Giraldi on “Passing the Hat for Syrian Rebels”

Aug. 22, 2012 (LPAC)–Retired CIA officer Phil Giraldi, writing
for The American Conservative, ridicules the U.S. Treasury’s
allowing the so-called Syrian Support Group to use its non-profit
status to raise money in the U.S. on behalf of the Free Syrian
Army. As we have previously reported, in late July Tim Geithner’s
Treasury Department, through its Office of Foreign Asset Control
(OFAC), approved a license allowing the U.S.-based “Syrian
Support Group” (SSG) to provide otherwise-illegal financial
assistance to the Free Syrian Army.
Giraldi takes off from a “bizarre” NPR interview with Brian
Sayers (a former NATO official), who is the spokesman for the
Syrian Support Group.  After summarizing the interview, which
includes Sayers claiming that the SSG could use its connections
to “fill in the `intelligence gap'” on Syria, Giraldi writes:
“Don’t know where to begin on this one. A private group
being given 501(c)3 tax deductible status to raise money for an
armed rebel group seeking to overthrow the government in a
country with which the United States is not at war would appear
to be outsourcing to the private sector the sort of thing that
the CIA used to do. And the money is supposed to be raised for
non-lethal support but the group concedes that as money is
fungible it will wind up purchasing weapons anyway. And the
rebels, who are called freedom fighters even though they appear
to have regular links with groups connected to al-Qaeda, are
promising free elections, rights for minorities, and adherence to
the Geneva Conventions. For some reason the expression `useful
idiots’ comes to mind as well as the inevitable comparisons to
Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, which was supported by
the US and turned out real well in the end, fabricating
intelligence to bring about an unnecessary war with Iraq and
later passing American intelligence information on to Iran.”

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