News Release

Postol: NYT Claims on Syria Attack Unsupported

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 1.08.57 PMTHEODORE A. POSTOL, postol at mit.edu
Postol is professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. He just wrote the paper “The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017: NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims.” He is available for a limited number of interviews.

Postol said today: “On April 26, 2017 the New York Times released a video titled ‘How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike.’ This video provides extensive forensic evidence that the New York Times used to develop its conclusions about an alleged nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. In this report, I show that NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-up Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.

“The forensic evidence and analytical claims in all of these reports can be traced back to a single source, an organization called Bellingcat. This organization represents itself as ‘specializing in analyzing information posted online.’ …

“This report shows that NONE of the bomb-damage areas identified by Bellingcat and shown in the New York Times video show any indication of bomb damage from 500 to 1000 pound bombs. That is, the data from a composite panoramic view that is the foundation of the Bellingcat and New York Times analyses is clearly and unambiguously inconsistent with the claims of bomb damage from before and after satellite photographs used in the same analyses. In fact NONE of the forensic data claimed by Bellingcat and the New York Times as evidence of general-purpose bomb damage on April 4 supports the conclusions that are said to have been derived from the forensic data. In all, when these false claims about information provided in the forensic data are brought together with the claims about a sarin release site, the conclusion is inescapable that all of the evidence referred to by Bellingcat in the New York Times contains no forensic proof to support their narrative.

“Thus, the narratives put forward by the New York Times, and the closely related Human Rights Watch report of May 1, are all based on forensic evidence and conclusions that are unambiguously false.

“These findings suggests that New York Times management did not check the accuracy of the facts supporting the narrative of events on April 4, 2017 that the Times has been publishing, and continues to publish.”