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  • Cort Greene
    Yahya Ababneh exposed *Syria rebel chemicals story may have come from Russian source** * New questions have arisen about Yahya Ababneh, the alleged author of
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 22, 2013


      Yahya Ababneh exposed

      Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source
        

                 

       
      New questions have arisen about Yahya Ababneh, the alleged author of an article claiming that the chemical deaths in Damascus last month were caused by rebel fighters mishandling weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia. 

      The story, originally published by an American website, Mint Press News, has since been cited by Russian officials (and others) to cast doubt on the findings of the UN weapons inspectors in Syria.

      Mint Press named the journalists who wrote the story as Dale Gavlak – an established freelance based in Jordan who has worked regularly for the Associated Press – and Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian.

      In a dramatic twist last Friday, Gavlak issued a statement denying that she was an "author" or "reporter" for the article. "Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author," she said. However, she followed this up yesterday with an email to the Brown Moses blog conceding that she had helped Ababneh to "write up" the story, that she had sent it to Mint Press herself once it was completed, and that she had vouched for Ababneh's journalistic credentials.

      According to Ababneh's profile on LinkedIn, the professional networking website, he has carried out journalistic assignments "in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Libya for clients such as al-Jazeera, al-Quds al-Arabi, Amman Net, and other publications".

      So far, though, no evidence has emerged to support this claim and internet searches in English and Arabic for articles that carry his byline have drawn a blank.

      To add to this mystery, Ababneh's profile was deleted from LinkedIn yesterday, though a cached copy can be found here.

      One thing that doesn't show up in the cache is the endorsements given to Ababneh by other LinkedIn users. On the deleted page, he had received endorsements for his skills from two people – Ghazal Omid of the Iran Future organisation and Sufian Ababneh, a legal adviser at the Jordanian embassy in London. Among other things, Sufian Ababneh had endorsed him for his skills as an actor. 

      * * *
        
      Let's now turn to a column written by Peter Hitchens for the Mail on Sunday on 26 August, which a reader pointed out to me in an email. There's no need to read the column – just scroll down through the comments thread.

      Here we find a comment posted at 9.31pm on August 28 in the name of Yan Barakat. Note the timing, because Dale Gavlak says she didn't send the "Saudi chemicals" story to Mint Press until August 29. 

      This means there is no way Yan Barakat could have read the article on Mint Press's website – and yet Barakat's comments bear some interesting resemblances to the story allegedly written by Ababneh.

      "Who used the chemical weapons?" Barakat asks. He continues:

      "The answer is neither the Syrian regime, nor the rebels. This is the game of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief. He gave these weapons to the rebels via tunnels but they did not have enough information about them. Almost all of the rebels handling the weapons were killed because they used them incorrectly.

      "Many people inside the village were really angry with Jabhat Al Nazrah [sic] (an Al Qaeda associate in Syria)."

      Barakat then adds some information that wasn't included in the Mint Press story which has done so much to excite Russian officials:

      "Some old men arrived in Damascus from Russia and one of them became friends with me. He told me that they have evidence that it was the rebels who used the weapons."

      So who is Yan Barakat? Clicking on his name in the Mail on Sunday comments thread leads to his Facebook page where there is a photo of him.

        
      Like Yahya Ababneh, Yan Barakat appears to be a Jordanian freelance journalist. There was an article published under his name  in the Jerusalem Post

      * * *

      Let's now turn to another website – this time a blog in Spanish about Cuba. Here we find another blogger getting excited about Ababneh's weapons story. 

      The interesting part of this is that it includes a link to Ababneh's now-deleted profile on LinkedIn – together with a photograph which bears a striking resemblance to that of Yan Barakat. 

        
      When I first visited the Cuba blog on September 11, the blog post did not point to Ababneh's LinkedIn profile, but to another Ababneh profile at Bayt International. Here, once again, we see a photo of someone resembling Yan Barakat.

        
      This particular profile gives a somewhat different CV from that on the LinkedIn profile and describes Ababneh as working in education and training. However, it does say that he studied journalism in Jordan and says that one of his skills is acting.

      Returning to Yan Barakat's Facebook page, we find this photo from a theatrical performance:


        

      Another photo, which appears to be from the same performance appears on yet another Facebook page which carries the name "Yahya Barakat (Yahya Baraskat Ababneh)".


       

      It may be pure coincidence, but another of the photos which Yan Barakat has used as a "cover photo" for his Facebook page is very similar to one which was also used by Yahya Barakat for his LinkedIn avatar.
        

        
      All this points to the conclusion that Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are different names for the same person. This appears to be confirmed by an Israeli blog post published last June – long before the controversy about the chemical weapons story erupted.

      The blog post, by Yovav Kalifon, begins:

      "I heard about a Jordanian on CouchSurfing who was inviting Israelis to meet over a cup of coffee. I didn’t make it to that meeting a year ago, but last week I ended up hosting him in Jerusalem!

      "Yahya (Yan) Barakat Ababneh is a freelance journalist, Arabic tutor, tourist guide and stage actor. He covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Libya. His stories appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere."

      If Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are indeed the same person, the question arises as to why Mint Press called him Ababneh rather than Barakat (which is the name he appears to have used for his other writing). If there were fears for his safety it would have been far better to be up-front about it and declare the use of a pseudonym.

      With hindsight, this may also explain why Mint Press was so insistent on including Dale Gavlak's name in the joint by-line.

      As far as the most crucial part of the article is concerned, we are also left wondering what to make of Barakat's statement that he was alerted to the "rebel weapons" tale by a Russian who befriended him in Damascus.
        
         
      Posted by Brian Whitaker
      Sunday, 22 September 2013  

      Post your comment: 3 Comments

       

      Recent blog posts

      Yahya Ababneh exposed

      Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source

      Syria 'rebel chemicals' story gets weirder

      AP reporter Gavlak now says she edited the dubious article

      Syria 'rebel chemicals' mystery deepens

      Associated Press correspondent Gavlak issues denial
      - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hB73YJMK.dpuf

      (From Gar Lipow on PEN-L)
      
      
      Steve Horn cuts off his association with Mint Press over Syrian "false
      flag" story https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr&sfx_switch=true
      
      It is one thing to make an error. I'm also happy when I make a mistake,
      as long as it does not happen too often, cause it means I will never be
      expect walk on water or will be in serious danger of crucifixion. It is
      another to not admit it once you know it is an error. It is a shame Mint 
      Press, which put out some good stories, won't back off on something that 
      has now been proven pretty conclusively false, not only by withdrawal of 
      one of the people who they listed as author (who claims never to have 
      been an author in the first place) but by the UN report which contains
      details that contradict that story. Kudos to Steve Horn who initially 
      believed it, for  taking appropriate action once he found out he was wrong.
      
      Although I expressed skepticism when I first linked to it, I also gave
      it more credence than I should have - that is I treated it as something
      with say a 1/5th chance of being true, rather than as simply being
      nonsense.
      -----

      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.

      Friday, 20 September 2013

      Statement By Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article "Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack"

      One article that has become a regular feature in the debate on who was responsible for the August 21st sarin attack in Damascus is "Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack", published on the Mint Press website, with Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh on the byline.

      Dale Gavlak has now sent me the following statement about the article.
      Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels. Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel, they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the Mint Press News piece.   To date, Mint Press News has refused to act professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual authorship and sources for this story.

      I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or do any other reporting on which the article is based.  The article is not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own statements.
      Dale Gavlak contacted me using an email address used in previous correspondence, relating tothis article.

      More posted on the subject of the August 21st attacks can be found here, and other posts on chemical weapons and Syria, including extremely informative interviews with chemical weapon specialists, can be found here.

      You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@....
    • scotpeden
      Ah yes, the Sources might be Ruskie or Iranian, and they must be distrusted because the Israeli and Saudi sources must be good, we shouldn t even have to
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 22, 2013
        Ah yes, the Sources might be Ruskie or Iranian, and they must be
        distrusted because the Israeli and Saudi sources must be good, we
        shouldn't even have to questions this as the Western Corporate media
        carried these stories faster then the destruction of an exploding drone
        bomb.

        All the key words, and the probably, and mights, and maybes are placed in
        the proper places, so we best get back in line and repeat what we are
        told, question nothing, and attack all who raise any questions, as after
        all, the Commies, Ruskies, Axis of Evil, everyone knows they are the only
        continuous liars, the Western State Department and Corporate Media are
        immaculate.

        Our source of information and ways the information is disseminated are all
        so familiar. Familiarity over thinking and questioning is always the
        favorable way to go.

        Scott

        > Yahya Ababneh exposed
        >
        > *Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source**
        > *
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > New questions have arisen about Yahya Ababneh, the alleged author of an
        > article claiming that the chemical deaths in Damascus last month were
        > caused by rebel fighters mishandling weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia.
        >
        > The story, originally
        > published<http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/>
        > by
        > an American website, Mint Press News, has since been cited by Russian
        > officials (and others) to cast doubt on the findings of the UN weapons
        > inspectors in Syria.
        >
        > Mint Press named the journalists who wrote the story as Dale Gavlak – an
        > established freelance based in Jordan who has worked regularly for the
        > Associated Press – and Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian.
        >
        > In a dramatic twist last Friday, Gavlak issued a
        > statement<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.O0BtxSdJ.dpbs>
        > denying
        > that she was an "author" or "reporter" for the article. "Yahya Ababneh is
        > the sole reporter and author," she said. However, she followed this up
        > yesterday with an email to the Brown Moses blog conceding that she had
        > helped
        > Ababneh<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.5tA4Vqaq.dpbs>
        > to
        > "write up" the story, that she had sent it to Mint Press herself once it
        > was completed, and that she had vouched for Ababneh's journalistic
        > credentials.
        >
        > According to Ababneh's profile on LinkedIn, the professional networking
        > website, he has carried out journalistic assignments "in Jordan, Syria,
        > Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Libya for clients such as al-Jazeera,
        > al-Quds al-Arabi, Amman Net, and other publications".
        >
        > So far, though, no evidence has emerged to support this claim and internet
        > searches in English and Arabic for articles that carry his byline have
        > drawn a blank.
        >
        > To add to this mystery, Ababneh's profile was deleted from LinkedIn
        > yesterday, though a cached copy can be found
        > here<https://cache3.pinboard.in/bangpound/5df0b79210da89ed5e54/108.1.html>
        > .
        >
        > One thing that doesn't show up in the cache is the endorsements given to
        > Ababneh by other LinkedIn users. On the deleted page, he had received
        > endorsements for his skills from two people – Ghazal Omid of the Iran
        > Future organisation and Sufian Ababneh, a legal adviser at the Jordanian
        > embassy in London. Among other things, Sufian Ababneh had endorsed him for
        > his skills as an actor.
        >
        > ** * **
        >
        > Let's now turn to a column written by Peter
        > Hitchens<http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html>
        > for
        > the Mail on Sunday on 26 August, which a reader pointed out to me in an
        > email. There's no need to read the column – just scroll down through the
        > comments thread.
        >
        > Here we find a
        > comment<http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html?cid=6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b#comment-6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b>
        > posted
        > at 9.31pm on August 28 in the name of Yan Barakat. Note the timing,
        > because
        > Dale Gavlak says she didn't send the "Saudi chemicals" story to Mint Press
        > until August 29.
        >
        > This means there is no way Yan Barakat could have read the article on Mint
        > Press's website – and yet Barakat's comments bear some interesting
        > resemblances to the story allegedly written by Ababneh.
        >
        > "Who used the chemical weapons?" Barakat asks. He continues:
        >
        > "The answer is neither the Syrian regime, nor the rebels. This is the game
        > of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief. He gave these weapons
        > to the rebels via tunnels but they did not have enough information about
        > them. Almost all of the rebels handling the weapons were killed because
        > they used them incorrectly.
        >
        > "Many people inside the village were really angry with Jabhat Al Nazrah
        > [sic] (an Al Qaeda associate in Syria)."
        >
        > Barakat then adds some information that wasn't included in the Mint Press
        > story which has done so much to excite Russian officials:
        >
        > *"Some old men arrived in Damascus from Russia and one of them became
        > friends with me. He told me that they have evidence that it was the rebels
        > who used the weapons."*
        >
        > So who is Yan Barakat? Clicking on his name in the Mail on Sunday comments
        > thread leads to his Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/yan.barakat>
        > where
        > there is a photo of him.
        >
        >
        > Like Yahya Ababneh, Yan Barakat appears to be a Jordanian freelance
        > journalist. There was an article published under his name in the
        > Jerusalem
        > Post<http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Peace-on-paper-is-not-peace-on-the-ground-325088>
        > .
        >
        > ** * **
        >
        > Let's now turn to another website – this time a blog in Spanish about
        > Cuba<http://josepcalvet.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/quien-es-yahya-ababneh/>.
        > Here we find another blogger getting excited about Ababneh's weapons
        > story.
        >
        > The interesting part of this is that it includes a link to Ababneh's
        > now-deleted profile on LinkedIn – together with a photograph which bears a
        > striking resemblance to that of Yan Barakat.
        >
        >
        > When I first visited the Cuba blog on September 11, the blog post did not
        > point to Ababneh's LinkedIn profile, but to another Ababneh
        > profile<http://people.bayt.com/yahya-ababneh/> at
        > Bayt International. Here, once again, we see a photo of someone resembling
        > Yan Barakat.
        >
        >
        > This particular profile gives a somewhat different CV from that on the
        > LinkedIn profile and describes Ababneh as working in education and
        > training. However, it does say that he studied journalism in Jordan and
        > says that one of his skills is acting.
        >
        > Returning to Yan Barakat's Facebook page, we find this photo from a
        > theatrical performance:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Another photo, which appears to be from the same performance appears on
        > yet
        > another Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/yahya.barakat.9> which
        > carries the name "Yahya Barakat (Yahya Baraskat Ababneh)".
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > It may be pure coincidence, but another of the photos which Yan Barakat
        > has
        > used as a "cover photo" for his Facebook page is very similar to one which
        > was also used by Yahya Barakat for his LinkedIn avatar.
        >
        >
        >
        > All this points to the conclusion that Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are
        > different names for the same person. This appears to be confirmed by an
        > Israeli blog
        > post<http://yovav-kalifon.tumblr.com/post/52461241531/his-finger-on-the-pain-jordanian-tells-israelis-how-it>
        > published
        > last June – long before the controversy about the chemical weapons story
        > erupted.
        >
        > The blog post, by Yovav Kalifon, begins:
        >
        > "I heard about a Jordanian on CouchSurfing who was inviting Israelis to
        > meet over a cup of coffee. I didn’t make it to that meeting a year ago,
        > but
        > last week I ended up hosting him in Jerusalem!
        >
        > "Yahya (Yan) Barakat Ababneh is a freelance journalist, Arabic tutor,
        > tourist guide and stage actor. He covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi
        > Arabia, Russia, Libya. His stories appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News,
        > Gerasa News and elsewhere."
        >
        > If Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are indeed the same person, the question
        > arises as to why Mint Press called him Ababneh rather than Barakat (which
        > is the name he appears to have used for his other writing). If there were
        > fears for his safety it would have been far better to be up-front about it
        > and declare the use of a pseudonym.
        >
        > With hindsight, this may also explain why Mint Press was so insistent on
        > including Dale Gavlak's name in the joint by-line.
        >
        > As far as the most crucial part of the article is concerned, we are also
        > left wondering what to make of Barakat's statement that he was alerted to
        > the "rebel weapons" tale by a Russian who befriended him in Damascus.
        >
        > *
        > Posted by Brian Whitaker
        > Sunday, 22 September 2013 *
        >
        > *Post your comment:* 3
        > Comments<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#disqus_thread>
        >
        > ------------------------------
        >
        > Recent blog posts
        >
        > Yahya Ababneh
        > exposed<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hGf3YY10.dpbs>
        > Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source
        >
        > Syria 'rebel chemicals' story gets
        > weirder<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.dpbs>
        > AP reporter Gavlak now says she edited the dubious article
        >
        > Syria 'rebel chemicals' mystery
        > deepens<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.dpbs>
        > Associated Press correspondent Gavlak issues denial
        > - See more at:
        > http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hB73YJMK.dpuf
        >
        > (From Gar Lipow on PEN-L)
        >
        >
        > Steve Horn cuts off his association with Mint Press over Syrian "false
        > flag" story https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr&sfx_switch=true
        >
        > It is one thing to make an error. I'm also happy when I make a mistake,
        > as long as it does not happen too often, cause it means I will never be
        > expect walk on water or will be in serious danger of crucifixion. It is
        > another to not admit it once you know it is an error. It is a shame Mint
        > Press, which put out some good stories, won't back off on something that
        > has now been proven pretty conclusively false, not only by withdrawal of
        > one of the people who they listed as author (who claims never to have
        > been an author in the first place) but by the UN report which contains
        > details that contradict that story. Kudos to Steve Horn who initially
        > believed it, for taking appropriate action once he found out he was
        > wrong.
        >
        > Although I expressed skepticism when I first linked to it, I also gave
        > it more credence than I should have - that is I treated it as something
        > with say a 1/5th chance of being true, rather than as simply being
        > nonsense.
        >
        > -----
        >
        > Saturday, 21 September 2013
        > More From Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
        >
        > 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.
        > Posted by Brown Moses
        > <http://www.blogger.com/profile/17562126209980810351>at 05:19
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
        > 31 comments
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html#comment-form>
        > Email This
        > <http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=email>BlogThis!
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        > Labels: chemical weapons
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/chemical%20weapons>,
        > Dale Gavlak <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Dale%20Gavlak>,
        > Mint Press <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Mint%20Press>,
        > Syria <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Syria>
        > Friday, 20 September 2013
        > Statement By Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article "Syrians In Ghouta
        > Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack"
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/statement-by-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
        > One article that has become a regular feature in the debate on who was
        > responsible for the August 21st sarin attack in Damascus is "Syrians
        > In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
        > <http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/>",
        > published on the Mint Press website, with Dale Gavlak and Yahya
        > Ababneh on the byline.
        >
        > Dale Gavlak has now sent me the following statement about the article.
        >
        > Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published
        > on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels.
        > Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel,
        > they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was
        > not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the
        > Mint Press News piece. To date, Mint Press News has refused to act
        > professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual
        > authorship and sources for this story.
        >
        > I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or
        > do any other reporting on which the article is based. The article is
        > not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence
        > based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading
        > to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own
        > statements.
        >
        > Dale Gavlak contacted me using an email address used in previous
        > correspondence, relating tothis article
        > <http://news.yahoo.com/officials-arms-shipments-rise-syrian-rebels-203529946.html>.
        >
        > More posted on the subject of the August 21st attacks can be found
        > here
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-media-of-munitions-linked-to.html>,
        > and other posts on chemical weapons and Syria, including extremely
        > informative interviews with chemical weapon specialists, can be found
        > here
        > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-chemical-weapon-posts.html>.
        >
        > You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses
        > <http://twitter.com/Brown_Moses> or by email at brownmoses@....
        >
      • Cort Greene
        Ah yes, the the information of the chemicals attack came from the peaceful opposition of the LCC s first, no Western backed grouping but Scot would rather
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 23, 2013
          Ah yes, the the information of the chemicals attack came from the peaceful opposition of the LCC's first, no Western backed grouping but Scot would rather believe that it was a mishandling in a tunnel that happened to spread to 7 different locations.

          We have seen 3 different conspiracy theories now put out by the pro Assad groupings on the so called left and the regime and none of them hold water.

          Cort


          On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
          Ah yes, the Sources might be Ruskie or Iranian, and they must be
          distrusted because the Israeli and Saudi sources must be good, we
          shouldn't even have to questions this as the Western Corporate media
          carried these stories faster then the destruction of an exploding drone
          bomb.

          All the key words, and the probably, and mights, and maybes are placed in
          the proper places, so we best get back in line and repeat what we are
          told, question nothing, and attack all who raise any questions, as after
          all, the Commies, Ruskies, Axis of Evil, everyone knows they are the only
          continuous liars, the Western State Department and Corporate Media are
          immaculate.

          Our source of information and ways the information is disseminated are all
          so familiar. Familiarity over thinking and questioning is always the
          favorable way to go.

          Scott

          > Yahya Ababneh exposed
          >
          > *Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source**
          >   *
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > New questions have arisen about Yahya Ababneh, the alleged author of an
          > article claiming that the chemical deaths in Damascus last month were
          > caused by rebel fighters mishandling weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia.
          >
          > The story, originally
          > published<http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/>
          > by
          > an American website, Mint Press News, has since been cited by Russian
          > officials (and others) to cast doubt on the findings of the UN weapons
          > inspectors in Syria.
          >
          > Mint Press named the journalists who wrote the story as Dale Gavlak – an
          > established freelance based in Jordan who has worked regularly for the
          > Associated Press – and Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian.
          >
          > In a dramatic twist last Friday, Gavlak issued a
          > statement<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.O0BtxSdJ.dpbs>
          > denying
          > that she was an "author" or "reporter" for the article. "Yahya Ababneh is
          > the sole reporter and author," she said. However, she followed this up
          > yesterday with an email to the Brown Moses blog conceding that she had
          > helped
          > Ababneh<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.5tA4Vqaq.dpbs>
          > to
          > "write up" the story, that she had sent it to Mint Press herself once it
          > was completed, and that she had vouched for Ababneh's journalistic
          > credentials.
          >
          > According to Ababneh's profile on LinkedIn, the professional networking
          > website, he has carried out journalistic assignments "in Jordan, Syria,
          > Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Libya for clients such as al-Jazeera,
          > al-Quds al-Arabi, Amman Net, and other publications".
          >
          > So far, though, no evidence has emerged to support this claim and internet
          > searches in English and Arabic for articles that carry his byline have
          > drawn a blank.
          >
          > To add to this mystery, Ababneh's profile was deleted from LinkedIn
          > yesterday, though a cached copy can be found
          > here<https://cache3.pinboard.in/bangpound/5df0b79210da89ed5e54/108.1.html>
          > .
          >
          > One thing that doesn't show up in the cache is the endorsements given to
          > Ababneh by other LinkedIn users. On the deleted page, he had received
          > endorsements for his skills from two people – Ghazal Omid of the Iran
          > Future organisation and Sufian Ababneh, a legal adviser at the Jordanian
          > embassy in London. Among other things, Sufian Ababneh had endorsed him for
          > his skills as an actor.
          >
          > ** * **
          >
          > Let's now turn to a column written by Peter
          > Hitchens<http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html>
          > for
          > the Mail on Sunday on 26 August, which a reader pointed out to me in an
          > email. There's no need to read the column – just scroll down through the
          > comments thread.
          >
          > Here we find a
          > comment<http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html?cid=6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b#comment-6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b>
          > posted
          > at 9.31pm on August 28 in the name of Yan Barakat. Note the timing,
          > because
          > Dale Gavlak says she didn't send the "Saudi chemicals" story to Mint Press
          > until August 29.
          >
          > This means there is no way Yan Barakat could have read the article on Mint
          > Press's website – and yet Barakat's comments bear some interesting
          > resemblances to the story allegedly written by Ababneh.
          >
          > "Who used the chemical weapons?" Barakat asks. He continues:
          >
          > "The answer is neither the Syrian regime, nor the rebels. This is the game
          > of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief. He gave these weapons
          > to the rebels via tunnels but they did not have enough information about
          > them. Almost all of the rebels handling the weapons were killed because
          > they used them incorrectly.
          >
          > "Many people inside the village were really angry with Jabhat Al Nazrah
          > [sic] (an Al Qaeda associate in Syria)."
          >
          > Barakat then adds some information that wasn't included in the Mint Press
          > story which has done so much to excite Russian officials:
          >
          > *"Some old men arrived in Damascus from Russia and one of them became
          > friends with me. He told me that they have evidence that it was the rebels
          > who used the weapons."*
          >
          > So who is Yan Barakat? Clicking on his name in the Mail on Sunday comments
          > thread leads to his Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/yan.barakat>
          > where
          > there is a photo of him.
          >
          >
          > Like Yahya Ababneh, Yan Barakat appears to be a Jordanian freelance
          > journalist. There was an article published under his name  in the
          > Jerusalem
          > Post<http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Peace-on-paper-is-not-peace-on-the-ground-325088>
          > .
          >
          > ** * **
          >
          > Let's now turn to another website – this time a blog in Spanish about
          > Cuba<http://josepcalvet.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/quien-es-yahya-ababneh/>.
          > Here we find another blogger getting excited about Ababneh's weapons
          > story.
          >
          > The interesting part of this is that it includes a link to Ababneh's
          > now-deleted profile on LinkedIn – together with a photograph which bears a
          > striking resemblance to that of Yan Barakat.
          >
          >
          > When I first visited the Cuba blog on September 11, the blog post did not
          > point to Ababneh's LinkedIn profile, but to another Ababneh
          > profile<http://people.bayt.com/yahya-ababneh/> at
          > Bayt International. Here, once again, we see a photo of someone resembling
          > Yan Barakat.
          >
          >
          > This particular profile gives a somewhat different CV from that on the
          > LinkedIn profile and describes Ababneh as working in education and
          > training. However, it does say that he studied journalism in Jordan and
          > says that one of his skills is acting.
          >
          > Returning to Yan Barakat's Facebook page, we find this photo from a
          > theatrical performance:
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Another photo, which appears to be from the same performance appears on
          > yet
          > another Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/yahya.barakat.9> which
          > carries the name "Yahya Barakat (Yahya Baraskat Ababneh)".
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > It may be pure coincidence, but another of the photos which Yan Barakat
          > has
          > used as a "cover photo" for his Facebook page is very similar to one which
          > was also used by Yahya Barakat for his LinkedIn avatar.
          >
          >
          >
          > All this points to the conclusion that Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are
          > different names for the same person. This appears to be confirmed by an
          > Israeli blog
          > post<http://yovav-kalifon.tumblr.com/post/52461241531/his-finger-on-the-pain-jordanian-tells-israelis-how-it>
          > published
          > last June – long before the controversy about the chemical weapons story
          > erupted.
          >
          > The blog post, by Yovav Kalifon, begins:
          >
          > "I heard about a Jordanian on CouchSurfing who was inviting Israelis to
          > meet over a cup of coffee. I didn’t make it to that meeting a year ago,
          > but
          > last week I ended up hosting him in Jerusalem!
          >
          > "Yahya (Yan) Barakat Ababneh is a freelance journalist, Arabic tutor,
          > tourist guide and stage actor. He covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi
          > Arabia, Russia, Libya. His stories appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News,
          > Gerasa News and elsewhere."
          >
          > If Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are indeed the same person, the question
          > arises as to why Mint Press called him Ababneh rather than Barakat (which
          > is the name he appears to have used for his other writing). If there were
          > fears for his safety it would have been far better to be up-front about it
          > and declare the use of a pseudonym.
          >
          > With hindsight, this may also explain why Mint Press was so insistent on
          > including Dale Gavlak's name in the joint by-line.
          >
          > As far as the most crucial part of the article is concerned, we are also
          > left wondering what to make of Barakat's statement that he was alerted to
          > the "rebel weapons" tale by a Russian who befriended him in Damascus.
          >
          >    *
          > Posted by Brian Whitaker
          > Sunday, 22 September 2013  *
          >
          > *Post your comment:* 3
          > Comments<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#disqus_thread>
          >
          > ------------------------------
          >
          >  Recent blog posts
          >
          > Yahya Ababneh
          > exposed<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hGf3YY10.dpbs>
          > Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source
          >
          > Syria 'rebel chemicals' story gets
          > weirder<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.dpbs>
          > AP reporter Gavlak now says she edited the dubious article
          >
          > Syria 'rebel chemicals' mystery
          > deepens<http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.dpbs>
          > Associated Press correspondent Gavlak issues denial
          > - See more at:
          > http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hB73YJMK.dpuf
          >
          > (From Gar Lipow on PEN-L)
          >
          >
          > Steve Horn cuts off his association with Mint Press over Syrian "false
          > flag" story https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr&sfx_switch=true
          >
          > It is one thing to make an error. I'm also happy when I make a mistake,
          > as long as it does not happen too often, cause it means I will never be
          > expect walk on water or will be in serious danger of crucifixion. It is
          > another to not admit it once you know it is an error. It is a shame Mint
          > Press, which put out some good stories, won't back off on something that
          > has now been proven pretty conclusively false, not only by withdrawal of
          > one of the people who they listed as author (who claims never to have
          > been an author in the first place) but by the UN report which contains
          > details that contradict that story. Kudos to Steve Horn who initially
          > believed it, for  taking appropriate action once he found out he was
          > wrong.
          >
          > Although I expressed skepticism when I first linked to it, I also gave
          > it more credence than I should have - that is I treated it as something
          > with say a 1/5th chance of being true, rather than as simply being
          > nonsense.
          >
          > -----
          >
          > Saturday, 21 September 2013
          > More From Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
          >
          > 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.
          > Posted by Brown Moses
          > <http://www.blogger.com/profile/17562126209980810351>at 05:19
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
          > 31 comments
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html#comment-form>
          > Email This
          > <http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=email>BlogThis!
          > <http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=blog>Share
          > to Twitter
          > <http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=twitter>Share
          > to Facebook
          > <http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=facebook>
          > Labels: chemical weapons
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/chemical%20weapons>,
          > Dale Gavlak <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Dale%20Gavlak>,
          > Mint Press <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Mint%20Press>,
          > Syria <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Syria>
          > Friday, 20 September 2013
          > Statement By Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article "Syrians In Ghouta
          > Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack"
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/statement-by-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html>
          > One article that has become a regular feature in the debate on who was
          > responsible for the August 21st sarin attack in Damascus is "Syrians
          > In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
          > <http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/>",
          > published on the Mint Press website, with Dale Gavlak and Yahya
          > Ababneh on the byline.
          >
          > Dale Gavlak has now sent me the following statement about the article.
          >
          > Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published
          > on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels.
          > Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel,
          > they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was
          > not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the
          > Mint Press News piece.   To date, Mint Press News has refused to act
          > professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual
          > authorship and sources for this story.
          >
          > I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or
          > do any other reporting on which the article is based.  The article is
          > not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence
          > based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading
          > to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own
          > statements.
          >
          > Dale Gavlak contacted me using an email address used in previous
          > correspondence, relating tothis article
          > <http://news.yahoo.com/officials-arms-shipments-rise-syrian-rebels-203529946.html>.
          >
          > More posted on the subject of the August 21st attacks can be found
          > here
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-media-of-munitions-linked-to.html>,
          > and other posts on chemical weapons and Syria, including extremely
          > informative interviews with chemical weapon specialists, can be found
          > here
          > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-chemical-weapon-posts.html>.
          >
          > You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses
          > <http://twitter.com/Brown_Moses> or by email at brownmoses@....
          >





        • scotpeden
          Several things I d like to point out, starting with, you are not talking about anything I was or have in the past been talking about. I m not a Pro Assad. I ve
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 23, 2013
            Several things I'd like to point out, starting with, you are not talking
            about anything I was or have in the past been talking about.

            I'm not a Pro Assad. I've stated this 4-5 times, I am ANTI WESTERN WAR
            MONGERS IN SYRIA OR ELSEWHERE. I post because there is only one solution,
            making acceptable, to these posts I keep responding to. You avoid all
            discussion of that and alter what I said or ignore it completely.

            Second, from the beginning your news has mirrored what the Corporate
            Media, the propaganda arm of the West, has said, and have fought agasint
            waiting periods till inspections could be done, you applauded the US
            threats which made the UN cut short their investigations.

            Speaking of Conspiracy theories, your support mirrors the same tactics
            used to hold the Bush White House 911 Conspiracy theories in place, which
            none of the pertinent points were proven, or turned out to be nothing more
            then the fog of war so we could kill more innocent middle eastern
            civilians their their government has done. The fight to stop all other
            investigations other then what was handed to you by your central news
            source, lends to this Conspiracy Theory, Western backed agenda support
            appearance.

            It's your support of the Western Agenda in these articles, as there are no
            other solutions available by your articles, then Western Intervention,
            that I protest so loudly and point out time and again.

            What's mystified me is that in the past this seemed to be the opposite of
            what you support. Your words that you want whats best for the Syrian
            People, don't ring true when you then send articles that mirror only the
            Western Propaganda and could have no other solution then Western
            Intervention. Now I wonder about the rest of your stuff, I certainly can't
            take it at face value either, not with the scores of times you alter what
            I'm trying to point out, instead of going with the issues and facts I have
            comments on as being irregular for the betterment of any peoples in the
            world below the .01%.

            Scott


            > Ah yes, the the information of the chemicals attack came from the peaceful
            > opposition of the LCC's first, no Western backed grouping but Scot would
            > rather believe that it was a mishandling in a tunnel that happened to
            > spread to 7 different locations.
            >
            > We have seen 3 different conspiracy theories now put out by the pro Assad
            > groupings on the so called left and the regime and none of them hold
            > water.
            >
            > Cort
            >
            >
            > On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
            >
            >> Ah yes, the Sources might be Ruskie or Iranian, and they must be
            >> distrusted because the Israeli and Saudi sources must be good, we
            >> shouldn't even have to questions this as the Western Corporate media
            >> carried these stories faster then the destruction of an exploding drone
            >> bomb.
            >>
            >> All the key words, and the probably, and mights, and maybes are placed
            >> in
            >> the proper places, so we best get back in line and repeat what we are
            >> told, question nothing, and attack all who raise any questions, as after
            >> all, the Commies, Ruskies, Axis of Evil, everyone knows they are the
            >> only
            >> continuous liars, the Western State Department and Corporate Media are
            >> immaculate.
            >>
            >> Our source of information and ways the information is disseminated are
            >> all
            >> so familiar. Familiarity over thinking and questioning is always the
            >> favorable way to go.
            >>
            >> Scott
            >>
            >> > Yahya Ababneh exposed
            >> >
            >> > *Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source**
            >> > *
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > New questions have arisen about Yahya Ababneh, the alleged author of
            >> an
            >> > article claiming that the chemical deaths in Damascus last month were
            >> > caused by rebel fighters mishandling weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia.
            >> >
            >> > The story, originally
            >> > published<
            >> http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/
            >> >
            >> > by
            >> > an American website, Mint Press News, has since been cited by Russian
            >> > officials (and others) to cast doubt on the findings of the UN weapons
            >> > inspectors in Syria.
            >> >
            >> > Mint Press named the journalists who wrote the story as Dale Gavlak –
            >> an
            >> > established freelance based in Jordan who has worked regularly for the
            >> > Associated Press – and Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian.
            >> >
            >> > In a dramatic twist last Friday, Gavlak issued a
            >> > statement<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.O0BtxSdJ.dpbs
            >> >
            >> > denying
            >> > that she was an "author" or "reporter" for the article. "Yahya Ababneh
            >> is
            >> > the sole reporter and author," she said. However, she followed this up
            >> > yesterday with an email to the Brown Moses blog conceding that she had
            >> > helped
            >> > Ababneh<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.5tA4Vqaq.dpbs
            >> >
            >> > to
            >> > "write up" the story, that she had sent it to Mint Press herself once
            >> it
            >> > was completed, and that she had vouched for Ababneh's journalistic
            >> > credentials.
            >> >
            >> > According to Ababneh's profile on LinkedIn, the professional
            >> networking
            >> > website, he has carried out journalistic assignments "in Jordan,
            >> Syria,
            >> > Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Libya for clients such as
            >> al-Jazeera,
            >> > al-Quds al-Arabi, Amman Net, and other publications".
            >> >
            >> > So far, though, no evidence has emerged to support this claim and
            >> internet
            >> > searches in English and Arabic for articles that carry his byline have
            >> > drawn a blank.
            >> >
            >> > To add to this mystery, Ababneh's profile was deleted from LinkedIn
            >> > yesterday, though a cached copy can be found
            >> > here<
            >> https://cache3.pinboard.in/bangpound/5df0b79210da89ed5e54/108.1.html>
            >> > .
            >> >
            >> > One thing that doesn't show up in the cache is the endorsements given
            >> to
            >> > Ababneh by other LinkedIn users. On the deleted page, he had received
            >> > endorsements for his skills from two people – Ghazal Omid of the Iran
            >> > Future organisation and Sufian Ababneh, a legal adviser at the
            >> Jordanian
            >> > embassy in London. Among other things, Sufian Ababneh had endorsed him
            >> for
            >> > his skills as an actor.
            >> >
            >> > ** * **
            >> >
            >> > Let's now turn to a column written by Peter
            >> > Hitchens<
            >> http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html
            >> >
            >> > for
            >> > the Mail on Sunday on 26 August, which a reader pointed out to me in
            >> an
            >> > email. There's no need to read the column – just scroll down through
            >> the
            >> > comments thread.
            >> >
            >> > Here we find a
            >> > comment<
            >> http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/08/before-we-bomb-syria-shouldnt-we-seek-proof-of-guilt-.html?cid=6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b#comment-6a00d8341c565553ef019aff0dc59b970b
            >> >
            >> > posted
            >> > at 9.31pm on August 28 in the name of Yan Barakat. Note the timing,
            >> > because
            >> > Dale Gavlak says she didn't send the "Saudi chemicals" story to Mint
            >> Press
            >> > until August 29.
            >> >
            >> > This means there is no way Yan Barakat could have read the article on
            >> Mint
            >> > Press's website – and yet Barakat's comments bear some interesting
            >> > resemblances to the story allegedly written by Ababneh.
            >> >
            >> > "Who used the chemical weapons?" Barakat asks. He continues:
            >> >
            >> > "The answer is neither the Syrian regime, nor the rebels. This is the
            >> game
            >> > of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief. He gave these
            >> weapons
            >> > to the rebels via tunnels but they did not have enough information
            >> about
            >> > them. Almost all of the rebels handling the weapons were killed
            >> because
            >> > they used them incorrectly.
            >> >
            >> > "Many people inside the village were really angry with Jabhat Al
            >> Nazrah
            >> > [sic] (an Al Qaeda associate in Syria)."
            >> >
            >> > Barakat then adds some information that wasn't included in the Mint
            >> Press
            >> > story which has done so much to excite Russian officials:
            >> >
            >> > *"Some old men arrived in Damascus from Russia and one of them became
            >> > friends with me. He told me that they have evidence that it was the
            >> rebels
            >> > who used the weapons."*
            >> >
            >> > So who is Yan Barakat? Clicking on his name in the Mail on Sunday
            >> comments
            >> > thread leads to his Facebook page
            >> <https://www.facebook.com/yan.barakat>
            >> > where
            >> > there is a photo of him.
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > Like Yahya Ababneh, Yan Barakat appears to be a Jordanian freelance
            >> > journalist. There was an article published under his name in the
            >> > Jerusalem
            >> > Post<
            >> http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Peace-on-paper-is-not-peace-on-the-ground-325088
            >> >
            >> > .
            >> >
            >> > ** * **
            >> >
            >> > Let's now turn to another website – this time a blog in Spanish about
            >> > Cuba<http://josepcalvet.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/quien-es-yahya-ababneh/
            >> >.
            >> > Here we find another blogger getting excited about Ababneh's weapons
            >> > story.
            >> >
            >> > The interesting part of this is that it includes a link to Ababneh's
            >> > now-deleted profile on LinkedIn – together with a photograph which
            >> bears
            >> a
            >> > striking resemblance to that of Yan Barakat.
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > When I first visited the Cuba blog on September 11, the blog post did
            >> not
            >> > point to Ababneh's LinkedIn profile, but to another Ababneh
            >> > profile<http://people.bayt.com/yahya-ababneh/> at
            >> > Bayt International. Here, once again, we see a photo of someone
            >> resembling
            >> > Yan Barakat.
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > This particular profile gives a somewhat different CV from that on the
            >> > LinkedIn profile and describes Ababneh as working in education and
            >> > training. However, it does say that he studied journalism in Jordan
            >> and
            >> > says that one of his skills is acting.
            >> >
            >> > Returning to Yan Barakat's Facebook page, we find this photo from a
            >> > theatrical performance:
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > Another photo, which appears to be from the same performance appears
            >> on
            >> > yet
            >> > another Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/yahya.barakat.9> which
            >> > carries the name "Yahya Barakat (Yahya Baraskat Ababneh)".
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > It may be pure coincidence, but another of the photos which Yan
            >> Barakat
            >> > has
            >> > used as a "cover photo" for his Facebook page is very similar to one
            >> which
            >> > was also used by Yahya Barakat for his LinkedIn avatar.
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > All this points to the conclusion that Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat
            >> are
            >> > different names for the same person. This appears to be confirmed by
            >> an
            >> > Israeli blog
            >> > post<
            >> http://yovav-kalifon.tumblr.com/post/52461241531/his-finger-on-the-pain-jordanian-tells-israelis-how-it
            >> >
            >> > published
            >> > last June – long before the controversy about the chemical weapons
            >> story
            >> > erupted.
            >> >
            >> > The blog post, by Yovav Kalifon, begins:
            >> >
            >> > "I heard about a Jordanian on CouchSurfing who was inviting Israelis
            >> to
            >> > meet over a cup of coffee. I didn’t make it to that meeting a year
            >> ago,
            >> > but
            >> > last week I ended up hosting him in Jerusalem!
            >> >
            >> > "Yahya (Yan) Barakat Ababneh is a freelance journalist, Arabic tutor,
            >> > tourist guide and stage actor. He covered events in Jordan, Lebanon,
            >> Saudi
            >> > Arabia, Russia, Libya. His stories appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News,
            >> > Gerasa News and elsewhere."
            >> >
            >> > If Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are indeed the same person, the
            >> question
            >> > arises as to why Mint Press called him Ababneh rather than Barakat
            >> (which
            >> > is the name he appears to have used for his other writing). If there
            >> were
            >> > fears for his safety it would have been far better to be up-front
            >> about
            >> it
            >> > and declare the use of a pseudonym.
            >> >
            >> > With hindsight, this may also explain why Mint Press was so insistent
            >> on
            >> > including Dale Gavlak's name in the joint by-line.
            >> >
            >> > As far as the most crucial part of the article is concerned, we are
            >> also
            >> > left wondering what to make of Barakat's statement that he was alerted
            >> to
            >> > the "rebel weapons" tale by a Russian who befriended him in Damascus.
            >> >
            >> > *
            >> > Posted by Brian Whitaker
            >> > Sunday, 22 September 2013 *
            >> >
            >> > *Post your comment:* 3
            >> > Comments<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#disqus_thread
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > ------------------------------
            >> >
            >> > Recent blog posts
            >> >
            >> > Yahya Ababneh
            >> > exposed<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hGf3YY10.dpbs
            >> >
            >> > Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source
            >> >
            >> > Syria 'rebel chemicals' story gets
            >> > weirder<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-story-gets-weirder.htm#sthash.CcfgHzWX.dpbs
            >> >
            >> > AP reporter Gavlak now says she edited the dubious article
            >> >
            >> > Syria 'rebel chemicals' mystery
            >> > deepens<
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/syria-rebel-chemicals-mystery-deepens.htm#sthash.ZVOXSlaa.dpbs
            >> >
            >> > Associated Press correspondent Gavlak issues denial
            >> > - See more at:
            >> >
            >> http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/september/yahya-ababneh-exposed.htm#sthash.hB73YJMK.dpuf
            >> >
            >> > (From Gar Lipow on PEN-L)
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > Steve Horn cuts off his association with Mint Press over Syrian "false
            >> > flag" story https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr&sfx_switch=true
            >> >
            >> > It is one thing to make an error. I'm also happy when I make a
            >> mistake,
            >> > as long as it does not happen too often, cause it means I will never
            >> be
            >> > expect walk on water or will be in serious danger of crucifixion. It
            >> is
            >> > another to not admit it once you know it is an error. It is a shame
            >> Mint
            >> > Press, which put out some good stories, won't back off on something
            >> that
            >> > has now been proven pretty conclusively false, not only by withdrawal
            >> of
            >> > one of the people who they listed as author (who claims never to have
            >> > been an author in the first place) but by the UN report which contains
            >> > details that contradict that story. Kudos to Steve Horn who initially
            >> > believed it, for taking appropriate action once he found out he was
            >> > wrong.
            >> >
            >> > Although I expressed skepticism when I first linked to it, I also gave
            >> > it more credence than I should have - that is I treated it as
            >> something
            >> > with say a 1/5th chance of being true, rather than as simply being
            >> > nonsense.
            >> >
            >> > -----
            >> >
            >> > Saturday, 21 September 2013
            >> > More From Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > 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.
            >> > Posted by Brown Moses
            >> > <http://www.blogger.com/profile/17562126209980810351>at 05:19
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html
            >> >
            >> > 31 comments
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-from-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html#comment-form
            >> >
            >> > Email This
            >> > <
            >> http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=email
            >> >BlogThis!
            >> > <
            >> http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=blog
            >> >Share
            >> > to Twitter
            >> > <
            >> http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=twitter
            >> >Share
            >> > to Facebook
            >> > <
            >> http://www.blogger.com/share-post.g?blogID=4871088750473093560&postID=7340201111048871046&target=facebook
            >> >
            >> > Labels: chemical weapons
            >> > <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/chemical%20weapons>,
            >> > Dale Gavlak
            >> <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Dale%20Gavlak
            >> >,
            >> > Mint Press
            >> <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Mint%20Press>,
            >> > Syria <http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/search/label/Syria>
            >> > Friday, 20 September 2013
            >> > Statement By Dale Gavlak On The Mint Press Article "Syrians In Ghouta
            >> > Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack"
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/statement-by-dale-gavlak-on-mint-press.html
            >> >
            >> > One article that has become a regular feature in the debate on who was
            >> > responsible for the August 21st sarin attack in Damascus is "Syrians
            >> > In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
            >> > <
            >> http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/
            >> >",
            >> > published on the Mint Press website, with Dale Gavlak and Yahya
            >> > Ababneh on the byline.
            >> >
            >> > Dale Gavlak has now sent me the following statement about the article.
            >> >
            >> > Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published
            >> > on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels.
            >> > Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel,
            >> > they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was
            >> > not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the
            >> > Mint Press News piece. To date, Mint Press News has refused to act
            >> > professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual
            >> > authorship and sources for this story.
            >> >
            >> > I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or
            >> > do any other reporting on which the article is based. The article is
            >> > not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence
            >> > based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading
            >> > to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own
            >> > statements.
            >> >
            >> > Dale Gavlak contacted me using an email address used in previous
            >> > correspondence, relating tothis article
            >> > <
            >> http://news.yahoo.com/officials-arms-shipments-rise-syrian-rebels-203529946.html
            >> >.
            >> >
            >> > More posted on the subject of the August 21st attacks can be found
            >> > here
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-media-of-munitions-linked-to.html
            >> >,
            >> > and other posts on chemical weapons and Syria, including extremely
            >> > informative interviews with chemical weapon specialists, can be found
            >> > here
            >> > <
            >> http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/08/collected-chemical-weapon-posts.html
            >> >.
            >> >
            >> > You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses
            >> > <http://twitter.com/Brown_Moses> or by email at brownmoses@....
            >> >
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >
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