Section : Politics - Syria
Breaking News Network - Agencies
A Washington scholar whose writings on Syria were touted by top U.S. officials in making the case for a military strike has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly lying about her education credentials.
The development comes after Elizabeth O'Bagy's credibility and objectivity had come under scrutiny over her work with a Syrian opposition advocacy group.
The institute, where she had worked as a senior analyst, on Wednesday posted a terse statement on its website claiming she also misled the organization about having a Ph.D.
"The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O'Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O'Bagy's employment, effective immediately," the statement said.
. O'Bagy said she had defended her dissertation at Georgetown, but was still waiting for the university to confer the degree.
A spokesman for Georgetown tells said that all they could confirm was O'Bagy had received her undergraduate degree and master's degree there, but she was not currently registered.
“Georgetown University confirms that Elizabeth O'Bagy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2009 and a Master of Arts degree in 2013," Rob Mathis of Georgetown's Office of Communications said. "At this time she is not a registered student.”
Georgetown records also show O'Bagy also studied abroad through American University in Cairo.
During discussions about military action in Syria last month, O'Bagy wrote an influential piece in The Wall Street Journal that was used to push for punishing the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons.
The Aug. 30 piece disputed claims that the opposition is heavily populated by extremist factions. "Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al Qaeda die-hards," she wrote, while calling for a "comprehensive strategy" to destroy Syrian military capability and boost the opposition.
Both Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Secretary of State John Kerry cited her article during congressional hearings. McCain read from the piece, describing it as an "important op-ed by Dr. Elizabeth O'Bagy." Kerry cited it the next day while appearing before a House committee, urging lawmakers to read it.
But questions were soon raised about O'Bagy's connection with a group called the Syrian Emergency Task Force. The Journal, after the op-ed was first published, included a clarification noting she is "affiliated" with that group, and that the organization subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments "to provide aid to the Syrian opposition."
O'Bagy also appeared several times to discuss Syria on Fox News, CNN, NPR and other media outlets.
O'Bagy, in an interview last week on Fox News, claimed she is not an employee of the task force, and is not a lobbyist. She said she works with them as an independent contractor, and her contract fee comes through U.S. government contracts.
She also defended herself on Twitter, claiming she is "not paid to advocate" the view that the U.S. should get involved in Syria.
"I have never tried to hide my affiliate with the Syrian Emergency Task Force," she wrote, claiming she works not as a lobbyist but a research consultant on "humanitarian aid & civil governance contracts."
Indeed, an article she co-wrote on Syria that was published by The Atlantic in June did include a line acknowledging her ties with the Syrian Emergency Task Force.
Her Twitter page, though, identifies her only as "Syria Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War."
Work for the task force also was omitted from the bio that previously appeared on the website for the Institute for the Study of War. O'Bagy was listed as having issued "major reports" on the Syrian opposition. The bio said she "traveled extensively to the region to gain perspective on the situation."
The bio said she had received her Master's and Ph.D. in Arab Studies and Political Science at Georgetown. It said she also had a bachelor's in Arabic and Arab Studies from the same university.
WND: U.S. MILITARY CONFIRMS REBELS HAD SARIN
Section : Politics - Syria
Breaking News Network - Newspapers
WND, an online US newspaper says that classified documents shows deadly weapon found in home of arrested Islamists.
The newspaper argues that evidences indicate that opposition fighters were responsible for the chemical gas attack. The newspaper supports its claims with accounts taken from parts of Obama administration saying that the chemical weapons were used by “rebels,” not by the Syrian government.
The newspaper also talks about the site of the “kitchen” were the chemicals had been “cooked”.
The newspaper’s article goes:
As part of the Obama administration’s repeated insistence – though without offering proof – that the recent sarin gas attack near Damascus was the work of the Syrian regime, the administration has downplayed or denied the possibility that al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels could produce deadly chemical weapons.
However, in a classified document just obtained by WND, the U.S. military confirms that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the extremist rebel groups fighting in Syria.
The document says sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military soldiers in Aleppo.
The document, classified Secret/Noforn – “Not for foreign distribution” – came from the U.S. intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center, or NGIC, and was made available to WND Tuesday.
It revealed that AQI had produced a “bench-scale” form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey.
A U.S. military source said there were a number of interrogations as well as some clan reports as part of what the document said were “50 general indicators to monitor progress and characterize the state of the ANF/AQI-associated Sarin chemical warfare agent developing effort.”
“This (document) depicts our assessment of the status of effort at its peak – primarily research and procurement activities – when disrupted in late May 2013 with the arrest of several key individuals in Iraq and Turkey,” the document said.
“Future reporting of indicators not previously observed would suggest that the effort continues to advance despite the arrests,” the NGIC document said.
The May 2013 seizure occurred when Turkish security forces discovered a two-kilogram cylinder with sarin gas while searching homes of Syrian militants from the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Front following their initial detention.
The sarin gas was found in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamic radicals detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersia.
Some 12 suspected members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested. At the time, they were described by Turkish special anti-terror forces as the “most aggressive and successful arm” of the Syrian rebels.
In the seizure, Turkish anti-terror police also found a cache of weapons, documents and digital data.
At the time of the arrest, the Russians called for a thorough investigation of the detained Syrian militants found in possession of sarin gas.
This seizure followed a chemical weapons attack in March on the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo, Syria. In that attack, some 26 people and Syrian government forces were killed by what was determined to be sarin gas, delivered by a rocket attack.
The Syrian government called for an investigation by the United Nations. Damascus claimed al-Qaida fighters were behind the attack, also alleging that Turkey was involved.
“The rocket came from a place controlled by the terrorists and which is located close to the Turkish territory,” according to a statement from Damascus. “One can assume that the weapon came from Turkey.”
The report of the U.S. intelligence community’s NGIC reinforces a preliminary U.N. investigation of the attack in Aleppo which said the evidence pointed to Syrian rebels.
It also appears to bolster allegations in a 100-page report on an investigation turned over to the U.N. by Russia. The report concluded the Syrian rebels – not the Syrian government – had used the nerve agent sarin in the March chemical weapons attack in Aleppo.
While the contents of the report have yet to be released, sources tell WND the documentation indicates that deadly sarin poison gas was manufactured in specific area in Iraq and then transported to Turkey for use by the Syrian opposition, whose ranks have swelled with members of al-Qaida and affiliated groups.
The documentation that the U.N. received from the Russians indicated specifically that the sarin gas was supplied to foreign fighters by a Saddam-era general.
The sarin nerve gas used in the Allepo attack, sources say, had been prepared by former Iraqi Military Industries Brigadier. It then was supplied to al-Nusra Front in Aleppo, with Turkey’s cooperation, through the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province.
The source who brought out the documentation now in the hands of the U.N. is said to have been an aide to the Iraqi brigadier.
The NGIC depiction of the variety of sarin as “bench-scale” reinforces an analysis by terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky, who said the recent findings on the chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21 on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, was “indeed a self-inflicted attack” by the Syrian opposition to provoke U.S. and military intervention in Syria.
Bodansky, a former director of the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, said a preliminary analysis of the sarin showed that it was of a “kitchen” variety and not military grade.
He questioned that the sarin was of a military variety, which accumulates around victims’ hair and loose clothing.
Because these molecules become detached and released with any movement, Bodansky said, “they would have thus killed or injured the first responders who touched the victims’ bodies without protective clothes … and masks.”
Various videos of the incident clearly show first responders going from patient to patient without protective clothing administering first aid to the victims. There were no reports of casualties among the first responders.
“This strongly indicates that the agent in question was the slow acting ‘kitchen sarin,’” Bodansky said.
“Indeed, other descriptions of injuries treated by MSF (The French group Doctors Without Borders) – suffocation, foaming, vomiting and diarrhea – agree with the effects of diluted, late-action drops of liquefied Sarin,” he said.
The terrorism expert said that the jihadist movement has technologies which have been confirmed in captured jihadist labs in both Turkey and Iraq, as well as from the wealth of data recovered from al-Qaida in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002.
He added that the projectiles shown by the opposition, which were tested by U.N. inspectors, are not standard weapons of the Syrian army.
Meanwhile, an Italian former journalist and a Belgian researcher who were recently freed from their al-Nusra captives say they overheard their captors talking about their involvement in a deadly chemical attack “last month,” which would have been the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack.
The Italian, Domenico Quirico, and Belgian researcher Pierre Piccinin were released Monday after five months of captivity.
“The government of Bashar al-Assad did not use Sarin gas or other types of gas in the outskirts of Damascus,” Piccinin said.
While captive, Piccinin said the two had overheard a Skype conversation in English among three people.
“The conversation was based on real facts,” said Quirico, claiming one of the three people in the alleged conversation identified himself as a Free Syrian Army general.
He added that the militants said the rebels carried out the attack as a provocation to force the West to intervene militarily to oust the Syrian regime.
Both men told a news conference they had no access to the outside world while they were held captive and knew nothing about the use of chemical weapons until they heard the discussion on Skype.
Now, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, Ray McGovern, similarly backs the claim that the Syrian rebels perpetrated the poison gas attack on Aug. 21
McGovern was one of a number of veteran intelligence professionals who recently signed a letter to Obama saying that Damascus wasn’t behind the Aug. 21 chemical attack.
As WND recently reported, former U.S. intelligence analysts claim current intelligence analysts have told them the Syrian government was not responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack, saying there was a “growing body of evidence” that reveals the incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition.
The analysts, in an open letter to Obama, referred to a meeting a week before the Aug. 21 incident in which opposition military commanders ordered preparations for an “imminent escalation” due to a “war-changing development” that would be followed by the U.S.-led bombing of Syria. They said the growing body of evidence came mostly from sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters.
Those reports, they said, revealed that canisters containing chemical agents were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened.
“Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army and their foreign sponsors,” the analysts said.
The VIPS memo to Obama reinforces separate videos, which show foreign fighters associated with the Syrian opposition firing artillery canisters of poison gas. One video shows Nadee Baloosh, a member of an al-Qaida-affiliated group Rioyadh al-Abdeen, admitting to the use of chemical weapons.
In the video clip, al-Abdeen, who is in the Latakia area of Syria, said his forces used “chemicals which produce lethal and deadly gases that I possess.
A Syrian opponent uncovers documents prove the relation between US and al-Nusra Front.
Breaking News Network- Agencies
The head of the “Opposition Coordination Committee” in the Haitham Manaa has revealed that he has evidences, which prove the relation between US administration and the armed men of “Ahrar al-Sham” and al-Nusra Front.”
Manaa said in a declaration to RT that “the mediator between the Syrian community and the White House is a group of people who have mortgaged themselves to the West not to serve the democratic transition in Syria.
He adds that the situation in Syria is complicated and what worsen it is the lack of resolution of the U.S. administration because of the local and regional alliances.
US, al-Qaeda: From enemies to allies
Breaking News - Agencies
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, reports have been repeatedly published about the presence of al-Qaeda groups such as al-Nusra Front and other Takfiri groups in the Arab country.
Two years after the beginning of the crisis in Syria, Americans and people of other nationalities face an important question; what is the difference between the al-Qaeda of 2001 and that of 2011? Why did the US form a coalition against al-Qaeda in 2001 and why is it now trying to form a coalition to help al-Qaeda?
What is the reason for the paradox in US policies with regards to al-Qaeda and how much truth is there to what Western media says about the nature of al-Qaeda? Why did al-Qaeda end up in Syria and what is it looking for? These are questions which require answers because of the possibility of a military attack against the country as well the escalation in anti-Syria war rhetoric.
In 2001 the US announced al-Qaeda as the perpetrator of the September 11 terrorist attack in New York City. In the next step al-Qaeda became known as the symbol of terrorism and Washington’s plan for the so-called war on terror was ready for implementation. At the time many world countries and even the UN agreed the terrorism must be eradicated.
To answer this question one must first take a look at the formation of this group and its supporters. Al-Qaeda is a group which was formed in the 4th decade of the twentieth century with the financial support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the military support of the US to block the influence of Soviet Russia and in a bid to control communism.
The group continued its existence until the disintegration of the Soviet Russia. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, al-Qaeda is the child of a mutual effort by the CIA and the KSA intelligence agency in the 1980s.
Following the disintegration of soviet Russia, the rise to power of Taliban in Afghanistan and the radical behavior of this group toward the followers of other religions, public opinion was provoked.
US officials had a few meetings with al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama Bin Laden, in order to bring the group under their control, but the meetings were mostly unsuccessful as the group was uncontrollable due to having lots of wealth and weapons. The September 11 scenario was the only way that the US could control this group.
The US seemed damaged at the time and a group called al-Qaeda had attacked the country. The situation at the time prepared the ground for forming a coalition against the al-Qaeda and ultimately the US attacked Afghanistan.
Iraq was also targeted for financially supporting the al-Qaeda and having weapons of mass destruction. But to balance the power between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq the group commits its atrocities and murders under the name of the Islamic State of Iraq.
The continuation of violence in Iraq is a scenario designed by the US to counter the increasing power of Shia Muslims and the tool to carry out this is al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the country, although they pretend to disavow the US.
In 2011, dissatisfaction became evident among some Syrian Sunni communities in Aleppo and Homs and after some Syrian army officer’s treated some Sunni sheikhs US attention was drawn to Syria.
The US is currently in a position in which it can use provoking Syrians to overthrow Bashar Assad’s unfriendly government. But opposition in Syria is for a small part of the society and very soon the US realizes it cannot overthrow Bashar from inside Syria.
From May 2011 when Takfiri groups linked to al-Qaeda began entering Syria in groups or individually from the Turkish, Jordanian and Israeli borders. These individuals formed militant groups. Two of these groups including the Al-Nusra Front officially announced their affiliation to al-Qaeda. Despite this, US media and the media belonging to US allies try to portray these individuals as a part of the Syrian nation rebelling against the central government. However, gradually, reports by research institutions belonging to these countries began to emerge, showing that the majority of militants in Syria are foreign nationals.
The foreign-backed militants affiliated to al-Qaeda in Syria carry out all sorts of terrorist acts including massacring children, women, and mutilating corpses. But it appears that this time not only the international community has become deaf and blind but the US seeks also to form a coalition to assist terrorism.
This is while certain militant commanders in Syria are Turkish and Jordanian officers and some terrorists have been trained by the US in Jordan. KSA and Qatar continue to financially support militants and aid has been sent by Israel for these militants as well. In reality, the US for various reasons has decided to overthrow the Syrian government at any cost even at the cost of its credibility.
It now appears that one can understand the scenarios about Osama bin Laden’s killing. Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, has been killed and his followers are being persecuted in Yemen and Mali. But now, the ‘good’ al-Qaeda has been formed in line with US colonialist objectives. The US is even willing to support this “good al-Qaeda” at the expense of the credibility of the UN and UNSC and even its own Congress.
Currently it is not important for the US that militants are destroying churches and monasteries in Syria and setting fire to Christian homes and executing them. For them, at present, the fall of Bashar is more important than everything else.
Therefore, one can say that like the CIA, al-Qaeda is one of the US tools used to execute its demands across the world.
Whenever the White House wants, this group emerges in a country and Western governments under the pretext of supporting that country in countering al-Qaeda (like what happened in Afghanistan and Mali) or under the pretext of supporting al-Qaeda against the central government (like what’s happening in Syria at present), meddle in that country.
What is most important and should be taken into consideration is the level of consciousness of the international community about the US manipulation. It appears that this time the people of the world have not believed US claims about Syria, but also at a higher level, US Congressmen are also looking at the matter with doubt.
Elizabeth O'Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War
I heard this woman interviewed on NPR just a couple of days ago.
I heard this woman interviewed on NPR just a couple of days ago.
I just KNEW she was lying and full of digested canine dog food, the authenticity of her alleged 'expertise' came off as that of an eight year old pontificating on the historical significance of the SALT talks
“I will bring just one Sarin…Sarin gas,” says FSA jihadist rebel
In this video, two Syrian (Muslim Brotherhood/al-Qaeda linked) rebels can be heard coordinating a Sarin gas attack on a nearby building. As smoke billows a short distance from the building, a rebel on the ground can be heard directing someone – presumably at launch site to change his direction.
Shoebat Recent news of a chemical weapons attack in Syria smacks of desperation. The question comes down to who is most desperate right now, the Assad regime or the Muslim Brotherhood rebels? Consider that since June, Assad’s forces have been winning. According to a CBS News report from last month, victories for the rebels had become “increasingly rare” and that the Muslim Brotherhood-backed opposition fighters were sustaining “some of their heaviest losses” near Damascus.
FSA rebel jihadists loading what appears to be a chemical weapon
Even before Assad’s forces gained winning momentum, a UN official reportedly found evidence of rebels using chemical weapons but no evidence Assad’s regime did. This, from a Washington Times article by Shaun Waterman dated May 6, 2013:
Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.
Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.
But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed
The Syrian army discovered a storehouse belonging to rebels in the Damascus area of Jobar, where toxic chemical substances, including chlorine, have been produced and kept.
It’s significant to consider that the rebels were reportedly using chemical weapons at a time when Assad was more desperate than he is now. Again, why would Assad use chemical weapons now and not then? Who is more desperate at this point in the conflict? The answer is, the Muslim Brotherhood rebels, who have no problem killing themselves (or their own) if the cause of Islam is moved forward.
In June, testimony from a UN Panel implicated Syrian Rebels, NOT the Assad regime, for staging chemical weapons attacks, using Sarin gas.
UN Panel implicates Syrian Rebels in Chemical weapons attacks