by Stephen Lendman
Throughout months of conflict, Assad faced repeated accusations of chemical weapons use. No evidence whatever suggests it.
Clear evidence suggests otherwise. Wrongful accusations persist. They ring hollow. They lack credibility. It doesn't matter. They repeat with disturbing regularity.
On August 21, The New York Times headlined "Syrian Rebels Accuse Government of Chemical Attack."
They claimed rockets targeting areas east of Damascus "carr(ied) poison gas. (They said) people had been killed in their sleep and that local hospitals were filled with casualties."
Reports are conflicting. Some suggest hundreds died. "The attacks will undoubtedly increase the pressure on a team sent to Syria by the United Nations to investigate allegations of chemical weapons that was to begin working on Monday," said The Times.
"Numerous allegations of chemical weapons use have surfaced" throughout months of conflict. None suggest government involvement.
On August 21, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined "Media source: Reports on chemical weapons in Ghouta untrue," saying:
"A media source on Wednesday dismissed as untrue the news broadcast by some media outlets that chemical weapons have been used in the Ghouta region in Damascus Countryside."
"The source stressed that the reports circulated by the TV channels of (Qatar-run) al-Jazeera, (Saudi Arabia's) al-Arabiya and (Murdoch's) Sky News among other channels which are involved in the shedding of the Syrians' blood and supporting terrorism are completely baseless."
"The source said the aim behind broadcasting such reports and news is to distract the UN chemical weapons investigation commission away from its mission."
A government security source called accusations about Syria's use of chemical weapons "lies."
"There is nothing new happening here because there's fighting every day. Operations are under way in all regions to chase armed groups," he said.
The Times quoted someone named Abu Yassin, saying:
"We thought this regime would not use chemical weapons, at least these days with the presence of the U.N. inspectors. It is reckless. The regime is saying, 'I don't care."
Opposition Syrian National Council media coordinator Louay Mekdad was cited, saying:
"Bashar al-Assad doesn't care any longer about red lines since he has already exceeded too many of them while the world has showed no reaction. This means the alleged lines never existed."
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was quoted. He expressed "deep concern." He admitted reports are uncorroborated. He wants more information.
He suggesting Syrian government use, saying:
It's "clear that if (reports) are verified, it would mark a shocking escalation in the use of chemical weapons in Syria."
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani condemned the "murderous attacks attributed to the Syrian regime in the region of Damascus."
Photos and videos were posted online. Images are graphic. They show bodies on a makeshift hospital floor. They're being hosed down with water.
Another shows a child treated with a hand-held respirator. Others show victims gasping for air. Whether they reflect Ghouta's incident remains undetermined.
Images are unverified. They contain no DNA. They could be from anywhere. They can be new, old or contrived. Hollywood sound stages expertly recreate them.
If Ghouta evidence is credible, at issue is who's responsible. Throughout months of conflict, no evidence suggested government use. Plenty corroborated insurgent responsibility. A previous article explained.
Times writers, contributors and editors marginalize, downplay or ignore voices of truth. It's standard Times practice. One-sided reporting is featured. Readers are betrayed in the process.
Ghouta was strategically timed. It came with UN investigators present in Syria. Doing so raises obvious red flags. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
According to IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center analyst Charles Lister:
"Logically, it would make little sense for the Syrian government to employ chemical agents at such a time, particularly given the relatively close proximity of the targeted towns."
Al-Watan's a Syrian Arabic language daily. It's privately owned. It said Assad "pledged to cooperate and facilitate the work" of UN chemical weapons inspectors.
On August 20, their mission began. They seek firsthand evidence of chemical weapons use. They won't determine who used them. They'll only confirm whether or not they were used and which ones.
According to chemical weapons expert Jean Pascal Zanders:
If they only plan "going in and coming back with definitive confirmation that chemical weapons have been deliberately used, there is reason to be skeptical that the investigation will bear fruit."
Key is pointing fingers the right way. Failure lets media scoundrels take full advantage. They accused Assad all along.
They've done so unjustifiably. They do it anyway. They regurgitate Big Lies.
In July, Russia submitted firsthand evidence. Its credible. It's clear and unequivocal. It indicated insurgent use. Media scoundrels ignored it. They featured duplicitous US claims.
Assad's wrongfully blamed. So-called evidence Washington cited falls short of required standards. It's hollow. It doesn't pass the smell test. Independent analysis would reject it.
New York Times editors aren't deterred. On April 24, they headlined "Were Chemical Weapons Used in Syria?"
"Its not hard to imagine that President Bashar al-Assad, desperately clinging to power, might use chemical weapons against the Syrian people," they said.
"He has already pummeled them with warplanes and missiles and shows no signs of ending a bloody onslaught that has lasted more than two years."
At the same time, Times editors admitted no proof of government chemical weapons use. Suggesting it comes close.
An accurate headline would read: No evidence proves Syrian government chemical weapons use. Don't expect it from Times editors.
They prioritize pointing fingers the wrong way. They accuse Assad of insurgent crimes. They downplay or ignore their worst ones.
They quoted Israeli General Itai Brun claiming Syria "has increasingly used chemical weapons." Another Israel official suggests sarin gas. He claimed Syria stockpiled it.
Times editors accused Russia of "unconscionably" "defend(ing) and enabl(ing) Mr. Assad."
They endorse whatever political Washington supports. They substitute lies for truth and full disclose. It's official Times policy.
Forbes magazine calls itself "a capitalist tool." On August 19, it featured a Claudia Rosett op-ed. She's a Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) journalist-in-residence.
She heads its Investigative Reporting Center. She substitutes managed news information for responsible journalism.
FDD's a right-wing neocon think tank. Its Leadership Council includes Forbes CEO Steve Forbes, former CIA head James Woolsey, Project for the New Century co-founder Bill Kristol and former Senator Joe Lieberman among others.
Its Executive Team includes comparable rogues gallery scoundrels. So does its Board of Advisors.
Rosett misinformed readers. She did so duplicitously. She did it willfully. She did it maliciously. She headlined "North Korean-Syrian Chemistry: The Weapons Connections," saying:
"Is North Korea complicit in the use of chemical weapons in Syria? For a host of reasons, this question ought to be high priority for the United Nations chemical weapons experts."
Reasons to do so "range from recent press reports - unconfirmed, but plausible - of direct North Korean involvement in the alleged chemical attacks themselves," as well as "partner(ing) (in) proliferat(ing) weapons of mass murder - not only chemical, but nuclear."
Rosett cited a nonexistent Middle East Syrian/Iranian/Hezbollah terror axis. North Korea's involved, she said.
When evidence doesn't exist, it's invented. Doing so facilitates Washington's imperium. It's standard scoundrel media practice. Right-wing think tanks feature it.
Big Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure. They launch wars. They facilitate mass killing and destruction. It's the longstanding American way. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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