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Friday, June 21, 2013

Claims on Syria's Chems--Another 'Slam Dunk' Stuffed

I've warned for weeks that the claims of use of chemical agents by the Assad side in Syria were incredibly sketchy but would be used as an excuse for stepping up U.S. intervention.   Of course, this happened last week with the statements from the White House.  For too long, our friends at McClatchy were virtually alone in the U.S media in seriously questioning the claims (repeating their role in the run-up to Iraq war).  Now the Wash Post is belatedly joining them.  As David Kay says, “You’d be an idiot if you didn’t approach this thing with a bit of caution.” 
Despite months of laboratory testing and scrutiny by top U.S. scientists, the Obama administration’s case for arming Syria’s rebels rests on unverifiable claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, according to diplomats and experts.
The United States, Britain and France have supplied the United Nations with a trove of evidence, including multiple blood, tissue and soil samples, that U.S. officials say proves that Syrian troops used the nerve agent sarin on the battlefield. But the nature of the physical evidence — as well as the secrecy over how it was collected and analyzed — has opened the administration to criticism by independent experts, who say there is no reliable way to assess its authenticity.

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