After six years of propaganda, false narratives, and hysteria by Western governments and their media mouthpieces regarding the push for direct war with Syria, it seems the Western narrative is now shifting to the tried-and-true method that proved itself during the second invasion of Iraq in 2003. That is, that Syria still has chemical weapons even after allowing inspectors into the country and that its “weapons of mass destruction” are being used against civilians. It’s a tired bit of propaganda but, unfortunately, like most propaganda narratives, it works on many Americans.
For that reason, a number of corporate press outlets have posted a volley of articles containing headlines such as Anthony Deutsch’s (of the recent “I saw a list but couldn’t tell if it was real or not but will report it as if it is proof Assad is killing his own people” report) Reuters piece entitled “How Syria Continued To Gas Its People As The World Looked On.” The article is nothing more than a laundry list of disproven claims, suspect sources, and outright fabrications collected to present a case for Assad’s “killing his own people” with “chemical weapons.”
The article contains a number of accusations against the Syrian government that, if believed, would send a signal to many gullible Reuters readers that Assad is not only holding back on Syrian chemical weapons supplies but that he is still using them on a regular basis.
For instance, Deutsch writes,
In the spring of 2015 a Syrian major general escorted a small team of chemical weapons inspectors to a warehouse outside the Syrian capital Damascus. The international experts wanted to examine the site, but were kept waiting outside in their car for around an hour, according to several people briefed on the visit.
When they were finally let into the building, it was empty. They found no trace of banned chemicals.
“Look, there is nothing to see,” said the general, known to the inspectors as Sharif, opening the door.
So why were the inspectors kept waiting? The Syrians said they were getting the necessary approval to let them in, but the inspectors had a different theory. They believed the Syrians were stalling while the place was cleaned out. It made no sense to the team that special approval was needed for them to enter an empty building.
The article goes on and on about inspectors being “stalled” outside chemical weapons facilities while the evil Syrian soldiers allegedly (with no evidence) began “emptying out the buildings” of their alleged chemical weapons stock. The delay in entering the facility, while irritating for the inspectors, was evidence of existing chemical weapons being hidden by Syrian military soldiers (who apparently didn’t know to move them from these facilities beforehand) by the Western corporate media and some pro-imperialist United Nations staff. That’s a lot to infer by a hold up at a secure military installation.
Of course, the most likely reason for the delays have more to do with security concerns, since Syria is a country at war and since both Western and United Nations organizations have been much less than trustworthy during the course of the conflict. Despite Western assumptions that Syria roll out the red carpet and serve U.N. employees the finest red wines and cheeses the country has to offer, there are important details such as ensuring that the individuals who are about to enter sensitive military facilities are indeed who they say they are instead of intelligence agents from hostile countries.
They [unnamed weapons inspectors and unnamed diplomatic sources] suspect that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while appearing to cooperate with international inspectors, secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability. They say Syria hampered inspectors, gave them incomplete or misleading information, and turned to using chlorine bombs when its supplies of other chemicals dwindled.
There have been dozens of chlorine attacks and at least one major sarin attack since 2013, causing more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries. International inspectors say there have been more than 100 reported incidents of chemical weapons being used in the past two years alone.
“The cooperation was reluctant in many aspects and that’s a polite way of describing it,” Angela Kane, who was the United Nation’s high representative for disarmament until June 2015, told Reuters. “Were they happily collaborating? No.”
“What has really been shown is that there is no counter-measure, that basically the international community is just powerless,” she added.
Kane’s statement echoes that of Carla Del Ponte, the U.N. Prosecutor who recently announced her resignation over frustration with the inability of the United Nations to more adequately assist in the destruction of the Syrian government. Kane is notably a member of the European Leadership Network, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, two foundations which have worked tirelessly to advance the Anglo-American corporate financier agenda throughout the Western world and beyond.
Indeed, it appears both Kane and Del Ponte are simply repeating their lines of frustration at not being able to rush in with guns blazing in a jaunt of humanitarian bombing. Fortunately, however, it is not Assad who is leaving, but two frustrated women in the United Nations, at least one with a history of bullying and intimidating witnesses for political purposes.
Nevertheless, Deustch continues on with his propaganda article citing a number of “details” being provided to him by “investigators and diplomatic sources.” They are listed as follows with some commentary below.
Syria’s declarations about the types and quantities of chemicals it possessed do not match evidence on the ground uncovered by inspectors. Its disclosures, for example, make no mention of sarin, yet there is strong evidence that sarin has been used in Syria, including this year. Other chemicals found by inspectors but not reported by Syria include traces of nerve agent VX, the poison ricin and a chemical called hexamine, which is used to stabilise sarin.
First, hexamine is a common chemical which can be used for many purposes. It is not a chemical weapon of mass destruction any more than chlorine. Likewise, ricin is also common and, while often used in terrorist attacks, it is not a chemical weapon that would be used by governments except perhaps in some type of intelligence operation and/or targeted assassination. Second, the author of the article is working on the supposition that all chemical weapons present in Syria belong to the Syrian military. Of course, the Western-backed terrorists maintain a relatively large stockpile of chemical weapons as well. Some of these weapons have possibly been provide to them by their supporting nations such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United States while others have been stolen from the Syrian military in areas conquered by the terrorists. Others still have been locally manufactured by terrorists who have seized control of chemical production facilities.
Thus, the fact that sarin gas was used in Syria does not mean that the government is in possession of it nor does it mean that the government used it. It simply means that it was used. (There are also doubts as to whether or not sarin was actually used in the attacks that took place earlier this year.) This is the case for all of the chemical agents mentioned in the article – their existence within Syria does not equal possession and use by the Syrian government.
– Syria told inspectors in 2014-2015 that it had used 15 tonnes of nerve gas and 70 tonnes of sulphur mustard for research. Reuters has learned that inspectors believe those amounts are not “scientifically credible.” Only a fraction would be needed for research, two sources involved in inspections in Syria said.
This determination is somewhat subjective since research could indeed involve large amounts of chemical gasses. Researching weaponization of the gasses is not the only application that might call for the possession of the material, however. The ability to survive chemical attacks launched against one’s people is also necessary, i.e. the development of antidotes and treatments to the mustard and nerve gasses listed above. After all, Syria has reason to believe it may one day be the victim of a chemical weapons attack. It borders the mad dog of the Middle East who unofficially but openly maintains facilities for the manufacture and production of chemical weapons. It also has a reputation for attacking a wide variety of countries in the region on a regular basis. Still, there were no articles by Anthony Deustch about Israel’s chemical and biological weapons program nor did Del Ponte or Kane resign over the U.N.’s “impotence” in preventing Israel from obtaining these chemicals and biological agents.
– At least 2,000 chemical bomb shells, which Syria said it had converted to conventional weapons and either used or destroyed, are unaccounted for, suggesting that they may still be in the hands of Syria’s military.
Or they could have been used on the battlefield as Syria’s military claims. Syria is, after all, in the midst of one of the most intense wars of the 21st Century. It is completely believable that every single bomb shell may not have a paper trail and a tracking number.
– In Damascus, witnesses with knowledge of the chemical weapons programme were instructed by Syrian military officials to alter their statements midway through interviews with inspectors, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
If one were to believe the claims being made by the “three sources with direct knowledge of the matter” and reported by Reuters, this would not be the prime example of honesty. However, neither is a U.N. “unbiased” prosecutor who enters the fray with the idea that Assad is the “bad guy.” Still, this is nothing more than a “he said she said” claim and, given the reputation of Reuters, Deustch, Western diplomats, and U.N. personnel, one would be justified in not simply believing the accusations being made here.
But the claims’ truthfulness are very much in doubt. Even the head of the OPCW couldn’t and wouldn’t agree with Deustch or Kane’s attempts to present the Syrian situation as Syrian defiance of the U.N. At best, he conceded that there were some discrepancies in an ongoing process. Deustch writes,
The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international agency overseeing the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, conceded serious questions remain about the completeness and accuracy of Syria’s disclosures.
“There are certainly some gaps, uncertainties, discrepancies,” OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu, a Turkish diplomat, told Reuters.
But he rejected criticism of his leadership by Kane and some other diplomats. Kane told Reuters that Uzumcu should have turned up the pressure on Syria over the gaps in its reporting and done more to support his inspectors. Uzumcu countered that it was not his job “to ensure the full compliance” of treaties on chemical weapons, saying that the OPCW was mandated to confirm use of chemical weapons but not to assign blame.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Meqdad, insisted that Syria was completely free of chemical weapons and defended the country’s cooperation with international inspectors.
“I assure you that what was called the Syrian chemical weapons programme has ended, and has ended with no return. There are no more chemical weapons in Syria,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Deustch then returns to the 2013 Ghouta chemical weapons attack which was blamed on Assad by the governments attempting to oust him but was actually the work of the terrorists funded and directed by the United States and its allies. Deustch is even forced to admit that the 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons declared by Syria – the same amount that was previously estimated by the international communities’ experts – was shipped out of Syria and destroyed. In other words, the chemical weapons Deustch is intentionally presenting as still being inside Syria are gone. They have been destroyed. Chemical weapons no longer exist in Syria except for areas that are held by terrorists. For that, Deustch and his frothing friends at the U.N. should look at the United States, NATO, GCC, and Israel.
Deustch then attempts to blame the lack of smooth investigations into the Ghouta attack on the Syrian government by implication. But the sniper fire came from terrorists and the time limit imposed for investigation was due to the fact that the Syrian military was undergoing significant strain in order to protect the U.N. team attempting to investigate the situation. In 2014, in Kfar Zita, a U.N. convoy was hit by mortar and gunfire. Members of the team were held by “unidentified gunmen,” i.e. terrorists. Deustch cleverly tries to imply that the gunmen may have been Syrian soldiers or agents of the Syrian government. Perhaps Deustch has been living too long in the West where proper soldiers and terrorists are becoming different wings of the same military.
Still, Deustch accuses the Syrian government of intentionally hampering the work of investigators by “withholding visas, submitting large volumes of documents multiple times to bog down the process, last-minute restrictions on site inspections and coercing certain witnesses to change their stories during interviews.” As mentioned earlier, Syria is an active war zone. Contrary to Western sentiments of open borders, Syria still requires visas and visa approval for entry. This visa approval can take time since it is imperative not to allow Western or Israeli intelligence agencies to enter sensitive military facilities. Secondly, it is quite amusing to see these “sources” claim Syria is attempting to hamper their investigations by giving them too many documents. Likewise, since the U.N. itself, via Carla Del Ponte, has repeatedly “coerced witnesses to change their stories,” it would perhaps be wise if the U.N. didn’t throw stones while living in its glass house.
Deustch then retreats to simply repeating Western propaganda verbatim as he claims that the Syrian military has dropped hundreds of chlorine “barrel bombs.” None of this has ever been proven. What has been proven, however, is that the terrorists have been delivering chlorine bombs and other chemical weapons from the air for some time via the infamous “Hell Cannon.”
It should also be mentioned that earlier reports of the OPCW report were clear that, what little evidence did exist regarding the chemical attacks, had more hallmarks of having been the handiwork of America’s terrorists.
In March, 2013, after Khan al-Assal was attacked by the death squads using what appeared to be chlorine gas, it was reported by Alex Thomson of The Telegraph that the likelihood of the chemicals having been used by the Syrian government was quite low. Instead, it was the death squads (aka “rebels”) who were heavily implicated in the attack. Thomson wrote,
The Syrian military is said to believe that a home-made locally-manufactured rocket was fired, containing a form of chlorine known as CL17, easily available as a swimming pool cleaner. They claim that the warhead contained a quantity of the gas, dissolved in saline solution.
CL17 is normal chlorine for swimming pools or industrial purposes. It is rated as Level 2 under the chemical weapons convention, which means it is dual purpose – it can be used as a weapon as well as for industrial or domestic purposes. Level 1 agents are chemicals whose sole use is as weapons, such as the nerve agents sarin or tabun.
There has been extensive experimentation by insurgents in Iraq in the use of chlorine, which is harmful when mixed with water to form hydrochloric acid. It vapourises quickly, meaning that in a big explosion it will evaporate; in a small blast – for instance, one delivered by a home-made rocket – it will turn into airborne droplets before dispersing quickly.
So it is likely only to produce limited casualties. In this case there were only 26 fatalities, far fewer than would be expected from a full chemical weapon attack. In short, it is easily improvised into a chemical device but not one that would be used by an army seeking mass-casualty effects.
Back in December of 2012, after the death squads managed to capture a chlorine factory inside Syria, the Syrian government actually issued a warning that the death squads might attempt to use chemical weapons of this nature in their battle to overthrow and oppress the government and people of Syria respectively. The Syrian Foreign Ministry stated, “Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people … after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.”
Remember, the propaganda line coming from Western governments and Western media has repeatedly changed over the years. At first, Assad was producing his own chemical weapons and gassing civilians on the very day weapons inspectors were in Syria and just down the road from where they were located. Eventually, the narrative was that Iran was producing chlorine and shipping it to Syria for use on civilians. Now, Assad has been hiding chemical weapons and using them on civilians. At least the “using them on civilians” part of the propaganda is consistent. We fully expect Russia, Hezbollah, or North Korea to be shipping chemical weapons to Syria next and we fully expect Anthony Deustch and Reuters to report it as if it is fact when it is time for the next phase of the narrative to be rolled out.
But, while we may jest at the stupidity of Western propaganda (and the unfortunate reality that it works on the lowest common denominator), we must also acknowledge that it is extremely dangerous since it has been and will continue to be the justification for yet more military action on the part of the United States and its allies in Syria.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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