Syria, sarin gas, Mint Press and false flags

Syria weaponsBY ED FELIEN

The Washington Post noted on April 16 that “Syria’s opposition fighters have been supplied with U.S.-made anti-tank missiles, the first time a major American weapons system has appeared in rebel hands. It is unclear how the rebels obtained the wire-guided missiles, which are capable of penetrating heavy armor and fortifications and are standard in the U.S. military arsenal. The United States has sold them in the past to Turkey, among other countries, and the Pentagon approved the sale of 15,000 of the weapons to Saudi Arabia in December. Both countries aid Syrian opposition groups.”
Where is the mystery?
“U.S. officials declined to discuss the origin of the weapons but did not dispute that the rebels have them. Their appearance in Syria coincides with a U.S. commitment this year to escalate a CIA-run program to supply and train vetted ‘moderate’ rebel groups and to improve coordination with other opposition backers.”
In the April 17 edition of the London Review of Books, Seymour Hersch discusses “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” how Obama’s red line (the use of chemical weapons) that Assad supposedly crossed last fall and almost led to the massive U.S. bombing of Syria, was possibly a false flag.
He argues that there was a rat line operating out of the U.S. Embassy Annex in Benghazi that was supplying Libyan weapons to Turkey to be transported to the Syrian rebels, and among those weapons were quantities of sarin gas.
Last year Mint Press, a local international progressive online magazine, reported the possibility that the sarin attacks in Ghouta were a false flag. They were attacked by the national press and politicians, but now it seems they may have been right to question the official Washington line.
Seymour Hersch is a frustrating writer. He quotes anonymous sources that at times seem to have the credibility of back fence gossip: “A U.S. intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel … ” But he weaves together a plausible tale:
“A highly classified annex to the report [from the Senate Intelligence Committee on Benghazi], not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdogan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)”
Mint Press summarizes Hersch’s argument: “Last May, more than 10 members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdogan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze.’ ”
A tidal wave of opposition to U.S. involvement in the Syrian war stopped Obama from bombing Syria last fall, but the Administration continues to sneak weapons to the rebels through back channels in Turkey. The Obama Administration seems quite willing to use the CIA and local thugs to overthrow democratically elected governments in Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. And the mainstream media continues to parrot the Administration’s insane hypocrisy that by overthrowing these governments we are advancing the cause of democracy.


One Comment:

  1. Ed,

    You’re statement that the government of Syria was “democratically elected” is absurd. Syria has been under a neo-fascist dictatorship for 40 years, led by the current
    thug Bashar Assad and his father. The so-called elections that have been held during this era were shams.

    The election that the current dictator is planning for June, under conditions of war and massive numbers of refugees will also be a sham.

    The European Union, on April 14, 2014 directly challenged Assad’s election plan with the following statement:

    “The EU reiterates the position that any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of the Geneva Communique and through a genuine political process where also women and civil society should have an active and a meaningful role. Any elections, presidential or other, organised by the regime outside this framework, conducted in the midst of conflict, only in regime-controlled areas and with millions of Syrians displaced from their homes would be a parody of democracy, have no credibility whatsoever, and undermine efforts to reach a political solution.”

    Serious peace activists should stop apologizing for the Syrian dictatorship and begin to deal with reality. Merely opposing the policies of the US government does not turn a murderous dictator into a shining hero.

    Andy Berman

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