Saturday, 17 December 2016
Global Research, June 15, 2013
In an interview with the French TV station LCP, former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas said:
‘’ I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.
This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.
Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.’’
Dumas went on give the audience a quick lesson on the real reason for the war that has now claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.
‘’This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… in the region it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance.
Consequently, everything that moves in the region- and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me ‘we’ll try to get on with our neighbours but those who don’t agree with us will be destroyed.
It’s a type of politics, a view of history, why not after all. But one should know about it.’’
Dumas is a retired French foreign minister who is obliged to use discretion when revealing secrets which could affect French foreign policy. That is why he made the statement ‘I am French, that doesn’t interest me’. He could not reveal France’s role in the British plan as he would be exposing himself to prosecution for revealing state secrets.
There have been many disinformation agents in the British and French press, many of them well known ‘leftist’ war correspondents and commentators, who have tried to pretend that Israel secretly supports Assad. Those who make such arguments are either stupid, ignorant or deliberate disinformation agents of NATO and Israel.
Israel’s support for Al Qaeda militants in Syria has even been admitted by the mainstream press. For example, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper published a report on June 12 on Israel’s medical treatment of the Al Qaeda fighters.
Israel planned this war of annihilation years ago in accordance with the Yinon Plan, which advocates balkanization of all states that pose a threat to Israel. The Zionist entity is using Britain and France to goad the reluctant Obama administration into sending more American troops to their death in Syria on behalf of Tel Aviv.
Of all the aggressor states against Syria, Israel has been the quietest from the start. That is because Laurent Fabius, Francois Holland, William Hague and David Cameron are doing their bidding by attempting to drag Israel’s American Leviathan into another ruinous war so that Israel can get control of the Middle East’s energy reserves, eventually replacing the United States as the ruling state in the world. It has also been necessary for Tel Aviv to remain silent so as not to expose their role in the ‘revolutions’, given the fact that the Jihadist fanatics don’t realize they are fighting for Israel.
This is the ideology of Zionism which cares no more for Jews than it does for its perceived enemies. The Jewish colony is determined to become a ruling state in the Middle East in the insane delusion that this will enable it to replace the United States as a global hegemon, once the US collapses fighting Israel’s wars.
Israeli Prime Minister once told American talk show host Bill Maher that the reason why Israel always wins short conflicts, while the United States gets bogged down in endless wars. ‘’ The secret is that we have America’’, he said.
But Israel is itself slowly collapsing. If one excludes the enslaved Palestinian population, the Jewish state still has the highest level of poverty in the developed world with more and more Jews choosing to leave the ‘promised’ land, a garrison state led by mad men, an anti-Semitic entity threatening to engulf the world in war and destruction. Israel cares no more about its own working class Jews than any other ethnic community.
In fact, if the Likudnik crooks running the Israeli colony get their way, working class Israelis will be among the first to pay as they are conscripted to fight terrorists created by their own government. With orthodox Jews protesting in the streets of New York against Israel and Haredi Jewish minority opposing Israel’s rampant militarism, Zionism is coming under increased attack from Jewish religious authorities and non-Zionist Jews both inside and outside of the occupied territories.
This is not the first time that Roland Dumas has spoken out against wars of aggression waged by successive French regimes. In 2011 he revealed that he had been asked by the United States when he was foreign minister in the Mitterrand administration to organize the bombing of Libya. On that occasion the French refused to cooperate. Dumas, a lawyer by profession, offered to defend Colonel Gaddafi, at the International Criminal Court in the event of his arrest by Nato.
Dumas was also vocal in condemning France’s brutal neo-colonial bombing of the Ivory Coast earlier in 2011, were death squads and terrorists similar to those later deployed in Libya and Syria were unleashed upon the Ivoirian population in order to install a IMF puppet dictator Alassane Quattara in power. Gbagbo was described as one of the greatest African leaders of the past 20 years by Jean Ziegler, sociologist and former member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council.
Gbagbo had plans to nationalize banks and wrest control of the country’s currency from the colonial finance institutions in Paris. He also wanted to roll back many of the worst effects of IMF restructuring by nationalizing industries and creating a functioning, universal free health service. All of this threatened the interests of French corporations in the former French colony. So, the Parisian oligarchy went to work to find a suitable replacement as caretaker of their Ivoirian colony.
They sent in armed terrorist gangs, or ‘rebel’s in the doublespeak of imperialism, who murdered all before them while the French media blamed president Gbagbo for the violence that ensued. Gbagbo and Gaddafi had opposed Africom, the Pentagon’s plan to recolonize Africa. That was another reason for the 2011 bombing of their two African countries.
The formula is always the same. Imperialism backs ‘rebels’, whenever its interests are threatened by regimes that love their country more than foreign corporations. One should not forgot that during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, General Franco and his cronies were also ‘rebels’ and they, like their counterparts in Libya in 2011, were bombed to power by foreign powers, replacing a progressive, republican administration with fascism.
There are pro-Israeli fanatics in France who have used the analogy of the Spanish Civil War as justification for intervention in Libya and Syria. The pseudo-philosopher Henry Bernard Levy is one of them. Of course, the ignoramus Levy doesn’t realize that the reason France, England and the USA did not officially intervene in the Spanish Civil War is because they were covertly helping the ‘rebels’ from the start. They enabled arms shipments to the Francoist ‘rebels’ while preventing arms deliveries to the Spanish government, who, like Syria today, were helped by Moscow. Anyone who has studied the Spanish Civil War knows that all the imperialist countries wanted Franco as a bulwark against communism.
There is nothing imperialism loves more than a rebel without a cause. What imperialism hates, however, are revolutionaries. That is why the ‘rebels’ which imperialism sends into other countries to colonize them on behalf of foreign banks and corporations, have to be marketed as ‘revolutionaries’ in order to assure the support of the Monty Python brigade of petty-bourgeois, ‘ leftist’ dupes such as Democracy Now! and their ilk.
Dumas is not the only top French official to denounce the New World Order. Former French ambassador to Syria Michel Raimbaud wrote a book in 2012 entitled ‘Le Soudan dans tous les états’, where he revealed how Israel planned and instigated a civil war in South Sudan in order to balkanize a country led by a pro-Palestinian government. He also exposed the pro-Israeli media groups and ‘human rights’ NGOS who created the ‘humanitarian’ narrative calling for military intervention by the United States in the conflict.
The subject was covered extensively by African investigative journalist Charles Onana in his 2009 book, Al-Bashir & Darfour LA CONTRE ENQUÊTE.
There are many more retired French officials who are speaking out about the ruinous policies of this French government, including the former head of French domestic intelligence Yves Bonnet. There have also been reports of dissent in the French armed forces and intelligence apparatus.
After the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011, the former French ambassador to Libya Christian Graeff told French radio station France Culture that it was responsible for the diffusion of lies and war propaganda on behalf of Nato throughout the war. Graeff also warned the broadcasters that such disinformation could only work on the minds of serfs but not in a country of free minds.
The power of the Israeli lobby in France is a subject rarely discussed in polite circles. In France there is a law against questioning or denial of the holocaust. However, denial of the Korean holocaust, Guatemalan holocaust, Palestinian holocaust, Indonesian holocaust and the dozens of other US/Israeli supported genocides is not only perfectly legal but is the respectable norm.
The same lobby which introduced the Loi Gayssot in 1990, effectively ending freedom of expression in France, would also like to ban any independent investigations of genocides whose narratives they have written, such as the Rwanda genocide, where Israel played a key role in supporting the ‘rebels’ led by Paul Kagame, who invaded Rwanda from Uganda from 1991 to 1994, leading to the genocide of both Tutus and Tutsis. Many serious scholars have written about the Rwandan genocide, which the Israel lobby repeatedly uses as a case study to justify ‘humanitarian’ intervention by Western powers. The Zionist thought police would like to see such authors prosecuted for ‘negating’ imperialism’s disgusting lies on African conflicts.
Now, the Israeli Lobby is forcing the (their) French government to prosecute twitter messages which the lobby deems ‘anti-Semitic’. This is one further step towards the creation of a totalitarian state where any criticism of imperialism, foreign wars, racism, oppression, perhaps eventually capitalism itself could fall under the rubric of ‘anti-Semitism’.
These people are sick, and those who cow down to them are sicker. Perhaps the etymology of sickness, a word cognate with the German Sicherheit (security) according to dictionary.com, is not a coincidence. For what is particularly sick about our society is the cult of security, endless surveillance, ubiquitous cameras, the cult of the all seeing eye, the prurient gaze as part of the incessant discourse on terrorism by those who specialize in the training of the very terrorists they claim to be protecting us from. Whether or not the words security and sickness are linguistically related, they are certainly cognate in a philosophical sense.
Roland Dumas and others like him should be highly commended for having to guts to say what so many others are too morally corrupt, too weak and cowardly to admit.
As the French government and its media agencies drum up hysteria for war on Syria, Roland Dumas, now in the twilight of his years, is warning people of the consequences of not understanding where Israel is leading the world. Will enough people heed the warning?
The original source of this article is Global Research
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former Guantanamo detainees against two psychologists responsible for creating and overseeing the CIA’s torture program at the US naval base in Cuba.
From 2001 to 2010, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen took in almost $85 million in CIA contracts to create interrogation techniques to be used on terror suspects Guantanamo Bay detention camp. They now face a federal lawsuit for their role in convincing the CIA to subject the prisoners to “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, bodily contortions and sleep deprivation. The psychologists’ contract continued until 2009, when President Obama signed an executive order that ended the enhanced interrogation program.
The suit was filed by the ACLU on Tuesday in a federal court in Washington state on behalf of Gul Rahman, Suleiman Adbullah Salim and Mohamed Abded Soud, three of the 119 prisoners who endured torture at Guantanamo. Rahman died at a CIA black site as a result of the techniques used on him, so the ACLU is representing his estate. Salim and Soud were never charged with a crime, but suffer long-term physical and psychological effects stemming from their treatment during captivity. The three parties seek compensatory damages of at least $75,000.
The plaintiffs argue that Mitchell and Jessen, charged professionally as psychologists, are guilty of ordering “torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes, all of which violate well-established norms of customary international law.”
The suit characterizes the torture program as a “war crime” and a “joint criminal enterprise” and from which Mitchell and Jessen financially profited.
“These psychologists devised and supervised an experiment to degrade human beings and break their bodies and minds,” Dror Ladin, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said in a statement. “It was cruel and unethical, and it violated a prohibition against human experimentation that has been in place since World War II.”
Mitchell and Jessen were first contacted by the CIA in 2001 after police found materials in the apartment of an alleged Al Qaeda supporter that detailed interrogation resistance techniques.
The CIA asked the psychologists, who didn’t have any experience with interrogation, to devise was to bypass these resistance techniques. The two took inspiration from Martin Seligman, a psychologist who determined that dogs would be submissive if repeatedly inflicted with physical and mental suffering. Mitchell and Jessen surmised that this state of “learned helplessness” would produce a confession from detainees, according to The Intercept.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary, however, found that there is no evidence that the torture methods commissioned under Mitchell and Jessen produced anything other than faulty or useless intelligence.
Despite the lack of evidence supporting the usefulness of torture, the government signed off on the techniques at various times throughout the program’s existence, according to The Intercept.
A Justice Department inquiry scrutinized the behavior of top government officials involved with the CIA torture program, but it ended in 2012 without prosecutions. The ACLU’s lawsuit is the first time that the creators of the CIA torture program were themselves targeted by litigation.
“This case is about ensuring that the people behind the torture program are held accountable so history doesn’t repeat itself,” Steven Watt, one of the ACLU attorneys representing the three ex-detainees, told the Guardian.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has questioned the effectiveness of the US-led year-long air campaign in Syria, saying it’s unclear “why the results of so many combat sorties are so insignificant.” Failing to curb ISIS, the US has now “adjusted” its program.
“We have very few specifics which could explain what the US is exactly doing in Syria and why the results of so many combat sorties are so insignificant,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian channel NTV. “With, as far as I know, 25,000 sorties they [US-led air campaign] could have smashed the entire [country of] Syria into smithereens,” the minister noted.
Lavrov questioned the Western coalition's objectives in their air campaign, stressing that Washington must decide whether its aim is to eliminate the jihadists or to use extremist forces to pursue its own political agenda.
“Maybe their stated goal is not entirely sincere? Maybe it is regime change?” Lavrov said, as he expressed doubts that weapons and munitions supplied by the US to the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition” will end up in terrorists’ hands.
“I want to be honest, we barely have any doubt that at least a considerable part of these weapons will fall into the terrorists’ hands,” Lavrov said.
American airlifters have reportedly dropped 50 tons of small arms ammunition and grenades to Arab groups fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in northern Syria. US officials assure concerned partis that the fighters have been screened and are really confronting IS.
"We do not want the events, when [some countries] not only cooperated with terrorists but plainly relied on them, to happen again,” Lavrov said, recalling that the French, for instance supplied weapons to anti-government forces in Libya in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Lavrov has called on the US to “transcend themselves” and decide what is more important, either “misguided self-esteem realization” or getting rid of the “greatest threat” that is challenging humanity.
Speaking about the American refusal to answer Russia’s calls to create a wider anti-ISIS coalition, Lavrov suggested that US reluctance is based on a number of “factors and causes.”
“It is probably not very nice [for them] to see how effective[ly] our military is working compared to the more than a year-long operations [of] the coalition created by the United States of America, which has carried out, in my estimates, about 60,000 sorties, half of which were supposed to be fighting missions, yet the positive results 'on the ground' are not visible," Lavrov said. "In contrast, Islamic State and other terrorist groups such as Al-Nusra, which is a branch of Al-Qaeda, only expanded its influence and territory in which they are ... truly creating a caliphate, organizing people's lives by [their] ... own laws.”
On Tuesday, Washington ‘adjusted’ its controversial program of aiding the Syrian rebels, opting to vet commanders rather than individual fighters, and provide supplies instead of training.
“The train-and-equip program has changed, but it has not gone away. We’re still equipping moderate Syrian opposition fighters,” Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told the press. 14 Oct. 2015 04:40 RT
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin has censured as mindless the United States policies vis-à-vis Syria and Washington's refusal to cooperate with Moscow on ending the crisis in the Arab country.
"I believe some of our partners simply have mush for brains," Putin said at an investment forum in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Tuesday, adding that Washington has declined to share intelligence on Syria.
“How is it possible to work together?” the Russian president said. He added that his country has offered US authorities to have talks at a high military-political level on the resolution of the conflict in Syria.
We proposed a meeting at the high military-political level in Moscow. I said that we can send a major delegation to Washington to primarily discuss the issues of Syrian settlement, but there is no response so far. We believe that it would be a serious authoritative delegation headed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev,” Putin said.
‘Contributing to the fight against terror’
Putin also said Russia is fighting terrorism in Syria, and not striving for leadership there.
“We are not in pursuit of any leadership in Syria. There is only one leader that can be in Syria, it is the Syrian people. We are striving for contribution to the fight against terrorism, something that is dangerous for both US and Russia, for European countries, as well as for the rest of the world, without any kind of exaggeration," the Russian president stated.
Putin said Russia, Europe, and the United States should join hands and encourage all parties involved in the crisis in Syria to seek out a solution.
“If we want to be effective and not just shoot and carry out missile airstrikes, but to achieve an actual political resolution, we need to encourage all forces inside the country to jointly work within the territory of Syria itself,” he said.
The Russian leader also expressed concern over weapons and munitions being airdropped by US forces to foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in Syria, warning that the campaign would fail just like the program to train and equip the so-called moderate militants.
Since September 2014, the US and some of its allies have been conducting airstrikes against purported positions of the Takfiri Daesh terrorists inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
Sunday, 11 October 2015
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the European Union has turned into an exporter of terrorism to crisis-hit countries like Iraq and Syria.
"The reality is that our continent exports more than imports terrorism," Mogherini told an annual conference of the European Union Institute for Security Studies on Friday.
She said European countries should adopt a unified strategy instead of "turning inwards" and building walls to deal with global crises in today’s world.
"Walls are of little use when there is no fine line separating the inside from the outside," the senior diplomat stressed.
A growing number of foreign terrorists in both Iraq and Syria have come from numerous European states, with Western authorities failing to stop the flow of the militants to the region – mostly through Turkey. Western governments fear that the battle-hardened militants may carry out terrorist attacks once they return home.
There may be some 5,000 Europeans fighting alongside extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, according to the New York-based Soufan Group and the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence.
Last month, The New York Times cited US intelligence officials as saying that some 30,000 militants from over 100 countries, including more than 250 Americans, have traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2011 to join the ranks of Takfiri terrorist groups.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence since Daesh terrorist group began its campaign of terror in the country in June 2014.
In Syria, the foreign-sponsored conflict, which flared in March 2011, has claimed more than 250,000 lives up until now, according to reports. PTV. Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:55AM
Saudi Arabia is to increase its supplies of “lethal” weaponry to Takfiri groups operating in Syria, as their reign of terror is diminishing following Russia’s massive anti-terrorist campaign in the war-torn Arab country, a new report says.
Riyadh would dispatch an arsenal of modern, high-powered weaponry, including guided anti-tank weapons, to three foreign-sponsored militant groups of Jaish al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest), the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front, the state-run BBC reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed “well-placed Saudi government official”.
The official further said that Qatar and Turkey had been playing a key role in maintaining the Saudi support for militants fighting against Syrian government forces. He also did not rule out the possibility of supplying surface-to-air missiles to militants.
September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government, shortly after the upper house of the Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin the mandate to use military force in the Arab country.
Since then, Russian air force jet fighters have demolished numerous vehicles, command posts, communication centers, fuel and ammunition depots, plants used for making bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as several training camps, all used by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
For more than four years, Syria has been grappling with a deadly militancy which it blames on some foreign countries, including its northern neighbor, Turkey. Around 250,000 people have lost their lives and millions more have been displaced. Fri Oct 9, 2015 10:51PM PTV
US President Barack Obama never seemed to want a train-and-equip programme for Syrian rebels. Now, government officials admit that the programme is pretty much over. Here's what happened behind the scenes at the White House.
After the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, rooting for the rebels was, for many in the West, synonymous with rooting for democracy and freedom.
In the US, White House officials offered the rebels humanitarian aid and some military gear. But they argued over whether they should provide heavy weapons and help in a more serious way.
The philosophical discussion at the White House was heated and fierce, leading to stalemate, not resolution.
For years Obama and his deputies refused to say categorically: we're not doing this. Instead a decision was postponed.
Four years later, the result is a splintered Syrian opposition, the growth of the Islamic State group and a humanitarian disaster stretching across Europe.
Last year, in a move that was more symbolic than serious, Obama asked Congress for money to fund a programme allowing US personnel to teach rebels marksmanship, navigation and other skills.
The goal was to train about 15,000 rebels in Jordan and other countries so they could return to Syria and fight. However, US defence officials admitted last month that only four or five of the recruits in the programme had actually returned to the battle.
Speaking recently at the White House, Obama looked frustrated as he described "failures" in the US train-and-equip programme.
On Friday US officials told reporters the programme was being modified.
"We're going to take a sort of operational pause," said Christine Wormuth, an undersecretary of defence. Rebel leaders will now receive basic equipment packages, she explained, but training for the fighters has been stopped.
The story of this disastrous programme dates back to the early days of the uprising in the Middle East. Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, had a front-row seat to the drama.
In early 2011 he met with Assad. Governments were being overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt, but things were still quiet in Syria. They discussed diplomacy in a polite manner. Then Ford asked about human rights. Assad "hit red real quick," Ford said.
"He raised his voice, and it was very clipped, short," Ford said, twisting his face and karate-chopping a desk.
After serving as ambassador to Algeria and working as a diplomat in the Middle East, Ford was the State Department's go-to Syria expert for years.
He was faced with the challenges of managing the department's portfolio for Syria, a lovely country with olive groves and rolling plains that's "not of any particular strategic interest to anybody who doesn't live there," as Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said.
Even worse, Ford had taken on a seemingly hopeless task - arming the opposition in Syria with US weapons.
Because of the uprising, Syria was in the news. But despite the changes within the country, Syria still wasn't vital to the strategic interests of the US.For that reason it remained a low priority for administration officials.
When the Assad regime started to falter in 2012, Ford believed the US should get involved in the conflict by supporting the rebels. Otherwise Syria could slide into anarchy and become "another Somalia/Yemen", he said, using state department code for Failed State.
Virtually everyone in the US, including Obama, wanted to support the opposition in Syria. But the question was whether the US should send Stinger missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, or offer moral support and humanitarian aid and stay out of the conflict.
Ford told administration officials years ago they should arm the rebels. If the US doesn't help, he said at the time, extremists will give them money and lure them into their organisations.
Those who supported his approach, the Arms for Rebels group, included then-CIA Director David Petraeus, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and most of the foreign-policy establishment in Washington, both Democrat and Republican.
On the other side of this issue at the time were Obama, top members of the national security staff and most of America.
For years, according to a CBS News , Americans were opposed to the idea of sending ground troops into Syria to fight the Islamic State (IS) group.
The White House officials were wary of military involvement in overseas conflicts, and they saw the Arms for Rebels idea as a step towards a full-scale, decades-long intervention in Syria.
"Originally the argument was, 'We don't know them very well'," Ford recalled. "When we got to know them better, it was: 'They don't have very good backgrounds'."
Most of the rebels, he said, weren't "ideologically pure", not in the way US officials wanted. "In wars like that, there is no black and white," he said.
Rather than providing weapons, US officials provided food, medical kits and non-lethal military gear.
Obama's national-security advisors argued that Syria was at least relatively stable with Assad in power. These advisors, as US officials who supported the programme told me, were presenting a false choice: Either Assad stays or Syria will be overrun with terrorists.
In the end, said those who supported the programme, Syria got the worst of both outcomes.
They believe Obama's advisors should shoulder the blame for the failure of the programme and also for the failure of the US to help in Syria.
With more than 200,000 dead and four million refugees, the Syria crisis has unfolded over a period of several years while Ford and his colleagues watched in horror.
"It's not a problem of information," said Derek Chollet, who worked on Syria issues as assistant defence secretary. "It's not, 'Boy, if we had just known more.' There was never that."
Ford's career as a diplomat is now over. I spoke with him at the Middle East Institute in Washington, where he was working in a borrowed office. The desk was empty except for a black ballpoint pen.
While serving as ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014, he became familiar with the opposition in a way few Americans were.
"He knew all these brigades, and he knew their strengths and weaknesses," New America Foundation's Barak Barfi told me, speaking on the phone from Syria.
Michael Posner, a former assistant secretary of state, said Ford made an important contribution to the White House debate about Syria.
"Usually when things get too complicated, it's: 'Oh, we can't have a point of view'." said Posner. "But he did have a point of view. He was a very principled, courageous diplomat who did a lot of good."
People in the Syrian-American community admired Ford's efforts and looked at Obama in disbelief. "You can't stop barrel bombs with fruit baskets," said the Syrian American Council's Mohammed Ghanem.
People in the intelligence community said the time to arm the rebels was 2012. The opposition was turning into a military force and hadn't yet been overrun by al-Qaeda-linked fighters and militants.
Not helping the rebels had consequences, Ford said.
Early support came in the form of "soon-to-expire MREs", or Meals Ready to Eat, "repurposed from Afghanistan and Iraq", says one former opposition member.
The White House officials didn't want to provide weapons in part because they were afraid they'd end up in the wrong hands. Rebels later admitted some weapons ended up with an al-Qaeda-affiliated group.
The CIA gave some weapons and supplies to the rebels, though not many.
"Fifteen bullets a month," said Ghanem. "That was actually mind-blowing."
He recalled meeting a CIA contractor who tasked with helping the rebels who had quit, saying: "They're asking us to perform miracles, but they're giving us nothing."
Doing even small things was hard since the process in Washington was "completely choked", said a retired US Army Lt General, Michael Flynn, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"It was always a 'mother-may-I'," he said. "And the 'mother-may-I' would take a long time."
Military officials were trying to explain to officials at the White House what they needed to help the rebels. The requests were vetted by people from the White House and federal agencies such as the state department.
While people were arguing over Syria in Washington, Ford was in Damascus, telling rebel fighters Americans were on their side. Things were promised but never arrived, though, making it hard for him to develop a relationship with them.
He recalled when two Americans, photographer Matthew Schrier and journalist Theo Padnos were held by a militant organisation, Nusra Front, in Aleppo. One morning in July 2013 Schrier escaped through a small window. Padnos didn't.
Schrier told US officials about the building and its location. The officials asked one of the opposition leaders to go to the building and wondered what would happen.
"It's not like he owed me anything," Ford said. He never found out if the commander actually looked for Padnos.
Left alone in the cell, Padnos was tortured. Thirteen months later, with the help of Qataris and Americans such as David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media, Padnos was released.
He has a gentle, trusting manner, and during a visit to Washington he left his unlocked bicycle outside a café and put his mobile on a table. A crumpled, yellow Post-It with his password was stuck to the phone.
He doesn't sound bitter about Ford, the White House officials or the Syrian commander, and he said it hardly mattered what the Americans were doing for the opposition at the time.
"It's like saying if my grandmother had wheels then she'd be a baby carriage," he said. "If, if, if."
In a broader sense that's true of US support for the Syrian opposition. No one knows what would have happened if Obama had decided to arm the rebels in a serious manner after the uprising had started.
He recently told journalists at the White House that his critics come across as naïve, saying: "'We should have sent more rifles in early and somehow then everything would have been OK'."
In an last year Obama described the rebels as former doctors, farmers and pharmacists. The president saw the rebels as brave but unpromising. So did many Syrians.
"It was a failed opposition," said Bassam Barabandi, who used to work for the Syrian embassy and is co-founder of People Demand Change, an international development organisation.
"For me when I watched it," he said. "I knew."
As we sat at on outdoor cafe, a bee landed on his arm. "Come, friend," he said. "Go away." He lifted his arm and whistled, and the bee floated near his head and disappeared.
With bees and political leaders, Barabandi tries to see the world from their perspective. He admired Ford and others like him but said they were feckless.
"People say we don't understand DC, which is true," Barabandi said. "But they didn't understand Obama, and we've paid a price for it."
For years Obama has been trying to shift the nation's attention away from the Middle East to Asia. He wants to keep America's military role in the world to a minimum.
"The attitude is very condescending. It's: 'Look, Syria is your issue, and we have a lot on our plate'," said Tyler Thompson, of the non-profit United for a Free Syria, describing his meetings with administration officials.
"You never leave the White House with a good feeling."
Obama is impatient with moral arguments. According to people who've discussed policy with him, he swats those notions away and asks: Will it work?
Speaking recently about the train-and-equip programme, Obama said he'd pressed for details about its viability and heard "a bunch of mumbo jumbo".
"There's the moral imperative and all that," said one former administration official whose views are closely aligned with the president.
"I just didn't think this train-and-equip programme was going to be able to accomplish anything," he said. He also thought it could pull the US into a long struggle in Syria.
As he talked, I looked at my notebook. I'd written down things people had told me about why the US should send weapons to the Syrian opposition. When I brought these points up, he looked at me as if to say: How can you be so dumb?
The objective of the train-and-equip programme, a "fool's errand", he described it, was to make people feel better about themselves while they watch Syria disintegrate.
He said he was unhappy when Obama acquiesced last year and asked Congress for money to fund the programme. He still couldn't believe he'd lost the argument since, as he said: "The big boss agreed with me."
But after IS beheaded US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Americans started to re-think what the US military should do.
Within months the majority of Americans supported the notion of providing support and even sending US troops to Syria to fight the militant group.
Steven Simon, the former senior director for the Middle East on the US National Security Council, said: "People had this conviction, 'Surely there's something we can do.' There was just one thing on the list that seemed more than just symbolic."
"They put it this way: 'Let's just try it and see what happens'," he said, describing the train-and-equip programme. "It was just kind of thrown out there.
"All you could say with certainty was it would put weapons in the hand of some Syrians."
The train-and-equip programme, which costs $500m (£326m), was designed to help the opposition fight the Islamic State, not Assad.
Last month Capt Chris Connolly, a spokesman for the coalition task force training the rebels, said some may "feel the training may take too long." Still he said morale among trainers and recruits was high.
It's possible to sympathise with people on all sides of the debate at the White House - those who wanted to help the rebels, those who didn't, those in between - and still say Obama made the wrong choice.
At the institute Ford sat in a chair for photographs. He'd taken off his glasses. The lights were bright, and the room was hot. He talked about Syria and the disastrous results of inaction.
"What they saw is a messy civil war, and their basic thrust is, 'We can't steer this'," he said. "But if you don't the situation might actually get worse, and it might bite you in the butt."
He said he didn't want more pictures - then agreed to stay for a moment.
He looked angry and defeated, a man caught in circumstances beyond his control. BBC 10.10.2015