Category Archives: WMD

From Iraq to Syria to Iran: the Quest for a Smoking Gun or a Mushroom Cloud or a Slam Dunk or……..

      


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“A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed. A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government…………..”

Could this be a case of déjà vu all over again (Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc)?Could we be revisiting the same story again this year or next in Iran? You betcha it could and we could.

It is true that this does not prove anyone’s innocence or guilt in the Sarin gas attacks. Yet the suspicion of the whole Sarin claim was there from the outset, at least as far as I am concerned. Even some UN WMD official suggested earlier that the rebels may have used Sarin, but then she went silent. The story and video clips were broadcast initially in Saudi semi-official Alarabiya network, in both cases of reported gas use. Western media picked it up quickly and it became “the story” of the time. The U.S. Congress took it from there.
 

I have expressed doubt from the beginning, and not only because I automatically suspect almost anything that is publicized by Saudi media (I do, I also suspect many things that are published in official Iranian media). Several things did not smell right, were neither halal nor kosher, including the timing: these claims (and revelations) always cam right after the Syrian opposition had suffered big military defeats or were about to be ejected from strategic positions (Qusayr, etc). It also did not make sense to use WMD to kill a few dozen civilians, when bombing and bullets had done the same grizzly “job” in the past without an international outcry and outrage. But all this is not new: I and others have pointed this out during the past year.

No wonder the Obama administration for long insisted on only saying that “Sarin was used in Syria“, without specifying the regime or the opposition as the user. That lasted until it came under pressure from congressional microphone-macho type (of both parties) and the Saudi princes and potentates.
This new report is not conclusive, yet neither were the other reports, apparently. But the long quest continues: for the Smoking Gun, the Mushroom Cloud, the Slam Dunk, the Lost Ark………


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Hersh on WMD of Choice: Syrian Sarin and French Haute Cuisine………..

      


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                                Video:
A Kenny G Holiday

“Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he 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, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad…………..”

The story of Sarin use in at least two cases this year was broken through the semi-official Saudi Alarabiya network (a network that is owned and operated in Dubai by an in-law of the late King Fahd). These stories always came out at critical times for the Syrian opposition groups, usually after big defeats on the battlefield: for example one story broke out just after the regime victory as Qusayr. Saudi Alarabiya as usual broke the story through an interview with “activists” who supplied a video. Western media adopted the story with gusto: CNN practically declared its own war. The governments of the USA, Britain, and France jumped on the story, again. The French, always good at cooking food and occasionally cooking up evidence, quickly confirmed the use of Sarin. The French and British governments immediately implicated the Assad regime. The Obama administration seemed more doubtful and was relatively more honest: it often avoided pointing the finger at any one side, merely saying that “Sarin was used in Syria”.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Syrian Activists on WMD: If at First You do not Succeed………

      


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Syrian Activists and Saudi media on WMD: “If at First You don’t succeed, try again and……….

“Opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using poison gas in Syria’s civil war on Thursday, and said victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth. The activists told Reuters two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 68 km northeast of Damascus, on a major highway in the Qalamoun region. They reported seven casualties……….. They reported seven casualties. Separately, the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union also accused Assad’s forces of using poison gas..………….”

After which Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Al-Yamama, leader of the Syrian opposition and putative future viceroy for Syria, will also declare refutable evidence of Syrian regime use of poisoned gas. The Islamic Heritage Revival Society, Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Saudi Religious Police, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, and the Ringling Brothers (and Barnum & Bailey) will also confirm the use of WMD in Syria. Alarabiya and Asharq Alawsat and Mad Magazine will now headline the gruesome incident. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich), head of the House Intelligence (this did not use to be an oxymoron) is considering a demand for action. The French and British governments will offer to confirm the use of poison gas.
 
Qalamoun is the site of an ongoing battle that will very likely lead to the ejection of the opposition groups from another strategic area. Remember, the claims of the use of WMD got louder and accelerated after regime forces defeated the opposition in Qusayr earlier this year.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Chemical Baskerville of Syria: WMD Experts Skeptical about U.S. Claim on Sarin……

      


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“Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. “It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack.” Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath……………..”

So where is the evidence? The WMD expert said: “It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark”. He was not talking about anybody in the U.S. Senate, a lot of barking there last week.
Anyway, almost everybody is skeptical about the WMD story, even the Syrian “activists” who probably manufactured and provided the evidence, even the French and British who knowingly pretended it was “evidence”. Even the democratically elected Saudi king and Qatari shaikh. Only a couple of U.S. senators and the compliant dumbed-down US media actually believe it was real.
As for me, I am not just skeptical, I know that they know that we all know that it was manufactured evidence.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



How Clinton and Willful Europeans Got Obama into the Syrian War: the Lame Fool “Wuss” that Roared…….

      


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“What happens when you don’t intervene in Syria? Bill Clinton said that Obama risks looking like a ‘wuss,’ a ‘fool,’ and ‘lame’ by sitting on the sidelines………. “

Wednesday night Bill Clinton was reported in an interview to have opined that if Mr. Obama did not intervene in Syria, he would look like a “Wuss”, a “Fool”, and “Lame”. No doubt Bubba was taunting Obama, possibly having heard from Hillary and his own leftovers in the National Security team (female and possibly male). Possibly having heard from his pals and big contributors among Persian Gulf potentates.
Now what guy, including a US president, would not be stirred by these words (Wuss, Fool, and Lame)? So, next day Obama said that, yes, these funny French (and British) Sarin samples he had doubted for months are real. The Syrian regime has used Sarin: used a WMD several times and ended up killing more than 100 people. Not sure why he did not use bullets which are less controversial and cheaper than using Sarin several times to kill a mere 100+.
The mainstream US media were ready: they have been ready for months for two wars, Syria and Iran. Nay, the media have been ready for three wars, I forgot Lebanon. Just as they were ready for the liberation of Iraq (2003) and Panama (1989), and the Dominican Republic (1965), and Vietnam, all the way back to Spanish Cuba after the USS Maine was blown up.
As for the European part, I just add the following links to earlier posts:


WMD: How Qusayr and Syrian Activists and Willful European Leaders Revived the Doubtful Sarin Issue

A Grain of Salt: Cameron, Hollande, and the Free Syrian Salafi Army Have Sarin Evidence

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



Did McCain Try to Hijack US Policy on Syria and the Middle East?……….

      


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Thursday we heard from the networks that the Obama administration has bought the French and British ‘discovery’ and now believes the Syrian forces had used Sarin, a form of WMD. No sooner was this news on the networks than they shifted to the Senate floor; that McCain and Graham were going to deliver the speeches that Obama or Jay Carney should have delivered. No doubt the networks were alerted by McCain and Graham, hoping to force Obama’s hand and to spin the news the way they prefer. Effectively they tried to hijack the administration’s foreign policy on Syria and the wider Middle East. Before the administration announced the news, the two senators declared it and detailed what policy the US government is going to follow and should follow.
The news was that the administration now believes that the Syrians used Sarin on “several occasions” and that between “100 to 150” people died. Nobody seems to have thought about this last fact: used “several time” and killed just over “100”. Now what kind of weapons of MASS destruction is used to kill only a handful of people each time? All that was lost in the noise all over the media and the social media. The social media are smarter, because average people can now opine and average people are smarter (on average) than the news-hungry media types. Most of the doubt over this new shift was expressed in the social media.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Syria and Iraq: On Chemical Weapons and Cluster Bombs and Their Use when Necessary…………

         


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“Syria accuses rebels of using chemical weapons. Residents of an area that has been reportedly targetted with chemical weapons in Syria were said to be showing symptoms including breathing difficulties in an incident that could cross US “red lines” on intervention in the conflict. Britain said on Tuesday it was aware of media reports about a chemical weapons attack in Syria, adding that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons there would demand a serious response from the international community. Syria’s regime accused rebel fighters of firing a chemical weapon at a town…………………”

Cute. First the FSA gangs repeatedly accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapon, that was a few weeks ago. Even some schmuck at the American embassy in Turkey got into the act and confirmed that false report, as I recall. Now the regime is returning the favor and accuses the FSA gangs of using chemicals. I never believed either side on this, the politically motivated British response notwithstanding.
Nobody has used chemical weapons in the Middle East since the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein used them against Iraqi Kurds and against Iranian forces in the war. Nobody “important” objected at that time”: it was deemed necessary and maybe even democratic (small D). Now, as for cluster bombs, the next best thing…………

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Syrian Air Defenses, Hezbollah Air Defenses……………

    

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Syria has been arming and training Hezbollah fighters in the use of advanced antiaircraft weapons in recent months, Israel Defense Forces sources have told Haaretz. A senior officer in the Northern Command says hundreds of fighters were taught to use surface-to-air missiles in Syria and Iran. IDF officers are worried by two developments involving Syria and Hezbollah that could change the balance of power in the region. The first is the transfer of huge quantities of surface-to-air missiles; the second, the transfer of chemical and biological weapons. IDF officers believe that Hezbollah use of advanced antiaircraft missiles could jeopardize Israeli aerial supremacy……….”

Training is possible, in fact both Iran and Syria do it. However, supplying sophisticated weapons or WMD is doubtful (especially WMD). There are no doubt some sophisticated missiles supplied to Hezbollah by the Iranians but not by the Syrians (and certainly not WMD).


The Syrians
don’t give away their somewhat sophisticated air defense systems, especially not to a Lebanese group. Any Lebanese group. Same applies even more to WMD: contrary to the Western (especially American) fear-mongering legend, Middle East regimes do not supply outsiders with WMD (or sophisticated conventional weapons).
Besides, the same air defense system failed the Syrians when the Israeli air force bombed the alleged nuclear plant (an odd story that has not been explained to the public in either Syria or Israel). Of course the Syrians may have been unwilling, too afraid, to use their air defenses; Hezbollah is certain to use them, if they have them, if Lebanon is attacked.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Beatles and Iranian Intentions: Western Fools on the Hill of Nuclear Intelligence……….

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But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning ’round.
Well on the way,
Head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
or the sound he appears to make,
and he never seems to notice,……
” Les Beatles

It was the Little Interventionist Tony Blair who first began sanctions on Iran. And the build-up of hostilities has unnerving parallels with the case for war conjured by Blair and George Bush against Iraq. We have another dodgy dossier, in the shape of the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which claims Iran is developing nuclear weapons but says so largely on the basis of intelligence which ends in 2003. It relies on documents on a laptop, found in 2004 by the Israelis, whose reliability prompted deep scepticism among Western intelligence at the time. The foreign scientist said to have worked on a bomb with the Iranians turned out to be a nanotechnologist. And a former IAEA chief inspector has said the type of explosion chamber referred to in the report could not be used in a nuclear test. On that, is based hawkish noises and sabre-rattling sanctions. Intelligence chiefs publicly say such things as, the West must use covert operations to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme. Politicians make thinly veiled threats of military attack using weasel words such as “all options are on the table”. Pardon me if it feels like Iraq all over again……… But Iran is a big, politically sophisticated country whose constitution of parliament, president, councils and assemblies of religious experts, creates a system of checks and balances in which change is possible. Reformers have held sway at times in this political pluralism. The Iranian establishment is fragmented into factions; a third of MPs did not vote for the measure to reduce the diplomatic status of Iran’s relations with Britain last Sunday. But it is precisely the wrong reactionary factions which are strengthened by the bellicosity of the West. And make no mistake, the war has begun. …………

The West gets some of its ‘intelligence’ from certain Iranian exiles, and from the Israelis, not exactly an impartial source. The Israeli Likud would love for the Iran nuclear program to dominate the news so much that people would forget all about the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They would love for the world to focus on any other issue, HIV-AIDS, Global Warming, Tax Cuts, the War on Drugs, Dr Phil, anything but the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israelis get some of their ‘intelligence; from certain Iranian exiles.
Everybody else relies on Tony Blair and the Saudi royal family and Alarabiya (which belongs to the Saudi royal family) for intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. Some are beginning to rely on the ruling al-Nahayan clan of Abu Dhabi for ‘intelligence’.
 
This does not mean that I have reliable intelligence that the Iranians are NOT working on a nuclear weapon. For all I know they could be in the last stage of making a Doomsday Bomb. I have no idea, but I would never believe what the IAEA or the UN or the US intelligence or British Intelligence or Israeli intelligence or Iranian intelligence or Ahmadinejad say about the Iranian program. That is what I learned from Iraq. And the writer is right, they are pushing the same arguments they used before the invasion of Iraq (which I supported at the time), and it is very likely based on faulty or downright fake information. The true goal is not nuclear weapons, it has to do with a balance of power in the Middle East.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Sinister Axis of Mayhem: O Cluster Bombs, O Cluster Bombs……….

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A coalition of countries including Britain on Friday defeated an attempt by the US, Russia, China and Israel to get an international agreement approving the continued use of cluster bombs. The weapons, which have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon scatter “bomblets” over a wide area, maiming and killing civilians, notably children, long after they have been dropped and are banned under a 2008 convention which was adopted by the UK and in more than 100 countries. The US, refused to sign and in negotiations in Geneva, over the past two weeks pressed for a protocol to be added to a UN convention to provide legal cover for the continuing use of cluster munitions. But smaller countries, supported by agencies including Amnesty and Oxfam, refused to give way…………

Interesting bedfellows: a cluster bomb fan club. The United States, China, Israel, and Russia: these are superpowers each in their own region, yet they feel the need to endanger civilians to death and maiming through the use of these dirty bombs. Mr. Obama is going along, at least: now that is no change most people would believe in, especially the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon who have been targets, victims, of these cruel (and unnecessary) bombs.
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com