Sarin gas used in Syria attack, Kerry says

The Washington Post reports: Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday that fresh laboratory tests show that Sarin nerve gas was used in an Aug. 21 attack in Syria that killed more than 1,400 people, the first time that U.S. officials have pinpointed what kind of chemical weapon was used.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kerry said blood and hair samples from emergency workers in east Damascus had tested positive for Sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent. He said that U.S. officials learned of the lab results in the past 24 hours, citing the evidence as yet another reason for Congress to pass President Obama’s request to authorize the use of military force against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“So this case is building and this case will build,” Kerry said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by NBC. “I don’t believe that my former colleagues in the United States Senate and the House will turn their backs on all of our interests, on the credibility of our country, on the norm with respect to the enforcement of the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons.”

In an unclassified intelligence assessment released Thursday, U.S. officials had said they believed that the Syrian government had used “a nerve agent” in the Aug. 21 attack in the Damascus suburbs. But the intelligence report did not specify what kind, and questions have remained about precisely what chemical weapons may have been involved and who ordered their use. Syria is believed to have multiple nerve agents and poison gases in its chemical weapons stockpile.

The new disclosure from Kerry came a day after Obama put on hold a plan to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, arguing that the United States had a moral responsibility to respond forcefully but would not do so until Congress has a chance to vote on the use of military force. [Continue reading…]

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9 thoughts on “Sarin gas used in Syria attack, Kerry says

  1. La vérité

    The hypocrisy of it all…..
    Napalm, Agent Orange, Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorus ( no one needs a reminder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki )… wish they would just shut up..

  2. Master Adrian

    Proof it mister Kerry, proof it!
    Give the proof you claim to be having to the world, give it to the only body that has the right to decide on retaliation.. the United Nations, and do not claim something that you refuse to make concrete!
    Secret? Danger of hurting the deliverer of the info? BS!
    America exposes whistleblowers easily when it at its interest, so why not when the interest is on the other side?

    Proof it mister Kerry, show the evidence!
    And let it be investigated by people who have no stake at it!

  3. Norman

    Kerry didn’t name the lab, probably because it came from 3 rebel doctors in a fox hole someplace in Syria. Just who is writing this P.R. crap? And just exactly how the civil war in Syria is a danger to the security of the U.S.? Or is Israel now considered the U.S. & Syria is next door?

  4. Paul Woodward

    When this report came out, Dale Gavlak was described as an Associated Press reporter and no doubt that identification lent the report a certain amount of credibility. Now it turns out she’s a freelancer and I’d be really surprised if we ever see her name again on an AP byline. Also, she’s added the “clarification” that she’s not in Syria.

    Let’s for the sake of argument suppose, as so many conspiracy theorists would like to do, that the CW were supplied by the Saudis. Do you think the Saudis would be so indiscreet as to inform the recipients that the weapons were coming from Prince Bandar bin Sultan? That’s ridiculous.

    The fact that there are different points of view around who was responsible for the attacks reveals nothing. There are different points of view about climate change and evolution and the Holocaust and who killed JKF and whether anyone landed on the moon. And what does that prove? Merely, that for every cockeyed conspiracy theory there is a bunch of suckers who are willing to believe it.

    At this point, there is not incontrovertible proof that the chemical attacks were launched by Assad’s forces, but the preponderance of circumstantial and gradually accumulating physical evidence points in that direction.

    In any kind of investigation, there can and should be multiple lines of inquiry, but it’s nonsensical to cling to one particular line of inquiry if in its pursuit one can find no supporting evidence. Which among the alternative theories about the attacks has gathered strength? None. That’s why we keep on hearing new ones.

    I make a lot effort to approach the issues here rationally, but most of my effort is probably wasted effort when I’m challenging people whose greatest attachment is to their own ideological convictions — people who can only hear what they want to hear and only believe what they want to believe. The thing that baffles me is why anyone wearing this kind of ideological straightjacket bothers visiting this site.

  5. La vérité

    I am not sure if the above comment was directed at me because of the article I posted……
    Regarding Dale Gavlak……
    Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News. Gavlak has been stationed in Cairo, Egypt Amman, Jordan for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern Affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East from Amman for Associated Press (AP), National Public Radio (NPR) and Mint Press News writing in various topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at dgavlak[at]
    Personally, I have no idea who used what kind of chemical which sadly killed so many civilians…. a neurotoxin according to MSF report. However, I do like to read articles and columns expressing different points of view, not necessary meaning that I agree with them or disagree with them…… not just regarding this current issue under discussion but on any issue…. it gives me a better perspective and I do not become rigid in my thinking!

  6. Paul Woodward

    I don’t judge Gavlak’s journalism on the basis of her credentials – I judge it on the basis of its content.

    When this report first appeared the byline said:

    By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh
    This article is a collaboration between Dale Gavlak reporting for Mint Press News (also of the Associated Press) and Yahya Ababneh.

    She wasn’t reporting for Associated Press so the only reason she tossed that in there seems to be in order to deceive readers who weren’t reading carefully to think that she was reporting for Mint Press News and AP.

    No doubt she soon got an angry communication from AP telling her to make it clear the report had nothing to do with them, insisting that she add a correction that also made clear that she is not an AP employee.

    So then she adds this, which not only disassociates the report from AP but also suggests that she wants to distance herself from the content of the report:

    Clarification: Dale Gavlak assisted in the research and writing process of this article, but was not on the ground in Syria. Reporter Yahya Ababneh, with whom the report was written in collaboration, was the correspondent on the ground in Ghouta who spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents.

    Gavlak is a MintPress News Middle East correspondent who has been freelancing for the AP as a Amman, Jordan correspondent for nearly a decade. This report is not an Associated Press article; rather it is exclusive to MintPress News.

    The report itself is a combination of bad journalism and deceptive reporting. Here’s an example of deception:

    That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

    The link goes to a Reuters report in Arabic. The report had already appeared in English. So why are readers of an English-language publication being directed to a source which will for most readers be of no use?

    Here’s one possibility: By writing that Jabhat al-Nusra announced that it would similarly attack civilians, the insinuation in similarly was that it would also use chemical weapons. Anyone reading the English version of the Reuters report would read this:

    “For every chemical rocket that has fallen on our people in Damascus, one of their villages will, by the will of God, pay for it,” Abu Mohammad al-Golani of the al-Nusra Front said in the recording posted on YouTube. “On top of that we will prepare a thousand rockets that will be fired on their towns in revenge for the Damascus Ghouta massacre.”

    No hint of retaliation using chemical weapons.

    As for the main thrust of the article — the claim that the chemical attack was instigated by the Saudis — the basis of this claim is no factual information whatsoever. It is merely that a number of people believed the weapons came from Prince Bandar bin Sultan. A lot of Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in Kenya.

    Maybe for the sake of added variety and presenting different points of view, I should start posting items from Fox News and commentators like Glenn Beck.

  7. La vérité

    I do not think that sarcasm is called for.
    I have never watched Fox News or for that matter much of any network news. And frankly, except for reading his name online once in a while, I do not know who Glenn Beck is.
    Of course, you are able to moderate comments on your website and if they do not meet with your approval, you do not have to post them.
    And your statement, “The thing that baffles me is why anyone wearing this kind of ideological straightjacket bothers visiting this site” , is unfortunate. You are presuming a person’s so called “ideology” without REALLY knowing that person.

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