President Obama Decides US to Take Military Action on Syria – Statement 8/31/2013
In his Speech, Obama Decides on Syria Attack: We are the USA, we can not and must not turn a blind eye on the massacre of countless civilians in Damascus. “We cannot raise children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say.” President Obama delivers a statement on Syria from the Rose Garden at the White House (preceded by the media commentary):
The chemical weapons experts were working to determine what occurred in the apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, which U.S. intelligence reports say left 1,429 people dead, including 426 children.
Russia has criticized Western nations for jumping to conclusions over the attack, however, with President Vladimir Putin saying on Saturday that it was “utter nonsense” to believe that the Syrian government would use chemical weapons on its own people at the same time as UN weapons inspectors were in the country. […]
Russia has warned that Washington’s apparent plans for military intervention in Syria would only serve to increase the violence now gripping the country.
“Any unilateral use of force without the authorization of the UN Security Council, no matter how ‘limited’ it is, will be a clear violation of international law, will undermine prospects for a political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Syria and will lead to a new round of confrontation and new casualties,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said. There was a lack of proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he added. [ Source >> ]
- Syria urges UN to prevent ‘US-led foreign aggression’>>
- Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria
- Putin Orders Massive Strike Against Saudi Arabia If West Attacks Syria
Former President Jimmy Carter said last Friday:
“A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war,” he wrote in a statement. “It will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence.”
Death from use of banned chemical weapon attack or a missile attack is still DEATH.
Perhaps it would make more sense to ban all weapons?
NEW: President Obama Addresses the Nation on Syria
We should have an undeniable proof of who was responsible for the chemical weapons attack before considering any war against Syria (unless this fits a hidden agenda of the ruling elite). Are there any countries who push for war with Syria and Iran??? Who is supplying money and weapons to the Syrian Rebels?
General Wesley Clark (Retired) reveals 2001 USA war plan to invade Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran … It seems this plan is unfolding with prophetic precision…
ARE THEY LYING TO US AGAIN?
by Doug Krieger, THE TRIBNET
Here we are again. WMD – Weapons of Mass Destruction…instead of Colin Powell, we’ve got John Kerry doing the honors – but his tearful drama far exceeds Colin’s rather steril UN presentation. No doubt 1500 were killed by some serious lethal gas in Syria…and now the World’s Policeman, after numerous gas attacks, decides it’s time to acknowledge: Someone crossed my red line. Go figure: The anti-war cabal of Obama-Kerry-Reed-Pelosi et al have suddenly become overnight hawks? Where’s Chris Matthews when you need him? Oh, we know, he’s over at the Reagan Library doing a book signing of his mythical text: Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.
Don’t you feel like Bagdad Bob is alive and well these days? Somehow we’re leading from behind until no behind is left! Could it be that the articles read hereunder represent the real news behind the news? If so, that would mean that someone’s lying to us AGAIN! What is it about America – “Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings … which sends ambassadors by sea … to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide” (Isaiah 18 excerpts) … sandwiched between the Oracle of Damascus rapidly becoming a RUINOUS HEAP – Isaiah 17 and the Oracle of Egypt – where “I will set Egyptians against Egyptians” in Isaiah 19 and between them there is this “mystery nation…terrible from their beginning onward” although they humbly deny they ever were terrible (Isaiah 18); after all, weren’t we always this God-fearing, righteous beacon of light to the nations of the world?
What if this whole charade is naught but an attempt to pull Israel into a major altercation with Syria, Hezbollah, Iran as a final wrap up to the Arab-Israeli conflict in earnest since 1948 with its six major blow-ups: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006 and now this? Sure, Israeli intelligence will carry the day to figure out where the WMD are found or moved … Bashar al-Assad goes totally insane (rather than partially insane) and starts firing away at Israel via any number of proxies and denying he has anything to do with it, after 110,000 dead and millions displaced and half his country in shambles. It doesn’t take a geopolitical genius to figure out TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES – the likelihood of things getting out of control (which they already are) is 99.9999% the case.
Listen, going in for a surgical two-day strike to spank the “Screwball of Syria” is about as useful as watering weeds in hopes wild flowers will bloom. Even the Brits are clear this is a loser – and, the French are still trying to figure out how to be relevant in Africa and the Middle East; besides, Syria was always French; sort of.
No, this is no two-day spanking excursion. Action creates reaction and suddenly things get out of hand real fast…but is this what the “powers that be” want right about now…nothing like keeping the ‘ole military-industrial complex rockin’ and rollin’ – nothing like it…and it’s so much more self-righteous when it comes from the Left of the political spectrum, isn’t it?
We just want you folks to read these documents out loud in your brain and try to put 2 and 2 together somehow. If you don’t know they’re lying to us again, you’ll never know. The craziest things happen when people go ignorant – and don’t think that can’t happen – a whole generation of communists and fascists fell for some blatant lies, really did.
We Americans have been lied to so many times that if the truth stared us in the face – politically – militarily – economically – religiously – we’d think it was the lie! Remember, when Jesus talked about the End of the World on the Mount of Olives He was big on watching out for DECEPTION!
A whole generation has been taught I DID IT MY WAY – DO WHAT THOU WILT – DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO – WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT and look at the mess were in…but we call it freedom of expression and other supercilious claptrap. Since we’ve lost our moral compass in any event – WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
There’s really no right or wrong, good or evil – just be your own god – BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE – FOLLOW YOUR HEART…then again: THE HEART IS DECEITFUL AND DESPERATELY WICKED ABOVE ALL THINGS, WHO CAN KNOW IT? And so, dear friends, the Tribnet would be remiss if we didn’t expose you to the news behind the news … but, you know, we’re just little cogs in this huge wheel … notwithstanding, the truth has to begin somewhere … thus, as watchmen on the wall, we feel the truth is out there and will win out on that Day….
WHOOPS – HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS!
Militants tell AP reporter they mishandled Saudi-supplied chemical weapons, causing accident – Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com – August 30, 2013
Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak. (back up version here).
Rebels told Gavlak that they were not properly trained on how to handle the chemical weapons or even told what they were. It appears as though the weapons were initially supposed to be given to the Al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” one militant named ‘J’ told Gavlak.
His claims are echoed by another female fighter named ‘K’, who told Gavlak, “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them. We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of an opposition rebel, also told Gavlak, “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” describing them as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.” The father names the Saudi militant who provided the weapons as Abu Ayesha.
According to Abdel-Moneim, the weapons exploded inside a tunnel, killing 12 rebels.
“More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government,” writes Gavlak.
If accurate, this story could completely derail the United States’ rush to attack Syria which has been founded on the “undeniable” justification that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack. Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) and written articles for BBC News.
The website on which the story originally appeared – Mint Press (which is currently down as a result of huge traffic it is attracting to the article) is a legitimate media organization based in Minnesota. The Minnesota Post did a profile on them last year.
Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in providing rebels, whom they have vehemently backed at every turn, with chemical weapons, is no surprise given the revelations earlier this week that the Saudis threatened Russia with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi unless they abandoned support for the Syrian President.
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Prince Bandar allegedly told Vladimir Putin, the Telegraph reports.
The Obama administration is set to present its intelligence findings today in an effort [to] prove that Assad’s forces were behind last week’s attack, despite American officials admitting to the New York Times that there is no “smoking gun” that directly links President Assad to the attack.
US intelligence officials also told the Associated Press that the intelligence proving Assad’s culpability is “no slam dunk.”
As we reported earlier this week, intercepted intelligence revealed that the Syrian Defense Ministry was making “panicked” phone calls to Syria’s chemical weapons department demanding answers in the hours after the attack, suggesting that it was not ordered by Assad’s forces.
UPDATE: Associated Press contacted us to confirm that Dave Gavlak is an AP correspondent, but that her story was not published under the banner of the Associated Press. We didn’t claim this was the case, we merely pointed to Gavlak’s credentials to stress that she is a credible source, being not only an AP correspondent, but also having written for PBS, BBC and Salon.com. […]
PS1 Rhetoric of War
It seems this plan is unfolding with prophetic precision…
Operation Iraqi Freedom
On this day in 2003, the United States began Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the campaign unfolded, tens and thousands of our troops poured across the Iraqi border to liberate the Iraqi people and remove a regime that threatened free nations.
Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting; whether the fight is worth winning; and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me: Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision, and this is a fight America can and must win.
The men and women who crossed into Iraq 5 years ago removed a tyrant, liberated a country, and rescued millions from unspeakable horrors.
— George W. Bush, Remarks on the War on Terror (March 19, 2008)
The “Price Tag” of this “Operation”
War on Terror: Afghanistan and Iraq Wars
Total US Dead & Wounded: 57,614
On September 14, 2007, ORB (Opinion Research Business), an independent UK based polling agency, published an estimate of the total casualties of the Iraq war. The figure suggested by ORB, which was based on survey responses from 1,499 adults, stands at 1,220,580 deaths, with a margin of error of 2.5%. This estimate, although conducted independently, and using a different polling methodology, is consistent with the Lancet findings if accounting for the additional 14 months covered by the ORB poll. On 28 January 2008, ORB published an update based on additional work carried out in rural areas of Iraq. Some 600 additional interviews were undertaken and as a result of this the death estimate was revised to 1,033,000 with a given range of 946,000 to 1,120,000.
The War in Afghanistan (2001–present) has caused the deaths of thousands (estimated as 16,725 – 19, 013) of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, and crime resulting from the war. The war, launched by the United States as “Operation Enduring Freedom” in 2001, began with an initial air campaign that almost immediately prompted concerns over the number of Afghan civilians being killed as well as international protests. With civilian deaths from airstrikes rising again in recent years, the number of Afghan civilians being killed by foreign military operations has led to mounting tension between the foreign countries and the government of Afghanistan.
Financial Cost of War is a real-time cost estimation counter for the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War maintained by the National Priorities Project. As of June 1, 2010 both wars had a combined estimated cost of over 1 trillion dollars, separately the Iraq War had an estimated cost of 725 billion dollars and the Afghanistan War had an estimated cost of 275 billion dollars. The number is based on US Congress appropriations and does not include “future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war”.
Remarks by the President Obama in Address to the Nation on Libya
Last month, Qaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Qaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Qaddafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of Qaddafi’s regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Qaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Qaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Qaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
— Remarks by the President Obama in Address to the Nation on Libya, March 28, 2011
Estimates of deaths in the Libyan civil war vary with figures from 2,500 to 25,000 given between March 2 and October 2, 2011. In the end, according to the numbers presented, a total of 14,572 to 18,873 deaths have been reported, of which some have not been independently confirmed. The opposition stated near the end of the war that 25,000 people had been killed and 4,000 had been reported as missing. [ — wikipedia]
President Obama Decides US to Take Military Action on Syria – Statement 8/31/2013
Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead. All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered. Several hundred of them were children — young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government. This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. […]
Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. […]
Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.
— President Obama Decides US to Take Military Action on Syria – Statement 8/31/2013
Unknown at this time – but certainly hundreds times greater then 1,500 people killed in gas attack by rebel forces (performed to justify the war on Syria).
This conflict could easily spark the WW3…
- General Wesley Clark (Retired) reveals 2001 USA war plan to invade Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran
PS2 US & Saudi Arabia
Below is part of the article: http://blog.world-mysteries.com/modern-world/oil-chess-game/
Google Maps – ©2013 Google
About Saudi Arabia
- The modern Saudi kingdom was founded by the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. — State.gov
- Saudi Arabia is the 14th largest country in the world covering around two million square kilometers and has a population of nearly 29 million. –Opec.org
- The politics of Saudi Arabia takes place in a framework of a particular form of absolute monarchy whereby the King of Saudi Arabia is both head of state and the head of government. –Paperbackswap.com
- The Basic Law adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the male descendants of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. –Wn.com
Saudi Arabia’s friendly history with America
- The United States recognized the government of King Ibn Saud in 1931, and two years later in 1933, Ibn Saud granted a concession to the U.S. company, Standard Oil of California, allowing them to explore for oil in the country’s Eastern Province, al-Hasa. –Saudi-arabia-united-states-relations.co
- The company gave the Saudi government £35,000 and also paid assorted rental fees and royal payments. –WN.com
- The special relationship with the United States actually dated to World War II. In 1943 the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the defense of Saudi Arabia was a vital interest to the United States and dispatched the first United States military mission to the kingdom. –Countrystudies
- In 1951, under a mutual defense agreement, the U.S. established a permanent U.S. Military Training Mission in the kingdom and agreed to provide training support in the use of weapons and other security-related services to the Saudi armed forces. –Pbs.org
- Saudi Arabia is a very important ally for the U.S. because they have a strong role in the region, the world’s largest oil reserves and a strategically important location. However, the U.S. is also an important ally for Saudi Arabia, because their military cooperation provides Saudi forces with training and the best weaponry. –Blogcritics.org
Vice President Dick Cheney walks with newly crowned King Abdullah, former President George H.W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a retreat at King Abdullah’s Farm in Riyadh. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, August, 2005.
U.S. President Bush smiles after receiving the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (C) at a palace in Riyadh January 14, 2008. REUTERS-Kevin Lamarque
US President George W. Bush, on his first visit to this oil-rich kingdom, delivered a major arms sale to a key ally in a region where the US casts neighboring Iran as a menace to stability. Bush’s talks with Saudi King Abdullah, which began over dinner and were continuing with late-night meetings, also were expected to cover peace between Israelis and Palestinians and democracy in the Middle East. Coinciding with Bush’s trip, the Bush administration in Washington notified Congress on Monday that it would offer Saudi Arabia the chance to buy sophisticated Joint Direct Attack Munitions – or “smart bomb” – technology and related equipment, the State Department said. The administration envisions the transfer of 900 of the precision-guided bomb kits, worth US$123 million, that would give the kingdom’s armed forces highly accurate targeting abilities. The proposed deal follows notification of five other packages to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, bringing to US$11.5 billion the amount of advanced US weaponry, including Patriot missiles, that the administration has announced it will provide to friendly Arab nations, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. Administration officials say the total amount of eventual sales as part of the Gulf Security Dialogue is estimated at $20 billion, a figure subject to actual purchases. The arms packages are an important part of the US strategy to bolster the defenses of oil-producing Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia, against threats from Iran.
Obama’s deep bow to the Saudi king
President Obama visit to Saudi Arabia.
Secret deals & the Saudi oil
- A significant portion of the millions of dollars U.S. companies and their politically influential executives have earned in deals with the Saudis has been through military contracts. –Commondreams.org
- The former U.S. president George Bush Sr. remains a senior adviser to the Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group. That influential investment bank has deep connections to the Saudi royal family as well as financial interests in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and train the Saudi military. –Federalobserver.com
- The Carlyle Group has also served as a paid adviser to the Saudi monarchy on the so-called “Economic Offset Program,” an arrangement that effectively requires U.S. arms manufacturers selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to give back a portion of their revenues in the form of contracts to Saudi businesses, most of whom are connected to the royal family. –Commondreams.org
- The Carlyle Group had a major stake in the large defense contractor B.D.M., which has multimillion-dollar contracts through its subsidiaries to train and manage the Saudi National Guard and the Saudi air force, U.S. Department of Defense records show. –Federalobserver.com
Saudi Arabia-U.S. arms deal
- In 2010, The Obama administration notified Congress of plans to offer advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to $60 billion, the largest U.S. arms deal ever, and about talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more. — Huffingtonpost.com
- The Wall Street Journal reported that the package would include 84 new Boeing F-15 fighter jets and upgrades to another 70 of them. It would also include three types of helicopters: 72 Black Hawk helicopters, 70 Apaches, and 36 Little Birds. In addition, U.S. officials are discussing a $30 billion package to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s naval forces. –Csmonitor.com
- Besides the new fighters for Saudi Arabia, the U.S. plans to upgrade an additional 70 of the kingdom’s existing F-15s. State Department and Pentagon officials told lawmakers the sales also will include 190 helicopters, as well as an array of missiles, bombs, delivery systems and accessories such as night-vision goggles and radar warning systems. — Cbsnews.com
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
– – –
- Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria
- Putin Orders Massive Strike Against Saudi Arabia If West Attacks Syria
- Lessons for Handling Iran From the Sad Saga of Iraq
- Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance
PS3 Unsolved Mystery of Anthrax Attacks
An Article from 14/3/02
In the wake of Sept 11th, the anthrax attacks caused panic throughout the States and around the world.
But has the FBI found the whole case too hot to handle?
A Newsnight investigation raised the possibility that there was a secret CIA project to investigate methods of sending anthrax through the mail which went madly out of control.
The shocking assertion is that a key member of the covert operation may have removed, refined and eventually posted weapons-grade anthrax which killed five people.
Our science editor Susan Watts reported from Washington.
America’s anthrax attack last autumn was second only to that on the Twin Towers in the degree of shock and anxiety it caused…Some even say the anthrax letters triggered sub-clinical hysteria in the American people…yet this, the first major act of biological terrorism the world has seen remains an unsolved crime…
Initially the investigation looked for a possible Al-Qaeda or Iraqi link, then to a domestic terrorist, then inwards to the US bio-defence programme itself. But in the last four or five weeks the investigation seems to have run into the sand…There have been several theories as to why …
Three weeks ago Dr Barbara Rosenberg – an acknowledged authority on US bio-defence – claimed the FBI is dragging its feet because an arrest would be embarrassing to the US authorities. Tonight on Newsnight, she goes further…suggesting there could have been a secret CIA field project to test the practicalities of sending anthrax through the mail – whose top scientist went badly off the rails…
DR BARBARA ROSENBERG:
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS:
Some very expert field person would have been given this job and it would have been left to him to decide exactly how to carry it out. The result might have been a project gone badly awry if he decided to use it for his own purposes and target the media and the senate for his own motives as not intended by the govt project…but this is a possibility that I think needs to be considered
And another leading bio-defence analyst has already sketched out a similar profile for the kind of person likely to be behind the anthrax attacks…
CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL & SECURITY STUDIES:
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND:
I would think it was somebody who had this kind of experience, and I think the word that I used for you was ‘a cowboy’ when we first spoke, that simply means in the United States someone who feels such bravura in his actions, he feels he’s a free actor, he can decide what should be done and what shouldn’t be done, and what the reason is.
In recent weeks, the focus of the investigation has been the US army medical research institute at Fort Detrick near Washington. Fort Detrick is the site at the centre of a web of military centres spread across the US and twilight private companies which work with these military sites hand-in-hand as contractors…
Colonel David Franz was in charge at Fort Detrick for eleven years – he’s had hands-on experience with biological agents and has his own ideas about the kind of person the FBI should be looking for.
COLONEL DAVID FRANZ:
FORMER DETRICK MEDICAL RESEARCH PROG, 1987-98:
It’s not someone who just got on the Internet or went to the library and got a book and held the book in one hand and a big wooden spoon in the other and stirred up batches. It’s someone who has spent a significant amount of time I believe working with a spore former of some kind and knew how to grow …and how to purify and how to dry
Inside accounts by former staff at Fort Detrick during the nineties reveal a research site in disarray with questionable security measures. We spoke to one former lab technician now working in Belize about unexplained night-time activities in the lab.
DR MARY BETH DOWNS:
ST MATTHEW’S UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE:
FORMER FORT DETRICK EMPLOYEE:
I came in developed my negatives and here they said anthrax and I looked at this little counter that would have been putting the sequential numbers on the film and there weren’t any films missing and yet I knew that Friday I had used it and it hadn’t said anthrax.
What did that suggest to you had been happening over the weekend?
That someone had been in there working on anthrax….Anyone who did have access to the labs was not monitored in what they did, either in what they did in the lab that is the amount of agent they were growing, or in what they did with that agent, that is if they put it in their pocket and took it home …
Such is the FBI’s determination to establish if Fort Detrick is at the heart of this that it has turned to genomic analysis of the powder itself…The Inst for Genomic Research was founded by Craig Venter – the man who sped up the decoding of the Human Genome… their anthrax team has created a DNA “fingerprint” of anthrax taken from the body of the first person to be killed – a Florida-based newspaper man. They’re looking for differences between this so-called Florida “strain” and stored samples from a number of US military sites.
This is the first time genomic analysis has been used for microbial forensics…Tim Read is one of the world’s leading authorities on the genetic make-up of anthrax . He compared the fingerprint of the Florida strain with that of samples originating at Fort Detrick. The results are not yet published – so he’s being careful what he says:
DR TIMOTHY READ:
THE INSTITUTE OF GENOMIC RESEARCH:
They’re definitely related to each other …closely related to each other
Could they be so closely related that one could consider them to be one and the same thing?
I’m not commenting on that…
But the real answer may lie not just in where the anthrax came from, but who had access to it. Veterans of the 1960s US germ warfare programme were the obvious first thought. Early on in the investigation, there was one name that immediately came to many people, but few dared whisper it aloud. William Capers Patrick the third was part of the original US programme, which officially drew to a close in the 1960s…The New York Times claimed last December he was the author in 1998 of a secret paper study on the possible effects of anthrax sent through the mail, although he now denies that. …
We went to see Bill Patrick to ask him if he might know the culprit…
Hello Susan Watts BBC
Patrick is an acknowledged showman…known for his startling demonstrations …some in less than classified company. During the course of our interview he told us several pieces of technical information which one expert said could help anyone intending to create an anthrax weapon.
WILLIAM CAPERS PATRICK III:
BIOLOGICAL WARFARE CONSULTANT:
I’ve prepared two harmless simulant powders… beautiful flow properties…
It’s clear from what Bill Patrick told us that he’s been a central figure in the bio-defence community for many years and that he may well have met or come across the person behind the attacks…
Most of my discussions about the biological problem has been in secure conferences and meetings, and involve people with need to know, with security clearance and what have you. I don’t talk about ‘how to’, I don’t get into ‘how to’ with many people, no people other than the fact that those who really have a need to know.
Does it nag at you in the back of your mind that possibly you do know him?
Possibly, possibly, I could have talked to these people. But it would have been within the context of their having a need to know.
He told me two FBI agents and an official from the attorney general’s office interviewed him for 3 and a half hours two weeks ago. He says they told him he had been a suspect, but left him believing he was in the clear.
And just to put on record can I ask you did you perpetrate these attacks..
my goodness I did not ….I did not…I’m an American patriot.
Patrick was on the UN team that inspected Iraqi weapons facilities in the mid 1990s, and he WAS surprised the FBI didn’t come to him straight after the attacks, simply because of his expertise. He acknowledges it was only logical to consider him a suspect, but for Patrick, the most likely explanation, or perhaps the most comfortable, is that the powder and the motive originated overseas – in some rogue state…
I would hate to think that anyone in our country.. that would do this to our own people, if we ever find whoever does this I hope it comes from overseas, because that way I would.. well I don’t want.. I want someone to be caught, I want the perpetrator to be caught, but I would rather think that it came from our enemies outside of our own country as opposed to our own people perpetrating this crime against our own
Bill Patrick is no longer seen as a suspect, but the net IS closing around someone at the heart of the US germ warfare programme.
We now know by piecing together information from well-placed sources that there’s another individual. He’s been interviewed by FBI agents, and remains under widespread suspicion…
But he’s no loner. He’s likely to have worked on a key government project in the past and to have a network of friends and colleagues he can rely on. The possibility that more than one person is involved may answer some of the perplexing geographical questions about where the attacks originated.
DR RONALD ATLAS:
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MICROBIOLOGISTS:
I think that the significance of focussing on a group is that you can have one person with the expertise to produce this weaponised anthrax and someone else to actually deliver it to Trenton. I think that a large part of the investigation early on focused on AN individual. As such we would ask the question, could that individual have gotten to New Jersey. If you begin to think that it could have involved two or more, then the alibi of an individual that I was not near New Jersey may in fact fall apart and you could look at someone else delivering it…
The private contractor companies linked to the military and jokingly referred to as “beltway bandits” because they’re sprinkled around the Washington beltway ring-road, is where individuals with the right mix of skills might be working. Some of these contractors are now known to have been involved in classified bio-defence projects. One of these secret projects, carried out in the Nevada desert, was part of a series of three In the first few days of September last year – immediately prior to the attacks of the 11th, the New York Times carried a major investigation which at any other time would have been a story of huge significance…It revealed three secret bio-defence projects at a time when the American people believed none was taking place. One – run by a contractor – Battelle – was to create genetically altered anthrax. The question now is – are there more such projects?
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND:
now we’ve discovered that the CIA is in this business too, though presumably only through contractors. But we don’t know how many contractors. One contractor is now publicly disclosed, Battelle, that did one of those projects. There may be other contractors, so there was this whole story has not been clarified publicly, so that’s the rest of your iceberg, in other words we don’t know how many contractors, we don’t know how many projects.
The 1998 paper study on anthrax in the mail was one secret project. Dr Rosenberg is making the astonishing suggestion that there may have been a deadly follow-up by somebody else. Last time she questioned the investigation, she was attacked by the FBI and the White House. But she says she’s prepared to speak out again because she’s so afraid of what might happen next.
DR BARBARA ROSENBERG:
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS:
This person is.. knows a lot about forensic matters, knows exactly what he can be prosecuted for and what he can get away with and I think he had some personal matters that he might have wanted to settle but I think in addition that he felt that biodefence was being under-emphasised for some time in the past
Rosenberg’s claims are astonishing but she’s an insider with good contacts. She thinks the FBI must act soon.
I think the time is rapidly coming when it will be very important to bring him to trial, even if they don’t think they have sufficient evidence. This might at least, if not result in a criminal conviction, make it possible to bring civil charges somewhat like what happened to OJ Simpson in the past. So I think it’s time to start moving because it’s very important from the point of view of deterrence of any possible future terrorist.
America’s desire to protect its biodefense programme from scrutiny at all costs was part of why it walked away from an international agreement to control biological weapons last summer. Could its near obsessive secrecy have come home to roost? breeding a climate that allowed one of its experts to take a step too far and turn bio-terrorist against his own?
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT WAS READ OUT AFTER THE BROADCAST : The CIA have told Newsnight they totally reject Dr Rosenberg’s theory and say they were unaware of ANY project to assess the impact of anthrax sent through the mail.
This transcript was produced from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight. It has been checked against the programme as broadcast, however Newsnight can accept no responsibility for any factual inaccuracies. We will be happy to correct serious errors.
Article Source: Unsolved Mystery of Anthrax Attacks (BBC News)