[intelligence community]

Threats of a Dirty Bomb in Ukraine Reminiscent of Obama’s Red Line in Syria

There is an uptick in the panicked speculation about Ukraine using a dirty bomb in order to create a pretext that would justify NATO’s intervention in Ukraine.

Reminds me a lot of the previous efforts by the Brits and the Yanks to manufacture a crisis in Syria in August 2013 that would compel the United States and the Brits to send their troops to aid Islamic rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian leader Assad. Barack Obama had vowed in August of 2012 that any use of chemical weapons by Assad’s government would represent crossing a red line that would be followed by retaliation by the West. Why did Obama balk at responding to this alleged crime against humanity by Syria? Sy Hersh provided the answer:

The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

We may be on the cusp of a new fabricated provocation–this one involving a dirty nuke. The Russian General Staff are taking this threat seriously and are on the phone to Turkey, France and China to warn about this plot to detonate a dirty bomb and blame Moscow. The Russians clearly learned the lessons from Syria and the use of sarin. It remains to be seen if the current U.S. military leadership has the backbone their predecessors displayed in August 2013.

Let me take you back 9 years to August 2013. Washington’s political class had Syrian fever–i.e., they were hot and anxious to overthrow Syria’s Bashir Assad and the news channels were peppered with dire predictions of Assad’s imminent demise. Then came word of an alleged “sarin” gas attack on Syrian civilians by Assad’s military. At least this was the story the media was pushing.

I was working inside a SCIF at Fort Bragg at the time and had access to the intelligence reports about the attack at Ghouta. General Michael Flynn was the head of DIA at the time. In contrast to the propaganda being spun by State Department’s INR, the CIA and the media–i.e., that the Syrian rebels were steamrolling the Syrian government and, wait for it, Syrian President Assad was on the ropes–DIA did a great job of honestly reporting the combat activity and the order of battle. The DIA reports told an entirely different story–the Syrian Army was making progress in containing the rebel uprising and the combat effectiveness of the rebels was waning.

Then came the alleged sarin attack by the Syrian government at Ghouta. Turns out this was a lie. Sy Hersh got the story and did, as always, first rate reporting:

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack. . . .

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

When the first reports surfaced about the attack in Ghouta I immediately started looking at the intelligence briefs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that were published in the days prior to the attack. I reasoned that if the Syrian military was the culprit then the United States intelligence community would have detected the Syrian chemical weapons units standing up and making preparations for the attack. Why? Because the United States was part of warning system for Israel. There was the fear that Syria might use chemical weapons against Israel and the United States was using its technical means to monitor the activity of the Syrian military units that would carry out such an attack. The Syrians used a binary chemical weapon system. This means that two chemicals had to be mixed together in order to create a deadly brew. That type of activity can be detected by intelligence technical measures. Oddly, there was no prior intelligence indicating any activity by the Syrian military in the days preceding Ghouta. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip.

Would you be surprised to learn that British and CIA intelligence officers may have been involved in the Ghouta plot with the mission of manufacturing a casus belli that would allow the United States and the United Kingdom to intervene militarily in Syria?

This brings us back to Ukraine. There is serious concern that the West is once again trying to concoct a false flag that can be used to rally a reluctant public to go to war with Russia. Instead of chemical weapons, the current scheme reportedly involves detonating a dirty nuke in territory ostensibly under the control of Russia. The Ukrainian military is suffering catastrophic casualties and, western propaganda notwithstanding will have great difficulty sustaining any offensive. The United States and its NATO allies realize this and are searching for a pretext to send NATO forces to the rescue. It appears that the West is considering using the threat of defeating a nuclear attack as the justification for sending its own forces into the Ukrainian maelstrom.

I think the Ukraine situation is far more dangerous than what transpired in Syria. Russia’s national security is at stake and the West is panicked at the prospect of Ukraine being beaten into submission.

We are sitting on a nuclear powder keg. Pray that cooler heads prevail.

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