Saturday, 21 September 2013

More From Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article

Following yesterday's statement from Dale Gavlak on an article published by Mint Press she claims wrongly used her name in the byline, I've now received the following email from Dale based on a statement from her lawyer further clarifying the situation.
Dale Gavlak has sought to make a public statement from the beginning of this incident and now is able to do so.

Email correspondence between Ms. Gavlak and Mint Press News that began on August 29 and ended on September 2 clearly show that from the beginning Ms. Gavlak identified the author of the story as Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian journalist. She also made clear that only his name should appear on the byline and the story was submitted only in his name. She served as an editor of Ababneh’s material in English as he normally writes in Arabic. She did not travel to Syria and could not corroborate his account.

Dale Gavlak specifically stated in an email dated August 29 "Pls find the Syria story I mentioned uploaded on Google Docs. This should go under Yahya Ababneh's byline. I helped him write up his story but he should get all the credit for this."

Ms. Gavlak supplied the requested bio information on Mr. Ababneh later that day and had further communications with Mint Press News’ Mnar Muhawesh about the author's background. There was no communication by Mint Press News to Ms. Gavlak that it intended to use her byline.  Ms. Muhawesh took this action unilaterally and without Ms. Gavlak's permission.

After seeing that her name was attached to the article, Dale Gavlak demanded her name be removed. However, Ms. Muhawesh stated: "We will not be removing your name from the byline as this is an existential issue for MintPress and an issue of credibility as this will appear as though we are lying."

Mint Press News rejected further demands by Dale Gavlak and her legal counsel to have her name removed. Her public statement explains her position.


  1. "We will not be removing your name from the byline as this is an existential issue for MintPress and an issue of credibility as this will appear as though we are lying."


    Thanks for covering this case.

    1. So, how has not removing it worked out in terms of Mint Press credibility now?

    2. And how's yours doing, Mr. "1400 Dead"? What is your source on that figure? On what is it based?

  2. Can Ms Gavlak now tell us what she knows about Yahya Ababneh and his previous work?

  3. "Ms. Gavlak supplied the requested bio information on Mr. Ababneh.."

    So she vouched for him?

  4. Brown Moses,
    I ran a rocket simulation of the UMLACA, resulting in a 2.5 km range.
    Would appreciate feedback.

    1. 2 km range of the UMLACA is more than sufficient for it to span the front lines. The UMLACA was fired close to the frontlines.

    2. That depends on the direction. Since the rockets were shot from the north, this falls in rebel held territory.
      You can read an initial analysis here:
      And I will add a more detailed one later.

    3. But BM analyzed at least one rocket coming from West.

    4. I'm not aware of such an analysis. Could you please provide a link?

  5. Funny how Mint Press says in effect "I know I am lying, but if I make the correction, then people would think I am lying" !!!

    Where does Assad find such deranged supporters?

    For these left-fascists, truth has no meaning. Every means is permissible, as long as the end or cause is achieved. This is why Assad should be destroyed.

    1. Khalid, I'm a moderator on a Portuguese newspaper and every day I have to sanction comments like ''I have proof, Gavlaj says those damn yankees and sionists did it''. That is why I'm coming to this site now to get more info and make those people think they can't believe everything they read. Even w/o this issue the article seemed dubious to me: handing over CW to a bunch of guys that didn«t know how to use the stuf and blow it up in a tunnel? Then why so many dead when in Japan it killed like 13 or so in a packed subway? Makes no sense to me.

    2. Here we go with the Saudis regime defenders.

    3. I'm highly critical of the saudi regime. But defending or not that regime doesn't make the ''Gavlak'' article more or less true.

    4. So, if you can't understand how a poison gas accident in one location could killed people in seven locations, and you believe the reports from multiple sources, backed by physical evidence, that the gas came from rockets, not a tunnel, that makes you a Saudis regime defender?

      You guys turn logic on its heads. Your method appears to be first you make up your mind who the real 'bad guys' are, and that couldn't possible be the Assad regime, and then you let that determine the "facts."

      I don't think you will like Brown Moses too much. He has a different approach.

    5. You make the assumption that people were killed in 7 locations.

      The HRW report lists only two locations. Moadamiya with 140mm rockets and Zamalka with 300mm+ rocket (s?)

      The Mother Agnes report indicates that the reported twelve strike locations was actually the number of treatment locations.

      Discounting Moadamiya which despite the various inflated reports only had single figure casualties, the main death toll was from one location only - Zamalka.

  6. The thing that continues to amaze me is the utterly cavalier attitude toward assigning blame for the Ghouta massacre by the pro-Baathist left. There are 3 utterly contradictory versions floating about that they make no attempt to reconcile:

    1. It was an accident, the Mint Press version.

    2. It was on purpose as a "false flag" operation, the Ray McGovern/Budansky version.

    3. It was a simply a jihadist pogrom against Christians living in Ghouta, the McNeil/al-Ghabri version.

    None of them makes any attempt to evaluate physical evidence as has been the case with Brown Moses and HRW. The disregard for facts and logic by the "anti-imperialist" left is breathtaking.

    1. Welcome to the new topsy turvy world order. The left have been shmoozing and sleeping with the fascists for a long time now, going back to 1989, and then the Stalin-Hitler pact before that.

      The left is a totalitarian ideology and hence has no problem associating with Baathists and Saddam or Ghaddafi.

      Never never believe a leftist who says they are pro-human rights or pro-democracy, and that they respect liberalism. The left is now reactionary and counter-enlightenment.

    2. I tried to help them out some with that by pointing out that since the VIPS c theory involved everybody but the Saudis maybe they could paint the Mint Press c theory as Bandar's revenge. So far, I've had no takers.

      And I'm still wait for another apology/retraction to my list of the sites that were republishing or promoting the Mint Press story: | OpEdNews | FAIR InfoWars | Democratic Underground | Godlike Productions | Global Research | News Ninja | Daily Kos | Before it's News | Tea Party Command Center | Counterpunch | Friends of Syria | | Religious Liberty Monitoring | Watchmen News | World Socialist Web Site | Democracy and Class Struggle [Those that have since published retractions are in bold.]

    3. Let's call Agent Proyect's interpretation of this event #4. It goes something like this:

      Amidst a month-long beatdown of Proyects heart-eating alCIAda comrades, the government of Syria decided to randomly kill a bunch of children and Syrian soldiers with chemical weapons on the very day that UN Inspectors arrive just to make a point: "we want to be bombed!"

      Seems perfectly logical to me--good job, Agent P. Now it's time to back to accepting hearsay testimony from cannibals at face value to fabricate a war for Wall Street and Zionism.

    4. There's a lot of focus on the motives of external actors in Syria: the Saudis, the Qataris, the US, Turkey, Russia, Israel, Iran. This is a misguided approach and at best, they should all be considered opportunists. They are not controlling the conflict, just lending their weight (political, logistical, financial, military) behind one side or the other. Dictatorial regimes, like that of Bashar Al-Assad, rely on this "siege mentality" to justify their own abuses and excesses. "Keep the masses at the windows," said Karl Marx--no matter what you do to them, you will never be as evil as the imagined enemy. Always a state of emergency. Dictators need their people and supporters to live in this fantasy world, where they proactively reject contradictory evidence in favor of the most hair-brained, shifting stories that disagree with both common sense and physical evidence. We saw the same thing with GW Bush and his search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Maybe this time, Vladimir Putin is the one looking for imaginary WMD's in the middle east--in the hands of Syrian rebels.

      Shawn: what if the regime forces just screwed up on Aug 21? What if some local commander on the front did not know the UN was in town and launched the attack? It's not as if the Regime was fully cooperative with the UN. The attack occurred on Aug 21. What happened between the 21st and the 27th, when the UN was first able to visit the scene?

    5. Fair question: First and foremost, I don't accept that this was an accident. That's why I thought this story was dubious from the start (I do believe Bandar had a likely role in whatever went down). This was a sophisticated, planned operation.

      Further, it makes no sense for Assad to carry out such an attack. The efforts made by the pro-war, pro-cannibal, pro-pagandists to assign one to him remain laughably stupid.

      Finally and most obviously (therefore most heavily censored by the Amy Goodmans of the world), the heart-eaters have EVERY reason to launch such an operation. They did it in Aleppo, and it got CNN revving up. They did it in Houla, and the BBC laudably performed their role as war propagandist. Apart from anyone else, without looking about any other agendas served, the media always love a war!

      Putin was onto something when he suggested the innard-gobblers might hit the State of Israel next with a chemical attack. Such a false flag, attributed to Assad, triggers a regional war that quickly gets must worse.

      This isn't the cannibals' first rodeo! Nor was the outcome a surprise to those who immediately, hysterically, and without evidence or motive assigned blame to the Syrian gov't. They knew what was going to happen the second those YouTube videos got uploaded.

    6. As far as what happened in the 6 days between the attack and the UN voyage: direct your question to Proyect, Claiborne, or one of the other people who spend their days and nights getting alCIAda's back.

      The territory was rebel-held, was it not?

    7. "It makes no sense for Assad to carry out such an attack."

      Yes, it does make sense for the regime forces to launch such an attack. The rebels were ill-equipped to counter it. Their trenches and tunnels would have worked against them, as Sarin hugs the ground. In short, it would have offered government forces a tactical advantage. This has been explained in other comments.

      The government has been unable to dislodge rebels from Eastern Damascus for months. German Intelligence has stated that commanders have repeatedly asked Assad for permission to use chemical weapons, but permission was repeatedly denied. So clearly, there was a desire to use them. Again: a local commander could have gone rogue and launched the attack without the worst possible time for the regime.

      You know, during the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein launched SCUD missiles at Israel to try to provoke them into a war. Israeli involvement would lead to Arab withdrawal from the Coalition. Maybe Assad is trying to provoke the US or Israel into a war because he knows Jihadis will not fight alongside American or Israeli forces.

    8. Remember the context--alCIAda was getting clobbered and cornered all over Syria (thanks in large part to Hizbullah finally deciding to break the arms trafficking up from North Lebanon).

      If Sarin created such a tactical advantage for the Syrian Army, then why on earth do we see only pictures of dead babies? What in the world is gained from that? Once you start saying "The Syrian Army could have gone rogue," you're speculating. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but one could just as easily say "alCIAda did it by accident." Nobody has any proof of that either, as far as I have seen.

      Nothing about this operation was an accident, down to the dozens of YouTubes featuring stack upon stack of apparently dead infants and babies published instantaneously. It goes without saying that they uniformly blamed Assad in advance.

      Finally, the State of Iraq did not launch those SCUDs against the State of Israel BEFORE the Whites started bombing! To do so would have been madness! I fully expect an attack on the State of Israel by any number of military forces provided the Whites start bombing Syria. I certainly don't expect Assad to bomb it. Who the hell knows about the heart-eaters though, right?

      Do you really think people like Abu Sakkar are above launching this operation as a means of generating international support? After all, they got it from Reagan. They got it from Clinton. And they're business partners with the Bush family!

    9. Listening to the BBC News' interview with Abu Sakkar, he seems deranged and angry enough to launch a chemical attack. But I'm not convinced he, or any other rebel group, has the capability to launch a Sarin attack. As I've said before, if it were so trivial to manufacture Sarin and kill hundreds of people, then we'd hear about Sarin attacks every day instead of roadside bombings.

      Think about it: synthesizing Sarin requires corrosion-resistant equipment (nickel-plated stainless steel, teflon). This is specialty (expensive) gear that must be custom manufactured. So who made the reactors? Next, they need precursors such as Phosphorus Trichloride, which are closely monitored under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention--so much so that academic researchers have a hard time ordering GRAM quantities. The first step of Sarin synthesis requires an inert atmosphere. Who's delivering large quantities of Nitrogen gas cylinders to this secret plant? Then they'd need the expertise to run the process and to work out the hiccups (plant startup is ALWAYS a problem). There would need to be some serious safety controls in place to protect plant workers. To ascertain the quality of the product (i.e., that they're making what they want), they'd need an analytical lab. There would be failed batches and plenty of waste--reactive, toxic waste that must be disposed of. Who disposed of it? Of course, this is all very expensive to do. As they're not selling a product for a profit, they wouldn't be recouping any of the costs of this. But you see, a chemical weapons facility has a signature that is too big to miss. It's relatively simple to convert, say, a pesticide plant to a chemical weapons plant. But it's NOT easy for a group of militants to build a plant from scratch. If they could, their priority would be conventional ammunition and high explosives before nerve agents. Taken together, this rules out the possibility of the rebels manufacturing hundreds of kilograms of Sarin. This isn't a James Bond movie.

      I've seen plenty of youtube videos of military aged males showing textbook symptoms of nerve agent exposure. They aren't hard to find, and this very blog has links to them. LeMonde has interviewed doctors who've described hundreds of nerve agent casualties among rebels in Eastern Damascus since March 2013. (Article here: ) LeMonde journalists themselves were affected by nerve agent in May. Incidentally, this is all after US Intelligence reports emerged that the S.A.A. was mixing binary precursors to produce Sarin and were loading it into shells.

      The youtube videos were *not* posted instantaneously. They were uploaded well after the incident. The timestamps on Youtube videos refer to the time of upload on youtube servers in California. Add 10 hours to each video, or look in the video's metadata, to find the local upload time.

    10. Seeing as you do not respond to the Iraq paragraph, I take it you're ceding the point about the logic of a Syrian government's attack prior to an assault of the White man? Therefore, you grant that the party in this conflict with the most to gain and least to lose are the cannibals, right?

      If capability is the question, rest assured Uncle Sam has deployed trained killers to help the head-choppers figure out how to "secure" and "handle" them. They have means to use this weapons, the motive of getting international help by doing so, and opportunity to control the scene of the crime and rev up the propaganda machine in the immediate aftermath.

      The anonymous heart-eaters have posted tons of YouTube videos, so I have no doubt there have been images over the last 30 months that seem to show injuries brought on by a chemical weapons strike. We know that alCIAda already used them in Aleppo and were recently indicted in Turkey for possessing 2 kg of the stuff.

      But we're not talking about any YouTube videos: we're talking about the couple dozen that depicted the aftermath of the Ghouta operation. Let's stick to those.

      Your source on the spring 'gas attacks,' written by a couple of reporters from a pro-war paper embedded with alCIAda, quotes exactly ZERO doctors by name. To corroborate this with the "trust me" intelligence of the CIA renders the piece even less reliable.

    11. Reply to Khalid: M. Ignatieff says democratic decisions on intervention are driven by taxation politics: "Democratic people’s reluctance to use force is not a passing phenomenon, born of war weariness or disillusion with Iraq. It is an enduring feature of democratic politics itself. When the people themselves bear the cost of war, they have shown themselves reluctant to authorize it. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that once democratic consent becomes a condition for intervention, force will be rarely used indeed. This is as it should be." Others claim that the liberal left is in bed with Western warmongers. You assert they are schmoozing with fascists. Seems like the "liberal left" is everywhere and prostitutes itself to the entire political spectrum. Assertions like these are naïve at best and unnecessarily provocative at worst.

      Reply to DDTea22: what happened between August 21st and August 27th is the following - the UN request for investigation of Ghouta incident was communicated to Syrian government on August 26th, and it was granted on August 27th, the very next day. I believe this has been explained by Ban Ki-moon and his press office extensively.

      Reply to DDTea22: Since we are engaging in speculation, allow me to propose a hypothesis too. I read the Bild am Sonntag article in the original, and when I did, the following occurred to me. If the Khan al-Assal attack was perpetrated by the rebels (if Russia AND UN's Carla Del Ponte are to be believed), it occurred 4 months prior to Ghouta. It makes all the sense in the world for the Syrian army to demand vengeance and retribution for the four months following Khan al-Assal. The curious thing from German intelligence is that al Assad refused all such requests.

      Reply to DDTea22 (3): How about the chemical / chemical weapons plants captured and occupied by the opposition? Are these sufficiently controlled and safe environments for the production of Sarin?

    12. Gleb, you are confusing the "liberal left" with the hard left , socialist left, or the left-fascist Strasserites. My point applies to this class, and not the liberal left - who incidentally are a very confused bunch often taking on contradictory or hypocritical positions.

    13. Gleb: Thanks for the bit about the dates of the UN Investigation. I had not heard that statement from Ban Ki-moon's press office. I retract my statement that the Syrian government was uncooperative.

      "How about the chemical / chemical weapons plants captured and occupied by the opposition? Are these sufficiently controlled and safe environments for the production of Sarin?"

      I'm only aware of a Chlorine plant that was captured near Aleppo. But Chlorine is a far cry from Sarin, and the manufacturing processes have nothing in common nor is the equipment interchangeable.

      But certainly, a Sarin plant would be the proper environment to produce Sarin. Again though, that's just where the production would be done: they'd still need a steady stream of supplies coming in and waste leaving. Who'd help them in this endeavor? Furthermore, I am unaware of any chemical weapons plants that have been captured and operated by the rebels. If so, this completely contradicts what the Syrian regime and the Russians have been saying all along: that Syria's chemical stockpile is safe and secure.

      Can you link me to some sources on captured chemical weapons plants?

      Sean: I'll say it one more time--the "2 kg of sarin" in Turkey was Ethylene Glycol. And 2 kg of Sarin is nothing to write home about anyway.

      No, I am not talking about "any youtube videos," I am specifically talking about the ones showing victims from the Aug 21 incident in Ghouta. You allege that rebels who've obtained access to large quantities of Sarin launched one of the greatest false flag attacks in history to provoke American intervention, but were simultaneously so unorganized that they couldn't get their own timeline straight and uploaded videos of victims before their attack took place.

      There's an old adage, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Conspiracy theories thrive on the lack of evidence. Actual theories rely on evidence. The UN report provided physical evidence that a) a chemical attack took place, b) the chemical used was Sarin c) the Sarin was delivered by ~330mm surface-to-surface rockets with a 56 L +/- 6 L warhead, and d) the trajectory of two of the rockets was from government-held territory. Brown-Moses has provided video evidence of the S.A.A. firing these sorts of munitions, but has not found any such evidence of rebels firing them. So with all of these observable facts in mind, please tell me again what exactly you think happened on August 21.

      Also, some of your comments (e.g., feverish rants against "The Whites" and "The Zionists") are too demented to even acknowledge.

    14. Khalid, I try to avoid the "he said, (s)he said" argument so pernicious in Internet fora. However, I also don't like to be told that I am "confusing" something. If you intend to communicate, communicate clearly - if you meant "hard left" (whatever that means), "socialist left" (which I understand) or Strasserites (advocating for worker participation is not the litmus test of socialism or communism, many movements do), then you should have said so. Instead, let me recount:

      "The left have been shmoozing and sleeping with the fascists"

      - no clarity here - what kind of left are you talking about?

      "The left is a totalitarian ideology and hence has no problem associating with Baathists and Saddam or Ghaddafi."

      - let's agree that the Baathists, Saddam and Ghaddafi did originally rise to power on socialist/communists platforms, and therefore are iconically "socialist left." If they are "socialist left", logic suggest you must be talking about some other "left" that likes to associate with them. Again, what "left"?

      Never never believe a leftist who says they are pro-human rights or pro-democracy, and that they respect liberalism. The left is now reactionary and counter-enlightenment

      - this one speaks for itself, again no definition of what left you are talking about. "The left is now reactionary and counter-enlightenment" - well, according to you, they have always been, since Hitler's time, so what was I supposed to take from this? What "left" has suddenly become "reactionary?

      Same thing throughout. My comment, if confused at all, was based on me taking you at face value. If you want to be understood, then help me out next time.

    15. Khalid,

      Re: Timing of UN Request

      Here is the link to the official UN video of UNSG Spokeperson's statement on the subject (in response to a reporter's question). Start at 12:00.

      Here is the link to a near-verbatim transcript:

      Re: Chemical / Chemical Weapons Plants

      You are quite correct, there is only one report on the subject, and it concerns the capture of a chemical plant. My error. Whether or not that a plant is a sufficiently controlled environment for the production of chemical weapons I am not going to speculate. Beyond my expertise.


    16. Khalid, I had also made an error in dates:

      UN Request to Syria - August 24, 2013
      Syria's Confirmation of Access - August 25, 2013

    17. DDTea:

      What an astonishing feat of logical gymnastics. In your first post you speculate that the Syrian government launched the attack by accident and then accuse the regime of some duplicity with regard to the UN inspectors. The "accident" motive is no motive at all--pure speculation--and the UN stuff you posted got called out, just like your Iraq SCUD analogy.

      In other words, the entire basis of your argument disintegrated. So don't act, ex post facto, like you've predicated your argument on anything factual.

      Syria had no motive to kill babies en masse, and the cannibals had the motive, means, and opportunity (not to mention the experience of Aleppo, Houla, and other PsyOps) to launch the precise operation carried out.

      I'm sorry, but "what if a little Syrian soldier tripped over his feet and launched a sarin attack on babies!" just doesn't cut it for me.

  7. Official MintPress Statement on the issue:

  8. From the Mint Press editor: as linked by Gleb
    "We are aware of the tremendous pressure that Dale and some of our other journalists are facing as a result of this story, and we are under the same pressure as a result to discredit the story. We are unwilling to succumb to those pressures for MintPress holds itself to the highest journalistic ethics and reporting standards.

    Yahya has recently notified me that the Saudi embassy contacted him and threatened to end his career if he did a follow up story on who carried out the most recent chemical weapons attack and demanded that he stop doing media interviews in regards to the subject"

    Now, can Brown Moses discuss the Russian report about the earlier CW attack, or is there an agenda here?

    1. Dale retracted her article. So what is there to discuss? Some RT conspiracy theory?

    2. Is this the same Assad who for decades denied he has chemical weapons? Only when USA rattled it saber did Asshat chicken out and declare he was lying for decades.

    3. Khalid, Assad did not denied having the CW , he said if we have or he said maybe we have and maybe not, but he never said he don't have the CW

      Khalid are you Saudi Intelligence agent?? nothing can explain your heating and one way mind other than that

    4. Qatar and the Saudi have invested billions in the Syrian war.
      And why is that?
      They also promised to pay for all costs if the US attacks Syria.

      Who Benefits From A War Between The United States And Syria?

    5. Reply to Khalid (1): Yes, there is clearly an issue here. It would be akin to Powell making a presentation to the UN that Iraq possessed WMD and later denying it by saying he should not have any attribution because he did not conduct the research.

      Reply to Khalid (2): This is merely an ad hominem attack, and, as such, hardly an intelligent or logical position. Whatever Assad may or may not have said has little relevance to whether Dale Gavlak participated in the creation of the MintPress article. She did, and even her retractions (for some reason through Mr. Higgins) are carefully phrased to avoid saying she did not have direct involvement in the MintPress article. And, to your broader point, Assad apparent denial of possession of chemical weapons has no relevance to his culpability for the Ghouta chemical weapons attack. It does not prove it one way or another. Simply a red herring on your part.

      Reply to FkDahl: Unfortunately, there is a issue with the Russian report - not with the report itself, there is no way of telling whether it's right or wrong, but with its availability. Like the US, UK and French secret evidence, the Russian report has not been made public - it was only provide to the UNSC. I have tried multiple channels - through AP and through a few NGOs, but have not been able to obtain it.

  9. I just published a new analysis on the UMLACA with some interesting results. Turns out the UMLACA is an empty White Phosphorus weapon filled with sarin.
    Feedback and help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Your report is sound overall. I would have attempted to refrain from making positive statements regarding the apparent link of the UMLACA to any one of the sides. There is a such a significant dearth of clear unambiguous evidence from Syria (as from any war zone) that claiming any degree of confidence is premature.

  10. Mint Press has responded:

    They state, without equivocation, that Dale Gavlak wrote the article and provided corroborating research but that the Jordanian journo did the on the ground reporting. This aligns with everything we know. Galvak was under immense pressure, by none other than Prince Bandar, according to Galvak's own words. Galvak was also the one who confirmed, though his own Jordanian sources, that Saudi Arabia provided the weapons (and likely know-how) to carry out the attack/provocation.

  11. Gleb - I agree, not qualifying the "left" is not helpful. I guess I have been spending too much time on political philosophy blogs such as Harry's Place where it is very clear from the context what is meant by "left".

    Assad, Saddam, Ghaddafi are examples of anti-imperialist left-fascists.