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Newsweek Engages in Easily Debunkable Syria Chemical Weapon Trutherism with the Help of Ian Wilkie

By Eliot Higgins

Following a series of fresh allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria, Newsweek published an article on February 8th, “Now Mattis admits there was no evidence Assad used poison gas on his people” by Ian Wilkie, described as “an international lawyer, U.S. Army veteran and former intelligence community contractor. The central argument of the article is that in recent comments by Secretary of Defense James Mattis he admitted that the US government had no evidence Assad had ever used Sarin, including in the August 21st 2013 Damascus attack, and the attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4th 2017 that resulted in US cruise missiles strikes against Shayrat airbase:

“Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.

This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.

Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency.”

From this central premise Wilkie hangs various conspiracy theories, half truths, and outright untruths. This is particularly problematic when this central claim is entirely wrong, as Mattis did refer to earlier Sarin attacks in the press conference:

“Q: Just make sure I heard you correctly, you’re saying you think it’s likely they have used it and you’re looking for the evidence? Is that what you said?

SEC. MATTIS: That’s — we think that they did not carry out what they said they would do back …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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