Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Target Syria: Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use

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Stephen Lendman
Activist Post

New allegations claim Syrian chemical weapons use. We've heard similar ones before. Obama calls using them a "game changer." He also said their use crosses a "red line."

Syrian officials are unequivocal. Weeks earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad spoke for others saying:

"Syria stresses again, for the 10th, the 100th time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against our people. We would not commit suicide."

Alleging Syrian chemical weapons use resembles bogus claims about Saddam's nonexistent WMDs. It's similar to false charges against all US enemies.

Big Lies launch wars. They facilitate them. They perpetuate them.

Gore Vidal once said:
Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.
Syria is Washington's war. It was planned years ago. It's objective is regime change. America's been involved from inception. Independent governments aren't tolerated.

So-called "non-lethal" aid represents America's tip of the iceberg. The CIA's involved in facilitating weapons shipments. Huge amounts flow in. US-backed death squads are well supplied.


At issue is whether Obama plans direct intervention. About 200 US forces were deployed in Jordan. They're positioned along Syria's border. John Kerry announced doubling US aid to insurgents.

On the one hand, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says no intervention is planned. On the other, he's hinted about possibly doing so. NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis said he's ready to act if asked.

Perhaps the North Atlantic Treaty's article five will be invoked. It considers an attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members an attack against all. It calls for collective action.

Is a staged incident planned? Are chemical weapons charges crossing Obama's "red line." Will NATO invoke article five? Will imperial aggression follow? Perhaps Obama has that in mind. He prioritizes war. He deplores peace. He preconditions negotiations on regime change.

In early April, unnamed US intelligence officials claimed Syria used chemical weapons. Two alleged Damascus incidents were cited.

In a March address, Obama said "We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. The world is watching, and we will hold you accountable."

In late March, credible evidence of insurgent chemical weapons use surfaced. Syria's military said a home-made locally-manufactured rocket was fired.

It contained CL17. It's a form of chlorine. It induces vomiting, fainting, suffocation and seizures. Those in the immediate area are affected.

Khan al-Asal was attacked. It's southwest of Aleppo. Government forces control it. Jihadists struck a Syrian army-controlled checkpoint.

A local hospital source said he personally witnessed Syrian army personnel helping those harmed. Over two dozen deaths were reported. They included Syrian soldiers.

European diplomats acknowledged what happened. They lied claiming "friendly fire."

Britain and France said Syria used chemical weapons more than once since last December. Unnamed senior diplomats claim soil samples, witness interviews, and opposition sources say nerve agents were used in and around Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus.

According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, allegations are being evaluated. Some US intelligence officials are skeptical. Without US censors in Syria, determining chemical weapons use is hard enough. Harder still is deciding who's responsible if credible evidence is found.

According to an unnamed US defense official, anyone could plant evidence of chemical weapons use. "Catching them when we don't own the ground is very difficult, especially when we are talking about non-persistent agents."

"We can't be sure the samples aren't tainted by people who have an interest in trying to get the international community involved."

He added that tests Britain conducted weren't definitive. Details weren't provided on where samples were taken and who provided them. Significant use of chemical agents wasn't found.

So-called eyewitness accounts blamed Assad. Later they proved false. Israel made new ones. On April 23, Haaretz headlined "Israel confirms Syria regime used chemical weapons against rebels."

According to Military Intelligence Research Division head General Itai Brun:
To the best of our professional understanding, the regime has used lethal chemical weapons on a number of occasions, including the incident on March 19.
He cited photo evidence. Whose he didn't say. They're easy to fabricate. Allegedly they show victims foaming at the mouth with pupils contracted. He claims the weapon used was sarin-based.

"The regime has increasingly used chemical weapons," he alleges. "The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction - this is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate."

He claims Syria has a "large arsenal of chemical weapons, more than 1,000 tons of chemicals, thousands of aerial bombs and quite a lot of warheads and surface-to-surface missiles that can be armed with chemical weapons."

"How this develops is a good question. We need to be very concerned with the fact chemical weapons might reach less responsible hands that don't consider the consequences of their actions."

They "don't undertake normal cost-benefit calculations." He calls that "worrying."

At the same time, he's uncertain whether regional conflict will include widespread chemical weapons use. He stressed the "need to see how the situation develops in the short term."

Days earlier, Netanyahu addressed the issue, saying:
We are prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises and I think people know that what I say is both measured and serious. 
We have to be very bothered by the possibility that chemical weapons are going to get into the hands of less responsible actors. 
It is certainly possible that there will be other incidents of attack against Israel by other organizations that obtain different types of weapons.
At a Brussels NATO foreign ministers meeting, John Kerry urged members to respond if it's determined that Syria used chemical weapons.

"We should carefully and collectively consider how NATO is prepared to respond to protect its members from a Syrian threat, including any potential chemical weapons threat," he said.

At the same time, he spoke to Netanyahu by phone. "He was not in a position to confirm (chemical weapons use) in the conversation that I had."
I don't know yet what the facts are. I don't think anybody knows what they are.
Separately, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said intelligence regarding chemical weapons use remains inconclusive. His press secretary George Little added:
We reiterate in the strongest possible terms the obligations of the Syrian regime to safeguard its chemical weapons stockpiles, and not to use or transfer such weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
Events going forward demand close scrutiny. Obama may be planning more war. Make no mistake. He'll take full advantage of Boston's marathon bombings. He'll do so at home and abroad. Rogue states operate that way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/


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