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Archive for January 18th, 2014|Daily archive page

Western Intelligence Agencies in Secret Talks with Assad Gov’t to Combat Radical Islamist Groups

In Archive, Syria on January 18, 2014 at 11:13 AM

01/15/2014

BBC:

Western intelligence agencies have visited Damascus for talks on combating radical Islamist groups, Syria’s deputy foreign minister has told the BBC.

Faisal Mekdad said there was a schism between Western security officials and politicians who are pressing President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The growth of jihadist groups among rebels fighting President Assad has caused international concern.

In a recent interview, Mr Mekdad told BBC Newsnight that many Western governments had finally understood that there was no alternative to the leadership of President Assad.

Asked if Western intelligence agencies – including British intelligence – had recently visited Damascus, he said: “I will not specify but many of them have visited Damascus, yes.”

On the subject of whether Syria was getting more requests from Western countries to have their diplomats return to Damascus, he added: “Yes, there are many countries who are approaching us.

“Of course some are waiting for Geneva, some are saying we are exploring the possibilities, some are saying we want to co-operate on security measures because those terrorists they are sending from Western Europe into Turkey, into Syria, have become a real threat to them.”

The BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet said informed sources had confirmed meetings between Western and Syrian intelligence officials.

The growing numbers of foreign Islamist fighters from Europe means there are common concerns, our correspondent says, but it is not clear how far the West is prepared to make common cause with a regime it holds responsible for the Syrian civil war.

The UK government denied allegations its intelligence officials had been involved in such co-operation.

New Study Points to Syrian Rebels Behind Ghouta Sarin Attack; Rocket Range Too Short to Be Fired From Gov’t Positions

In Archive, Syria on January 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM

01/15/2014

McClatchy:

A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.

A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

Separately, international weapons experts are puzzling over why the rocket in question – an improvised 330mm to 350mm rocket equipped with a large receptacle on its nose to hold chemicals – reportedly did not appear in the Syrian government’s declaration of its arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and apparently was not uncovered by OPCW inspectors who believe they’ve destroyed Syria’s ability to deliver a chemical attack.

The authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.

Relying on mathematical projections about the likely force of the rocket and noting that its design – some have described it as a trash can on a stick – would have made it awkward in flight, Lloyd and Postol conclude that the rocket likely had a maximum range of 2 kilometers, or just more than 1.2 miles. That range, the report explains in detail, means the rockets could not have come from land controlled by the Syrian government.

To emphasize their point, the authors used a map produced by the White House that showed which areas were under government and rebel control on Aug. 21 and where the chemical weapons attack occurred. Drawing circles around Zamalka to show the range from which the rocket could have come, the authors conclude that all of the likely launching points were in rebel-held areas or areas that were in dispute. The area securely in government hands was miles from the possible launch zones.

In an interview, Postol said that a basic analysis of the weapon – some also have described as a looking like a push pop, a fat cylinder filled with sarin atop a thin stick that holds the engine – would have shown that it wasn’t capable of flying the 6 miles from the center of the Syrian government-controlled part of Damascus to the point of impact in the suburbs, or even the 3.6 miles from the edges of government-controlled ground.

He questioned whether U.S. intelligence officials had actually analyzed the improbability of a rocket with such a non-aerodynamic design traveling so far before Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Sept. 3 that “we are certain that none of the opposition has the weapons or capacity to effect a strike of this scale – particularly from the heart of regime territory.”

“I honestly have no idea what happened,” Postol said. “My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.”

Lloyd, who has spent the past half-year studying the weapons and capabilities in the Syrian conflict, disputed the assumption that the rebels are less capable of making rockets than the Syrian military.

“The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons,” he said. “I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government.”

Both said they were not making a case that the rebels were behind the attack, just that a case for military action was made without even a basic understanding of what might have happened.

For instance, they said that Kerry’s insistence that U.S. satellite images had shown the impact points of the chemical weapons was unlikely to be true. The charges that detonate chemical weapons are generally so small, they said, that their detonations would not be visible in a satellite image.

The report also raised questions whether the Obama administration misused intelligence information in a way similar to the administration of President George W. Bush in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Then, U.S. officials insisted that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had an active program to develop weapons of mass destruction. Subsequent inspections turned up no such program or weapons.

Ullman: Whistleblowers/Anonymous/Information Revolution Threaten “New World Order”; “Extraordinary Crisis” Needed to Preserve It

In Anonymous, Archive, Assange, Bradley Manning, Chelsea Manning, Internet, Julian Assange, NWO, Snowden, WikiLeaks, World Revolution on January 18, 2014 at 7:36 AM

LeakTank

harlan-k-ullman

01/17/2014

Paul Joseph Watson/InfoWars:

Writing for the Atlantic Council, a prominent think tank based in Washington DC, Harlan K. Ullman warns that an “extraordinary crisis” is needed to preserve the “new world order,” which is under threat of being derailed by non-state actors like Edward Snowden.

The Atlantic Council is considered to be a highly influential organization with close ties to major policy makers across the world. It’s headed up by Gen. Brent Scowcroft, former United States National Security Advisor under U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. Snowcroft has also advised President Barack Obama.

Harlan K. Ullman was the principal author of the “shock and awe” doctrine and is now Chairman of the Killowen Group which advises government leaders.

In an article entitled War on Terror Is not the Only Threat, Ullman asserts that, “tectonic changes are reshaping the international geostrategic system,”…

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DNI Releases 24 Declassified FISC Orders Approving NSA Collection/Use of Telephony Metadata Under Section 501

In Archive, NSA, NSA Files, ODNI, Surveillance on January 18, 2014 at 3:28 AM

01/17/2014

IContheRecord:

The documents being released today comprise orders from the FISC approving the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection and use of telephony metadata under Section 501. These orders provide additional information regarding the controls imposed by the FISC on the processing, dissemination, security and oversight of telephony metadata acquired under Section 501. This includes the Court’s imposition of additional controls in response to compliance incidents that were discovered by NSA and then reported to the FISC.

Related Link: US Withholds FISC Orders on NSA Bulk Collection of Americans’ Data, Concealing Existence of Other Programs

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