Tag - chemical weapons

NYT: New Study Refines View of Sarin Attack in Syria

New York Times, By C. J. Chivers, December 28

nytA new analysis of rockets linked to the nerve-agent attack on Damascus, Syria, in August has concluded that the rockets were most likely fired by multiple launchers and had a range of about three kilometers, according to the two authors of the analysis.

The authors said that their findings could help pinpoint accountability for the most lethal chemical warfare attack in decades, but that they also raised questions about the American government’s claims about the locations of launching points, and the technical intelligence behind them.  Read More

Seymour Hersh – Whose Sarin in the LRB

lrbWhose sarin?
Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

Also see commentary in The Agonist

Report on source of Syria chem missile may clear Syria – Fisk


Robert Fisk released some preliminary reporting on questions about who actually fired the chemical weapons missiles in Damascus on August 21.  Robert Fisk, The Independent, September 22, 2013

The United Nations report released last week contained speculation on the trajectory of missiles based on their investigations.  After qualification, the report concluded that the missiles were likely fired from Syrian government locations (pages 22, 23).  The qualifications were significant, however.  The report noted:

“During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.” (p.  22)

That qualification is important to remember when evaluating Fisk’s report.  He says:  Read More

To win dirty war in Syria, Obama admin ignores Al Qaeda chemical weapons program

Al Qaeda has a chemical weapons program, revealed in a United States Attorney’s case, reported on CBS (see video).  This has real implications for the Obama administration’s Syria policy of supporting rebels that include Al Qaeda groups.  It also raises questions as to who perpetrated the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21.

In their rush to war, the Obama administration downplayed the importance and the numbers of Al Qaeda fighters involved in the attack on Syria. Kerry told Congress that Al Qaeda constitutes just 15% to 25% of the rebels attacking the Syrian government. That’s at odds with many  observers of the war who maintain Al Qaeda is the best performing fighting force among the rebels.  The dominance of Al Qaeda was demonstrated this week when the Al Nusra faction in Syria attacked and expelled the “good rebels” in the Turkish border town of Azaz.

The Obama administration just can’t admit that its strategy in Syria is a complete disaster.  As a result, facts like these go largely unmentioned:  Read More

Syria, Chemical Weapons, Ban Ki-moon, the UN – and the Real Story

The United Nations weapons inspectors report on the August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus has become a propaganda festival for the Western powers, including the United States.

Since the U.S. and Russia reached their deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, the report will have little impact on military action or sanctions against Syria.  Even if there is a definitive finding that the Syrian government is responsible for the attacks, the U.S. has agreed to forego any military strikes as a result of the disarmament deal. (Image)

The real story concerns the risks of calamitous military conflict erupting in the Middle East through accident or miscalculation.  More on that shortly but first, here is a quick summary of the credibility of the UN.   Read More

Turkish Prosecutor – Syrian Rebels Sought Chemicals for Sarin Gas

(Note:  On September 15, I wrote this as an update to the question about chemical weapons use in Syria.  A prosecutor in southern Turkey indicted members of the Al Nusra (Al Qaeda aligned) group) for trying to buy materials that could produce “highly toxic sarin gas.”  Since sarin had been identified as the gas used in the August 21 attack, this seemed relevant.  It is more relevant now that Seymour Hersh has exposed the deceptions by the Obama administration in assigning blame for the attack and using that blame to justify military action. 12/10/13)

Rebels seeking chemicals to produce sarin gas is confirmed in both the LA Times and a Middle East news agency. The rebels seeking sarin precursors were in Adana, Turkey, the locale where U.S., Turkish, and other NATO nations were training and dispatching Syrian rebels across the Syrian border (see Reuters, July 27, 2012).  The possession of sarin by the Syrian government proved the government’s guilt, ipso facto, according to U.S. war mongers.   That’s simply not correct.

matrixOne must ask, why are the accusations against the Syrian government filled with such contradictions.  Could it be that those who want to punish the government of Syria are simply sadistic advocates of military aggression or is it that plus an intention to turn the “punishment” air strike into a Kosovo like assault on Syria?

Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutors say By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2013, 10:12 a.m.

BEIRUT — Prosecutors in southern Turkey have alleged that Syrian rebel groups were seeking to buy materials that could be used to produce highly toxic sarin gas, Turkish media reported Friday.

An indictment issued in the southern city of Adana alleged that a Syrian national identified as Hytham Qassap, 35, was in Turkey trying to procure chemical materials for a pair of well-known Islamist rebel blocs, Al Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades, the reports said. Washington has designated Al Nusra Front as a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda.

Neither group is affiliated with the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army  Read More

German intercepts – Assad “repeatedly rejected” requests to use chemical weapons

The “slam dunk” intelligence that the Obama administration touted to justify its planned attack on Syria is falling apart.  McClatchy broke this story about German intelligence overhearing President Bashar al-Assad turning down requests for chemical weapons use.  Investigative reporter Robert Parry reports that insiders say the president’s case is so weak, the White House dare not release any details to avoid a discovery of the deception of the American people.  And, a group of retired intelligence service veterans claims that the chemical weapons attack was a false flag to allow an attack on Syria.   More to come …

McClatchy September 11  Matthew Schofield

mcclatchyBERLIN — Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.

The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus’ eastern suburbs.

Obama’s speech on Syria – analysis

Syrian rebels

Syrian rebels

President Barack Obama spoke as if his political future was on the line Wednesday evening during his address to the nation on the Syria crisis.  He went through the horrors of the Syrian civil war, blamed the Syrian government for the August 21 chemical weapons attack, and provided verifiable (but, as yet, unverified) statements of fact concerning his certainty that the Syrian government initiated the chemical weapons attack.  (Full speech)

Before acknowledging the deal that was done to prevent an attack — the surrender of chemical weapons to Russia by the Bashar al-Assad government — the president went through his rationale for planning an attack on Syria and his switch to unilateral action to congressional involvement.  He then explained how he submitted his proposal to Congress.  Read More

‘Insider Threats’ Sabotage Obama’s Syria Attack

cruise2As he prepares to launch cruise missiles against the sovereign state that poses no threat to the United States, President Barack Obama’s administration is spouting leaks of major proportion. (Image)

The Associate Press reports that

“… multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture —  a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a ‘slam dunk’ — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.”  Associated Press, August 29

President Obama couldn’t launch even one cruise missile before multiple U.S. officials began undermining the intelligence report that was to form the basis for confidence in military action against the Syrian government.
Read More

Robert Parry on bizarre replay of Iraq invasion

Robert Parry deserves our attention on any issue he addresses.  He may well be onto a critical point with regard to the White House claims about the Syrian chemical weapons attack.  He notes that the delivery mechanism specified by the Obama administration is one used by “irregular troops.”  That would implicate the rebels and not the Syrian Army.  Any finding that contributes to stopping the rush to judgment needs to be investigated.  This is a great lead.

Robert Parry, Consortium News, August 28

Exclusive: In a bizarre replay of America’s disastrous rush to judgment on Iraq, the Obama administration and the U.S. press corps seem set on brushing aside doubts about the Syrian government’s guilt for alleged chemical weapons attacks and pulling the lever on a new war, reports Robert Parry.

Read More