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My fear is growing in any case and it has been prompted by not one, but two articles in the Iranian based PressTV today. Both articles claim that those opposing the Assad regime already have chemical weapons and are likely to use them soon. I don't believe these PressTV reports, mind you, because I have found them to be a known source of pro-Qaddafi, pro-Russian and pro-Assad mis-information, as exampled by this exposure I did of them here during the Libyan revolution, but I am greatly troubled by these reports, and a similar flurry of others from the pro-Assad bloggers and tweets, not because I fear that the Free Syrian Army has WMD and plans to use then, but because I know the Assad regime has WMD and the propaganda blitz sounds to me like the ground is being prepared to use them and blame the usage on the FSA.

When I add to that the fact the the Assad regime has apparently been stalled and, according to some reports even lost ground, in its big push to take back the country's business hub, Aleppo, from the opposition, I can easily imagine that they are reaching a point of desperation where the use of chemical weapons is something they might be willing to risk.

This morning PressTV published this set up piece, which also ran in the TehranTimes later in the day:

Insurgents in Aleppo likely received WMDs: Reports
Wed Aug 8, 2012 10:7AM GMT

Reports say the foreign-sponsored insurgents in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo may have been provided with chemical weapons.

The development comes as the Syrian army launched a major ground operation in Aleppo on Wednesday. The insurgents have retreated from the southwestern neighborhood of Salahuddin. More ...

As usual with PressTV these "reports" have no source, and the article has no further details on the alleged WMD being provided to insurgents, it just puts the fear out there.

Then about twelve hours later PressTV followed up with this gem:

Orwellian ramifications unfold in Syria
Wed Aug 8, 2012 9:11PM GMT

There is a horrible speculation that the insurgents in Syria may have seized hold of chemical weapons.

Apart from the catastrophically unthinkable havoc the rebels can wreak in Syria and in the region with the WMDs, the rhetorical question which remains is how these weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the hands of the insurgents who are chiefly composed of Wahhabi al-Qaeda mercenaries of different nationalities including Afghans, Iraqis, Turkish, Yemenis, Jordanians, Pakistanis, and Saudis. More ...

So here they are commenting on the speculation created by their first article, and have completely disregarded the need to provide any proof that the Free Syria Army has chemical weapons and has jumped to the when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife question of how they got them. What slight of hand!

At the same time they make it clear that they think the opposition to Bashar al-Assad is anything but Syrian. According to them it is made up entirely by foreign aggressors, which would seem to relieve Assad of his pledge never to used his WMD on the Syrian people.  

And as I said, there has been a flurry of such reports from the usual pro-Assad mouthpieces lately, so much so that it has the feeling of a concerted effort, like this piece here posted two days ago:

US Mercenaries planning a Chemical attack in Syria

Posted by ozyism at 7:27 PM August/06/12

Many Syrians and outside observers alike, fear that militants may deploy chemical weapons in one or more locations around Syria, creating a mass-casualty event to subsequently be blamed on the government by a coordinated Western media disinformation campaign.

The so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) has already been conducting strings of devastating, indiscriminate mass-casualty bombings across the country, as reported by Reuters', "Outgunned Syria rebels make shift to bombs."

Libyan weapons, cash, and fighters have also all been confirmed to have made it into Syria in an effort to undermine, divide and destroy Syria. More ...

On 3 August someone hacked the Reuters website and posted a number of pro-Assad fake news stories. One of the false stories claimed that rebels had acquired chemical weapons from Libya and were preparing to smuggle them into Syria.

Here is a Russian tweet with a quick line up pattern. He managed to tweet the fake Reuters article before they found it and took it down:

In fact there was a flood of tweets based on that fake Reuters story. That's the way the cyberwar is being fought by the Russian side these days:

A week ago there was a whole series of tweets and blogs about "NATO-backed" militants with gas masks, the implication being that they were preparing to use chemical weapons:
That one takes video of weapons the FSA captured from the Syrian army and reuses it in a lie.

So seeing all this propaganda activity on the part of the backers of the Assad regime designed to lay the basis for claiming that the Free Syrian Army has used WMD, I have to ask why?

Frankly, I'm worried that they are preparing the obvious cover story for their own desperate use of chemical weapons.

The Guardian had this report on the fighting around Aleppo today:

Syria rebels claim upper hand as battle for Aleppo grinds towards stalemate
Despite forces massed on both sides, neither seems willing or able to make decisive move on Salahedin neighbourhood
Martin Chulov in Aleppo
Wednesday 8 August 2012 13.42 EDT   

The day started in Salahedin just as it had for the past fortnight, with rebels under fierce assault from a nearby ring road and the Syrian Air Force blitzing them from the skies.

Just before daybreak, however, the frontline – thus far seemingly solid – began to wobble. Rebels briefly withdrew as the regime pushed forward with men and tanks. This, it seemed, was the start of the battle for Aleppo, an inexorable showdown for which the whole city had been nervously preparing.

Then, only several hours after daybreak, the regime retreated and the weary guerillas returned to their sandbags. Government claims to have conquered the enemy stronghold were false, as were the rebels' later claims to have breached regime lines. Nothing seems to be going to script in this war.

All the might that the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad can muster is now camped just over a large bank of land to the east of Salahedin, the suburb of Aleppo that has become the focal point of the conflict. All the men the guerrilla force can assemble are holed up in crumbling buildings, the closest of them only 200m from the nearest regime tank.

Yet the decisive battle that most in Aleppo seemed to have feared is slowly giving way to another – even more dreaded – reality. Stalemate, with neither side willing or able to advance. A new sense is beginning to settle in that neither Salahedin, nor the rest of Syria's second city, will see an end to the fighting any time soon. More...

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in SyriaBREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 08:23:21 PM PDT

  •  So you can (7+ / 0-)

    publish whatever you like regardless of the credibility or reliability of the source and distort meanings to suit your chosen narrative but it is a really bad thing when others do it.

    I really wish we had a reliable source for this subject on Dkos as it is massively important.

    •  no can do. People aren't able to get into Syria (5+ / 0-)

      to report, so the best you can do is sift through different lenses and agendas and draw your own conclusions.  This poster has his agenda, but also provides a lot of useful information.  Then you can follow it up with other news sources, twitter accounts from people in the area, commentary on dkos and other sites, and draw your own conclusions.

      Very little can be 'objective', though.

    •  Please recall the "Syrian Prime Minister fired"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...situation just Monday morning. That missive was put out buy Official Syrian Television, and was duly reported without hesitation by all of our "Professional" Media on all the morning shows.

      Later it was learned that he in fact DEFECTED.

      This is the midst of Civil War. Vetted, collaborated, undisputed facts are going to come more often than not days, sometimes weeks after incidents occur. "Official Syrian TV" has an inherent bias in putting out "news" that everyone should regard as unapologetic War Propaganda at this point. Anyone who's been following Clay since these events have been unfolding knows he's been correct more often that he's been misinformed.  Certainly no worse a "batting average" than what we suffer through daily as Journalism on any subject.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 06:49:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A bit off topic: Please PLEASE stop saying "WMD" (8+ / 0-)

    The term WMD is itself a tool of Bush propaganda. Before we all tossed around WMD the term for "unconventional weapons" was ABC or NBC (Atomic/Nuclear-Biologic-Chemical).

    The problem with ABC is that it is too informative. When Bush wanted to invade Iraq, he could not say they have "ABC weapons" because the press would ask, "Well, which one is it? Atomic, biologic, or chemical?" And then it'd finally come out that the "WMD" was just "C" - Chemical.

    Fact is, every country on Earth with the possible exception of Pitcairn Island has chemical weapons. You have chemical weapons, dear reader. At least you do if you have common household agents.

    So even the American press might have caught onto that ruse. But when you lump atomic weapons on the same level as biologic or chemical weapons, then you have WMD. THEN your fear-monger can inply a nation with chemical weapons has "WMD" and "WMD" might mean "nukes!"

    Don't take my word for it. Sometime in 2003 a truck filled with sulfuric acid was used in an attack in Jordan, IIRC. Some of our wonderful press talked about WMD terrorist attacks.

    Because sufuric acid is a chemical, see?

    And "C" weapons are part of WMD!

    So sulfuric acid is in the same category as a 50 megaton bomb salted with Strontium-90, don'tcha see?

    Well, excuse me and thank you for the space to rant. Now I have to go pour some weapon of mass destruction down my drain to unclog it. It's as easy as A-B-C.

    •  If Clay's conjecture about the motivation (3+ / 0-)

      behind the Iranian "reports" is correct, it's highly unlikely they're setting the stage to justify pouring Draino on the FSA fighters.

      There are chemicals, and there are chemicals.

      The kind of chemical weapons the U.S. and its allies are shitting bricks over are formulations like sarin, mustard and the like. And these are indeed weapons of mass destruction, not withstanding the fact that they'd kill far fewer individuals than a nuclear attack.

      Chemical weapons are WMD. I don't find it useful to suggest they are more benign than nukes.

      Republican Healthcare Plan: Everyone will be encouraged to move to Chris Collins' district, where noone dies of cancer.

      by WisePiper on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 01:34:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is why I said "off-topic" (0+ / 0-)

        My point was not anywhere close to an attempt to undermine the diarist.

        The kind of chemical weapons the U.S. and its allies are shitting bricks over are formulations like sarin, mustard and the like. And these are indeed weapons of mass destruction, not withstanding the fact that they'd kill far fewer individuals than a nuclear attack.
        THIS is the point.

        Chemical weapons and biologic weapons simply are not in the same category of destruction as nuclear weapons. They are not.  In 0.00001 to 10 seconds a weapon perhaps the size of a Harley-Davidson causes everything in multiple square miles to die and crumble. There is no countermeasure.

        Chemical weapons are bulky, heavy, hard to deliver to the intended target, disperse over time or with rain, countermeasure exist and there is time to apply them for the majority of potential victims. To cause the same amount of destruction as one nuclear warheard it would take super-tankers full of chemical agent.

        Biologic weapons are sinister and have the potential for spreading in epidemic. but they are even slower and less directable than chemical weapons, can hurt the attacker as bad at the victim, and once again many countermasures exist.

        To say there is a difference between A, B, anc C is not the same thing as saying B and C are insignificant. To say there is a difference between A, B, and C is to decide matters on fact and rationality, not upon panic and hype.

        I don't find it useful to suggest they are more benign than nukes.
        This is a complete bullshit strawman rewording that is as bad as any as I've ever seen. Worthy of FOX. You should be proud.
        •  If my response to your comment was a (0+ / 0-)
          bullshit strawman rewording that is as bad as any as I've ever seen
          you really need to get out more.

          Your original comment, in my view, downplayed the horrific potential consequences of the employment of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. My point is twofold: Chemical weapons ARE weapons of mass destruction, in terms of potential mass fatalities and injuries. To refer to chemical weapons as WMD is not fear mongering. A, B and C are ALL properly categorized as WMD. There's no dispute between us that A is the mother of all WMD and far more dangerous than the other two.

          Republican Healthcare Plan: Everyone will be encouraged to move to Chris Collins' district, where noone dies of cancer.

          by WisePiper on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 06:46:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  American police to use WMD's against protestors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fire bad tree pretty

    I've seen them carrying gas masks.

    Has it occurred to anyone that there might be gas masks in every police station to be used in conjunction with tear gas? In fact every security agent in the world has a stock of gas masks to be used for crowd control.

    Gas masks alone are ineffective against Sarin or mustard gas. Both will attack bare skin.

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