"I dream of snakes ... I kill one and a yet bigger one appears ..." - Cuban troubadour, Silvio Rodriguez
I refer to the NYT article With the World Watching, Syria Amassed Nerve Gas which does not give any detail of the material released by wikileaks however it does make the following statement:
Sarin gas has been identified by the United States as the agent loaded atop small rockets on Aug. 21 (2013) and shot into the densely populated suburbs of Damascus, killing more than 1,400 people, according to administration officials.
This contradicts the UN weapons inspection team’s mission statement that says Sellstrom’s inspection team was charged with determining whether deadly agents were used in Syria, not who was responsible (my emphasis). All we have from the UN so far is the reports of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon statement on 13 Sept 2013 that a report on last month’s deadly attack in Syria would be “overwhelming” in showing that chemical weapons were used in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 2013.
No evidence has yet been produced that Sarin gas was used, nor that it was placed on rockets, nor that it was fired into ‘densely populated suburbs of Damascus,’ nor that 1,400 people were killed … unless you accept bald assertions made by unidentified sources curiously referred to in the NYT article as “administration officials”.
Did these events occur and are the perpetrators who the US says they are? Remember WMDs in Iraq. The US has admitted providing Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons to use against Iran in the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. Yet both the United States and Iraq are now signatories to the convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Has the US simply outsourced its supply of chemical weapons?
No whistle blower has provided evidence of claims by ‘the United States’ that the Syrian government used sarin gas against its own people in the NYT article or anywhere else.
There are Russian counter claims (equally specious?) that rebels are responsible for the chemical attack in Damascus. There is no mention of those counter-claims in the NYT article.
So what assistance do such articles about wikileaks give someone interested in finding out what is happening in Damascus?
All the Murdoch press wishes to do is find a basis for slagging off at Obama for failing to do what the United States does best – bomb civilian populations in countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bosnia, Iraq, Libya, Mali …
Nowhere in the Murdoch press do you see published the deadly use of phosphorus against the civilian population of Gaza by Israel nor do you read of the daily use of toxic water canon and tear gas used against the people of the West Bank (sometimes to deadly effect). No mention either of the cluster bombs Israel used against people in Southern Lebanon not to mention Israel’s nuclear warheads.
The supporters of WikiLeakes and Assange need to ask why they claim that the Syrian Civil War is a sectarian conflict when it is clearly a war for oil, gas and US strategic interest over Iran.
We do not need leaks from the US military to tell us that. Nor do we need leaks to know that Syria is now a member state to the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons whereas Israel is a signatory to the convention that prohibits chemical weapons but has never had its membership ratified.
Israel’s use of chemical weapons against Palestinians is reported weekly – toxic sludge, tear gas, phosphorus are some of the known chemical weapons used by Israel on the West bank and Gaza. The UN Secretary of State never asks Israel for immediate and unfettered access to its nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, as it did today with Syria. [Israel signed the chemical weapons prohibition convention on 13/01/1993 but never ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention].
The Goldstone report found in September 2009 that Israel had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians during its bombing of Gaza. No action was taken against Israel by the UN as a result of the ongoing killing of Palestinians in the Gaza and West Bank. The United States is protecting Israel and its strategic interests in the Middle East over the human rights of people trying to survive new Israel settlements and new military attacks.
Rather than relying on the New York Times, Wikileakes, the European press I recommend that people access the many English language websites in the Middle East particularly for News and Current Affairs. Critical reading of such websites is important, look to the website’s affiliation (Al Manar with Hezbollah, Press TV with Iran, Al Jazeera with Doha etc). A number of the Lebanese Websites are well resourced and therefore provide reliable news updates long before our local press here in Australia. There is a blackout on certain reporting here in FairFax, Murdoch and ABC – this screening for western bias limits what we know about important events in the region. The hegemony of US interest is maintained.
16 Sept 2013
Rain of Fire – Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
Last Train to Mirabad
OPCW Director-General Welcomes Agreement on Syrian Chemical Weapons