Journal Entry

NORFOLK, Conn., April 28—The pimping of ordinary human emotions in the name of the tragedies others suffer is often nearly as infradig as the events the pimp attempts to score against. I wish, in the context I’ll now describe, more Americans read their Bernays, he the diabolic inventor of modern American propaganda and the mass manipulation of minds. The worst thing about the black-magic theories Edward Bernays published beginning in the late–1920s is how right they prove. Nearly a century after he wrote, we are all his victims.

I am thinking of the most recent allegations that the Assad government in Damascus perpetrated another gas attack on territory held by the American–backed jihadists who oppose it. It is universally accepted—this time as last, in August 2013—that the Syrian military dropped a chemical bomb on a civilian settlement. This time it was in the provincial town of Khan Sheikhun. This time as last, we have been served arks of unsubstantiated assertions. This time, tug-the-heartstrings duty fell to Nikki Haley, our latest fraud at the United Nations, who shamelessly displayed photographs of maimed children without one shred of evidence as to who they were, where they were, when (as it were) they were, and how they got that way. As a Twitter contact wrote at the time, “Are we responding to pictures or evidence?”

The case reeked from the moment news broke, as the 2013 case did. In the former, Sy hersh did his legwork, took his time, and got it right in The London Review of Books a year later: The science proved Damascus couldn’t possibly have been responsible for the August 2013 incident. It was an opportunistically, if clumsily timed provocation intended to draw the Americans into the conflict. (Well, further into the conflict.) The events earlier this month are, with variant details, a carbon copy. I suspected this from the instant I had a news flash. But a few days later a friend sent an open letter from a brave, perspicacious scientist at M.I.T. proving what Hersh proved four years ago: This was not Damascus; it was the extremist cretins Washington supports, laying the groundwork for the cruise missile attack that, faithful as a geyser, soon followed.

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I READ THE REPORT of Professor Theodore Postol, admired Professor Postol, but I put his exceptionally careful report aside: It was clear even within days of the incident that the wall of constructed opinion on the events in question was high, dense, and without a single loose brick. Everybody, everybody, everybody piled on. The French asserted, “We have proof of Assad’s guilt,” but of course none has been shown. Netanyahu, of all people, Tweeted, “When I saw the pictures of those children…”—the thought of Bibi pretending to give a hoot about an Arab life being notably O.T.T. I left it. It seemed no use. Even some normally wise friends opened wide and swallowed.

Some days later Postol issued a corrective. He had misread the wind conditions at Khan Sheikhun, and his conclusions were, as he put it, 180⁰ upside down. He acknowledged the error, reworked the science, and came out with an even more certain case that the April 4th incident was the work of U.S.–supported provocateurs. No bomb was dropped; it was a pipe planted in the asphalt where the bomb supposedly fell. The Americans have to date blocked all efforts to begin an official U.N. investigation, you may wish to know. So much for Nikki Haley’s imploring eyes.

Unless you are a part of a very small minority, you know nothing of this. Maybe it was a sign of incipient despair, but, once again, I left it. “So it goes.”

I don’t know quite why, but the ever-insipid N.P.R. tipped me over this eve as I drove back from the gym and put All Things Considered on the radio to learn nothing other than what it is we are supposed to think about one or another subject. Twice in the course of half an hour, the program referenced the gas incident and Assad’s culpability as if these were matters of fact. Twice the horrible pictures were referenced as the prime movers of the reactions rendered. I snapped.

My intent here is simply to preface Dr. Postol’s research as he published it. These documents speak for themselves. And they speak of our circumstances quite, quite beyond the Khan Sheikhun incident. They speak of us and our condition. I don’t think more from me need be said. One other note maybe: In the report Truthdig published, Postol makes a brief, exceptionally pithy remark about the consequences of the media’s gross dereliction of their duties in this case. Do watch for it about two-thirds of the way through.

Here is Postol’s initial report, circulated privately.

And here his corrective published April 21st in Truthdig.

I tip my cap in all appropriate directions.

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