Hostage Released From Syrian Prison Says he Overheard Rebel Captors Admitting Insurgents Used The Chemical Weapons (Video)

September 10, 2013
A Belgian writer who was held hostage with an Italian reporter for five months in Syria says that he heard their rebel captors deny that President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the Ghouta massacre. The two were kidnapped while working in the war torn country back in April and were released over the weekend.

Pierre Piccinin said that he and fellow hostage Domenico Quirico, an Italian war reporter, heard their jailers talking about the chemical weapon attack and saying that Assad was not to blame.

Quirico confirmed to La Stampa newspaper that they had eavesdropped such a conversation through a closed door but added that he had no evidence to substantiate what he heard.
Piccinin said the captives became desperate when they heard that the US was planning to launch a punitive attack against the regime over the gas attack in the Damascus suburb.
“It wasn’t the government of Bashar al-Assad that used sarin gas or any other gas in Ghouta,” Piccinin told Belgian RTL radio after he was released.
“We are sure about this because we overheard a conversation between rebels. It pains me to say it because I’ve been a fierce supporter of the Free Syrian Army in its rightful fight for democracy since 2012,” Piccinin added.
Here is an interview Pierre Piccinin had with RTL TV:
Watch with the captions. The translation is very poor, but it is clear that he doesn’t think that Assad released the chemical weapons.
Piccinin’s fellow prisoner said it would be “madness” to say that he knew for sure that Assad was not culpable.
“I do not know if this is true but nothing tells me it is,” he said.
Quirico said he listened to a Skype conversation between three individuals, whose names he could not confirm. One identified himself as a Free Syrian Army general.
The three contended that insurgents had used gas in Ghouta to trigger Western intervention.
“I have no evidence to confirm this theory and I do not know who these people were or if they are reliable,” Quirico said.
“It is impossible for me to say if this conversation was based on real events or on rumours and hearsay. It is not my habit to hold true conversations overheard through a door.”
Kidnapped in April, Piccinin and Quirico were freed by their captors and flown to Rome.
Quirico said he was treated badly. The Syrian revolution had turned into something “very dangerous” since he began covering it, he added.
Just one more hole in Obama’s “slam dunk” case.

Iranians Warned U.S. That Syrian Rebels Had Chemical Weapons Over a Year Ago…

According to leaked diplomatic correspondence obtained by the Christian Science Monitor, ‘Iran has been warning Washington since July 2012 that Sunni rebel fighters have acquired chemical weapons, and called on the US to send “an immediate and serious warning” to rebel groups not to use them.’ In one letter Iran stated that as a “supporter” of the rebels,  the US would be held responsible for any use of the chemical weapons.
Iran amplified those year-old warnings over the weekend in its strongest public comments to date linking the rebels with a chemical weapons, echoing Russia‘s dismissal of American assurances that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were to blame. The comments come as the US Congress prepares to vote on military strikes.
“There is ample intelligence that takfiri  [extremist] groups are in possession of chemical arms,” Iran’sForeign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday during a visit to Iraq, according to state-run PressTV. “Extremists and takfiris are a threat to the whole region.” Semi-official Fars News Agency headlined its story: “Iranian FM refutes US claims on Syria’s use of chemical weapons.”
Multiple warnings
Iran says that it warned the United States directly, in mid- and late- 2012, and at least once after that, about the risks of chemical weapons among the rebels. The letter acquired by the Monitor references messages from July 18 and Dec. 1, 2012.
According to the English translation that accompanies the one-page Persian document, the letter reads: “Alerting [worrying] news has been published about the preparations of insurgent forces in Syria for using chemical weapons/elements.”
Iran “holds responsible, in addition to the elements of violent forces, their supporter countries including the American government, for any resort to chemical weapons/elements by those insurgent forces,” it states.
The letter makes no reference to the possibility of chemical weapons use by Syria itself – holder of the world’s third-largest chemical arsenal. Nor does it acknowledge that if the same argument was applied to the regime, then Iran and Russia, Syria’s closest supporters, would likewise be held responsible for any regime use of chemical weapons.
The Iranian letter is undated and was produced by the previous government under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to informed sources in Iran who provided a copy to the Monitor on the condition that they not be further identified.
Reuters reported back in May that the UN had collected testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas.
U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.
Hostages who were recently released from a Syrian prison say they overheard a Skype conversation between three rebels, one who identified himself as a Free Syrian Army general. The three contended that insurgents had used gas in Ghouta to trigger Western intervention.
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said  that the Obama Regime “embellished” its public statements on the situation in Syria.  Amash said that the evidence presented to Congress during briefings is “not as strong” as what the Obama administration has been telling the public.
Democrat Alan Grayson D-FL is also saying that the Obama administration manipulated intelligence in order to push its case for U.S. involvement in the country’s two-year civil war.
The Daily Caller reported that according to former military officers who had access to the original intelligence reports, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit was doctored so to lead the reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.
The doctored report was leaked to a private Internet-based newsletter that boasts of close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, and led to news reports that the United States now had firm evidence showing that the Syrian government had ordered the chemical weapons attack on August 21 against a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus.
The doctored report was picked up on Israel’s Channel 2 TV  on Aug. 24, then by Focus magazine in Germany, the Times of Israel, and eventually by The Cable  in Washington, DC.
According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.
However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.
The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.
According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.
The report contains a note at the end that the major was interrogated by Syrian intelligence for three days, then returned to command of his unit. “All of his weapons were accounted for,” the report stated.
This ties in with what Walid Shoebat has been reporting – Evidence: Syrian Rebels used Chemical Weapons (not Assad) and Yossef Bodansky’s blockbuster piece: Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?
This morning Secretary of State John Kerry said the US is awaiting a proposal from the Russians about how Syria could agree to give up its chemical weapons, but will not wait for long.
Kerry told a House panel on Tuesday that the Obama administration will give any proposal a hard look, but that it must not be used as a delaying tactic and that it has to be verifiable, real, and include tangible conditions for Syrian President Bashar Assad to forfeit his chemical weapons.
Kerry is testifying in the House to persuade members of the Armed Services Committee to back Obama’s request for military action against Syria — a strike that could be avoided if Syria gives up its weapons.
Meanwhile, @AP: BREAKING: Senate Republican leader McConnell announces his opposition to military strikes against Syria.

Did Mandela’s friend supply chemical weapons to Syrian rebels?

September 8, 2013
Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Nelson Mandela
REPORTS from Syria by Jordanian journalists allege that it was Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia who distributed those chemical weapons to the Syrian rebels.
If true, it indicates the chemical attack in Damascus to have been a false-flag operation by the American war business.
This would be entirely in keeping with Prince Bandar’s history of organising the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s, the Iran-Contra weapons exchanges, Libya in 2011, the suppression of the Shia uprising in Bahrain, Saudi support for the coup d’etat in Egypt and support for Syrian rebels.
Other reports confirm that Prince Bandar also went to see Russian President Vladimir Putin last month and offered to buy $15bn worth of Russian weapons provided Mr Putin abandoned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr Putin gave him short shrift.
Prince Bandar was not only the Saudi ambassador in Washington for 22 years and friends of Ronald Reagan and the Bush family, but he also negotiated the 1985 £43bn Al-Yamamah weapons deal with Margaret Thatcher, which Tony Blair renewed in 2007 with the Al-Salaam weapons deal.
When the British Serious Fraud Office investigated the bribes which BAE Systems paid him, Prince Bandar allegedly threatened blood in the streets of London.
Mr Blair squelched the investigation citing “national security.” The Guardian newspaper revealed a couple of months later how BAE with collusion of the British government had laundered bribes to Prince Bandar of over £1bn through Riggs Bank in Washington DC and other US banks.
Most importantly, Prince Bandar and Ms Thatcher negotiated the Al-Yamamah deal under the British Official Secrets Act, meaning that it cannot be investigated in Britain.
Saudi Arabia ships thousands of barrels per day of oil consigned to the Bank of England, which is then distributed to Shell and BP.
Over the years a surplus has developed, which is guesstimated to be worth over $150bn. Its purpose is a) to guarantee British and US support for the Saudi royal family against domestic insurrection and b) to fund covert destabilisation of resource-rich countries in Asia and Africa under the guise of the war on terror.
Having targeted Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and other countries over the years, Syria and Egypt are Prince Bandar’s current targets. When will SA be targeted by the American and British “war business” given our country’s mineral wealth?
Saudi Arabia made lavish donations to the African National Congress. Prince Bandar was also the only foreigner present at Nelson Mandela’s secret wedding to Graca Machel, and was a frequent visitor to SA when the arms deal was being negotiated.

Egypt used chemical weapons in the 1960s; no one did anything then either:

August 25, 2013
Arabs, allied with Russia, kill hundreds of other Arabs with chemical weapons. A cover-up of chemical weapons use and angry denials, allowing Western nations stand by and do nothing for political reasons.

In 1967.

FromChemical and Biological Warfare: A Reference Handbook,by Albert J. Mauroni (2007):

The Yemeni Civil War (1962-1970) pitted the Yemeni royalists of the deposed imam against the Yemen republican forces in North Yemen, with Saudi Arabia and Jordan supporting the royalists and Egypt supporting the republican forces. This war was fought for five years until the two forces reached a stalemate in 1967. Although there had been occasional mentions of Egyptian military employment of mustard agent—filled bombs between 1963 and 1966, in 1967 these attacks became more frequent. International journalists began reporting that Ilyushin heavy bombers were dropping mustard-filled and phosgene-filled bombs on cities and rebel bases.

In January 1967, a gas attack near Sada killed more than 125 people. In May, two villages suffered 75 casualties from phosgene-filled bombs. Between 1967 and 1968, it is estimated that more than 1,000 Yemeni were killed as a result of exposure to CW agents. An International Red Cross mission sent doctors to assist the wounded, and the doctors testified to what they saw. Al-though they were careful to clarify that they did not see any evidence of actual attacks taking place, the signs and symptoms of the victims included burning eyes and trachea, pulmonary edema, internal thorax pain, extreme fatigue, and anorexia. Their findings were that in all probability these victims had inhaled toxic gases (Cookson and Nottingham 1969).The doctors were reluctant to identify the specific chemical warfare agents used, in part because they wanted to retain their neutrality and access to war victims. Although it appeared conclusive that mustard and phosgene had been used, a few cases suggested the use of nerve agent—filled bombs as well. The problem was how to prove the use of chemical warfare agents and who was responsible for using them. Because there were no arms control experts assigned to monitor or investigate these attacks, there was very little evidence other than eyewitness accounts from civilians and what could have been propaganda from the royalists. Although bodies and samples were sent to Saudi Arabia for more study, again, it was difficult to accuse any specific nation. Egypt claimed it had not used chemical weapons in Yemen, and, according to some sources, this may be true if Soviet air crews were manning the Egyptian-marked bombers that attacked those cities.

When Saudi Arabia and the royalists tried to get the United Nations to investigate, the UN’s secretary general, U Thant, declined. On March 1, 1967, he stated that he was “powerless” to investigate the issue, and that the facts were in sharp dispute. Although he almost certainly knew exactly what was going on in Yemen, he had made a political decision to stay out of the affair. The U.S. government, occupied with answering criticisms about the use of Agent Orange and riot control agents in Vietnam,chose not to get involved. The U.S. military decided that the chemical warfare attacks were an aberration and not reflective of any requirement to worry about future chemical warfare attacks (and in 1972, chose to disestablish the Chemical Corps). The United Kingdom was attempting to reestablish relations with Egypt at that time, so it chose not to say anything publicly against Egypt or Soviet affairs in the Middle East (Seagrave 1981, 124-125). The incident became a political nonevent, fodder for the arms control community but not much else.
This incident teaches several interesting lessons. The first is the failure of the world’s nations to react against the use of chemical weapons against civilians and military forces that were not similarly armed. This was not a clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, since Egypt was not then (and still is not) a signatory of the Geneva Protocol, unless it could be proven that Soviet crews were in those bombers. The reason that some military analysts believe there were Soviet crews in the bombers was twofold: First, they do not believe that the Soviet Union would have allowed Egypt to own or employ chemical weapons in 1967, Egypt having just started its interest in an offensive CW program. Second, the bombers dropped their munitions upwind of their targets for maximum effect, and in some cases, MiG fighter planes came back to drop high explosives or napalm on and near the targets to reduce or eliminate the evidence. These same tactics were seen years later when the Soviet air force attacked Afghani villages with chemical weapons. Because the attacks occurred in such remote locations and because post-mortem examinations took place days or weeks later, it was very difficult to directly attribute the cause of death to the bombing attacks.
This was the first instance of Arabs attacking Arabs with chemical weapons.

The second was the Iran-Iraq War, where some 45,000 are believed to have been killed by chemical weapons.

Assad has plans to transfer WMD to Hezbollah

September 20, 2012

(EOZ) From Al Arabiya:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would transfer the chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, a Syrian defected general told the Times of London.
Former Syrian general turned defector, Major-General Adnan Sillu, said that aside from plans to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, Syria had planned to use chemical weapons on the Syrian people, “as a last resort,” a report on the Israeli online edition of Haaretz said, quoting the Times.
“We were in a serious discussion about the use of chemical weapons, including how we would use them and in what areas,” Sillu said.
“We discussed this as a last resort — such as if the regime lost control of an important area such as Aleppo,” the General was quoted as saying.
The German weekly Der Spiegel on Monday claimed that Syria tested delivery systems for chemical weapons at the end of August.
“Five or six empty shells devised for delivering chemical agents were fired by tanks and aircraft, at a site called Diraiham in the desert near the village of Khanasir,” east of the city of Aleppo, Der Spiegel reported.
The Safira research center in question is regarded as Syria’s largest testing site for chemical weapons. It is officially referred to as a “scientific research center.”
Iranian officers, believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards, were flown in by helicopter for the testing, according to the witness statements cited.
Scientists from Iran and North Korea are said to work in the expansive, fenced-off complex. According to Western intelligence agencies, they produce deadly chemical agents such as sarin and mustard gas.

If Assad feels desperate enough to use chemical weapons against Syrians in a last ditch effort, it seems likely that he would want to shoot a few rockets with chemical warheads towards Israel as well, to try to rally support. Most Arabs would cheer such a move, after all.
By the way, the Al Arabiya article was illustrated with this really good infographic, but I cannot find a larger version: