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WITHOUT PROOF: Washington’s ‘Gaslighting’ Over Syrian Chemical Attack Propels US Missile Strikes

Shawn Helton
21st Century Wire

Leaders in Washington and Western media outlets have once again set the stage for wider military intervention in Syria. Days after the release of a forensically unproven chemical attack out of Khan Shaykhun, US President Donald Trump ordered a military strike on the Syrian government’s Shayrat Air Base.


The shocking US military response arrived unceremoniously as a predawn attack and without Congressional approval, something which will set a very dangerous precedent for US foreign policy moving forward.

RT reports the latest details about the US missile strike:

“The US strike on Shayrat Airbase in Syria killed 14 people including nine innocent civilians, the governor of Homs told RT.

Speaking to RT Arabic, Talal al-Barazi said the majority of victims of the missile strike carried out by the United States on Friday morning had been local villagers. 

“Undoubtedly, the American attack on the Shayrat air force base was aimed at supporting terrorist groups and weakening the fighting capacity of the army of the Syrian Army, which is fighting the terrorists,” Barazi told RT. “According to recent reports, the attack resulted in the deaths of five soldiers and nine civilians and the wounding of thirteen women and children who were in the nearby Shayrat village.”

SEE ALSO: Reviving the ‘Chemical Weapons’ Lie: New US-UK Calls for Regime Change, Military Attack Against Syria

Shortly after the attack, the EU funded UK-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), who works alongside the British Foreign Office, collated the rising death toll of those said to have been killed in the chemical attacks. It’s important to note, SOHR is a key UK ‘regime change’ agent – in an ongoing PR war to unseat the government of Bashar al Assad in Syria.

ASK YOURSELF A SERIOUS QUESTION: Who stands to benefit the most from the heavily propagandized chemical terror in Syria, an alleged attack which has been used as a pretext for US military airstrikes?

‘WAR PROPAGANDA?’ – Here we see a group of White Helmets without full protective gear hosing down childern after an alleged chemical attack. (Image Source:hurriyetdailynews.com)

Sarin Gas or ‘Gaslighting?’

In less than 24 hours after the highly dubious chemical attack (reported to be Sarin gas by Western media) in Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib province of Syria, wide-scale unsubstantiated condemnation laid blame with the Syrian government and Russia following the release of video footage that still has yet to be forensically scrutinized in the first place.

In fact, the mainstream media has flooded the airwaves with a bevy of circumstantial and speculative evidence – a far cry from actual hard evidence.

Rather conveniently after the apparent chemical attack in Syria, there are now unverified claims coming out of Western media suggesting Syria did not comply with a UN resolution to turn over chemical stockpiles…


In 2014, the Syria handed over 1,300 tonnes of chemical arms to the UN and Organisation for the Prohibition and Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to be destroyed and has denied using sarin or any chemical weapons during the ongoing Syrian conflict.

The timing of the questionable toxic attack cannot be ignored as it occurred on eve of peace talks in Brussels and within days of the Trump administration announcing what amounted to a shift in policy away from regime change in Syria – only to be completely reversed over a 24-48 period.

Here’s a series of tweets republished by Al Masdar News that appear to raise questions concerning the validity of the Sarin gas claims in Syria on April 4th…


Watch Former US Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul breakdown the latest chemical attack in Syria, even suggesting it may have been a ‘false flag’ operation used to blame the Syrian government…

 QUESTION: Did Washington and Western mainstream media ‘gaslight’ the public over the Syrian chemical attack claims in order to reboot its regime change protocol?

This kind of political-media sleight of hand has been explored by 21WIRE contributor Vanessa Beeley in the recent past in an article entitled “Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism.” Beeley underscored the deliberate psychological techniques used in order to obfuscate factual information being dispensed to the general public. When we consider this in terms of US escalation in Syria over uncertain chemical claims, we can see how this concept applies. Here’s a passage worth noting again from Beeley’s creative piece regarding the manipulation of perception:

“Gaslighting as an abuser’s modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.”

‘SELLING WAR’ – US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley using images of alleged victims in order to further the Syrian conflict.  (Image Source: blackchristiannews.com)

Only days ago, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, acknowledged what appeared to be a clear shift in Syrian policy. This new policy was to back away from the ‘Assad must go’ rhetoric calling for President Assad’s resignation since 2011.

QUESTION: You have to wonder if there’s something deeper behind the knee-jerk military response by the US in Syria?

In an article published at New Eastern Outlook by writer researcher William F Engdahl, we see another aspect of geopolitical tension developing in Syria. Engdahl describes the ‘growing chaos’ of the Syrian conflict concerning a strategic occupation of Golan Heights:

“What has unfolded in the region since Netanyahu’s February 16 Trump talks gives reason to believe the US and Netanyahu’s Israel covertly agreed to a strategy to allow Trump to recognize Israel as the de facto occupier of Golan Heights amid what they will call the growing chaos of the Syrian “civil war.”

Events are moving rapidly to a possible new war involving Israel, the United States, Syria and Russia. Were it to take place, I honestly hope not, it would be yet another stupid war over oil. Only this oil war somehow feels far more dangerous than the US war against Iraq or Libya or previous oil wars. It’s about the part of Syria named the Golan Heights.”

Here’s another listen to Engdahl’s ( featured on the Sunday Wire) timely thoughts on the encroachment of Golan Heights and the signs Trump may be used as a geopolitical tool of the establishment nearly a week before the US missile strikes hit Syria…

Western media has also wasted no time attempting to implicate Russia (without clear evidence) in the alleged chemical attack. Keep a close eye on how this talking point will be used to potentially impose new sanctions and calls for a no fly zones. Here’s a passage from Time on the matter:

“Senior military officials say the U.S. is looking into whether Russia participated in Syria’s chemical weapons attack earlier this week.

The officials say Russia has failed to control the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.

They say a drone belonging either to Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack Tuesday after it happened. The drone returned late in the day as citizens were going to a nearby hospital for treatment. Shortly afterward, officials say the hospital was bombed.

The officials say they believe the hospital attack may have been an effort to cover up evidence of the attack.

The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. They say they’re still reviewing evidence.

In addition to the political behind the scenes involving Israel, the US, Russia and Syria, there other aspects of this latest emotionally driven military escalation to consider…

Perhaps the most telling aspect of  Syria’s most recent mass casualty terror tragedy, was the suspicious involvement of the US-UK-NATO-Gulf state backed NGO known as the White Helmets – a group who once again was witnessed in wartime imagery that was not only fully of anomalies but a production designed to evoke an emotional response rather than one based in rationality.

Since their inception in late 2013, the White Helmets have largely conducted their so-called rescue operations in rebel-terrorist held areas in Syria, while producing an unprecedented amount of western-oriented war propaganda for nations deeply invested in arming and backing rebel-terrorists vying for regime change in Syria.

The White Helmets have even pirated the moniker ‘Syria Civil Defence’ from the REAL Syrian Civil Defence.

The group also claims to have “saved some 80,000 lives” since they began ‘search and rescue’ activities in early 2014. None of their incredible claims can be independently verified – and yet, these claims are accepted wholesale without question by the entirety of the US and European media and political establishment.

Still, they claim to be “nonaligned” and “independent.” To say this group is misrepresenting itself and facts on the ground in Syria is an understatement, especially after looking at some of its fabled rescue scenes, proudly displayed on their social media accounts and robotically rerun by western corporate media.

‘MEDIA FALSE FLAG’ – The NGO known as the White Helmets have already been caught staging numerous rescue scenes, allegedly shot in rebel-terrorist-held east Aleppo, Idlib and Daara. (Photo Illustration 21WIRE)

White Helmet Staging

The so-called “first responder” NGO has been cranking out its iconic war images and rescue videos at an unprecedented rate, leading many to question what this group is really doing, and why. Independent critics and analysts such as the website Moon of Alabama have noted that much of the White Helmets imagery is riddled with anomalies. Here’s one such passage from a Moon report last June, 2016 which revealed the staged nature present in so many of the White Helmets alleged ‘rescue’ operations:

“Isn’t it an amazing fortune that so many kids get rescued ALIVE by the “White Helmets”, without any serious wounds visible, just moments after bomb impacts? This week after week? With all the same attributes in each picture? No photo editor at any of the big media ever wondered about that?

Some of these photos may show real scenes. But most are definitely staged. These staged photos are part of the war propaganda against the Syrian people and their government.

The “White Helmets” take and distribute these photos. They also distribute lots of “kids rescued from rubble” videos.”

Other aspects explored in the Moon report unveiled various PR and social media elements pushing the designer NGO campaign used to shape Western foreign policy:

The Syria Campaign and the White Helmets – Propaganda Camouflaged as Humanitarian

The Syria Campaign [US-UK run PR vehicle for the White Helmets] was created by Purpose Campaigns LLC. The company fabricates and runs for you any world-wide “grass root” movement you would like. With Purpose LLC or other such companies involved, big dollars will buy you big effects. How about an automated Twitter campaign to spread anti-Shia sectarianism? Someone paid for it and here it is.

The “White Helmets” campaign demonstrates the amazing manipulation potential such companies and their high paying customers have.”

Other questions regarding the alleged rescue operations have been raised by Hands Off Syria and other independent researchers. Although 21WIRE cannot definitively verify all claims presented here, the visual evidence is more than compelling. Readers can judge the evidence for themselves.

Much of the White Helmets propagandized imagery appears reminiscent in scope to the PR crafted ‘babies out of incubators‘ story sold to the public during the first Gulf War, a story which turned out to be patently false. All though it’s to early to tell, the reactionary US response to the recent Syrian chemical attack conjures tales told by former Secretary of State, Colin Powell and the George W Bush administration that were revealed to be a highly coordinated disinformation campaign in the US-led invasion in Iraq in 2003.

Both the US and UK governments provided detailed briefings and documents supposedly outlined Iraq’s apparent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program. In those reports, it was claimed that Iraq had attempted to obfuscate the true nature of their WMD programs. British PM Tony Blair wrote a foreword in a publicly published intelligence report in an effort to plead the case for UK involvement in Iraq without concrete evidence.

Moving from the White Helmets and past US-led wars, we see there’s yet another new proposal stated to be for “fighting ISIS” and it is already being used to polarize public opinion – a proposal which is set to loosen the definitions of war once again…

Almost like clockwork before the alleged chemical attacks in Syria, The New York Times ran an editorial in late March (as pointed out by The American Conservative) discussing a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in the war on ISIS:

“But as the American military is doing its job, Congress is refusing to do its duty. Nearly three years into the war against ISIS, lawmakers have ducked their constitutional responsibility for making war by not passing legislation authorizing the anti-ISIS fight. This is not merely a bureaucratic issue. While the president has the power to order troops into battle, the founders were adamant about ensuring that only Congress could commit the nation to protracted overseas military actions.”

QUESTION: Will the new AUMF be a way to justify a new US-backed war campaign?

War Powers Resolution 

Each US president stands on the shoulders of the previous administrations, and will always utilize power granted by the actions of those before. No where is this concept better illustrated than with the continuing expansion of war powers.

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 has been a source of sharp debate with US leadership since it was passed, and the ‘constitutionality’ of the joint Congressional law has been questioned by every US President since its establishment.

The main impetus of the ‘1973 WPR’ was to check the authority of a president when declaring war, as the provision stipulates that Congress must give the official declaration for any armed forces combat mission undertaken on behalf of the United States. The resolution was meant to strengthen Congress’s ability to participate in the event of a declared war, granting that a US President can only place troops into a hostile situation or situations, where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances.”

The 1973 WPR was passed as a reaction to the lack of Congressional oversight in the wake of presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who had kept US armed forces in Southeast Asia for over a decade. The resolution required that president communicate to Congress within 48 hours the placement of US armed forces around the globe. Congress would also have to grant an extension of war after 60 days. The joint resolution passed despite Nixon’s Presidential veto at the time.

Presidents have, over and over, used armed combat without a formal declaration from Congress. Bill Clinton did it with bombing campaigns in Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo, in addition to sending thousands of troops to Haiti, and Barack Obama did it with a NATO-backed intervention in Libya. Most notably, George W. Bush did it with both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, while Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada, and George H.W. Bush invaded Panama and bombed Iraq during the first Gulf War. Now we have Donald Trump, who joins the ranks of past US leaders from following his order of US military airstrikes on an airbase in Syria.

In fact, there have only been five official declarations of war for both World War I and II, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican-American War and the War of 1812. Scholars have suggested that US presidents have used military force outside the US between 100-200 times without any formal declaration of war.

The constitutionality of the two most significant 21st century modern war authorizations have been debated over the past 14 years since 9/11. Both the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) have been cited during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and used for justification in the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan. While US reports could attach language from the 2001 AUMF to Afghanistan by citing that “al -Qaeda networks” were said to be in the area, this would be a deliberate distortion as it ignores how the Mujahedeen fighters became al-Qaeda in the first place, as we have long since known foreign policy makers in Washington organized the arming and training of rebel forces in Afghanistan in the late 1970’s.

Many now believe that the 2002 AUMF which was passed by the 107th Congress, was based on highly misleading and doctored intelligence reports, enabling a completely unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003. Deceptive intelligence fraudulently claimed that Iraq had been harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), as the CIA and others were caught fabricating the story. The pretext on which the 2002 AUMF was used prompted many to question its validity, since its specific language to allow military force was proven to be false.

The political fall-out was massive. In February of 2003, US diplomat John Brady Kiesling, resigned due to the “distortion of intelligence” and “systematic manipulation of American opinion.” This prompted a wave of criticism over the invasion and the so-called intelligence reports used to justify the AUMF and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Here is an excerpt from the 2002 AUMF that clearly discussed pursuing ‘nations’ and ‘organizations’ linked to the “planning of the 9/11 attacks”:

“Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations.”

Nine days after the 9/11 attacks, the now defunct think-tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) wrote an open letter to then President George W. Bush. The contents of the letter contained the deception used to assemble the all-important ‘coalition’ behind the fraudulent invasion in Iraq:

“Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”

‘USE OF FORCE’ – John Yoo former Department of Justice legal
counsel (Photo link mediabugs.org)

Redefining War: The AUMF & Military Force

While the AUMF was not an official “declaration of war”, it does provide the legislative grease needed to allow more authority to be used by a US president.

The AUMF authorization and other constitutionally questionable and controversial provisions such as the Patriot Acts, were carefully crafted by individuals like John Yoo, who was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the time. Yoo was hired to make the illegal look legal, and was also key in redefining the legal language of conflict, combat and internment. As an architect of the AUMF, the Patriot Act and the Bush administration’s legal memos justifying torture and the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping, Yoo’s legal legacy exposes a deeper design used to push the War On Terror for geopolitical gain.

‘WAR POWER’ – Obama setting the stage for the Trump administration. Notice the portrait of Theodore Roosevelt as a ‘Rough Rider’ in the background. The painting invokes the rhetorical expansionism linked to ‘manifest destiny.’ (Photo link cmgdigital.com)

Every power which Yoo helped to screw into place has been subsequently utilized from Bush to Obama, is now coming to the surface with Trump. In 2015, Obama sought a new ‘anti-ISIS proposal’ which was already positioned to be yet another revision of the AUMF. Flash forward to today, we see Washington again seeking to revise the AUMF, affording Trump – or any future president – an even greater expansion of executive authority. It’s also worth noting that all of these ‘war powers’ have been gained on the back of highly dubious and forensically challenged terror events in recent history.

QUESTION: As the US is seeking a new AUMF – will we see actual hard proof regarding the chemical attack claims or will it be glossed over by Western politicians and media once again?

Watch Former US Congressman Ron Paul again discussing the political fallout facing the US after airstrikes in Syria…

Author Shawn Helton is Associate Editor of 21st Century Wire, as well as an independent media forensic analyst specializing in criminal investigations and media coverage from war theaters. 

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

READ MORE WHITE HELMET NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmet Files




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