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The Ghouta chemical attack and the unraveling of Ankara’s official story

By Neil Clark | RT | December 16, 2015

It was the chemical weapons attack that so nearly led to direct war between the US, the UK, France and the Syrian government; a war which most likely would have delivered the whole of Syria to IS and Al-Qaeda extremists.

The horrific Ghouta attack of August 21, 2013, which killed hundreds of civilians, including many children, was blamed on President Assad and his government by Western political leaders and elite media commentators.

Those who dared to question this version of events were predictably denounced as ’conspiracy theorists’ and/or ’Assad apologists’.

Today, however, new evidence has emerged that questions the ‘official’ narrative. Could it be that, as was the case with Iraqi WMDs, we were lied to again by those individuals desperate to launch another ‘regime change’ war in the Middle East?

Interestingly, the US and its allies never publicly produced any hard evidence showing that Syrian government forces had carried out the attacks, but told us that it had to be them because no one else possessed or had the capability to use chemical weapons.

But now Turkish MP Eren Erdem has told RT that Islamic State terrorists, then going under the name of Iraqi Al-Qaeda, received all the necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey.

Erdem, who is now being charged with treason for his comments, revealed that an investigation by Turkish police was started but then the case was closed, and all the suspects were released near the Turkish/Syrian border. He accused the Turkish authorities of a high-level cover up.

The Turkish MP says the evidence shows that IS, and not the Syrian government, was responsible for the Ghouta attacks.

“This attack was conducted just days before the sarin operation in Turkey. It’s a high probability that this attack was carried out with those basic materials shipped through Turkey. It is said the regime forces are responsible, but the indictment says it’s ISIS. UN inspectors went to the site but they couldn’t find any evidence. But in this indictment, we’ve found the evidence. We know who used the sarin gas, and our government knows it too,” Erdem said.

It’s not just Erdem’s testimony that challenges the official version of events.

US experts do too. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report by former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and Professor Theodor Postol challenged the intelligence on which US claims against the Syrian government were made.

They revealed that the range of the rocket which was supposed to have carried the nerve gas was too short to have been launched from government-controlled areas.

“The Syrian improvised chemical munitions that were used in the August 21 nerve gas attack in Damascus have a range of about two kilometers. This indicates that these munitions could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’ or the eastern edge of the Syrian government controlled area in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30th 2013,” the report concluded.

The report pointed out that all the possible launching points for the rocket were in rebel-controlled areas.

“My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack,” said the report’s co-author, Professor Postol. “But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.”

Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also countered the ‘administration narrative’ in articles published in the London Review of Books.

“Most significant, he (President Obama) failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin,” Hersh wrote in a piece entitled ’Whose Sarin?’ in December 2013.

Logic and sheer common sense also suggests that President Assad was not responsible for the attacks.

Imagine you were Bashar al-Assad in August 2013. You know that some of the most powerful nations on earth are desperately looking for an excuse to bomb you, as they know that the ‘rebels’ they’ve been backing aren’t strong enough to topple you and your government without air support.

So what do you do? Well, at the very moment when a team of UN chemical weapons inspectors are in Damascus, you order a chemical weapons attack just 12 kilometers from the center of the capital.

Does that sound logical? If we think that’s what Assad did, then we must believe that he is not only a brutal leader but a foaming at the mouth madman. But what evidence do we have that a man who has ruled Syria since 2000 is actually insane? That’s effectively what the neocons/pro-war lobby are expecting us to believe i.e. that Assad would, right when the UN are in town, do the very thing that the US/UK and others want him to do in order to provide them with a pretext for an attack. What a very obliging fellow that Mr. Assad is!

The faulty logic behind the war lobby’s claims was highlighted by George Galloway MP in his memorable speech against bombing Syria in the British Parliament. “To launch a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on the very day a UN chemical weapons team arrives in Damascus must be a new definition of madness,” Galloway declared.

It’s worth noting where the ’evidence’ that Assad’s forces were responsible for the attack originated. “The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime’s deployment of chemical weapons, which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any Western military action, has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported,” announced the Guardian on August 28, 2013.

According to Fox News, an Israeli military intelligence listening unit, called number 8200 “helped provide the intelligence intercepts that allowed the White House last weekend to conclude that the Assad regime was behind the attack.”

Israel did not publicly release these so-called intercepts, and of course that country had, and still has, a very obvious vested interest in toppling a government allied to Hezbollah and Iran.

The Ghouta chemical attack looked as if it would be the shocking event that would give the war-hawks the chance to bomb Syria and topple the Assad government.

But, unexpectedly, the British Parliament threw a spanner in the works and voted against war. It probably didn’t help that even Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that there was “no 100 percent certainty” about who was responsible for Ghouta.

The bitterness and anger of the neocons afterwards, which I detailed here, told us how badly they had wanted their ’regime change’. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern revealed how he had been in a TV studio with two uber-hawks, Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman, and remarked on the “distinctly funereal atmosphere.”

“I felt I had come to a wake with somberly dressed folks (no pastel ties this time) grieving for a recently, dearly-departed war.”

Over two years on, it’s frightening to think what would have happened if the neocons had got their war in 2013. The RAF would effectively have become the air force of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. If the Syrian government had fallen in late 2013 or early 2014, radical Islamists and not non-existent ‘moderate rebels‘ would have been the beneficiaries. The black flag of ISIS would be flying high in Damascus and religious executions would be commonplace.

Yet incredibly, those who pressed so hard for war against a secular government fighting the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in 2013, are still upset that they didn’t get their way. UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and fanatical war-hawk George Osborne, said in September that Parliament voting not to bomb Syria in 2013 was “one of the worst decisions ever made.”

In the New Statesman magazine this week, Blairite Labour MP Mary Creagh called the failure to bomb the Syrian government post-Ghouta, “an understandable but unforgivable mistake and the one vote that I deeply regret.”

Yes, you read it right; an MP who voted to bomb ISIS two weeks ago deeply regrets not voting to bomb the government fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates two years ago.

Despite the official narrative on Ghouta unraveling before our eyes, some pro-Establishment Western media, including the BBC’s flagship current affairs program Newsnight, continues to assert that the chemical attack in Ghouta was carried out by the Assad government, as if it was all 100 percent proven.

My fellow RT Op-Edge columnist Dan Glazebrook lodged an official complaint with the BBC over its broadcasting “without comment,” and with an omission of the word “allegedly,” that President Assad had used chemical weapons at Ghouta.

The BBC replied: “You are right to point out that the UN did not establish that the Syrian government was responsible…. Nevertheless a number of governments concluded that the Syrian government was responsible.”

The governments the BBC referred to were of course those who were itching for an excuse to bomb Syria, namely the US, the UK and France.

We will probably never know for sure who were the evil people who fired the rockets on 21st August 2013, but taking everything into consideration, the likeliest explanation of Ghouta is that it was a ‘rebel’ operation, designed to pave the way for Western bombing of the Syrian government.

“As the months have passed… scientific studies amassing an impressive body of evidence have shown that, not only were Washington’s claims of “certainty” that Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons in their war with extremist fighters utterly baseless, but in fact the reality was quite the opposite, the rebels were the most likely culprits of the attack,” wrote Eric Draitser on the first anniversary of the attacks.

Now we have the explosive testimony of Eren Erdem too.

As was the case with Iraq’s non-existent WMDs, and Iran’s unproven nuclear weapons program, it looks, once again, as if the real conspiracy theorists were those at the top, and not those plucky souls who dared to question the war party line.

You can follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On Hersh, Higgins, Whitaker and Ghouta

Interventions Watch | December 12, 2013

A few brief thoughts on Seymour Hersh’s article on the chemical weapons attack in Syria in August: Elliot Higgins’ response to it; and Brian Whitaker’s take on things.

Here are the bits from Whitaker’s article that I thought were worth commenting on:

‘On one side of the chemical weapons debate is Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist, who suggested in an article for the London Review of Books that rebel fighters, rather than the Syrian regime, were to blame for the Damascus attacks’.

That isn’t really the point Hersh was making though, is it? The gist of the story was that the case against the Assad regime wasn’t as strong as the Obama regime made out, and that the Obama regime knew this.

As Hersh told Democracy Now – ‘I certainly don’t know who did what, but there’s no question my government does not’, and that Obama ‘was willing to go to war, wanted to throw missiles at Syria, without really having a case and knowing he didn’t have much of a case‘.

Hersh and his sources saw that as a major scandal: a President deciding to start a war, with all that entails, based on a case that was less than watertight.

They also refused to even entertain the possibility, at least in public, that a rebel faction may have been responsible, despite knowing that at least one rebel faction had ‘mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity’.

‘Given that Hersh has spent decades working for mainstream media, that Media Lens disapproves of anonymous sources’.

An apparent ‘Gotcha!’ moment, no? But maybe there’s a difference between people leaking and briefing anonymously to promote Establishment narratives and aims, and people leaking and briefing anonymously to challenge them. Hersh has, throughout his career, promoted the latter with a very good hit rate. Simply put, anonymous leaks designed to whistleblow are not the same as anonymous leaks designed to mislead and confuse.

‘Some of his other exposes have misfired, though’

Some examples might be nice.

‘he has often been criticised for his use of shadowy sources. In the words of one Pentagon spokesman, he has “a solid and well-earned reputation for making dramatic assertions based on thinly sourced, unverifiable anonymous sources”‘.

Hersh has spent decades shining lights into places ‘Pentagon spokesmen’ types don’t want him to look. So it’s not surprising that they’d try and discredit his work. Would Whitaker, for example, quote an Iranian military spokesman to try and rubbish the work of an Iranian dissident journalist? I doubt it. And the fact he does it here perhaps says much about his unexamined assumptions and biases.

‘Higgins, meanwhile, is the antithesis of a “corporate” journalist’.

At this point in his career, it’s not like Higgins is some obscure, insurgent outsider. He has had his work published in The New York Times and Foreign Policy, has had a lengthy profile written about him in The New Yorker, has worked with Human Rights Watch, and has been interviewed more than once on T.V. News. Does this make him wrong? Of course not. But the line between him and ‘old media’ isn’t quite as defined as Whitaker would like to make out.

It is perhaps instructive that in this case, Hersh struggled to get anyone to publish his chemical weapons piece, while Higgins had no problem in getting Foreign Policy, an Establishment journal if ever there was one, to publish his rebuttal pretty much straight away.

‘Hersh’s source on the supposed sarin-manufacturing capabilities is an unnamed “senior intelligence consultant”:

‘Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin’

. . . Interestingly, though, EAWorldView has an idea who this consultant might be. It notes that Michael Maloof, who formerly worked in the US Defense Department, has made very similar claims in an article for the right-wing World Net Daily, and also on the Russian propaganda channel, RT’.

Pure speculation, of course. Even if the source is Maloof, it doesn’t automatically follow that Maloof is wrong.

Nor is Maloof, or any other source Hersh might have, the only person to have suggested a rebel faction may have access to chemical weapons.

In May 2013 for example, Carla Del Ponte, one of the overseers of the UN commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss T.V. that ‘there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas’ by rebel factions, and that she was ‘a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got . . . they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition’.

Predictably, her comments quickly disappeared down the Memory Hole, even though she is a very credible and well respected source, and likely wasn’t just making it all up.

She was, incidentally, also smeared and/or discredited by those who simply don’t want to see any kind of challenge to the Establishment narrative on Syria, much like is happening to Hersh now.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serious Questions about the Integrity of the UN Report on Syria

By Subrata Ghoshroy · NYT eXaminer · October 5, 2013

Syria

Abstract:

News reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces in the suburbs of Damascus in the early morning hours of August 21 spreaded like wildfire. As reports were coming in, the US, French, and the British governments began to claim that there was a massacre. U.S. Government claimed that exactly 1429 people had died including 426 children. In the ensuing days and weeks the media repeatedly showed video images of ghastly scenes of dead and dying. Most of these videos were posted on the Internet and their authenticity could not be verified. Yet, those governments pronounced that the Syrian military was responsible for the massacre. As the U.S. and France prepared to carry out a military strike against Syria to punish President Assad, a UN team of chemical weapons experts were allowed after a few days to visit the sites in the Damascus suburbs called Ghouta where the attacks reportedly took place. The UN team visited Ghouta on August 27 and again on August 29. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who called it a war crime, released their report on September 16, 2013. The report’s basic conclusions were that sarin gas was used in a large-scale attack in Ghouta on August 21 and that surface to surface rockets were used to deliver the nerve agent. In making their determination about the rockets, the inspectors examined rocket parts and other ordnance. In my analysis, I examined the UN report carefully, especially its Appendix 5, which describes in some detail, with photographs and drawings, the two types of rockets they found in Ghouta. Prior to the publication of the UN report, two other significant reports were made public. One was reported in the New York Times and the other a report by the Human Rights Watch. Both these reports presented details of a warhead that could have carried between 50 and 60 liters of sarin – an amount that could explain the high casualty figure above quoted by the US government. The UN report, which was issued some time after these reports, repeated their conclusions. From my careful study and analysis of all these reports, I found that the UN report included diagrams and photographs that were in the said reports without referencing them. There was striking agreement between estimated and measured dimensions of the large warhead, which was merely a concept described in the New York Times article. It took center stage in the UN report. I describe in detail how I arrived at my conclusion. I believe there was communication between the UN team and the analysts outside, which prejudiced the report. The US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the UN inspectors as irrelevant because they would not bring to light any new information that the US did not already know. He was right. The purpose of my analysis is not to prove or disprove anything. The sole purpose is to raise questions about the integrity of the UN team’s report. Decisions on war and peace depend on it.

Detailed Analysis of the Published Reports

Alleged Chemical Attack in Ghouta on August 21, 2013

News reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces in the suburbs of Damascus in the early morning hours of August 21 spreaded like wildfire. Social media exploded with Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and YouTube video uploads. As reports were coming in, the U.S., French, and the British governments were starting to claim that there was a massacre. The most stunning of these claims was an assertion by John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State that 1429 people died apparently from nerve gas inhalation of which 426 were children. Ghastly videos circulated with all mainstream TV channels showing the videos of victims. There was strangeness in the certainty of such a precise number in the chaos that would ensue after a poison gas attack. Noam Chomsky remarked during a lecture at MIT on September 10, 2013 that it reminded him of similarly precise body counts that Pentagon used to issue after encounters with the Viet Cong. They were largely made up, he said.

Internet Videos and “Independent” Media Experts

While the authenticity of these videos could not be verified, it was impossible to raise such an impertinent question in the midst of the media onslaught accompanied by commentary from “independent” experts. Several of them were veterans of the UN inspection team before the invasion of Iraq. For example, Charles Duelfer, the Deputy Head of the UN team and later Chief of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, was a regular. A veteran of the U.S. Government programs in space and nuclear weapons, he was the top CIA officer directing the investigation of Saddam’s regime and its WMD programs, his website says.

Another was David Kaye, who was the Chief UN inspector for Iraq, who is now at the Potomac Institute – a beltway think tank funded mainly by the Pentagon. A third was Raymond Zilinskas, a former inspector with expertise on chemical and biological weapons, who is now at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He once spoke enthusiastically about the evidence presented at the UN Security Council by Gen. Colin Powell about WMD in Iraq, which was discredited later as false.

These experts were seemingly speaking in unison that there was overwhelming evidence showing that Syrian government forces were behind the chemical weapons attack. Neither the U.S. government, nor its allies like Britain and France could wait for the report of the UN inspection team, which was in Damascus at the time. They pronounced their judgment based on information supplied by their own intelligence agencies and also relied on so-called “open source” information. They condemned President Assad for not allowing the inspectors immediate access to the alleged sites and pointed to his guilt in the alleged atrocity. A common refrain was why would he not allow immediate access if he had nothing to hide.

The UN Inspectors’ Report: of questionable integrity

However, a few days later, when the UN inspectors were able to travel to the sites, the tone of the U.S. government changed. Secretary of State Kerry remarked at a press conference that the UN team was “irrelevant” since they would not bring to light any more information than what the U.S. already knew. Ironically, the UN team’s report proved John Kerry’s point and here is why.

From my research and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the UN report as well as human rights organizations like the Human Rights Watch were influenced by bloggers and analysts closely tied to the U.S. and its allies to prove that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attacks. Consequently, they produced reports that are of questionable quality and not above reproach. This is especially true about the UN team’s comments about the rockets being the delivery vehicles for the nerve agent.

The UN team had the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used in the alleged attack on August 21, but not who was responsible for it. In order to carry out its mandate, the team relied on laboratory reports of analysis of collected blood, urine, soil and other environmental samples. It also analyzed samples from rocket parts, munitions, etc. In addition, it conducted a limited number of interviews with survivors and doctors. It finished its work on September 13 and Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, released the report on Monday, September 16 calling it a “war crime.”

The report said the following in the Letter of Transmittal:

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Although the news of the discovery of sarin gas was by then an anticlimax, what was surprising was the UN team’s assertion that it found “clear and convincing” evidence that “surface-to-surface rockets” containing sarin were used. This was clearly going beyond the original mandate. The report also described certain details of the rockets along with the direction in which they were found to have penetrated the ground at the points of impact. There were a few pieces of evidence that would be crucial at the least to point the finger, if not outright implicate the Syrian government. One of them was the bearing of the tail end of the rocket protruding from the ground. From this data, the rocket’s firing point could be estimated. A second piece was the size of the payload that could be carried by the rocket, including other details that would reveal that the payload indeed was something other than high explosive. A third piece was markings on some rocket parts which could tell where they were made.

The Role of a Blogger named Elliot Higgins

The so-called “independent” experts had already gone on overdrive giving numerous TV and radio interviews and sending Twitter messages soon after the reports of the alleged attack surfaced. Their analysis and commentary were primarily based on video that appeared on the Internet on sites like You Tube, which were supposedly uploaded by eyewitnesses. There are certain bloggers who specialize in watching the social media on particular topics, compiling such information, and then making them available with their own commentary on their own websites called blog spots in web parlance.

The BBC says that the bloggers have been providing important analysis to governments and human rights groups based on their exhaustive monitoring of social media. Eliot Higgins, known online as Brown Moses, is one of a number of specialist bloggers from around the world who have been analyzing the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It appears that Eliot Higgins was the source of much of the video information about the alleged attack on August 21.

His website has literally hundreds of video clips from different times and places that are spliced together. For instance, while reviewing a file called “Syrian Government Chemical Attacks,” I found myself watching items from events that took place in January 2013 in Adra. Photographs of rockets in this video are similar, if not the same, as in the video uploaded on August 22 following the events in Ghouta. It might be reasonable to argue that multiple instances of chemical weapon use prove the brutality of President Assad. However, from an evidentiary point of view (I am mindful of it having worked at GAO for nearly ten years as a senior analyst), interspersing photographs from different incidents would be misleading at best.

New York Times Story on September 4

On September 4, well before the publication of the UN inspection team report, the New York Times published a major story written by its science writer William J. Broad. It was based on what the paper characterized as a new study by “leading weapons experts.” The new study reportedly solved the apparent disconnect between the reported large casualty figures and the known small payload capability of rockets in question. The article alluded to “some weapons experts” who had earlier estimated toxic payloads of one or two liters, which could not explain the casualty figures. The Times did not name or quote any of these experts, nor explain how they had arrived at their conclusion. The new study claimed that its analysis showed the rockets could carry a much larger payload of gas – about 50 liters. This made the casualty figure of 1429 plausible, the study indicated.

One of the two authors of the study is Professor Theodore Postol of MIT. He is known worldwide as a critic of the U.S. missile defense program. The other is Richard Lloyd, an engineer with long experience in the defense business, who describes himself as a warhead specialist. He spent nearly twenty years working for Raytheon and now works for Tesla Laboratory, Inc. located in Arlington, Virginia near the Pentagon – another “beltway” contractor. It is a technology company largely funded by the Pentagon and claims as one of its clients the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The New York Times made available Richard Lloyd’s analysis, which consisted of seventy Power Point slides, mostly snapshots from videos, which he most likely presented to someone in the “building” as the Pentagon is fondly called in the business. He is also a former UN weapon inspector. So, knows the business and people in it well. The article featured a drawing reproduced below of the rocket with “estimated dimensions” an artist’s impression of the nerve agent cloud rising after a rocket impact.

Rockets With Deadly Chemicals

Weapons experts believe this is the design of the rockets used in a suspected chemical attack last month in Syria, based on videos and photographs posted online. Related Article »

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Human Rights Watch Report dated September 10

In a report called Attacks on Ghouta published on September 10, 2013, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) credited Elliot Higgins as the source of a collage of photographs of rocket parts related to Ghouta that were included in a figure bearing the title “Diagram of 330 mm chemical rocket variant.” It also included a scaled drawing of the rocket based on what it called “field measurements” without saying who made the measurements. One of the video clips from Higgins showed two men wearing gas masks, who looked like UN inspectors, making measurements with a regular measuring tape, which is also visible in four out of the six photographs in the HRW diagram shown later. It would be difficult to make precise measurements with such a tape. Also the exercise appeared rather cursory. However, the drawing shows precise dimensions including those of the internal parts of the rocket not visible from outside. It would be quite a feat to produce such a drawing without either actually examining a disassembled rocket, or X-raying it.

The UN Report describes two types of ordnance found at the sites they visited. At one of the sites they found an ordnance which had markings in Cyrillic and the number 179. This fact was already producing buzz on the Internet with experts knowledgeable in Russian weapons pointing out that only the Syrian government could have possessed such weapons.

Analysis of Igor Sutyagin from the U.K. Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

One such expert is Dr. Igor Sutyagin of the U.K. Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). It advertises itself as an independent think tank, but it is obvious from its website that it is pretty close to the British government. Dr. Sutyagin made a presentation on September 9 entitled “Assessing Chemical Weapons Use in Syria.”

He cuts an impressive figure with his Russian accent, and a wonkish style. He said that the UN inspectors had found an ordnance that could carry a chemical payload. After showing its similarity with the Russian M14 rocket and describing certain details, he homed in on the number “179”, which the UN report also highlighted as discussed later. He said it is a code for a plant in Novosibirsk, Russia that builds non-standard rockets. There are two points that are interesting in this context.

First, he gave credit to the blogger Brown Moses for having made accurate measurements on this rocket from the videos. It was a bit strange because Moses, a.k.a. Elliot Higgins, has reputedly no technical qualification and is based in the U.K. Why Sutyagin thought Moses could make such measurements is not obvious. Also which video was he referring to? Were they from the inspection team? The second point is that one can find very close resemblance between the photographs in the RUSI video presentation and those appearing in the UN report. In fact, there are red circles on the highlighted areas in both documents giving the impression that they are the same photographs.

The RUSI event was more than a week after the site visit of the UN inspectors, and a week before the publication of the UN report. Could it be possible that Dr. Sutyagin had access to the UN inspector’s photos and the Brown Moses reference was only a ruse to throw off the viewer? In return, perhaps he provided some tips to the inspectors about the no. “179” and certain other things, which made it into the report thus compromising its integrity. Whatever the motivation, the UN team should clarify how its information got out, as it seems it did.

Detailed Comparison of the UN and other Reports

Diagram in the UN Report (p/18) of the ordnance found in Ghouta

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The UN report did not mention the ordnance’s similarity with the Russian M-14 munitions for obvious reasons, a point repeatedly stressed by Dr. Sutyagin in his presentation. However, it highlighted all other points he made about the non-standard characteristics of this particular rocket such as the circular nozzles as seen below in the relevant section of the UN report reproduced below.

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The HRW report also made the same points about these munitions with strong hints about their Russian origin again citing unnamed independent sources, but again highlighting the same points made by Dr. Sutyagin. Coincidentally, Sutyagin said that “American sources” confirm his analysis hinting at a collaborative effort.

The second rocket that the inspectors found was the one that Richard Lloyd described in his study reported in the New York Times. Here, the report gives considerable importance to the measurement of bearings of the rocket ends and hints at the direction of their origin as “northwest” – a strong hint at the culpability of the Syrian military, whose base was in that direction. This despite scanty data from only two out of four sites, and its own expression of concern that “potential evidence was being moved and probably manipulated.” Whoever reads such fine print anyway?

50-60 Liter Warhead Design

However, the most significant point the UN report made was the confirmation in the report of Lloyd’s concept of a large annular-shaped warhead with crucial measurements that validated so to speak what was reported by the Times and then repeated by HRW and others. The strange coincidence is that the Times article, the Sutyagin analysis, and the HRW report all were published after the field measurements by the inspectors, but before the publication of the UN report.

Here are copies of drawings in the Times report (bottom) and the UN report. The similarities are striking.

Ghoshroy5Source: U.N. Report (P.19) Notice no dimensions, just the concept as Lloyd outlined.

Below Diagram in Lloyd report referenced in the New York Times.

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Below is the diagram from the UN Report showing the dimensions of the warhead and photographs identifying various parts of the rocket and the warhead. Nearly same photographs also appear in the Lloyd report.

Here is one such snapshot from the Lloyd report:

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Compare the above with the diagram below from the UN Report (p.21)

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Below is a drawing reproduced from the HRW report. There is a lot of similarity among the HRW drawing, the one by Lloyd, and the UN Report above.

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Finally, here is the drawing with detail dimensions of the rocket and the warhead from the New York Times article that credited MIT Professor Postol as the source.

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Notice, the HRW report said that its dimensions were based on actual field measurements. So are those in the UN report. The Lloyd and Postol report provide just estimates gleaned supposedly from random You Tube videos. The table below is a comparison of the three reports .

A Comparison of warhead dimensions given by Lloyd, HRW, and UNSC Reports

How were they determined?

Payload Canister OD (cm)

Payload Canister ID (cm)

Payload Canister Length (cm)

Postol/Lloyd Estimated

35

12.5

65

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Actual measurement

35

12.0

65

UN Report Actual measurement

36

12.0

70

Striking Agreement between Estimated and Measured Values: too good to be true?

As is evident from the above comparison, there is stunning agreement between the measured and the estimated values for the most crucial dimensions of the warhead. Interestingly, there are some differences among the three reports when it comes to certain non-critical dimensions (not shown on the table) such as the length of the rocket motor. For example, Postol/Lloyd estimated the length of the rocket motor or engine as 125 cm whereas the corresponding HRW number is 155 cm and the UN figure is 134 cm.

In science or engineering, differences between estimated and measured values are routine. It would be more so in this case given the imprecise nature of the measuring tape. If any caliper or any other instrument were used, they were not visible in the video. So, the absence of any real difference makes them look suspect. The small difference between the UN data and the other two may be explained by a careful look at the drawings. The UN appears to have included the width of end flanges making their length 5 cm longer. Similarly, the UN measured the outer diameter of the canister, which includes the wall thickness. Hence, the difference in 1 cm for an estimated wall thickness of 5 mm or about 0.2 inch. It is also interesting how the other two studies estimated so accurately from video footage.

The real point is there are differences in measurements in certain non-critical dimensions (perhaps to show that they were independent), but near-exact agreement in others that matter. This dichotomy begs an obvious question. Could they have been manufactured to provide a scientific explanation to fit the casualty figure? Is it too good to be true? Alternatively, could there be one source for them, why are they almost identical? Then everybody could sing from the same hymn sheet, which appears to be the case.

Conclusion

Two types of munitions were found in Ghouta by the UN team. One was a rocket with 14 cm diameter. The second was a larger rocket with a 36 cm warhead. The UN report did not mention anything about a chemical payload for the smaller rocket. However, it estimated that the larger rocket was capable of delivering 50-60 liters of liquid payload.

It appears that the UN team provided photographs and physical measurements of the smaller rocket to Dr. Igor Sutyagin for analysis. His analysis was then incorporated in the UN report as its own. HRW also incorporated his analysis without crediting him.

It seems a similar process took place with the analysis of the larger rocket and its warhead. Here the outside analysts were Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol. What was only a concept a few days ago, became the gospel after New York Times published the referenced article with enough scientific jargon and the obligatory mathematical equations and computer simulations to scare the lay reader from questioning the underlying assumptions. HRW did the same once again and claimed its analysis was independent, but the facts show otherwise.

Finally, there is no way to determine the truth behind the alleged chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in the middle of fierce fighting. As expected, there is no independent confirmation of the casualty figure. That has not stopped the U.S. and its allies from claiming that it was a crime against humanity. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has lent his voice to these claims and stopped just short of accusing the Syrian President for these crimes. But, his UN team is not free of blemish. In the past two decades, the UN has lost a lot of credibility around the world. It is time for some house cleaning. Needless to say, respected NGO’s like Human Rights Watch need to do the same if they are to be credible in the future.

To restore credibility of the UN process, all results of the UN team’s findings should be made public. During Syria’s chemical arsenal demilitarization it would be essential to verify the UN team’s comments about the munitions that are supposed to be part of inventory. The inspectors are going back to Syria. It behooves them to do so.

Chronology of Events

August 21 Alleged chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in the early hours of the morning reported

August 22 Brown Moses blog spot makes available You Tube videos of the attack. The video includes gruesome photographs of dead people, children, first aid workers. It also includes photographs of rocket parts and munitions.

August 27 The first UN inspectors travel to the sites of alleged attack, Videos of the UN inspectors collecting environmental samples and making measurements become available on “Brown-Moses” and other websites soon thereafter

August 29 UN inspectors make a second visit to the affected areas

August 30 U.S. Government publishes an Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

August 30 Richard Lloyd of Tesla, Inc. makes a presentation on the rocket payload of Syrian warheads based on videos found on the internet (does not credit Brown-Moses blog although many are obviously from there), Makes the following key conclusions:

– Damage to the ground and rocket body inconsistent with large explosive payload

– Chemical payload requires a small explosive to disperse

– Rockets showed chemical filling ports.

– Dead animals nearby without visible injury indicates chemical attack

Sept. 3 Lloyd makes another presentation outlining his concept of the Syrian warhead, which he derived from the videos. He provides drawings of the rocket and the warhead with a fair amount of details, but significantly no dimensions.

Sept. 4 The New York Times publishes an article based on the Lloyd study. The article includes a drawing of the conceptual Syrian rocket and warhead, but this time with dimensions of various parts and the crucial warhead concept, which are then repeated elsewhere and described as independently developed. The drawing also includes an artist’s rendering of a rocket making a shallow penetration with the toxic chemical cloud above the rocket. The Times makes both Lloyd and Postol presentations available on the web.

Sept. 10 Human Rights Watch releases its report and shows a diagram of the rocket with exactly the same warhead dimensions as Postol/Lloyd, but claiming that theirs was developed from actual field measurements, not photographs, but copying the Lloyd concept in ditto. HRW did not reference the Lloyd study.

Sept. 16 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon releases the UN inspectors’ interim report that confirms that sarin was used in a large-scale attack on August 21. The report also stated that it was clear surface-to-surface rockets were used to deliver the gas. It went further and confirmed the concept and dimensions of the warhead described by Lloyd and Postol without, however, referencing the published study just like HRW.

~

Subrata Ghoshroy is currently a Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). His research includes global peace and security, nuclear disarmament, and energy security with particular reference to South Asia. He is a keen analyst of the U.S. defense budget and policy and the military-industrial complex. He spent many years as an engineer and later transitioned to the policy world. He worked as a professional staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Senior Defense Analyst at the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress earning the distinction of its first and so far its only whistle-blower. He also served as a Congressional Science Fellow and a Senior Associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

October 5, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Syria Chemical Weapons Attack: Human Rights Watch is Manipulating the Facts

By Richard Lightbown | Global Research | September 24, 2013

On 21 August 2013 a series of chemical attacks were perpetrated in the Ghouta suburbs of eastern Damascus. Sources say that between 281 and 1,729 civilians were killed, while Medecins Sans Frontiers reported around 3,600 were injured in the attacks. [1] On the same day UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon instructed the UN Mission already in Syria to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in Khan al-Asal, Sheik Maqsoos and Saraqueb to focus their efforts on the Ghouta allegations. [2]

Before the UN Mission had reported its preliminary findings, Human Rights Watch (HRW) jumped the gun on 10 September with its own report written by Peter Bouckaert, the organisation’s Emergencies Director. [3]

The report admits that HRW did not have physical access to the site and had based its study on Skype interviews with ‘More than 10 witnesses and survivors’ made over a period of two weeks between 22 August and 6 September. These were supplemented by video and photo footage and other data from an unnamed source or sources. It is unclear then, exactly how many exposed survivors were interviewed by HRW or who the other witnesses were.

In compiling the report HRW had also drawn on the technical services of Keith B. Ward Ph.D., an expert on the detection and effects of chemical warfare agents. However the organisation did not disclose that Dr Ward is employed by Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States government. [4] The HRW investigation was also ‘assisted by arms experts including Nic Jenzen-Jones […] as well as Eliot Higgins […] who collected and analysed photos and videos from the attacks.’ [5]

Mr Jenzen-Jones’s LinkedIn profile does not list any training or experience with armaments, and his only qualifications appear to be ‘certified armourer and ammunition collector’ – which probably relates to the Firearms Amendment (Ammunition control) Act 2012 of the state of New South Wales, Australia. [6] In reports on the story on his own blog ‘The Rogue Adventurer’, Mr Jenzen-Jones relies on data taken uncritically from sources such as the New York Times and even a Los Angeles Times article based on Israeli intelligence [7] Apparently he is not familiar with Israeli falsified reports such as the alleged use of guns by passengers on the Mavi Marmara against Israeli commandos (which remain uncorroborated despite Israeli forces seizing virtually all photographic data from the more than 600 passengers, along with film from security cameras located throughout the ship and Israel’s own constant infra-red surveillance from boats on both sides of the ship and from at least two aircraft). As former CIA director Stansfield Turner is reputed to have said, Mossad excels in PR, and not in intelligence. [8]

HRW’s other expert, Eliot Higgins is an untrained analyst who was recently talked-up into some kind of expert by Matthew Weaver in the Guardian. [9] On his Brown Moses Blog of 28 August 2013 Mr Higgins featured a video sent to him by a source allegedly showing the type of munition linked to the chemical attacks being fired close to Al-Mezzah Airport near Daraya. The video has been filmed at some distance and none of the upwards of 20 men roaming around the site can be clearly seen. An unmarked Mercedes semi-trailer lorry apparently delivers the rocket which is loaded (this is not seen) onto an unmarked white rigid lorry on which the launcher is mounted. The men aimlessly roaming around are mostly wearing army fatigues, although others, including some on the launcher, are in civilian clothes. A number of those in military uniform are wearing red berets. Based solely on this headgear, and the fact that the Syrian Republic Guard as well as the military police are issued with red berets, Mr Higgins is emboldened to state that ‘…this video shows the munition being used by the government forces […].[10]

Stills taken from the video analysed by Eliot Higgins. Mr Higgins has deduced that this is a Syrian Army operation entirely from the red berets worn by some of the personnel. The rocket shown can also carry conventional explosives.

In a previous posting on 26 August, Mr Higgins estimated from shadows that a rocket shown in photographs between Zamalka and Ein Tarma had been fired from north of the site, and he set about trying to locate the launch site with the help of correspondents. Hoping to find the exact location, he speculated that the 155th Brigade missile base was a possible site for the crime. [11] This line of investigation quietly disappeared after the UN Mission reported that the missile they had examined at Zamalka/Ein Tarma was pointing precisely in a bearing of 285 degrees, i.e. nearer west than north. [12]

Meanwhile Mr Bouckaert in his report two weeks later reported that two of his witnesses told HRW that the rockets came from the direction of the Mezzeh Military Airport. [13] These accounts also became inconvenient later when, as we shall see, HRW seized on the azimuths provided by the UN Mission and dashed off on a new wild goose chase. Apparently HRW now considered that nearly 20 per cent of the ‘witnesses and survivors’ it had interviewed were no longer credible regarding the direction of the rockets.

Nevertheless on page 1 of his report Mr Bouckaert felt confident enough to declare,

Based on the available evidence, Human Rights Watch finds that Syrian government forces were almost certainly responsible for the August 21 attacks, and that a weapons-grade nerve agent was delivered during the attack using specially designed rocket delivery systems.

The ‘evidence’ produced on p20 of the report amounts to nothing more than supposition. Mr Bouckaert merely states his scepticism that the rebels could have fired surface-to-surface rockets at two different locations in the Damascus suburbs; he asserts that the types of rockets thought to have been used are not reported to be in possession of the opposition nor is there any footage showing that they have mobile launchers suitable; and he states that the large amounts of dangerous nerve agent would require sophisticated techniques beyond the capabilities of the rebels. No actual evidence is cited to show that this weaponry is Syrian Army equipment. On the contrary the Soviet 140 mm rocket referred to on p15 requires a BM-14 rocket launcher, first produced in the late 1940s.

The Syrian Army equipment list produced by Global Security shows none of this obsolete weaponry in stock but instead lists around 300 of the BM-21 launcher which replaced it. The BM-21 launches a 122mm rocket, so the Army would be unable to fire the 140mm rocket that rebels found and the UN Mission inspected at Moadamiyah. [14] [15] Mr Bouckaert might also recall that Israel has a common border to Syria and is known to have stocks of sarin amongst the vast collection of illegal chemical and biological weaponry amassed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) at Nes Ziona. [16] YouTube videos also show Syrian rebels in possession of mobile rocket launchers. [17] HRW really did assemble a Mickey Mouse team of researchers when they cobbled together this report.

Nevertheless HRW’s reputation and distribution ensured that their allegation was distributed by agencies such as the Associated Press [18] and reported by outlets which included the BBC [19], CBS [20], New York Post [21] and other international media such as the Tasmanian newspaper The Examiner [22] and the Jakarta Post [23]. None of these outlets questioned the veracity of this very serious allegation against the Syrian Army.

On 11 September, a day after the HRW report was published, the International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria published its unique and important analysis of documentation nominated by US intelligence. [24] Having carefully and thoughtfully analysed the data, including a number of images also published in the Bouckaert report, the study discovered not only widespread manipulation of evidence, but in the tradition of BBC reporting in Syria, [25] they also discovered that photographs of victims in Cairo had been described as victims of a chemical attack in Syria. This preliminary study concludes that there has been gross media manipulation and calls for an independent and unbiased International Commission to identify the children who were killed and try to find the truth of the case. This writer has not seen any HRW document which refers to the ISTEAMS study.

The UN Mission report was published six days after the Bouckaert report on 16 September. This disclosed that the Mission had been allowed a total of only seven-and-a-half hours on-site in the two suburbs which are both located in opposition-controlled areas. During that period they had experienced repeated threats of harm and one actual attack by an unidentified sniper on 26 August. [26] Nevertheless they had collected samples and ‘a considerable amount of information’ along with ‘primary statements from more than fifty exposed survivors including patients, health workers and first-responders.’ In fact the statements had been taken in interviews with nine nurses, seven doctors and 36 survivors. [27] The Mission concluded that there was ‘definitive evidence of exposure to Sarin by a large proportion of the survivors assessed’ [28] and it stated that it had been informed that victims began suffering effects following an artillery barrage on 21 August 2013. All interviews, sampling and documentation followed procedures developed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organisation.

The report states that ‘several surface to surface rockets capable of delivering significant chemical payloads were identified and recorded at the investigated sites’ but only five impact sites in total were investigated by the Mission (presumably because of the time constraints imposed on them by those who controlled the areas).

The UN report is not without its contradictions. In a summary in their Letter of Transmittal the authors wrote ‘In particular, the environmental, chemical and medical samples, we have collected, provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka…’.

And yet none of the 13 environmental samples taken from Moadamiyah were found to have any traces of sarin, although one of the two laboratories conducting the analyses found degradation products of sarin in four of the thirteen samples while a further sample was found to contain degradation products by the other lab. Although two of the samples were unspecified metal fragments, none of the samples was specifically described as being part of a rocket. [29] Does the discovery of degradation products in 38 per cent of the samples (and only 23 per cent of the tests) along with a complete absence of the chemical agent itself constitute ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that Moadamiyah was attacked by surface-to-surface rockets containing sarin?

Most important however are the two caveats included in the report. On p 18 the inspectors wrote concerning the Moadamiyah site.

The sites have been well travelled by other individuals both before and during the investigation Fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.

Similar tampering of the evidence was noted at the other site as the report notes on p22

During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.

HRW was quick to seize on the UN report to substantiate its own allegations, although some adjustments were now necessary to get their allegations to dovetail neatly into the report’s findings. On 17 September Josh Lyons used the azimuths cited for the rockets in Appendix 5 of the Mission report  to produce a cross reference which suggested that the military base of the Republican Guard 104th Brigade had been the launch site for the chemical weapons. [30] (Mr Lyons called this ‘Connecting the dots’. By coincidence, when referring to the Sellström Report on 19 September, John Kerry  said ‘But anybody who reads the facts and puts the dots together, which is easy to do, and they made it easy to do, understands what those facts mean.’? [31] ‘Facts’ can mean anything if distorted enough, Mr Kerry.)

Once again no supporting evidence was provided to explain why HRW blames the Syrian Army, and all previous locations suggested for the launch were conveniently forgotten. To recap, Peter Bouckaert reported two witness statements that the rockets came from the direction of the Mezzeh Military Airport (more than 6 kilometres from the Republican Guard base) and HRW’s ‘expert’ Eliot Higgins was convinced that they were fired from north of the target sites.

To make his case Mr Lyons is being dishonest. Referring to unspecified ‘declassified reference guides’ he tells us that the 140mm artillery rocket could have reached Moadamiya, 9.5Km from the Republican Guard’s base. Yet even if a seventy-year old rocket system could indeed fly that far, Mr Lyons is forgetting that the Syrian Army no longer has these outdated systems. It therefore no longer has 140mm rockets, one of which is alleged to have been responsible for part of this crime against humanity. He is also forgetting that no actual chemical agent was found at Moadamiya, so it is premature to start producing cross references from that site. And above all he is deliberately omitting to tell his readers about the caveats written for both target sites by the UN inspectors that clearly and unequivocally suggest that the evidence has been tampered with at both sites which are located in opposition-controlled areas.

None of these inconvenient truths have stopped the HRW juggernaut. On 20 September the Guardian published an article by HRW staffer Sarah Margon promoting both the Bouckaert report and the Lyons’ calculations (apparently unaware of the contradiction between the two). She ended up by calling for an Obama/Kerry commitment to ensure there is ‘accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people’. [32] But of course she was not writing about Fellujah or Gaza or the IIBR at Nes Ziona.

Notes

[1]  Wikipedia; Ghouta chemical attacks.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghouta_chemical_attacks (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[2]       Sellström, Åke. et al., 13 September 2013; United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic – Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013; United Nations; para 15, p3.

http://www.un.org/disarmament/content/slideshow/Secretary_General_Report_of_CW_Investigation.pdf

[3]       Bouckaert, Peter,  10 September 2013; Attacks on Ghouta, Analysis of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria; Human Rights Watch. http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria_cw0913_web_1.pdf

[4]        http://www.docstoc.com/docs/24131911/Notes-from-Department-of-Homeland-Security-HSARPA-Best-Practices (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[5]          Attacks on Ghouta; op.cit. pp. 1 and 2.

[6]          http://au.linkedin.com/in/nrjenzenjones (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[7]          http://rogueadventurer.com/2013/08/29/alleged-cw-munitions-in-syria-fired-from-iranian-falaq-2-type-launchers/ (Accessed 22 September   2013)

[8]          AbuKhalil, As’ad, 7 September 2011; The Mossad in Hollywood Movies; alakhbar English. http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/530 (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[9]          Weaver, Matthew, 21 March 2013; How Brown Moses exposed Syrian arms trafficking from his front room; The Guardian.    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/21/frontroom-blogger-analyses-weapons-syria-frontline (Accessed 21 September 2013)

[10]        http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-smoking-gun-video-shows-assads.html (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[11]        http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/finding-exact-location-of-alleged.html       (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[12]        Sellström, Åke. et al.;  p23.

[13]        Attacks on Ghouta; op.cit., p6.

[14]        http://weaponsystems.net/weapon.php?weapon=DD05%20-%20BM-14  (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[15]        http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/syria/army-equipment.htm  (Accessed 23 September 2013)

[16]        Abu-Sitta, Salman; Traces of poison; Al-Ahram 27Feb – 5 March 2003, Issue No. 627.

[17]        For example  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKoYg9xEGMs, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JEElw-ea5k, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6w68OqA4HM   (h/t timbercrown)

[18]        http://nypost.com/2013/09/10/human-rights-watch-condemns-assad-for-alleged-chemical-attack/ (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[19]        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23927399 (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[20]        http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57602150/human-rights-watch-says-evidence-strongly-suggests-assad-used-chemical-weapons/ (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[21]        http://nypost.com/2013/09/10/human-rights-watch-condemns-assad-for-alleged-chemical-attack/ (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[22]        http://www.examiner.com.au/story/1768398/syrian-government-forces-almost-certainly-responsible-for-chemical-attacks-human-rights-watch-report/ (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[23]        http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/09/10/rights-group-syrian-regime-behind-chemical-attack.html (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[24]        Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, 11 September 2013; THE CHEMICAL ATTACKS ON EAST GHOUTA TO JUSTIFY MILITARY RIGHT TO PROTECT INTERVENTION IN SYRIA; ISTEAMS. http://www.globalresearch.ca/STUDY_THE_VIDEOS_THAT_SPEAKS_ABOUT_CHEMICALS_BETA_VERSION.pdf

[25]        Lightbown, Richard, 18 June 2012; Syria: Media Lies, Hidden Agendas and Strange Alliances; Global Research.   http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-media-lies-hidden-agendas-and-strange-alliances/31491

[26]        Sellström, Åke. et al.;  para 18.

[27]        Sellström, Åke. et al.;  paras. 18, 19 and 21, Appendix 7.

[28]        Sellström, Åke. et al.;  p17.

[29]        Sellström, Åke. et al.;  pp. 24/5 and 27-29.

[30]        Lyons, Josh, 17 September 2013 ; Dispatches : Mapping the Sarin Flight Path; Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/17/dispatches-mapping-sarin-flight-path (Accessed 21 September 2013)

[31]        Kerry: U.N. report confirms Assad responsible for chemical attack http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50155432n (Accessed 22 September 2013)

[32]        Margon, Sarah, 20 September 2013; The sarin gas attack is just one Syrian atrocity the ICC should pursue’; The Guardian.   http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/20/sarin-gas-syria-icc (Accessed 22 September 2013)

Richard Lightbown is a researcher and occasional writer on human rights issues, particularly relating to the Middle East.

September 24, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Potential US war on Syria based on a snuff movie

By Finian Cunningham | Press TV | September 21, 2013

The American war footing towards Syria plumbs a new diabolical depth.

Not only is it an act of criminal aggression against an innocent country – the supreme crime according to Nuremberg Principles – but that transgression would itself be based on another vile crime – the deliberate killing of children for propaganda purposes.

The notorious videos purporting to show the half-clothed bodies of dozens of lifeless Syrian children are the central component of US claims for launching a war against Syria. Suspiciously, this footage gained wide circulation on the internet and on international television news bulletins within hours of the alleged toxic gas attack on 21 August near Damascus.

Now it appears that those videos are part of an elaborate, diabolical fabrication, the circumstances of which are very different from what they are meant to assign.

Nobody is questioning the fact that the children are dead. But what transpires is that the children seem to have been murdered by some form of intoxication and that their deaths were then recorded by their killers – with the calculated intention of producing a propaganda video.

That propaganda purports to blame the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons causing massive civilian casualties. That in turn is aimed at provoking outrage among world public opinion, which would underpin US military intervention on the basis of President Obama’s so-called red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In other words, the world is being pushed into acquiescing to a US-led criminal war on Syria based on a vile “snuff movie.”

In the world of vice, there can be few acts more criminal and morally depraved than that of making snuff movies. This illegal genre of film is where some unwitting victim is murdered on screen for the perverse gratification of those behind the camera and the eventual underground audience who indulge in such odious entertainment.

Usually, in the making of snuff movies, the persons recording the scene of death are the killers or their accomplices. These movies are, needless to say, highly illegal and confined to a secretive subculture. Those who make snuff movies and watch them are complicit in murder, and the videos are in effect indictable evidence of their crime.

On close examination of the alleged gas attack videos that came out of Syria on 21 August, the blunt assessment is that the footage is nothing less than a snuff movie.

This is the shocking conclusion from an independent study carried out by Syrian Christian leader Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib. Under the auspices of the Geneva-based International Institute of Peace, Justice and Human Rights, the study concludes that the infamous gas-attack videos showing dead children is a fabrication. That is, the children were not killed, as alleged, by Syrian government forces firing chemical weapons on the Ghouta suburb of Damascus.

According to the authors: “From the moment when some families of abducted children contacted us to inform us that they recognized the children among those who are presented in the videos as victims of the chemical attacks of east Ghouta, we decided to examine the videos thoroughly.”

Mother Agnes’ investigation goes on to say chillingly: “Our first concern was the fate of the children we see in the footages. Those angels are always alone in the hands of adult males that seem to be elements of armed gangs. The children that trespassed remain without their families and unidentified all the way until they are wrapped in the white shrouds of the burial. Moreover, our study highlights without any doubt that their little bodies were manipulated and disposed with theatrical arrangements to figure in the screening.”

The authors add: “Thus we want to raise awareness toward the humanitarian case of this criminal use of children in the political propaganda of the east Ghouta chemical weapons attack.”

Mother Agnes and her co-authors have submitted their findings to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. But, tellingly, the report, which was published earlier this week, has received negligible coverage in the Western mainstream media.

It is not determined who actually killed the children and by what method. Some observers have pointed out that the victims appear to have tourniquets on their arms. That would suggest that they received a lethal injection.

It also appears that the children are not from the location of Ghouta. It is believed that many of them were abducted by the foreign-backed militants during raids on pro-government villages in the Latakia area of northwest Syria during the weeks prior to 21 August.

That confers on the crime in Ghouta on 21 August the most hideous proportions. For what is deduced is that dozens of children were abducted for the fate of cold-blooded murder, to be videoed with the purpose of fabricating a crime falsely attributed to others for propaganda effect – propaganda to precipitate a war.

When we look at the choreographed way in which the US government and its Western allies have reacted to the incident and the videos, it is suggestive of collusion at some level. Several reports have tied the involvement of Saudi, Turk and Israeli intelligence with the supply of toxic chemicals to the foreign-backed militants fighting in Syria for the Western agenda of regime change against the government of President Assad. These intelligence agencies are closely aligned with those of the US, Britain and France.

The fundamental importance of the alleged gas-attack videos to the US and Western case for military intervention in Syria raises the question of how much do these governments know about the exact circumstances of the child deaths that ostensibly occurred in Ghouta on 21 August.

Apart from flawed interpretation of the inconclusive UN chemical inspectors’ report released earlier this week, the other component of the US government’s case for a military attack on Syria are the videos purporting to show the aftermath of a chemical weapons incident in Ghouta.

Appealing to Congress for military strikes on Syria earlier this month, US Secretary of State John F Kerry described those images as “sickening,” and added that “the world must act on such horror.”

Affecting an air of privileged briefing, members of Congress were taken into closed-door sessions. There, they watched the videos showing lifeless children lying in gaunt rooms in an unknown location, apparently having died from exposure to sarin or some other toxic gas.

It appears that US lawmakers viewed the same video footage that the rest of the world has also accessed via the internet and on television news bulletins. The viewing of such distressing scenes paved the way for the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to vote for resolution 2021 backing President Obama’s military attack on Syria.

While the momentum for war has abated in the past week because of the Russian-brokered deal to decommission Syrian government chemical weapons, nevertheless the US continues to threaten that military strikes still remain an option on the table.

US-led wars in the past have notoriously relied on false flags and pretexts, such as the sinking of the USS Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and 9/11. But if the US commits to war on Syria, its lawlessness will have reached a new low. In that event, it will be a war of aggression based on a snuff movie.

~

Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio.

September 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

International experts have strong proof images of chemical victims fabricated – Moscow

RT | September 10, 2013

Footage and photos of the alleged chemical attack in Syria, which the US cites as the reason for a planned military intervention, had been fabricated in advance, speakers told a UN human rights conference in Geneva.

Members of the conference were presented accounts of international experts, Syrian public figures and Russian news reporters covering the Syrian conflict, which back Russia’s opposition to the US plans, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The speakers argued that the suspected sarin gas attack near Damascus on August 21 was likely a provocation of the rebel forces and that a military action against the President Bashar Assad government will likely result in civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe affecting the entire region.

The possible attack by US military without a UN Security Council mandate would violate international law and should be prevented by the United Nations, some of the speakers said.

Evidence for the Russian case, including numerous eyewitness reports and results of investigations of the chemical weapon incident by activists, was handed over to a UN commission of experts probing the Syrian crisis, the ministry said.

The Obama administration voiced an intention to use military force in Syria after reports of mass deaths in Eastern Houla, a neighborhood of Damascus, which killed more than 1,400 people according to US estimates. Washington says the deaths was due to a chemical weapons attack of the Syrian army on rebel forces and says it plans to use force to prevent such incidents in the future.

Russia is convinced that the chemical incident was a provocation by rebel forces, which staged a false flag attack to drag the US into the conflict and capitalize on the damage that the Syrian army is likely to sustain in the American intervention.

An increasing number of reports are backing Russia’s position, with local witnesses, US and British former intelligence professionals and Europeans recently released from rebel captivity all speaking for a provocation scenario.

In the latest development this week a possible way to de-escalate the tension was voiced, which would involve the Assad government handing over control of his chemical arsenal to the international community. The plan was backed by Russia, China and Syria’s main ally Iran, while Syria said it will review it.

Mixed signals over the plan came from the US. The US State Department initially said Secretary of State John Kerry, who initially voiced a possible disarmament, saw it as a rhetorical move and didn’t expect Bashar Assad to actually disarm. But later President Obama said such a move from Damascus would make him put the military action plan on pause.

Meanwhile RT learned that Syrian rebels might be planning a chemical weapons attack in Israel. The possible attack would be carried out from the territory supposedly controlled by the Syrian government and would trigger another round of escalation, leaving little hope of defusing the tension.

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September 10, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , | 2 Comments