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Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack? Not So Fast

FTR #954

Listen (MP3): This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment

The latest program recorded is FTR #955 Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack? Not So Fast, Part 2

"Yo, al-Qaeda dudes! Where ARE the hazmat suits?"

“Yo, Al-Qaeda dudes! Where ARE the hazmat suits?”

In the wake of the alleged sarin attack by Bashar al-Assad’s government and the cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base by the U.S., we examine some of the relevant issues in the crisis, including and especially intelligence evaluations sharply divergent from the official version:

a). We begin with analysis of the area (Idlib) where the alleged Syrian government sarin attack took place. It is dominated by the Al-Nusra Front, the name given to Al-Qaeda in Iraq when it operates in Syria. Note that the top cleric in the Al-Qaeda held area is Abdullah Muhaysini, a Saudi cleric: ” . . . . who was a student [25] of Sulayman Al-Alwan, the Wahhabi cleric who oversaw what his Muslim critics have called a ‘terrorist factory [26]’ in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qassim Province. Al-Alwan was also the instructor of the 9/11 hijacker Abdulaziz Alomari. . . .”

b.) Saddam and bin Laden worked out an arrangement in which Iraq—in order to provide for a payback capability if the U.S. ousted him—gave information about WMD’s to bin Laden’s people. Al Qaeda, in turn, was to act as a back-up unit for Saddam’s Iraq, striking at the United States if it knocked out Saddam. ” . . . . According to Arab sources, in anticipation of a foreseeable reversal of alliances in Kabul, bin Laden had been in discreet contact since September 2000 with associates of Oudai Hussein. . . . Bin Laden and the Iraqis are said to have exchanged information about chemical and biological weapons, despite the opposition of some of the Baghdad leadership, including Tarik Aziz. . . .”

c). Robert Parry notes in Consortium News that elements in the U.S. intelligence community do not agree with the Trump administration’s assessment of the situation. ” . . . . Alarm within the U.S. intelligence community about Trump’s hasty decision to attack Syria reverberated from the Middle East back to Washington, where former CIA officer Philip Giraldi reported hearing from his intelligence contacts in the field that they were shocked at how the new poison-gas story was being distorted by Trump and the mainstream U.S. news media. Giraldi told Scott Horton’s Webcast: ‘I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.’ . . .”

d.) Parry also notes that some analysts are reporting a strike by a drone launched from a joint Saudi-Israeli base that supports Syrian rebels. ” . . . Despite some technical difficulties in tracing its flight path, analysts eventually came to believe that the flight was launched in Jordan from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base for supporting Syrian rebels, the source said, adding that the suspected reason for the poison gas was to create an incident that would reverse the Trump administration’s announcement in late March that it was no longer seeking the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. . . .”

e.) Parry concludes one of his articles with a scathing analysis of the Trump administration’s claims by a MIT researcher: ” . . . . In a separate analysis of the four-page dossier, Theodore Postol, a national security specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concluded that the White House claims were clearly bogus, writing: ‘I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017. In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4. This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.’ . . . ”

f.) Detailed analysis of an August, 2013 sarin attack, originally thought to have been perpetrated by Bashar Al-Assad, was presented by Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books. The sarin turns out not to have come from Syrian government stockpiles. “. . . . Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. . . .”

g.) Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda), on the other hand, was producing Sarin and looking to ramp up production through a supply pipeline running through Turkey. ” . . . . The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. . . .”

h.) The 2013 conclusions of general Martin Dempsey are worth examining in the context of the current crisis: ” . . . . From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been skeptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. . . .”

Program Highlights Include:

1. Review of the corporatist economic foundation of Muslim Brotherhood developmental theory. “. . . . The Muslim Brotherhood hails 14th century philosopher Ibn Khaldun as its economic guide. Anticipating supply-side economics, Khaldun argued that cutting taxes raises production and tax revenues . . . The World Bank has called Ibn Khaldun the first advocate of privatization. . . .”

2. Review of Graham E. Fuller’s support for the economic values of the Muslim Brotherhood and his strange support for Bernie Sanders, whose values are the opposite of those espoused by Fuller.

3. The fact that war in the Middle East raises oil prices–this to be seen against the background of Rex Tillerson being Secretary of State (previously CEO of Exxon/Mobil). ” . . . . For investors like Mr. Abdullah, conflict in the Middle East means one thing: higher oil prices. ‘It’s always good for us,’ he says. . . .”

4. Robert Parry’s view that the omission of CIA director Mike Pompeo and other top U.S. intelligence officials from a photo of Trump’s top advisors is indicative of dissent within the intelligence community from the official version of the attack.

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