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Syrian Gas Deaths Could Include Bomb Casualties

From Reuters:

Exclusive: U.S. total of Syrian gas deaths could include bomb casualties – sources

By Mark Hosenball | September 12, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of the most precise and dramatic details cited by the Obama administration as proof that Syrian forces used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack was the death toll, which an official U.S. government assessment put at 1,429 people, including 426 children.

We’re not quite sure how the number of fatalities proves that "Syrian [government] forces used chemical weapons." All it does it fan the outrage at the use of them.

The number, first released by the White House on August 30, was underscored by Secretary of State John Kerry in a fiery indictment of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing videos of what he said were victims of the attack, which Syria denies.

"Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side sprawled on a hospital floor, all of them dead from Assad’s gas and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate. The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children," he said.

Some U.S. congressional sources are now casting doubt on those figures.

Three congressional sources told Reuters that administration officials had indicated in private that some deaths might have been caused by the conventional bombing that followed the release of sarin gas in suburban Damascus neighborhoods. This disclosure undermined support for President Barack Obama’s plan to strike Syria, they said

How wonderful. Would it be too cynical to suggest that this information was known by the Obama administration but ignored in order to boost support for the attack on Syria?

What other things have they claimed ‘to know’ that are not quite true?

One of the congressional sources said that administration officials in closed door briefings said they could not rule out that some victims included in the U.S. death toll were killed either by conventional explosive parts of rockets which carried poison gas or in the artillery barrage the United States says followed the gas attack.

A second source, who is sympathetic to White House policy [sic], said caveats administration officials attached to the 1,429 death total were of sufficient magnitude to cause the source to avoid citing the figure.

Note that one of Reuter’s three Congressional sources for this report "is sympathetic" to the Obama administration’s position on Syria.

A third source said that administration officials confronted pointed questions from members of Congress about the accuracy of the numbers and acknowledged that they "couldn’t be sure" about the cause of death for some people counted as victims of chemical poisoning.

But Kerry said: "The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this [gas] attack, including at least 426 children."

An administration official familiar with the briefings denied that there had been any doubts as to how the 1,429 bodies were counted; a second official asserted that Capitol Hill officials had heard what they wanted to hear because so many legislators were opposed to Obama’s plan.

And they are probably racists, too.

Administration sources told Reuters that they relied on a valid intelligence methodology to make the death estimate. An official said that it involved analyzing video pictures of victims, then eliminating from the fatality total any live person, any dead body with visible injuries and shrouded bodies showing blood spots.

Classified intelligence tools then were used to confirm the provenance of the videos and to ensure that bodies were not counted twice, the official said…

The fact that the Obama administration is basing all of their claims on images uploaded by the ‘rebels’ to the internet and videos on YouTube is pathetic in its own right.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 13th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Syrian Gas Deaths Could Include Bomb Casualties”

  1. yadayada says:

    did they discount any images containing the guy in the green helmet?

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