Syrian Rebels Claim Government Using Chemical Weapons; Secretary Hagel Takes Dictation

Syrian rebels have been entrusted by US intelligence to collect information to show that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own citizens and, surprise, they have come back with the “evidence” the warmongers have sought to satisfy rebel demands for a US attack. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in a stunning about-face, has dutifully reported back to Congress these “findings” as fact and in so doing has shifted the US war machine from “neutral” into “drive”.

Here is apparently the sourcing for the dramatic reversal in the opinion of Secretary Hagel and the US government:

“Christiane Amanpour, the chief international correspondent for CNN, said that sources have told her that physicians working with the Free Syrian Army obtained blood samples from chemical warfare victims and provided them to US intelligence along with soil samples collected from the earth.”

They wouldn’t falsify those, would they? It’s not like they have a history of faking reports to suit their goals of drawing the US into the conflict…do they?

Two days ago, senior Israeli intelligence official General Itai Brun claimed that suspicious-looking pictures on YouTube of people with foam on their faces made him “nearly 100 percent” sure that the Syrian government was using chemical weapons. Secretary Hagel appeared blindsided by the claim and replied that he was provided no evidence by Israel to back it up.

A report on Hagel at the time, speaking in Cairo, has him asserting that:

“…Israeli claims of Assad employing chemical warfare were ‘suspicious’ and that ‘we have to be very careful here before we draw any conclusions based on real intelligence.’”

Amazingly, just some 24 hours later, he now claims that the US intelligence community believes “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, including sarin gas.

Reading between the lines in such a situation is very important. What Hagel said was that the US intelligence community has determined “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons (based on samples collected by the Syrian rebels). What this means in English — and here I am forced to speculate based on what we know from the “footnote” taken by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which turned out to be absolutely correct — is that some zealots in the intelligence community ran with this dubious intelligence passed on by Israel and “produced” by the insurgents like they ran with the yellowcake and the aluminum tubes lies on Iraq in the run-up to the war. Cooler heads (and my money is on INR, and not only because they have been right on the mark in the past but also because I am familiar with their independent streak and track record) screamed to the hilltops that this analysis was bogus, thus providing the “varying” degrees of confidence cited by Hagel.

Varying degrees of confidence likely means that INR believes the conclusion is garbage. I could be wrong. I am only speculating, but with some basis.

Meanwhile, the US is demanding — and as usual the United Nations complies — that Russia and China be excluded from any UN fact-finding mission into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria because the two countries are too involved in the conflict to be objective. To be truly objective, of course, the team must only be made up of the countries who are supplying weapons and training to the al Qaeda-allied insurgents in Syria. Truth is lies, war is peace.

And the “Hagel Trap” is sprung.

On Twitter @DanielLMcAdams


10:12 pm on April 25, 2013