On April 25 Unz Review published an analysis by Colonel W. Patrick Lang (retd) of conflicting claims from the U.S. and Russian militaries about the success rate of FUKUS missiles fired at Syrian government installations on April 14. At the end of the analysis the Colonel dropped a bomb:
The evidence for the Douma gas attack is nonexistent. The film evidence has now been thoroughly debunked as part of the information operations (propaganda) of the White Helmets scheme funded by the Saudis and largely conducted by the UK info warriors of 77 Regiment. It seems clear that US DoD was not privy to that IO project and for that reason SECDEF Mattis was blindsided by the deception. [...]I don't like arguing with the Colonel, who deserves to be addressed in his retirement by his military rank. His wisdom and experience are vast, and from all accounts his sources in the intelligence and military circles of more than one government are very good.
However, I refuse to believe that Mattis, who surely knows the history of British intelligence manipulations of American counterparts, was blindsided in that regard.
The Douma chemical attack hoax was so sloppily executed it didn't even rise to the level of a false flag operation. It was at the Spaghetti level of information operations -- throw it against the wall and if it sticks, there's the rationale for a bombing raid; if it falls off the wall 15 minutes after the raid, what are the French, British and American publics going to do upon learning they'd been misled by their governments? Sue?
The mistake that FUKUS made was to greatly underestimate the combined Russian and Syrian defense capabilities. As the Colonel put it, "Obsolescent weapons, a fully integrated air defense and skill brought to the fight."
In this I'd agree that Mattis was blindsided, but not by British intelligence. America's intelligence agencies failed him.
As to whether I think Trump was blindsided by the Douma chemical attack hoax, I'll put it this way: if Syria's government had as much wealth as the Saudi one, Assad could tell him the moon is made of mashed potatoes and Trump would believe him. At least for 7 minutes, which I think is about as long as he believes anything. Truth has no place in the world of Donald Trump. In his world it's all about perception management.
It's the same world that came to be in charge of the U.S. government. Isn't that dangerous for Americans? Well, virtually limitless sums of money can go a long way to insulating people from reality -- until it doesn't, as that unforgettable scene in "Slumdog Millionaire" graphically illustrates.
For those who never heard of 77 Regiment, see the discussion by Harper published April 25 at Col. Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis website, Unmasking the White Helmets.