The Independent's Fisk falls into the same trap as Hersh, believing claims denied by all and supporting his arguments with fallacies
ISTANBUL — Veteran journalist and self-declared "Ottoman Empire correspondent," Robert Fisk on Thursday published an article in The Independent that backed the claims made by Seymour Hersh earlier this week in the London Review of Books. Hersh's article raised controversy and drew criticism from across the world as the White House along with many journalists and experts debunked his accusations against Turkey and the U.S. Now it seems that his "old mate" (in Fisk's own words) has run to his defense in the form of a rant that matches in scale the bizarreness of Hersh's piece.
Fisk even adds his own accusations, which, like the accusations of Hersh, have no viable backing and come from arguably non-existent sources.
The fact that the article, clearly intended to attack Prime Minister Erdoğan's personal character and not his policy, looks to things as irrelevant as Erdoğan's language pronunciation as a gateway to attack him as an individual.
Fisk even claims that Turkey was behind the alleged March 16 attack on Armenians in Kasab, stating that it was Turkey that armed the insurgent groups responsible for the attacks.
This accusation holds no truth as it was a joint effort by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and legitimate opposition groups to safely evacuate Kasab's Armenian population from the battle which raged around the city.
Daily Sabah spoke to Feeda Majnoun, a senior official within the Free Syrian Army (FSA), earlier this week to clarify what had occurred in Kasab, revealing a story of friendship and cooperation rather than the blatant force pitched by Fisk. "Firstly, we apologize to the Armenians because we entered their church without permission and disturbed them because of the ongoing war," said Feeda Majnoun, who helped organize the Armenians' safe transfer to Turkey. "We are really sorry that Kasab turned into a warzone and the Armenians had to leave their homes."
Majnoun continued, "After the military operations, it became impossible to stay in the region. The electricity is gone, public transport is not operating, there are continuous bomb attacks. That's why the youth of the region fled to the southern region of Latakia while the elders stayed here. We told the elders that they may stay here as long as they want and we will try to meet their requirements to the utmost.
"After staying there nearly 10 days, we handed over the Armenians to Turkish officials on the Yayladağı border," explained Majnoun. "The Armenians underwent medical examinations immediately and their needs were met by the Turkish officials."
Later in the article Fisk goes on to build on Hersh's alternative reality in which the U.S. and Turkey provided the al-Nusra Front with the Sarin gas chemical weapons which killed nearly 1,500 and injured 3,000 in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, despite the United Nations pinpointing the attack to Assad regime forces. Fisk adds insight to Hersh's accusation, stating that this alleged transaction, which the U.S. and Turkey falsified, claiming that the Sarin weapons provided to the insurgent group came from Muammar al-Gaddafi's supplies, stocks that were destroyed prior to the Libyan revolution and his death in 2011.
Daily Sabah once again spoke to Dan Kaszeta, a chemical, biological and radiological defense expert to see if Fisk's alternative reality had any factual basis. "As far as the possibility that the sarin was old Libyan stock? I seriously do not believe this is possible, for several reasons. First, the sarin used on Aug. 21 was made in a way that indicates it was likely to have been mixed soon before use, so-called binary sarin. We know this due to the decomposition products of one of the key ingredients, found in the samples by the OPCW- [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] U.N. team," said Kaszeta. "Second, it appears that a new and innovative process, not seen before, used the chemical hexamine as an 'acid scavenger' in the binary sarin. To the best of anyone's knowledge, this technique had not been used elsewhere. If Libya had that technique, I have not heard this. But the Syrian Assad regime confessed to Ake Sellstrom that hexamine was in their formula for sarin and the Syrian state made an official declaration to the OPCW that they had an inventory of 80 tons of hexamine as part of their chemical weapons program," he continued. "Also, there is no evidence that Libya was able to produce sarin with any longevity of shelf-life. Very few countries have mastered the dark art of refining sarin to a level of purity that allows it to last years, not months.
The U.S. and Soviet Union spent many years and vast resources learning how to refine the residual acid out of sarin. The U.S. and Soviet Union used something called the Di-Di process to create sarin which they could then store for decades. However, it is clearly obvious that the sarin used on Aug. 21 was not made by this method and the Syrian regime's method was not this either. I seriously doubt that Gaddafi had somehow mastered the secret to make sarin that was going to last for a long time in storage," Kaszeta said, casting away any plausibility of Fisk's accusations.