Seymour M. Hersh, the Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, has just penned a 5,515-word essay entitled “Whose sarin?” in the London Review of Books, where he states that “Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August,” bolstering the position taken by AMERICAN FREE PRESS reporter Richard Walker, a seasoned international correspondent with many high-placed European intelligence contacts.
Originally published online 6/23/2013 under the following headline:
Iraqis Uncover Sarin Gas Lab With Ties to U.S. Ally in Syria
• Proves rebels, not Assad, using chemical weapons in civil war
By Richard Walker
A sustained campaign by Washington and its allies to hide the fact some Syrian rebel groups have been making and using chemical weapons could come back to haunt political leaders like Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and President Barack Hussein Obama.
On June 2, Iraq announced it had captured a five-man cell operating two chemical weapons facilities in Baghdad for the manufacture of sarin and mustard gas. These men planned to use some of the gas in Syria and the rest in Europe and the United States.
What made the capture of the cell significant was its links to Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the major militias fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.
The Baghdad arrests came days after Turkish anti-terror police raided the homes of Jabhat al-Nusra members living in Adana in the southern part of the country. Immediate reports from a wide range of credible sources inside and beyond Turkey claimed a cylinder of sarin gas was found in one of the homes. Turkish authorities, who support Syrian rebels, tried to play down those reports.
Both events appeared to support a controversial announcement made weeks earlier by Carla Del Ponte, a member of a United Nations (UN) commission investigating the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. She said interviews with victims appeared to show anti-Assad rebels had used sarin gas. The findings, she admitted, had surprised her. Famous as a renowned war-crimes prosecutor, she stunned Washington and its anti-Assad coalition, which had consistently claimed only the Assad regime possessed and used chemical weapons.
Very quickly the UN, perhaps under pressure from Washington, London and Paris, tried to dial back her revelation. For example the UN international commission, of which she was a member, issued a statement saying it did not have “incontrovertible proof” to support her claim.
For more than a year, Washington and its allies, including Israel, had been claiming, without proof, that only the government of Bashar al-Assad, and not the rebels supported by the West, had used chemical weapons. Israel, not surprisingly, had threatened to bomb Syria’s chemical weapons facilities. On December 5, 2012, Hillary Clinton had warned North Atlantic Treaty Organization foreign ministers Assad as a last resort might put chemical weapons on warheads to drop them on rebels.
Efforts by Washington to imply only the Syrian regime could possibly have chemical weapons are deliberate lies. Sarin was used in 1995 by the Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese religious cult, to kill people in the Tokyo subway. They had enough materials to make sufficient sarin to kill millions of people. Many of those materials can be easily acquired in Israel or in Sunni Arab states supporting the Syrian rebels.
Moscow has consistently warned Washington and the EU their support for the rebels will embolden extreme elements among them. Such a policy, Moscow has argued, will come back to bite the West.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.
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