Monday, September 16, 2013

Revealed: Brits Sold Nerve Gas Ingredients To Syria !

Furious politicians have demanded Prime Minister David Cameron explain why chemical export licenses were granted to firms last January -- 10 months after the Syrian uprising began!  That's right, the Sunday Mail revealed that Britain allowed firms to sell chemicals to Syria capable of being used to make nerve gas.

Export licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride (the same poisons foolishly put into many cities water supply erroneously to stop dental decay) were granted months after the bloody civil war in the Middle East began. The chemicals are capable of being used to make weapons such as Sarin, thought to be the nerve gas used in the attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb which killed nearly 1500 people, including 426 children.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been blamed for the attack, leading to calls for an armed response from the West. I ask: What about the surrounding Muslim states doing something about it. During the past month, President Obama's remark about ''crossing a red line has consequences'' fell on deaf ears with British MPs voting against joining America in a punitive strike. Now the with President Putin's gambit to deflect a military strike with his proposal to take Assad's poison gas stash away, the Congress is off the hook in after saying it couldn't support Obama's plans for action.

The chemical export licences were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable's Department for Business, Innovation & Skills last January. They were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on Assad's regime. Besides the politicians, anti-arms trade campaigners urged Prime Minister Cameron to explain why the licences were granted in the first place. Labour MP Thomas Docherty ( left ), who sits on the House of Commons Arms Export Controls committee said in a TV interview, ''At best it has been negligent and at worst reckless to export material that could have been used to create chemical weapons. It's bad enough we gave the Syrian rebels a 20 million pounds weapons gift with no way of knowing into whose hands they ended up with.''

Mark Bitel of the Campaign Against Arms Trading (Scotland) said: ''The UK Government claims to have an ethical policy on arms exports, but when it comes down to practice the reality is very different. The government is hypocritical to talk about chemical weapons if it's granting licences to companies to export to regimes such as Syria. We saw David Cameron, in the wake of the Arab Spring, rushing off to the Middle East with companies to promote business.''  Some details emerged in July of the UK's sale of the chemicals to Syria but crucial dates of the exports were withheld.  The Government have refused to identify the licence holders or say whether the licences were issued to one or two companies.

The chemicals are in powder form and highly toxic. The licences specified that they should be used for making aluminium structures. Professor Alastair Hay, ( photo right ) an expert in environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said: ''They have a variety of industrial uses, but it is ludicrous as an avenue for human consumption via drinking water. When you're making a nerve agent, the addition of a fluoride element gives it its toxic properties. Fluoride is key to making these munitions and whether these elements were used by Syria to make nerve agents is something only subsequent investigation will reveal.''

Business Secretary Mr Cable said: ''The UK Government operates one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world. An export licence would not be granted where we assess there is a clear risk the goods might be used for internal repression, provoking or prolonging conflict within a country, or be used aggressively against another country or risk our own national security. When circumstances change or new information comes to light, we can and do revoke licences where the exportation is not consistent with the criteria.''  U.N. weapons inspectors investigating the atrocity have since left Damascus and flew to the HQ of the Organisation for the prevention of Chemical Weapons with samples taken from victims of the attack, as well as from water, soil and shrapnel.

The Way I See It.....Ban Ki Moon has just let it slip, in a closed meeting, that the chemical test results are positive for Assad's use of chemical weapons. Russian president Vladimir Putin attacked Obama's stance on military action and in an Op-Ed in the New York Times last Thursday, in a classic case of one-upmanship, proposed to get Assad to relinquish his chemical stockpile without further punishment. ( see previous blog posting )  Russia and Iran are Syria's staunchest allies. The Russians have given arms and military backing to Assad during the civil war; a war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives so far.

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