by Stephen Lendman
Media scoundrels specialize in distorting comments and meaning.
They're hyperbolic over Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi saying Syria would only use chemical weapons against external aggression.
His message was clear. Distortion, misinterpretation, and willful lying about it followed. Inflammatory headlines blared. More on what Makdissi meant below.
At the State Department's daily press briefing, Victoria Nuland commented on Syria's chemical weapons, saying:
Talk about using chemical weapons "is horrific and chilling." Syria "has a responsibility to the world (and) its own citizens to protect and safeguard those weapons."
Any "kind of loose talk just speaks to the kind of regime that we're talking about."
"I think we've been absolutely clear where we stand on this issue, which is that any possible use of these kinds of weapons would be completely unacceptable."
"We've been making our position clear for many, many days now, and we've also been working with all of our allies and partners to monitor the situation, to compare information, and to send the same messages."
Syria "knows where we stand." Asked about securing them, Nuland said "warnings that we have given with regard" to these weapons have "been absolutely clear."
Asked about warning regime opponents, she added nothing further. Asked also to comment on Washington's position on a potential Israeli attack, she said "obviously I'm not going to walk into hypothetical scenarios."
"Like all countries in the neighborhood, it makes sense for there to be prudent planning for self-defense."
Reports suggest Washington and Israel discussed destroying Syria's stockpiles. Both countries know where they're held. Allegedly they're in dozens of locations. Bombing them would unleash a firestorm of toxins. Everyone nearby would be harmed.
The threat of a chemical weapon false flag attack blamed on Syria is real. On June 10, Russia Today headlined "Syrian rebels aim to use chemical weapons, blame Damascus - report," saying:
Opposition fighters have chemical weapons. Libyan sources supplied them. Allegedly they're planned for use "against civilians." The scheme involves blaming Assad.
DamPress "claims the opposition group in possession of the weapons is being trained in its use inside Turkey. No further details on the alleged conspiracy is given."
"The Libyan stockpile of chemical weapons was a matter of great concern during last year's civil war in the country. There were fears that they may end up in the hands of the terrorists and used elsewhere in the world."
Independent analysts also fear a possible US-led NATO/Free Syrian Army (FSA) false flag chemical attack on Syrian civilians blamed on Assad.
Doing so would provide Washington an easy way to circumvent Security Council authority to intervene militarily and enlist popular support for it.
If harmful enough, it could be Syria's 9/11. American strategists may find that scheme too tempting to pass up. Regime change is longstanding US policy.
NATO and regional allies head closer to war. A casus belli remains to initiate it. The horror of chemical attack mass casualties looks perfect. Whether it's planned or not remains to be seen. The possibility is real.
Media War of Words
On July 23, The New York Times headlined "Syria Threatens Chemical Attack on Foreign Force," saying:
"Syrian officials warned Monday that they would deploy chemical weapons against any foreign intervention...."
"The warning came out of Damascus, veiled behind an assurance that the Syrian leadership would never use such weapons against its own citizens, describing chemical and biological arms as outside the bounds of the kind of guerrilla warfare being fought internally."
The Times cited CIA reports saying:
"Syria has had a C.W. program for many years and has a stockpile of C.W. agents, which can be delivered by aerial bombs, ballistic missiles, and artillery rockets."
"We assess that Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for key elements of its C.W. program, including precursor chemicals."
Syria's arsenal includes "the nerve agent sarin, which can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missile."
On July 24, Reuters headlined "After bloody week, West warns Syria on chemical arms," saying:
"Western states expressed alarm" after Syria acknowledged its capability for the first time. Makdissi said chemical weapons won't be used against insurgents "regardless of (internal) developments."
"These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and under (their) direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression."
The Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) published various reports hyping an alleged Syrian chemical weapons threat.
It's latest July 23 one headlined "Syrian chemical threat targets Israel. Obama warns Assad against 'tragic mistake,' " saying:
Makdissi's statement indicated "a direct threat (against) Israel." On Sunday, Netanyahu said preventing Syria's chemical weapons from "falling into the wrong hands" was key to Israel's security.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to prepare possibly attacking their storage areas because "Israel cannot accept the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon."
Nothing, of course, suggests Assad plans this. Hyping the threat advances the ball for war.
Guilty parties include US officials, Israeli ones, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN/Arab League Syria envoy Kofi Annan, and Human Rights Council High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay, among others.
DF is part of the regime change campaign. It cited an unnamed Israeli official saying Assad "holds all the cards on when and against whom to use its chemical weapons."
Assad gave "himself carte blanche for resorting to chemical warfare at a time of his choosing by (saying) his government is subject to external Arab and Western aggression."
Indeed he's very much threatened. Alleging he's hyping what doesn't exist ignores reality.
DF cited an unnamed US military source saying Assad is "preparing to expand the Syria war into Lebanon whence his troops can threaten northern and Mediterranean areas of Israel."
In a Monday speech to veterans, Obama said Syria "will be held accountable by the international community and the United States should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons."
Hyping fake threats conceals real ones Syria faces. Distorting comments by its officials advances the ball for war. Washington planned it years ago. Electoral politics influence its timetable. Whether it comes before of post-election doesn't matter. Regime change policy remains unchanged.
Syria Responds to Western Distortions and Deceit
On July 23, SANA state media headlined "Information Minister: Foreign Media and Diplomatic (Sides) Misconstrued Foreign Ministry Statement and Put it Out of Context," saying:
Makdissi's meaning was clear. Since early 2011, Syria's been a battleground. Western-generated violence continues daily. International law legitimizes self-defense.
Syria's in a war for survival. Its people know the stakes. They deplore becoming another Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya. They expect their government to do what it takes to prevent it. Makdissi and other officials vow to do so. It's their right and duty.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi told Sham FM Radio about "an international campaign led by US-Israeli diplomacy under the guise of warning against alleged chemical weapons that Syria supposedly possesses, and that this campaign is part of ongoing pressure to pass an international resolution under the pretext of preserving world peace."
For over two decades, he added, Syria called for abolishing all regional WMDs. Israel's open secret is well known. Its formidable nuclear, chemical, and biological arsenal poses the most significant threat.
It has hundreds of warheads and sophisticated long-range delivery systems. It never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
It signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but didn't ratify it. It never signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Its policy is CBW ambiguity, but worse than that.
Analysts most familiar with Israeli strategy acknowledge that it won't hesitate using nuclear or other weapons to advance its regional imperium.
Against Lebanon in 2006, Gaza during Cast Lead, and other attacks, it used direct energy weapons, chemical and/or biological agents. Injuries and symptoms followed never before seen.
The Palestinian health ministry said Israel used a new type explosive in Gaza. It contained toxins and radioactive materials. They burned and tore victims' bodies from the inside. They also left long term deformations.
Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel's been using depleted uranium weapons. Washington initially supplied them. America's military and Israel use them freely.
They're used in bombs, shells, missiles, and bullets. They spread deadly radiation like nuclear bombs. Vast areas get contaminated. Water, air, soil, and food become unsafe. Cancer and other disease rates soar. Locations far from target sites are affected.
No evidence suggests Syria used WMDs of any kind or plans to except in self-defense against external aggression. Washington and Israel use them freely in all wars they wage and other belligerence.
Fingers pointing the right way would blame them. Media scoundrels say nothing. Cheerleading war instead of forthrightly denouncing it threatens to embroil the entire region.
Perhaps Washington, key NATO partners, and regional allies won't be satisfied until it's incinerated. Unless years of belligerent madness stops, end game consequences may demolish it from one end to the other.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.