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  1. #1
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    High-Level U.S. Intelligence Officers: Syrian Government Didn’t Launch Chemical Weapo

    High-Level U.S. Intelligence Officers: Syrian Government Didn’t Launch Chemical Weapons

    Posted on September 7, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

    Numerous Intelligence Officials Question Administration’s Claims


    Preface: Without doubt, intelligence is being manipulated to justify war against Syria. Here, here, here, here and here.

    Without doubt, the Syrian rebels had access to chemical weapons … and have apparently used them in the recent past.
    Associated Press reported last week:
    An intercept of Syrian military officials discussing the strike was among low-level staff, with no direct evidence tying the attack back to an Assad insider or even a senior Syrian commander, the officials said.

    So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that links between the attack and the Assad government are “undeniable,” U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders, or even completely sure it was carried out by government forces, the officials said.
    ***
    Another possibility that officials would hope to rule out: that stocks had fallen out of the government’s control and were deployed by rebels in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war.

    Reuters notes today:
    With the United States threatening to attack Syria, U.S. and allied intelligence services are still trying to work out who ordered the poison gas attack on rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

    No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some U.S. sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.

    Indeed, numerous intelligence officers say that the rebels likely carried out the August 21st attack.

    For example, the Daily Caller reports:
    The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

    According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.

    ***
    The doctored report was picked up on Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Aug. 24, then by Focus magazine in Germany, the Times of Israel, and eventually by The Cable in Washington, DC.
    According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

    However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

    The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.

    According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

    The report contains a note at the end that the major was interrogated by Syrian intelligence for three days, then returned to command of his unit. “All of his weapons were accounted for,” the report stated.

    ***
    An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

    The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

    [A "false flag" is a ploy for starting war which has been used by governments around the world for thousands of years.]
    Agents provacateurs are as old as warfare itself. What better than a false flag attack, staged by al Qaeda and its al Nusra front allies in Syria, to drag the United States into a war?
    And 12 very high-level former intelligence officials wrote the following memorandum to Obama today:
    We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

    ***
    There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

    According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.

    We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

    In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.

    Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.

    At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government
    The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.


    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/...l-weapons.html
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    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    4 Questions for Supporters of a Strike Against Syria

    Posted on September 8, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

    Simple Context Questions

    Ask anyone still thinking of supporting an attack on Syria to explain why the U.S. started supporting the Syrian opposition years before any uprising had occurred there.

    And ask them to explain why 4-Star General Wesley Clark was told – right after 9/11 – that Pentagon officials planned to attack 7 countries in 5 years … including Iraq, Libya and Syria:
    I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September.

    ***
    So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”



    And ask them why this planning of regime change in Syria and 6 other countries started by 1991 at the latest:
    It came back to me … a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz.
    ***
    In 1991, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center.

    ***
    And I said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.”
    And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

    (Skip to 3:07 in the following video)



    And ask them why the US and British governments considered using a false flag attack 50 years ago to topple the Syrian regime.

    There are many other good questions as well, such as:







    • Why attack when Congress members who have seen the classified intelligence aren’t even convinced that the Syrian government used chemical weapons?





    Why attack when the attack itself would be a larger war crime even than chemical weapons use (here, here and here)?


    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/...nst-syria.html
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  3. #3
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    Congress Members Who Have Seen Classified Evidence About Syria Say It Fails to Prove Anything

    Posted on September 7, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

    Classified Syria Intelligence Fails to Prove Assad Used Chemical Weapons


    The administration’s public case for chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is extremely weak, and former high-level intelligence officers say that publicly-available information proves that the Syrian government likely did not carry out the chemical weapons attacks.

    The Obama administration claims that classified intelligence proves that it was the Assad government which carried out the attacks.

    But numerous congressional members who have seen the classified intelligence information say that it is no better than the public war brief … and doesn’t prove anything.

    Congressman Justin Amash said last week:
    What I heard in Obama admn briefing actually makes me more skeptical of certain significant aspects of Pres’s case for attacking
    He noted yesterday, after attending another classified briefing and reviewing more classified materials:
    Attended another classified briefing on #Syria & reviewed add’l materials. Now more skeptical than ever. Can’t believe Pres is pushing war.
    And today, Amash wrote:
    If Americans could read classified docs, they’d be even more against #Syria action. Obama admn’s public statements are misleading at best.
    Congressman Tom Harkin said:
    I have just attended a classified Congressional briefing on Syria that quite frankly raised more questions than it answered. I found the evidence presented by Administration officials to be circumstantial.
    Congressman Michael Burgess said:
    Yes, I saw the classified documents. They were pretty thin.
    Yahoo News reports:
    New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, for instance, left Thursday’s classified hearing and said she was opposed to the effort “now so more than ever.”

    “I think there’s a long way to go for the president to make the case,” she said after the briefing. “It does seem there is a high degree of concern and leaning no.”
    Senator Joe Manchin announced he was voting “no” for a Syria strike right after hearing a classified intelligence briefing.

    Congressman Alan Grayson points out in the New York Times:
    The documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion. [I.e. it was no more impressive than the 4-page public version.]

    On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

    The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, “social media” postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached — not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)
    ***
    And yet we members are supposed to accept, without question, that the proponents of a strike on Syria have accurately depicted the underlying evidence, even though the proponents refuse to show any of it to us or to the American public.

    In fact, even gaining access to just the classified summary involves a series of unreasonably high hurdles.

    We have to descend into the bowels of the Capitol Visitors Center, to a room four levels underground. Per the instructions of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, note-taking is not allowed.

    Once we leave, we are not permitted to discuss the classified summary with the public, the media, our constituents or even other members. Nor are we allowed to do anything to verify the validity of the information that has been provided.

    And this is just the classified summary. It is my understanding that the House Intelligence Committee made a formal request for the underlying intelligence reports several days ago. I haven’t heard an answer yet. And frankly, I don’t expect one.
    ***
    By refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct.

    The rush to war based upon skewed intelligence is very similar to Iraq.


    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/...-anything.html
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  4. #4
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    12 U.S. Intelligence Officials Tell Obama It Wasn’t Assad

    Posted on September 7, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

    Cross-Posted from WarIsACrime.org ; originally posted at Consortiumnews.com

    By Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials

    Editor Note: Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.
    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

    FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

    SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?

    Precedence: IMMEDIATE

    We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

    We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandum immediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.

    Secretary of State John Kerry departs for a Sept. 6 trip to Europe where he plans to meet with officials to discuss the Syrian crisis and other issues. (State Department photo)

    The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.

    Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.

    We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.

    Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?

    That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”

    This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”

    Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.

    The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.

    The Intelligence

    There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

    According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.

    We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

    In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.

    Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.

    At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government

    The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.

    Cui bono?

    That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.

    Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:

    “For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

    “‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

    We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.

    That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.

    Iran’s Role

    Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.

    Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.

    Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”

    Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.

    Inevitable Retaliation

    We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”

    For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

    Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)

    Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

    Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan

    Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

    W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)

    David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

    Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

    Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

    Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)

    Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq

    Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

    Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)


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  5. #5
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    Exclusive: Top Chemical Weapons Expert Highly Skeptical of U.S. Case Against Syrian Government

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

    Western Samples Were Selectively Chosen Without a Verifiable Chain of Custody … We Must Wait for UN Report Before Reaching Any Conclusions

    Jean Pascal Zanders is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s top chemical weapons experts, having been quoted in the last two weeks about Syrian chemical weapons by McClatchy, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Post-Gazette, Huffington Post, Der Spiegel, Agence France-Presse, Global Post, the Telegraph, and many other publications.

    We interviewed Zanders by phone.

    Q: You were quoted in the Huffington Post on August 30th as saying that the Youtube videos cited by the American government were not conclusive, as you couldn’t tell where or when the videos were taken … or even whether they were from the same incident or different incidents.

    Do you still hold that view, or have you seen other videos that change your mind?

    Zanders: No, I have not changed my mind. The general observation still stands, and it will stand until we have the actual report from the U.N. investigation.

    I do not deny that a chemical with toxic chemicals has taken place. But I am just as concerned about how people are interpreting things in terms of a particular goal … which in this case is military intervention.

    Living in a democracy we have the rule of of law, and we collect and analyze a variety of evidence collected at certain scenes before passing any kind of final judgment.

    One of the concerns I have is if we look over the periods starting in March 19th with the major allegation of chemcial weapons use near Aleppo, Syria, everything is being reinterpreted as sarin.

    When I look at video images that have been going around, what I see is a large number of people suffering from aspyhixia, but only a minority (if the photos are representative of the total picture) display symptoms that would correspond to exposures to neurotoxicants.

    John Kerry used the term “signatures of sarin”. But signatures of sarin are things one can have from other organophosphorus compounds.

    Q: You’re talking about the fact that pesticides or other nerve agents can give “false positives” for sarin? [Background]
    Zanders: Yes, but not just that.

    Somebody could have been – and this is purely hypothetical – exposed to an organophosphorus compound neurotoxicant which is produced in large volumes in industry. For example, for agricultural purposes.

    On the low end of the spectrum, we have insecticide sprays which we can buy in the supermarkets. On the middle of the spectrum, we have organophosphorus compounds which are intermediaries of other products, or that are used in agriculture for pest and rodent control. I know specifically that the use of such compounds for pest and rodent control is common in the Middle East.

    So, if someone were exposed to that in the right volume, there would be clear signatures of neurotoxicant exposure.

    So it’s not just a question of false signatures in the sense of chemical tests giving a false positive, but also physiological symptoms that someone might show due to exposure to these commonly-used chemicals.

    [The area where the chemical incident occurred was in a heavily-contested battle zone and had been heavily bombed. So that could have released industrial or agricultural chemicals.]

    Q: Do you have any knowledge about whether the chain of custody of alleged U.S. tests which Kerry talked about are proper?

    Zanders: No, and that’s part of my criticism that Western governments have overstated their case.

    We do not know where the samples come from. And we do not know how representative they are for a certain area.

    Certain samples could have been selectively given to Western sources for analysis. Assume that you do not know where a sample comes from … your whole chain of custody is compromised.

    That’s why UN inspectors can only use samples they have collected themselves.

    There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago saying that Prince Bandar got one alleged victim of chemical warfare out of the country, sent him to the UK, and that person is the basis of which the British made their claims about Syrian chemical weapons use. [Article.]

    That goes to a single person. This is quite remarkable, if true.

    Q: What other indications weaken the American, British and French argument that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack?

    Zanders: The extreme focus on sarin – as if only government forces would be able to have sarin – doesn’t make sense. If the UN team were to come up with evidence that toxic chemicals other than sarin were used, does that prove that it was not the Syrian government which is responsible?

    I personally don’t think that we have all the facts in right now to be absolutely certain. And I think this is reflected in the U.S. document with the terminology “high confidence” and David Cameron saying it’s his “judgment” or the government’s “judgment”, which reflects an interpretation of the facts.

    In the U.S. document, there is not a single reference to physiological samples.

    Postscript: Zanders says we must wait for the results from the U.N. weapons inspection before reaching any conclusions about who is responsible for the August 21st tragedy. [Background.]

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/...-accident.html
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