50 thoughts on “German Report That Israel’s NSA Affirms Syria Government Responsibility for Chemical Attacks – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard:

    one the one hand, you say that Mossad intelligence is notoriously unreliable, yet on the other hand that its work must be taken seriously…huh???

    How could Israeli intelligence be taken seriously about anything contentious in the Middle East?

    1. @Kevin Herbert: First, this isn’t the Mossad. Unit 8200 is IDF intelligence. But regardless, just as with any intelligence it’s got to be treated skeptically. But there comes a point when you have to weigh up the pros & cons and decide whether it’s credible or not. I think the odds are about 65-35 that this story is true. That’s why I reported it.

  2. I, for my part, still recall the “intercept” from Iraq of a field commander discussing using WMD. As a former soldier, I said, “As if” but that didn’t stop those who were itching for regime change to use it as a casus belli.
    Here we have the Israeli NSA equivalent scooping the NSA. Of course it would carry no weight if the NSA announced this “intercept” but the compliant Israelis? Much better. And, given the well known and well publicised resources of the NSA, it is highly likely that the Syrians would employ radio traffic about this. Did someone say smellier than a barrel of fish?

    1. You mean: that’s the sort of communication reserved for landlines?

      Israel would probably get at landline traffic with a covertly-placed tap on the wires or an exchange switch.

      The NSA would probably employ a satellite with a big enough high-gain antennae to pick up signal leakage from the landline itself.

      This is what GCHQ’s supposedly cancelled “Zircon” satellite was meant to do. Technology has moved on a bit since then. I’d work on the assumption that a landline could be monitored from orbit, providing there weren’t too many others in operation nearby.

  3. I don’t expect those who run Israel are the least bit worried about al-CIAda. The notion that they prefer Assad is a ruse.

  4. Thanks, one of your best!

    A timely warning to let the UN inspection team do the forensics to establish the chemical agents involved. Normally this pinpoints the capabilities and source of the attack. Remember the anthrax scare and the source found to be the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick. I posted about the Focus article yesterday with the same dose of scepsis. The propaganda from the Obama administration and the likes of William Hague are just too ugly.

    1. The UN team has been specifically ordered not to answer any questions, or gather any evidence, relating to who was responsible for the attack. They can only look for evidence about whether there was a gas attack or not, which I think we already know.

  5. More war rhetoric from Israel. After Shimon Peres earlier, now Avogdor Liberman is feeling optimistic about what was relayed from Washington DC.

    “Liberman said that the US upholding its “red lines” on the use of chemical weapons by Assad tests “both the personal credibility of Obama and of the entire US government.” Liberman’s comments came a day after National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror and an Israeli delegation met with his US counterpart Susan Rice in Washington.”

    The hawks in the White House win, the Syrians die.

  6. You think that the US with all it’s abilities to detect the usage of chemical weapons – one method is through the analysis of the spectral signature using Hyper-spectral imaging equipment – needs 8200 intercepted calls to provide president Obama the needed proof that WMD’s were used in Syria ?

    1. The real NSA shares a facility on Cyprus with GCHQ.

      It is vanishingly unlikely that Unit 8200 intercepted anything which the listening post on Cyprus did not.

      In addition, the RAF operates all kinds of intelligence-gathering aircraft from Cyprus and it’s normal practice to voiceprint walkie talkie and cellphone conversations from battlefield areas. (You’d be amazed how many Taliban have Birmingham accents!)

      An intercepted conversation doesn’t have a lot of value unless it’s tied to location-finding and voice print intelligence so you can reconcile the content of the conversation with where it was held and between whom. Otherwise it would be very easy to be “spoofed” by almost anyone.

      They’ve also been keeping records of the background noise fingerprint of radio transmitters since WW2.

      If Israel told GCHQ and the NSA anything, it would have been inadvertently as they compared the Israeli version with the original to see what, if any, edits had been made.

  7. Who needs proof of chemical weapons? Does anyone really care if a few hundred or thousand civilians were killed humanely by conventional weapons or took a few more seconds to die unconventionally?

    You sound like an episode of Law and Order where the perp neally gets off on a technicality.

    The world should have intervened months ago. And even though Assad is probably “better” for Israel, Israel deserves credit even if is fabricating proof of how the massacre occurred if it brings the world to intervene.

      1. You compare the 10,000 dead’s (and i’m exaggerating) during both revolutions in Egypt to the 100,000 + who died during the last two years in Syria ?

        1. @H. Mor:

          No. I was asking Shmuel the simple question what he thinks the world, and Israel, should have done or should do about Egypt, since he says: “Who needs proof of chemical weapons? Does anyone really care if a few hundred or thousand civilians were killed humanely by conventional weapons or took a few more seconds to die unconventionally?”

          Someone who sincerely holds this position might reasonably be expected to feel the same way about the repeated slaughterings in Egypt.

          Or perhaps there are “technicalities” about Sisi’s massacres that I’m missing?

          1. @ Daniel

            I do not think you are missing any technicalities. I do think however that the west doesn’t have the ability to police the entire world, therefore according to the scale of severity it seems that they will intervene in Syria but will not act in a similar fashion in Egypt.

          1. @ Richard
            You don’t expect the world the intervene because you fear something might happened, do you ?
            If that would be the case( which i personally doubt, as Egypt has a “tradition” dealing with Islamist menace) I will join you in calling for world intervention.

    1. @ Shmuel
      Yeah, and on the way back from the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Syria, ‘the world’ should kick the settlers out of the Occupied Palestinian territories, right ? They should’ve intervened decades ago: 46 years of persecution, harassment, stealing of land and natural ressources, and we don’t even have to fabricate any proofs.
      Did you see the new B’Tselem report on regular torture of Palestinain children and threats of rape in the Gush Etzion Gestapo Headquarters ? Friends of yours, maybe….

        1. I’ve written quite extensively on the Syrian atrocities and the complicity of the UK, France, Turkey, US and the GCC states. I predicted the dire outcome before the “body count” reached 10,000. Ms Clinton had a different policy in mind and Syria interfered with her travel plans. Soon the Tomahawk cruise missiles will hit Syrian installations, cause more suffering and deaths, US coalition special forces will attempt to destroy chemical agents in depots and most likely attempt to assassinate Maher al-Assad. Because of the coming Act of War by the Obama administration, I feel very sad because IMO there can be no military solution to the crisis.

          1. @ Oui
            Oh come on ! You use every occasion to promote your own blog. There’s no relation between Bob’s question and your ‘analysis’. It’s very predictable and tiresome.

        2. Is there anything that can make you stop asking your usual ‘questions’ ?
          And don’t you think decades of harassment and dispossession of the Palestinians call for a humanitarian intervention ? And don’t you think that Israelis (like Shmuel who’s a military judge as he’s told us) calling for an intervention in Syria is the summit of hypocrisy.
          And do you believe ‘the world’ intervene for humanitarian reasons ? If yes: why haven’t they intervened in the Occupied Palestinian Territories ? There’s a sociocide going on there.
          You don’t have to answer. Those were rhetorical questions.

          1. I’m just asking if you think there is any line that could be crossed in Syria that you think would warrant some sort of outside intervention. I did not mean the question rhetorically. I am genuinely interested in your response to that question.

          2. @Bob Mann: I’m not opposed to intervention in theory, but in practice I’m afraid it’s much more complicated. What is the purpose of intervention? To punish Assad? To topple him? To cause a stalemate in the military conflict? And what is the end goal? And how do we guarantee that we achieve our goal (whatever it is) without being sucked into a quagmire as Israel was after 1982??

            My fear is that we do something because we must be seen to be doing something, but that whatever we do will either be meaningless or that it will actually make the situation worse. As I’ve written here before, if there was a constructive alternative to Assad I’d support toppling him. But what IS the alternative? Islamism? Al Qaeda? A Syria broken up into cantons & enclaves with warlords holding sway as was the case in Lebanon for a few decades?

          3. @ Bob Mann:

            Answering only for me and not for Deir Yassin, personally I support intervention neither in Syria nor in Egypt or anywhere else; nor did I support it in Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, Somalia or Serbia.

            The primary reason for this is because the way in which these interventions are done — they invariably violate important principles of internationl law, are decided unilaterally and without clear UN authorization, are undertaken by imperial powers that have no local, moral or legal responsibility for these countries instead of their neighbours or regional groups, and they often have unforeseen and undesirable, or even disastrous, consequences in the long term (see for example Libya, where the chaos drove extremists and their weapons south into Mali, where they nearly overran that entire country — of course triggering another generous humanitarian intervention by their old colonial masters, France).

            If the standards of intervention were different — if they were absolutely legal in terms of international law, if they were always fully mandated and authorized by the UN, if they were carried out by the UN itself or by regional groups such as for example the African Union or the Arab League — I would look at it differently.

            Add to the issues I already mentioned that so-called “humanitarian” interests are usually plainly connected not to ethical considerations but to cynical, opportunistic imperial interests in terms of geostrategy and economy, that they enforce an impero-polar world order, and are frequently marked by callous disregard for its victims, and the case for intervention is even less appealing.

            Finally, the deluge of hypocrisy unleashed by the Western governments that we have to always have to listen to before each intervention (Kerry choking on his tears as he talks about a “moral obscenity”; what about Agent Orange? Cameron, Hague and Fabius are equally disgusting as they stand there pretending to represent their populations, who are actually, just like the American people, strongly opposed to any kind of intervention — waxing nostalgic about the “nearly 100 years” of “consensus” over chemical weapons, and conveniently forgetting their own less than exemplary history in that department) — that hypocrisy, I believe, itself “deters and degrades” our intellectual and moral capacity.

            As to your question — is there some kind of hypothetical scenario in Syria where I would be favour of intervention? If by intervention you mean the phenomenon we’ve seen over the past decades with imperial coalitions blundering in like elephants in a tea shop and making the world a worse, less secure, more lawless place — then probably no. However, if you can provide a reasonable example of what you mean, and if intervention could take other, less unacceptable forms, then perhaps.

  8. Israel is not the key player in this. Why does the focus of the blog and the comments insist on making Israel the focal point? It’s a player but not the key. I do have suspicions on why different commentators insist on making Israel the key. But I have to go to lunch.

  9. You write: “IDF Unit 8200 (Israel’s NSA) “.

    To be fair, 8200 — unlike the American NSA — deals with outside entities, not with Israel’s own citizens.

    1. That was a joke, wasn’t it?

      Because up until Snowdon blew the whistle everyone had believed that the American NSA dealt only with outside entities, not with America’s own citizens.

      Apparently looks can be deceptive, so the claim that Unit 8200 doesn’t “deal with Israeli citizens” is about as credible as the now-debunked claim that the NSA was likewise as pure as snow.

      1. There’s plenty of evidence now that NSA spies on US own citizens, none (yet?) that 8200 does likewise.

        Israel’s a small society. Everyone knows everyone or, at least, the latter’s cousin or brother in law.
        Availing highly embarrassing info about everyone to young recruits, could have highly embarrassing consequences to many and would most likely be leaked, at least as a rumour. Such leak is yet to happen.

        This is not to say that 8200 does not develop tools for such surveillance and that such tools are not used by other organs of Israel’s security apparatus.

  10. @Deir Yassin: you very pointedly didn’t express what yr opinion is on international intervention in Syria? What does the ‘Palestinian in the street’ think? Aren’t you horrified as I am to see the atrocities there or does your heart only bleed for Palestinian pain?

    And you can honestly compare irregularities of investigations of juveniles such as lack of sleep and frightening and threatening behavior as against the horrors of chemical weapons used on children?

    I think you like to call this ‘navel gazing’

    1. You’d call it navel gazing till it happened to your child. Then you’d change your tune fast. I am also bemused by Israeli sympathy for Syrian suffering without any comparable sympathy for Palestinian suffering or potential Iranian suffering from an Israeli attack.

    2. @ Shmuel
      I don’t believe in any international interventions because I don’t trust the ‘international community’.
      I say that as someone who initially was positive to the UN intervention in Libya (and I live in France, the ‘leader’ of that ‘humanitarian intervention’, followed up by another French ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Mali).
      My heart makes no distinction between Syrian and Palestinian children, but I don’t trust any Israelis calling for an intervention in Syria. Did you call for an intervention after white phosphorus was dropped on Gaza ?
      A close friend of mine has lost many relatives and childhood friends during the last two years in Syria, he’s still against any external intervention, and so am I.
      Maybe you forgot but I still remember Colin Powell showing a model vial of anthrax in the UN to justify the invasion of Iraq. Do you think that made any good for the children of Iraq ?
      Why don’t you open up your borders and take in some refugees …. what about the Golan that’s Syrian anyway.

    3. @ Shmuel: And you, very pointedly, didn’t express what your opinion is on Egypt. With regards to your comment,

      “Does anyone really care if a few hundred or thousand civilians were killed humanely by conventional weapons or took a few more seconds to die unconventionally? […] You sound like an episode of Law and Order where the perp neally gets off on a technicality. […] The world should have intervened months ago. ”

      I asked, what do you think the world, and Israel, should have done or should do about Egypt?

      1. @Daniel:

        Egypt is off topic but in my opinion the world maybe should have intervened, but then who am I to have an opinion since literally no country even suggested intervention, not even those who one would expect to support the Muslim brotherhood’s elected government.

        As I stated earlier, Assad is probably better for Israel than the rebels in Syria, yet Israel shows humanitarian consideration rather than political opportunism. One cannot forget that Israel have had defacto quiet for around 45 years under two Assads in Syria, no small feat in a volatile middle east

  11. dear Richard
    you say rightly
    “A Syrian Golan that breaks away from the rest of the nation and becomes an Israeli sphere of influence…”
    Golan is interntionally recongnized as Syrian territory, why didn’t Assad recover his Golan height ?
    As Golan height is considered syrian, it could not be a pretext of Zionist’s retaliation ? What would be the reaction of Westerns countries in this case, pardon my English

  12. RE: “German Report That Israel’s NSA Affirms Syria Government Responsibility for Chemical Attacks”


    Pepe Escobar · 460 followers
    21 hours ago near Hong Kong, Hong Kong ·


    Khalil Harb, of Lebanese paper As-Safir, confirmed a few minutes ago to my great friend Claudio Gallo an article published in Arabic two days ago, quoting a Russian source.
    According to the source, Russia’s ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence – based on documents and Russian satellite images – of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian “rebels”, and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of “rebels”, as well as civilians – including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers – were killed. The evidence, says the Russian source, is conclusive. This is what Lavrov himself was hinting at yesterday. And that’s the reason there’s no UN Security Council resolution against Syria, and why Washington does not want the inspectors to find anything.

    SOURCE – https://www.facebook.com/pepe.escobar.77377/posts/10151840247251678

    1. If Al Nusra did it – and the Russian satellite imagery helps corroborate this – this looks like it might be the undoing of one of the most important Israeli False Flag Operations of all time

      It looks like it’s probably an Israeli Unit 8200 operation attempting to hoax the US into Syria —

      Guardian reporting:


      Israeli intelligence ‘intercepted Syrian regime talk about chemical attack’ Information passed to US by Israeli Defence Forces’s 8200 unit, former official tells magazine Sherwood *

      * The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime’s deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by ISRAELI military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported. The 8200 unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, which specialises in electronic surveillance, intercepted a conversation between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons, an unnamed former Mossad official told Focus.

      The content of the conversation was relayed to the US, the ex-official said. * * Senior Israeli security officials arrived in Washington on Monday to share the latest results of intelligence-gathering, and to review the Syrian crisis with national security adviser Susan Rice.

      This could be the beginning of the unveiling of a major Israeli false flag operation…

        1. Richard: “The U.S. has its own independent communications intercepts confirming whatever other intel the Israelis offered, as reported by Foreign Policy yesterday”

          No, actually, if you read that Foreign Policy article it’s pretty obvious that Noah received his “exclusive” from someone in the US intelligence community, but that is not at all the same thing as demonstrating that the US has its own independent intercept.

          After all….. if Unit 8200 gives its transcript to the CIA, and then the CIA gives that transcript to Noah… then that reporter has no way of telling whether that intel is sourced from the CIA or whether the CIA was merely the messenger.

          1. @Not true, actually: Could be. But my reading of the article is that the U.S. has it’s own independent surveillance assets & confirmation:

            Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned.

            I doubt U.S. spies would need to be listening in on recordings made after the fact by Unit 8200. That would be stretching the English language quite a bit. But if Unit 8200 is the only source & this comes out (& it will) then Obama’s gone a good long way to cooking his own goose (remember Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, et al?).

          2. Richard, perhaps I am not making myself clear: what I am suggesting is that the author of that article is in no position the verify the provenance of the “exclusive” that has been fed to him.

            I think you and I would both accept that his source was someone in the US intelligence community, correct?

            In which case he may have been told “we have possession of incriminating phone conversations between the Syrians” and that may be enough for him to reach the conclusion that the USA actually did the interception.

            But while that might be a reasonable conclusion to come to it isn’t necessarily the correct conclusion.

            Unless there is an EXPLICIT statement that the phone conversations were INDEPENDENTLY intercepted by the NSA I would suggest that the more likely conclusion is that there was just the one phone tap, it that one transcript is now being shopped around by many different players.

  13. I suspect that the ‘confirmation’ claimed by Unit 8200 is part of a quid pro quo by which some of Israel’s strategic objectives are met. Israel provides the ‘evidence’ that implicates Assad and provides the justification for overt military action, and the USA and its allies get to topple Assad by weakening his ability to defend Syria against western mercenaries.
    It is a complicated scenario and I wonder how it will end. Perhaps not the way intended. We simply do not know how Russia will react. The war-gamers should stop playing games.

  14. Sibel Edmond’s Boiling Frog Report (with James Corbett) is reporting that there exists satellite imagery (I’m guessing from Russian satellite surveillance) of two chemical weapons shells striking the region originated from the Al Nusra (Al Qaeda units of the ‘Syrian Rebel Army’) headquarters area.

    Apparently this satellite imagery has already been provided to the UN Sec Council by Russia – and the report says there has been no evidence to the contrary debunking the Russian claim. I haven’t heard that the UN Sec Council has made any reference to this yet – but undoubtedly this info is in the hands of the UN Team investigating the site

    The named leader of Al Nusra is apparently the one who ordered the attacks

    This preview podcast by James Corbett is free and available to all – the whole story is by subscription only

    Hopefully this whole thing gets international exposure and completely contradicts and debunks the whole Obama Neocon/Israeli Lobby narrative before the missiles start flying

    So who is the USS Carl Vinson going to attack if it was OUR PROXIES who fired the weapons? Uh Oh – this is getting good

      1. That article is a real eye-opener, and no mistaking…

        Haaretz: “They are also not certain that when they saw what looked like Assad’s forces moving chemical supplies, those forces were able to remove everything before rebels took over an area where weapons had been stored. ”

        !!!!! They are saying (without saying it out loud) that the rebels DO have chemical weapons, so don’t believe the Obama claim that Assad is the only person who could have done this.

        Haaretz: “an intercept of Syrian military officials discussing the strike was among low-level staff”

        !!!!! That’s code for “we can’t identify who those voices belong to, which makes us think that this has been staged”

        Haaretz: “The U.S. has devoted only a few hundred operatives, ”

        !!!! Translation: everything we have on this has come from the Israelis, the Saudi’s, and a whole bunch of unreliable sources, and we can’t actually be sure that any of it is true.

        The whole tone of that article suggests that there are at least “one senior U.S. intelligence official and three other U.S. officials” who are beginning to think that the USA is being played for a fool.

  15. @Not true, actually: And we know how well the Israeli intercepts worked out to accuse the Syrian regime of the Hariri assassination.

    Foreign Policy magazine with an accurate (??) story about an intelligence intercept:
    “… demanding answers after a nerve gas strike killed more than 1,000 people.”

    ‘Intercepts’ replaces aluminum tubes to go to war

    [QUOTE]Transcript of Powell’s U.N. presentation

    [01] “The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are U.S. sources. And some are those of other countries. Some of the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites.”

    PART 2: Hiding prohibited equipment

    [02] “Let me begin by playing a tape for you. What you’re about to hear is a conversation that my government monitored. It takes place on November 26 of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq.

    The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general, from Iraq’s elite military unit, the Republican Guard. [Following is a U.S. translation of that taped conversation.]
    GEN: Yeah.
    COL: About this committee that is coming…
    GEN: Yeah, yeah.
    COL: …with Mohamed ElBaradei [Director, International Atomic Energy Agency]
    GEN: Yeah, yeah.
    [and so on, and so on …]

    [07] “Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq. [UNQUOTE]

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