Phantoms over Syria (Israel lied again)

Discussion in 'Politics' started by WAEL012000, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. The American Conservative
    by Philip Giraldi
    October 22, 2007

    On Sept. 6, Israeli F-15s and F-16s attacked a site near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria, though the strike wasn't confirmed for nearly two weeks. The Washington Post reported on Sept. 13 that according to a former Israeli official, it was an attack against a facility capable of making unconventional weapons. Two days later, Syria had an accomplice: Israel had recently provided the United States with evidence known by the code name "Orchard" the Post reported, that North Korea has been cooperating with Syria on a nuclear facility.

    Beyond that, details are sketchy perhaps deliberately so. On Sept. 19, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the attack, but said it was too early to discuss this subject. Pressed at a White House news conference the following day, President Bush twice refused to comment though he did warn North Korea about selling nuclear weapons or expertise.

    American intelligence has been unable to confirm the existence of any Syrian nuclear program, and the Post admitted, [M]any outside nuclear experts have expressed skepticism that Syria, which has mostly focused on chemical and biological weapons, would be conducting nuclear trade with North Korea. But facts may not be prime property in this situation.

    In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.

    We've been here before: the leaking of unreliable information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller was just one example of disinformation used to make the case for the invasion of Iraq. More recently, Iran has been on the receiving end of what appears to be an officially orchestrated but poorly executed disinformation campaign regarding its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a new operation brought to us by the old players may be unfolding.

    A chronology of the case against Syria is revealing, and the role of former UN ambassador and leading neoconservative John Bolton is key. Bolton, now at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly clashed with the intelligence community over the issue of Syrian intentions, most notably in 2002 and 2003 when he was undersecretary of state for arms control. At one point, Bolton was forced to strike from a speech language suggesting that Syria had a nuclear program. On another occasion, Bolton’s judgments on Syria were challenged by Robert
    Hutchings, director of the National Intelligence Council, who charged that Bolton took isolated facts and made much more of them, cherry picking to present the starkest possible case.

    On Aug. 31, one week before the Israeli attack on Syria, Bolton wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that concluded, We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic-missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be safe havens for North Korea nuclear-weapons development, or may have already benefited from it, must be made clear. Perhaps this was just good timing. Perhaps it was something more possibly representing information provided by Bolton excellent contacts within the Israeli government.

    Comments made by a State Department official on Sept. 14, in the wake of the Israeli attack, bolstered the neoconservative argument that Syria is a serious threat. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear non-proliferation policy, stated that Syria was on the U.S. nuclear
    watch list and that Damascus might have a number of secret suppliers from which to obtain nuclear equipment as part of a covert program.

    Across the Atlantic, on Sept. 16, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times of London published an extremely detailed story on the attack that clearly derived from Israeli sources. The piece unambiguously portrayed the bombing as a successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea. A Sept. 23 follow-up claimed that before the site was bombed, an Israeli commando unit had seized nuclear material, which had been tested and confirmed to be of North Korean origin. A second story headlined Snatched: Israeli commandos nuclear raid also appearing in the Times on the same day, under the same byline, provided additional details, noting that Syria, Iran, and North Korea now constitute a new axis of evil. It also quoted David Schenker, of the neocon Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who described Syria as a client of Iran.
  2. On Sept. 18, Bolton resurfaced, telling an Israeli journalist that the United States would stand behind any preemptive attack by Tel Aviv on neighboring countries believed to have nuclear-weapons programs. The Wall Street Journal added a piece by editorial board member Bret Stephens asserting that the bombing in Syria was a reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq Osirak nuclear reactor.

    By Sept. 21, the Washington Post also appeared to be convinced by the story, featuring a front-page headline Israel, US Shared Data on Suspected Nuclear Site. The article stated that Israel provided intelligence to President Bush during the summer indicating that North Korean nuclear experts were in Syria. Bush was reportedly troubled by the information. The Post added, citing anonymous sources, that the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence before Israel proceeded with the raid, but then, farther down in the article, the Post conceded, The quality of the Israeli intelligence, the extent of North Korean assistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort are uncertain To give the story even greater resonance, leading neoconservative Charles Krauthammer, in his column in the same issue, accepted as fact that Damascus was pursuing nuclear capability and warned that Israel will not accept a nuclear Syria.

    In the days that followed, the New York Times offered a more measured headline: Israeli Raid on Syria Fuels Debate on Weapons and referred to allegations about Syria's weapons program as Israel's private claims noting, American officials have been extremely cautious about endorsing the Israeli conclusion. Other outlets also picked up the story, but even those that were careful left the impression that Syria was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, and North Korea was suspected of having supplied materials.

    The pieces have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation.

    A review of the sources for the various stories and the descriptions of them reveals a great deal of ambiguity in the claims being made. The frequently cited Andrew Semmel apparently damning comments are laced with expressions like possible, may have, and may have been. What Semmel is actually saying is that nearly all of the information he has comes from Israel and cannot be verified. The conveniently anonymous sources who claim to the Washington Post that the U.S. is believed to have provided corroboration for Israeli intelligence are clearly unable to state whether it did or didn't, rendering the comment little more than opinion. The Post editor who crafted the headline asserting that there was a sharing of information was disturbingly clueless or deliberately misleading as there was no evidence produced in the article or elsewhere to indicate that any American intelligence agency could confirm the Israeli allegations. Any sharing went only in one direction: from Israel to Washington.

    Also lost in the shuffle is the fact that Syria has vehemently denied having any nuclear-weapons program, and North Korea isn't known to have ever exported nuclear technology or material. The prevailing consensus is that Syria does not have an economic or technical base that would enable it to develop a nuclear weapon even if someone handed it the fissile material. The feverish imagination of John Bolton aside, even Syria's enemies concede that there has been no evidence of nuclear-weapons development. It has but a small Chinese-built research reactor that, by one account, is less capable than those in use at a number of American universities.

    There are other reasons that depicting Damascus as the latest nuclear aspirant is suspect. Destroying a weapons facility would scatter traces of radioactive material that could be detected, especially since the attack took place close to the Turkish border. No such evidence has been reported. Also notable is the absence of solid intelligence. If Israel knows conclusively that Syria has a nuclear program, surely it would have made its case in the wake of the Sept. 6 raid. Far from doing so, Tel Aviv has kept a security lid on the incident, suggesting that it would prefer to promote the story of a military success against Damascus without being too specific about the details.

    Even the Bush White House, generally willing to use any hint of malfeasance to condemn Damascus and Tehran, has been reluctant to confirm the story. It doesn't need to. Official silence narrated by a compliant press taking uncorroborated dictation is cementing a public impression. That's the way disinformation works. Done right, no one stops to ask where it came from or who benefits.
    ____________ _________ _________ _________ ___

    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, an international security consultancy.
  3. New satellite images published by The New York Times overnight Thursday show that the installation allegedly attacked by Israel on September 6, and considered by experts to be a fledgling nuclear reactor, has disappeared without a trace.

    Two high resolution photos taken by a commercial satellite before and after the strike show that the site has been almost totally cleared.

    US experts claimed that the speed with which Syria hurried to clear up any rubble remaining after the alleged strike was indicative of its will to get rid of incriminating evidence.
  5. A group of analysts said Thursday that satellite imagery has shown that Syria cleared a site believed to have been targeted in an Israel Air Force strike in November, in what was a speedy effort that only raised suspicions regarding the nature of the site.

    On Wednesday, the same group of analysts said photographs taken prior to the September 6 strike pointed to the facility being a nuclear reactor similar to the North Korean design. Those photographs were published by the Washington Post.

    The images were analyzed by a team of experts at the Institute for Science and International Security, headed by David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector.

    The Syrians "are clearly trying to conceal evidence," he said.

    Do you hear that wael, David Albright, a UN weapons inspector, not John Bolton.
  7. Again dddooo... You are wrong and pathetic!! Syria claimed that you bombed them. i.e. dumped some bombs. Where??? I do not know but I am as sure as hell I am not going to take your version of the story. On what?? I do not know but I am as sure as hell I am not going to take your version of the story.

    This is what the article you posted said;

    "Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday and warned it could respond, but Israel Radio carried a denial there had been an air strike.

    Come on man...You and your lament lies are not challenging anymore!
  8. :confused: :confused: :confused:

    Wael, make up your mind.:D :D :D
  9. I know that you are in the habit of falsifying people's posts (typical zionist) but this is becoming pathetic! You are acting like a little child caught in a lie!

    You quoted me saying;

    You replied by posting the following;

    Nah... Wrong again Wael, Syria claimed that, not Israel, not the US...

    Thursday, September 6, 2007
    Syria claims that Israel bombed them...

    I replied back by saying;

    I replied with the following;

    "Again dddooo... You are wrong and pathetic!! Syria claimed that you bombed them. i.e. dumped some bombs. Where??? I do not know but I am as sure as hell I am not going to take your version of the story. On what?? I do not know but I am as sure as hell I am not going to take your version of the story.

    This is what the article you posted said;

    "Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday and warned it could respond, but Israel Radio carried a denial there had been an air strike.

    Come on man...You and your lament lies are not challenging anymore!"

    Please refrain from falsifying people's posts.
    #10     Oct 27, 2007