Did Wikileaks reveal Chemical Weapons plan in Syria?

One of our readers made a very interesting find relative to U.S. operations in Syria in late 2011 / early 2012. While an email from Reva Bhalla, Vice President of Global Analysis for STRATFOR doesn’t specifically lay out any plans to launch a Chemical weapons attack in Syria for the purpose of setting up Assad, in some ways, it does seem to bolster the claims of Yossef Bodansky, who has alleged that very thing.

Reva Bhalla

Reva Bhalla

It’s a rather lengthy email, so we’ll give you the high points, via Wikileaks:

From: “Reva Bhalla”
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 6:49:18 PM
Subject: INSIGHT – military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status
of forces

A few points I wanted to highlight from meetings today —

I spent most of the afternoon at the Pentagon with the USAF strategic studies group – guys who spend their time trying to understand and explain to the USAF chief the big picture in areas where they’re operating in. It was just myself and four other guys at the Lieutenant Colonel level, including one French and one British representative who are liaising with the US currently out of DC. {emphasis ours}

It’s noteworthy to point out that Bhalla is rather young to both be the Vice President of STRATFOR and have such high level meetings with military officials. She appears to have begun working for STRATFOR in 2004, shortly after graduating from the University of Texas in Austin.

A short time later in the email…

There is still a very low level of understanding of what is actually at stake in Syria, what’s the strategic interest there, the Turkish role, the Iranian role, etc. After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces. One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway… {emphasis ours}

This is an alarming excerpt on many levels. First, that top U.S., British, and French military officials don’t understand why the west is engaged in Syria is disturbing. When this ignorance is coupled with the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports the rebels, it speaks volumes. It should also sound alarm bells that the superiors of forces of special ops guys who were on the ground in Syria didn’t understand what was “at stake” or what the “strategic interest” is.

Simply, Turkey wants Assad overthrown because it gets them closer to an Ottoman resurrection. Saudi Arabia wants Assad overthrown because he represents the Saudis’ mortal enemy, Iran. And Iran wants Assad to remain in power. Siding with the Saudis, the Turks, and the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t serve the strategic interests of the U.S. at all. That’s really all the understanding that one needs.

It’s also quite interesting that as of December, 2012, there wasn’t “much of a Free Syrian Army”. So, where did its forces come from since? The answer is simple; jihadists came from other regions.

This next paragraph is a bit troubling:

I kept pressing on the question of what these SOF teams would be working toward, and whether this would lead to an eventual air camapign to give a Syrian rebel group cover. They pretty quickly distanced themselves from that idea, saying that the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn’t be a need for air cover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway. {emphasis ours}

Does this not mean that U.S. special ops forces were on the ground in Syria, training rebels to carry out attacks – and assassination campaigns – to take down Assad? This brings us back to the “low level of understanding” relative to the “strategic interest” in Syria. It’s obvious; our guys have been training Muslim Brotherhood fighters. What more evidence is needed to demonstrate these guys don’t understand the “strategic interest”?

A few stanzas later, Bhalla revealed something potentially explosive when talking about the military guys’ take on an air campaign (remember this is almost two years ago):

They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi. They think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage. {emphasis ours}

Was there not excessive media coverage on a (Chemical weapons) “massacre” on August 21st? As for the “high tolerance for killings”, hasn’t that been part of the argument from those who oppose launching airstrikes when it comes to how the people in Syria died? What’s more tragic, tens of thousands dying from gunshots or 1400 dying from Chemical weapons?

Ok, so the green light to attack Syria would be a “massacre”, like say, a Chemical weapons attack. A short time later, Bhalla appears to reveal why airstrikes would be so important and what they would lead to:

Air Force Intel guy is most obsessed with the challenge of taking out Syria’s ballistic missile capabilities and chem weapons. With Israel rgiht there and the regime facing an existential crisis, he sees that as a major complication to any military intervention. {emphasis ours}

With Bhalla’s email as a foundation, let’s take a look at an excerpt from that Yossef Bodansky piece from earlier this month:

On August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major and irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and representatives of Qatari, Turkish, and US Intelligence [“Mukhabarat Amriki”] took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors. Very senior opposition commanders who had arrived from Istanbul briefed the regional commanders of an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria. {emphasis ours}

From Bhalla’s email:

They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre…


…an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria.

There is another very disturbing aspect to both Bhalla’s background and the background of STRATFOR. Before getting to Bhalla, take a look at her employer’s “About Us” page:

Stratfor is a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world. By placing global events in a geopolitical framework, we help customers anticipate opportunities and better understand international developments. {emphasis ours}

Geopolitical intelligence? Really?

Again, via Wikileaks:

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

“[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

Did you catch the date of that email? December 6th. That’s the date on Bhalla’s aforementioned email as well.

One more quote from SRATFOR’s “About Us” page:

Best-selling author George Friedman founded Stratfor in 1996 to bring customers an incisive new approach to examining world affairs. Under his direction, Stratfor taps into a worldwide network of contacts and mines vast amounts of open-source information. {emphasis ours}

Does accessing “open-source” information involve… dare we say it… granting access to open legs?

h/t Pierre


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