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Foreign Policy is reporting this story which I first picked up from RIA Novosti:

Secret State Dept. Cable Says Syria Used Chemical Weapons

15 January 2013
United States diplomats in Turkey conducted a previously undisclosed, intensive investigation into claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, and made what an Obama administration official who reviewed the cable called a "compelling case" that Assad's military forces had used a deadly form of poison gas.

The cable, signed by the U.S. consul general in Istanbul, Scott Frederic Kilner, and sent to State Department headquarters in Washington last week, outlined the results of the consulate's investigation into reports from inside Syria that chemical weapons had been used in the city of Homs on Dec. 23. More...

This article then goes on to provide a great amount of detail about the investigation and the conclusions about what was used "Agent 15, known also by its NATO code BZ, which is a CX-level incapacitating agent that is controlled under schedule 2 of the Chemical Weapons Convention."
"It was a chemical weapon, we are sure of that, because tear gas can't cause the death of five people," said Dr. Nashwan Abu Abdo, a neurologist who spoke with The Cable from an undisclosed location inside of Homs.
This report indicates that Bashar al-Assad was definitely listening to the "fine print" when Barack Obama warned him that "a whole bunch" of chemical weapons was his "red-line" back on 20 August 2012. See: UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria. So far, he has only used them in small amounts.  

This RIA Novosti report was the first one i saw:

Washington Dismisses Report on Chemical Attack in Syria

07:19 16/01/2013
WASHINGTON, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – The White House downplayed on Tuesday media speculations that chemical weapons had been used by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime against the Syrian rebels.

According to a recent report in the Foreign Policy magazine, a secret American investigation revealed that Assad forces used a poisonous gas against the rebels in Homs on December 23, 2012.

"The reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program," White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

The official reiterated, though, that Assad’s government would be still held responsible for any potential chemical attack against the Syrian opposition forces or failure to ensure security of its stockpile of chemical weapons. More...

I first reported on this chemical attack here at the Daily Kos on the day it happened 23 December 2012:
BREAKING: Chemical weapons use reported in #Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?

When I did, some of the comments were:

43% of his diaries are "BREAKING" - (6+ / 0-)

does he 'cry wolf!', much?  ;-)

by Sharon Wraight on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:34:51 AM PST

consistency (3+ / 0-)

is not Clay's strong point. Neither is accountability. I'm still waiting for confirmation on that coup....

by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 01:50:41 PM PST

Pro-war hysteria creating diary (2+ / 0-)

Referring to chemical weapons as pre-text for intervention/war.   Same old story of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  Lots of BS.    Is BS HRable?

-8.50, -7.38

by Blue Wind on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 12:56:41 PM PST

Clay doesn't want American boots on the ground... (3+ / 0-)

just their bombs.

by Claudius Bombarnac on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 02:30:37 PM PST

This has been predicted by some, that the terrorist proxy fighters will be supplied with chemical weapons, probably from lIbya, use them and blame it on the Assad regime thereby giving the US/NATO war machine the "red line" they need to launch a Libya style assault.

by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:42:32 AM PST

I think we've seen enough false flags by now (3+ / 0-)

to know that they will continue to be used to paint the Assad "regime" in an evil light; which beyond terror, is their purpose if that wasn't bloody obvious enough by now.
by protectspice on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:11:11 AM PST

People are dying on the ground in Syria. We know the number 60,000 now. But this is how a chemical weapons attack looks in Kossack Comment Land.

Here is another report saying Obama has grown soft on the revolution. Of course I disagree, I maintain that he has been more of a friend to Assad than to the Syrian people all along. See, for example Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad

Now has this analysis piece:

Magical realism

Michael Weiss
January 9, 2013
According to Arab diplomatic sources consulted by the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Russia has successfully exploited US fears of extremist infiltration of the Syrian opposition and so Washington is more committed than ever to ensuring the continuity of the very state institutions responsible for wrecking Syria in the first place: the mukhabarat and the military. The idea of even halfheartedly supporting this Arab revolution is over, whatever State Department posturing to the contrary; the “bartering phase” has thus begun.

There’s a good chance that this claim, or some variation of it, is accurate. In the diplomatic arena, all signs point to the West’s quiet efforts to try and lower the temperature of the Syrian opposition down from revolution to reform and to deprive it of long-promised and longer-needed material assistance. More...

UPDATE: 9:00AM 16 Jan 2013:

We now have at least three independent reports on this chemical attack:

1.) The original report on 23 Dec from Syrians in Homs, together with video. I reported on this in BREAKING: Chemical weapons use reported in #Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?

2.) Syrian military police defector Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal confirmed the use chemical weapons by Assad forces in Homs. I reported on that in BREAKING: Defecting General confirms use of chemical weapons in #Syria

3.) This present report based on an alleged state department cable about a US government investigation that concluded that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Homs.

And now the MSM is beginning to report on the story I broke last night at the Daily Kos.

The NY Times is reporting:

Consulate Supported Claim of Syria Gas Attack, Report Says

Published: January 15, 2013
WASHINGTON — A State Department cable asserted that Syrian forces might have used poison gas in December, according to a report by on Tuesday.

The classified cable was sent by the United States consul general in Istanbul, according to the Web site, and it discussed a consulate investigation into allegations that chemical weapons were used in the city of Homs on Dec. 23.

A White House statement on Tuesday evening discounted the possibility that poison gas had been used. But White House and State Department officials declined to comment directly on the cable. Nor did they rule out that some form of chemical agent may have been used.   More...

The Australian is reporting:
Syrian military used gas to poison citizens: US State Department

January 17, 2013 12:00AM
A SECRET State Department cable has concluded that the Syrian military likely used poison gas against its own people in a deadly attack last month.
Foreign Policy magazine's The Cable blog reported yesterday that the cable, signed by the US consul-general in Istanbul and sent to the State Department, described an investigation by the consulate into the December 23 attack in the city of Homs.

"We can't definitely say 100 per cent, but Syrian contacts made a compelling case that Agent 15 was used in Homs on December 23," an Obama administration official who reviewed the document told The Cable.

US and NATO representatives have warned the embattled Syrian regime that the use of chemical weapons would trigger an international reaction.

"The possible use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable for the whole international community, and if anybody resorts to these terrible weapons I would expect an immediate reaction," NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters last month. More...

Of course none of this will matter to the Assad supporters among us. They will continue to deny his use of chemical weapons with their dying breath.

And the White House is with them. If you've read my Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad this should come as no surprise.

The Ticket is reporting:

White House doubts Syria chem. weapons report

White House doubts Syria chem. weapons report
The White House late Tuesday expressed skepticism about a report that Syria’s military used a chemical weapon against its own people in the city of Homs in December – but did not flatly deny the account.

“The reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Vietor was reacting to a report on Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Cable blog, citing a secret diplomatic cable from the U.S. consul in Istanbul, laying out conclusions from an investigation into the events in Homs on December 23.

Whether the report is accurate matters because President Barack Obama has warned Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad that using chemical weapons would cross a “red line” that triggers a possible American military intervention.

“The President was very clear when he said that if the Assad regime makes the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons, or fails to meet its obligation to secure them, the regime will be held accountable,” Vietor said.

The Foreign Policy report seems to come from an official eager to see an increase in American help to Syrian rebels. The Obama Administration says it does not provide arms directly to the opposition, but media reports have said that American intelligence officials are helping the various groups to unify, steering third-party arms to those it has vetted while trying to cast out extremist elements that may have al-Qaeda sympathies.

“The report confirms the worst fears of officials who are frustrated by the current policy, which is to avoid any direct military assistance to the Syrian rebels and limit U.S. aid to sporadic deliveries of humanitarian and communications equipment,” The Cable says. But it's not clear how greater U.S. military aid to the rebels would have prevented the alleged attack or might stop the Assad regime from using chemical weapons in a possible last-gasp attempt to hold on to power. More...

Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
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