Stephen Lendman: Wrongfully Blaming Assad
Clear evidence showed insurgents responsible for Ghouta’s attack. Nothing links Syrian forces.
Two from Lendman
Syria Gas Attack: Assad Wrongfully Blamed
On Monday, UN inspectors released their eagerly awaited report. Security Council members were briefed in closed session.
On Tuesday, the report was published online. It’s titled “Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.”
On September 16, the UN News Centre headlined ” ‘Clear and convincing’ evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria, UN team reports.”
Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom headed the UN team. It’s called the Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.
On March 21, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established it. World Health Organization (WHO) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were involved.
Evidence confirmed sarin gas use. Ban called its Ghouta investigation findings “overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak for themselves.”
“The United Nations Mission has now confirmed, unequivocally and objectively, that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.”
“There must be accountability for the use of chemical weapons. Any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime.”
“But our message today must be more than that: Do not slaughter your people with gas. There must also be no impunity for the crimes being committed with conventional weapons.”
“This is a war crime. The international community has a responsibility to hold the perpetrators accountable and to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.”
Sellstrom’s team was mandated to determine if chemical weapons were used. “It is for others to decide whether to pursue this matter further to determine responsibility,” he said.
“We may all have our own thoughts on this, but I would simply say that this was a grave crime and those responsible must be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Evidence examined came from biomedical hair, urine and blood samples. Soil and environmental samples were analyzed. So were alleged munitions and impact sites.
More than 50 “survivors, medical personnel and first responders” were interviewed. It’s unclear how they were chosen. Lack of clarity raises concerns. Objectivity may have been compromised.
Since conflict erupted in March 2011, Syria repeatedly has been wrongfully blamed for insurgents’ crimes.
The so-called UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry (COI) consistently lies for power. Its reports lack credibility. They largely point fingers one way. They do so duplicitously.
They ignore clear evidence of insurgents use of chemical weapons. They’re silent about numerous massacres they committed. They wrongfully blame Assad.
Clear evidence showed insurgents responsible for Ghouta’s attack. Nothing links Syrian forces. Previous articles explained.
Following the Security Council’s closed briefing, Britain’s UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant lied saying:
“(I)n our view, there is no remaining doubt that it was the (Syrian) regime that used chemical weapons” in Ghouta.
Washington’s UN ambassador Samantha Power issued a lengthy duplicitous statement. She lied saying:
“(T)he technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.”
“But based on our preliminary review, I will note one particular observation. We have associated one type of munition cited in the UN report – 122mm rockets – with previous regime attacks.”
“We have reviewed thousands of open source videos related to the current conflict in Syria and have not observed the opposition manufacturing or using this style of rocket.”
“(M)r. Sellstrom (said sarin used was) professionally made. He said (it) bore none of the characteristics of improvised weapons.”
The UN report said nothing about sarin quality. Power lied claiming otherwise. She wrongfully said Assad “used (chemical weapons) multiple times over the last year.”
Throughout months of conflict, Washington, key NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab states armed, funded and trained mercenary killers.
Saudi Arabia was caught red-handed supplying toxic agents. Last May, Turkish authorities arrested 12 suspected Al Nusra fighters. They had two kilograms of sarin nerve gas.
On September 15, Russia Today headlined “Turkish prosecutors indict Syrian rebels for seeking chemical weapons,” saying:
“The prosecutor in the Turkish city of Adana has issued a 132-page indictment, alleging that six men of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham tried to seek out chemicals with the intent to produce the nerve agent, sarin gas, a number of Turkish publications reported.”
“The main suspect in the case, 35-year-old Syrian-national Hytham Qassap has been charged with ‘being a member of a terrorist organization’ and ‘attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.’ ”
“The other 5, all Turkish nationals are being charged with ‘attempting to acquire weapons for a terrorist organization.’ ”
“The indictment alleges that Qassap tried to setup a network in Turkey in order to obtain chemical materials for the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham Brigades.”
“Citing telephone calls made by the cell, the prosecution believes that the group ordered at least ten tons of chemicals, Al-Alam News Network reports.”
A previous article cited Mint Press News headlining “Exclusive: Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack,” saying:
“Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.”
Insurgents had “tube-like” weapons. Others were in a “huge gas bottle.”
Another previous article said the following:
Pentagon contractors provided chemical weapons training. Syrian forces seized a warehouse. It contained barrels marked “Made in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).” Protective masks were found. So were drugs used when inhaling chemicals.
“The Qatari-German Company for Pharmaceutical Industries (was) inscribed on them.”
Throughout months of conflict, anti-Assad nations provided Western-enlisted death squads with heavy weapons. They still do.
Insurgents bear full responsibility for attacking Ghouta. Claiming they have no access to sarin, other chemical weapons, and high quality munitions doesn’t wash.
Power duplicitous accused Assad of “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.” She wants him prosecuted in the Hague. She endorses military force to topple his government. She supports lawless aggression.
Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Sellstrom’s report requires careful evaluation. It’s a “very technical report. It avoids categorical assessments and conclusions,” he stressed.
It says chemical weapons were used “on a relatively large scale.” It excluded attribution. “There are no solid conclusions and data” suggesting Syria’s responsibility, said Churkin.
“In the process of further review, everyone will be able to make their own conclusions, and we can only hope that they will be professional, not inspired by some political pressure.”
UN inspectors didn’t find warheads filled with sarin gas. They found munitions fragments. They suggest having been fired from multiple rocket launchers.
Other evidence indicates they came from “rebel” held territory. Pro-Assad civilians were targeted. Unaddressed was why would Assad attack his supporters?
Why would he do it with UN inspectors close by? Why would he risk harming his own soldiers and innocent civilians?
Why would he need to use chemical weapons? He’s effectively routing insurgent fighters. He’s doing it consistently.
Other evidence indicates extremist anti-Assad fighters used chemical weapons multiple times. Material evidence of sarin use may have been transported from one location to another.
It may have been done to deceive inspectors. Their report excluded numbers of victims killed.
At most it was scores or perhaps two or three hundred. John Kerry claiming 1,429 conflicts with Britain and France estimating several hundred.
UN inspectors found no evidence of huge numbers. Many questions remain unanswered.
Knee-jerk Western conclusions point fingers the wrong way. Washington wants Assad toppled.
It wants Syrian sovereignty destroyed. It wants subservient puppet governance replacing it.
It wants Iran isolated. It wants Shah era harshness restored. It wants unchallenged regional dominance. War is Obama’s option of choice.
Plans to launch it remain firm. Timing alone is changed. Pretexts are easy to create. Ghouta was a classic false flag.
Expect another major one ahead. Expect it used to wage war. Launching it could come any time. The fullness of time will tell.
Following release of the UN report, White House press secretary Jay Carney said:
“The information provided in that report that the sarin agent was delivered on surface to surface rockets that only the Assad regime has, makes clear the responsibility.”
Last May, UN human rights investigator Carla del Ponte said:
“According to the testimonies we have gathered, the rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas.”
“We still have to deepen our investigation, verify and confirm (the findings) through new witness testimony, but according to what we have established so far, it is at the moment opponents of the regime who are using sarin gas.”
A summary fact sheet accompanied a detailed technical UN report. It said in part:
“During a temporary ceasefire for five hours each day between 26 – 29 August 2013, the Mission was able to access affected sites in Moadamiyah, Ein Tarma and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.
- Interviews with more than 50 survivors, including patients, other victims, health workers and first-responders;
- Documentation of munitions and their sub-components;
- Assessment of symptoms of intoxicated survivors;
- Collection and analysis of bio-medical (hair, urine and blood) samples;
- Collection and analysis of 30 soil and environmental samples.
Analytical Results and Factual Findings:
- Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable of carrying a chemical pay load, were found to still contain sarin;
- Close to the rocket impact sites, survivors were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by sarin;
- A number of survivors clearly diagnosed for intoxification by and with organophosphorous compound and clearly presented symptoms of exposure;
- Almost all of the blood samples from the above same survivors were found positive for sarin and sarin signatures.
UN Missions Conclusions:
“On the basis of the evidence obtained during the investigation of the Ghouta incident, the conclusion of the UN mission is that, on 21 August 2013, chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic on a relatively large scale.
In particular, the environmental, chemical and medical samples collected by the Mission provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”
In response, White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice said evidence UN inspectors reported “reinforces our assessment that these attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime, as only they had the capability to mount an attack in this manner.”
False! Insurgents are fully capable. They’ve been trained to be so. They’re supplied with chemical weapons. They used them multiple times before. They used them in Ghouta. They bear full responsibility.
They’ll use them again. Assad’s repeatedly blamed for their crimes. Expect more false accusations ahead.
Big Lies launch wars. America takes full advantage. Obama plans shock and awe madness.
He’s ravaging one country after another. He’s waging war on humanity. He risks annihilating it altogether. Stopping him matters most.
A Final Comment
Francis Boyle critiqued the UN report. He cited:
(1) Appendix 3, paragraph 3: UN inspectors “admit they were under the control of the opposition in order to make their inspection of Ghouta.”
(2) Appendix 4: “Admittedly this was a rush job designed to meet an artificial deadline of questionable significance.”
(3) Page 15: “So why did none of the 3 hair samples test positive for sarin?”
(3) Statisticians should “do a run on the statistical significance of the findings here given the low number N=34-36 out of the alleged” 1,429 victims Kerry wrongfully claimed.
(4) Appendix 5 – Munitions:
(a) Page 18: Inspectors said “(f)ragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.”
The above discussion suggests the same thing. The alleged crime scenes were manipulated. Doing so made evidence collected suspect, tainted and/or worthless.
According to Boyle:
So-called “munitions ‘evidence’ could have been easily planted beforehand by the opposition that was in complete control of this area” at the time.
(b) According to UN inspectors:
“During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.”
In other words, said Boyle, perhaps so-called “evidence” isn’t any at all.
(5) Appendix 7: Lab 1 and 2 results show “large numbers of the samples indicated NO CW agents: ‘NONE,’ ” said Boyle.
Most likely they were largely conventional munitions fragments. Sarin was present in a small fraction of them. UN inspectors admitted crime scenes were “manipulated.”
They were tampered with. Contamination made them worthless.
Note: Major media reports suppressed what’s most important to report! They ignored vital truths!
They wrongfully blamed Assad for insurgents’ crimes! They did so based on manipulated/corrupted/
According to Boyle:
“At 7.2 on the Biomedical Results, of 36 samples, the 2 labs together could not confirm even ONE chem by means of a urine test.”
“Indeed, most of the urine tests were NA – not available, in other words, not reported.”
UN inspectors’ “report is completely slipshod and worthless, even in accordance with (their) own terms.”
“It establishes almost nothing of any scientific significance. It was rushed on through to provide BKM and the Americans a pretext for further warmongering.”
Doing so shows so-called inspectors willfully deceived. They lied for power. UN agencies operate this way. They’re little more than wholly owned US subsidiaries.
They’re corrupted and worthless. Don’t expect major media scoundrels to explain.
Media Scoundrels Wrongfully Blame Assad for Gas Attack
The blame game repeats with disturbing regularity. Media scoundrels bear full responsibility. They lie for power. They do it repeatedly. They do it disgracefully. They ignore hard facts.
Throughout months of conflict, Assad’s been wrongfully blamed for insurgent massacres, atrocities, chemical weapons use and other high crimes.
Throughout months of conflict, no evidence whatever links Syrian forces to chemical weapons use. They had nothing to do with attacking Ghouta. Not according Washington, Britain, France and Israel.
Media scoundrels regurgitate their lies. It doesn’t surprise. They’re waging war on Syria. They support Obama’s imperial aggression. They endorse his regime change plans. They back military force to do so.
On September 16, The New York Times headlined “Forensic Details in UN Report Point to Assad’s Use of Gas,” saying:
UN inspectors didn’t assign blame. “(D)etails (they) documented included the large size and particular shape of the munitions and the precise direction from which two of them had been fired.”
“Taken together, that information appeared to undercut arguments by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that rebel forces, who are not known to possess such weapons or the training or ability to use them, had been responsible.
“Moreover, those weapons are fired by large, conspicuous launchers.”
“For rebels to have carried out the attack, they would have had to organize an operation with weapons they are not known to have and of considerable scale, sophistication and secrecy – moving the launchers undetected into position in areas under strong government influence or control, keeping them in place unmolested for a sustained attack that would have generated extensive light and noise, and then successfully withdrawing them – all without being detected in any way.”
Throughout months of conflict, Washington, key NATO allies, Israel, and rogue Arab League partners armed, funded and trained insurgents.
They recruited cold-blooded killers. They include Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other extremist elements. Heavy weapons are supplied. So are toxic chemicals.
Pentagon contractors trained them in their handling and use. CIA and US special forces are involved.
Rockets with sarin came from insurgent held territory. Pro-Assad civilians were attacked. Don’t expect Times editors, commentators or other contributors to explain.
The Washington Post headlined “In Syria, UN inspectors find ‘clear and convincing’ evidence of chemical attack.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quoted saying:
The UN report “confirms the position of those of us who have said the regime is guilty.” Senator John McCain (R. AZ) was cited urging war.
The Washington Post owned Foreign Policy (FP) magazine headlined “Russia and the West Spar Over UN Report, Despite Evidence Pointing to Syrian Regime,” saying:
The UN report doesn’t “directly blame either the Syrian government or the Syrian opposition, but the scrupulous level of detail in the report provides new evidence pointing to a military-orchestrated assault rather than a rebel-executed chemical weapons attack.”
Chemical weapons expert Ralf Trapp was quoted. He ignored clear facts explaining opposite of what he said. Doing so discredits his so-called expertise.
He said evidence “is consistent with an alleged use by Syrian government troops.”
It “points to a weapon that came from a military program, used by units that understand and have training in chemical warfare operations.”
Chris Harmer is an Institute for the Study of War senior naval analyst. Jeff White is a pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy defense fellow.
Both agree with Trapp. According to Harmer:
“The rebels in Syria can get off a few mortar rounds here and there. On a good day they might even fire off a salvo of recoilless rifles.”
“But they don’t have the ability to deploy mass indirect fires with rockets, which is how this sarin gas attack occurred in Damascus. The regime does.”
“I suppose the apologists for the regime will say they could have been fired from anywhere along those trajectories, but this certainly supports the US intell conclusion that the rockets came from regime territory.”
False! Previous articles explained. So does information above. Insurgents have opportunity, motive, heavy weapons, chemical agents, and training on how to use them.
FP lied for power. So did sources it cited. Anti-imperial ones were excluded. Truth is suppressed. It’s consistently turned on it head.
The Wall Street Journal went on the warpath. It did so in several reports. It headlined “Report on Gas Attack Emboldens US.”
“White House Says UN Account Confirms Damascus’ Responsibility, Rallies Support for Punitive Steps.” It claims “powerful evidence” indicts Assad. It suggests Iranian involvement.
According to the Journal, the Ghouta attack “relied on rockets that, based on the UN descriptions, were of an Iranian design, though they may have been manufactured in Syria, the experts said.
Iran is Washington’s prime target. It’s Israel’s. Syria is prelude to targeting the Islamic Republic. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus.
The Journal quoted Washington’s UN envoy Samantha Power wrongfully claiming “technical details make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.”
She lied saying so. It’s the oil, gas and regional dominance, stupid!
The Journal quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius saying “All of the (anti-Assad) options remain on the table.”
Britain’s UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant said evidence leaves “no doubt that it was the regime that used chemical weapons.
A previous day Journal editorial headlined “Into the Syrian Bazaar,” saying:
“Even if Assad gives up his chemical weapons, he escapes unpunished for using them.”
Two weeks ago, John Kerry lied calling him “a thug and murderer.” America is the world champion thuggish mass murderer and much more. Kerry’s complicit in high crimes.
Obama lied saying his “goal is to make sure what happened (in Ghouta) does not happen again.”
He bears full responsibility for what happened. Syria is his war. Cutthroat killers are his shock troops. They’re supplied toxic chemicals. They’re trained how to use them.
Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. A separate Senator John Barrasso (R. WY) op-ed headlined “Why the Russians Can’t Be Trusted in Syria.”
It doesn’t surprise. He’s one of many extremist Capitol Hill right wing neocons. He’s unfit to serve. Journal editors featured his commentary.
He said when Obama “reset” relations with Russia in 2009, “Americans never expected that it would include making Vladimir Putin the de facto US ambassador to Syria in 2013.”
The Kerry/Lavrov deal is the “most recent evidence,” he said. It’s “a Russian delaying tactic on behalf of its Syrian ally – a tactic we’ve seen before.”
He claims Moscow is “supplying Assad with advanced cruise missiles.” He implied offensive ones. He better check his facts. Russia contacted to supply Syria with sophisticated S-300 and other air defense launch systems.
Barrasso claims “Moscow’s military support of the Assad regime is one of the main reasons that more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the current conflict.”
“(T)he Russians have vetoed every (Security Council) attempt to end civil war.”
Moscow and China forthrightly blocked Washington’s planned aggression. They did so with three Security Council vetoes.
There’s nothing civil about Syria’s conflict. US-enlisted death squads wage it. They’re imported from dozens of countries. Barrasso didn’t explain.
His anti-Russian diatribe included a laundry list of lies. “For more than four years, the Obama administration has capitulated to Mr. Putin’s demands and accepted his rebukes.”
Dmitry Medvedev was president throughout most of the period. His policies were very conciliatory. He got nothing back in return.
In March 2012, Putin was reelected president. He won overwhelmingly. On May 7, he assumed office. Perhaps Barrasso didn’t notice. His Senate record reflects incompetence. He prioritizes war and more of it.
Moscow isn’t complying with its own commitment to eliminate its chemical weapons, he said. No corroborating evidence was cited.
Plenty suggests Washington violates Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) provisions repeatedly. It uses chemical, biological and radiological weapons in all its wars. It does so lawlessly.
Barrasso didn’t explain. Instead he said:
“Based on the experience of the past four years, the Russians, like the Iranians, are well aware that pretending to go along can buy time until the Obama administration becomes distracted with another issue.”
“The US should be prepared for the diplomatic effort on Syria to fall flat and have more effective alternatives ready.”
“The president needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a coherent, realistic Syria policy – one that does not rely on Russia’s cooperation.”
Barrasso has lawless aggression in mind. Neocon extremists think that way. They support permanent wars.
They endorse waging them against humanity. It bears repeating. They risk launching WW III.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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