|Peace with Justice|
|Peace with Justice|
Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013 7:05 pm | Updated: 8:08 pm, Sat Aug 31, 2013.
Posted on August 31, 2013
Keith Rothfus said he believes the response to war crimes in Syria shouldn’t necessarily include cruise missiles.
The U.S. congressman, R-Sewickley, was in Somerset on Friday, where he discussed conflict in the Middle East and a variety of other topics.
Like millions of others in America and across the world, Rothfus said he’s simply waiting for more information and details from President Barack Obama.
“U.S. military action I don’t think is appropriate at this time,” the first-term representative said. “You need to ask, What is the objective of military action, and you need to ask, What is the likely outcome of military action?
“We’re waiting to hear what further thoughts (Obama is) giving to the situation over there.”
Syria is in the midst of a civil war that has endured for more than 30 months and, according to United Nations estimates, has claimed the lives of more than 100,000. Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary John Kerry said Friday that they have evidence that the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons on civilians in spite of international warnings.
In a White House handout photo, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 31, 2013. (Photo: Pete Souza / The White House via The New York Times)
Secretary of State John Kerry assured the public that the Obama administration’s summary of the intelligence on which it is basing the case for military action to punish the Assad regime for an alleged use of chemical weapons was put together with an acute awareness of the fiasco of the 2002 Iraq WMD intelligence estimate.
Nevertheless, the unclassified summary of the intelligence assessment made public August 30, 2013, utilizes misleading language evocative of the infamous Iraq estimate’s deceptive phrasing. The summary cites signals, geospatial and human source intelligence that purportedly show that the Syrian government prepared, carried out and “confirmed” a chemical weapons attack on August 21. And it claims visual evidence “consistent with” a nerve gas attack.
But a careful examination of those claims reveals a series of convolutedly worded characterizations of the intelligence that don’t really mean what they appear to say at first glance.
The document displays multiple indications that the integrity of the assessment process was seriously compromised by using language that distorted the intelligence in ways that would justify an attack on Syria.
Spinning the Secret Intelligence
That pattern was particularly clear in the case of the intelligence gathered by covert means. The summary claims, “We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence.”
That seems to indicate that U.S. intelligence intercepted such communiations. But former British Ambassador Craig Murray has pointed out on his blog August 31 that the Mount Troodos listening post in Cyprus is used by British and U.S. intelligence to monitor “all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East … ” and that “almost all landline telephone communications in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage [and] picked up on Troodos.”
All intelligence picked by the Troodos listening post is shared between the U.S. and British intelligence, Murray wrote, but no commmunictions such as the ones described in the U.S. intelligence summary were shared with the British Joint Intelligence Organisation. Murray said a personal contact in U.S. intelligence had told him the reason was that the purported intercept came from the Israelis. The Israeli origin of the intelligence was reported in the U.S. press as well, because an Israeli source apparently leaked it to a German magazine.
The clumsy attempt to pass off intelligence claimed dubiously by the Israelis as a U.S. intercept raises a major question about the integrity of the entire document. The Israelis have an interest in promoting a U.S. attack on Syria, and the authenticity of the alleged intercept cannot be assumed. Murray believes that it is fraudulent.