Co-Host Kathleen Wells
August 28-29, 2013 – Obama’s Syrian chemical attack “proof” relies solely on Israeli intelligence
WMR’s sources inside the Washington Beltway report that President Obama relied solely on signals intelligence (SIGINT) provided by Israel’s version of the U.S. National Security Agency, Unit 8200, to conclude that Syria’s government ordered the August 21 chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
Unit 8200 claimed it had intercepted a communication from a Syrian army unit operating near Ghouta on August 21. The Israelis concluded from the intercept that Syria’s army carried out the chemical attack on Ghouta, although there has been no independent confirmation from Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) or the UN weapons inspection team as to who carried out the attack and even what type of chenical weapons were used.
Obama claims that his pursuit of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is intended to safeguard NSA’s most closely-guarded secrets that are used to combat terrorism. However, Obama, in his decision to accept the Israeli SIGINT as prima facie evidence of a Syrian chemical attack on civilians, has bypassed NSA’s own SIGINT product, which is flowing into the joint NSA/British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) interception facility in Cyprus, to push the notion that Syrian President Bashar al Assad carried out the attack. NSA’s and GCHQ’s intelligence do not conclusively prove Syrian government involvement.
The Unit 8200 intelligence was exclusively passed by the Israelis to the Obama administration, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. WMR has also learned that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, were opposed to taking military action against Syria based only on Israeli SIGINT. However, after Obama made his decision after deferring to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, UN ambassador Samantha Power, and political adviser Valerie Jarrett, both Hagel and Dempsey began plans on August 23 to carry out a unilateral military strike on Syria without the invocation of the War Powers Act or with the authorization of the UN Security Council.
Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that U.S. forces would not target any Russian interests in Syria and that Russia tacitly agreed not to escalate the situation following a U.S. strike on Syrian targets.
Saudi Arabia announced during the third week of October, that it would build one of the world’s largest mosques/education centers on a hilltop in Kabul, Afghanistan, at a cost of $100 million, scheduled to open in 2014 or 2015. The Saudi “Islamic complex,” to be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, is intended to contain a mosque and a university center, capable of housing and indoctrinating up to 5,000 Afghani students in jihadi Wahhabism.
2014 is the date that U.S.-ISAF forces are due to depart from Afghanistan, after a 13-year-long ulcerating war, that has sucked out America’s moral and physical capacity, costing thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, and the explosion of the Afghan drug trade. There will be an exchange: in reality, as the U.S. limps out of Afghanistan, the British-Saudi monarchies, which induced the U.S. into Afghanistan through the orchestrated September 11, 2001 attack, will take over. America’s occupation is a lost episode.
Catriona Luke, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, commenting Dec. 13 on the planned Saudi madrassa in Kabul, noted that “The AfPak [Afghanistan-Pakistan] region has been defined by a Saudi proxy war since the 1970s…. Reuters recently produced an excellent report on how banned terrorist outfits in Pakistan are, and have long been, funded from Saudi Arabia. WikiLeaks cables described the Gulf states as a ‘cash-point for [Wahhabi] terrorism’…. A report commissioned by the UN Security Council in 2003 described how in the decade leading to 9/11 Saudi Arabia transferred over 4500 million to al-Qaeda via Islamic charities….” Luke added that the “Bush administration is said to have redacted 28 pages of a Congress report that documented Saudi government ties with the 9/11 hijackers.”
While Luke does not mention that same network as running 9/11/2012, she is otherwise accurate.
Now, as the U.S. has been weakened by its wasting occupation, as in the repeat of the “Great Game” of the past, the British-Saudi empire, if U.S. policy is not changed, is poised to pick up the pieces.
Bertrand Russell’s Last Message
By Bertrand Russell
This statement on the Middle East was dated 31st January, 1970, and was read on 3rd February, the day after Bertrand Russell’s death, to an International Conference of Parliamentarians meeting in Cairo.
The latest phase of the undeclared war in the Middle East is based upon a profound miscalculation. The bombing raids deep into Egyptian territory will not persuade the civilian population to surrender, but will stiffen their resolve to resist. This is the lesson of all aerial bombardment.
The Vietnamese who have endured years of American heavy bombing have responded not by capitulation but by shooting down more enemy aircraft. In 1940 my own fellow countrymen resisted Hitler’s bombing raids with unprecedented unity and determination. For this reason, the present Israeli attacks will fail in their essential purpose, but at the same time they must be condemned vigorously throughout the world.
The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to “reason” and has suggested “negotiations”. This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.
The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as “the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry.” Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements. The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.
We are frequently told that we must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate any suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy. Not only does Israel condemn a vast number. of refugees to misery; not only are many Arabs under occupation condemned to military rule; but also Israel condemns the Arab nations only recently emerging from colonial status, to continued impoverishment as military demands take precedence over national development.
All who want to see an end to bloodshed in the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long-suffering people of the Middle East.
December 11-12, 2012 –
A day after WMR reported that there was no truth to Pentagon claims that Syria was deploying chemical weapons, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, on a trip to Kuwait, told reporters that the threat of Syrian chemical weapons has “slowed.” WMR reported that chemical weapons were in Syria but they were in the hands of Syrian rebels who had ontained them from their allies in Libya.
In fact, there was never a threat from Syrian chemical weapons. Syria’s government confirmed that U.S.-backed Syrian rebels had obtained chemical weapons from external sources and that the Bashar al-Assad government was being set up to be blamed for the rebels’ first use of such weapons in the Syrian civil war.
WMR reported that with the Western Syria in Syria came similar con artists like Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in Iraq. WMR reported on the involvement of Farid “Frank” Ghadry, a Washington, DC-area businessman who once headed up a chain of coffee shops called Hannibal’s Coffee Company. Ghadry, like Chalabi, serves the needs of the CIA. Ghadry’s Syria Reform Party is a carbon copy of the INC. And like the INC, the Syria Reform Party is linked to Washington’s most influential neo-cons and their organizations.
And like Chalabi’s infamous “Curveball,” Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, the Iraqi source who was responsible for trafficking in bogus claims that Saddam Hussein possessed biological weapons, the Syrian rebels have their “Curveball” counterpart in retired Syrian Major General Adnan Sillou, who claims he was in charge of chemical weapons defense for Syria’s defense forces. Sillou claims Assad possesses mustard gas, the nerve agents VX and tabun, and sarin. Sillou claims Assad’s forces have dropped white phosphorous and pesticides against rebel-held positions.
According to ABC News, Sillou wants to command his own 2,000-strong Syrian rebel unit, which he calls the “Mountain Heroes,” to secure Syria’s chemical weapons, which he claims total 600 chemical weapons warheads. Sillou is reminiscent of the CIA’s Libyan “general,” Qaddafi regime defector Khalifa Belqasim Hifter, a resident of northern Virginia who showed up in Benghazi during the civil war wearing an American cowboy hat and claiming to be in command of Libyan rebel forces.
Sillou is obviously trying to put a Syrian imprimatur on Syria’s chemical warheads on behalf of the CIA, which is nervous about Saddam’s chemical weapons currently stored in Syrian warehouses. The Iraqi weapons were transported to Syria and securely stored there with the approval of the George W. Bush administration. Many of the Iraqi weapons and precursor chemicals originated with Western firms like the Carlyle Group and were sold to Saddam during his war with Iran.
The State Department’s branding of the Jabhat al-Nusra brigade, the most vicious element within Syrian rebel ranks, is not only an admission that they are composed of “Al Qaeda” and Salafist elements from Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries but that it is this group and an affiliated group, Ghuraba al Sham (Strangers of Greater Syria) that have in their possession chemical weapons procured from warehouses in Libya. Before Qaddafi’s fall, the weapons were being secured by Libyan troops under an agreement with the United States and NATO. After Qaddafi declared the weapons to the United States and UN, the Americans and NATO did not have the capability of moving and storing the weapons elsewhere so Qaddafi was requested to maintain security on the stockpiles. The weapons remained secure until Qaddafi’s was overthrown by radical Islamists. Many of the chemical weapons are now in the hands of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and other Salafists that continue to receive financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and Qatar..
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)
Syria will never use chemical weapons against its own people, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired US Army Colonel who was Chief of Staff to Colin Powell told RT. Instead, the reality is that US is “preparing the ground to intervene in Syria.”
An act which would lead to a conflict “that would take at least a decade to settle – and there aren’t going to be too many victors at the end of that decade, just losers,” Wilkerson says, as Washington’s ultimate aim is to overthrow the Iranian leadership.
Simultaneously, some members of Congress are talking about “impeachment” of the US president for not consulting Congress before involving the country in conflicts.
RT:You were Colin Powell’s chief of staff when the decision was made to invade Iraq. In 2003, Powell made a speech that laid out the case for that war. Let’s take a listen to what he said. You helped prepare that speech, and have since described it as the biggest mistake of your life. Why?
Lawrence Wilkerson: Primarily because we – to the American people, to the international community and of course to the members of the US Security Council – presented that speech… it was not accurate, it was not true, it was not valid. We did not know that, but it was not just an intelligence failure. It was also the massive politicization of intelligence by the leadership in Washington.
RT: We’re currently seeing very similar rhetoric in the US in relation to Syria. Will it end in war again?
LW: I would be highly skeptical of any of the intelligence rendered by the $140-billion-plus US intelligence community as to weapons of mass destruction in possession of another country. Period.
RT: Syria is not signed up the chemical weapons convention, one of the seven countries that isn’t. Does that suggest perhaps that it has a reason to get signed up to it, and it does have chemical weapons?
LW: Well I’m not violating any confidence or any great prohibition in the intelligence community to tell you that we have known for years, years that Syria has chemical weapons stockpiles, just like Iraq had chemical weapons stockpiles for a while. But the fact that President Assad will be moving them around and preparing for use against his own citizens within his own territory, I frankly find preposterous.
RT: Why is it then that the US really wants to pursue this, and is using it for various reasons, not just to justify only rhetoric, but perhaps a serious talk of a military invasion?
LW: Well, Syria’s question was just addressed by one of your previous commentators, and that is, why in the world would we put Patriot batteries on the Turkish border adhesively to protect Turkey with the largest and the most powerful army in the region, indeed one of the most powerful in the world? Turkey needs no protection by us against that sort of thing, and it would be utterly stupid for Assad to attack Turkey in that way. So why are we doing those things that look like they’re not connected to the reality, unless the reality is that we’re preparing the ground to intervene in Syria.
RT: What would be the implications if the US were to intervene in Syria? Some are saying that the fallout will be far more dramatic that what we saw in Iraq – would you agree with that?
LW: I think, if we were to intervene in a substantial way, that is to say if we were to put the troops on the ground, marines, soldiers and so forth; and we were to do in Syria what we began to do in 2003 in Iraq, I think those people are absolutely right. I think it will even be even worse than Iraq. I think, again, it will be as a backdoor into Iran, which as you know is the real threat that we have been putting out there for years now.
And I think we’re looking into Syria and Iran being a combination that we would then take on – and you’re talking about a conflict that becomes regional and maybe even wider, because we’ve got Russia, we’ve got China, we’ve got other players; as I’ve just mentioned, the Turks. We’ve got a significant interest in that region if Iran and Syria are seriously threatened by the US invasion. And I think, you’re looking at a configuration that would take at least a decade to settle and there aren’t going to be too many victors at the end of that decade – just losers.
RT: Can it actually afford to get involved, and is there an appetite among the American people for yet another military conflict?
LW: Absolutely not, but I’m meeting with several congressman at the end of the week, and that is next week, and we’re going to talk about this very thing. For example about Libya, the way the Libyan operation was conducted without the consultation with the US Congress at all. There are some congressman that are so concerned about this that they’re mentioning words like impeachment and so worth, because you’re not supposed to take the American country to war without the permission of the Congress, the Constitution pretty much says that.
And yet we’re on this track where executives start wars on their own will, and I think this is the kind of thing that is really dangerous for this republic. Iran will give this a different patina, though, because you have a Congress that is really itching to go to war with Iran. So, I think you’re looking at a combination here – not just Syria, and ultimately the target is Iran.
RT: What is the answer then for Syria? Isn’t some intervention justified on humanitarian grounds? In fact, that justification was given for the intervention in Libya. In fact many say that is what brought the conflict to an end, disposed of colonel Gaddafi and ended the loss of innocent lives. Can you apply the same to Syria?
LW: Well, I would differ with that resolution in Libya. Libya still has enormous problems. We have a disconcerted Mali. We have the government being overthrown in Mali, we have Al -Qaeda operating in the North of Mali – all of that is partially a result of what we did in Libya. So, I would be very hesitant to classify Libya as a success. Syria and Iran would be classified even less as a success in my view. What you would have there, a I said, is a long-term occupation, increasing insurgency, increasing civil war-like fighting and so worth.
The answer in Syria, I think, as lamentable as the casualties are, is to let the Syrians settle the situation for the Syrians. There are a lot of Iranians on the ground fighting with Assad’s forces, advising with Assad’s forces. And since that is taking place, it makes better sense for us to take on Syria because we’re going to encounter the Iranians in Syria if we go into Syria. But this is not the time to be doing this.
RT: Do you think rebels could dispose of Assad?
LW: I think Assad’s days are numbered. I don’t know what those days are, I did not think he would last through 2012, and he is apparently going to do that. He may hang on to several factions in Syria that are powerful and still with him, but I still think the best resolution for Syria is a resolution brought about by the majority of the Syrian people.
If they can get their act together to the point where the opposition, as it were, to Assad is sodded enough, it has enough good leadership to topple him, than that is what should happen. But there should be no outside assistance, and that goes for Iran too. Iran should get its people out of Syria and let Syria handle its problems by itself.