“Fool me twice – shame on me…”

The “Syrian Gas Attack” and the WMD Hoaxer Michael R Gordon

 Donald Trump’s acceptance of the claim that the Khan Shayhkun tragedy was the fault of the Syria government is thus a pivotal moment of the Washington Deep State’s campaign to ‘turn’ the one-time ‘insurgent’ into just another military-industrial complex puppet. It is also the short fuse to World War Three. 

Vladimir Putin has stated that the whole affair is very similar to the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction” lie used to ‘justify’ the disastrous Iraq War. While this is absolutely true, the Russian President missed the punch line – because the WMD and Khan Shayhkun hoaxes were actually released into the world by the Washington State through the same newspaper and the same journalist. 

The entire story rests on claims by known propagandists for al Qaeda and, crucially, on Michael R Gordon, the New York Times’ journalist disgraced for his central role in the Weapons of Mass Destruction lie, the Iraq War and all the terrible consequences that followed from it.


On 4th April 2017, the Tahrir al-Sham (also known as al-Qaeda in Syria)-controlled town of Khan Shaykhun, in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, was struck by a heavy airstrike followed by a massive civilian chemical intoxication. The release of the toxic gas, likely sarin, killed at least 74 people and injured more than 557, according to the Islamist-controlled Idlib health authority.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, placed the blame for the attack on the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Russian allies. 

The photographs and videos used to bring the horror of events in the town home to the Western public were supplied by the White Helmets. The facts of this organisation’s close links with Islamist rebels as well as British Intelligence MI6 [1] and George Soros [2] are a matter of public record, although of course these are ignored by the controlled ‘mainstream media’, which relentless portrays the White Helmets as saintly figures operating humanitarian rescue missions, rather than the propagandist apologists for Islamist terror which they really are.

The purpose of this report, however, is to focus on the individual who broke the Khan Shaykhun attack in the mainstream media. This is Michael R. Gordon, chief military correspondent for the New York Times. Gordon poses as a journalist, but he has worked for decades as the primary conduit for false information from the Pentagon to the unsuspecting public.

Gordon’s claims about Khan Shaykhun are being taken as gospel and repeated around the world. But the man whose latest claims have apparently brought President Trump to the neo-cons heel and thus set the scene for a terrifying Super Power confrontation over Syria has a uniquely shocking record as a serial liar. The man who is dragging the world towards war over an alleged poison gas attack in Syria was also responsible for the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction hoax [3] which led to the Iraq War and thus set in train the terrible events that led to the rise of Islamic State.

The Khan Shaykhum Claims

On Tuesday April 4th, the New York Times assigned its two most committed anti-Syrian-government propagandists to cover the Syrian poison-gas story, Michael B. Gordon and Anne Barnard. The latter has a reputation for the unquestioning repetition of claims made by Islamist ‘rebel’ propaganda outlets, but it is the paper’s defense correspondent Michael Gordon who has the truly shocking record for utterly mendacious warmongering.

Gordon and Barnard repeated without question the first U.S. government and Syrian rebel claims that the Syrian military was responsible for intentionally deploying poison gas in the stricken town.

For the first time, The New York Times cited President Trump as a reliable source because he and his press secretary were saying what the Times wanted to hear – that Assad must be guilty.

Gordon and Barnard also cited the controversial White Helmets, the rebels’ Western-financed civil defenve group that has worked in close proximity with Al Qaeda in Syria, the Al Nusra Front [4] and has come under suspicion of staging heroic “rescues” but is nevertheless treated as a fount of truth-telling by the mainstream U.S. news media.

In early online versions of the Times’ story, a reaction from the Syrian military was buried deep in the article around the 27th paragraph, noting: “The government denies that it has used chemical weapons, arguing that insurgents and Islamic State fighters use toxins to frame the government or that the attacks are staged.”

The following paragraph mentioned the possibility that a Syrian bombing raid had struck a rebel warehouse where poison-gas was stored, thus releasing it unintentionally.

But the placement of the response was a clear message that the Times disbelieved whatever the Assad government said. At least in the version of the story that appeared in the morning newspaper, a government statement was moved up to the sixth paragraph although still surrounded by comments meant to signal the Times’ acceptance of the rebel version.

After noting the Assad government’s denial, Gordon and Barnard added, “But only the Syrian military had the ability and the motive to carry out an aerial attack like the one that struck the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.”

But they again ignored the alternative possibilities. One was that a bombing raid ruptured containers for chemicals that the rebels were planning to use in some future attack, and the other was that Al Qaeda’s jihadists staged the incident to elicit precisely the international outrage directed at Assad as has occurred.

The claim that only Assad would have a motive to deploy poison gas is particularly absurd. The Syrian government and its allies are very clearly winning the war. Their liberation of Aleppo late last year was universally understood as the beginning of the end for the Islamist ‘rebellion’ [5], and the Syrian Army has continued to make steady gains ever since. 

With the war effectively won, far from having a motive to use poison gas in a pinprick attack with no strategic significance, the Assad government would have to be literally insane to give the ‘international community’ an excuse to step in to save its favoured ‘moderate rebels’.

Rather, it is the desperate rebels with the motive to make and deploy chemical as a last-minute game-changer.

The New York Times, however, apparently has no concern anymore for letting the facts be assembled and then letting them speak for themselves. The Times weighed in on Wednesday with an editorial entitled “A New Level of Depravity From Mr. Assad.” And, of course, the rest of the West’s controlled media has obediently followed the Pentagon party line, as promulgated by Robert Gordon.

Michael R Gordon – the Pentagon’s presstitute of choice

This is by no means the first time that Gordon has played such a pivotal role in spreading lies that have either led to, or at least increased the risk of, insanely dangerous war.

Notoriously he was the co-author with Judith Miller of the front page NYT article planted by Dick Cheney’s minions, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), relying on the idea that aluminium tubing being purchased by Iraq was to be used for purifying uranium.

The article, entitled “Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb Parts,” ran on page one of the NYT on Sunday, September 8, 2002. The same day, with the newsprint barely dry, Cheney popped up on Meet the Press citing the piece and claiming that Saddam Hussein was on his way to making nukes. 

Appearances on the other Sunday propaganda shows were made that same day by Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Meyers (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Condoleeza Rice who employed the infamous phrase used by Miller and Gordon, declaring with a straight face, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” 

On October 11, 2002, with an election staring it in the face, the Congress voted authorisation for Bush to go to war. And yet, as we know all too well now, the entire aluminium tube story was a lie, as was obvious at the time to anyone who read the article with the slightest care and as the Department of Energy and Department of State knew well at the time, as was later disclosed.

Unlike Judith Miller the well-connected Gordon escaped punishment for these criminal fictions. And so he went on to peddle ever more lies on Iraq. That part of his career was documented in detail in 2007 by the late Alex Cockburn, who summed it up thus:

“Gordon managed to dodge the fall-out from the WMD debacle he played a major part in contriving. For example, he co-wrote with Miller the infamous aluminium tubes-for-nukes story of September 8, 2002, that mightily assisted the administration in its push to war. In the latter part of 2006 he became the prime journalistic agitator for escalation in troop strength.

“On September 11, 2006, the Times ran a Gordon story under the headline, ‘Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid’. Gordon cited a senior officer in Iraq saying more American troops were necessary to stabilize Anbar. A story on October 22 emphasized that “the sectarian violence [in Baghdad] would be far worse if not for the American efforts” There were of course plenty of Iraqis and some Americans Gordon could also have found, eager to say the exact opposite.”

The next year, 2007, Gordon went on to join the journalistic chorus in its effort to finger Iran as the source of new, more lethal roadside bombs used in Iraq which were called EFP’s (Explosively Formed Penetrators). The fact that the ‘technology’ of ‘shaped charges’ on which the piece relied has been taught for at least forty years at the most basic level of training for military engineers in all Nato forces was totally ignored.

This was another piece of Cheney propaganda designed to help satisfy the military-industrial complex’s and Saudi Arabia’s desire to launch a war on Iran. It was quickly exposed by another Cockburn, Andrew, Antiwar.com’s Scott Horton and others. Fortunately this fiction thus exposed passed on quickly.

Undeterred at having their lead correspondent exposed yet again as a blatant liar, the New York Times let him loose on the push for confrontation with Russia over problems cause by Washington’s pet neo-Nazi regime in Kiev [6].  Typical was the page one article by Gordon and others on July 18, 2014, entitled “U.S. Sees Evidence of Russian Links to Jet’s Downing.” It begins:

“The United States government has concluded that the passenger jet felled over Ukraine was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory and most likely provided by Russia to pro-Moscow separatists, officials said on Friday. While American officials are still investigating the chain of events leading to the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday, they pointed to a series of indicators of Russian involvement……” 

Where was the evidence? The only evidence is that “officials said.” There is no indication of who the “officials” are or precisely what they said. Then there is the hedge phrase “most likely.” And finally Gordon and his co-authors tell us that the unnamed officials are “still investigating.” Finally although there is no conclusion, there are a “series of indicators.” At the same time the Russian Ministry of Defence released verifiable information on the incident, readily accessible on RT.com, whereas the Obama regime produced nothing other than some suspicious anecdotes on social media and a lot of speculation. 

Gordon’s name also showed up in a supporting role on the Times’ botched “vector analysis,” which supposedly proved that the Syrian military was responsible for the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas attack in Ghoutta. The “vector analysis” story of Sept. 17, 2013, traced the flight paths of two rockets, recovered in suburbs of Damascus back to a Syrian military base 9.5 kilometres away.

The article became the “slam-dunk” evidence that the Syrian government was lying when it denied launching the sarin attack. However, like the aluminum tube story, the Times’ ”vector analysis” ignored contrary evidence, such as the unreliability of one azimuth from a rocket that landed in Moadamiya because it had struck a building in its descent. That rocket also was found to contain no sarin, so it’s inclusion in the vectoring of two sarin-laden rockets made no sense.

But the Times’ story ultimately fell apart when rocket scientists analysed the one sarin-laden rocket that had landed in the Zamalka area and determined that it had a maximum range of about two kilometres, meaning that it could not have originated from the Syrian military base. C.J. Chivers, one of the co-authors of the article, waited until Dec. 28, 2013, to publish a half-hearted semi-retraction [7]. 

Gordon was a co-author of another bogus Times’ front-page story on April 21, 2014, when the State Department and the Ukrainian government fed the Times two photographs that supposedly proved that a group of Russian soldiers – first photographed in Russia – had entered Ukraine, where they were photographed again.

Just two days later, Gordon was forced to pen a retraction because it turned out that both photos had been shot inside Ukraine, destroying the story’s premise. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop.”]


Michael R Gordon’s central role in the Saddam Hussein WMD hoax should alone rule him out for life for consideration as a reliable source in any report acting to incite for justify American or Nato involvement in conflict in the Middle East. When his production of equally dishonest propaganda about events in Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and Syria are added into the equation, it is almost beyond belief that he is still employed as a journalist, let alone treated as a reliable source by other news outlets.

That said, the vast majority of those news outlets were also complicit in the Weapons of Mass Destruction hoax, and thus share the blame for the horrors that were unleashed as a direct result of the lies that Gordon helped promote.

This makes it particularly grotesque that naïve Americans, including their President, are being stampeded towards confrontation with Russia and potential World War, in defence of ‘rebels’ loyal to Al Qaeda in Syria, on the basis of propaganda released by the Deep State through a serial liar and proven warmonger.

The only question is whether the people of the West, including most crucially the USA, have seen enough of the workings of the so-called ‘Mainstream Media’ to see through the lies and refuse to hand over their taxes and their sons and daughters for yet another conflict that benefits only the military-industrial complex and the neo-con war criminals. 


[1] http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/23/exclusive-the-real-syria-civil-defence-expose-natos-white-helmets-as-terrorist-linked-imposters/

[2] http://www.cheriberens.net/white-helmetsnbspan-islamist-propagandist-group-and-funded-arm-of-us-government.html

[3] http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2004/02/26/now-they-tell-us/

[4] http://www.globalresearch.ca/terrorism-with-a-human-face-white-helmets-were-al-qaedas-next-door-neighbours-in-aleppo/5580274

[5] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/fall-aleppo-turning-point-whats-next-syrias-war/

[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-hughes/the-neo-nazi-question-in_b_4938747.html

[7] Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis.”