€Wagn3r hacked into some US Army intelligence officers' email accounts
and claims to have found evidence of the US having "staged" the
chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The evidence arises during
a conversation between Col. Anthony J. "Jamie" MacDonald and
Eugene "Gene" P. Furst discussing how intelligence contracts are
funded. Gene breaks the conversation to say:
By the way, saw your latest success, my congratulations. Good job.
This is a link to the article on the chemical weapons attack. Jamie replies:
As you see I'm far from this now, but I know our guys did their best.
The second message of interest is from Jamie's wife
Jennifer MacDonald to a Mary Shapiro. Speaking of the attack in Syria,
Tony comforted me. He said the kids weren't hurt, it was done
Neither email exchange includes the word "staged", let alone
"well staged". So the evidence released by an anti-American hacker
does not say what the hacker says it does? Colour me shocked.
Maybe something is hidden in one of the base64 sections that I haven't
been able to open yet
(this should help).
Both of the emails have alternate explanations that are just as
believable and better fit Occam's razor by producing a less complicated
story. For the first, they could be talking about intelligence gathering and/or building a story for the media. For the second, Tony lied to his wife to make her feel better and to shut her up. We need more evidence to say that anything has been proven either way.
Could the attack have been staged?
Faking atrocities is
a standard Muslim Brotherhood tactic. The Brotherhood in Syria has gone
above this and held up their own Christian and Shiite massacre victims as
Sunni victims of the Syrian secularists. (Examples:
the Houla massacre and
the Zayn al-Abidin Mosque bombing.)
The Serbians claimed the Brotherhood was doing this back in Bosnia, with rumours
of Serbian exiles recognizing
their family members as the victims in the TV news reports of Serbian
massacres of Bosnian Muslims. I didn't believe it at the time, but I'm
starting to think they deserved a closer look.
Pretending that 1,400 people died in a nerve gas attack is more
difficult to do. A real attack of that size would produce hospital and
morgue records, graves, many families with missing members across all
age groups (not only military-age males gone off to camp), many survivors
suffering permanent brain damage, etc. All of this would need to be
falsified. This would not be impossible, but it would be difficult and
unlikely to hold up to scrutiny. Syria is a place where it would be
difficult for that scrutiny to meet the evidence, and Middle East
diplomacy is an area where honest scrutiny is in short supply.
My thoughts: as opposed to last time,
I have no information. It sure looks like an attack took place and
signs point to Syrian regime responsibility, but these signs all
come from the pro-war media. As for whether this justifies a war (if true),
the question is more complicated than it seems. Syria can claim that a
chemical weapons attack is justified by the previous use of chemical weapons
and acts of genocide by the Muslim Brotherhood.
From the rumour mill:
- A report from Yahya Ababneh blames the attack on the Saudis,
allegedly citing locals from the area. There are enough details
to warrant scrutiny, repeat as above. Knowing nothing, it's just as
easy to say he might have been rolled by Syrian/Iranian disinformation.
- There was a report that the NSA had intercepted Syrian central command
asking its officers in the field who the hell had ordered them to use
chemical weapons. I can't find the link.
- There are reports on right-wing blogs that Israeli intelligence intercepted
Bashir Assad personally ordering the attack. That would seal it if true,
but their sources are news articles that refer to Assad as a figurehead
in describing the attack as being conducted by his forces.
Update: The rumour mill churned out a new one. In two articles, Yossef Bodansky is calling the attack a false flag done by the Muslim Brotherhood. His claims are:
- A week before the attack, US, Turkish, and Qatari intelligence discussed an upcoming "war-changing development". Immediately following the attack, they would provide Muslim Brotherhood forces in the north of Syria with 400-1000 tons of weapons and ammunition.
- A few days before the attack, US and Jordanian intelligence sent a small army of 650 men into Syria from Jordan where they got bogged down and started begging for American air support.
- Two days before the attack, the local Muslim Brotherhood forces in al-Ghutah defected and appeared on state TV calling for the people to support Assad.
- After the attack, Syrian forces raided Jobar and found precursor chemicals for producing sarin along with gas masks and laboratory equipment.
I haven't made up my mind about Bodansky. He says a lot of things that cannot be verified from publicly available information, but that cannot be discredited either. He was certainly in a position to know such things twenty years ago when he was head of the Republican congressional delegation's task force on terrorism, and there's a good chance that he made enough connections to still be in a position to know these things.
The WSJ reports that the CIA has been refusing to arm the "Free Syrian Army" "rebels" because they're fucking al-Qaeda. If Bodansky is correct about the arms shipments beginning after the attack, then the WSJ's information is old and it shows that somebody ordered the floodgates be opened over the CIA's objections.
Update #2: Via mindstalk, German intelligence intercepted a phone call where a Hezbollah commander informed an Iranian contact that Assad had personally ordered the attack. The US claims to have a separate intercept of "a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21".
Update #3: Pierre Piccin da Prata claims he overheard Free Syrian Army soldiers taking responsibility for the attack while he was being held for ransom at a FSA base. He says he cannot release any more details of what he heard until a second witness, Domenico Quirico of La Stampa, goes through the "magistrate" in Italy, which sounds suspicious.
Side note: I find it interesting that Quirico was captured and held for ransom by the FSA almost immediately upon entering Syria under FSA protection, after he had previously been captured and released by anti-Ghadafi forces in Libya. It's almost as if the same people are calling the shots in both wars, and that payment of a ransom, bribe, or blackmail will result in a repeat of the demand. Who could have imagined? On a darker note, I wonder if certain people in Europe are arranging for their own underlings to get captured as a mechanism to justify funding al-Qaeda through ransom money, or if they're too dumb to understand what they're doing in paying the ransoms. It has the same effect.
Update #4: Signs point to Syrian responsibility in al-Ghutah gas attack