign policy matters and bring advice to the president.

    Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon described wide-ranging frustration at the NSC over Kushner’s influence over some of the most important foreign policy portfolios, such as Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and China, among others.

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/new-front-in-white-house-civil-war-as-kushner-asserts-authority-at-nsc/

    • joe

      Deport him home to Palestine, I forgot, Israel.

  • Carl_Herman

    Excellent report, GW; thank you.

    All I’ve heard from “official” claims and corporate media are unsubstantiated claims blaming Syria’s government and Russia. On its face, this is a lie of omission to not provide evidence, motive, or refute the apparent motive to not cause any turmoil when on the cusp of victory.

    Another day at the “activists’ office” until our job is done 🙂

  • NobodysaysBOO

    WHO would even consider doing this crap? Hospital bombings,ect JEWS at it again.

    OH RIGHT the same ones that murdered 3000 in NYNY on 911 , we REALLY REALLY owe them our lives and money!

    NO WAY!

  • Todd Millions

    I do hope video from the reported Russian surveillance drones sent over Hatla Syria today have unedited
    footage released. This time I’ll screen shot the initial images. The photo shop revanchist versions of last weeks saran attack were crude(very) but quick.
    What next-more non-existent tanks shown on “recon” satellite shots massed along a Saudi border ,that never showed up on Russian satellite imaging of the same place and time, again?
    You can’t beat the classics.
    More so when the audience is even stupider and trying harder too remain so.
    How-Christian!

  • Michael O’Neill

    A great report but there is more to be done (there always is!)

    The reports and photos released suggest that the gas was not Sarin. People were still alive after the attack and first responders were attending – allegedly – without Hazmat suits on. With next to no dispersal the people would be fully affected by the gas and akin contact with such a victim would be lethal for the respondent.

    I would value a comment from Postal on these issues also and let’s put this idea of this being a Sarin Gas Attack to bed once and for all, not just with the method of delivery being debunked but also by analysis of the effects by someone who knows, as opposed to a layperson like me commenting

  • Brewerstroupe

    “April 4, at 8 a.m.*, Abdullah al-Gani and Muaz al-Shami,
    freelance journalists who have links with radical groups located in
    Idlib, provided Orient News and Al-Jazeera with the video footage made
    by the White Helmets.”

    My understanding is that the SAA airstrike occurred later that day:

    “Yesterday, (April 4) from 11:30 am to 12:30 p.m.
    local time, Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist
    ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern
    outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun town,” Russian defense ministry spokesman
    Igor Konoshenkov said in a statement posted on YouTube.”
    http://www.iraqinews.com/ar

    “Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem explained that the first reports of the chemical attack appeared several hours before the government airstrike”
    https://sputniknews.com/pol

    * The video footage shows clearly that the sun is high in the sky – it could not have been filmed that day. Please pass this information on to Dr Postol.