Time for Proof on Syrian CW Attack

World attention has moved to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, but the evidence on the Aug. 21 attack near Damascus remains hidden and in dispute, causing a group of former U.S. intelligence professionals to ask Moscow and Washington to present what they have.

Memorandum to: Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

We applaud your moves toward a peaceful resolution of the Syria crisis that will lead to the destruction of all chemical stockpiles possessed by the Syrian Government.

At the same time, we strongly believe the world has the right to know the truth about the chemical attack near Damascus. We note that both sides continue to claim possession of compelling evidence regarding the true perpetrators of this crime.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

We therefore call upon Russia and the United States to release all the intelligence and corroborative information related to the 21 August chemical attack so that the international community can make a judgment regarding what is actually known and not known.

We the undersigned — former intelligence, military and federal law enforcement officers who have collectively dedicated, cumulatively, hundreds of years to making the American people more secure — hereby register our dismay at the continued withholding of this vital evidence.

The issue is one of great importance, as the United States has within recent memory gone to war based on allegations of a threat that proved to be groundless. The indictment of Syria on possibly unsubstantiated claims of war crimes could easily lead to another unnecessary armed conflict that would produce disastrous results for the entire region, and indeed the entire world.

We recognize that when it comes to intelligence, there are many gray areas, as well as evidence that can be subject to interpretation. We further believe, based on our own experience and knowledge of how intelligence collection and analysis actually works, that if there is a clear case to be made – either way – to identify the perpetrators of the attack it has not yet been publicly revealed.

If there is not a credible case, neither the United States nor Russia should be claiming that they know who carried out the attack. We note, for example, the specific claim made by you, Secretary Kerry, that 1,429 civilians had died in the chemical attack. Yet the politically impartial non-governmental organization Medecins Sans Frontieres, which was on the ground in Syria, provided a much smaller figure.

Foreign Minister Lavrov, you have questioned the sources of the chemicals and possible delivery systems, describing the alleged Sarin agent as “homemade.” You have suggested that the chemicals used in the attack were likely in the hands of the insurgents but have cited little hard evidence, and an intelligence assessment you provided to Secretary Kerry has not been made public.

We recognize that protection of intelligence sources and methods requires that some information will be off limits or must be sanitized, but if there is a genuine case to be made, we believe you owe it to the world to make that case now.

If Washington actually has evidence to demonstrate indisputably that August 21st was carried out by the government in Damascus, let us see it. If Moscow can demonstrate otherwise, let us see it.

Respectfully submitted for the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy NIO for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, former Chief Division Counsel & FBI Special Agent (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

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5 comments on “Time for Proof on Syrian CW Attack

  1. Don Bacon on said:

    Point of law: Doesn’t a provable case of homicide require a dead human body?

    The “Ghouta attack” supposedly killed over a thousand people including hundreds of children, but not one dead human body has been produced. Not one!

    All we have are many videos of purported bodies, with some “bodies” appearing more than once at different sites, and some of them smiling.

    No body, no crime by anybody. Case dismissed.

  2. F. G. Sanford on said:

    There is no evidence. None of the symptoms, precautions or treatment modalities consistent with a tactical weapons grade chemical attack were seen in any of those photos or videos. Many of the “cadavers” didn’t even look dead. I was particularly taken by the babe with the big sunglasses and the headscarf. It looked to me like she even took time to put on lipstick. The “big lie” is a work in progress. They’re not going to back down until they get the war they want.

  3. MERYL NASS, MD on said:

    It would be helpful to clarify that a great deal of intelligence can be released with no risk to sources and methods. For example, how many people were treated for CW exposure in all the hospitals? How many died? How many discharged? How many dead bodies were transported to morgues? Buried? How many childrens’ bodies have been identified by their families and what does that tell us in terms of where they lived and whether they were moved around before/after death and by whom?

    The Syrian government has given information on its CW to the OPCW. The OPCW also collected munitions fragments and traces of sarin allegedly from the August 21 attack. How does the physico-chemical profile (mass spec etc.) of the sarin from the munitions compare with the sarin stockpiled by the Assad government? By the US? By Russia? Surely the OPCW has this type of information.

    Meryl Nass, MD

  4. TheAZCowBoy, Tombstone, AZ. on said:

    One thing about the UNITED SNAKES (US/Israel/NATO) they don’t like to be confused by the facts.

    • Peter Loeb on said:

      Washington continues to build its case against the Syrian Regime (B. Assad)
      based on the PURPOSIVE approach to the interpretation of Security Council
      resolutions. This approach, as described by Michael Byers in his book for
      non-lawyers, WAR LAW, after certain steps ends in a PRESUMPTION OF THE USE
      OF MILITARY FORCE. The TEXTUAL approach , however, more easily ends in
      a PRESUMPTION AGAINST THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE. See Byers op cit for
      discussion. Washington’s PR assumes that the Assad Regime is the one and
      only operating force with access to “chemical weapons”(CW) and that the
      opposition (with the aid of the CIA or other supporting invading forces)
      could not have been involved. Such assumptions continue in US PR. Byers
      notes that the US preference for a PURPOSIVE approach is invariably over-
      whelmingly rejected by most nations.

      NOTE: In this scenario, outside of the use of CW, the Assad regime is
      prohibited from defending its rights and the opposition has no responsibility
      to negotiate whatsoever. Their intention to use violence and to refuse any
      and all negotiation with B. Assad has been repeated again and again. Meanwhile
      the US continues to provide so-called “non-lethal” aid ONLY to the opposition.
      Some nations have not signed the CW convention among them the US and Israel.
      Please confirm this point.