This morning the White House conducted a background briefing for reporters on what is known about the gas attack carried out by the Syrian air force against a civilian target on April 4. The briefing had four main points and one ancillary one. The ancillary point was to give people who should know better and some who don’t the opportunity to quote Tommy Christopher as an authority:
This afternoon the Associated Press confirmed what Palmer Report had first posited days ago (link): that Russia was behind the chemical gas attack in Syria. Shortly thereafter, Donald Trump’s White House panicked and pulled the plug on what was supposed to have been a background briefing on Russia.
ShareBlue caught the switch-up this afternoon when it noticed the New York Daily News had reported that the White House briefing was switched from on-the-record background, to fully off-the-record, just as it was beginning. ShareBlue reporter Tommy Christopher characterized the matter thusly: “as someone who worked as a White House reporter for seven years, beginning a briefing on background and changing it to an off-the-record is something I have never heard of” (link). So what exactly is Trump’s White House suddenly trying to cover up?
The mind boggles.
Anyway, back to the briefing. You can read in in this tweet:
— Global News (@GlobalNewsIL) April 11, 2017
No doubt it was sarin. Intel shows Syrians known to be affiliated with the Syrian chemical weapons program at the airbase the day before the attack. Video of the victims shows they were exhibiting symptoms of sarin. Biological samples show it was sarin.
Russians are trying to cover up the attack. The Russians first said the gas was released after a bomb hit a rebel munitions depot. Imagery of the actual expended weapon shows it in the middle of a street. And, of course, now Putin is claiming it was a “false flag” attack which sort of torpedoes this explanation. The briefing document asks, “We do think that it’s a question worth asking the Russians, about how is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that prepared and carried out the chemical weapons attack and did not have foreknowledge.” What is noticeable is that any mention of Russia knowing in advance is absent. Make of that what you will.
Syria had a reason for the attack. The rebels were threatening the airfield. Syria did not have adequate forces to shore up that area and used a chemical strike to even the odds.
There may be more attacks. The briefing noted that there have been over 200 reported incidents of chemical weapon usage since the “red line” was crossed in 2013.
The main thrust of the briefing seems to get in front of Russian disinformation on the attack. By releasing an official narrative, there is at least competition on social media for the nonsense being spun by Moscow and its fellow travelers.