Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 16, 2014

Missile Experts: White House Made False Claims Over Syrian WMD Use

We called the chemical weapon attack near Damascus on August 21st a false flag operations and unlikely to have been committed by the Syrian government. Disregarding the large motive the insurgents had for such an attack as well as other facts the Obama administration accused the Syrian government and prepared to go to war over the issue.

Threatened with a possible impeachment procedure should he go to war over unverified WMD claims Obama was forced to go to Congress to ask for support. But the people of the United States were against another war in the Middle East and Congress, despite heavy lobbying from the Zionists, declined to act. Offered a deal over Syria's chemical weapons by the Russians Obama stopped his war plans and accepted the Syrian disarmament offer. That the Russians had deployed a quite capable and well sized fleet to the Syrian coast also played a decisive, though still under-reported, role.

Obama had little factual base for his claim that the Syrian government had committed the chemical attack. The claims the Obama administration put out were not signed off by the U.S. intelligence community but solely by the White House. Obama was deliberately going to war over largely fake WMD claims. Only the pressure form the people, and Russian intervention, eventually held him back.

Ignoring several significant issues the anti-Syrian propaganda corps pushed the "Assad has done it" claim. Human Rights Watch and the New York Times' CJ Chivers pushed claims that the flight path of the chemical rockets pointed to Syrian government origins. This was, as we pointed out, another false claim.

Seymour Hersh later reported that Obama's case for war had deliberately left out facts that pointed to the insurgent's culpability in the chemical weapon use. Hersh mentioned an analysis by the MIT missile expert Theodore Postol which trashed the Obama administration's assertions as well has the HRW and NYT claims of the missiles origin. McClatchy reports on the now public analysis:

A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.

A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

The report is even harsher than the McClatchy story about it lets one assume. The first page of its presentation (pdf, emphasis added) reads:

  • The Syrian Improvised Chemical Munitions that Were Used in the August 21, Nerve Agent Attack in Damascus Have a Range of About 2 Kilometers
  • The UN Independent Assessment of the Range of the Chemical Munition Is in Exact Agreement with Our Findings
  • This Indicates That These Munitions Could Not Possibly Have Been Fired at East Ghouta from the “Heart”, or from the Eastern Edge, of the Syrian Government Controlled Area Shown in the Intelligence Map Published by the White House on August 30, 2013.
  • This mistaken Intelligence Could Have Led to an Unjustified US Military Action Based on False Intelligence.
  • A Proper Vetting of the Fact That the Munition Was of Such Short Range Would Have Led to a Completely Different Assessment of the Situation from the Gathered Data
  • Whatever the Reasons for the Egregious Errors in the Intelligence, the Source of These Errors Needs to Be Explained.
  • If the Source of These Errors Is Not Identified, the Procedures that Led to this Intelligence Failure Will Go Uncorrected, and the Chances of a Future Policy Disaster Will Grow With Certainty.

The short version of this whole story is this: The scientific facts are clear and the White House version of the WMD story is definitely false. These facts are not new but where known when the White House claims were made. Obama (and Kerry) deliberately lied about the WMD attack in Syria to wage an open war against the Syrian government and people. Threatened with a possible conflict with the Russian fleet and a possible impeachment Obama caved in. But he has not yet given up on his aim of regime change and of destroying Syria and its people.

It is time for Congress to investigate who prepared, on who's order, the false claims about chemical weapon use in Syria and to draw consequences.

Posted by b on January 16, 2014 at 12:32 UTC | Permalink


It will be interesting to see how the Republicans play this. The case they have is far stronger than the one they had over Benghazi. The opportunity is there for a House Committee to tear the President's White House team to shreds and drive a real wedge between the Intelligence agencies and the light minded clowns who cluster around Obama's cynical and shallow personality.

This could be another Watergate. But I'm not holding my breath: when it comes to cynicism and shallow mindedness Obama and his Congressional opponents are in a very close race.

Of course the chances of anyone on the "left", such as Warren or Sanders, saying anything, and risking support from the warmongering liberals are, in my jaundiced view, close to non-existent.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 16 2014 14:24 utc | 1

I would advise you guys to visit the following blog. . I just came across this moon blog. And I have just to say.. These are the two most informative news sources . .

Posted by: Fadi | Jan 16 2014 14:40 utc | 2

@ Fadi

Hey Fadi good of you to visit. I know a lot of commenters here at Moon of Alabama who check out SyrianPerspective, and I also check out the KeepingtheLeith twitter account thats linked to SyrianPerspective. Does some great work for people monitoring the battles in Syria, and provides alot of good maps too.

On the topic of the Chem Attack on Ghouta, the website WhoGhouta published its conclusions in November that backed up this claim. It found the most likely group responsible was Liwa Al Islam (now merged into the Islamic Faction), based on video footage and areas under their control. Also interesting to note is that Liwa Al Islam was commanded by Zahran Alloush who now heads the IF and is known to be close to the Saudi's.

Interestingly WhoGhouta speculates that Liwa Al Islam could have planned for the Chem Attack to hit SAA troops who were preparing a large offensive that morning, that the missile could have overshot there target and hit the residential area instead.

Finally on the diplomatic side of things, Finian Cunningham has a good article here on how the US is still planning regime change in Syria, but is trying to achieve it in peace talks instead of on the battlefield. Now that the military option is failing they will try to get Assad to step down in the Geneva talks as a Plan B.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jan 16 2014 15:15 utc | 3

That UN Obama speech had a very strange atmosphere

The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used such weapons on August 21st. U.N. inspectors gave a clear accounting that advanced rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas at civilians. These rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood, and landed in opposition neighborhoods. It’s an insult to human reason -- and to the legitimacy of this institution -- to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.

The UN had photographs of the crashed objects. Any weapons expert or physics teacher knew they could hardly fly. I am not sure what the Obama administration thought they were doing.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 16 2014 15:29 utc | 4

"It is time for Congress to investigate who prepared, on who's order, the false claims about chemical weapon use in Syria and to draw consequences."
Do you mean the Congress thats about to override a veto in order to force war with Iran?

Posted by: Dan | Jan 16 2014 15:31 utc | 5

Thanks b, as for this..,"It is time for Congress to investigate who prepared, on who's order, the false claims about chemical weapon use in Syria and to draw consequences."

Never "hachi,tomodachi." The US has a very long history of tailoring intelligence to achieve the desired ends. The boys in charge have plans, and truth isn't part of them.

Posted by: ben | Jan 16 2014 16:02 utc | 6

Well-documented article by Bhadra, here

Any insider's knowledge on Idaho potatoes?

Posted by: Mina | Jan 16 2014 16:40 utc | 7

@b,thanks for keeping track of the chemical attack and @bevin thanks for a very good comment

Posted by: Nobody | Jan 16 2014 17:22 utc | 8

5) The congress that refused to go to war in Syria.

The Russians will have told Kerry (and Obama) what they thought of the flying objects. Enough military US people will have confirmed. The Russians - and the US - presumably have satellite imagery showing from where rockets were fired that night.

Now, if this was a Saudi/Israeli (remember the "Syrian commander heard asking about the use of chemical weapons) false flag that was not preplanned by Obama or Cameron - would that explain the strange half hearted action?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 16 2014 17:58 utc | 9

@ #7

It was a joke between Kerry and the Russian FM:
Lavrov told Kerry that Russia does not make vodka from potatoes but wheat

Posted by: Yul | Jan 16 2014 18:22 utc | 10

The Senate and House in the US couldn't care less what the people think or want. I marched twice against the war in Iraq, in 2002 and 2003. The corporate "people" got their war, and ensuing humanitarian disaster, with little debate from the US media whores. This past September I called both of the senators of my state and let them know what a big mistake I thought another war for Israel would be, and was pleasantly surprised when the impending attack didn't happen. I think there were forces at work far beyond my puny power, though. I remember reading about those two missiles which "malfunctioned" over the eastern Mediterranean, and the Russian armada assembled there.

Posted by: Jim T | Jan 16 2014 18:25 utc | 11

thanks b. congress won't do anything. the usa gov't is beholden to gutting everything except it's military industrial complex.. israel or saudi arabia will continue to push for their short sighted interests in syria and the usa will continue to move off the stage as world leader except when it comes to unnecessary wars..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2014 18:41 utc | 12

Any insider's knowledge on Idaho potatoes?
Kerry quickly sought to disavow any deep diplomatic meaning from the spuds, the AP reported, explaining that he was in Idaho over the holidays when he and Lavrov spoke by phone.“I really want to clarify: There's no hidden meaning. There's no metaphor. There's no symbolic anything. … He recalled the Idaho potatoes as being something that he knew of, so I thought I would surprise him and bring him some good Idaho potatoes.He told me he's not going to make vodka. He's going to eat them,”he told reporters.
The mention of vodka put Lavrov on a brief rhetorical bender.
“In Poland, they make vodka from potatoes,” Lavrov said. “I know this. But that's in Poland.”
Kerry tried to steer the discussion back to Iran or Syria, but Lavrov plowed on.
“We used to do this in the Soviet Union,” he said. “Now we try to do it from wheat.”
A few minutes later, Lavrov awkwardly tried to tie the potato diplomacy to the Syrian negotiations.
“The specific potato which John handed to me has the shape which makes it possible to insert potato in the carrot-and-stick expression,” he said to laughter from reporters. “So it could be used differently.”

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16 2014 19:01 utc | 13

Any insider's knowledge on Idaho potatoes?
The usually stern-faced Lavrov came to the meeting armed with at least two ushankas, a traditional Russian fur hat with earflaps that tie to the top of the hat. Both hats went to women on Kerry’s press staff — including a bubblegum-pink one for State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16 2014 19:04 utc | 14

Kerry's explanation doesn't work out: "it's just because we had talked about Idaho potatoes last time" and I am such a miser that I can't bring more than two or a bag of sprouts for Lavrov's datcha??
It is about 'hot potatoes', but then he needed 3, for KSA, Iran and Israel.

Posted by: Mina | Jan 16 2014 19:21 utc | 15

I remember Joshka Fischer gave Collin Powel a crate of flensburg-beer and he gave him the empty bottles back for the deposit because Fischer belongs to the green party.

Posted by: Some1 | Jan 16 2014 19:30 utc | 16

Or maybe 2 is enough to deal with for Russia, as KSA is the US's business. They let them keep Egypt as where to grow their future workers, and in exchange they tone down on Syria (after giving weapons to both sides on the ground to finish each other).

Posted by: Mina | Jan 16 2014 19:45 utc | 17

Excellent post, b. It is important not to let Obama's phony casus belli disappear down the memory hole just because the Russians bailed him out. But I share bevin's pessimism regarding the possibility of any substantive investigation being conducted by Congress. As Dan @ 5 points out, this is the same Congress that is about to torpedo the agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

But the hopeful part here is that AIPAC was badly beaten before when it, along with pretty much the entire MSM, demanded an attack on Syria. The approval ratings for Congress hit an all-time low in November. It is hard to imagine how this august deliberative body can muster popular support for another doomed military escapade.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jan 16 2014 20:13 utc | 18


Now, if this was a Saudi/Israeli (remember the "Syrian commander heard asking about the use of chemical weapons) false flag that was not preplanned by Obama or Cameron - would that explain the strange half hearted action?

exactly. Not to mention all of the MSM and thinktank neocon talking heads who had been beating the drum for war there for years, nor the escalating actions and rhetoric of fundraising congresscritters for intervention there since instituting sanctions against Syria in 2003. Obama threw the GOI intelligence back in congress' lap and dared them to act against the wishes of their voters (rather than their donors).

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 16 2014 22:10 utc | 19

Kerry Poppins's fantasy on Geneva II:

Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Syrian opposition on Thursday to attend next week's peace conference in Switzerland and said any individual chosen to lead a political transition in the war-torn country MUST BE ACCEPTABLE TO BOTH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE OPPOSING FORCES...

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 16 2014 22:24 utc | 20

Slightly OT:

RB, good showing over at Al Akhbar. I had nightmares of Rice and Power-type R2P plans for Yarmouk when I saw that headline.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 16 2014 23:00 utc | 21

@20 Some mistake surely. abc news used the word 'government'. Don't they mean regime?

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2014 23:56 utc | 22

If the US had a real opposition party then it might be possible to have an investigation into this scandal. But just like in Libya, both parties were willing to support Islamic terrorist militias in Syria to advance US goals. In both Libya and Syria (not to mention Afghanistan), those policies had blow back but we seem unable to deal with the root cause.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 17 2014 1:01 utc | 23

We can’t help to think that we have some sort of influence. But, in the case of Syria, I think not. The War Lovers pushed the Syria intervention as a rehash of Libya campaign; more money spent on guided munitions and one less bad guy in the world. Gassing civilians was intended to be the initiator.

I wrote letters to my three Democrat Congress persons protesting America providing air support for Al Qaeda. They never wrote back. It wasn’t us but Vladimir Putin who stopped the war drums and forced the ongoing trial separation of the USA from the Saudi/Israel Jihadi Mash-Up.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jan 17 2014 1:46 utc | 24

Saudi/israeli alliance with lebanese sunni will have breakfast at tiffanay,s , soon...speciality of the house is poached camel eggs with rocket

Posted by: iraj | Jan 17 2014 6:54 utc | 25

"It is time for Congress to investigate who prepared, on who's order, the false claims about chemical weapon use in Syria and to draw consequences."

That would be like Congress directing the Pentagon to perform an audit, as to why SecDef Hagel was forced to admit that, once again, ONE TRILLION DOLLARS has 'gone missing' with no account made. [see SecDef Rumsfeld admit Pentagon 'misplaced' $2.3 TRILLION on Sep10].

Nobody ever followed up on that HUGE LARCENY. The next day, a drone blew up that section of the Pentagon where the internal investigation documents were stored. And the BILLIONS Americans payed for Y2K duplicate backup of all government documents? Oh, the backups were 'lost' in the confusion after Sep11, just like the backups for Wall Street's 2000 Larceny.

Oh, Panetta had the Pentagon do a limited audit alright ... internally, by the same people absconding with the last of our life savings, THAT ARE NEVER COMING BACK AGAIN. They found nothing unusual to report. Just another TRILLION disappearing in smoke under O'Biden.

So who CARES about East Ghouta? What DIFFERENCE does it make?

Red Army, Blue Army, ...still the same Supreme Soviet. We are just kulaks now, stacking up bone piles of our fallen comrades along the WADC-NOVA Highway to Rentier Hell.

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Jan 17 2014 9:20 utc | 26

dan@5, mike maloney@18

marvelous to relate the republicrats and the AIPAC - 43 of the 45 republicrat senators were co-sponsors of the AIPAC's and demoblican menendez' 'Muclear War With Iran Act of 2013' - were shot down by ... Diane Feinstein !

And at the end of here speech she said ...

The bottom line: If this body passes S. 1881, diplomatic negotiations will collapse, and there will be no final agreement.

Some might want that result, but I do not.

[W]e cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war.

I strongly oppose the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.

Which is unheard of directness and a dress down to Israel and the AIPAC in my book. I'm no fan of the NSA's DiFi, but I have to say that this speech ... given for who knows what ulterior motives ... was and is music to my ears !

She put the kiss of death to the AIPAC's "show of strength" and all those republicrats from all those sparsely populated states are going to have to explain their marching with the Israeli 5th column to their constituencies back home.

Can the demoblicans be ready ... finally ... to throw Israel under the bus ?

Nah ... but for whatever reason they've slipped the shive between the ribs of the AIPAC this time, and it could not have happened to a more deserving organization, in my book.

Posted by: john francis lee | Jan 17 2014 13:12 utc | 27

A minor observation: The MIT report exposes Twitter propagandists Eliot Higgins (Brown Moses), his partner-in-lies Dan Kaszeta, James Miller (worked for/works for Scott Lucas' EA World News - connected to the shadowy "Syrian Support Group"), Ken Roth/HRW, and their co-thinkers, quite nicely.

It also validates Who Ghouta, Sy Hersh and others.

Bravo MIT.

Posted by: revenire | Jan 17 2014 15:05 utc | 28

Speaking of WMD there was a detailed article about the Israeli nuke program full of details about the traitorous Israeli scum spy AND yet freely-living, Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan.

If any of you are into the BDS movement then you might not want to see "12 Years a Slave" as that was produced by Milchan - one among many, many of the Hollywood films he has produced.

Oh, and you might not want to watch the Super Bowl this year as Soda Stream - you know the company whose main production unit is located in the occupied West Bank - is enlisting Scarlet Johansson - scratching "Her" off my list - to try and boost sales.


Posted by: JSorrentine | Jan 17 2014 15:50 utc | 29

JFL @ 27

You're right. Good news. The NYT story on the Senate's "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013" mentions that AIPAC has yet to round up enough Democrat votes to override an Obama veto. They are close but no cigar yet.

If Congress passes the bill over a presidential veto some sort of bizarre shift will have occurred in that it will be Congress -- no longer the chicken hawk Bush or "Peace Prize" Obama -- leading the West to war. The current bill says the United States will support Israel militarily if Israel attacks Iran in "self-defense," something bound to happen once negotiations collapse and Iran brings more centrifuges online.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jan 17 2014 16:58 utc | 30

If the Ghouta attacks ever happened at all!

Took place, some filming of minor fireworks, scares, gas leak, media op, or even some seeming leaked ‘poison’ in the form of whatever, echoing the very many similar attacks that occurred in the past two years in Syria, mostly to hype up the chem attacks meme and thereby get the US/West to intervene against Assad.

> The W powers don’t care about dead children unless they have been gassed or biologically / chemically poisoned, that is the reasoning. Also, better to represent them partly naked, display of sweet sagging dead flesh, close to war porn...

That was gone into previous on MOA and in great detail, with even a list of the ‘attacks’ - some with some effects, etc. - I won’t repeat, it is too tiresome.

Some of these attacks did lead to a few dead and seriously distressed (e.g. in Aleppo.)

That is one of the problems of rolling news media and discussion boards, history turns into ‘new’ news with a new slant, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 17 2014 17:42 utc | 31

@john francis lee
This is complete cherry-picking. It's one among only 2 parts of a 100 paragraph speech where she is alluding to Israel. If you look at the entire paragraph she is basically blaming the republicans sponsor of the bill for leting another country decide on US military action and not Israel herself. She even says, just one paragraph earlier:

"Let me acknowledge Israel's real, well-founded concerns that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its very existence. I don't disagree with that. I agree with it, but they are not there yet."

What she is doing is to basically line-up behind Obama on that. with a speech full of half-truths and outright lies about Iranian policies, actions and intentions. Exactly the same way the US administration will try to run this half-hearthed policy. Which by the way I do think will furhter get them down the road in more confused and unsuccessful positions.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 17 2014 18:06 utc | 32

Well ATH you're right. But Diane Feinstein apparently said the lines I quoted and that is news ... she also girded her loins against upcoming attacks ...

She's dead wrong on the NSA. I have no control over the US Senate, I'm only an American, not an Israeli. I always hope for the best. I'm always disappointed. You want more. I want more. We don't count. We get nothing. I point out a change in rhetoric that - coming from a powerful, Jewish senator - is news.

Posted by: john francis lee | Jan 17 2014 23:17 utc | 33

I think I can accept that the Dems just plain don't want war with Iran. But on the other hand, they don't want Iran at Geneva 2, either. Nor, I bet, do they want Iran to have any influence in Iraq. I expect them to make it a condition of Maliki's receiving any serious military aid against the Jihadis, that he repudiate Iran in some way, and take part in the harassment of it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 18 2014 1:18 utc | 34

I recall the papers at the time were basically stories of Rice, Kerry, and Powers all trying to outdo each other in their clamor for war and their jumping to conclusions. This was, of course, a weakness of Dick Cheney's as well (of course "jumping to conclusions" and "heading towards a predetermined outcome" could easily be confused for one another).

The good news is, for once and for whatever reasons, the warmongers didn't get their way. Despite the Israeli "intercepts" and AIPAC arm-twisting. Despite the Saudi clamoring and threats. Despite the fact that the media was, once again, in the bag for war. Despite the fact that the Europe's "leaders" - if not their legislatures - were ready, once again, to be loyal poodles to the US, begging for scraps from the table of the US Military.

This was a victory for peace that the world hadn't seen since the end of the Cold War. In one brief episode it blew away the idea that the United States "runs the show" on the world stage and shattered one of the most carefully crafted intellectual pillars of US imperialism: that "a multipolar world will be fraught with violence and danger."

Quite the opposite.

The US stand down in Syria shows us that a multipolar world - with the US/NATO/Israeli Axis balanced with the powerful BRICS bloc and, importantly, the aid of independent regional powers like Iran - will become the pillars of peace on which the developing world can begin to lean on the face of the Western aggression.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 18 2014 2:18 utc | 35

Via the Australian SMH:

Syrian regime claims it had secret talks with West

Dubai: Some Western nations opposed to President Bashar al-Assad have discussed security co-operation with his government, Syria claims, a move which if true would suggest a rise in Western concerns about foreign militants in rebel ranks.

The top US and French diplomats both said they were personally unaware of such contacts but did not go so far as to deny that any had taken place.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said several Western intelligence services had visited Damascus for discussions. His comments were broadcast a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that French and Spanish spy services had made contact with Dr Assad's government. French media have carried similar reports.

"I will not specify (which countries) but many of them have visited Damascus, yes," Mr Mekdad said in a BBC interview. [...]

Never mind that the Sydney Morning Herald is a big fan of Australia's borderline criminal Abbott regime, it seems the Syrian government's successful hammer and anvil approach to the jihadi infestation is turning heads in Europe.

One can't be sure what the exact topics and talking points are in those secret meetings, but for my part I do wish they include a proposal to cut the head of the snake by finally taking out porky Prince Bandar.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jan 18 2014 2:48 utc | 36

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