August 23, 2013
Obama has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to “urgently probe” the unsubstantiated claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on civilians outside Damascus this week. Within hours of the alleged attack, France called for a “reaction with force” and American politicians, led by Arizona SenatorJohn McCain, demanded an immediate attack on Syria.
CNN mulls options for illegal Syrian intervention.
“It is long past time for the United States and our friends and allies to respond to Assad’s continuing mass atrocities in Syria with decisive actions, including limited military strikes to degrade Assad’s air power and ballistic missile capabilities,” said McCain, who is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Obama hinted the United States is now working to arrange a consensus ahead on an attack. “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work,” he said.
“Sometimes what we’ve seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff, that does not turn out well,” he said in response to McCain and the neocons in Congress pushing for immediate military action. “We have to think through strategically what’s going to be in our long-term national interests, even as we work cooperatively internationally to do everything we can to put pressure on those who would kill innocent civilians.”
Following earlier disputed chemical attacks in Syria, Obama signed off on arms shipments to the CIA’s mercenaries in the country. The latest supposed attack, characterized as a false flag provocation by Russia, may result in further escalation of the war by assorted proxies, including the disorganized Free Syrian Army, the ruthless al-Nusra Front and Iraqi affiliates of al-Qaeda.
In addition to meeting with top officials at the European Union, the United Nations and in Jordan, Qatar and Turkey, the last two playing instrumental roles in the ongoing attempt to undermine the al-Assad government, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Assi Jarba.
Ahmad Jarba, who replaced Moaz al-Khatib as president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, has close ties with the government of Saudi Arabia.
The timing of the alleged chemical attack and the probability of a Western military response following a cursory investigation and a rubber stamped United Nations imprimatur for an attack on Syria could not have arrived at a more opportune time.
“The situation in Syria is now desperate,” declared Jarba during a meeting with Kerry prior to the supposed chemical attack.
Objective observers admit that the CIA’s proxies, despite their radical Sunni extremism and numerous massacres – in Jisr Al-Shugur, in the Alawi village of Hatla in Deir Al-Zor, the disputed attack in the town of Taldou (known as the Houla massacre), and the horrific massacre at Tal Abyad (450 Kurd civilians, including more than 120 children, murdered by the Turkish supported al-Nusra Front) – are losing the terror war against al-Assad and his highly disciplined military.
Russia: Provocation was “pre-planned”
Paul Joseph Watson
August 23, 2013
Hundreds of videos showing apparent victims of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were uploaded to YouTube on August 20, a day before media reports say the attack actually happened, prompting Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman to assert the incident was a “pre-planned” provocation staged by rebels.
As PBS reports, “At around 3 a.m. (on August 21st) , patients started streaming in from neighborhoods in suburban Damascus like Zamalka and Ain Terma,” following the alleged chemical weapons attack.
However, a playlist of videos entitled ‘Alleged Chemical Attack in Eastern Ghouta August 21st 2013‘ contains 159 videos – every one of which was uploaded to YouTube on August 20th.
While no one is denying that some kind of attack did indeed take place, the fact that hundreds of videos showing victims of the attack were uploaded to YouTube a day before the incident is supposed to have actually happened remains unexplained.
The time stamp attributed to uploaded videos applies to the country in which they were uploaded, meaning that the videos were uploaded in Syria on August 20th, which is seemingly impossible given that the attack took place in the early hours of the 21st. The only way the videos could display as being uploaded on the 20th was if they were uploaded in America, which is on an earlier time zone.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich, this represents evidence of a “pre-planned” provocation. Lukashevich labeled the accusations “another anti-Syrian propaganda wave.”
“We’re getting more new evidence that this criminal act was of a provocative nature,” he told RT. “In particular, there are reports circulating on the Internet, in particular that the materials of the incident and accusations against government troops had been posted for several hours before the so-called attack. Thus, it was a pre-planned action.”
The unanswered question as to how footage showing victims of an attack that occurred on August 21 was uploaded to YouTube on August 20 is in addition to doubts cast about the veracity of the videos by several chemical weapons experts.
Paula Vanninen of the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention questions the behavior of those seen handling the victims in the video footage. “At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the people that are helping them are without any protective clothing and without any respirators….In a real case, they would also be contaminated and would also be having symptoms,” he stated.
Stephen Johnson, an expert in weapons and chemical explosives at Cranfield Forensic Institute, told Euro News that the video footage also looked suspect.
“There are, within some of the videos, examples which seem a little hyper-real, and almost as if they’ve been set up. Which is not to say that they are fake but it does cause some concern. Some of the people with foaming, the foam seems to be too white, too pure, and not consistent with the sort of internal injury you might expect to see, which you’d expect to be bloodier or yellower,” Johnson said.
His comments were echoed by chemical and biological weapons researcher Jean Pascal Zanders, who said that the footage appears to show victims of asphyxiation, which is not consistent with the use of mustard gas or the nerve agents VX or sarin. “I’m deliberately not using the term chemical weapons here,” he said, adding that the use of “industrial toxicants” was a more likely explanation.
June 23, 2013
The Islamic politics and cultural website Islamic Invitation Turkey claims that several videos were uploaded one day before the reports on chemical weapons use near Damascus in Syria. This evidence shows that the terrorists massacred people then recorded the scenes to deceive the world, but they gave themselves away. Terrorists in Syria uploaded the video of their crimes in East Ghouta, Damascus on August 20, 2013 and then blamed the Syrian government for the attack early on August 21, 2013, says the IIT website.
This evidence supposedly shows the massacre by terrorists in Syria and their struggle to convince the public that the Syrian regime is behind the massacre. You will see that the terrorists uploaded the videos before the massacre and their so-called allegation of the time when the chemical weapons attack by the Syrian Army occurred.
Even if we regard the chemical attack as taking place at 03:30, it is impossible to take the film of the scene and uploading those tens of videos… this shows that terrorists prepared and organized all of the scenes beforehand then accused the Syrian regime of a massacre that terrorists carried out.
They did not even have mercy for the children and used them to deceive the public. They gathered all civilians, women and children to certain areas and then killed them brutally, then blamed the Syrian regime in order to legalize their brutality.
GRAPHIC VIDEO 18+
August 24, 2013
CBS News reports that the U.S. is finalizing plans for war against Syria – and positioning ships to launchcruise missiles against the Syrian government – based on the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people.
The last time the U.S. blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack, that claim was was debunked.
But is the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people true this time?
Russia, which has previously said it has proof of chemical weapons use by the rebels, expressed deep scepticism about the opposition’s claims.
The foreign ministry said the timing of the allegations as UN inspectors began their work “makes us think that we are once again dealing with a premeditated provocation.”
But Russia isn’t the only doubter.
“At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the people that are helping them are without any protective clothing and without any respirators,” said Paula Vanninen, director of Verifin, the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
“In a real case, they would also be contaminated and would also be having symptoms.”
John Hart, head of the Chemical and Biological Security Project at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said he had not seen the telltale evidence in the eyes of the victims that would be compelling evidence of chemical weapons use.
“Of the videos that I’ve seen for the last few hours, none of them show pinpoint pupils… this would indicate exposure to organophosphorus nerve agents,” he said.
Gwyn Winfield, editor of CBRNe World magazine, which specialises in chemical weapons issues, said the evidence did not suggest that the chemicals used were of the weapons-grade that the Syrian army possesses in its stockpiles.
“We’re not seeing reports that doctors and nurses… are becoming fatalities, so that would suggest that the toxicity of it isn’t what we would consider military sarin. It may well be that it is a lower-grade,” Winfield told AFP.
Western experts on chemical warfare who have examined at least part of the footage are skeptical that weapons-grade chemical substances were used, although they all emphasize that serious conclusions cannot be reached without thorough on-site examination.
Dan Kaszeta, a former officer of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps and a leading private consultant, pointed out a number of details absent from the footage so far: “None of the people treating the casualties or photographing them are wearing any sort of chemical-warfare protective gear,” he says, “and despite that, none of them seem to be harmed.” This would seem to rule out most types of military-grade chemical weapons, including the vast majority of nerve gases, since these substances would not evaporate immediately, especially if they were used in sufficient quantities to kill hundreds of people, but rather leave a level of contamination on clothes and bodies which would harm anyone coming in unprotected contact with them in the hours after an attack. In addition, he says that “there are none of the other signs you would expect to see in the aftermath of a chemical attack, such as intermediate levels of casualties, severe visual problems, vomiting and loss of bowel control.”
Steve Johnson, a leading researcher on the effects of hazardous material exposure at England’s Cranfield University who has worked with Britain’s Ministry of Defense on chemical warfare issues, agrees that “from the details we have seen so far, a large number of casualties over a wide area would mean quite a pervasive dispersal. With that level of chemical agent, you would expect to see a lot of contamination on the casualties coming in, and it would affect those treating them who are not properly protected. We are not seeing that here.”
Additional questions also remain unanswered, especially regarding the timing of the attack, being that it occurred on the exact same day that a team of UN inspectors was in Damascus to investigate earlier claims of chemical weapons use. It is also unclear what tactical goal the Syrian army would have been trying to achieve, when over the last few weeks it has managed to push back the rebels who were encroaching on central areas of the capital. But if this was not a chemical weapons attack, what then caused the deaths of so many people without any external signs of trauma?
The Syrian rebels (and perhaps other players in the region) have a clear interest in presenting this as the largest chemical attack by the army loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad to date, even if the cause was otherwise, especially while the UN inspectors are in the country. It is also in their interest to do so whilst U.S. President Barack Obama remains reluctant to commit any military support to the rebels, when only the crossing of a “red line” could convince him to change his policy.
The rebels and the doctors on the scene may indeed believe that chemical weapons were used, since they fear such an attack, but they may not have the necessary knowledge and means to make such a diagnosis. The European Union demanded Wednesday that the UN inspectors be granted access to the new sites of alleged chemical attacks, but since this is not within the team’s mandate, it is unlikely that the Syrian government will do so.
Stephen Johnson, an expert in weapons and chemical explosives at Cranfield Forensic Institute, said that the video footage looked suspect:
There are, within some of the videos, examples which seem a little hyper-real, and almost as if they’ve been set up. Which is not to say that they are fake but it does cause some concern. Some of the people with foaming, the foam seems to be too white, too pure, and not consistent with the sort of internal injury you might expect to see, which you’d expect to be bloodier or yellower.
Chemical and biological weapons researcher Jean Pascal Zanders said that the footage appears to show victims of asphyxiation, which is not consistent with the use of mustard gas or the nerve agents VX or sarin:
I’m deliberately not using the term chemical weapons here,” he said, adding that the use of “industrial toxicants” was a more likely explanation.
Michael Rivero asks:
1. Why would Syria’s Assad invite United Nations chemical weapons inspectors to Syria, then launch a chemical weapons attack against women and children on the very day they arrive, just miles from where they are staying?
2. If Assad were going to use chemical weapons, wouldn’t he use them against the hired mercenary army trying to oust him? What does he gain attacking women and children? Nothing! The gain is all on the side of the US Government desperate to get the war agenda going again.
As I type these words, US trained and equipped forces are already across the border into Syria, and US naval forces are sailing into position to launch a massive cruise missile attack into Syria that will surely kill more Syrians than were claimed to have died in the chemical attack.
Last time there was a chemical weapon attack in Syria, Bush administration office Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson said that he thought Israel might have given chemical weapons to the Syrian rebels to frame the government.
British MP George Galloway just floated the same theory in regards to the new chemical weapon attack.
Of course, we don’t know who carried out the attack, or what weapon was used.
But given the well-documented fact that the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for 20 years straight – and planned to use false ploys for 50 years – it is worth being skeptical until all of the evidence is in.
Indeed, many are asking whether this is Iraq War 2.0. For example, the Independent writes:
Pictures showing that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta just east of Damascus are … likely to be viewed sceptically because the claims so much resemble those made about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) before the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Like the Iraqi opposition to Saddam, who provided most of the evidence of WMDs, the Syrian opposition has every incentive to show the Syrian government deploying chemical weapons in order to trigger foreign intervention.
But the obvious fact that for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons would be much against their own interests does not prove it did not happen. Governments and armies do stupid things. But it is difficult to imagine any compelling reason why they should do so since they have plenty of other means of killing people in Eastern Ghouta, such as heavy artillery or small arms, which they regularly use.
The evidence so far for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army is second-hand and comes from a biased source.