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      Whose Sarin?
      The U.S. is Using Chemical Weapons in Syria

      By Nita Palmer

      On April 7, the US Air Force pounded the Shayrat Air Base in Syria and surrounding communities with more than 60 Tomahawk missiles. This latest atrocity was in response to a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian government in the town of Khan Sheikhun on April 4.

      Whose Sarin is it, Anyway?

      The White House immediately blamed the Syrian government for the attack, claiming that their intelligence as well as “open-source reporting” and “pro-opposition social media” painted a “consistent story about what we think happened”.

      But nearly three weeks later, there is still not a shred of verifiable evidence that there was indeed a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. In fact, a group of more than two dozen former US intelligence analysts penned a letter to President Trump calling into question the so-called “evidence of this attack”, saying: “Our US Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.”

      Dr. Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an expert in ballistic missiles also released three reports analyzing the White House Intelligence Report which found the Syrian government responsible for the chemical attack. After a thorough analysis of the findings, he concluded that the report was “a clumsy and outright fabrication of a report which was certainly not supported by the intelligence community.”

      Furthermore, it is well-known that the Syrian government has no chemical weapons in its possession, as they were destroyed in 2014 under a UN mandate which was carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Destruction of the chemicals was carried out by the US military themselves.

      Indeed, if the US government was so confident that the Syrian military was responsible for this attack, why did their delegation - along with the delegations of several allies - block a proposal for an investigation into the incident by the OPCW?

      Perhaps it is because they fear an independent investigation would reveal an inconvenient and ugly truth: that it is the US-supported ‘rebels’, not the Syrian government, who possess sarin. The United Nations launched an investigation in 2013 after the US claimed that the Syrian government had then carried out a chemical weapons attack. The UN commission found no evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, but did find evidence they had been used by the ‘rebels’. At the time, UN mission leader Carla del Ponte said, "our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and... there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated... This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

      In 2012, CNN reported: “the United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday... [t]he training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.”

      In other words, the so-called ‘rebels’ – many of which are members or allies of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations - not only possess chemical weapons, but have been trained in their use and handling by the United States!

      ISIS is also known to possess chemical weapons – and use them widely. London-based intelligence group IHS Conflict Monitor reported last fall that ISIS had used chemical weapons at least 52 times in Iraq and Syria. Likely thousands of people have been killed or injured in these attacks, yet they have scarcely been reported on, or even acknowledged by the US government.

      Exactly what occurred in Khan Sheikhun on April 4 is still unclear – and will remain so as long as the US and their allies continue to block an investigation. However, what is clear is that the US, via their proxies in ISIS and other terrorist groups, who are in fact the ones using chemical weapons!

      Deception and Manipulation

      An overwhelming body of evidence and independent investigation shows that it is ISIS and the so-called ‘moderate rebels’, not the Syrian government, who have been using chemical weapons to attack civilians in Syria.

      Yet the US government is twisting the facts, covering up the truth, and lying outright in an attempt to deceive peace-loving people into supporting bombing and further intervention in Syria. Ridiculously, Trump tried to appeal to our humanity by crying crocodile tears over the ‘beautiful babies’ killed in this alleged chemical attack.

      But what about the beautiful babies and children killed in US air strikes in Syria? What about the 68 children in Aleppo who died horribly earlier this month after one of the US-supported ‘rebels’ lured them to his car with food before detonating a bomb? Do their lives matter less because they do not fit the US narrative of the ‘moderate rebels’ and the ‘brutal Syrian regime’?

      And what about the children who are starving or suffering without adequate medical care in a country which only a few years ago had one of the best health care systems in the Middle East? What about the children whose right to education has been stolen from them in this war? What about little Alan Kurdi, the toddler whose body was found on a Greek beach after drowning in his family’s attempt to flee the war? What about the thousands of other refugee children who have died like him in a desperate bid for safety?

      And beyond Syria, what of the children in Iraq – the thousands who have died in bombings and the thousands more who have been born with horrible, painful birth defects from the US’ use of radioactive weapons?

      What about the Afghan children, robbed of their entire childhood by the 16-year-long war?

      Do not try to deceive us with your appeals to our humanity, Mr. Trump. We know that you and your administration – just like the Obama administration before you – are cold-blooded killers. We know that you will turn your back on these children should they and their families dare to come to the US as refugees.

      We know your tactics are only meant to manipulate us, to try and deceive an American public and a world which is sick and tired of war into supporting yet another US military campaign.

      What is the US Goal in Syria

      The only objective that the US government cares about in Syria is their strategic goals for the region, which do not include protecting the lives of children or even stopping terrorism.

      In fact, a declassified US intelligence report from 2012 reveals that the US government both predicted and encouraged the rise of ISIS. According to the report, “… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” The report defines the “supporting powers to the opposition” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey”.

      The US and their allies – including Canada – have spent at least hundreds of millions training, arming, and funding these brutal terrorist organizations in Syria, whom they call “moderate rebels”. The rise of ISIS and dozens of other groups like them in Syria was not an accident or a mistake by the US, but part of a plan to create chaos and division in Syria and turn it into a failed state. The US government and capitalist class would rather have the brutal terrorists of ISIS tearing Syria apart than see the stable and secular Syrian government remain in control. They see the Syrian government and its ally, Iran, as threats to US interests in the region because of their example as independent countries who have made gains for their citizens without bowing to US control.

      The New Era of War and Occupation

      The US war via their terrorist proxies in Syria is just one more front in the new era of war and occupation which began following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre. The US along with their allies used this as their opportunity and justification for beginning a campaign of imperialist war and occupation to take control of or divide into chaos any country which stood independent of their control. As capitalism plunges into deeper and more frequent economic crises, imperialist countries such as the US, UK, Canada and others are trying to expand their control of resources and trade markets around the world to try and prevent total economic collapse and get an upper hand over rising global competitors such as Russia and China, which they see as threats to their political, military, and economic control of the world.

      Building the Antiwar Movement

      The United States government and their allies will not bring freedom or an end to terrorism in Syria – in fact, they are doing the exact opposite. The Syrian government is the only force in the country capable of putting an end to terrorism there. The future of their country must be left for the Syrian people and their government to decide – free from foreign intervention.

      Imperialist countries such as the US and Canada have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that they do not care one bit about human rights, human lives, or even about stopping terrorism. They do not defend poor and working people in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or even in their own countries. While they spend billions bombing countries and supporting terrorists abroad, health care, education, and infrastructure are crumbling and underfunded here at home.

      This new era of war and occupation threatens to destroy the lives of people the world over. It is necessary and urgent for peace-loving people to come together to build a strong, united and effective anti-war movement to put an end to imperialist war and intervention in Syria and beyond.

      Follow Nita Palmer on Twitter: @NGP1z0

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