Monthly Archives: August 2013

President Obama Speaks on Syria

Here is the video of President Obama’s speech on his intended actions in response to the chemical attack in Syria.

This is posted on the White House blog as President Obama’s Decision on Syria. There you can find a transcript. There is also a page for submitting questions and comments.

I have commented on YouTube and I have sent comments directly to the White House with various parts from the comments below.

President Obama, are you listening or are you just talking?

Do you realize that you are not the one to judge whether you have made a strong case for what you want to do? The people whose agreement you seek are the ones to make the judgement. You have to listen to them before you can conclude how well you have done?

What if the Syrian government did not launch the attacks, but it was the rebels who accidentally exposed the chemicals that were supplied to them by Saudi Arabia? What is your reaction to Syrian rebels admitting to their part in this attack?

Are you willing to take action on this chemical weapon attack even if you punish the wrong people? Will this confirm to the world that the US is too dangerous to have the military might that it does? Will attacking Syria just prove to Iran that they better get nuclear weapons to protect against a future attack from us?

What if Assad says, “I see your attack and I raise you one. Now here is a real chemical attack.” Are you going to stop at your initial pin prick and just say “Oops, that didn’t work?” Or are you going to escalate? Is there a third option? Could you try that third option before you drop bombs and cause another chemical attack?

Do you realize that diplomacy involving the interested parties means that you listen to their issues, try to understand them, and try to resolve them as well as expecting the same treatment from the other parties on your issues? Pressuring others to just accept your point of view is not a good faith effort at using a diplomatic approach.

The videos of the attack victims are consistent with certain nerve agents, but not with others. Don’t you think you ought to wait for the UN inspectors’ report to see if the blood tests show the use of the nerve agent is consistent with the videos and consistent with the types of agents that Syria has?

If it turns out that your actions are to cover the blunder of the CIA in letting Saudi Arabia provide chemical weapons to the rebels, have you not learned that the cover up gets you into more trouble than admitting to the original offense? The original offense may not be impeachable, but a cover-up is impeachable.

What if there is a whistle blower that comes out and exposes what really happen despite all your attempts to intimidate all whistle blowers?

The laws of this country have strict requirements for trying and convicting people to guard against the erroneous conviction of the wrong people on less than reliable evidence. As a lawyer and Constitutional scholar, don’t you think that bombing people who have not bombed you and are not threatening to bomb you ought to require just as much caution?

Bush Veterans Say In Effect “Do Not Make The Mistakes We Did”

The Real News Network has the video The Most Sought After Chess Piece with Larry Wilkerson the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell.  Here is just the beginning of the wise advice from Wilkerson.

DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, it sounds like there’s no smoking gun here. UN inspectors, they’re still in Syria currently. But the Obama administration seems to be pushing forward, saying that they are blaming Assad for this chemical attack. Why would the Obama administration come out with such aggressive language towards Assad and this strike if there’s no smoking gun? What wouldn’t they just wait for the UN inspectors to have hard evidence before proceeding?

WILKERSON: That’s an excellent question. And if I hadn’t lived through this sort of operation with three other presidents, I’d have difficulty answering that question.

As it is, I would say that probably they got too far forward in the foxhole, too aggressive. The president probably acted on an NSA intercept or something like that and made some conclusions he probably shouldn’t have made. And now they’re trying to walk it back a little bit.

I just heard that the inspectors have been asked through the Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general, to not go to the area because we claim the area is contaminated by conventional munitions that Assad has continued to use. That’s preposterous, because if it was a neurotoxic agent, we wouldn’t necessarily have to find things on the ground. It would be nice if we did, but what we’re going to do is take blood samples and so forth of the alleged victims and see if they have indeed been affected by some sort of chemical agent, in this case VX or sarin or a facsimile thereof.

So this really looks bad right now. It looks a lot like what I went through in 2003 in preparing Colin Powell for his now infamous presentation at United Nations in February of that year, where we said Saddam had an active nuclear program, had vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons, had major contacts with al-Qaeda and an active nuclear program, all of which we now know was patently false.

Here is the video:

You have to wonder why the President is so dead set against listening to reason. I have proposed one reason, that Obama is trying to cover his ass over a CIA action that went wrong. Does anyone ever learn from history that the cover-up can get you in more trouble than the original crime? Can you think of any other, less idiotic reasons?

Experts Fear U.S. Plan to Strike Syria Overlooks Risks

The New York Times has the article Experts Fear U.S. Plan to Strike Syria Overlooks Risks.

“Our biggest problem is ignorance; we’re pretty ignorant about Syria,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
In outlining its tentative plans, the Obama administration has left many questions unanswered. Diplomats familiar with Mr. Assad say there is no way to know how he would respond, and they question what the United States would do if he chose to order a chemical strike or other major retaliation against civilians.

That would leave the United States to choose between a loss of credibility and a more expansive — and unpopular — conflict, they said. “So he continues on in defiance — maybe he even launches another chemical attack to put a stick in our eye — and then what?” Mr. Crocker said. “Because once you start down this road, it’s pretty hard to get off it and maintain political credibility.”

I am so confused.  Here I am agreeing with the Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.  Moreover, this article is being published by the Iraq warmongers at The New York Times.

It’s enough to make my head spin if it were not for the fact that I am standing still and the other people are doing the flipping and flopping.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin challenges US on Syria claims

The BBC has the story and video Russia’s Vladimir Putin challenges US on Syria claims.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged the US to present to the UN evidence that Syria attacked rebels with chemical weapons near Damascus.

Speaking to journalists in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Mr Putin urged Mr Obama – as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – to think about future victims in Syria before using force.

He said it was ridiculous to suggest the Syrian government was to blame for the attack.

“Syrian government troops are on the offensive and have surrounded the opposition in several regions,” he said.

“In these conditions, to give a trump card to those who are calling for a military intervention is utter nonsense.”

“So I’m convinced that is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict.”

He said that the US failure to present evidence to the international community was “simply disrespectful”.

“If there is evidence it should be shown. If it is not shown, then there isn’t any,” he said.

Some of Obama’s critics call him a communist.  At least if he were Russian, he could sound reasonable, like Putin on this issue.  Who’s of thought that to an American the Russian logic would sound more logical than the American logic?

EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

This story does NOT come from The Onion.  The story  from Mint Press News is EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack.

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.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

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

Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

Since Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan is a favorite of the CIA according to this article, this explains why the Obama administration is so anxious to blame this on Bashir al Assad.  The President is trying to cover his ass.  Of course, who knows if this story is credible?

I was watching Secretary of State John Kerry explain some of the evidence they have for blaming Assad.  He showed spots on a map where  our satellites picked up rockets firing from government held territory and hitting rebel territory.  They know when the rockets were fired.  What I did not hear him say is that he had any indication the rockets contained a nerve agent.  He also did not claim any evidence of a rocket hit near where the nerve agent attack was supposed to have happened.

The US is not waiting to hear from the UN inspection team what the nerve agent was.  My previous post Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies quoted an expert who said that sarin gas is absorbed through the skin so that a gas mask would not be sufficient protection for the people treating the victims.  If you look at the videos of the doctors treating the victims, they are not adequately protected, and yet there are no reports of the doctors dying.  If you look at the equipment worn by the UN inspectors, you see contamination suits that completely enclose the inspectors. This is what you wear if you suspect sarin. Perhaps it was not even sarin that was used.  Perhaps this is why the President wants to act now, before reports come in that the agent is something that can be linked back to Saudi Arabia and the CIA.

If this attack were somehow connected to the CIA, what is the likelihood that the CIA would provide the President with reliable intelligence that pointed the finger back at them.  Compare this with the likelihood that they would gin up some intelligence that pointed the finger elsewhere.

If any of this is true, this would be an impeachable offense in my opinion.

Surely if this is a legitimate story, this can not be the only place reporting it. Google the phrase nerve gas rebel accident.

Politisite reports the above article and then adds some information from the UK Telegraph, Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria.  Well, actually the information was in the original article, but it used a link to a Business Insider article REPORT: The Saudis Offered Mafia-Style ‘Protection’ Against Terrorist Attacks At Sochi Olympics. This actually links back to the same Telegraph article.

According to U.K.’s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.

The link just above points to the article, Syria, the Saudi connection: The Prince with close ties to Washington at the heart of the push for war.

The Time magazine world page has the article, The Known Knowns and Known Unknowns of a Chemical Attack in Syria. One of the items it talks about is the symptoms from nerve gas attacks.  It is in line with the expert I quoted yesterday.

Video footage coming from the attack sites reveals a horrifying litany of symptoms, from vomiting, difficulty breathing, catatonic states, paralysis, foaming at the mouth, dilated pupils, constricted pupils, tremors, excess salivation and uncontrolled defecation and urination. These could all be symptoms of chemical attack, but they are inconsistent. Nerve agents like sarin, for example, don’t cause foaming at the mouth, but other lung irritants like chlorine gas might. Age, allergies and asthma can also impact how symptoms manifest. The agents in question could be diluted or combined in novel ways that produce an unusual array of symptoms. Even if the videos are unconfirmed, they clearly demonstrate that the victims are suffering horribly and that something terrible has happened to a large number of people. The only way to know for sure what kind of agents were used would be through testing blood and tissue samples of the victims, and environmental samples taken at the site.

At this point, I give up.  There are references all over Google to the story, but I have not found one yet that didn’t link back to the original story above.

Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies

WND has the story Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies.  I found the link to this in one of the comments to the article discussed in my previous post The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error.

This WND story was written by Jerome R. Corsi.  This is what WND has for his bio:

Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D., is a WND senior staff reporter. He has authored many books, including No. 1 N.Y. Times best-sellers “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command.” Corsi’s latest book is the forthcoming “What Went Wrong?: The Inside Story of the GOP Debacle of 2012 … And How It Can Be Avoided Next Time.”

From what I had heard about his books, I always considered Corsi a bit of a nutter (Even a nutter might be right once in awhile, maybe not as often as a stopped watch, though.), so I am hesitant to even mention anything he writes.  However, the videos in his presentation are important if they are to be believed.  I have no way of knowing if they are to be believed.  I don’t know who to believe at this point. But as the UK Guardian pointed out, some of the people we have not believed in the past have turned out to be more truthful and foresighted than the people I want to believe.  (Bush was not one of the people I wanted to believe, but Obama was. Corsi was also not one that I wanted to believe. The links to his book above show why i didn’t, and probably still don’t.)

From the Corsi article, here is but one sample video.

A separate YouTube video from Syrian television shows a government-captured arsenal of what appears to be nerve gas weapons seized from a rebel stronghold in Jobar, Syria.

There are several other videos of more or less veracity. When these videos claim they intercepted a radio communication, at least they play you the audio for you to hear the emotional state of the speakers, and there is a translation in subtitles. In this world where you can trust nothing, at least we have some questions to ask the other side of this argument.

Either side is capable of carrying out false flag operations. Either side is also capable of filming their false flag operations. We need to be aware of that. If we cannot figure out which flag being flown is false or if a false flag is being flown, we need to slow down and do a lot more investigation. If the false flag operation is that of the CIA/US, then there is little hope for a rational discussion. Scratch that, there is no hope.

August 29, 2013

I have been doing some Googling to see what reliable reports I can find about the use of sarin gas in Syria by the rebels. I don’t claim that any of the items I post below are any more or less reliable that what I have already posted.

There is (Video) Syrian Rebels CAUGHT And ARRESTED With Sarin In Turkey In 5/2013. This video originates from RT news. The R in RT used to stand for Russia or Russian, I believe.

Arutz Sheva 7 from Israel reports Russia Accuses Syrian Rebels of Using Sarin Gas.

Truth Out has the report Chemical Weapons Experts Still Skeptical About US Claim That Syria Used Sarin from June 15, 2013. What I find interesting about this article is some information that you might be able to use to judge the veracity of videos about the sarin attacks of any flavor.

“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.”
Zanders, however, said that much about that report bears questioning. Photos and a video accompanying the report showed rebel fighters preparing for chemical attacks by wearing gas masks. Sarin is absorbed through the skin, and even small amounts can kill within minutes.

He also expressed skepticism about the article’s description of the lengthy route victims of chemical attacks had to travel to get to treatment, winding through holes in buildings, down streets under heavy fire, before arriving at remote buildings hiding hospitals.

Zanders, who also has headed the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and was director of the Geneva-based BioWeapons Prevention Project, noted that had sarin been the chemical agent in use, the victims would have been dead long before they reached doctors for treatment.

Zanders also said he’s skeptical of sarin use because there have been no reports of medical personnel or rescuers dying from contact with victims. Residue from sarin gas would be expected to linger on victims and would infect those helping, who often are shown in rebel video wearing no more protection than paper masks.

Le Monde reported that one doctor treated a victim with atropine, which is appropriate for sarin poisoning. But that doctor said he gave his patient 15 shots of atropine in quick succession, which Zanders said could have killed him almost as surely as sarin.

The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error

The UK Telegraph has the story The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error.

His [British Prime Minister Cameron] problem is that the British and American foreign policy, intelligence and military establishments have made a series of dreadful mistakes over the past 15 years. It can be stated with complete fairness that the Stop the War Coalition (a miscellaneous collection of mainly far-Left political organisations, by no means all of them reputable, which marches through London this Saturday in protest) has consistently shown far more mature judgment on these great issues of war and peace than Downing Street, the White House or the CIA.
More surprising still, the Stop the War Coalition has often proved better informed than these centres of Western power, coolly warning against the diet of propaganda masquerading as bona fide intelligence.
The rush to judgment by Britain and the US looks premature, especially in view of the record of our intelligence agencies in providing misleading and fabricated evidence as a justification for war before 2003. (This time it is said that they have been convinced by intercept evidence, but this too can prove seriously misleading.)
The moral authority of Britain and America in the Middle East is shaky, as an article published in Foreign Policy magazine last week reminds us. It provides documentary evidence that the US helped Saddam Hussein’s Iraq launch a series of chemical weapons attacks upon Iran in the late 1980s, an offensive that killed approximately 20,000 Iranian troops – which dwarfs the number of victims of the Syrian attack. Iran, of course, is Assad’s closest ally. Our moral indignation over chemical weapons looks selective.

One of the comments on this story pointed to some videos of questionable authenticity showing the rebels launching sarin gas attacks.  More about that in the next blog post Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies.

Elizabeth Warren’s Secret

Reader Supported News has the article Elizabeth Warren’s Secret by David Dayen, Salon.

The senator tells Salon how one senator can wield tremendous power – and (kind of) addresses those ’16 rumors

It’s been well-documented that the 113th Congress specializes in getting nothing consequential done. While the nation’s supply of named post offices is apparently well-stocked, anything more critical has generally stalled out, with little hope to break the gridlock.

So let’s say you’re a high-profile freshman senator walking into this den of inertia, and you want to make your large following proud and advance your agenda, but you’re in no position to do that legislatively? How do you, Elizabeth Warren, find your way through this minefield, and even chalk up successes?

A very nice article that gives a lot of insight about how a Senator can change the way things are done even without making legislative changes.  Part of what I like about the way Elizabeth Warren works is that she understands you have to change the terms of the debate before you present legislation.  If you don’t do that, you end up like the feckless President who bargains himself down before he even faces his opposition.

The President defers to Congress to dream up the legislation to advance his agenda.  All the while that this process is playing out, the opposition has a heyday framing the debate on terms unfavorable to the President’s agenda.  At the very tail end, the President jumps in and is forced to debate the topic on the opposition’s terms.  His own terms never even get a chance to be part of the debate.

Here is the scenario if the President used the Warren strategy.  You start talking about the issue.  You make some high profile appearances where you set the terms of the debate.  After the conversation seems to be going in your desired direction, you propose some specific legislation.  Since you have set the tone of the debate, the opposition is forced to debate you on your terms and hardly has time to get to their debating points.  Notice that you don’t move to the succeeding steps until you have some indication that your point of view has sunk in sufficiently to weather whatever storm the opposition can try to raise.  If you are not making the progress you want at each phase, you adjust your tactics, and keep trying until it works.  I often don’t have the stomach for this in my world, but that is why Obama was elected as the country’s President and I was not (at least one of the reasons :-).

Intercepted call ‘proves Syria used chemical weapons’

France24 has the article Intercepted call ‘proves Syria used chemical weapons’.

US intelligence intercepted a panicked phone call between Syrian army officials shortly after the chemical weapons attack on civilians in a suburb of Damascus on August 21, according to the magazine Foreign Policy.

Further down in the article we have this added detail:

“Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defence exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers after a nerve gas strike killed more than 1,000 people,” Foreign Policy said on Tuesday.

I can imagine the phone call.

High Official: What the heck is going on? Did you use chemical weapons?

Officer: No, of course we didn’t use chemical weapons. It was probably the rebels that did it.

Based on this frantic call, the US concludes that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. You can take that to the bank.

The article further goes on to say:

Meanwhile, German magazine Focus has reported that Israeli intelligence services also intercepted a phone call between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons.The conversation was then relayed to the US, according to an unnamed former Mossad official quoted in the magazine.

There you have it, the phone call was intercepted by two ‘reliable’ sources who have no reason to lie.

Somehow I would like to see an independent translation of the intercepted call to see if I would interpret the call in the same way as the CIA/Mossad did.  I would also like to hear the recording so I can judge the panic level.  It’s not that I am suspicious of motives at all.  It’s just that if I am asked to approve the bombing of another country, I don’t want to take one side’s word for what the evidence is without hearing what the other side has to say.

Petition – President Obama: Do Not Bomb The Wrong Side

I have created a petition, President Obama: Don’t bomb side that didn’t use chemical weapons to favor side that did.  The wording might not be ideal because I had to shrink it to 75 characters.

My previous posts, Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) and In Rush to Strike Syria, US Tried to Derail UN Probe, show that it is quite likely that President Obama has identified the wrong side as the user of chemical weapons in Syria.

It would be a horrible miscarriage of justice and it would severely harm the interests of humanity if we were to punish the side that did not use chemical weapons in a way that could bring to power the people who did use chemical weapons.

If past history is any guide we will be saddled with the aftermath of this huge blunder for more than 50 years. See my previous post, A CIA Hand in an American ‘Coup’? about our legacy in Iran.

At least don’t let this horrible mistake be on your conscience.  Please sign the petition.  Please spread the word about this petition.

August 29, 2013

I changed the title of the petition to

President Obama: Don’t bomb the wrong side over the use of chemical weapons

When you sign the petition, the following email will go out:

The President of the United States
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts
Rep. Edward Markey, Massachusetts-05
Rep. Richard Neal, Massachusetts-01
Barack Obama, President of the United States

Don’t bomb the wrong side over the use of chemical weapons

[Your name]