Kerry: “We Know” Syrian Government Used Chemical Weapons

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Charles Dharapak / AP

Secretary of State John Kerry revealed Friday the highlights of an unclassified intelligence assessment into last weeks reported chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000 outside Damascus, saying it is clear to the United States that the Syrian government was responsible.

“We know that a senior regime official confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime,” Kerry said from the State Department, offering the bluntest rationale yet for military engagement in Syria in a blistering 19 minute statement. “We know this.”

According to Kerry, the United States also knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children. He said the U.S. has been able to confirm the source of the Syrian chemical weapons in last week’s attack, and that Syrian government weapons technicians were known to be preparing their use. Kerry said this assessment was “fact.”

“The intelligence community has high confidence,” Kerry said. “The question is no longer what we know, it’s what we collectively, we in the world, do about it.”

According to the intelligence assessment and senior administration officials, the Syrian regime was attempting to clear the Damascus suburb of opposition forces before deploying the chemical weapons. Human, signals, and geospatial intelligence showed three days of preparations before the chemical weapons attack, and Syrian forces were told to take precautions before the attack. After the incident, U.S. intelligence intercepts picked up a senior Syrian official with knowledge of the attack expressing concern that UN officials would discover evidence of the attack, which was followed by a conventional artillery attack designed to cover up the attack.

That order to stop the attack and launch the artillery provided “additional confidence that this was a commanded operation,” according to one official.

Kerry did not preview any specific response, but said forcefully that there must be some punishment for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity. . . this matters to us, and it matters to who we are, and to leadership and credibility in the world. It matters here if nothing is done,” Kerry said. “This is about Hizbollah, North Korea and every other terrorist group. Will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?”

He promised that whatever military response the President orders, a prospect that appears increasingly likely even with limited international support, would not resemble other recent military adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.

But the specter of the 2003 Iraq war, and the false intelligence upon which it was based, still provided context for Kerry’s statement. “Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and rereviewed information regarding this attack,” he said. “And I will tell you it has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment. Accordingly, we have taken unprecedented steps to declassify and make facts available to people, who can judge for themselves.”

An NBC News survey released Friday found that a majority of Americans oppose any military action in response to the use of chemical weapons. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of Americans want Obama to receive congressional approval before ordering strikes.

The full declassified U.S. intelligence assessment is here, and a U.S. intelligence map of the affected areas:

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34 comments
Puzzled2013
Puzzled2013

Question to John Kerry: What was agent orange? Fertilizer?

SaneRepublican
SaneRepublican

Hey Kerry, Obama, McCain. . .go get a gun and have fun playing in Syria.  The rest of us have had enough and we are staying HOME!.   Sheesh, war talk. . .Halliburton profits must be down this month.

BillPearlman
BillPearlman

Israel if given a free hand can defend itself very easily. Other than that I don't care if Syrians kill each other for the next thousand years. Thins the herd

sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

Unfortunately, nobody believes the Intelligence reports quoted by Secy. Kerry. Remember the charts used by. Gen. Powell in the UN to prove Iraq had WMD! Now, the UK parliament has called the bluff and Prime Minister Cameron is forced to stop his sabre rattling! The question in everyone's mind, prove to us that missiles at Damascus will make a difference? What the US should do is to join Russia and convene  Settlement talks. A President who has won the Peace prize and is known not to be trigger happy, must not align with the pressure groups with Petro dollars!

destor23
destor23

We also know that America's infrastructure is in need of repair and upgrade but people tell me we don't have the money because of the debt.  So, how can we afford to lob explosives at Syria?

teodongo
teodongo

It is unfortunate that all those "countries and people" against the US military response against Syria are not providing any leadership or solution to the millions of defenseless Syrians suffering under a rogue regime. Syria case is not new to the "countries and people" opposing the US invasion. Even after chemical attack, some "countries and people" think that this is not the right time nor the best solution!  Should the world wait for the entire innocent and defenseless Syrians to be massacred! Is it the fear of the unknown? is Russia trying to show the world that it has muscles? Obama should descend on the Assad regime and end this war once-and-for all.

D3b@t3R
D3b@t3R

War, for any reason, is a waste.  Britain is bowing out, although they agree with UN findings and the Obama/Kerry/McCain stance. Kerry, McCain (Obama still hasn't made a final decision and I don't think it is in his best interests politically or historically to do so alone--without a vote from Congress) and others are calling for retaliation against Syria, and saying that it only requires an OK from Obama--no other votes need be considered.  This leaves Kerry at a distinct advantage politically, no?  For when the chaos erupts, as we all know, it only benefits the industrial military complex, their cronies, the 1 or 2 % in this country who own 90% of our nation's wealth, and those who align themselves politically with the "winning" side--and all this at the expense of the common people in Syria and around the globe.  We little people are part of a burgeoning 7+ billion who are just littering the planet--what better excuse for war in the minds of the rich and powerful.


talln45
talln45

So this is entirely different than the intelligence community knowing Iraq had Weapons of mass destruction?

COLNZ75
COLNZ75

This is super rich in natural fertilizer! The Obama regime with Kerry as spokesperson is screaming WMD. We heard from Obama and his minions for the last five years that the only WMD in this part of the world were figments of George Bush's hyper-active imagination!

With help from Mr. Cheny Bush conjured up WMD as a means to mislead congress into approving an illegitimate and criminal war in the middle east. Now we learn that there truly are WMD in the hands of our enemies and we have to come riding in on our great white horse to save the world!


littleredtop
littleredtop

The wise thing to do at this point would be for America and it's phoney president to mind their own business.  By the way, this Kerry guy is a rodeo clown if I've ever seen one.   

billorights
billorights

LOL!

That's the 'proof'?

You have GOT to be kidding me!

This latest (phony) accusation of chemical weapons is at least the THIRD time the administration have accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapons. Each time, the evidence has always led back to the rebels. Last time (In May or June), rather than trouble anyone with a lengthy investigation, the administration saw fit to going public with their call for arming the rebels, despite having providing arms to them for nearly a year.

So the Assad regime is well aware of Washington’s agenda here. The LAST thing they would do is actually use them, especially after the Russians sat down with Assad in December and made him LOCK THAT 5H1T UP.

The story we are to believe this time is that the Assad regime fired chemical weapons into a rebel-controlled neighborhood, just as U.N. weapons inspectors were arriving in Damascus, with no indication of a larger military objective…i.e. no troop movements suggesting an attempt at flanking escaping rebels, no advances, no nothing.

Just a bunch of dead civilians, and the rebels STILL in control of the area.

Equally curious, Assad was pushing back the rebels. He was gaining ground. What possible motivation would he have to use chemical weapons?

This crisis is about Russia, not Syria. It is about economic and geopolitical encirclement, because Russia is standing in the way of Globalism.

Among other things, Russia is facing an imminent population crisis due, mainly, to the Soviets’ Frankenstein monster–alcoholism. While it kept the general population from rising up under Soviet rule, it has become a major Achille's heel.  We are flooding them with their worst nightmare…crazed Sunnis.

But there are several other issues here. The Globalists are redefining the ‘Eastern Question’. Is it any coincidence that the British and the French are barking so loudly?

Google:

wikipedia wiki/Eastern_Question

(see: Great Eastern Crisis)

Furthermore, the Globalists are trying to reshape geopolitical lines in order to reflect what they believe to be the economy of the future.

Like Afghanistan (also along Russia’s sphere of influence), Syria is one of the world’s largest lithium suppliers. And, while not a big oil producer themselves, there are a few VERY strategic pipelines running across the country.

In short, the Obama administration (like the Bush administration before it) is chomping at the bit to move into Syria, and has been for quite some time.

DanBruce
DanBruce

The United States needs to make this a very personal attack response. President Obama, 24 hours before an attack, should warn the families of Assad and his senior military people to leave their residences and other hangouts, then wipe out all of Assad's and the military top-brasses' homes and personal hangouts with cruise missiles and smart bombs. Make the Assad leadership essentially homeless in their own land. This punishes Assad and the people who made the decision to use the chemical weapons without harming those who do not support Assad and his illegal actions, and without harming the people of Syria (unless they choose to hang out with Assad and his cronies).

jmac
jmac

@Puzzled2013 Puzzled?   That's why he came back and spoke out.  He was Swifted Boated for that (and the "D" behind his name).  

Carmelite
Carmelite

@jhonflin I was watching CNN on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 as I was getting my hair done by my mom's aunt's friend(who had the TV on).  I remember Anderson Cooper reporting on the bombing in Syria, which is horrible.  He kept saying that the quality and longevity of the video cannot be confirmed and yet him and other reporters kept saying that the Syrian government did this.  If the quality and the longevity of the video cannot be confirmed, how does one know on which date the attack occurred, let alone the perpetrators of the attack?  People were killed in that attack and yet the media won't tell the truth about what happened?  Just like Iraq. And then they want us to go to Iran to kill more people(read Senate Resolution 65)?  Instead of asking "How do we help the victims of this attack?", the media asks "Does Syria have chemical weapons?"  The people in the Middle East are suffering and we don't care.  Their livelihoods are being destroyed and their humanity is dehumanized, but for the sake of profit, violence, and hate, the media will have people go to war in order to do their bidding and add to the suffering that the Syrian people are already going through.  How very sad.  The Zionists really do want this war.  By the grace and Power of God, they won't get it.

jmac
jmac

@SaneRepublican Tell it to McCain and LIndsay Graham.   Any Sane republican (oxymoron) would know who Halliburton owns - It's  not the party talking about fossil fuels and the need to get alternatives.  

jmac
jmac

@sridhar.sid Just because Powell wanted to keep his job and ignore inspectors on the ground doesn't mean Kerry's lying.   The UK didn't call any bluff - it had an early vote, a very close vote.   Everyone's waiting for the lab tests to see what poison was used.   We're waiting for the inspector's report.   Maybe we'll believe it this time.    

Do you stand back and watch while a mother beats her child?  Do you say nothing?  How about if she throws acid in the child's face?  Do you win the Peace prize for saying and doing nothing?   We have lousy choices, Hezbollah or al-Qaida, but we don't have to sit back and do nothing.  

jmac
jmac

@talln45 Do you think Biden is over at Langley cherry-picking information to justify an invasion?    Do you honestly think Obama wants to go in?   Do you think he has been chomping at the bit from week one to invade Syria and is using chemicals dropped by Syria fourteen years ago as an excuse?      Did you notice this hasn't been done right before an election?  

Bush's legacy is worse than I thought.  Crying wolf with false information was bad enough.    


jmac
jmac

@COLNZ75  No, we didn't hear from the Obama regime that there were no WMD's in this part of the world.  Syria, Iran and North Korea have always been a problem.  Yemen is a problem that's why we're bombing them.    

Iraq was never a huge threat.  It was weaker than when George H. BUsh took back Kawait - no chemical weapons were used on our troops when Bush Sr went in and Saddam and his private army curled up in a ball.  They had been used FOURTEEN years before when Bush jr used them as an excuse to go in again and redeem dadddy.  

Just because Bush jr was a bullying, ignorant idiot doesn't mean this region isn't still a threat to the US.  

jmac
jmac

@littleredtop "this Kerry guy is a rodeo clown . . ."   By all means bring back Condi.  She can write Obama's State of the Union and mention that Syria is trying to buy yellowcake from Africa - then she can blame it on her aide for putting the lie  in the State of the Union address.   

Kerry is an America war hero.  He's the reason my retired Air Force husband quit the Republican party.  You don't Swift Boat American heroes just because they have a "D" behind their name.   

Sacrosanct
Sacrosanct

@billorights I think your problem is that living in America you have become so pampered that you look at issues from the tail-lights of your couch. We are talking about deterring impunity and the USA is the only country that can lead the world in doing that. But you are more interested in name calling. We will bomb Assad's part of Syria and you will sit on that couch and like it. 

DanBruce
DanBruce

@billorights You are forgetting the high-powered radar we have in Israel that can pinpoint missile launches and impacts almost anywhere in the Middle East. That has allowed the U.S. to say for certain where the missiles came from, and it says that they were launched by the Syrian government. So, your protestations are just a bunch of hot air. Why are you defending Assad and the other mass murderers?

fade85
fade85

You forget that the Iraq war was declared by congress, approved by many democrats, who had access to the intelligence information. Syria is not threatening us, they are not threatening our allies, they are in a civil war. A civil war that is none of our business. At least Saddam threaten us verbally. This has nothing to do with us. Iraq was a mistake, this could end up being worse. I think Obama is crazy power hungry. With what happened with Benghazi, he obviously can't be trusted.

manlyman
manlyman

@jmac @littleredtop You're pathetic jmac. Kerry is a war hero? Laughable! Clean that brown stuff off your nose, it's very unbecoming.

jmac
jmac

@fade85 I didn't forget the timing or the "intelligence information", or Powell with his little pointer.    It was very clever.  It was very deceitful and it was done with the help of a major propaganda channel.  It will never be erased from our history.  Ever.  

"At least Saddam threatened us verbally."   I'm pretty sure we can come up with some Assad quotes for you.    And Benghazi - you're showing your ignorance when you bring up Benghazi - a CIA outpost in Africa where the diplomats had been offered more security and turned it down.   You've got nothing.  

"Syria is not threatening us".  Neither was Hitler.  Syria is a cesspool - and if you don't like bombing why aren't you yelling about Yemen?   Obama and the international community might decide not to do anything - there's no good answer - but it will be on his  conscience until  the day he dies.  America doesn't have to worry about it's conscience - that's been destroyed many times.   

Shinji_Hirako
Shinji_Hirako

@manlyman   American hero John Kerry received a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.