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May 06, 2013

Reminder: The U.S. Government Lies About the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Mideast

Obviously I have no idea whether any chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and if they have who's responsible. But this is a good time to remember that, even beyond the bogus case for the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government has a long history of lying about this subject.

This is from last week:

In a letter to key lawmakers, the White House said U.S. intelligence agencies "assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin."

Now Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission on Syria, says they have "strong, concrete suspicions" that chemical weapons were used in Syria, but that they were deployed not by the Assad regime but by Syrian rebels. (Del Ponte was the lead prosecutor of Slobodan Milošević‎; earlier she barely escaped assassination when Sicilian organized crime attempted to blow up her house with 1000 pounds of explosives.)

And this is from March 1988, about Saddam Hussein's notorious gassing of the Iraqi city of Halabja back when Saddam was our ally:

The U.S. State Department said both Iran and Iraq had used poison gas in the fighting around Halabja and called on both nations to desist immediately.

"This incident appears to be a particularly grave violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning chemical weapons. There are indications that Iran may also have used chemical artillery shells in this fighting," department spokesman Charles Redman said in Washington.

He declined, however, to say what evidence the United States had to implicate the Iranians.

Seventeen years later, investigative reporter Joost Hiltermann wrote about declassified State Department cables instructing U.S. diplomats to muddy the water by claiming that both Iraq and Iran had used chemical weapons around Halabja and "to dodge the 'What’s the evidence' question with the stock 'Sorry, but that’s classified information' response...In the final analysis, the only evidence for the convenient claim that Iran used chemical weapons during the war is that the US government said so."

More recently, a senior U.S. official explained the general principle about this kind of thing: "The countries that cooperate with us get at least a free pass. Whereas other countries that don't cooperate, we ream them as best we can."

P.S. Charles Redman, the Reagan State Department spokesman who lied about Iran using chemical weapons in 1988, was later rewarded by Bill Clinton with the Ambassadorship to Germany. He then cashed in by becoming a senior vice presidential at Bechtel. Thanks to Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks you can read here about Redman flying to Tripoli to try to get Bechtel into business with the Qadhafi family.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at May 6, 2013 04:58 PM

To say that the govt is a "Habitual Liar" ( by commission and omission ) would not be an exaggeration. However, here Carla Del Ponte's credibility is questionable...


Posted by: rupa shah at May 7, 2013 09:36 AM


And UN has already distanced itself from HER claim....

What is really surprising is that except for BBC, I have not seen this correction by any other website ( to best of my knowledge ) in spite of UN's press release distancing itself from this conclusion.

imho, neither side should be accused of doing anything illegal or immoral unless there is "DEFINITE" evidence NOR should it be spared any criticism if one is found. LYING in favour or against either side could lead to unimaginable consequences.

Posted by: rupa shah at May 7, 2013 09:51 AM

My error..... I did see this...


Posted by: rupa shah at May 7, 2013 02:39 PM

I would have to see the receipts from when WE SOLD which ever side to be accused, the poison gas. Without those receipts then ONLY if Colin Powell says gas was used could one believe it to be true.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 8, 2013 12:44 AM

With Afghanistan winding down this summer, work needs to be done on an exciting "Who's Next". The world is full of people waiting for the BENEFITS&ADVANCEMENTS of modern civilization which only WE can bring by bombing them into the stoneage.
Syria doesn't seem to be a BIG OIL producer&besides they are bombing themselves into the stoneage already.
My Friends, I say,"Let's cast OUR hopes, OUR aspirations, OUR dreams of a better world, SOUTH, toward Venezuala (there's OIL there) and let the bombs fall where they may."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 8, 2013 11:30 AM

A different point of view about Ms Del Ponte.....


When the govt lies or manipulates information, what is the citizen supposed to think or whom is he/she supposed to believe??

Posted by: rupa shah at May 8, 2013 03:28 PM

They even use the same propagandists. Remember Michael Gordon, of Judith Miller co-author infamy? He's still at the NYT, reporting on Syrian "chemical weapons" now.

Posted by: Simplify at May 9, 2013 12:40 AM

With regard to a larger picture, Tom Engelhardt's latest piece is well worth reading.

And I may have quoted these words from Jon Kabat-Zinn (son-in-law of the late historian Howard Zinn) before, but they are worth repeating:

"Given the state of the world, I find it challenging to take what one Zen teacher called 'the thousand-year view.' The crises of today will sort themselves out over the next three, four, or five generations, and all I can do is strive to have as much integrity with what I'm doing in this brief moment.

Interviewer: That's interesting how mindfulness is about being in the present moment and yet it includes the long view.

Jon: Yes, it's what helps people realize this is a way of being that not only has a long view into the future, but a history as well. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tibetan, or other historical traditions are all different streams in the same river, different currents in the same ocean. With the long view, we can trust that the seeds that we're planting are transforming the world."

As the optimist said, this is the best of all possible worlds; as the pessimist said, I'm afraid you may be right.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 9, 2013 11:54 AM

In the good ole dayz, Dick Cheney was a Senior V.P. at Bechtel. The long view on The American Highway To Hell is " WE need that oil, like, yesterday". "Powerful gasoline, a clean windshield, and a shoe shine"(Firesign Theatre) fit US to a T. Morality be damned, WE're building an empire, WE have OUR needs.
Sadly, Syria doesn't seem to have what it takes to fit OUR needs. Iraq&Iran are a different story, even though they're neighbors. WE WILL PROVE Iran has a bomb LOOOONG before WE find evidence that someone in Syria has used gas.
Why if Syria had large oil reserves, Congress would cheer as WE shelled Damascus in a hail of depleted uranium fire, and watched it burn to the ground on CNN. It wouldn't take TWO YEARS to make the decision to go there.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 9, 2013 11:19 PM

Assad fills OUR needs. He'll torture OUR prisoners for a buck. Other than that, they got nothing.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 9, 2013 11:23 PM

One can add "SECRECY" to "Habitual lying" that the govt indulges in, all the time......

"He told the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on March 13 that millions of dollars are invested in veterans’ heath studies each year, yet “if the studies produce results that do not support [OPH’s] unwritten policy, they do not release them.” And “on the rare occasions when embarrassing study results are released, data are manipulated to make them unintelligible.”


Posted by: rupa shah at May 10, 2013 10:33 AM

Rupa Shah: THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! Been lookin' for that.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 10, 2013 04:03 PM

"All governments lie." I.F. Stone

Posted by: N E at May 10, 2013 05:06 PM

N.E. Yes, AGREED. But are they the lies that I want to hear. This Administration ranks low in my local Liars Club. The few lies I do like, The President soon recants.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 11, 2013 10:11 PM