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Chemical Weapons and Moral Hypocrisy

While the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons is a criminal act if true, and deserving of prosecution before the International Criminal Court–let’s not all become moral hypocrites on the subject.  Most major military powers have chemical weapons.  Some have even used them.  Among the more commonly known are Saddam’s use against his Iranian enemies during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.  He also used them against the Kurds in Halabja.

The U.S. and Russia both have chemical weapons programs.  In fact, a rogue U.S. chemical weapons researcher may’ve caused the anthrax scare that killed a number of innocent Americans and tossed the country into a panic just after 9/11.

In the ancient era, Rome and her Germanic tribal enemies each poisoned wells with chemical agents.  The first modern mass use of such weapons in war occurred during World War I when Germany used chlorine gas on the battlefield.

But the U.S. too has a rich history of using chemical agents in war.  During the Vietnam War we used Agent Orange profusely to defoliate the terrain in which the Vietcong hid.  The peripheral impact was to poison not just the enemy (500,000 children were born with various deformities and disabilities as a result), but our own troops, who were also severely affected.  In the battle for Fallujah, the U.S. used massive amounts of white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons, which have caused excess cancer deaths, fetal deformities and other horrific impacts on local residents.  All these uses were in direct contravention of international conventions.

Israel too has a long history of research into, and use of both chemical and biological weapons. This goes all the way back to the State’s founding in 1948.  In the tense lead-up to the War, Israeli forces introduced typhus and dysentery into the water systems of Acre and Gaza, resulting in numerous illnesses and deaths.  Egypt arrested two Israeli agents it found in Gaza and tried and convicted them.  After they escaped and were recaptured the two were hung.  Earlier, Palmach officer Arie Aharoni had been asked to undertake the Gaza poisoning operation and he refused to do so as confirmed in Tikva Honig Parnass’ The False Prophets.

Moshe Dayan, a leading Palmach commander during the War, even brought home vials of such poison, one of which was broken by his son, Assi, who contracted typhus and nearly died.  As his mother nursed him back to health, his father was far away fighting, and possibly poisoning, Arabs.

For further historical research and documentation, read Avner Cohen’s seminal essay, Israel and Chemical-Biological Weapons.  Cohen is the world’s leading academic historian of Israel’s WMD programs.

Israel first began formal research in 1956 at the direction of David Ben Gurion.  This was the same year the then prime minister sent his young protegé, Shimon Peres to France to begin negotiations for the nuclear reactor that would bring Israel its first nuclear weapon in 1967.

This interesting essay suggests that at the dawn of Israel’s WMD development (1956) there was a furious debate on the subject between Chaim Weizmann, himself a chemist, and other scientists allied with military and intelligence interests.  Weizmann was adamantly opposed to the “black science” of chemical warfare.  Instead, he proposed creating an Institute devoted to “pure science.”  This plan resulted in the founding of the Weizmann Institute, which itself makes significant contributions to Israel’s military capabilities.

DIME weapon impacts on human body

But those on the other side of this debate also won out when Ben Gurion ordered the creation of Israel’s first chemical and biological weapons lab.  It was housed in an abandoned Palestinian villa in Ness Ziona.  The local Palestinians fled during the Nakba and the military commandeered the grounds to create the new facility.  The lab’s first director was Ephraim Katzir, who eventually became Israel’s fourth president.

Chemical and biological agents have often been used on the battlefield by Israel.  UN researchers detected radiation in bomb craters in Lebanon after the 2006 indicating depleted uranium weapons may’ve been used.  White phosphorus was used in Gaza in a densely populated urban environment, a use specifically outlawed under international law.  Israel has also used the ghoulish DIME weapon whose impacts I’ve described here.

Biological weapons are often used by Israeli covert operatives and assassins.  They did so in the case of Khaled Meshal, who was injected with a fatal dose of ricin in Amman.  He only lived because King Hussein demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu provide an antidote, which saved Khaled’s life.  Mahmoud al-Mabouh was killed with chemical agents by Mossad assassins in Dubai in 2009.  Mossad agents also accidentally murdered an Israeli engineer suspected of selling military secrets to Egypt.  After being kidnapped, during the flight back to Israel he was given an overdose and died.  His body was dropped into the ocean and the story was suppressed for 50 years.

Ness Ziona develops  all of these weapons for use by the IDF and Israeli intelligence.  The lab there is a closely guarded secret.  Israelis know almost nothing about what goes on there.  And they prefer it that way.  A form of plausible deniability that might also be called moral amnesia.  There is little or no public debate about the various forms of WMD Israel possesses.  The military prefers it that way.  Public knowledge or debate on these issues would just distract the security forces from going about their jobs of protecting the State and its citizens.  The public itself sees these issues as far too complicated for them to have educated opinions about them.  And so the military is given carte blanche.

Israel not only refuses to join the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, it refuses to ratify the chemical weapons convention (which it has signed).  There are only five nations in the world which haven’t ratified the convention: Israel, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.  Interestingly, a Middle Eastern nation that belongs to both is Iran.  Many analysts believe that Syria and Egypt developed their own chemical weapons capability as a form of insurance and deterrence against Israel’s nuclear weapons cache.  The world turned a blind eye to what these Arab nations did because the world also turned a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear capability.  It was a devil’s bargain.

Until now.  Bashar al-Assad has changed the calculus of WMD in the region with his purported use of chemical weapons.  While any deployment of such weapons is criminal and inexcusable, it’s quite hypocritical to single out Syria when Israel itself has far larger stores of chemical, biological and nuclear weaponry.

It’s completely justified to demand that Syria rid itself of chemical weapons, especially since it’s apparently used them and killed civilians.  But it’s hypocritical not to demand all states in the region that have CW to rid themselves of it and to join any international conventions which they’ve refused to sign.    Israel’s foreign ministry spokesflack, Yigal Palmor, created a marvelous smokescreen behind which Israel hid, impregnable against demands that it join:

“Unfortunately…other countries in the Middle East, including those that have used chemical weapons recently or in the past, or are believed to be working to improve their chemical capabilities, have failed to follow suit and have indicated that their position would remain unchanged even if Israel ratifies the convention,” Palmor said in a written statement. “Some of these states don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and blatantly call to annihilate it. In this context, the chemical weapons threat against Israel and its civilian population is neither theoretical nor distant. Terror organizations, acting as proxies for certain regional states, similarly pose a chemical weapons threat. These threats cannot be ignored by Israel, in the assessment of possible ratification of the convention.”

Let’s see how we may parse the lies and inanities of this statement.  First, “believed to be:” Israel is believed to be improving its chemical weapons capability.  In fact, its arsenal is second to none.  No other state in the region can come close.  So whether any other state is improving its arsenal is irrelevant.

Second, no other state that I know of has said it would refuse to sign even if Israel did.  In fact, Egypt and Syria in the past have said just the opposite: that they would sign the convention if Israel joined NPT (which for Arab states is the most frightening weapons Israel possesses).

Third, no Middle Eastern state that has chemical weapons has denied Israel’s right to exist or called to annihilate it.  That claim is simply made up out of whole cloth.  As for the claim that the chemical weapons threat from these countries is neither “theoretical nor distant,” that too is simply a fabrication.  Israel faces no serious threat from chemical weapons.  And should you wish to argue that Assad might use such agents against Israel–it’s far different using them against defenceless civilians than using them against the fourth most powerful military in the world.  Assad would be wiped out if he tried something like that and he knows it.  The only one who apparently doesn’t is Yigal Palmor.

As for the argument that “terror organizations” pose such a threat: none have ever used chemical agents against Israel, while Israel has used such weapons.  In short, Israel has no plausible reason to refuse to sign the convention, except that it wishes not to have any international oversight or restrictions upon its military capabilities.  Israel knows that its WMD arsenal would flagrantly violate every treaty or convention it might sign.  It would either have to disarm or be in violation.  It would much rather see Iran, an NPT and CW convention signatory, fry under the glare of an international inspection regime, than suffer the same fate itself.

Another argument Israel offers to defend retention of its WMD capability is that its neighbors, whether wild-eyed ayatollahs (Iran) or brutal dictators (Syria), can’t be trusted to have such weapons, while Israel can.  It’s the old “villa in the jungle” syndrome.  Israel is the lone civilized nation among a stew of savage tribes and states.  Israel is the west’s proxy in the region, doing the Lord’s work in exerting a civilizing influence on the natives.  Yes, this is rhetoric Israeli officials have used and apparently believe.

Nevertheless, both the U.S. and Israel are hypocrites regarding WMD.  Of course, it is correct to demand transparency and accountability from Assad.  As long as we hold ourselves to a similar standard.

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{ 66 comments… add one }
  • Oui September 13, 2013, 4:20 AM

    Thank you for excellent article. As an ally to The Netherlands, Israel acted as a criminal state for not divulging contents of the El AL Boeing 747 that crashed on a suburb of Amsterdam in 1992. Years later it was established precursor chemicals for sarin nerve agent were on board. I do miss info about the joint research on WMDs with the apartheid state of Pick Botha in South Africa.

  • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 8:23 AM

    @ RIchard
    So you compare two Palmach alleged incident in which water wells were supposed to be poisoned, the incidents took place over 65 years ago and both failed (one failed allegedly as all you know is the Egyptian statement, and one is based on Assi Dayan’s statement which i wouldn’t consider credible) , to Assad’s usage of chemical weapons against it’s own people in which 1400 people were killed (only in the latest) ?

    and just FYI, the first attempt to poison water wells in Israel was orchestrated by Haj Amin al-Husseini amid WWII when he convinced the German’s to poison the water sources of the city of Tel-Aviv, 3 German paratroopers and 2 Palestinians participated in Atlas Operation. 2 German’s and one Palestinian were captured, Hasan Salame (The other Palestinian) was killed 4 years later and the last German was captured in 1946. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_ATLAS

    • Daniel September 13, 2013, 9:58 AM

      @ H. Mor: Why do you say that 1400 people were killed in the Ghouta attack?

      French intelligence reports 281 confirmed deaths in the attack, and according to Reuters, “estimates of [the Ghouta] gas attack deaths by British intelligence, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and non-governmental group Doctors without Borders fall within a range of 322 to 355.”

      But perhaps you prefer to believe everything that American officials tell you? Just as you apparently believe everything published by the Daily Mail.

      • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 10:12 AM

        @ Daniel
        Your reply is a true statement to the moral bankruptcy of the west.
        let’s assume you are right. so what ?
        Assad attacked his own people, he used rockets with chemical warheads and you tally how many people died from the rocket’s explosion and how many died from the gas ? As if it is OK to target civilians using conventional means!!!
        If you (or your kids if you have any) would die from a similar attack (and i don’t wish you that, this is only a question) you think your relatives would care if you died from the gas or from conventional explosives ?
        Attacking defenseless civilians is morally wrong period, no accounting tricks would be able to right that wrong.

        • Richard Silverstein September 13, 2013, 1:37 PM

          @ H. Mor:

          the moral bankruptcy of the west.

          A true blue [and white] flag waving Israeli nationalist defender of its bankrupt status quo lectures us in the west about our own supposed bankruptcy! That’s a laugh.

          When Israel stops using chemical & biological weapons on Palestinian & Lebanese civilian populations then you can talk. Till then, as God said to Moses in the Midrash: Shtok!

          Attacking defenseless civilians is morally wrong period

          A truer word never spoken. Now would you get down on your knees and beg forgiveness from Dr. Abulaish, whose children & wife your murdering IDF criminals killed with tank blasts to him home during Cast Lead: defenseless civilians all. The officer who commanded this attack was almost brought up on disciplinary charges. But when the furor died down over Cast Lead, he may even have gotten a promotion instead.

          • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 2:12 PM

            @ Richard
            Your comparisons have no logic, you are comparing apples to bananas and claim they are both tomato’s.
            While non-involved citizens did die in Gaza (including Dr. Abulaish family) IDF doesn’t target civilians.
            Unfortunately Hamas and other groups operate from within the civilians neighborhoods, in defiance of international law, and they are the one responsible for the death of every civilian in the Gaza strip, both legally and morally.

          • Daniel September 13, 2013, 3:25 PM

            @ H. Mor:

            Oh, okay. So if those who used the chemical weapons in Ghouta didn’t target civilians, but were actually aiming only for militants, you’re okay with it, right?

            According to your Israeli logic, it’s the rebels in Ghouta who should be blamed for taking human shields and operating from a civilian neighbourhood. Right?

          • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 4:26 PM

            @Daniel

            usually i avoid conversing with those who’s only interest is scoring points but Yom Kipur is coming maybe i can talk some sense to you so you will not be late.

            The neighborhoods that were attack on Aug 21 are about 1.5 sqmi in size. The attack killed 1429 people mostly civilians.

            The area of the Gaza strip is about 140 sqmi – During operation cast lead IDF operated all over the strip and as a result (let’s accept the Palestinian numbers as published in wiki) 1,434 people died out of which 239 police officers, 235 terrorists and 960 civilians.

            This is the difference between targeting the civil population and going after terrorists who hide among the civilians.

            If you don’t understand that, there is nothing i can do to help you, but maybe Col Richard Kemp could http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo

          • Oui September 14, 2013, 12:38 AM

            @H. Mor: The Obama/Kerry number of 1,429 deaths are fictional, most likely read in Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. The early stats from MSF (Aug. 24) are as follows: 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms, 355 reportedly died. For its part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 300 people had died from the effects of gas, including 82 women and 54 children.

            The UN Inspection report on Ghouta gas attack has been handed to UNSG Ban Ki-moon and will be published Monday.

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 2:14 AM

            @ Oui: That’s not what the Observatory actually said. It said it could only definitively confirm that many dead because it uses an extremely rigorous procedure to document a death. That doesn’t mean there weren’t other deaths. Only that those other reports didn’t satisfy their documentation practice.

            You’re also mangling the Medecins sans Frontieres report, which said that of those MSF treated 360 died. Those IT treated. MSF didn’t treat every patient nor did it treat all the dead.

            Please people, stop making it up as you go along. Interpret the evidence carefully and paraphrase carefully.

          • Oui September 14, 2013, 3:06 AM

            Just to be clear, any number of deaths due to use of forbidden chemical agents is a crime against humanity and requires international response. Inflated number of deaths as used by President Obama in a speech to go to war must be scrutinized. Ever since the gas attack in Ghouta, I have urged to wait for the UN Inspection report (Monday).

            The full MSF statement – Syria: Thousands Suffering Neurotoxic Symptoms Treated in Hospitals Supported by MSF. MSF organisation was not on the ground in Ghouta due to extreme danger. MSF later came with a second statement, a disclaimer. We reiterate what we stated in our press release on August 24:
            ○ MSF does not have the capacity to identify the cause of the neurotoxic symptoms of patients reported by three clinics supplied by MSF in Damascus governorate.
            ○ MSF was not and is not directly present at these clinics.
            ○ MSF does not possess the capacity or ability to determine or assign responsibility for the event that caused these reported symptoms to occur.

            Even in the senate hearing, Secretary John Kerry was caught quoting a source Elizabeth O’Bagy, not a PhD and not working for ISW anymore, but a Syrian Rebels’ lobbyist getting paid for spreading lies and welcomed by Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. A shame and close equivalent to the infamous act by Colin Powell before the world community at the UN Security Council before the Iraq War.

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 5:50 PM

            @Oui: So given the caveats by MSF why should we believe anything they’ve claimed? Maybe their hospitals treated 1,000 dead patients. Maybe they treated 0. What does it mean? Nothing. As for withholding judgment: I believe Assad did it. The evidence I’ve seen & read convinces. But am I so convinced that I would deny the rebels MAY have done it, or that they perhaps used chemical weapons somewhere else? No. But without convincing evidence to counter what I know & believe, I’m afraid I can’t deny my judgment.

            As for O’Bagy, that’s a low blow. Just because a neocon outfit appointed O’Bagy to a senior analyst job & got her quoted in a Senate hearing, after which she was proven to be a fraud has absolutely no bearing on what happened weeks before in Ghouta. Keep your eye on the ball. Don’t get distracted by extraneous details which don’t prove what you think they prove.

          • Oui September 16, 2013, 1:15 PM

            United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic
            Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013

            Attack was on a massive scale with multiple surface-to-surface artillery rockets with characteristics of type BM-14. Relative positions of two impact sites are fully congruent with the dispersion pattern with rockets launched from a single, multi barrel launcher. Amount of sarin gas used in attack estimated at 360 liters (?). Experts will need to investigate which party is to blame, it’s a war crime and the UN Security Council will be asked to bring justice to the perpetrator. CNN had shown in a documentary the OPCW research lab in The Hague, location remains secret. Nearly all experts on the ground in Syria were from the OPCW, from other countries than the five permanent members of the Security Council. The samples were tested at OPCW-designated laboratories in Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

        • Daniel September 13, 2013, 3:19 PM

          @ H. Mor:

          “let’s assume you are right. so what ?”

          Let’s discuss the situation based on facts, not on lies and propaganda. Let’s start with the death toll, on which point I’ve already corrected you. It matters, because the truth is that the most of the world reacts differently to a gas attack that kills 350 people and a gas attack that kills 1,400 people, and we both know it.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/syria-chemical-weapons-deaths_n_3917025.html

          “Assad attacked his own people, he used rockets with chemical warheads”

          Let’s move on to your unsubstantiated charge that it was [Bashar] Assad who attacked his own people. To the contrary, what the intelligence reportedly shows is that Assad repeatedly and consistently turned down requests by his subordinates to use chemical weapons. There is absolutely no motive for Assad to have ordered or authorized CW in Ghouta at that time; on the contrary. The more likely scenario, as I have speculated from the very beginning, is that Maher or an Alawite general in the military, not Bashar Assad, contravened orders and deployed chemical weapons of their own volition — if in fact it was the government side that used the chemical weapons at all. If this is the case, it is quite possible to argue that Bashar Assad should still bear the ultimate responsibility, even though he tried to prevent such an attack taking place, and you are free to argue that. But do not groundlessly state as fact the unsubstantiated allegation that “Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his people” when the evidence so far is extremely unclear, and if anything, points more in the other direction.

          http://world.time.com/2013/09/09/report-claims-syrian-troops-used-chemical-weapons-without-assads-approval/

          “Attacking defenseless civilians is morally wrong period, no accounting tricks would be able to right that wrong.”

          Does that include the Armed Forces of Egypt attacking the anti-coup demonstrators?

          http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/15/world/middleeast/egypt.html?ref=global-home&_r=0&pagewanted=all

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 12:06 AM

            @ Daniel: MANY commenters here have persistently tried to argue that Assad didn’t gas civilians. I don’t buy the claim & frankly I’m getting tired of the endless ruminating about it. The problem is that you & those who share your views bring opinion, faith & certainty but little evidence. The Reuters article you offered doesn’t at all support your claim as you believe it does, for example.

            I’m putting out a warning to everyone here. I’m growing very impatient with those who argue Assad didn’t do this. I don’t want you to rehash old arguments already offered here. I’m going to start getting much tougher on these folks. Don’t regurgiate old news & if you have anything to say you MUST offer evidence: a credible source, a link, a quotation, etc.

          • Daniel September 14, 2013, 2:45 AM

            @ Mr. Silverstein: I agree that some commenters here have been denying the possibility of Assad’s culpability to the point of absurdity (or faith), with several of them saying, for example, “there is no evidence”. That is false. Certainly there is evidence to implicate Assad. Not proof, perhaps, but certainly evidence.

            I don’t believe, however, that that evidence is inconclusive, especially not when taken together with other possible scenarios. (At least it isn’t conclusive enough to launch a war over.) On this we can legitimately disagree, but I will happily oblige and stop arguing the point now. Just to clarify, as I said in my comment above, in my opinion the evidence, on balance, most strongly suggests that it was the Syrian Government who used the CW in Ghouta, but not Bashar Assad himself, who, according to German intelligence, turned down requests from his subordinates to deploy CW, as you can read in the link I provided:

            TIME Magazine – Report Claims Syrian Troops Used Chemical Weapons Without Assad’s Approval
            http://world.time.com/2013/09/09/report-claims-syrian-troops-used-chemical-weapons-without-assads-approval/#ixzz2erI7qRhN

            “Government forces in Syria may have launched the chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed more than a thousand civilians last month before receiving a go-ahead from President Bashar Assad.

            According to an article published on Sunday in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, a German spy ship intercepted repeated communications from forces loyal to Assad asking for permission to use chemical weapons; however, their requests were consistently denied.”

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 6:00 PM

            @ Daniel: WHile it’s possible CW was used without Assad’s consent, I strongly doubt this. Syria is a severely hierarchcal regime. Initiative is not generally taken by subordinates, especially on a matter as sensitive as this. What I’ve heard is that the Syrian govt troops have been using CW for some time in limited doses & under fairly controlled conditions. Apparently, the use in Ghouta somehow went haywire. Either the dose was wrong or the winds changed. Somehow a disaster occurred. Even if true, this is still a crime, still murder. It may be murder accompanied by disaster or natural conditions beyond the control of the killers. But a crime nonetheless.

          • Daniel September 14, 2013, 3:06 AM

            Me: “I don’t believe, however, that that evidence is inconclusive”

            Correction: “I don’t believe, however, that that evidence is conclusive”

      • Richard Silverstein September 13, 2013, 1:38 PM

        @ Daniel: When a subject is controversial, you MUST offer a credible source for your claim. I do not accept unsubstantiated claims like the one you offered.

        • Daniel September 13, 2013, 2:59 PM

          @ Mr. Silverstein: You are quite right, such claims should and must be substantiated and if I’d had the time, I would’ve provided the source in my original comment. Here it is:

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/13/us-syria-crisis-intelligence-idUSBRE98B1C220130913

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 12:02 AM

            @ Daniel: The Reuters article doesn’t phrase its evidence as you did. First, it says that 1,400 civilians were killed. But that SOME may’ve been killed by Assad through conventional bombing. So there’s still no question that 1,400 died or even who killed them. It’s a question of how they died. Second, the French are saying they can confirm 250 individual deaths through video evidence. In other words, they can count 250 bodies in various videos of the incident & its aftermath. That does NOT mean there weren’t many more bodies that weren’t displayed in videos.

            That’s why it’s very important to cite your evidence so it can be checked to ensure it says what you believe it does.

          • Daniel September 14, 2013, 2:58 AM

            @ Mr. Silverstein: It wasn’t my intention to be ambiguous on this point — I apologize if so — and I don’t think I was. I don’t deny there are 1,400 civilian victims in Ghouta. It is only, as you rightly point out, a question of how they died. And that is why I questioned H. Mor’s, I think, not grounded claim that 1,400 people were gassed to death in a CW attack, which possibly inflates the scale of that particular, specific crime which the US was until recently preparing to go to war specifically over. I consider this relevant, and clearly so did Reuters.

            Many journalists have asked themselves why the American figure is ca 1,400 while the French and British figures are so much lower. This seems to be the explanation — fair enough — and it should be known, so that people don’t replicate a disingenuous claim over and over in the ongoing debate. As for whether it changes anything — maybe, maybe not. But let’s deal with truths, and not H. Mor’s half-truths.

            In any case, I stand corrected that I should be quicker to show my sources for cited questions.

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 5:57 PM

            @ Daniel: Again, you haven’t offered a source or link for British or French figures on deaths. And as I’ve repeated over & over no claim on this subject is accepted without evidence. Every time you or others offer unsupported claims, when you do support them it turns out the evidence you (collectively, not personally) finally offer doesn’t quite match your claims of what it says.

            As for H. Mor, I think you know I suspect much of what he says & his motives for saying them. So I’m not taking his side on this. I’m taking the side of the dead if that’s possible, & wanting accountability. I’m prepared to believe many great evils of the rebels. They are not angels nor do I support the worst among them. But I’m not prepared to blame them for something unless I see real, hard evidence.

          • Daniel September 14, 2013, 8:08 PM

            @ Mr. Silverstein: As I said, I’m happy to let the matter rest; I will just respond to your request for more detailed support for what I said about the French and British confirmed deaths figures for the Ghouta CW attack, in contrast to the American figures:

            Reuters, which I already cited, says, “French intelligence says deaths from the gas attacks could be as high as 1,500, but it reported confirmed deaths from video evidence of 281. Estimates of gas attack deaths by British intelligence, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and non-governmental group Doctors without Borders fall within a range of 322 to 355.”

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/13/us-syria-crisis-intelligence-idUSBRE98B1C220130913

            The BBC reports, “On 2 September the French government released a declassified summary of its intelligence on the attack, as well as assessments of video footage. It concluded that there had been a ‘massive use of chemical agents’ against civilian populations [...] It said, based on video reports, that it had counted at least 281 dead, but that such an attack might easily have killed a higher number.”

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23927399

            Britain’s JIO says: “Unlike previous attacks, the degree of open source reporting of CW use on 21 August has been considerable. As a result, there is little serious dispute that chemical attacks causing mass casualties on a larger scale than hitherto (including, we judge, at least 350 fatalities) took place.”

            https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/235094/Jp_115_JD_PM_Syria_Reported_Chemical_Weapon_Use_with_annex.pdf

    • Richard Silverstein September 13, 2013, 1:46 PM

      @ H. Mor: There are many more sources confirming Israeli use of bio weapons in 48. Not to mention that Avner Cohen, the pre-eminent academic specialist on the subject, has confirmed it as well in his writings.

      Both attempts did NOT fail. Hundreds fell sick in Acre. I believe the Gaza attack succeeded as well, though I’m not certain of the result there.

      I note you also conveniently neglect the fact that your country continues using biological & chemical weapons both in war and covert operations. There’s no Haj Amin to blame for this. So how are you going to justify white phosphorus, DIME & depleted uranium weapons? Not to mention use of biological weapons in assassinations? Or would you like to suggest that Israel’s enemies begin using the same weapons against it? That would be only fair, right? Or maybe not since it would be awfully inconvenient for Israelis to start dying through use of the same agents Israel is using to kill Arabs.

      • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 2:22 PM

        @ Richard
        1. In the link you provided to Assi Dayan’s sickness, it states that the operation was never executed, furthermore it states that the target was the water resources of the Jordanian Legion, and not the city of Acre. Why did you get the city of Acre involved ? only you and god all mighty knows.
        2. In the second link you provided, it states that the two Palmach members were tried from the attempt to poison wells. Not for poisoning wells. Big difference. Weather they were caught before or whether the Gazans fabricated the allegations to justify the execution i don’t know. but neither do you.

        as for the rest of your claims about DIME and depleted uranium…those allegations were never proven. white phosphorus is being used within the boundaries on international law.

        • Richard Silverstein September 13, 2013, 2:52 PM

          You didn’t read all the links. There were many attempts to use biological wrapons: Gaza, Acre, etc. Read the links.

          • H. Mor September 13, 2013, 3:47 PM

            @ Richard
            1. Read all the links
            yet one thing you have forgotten – Leibovitch-Dar doesn’t provide any evidence to her claim, much like yourself she provides speculation.

            The bacterium that causes typhoid fever (which according to LD and you is what happened in Acre) may be spread through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, uncooked eggs or chicken, and sometimes also by flying insects feeding on feces. It is a very popular disease that prospers on poor hygiene conditions.

            Neither DL or yourself provided any map of the contaminated area, provided no drawing of the location of the poisoned wellsת No drawing of the sanitation system in 1948 Acre ot the water delivery system, no accounting of the number of alleged poisoned people on the ground, absolutely nothing, Was it even possible to poison the Acre water system ? All you provided is speculation and from said speculation you are making Tzimmes.

            Gmar Hatima tova.

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 12:15 AM

            That’s not true. I read Leibovitch-Dar’s article & I thought it was very persuasive. Not to mention you haven’t addressed Avner Cohen. I believe there’s a link to his paper in one of my posts. He’s the world’s leading academic historian of Israel’s WMD programs. He explicitly confirms these attacks. Read him. And stop arguing nonsense.

            The vapid argument you offer about poor hygiene was precisely the defense offered by the Palmach in 48 to divert blame. However, 200 British soldiers in Acre were also afflicted. Was their hygiene poor as well?

            If you actually read the articles to which I’d linked as I told you to do yesterday, you wouldn’t repeat arguments like the one above that were refuted in those linked pieces. Not reading actually wastes my time. If you want to be taken seriously (as you aren’t), read the article & everything I link to carefully. Then comment only once you’ve done that.

            Actually, the precise water aqueduct that was poisoned is noted. And if you read historical accounts, estimates of those afflicted are noted in each city. You must’ve missed those. Not to mention that during a war you expect Palestinians being expelled from their city to have drawn a map and done scientific sampling of water sources? You want to know the finding of the epidemiologists? What are you? An idiot? Or just pretending to be dense?

            And stop wishing me a Happy New Year. People like you make me sick & I’d prefer no good wishes from you. Israel used biological weapons on Palestinians and you stick your head in the sand & deny it. Shameful and disgusting.

          • Oui September 14, 2013, 1:16 AM

            Salman Abu Sitta – Traces of Poison: Israel’s Dark History Revealed

            The story can now be told, thanks to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) files which have now become available, 50 years after the event. A series of reports, under the reference G59/1/GC, G3/82, sent by ICRC delegate de Meuron from 6 May to about 19 May 1948 describe the conditions of the city population, struck by a sudden typhoid epidemic, and the efforts to combat it.

            … The writer has obtained a copy of an e-mail in which an Israeli peace activist asked Uri Milstein about Acre poisoning story. Milstein, the military historian, is described in the e-mail as “very knowledgeable, intelligent, courageous, original, honest” — although his views belong to the Israeli far-right (!). Milstein replied:

            “I am sorry to say it, but the story is true and the name of the operation was ‘Shlach Lachmecha‘ — that is ‘donate your bread’, which is a part of Hebrew saying: donate your bread because sooner or later you will get it back, meaning you have to be generous and one day, you will profit from it yourself. Is this not a cute name for an operation to use biological weapons?”

          • H. Mor September 14, 2013, 10:27 AM

            @ Richard

            1. Chazal stated :Proper behavior precedes the Torah, in your closing statement you showed your true colors, and they are not that bright.
            2. Deny ? i don’t deny anything, i’m saying – much like Jerry McGuire – show me the evidence. All you have on your side at the moment is speculation aired by Leibovitch-Dar’s & Avner Cohen which you thought was persuasive.
            3. As for Avner Cohen, he too doesn’t offer any evidence for example in page 31 he states “It is believed that one of the largest operations in this campaign was against the coastal city of Acre” key phrase is believed. Believed by whom ? On Rumors initiated by whom ?

            In short – are are insisting that everyone commenting on your site will link to credible evidence yet you air speculations.

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 5:41 PM

            No buddy, you showed your true colors by refusing moral responsibility for a crime perpetrated by your state & your military. That’s heinous. It’s Yom Kippur, bud. You know what you do on that day? You accept responsibility for sins of your self & your country. I wouldn’t be so outraged by your moral obtuseness if you even admitted: “If what you say is true, & I can’t entirely say it’s not (though I may hope it’s not), then my leaders have betrayed moral values & I condemn them.” That would be appropriate on Yom Kippur. Instead you come here & say: deny, deny, deny. Disgusting. Or in your own terms: busha v’cherpa.

            If you want to behave this way in Israel with your family, friends or army buddies, that’s your perogative. But here you’re my guest & you get away with it. You’ll have to confront things that are uncomfortable & do so honestly. Or at least as honestly as you can muster.

            ‘ALL’ I have is Avner Cohen? ALL? Again buddy, he’s the world’s expert on Israeli WMD. He wrote an essay published in a major academic publication proving what I said was true. And the best you can say is that I “thought it was persuasive.” Sorry, you will now go through Cohen’s entire 27 pg essay and attempt to disprove the evidence he offers. You will do this not here (so as not to disrupt the comment thread). You will write this & return it to me. If you do not, I may contemplate consequences for you in terms of being a commenter here.

            Your moral obliviousness offends me. I’m going to force you to confront Cohen & moral responsibility. If you don’t, I’ll know you’re a hasbarist moral charlatan. IF you do, then I may not think quite as poorly of you as I do.

            Oh & do you deny the evidence offered by Arie Aharoni in his book saying he was ordered by Palmach to poison Gaza wells & refused? This together with evidence that other Palmach officers were captured by the Egyptians doing precisely this is dispositive.

          • H. Mor September 14, 2013, 7:16 PM

            @ Richard
            “ou will write this & return it to me. If you do not, I may contemplate consequences for you in terms of being a commenter here.”

            Who the f. do you think you are ? Vladimir Putin ?

          • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 10:12 PM

            @ H. Mor: I think I run this blog. I’m tired of your nattering negativity when it comes to accepting responsibility for Israeli misdeeds. If you refuse I will presume you’re acting in bad faith & react accordingly.

          • H. Mor September 15, 2013, 6:33 AM

            @ Richard
            Oh, i see. asking you to support your speculations means that ” i do not accept responsibility for Israeli misdeeds”
            The fact that Avner Cohen states that it’s rumors, hence unsubstantiated, means nothing.

            Yes indeed you are the one who runs this blog, any you can run it anyway you see fit. What you can’t do is command your commentators to do things, I/We do not work for you, you don’t own me/us, you are not even my/our teacher. If you chose to limit my access, as a commentator, on your site, you will be the one acting in bad faith. This is your kingdom and like any other tyrant in the history of the world you can act anyway you want, i’ll chose – every-time – my freedom (which is what drives you nuts about Israeli’s).

            Your choice Putin.

          • Daniel September 15, 2013, 11:07 AM

            Instead of being ridiculous to Mr. Silverstein, why don’t you answer the question I asked you earlier? It is the same question I asked commentator Shmuel, who mysteriously never answered. Funny how people, especially Israelis, who are so outraged about President Assad become so quiet when you ask them about General Sisi.

            You: “Attacking defenseless civilians is morally wrong period, no accounting tricks would be able to right that wrong.”

            Me: Does that include the Armed Forces of Egypt attacking the anti-coup demonstrators? And if so, should America intervene militarily there as well?

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/15/world/middleeast/egypt.html?ref=global-home&_r=0&pagewanted=all

          • Daniel September 15, 2013, 11:09 AM

            The above comment, for clarity, being directed at H. Mor.

          • H. Mor September 15, 2013, 11:46 AM

            @ Daniel

            1. First, i would suggest you will not get involved in a debate Mr. Silverstein and i have. A. It’s a comment rule violation B. . You don’t get any extra points for ass kissing.

            2. As I told you before – The West can’t police every place on this planet and intervention is considered according to a severity scale. A 1000 dead, though may be extremely morally wrong, isn’t considered severe enough for the west to intervene militarily. Diplomatically ? maybe, but those who want to intervene need to understand what’s the situation on the ground is, and i doubt that’s the case. Furthermore considering the news about car-bombs exploding in the heart of Cairo, and live fire being shot at police/military forces during the (what you call) “peaceful demonstrations” and the number of dead police/military forces, i am not convinced that the anti-cop demonstrators were as peaceful as you think they were. After all when you demonstrate in the US you don’t take your guns with you, do you ?

            3. Egyptian’s much like Syrian’s should work their own differences. There is a real fight going on in both places with live fire and guns.

          • Daniel September 15, 2013, 1:51 PM

            @ H. Mor:

            1. I was pointing out you calling Mr. Silverstein “Vladimir Putin”. That’s not exactly the same as getting “involved” in your debate about Avner Cohen.

            2. So after your howling about me exemplifying “the moral bankruptcy of the West”, it turns out you don’t give a damn about the defenseless civilian protesters gunned down in the streets in Egypt. Your lack of consistency is telling, and it leads me to believe you don’t give a damn about the dead in Ghouta either. No, the common denominator in your choice of positions is not compassion for dead civilians, but the fact that your positions always happen to align with the Israeli national interests (the Likud version). Assad is a monster, but Sisi is only pragmatic, right? Your outrage is only rhetorical. Israelis are good at putting a “moral” dimension on whatever they believe is in their national interests at the moment. Americans are good at it too, but not quite as good as Israelis. To me it seems you are simply spouting talking points, and putting your personal, “morally outraged” touch on whatever inconsistent, inhumane position of the day is according to Israeli or American realpolitik.

            At least Shmuel in his comment is sincere about this: ‘As far as my opinion as an Israeli is concerned, I go with the USA policy makers and “support” whoever is in favour with the Administration at the present time. [...] So if Assad is “bad” and the AL-quieda backed rebels are currently “good”, then so be it. Same as for Mubarak-Morsey-Sisi.’

            H. Mor, you should admit being exactly the same way and stop pretending you care about any kind of moral dimension in the actions of Assad, Sisi or anyone else.

            As for Egypt, it would be going too far off topic to dispute your malicious and preposterous claims about the anti-coup demonstrators. It’s sufficient to highlight your comment to illustrate the theme of “moral hypocrisy” that this blog post is about.

            3. “Egyptian’s much like Syrian’s should work their own differences.” — Finally, something we agree on.

            @ shmuel:

            ‘Is there some unwritten law that all so-called “progressives” always follow anyone who is rebelling as long as the army is not with them, or anyone who supports the side that the USA opposes? That is of course until they actually take over power – then the other side become the supported!’

            Believe it or not, some of us actually have principles and values that do not mutate according to the latest press release of the White House. I don’t label myself a “progressive”, nor do I follow any unwritten law. I follow my own moral, ideological and intellectual compass, my respect for human beings and my sympathy for the downtrodden. I supported the demonstrations against Morsi, until they invited the military to restore the fascist dictatorship. I supported the demonstrations against Assad, until they invited al-Qaeda (and America, and Israel, and Saudi Arabia) to create a new Afghanistan. I believe in justice, democracy, human rights and religious freedom. Do you?

            You are free to take your moral cues from the US State Department and the CIA. Personally, I don’t trust those who gave the world al-Qaeda and the Iraq War, to mention only two out of a thousand abominations.

          • shmuel September 15, 2013, 12:05 PM

            @Daniel: There was no “mysterious” lack of answer to your question. I simply don’t have the time to spend hours in front of the computer answering, rebutting and argueing ad nauseum

            As far as my opinion as an Israeli is concerned, I go with the USA policy makers and “support” (no one of course gives a s**t what I support) whoever is in favour with the Administration at the present time. I trust Obama and Bush before I’d give the time of day to Bibi. So if Assad is “bad” and the AL-quieda backed rebels are currently “good”, then so be it. Same as for Mubarak-Morsey-Sisi. Being democratically elected doesn’t make you good-right-benevolent but simply means that now it’s your turn to call the shots.

            History is written by victors irrespective of their moral behaviour or character, I challenge anyone to morally stand fast in favour of any of the Assad-Syrian Rebels leader or in favour of Mubarak-Morsi-Sisi and claim to smell of perfume. Don’t even try because the stench reaches all the way from the USA to the ME.

            Is there some unwritten law that all so-called “progressives” always follow anyone who is rebelling as long as the army is not with them, or anyone who supports the side that the USA opposes? That is of course until they actually take over power – then the other side become the supported!

          • Richard Silverstein September 15, 2013, 2:27 PM

            @ H. Mor: No, you haven’t argued in good faith. You’ve dismissed legitimate research proving Israel engaged in WMD related war crimes in 48. You’ve refused to systematically prove that research is wrong by actually reading it and rebutting it. You’ve refused to read & rebut Avner Cohen’s monograph. BTW, in only one passage does Cohen not support his report with a full range of sources. You’ve only pointed out that single statement & pretended that this represents his entire essay, which it doesn’t by any means.

            That shows a complete lack of good faith. I don’t consider you a trustworthy advocate of your point of view. I consider you unreliable. Your future comments will be moderated. Only comments that are well-supported with credible evidence will be published. Pure opinion will not be published. We have standards here & you’re not only not met them, when told how to meet them you’ve refused. I will not allow this blog to be exploited by people like you who believe they can publish sloppy claims that pass for fact or truth.

            And lest you claim I’m treating you any differently than others, I’ve done almost the same thing with those claiming the rebels perpetrated the Ghouta gas attack. They too have gotten a strong message that I will not publish opinion unless buttressed by fact.

        • Kyle September 16, 2013, 8:34 PM

          Do you see nothing wrong with the thought process of “I get to decide what happened and what didn’t happen as according to what’s convenient for me”?

          The ATLAS “poison theory” has been debunked by reputable historians. Yet you’ve posted more then once that it’s “fact”.

          On the other hand, you allege that different instances of the Israeli forces using different nasty biological and chemical weapons, as well as the whole DP thing, are all “lies”, despite the fact that numerous reports have shown that these weapons have been used by Israelis.

          Do you see the issue here?

    • Kyle September 16, 2013, 6:39 PM

      The article on ATLAS itself contains this:

      Historian Wolfgang G. Schwanitz has cast doubts on the story :

      The claim that the mufti got “ten containers with poison” to kill a quarter of a million people via the water system of Tel Aviv in exchange for the five Palestinian paratroopers in late 1944 (61) is not substantiated in British or German sources. If the authors can now show really hard proof, this would be a discovery, since the British police report of 1944 on file is very detailed.[21]

      According to historian Christian Destremau, the cargo contained no such quantities of toxic material, but only poison capsules, probably to be of service in attempts to liquidate locals believed to be collaborating with the Mandatory Authorities.[14]

      In his Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, Norman Finkelstein notes that this claim has not been reported by the scholarly literature or by many other works that target the Mufti :

      The major biographies of the Mufti are The Mufti of Jerusalem by Palestinian historian Philip Mattar and The Grand Mufti by Israeli historian Zvi Elpeleg. (…). Neither mentions a German-Arab commando unit en route to poison Tel Aviv’s wells.[22]

      The only people who actively claim that canisters of poison even existed in this case are ideologically-motivated Israelis, likewise one historian who also seems to be overtly pro-Israel, and the likes of the dersh and this other guy, Chuck Morse, who describes himself as a “right-wing extremist” in the American sense of the word.

      • Richard Silverstein September 16, 2013, 8:04 PM

        @ Kyle: This fakery seems to accord with H. Mor’s style of fraudulent hasbara. I think he needs to go back to Hasbara Central for some updated courses. Or perhaps he needs to be retooled completely. Hasbara 2.0 upgrade will be available soon I understand.

        • Kyle September 16, 2013, 8:28 PM

          He does seem to have patch 1.31– you know, the addition that allows them to accuse anyone opposed to the mainstream and nationalist Zionist narratives of the situation in general of “lying” regardless of how much they know or how much information they provide.

          In all seriousness, I do find it hilarious that he pushes the “ATLAS was a poisoning operation because Palestinians were all secret Hitler lovers” as fact, despite the actual fact that the only people who officially take that line are overtly biased historians at best and ludicrous propagandists and insane people (in the case of C. Morse) at worst.

          • Richard Silverstein September 17, 2013, 1:46 PM

            There’s an entire branch of the Hasbara Industry devoted to making the case that because Hajj Amin allied himself with the Nazis (let’s not forget that both the Jabotinsky AND Avodah political movements explored such an alliance of convenience as well) that this makes the entire Palestinian movement Nazi-sympathizers. The alleged poisoning incident H. Mor offers seems of a piece with this.

  • Cheryl Rofer September 13, 2013, 8:26 AM

    Much of this article is simply wrong. All nations except for seven have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and have destroyed, or are in the process of destroying, their chemical weapons. That includes the US and Russia, which have destroyed most of their weapons.

    I suggest you do some more research on the Chemical Weapons Convention and the destruction programs.

    • Richard Silverstein September 13, 2013, 1:40 PM

      @ Cheryl Rofer: It’s simply untrue that the U.S. has destroyed its chemical weapons. It’s well known that we have a robust chemical & biological weapons program. I suggest that you do more research yourself.

  • Master Adrian September 13, 2013, 1:03 PM

    Morals and Ethics (both with a capital here on purpose) are high, very high! We create treaties, we create agreements between people, between nations, between tribes, between leaders, between Heads of State, between Parliaments and even between continents……. to avoid elimination, suffering, extermination and or whatever…….. it indeed sounds so great, so human, so perfect!

    But… then there is reality…… morals and ethics are very, ve4ry low when it comes to reality…… The countries, the Heads of State who stand frontrow when it comes to signing these treaties and agreements are in the backrow when it comes to actually implementing these treeaties and agreements… especially when it concerns themselves!
    When there is a Great Meeting or Gathering… G20, G8, Economic Forum, Bilderberg Conference and what more there is were in one location the so-called Leaders of the World, economically, socially, militarily, we allow our police and riot-troops to bombard the ones who practice freedom rights, constitutional rights with material that possibly kills them…… at least harm and hurt them… while they practice their rights! Teargas with napalm, teargas with pepperspray, teargas with extracts of plants that paralyses people’s nerve system…. that when used in “normal” circumstances like hospitals would be considered poison and reason to arrest the carrier of the stuff….

    That are morals that are despicable, that are ethics that I personally throw up over!
    And we accept it, we condone it, and we allow iit!

    And yes, indeed, millions if not trillions of stockpiles are kept by those who now are all up in arms to force a country in civil war to submit to their rules and directives………
    One President trying to avoid possibly military intervention under all circumstances as when he would have two solider-feet on Syrian soil he would be regarded a war criminal (pre-emptive wars are war-crimes (as his predecessor Bush knows very well)), another President trying with all possible power to keep and maintain a hold in the region as most if not all countries have left the umbrella of influence, and who originates from a group that is known for deception, lying and cheating (the former KGB is the source and training place of Putin)… and both know that their own stockpile of chemical weapons is still a dangerous threat to the world, and themselves!

    We protect our values and culture with hypocritical norms and ethics, and we think it being normal!
    Well, it is not!

    DUH!

  • Davey September 13, 2013, 9:26 PM

    Yes, the hypocrisy is thick. In my opinion, the hypocrisy has become so crass and evident as a result of Israel’s “exceptionalism”, the belief that international standards and laws don’t apply to them because they are perhaps “special.” The important thing is that this fantasy has been protected and elaborated over a long period of time such that it is now entirely natural for the “world” (the western mass media) to demand Iran give up nukes and Syria give up chemical weapons and Israel can keep both as it wishes. And nobody blushes in presenting such ideas! (Is the slander of “Jewish control” really so “irrational?”) In short, everybody should give up everything because Israel and Israelis are all that matter on this planet and Israelis owe no accommodation to anyone. Anything that anybody can do to disrupt this unacceptable “exceptionalism” is warranted.

    (Now, I understand my phone calls are in the hands of the exceptional Israelis thanks to NSA attorneys who apparently do not know how to protect the privacy of the American citizens who pay their fees! All those years of training and they allow a gentleman’s agreement with a state known for its duplicity!)

    Thanks for this fine article.

    • Master Adrian September 14, 2013, 4:07 PM

      WOW!
      You better be careful with what you say (or imply) about the complete immunity of the state of Israel, or you be accused of being an anti-semite, a holocaust denier, a nazi, or simply an anti-jew!

      As an American citizen I agree though for the full hundred percent with you, and I am not one of the above!

      Adrian

  • Bob Reynolds September 14, 2013, 1:40 AM

    You attack Daniel for lacking proof that Assad was not responsible for the use of
    chemical weapons. But where is your proof that he is responsible?

    You may be tired of the argument but I for one am tired of the media and others
    accepting what Obama and Kerry claim without offering any proof to the public
    and only extended claims to Congress. You may choose to believe them but to do
    so you are doing it on faith in their integrity. Or perhaps you believe the claims
    of the Syrian FSA. Roy McGovern and other retired intelligence officers recently
    sent an open letter to Obama stating that their informants inside the CIA don’t believe
    Assad was responsible but rather the rebels. Since di Ponte blamed the rebels for
    other use of chemical weapons and Turkey arrested rebels with sarin there is
    reason to believe that they could be responsible. I don’t know who is responsible

    It would take a leap of faith to believe our government wouldn’t lie to us.

    • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 2:07 AM

      @ Bob Reynolds: DelPonte never definitively “blamed the rebels for other use of chemical weapons.” Again, we’ve been through it here. Someone else made the same claim. ANother commenter brought the actual quotation of her statement. She stated if I recall correctly that it’s possible the rebels used CW. I don’t have clue what you’re talking about regarding Turkey and again, you don’t bring any source, link or anything. THis is precisely why I hate what you people are doing. EVIDENCE!

      As for why I believe what I do: the U.S. has played phone intercepts of calls among Syrian officials, the UN report is about to come out and will strongly suggest government responsibility, not to mention that the government is known to have a robust CW program, while the rebels are not. There are times when politicians you intensely dislike may be believed as long as enough others you do trust agree with their judgment. This is one of those times, I believe.

      • Oui September 14, 2013, 1:20 PM

        Providing links to above sources …

        Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutors say

        BEIRUT (LA Times) — Prosecutors in southern Turkey have alleged that Syrian rebel groups were seeking to buy materials that could be used to produce highly toxic sarin gas, Turkish media reported. An indictment issued in the southern city of Adana alleged that a Syrian national identified as Hytham Qassap, 35, was in Turkey trying to procure chemical materials for a pair of well-known Islamist rebel blocs, Al Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades.

        Five other suspects, all Turkish citizens, were indicted in the case, Turkish media reported. All six suspects have pleaded not guilty, according to the English-language Hurriyet Daily News, which quoted from the indictment.The alleged ring never manufactured sarin, a potent nerve agent, according to Turkish media.

        The investigation began with a tip to police that some Syrian rebel groups might be seeking to obtain materials in Turkey to produce chemical weapons, the reports said. In May, Turkish police arrested 11 suspects in connection with the case. Turkish officials denied as erroneous some initial reports that sarin had been seized as part of the investigation.

        The Turkish-Syrian border, which stretches more than 500 miles, has long been a conduit for arms and manpower destined for the Syrian rebels.

        There have also been media reports of chemical agents cache found with Al Qaeda linked rebels in Iraq.

        • Richard Silverstein September 14, 2013, 5:33 PM

          @ Oui: So what you’re saying (w a bit of my own embellishment) is that Syria has the most advanced CW weapons cache of any Arab state & has very likely used them, & rebels are desperately (& stupidly) trying to even the score by procuring their own, but haven’t (at least from these reports) done so. So? You’re arguing that what’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander? Is that the way your universe works?

          As for whether Al Qaeda in Iraq has CW, you don’t offer a link, source or quotation as proof. Nor do you offer proof that any of the alleged CW held by the alleged terror group has reached Syria. Again, I’m sorry to say, garbage as far as I’m concerned.

          • Oui September 14, 2013, 8:22 PM

            The extremism of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is subverting the moderate FSA opposition. No one has established or put blame on the FSA military for possessing or using chemical agents. The Al Qaeda affiliated terror groups are known for their experiments with ricin, sarin and mustard gas. News reports from Kabul in 2001 to Idaho USA and Birmingham in the UK in past decade. The threat is out there, but only very few allegations of its use has been reported. A link to report of Al Qaeda in Iraq here.

            Iraq’s Defence Ministry said that those detained were about to launch attacks domestically. They also had a network in place to send the toxins to neighbouring countries and then on to Europe and North America. The arrest of the cell members was a result of co-operation between Iraqi and foreign intelligence services.

            Let’s wait for the UN Report on Monday as this discussion has no or little relevance and current allegations are based on circumstantal evidence at best.

      • Oui September 14, 2013, 1:26 PM

        In the Kerry-Lavrov deal on disposal of Syrian CW, both agreed to keep an open mind rebels may also possess part of the CW stockpile.

        Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Press Remarks After Their Meeting In Geneva

        QUESTION: David Lerman from Bloomberg. Sir, just five days ago in London, when you first floated this idea publicly, you seemed to dismiss it at the time by saying Assad would never do it and, quote, “It can’t be done, obviously.” My question, sir, is how did the impossible suddenly become possible? And why is it credible to think that you can send these inspectors in on the ground in the middle of a civil war?

        SECRETARY KERRY: … One of the reasons that we believe this is achievable is because the Assad regime has taken extraordinary pains in order to keep control of these weapons. And they have moved them, and we know they’ve moved them. We’ve seen them move them. We watched this. And so we know they’ve continued to always move them to a place of more control.

        Therefore, since these weapons are in areas under regime control predominantly, Sergey raises questions that maybe the opposition has some here or there, and absolutely, fair is fair. Both sides have to be responsible. If they do, that also – and that may present a larger challenge. But those of us who have been supporting the opposition have a responsibility to help create access there, and the regime has responsibility where we believe the – the measure – in fact, we believe the only weapons are – ought to be accessible because the Assad regime controls the access.

  • dickerson3870 September 14, 2013, 2:03 AM

    RE: “While the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons is a criminal act if true, and deserving of prosecution before the International Criminal Court–let’s not all become moral hypocrites on the subject.” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: Sanctimony, thy name is America! ! !

    DURING THE ‘SECOND LEBANON WAR’, ISRAEL BLANKETED SOUTHERN LEBANON WITH CLUSTER MUNITIONS DURING THE LAST THREE DAYS OF THE WAR (AND AFTER A CEASEFIRE HAD ALREADY BEEN AGREED TO):
    “Israel May Have Violated Arms Pact, U.S. Says”, By David S. Cloud and Greg Myre, New York Times, 1/28/13

    [EXCERPT] WASHINGTON, Jan 27 — The Bush administration will inform Congress on Monday that Israel may have violated agreements with the United States when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions into southern Lebanon during its fight with Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Saturday.
    The finding, though preliminary, has prompted a contentious debate within the administration over whether the United States should penalize Israel for its use of cluster munitions against towns and villages where Hezbollah had placed its rocket launchers.
    Cluster munitions are anti-personnel weapons that scatter tiny but deadly bomblets over a wide area. The grenadelike munitions, tens of thousands of which have been found in southern Lebanon, have caused 30 deaths and 180 injuries among civilians since the end of the war, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.
    Midlevel officials at the Pentagon and the State Department have argued that Israel violated American prohibitions on using cluster munitions against populated areas, according to officials who described the deliberations. . . [NO ACTION WAS EVER TAKEN BY THE U.S. - J.L.D.]

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/world/middleeast/28cluster.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Cluster Munitions at a Glance”, armscontrol.org, November 2012

    [EXCERPT] . . . Although cluster munitions first saw use in World War II and more than 50 countries have since acquired stockpiles of such arms, efforts to regulate or ban the use of cluster munitions gained greater attention and momentum after the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, a Shiite organization that the United States identifies as a terrorist group. Israel’s extensive cluster munitions use in the last 72 hours of that conflict resulted in an estimated one million unexploded bomblets scattered across southern Lebanon, arousing some strong condemnation. Jan Egeland, then-UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, blasted Israel’s use of cluster munitions as “shocking and completely immoral.” . . .

    SOURCE – http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/clusterataglance

    • dickerson3870 September 14, 2013, 2:03 AM

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb”, By Mohammed Zaatari, The Daily
      Star
      , 8/10/13

      SIDON, Lebanon: An 18-year-old was killed Saturday when an Israeli cluster bomb exploded in Hasbaya, south Lebanon. Hisham Abdel-Al, a young shepherd, was working on a farm in the Hallat village when he stepped on a cluster bomb, dying instantly.
      Israel dropped some 4 million cluster bombs in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, most during the last 48 hours of the conflict, according to the United Nations. Hundreds have been wounded in cluster-bomb related incidents since 2000 and 2006.
      The Army’s Lebanon Mine Action Center along with the U.N. and other international organizations have been working since 2006 to remove the deadly ordinance from the south.

      SOURCE – http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Aug-10/226887-18-year-old-lebanese-killed-by-israeli-cluster-bomb.ashx#axzz2dray05RT

  • dickerson3870 September 14, 2013, 2:23 AM

    RE: “But the U.S. too has a rich history of using chemical agents in war.” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: And not just in war! ! !

    SEE: “French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment”, by Henry Samuel in Paris, The Telegraph, 3/11/10
    A 50-year mystery over the ‘cursed bread’ of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

    [EXCERPT] In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.
    For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.
    The mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread) still haunts the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, southeast France.
    On August 16, 1951, the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire.
    One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: “I am a plane”, before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Another saw his heart escaping through his feet and begged a doctor to put it back. Many were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets.
    Time magazine wrote at the time: “Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead.”
    Eventually, it was determined that the best-known local baker had unwittingly contaminated his flour with ergot, a hallucinogenic mould that infects rye grain. Another theory was the bread had been poisoned with organic mercury.
    However, H P Albarelli Jr., an investigative journalist, claims the outbreak resulted from a covert experiment directed by the CIA and the US Army’s top-secret Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
    The scientists who produced both alternative explanations, he writes, worked for the Swiss-based Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, which was then secretly supplying both the Army and CIA with LSD.
    Mr Albarelli came across CIA documents while investigating the suspicious suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the SOD who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the Cursed Bread incident. One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the “secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit” and explains that it was not “at all” caused by mould but by diethylamide, the D in LSD.
    While compiling his book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments, Mr Albarelli spoke to former colleagues of Mr Olson, two of whom told him that the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident was part of a mind control experiment run by the CIA and US army. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7415082/French-bread-spiked-with-LSD-in-CIA-experiment.html

  • Oui September 14, 2013, 4:26 AM

    BREAKING: Kerry | Lavrov Reach CW Syria Deal

    A UN Security Council resolution will be made to support the agreement and much of the responsibility will be referred to the OPCW. Inspectors should be on the ground by November 1 and the CW stockpiles should be destroyed by mid-2014. Any further undermining of this agreement or any use of neurotoxin agents in the civil war will be dealt with by the Security Council under Chapter 7 – military force.

    BREAKING NEWS: US, Russia agree Syria chem weapons deal

    (RT) – Assad’s government must submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stocks within a week ahead of their transfer and destruction, US Secretary John Kerry said at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

    The deal worked out between Moscow and Washington on settling the Syria crisis stipulates that Syria’s chemical weapons will be rapidly destroyed.

    PS Secretary Kerry stated his “off the cuff” remark in London was on purpose. He had conferred twice by phone with Sergey Lavrov in the days ahead of his meeting with Hague. He expressed the hope the idea would be picked up by the international community. Within an hour he got the first response from Lavrov we took the proposition to President Putin. Across the Atlantic, President Obama responded in a positive manner.

    • Oui September 16, 2013, 6:21 AM

      To Save Face in Paris

      For me there were no surprises at the press conference in Paris. All the harsh statements by Fabius, Hague and Kerry were to safe face after being outmaneuvered by Putin last week. Kerry tried his best to present the three as a strong coalition having identical goals. I found nothing disturbing in their statements, as all three had to backtrack from earlier war rhetoric and having their credibility undermined.

      It doesn’t seem Russian FM Lavrov appreciated the hard talk by the three and gave a rebuttal from Moscow.

      Force rebels to talk peace – Russia

      (RT) – Meanwhile Lavrov said it may be time for the West to force the Syrian opposition to attend the planned Geneva conference. He was speaking in Moscow after meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. He added that the plan that Russia agreed to follow did not involve any automatic use of military force against Syria unless sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

      Lavrov stressed that the exact details of the terms for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile are yet to be determined by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), while the future UNSC resolution is to endorse the decision of that organization rather than enforce particular terms on its own. This is part of the agreement the US and Russia reached, he said.

      The destruction of the stockpiles would be the responsibility of the Syrian government and the CWC [meant to say OPCW in The Hague – Oui], the Russian minister pointed out, but international community may be required to provide “additional international personnel” to provide security at the sites where the weapons would be scrapped.

      France24 article: ‘Best way to get rid of Assad’: France urges strong UN resolution.

    • Oui September 16, 2013, 6:24 AM
  • Piotr Berman September 16, 2013, 5:12 AM

    The fact that US government used the number of 1429 dead, contrary to known evidence, merely by “trusting” rebel sources tells volumes about the methodology of analyzing intelligence. I guess that the supposition that KSA provided poison gas to the rebels was refuted by Prince Bandar himself after a phone call.

    When there are intelligence operatives on the ground with clear means and motivation to do the deed and falsify evidence (e.g. produce communications that would be “intercepted”), reasonable doubt is the first conclusion. Criminality of Assad is doubtful (can be legitimately doubted) while criminality of supplying murderous rebels is clear. There goes the moral case for an attack. As far as practical case goes, it looks even worse.

  • Oui September 16, 2013, 9:36 AM

    Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council on the report of the United Nations Missions to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons on the incident that occurred on 21 August 2013 in the Ghouta area of Damascus

    NEW YORK Sept. 16, 2013 – The team interviewed more than 50 survivors, medical personnel and first responders. It applied a rigorous and objective selection process designed to identify survivors who may have been exposed to chemical agents. It assessed these individuals’ symptoms and collected biomedical samples, including from hair, urine and blood.

    The samples were sent for analysis to four laboratories designated by the OPCW. The Mission’s factual findings are as follows.

    The environmental and biomedical samples demonstrate the widespread nature of the attacks. Eighty-five per cent of the blood samples tested positive for sarin. Biomedical samples were taken from 34 of the 36 patients selected by the Mission who had signs of poisoning. Almost all tested positive for exposure to sarin.

    [Read on ...]

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