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Friday, June 14, 2013

McClatchy Again Breaks Ranks in Questioning Proof of Syria & Chem Agents

I asked yesterday if McClatchy, as reporters there (actually then with Knight Ridder) did during the run-up to the Iraq war, would be among the few to raise deep questions about "slam dunk" proof offered by a White House on Addad's use of chemical agents.  Reporters there, especially Jonathan Landay, had done that last month and the month before. But now?

First indication comes in this new piece by Matthew Schofield which flatly states that experts are skeptical of the new Obama claims. 
Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny.
“It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack.”
Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath.
“In a world where even the secret execution of Saddam Hussein was taped by someone, it doesn’t make sense that we don’t see videos, that we don’t see photos, showing bodies of the dead, and the reddened faces and the bluish extremities of the affected,” he said.
Other experts said that while they were willing to give the U.S. intelligence community the benefit of the doubt, the Obama administration has yet to offer details of what evidence it has and how it obtained it.
And here, the reliable Hannah Allam of McClatchy probes serious concerns about our partners in Syria.

New edition of my book on how this went down re: Iraq, from 2002 to 2008, here.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/14/194016/chemical-weapons-experts-still.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_term=news#storylink=cpy

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