by Desmond Fernandes
In ‘Means of attack identified, but not motive” (Guardian, 30 August), it was reported that Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) attacks based its “conclusion that the Syrian regime was ‘highly likely’ to be responsible, … partly on precedent and the firm view that the opposition was not capable of carrying out attacks on this scale”.
JIC’s assessment, which was used by Cameron “to build the case for action” against the Syrian regime (‘Cameron forced to rule out British attack on Syria’, Guardian, 30 August), asserted that
“it is being claimed, including by the regime, that the attacks were either faked or undertaken by the Syrian Armed Opposition. We have tested this assertion using a wide range of intelligence and open sources, and invited HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) and outside experts to help us establish whether such a thing is possible. There is no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition. The JIC has therefore concluded that there are no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility”.
The JIC report appears to have cynically dismissed the following findings and conclusions. On 25 June 2013, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research stated:
“If we look at various media reports, including CNN but it is also acknowledged in Israeli media, the rebels, namely Al-Nusra, are in possession of chemical weapons but, moreover, it is acknowledged that western forces are actually training Al-Nusra rebels in Jordan and Turkey and this is confirmed by a December 9 CNN report. We had subsequently the report of the United Nations independent mission which confirms that rebel forces are in possession of sarin nerve gas and the United Nations human rights investigators actually made a statement to that effect … In fact, what they said is that the rebels were in possession of chemical weapons. Then, we also had a Turkish police report, which essentially confirmed these previous reports, the fact that the Al-Nusra terrorists who are supported by the Western military alliance, they were arrested with sarin gas in their possession” (‘Obama overtly supports al-Qaeda, provides terrorists with chemical weapons’, Global Research).
A 9 December 2012 CNN report confirmed that the Western military alliance had also sent in military contractors and special forces to train the rebels in chemical weapons related issues.
John Glaser also noted in an Antiwar.com article (‘US Defence contractors training Syrian rebels’, 10 December 2012) that
“the US decision to hire unaccountable defence contractors to train Syrian rebels to handle stockpiles of chemical weapons seems dangerously irresponsible in the extreme”.
As Chossudovsky concluded on 17 June 2013:
“Lets be under no illusion. This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation of chemical weapons. While president Obama accuses Bashar Al Assad, the US-NATO military alliance is channeling chemical weapons to Al-Nusra, a terrorist organisation on the State Department blacklist. In all likelihood, the training of Al-Nusra rebels in the use of chemical weapons was undertaken by private military contractors … The forbidden truth, which the Western media has failed to reveal, is that the US-NATO-Israel military alliance is not only supporting the Al-Nusra Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy ‘opposition’ rebel forces” (‘The Forbidden Truth: The US is Channeling Chemical Weapons to Al Qaeda in Syria, Obama is a Liar and a Terrorist’, Global Research).
Journalist Gearóid Ó Colmáin reported on 30 May 2013 that,
“in January 2013, Russian television station RT published leaked documents from British corporation Britam Defense, which revealed a plan by Qatar to deliver chemical weapons to Homs in Syria, with the aid of Britam Defense. The British company was to provide Ukrainian personnel to act as Russian military advisors in order to implicate the Russian government in the crime. The email suggested that the Qataris were providing ‘enormous’ amounts of money for the plan and that it was approved by Washington. The Japhat Al-Nusra terrorist organisation has not hidden its desire to gas the Alawite minority in Syria. A video was posted on U-tube on December 4 2012 showing terrorists testing chemical weapons on rabbits, while vowing to exterminate Alawite Syrians in a similar fashion” (‘Turkish Police find Chemical Weapons in the Possession of Al Nusra Terrorists heading for Syria’, Global Research).
Why was none of this mentioned or even acknowledged in the JIC report? Is Scotland Yard investigating allegations made about Britam Defense? Why did our PM publicly refrain from equally informing the House about the nature of these assessments, findings and concerns?
Desmond Fernandes is policy analyst and former Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University.