US is ‘fixing intelligence’ around Syria
RT:How can the US be so sure the Assad government is to blame, when currently there are only assumptions based on the numbers affected and the symptoms?
Richard Becker: Well, of course they’re not sure at all.
What they’re doing is what they did 11 years ago, that was
reported in the infamous Downing Street Memos – that’s fixing the
intelligence around the objective. The US, the British and the
French are leaning that way in seeking to overturn the government
of Syria, led by Bashar Assad and the Ba’ath party. It’s almost
incomprehensible to almost anybody, who thinks logically that the
Syrian government would launch a poison gas attack at the very
time the UN investigators are in the country investigating an
earlier reported use of nerve gas in the country. So, we have
really the US doing what it wants to do, saying what it wants to
say to try to mobilize public opinion in the United States to
justify potential intervention.
RT:But the Assad government hasn’t helped it, has it? Not by allowing immediate access to the alleged chemical attack site. Some sources in the US administration were quick to say it's too late. Are they right to assume any evidence would have been destroyed by now?
RB: You know, it’s something we have to look into because in the earlier conditions that the UN wanted to put on Syria for the investigators going there on the previous occasion was that they had to grant access to the entire country to the investigators. That’s also reminiscent of the conditions that the US imposed on Yugoslavia back in 1999. Yugoslavia wouldn’t accept and that was used as a justification to launch a war against Yugoslavia. I think we need to know the details about that, but right now the Assad government is saying that it’s granting access to the site, which is an area that has a heavy opposition presence.
RT:If Assad isn’t to blame, why would any elements on
the rebel side want to launch a chemical attack? And where would
they get the chemicals from?
RB: There’s a lot of weapons out there in the world and there are a lot of suppliers for the rebels, the rebel groups at this point. So I don’t think it’ll be a great obstacle for them to obtain the weapons. Why would they want to do it? Because they cannot win the war without outside intervention. That has become really clear. The government forces have advanced over the last six months or more. They [the rebels] – in order to win – require what the opposition required in Libya – that’s a NATO intervention.
RT:Will they get this intervention? With US and UK
saying that there’ll be “a serious response” and military buildup
starting in the region, can this happen?
RB: We have to take seriously the threat. We have to take seriously the movement of naval forces of the 6th US Fleet, of British and probably other forces in the region. I don’t think that there’s a decision that’s been made yet, but I think that there’s deep division at the top of the US as well as the overwhelming opposition among the public to this kind of intervention. And the opposition at the top comes because they don’t know where this would lead. But very clearly the aim is domination over the entire region and elimination – US wishes to eliminate the independent government of Syria.
RT:Rebel groups say they've got their largest shipment
of weapons in the past three days. What do you read from the
timing of that?
RB: There’s an escalation going on. There’s no question about it. We have to see these elements as connected, as related to each other and as part of a strategy to try to reverse the course that the war has taken – where the government has made very significant gains – and to try step up the efforts to bring down the independent government of Syria.