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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Syrian Chemical Weapons attack: False Flag or not?

Normally, I prefer to believe people are being straight up with me. I don’t’ like conspiracy theories or theorists. They usually don’t get their facts right and they usually misuse those facts to go after their personal prejudices. So it really bothers me when something doesn’t smell right and I find out that they have a point. I prefer explanations for events to follow Occams razor – the simplest explanation is often the right one.

That being so, sometimes the facts require me to agree with folks I ordinarily don’t agree with. Like in this case Pat Buchanan:

Buchanan said on Newsmax about the allegations against the Syrian Government.:

“This thing reeks of a false flag operation,” Buchanan told Newsmax. “I would not understand or comprehend that Bashar al-Assad—no matter how bad a man he may be—would be so stupid as to order a chemical weapons attack on civilians in his own country, when the immediate consequences of which might be that he would be at war with the United States.”

Unless Assad has a secret death wish Buchanan is right. It does the Syrians no good to use chemical weapons on their own people – but it is a great opportunity for Syrian Rebels seeking outside support.

This makes a good place to start. For the Republicans and their front groups disinformation is a stock in trade. Crooks recognize each other. So when two crooks duke it out in public that is often when we learn the dirty laundry both sides had been hiding.

Government Claims:

The government assessment of the attack makes most of it’s claims based on Signal intelligence (Sigint) and Satellite intelligence. The administration claims:

Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21. Satellite detections corroborate that attacks from a regime-controlled area struck neighborhoods where the chemical attacks reportedly occurred – including Kafr Batna, Jawbar, ‘Ayn Tarma, Darayya, and Mu’addamiyah. This includes the detection of rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media. The lack of flight activity or missile launches also leads us to conclude that the regime used rockets in the attack.

So, the government’s claim is that the Syrian Government prepared for this attack and launched it early in the morning of August 21, 2013. They further complain that they have intercepts and humint intelligence. Summarizing:

… “there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government’s responsibility in the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21.As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners.”

But is this information reliable?

But is this information all the information, is it accurate? The trouble with our Espionage act and our SIG-INT and SAT-INT intelligence is that the days when we could be sure the intelligence was really truly accurate are long over, and were an illusion in the first place. Secrecy and Honest intelligence analysis can go hand in hand, but depend on military officers with a kind of integrity that isn’t always in evidence anymore. Even if we concede that the missiles in the attack were fired from within Syrian Government controlled lines, that doesn’t mean that the Syrian Government necessarily fired them. It might give analysts reasonable confidence, but only if one assumes that those lines are stable. The attacks occurred at night, and the rockets were launched around 2 AM. That is plenty of time for rebels to setup and fire their weapons, with plenty of time to return to their own lines, assuming that the Syrian Army even actually in fact controls those lines by day. That is the nature of irregular warfare. A false flag is extremely possible, and if our security forces are compromised by frenemies (such as Prince Bandar’s Saudi Secret Service) then they know exactly where to position rockets to setup a false flag attack that would fool our CIA Satellites. Assuming our CIA isn’t in on the con.

So “substantial” body of information is not enough given the untrusted and untrustworthy environment we work within, and the untrustworthy past behavior of our CIA and it’s past “mistakes” all of which bear an uncanny resemblance to what is going on now.

In 2003 we were told that they had a substantial body of information to implicate Iraq in having Weapons of Mass Destruction, and supposedly the Iraqis were developing a Nuke WMD capability as well. The Iraqis were complaining that they were complying with the WMD treaty obligations they’d signed after the first gulf war but no one was listening to them. Later it turned out we were being played by an Iraqi Shiite operative who was lying to us. Facts that contradicted the official narrative were stepped on, and Colin Powell gave a presentation at the UN on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, that later turned out to be based on pure fabrication….

Understand why most of us who remember this are alarmed?

Evidence for False Flag attacks:

The Turks intercepted Al Nusra (Al Qaeda group under Prince Bandar's control) delivering chemical weapons through their country:

"The EGM identified 12 members of the AL Nusra terrorist cell and also [seized] ceased fire arms and digital equipment. This is the second major official confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria after UN inspector Carla Del Ponte’s recent statement confirming the use of chemical weapons by the Western-backed terrorists in Syria."

Dale Gavlak, who used to work at Salon but now works at “Mint Press” and Yahya Ababneh who speaks fluent Arabic were in the Damascus region, interviewing victims and investigating the subject ( They write:

Ghouta, Syria - As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last week's chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit. ."

Of course Syria and it’s allies are making the same claims, but nobody is listening.

”Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much."

So, the people on the ground seem to believe they were attacked by Rebels:

”The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad's guilt was "a judgment ... already clear to the world."

But as we found out from the Iraqi debacle, the people “on the ground” often have more accurate information about what is going on than governments:

”However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.”

The story they recount claims that some of the rebels were given weapons to use against Assad that turned out to be chemical weapons:

”Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons

when they apparently inadvertently set off the weapons they’d been given by “a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion.”

”The father described the weapons as having a "tube-like structure" while others were like a "huge gas bottle."

And of course he is describing chemical weapons . The rebels stored the weapons in tunnels and fired them at night. And he says his son died during the chemical weapons attack, apparently from weapons they’d been given by “Jabnat al Nusrat” allies. They interviewed a rebel named “J” who said:

"We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,"

Further reading on this:

But of course that is Hearsay.” But the Wallstreet journal reported months ago that Bandar was leading the effort to fight the Syrian regime, and that their intelligence operatives have been our primary sources for allegations against the Syrian regime

Further reading on this:

Syrian Rebel Rocket Attacks:

We know that statements that Syrians can’t carry out rocket attacks are a lie because the Syrians have been successfully using Rocket launchers and rockets, starting with smaller models back in April. On Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:01am EDT Reuters reported an article by By Amena Bakr from DUBAI titled

Saudi supplying missiles to Syria rebels: Gulf source

Those were followed by anti-tank and larger rocket platforms. Reuters reporter Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN | Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:45am EDT reported:
Headline: “New Saudi-supplied missiles boost rebels in south Syria” “(Reuters) - Rebels in southern Syria have fired newly acquired anti-tank guided missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia in a significant boost to their battle against President Bashar al-Assad, rebel, intelligence and diplomatic sources say.

So when the administration claims that the rebels couldn’t have fired rockets, they are wrong.

Gavlak’s article then references an article by Peter Oborne, which is in the Daily Telegraph:
”Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them. It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.”

So not only could the rebels use rockets and poison Gas, but they’d been caught using poison gas before.

Further reading:

Al Qaeda and Bandar

But the interviews by Gavlak and his confederate show some other juicy facts. Maybe, just maybe Bandar is revealing some things that he probably should have kept more circumspect. For example, while the Saudis are funding moderate rebels, most of their funds are going to the radical and the radicals refer to Bandar affectionately:

”rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as "al-Habib" or 'the lover' by al-Qaida [Al Nusra] militants fighting in Syria.”

Bandar has also boasted recently about being in control of the Chechen Rebels against Russia.

Reuters also reported:

I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

To which Putin is said to have replied:

“We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”

The Chechen rebels that Bandar supported were doing the equivalent of Al Qaeda in Russia, attacking train stations, schools, and killing innocent people far from Chechnya. Bandar is also famous for supporting Bin Laden. Supposedly breaking with him when he started plotting 9/11, but all the attackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Whose side are we on here? There is only circumstantial evidence leaking Bandar to 9/11, but the evidence there is stronger than claims that Iraq had anything to do with it – or Syria.

Following President Carter's advice:

I almost forgot the most important thing, a kind of post script. President Carter suggests:

"ATLANTA....The use of chemical weapons on August 21 near Damascus is a grave breach of international law that has rightfully outraged the world community. The United States and some of its European allies are calling for military strikes on Syria, but apparently without support from NATO or the Arab League. Predictably, Russia, Iran, and Syria are predicting dire consequences. At Syria's invitation, a U.N. investigation is already underway and will soon make its report. A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war. It will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence. Instead, all should seek to leverage the consensus among the entire international community, including Russia and Iran, condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and bringing under U.N. oversight the country's stockpile of such weapons."
"It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility," said President Carter. "The chemical attack should be a catalyst for redoubling efforts to convene a peace conference, to end hostilities, and urgently to find a political solution."

Doctors Without borders

Doctors Without borders reports:

Response to Government References to MSF Syria Statement

Over the last two days, the American, British, and other governments have referred to reports from several groups, including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), while stating that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was “undeniable” and designating the perpetrators.
"MSF today warned that its medical information could not be used as evidence to certify the precise origin of the exposure to a neurotoxic agent or to attribute responsibility."
"On August 24, MSF announced that three hospitals it supplies in Syria’s Damascus governorate had reportedly received 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms, of which 355 died. Although our information indicates mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent, MSF clearly stated that scientific confirmation of the toxic agent was required, and therefore called for an independent investigation to shed light on what would constitute, if confirmed, a massive and unacceptable violation of international humanitarian law."
"MSF also stated that in its role as an independent medical humanitarian organization, it was not in a position to determine responsibility for the event. Now that an investigation is underway by United Nations inspectors, MSF rejects that our statement be used as a substitute for the investigation or as a justification for military action. MSF's sole purpose is to save lives, alleviate the suffering of populations torn by Syrian conflict, and bear witness when confronted with a critical event, in strict compliance with the principles of neutrality and impartiality."
"The latest massive influx of patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in Damascus governorate comes on top of an already catastrophic humanitarian situation facing the Syrian people, one characterized by extreme violence, displacement, the destruction of medical facilities, and severely limited or blocked humanitarian action."

Further reading:

Articles read but not cited, or suggested to be read for follow up:
This Zero Hedge fund had the first raw translation I saw of the meeting between Putin and Bandar:
Even if Bandar weren't providing new missiles, the rebels are also using looted missiles:
Russian Sources:

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