The cable discusses how the U.S. sanctions regime harms businesses seeking to import such items legally because their competitors are able to do so at a lower cost by obtaining them through other channels. It cites one example where a “competitor was able to offer the products at a substantially cheaper price because he did not invest the necessary time and money into pursuing an export license.”
In another example of a “dual-use” item, the cable mentions the importation of “a consumable product, potassium cyanide, shipped to a public pediatric hospital in October 2003.” The cable states that the regulatory agency intended to verify the end use of imported materials “was unable to verify that it had been used legitimately”—which is also to say that neither was there any evidence that the potassium cyanide was redirected for the purpose of manufacturing chemical weapons.
The cable adds that the supplier in this case also sold potassium cyanide “to other end-users not permitted in his export license”, with no further indication as to who the end users were or for what purpose it was acquired.
And once again, contrary to the Times’ willful lie that cables such as this one prove Syria manufactured and stockpiled chemical weapons, the cable itself implicitly acknowledges the lack of evidence for this claim, noting that the a “trained” team of “criminal investigators” in the Bureau of Industry and Security, operating under the U.S. Department of Commerce, “have not traveled to Syria to assess whether the end-use of allowable commodities is legitimate, evaluate whether commodities have been diverted to other end-users, or collect evidence of potential sanctions violations.”
The cable closes by urging that the investigative team be dispatched to “follow-up on some of the anectodal evidence that we have received” of sanctions violations.
“The Americans were not the only ones concerned”, the Times report continued. “According to another leaked cable, the Netherlands discussed how monoethylene glycol, an important raw material used to manufacture urethane and antifreeze, was shipped by a Dutch concern to the Syrian Ministry of Industry, considered a front for the Syrian military. The Dutch outlined how the chemical could also be used as a precursor for sulfur mustard, and possibly for VX and sarin.”
Yet again we see how the Times took a cable merely noting that Syria had acquired “dual-use” materials that could possibly be used to manufacture sarin gas, the chemical weapon the U.S. is alleging that the Assad regime used in a Damascus suburb last month as a pretext to launch military strikes against Syria, and dishonestly reported this in its headline and lead paragraph as proof that this was indeed the end use of the material.
This is the same kind of propagandistic reporting that the Times engaged in prior to the U.S. war on Iraq. Once again, it is evident that America’s “newspaper of record” is serving as a mouthpiece for the U.S. government, not only uncritically parroting claims of government officials for which there is no evidence, but going out of its way to propagate its own deliberate lies in such a way as to manufacture consent for U.S. foreign policy.