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WMD double standards: CIA documents reveal Israeli stockpile of chemical weapons

by Saed Bannoura, source

A newly-discovered document of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency revealed Monday by Foreign Policy magazine shows that the U.S. agency had decisive evidence dating back to at least the 1980s that Israel had a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

The revelation comes in the midst of the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on August 21st.

The document revealed by Foreign Policy magazine on Monday shows that, in addition to building up a nuclear stockpile of an estimated three hundred nuclear weapons during the 1960s and 70s, the Israeli military also developed an extensive stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

The 1983 document stated that U.S. spy satellites had identified “a probable CW [chemical weapon] nerve agent production facility and a storage facility… at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev Desert. Other CW production is believed to exist within a well-developed Israeli chemical industry.”

“While we cannot confirm whether the Israelis possess lethal chemical agents,” the document adds, “several indicators lead us to believe that they have available to them at least persistent and nonpersistent nerve agents, a mustard agent, and several riot-control agents, marched with suitable delivery systems.”

The single page of a larger CIA report was discovered at the Ronald Reagan Library in California in its unredacted form – the report had been released several years ago to the National Archives, but was heavily censored.

According to the Foreign Policy report, “Israeli historian Avner Cohen, in his 1988 book Israel and the Bomb, wrote that Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion secretly ordered that a stockpile of chemical weapons be built at about the time of the 1956 war between Israel and Egypt. The CIA, on the other hand, believed that Israel did not begin work on chemical weapons until either the late 1960s or the early 1970s.

The article included the following assessment from the 1983 CIA report: “Israel, finding itself surrounded by frontline Arab states with budding CW [chemical weapons] capabilities, became increasingly conscious of its vulnerability to chemical attack. Its sensitivities were galvanized by the capture of large quantities of Soviet CW-related equipment during both the 1967 Arab-Israeli and the 1973 Yom Kippur wars. As a result, Israel undertook a program of chemical warfare preparations in both offensive and protective areas.”

The Israeli government has harshly criticized the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons three weeks ago, and has encouraged President Obama’s pledge to respond militarily.

Israel did sign the Convention to Ban Chemical Weapons, but the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) never ratified the treaty. Israel has never opened its nuclear facility or its chemical weapons stockpile to international inspections.

Germ War: The US record

Who Will Intervene?

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR, source

The United States, which has deployed its CBW arsenal against the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Haitian boat people and Canada, plus exposure of hundreds of thousands of unwitting US citizens to an astonishing array of germ agents and toxic chemicals, killing dozens of people.

The US experimentation with bio-weapons goes back to the distribution of cholera-infect blankets to American Indian tribes in the 1860s. In 1900, US Army doctors in the Philippines infected five prisoners with a variety of plague and 29 prisoners with Beriberi. At least four of the subjects died. In 1915, a doctor working with government grants exposed 12 prisoners in Mississippi to pellagra, an incapacitating disease that attacks the central nervous system.

After World War I, the United States went on a chemical weapons binge, producing millions of barrels of mustard gas and Lewisite. Thousands of US troops were exposed to these chemical agents in order to “test the efficacy of gas masks and protective clothing”. The Veterans Administration refused to honor disability claims from victims of such experiments. The Army also deployed mustard gas against anti-US protesters in Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, then under contract with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, initiated his horrific Puerto Rico Cancer Experiments, infecting dozens of unwitting subjects with cancer cells.At least thirteen of his victims died as a result. Rhoads went on to headof the US Army Biological Weapons division and to serve on the Atomic Energy Commission, where he oversaw radiation experiments on thousands of US citizens. In memos to the Department of Defense, Rhoads expressed his opinion that Puerto Rican dissidents could be “eradicated” with the judicious use of germ bombs.

In 1942, US Army and Navy doctors infected 400 prisoners in Chicago withmalaria in experiments designed to get “a profile of the disease and develop a treatment for it.” Most of the inmates were black and none was informed of the risks of the experiment. Nazi doctors on trial at Nuremberg cited the Chicago malaria experiments as part of their defense.

At the close of World War II, the US Army put on its payroll, Dr. Shiro Ishii, the head of the Imperial Army of Japan’s bio-warfare unit. Dr. Ishii had deployed a wide range of biological and chemical agents against Chinese and Allied troops. He also operated a large research center in Manchuria,where he conducted bio-weapons experiments on Chinese, Russian and American prisoners of war. Ishii infected prisoners with tetanus; gave them typhoid-laced tomatoes; developed plague-infected fleas; infected women with syphilis; performed dissections on live prisoners; and exploded germ bombs over dozens of men tied to stakes. In a deal hatched by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Ishii turned over more than 10,000 pages of his “research findings”to the US Army, avoided prosecution for war crimes and was invited to lecture at Ft. Detrick, the US Army bio-weapons center in Frederick, Maryland.

In 1950 the US Navy sprayed large quantities of serratia marcescens, a bacteriological agent, over San Francisco, promoting an outbreak of pneumonia-like illnesses and causing the death of at least one man, Ed Nevins.

A year later, Chinese Premier Chou En-lai charged that the US military and the CIA had used bio-agents against North Korea and China. Chou produced statements from 25 US prisoners of war backing him his claims that the US had dropped anthrax contaminated feathers, mosquitoes and fleas carrying Yellow Fever and propaganda leaflets spiked with cholera over Manchuria and North Korea.

From 1950 through 1953, the US Army released chemical clouds over six US and Canadian cities. The tests were designed to test dispersal patterns of chemical weapons. Army records noted that the compounds used over Winnipeg, Canada, where there were numerous reports of respiratory illnesses, involved cadmium, a highly toxic chemical.

In 1951 the US Army secretly contaminated the Norfolk Naval Supply Centerin Virginia with infectious bacteria. One type was chosen because blackswere believed to be more susceptible than whites. A similar experiment was undertaken later that year at Washington, DC’s National Airport. The bacteria was later linked to food and blood poisoning and respiratory problems.

Savannah, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida were the targets of repeatedArmy bio-weapons experiments in 1956 and 1957. Army CBW researchers released millions of mosquitoes on the two towns in order to test the ability of insects to carry and deliver yellow fever and dengue fever. Hundreds of residents fell ill, suffering from fevers, respiratory distress, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid. Army researchers disguised themselves as public health workers in order photograph and test the victims. Several deaths were reported.

In 1965 the US Army and the Dow Chemical Company injected dioxin into 70 prisoners (most of them black) at the Holmesburg State Prison in Pennsylvania. The prisoners developed severe lesions which went untreated for seven months. A year later, the US Army set about the most ambitious chemical warfare operation in history.

From 1966 to 1972, the United States dumped more than 12 million gallonsof Agent Orange (a dioxin-powered herbicide) over about 4.5 million acresof South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The government of Vietnam estimate the civilian casualties from Agent Orange at more than 500,000. The legacy continues with high levels of birth defects in areas that were saturated with the chemical. Tens of thousands of US soldiers were also the victims of Agent Orange.

In a still classified experiment, the US Army sprayed an unknown bacterial agent in the New York Subway system in 1966. It is not known if the test caused any illnesses.

A year later, the CIA placed a chemical substance in the drinking water supply of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Washington, DC. The test was designed to see if it was possible to poison drinking water with LSD or other incapacitating agents.

In 1969, Dr. D.M. McArtor, the deputy director for Research and Technologyfor the Department of Defense, asked Congress to appropriate $10 millionfor the development of a synthetic biological agent that would be resistant” to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease”.

In 1971 the first documented cases of swine fever in the western hemisphere showed up in Cuba. A CIA agent later admitted that he had been instructed to deliver the virus to Cuban exiles in Panama, who carried the virus into Cuba in March of 1991. This astounding admission received scant attention in the US press.

In 1980, hundreds of Haitian men, who had been locked up in detention camps in Miami and Puerto Rico, developed gynecomasia after receiving “hormone” shots from US doctors. Gynecomasia is a condition causing males to developfull-sized female breasts.

In 1981, Fidel Castro blamed an outbreak of dengue fever in Cuba on the CIA. The fever killed 188 people, including 88 children. In 1988, a Cuban exile leader named Eduardo Arocena admitted “bringing some germs” into Cuba in 1980.

Four years later an epidemic of dengue fever struck Managua, Nicaragua.Nearly 50,000 people came down with the fever and dozens died. This was the first outbreak of the disease in Nicaragua. It occurred at the height of the CIA’s war against the Sandinista government and followed a series of low-level “reconnaissance” flights over the capital city.

In 1996, the Cuba government again accused the US of engaging in “biological aggression”. This time it involved an outbreak of thrips palmi, an insect that kills potato crops, palm trees and other vegetation. Thrips first showed up in Cuba on December 12, 1996, following low-level flights over the island by US government spray planes. The US was able to quash a United Nations investigation of the incident.

At the close of the Gulf War, the US Army exploded an Iraqi chemical weapons depot at Kamashiya. In 1996, the Department of Defense finally admitted that more than 20,000 US troops were exposed to VX and sarin nerve agentsas a result of the US operation at Kamashiya. This may be one cause of Gulf War Illness, another cause is certainly the experimental vaccines unwittingly given to more than 100,000 US troops.

Britain sold nerve chemicals to Syrian groups 10 months after crisis began

Al Manar

The UK Daily Record website revealed Sunday that the United Kingdom had allowed firms to sell nerve gas chemicals to parties in Syria in January 2012, i.e. 10 months after the Syrian conflict began.

The website noted that those chemicals, just like the sarin, are capable of being used to make chemical weapons.

The chemical export licenses were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, but were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on the Arab country.

On Saturday, politicians and anti-arms trade campaigners urged Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why the licenses were granted.

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, MP Angus Robertson, said he will be raising the issue in Parliament as soon as possible to find out what examination the UK Government made of where these chemicals were going and what they were to be used for.

“Approving the sale of chemicals which can be converted into lethal weapons during a civil war is a very serious issue,” he stated.

“We need to know who these chemicals were sold to, why they were sold, and whether the UK Government were aware that the chemicals could potentially be used for chemical weapons,” the British MP added.

Daily Record noted that the UK government have refused to identify the license holders or say whether the licenses were issued to one or two companies.

The Syrian government has denied blame for the nerve gas attack, saying the accusations are “full of lies,” pointing the finger at militant opposition groups.

UN weapons inspectors investigating the atrocity left Damascus on Saturday after gathering evidence for four days. It could take up to two weeks for the results of tests on samples taken from victims of the attack, as well as from water, soil and shrapnel, to be revealed.

Treaty obligations, war crimes, and accountability: A study in American hypocrisy

by Martin Rowson

by Nima Shirazi, source

“I have no interest in any open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable,” President Barack Obama said in a PBS interview earlier this week.

With allegations of a horrific chemical weapons attack outside Damascus and new reports of a “napalm” bomb being dropped on a school playground in northern Syria, this statement, made by an American Commander-in-Chief, would certainly come as a surprise to many of Obama’s predecessors, considering the use of chemical weapons has been standard U.S. military procedure for decades.

Napalm, which is classified as an incendiary, rather than chemical, weapon, is composed of a gel that sticks to the skin and can burn down to the bone. Used extensively by the U.S. military during the last years of World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters, the napalm bombing of Japan killed at least 330,000 people. Twice the amount of napalm as was dropped on Japan in 1945 was used by American forces over three years during the Korean War: 32,357 tons as compared to 16,500 tons.

Between 1963 and 1973, the U.S. military dropped nearly 400,000 tons of napalm on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In 1980, the United Nations declared the use of napalm gel in densely-populated civilian areas to be a war crime.

Agent Orange, a chemical weapon derived from herbicides, was also used by Americans during the Vietnam War. Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand.

A 2008 Globe and Mail article reported that “Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed by the defoliants, 500,000 children have been born with defects from retardation to spina bifida and a further two million people have suffered cancers or other illnesses. Yet they have received no compensation from those who produced the chemicals and those who made them a weapon of war.”

According to the the United Nations, Agent Orange is “one of the most toxic compounds known to human,” and the Vietnamese Red Cross has estimatedthat “as many as one million people in Vietnam have disabilities or other health problems associated with Agent Orange.”

A recently published report in Foreign Policy revealed that, during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988, “America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen.” Among the findings, the report stated that, in 1988, “U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent,” and that “Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence.”

More:

In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

Even more recently, the U.S. military used white phosphorus, a chemical compound whose use in civilian areas constitutes a war crime, during its 2004 attacks on Fallujah in Iraq, just as America’s best friend in the region, Israel, dropped white phosphorus on civilian areas in its 2008-2009 massacre in Gaza.

It should be noted that, while the United States is a party to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which bans the use of napalm against civilians, it has never signed Protocol III on the convention, the statute that specifically bans the use of all incendiary weaponry. Nevertheless, even without signing it, this protocol came into force for the U.S. on July 21, 2009.

Furthermore, Israel is one of only seven nations on the planet – along with Syria, Angola, South Sudan, Egypt, North Vietnam, and Myanmar – to refuse to abide by the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

However, despite this, a deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said this week that state non-compliance with treaty obligations recognized by the vast majority of the international community — even by non-signatories to such treaties – should not absolve those states from accountability.

During a press briefing on August 27, spokesperson Marie Harf described the CWC as a “multilateral disarmament agreement” that “provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control and prohibits the use of chemical weapons. Currently, 189 nations, which represent about 98 percent of the global population, have joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.” As such, she continued, even though there are a few nations that have not yet acceded to the convention, “clearly that should not enable them to escape responsibility for their actions.”

Harf added, “There is a reason that the overwhelming majority of the international community – again, that agrees on little else – has stood against the use of these weapons, and Syria should not be able to flout the clearly expressed view of the international community here.”

The following day, Harf reiterated this position:

[T]he indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against civilians is a violation of international law. I also talked a little bit about international norms and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which they are obviously not a party to, but which clearly laid out that a majority – a vast majority of the world spoke up and said that we are taking a stand against chemical weapons and the world has spoken on chemical weapons. And we’re not going back, and they have to be held accountable.

To suggest that the United States does not go back on its word when it comes to commonly-accepted mandates of international law is laughable. In 1998, the vast majority of the world’s nations voted to adopted the Rome Statute, establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) and granting it authority to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.” The United Statesvoted against it.

When the statute was officially adopted by the international community in 2002, the United States, Israel and Sudan all signed it, but formally refused to present it for ratification. In a letter to the UN Secretary-General on May 6, 2002, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, stated, “in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000.”  While the Obama administration has walked back this Bush era rejection, it has still refused to ratify the treaty and accept the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Of course, the language of international law and accountability is also never leveled at Israel when it commits war crimes or develops an undeclared and unmonitored arsenal of nuclear weapons in defiance of the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Israel – along with only three other countries on Earth – is not a signatory.

In fact, in May 2010, after the 189 signatories of the NPT — including Iran and Syria called for an international conference in 2012 with the goal of establishing “a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction,” Israel denounced the accord, describing it as “deeply flawed and hypocritical,” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel. Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation.”

At the time, President Obama also decried the resolution for what he claimed was an unfair focus on Israel – the only nuclear-armed state in the region – and promised to “oppose actions that jeopardize Israel’s national security.”

When the time of the proposed conference rolled around in December 2012, the United States prevented it from taking place.

It is clear that the United States is not considering military strikes on Syria out of any deference to the obligations of international law or concern for innocent civilians. As Omar Dahi notes in Jadaliyya, “The fact that the United States is threatening to strike now has nothing to do with the welfare of Syrians, and everything to do with the United States maintaining its own ‘credibility,’ its position as a hegemonic power.”

Even taking the U.S. government at its word – a dubious thing to do in light of past experiences – presents problems of its own, namely that anypurportedly punitive military action against Syria would itself be a violation of the very laws the United States is claiming to defend.

Recall, for instance, what then-Senator Barack said back on December 20, 2007:  “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation…As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.”

International relations professor Charli Carpenter has just addressed these factors in Foreign Affairs:

The Obama administration has already confirmed that itsprimary concern is with protecting the norm and punishing its violators. Given that goal, the appropriate course of action would be to, first, independently verify who violated it. The United States claims that it has “no doubt” that Syria was behind last week’s chemical attack, but that remains an open question until the UN inspectors have completed their investigation. Second, the United States would have to consider a range of policy options for affirming, condemning, and lawfully punishing the perpetrator before resorting to force, particularly unlawful force. As Article36.org, a nongovernmental organization notes, thesemight include condemnation, an arms embargo, sanctions, or any of the other bilateral and multilateral measures that are typically used to respond to violations of weapons norms (and which might be at least as effective than air strikes, if not more so). Third, should the United States decide on military action, with or without a UN Security Council resolution, it would need to adhere to international norms regulating the use of specific weapons in combat.

It is thus worrying that the proposed military strikes against Syria rely on Tomahawk missiles, which are capable of carrying cluster munitions and which have been decried on humanitarian grounds by numerous governments and civil society groups. Equally alarming is that the planned strikes would likely involve the use of explosives in populated areas, which is in violation of emerging international concernsabout such behavior. Although there is historical precedent for the legitimacy of violating the UN Charter in order to enforce global humanitarian norms, it would be seen as hypocritical to violate those very norms in the service of their affirmation.

As always, with a potentially imminent military strike on the horizon, the American government has once again affirmed its belief that – unlike the rest of the world – when the United States or its friends abrogate international law and commit war crimes, they should not be held to account.

*****UPDATE:

MSNBC‘s resident loudmouth Chris Matthews – who fancies himself somewhat of an historian – is apparently wholly unaware of the U.S. military’s past use of chemical weapons. Speaking on Morning Joe earlier this week, Matthews bellowed:

If you basically put down a red line and say don’t use chemical weapons, and it’s been enforced in the Western community, around the world — international community for decades. Don’t use chemical weapons. We didn’t use them in World War II, Hitler didn’t use them, we don’t use chemical weapons, that’s no deal. Although we do know that Assad’s father did. Then he goes ahead and does it.

Let alone Matthews’ ignorance of our own actions, even more surreal is the statement that “Hitler didn’t use them.” Matthews seems to be forgetting about that whole Holocaust thing, when the Nazis committed genocide by gassing millions of Jews in death camps.

Since no allusion to either Syria or Nazi Germany is allowed to pass in themainstream media without making erroneous comparisons with Iran, Matthews added that, based on Assad’s alleged use of weapons of mass destruction, “It makes you wonder what the mullahs will do if they have a couple of nuclear weapons, just a couple.”

Well, first off, Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons and, even according to U.S. intelligence assessments, hasn’t even made a decision to do so. It has alsoroutinely denounced the acquisition, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons for the past three decades.

Moreover, that Matthews would think Iranian leaders would instigate atomic Armageddon for absolutely no reason is bizarre. But then, again, with a history of promoting misinformation and demonstrating utter ignoranceabout the Iranian nuclear program, it is no surprise Matthews is pushing such shameless propaganda.

Second, Matthews fails to point out here that, in fact, only one single solitary nation in world history has ever actually used nuclear weapons: the United States of America, which dropped them on a civilians, slaughtering hundreds of thousands.

As Robert McNamara recounted to filmmaker Errol Morris in The Fog of War, “[U.S. Air Force General Curtis] LeMay said, ‘If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.’ And I think he’s right. He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”

McNamara wondered, “Was there a rule then that said you shouldn’t bomb, shouldn’t kill, shouldn’t burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night?”

Saudi Prince Bandar behind chemical attack in Syria: Report

Press TV

Syrians in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta say Saudi Arabia provided chemical weapons for an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group which they blame for the August 21 chemical attack in the region, a report says.

The article co-authored by a veteran AP reporter, said interviews with doctors, residents, anti-government forces and their families in Ghouta suggest the terrorists in question received chemical weapons via Saudi spymaster Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud.

The report quoted the father of a militant as saying that his son and 12 others were killed inside a tunnel used to store weapons supplied by a Saudi militant leader, known as Abu Ayesha.

The man described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Anti-government forces, interviewed in the article, complained they were not informed of the nature of the weapons they had been given, nor did they receive instructions how to use them.

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” said one militant.

Another militant accused the Takfiri militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front of refusing to cooperate with other insurgents or sharing secret information. “They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” he added.

The authors noted that the doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers against asking questions regarding who exactly was responsible for the deadly assault.

Also more than a dozen militants interviewed said their salaries came from the Saudi government. They reportedly said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” (the lover) by al-Qaeda militants fighting in Syria.

According to Independent, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first accused the Syrian government in February of using sarin gas in a bid to rally support for Riyadh’s efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

And The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Saudi spy chief is considered by the CIA as “a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world [who] could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and…wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout.”

CIA files: US knew about Saadam chemical attacks, gave him a hand

RB comment: This information was already known but how ironic, the US wants to launch a war on Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons yet they helped Saddam with them and then invaded Iraq for having them. We live in a world were the law and human rights mean nothing to governments who just use them for their own ends.

Al Ahed news

Afresh declassified CIA documents show that the United States had a hand in Iraq’s chemical attacks on Iran during the 1980-1988 war against the Islamic Republic.

America’s military and intelligence communities knew about Saddam’s deadly attacks and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks.

A new report revealed that during the war, the Iraqi military attacked Iran several times using mustard gas and sarin with the help of satellite imagery, maps and other intelligence provided by the US government, the Foreign Policy magazine said, citing CIA documents and interviews with former US intelligence officials.

The CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior US officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.
US officials have long denied having knowledge of the US involvement but retired Air Force Colonel Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, said the American officials knew of Iraq’s intention.
“The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew,” he told Foreign Policy.
According to the newly declassified documents, in 1983, the Iraqi military carried out a chemical attack on Iranian forces and the Islamic Republic tried to take the issue to the United Nations.

Much of the evidence implicating Iraq was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. However, the US concealed the facts to block Iran’s bid at the UN.
“As Iraqi attacks continue and intensify the chances increase that Iranian forces will acquire a shell containing mustard agent with Iraqi markings,” the CIA reported in a top secret document in November 1983. “Tehran would take such evidence to the UN and charge US complicity in violating international law.”

The FP wrote that earlier in 1988, “during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. US intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.”

According to the documents, the satellite images, provided to Iraq in 1988, showed that Iran was going to gain a strategic advantage by using a hole in Iraqi defenses. CIA agents provided the Iraqi military with information on the movements of the Iranian troops and the location of the country’s logistics facilities as well as details about Iranian air defenses.

Syrian opposition representative to “Israeli” TV: Satisfied with encouraging strike

Syrian opposition representative to “Israeli” TV: Satisfied with encouraging strike

Al Manar

(See video in original source) The “Israeli” channel 2 hosted on Sunday the representative of the “armed opposition” in Syria, and particularly in the city of Homs.

The man, who identified himself as Hassan Ristnawi, called the channel to express his joy and delight with the “Israeli” aggression against his country.
He further pointed out that “the Syrian opposition” is so much satisfied.

“Recently the Syrian regime escalated its attacks against us [the so-called Free Syrian Army],” he said, and noted that “the whole world is watching what is happening without moving.”

However, according to Ristnawi, “the “Israeli” attacks were very encouraging.”

“The “Israeli” strike delighted the hearts of opposition fighters on the ground and provided the FSA with spirits after its members suffered despair,” he told the “Israeli” channel.

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition spokesman in Homs was keen on confirming that he is well aware that he was speaking to the “Israeli” television.

“Shalom to everyone with you,” he ended his conversation.

———————————————————————————

UN: Syrian Militants Used Deadly Sarin Gas

Al Manar

Syrian militants have made use of the deadly nerve agent sarin in their war-torn country’s conflict, UN human rights investigator Carla del Ponte has said.

“According to the testimonies we have gathered, the rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas,” del Ponte, a former war crimes prosecutor, said in an interview with Swiss radio late on Sunday.

“We still have to deepen our investigation, verify and confirm (the findings) through new witness testimony, but according to what we have established so far, it is at the moment opponents of the regime who are using sarin gas,” she added.

She stressed that the UN commission of inquiry on Syria, which she is a part of, had far from finished its investigation.

Sarin is a powerful neurotoxin developed by Nazi scientists in the 1930s. Originally developed as a pesticide, sarin was used to deadly effect in the 1988 raid on the Kurdish village of Halabja in northern Iraq. A Japanese cult also used sarin in two attacks in the 1990s.

The gas works by being inhaled or absorbed through the skin and kills by crippling the nervous system.

Symptoms include nausea and violent headaches, blurred or tunnel vision, drooling, muscular convulsions, respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness and then death, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. In high doses, sarin paralyses the muscles around the lungs and prevents chemicals from “switching off” the body’s secretions, so victims suffocate or drown as their lungs fill with mucus and saliva. Even a tiny dose of sarin — which, like other nerve gases such as soman, tabun and VX, is odourless, colourless and tasteless — can be deadly if it enters the respiratory system, or if a drop comes into contact with the skin.

Exposing “Israel’s” Most Dangerous Secret

What’s Really Going On at the Israeli Institute for Biological Research?

by SALEH EL-NAAMI, source

Drivers will only dart a glance at that mammoth structure nestled in the dunes south of Rishon Litsion southeast of Tel Aviv as they speed on their way. It is forbidden to turn off the Tel Aviv-Rishon Litsion highway onto the side road leading up to that building, which is barricaded by cement walls equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance and warning systems developed by Israel’s military industries.

That fortress-like structure is the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) where Israel develops its biological and chemical weapons and prepares for any eventuality of biological or chemical warfare. It is the most top-secret military installation in Israel. So tightly is it guarded by military censorship that the Israeli press has to turn to Western sources for scraps of information made available to them, very intermittently, by special contacts inside the institute.

Only once has the Israeli press been given leeway to discuss what goes on behind those high security walls. That was last month when Avisha Klein filed a suit against the IIBR administration for harassment and emotional abuse. A long-term employee at the institute, Klein has served in various positions, one of which was as part of a team to develop an ointment to protect the skin from mustard gas. But this is only one of the many details that have come to light in the course of the proceedings, which have shed considerable light on the nature and scope of the institute’s work.

The IIBR is staffed by some 300 scientists and technicians employed in one or more of its many departments, each of which specialises in a specific area of chemical or biological research generally aimed at the production of chemical or biological weaponry. One of these departments, for example, is reported to have developed the poison that was used by the notorious Mossad assassination unit, Kidon, in its botched attempt to eliminate Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal in 1997. Nevertheless, if there remains some question over the accuracy of this information, which was reported in Haaretz, no one disputes that the first time the institute’s products were used in an assassination operation was in late 1977 when then prime minister Menachem Begin ordered Mossad to eliminate Wadie Haddad.

A leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Haddad was accused by Israel of responsibility for several terrorist operations, the last of which was the hijacking of an Israeli passenger plane en route to Entebbe in 1976. According to a recently published book by the Israeli journalist Aharon Klein, Haddad had a great fondness for Belgian chocolates. Mossad obtained some of these special chocolates, coated them with a slow-acting poison, and had them delivered to Haddad, who was then living in Baghdad, by an Iraqi official who was a Mossad agent and who had struck up a friendship with Haddad. Klein relates that the deadly substance was first developed in the IIBR and that its slow-acting and undetectable properties ensured that the agent and the instrument of death would not be discovered.

And indeed, following a gradual but severe deterioration in his health, Haddad was flown to a hospital in East Germany where he was diagnosed with leukaemia and eventually died on 28 March 1978. It was not until 32 years later that the truth came to light: that the real cause of death was a poison produced by IIBR.

It is not unlikely that Mossad conducted many assassination operations in this way, so as not to leave its fingerprints. In other words, the seemingly accidental deaths of many individuals that Israel regarded as a threat may have actually been caused by substances produced by IIBR. Most likely, the poison that Mossad agents injected into Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai in February 2010 came from IIBR.

According to information that has recently come out, the institute contains a department specialising in the production of vaccines against biological weapons. One of the chief focuses of research and development, here, was anthrax, which Israel fears the Arabs and resistance organisations will use against it in a confrontation. The institute also has a department for developing remedies to minimise and counter the effects of chemical weaponry. The whole presents a gruesome picture of a curious chemical and biological race, with the institute virtually competing with itself to produce antidotes to weapons that it, itself, is producing, or that it fears others will use against Israel in an eventual confrontation.

The IIBR works closely and in full coordination with the Israeli army and intelligence, which furnish the institute with their lists of priorities in light of their strategic threat forecasts. For example, information that has come to light during the coverage of Klein’s suit reveals that many years ago the Israeli military establishment was concerned that Arab states might use such chemical agents as mustard gas in an potential assault against Israel and, therefore, instructed the institute to develop a chemical substance to minimise the effects of the gas. Not surprisingly, the institute coordinates closely with the Israeli army’s medical corps, which receives the antidotes and distributes them to its branches in the military in accordance with demand.

The institute also works closely with Mossad and Shin Bet, the agencies primarily responsible for most of the assassination and liquidation operations against Arab and Muslim targets. Also, since Mossad and the military intelligence unit “Aman” are responsible for gathering enemy intelligence and presumably monitor nonconventional weapons programmes in Arab countries, they would instruct IIBR to develop the necessary biological or chemical responses to these programmes.

However, the IIBR has another purpose on top of developing and producing biological and chemical weapons and antidotes. It is also a major hard currency income-generator. The Hebrew Haaretz website reports: “The institute has received a grant of hundreds of millions of dollars to develop an anthrax vaccine.” The grant followed an attack in the US by a home-grown terrorist group that developed a concentrated strain of anthrax spores and delivered them to several individual targets in US; the vaccines that IIBR was commissioned to develop were destined for use in the US.

More importantly, we learn from the website that Israeli soldiers have been used to test the vaccines, causing some permanent physical damage. Reports of the internationally banned use of human guinea pigs raised moral hackles in Israel and sharpened suspicions that the lives of Israeli soldiers had deliberately been put to risk for the sake of financial gain received for promoting the security of another country, namely the US in this case.

The IIBR has a live animals department, where rabbits, pigs, monkeys and other animals are used in experiments. And perhaps human beings as well, judging by the suits soldiers filed against the Israeli Ministry of Defence after they were used in the anthrax experiments. The soldiers demand that they be officially recognised as disabled veterans and receive compensation accordingly. The case remains in the courts, but the IDF, caving into pressure from the families of the soldiers and public opinion, recently announced that it would no longer conduct experiments on soldiers.

It was Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who ordered the construction of the IIBR on the basis of the advice of a number of Jewish scientists. Throughout his rule, from 1948 to 1963 (with the exception of the years 1953-1955 when �Moshe Sharett served as prime minister), Ben-Gurion was directly responsible for the institute and every detail in it. The staff were forbidden to disclose to anyone even the smallest tid-bit of data or information without first obtaining Ben-Gurion’s approval. That continued to apply even during that interstice when Sharrit was in power, for when this prime minister visited the institute in 1954 scientists had to apologise for not being able to show him the programmes they were working on at the time.

Although many scientists have taken a turn to direct the IIBR, it is generally believed that the one to have left the greatest imprint is its current director, Avigdor Shafferman. Shafferman, who has been named in Klein’s suit, has the reputation of being something of a powerhouse but also being very strict and quick to fire staff members on disciplinary grounds.

Nevertheless, as significant as the details that have come to light in this rare glimpse into the workings of the IIBR may be, little attention has focussed on a larger truth. As the international community hounds a host of countries for pursuing conventional weapons programmes that pale in scale next to Israel’s, it refuses to budge an inch to deter Israel, which only encourages Tel Aviv’s belligerent and tyrannical behaviour.

Saleh El-Naami writes for Al-Ahram, where this article originally appeared.

Birth defects increased in Gaza due to “Israel’s” use of chemical weapons

December 20, 2009

GAZA, (PIC)– Al-Dameer association for human rights said Sunday that there is an increase in miscarriage rates and in the number of babies born with birth defects and cancer due to the Israeli use of weapons containing radioactive and toxic materials during its latest war on the Gaza Strip.

In a report, the association affirmed that the health and environmental conditions in Gaza is getting worse day after days as a result of the use of internationally-banned weapons during the three-week war.

It warned that the use of chemical weapons in the densely-populated areas would cause a long-lasting tragedy and plague the future of coming generations, adding the health of one and a half million Palestinians in the Strip is still threatened because of the contamination of water, soil and air.

The report noted that during August, September and October 2008 there were 27 babies born with birth defects compared to 47 cases in 2009. These three months were compared with the same three months in 2009, which shows an increase in birth defects in aborted fetuses and newborns.

The report added that these cases were concentrated in Jabaliya, Beit Lahia, and Beit Hanoun as these areas witnessed the fiercest Israeli military aggression.

The association appealed to the international community to immediately act and pressure Israel to stop its violations against the Palestinian civilians and environment in Gaza and allow experts and delegations into post-war Gaza to examine the environmental and health situation.

The association stressed that experts should be sent to Gaza to examine the environmental fallout of Israel’s use of illegal weapons in order to protect the future generations from the coming unknown health and environmental disasters.