See also my April 24 post, A neuropharmacologist debunks use of sarin in the Khan Shaykhun incident. The evidence presented is staggering when one considers the number of governments and news organizations that have ignored the true symptoms of sarin poisoning.
See Wikipedia's article about NJ.com to appreciate the website's influence in the newspaper world.
From NJ.com, Bad intelligence: Donald Trump attacked Syria based on a report full of holes; Paul Mulshine, April 16, 2017.
The report is titled "Assessment of White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017" and it was authored by Theodore Postol, an MIT professor who is among the world's leading experts on chemical weaponry.
In 14 pages, Postol demolishes the Trump administration's extended press release claiming proof that Syrian aircraft delivered that gas strike. Here's the key sentence:
"I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the U.S. government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017."
Postol writes that "the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity."
The central piece of evidence cited in the administration's report is what appears to be the remains of a rocket casing photographed in a crater on a street where the attack occurred. The rocket body showed evidence of an implosion from above rather than an explosion from within, he writes. (see video below)
The most likely explanation, he writes, is that the casing was placed in the crater and a bomb of some sort was detonated above it.
"The explosive placed on top of the pipe would cause it to be suddenly crushed up like a tube of toothpaste hit by a mallet," he writes.
"Just as the toothpaste would be sprayed out from the toothpaste tube, so will the sarin be sprayed from the metal tube."
Who could have placed that bomb there? Postol doesn't speculate. His specialty is explosions, not politics.
And he is among the most respected scientists in the field, said another highly respected scientist, Frank von Hippel of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton.
Postol is no kooky conspiracy theorist, said von Hippel.
"He's very good technically," he told me. "Whatever he says has to be taken seriously."
After reading the report and emailing back and forth with Postol, von Hippel concluded that there was plenty of time for Trump to have a thorough investigation before launching a retaliatory strike.
"There have been calls for independent investigations by groups like the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," he said. "It would be in the interests of the Syrians to let them have access."
Instead Trump took a "shoot first, ask questions later" stance.
One obvious question is why Syrian leader would do something this stupid just as the U.S. was getting ready to accept him as a partner in the fight against ISIS.
Trump's trigger-happy stance gives von Hippel nightmares when it comes to possible nuclear confrontations - literally.
"I had a nightmare about him the other night," he said. "He really does seem to be impaired in his inability to look at any issue in any kind of depth."
Plenty more observations in Mulshine's column, including a zinger from a former member of the Knesset:
Even worse, Trump did not even wait for the investigation. He ordered that attack after just three days - despite the fact that it occurred behind enemy lines in a place that could not be reached by investigators.
And he never for a second considered the obvious possibility that this was a false-flag operation.
Just a few days before, the U.S. had indicated a possible alliance with Syria against ISIS.
Why on Earth would Assad risk that to kill a handful of civilians with gas when he could just as easily have killed them with conventional bombs?
Here's an excellent examination of that possibility by Uri Avnery, a former member of the Israeli Knesset:
"The operation was an immense success. Overnight, the despised Trump became a national hero. Even liberals kissed his feet.
"But throughout, that question continued to nag my mind. Why did Assad do it? What did he have to gain?
"The simple answer is: Nothing. Absolutely nothing."