Accuracy in Media

In his interview with Charlie Rose, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said there was “not a single shred of evidence” that his regime used chemical weapons. During his Tuesday night speech to the nation, Obama offered none. As the Associated Press noted, “President Barack Obama voiced his conviction Tuesday night that Syrian President Bashar Assad was to blame for deadly chemical attacks against civilians, but again he offered no proof.”

Assad said the Obama Administration “doesn’t have” the evidence. “If they had it, they would have presented it to you as media from the first day,” he said.

Jake Tapper on CNN said, “I don’t like agreeing with Assad, but he’s right. The American people have seen no evidence tying the chemical weapons attack directly to Assad.”

Charlie Rose said to Assad: “…some have suggested that it [U.S. military strikes] might tip the balance in the favor of the rebels and lead to the overthrow of your government.” Assad replied, “Exactly. Any strike will be as direct support to al-Qaeda offshoot that’s called al-Nusra, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. You’re right about this. It’s going to be direct support.”

Obama acknowledged on Tuesday that, “It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists,” but went on to claim that “…al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.”

He was careful not to explicitly admit that these “extremists” include al Qaeda and that his policy was designed to benefit them.

A new report, “Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment,” points out that al Qaeda in Syria “is focused on overthrowing the Assad regime” and that it is “able to garner considerable support from Syria’s Sunni population…” It is not motivated by alleged chemical weapons attacks and a “chaotic” situation in the country, as Obama claimed.

In fact, investigative journalist Ken Timmerman reports that the evidence actually shows the rebels were behind the attacks. He says, “…intelligence reports from French and Jordanian military intelligence show that the jihadist al-Nusra front rebels acquired similar rockets and chemical agents earlier this year when they overran a chemical weapons depot in Aleppo on May 17 and captured a rocket unit in Daraa not long afterward, sources privy to the intelligence tell me.”

He adds, “Those intelligence reports concluded there was a strong likelihood the rebels had carried out the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attacks either deliberately or by accident.”

Former CIA officer Larry Johnson reports, “My friends in the CIA are still around and they are now warning me that both the United States and the United Kingdom know that Bashar Assad is not responsible for the incident on 21 August that killed and maimed Syrian civilians. While it is true that a chemical of some sort caused the fatalities and injuries, it was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military quality chemical weapons from the Syrian arsenal. The CIA knows that this is the case yet, with John Brennan at the head of the Agency, is deliberately lying and misleading members of Congress, the media and the public.”

Obama said on Tuesday, “So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.”

But since the War Powers Act actually prohibits military action unless there is a direct or imminent threat to the U.S., Obama does not have the authority he claims.

Obama had previously told PBS, in regard to justifying a military strike on Syria, that chemical weapons “can have devastating effects [which] could be directed at us. And we want to make sure that that does not happen.”

On Tuesday, however, Obama did not raise that concern. Instead, he said: “The Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day.” 

Obama also said on Tuesday that “The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.” The implication was that Obama’s threats forced the Syrians to make that admission.

In fact, Syria admitted having these weapons over a year ago, and pledged not to use them in the civil war. Syria’s then-Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters, “Any stock of WMD or unconventional weapons that the Syrian Army possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, under any circumstances.”

Obama isn’t the only liar in this unfolding debacle. The rebels are also spewing out disinformation.

On Monday night Najib Ghadban, a representative of the National Coalition Of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, appeared on The Lead with Jake Tapper and claimed that 120,000 Syrians have been “killed by this regime.” In fact, 43 percent of the fatalities are said to be pro-government combatants.

Tapper said Ghadban “meets regularly with the White House, National Security Council and State Department.” He is an associate professor of political science and Middle East studies at the University of Arkansas. His bio says, “He has contributed political commentaries to several U.S., European, and Middle East media outlets, including Al Jazeera.”

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  • HolyCowRUKiddingme

    Putin too

    Pretty sad – isn’t it?

  • Acushla

    There is now plenty of evidence that Obama knew the truth about the rebels causing the sarin gas. But he is supporting the rebels killing Christians by giving them arms.

  • Richard Hellstrom

    it’s an open and well documented U.S. policy to destroy the government in Syria and theirs no reason not to believe America is responsible for all the destruction and murder inside Syria ! The evidence is over whelming and our government should be forced to pay Syria damages and remove it’s Al Qaeda forces back to Iraq ! It has previously been reported that members of the al-Nusra front were caught with sarin nerve gas in Turkey – and this has been echoed by Syrian state media. Dale Gavlak, an independent journalist, has reported a belief that nerve agents used in Ghouta were supplied by Saudi Arabia. Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate, besides Iraq.Syria still controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean. So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources. Much of the strategy currently at play was candidly described in a 2008 US Army-funded RAND report, Unfolding the Future of the Long War (pdf).

  • Newtothis

    This is the first time I’ve been to this site. I was drawn by the notion of Accuracy in Media, and the first thing I see is this headline – an opinion. The text proceeds to quote other reporters. Oops – wrong site…