Gar Smith / The Berkeley Daily Planet – 2013-09-07 02:05:37
Special to EAW
A Short History of Chemical Warfare
Gar Smith / The Berkeley Daily Planet
Chemical Weapons Outlawed
The use of chemical gases in the trenches of WWI horrified the world, prompting a global campaign to ban their use as weapons of war. In 1925, a Geneva protocol was passed outlawing the use of nerve gas, tear gas, and other deadly agents in warfare. The 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention (which went into effect in 1997) called for a ban on the possession or production of chemical weapons. (It’s worth noting that many of these WWI chemicals found a new and “legal” purpose when they were reconfigured and sold as commercial herbicides and pesticides).
As of February 2013, Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia, and the US still admitted to possessing chemical weapons stockpiles. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, signatory nations are required to destroy their remaining stockpiles. Russia and the US, with the world’s largest inventories of chemical and biological weapons, have still not eliminated their stockpiles.
This is why President Obama always qualifies his condemnation of the Syrian regime for possessing “the largest inventory of chemical weapons in the Middle East” (emphasis added).
It’s worth noting that Syria never signed the Chemical Weapons treaty so, technically, Assad cannot be accused of violating the ban on possession and use of chemical arms.
Washington’s History of Chemical Warfare
Between1962 and 1973, the Pentagon’s Project SHAD conducted 37 secret chemical weapons tests, several of which involved firing artillery shells filled with sarin and VX gas at target ranges in Alaska and Hawaii.
The Pentagon has admitted to exposing more than 60,000 military personnel to chemical gases in secret experiments like Operation Whitecoat. In 1968, one of the Pentagon’s experiments went awry and wound up killing 6,400 sheep downwind of Utahâ€™s Dugway Proving Ground.
How US Helped Saddam Gas Iran
Declassified CIA documents confirm that the US assisted Saddam Hussein when he used chemical weapons in 1988. The US provided Iraq with critical satellite intelligence that pinpointed the location of Iranian troops. The records made it perfectly clear that Washington knew Saddam was preparing to unleash his stockpile of chemical weapons — including sarin. The US is now considered complicit in the deaths of 20,000 Iranian soldiers killed by Iraq’s CW arsenal.
The US, Israel and Sarin Nerve Gas
On October 4, 1992, an Israeli El Al jet on a flight from New York to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport lost two engines and crashed into a 12-story apartment in Bijlmer killing all four people on board flight 1862 and incinerating at least 43 people in the housing complex. In the years following the crash, nearly 900 survivors fell victim to mysterious ailments including breathing and neurological problems. For years, El Al officials lied to the public, claiming the flight carried only “a regular commercial loadâ€¦ Israel has nothing to hide.”
On the sixth anniversary of the crash the “official story” collapsed with the publication of a leaked copy of the plane’s cargo manifest. Instead of “regular” cargo, Flight 1862 was loaded with 10 tons of chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid, isopropanol and dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) â€“ three of the four chemicals essential for the production of sarin nerve gas. The DMMP came from a Pennsylvania firm called Solkatronic Chemicals Inc. and was headed for the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) outside of Tel Aviv.
The secret shipment was authorized by the US Commerce Department, in apparent violation of the Chemical Weapons Treaty. It was estimated that the chemicals onboard the doomed jet could have produced 270 kilos of sarin — sufficient to kill the entire population of a major world city.
Syria, Sarin, the Rebels and the US: The Underreported News
Gar Smith / The Berkeley Daily Planet
The following collection of underreported news stories concerning gas attacks in Syria were posted online over the past weeks on the Environmentalists Against War website (www.envirosagainstwar.org). Warning: Some of these reports feature video clips that contain disturbing images. Taken together, these reports suggest that officials in Washington may once more be trying to “mislead” the nation into war.
Syria, Assad, and the History of Chemical Weapons â€¨
Jon Lee Anderson / The New Yorker
The images are gut-wrenching. In one video, a man tries to revive a child, a boy perhaps three or four years old, by pouring water over his face, rubbing him, attempting a futile resuscitation. The boy is pale and limp and appears to have died. Around him there are more bodies in similar states of death or near-death, prostrate on a floor. Oddly, there is no blood. It is as if everyone has drowned. â€¨
No Proof on Chemical Attack but Obama Orders Preparations to Attack Syria
i>Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com
There’s still no real proof, but Western officials say they have “little or no doubt” that Wednesday’s Ghouta incident was a chemical weapons attack. Even though the UN investigators said the previous attack was almost certainly launched by the rebels, Western officials continue to present that as the Assad government is also culpable. Though President Obama insists there was “no rush” to attack Syria, he has privately ordered the military to draw up options for an attack. â€¨ < US, UK Won’t Wait for UN Inspection; Plan to Attack Syria Within 2 Weeksâ€¨
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com
Discussing the matter in a 40 minute phone call on Saturday night, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed in principle to start attacking Syria within the next two weeks. France is also reportedly in on the idea. The Syrian government has agreed to let UN inspectors into Jobar, the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack. The quick response has been condemned as “too late” by US officials. â€¨
Evidence Indicates Syrian Government Did Not Launch a Chemical Weapon Attack Against Its Peopleâ€¨
Washington’s Blog / Global Research
The last time the US blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack, the claim was debunked. But is the claim that Syria used chemical weapons against its people true this time? It’s not surprising that Syria’s close ally, Russia, is expressing doubt. But Russia isn’t the only doubter. â€¨
Toxic Catch: Syria Rebels’ Chemical Lab Uncovered Near Damascus
Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons against regime forces in the Damascus suburb of Jobar, where soldiers discovered stockpiles of toxic poisoning antidotes, state media reports. According to a SANA news report citing “an official source,” the army unit pushed into the area, where soldiers were attacked before seizing a warehouse containing material labeled ‘Made in KSA’ as well as a large number of protective masks. â€¨
Report: Syrian Soldiers Find Chemical Agents in Rebel Tunnelsâ€¨
Global Post.com & Patrick Henningsen / Global Research
Syrian state TV reports troops found chemical agents in rebel tunnels in Damascus in what some called an attempt to strengthen the case against a suspect chemical weapons assault — based on UK and US efforts to win public support for a “humanitarian intervention” (similar to that which was perpetrated in Libya in 2011). Meanwhile, no one is asking the most fundamentally important question: were real military-grade chemical weapons actually used at all? â€¨
Rebels Behind Previous Syrian Chemical Weapons Attacksâ€¨
Russia Today News
UN human rights investigators have spoken to the victims of Syria’s civil war and gathered medical testimonies that point to the Syrian rebels having used sarin nerve gas. Meanwhile, allegations of its use by the government remain unsubstantiated. Opposition fighters allegedly used unknown chemicals against residents in the town of Saraqib and in the northwestern province of Idlib to later put the blame on Assad forces. â€¨
Hacked Emails Reveal ‘US-Backed Plan’ to Launch Chemical Weapon Attack on Syria, Blame It on Assad â€¨
Leaked documents have suggested that the Obama administration gave the green light to stage a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad’s regime and, in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country. The story, first reported in the mainstream press by the Daily Mail, was subsequently removed from the site. Read the original censored story below. â€¨
Russia Suggests Syria ‘Chemical Attack’ Was ‘Planned Provocation’ by Rebelsâ€¨
Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh / The Mint Press News
GHOUTA, Syria (August 29, 2013) — As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last weekâ€™s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
Report: Syrian Rebel Forces Trained by West are Moving Towards Damascusâ€¨
Tyler Durden / Zero Hedge>
For all those still shocked by the “developing events” in Syria, here is the full rundown as it was orchestrated back in 2011, and as it was released in March 2012 by Wikileaks. The goal of US-backed Special Operations Forces was to “commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.” In an air campaign, “The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down.” â€¨
Transparent Hoax Could Lead to War â€¨
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com
There was the time they falsely claimed the Assad regime was killing babies in incubators. Then there was the “massacre” at Houla, which allegedly killed 32 children and over 60 adults. A photo “documenting” the slaughter turned our to have been a hoax. The story was withdrawn and the Syrian rebels went back to the drawing board. Western chemical warfare experts are skeptical that weapons-grade chemical substances were used. â€¨
Syria, Iran Warn a US Attack Would Set the Middle East Ablazeâ€¨
RT News & Bassem Mroue and Albert Aji / The Associated Press
Iran has warned the US not to cross “the red line” on Syria threatening it would have “severe consequences” for the White House. This follows a statement from Syrian officials who said a strike would create “very serious fallout” for the whole region. The Syrian government accused rebels of using chemical weapons Saturday and warned the United States not to launch any military action against Damascus. â€¨