Israel’s strike on Syria also hit biological weapons facility, says report

February 3, 2013
An IAF F-15 fighter jet during a training exercise (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)An IAF F-15 fighter jet during a training exercise (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)(timesofisrael.com)In air raids on Syria overnight Tuesday, Israeli jets targeted several sites, including a biological weapons research center, which hadn’t previously been mentioned in the media, TIME magazine claimed Friday.
The center was “flattened out of concern that it might fall into the hands of Islamist extremists fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad,” the report said, quoting Western intelligence officials.
The article also claimed Washington has given Israel a “green light” to carry out more such raids if it deems them necessary.
TIME added that Israel has raised security at embassies “and other potential targets overseas,” for fear of a Hezbollah-orchestrated retaliatory attack.
Thus far, the TIME article noted, only two airstrikes had been mentioned in the media: One attack, announced by Syria, was allegedly on a scientific research center in Jamarya, northwest of Damascus; the other, reported by various news organizations, claimed Israeli jets struck a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon, presumably to Hezbollah, the Shi’ite group allied to Iran and Assad.
But “a Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details,” the magazine reported.
Regarding the strike at Jamarya, the magazine added new details: “Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces,” it said.
The biological warfare labs were considered to be of particular concern — in part because of the grave damage small amounts of biological agents can cause, and also due to the stated interest in such weapons by terror groups, namely Osama bin Laden’s successor as head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The TIME story added that the US was prepared to carry out raids of its own in the Aleppo area if it feared rebels might otherwise gain control of weapons of mass destruction in that area of Syria.
On Wednesday, US officials told The New York Times that Israel had notified the United States about an airstrike it carried out overnight Tuesday near the Lebanese-Syrian border. The officials said that they believed the target of the strike was a convoy carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry intended to reach Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.
An unnamed Western official told the Wall Street Journal that the convoy was carrying sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft weapons, which could constitute a strategic game-changer were Hezbollah to possess them.
A former Syrian general said Friday that the facility reportedly struck by Israel produced non-conventional weapons, in addition to conventional arms. Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu was previously in charge of the country’s chemical weapons training program.
Israel has yet to confirm or even officially comment on Tuesday’s alleged air raid.
On Friday, meanwhile, the Lebanese National News Agency claimed that Israeli jets flew low over southern Lebanon — Hezbollah’s stronghold — and carried out “mock raids.” The government outlets said that its correspondents reported Israeli planes flying over the southern Lebanese towns of Nabatieh, Tuffah, Marjayoun and Bint Jbeil.

Rumsfeld: There Was No Waterboarding of Courier Source

May 3, 2011

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden was obtained through “normal interrogation approaches” and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a “myth.”Rumsfeld also claims that elements of Pakistani intelligence could have been complicit in hiding the terrorist mastermind, asserts that his killing exonerates George W. Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism, and warns that terrorists will likely try to avenge bin Laden’s death with new attacks against America or its allies.

Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, then under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, and as a member of the Bush administration was one of the chief architects of America’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
His new book, “Known and Unknown: A Memoir,” was released in February.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Rumsfeld was asked how important was the killing of bin Laden after all these years.
“It is important,” he responds.
“He had become the face of terrorism, radical Islamists in the world, and I think the fact that the coalition of countries shared intelligence and worked the problem seriously for a number of years and were successful, ought to be a signal to other terrorists that while manhunts are difficult, they’re not impossible. The world’s a better place with him gone.
“It’s a good signal that the United States, thanks to George W. Bush’s administration, put in place some structures that put pressure on terrorists and led to this event. And thanks to the Obama administration for continuing those approaches and procedures, we’ve now been successful.”
Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
Rumsfeld reiterated that the killing of bin Laden exonerates the Bush administration’s response to 9/11.
“It certainly points up the fact that the structures that President Bush put into place – military commissions, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention, and humane treatment, but intensive interrogation to be sure – all contributed to the success we’ve had in the global war on terror.
“The fact that we’ve not had another attack on America for close to a decade, I don’t think anyone would have been bold enough to predict that 10 years ago.
“And certainly the killing of bin Laden is a testimony to our intelligence community. We’ve always had the ability to capture or kill Osama. What we didn’t have was the intelligence that was needed.”
Asked if Pakistan played a role in hiding bin Laden, Rumsfeld tells Newsmax: “I think it’s a fair question to ask the extent to which, probably not the Pakistani government but possibly some people connected to the Pakistani intelligence services, may or may not have had information about his location.”
In light of the fact that Pakistan has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid, what does the possible hiding of bin Laden say about the trustworthiness of Pakistan, Rumsfeld was asked.
“We don’t know yet. What we do know is it’s a Muslim country, they have nuclear weapons, they have been enormously helpful to us, particularly under the Musharraf regime, in allowing us access into Afghanistan and being with us from a military standpoint.
“We always knew there were people in Pakistan who have supported the Taliban and al-Qaida. That’s true in a number of countries. But the assistance we’ve provided to Pakistan has in my view been well spent.”
Rumsfeld says he doesn’t think the killing of bin Laden “will have any bearing at all” on destabilizing the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
He adds: “We do know that al-Qaida has sought out chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and we do know they’ve alleged that in the event that Osama bin Laden is killed or captured, they would undertake some additional terrorist attacks on America and on our friends and allies around the world.”
Referring to new CIA Director Leon Panetta’s warning that terrorists’ attempts to avenge bin Laden’s death are inevitable, Rumsfeld says: “I think it’s likely they will try.” via {Newsmax/Matzav.com and image via wired.com