U.S. President Obama’s central case against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (and his central argument against Assad’s supporter Russia on that matter) is that Assad was behind the sarin gas attack in Ghouta Syria on 21 August 2013 — but it’s all a well-proven lie, as will be shown here.
President Obama said this to the UN on September 24th: “The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used such weapons on August 21st. U.N. inspectors gave a clear accounting that advanced rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas at civilians. These rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood and landed in opposition neighborhoods.”
As I wrote in an article earlier in September, summing up the evidence on this (and you can click through all the way to the ultimate published sources here):
The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann headlined on 7 October 2013 at his nsnbc news site, «Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria», and he opened:
«Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry». (The U.S. has been allied with the Saudi royal family since 1945.)
Lehmann discussed the chemical-weapons attack «in the Eastern Ghouta Suburb of Damascus on 21 August 2013,» which attack U.S. President Barack Obama was citing as his reason for planning to bomb to bring down Syria’s pro-Russian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, whom Obama was blaming for the chemical attack. However, much like another great investigative journalist Seymour Hersh subsequently reported (using different sources) in the London Review of Books on 17 April 2014, Lehmann’s even-earlier investigation found that the U.S. had set up the chemical attack, and that it was actually carried out by Islamic jihadists that the U.S. itself was supplying in Syria, through Turkey. Lehmann reported:
«After the defeat of the predominantly Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces, which were reinforced by Libyans in June and July 2012, the U.S.-Saudi Axis was strengthened. Uncooperative Qatari-led brigades which rejected the new command structure had to be removed. The influx of Salafi-Wahhabbi fighters to Syria was documented by the International Crisis Group in their report titled «Tentative Jihad».»
Hersh’s report added to Lehmann’s, a powerful confirmation by British intelligence, which found that the source of the chemical-weapons attack couldn’t possibly have been Assad’s forces. However, the Brits, of course, didn’t publicly expose Obama’s lie; after all, just as Tony Blair had been George W. Bush’s «lap dog» in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Cameron is Obama’s lap dog in Syria and Libya.
Regarding Obama’s statement, “These rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood and landed in opposition neighborhoods,” nothing like that is stated in the report by “U.N. inspectors,” though Obama says it is. However, here is what Matthew Schofield of McClatchy reported on 15 January 2014, months after that UN report:
A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.
A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated. …
The authors of a report released Wednesday [15 January 2014] said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.
That’s putting it mildly — i.e, it misrepresents what the Lloyd-Postol report found, which was (on the report’s page 11):
The US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.
Here is the “Bottom Line” to their excruciatingly detailed analysis of the evidence:
The Syrian Improvised Chemical Munitions [the rockets] that Were Used in the August 21, Nerve Agent Attack in Damascus Have a Range of About 2 Kilometers.
This Indicates That These Munitions Could Not Possibly Have Been Fired at East Ghouta from the “Heart” or the Eastern Edge of the Syrian Government Controlled Area Depicted in the Intelligence Map Published by the White House on August 30, 2013 [as charged by the White House].
This faulty Intelligence Could Have Led to an Unjustified US Military Action Based on False Intelligence.
A Proper Vetting of the Fact That the Munition Was of Such Short Range Would Have Led to a Completely Different Assessment of the Situation from the Gathered Data [namely, that the attack was perpetrated by opponents to Assad’s regime].
Whatever the Reasons for the Egregious Errors in the Intelligence, the Source of These Errors Needs to Be Explained.
Just as ‘intelligence errors’ (instead of Presidential lies) were blamed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by President George W. Bush, ‘Egregious Errors in the Intelligence’ (instead of Presidential lies) were blamed here, even though the President continues saying, now even at the UN, “The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used such weapons on August 21st. U.N. inspectors gave a clear accounting that advanced rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas at civilians. These rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood and landed in opposition neighborhoods.”
That whole statement is a lie. Obama in his 24 September 2015 UN speech misrepresented the UN investigators’ finding (which was that a sarin gas attack had, indeed, occurred — and not by ‘advanced rockets’ but by two rockets, each of which was an “unguided rocket”), and he lied about what the analyses of evidence, after the UN’s report was issued, actually did find — namely, that the U.S. President has been (and he still is) lying (and it called these rockets “Improvised Chemical Munitions,” and gave detailed descriptions of both of these rockets that the President called “advanced rockets”).
According to Hersh’s account, Britain’s MI6 already knew that Obama was lying, but couldn’t go public about it.
So, why were there not boos from the audience at the UN when he repeated that by-now disproven old lie, which remains believable only by suckers — people who still believe a man who by now is a rampantly repeated liar? They’re all diplomats. So, the lie lives on. (Just click through to the sources here on this, and you’ll see that Obama was lying. The “intelligence” is not wrong; he simply lies about it.)
Meanwhile, Russian volunteer troops, who are now going public inside Syria about their direct on-the-ground military actions against ISIS and al-Nusra (the latter being al-Qaeda’s local affiliate in Syria), because the Russian Armed Forces are coming there with planes and such to back them and Assad’s forces up, say, “Terrorists have many American weapons, rockets and even night vision devices. Americans teach them. USA bombed our gas plants in the East.” Putin is, in effect, daring Obama to continue his sham ‘war against ISIS,’ now that proceeding further with it would expose the reality of what Obama has been doing all along. Putin is working instead with the leaders of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Israel, to kill the Islamic jihadists, who are backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the U.S. (The way Germany’s highly reliable global-news source, German Economic News, elsewhere puts the pro-jihadist alliance is: “Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, but also the United States”; but, of course it’s actually led by the U.S.) Instead of trying to take over the world, like the U.S. is doing, Putin is trying to organize an alliance against Sunni jihadists, who constitute a real threat to peace and security in his and many other nations.
With American Presidents such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama, this “perpetual war for” perpetual ‘indispensable nation’ hood, ‘American exceptionalism’ (Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc., and even Ukraine) has become a bad habit of America’s actually heisted political system. And can a nation that’s ruled by lies — lies for which there is no personal accountability — be actually a democracy? Are not lies coercion against the victim’s mind, just as theft is coercion against the victim’s property, and just as violence is coercion against the victim’s body? The victims here are the public, including all American voters, who are deceived that the American government still represents them. Coercion comes in all three types (physical, mental, and property). Not all tyrannies function the same way, yet all of them are tyrannies, none the less.
When will a stop be put to the recently emergent tyranny in America? Perhaps the first step is to call the spade a spade, not continue the lie that it’s still a ‘democracy.’ Isn’t honesty basic to any real democracy? Doesn’t it need to be restored? Isn’t calling it what it is, the first step?
The UN isn’t set up to do that for us. No one should blame the UN for not doing that, which it cannot do. Only Americans can — if they will.
Tyranny isn’t permanent, any more than is democracy.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.