Chlorine and Iraq
Chlorine was first used as a chemical weapon by Germany on April 22, 1915 in the Second Battle of Ypres. It was pioneered by a German scientist later to be a Nobel laureate, Fritz Haber of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, in collaboration with the German chemical conglomerate IG Farben, who developed methods for discharging chlorine gas against an entrenched enemy.
Chlorine was quickly utilized by both sides as a chemical weapon, but was soon replaced by more deadly substances. It hasn't been used as a chemical weapon ever since because of its comparable ineffectiveness. Until recently, that is.
Recently there have been allegations that ISIS had used Chemical Weapons, that is, Chlorine, near Balad, north of Iraq. The article states that apparently ...
"... fighters for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, set off an explosive that unleashed a mass of yellow smoke that hung close to the ground, The Washington Post reported. The Post said that hospital officials who treated the men, as well as an unnamed Iraqi Defense Ministry official, confirmed the men’s suspicion that chlorine gas had been used against them. Eleven officers were made ill, though all survived."
The author cautiously continues:
Unconfirmed reports of improvised bombs made with chlorine gas and used by militants have arisen from time to time since the Islamic State began seizing territory in Iraq at the beginning of the year.
Mastery of the mighty Google would have allowed him to know that Islamists in Anbar Province actually have a record of having used chlorine in bombings throughout the first half of 2007.
A tragic consequence of these bombings in Iraq at the time was that, because of the use of chlorine spiked bombs, Jordan halted export of chlorine to Iraq in 2007. Chlorine is in Iraq essential for water purification. Probably because of that Iraq experienced a cholera outbreak in 2007.
"A lack of clean drinking water in Iraq in 2007 led to an outbreak of cholera. A total of 181 people were infected, with 10 deaths reported.
According to Dr. Ryadh Abdul Ameer, the director of the Basra health ministry, basic water sterilization became impossible in some places due to restrictions on the availability of chlorine for water sterilization."
Ghouta - Chemical weapons in Syria
On Ghouta, UN inspectors reported there was "overwhelming and indisputable" evidence that surface-to-surface rockets carried toxic Sarin gas in the August bombardment of the Damascus suburb of Ghouta which led to the deaths of 1,400 people. They did not say who was responsible for the attack. In fact, their mandate explicitly forbade them to address that point.
The initial images, spread over youtube and social media, offered a terrible sight:
The argument as made by US and western governments was that because Sarin was used it must have been Assad, because only he has the capability. In the words of Samanta Power "The regime possesses Sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses Sarin". Ergo: Assad did it. Case closed?
Nope. As Seymour Hersh reported in his article The rat line and the red line (which is quite worth to be (re-)read in full):
... British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal.
"We knew there were some in the Turkish government ... who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat."
The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’...
Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin.
That the 'down with Assad at any cost' crowd was so happy to immediately pin the Ghouta chemical incident on Assad so early and so eagerly, only underlines their complete indifference to actual facts and their singular emphasis of 'interpreting events to suit their narrative'.
The immediate finger pointing at Russia over MH17 indicates a similar pattern of behaviour. There is a name for what Kerry & Cie do here:
Incidents like the one in Ghouta or the shootdown of MH17, as atrocity propaganda are contemporary equivalents of the vile Boches impaling innocent if fictitious Belgian babies on their bayonets for fun, or while we're at it, Iraqis throwing babies out of incubators to leave them on the cold floor to die. The swine.
Turms out poor Nayirah was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, and had been coached by US PR firm Hill & Knowlton. The incident she described was wholly fictitious. The Wiki article on the episode quotes Frans H. van Eemeren stating that:
"visual messages which accompany verbal argumentation can be so drastic that rational argumentation becomes almost impossible"
That is essential. He sums up the very point of atrocity propaganda. Nowadays, flooding with tweets and facebook posts appears to be the tool of choice to generate the emotional response that atrocity propaganda aims on.
I doubt that Ghouta had been comitted by Assad forces and have come to the view that it has indeed probably been a 'false flag op' against the Syrian government. I think that the very point of Ghouta was indeed to make any rational argument over an intervention in Syria impossible. In light of such terror Obama had to intervene.
The practitioners of the craft in particular in the US, but also western governments, give a poop about truthfulness, because lying is to them a part of the trade of 'information operations' and 'perception management', or in plainspeak, propaganda. The remarkable Western lack of curiosity on Ghouta or MH17 speaks for itself.
There appears to be zero interest in investigating the guilty party, because propaganda has already created a fictitious reality as to who is to blame. No point in undermining the result of all that hard obfuscating and lying. In this line of works, atrocity narratives are brands that have to be preserved by atrociously staying on message.
Atrocity Propaganda and the Maidan Sniping
And if one looks at recent history, pretty much every US/NGO sponsored 'revolution' had its brand - usually a motive or a colour - thus 'colour coded revolutions'. One other common item beside the brand was that they all had a galvanising event, usually a police overreaction of some sort, that propelled the protesters into taking more drastic action.
In Ukraine, this galvanising event probably was the Maidan Sniping, with some indications that it was the hard right Right Sector protesters themselves to committed the act, pinning it on the Berkut riot police (in marketing terms one would probably call that 'rainmaking'). As put quite explicitly in the leaked Ashton call:
"There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovich but it was somebody from the new coalition"
In Reuter's cautious words: Flaws found in Ukraine's probe of Maidan massacre
"In April, prosecutors arrested three suspects, members of an elite unit within the “Berkut” riot police. Senior among them was Dmytro Sadovnyk, 38, a decorated commander, who was accused of ordering his men to fire on the crowds on the morning of Feb. 20. The three stand accused of massacring 39 unarmed protesters.
But in a country where justice often isn’t blind, there’s another possibility: Sadovnyk was being framed, and saw flight as his best option. In court last month, he called the case against him “a political lynching.” In the days before he vanished, his wife and his lawyer say, Sadovnyk and his family received death threats.
A Reuters examination of Ukraine's probes into the Maidan shootings - based on interviews with prosecutors, defence attorneys, protesters, police officers and legal experts – has uncovered serious flaws in the case against Sadovnyk and the other two Berkut officers.
Among the evidence presented against Sadovnyk was a photograph. Prosecutors say it shows him near Kiev’s Independence Square on Feb. 20, wearing a mask and holding a rifle with two hands, his fingers clearly visible.
The problem: Sadovnyk doesn’t have two hands. His right hand, his wife told Reuters, was blown off by a grenade in a training accident six years ago.
Oopsie. Certainly, such trifles won't stand in the way of swift and severe justice. Alas, the Egyptians have already outdone the Right Sector zealots in this regard: They have actually accused a blind man of being a sniper.
The use of the Maidan sniping also qualifies as atrocity propaganda. We have a brutal crime, pictures, hectic tweets and facebook posts and a clear, designated villain. What actually happened is a secondary matter. Move along!
False narratives breed dysfunctional policies
In all these cases - be it Ghouta, MH17 or the Maidan snipings - it is highly questionable whether the events were indeed as they were portrayed by those first on message in the State Department. In all likelihood that was not the case. But these misrepresentations are being used as a justification and - far worse - factual foundation for policy.
Such policies by merit of being built on fictitious narratives of events end up addressing virtual, constructed realities. With policies tailored to address fiction, failure in light actually quite stubbornly different realities, is never far away. In fact, the US has been experiencing a lot of that lately.
The problem is that when people start to believe their own fictitious narratives, they defeat themselves and their purposes. Probably 'idealists' of the sort found in the Obama administration are rather more prone to that sort of defect.