By Keith Davies and Ben Barrack
When it came to action on Syria, Barack Obama’s emissary to the British Parliament, which also happens to be Prime Minister David Cameron, was unsuccessful in convincing Parliament that action was necessary against Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. Lost in the news about this defeat for Cameron was a rather shocking admission by him that took place during the debate.
It started with a Conservative member of Parliament Julian Lewis asking Cameron if classified intelligence information Cameron claimed to have in his possession that implicated Assad could be shown to select members of Parliament who sit on the intelligence committee. Cameron’s response was incredibly revealing in that it indicated there isn’t any such intelligence.
Cameron’s initial reaction was typical politik-speak. He assured Lewis that he would be happy to take the request under advisement (this garnered some skeptical groans from other members) but then proceeded to demean the potential consequences of doing so, by saying he didn’t want the intelligence to be used to create a “cult” following. Cameron then directed members to “open source” information that implicated Assad which amounts to nothing more than scant circumstantial evidence, based on demonstrably false premises.
Did you catch that? Smear the request for access to smoking gun information; then point to ‘open source’ information that provides nothing more than circumstantial evidence; then admit (and diminish) the fact that there is no ‘smoking’ gun.
At that, Cameron’s circumstantial evidence is suspect and in some cases, flat-out wrong. After assuring members of Parliament that ‘open source’ information was sufficient, Cameron said:
“There’s the fact we know that the regime has an enormous arsenal; the fact they’ve used it before; the fact they were attacking that area. And then with the opposition, of course, there’s the fact they don’t have those weapons, they don’t have those delivery systems, and the attack took place in an area which they were themselves holding.”
While some of those claims are likely provable, others appear to be politically motivated and are demonstrably false. Several statements of fact made by Cameron are disputable, questionable, disingenuous, or outright dishonest. He then suggested that there is no ‘smoking piece of evidence’, which translates to no direct evidence Assad carried out the attacks, saying that Parliament should vote his way based on a “judgement”.
Our judgement is that the following statements of fact made by Cameron need to be examined more thoroughly:
- Assad has used Chemical weapons before: We are not issuing a categorical denial here but we are saying that the only evidence we have been able to find relative to Chemical weapons usage in Syria has been at the hands of the rebels, not Assad.
- The opposition doesn’t have Chemical weapons: This is an outrageous assertion. Since Cameron is pointing to ‘open source’ information to make his case, we’d like to direct you to plenty of ‘open source’ information that torpedoes his contention that the opposition has no Chemical weapons. In addition to our report showing that rebels do have Chemical weapons, Dale Gavlak makes the claim as well. In fact, we’ve presented video of what purports to be rebels discussing the logistics of a strike involving Sarin gas and another video of the Assad regime securing a rebel location that shows a bag of Chemicals from Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia supports the rebels).
- Rebels don’t have the delivery systems: As we pointed out in our piece, there have been plenty of suspicious attacks that all point to the rebels. As for proper delivery systems, what does this look like?
- Attack took place in an area where rebels were hiding: Again, Gavlak asserts that the rebels who were in possession of the Chemical weapons mishandled them, which is why they went off. Yossef Bodansky, as we pointed out before, cites sources that point to a far more nefarious plot. These sources point to the rebels being engaged in an act of unfriendly fire in order to frame Assad so as to push an agenda. In our report, we suggested that Muruna might be a factor. Muruna allows for Muslims to kill Muslims if it means defeating infidels. Murdering Muslims to frame Assad to get air cover from the west would certainly qualify. Bodansky goes even further, implying that the Obama White House knew about the August 21st attack before it happened.
Gavlak, with whom Cameron’s staff ought to be familiar (she writes for the AP and BBC), indicates that rebels in this area were provided chemical weapons by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar and that they went off because they were handled improperly. This runs counter to Cameron’s claim that the rebels didn’t have such weapons. It also provides an uncomfortable set of facts that provide a completely different explanation for how weapons went off in an area held by rebels.
Cameron has officially admitted that there is no ‘smoking evidence’ to implicate Assad. In doing so, he conceded that neither British nor U.S. intelligence contains such evidence.
Perhaps this is why he attempted to direct members of Parliament away from intelligence implicating Assad.