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I already mentioned this in my diary today on the UNAC statement but I thought it deserved its own "Breaking News" headline seeing how it involved crossing Obama's red-line in all.

Last week we had multiple reports of a sarin-like gas being used by the Assad regime against opposition forces in Homs. Now we have confirmation from someone in a position to know,

On Christmas day, the general in charge of Assad's military police defected to the revolution. Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, is the highest rank member of Assad's army to defect and he brought with him confirmation that the Syrian Army did use chemical weapons in Homs.

The Independent is running this report:

Chemical weapons were used on Homs': Syria's military police defector tells of nerve gas attack

General becomes one of the most senior officers to join the rebels
Alistair Dawber Wednesday 26 December 2012
The head of Syria’s military police defected to the opposition, accusing the Assad regime of systematic “murder” and claiming that reports of chemical weapons being used against rebels in the restive city of Homs were true.

Maj-Gen Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal became one of the highest ranking Syrian military officers to throw their support behind the rebels, accusing forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of turning their weapons on innocent civilians in the now 22-month-long civil war.

“I declare my defection from the army because of its deviation from its fundamental mission to protect the nation and [its] transformation into gangs of murder and destruction,” he said in a video message posted online, reportedly from the Turkish border.

He accused the military of “destroying cities and villages and committing massacres against our innocent people who came out to demand freedom.” General Shallal suggested in his message that he had been working with the opposition for some time before he formally defected to the rebel cause.

He becomes the latest in a string of leading military advisers to abandon the government and join the disparate rebels. But it is his claim that chemical weapons were used in Homs during a deadly attack on Christmas Eve that is likely to be of greater interest to the Syrian opposition and their foreign backers.

Reports from Homs had suggested that a type of nerve agent was used by the Syrian forces in the attack, a point that General Shallal appeared to verify yesterday. Al Jazeera reported at the time that at least seven people had died after inhaling a poisonous gas “sprayed by government forces in a rebel-held Homs neighbourhood”.

“We don’t know what this gas is but medics are saying it’s something similar to sarin gas,” Raji Rahmet Rabbou, an activist in Homs, told Al Jazeera.

It is not clear that the substance used in Homs was banned by international law, even the though the General yesterday specifically referred to a “chemical weapons” attack. Nonetheless, the use of non-conventional weapons is considered a “red line” by some in the international community who have been reluctant to intervene directly. More...

This is where Obama reinvokes his "whole bunch of chemical weapons" loop-hole in his Syrian WMD "red-line."

Back! Back! Move'em on Back!

Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
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Comment Preferences

  •  You just won't rest until we're in another war (6+ / 0-)

    in the Middle East - will you?

    False intel and rumors - you peddle in the exact same thing neo-cons did in the run up to the Iraq war.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:25:26 PM PST

  •  Was there a quid pro quo, acceptance of defection (5+ / 0-)

    for the report?

    We should all remember that there were defectors from Iraq claiming Sadam had WMD. From Iran that they were building nukes.

    Not that the report is impossible. Just that I don't see how getting the US involved in murdering more people is anything but national suicide. It surely has nothing to do with defending our borders.

    Libya just declared its South as a closed military zone in their ever-growing civil war we unleashed; Mali, destabilized in part by the neo-Con wet dream of the Libya action (thank heavens we voted them out, eh?) is now seeing us create "military intervention" plans. And just this week we're sending troops (hello Vietnam!) to 35 African nations.

    All for their own good, of course.

    I'm so sick of fucking war-mongers helping the nation to breed enemies the world over; advocating, in reality, our participation in killing bystanders (oh, right, there are no bystanders); and bankrupting the nation to do it.

    Let alone spewing official propaganda to justify it.

    We don't need more promotion of our Permanent Global War for National Suicide. The Powers That Be (not the electorate) does that job fine on its own.

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:54:22 PM PST

    •  This isn't coming outta nowhere though. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shenderson, Old Lefty

      Its corroborating other reports of CW in Homs. While I agree that his claims should be placed in their proper context of The Fog of War, its certainly plausible that using CW would be the straw that breaks the proverbial back for many high-ranking officers.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:22:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sounds true that somebody used something (2+ / 0-)

        beyond that, bullshitters have ensured nobody believes anybody.

        Fog of War...indeed

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:27:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The "gas" appears to be what the US military (0+ / 0-)

        calls Whiskey Pete - white phosphorous. Here's a video showing it's use as smoke screen in Syria. You can see someone going through the smoke at about 0.50.

        The US military currently lists this material as a smoke screen and incendiary. White phosphorus is not banned by international treaty for that purpose. It is not considered a chemical weapon, but an incendiary munition – one that causes fires. The biggest users in the world of Whiskey Pete is the US and Israel.

        The following conforms with the video put out by the opposition.

        White phosphorus is highly irritating and corrosive. Breathing white phosphorus will cause irritation to the nose and throat, cough and shortness of breath. Ingestion of white phosphorus will irritate the mouth, throat and stomach causing nausea vomiting and diarrhoea. A substantial exposure may cause heart, liver and kidney damage, coma and in severe cases death.
        •  That's Willy Peter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          or that's what we called it back in the day. "Whiskey" is the proper radiospeak for the letter W, but for whatever reason it was Willy, I think because it goes so well with Peter, unless of course you're on the receiving end.

          Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

          by Old Lefty on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:57:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I heard "Whiskey Pete" during the Iraq War (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Lefty

            Maybe it was "Willie Peter" during Vietnam?


                REPORTER: Were any chemical weapons used in Fallujah?

                JEFF ENGLEHART: From the U.S. military, yeah, absolutely. White phosphorus. Possibly napalm may or may not have been used; I do not know. I do know that white phosphorus was used, which is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, a chemical weapon.

                REPORTER: Is he sure of it?

                JEFF ENGLEHART: Yes. It happened.

                REPORTER: How can he be certain?

                JEFF ENGLEHART: Well, it comes across radio as a general transmission. When it happens like that, you hear it on the radio through — we have speakers in our trucks — speakers and then the transmission goes to the speakers, so it’s audible. And as they’d say, "In five [inaudible], we’re going drop some Whiskey Pete." "Roger. Commence bombing." I mean, it just comes across the radio, and like, when you hear "Whiskey Pete," that’s the military slang.

      •  True. Not true. None of our business, is it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Our plan to take sides in the slaughter of innocents has resulted in a four-fold increase of terrorism. Many many times that of people willing to aid terrorists. Hoping to make the US suffer.

        Given the history of lies told us in the past 11 years, .... hell, how do you know that it wasn't guys from our faction using the shit, if it was used?

        You don't know. I don't know. All we got is the Authorities told us so. And the reason to believe authorities when it comes to "justifications" for US involvement in other nations would be....?

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:16:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why would he need to make this report to defect? (0+ / 0-)

      You don't think they would be happy to accept his defection without a chemical weapons story?

      Why do you think he defected? He is saying he defected because he refused to continue to participate in Assad's slaughter and the use of chemical weapons was the last straw.

      Why don't you believe him? You don't think Assad is slaughtering people? You don't think after 22 months he just got sick of it? Or do you think it took 22 months for him to be bought?

      That doesn't make any sense.

      Assad is already using artillery, barrel bombs, clusters bombs and tanks. Do you really want to stand on the "I shot the sheriff but I did not shoot the deputy" position that Assad couldn't have possibly used chemical weapons in Homs and anybody who says different is just lying?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:52:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Give us a credible report, Clay. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  We have a track record of defectors giving (3+ / 0-)

        false accounts. Why would this not be another one.  Because an Authority told you?

        Maybe it's true, maybe it's bullshit. That's not the point, is it?

        Syria is none of our business, unless the goal is to have the US participate in murdering even more innocents than we do now and to snowball further the 4-times rate of growth of terrorism since 2001. cf Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Iraq, etc etc etc

        That you kept with the propaganda points (syria wmd) and ignored the entire comment I made, pretending something I didn't say? ... why did you do that? Better you explain why the fuck we should be there helping foment a war which will -- and this is guaranteed, if recent history holds -- end up in the murder of thousands, tens of thousands of innocents who were at the end of our weapons, our factions?

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:10:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  OMG! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:08:30 PM PST

  •  That guy sounds as honest (4+ / 0-)

    as Colin Powell was when he testified to the UN for Saddam Hussein's WMDs.   Except that noone will take him seriously now, as they should not have taken seriously Powell, Rice, Cheney and the rest of the necon gang then.

  •  Your Ceaseless whoring for war (3+ / 1-)

    and a rather selective concern for human rights makes me wonder why you are on this site. There is no shortage of neocon sites for your propaganda and blood lust but then you would be singing to the choir.

  •  You must really want war pretty badly.... (0+ / 0-)

    Glad Pres. Obama has more caution than people like you.

  •  Bashar al-Assad is going to have to step up (3+ / 0-)

    his game pretty dramatically if he wants to get into Saddam Hussein territory with this whole "chemical weapons attack on your own citizens" thing...

    ...since so many things are "unclear" and we only have the report of the rebels that 7 people died from breathing some sort of "smoke", I struggle trying to envision a rationale that would lead logically to LCAC'S full of Marines storming the beaches of Tripoli...

    ...been lied to before; don't really care to go down that road again...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:38:11 PM PST

    •  OK, so the Lebanese would be confused by the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shenderson, Fire bad tree pretty


      ...but, on the other hand, it would be a short unopposed drive to the north to get to the Syrian border...

      (I blame my high school geography teacher; memorizing all those state capitols took up too many brain cells...)

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:43:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good to see (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne, shenderson, killjoy

    So many kossacks feel that crimes against humanity are someone else's problem.  I guess "never again" should be changed to "until next time!"

    It will be interesting how Obama reacts to this if at all.  I'm guessing there will be no more than a sternly worded letter

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:51:31 PM PST

  •  Hmm. (5+ / 0-)

    So Obama will bomb them and then you'll start a diary series bitching about how Bush III is such an evil Republican for starting another war.

    You've perfected the feedback loop.

    If you say "gullible" real slow, it sounds like "green beans."

    by weatherdude on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:59:08 PM PST

  •  Claiborne went off the deep end but this is NEWS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne, YaNevaNo

    so yeah, tip'd and rec'd.......

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:05:43 PM PST

  •  Assad's done what Ghaddafi would've if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne

    Obama hadn't stopped him.

    Is Obama a blood-lusting war whore? Would he be one to impose a no-fly on Assad's air force, as he did on Ghadaffi's?

    It's just funny to see you Dems and Repubs playing this game of hopscotch over who's a warmonger.

    It's one good reason why I'll vote Green from now on, and why I should post no more comments on this godforsaken site.

  •  Aleppo’s attorney-general defects (3+ / 0-)

    I haven't found any other report detailing the use of chemical weapons and I can't imagine how, why, or what kind of delivery system would be used that would result in only 7 deaths. I'm not convinced.

    In other news...

    Attorney-general of Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo declared defection from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in a video posted Wednesday by activists.

    Judge Ahmed al-Nuaimi said he defected in protest at Assad regime’s “crimes” against the Syrian people and that he joined the opposition, the Free Syrian Judges Council.

    It looks like the rats are jumping ship.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:46:06 PM PST

  •  Stop spreading misinformation about Syria (4+ / 0-)
    Last week we had multiple reports of a sarin-like gas being used by the Assad regime against opposition forces in Homs. Now we have confirmation from someone in a position to know,
    Every report from defectors "in the know" have given false information which you have picked up and repeated in DKos.

    Sarin is odorless and colorless and a very minute amount can kill. It is absorbed through the skin. The videos don't support this as the agent.
    Israel Says No Proof Poison Gas Used in Syria
    December 25, 2012

    JERUSALEM — Israel voiced doubt on Tuesday about the accuracy of Syrian activists' reports that chemical weapons had been used against rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

    "We have seen reports from the opposition. It is not the first time. The opposition has an interest in drawing in international military intervention,'' Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Army Radio.
    The Observatory, a British-based group with a network of activists across Syria, said those accounts spoke of six rebel fighters who died after inhaling smoke on the front line of Homs's urban battleground. It said it could not confirm that poison gas had been used and called for an investigation.

    Another possibility is that the gas was "BZ" (listed by US military as an incapacitating agent).

    BZ, an odorless, white, crystalline solid, is a CNS depressant. BZ is usually disseminated as an aerosol with the primary route of entry into the body through the respiratory system; the secondary route is through the digestive tract. Skin absorption is possible with proper solvents. BZ affects the victim’s ability to remember, solve problems, pay attention, and understand instructions. Small doses of BZ cause sleepiness and decreased alertness. BZ also affects circulation of the blood, digestion, sweating, and vision. General symptoms from agent BZ are fast heartbeat, dry skin and lips, blurred near vision (increased pupil size), flushed skin, urinary retention, constipation, and sedation progressing to stupor and interference with ordinary activity. High doses produce extreme excitement, delusions, and hallucinations; high doses completely destroy the ability to perform any military task. An untreated casualty requires from three to four days to reach full recovery from the effects of BZ intoxication.

    •  Do you accept Israels assessment on Iranian nukes (0+ / 0-)


      I think Israel is willing to lie and says what suits them. They doubt chemical weapons in Syria, I doubt they want to see Assad go.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:46:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The US government also doubts the reports (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        U.S. Officials Doubt Syrian Rebels’ Chemical Attack Claim

        Al Jazeera posted two videos it said were obtained from “a field clinic in the city.” The graphic videos appear to depict gasping victims of what could be construed as a nerve agent attack.  However, the origins and contents of these videos have yet to be verified by other sources.

        U.S. officials note that several things about the video are inconsistent with a sarin strike. There are complaints of strong smells; sarin is odorless. There are reports that the victims inhaled large amounts of the chemical; a minuscule of amount of inhaled sarin can be fatal.

        “It just doesn’t jibe with chemical weapons,” one U.S. official tells Danger Room.

        There is lots of propaganda about the Syrian conflict. Rather than cut through this bullshit for DKos, you only spread it thicker.

        Your diaries are like Al Jazeera reports. You have become a propagandist for the Brotherhood.

        Akhtham Suliman, Al-Jazeera’s longtime Germany correspondent, in which he details what led to his recent resignation from the station.
        In one of the emails, the correspondent Ali Hashem had told Syrian TV presenter Rola Ibrahim, who was working at the network’s headquarters in Qatar, that he had seen and filmed armed Syrian revolutionaries on the border with Lebanon in 2011.

        The channel didn’t broadcast the images because they showed an armed deployment, which did not fit the desired narrative of a peaceful uprising. “My bosses told me: forget what you have seen!”
        Cairo’s Al-Jazeera correspondent Samir Omer moved to Sky News earlier this year not because of Syria, but rather, as he told his colleagues: “Because I could not stand it anymore. This is no longer an Al-Jazeera office. This is an office of the Muslim Brotherhood” – in other words, the very group that is supported by Qatar in all Arab countries, and is heralded as the winner of the” Arab Spring.”
        It is difficult to gauge what the now retired former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Said Al-Sahhaaf are up to these days. But Al Jazeera would have granted them cause for belated delight. Both will go down in history as prophets for having declared that “Al Jazeera does not tell the truth.” Now, almost ten years later, the statement has unfortunately come true.

        And so it has finally come to this. Even for me, this means I must bid my farewell. Since October, Al-Jazeera’s Germany correspondent can no longer be found “on the air.”

        The world knew that Al Jazeera was no longer telling the truth when Clinton started pimping the station during the Libyan conflict by saying how great they were. Wiki leaks showed they were bought off by the CIA in 2004.
  •  Not without the Security Council (4+ / 0-)

    It's stupid to try to blame the Obama administration and pointless to try to "pressure" them.

    Everyone really needs to read the administration's public security posture documents.

    The main point of the administration's policy documents is that the Bush administration almost screwed up the entire international system by pursuing a "go it alone" strategy.

    This administration is completely committed to "collective security," which involves, inter alia, not engaging in any action unless the international community both approves and participates.

    That means nothing will happen until the Security Council passes a resolution approving and organizing an intervention. Intervention without Security Council approval would be illegal under international law.

    The administration is working consistently to convince the members of the Security Council to intervene.

    Right now, Russia (and possibly China) still oppose intervention in Syria.

    If you want to write advocacy for intervention, you should focus on Russia. That is the only party preventing collective intervention in Syria.

    Your blaming the Obama administration is dishonest and misleading.

  •  BREAKING: #propaganda nourishes #outrage (9+ / 0-)

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:40:20 AM PST

  •  Every reason to lie (3+ / 0-)

    Defectors make terrible witnesses when it comes to the activities of the regime that they fled. They have every reason to lie in order to get someone else to destroy that regime so they can return. My fave was when we were listening to Ahmad Chalabi regarding WMD in Iraq when Chalabi was the guy most likely to become the leader of a free Iraq.

    I'll need a lot more independant confirmation of chemical weapons use before I'd support any involvement by the US -- and even then I doubt I'd be in favor of sending in ground forces.

  •  This may be true, or may not.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Lefty

    and it may be true that use of "chemical weapons" is our red line, depending on the type of weapon,
    and it may be true that our red line only includes decapitation of the head of state there, not mass invasion
    and it may be true that the Russians are as disgusted as we are at their client state
    and it may be true that we are already intervening via Turkey
    and it may be true that we are planning an end of this with Russia when the time presents itself..

    But what IS true is that Assad's Syria has played the game of terrorism and destabilization, and double dealing, and elite ownership of military oppression, and engagement in assasination of legitimate governments, and in general been a wholistic pain in the ass to all of its neighbors for a long time.. and deserves what it gets, even though the Syrian people do NOT deserve what they are getting.

    We can help best by support behind the scenes, out of sight, and in a role of targeted effort to bring the regime down. The  Syrian people can do the rest, because, while horrible and bloody and chaotic and destructive to the future as this war is, we are not the ones who created Assad, and we cannot be seen to be the agent of his fall. The Syrian people must be seen as the agent of his fall. My sympathy for them is boundless, and my faith in their courage is boundless as well.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:35:30 AM PST

    •  This could be a description of the US (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But what IS true is that the US has played the game of terrorism and destabilization, and double dealing, and elite ownership of military oppression, and engagement in assasination of legitimate governments, and in general been a wholistic pain in the ass to all of its neighbors for a long time.. and deserves what it gets, even though the American people do NOT deserve what they are getting.

      •  I agree in only part... (0+ / 0-)

        since I have spent my whole adult life trying to make the US live up to its own ideals. We have sure not done that very well.

        The difference here is that we still have the ability to elect people who will make sane international policy. Obama is one who does. The forces against sanity here are strong, but not insurmountable.

        In Syria, the forces against sanity are in control, and the result is what we see; self-destruction. I am hoping that we will learn from this how we DONT want to be; an armed aggressor determined to keep power at all costs.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:47:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  an armed aggressor determined to keep power at all (0+ / 0-)

          The US is already that. Vietnam - 3 million murdered by the US while attempting to keep power.

          Assad hasn't use any weapons the US didn't use in Vietnam, except chemical weapons. The US has used chemical and biological weapons [AFAIK] since Korea.

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:40:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Absurd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Lefty, Claudius Bombarnac

    first off, we've been training rebels in Jordan(?) in the handling of chemical weapons so if there was an isolated incident with only 7 people killed or harmed I'd put my money on the "rebels" mishandling their new science kits above anything else.

    What possible strategic goal could be reached with the killing of 7 people by some semi-dangerous "gas"(we know it's not sarin, vx, or anything that would be used militarily)?

    Use your brain Clay. Whether you consult the Israelis, Hamas, the North Koreans, or every illiterate goat herder in Afghanistan, if they are honest they'd agree that this diary is a total fail.

    Ahmed Chalabi II? Yeah he probably wishes lol.

    Get Clay on that pr job!

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