Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Syria: Falsely Accused as Pretext for War?

I talked to an intelligence analyst not long ago who told me to keep an eye on Syria. He said we couldn't get to Iran until we first secured Iraq, and the only way to do that would be to secure the borders, i.e. Syria, through which aid flows to insurgents in Iraq. (And I apologize for using the term "insurgents." I'm sure they'd describe themselves as "freedom fighters." Language carries amazing force, and is seldom neutral.)

Combine this with my long experience with government cover-ups, and you can imagine how skeptical I am of the UN Report, informally called the Mehlis report after lead Commissioner Detlev Mehlis, implicating the Syrian government in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. This seems to me to be the next "yellowcake," the next "sexed-up" intelligence leading us to yet another war.

Is my skepticism warranted? You bet, and I'll get to the specifics in a moment. Bear with me while I lay in some context.

When the Warren Commission was created to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we were told it would conduct an honest, rigorous investigation, leave no stone unturned, and tell us the truth. But years later, we found that whenever the government found a curious stone, they didn't turn it. They avoided it, or buried it. The Warren Commission was one of the most dishonest exercises ever paid for by the American Taxpayers.

The propaganda promoting the Mehlis report reeks of the sell job done with the Warren Report, with the Starr Report, with the 9/11 Report, all of which had holes you could drive a truck through. The Mehlis report was read on the air by Al Jazeera over a period of four hours, and this was dutifully reported by the magazine set up to encourage the left to support the goals of the establishment - The New Republic. The "mainstream" media in America reported uncritically on the report initially. Now, the Syrians are making a stir, claiming the accusations are false, and politically motivated.

Are they?

If the report is a set up, then the report writer, Mehlis, must be in on it. Is there any evidence he would bend the truth to serve a political agenda? In fact, there is. Evidence, not proof, mind you. But curiously interesting evidence.

Remember when President Reagan ordered the bombing of the house of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi? The justification given was that there had been solid evidence that Colonel Qaddafi's security forces had been behind the April 1986 bombing of the German disco La Belle. But a German documentary that aired in August of 1998 concluded that the case against the main suspect was so weak as to make him appear a patsy. The Berlin judge found the case against the lead suspect, Yasser Chraidi, so weak that he threatened to throw the case out of court unless better evidence could be presented.

So who stepped up to the plate to ensure a conviction, in spite of the lack of evidence? You guessed it, or should have guessed it if you follow these patterns: Detlev Mehlis. Who was being protected? According to the German documentary, the CIA and the Mossad. Mehlis met with a CIA agent named Musbah Eter and promised him immunity if he would implicate Chraidi in the plot. Eter did, the plot was "sold" to the world, and Reagan sealed it with a bomb attack on Qaddafi's home.

But let's forget all that for a second. Just on its own merits, how does Mehlis's report hold up?

Not well, according to one of the only investigative reporters left in America, Robert Parry. Parry notes that the UN report identifies the vehicle containing the bomb as a white Mitsubishi Canter van that had been stolen on October 12, 2004. But the report is strangely silent as to the chain of possession of the van. Who stole it? How did it end up being used? Who was the bomber?

Parry also reported that the UN report relies on circumstantial evidence that is pretty flimsy--phone records that prove nothing, witnesses who contradict each other and therefore can't both be telling the truth, and a man who was apparently paid for his testimony.

So when we hear that the Syrians are protesting the report, we should, perhaps, pay attention. Because the last time we swallowed a story like this whole, over 2000 Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis paid a terrible price for our inattention.


Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Please also see this Kos diary for more information on the Chalabi-like character who supplied Mehlis with much of his information. The more I look, the more this report stinks to high heaven.

12:14 AM  

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