Author Topic: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0  (Read 11401 times)

cherrypoptart

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #100 on: April 15, 2017, 11:18:44 AM »
There is also this:

http://theblacksphere.net/2017/04/leftist-myth-busted-saddam-moved-wmd-from-iraq-to-syria/

by Kelly Beasley | Apr 7, 2017

Bombshell No. 1: Saddam Hussein hid Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) from 1991 until 2002.

    Interviewer No. 1 – “What did Saddam do with the weapons? Where did he hide them?”

    Sada – “These weapons were hidden from 1991 to year 2002. [Saddam] organized a, he created an organization only to hide the weapons.”

Bombshell No. 2 – In early June 2002, a dam on the Orontes River in Syria burst, causing a flood which killed 22 and displaced 4,000. Saddam Hussein used that natural disaster as an excuse to move his WMDs.

    Sada – “But in summer of 2002, a natural disaster happened in Syria, in the Zeyzoun area. A lot of floods were in that area. So Syria asked for humanitarian aid from the Arab countries. So that was the time when Saddam start thinking his evil way.”

    “He announced to the world that he’s going to aid Syria with humanitarian aid, by air and by ground. But that was not true. The truth is, he converted two airplanes we had, jumbo 747 and 727. And he converted them to cargo airplanes. And the [WMDs] were transported from Bagdad (Iraq) to Damascus (Syria).”

    “These two airplanes were permitted as civilian, regular passenger airplanes, for humanitarian purposes – old people, sick people – to go out of the country. But he used these airplane like this [to transport WMDs]. And these airplanes made 56 [trips] from Baghdad to Damascus, transporting the weapons, by a special secret way, by the Republican Guard.”

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That's what I always thought happened. Of course there is no way to prove it. I do see sometimes in stories that they say that it was proven that Saddam did NOT have chemical weapons. I don't see how any such thing was ever proven at all.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_GABBARD_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-04-14-15-43-15

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gabbard said her focus is on the fact that Trump launched the attack on a Syrian air base without congressional approval and before the U.N. could carry out an investigation. She said it reminds her of the 2003 invasion of Iraq based on intelligence - later proven untrue - that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. "I and so many other veterans served in a war in Iraq that was based on false evidence and lies," Gabbard said.

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"Later proven untrue..." Really?

I've never heard anyone indicate what was in that convoy of trucks that went to Syria let alone the air flights into Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid that I didn't even know about so if we don't know what was going into Syria from Iraq how do we know what wasn't going in?

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #101 on: April 15, 2017, 12:00:16 PM »
And on North Korea, that issue is our Holocaust. That thing where millions died and we just sat there. There will come a day when us or our children look on that the same way that we look on western countries sending back boats of Jewish refugees. There will come the day that we will look down on the mass graves and the concentration camps (fully viewable via Google earth, btw) and wonder what the hell where we thinking.

N.Korea is a tightly wound nest of issues. It didn't start becoming a blatantly bad problem until after the fall of the Soviet Union. At which point there were, and still remain, two major stumbling blocks on doing anything, in particular militarily.

1) Seoul, South Korea is literally within artillery range of the N. Korean forces. If it comes to a firefight, or it looks to the N. Koreans that Seoul is preparing for one by, you know, evacuating. Then it's game on the civilian population around Seoul is in deep s---.

2) The entire reason N. Korea still exists as a nation, and why a cease fire was needed in the first place: China. By the 1990's China wasn't a nation anybody who was sane would casually ignore. NOTHING can be done to/against N. Korea without China's consent unless you want to risk a much larger conflagration.

So in that respect, what's happened there over the past 20-ish years rightfully belongs on the laps of China and to a much lesser extent S. Korea for allowing Seoul to be repopulated as it was after the cease-fire.

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #102 on: April 15, 2017, 12:37:04 PM »
The problem with N Korea is that we can't remove the problem as easily as others.  N Korea has an entrenched, huge, formidable military force.  They have nuclear weapons and is headed by a madman who has no problems using them.  Forget shelling Seoul, they can nuke it, Hawaii, and if not now they will soon be able to hit California.  Put some VX gas in some shells headed to Seoul, Uijongbu, and TDC, and you're fooked.  Kim's basically got a gun to the heads of 50 million some odd people.  Add to that they have China backing them up.  So unless you are ready for war with China and millions of dead, you can't do anything.  The time would have been early 2000s and we got occupied.  We sent plenty of food when we could, in exchange for nuclear deals.  Didn't seem to work out. 

Iraq was easier.  No nukes.  Too scared to use their chemical weapons (yeah, they had them).  Russians were not yet involved deeply. 

Syria was easier to begin with.  Chemical weapons but unsure if Assad would use on US or NATO troops.  Assad would probably have been the easiest to buy off with a vacation palace in the south of France for his family.  I personally don't see him as crazy as Saddam or Kim.  He just wants to keep living the good life and stay alive.  All the rebels basically want him dead, and now he's got war crimes investigations on him at the UN. Then Russia got involved.  Now you have a similar situation as in NK with China.  Everyone is scared *censored*less now of the big bad Russians.  Add to the fact that they anchor our supply lines in Afghanistan.  Still easier to deal with than China.  China has a border to consider with North Korea, and probably not eager to have anyone but a puppet state sitting on it.  All Russia has in Syria is airfields and power projection.  Personally, I'd let Russia keep Syria if they agree to just topple the government and stabilize the country with massive force.  I'd love to see them get sucked into there for 100 years. 

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #103 on: April 15, 2017, 02:19:39 PM »
I would at least feel better if there more evidence than "just trust us"... because those pictures and "analysis" based seemingly only on looking at those pictures are not a lot more than "just trust us".  And unfortunately given the number of false things that have been said by the intelligence community and the government, I can't "just trust them".


LinuxFreakus

So you need what exactly to believe that it was Assad? Pictures? Video? Jesus coming down from Heaven and whispering in your ear?

This is the real world. It's very rare that there is 100 percent proof of anything. But as even your biased person admits, the proof in this case leans towards it being Assad.

He's a hereditary dictator whose family and he himself have been more then willing to massacre civilians. Why is it such a far stretch to allow that he might use chemical weapons to kill women and children and non soldier men instead of bullets or bombs?

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #104 on: April 16, 2017, 09:06:07 AM »
I think it's admirable that people want proof when the government is telling them something.  Nobody really wants to swallow wholesale what somebody tells them constantly.  Now the underlying reasons behind the lack of trust and where trust is actually placed is part of the problem, but probably a different subject from the one I'm going to tackle here.

The #1 problem with the evidence is when the public is actually qualified to effectively judge it or not.  We saw the same thing four years ago in Ghouta.  Some experts come out and say this.  Some other experts come out and say something different.  How is the public supposed to judge?  You can see the same thing happening this time.  Choose your own adventure:

You've got Ted Postol here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/assessment-of-white-house-intelligence-report-about-nerve-agent-attack-in-khan-shaykhun-syria/5584867
and here: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/addendum-dr-theodore-postols-assessment-white-house-report-syria-chemical-attack.html

and you have Dan Kazeta here:  https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/articles/2017/04/13/anatomy-sarin-bomb-explosion-part/

Ted is a professor at MIT and an overall ordinance expert.  He's been saying that the government, particularly the CIA, DOD, and POTUS, have been lying to the American people, since 2002, on a range of subjects.

Dan Kazeta is an NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) warfare expert in Britain. 

Ted claims that, by looking at the bomb fragments from the Khan Shaykun attack, you can surmise that the device used to deliver the agent was a pipe bomb or artillery shell, with a larger explosive placed on top of it to release the payload.  He points to Al-Nusra being the culprit behind the attack, and says that the IC and DOD is lying, with or without POTUS being in on it. 

Dan claims that the crater and bomb fragments are in line with an air delivered bomb load.  Dan doesn't really call anybody out by name, but there are only three players in the area that are flying; 1)The Syrian government, 2) The Russians, 3) The United States. 

There are other reports and open source investigation, like translated video, published flightpaths of Syrian attack fighters, and claimed eye-witness reports.

Both of Ted and Dan's analysis are based on looking at the impact crater and bomb debris.  Both are considered experts, though with different histories. 

Now, unless you also are trained in a high level of NBC warfare or a ordinance expert, you're going to have a hard time judging for yourself who is right and who is wrong.  That doesn't stop thousands of laypersons from choosing their own adventure.  But they're not judging the evidence using critical thinking, they're using confirmation bias to pick whichever presentation supports their pre-conceived notions and narrative.  If you believe that the government and the IC is generally lying to you constantly, you can pick Ted's story.  If you believe Assad is a general *censored* then you can believe Dan's story.  It doesn't matter whose evidence is better or true, because you're generally incapable of making an actual assessment of the evidence. 


All this of course brings us back full circle to the question of trust.  Who do you trust?  It's possible that you just don't trust the IC, because by nature they are secretive and involved in actions you don't approve of or because they've been proven wrong before.  It's possible that you don't really trust anybody at all, and demand a certain level of evidence when the dentist tells you that you have a cavity, despite the obvious conflict of interest involved (the dentist makes more money if you have a cavity).  But unless you have the technical no how and the sources of direct information, anybody could be fabricating evidence.  The dentist could be holding up an x-ray of Jethro's teeth as far as you know.  The doctor coming to cut off your leg due to sepsis could have the wrong one.  It's not like it hasn't happened before. 

So if you don't trust anybody at all, and demand evidence that you realize could be manufactured if necessary, you're generally going to be living in a state of paranoia.  The alternative is for you to have to trust somebody, even if it isn't the IC.  You may trust the media, or just particular members of the media.  You can trust bloggers or outside experts like Ted or Dan.  But all their evidence can be manufactured or countered.  You're going to have to base your trust on something.  It's not like the media or bloggers or experts havn't been wrong before.  You're probably back to trusting whichever media sources or experts back up your general beliefs or narrative.  You're back to confirmation bias. 

I think it's understandable and right that people don't just take the IC or the FBIs word on everything.  It's hard to trust somebody when they hold all the cards and refuse to show all of them to you.  It's like playing Texas Hold'em with a guy who refuses to show his hole cards.  "I have a full house, trust me".  But their are checks placed on the system.  The IC and FBI answer to the representative government of the US.  The managers of the IC and FBI are nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the representative branch.  These are the people we vote for, presumably because we trust them.  They presumably nominate people that are trustworthy and may also demand to see evidence that is restricted to the public. 

Now, it could be you don't really trust the representative government either, or the IC.  Even the POTUS has accused the IC of lying.  And how is Cheetoh Jeezus or Representative Jethro supposed to know the difference between good evidence and bad?  It's not like POTUS or Congress has a great deal of NBC weapons experts in their number. 

The answer to that is that they really cannot, and the smart ones know that.  That's why the smart ones have staff members, which they trust, who do have levels of expertise in some of these subjects, or they know where to go to find an expert that is trusted.  This includes members of the NSC like the National Security Advisor, the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, and all of their staffs.  It's possible that they are all victims of confirmation bias as well, of course. 

The main point is that there is a check against an IC or FBI that is fabricating evidence or lying to the representative government.  They have the same interest that your doctor has for not lying to you.  If your doctor lies to you, they can be sued and they will lose business.  If the IC lies to the government, they can be fired and prosecuted as well.  So the deep state evil wizard cabal in the basement at Langley have the same reasons to not lie as your doctor, dentist, or mechanic does.  They want to keep their jobs, get promoted, keep their customers, and stay out of jail. 

The final subject I'd like to cover is the standards of proof required by individuals for foreign policy decisions.  Obviously we'd like to be as sure as possible when making decisions, especially when they involve us ending up killing people.  But in most cases there will never be 100% rock solid "beyond a shadow of a doubt" level of evidence or proof.  There will always be a chance of being wrong, no matter how slim.  There will always be that 0.0001% chance of being wrong that someone relying on their confirmation bias can latch on to.  Honestly, foreign intelligence usually don't reach that level.  The best you can usually hope for is a "beyond a reasonable doubt" when it comes to these things. 

That understandably bothers some people.  But if you are going to wait for 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are generally going to end up freezing your foreign policy, especially against players like Russia and Syria who have great propaganda machines.  You're going to be incapable of timely action because you're never going to get that level of evidence you need to dispel all doubt.  You're going to be frozen in indecision. 

Unfortunately, foreign policy and other things cannot work this way.  Even our justice system cannot work this way.  Our domestic policy cannot work this way.  Even science doesn't really work this way.  Firefighters, police, soldiers, generals, surgeons, and all sorts of different necessary professions in the world cannot work this way. 

Now, everybody is going to have different levels of sufficient proof for different things. There is nothing you can really do about that except that point out that at some point a decision must be made, because indecision and inaction effects the universe just as strongly as action does. 

That's the end.  Have a happy Easter.   

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #105 on: April 16, 2017, 09:26:50 AM »
Terrorists have been shown to fly airplanes into buildings, blow themselves up to kill people, an submit the people in their territory to enforced Shariah law and enforced marriage/rape.

I honestly don't understand any argument against what they're doing that depends on a "why would they do that?" argument.

They are absolutely varelse. They will sacrifice their women and children to kill other women and children in the name of Allah. They just don't care; and at the end of the day, they end up with thirteen year old brides who can't say no. That's their prize.

As compared to our collective moral system, they are absolutely monsters. I detest those on the left who ignore it to make points on racism and those on the right that ignore it because the dictators support us. Either way it's *censored*ed up.

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #106 on: April 16, 2017, 09:41:21 AM »
To be fair, governments have been shown to fly airplanes into ships, kill their own people through numerous methods, and submit their people to some rather interesting law, for thousands of years. 

I'm not defending terrorism or terrorists, but they are not alone in being bad players. 

I also do not understand the arguments from lack of reason.  The fact that you can't think like a despot or a terrorist is probably a good thing.  People typically don't act from reason anyways. 

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #107 on: April 16, 2017, 09:55:24 AM »
To be fair, governments have been shown to fly airplanes into ships, kill their own people through numerous methods, and submit their people to some rather interesting law, for thousands of years. 

I'm not defending terrorism or terrorists, but they are not alone in being bad players. 

I also do not understand the arguments from lack of reason.  The fact that you can't think like a despot or a terrorist is probably a good thing.  People typically don't act from reason anyways.

And what? That Imperial Japan gave young men suicide missions is supposed to excuse ISIS? Who the *censored* excuses Imperial Japan, anyway?(Not to mention what they did to China.)

History is history. If we clung to it, we'd be prosecuting Jewish people for the genocide of the people inhabiting the people of the Holy land.

But we dont. Because that would be idiotic. And if in this Era we collectively wish to tell Shariah law to *censored* off, I don't see the issue.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #108 on: April 16, 2017, 11:32:34 AM »
I didn't read that as defending imperial Japan... I read it as pointing out that "terrorist organizations" can be very hard to distinguish from "governments".  It is likely that ISIS has been heavily supported if not created by the US and our allies.  The idea that there are freedom fighters or moderate rebels and that they aren't actually just shell groups for ISIS is probably a lie.

Remember back when Osama Bin Laden was an "anti-soviet freedom fighter" and his army was "fighting for peace"?

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #109 on: April 17, 2017, 12:13:20 AM »
Grant, by the halfway point of your long post I was considering "liking" it, until I hit this part:

The managers of the IC and FBI are nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the representative branch.  These are the people we vote for, presumably because we trust them.

I don't even think it's a matter of opinion when I reply to your point that the people do not trust the Congress, and the fact that someone is always voted in doesn't at all mean that the Congress as a whole is trusted. I would imagine that Vermont, for instance, actually does trust its senators, but I doubt they trust the majority of the other ones.

This next part is even less agreeable to me, though:

Quote
The main point is that there is a check against an IC or FBI that is fabricating evidence or lying to the representative government.  They have the same interest that your doctor has for not lying to you.  If your doctor lies to you, they can be sued and they will lose business.  If the IC lies to the government, they can be fired and prosecuted as well.  So the deep state evil wizard cabal in the basement at Langley have the same reasons to not lie as your doctor, dentist, or mechanic does.  They want to keep their jobs, get promoted, keep their customers, and stay out of jail.

I thought you were doing well outlining how both sides will have difficulty verifying that they're putting their trust in the right place, and I would agree with that. But this part flipped what I was expected you to conclude with and, despite arguing that both sides are near-impossible to parse, you seem to nevertheless conclude decisively on the side of the IC. I guess I can understand someone picking that side; it's certainly more reassuring to imagine being taken care of by these agencies than feeling like terrible things are being done in your name and with your tax money. But the analogy you paint here seems to me really faulty, because the check against a dentist is a higher authority that keeps him honest. That check could be the dental association, the civil courts, and maybe another source or two that he would have to answer to. It's already been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no higher authority to which the CIA, NSA, or other such groups answer to. Oh sure, on paper they do, but in reality that is meaningless. When too many converging interests would prefer things remain as they are no side will turn in the other because then the house of cards falls and everyone involved is taken down. It doesn't work like that, and, in almost the complete reverse of what your analogy suggests, there are in fact strong checks in place to ensure that these groups cannot be taken to task for any particular acts they do. We learned for 99.9% certain that the CIA was conducting illegal (and grossly immoral) torture of prisoners, and what happened as a result? Nothing, and now the report is buried. What about the whistleblowing about the mass surveillance of the NSA? We had it all out in the open, and nothing happened even though it became common knowledge in no time. We know it was happening beyond their mandate, that 'wiretapping' of all people as a matter of course became the standard, and that this actually began prior to Patriot Act when such actions could even conceivably have been argued to be an interpretation of the law. So who is suing the NSA over this? From what I've read, those who have tried to bring suit against them have been declared to not have standing to sue. How about that time it was proven that the Congress was being spied on? Nothing. This list can go on endlessly. I won't even list 'supposed' crimes that are still called conspiracy theories because (as you say) the evidence isn't 100% conclusive. According to your theory the hammer should come down on these agencies every time one of them does something like this, just as it would on the dentist who lies about a cavity. So where's the hammer?

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #110 on: April 17, 2017, 01:55:23 PM »
In regards to conflicting 'expert' statements about what actually happened in Syria, here's an article I came across that outlines why we should doubt that Assad was behind the gas attack:

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/04/13/confirmed-the-intelligence-driving-the-syria-strike-is-fake/

Quote
Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed the rather thin “evidence” provided by the US government in a letter to former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson:

“I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

“In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4.

“This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.”

So is this guy correct? I can't say. I also can't say that someone who says the opposite is correct. And this is a problem that I personally can't solve to satisfaction, simply because I don't have the means. However what I do know is that I've not heard one credible explanation of a motive for Assad to do this; the ones I've read sound like James Bond villain logic. And I also know that there is ample motive for parties to blame such an attack on Assad, because they've been pushing for his ouster for many, many years (back to the early 2000's) and I have no doubt that they would have no compunctions about fabricating evidence if it would get that job done.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #111 on: April 17, 2017, 03:00:51 PM »
He makes excellent points, many long the lines of how this discussion has been going, but at the end of the day he's still only going by public photos AFAIK, and its gonna be tough to ever say for sure because at this point its been way too long to trust the scene, and I don't think anyone credible ever went there to investigate (or if they did they didn't make the finding public).

In regards to conflicting 'expert' statements about what actually happened in Syria, here's an article I came across that outlines why we should doubt that Assad was behind the gas attack:

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/04/13/confirmed-the-intelligence-driving-the-syria-strike-is-fake/

Quote
Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed the rather thin “evidence” provided by the US government in a letter to former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson:

“I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

“In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4.

“This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.”

So is this guy correct? I can't say. I also can't say that someone who says the opposite is correct. And this is a problem that I personally can't solve to satisfaction, simply because I don't have the means. However what I do know is that I've not heard one credible explanation of a motive for Assad to do this; the ones I've read sound like James Bond villain logic. And I also know that there is ample motive for parties to blame such an attack on Assad, because they've been pushing for his ouster for many, many years (back to the early 2000's) and I have no doubt that they would have no compunctions about fabricating evidence if it would get that job done.

Seriati

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #112 on: April 17, 2017, 03:27:08 PM »
I didn't read that as defending imperial Japan... I read it as pointing out that "terrorist organizations" can be very hard to distinguish from "governments".

When the government of Japan surrendered, the suicide attacks stopped.  Show me the terrorist organization for which that is true.  Movements are not equal to countries.

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It is likely that ISIS has been heavily supported if not created by the US and our allies.

Meaning what?  Is the idea that if a ex-soldier becomes a serial killer, we should attribute that to the US government for giving him the training?   

I grant, you this is a particular American problem.  We make local allies when we can, sometimes they later grow to hate us.  Our system of government, where we can flip policies on their heads within a four year time period is conducive to betrayal of allied interests, we're always going to make our "friends" mad at us.

Quote
Remember back when Osama Bin Laden was an "anti-soviet freedom fighter" and his army was "fighting for peace"?

Do you ever wonder what would have happened if we were capable of sustaining a consistent long term foreign policy?

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #113 on: April 17, 2017, 03:36:14 PM »
Fenring,

I already posted the reports that Ted Postol put out in my own long post.  I also posted (IMO) the most significant expert witness countering Postol's take on the bombing, Dan Kazeta.  You have a number of options available.  You can read each one's arguments and counterarguments and the evidence they provide to see which one you believe holds up better.  You can take a look and see what surrounding experts are saying, and who they are backing.  You could take a look at what kind of laypeople are backing each story.  Who is attracting the most professionals with critical thinking backgrounds or engineering backgrounds, and who is attracting the most support from people without the ability to know the difference and are simply backing that person due to confirmation bias.  That really isn't scientific or logical though.  5 million Elvis fans could be wrong I suppose.

As to the possible motive of Assad, the best guesses have been from people like Tom Nichols (a professor at the Naval War College with a PhD in Government), Dan Kazeta, Luke O'Brien (an Army Officer and a grad student at Missouri State studying WMDs), and several present and former US Army Arabic translators.  But this has all been on Twitter, which is hardly a good forum for long form response and presentation.  To summarize the consensus that I find the most believable, Assad gasses his enemies because he's fighting a war against them.  He's been fighting for years and isn't really getting anywhere fast.  Chemical weapons are awesome in COIN operations because they cover wide areas, kill indiscriminately, and cause terror and fear.  The central aim in war is to bend the enemy to your will, primarily by killing them or threatening to.  Chemical weapons makes it easy for Assad to kill his enemies and the civilians that are supporting them. 

Presented this way, it's rather simple war 101 stuff.  Assad gasses his enemies for the same reason the Germans and Allies did during WWI.  It's good at killing people.   It's easier and cheaper than sending a Battalion of troops to secure the area. Assad can either take x years to reassert control over Syria through conventional means, or use chemical weapons and reassert control over Syria in x/y years.   

As to fabricating evidence, I don't think that anyone is actually arguing the actual evidence on the ground.  There are the pictures, the flight tracking, the soil and corpse samples, and the statements and videos from the witnesses and doctors.  The primary argument seems to be as to what the evidence actually adds up to.  Do the pictures show a crater made by an air delivered bomb, or a pipebomb exploded by an artillery shell? 


Now, as to my earlier long post, my purpose was not to get a bunch of likes, but to initiate some thought.  If you were reading simply to see if it matched up with your own thinking, then the post really wasn't for you. 

When it comes to Congress and the POTUS's duty to keep the IC in check, particularly in the case of the enhanced interrogation scandals, you probably need to direct your questions to President Barrack Obama.  It is his duty to prosecute criminal action by the IC.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did an investigation.  They put out a report.  I'm unsure if it recommended prosecutions.  I believe the general Republican response was that the report was a political circus and that there was never any standing for prosecution in the first place.  But I do know that the checks went through the motions. After information was not provided timely to Congress, the Senate called for an investigation.  There was one.  There was a report.  The President was given the report and the Justice Department had an opportunity to press charges. 

In this case, if a failure occurred, it occurred at the Executive branch and possibly the Legislative branch if the report found criminal activity but did not recommend prosecution without some cause.  This would be an example of why it is important to vote for candidates we can trust for the Presidency, but before we are too harsh on President Obama, it pays to remember that he does have many heavy responsibilities and has access to information unavailable to the public. 

When and if the entire representative government turns corrupt, there is really nothing you can do other than vote for different individuals.  If you believe the entire government is corrupt, it's true that you cannot trust anything and anyone that is presented to you by the government.  As long as you do trust some aspects of it, you probably have better reason to believe that bad actors are held in check or at least exposed. 

When it comes to the question of Assad, only two members of Congress seem to be of the opinion that Assad was not responsible in 2013 and just recently; Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Tom Massie of Kentucky.  That means the vast majority seem to be backing the IC.  The POTUS's advisers are backing the IC as well, despite the somewhat rocky relationship between the IC and Cheetoh J.  If in fact the IC is manufacturing evidence or falsifying it, then it seems to be getting past SECDEF, SECSTATE, the NatSec Advisor, the Senate and House intel committees, and all their staffs. 

There are two possibilities.  Either the IC is presenting good info and the legislative and executive branches are able to discern it, or the IC is presenting false evidence, perhaps with the collusion of the entire executive branch, and all their staff, which then fools all of the legislative branch and all of their staffs.  The second option calls for a high degree of nefariousness, collusion, and stupidity.  It's not quite Bond movie, but more of a plot for a Despicable Me sequel or maybe an Austin Powers movie.  The first option only requires that there are only some competent and trustworthy people in government and that people will listen to them because they know and trust them. 

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #114 on: April 17, 2017, 05:54:37 PM »

When the government of Japan surrendered, the suicide attacks stopped.  Show me the terrorist organization for which that is true.  Movements are not equal to countries.


I'm not sure I follow.  Why does it matter if Japan stopped after surrender or not, or whether a "terrorist group" would do the same? The IRA declared a ceasefire in 1994, which seems to have stuck so far...
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 05:59:08 PM by linuxfreakus »

Seriati

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #115 on: April 18, 2017, 09:44:23 AM »
Because that's how you tell the difference (in part) between state and non-state actors.  You can make a peace treaty with a state and hold it to account for its citizens.  Movements, particularly cell based ones, are like herding cats when it comes to moving forward.  You can also hold states accountable for war crimes afterwards.

Good call on the IRA, should have remembered that, though if I recall that was more a reaction to 9/11 than anything else.  Both because US funding dried up completely, and because no one wanted to be associated with the labeling that would have applied to them at the time.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #116 on: April 18, 2017, 10:20:10 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/news/isis-militants-launch-multiple-chemical-161607087.html

ISIS Militants Launch Multiple Chemical Weapons Attacks On Iraqi Troops
Tom O’Connor,Newsweek 21 hours ago


"The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) launched Sunday its second chemical weapons attack against Iraqi soldiers in two days, sending pro-government forces to the hospital in an attempt to slow an offensive to oust the jihadists from their final stronghold of Mosul."

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Not saying this proves anything, but it's information that should be taken into account. I'm convinced that there is a greater likelihood that Assad was innocent of the chemical weapons attack than that he did it and this ISIS chemical weapons attack in Syria moves the meter on the scale of certainty from perhaps 55 / 45 in favor of Assad being innocent to maybe 60 / 40. Still doesn't mean I know anything but sometimes all you can do is wonder. Certainly if our government doesn't have much more information than what they've put out, it was a huge mistake to just assume Assad was guilty and then bomb him on that assumption.

NobleHunter

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #117 on: April 18, 2017, 10:49:56 AM »
Because that's how you tell the difference (in part) between state and non-state actors.  You can make a peace treaty with a state and hold it to account for its citizens.  Movements, particularly cell based ones, are like herding cats when it comes to moving forward.  You can also hold states accountable for war crimes afterwards.

Good call on the IRA, should have remembered that, though if I recall that was more a reaction to 9/11 than anything else.  Both because US funding dried up completely, and because no one wanted to be associated with the labeling that would have applied to them at the time.
If it was '94 wouldn't it have been a reaction Oklahoma City or the WTC bombing? [is too lazy to doublecheck on Wikipedia/]

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #118 on: April 18, 2017, 11:38:05 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/news/isis-militants-launch-multiple-chemical-161607087.html

Not saying this proves anything, but it's information that should be taken into account. I'm convinced that there is a greater likelihood that Assad was innocent of the chemical weapons attack than that he did it and this ISIS chemical weapons attack in Syria moves the meter on the scale of certainty from perhaps 55 / 45 in favor of Assad being innocent to maybe 60 / 40. Still doesn't mean I know anything but sometimes all you can do is wonder. Certainly if our government doesn't have much more information than what they've put out, it was a huge mistake to just assume Assad was guilty and then bomb him on that assumption.

Some questions I might have:

1.  What type of agent was used?  What kind of evidence is given?  What do reports say about the symptoms, the amount of casualties, the density of the population in the area?

2.  What types of agents are suspected to be in the possession of different factions?  What is the evidence for this? 

3.  What was the suspected delivery method?  Who has access to these types of methods? 

There are three general hypotheses.

1.  Assad has used chemical weapons and nobody else has. 

2.  Assad has never used chemical weapons and everybody else is trying to frame him. 

3.  Both Assad and opposition groups, including possibly ISIS, Al-Nusra, or even the FSA have utilized chemical weapons. 


So we walk into a large room and Lex Luthor, the Joker, Sinestro and Doctor Psycho are surrounded by their dead gangs, all with evidence of chemical poisoning.  Each points to the other and says "he did it".  Can we assume that there is only a single perpetrator?  Should we concentrate on means, motive and opportunity? 

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #119 on: April 18, 2017, 12:56:31 PM »
So we walk into a large room and Lex Luthor, the Joker, Sinestro and Doctor Psycho are surrounded by their dead gangs, all with evidence of chemical poisoning.  Each points to the other and says "he did it".  Can we assume that there is only a single perpetrator?  Should we concentrate on means, motive and opportunity?

I like this image, but the only thing it's missing is the premise that multiple G20 nations are known to be backing The Joker and have it out for Lex Luthor. If it was just a grab bag of conflicting 'bad guys' we could call it a day and just throw our arms up in the air. Instead we should be asking not whether there is only one perpetrator (there are probably no good actors in such a scenario) but, rather, why anyone would rather prop up The Joker instead of Luthor? I chose these characters out of your mix deliberately because it might be possible to reason with Luthor, but the Joker will always be out of control. Oh yeah, let's throw Doctor Psycho into my analogy by calling him the "moderate rebels."

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #120 on: April 18, 2017, 02:43:25 PM »
Right but the problem is that if states are covertly funding and supporting these "non-state actors" are they really "non-state actors".  The distinction is very blurry.

Because that's how you tell the difference (in part) between state and non-state actors.  You can make a peace treaty with a state and hold it to account for its citizens.  Movements, particularly cell based ones, are like herding cats when it comes to moving forward.  You can also hold states accountable for war crimes afterwards.

Good call on the IRA, should have remembered that, though if I recall that was more a reaction to 9/11 than anything else.  Both because US funding dried up completely, and because no one wanted to be associated with the labeling that would have applied to them at the time.

NobleHunter

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #121 on: April 18, 2017, 03:29:18 PM »
Right but the problem is that if states are covertly funding and supporting these "non-state actors" are they really "non-state actors".  The distinction is very blurry.
Particularly when the states funding hostile non-state actors are states we want to pretend are on our side.

The official position on Saudi Arabia is "there is no war in Ba Sing Se."

Pete at Home

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #122 on: April 21, 2017, 05:08:39 PM »
Technocally, is Polonium poisoning a type of chemical weapon?

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #123 on: April 21, 2017, 08:18:52 PM »
Technocally, is Polonium poisoning a type of chemical weapon?

Use of pepper mace spray by the US military on non-US citizens has been interpreted as use of chemical weapons under the war crimes prohibitions of the Geneva Conventions by JAG.

Edit: Clarification, I think it actually was a case of certain foreign nations interpreting the Geneva conventions in such a manner that JAG advised against use of pepper mace spray by visiting security forces because they'd risk prosecution for war crimes.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 08:22:49 PM by TheDeamon »