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Syria and sarin gas: US claims have a very familiar ring

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  • Romi Elnagar
    Syria and sarin gas: US claims have a very familiar ring Reports of the Assad regime s use of chemical weapons are part of a retold drama riddled with
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 29 3:39 PM
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      Syria and sarin gas: US claims have a very familiar ring
      Reports of the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons are part of a retold drama riddled with plot-holes
      Robert Fisk





      Is there any way of escaping the theatre of chemical weapons? First,
      Israeli "military intelligence" says that Bashar al-Assad's forces have
      used/have probably used/might have used/could use chemical weapons. Then Chuck Hagel, the US Defence Secretary, pops up in Israel to promise
      even more firepower for Israel's over-armed military – avoiding any
      mention of Israel's more than 200 nuclear warheads – and then imbibing
      all the Israeli "intelligence" on Syria's use/probable use/possible use
      of chemical weapons.
      Then good ol' Chuck returns to Washington and tells the world that
      "this is serious business. We need all the facts." The White House tells Congress that US intelligence agencies, presumably the same as Israeli
      intelligence agencies since the two usually waffle in tandem, have
      "varying degrees of confidence" in the assessment. But Senator Dianne
      Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee – she who
      managed to defend Israel's actions in 1996 after it massacred 105
      civilians, mostly children, at Qana in Lebanon – announces of Syria that "it is clear that red lines have been crossed and action must be taken
      to prevent larger-scale use". And the oldest of current White House
      clichés – hitherto used exclusively on Iran's probable/possible
      development of nuclear weapons – is then deployed: "All options are on
      the table."
      In any normal society the red lights would now be
      flashing, especially in the world's newsrooms. But no. We scribes remind the world that Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a "game changer" – at least Americans admit it is a game – and our
      reports confirm what no one has actually confirmed. Chemical arms used.
      In two Canadian TV studios, I am approached by producers brandishing the same headline. I tell them that on air I shall trash the "evidence" –
      and suddenly the story is deleted from both programmes. Not because they don't want to use it – they will later – but because they don't want
      anyone suggesting it might be a load of old cobblers.
      CNN has no
      such inhibitions. Their reporter in Amman is asked what is known about
      the use of chemical weapons by Syria and replies: "Not as much as the
      world would want to know … the psyche of the Assad regime …." But has
      anyone tried? Or simply asked an obvious question, posed to me by a
      Syrian intelligence man in Damascus last week: if Syria can cause
      infinitely worse damage with its MiG bombers (which it does) why would
      it want to use chemicals? And since both the regime and its enemies have accused each other of using such weapons, why isn't Chuck as fearful of the rebels as he is of the Assad dictatorship?
      It all comes back
      to that most infantile cliché of all: that the US and Israel fear
      Assad's chemical weapons "falling into the wrong hands". They are
      frightened, in other words, that these chemicals might end up in the
      armoury of the very same rebels, especially the Islamists, that
      Washington, London, Paris, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting. And if these are the "wrong hands", then presumably the weapons in Assad's
      armoury are in the "right hands". That was the case with Saddam
      Hussein's chemical weapons – until he used them against the Kurds.
      Now we know that there have been three specific incidents in which sarin
      gas has supposedly been used in Syria: in Aleppo, where both sides
      accused each other (the hospital videos in fact came from Syrian state
      TV); in Homs, apparently on a very small scale; and in the outskirts of
      Damascus. And, although the White House appears to have missed this,
      three Syrian child refugees were brought to hospital in the northern
      Lebanese city of Tripoli with deep and painful burns on their bodies.
      But now for a few problems. Phosphorus shells can inflict deep burns, and
      perhaps cause birth defects. But the Americans do not suggest that the
      Syrian military might have used phosphorus (which is indeed a chemical); after all, American troops used the very same weapon in the Iraqi city
      of Fallujah, where there is indeed now an explosion of birth defects. I
      suppose our hatred of the Assad regime might better be reflected by
      horror at reports of the torture by Syrian secret policemen of the
      regime's detainees. But there's a problem here, too: only 10 years ago,
      the US was "renditioning" innocent men, including a Canadian citizen, to Damascus to be interrogated and tortured by the very same secret
      policemen. And if we mention Saddam's chemical weapons, there's another
      glitch: because the components of these vile weapons were manufactured
      by a factory in New Jersey and sent to Baghdad by the US.
      That is
      not the story in our newsrooms, of course. Walk into a TV studio and
      they're all reading newspapers. Walk into a newspaper office and they're all watching television. It's osmotic. And the headlines are all the
      same: Syria uses chemical weapons. That's how the theatre works.
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-and-sarin-gas-us-claims-have-a-very-familiar-ring-8591214.html


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Cort Greene
      Romi just to let you know while you and the US give cover to Assad, Hagel said again today the US is not going to do anything to overthrow the regime. But Scud
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 29 4:11 PM
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        Romi

        just to let you know while you and the US give cover to Assad, Hagel said
        again today the US is not going to do anything to overthrow the regime.

        But Scud missiles, cluster bombs, bombs dropped from planes with *
        insecticide* and missiles have been used by the fascists and Assad also
        has a Air Force to use, so Romi what is the fucking difference!!!
        1708 GMT: *Chemical Weapon Attack.*
        Some sources are reporting that the victims of today's attack have been
        moved to a hospital in Turkey. If this is the case, then blood and tissue
        samples may be taken. Two additional videos (video
        1<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leNUr4GmVYk&feature=youtu.be>
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leNUr4GmVYk&feature=youtu.be,


        video 2 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4M6EXLdWWk&feature=youtu.be>)
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4M6EXLdWWk&feature=youtu.be show the
        victims being treated by doctors.

        Video showing the effects of the gases in
        #*Saraqeb*<https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Saraqeb&src=hash>
        #*Idlib* <https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Idlib&src=hash>
        #*Syria*<https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Syria&src=hash>
        http://youtu.be/jC6levmnRoY?a <http://t.co/qIB038p0qj>

        We're trying to identify the canister found in the updates below. It does
        resemble other polymer sub-munitions used to disperse chemical weapons, but
        without a positive identification there is not enough information to
        conclusively prove the link between Assad submunitions and the claimed
        chemical attacks.... yet. Stay tuned.

        1616 GMT: *Chemical Weapons Attack.*

        Eliot Higgins is very observant, and he has found evidence that may
        directly tie the evidence of today's claimed chemical weapons attack in
        Saraqib to the one in Sheikh Maghsoud, Aleppo. The canister that allegedly
        held the chemical weapon has been found at both claimed chemical weapons
        attacks<http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/links-between-alleged-chemical-attacks.html>
        .

        These canisters appear to have been dropped in a similar style as a cluster
        bombing. That means that there would be no large explosion, but gas could
        be distributed over a wide area.

        Chemical canisters falling from the sky? If this information holds up, this
        could be a major piece of evidence that indicates that the regime is behind
        both incidents.

        We're working to identify that canister right now.

        1556 GMT: *New Chemical Attack Reported in Idlib.*

        Activists are reporting that there have been explosions in Saraqib, an
        opposition town in Idlib province, and some residents are experiencing
        effects from gases released from the bombs. Some in the opposition are
        clearly labeling this a chemical weapons attack. Here are some of the
        pictures and videos emerging:

        pic.twitter.com/HHIzVDCB1w <http://t.co/HHIzVDCB1w>

        One of the shells that landed in
        #*Saraqib*<https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Saraqib&src=hash>
        #*Idlib* <https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Idlib&src=hash> today and led to
        cases of choking and difficulty breathing
        #*Syria*<https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Syria&src=hash>
        pic.twitter.com/c2Bs0apdpl <http://t.co/c2Bs0apdpl>


        The LCC has posted this video, reportedly showing the bombing but also the
        aftereffects. The video is disturbing.

        We're analyzing the footage now.

        1528 GMT: *Head of Hezbollah to Speak.*

        Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah will make an unscheduled speech
        tomorrow:

        Nasrallah is just getting back from Iran, where he spoke with Supreme
        Leader Khamenei. The *Daily
        Star*reports<http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/Apr-22/214589-nasrallah-met-khamenei-in-iran-to-make-speech-may-9.ashx#axzz2Rri4b6bS>
        :

        *

        Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah recently held talks in Tehran with
        Iran�s supreme leader, and is expected to tackle allegations about his
        party�s role in the Syrian conflict and Lebanon�s political crisis during a
        much anticipated speech on May 9. Sources close to Hezbollah told The Daily
        Star that Nasrallah held talks in recent weeks with Sayyed Ali Khamenei.
        Hezbollah has not issued an official statement about the meeting.
        *

        Nasrallah also met with Russian Deputy Foreign
        Minister<http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/Apr-28/215320-bogdanov-meets-nasrallah-concludes-lebanon-visit.ashx#axzz2Rri4b6bS>
        Mikhail
        Bogdanov over the weekend, and Syria was at the head of the agenda.

        Syria Today: The Debate Over Chemical Weapons
        (Continued)<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/28/syria-today-the-debate-over-chemical-weapons-continued.html>



        inShare

        Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 16:30 | Scott
        Lucas<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/author/scott-lucas>
        in EA Live <http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/category/ea-live>, EA
        Middle East and
        Turkey<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/category/ea-middle-east-and-turkey>
        , Middle East and
        Iran<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/category/middle-east-and-iran>

        *Dead animals in Khan Assal in Aleppo Province after an alleged chemical
        weapons attack last month (Photo: George Ourfalian/Reuters)*

        *See also Syria Feature: The Lesson of the Destruction of the Ummayad
        Mosque<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/28/syria-feature-the-lesson-of-the-destruction-of-the-ummayad-m.html>

        Middle East Today: Killing Off an "Independent" Egyptian News
        Site<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/28/middle-east-today-killing-off-an-independent-egyptian-news-s.html>

        Saturday's Syria Today: A Chemical Weapons
        "Game-Changer"?<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/27/syria-today-a-chemical-weapons-game-changer.html>
        *
        ------------------------------

        1515 GMT: *Insurgent Leader on Chemical Weapons, Jabhat al-Nusra, and
        Prospect of Victory*

        In an interview, General Salem Idriss, the head of the insurgent Joiot
        Military Command, has
        claimed<http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/28/conversations_with_the_general_salim_idris_free_syrian_army>
        that
        regime forces used "the kind of chemical weapons" that are "not so very
        well known" in the cities of Aleppo, Raqqa, and Homs --- thus indicating
        that the insurgents have not been able to identify the nature of the
        chemicals allegedly used.

        In the town of Khan al-Assal, allegedly attacked last month, Idriss said
        that the Syrian military had employed "some kinds of gases" and "phosphorus
        bombs" against civilians.

        Idriss said the importance of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra ---
        which has been elevated by much of the media because of the exaggerated
        claim that it is linked to Al Qa'eada --- has been exaggerated: "The
        fighters in Jabhat al-Nusra are not more than 5,000 in all the country.
        Compare 5,000 to that, they [have] very few fighters in Syria."

        The commander added, "We don't coordinate with them, we don't have any
        plans to work with them in the future. They are a special group, and this
        group is not working under our command."

        Idriss claimed, "I]f we have enough weapons and ammunition we can put an
        end to the fight in Syria, we can fall the regime of Bashar al-Assad. In
        not more than two months. We can do that."

        0925 GMT: *Oil Watch*

        Indian oil companies have said they are pulling out of
        operations<http://www.sunday-guardian.com/business/india-abandons-syrian-oil-fields#.UXy8zWhbFLw.twitter>
        in
        northern Syria following the capture of oilfields by insurgents.

        An Indian consortium held 33.33% to 37.5% interest in four
        production_sharing contracts covering 36 production fields, operated by
        Syria's Al Furat Petroleum Company.

        0745 GMT: *Hezbollah in Syria*

        A Reuters article from northern
        Lebanon<http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/26/us-syria-crisis-hezbollah-idUSBRE93P09720130426>
        points
        to the involvement --- and casualties --- of the Lebanese organisation
        Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict:

        **

        *On Wednesday afternoon, machine gun fire rang out through Baalbek's narrow
        streets, signaling the arrival of another dead Hezbollah fighter from
        Syria, 12 km (7 miles) to the east.

        Around 30 of his comrades quickly aligned in the street and straightened
        their green berets, readying themselves to carry the corpse on their
        shoulders.

        "We have one or two of these funerals every day in Baalbek," said a young
        electronics shopkeeper, who asked to remain anonymous due to the
        sensitivity of the issue.
        *

        *A Hezbollah policeman in a polyester blue shirt told Reuters not to film
        the public funeral. "There are five or six Hezbollah martyrs every day from
        northern Lebanon," he said quietly, ushering the car away.*

        0635 GMT: *Regime Attacks in Aleppo*

        Human Rights Watch has put out another
        report<http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/26/syria-new-air-missile-strikes-kill-civilians>
        charging
        that the regime with numerous civilian deaths in Aleppo city from air and
        missile attacks "without damaging any apparent opposition military targets".

        On seven-day mission to Aleppo, Human Rights Watch researchers documented
        five attacks between 18 March and 7 April in which at least 84 civilians,
        including 36 children. The organisation "visited the site of each attack,
        interviewed witnesses, and, where possible, examined the remnants of the
        munitions used".

        0605 GMT: *Casualties*

        The Local Coordination Committees claim 152 people were
        killed<http://www.lccsyria.org/11296> on
        Saturday, including 60 in Damascus and its suburbs, 21 in Daraa Province,
        and 20 in Aleppo Province.

        The Violations Documentation Center
        <https://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/> puts
        the confirmed death toll at 58,408 since the conflict begin in March 2011,
        an increase of 125 from yesterday.

        Of those killed, 45,043 were civilians, a rise of 81 from yesterday.

        0535 GMT: *Chemical Weapons*

        Heavy fighting continued in parts of Aleppo and around Damascus on
        Saturday, but the headlines continued to be dominated by the possibility of
        chemical weapons attacks by the regime last month.

        As we noted on Friday, that discussion --- important not only for
        establishing what happened in areas like al-Otaybah near in the capital and
        in Khan Assal in Aleppo Province, where 26 people died, but also for its
        implications for foreign support of the insurgency to stop the supposed
        threat --- has split EA staff.

        James Miller takes the
        line<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/27/syria-today-a-chemical-weapons-game-changer.html#1625>
        that
        the regime has attacked with chemical weapons, working with a strategic
        assessment by Joseph Holliday of the Institute for the Study of War:

        *I am confident that two separate incidents, reported by independent
        groups, at the exact same time, cannot be a coincidence. There are also
        other incidences which do appear to similarly line up with the regime's
        goals.*

        *Perhaps Holliday says it best. Perhaps the "wily Assad" has outfoxed Obama
        by using small-scale chemical attacks to terrorize while still not giving
        the Obama administration the evidence it needs, all the while blocking a UN
        investigation and crying victim at the same time.*

        Another EA analyst of Syria is not so certain:

        *Holliday makes major assumptions. He has no idea whether this is Assad's
        strategy. He has no idea if chemical weapons were used --- or if they were
        used, what control Assad himself has over the use.*

        *The situation is more fluid and chaotic than portrayed here.*

        And Scott Lucas is still
        holding<http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/4/26/syria-today-the-debate-over-chemical-weapons.html#0500>
        to
        his argument that, whether or not we ever know the "truth", it is the
        politics that matters here:

        *While no one has been able to establish if chemical weapons have been used
        in the Syrian conflict, it is likely that the assertion of regime use will
        escalate --- not just over the specific issue, but to rationalise increased
        intervention by outside forces.*






        On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 5:39 PM, Romi Elnagar <bluesapphire48@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Syria and sarin gas: US claims have a very familiar ring
        > Reports of the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons are part of a retold
        > drama riddled with plot-holes
        > Robert Fisk
        >
        > Is there any way of escaping the theatre of chemical weapons? First,
        > Israeli "military intelligence" says that Bashar al-Assad's forces have
        > used/have probably used/might have used/could use chemical weapons. Then
        > Chuck Hagel, the US Defence Secretary, pops up in Israel to promise
        > even more firepower for Israel's over-armed military � avoiding any
        > mention of Israel's more than 200 nuclear warheads � and then imbibing
        > all the Israeli "intelligence" on Syria's use/probable use/possible use
        > of chemical weapons.
        > Then good ol' Chuck returns to Washington and tells the world that
        > "this is serious business. We need all the facts." The White House tells
        > Congress that US intelligence agencies, presumably the same as Israeli
        > intelligence agencies since the two usually waffle in tandem, have
        > "varying degrees of confidence" in the assessment. But Senator Dianne
        > Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee � she who
        > managed to defend Israel's actions in 1996 after it massacred 105
        > civilians, mostly children, at Qana in Lebanon � announces of Syria that
        > "it is clear that red lines have been crossed and action must be taken
        > to prevent larger-scale use". And the oldest of current White House
        > clich�s � hitherto used exclusively on Iran's probable/possible
        > development of nuclear weapons � is then deployed: "All options are on
        > the table."
        > In any normal society the red lights would now be
        > flashing, especially in the world's newsrooms. But no. We scribes remind
        > the world that Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a
        > "game changer" � at least Americans admit it is a game � and our
        > reports confirm what no one has actually confirmed. Chemical arms used.
        > In two Canadian TV studios, I am approached by producers brandishing the
        > same headline. I tell them that on air I shall trash the "evidence" �
        > and suddenly the story is deleted from both programmes. Not because they
        > don't want to use it � they will later � but because they don't want
        > anyone suggesting it might be a load of old cobblers.
        > CNN has no
        > such inhibitions. Their reporter in Amman is asked what is known about
        > the use of chemical weapons by Syria and replies: "Not as much as the
        > world would want to know � the psyche of the Assad regime �." But has
        > anyone tried? Or simply asked an obvious question, posed to me by a
        > Syrian intelligence man in Damascus last week: if Syria can cause
        > infinitely worse damage with its MiG bombers (which it does) why would
        > it want to use chemicals? And since both the regime and its enemies have
        > accused each other of using such weapons, why isn't Chuck as fearful of the
        > rebels as he is of the Assad dictatorship?
        > It all comes back
        > to that most infantile clich� of all: that the US and Israel fear
        > Assad's chemical weapons "falling into the wrong hands". They are
        > frightened, in other words, that these chemicals might end up in the
        > armoury of the very same rebels, especially the Islamists, that
        > Washington, London, Paris, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting. And if
        > these are the "wrong hands", then presumably the weapons in Assad's
        > armoury are in the "right hands". That was the case with Saddam
        > Hussein's chemical weapons � until he used them against the Kurds.
        > Now we know that there have been three specific incidents in which sarin
        > gas has supposedly been used in Syria: in Aleppo, where both sides
        > accused each other (the hospital videos in fact came from Syrian state
        > TV); in Homs, apparently on a very small scale; and in the outskirts of
        > Damascus. And, although the White House appears to have missed this,
        > three Syrian child refugees were brought to hospital in the northern
        > Lebanese city of Tripoli with deep and painful burns on their bodies.
        > But now for a few problems. Phosphorus shells can inflict deep burns, and
        > perhaps cause birth defects. But the Americans do not suggest that the
        > Syrian military might have used phosphorus (which is indeed a chemical);
        > after all, American troops used the very same weapon in the Iraqi city
        > of Fallujah, where there is indeed now an explosion of birth defects. I
        > suppose our hatred of the Assad regime might better be reflected by
        > horror at reports of the torture by Syrian secret policemen of the
        > regime's detainees. But there's a problem here, too: only 10 years ago,
        > the US was "renditioning" innocent men, including a Canadian citizen, to
        > Damascus to be interrogated and tortured by the very same secret
        > policemen. And if we mention Saddam's chemical weapons, there's another
        > glitch: because the components of these vile weapons were manufactured
        > by a factory in New Jersey and sent to Baghdad by the US.
        > That is
        > not the story in our newsrooms, of course. Walk into a TV studio and
        > they're all reading newspapers. Walk into a newspaper office and they're
        > all watching television. It's osmotic. And the headlines are all the
        > same: Syria uses chemical weapons. That's how the theatre works.
        >
        > http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-and-sarin-gas-us-claims-have-a-very-familiar-ring-8591214.html
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        --
        *A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to
        be justified.

        (Also quoted as "The end may justify the means as long as there is
        something that justifies the end.")

        Leon Trotsky

        Their Morals and Ours (1938)*


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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