September 16, 2013
Three Current News-items On Syria
As I am time restricted today just three points on the developments in Syria:
The UN report on chemical stuff used in the Damascus suburb Ghouta on August 21 finds (pdf) that Sarin has been used which was probably distributed by unguided 140mm rockets. The report and the facts therein say nothing about who might have fired those missiles.
The Turkish air force shot down a Syrian helicopter that, it alleges, violated Turkish airspace. The helicopter fell on Syrian ground. This, to me, seems to be an attempt to insert a spoiler into the recently achieved U.S.-Russian understanding about Syria's disarmament of chemical weapons.
That spoiler, and others to come, will likely be ignored by the relevant sides.
- The U.S. is finally recognizing that to keep the Syrian government in place is the least bad choice it has. The former CIA No. 2 Mike Morell is the first of the Washington insiders to publicly make that point. He concludes though, wrongly, that there must be more balance between opposition and the government to achieve some transition first. That is not going to work. The core quote from his interview:
[I]t's going to take the institution of the Syrian military and the institutions of the Syrian security services to defeat al Qaeda when this is done. And every day that goes by, every day that goes by, those institutions are eroded.
Posted by b on September 16, 2013 at 01:25 PM | Permalink
Unguided rockets and probably improvised > Clear indication that this is NOT an act by the government forces.
Quite weird rapport anyway, very little info.
Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16, 2013 1:33:20 PM | 1
1) yep, that is why it was hyped by Ban Ki Moon before it appeared
All the report says is that there was poisoning by Sarin. The inspectors state quite clearly that things on the scene they researched very obviously had been handled and moved.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 16, 2013 2:02:17 PM | 2
"[I]t's going to take the institution of the Syrian military and the institutions of the Syrian security services to defeat al Qaeda when this is done. And every day that goes by, every day that goes by, those institutions are eroded.."
The gurus of military intelligence were reaching similar conclusions and arriving at the same sort of complacent conclusions in 1920 as governments began to withdraw forces from their intervention in the Russian Revolution.
But they are quite wrong, after four years of life and death struggle the revolutionary forces, hastily thrown together and an amalgam of militias and remnants of the tsarist armies, emerged from the crucible as the Red Army, innovative, tough and immensely powerful.
If Assad's forces triumph in this struggle, throwing back a multi-fronted assault with unlimited financing, enormous reserves of materiel, impregnable bases over the borders, with imperialist air support, the strategic situation in the region will have been transformed. And the wahhabi conspiracy thrown back to its Saudi heartland.
Posted by: bevin | Sep 16, 2013 2:03:16 PM | 3
Mike Morell the genius, from b's link:
enough support has to be provided to the opposition-- to put enough pressure on Assad-- to bring him to the negotiating table, but not enough support provided to the opposition so that they feel that they don't need to go to the negotiating table
typical irresponsible apprentice sorcerer responsible of so much bloodshed
Posted by: claudio | Sep 16, 2013 2:30:07 PM | 4
Turkey says it shot down Syria helicopter as border tensions continue
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, Sep 16 2013 (extracts)
ISTANBUL – Turkey said it had shot down a Syrian helicopter near the border between the two countries on Monday, as tensions continue to flare between Ankara and Damascus. Bulent Arinc, deputy prime minister, said the helicopter was shot down after it had travelled 2km into Turkish airspace and had been repeatedly warned. Arinc’s comments came after hours of confusion in which the helicopter, sometimes described as a bomber jet, was variously reported to have been brought down by Turkish forces and rebels operating within Syria. Ankara warned Damascus last year that it had changed its rules of engagement and that Syrian forces approaching the border could come under fire, in a response to a 2012 episode in which Syria shot down a Turkish jet that had flown into its airspace, with the death of two pilots. Earlier, Turkey’s Dogan News Agency said the helicopter came down on Monday afternoon in Syrian territory 400m from the border with Turkey’s Hatay province, a centre for refugees and rebel fighters. It claimed that the pilots survived the crash but were shot by the rebels, and that after the incident Turkish armed forces went to the site. Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz, Hatay’s governor, said he had been told the aircraft had crashed on the Syrian side of the border, but that the information needed to be confirmed and that an investigation was ongoing.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16, 2013 2:30:55 PM | 5
Turkish side of the story
"Last year, a Turkish F-4 Phantom warplane crashed into the Mediterranean on June 22 after being shot down by Syria. The country’s rules of engagement changed after the incident. Turkish officials did not publicly announce details of the revised rules of engagement, but some reports claimed Turkish forces would fire on any Syrian forces approaching within five kilometers of the Turkish border on the Syrian side."
Let's wait and see what happens. If the above is true then Turkey is illegally imposing a no fly zone within the territory of another country. An attack wouldn't automatically enforce a NATO retaliation. Turkey is spoiling for a fight and looking for every excuse to get it.
I do want to hear the Russian (intel and radar) and Syria side of the story. Too bad the pilot's landed in terrorist territory (one captured as far as I could read).
Posted by: Gehenna | Sep 16, 2013 3:37:48 PM | 6
addendum: an attack/retaliation by Syria wouldn't automatically enforce a NATO retaliation.
Posted by: Gehenna | Sep 16, 2013 3:39:07 PM | 7
Has anyone even noticed this video? Rebels are firing 140 mm artillery rockets from Jobar on July 4th. The site is 1 km away from the alleged launch site of August 21 attack.
18+ Syria - Rebel Katyusha Rockets Target Assad Shabiha in Capitol Damascus 4-July-13 new HD
The rockets are launched from Qassam style portable ramps, 10 at a time toward downtown Damascus. This looks very much like a dress rehearsal for the August 21 chemical attack. If there ever was a smoking gun video, this may be it.
Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 16, 2013 6:26:12 PM | 9
petri #9, @2:06 in the video, is this the size canisters CM's are delivered in. sorry if that's a no brainer question, i'm not up on delivery ammo.
Posted by: annie | Sep 16, 2013 6:40:37 PM | 10
Regarding the UN report, I'ld like to draw attention to the attachment of environment sample analysis in pages 30ff, hopefully from someone who understands at bit more on chemistry than I do.
For me it looks like the analysis results of samples in pages 30 to 32 (page numbering as of pdf page numbers) differ very much from analysis result in pages 33 to 36. Results of sample analysis from page 30 to 32, which seem to be from Mohadamiyah, show no Sarin, only some show "degradation or by-products", but results of sample analysis from page 33 to 36 show Sarin and a lot more by-products.
What I read from these analysis results: there was no Sarin found in the environment from Moadamiyah, only in Zamalka and Ein Tarma. But there should have been found Sarin in the environment from Moadamiyah if the allegation that Sarin was used there was true. There was found Sarin in people in Moadamiyah, but if there was no Sarin in the environment, how did it come inside the human blood there?
So, these results for me look like that there was CW usage in Zamalka/Ein Tarma, but in Moadamiyah the report is proof in my eyes that the allegation was staged with lying witnesses and perhaps victims to get blood smaples transferred from Zamalka to Moadamiyah before blood samples were taken there. And, of course, if the environment sameples are proof that all the witness testimonies were wrong in Moadamiyah to falsely claim Sarin use, then it says a lot on the whole story.
So, maybe someone with a bit more chemical expirience than me might want to have a look at the UN report pages 30ff. I find the difference in laboratory results from Moadamiyah and Zamalka eyecatching.
Posted by: Bandolero | Sep 16, 2013 7:06:25 PM | 11
The most important news in the report, IMHO, is the measurements of the azimuth and bearings of the rockets that were found at both Moadmaiyah and Ein Tarma.
It should be possible to determine from those values where - roughly - those rockets were fired from, and that should tell us whether they were fired from government-held positions or from rebel positions.
Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 16, 2013 8:20:32 PM | 12
See the Rocket attack analysis here:
at 2m 06s in the video we see the rockets brought out. They are Soviet 140 mm type BM-14 artillery rockets, the same type that was found in Moadmaiyah and which is available with a 2.2 kg sarin warhead. It was assumed the rocket in Moadmaiyah was the CW type, as it had not been completely destroyed by the explosion.
The rocket type found in Zamalka and which "activist say" is somehow linked to chemical attacks is a thermobaric (Fuel-Air Explosive) weapon and a 1 to 1 copy of the American SLUFAE design from late 1970s. Brown Moses has named it "UMLACA" (unidentified munition linked to alleged chemical attacks). In theory it would be possible to fill it up with liquid sarin, but I do not know how effective it would as a weapon. It would definitely be totally unsafe to launch.
Yes, I too have thought of triangulation based on the coordinates and directions. If I understood correctly the rockets are of different types, the Moadmaiyah rocket being the 140 mm. I do not think they would have been launched from the same spot, possibly not even the same party in this war.
Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 16, 2013 8:44:03 PM | 13
#12 Petri Kohn
What I wrote is not about different rocket types used in Zamalka and Mohadamiyah.
The UN report didn't find any Sarin in the environment samples taken in Mohadamiyah, that's what my post is about. So, it seems to me that there was no Sarin attack in Mohadamiyah at all. The Mohadamiyah sarin attack seems to be a complete fabrication of rebel propaganda.
Posted by: Bandolero | Sep 16, 2013 9:05:22 PM | 14
A New York Times story is making a big deal about the azimuth data contained in the report's annex pointing directly to a Syrian military facility. This appears to be the new "smoking gun," replacing the old "smoking gun" of Israeli intercepted signal traffic which remains classified:
One annex to the report also identified azimuths, or angular measurements, from where rockets had struck, back to their points of origin. When plotted and marked independently on maps by analysts from Human Rights Watch and by The New York Times, the United Nations data from two widely scattered impact sites pointed directly to a Syrian military complex.
Other nonproliferation experts said the United Nations report was damning in its implicit incrimination of Mr. Assad’s side in the conflict, not only in the weaponry fragments but also in the azimuth data that indicated the attack’s origins. An analysis of the report posted online by the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based advocacy group, said “the additional details and the perceived objectivity of the inspectors buttress the assignment of blame to Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government.”
Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 16, 2013 11:06:17 PM | 15
14) Not necessarily the case, the inspectors clearly say they did have much time. Maybe they just looked in the wrong place. Basically no real investigation is possible in these circumstances.
The report just proves on thing - there was a Sarin attack and both sides could have done it.
The circumstances - inspectors were there to investigate a report on rebel use of Sarin the Russians had painstakingly documented, this investigation will not be completed now - point to the rebels, it was an attack on civilians (apartment blocks where people were sleeping - ie. not done as part of fighting or in an emptied war zone) point much more to the rebels than the Syrian government.
But the US secret services would know about all this and the US administration produced their own summary - not using an US intelligence service summary for the public.
It is very possible that interested parties tried to carry the US to battle without their consent. So Obama was faced with the problem of not doing anything whilst pretending to attack. At the same time he had to put a stop to anyone trying to start WWIII.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 16, 2013 11:25:29 PM | 16
@15 Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here, but doesn't azimuth give you only the steepness of the descend?
But what you really want to know is:
a) The line of azimuth (which tells you how steep a descend the rocket took)
b) The thrust of the rocket (which combines with (a) to give you the ballistic path)
c) The bearing (which tells you the direction of travel)
If you have a+b+c then you can determine the firing point, but you need all three to do that.
Or am I missing something obvious?
Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 16, 2013 11:31:19 PM | 17
What the report concludes about the bearing of origin is that the rockets 'came from the northwest'. Despite the fact that the report says nothing about the chemical infrastructure of the sarin and its probable origin, warmonger Fabius pretends it does say something conclusive:
UN report leaves ‘no doubt’ Damascus behind gas attack: France
AFP, Sep 16 2013
French Foreign Minister Fabius said Monday a UN report that proves poison gas killed hundreds in an attack last month in Syria left “no doubt” Assad’s regime was guilty. Fabius said on RTL radio: "The content of the report is damning and confirms massive use of sarin gas on Aug 21. When you look precisely at the data, the amount of toxic gas used, the complexity of the blends… It all leaves no doubt on the origin of the attack. It reinforces the position of those who said the regime was guilty."
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16, 2013 11:38:44 PM | 18
This here is a very good summary of what the report does
8. Portrait of Symptoms
The U.N. report offers a simplified picture about the symptoms suffered by attack victims compared with the crush of information that leaked out of Damascus in the days after the August 21 attack.
Of 36 patients clinically evaluated by the U.N., the only symptoms suffered by a majority were labored breathing (81%) and loss of consciousness (78%). Smaller numbers experienced blurred vision (42%), disorientation (39%). Roughly one in five patients experienced eye irritation, excessive salivation, vomiting, and convulsions.
For all the information it provided, the U.N. report failed to answer a number of questions introduced in its findings.
First, presumably due to concern about his or her safety, the U.N. did not publish the identity of a “leader of the local opposition forces who was deemed prominent in the area” and assisted the U.N. in gaining safe passage through Ghouta.
The names of the hospital and clinic leaders who screened patients for visitation by investigators were omitted from the report, as was any description of why some patients with minor symptoms remained under hospital care five days after the attacks or why “there were no signs of physical injury among the survivors examined.”
The answers to these questions may be revealed in due time, and none seems to present a major break in the logic of the report’s conclusion that sarin gas was used on August 21st, but given the politicking common at the U.N., don’t be surprised if such questions resurface.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 16, 2013 11:48:42 PM | 19
"Or am I missing something obvious?"
The length of the rocket engine shows only the maximum reach. If the fuel isn't full the reach would be much shorter. The difference maybe "rebel territory" and "army territory".
Posted by: Bandolero | Sep 17, 2013 12:00:23 AM | 20
I'm not familiar with this source, but I strongly doubted that hands were simply going to be thrown in the air. Plan B appears to be... pretty much Plan A.
Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 17, 2013 12:47:36 AM | 22
22) Surely this is internal Rep/Dem politics, linking Obama to Al Qaida? The US has been arming rebels via Saudi/Qatar/Turkey/Croatia all this time, why would they have to do it direct?
But yes, the US said they would step up arming the rebels and the Russians said they would step up arming the Syrian army - this is not really a peace plan.
As before, this will be decided on the ground.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 17, 2013 1:17:12 AM | 23
sorry, meaning no proof.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 17, 2013 1:46:55 AM | 24
The UN did not publish the identity of a “leader of the local opposition forces who was deemed prominent in the area” and assisted the UN in gaining safe passage through Ghouta ... Posted by: somebody | Sep 16, 2013 11:48:42 PM | 19
Acccording to Bodansky, Sep 9
The opposition insisted on having Zahran Alloush and Liwaa al-Islam secure and escort the international experts team when they collected evidence in the opposition-controlled parts of eastern Damascus. Zahran Alloush entrusted the task of actually controlling and monitoring the UN team to his close allied katiba, the Liwaa al-Baraa from Zamalka. Thus, the international experts’ team operated while in effective custody of those Jihadis most likely responsible for the chemical attack. According to several Jihadi commanders, Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from Bandar, and Liwaa al-Islam is Saudi Arabia’s private army in Syria.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 17, 2013 3:03:13 AM | 25
The key evidence in the UN report is the finding of sarin metabolites in blood of 34 of 36 individuals presented as victims
The UN report states that "All biomedical samples were collected by local medical professionals under supervision of UN inspectors". Unless the inspectors brought their own sample collection kits and never let them out of their sight, it would have been possible for someone to contaminate the blood collection tubes.
The main metabolites found were isopropyl methylphosponate and diisopropyl methylphosphonate. Concentrations are not given. Isopropyl methylphosphonic has a half-life of 44 minutes in plasma of pigs. The plasma half-life of diisopropyl methylphosphonate in rats is 45 minutes (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp119.pdf). How were these metabolites detectable 5 days after exposure: more than 160 half-lives?
Posted by: pmr9 | Sep 17, 2013 3:19:33 AM | 26
"How were these metabolites detectable 5 days after exposure: more than 160 half-lives? "
good question - now watch the geniuses ignore it
Posted by: hmm | Sep 17, 2013 4:03:48 AM | 27
@Gehenna | 6
There is already a video on that site: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?pageID=428&VideoID=603
Chopper dropped like a rock, i.e. Turkeys official version is dead in the water. Helicopter was hit by missile in Syria's territory, and indeed it could be an attempt to impose unofficial no-fly zone within 5 km. of Turkey's border.
"Al-Qaeda posted the footage of the chopped off head of the chopper pilot on YouTube who parachuted down after the shooting."..
Posted by: Harry | Sep 17, 2013 4:57:58 AM | 29
@26 "The main metabolites found were isopropyl methylphosponate and diisopropyl methylphosphonate. Concentrations are not given"
That is an important point, since those same metabolites are present when people are exposed to other toxic organophosphates.
But a commercially-available organophosphate such as diisopropyl fluorophosphates is not as toxic as sarin (though Still Pretty Toxic), which means that you need a much higher concentration to make an effective CW.
Which means a much higher concentration of metabolites in the blood.
So the concentration of metabolites is important to distinguish military-grade Sarin from something that is home-brewed by a terrorist organization.
Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 17, 2013 5:17:24 AM | 30
31) This actually is very funny - Brown Moses is not sure how to disprove the videos, as much as he would like to - read the comments - however if he believes these videos are fake, why did he believe the other videos?
ahh - virtual reality.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 17, 2013 6:57:28 AM | 32
Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle
Know you know why some people here find your frequent about-turns and self-contradictions to be so hilarious
Posted by: hmm | Sep 17, 2013 7:14:32 AM | 33
33) I think, I am pretty consistent: I neither believe videos, nor photographs ...
Posted by: somebody | Sep 17, 2013 7:41:28 AM | 34
Oh you mistake what I imply
I certainly never said or implied that you actually 'believe' the stuff you post here.
Never said that, and never would say it - One thing is clear about what you post, for you no belief in the veracity of anything you post here is required.
absolutely none whatsoever
All that matters to you is "does it help you win some stupid argument?" - and when you think the answer is "yes", then you will use it, irrespective of the fact that to a sane person it is obviously bullshit.
Posted by: hmm | Sep 17, 2013 8:07:57 AM | 35
In The Sane Society, published in 1955, psychologist Erich Fromm proposed that, not just individuals, but entire societies "may be lacking in sanity". Fromm argued that one of the most deceptive features of social life involves "consensual validation.":
“ It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth... Just as there is a folie à deux there is a folie à millions. The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
Posted by: somebody | Sep 17, 2013 9:03:18 AM | 36
You're right, I should have said "honest" instead of "sane"
Posted by: hmm | Sep 17, 2013 9:07:44 AM | 37
UN report. The relevant bits that attest to Sarin use.
Let's be clear.
Resumé (link below.) Interviews with docs, the symptoms of the affected, and the rockets are left aside. (Because that can be any kind of BS.)
30 samples were taken from impact sites. (Soil.) Sarin was identified “in a majority of the samples.” (By the designated labs, not named, number not given - it is 4)
80 survivors were seen. 34 of these were selected for blood, urine, and for some (no. not specified) hair samples. Positive identification of Sarin was made for “almost all” - no number given - of the survivors. (That is the 34.)
The Appendices tell us that the 80 survivors were chosen by Docs in Moadamiyah and Zamalka. (The other sites mentioned in the conclusions were not included, so this is sloppy and perhaps misleading.)
Survivors were chosen - as is proper - on the criteria of having clear, severe symptoms, being credible, and so on, by the local Docs. The 34 chosen for forensic analysis - again as is proper (as one is trying to prove a positive, not attempting any impact or statistical study) were so on similar criteria. (Plus I would suppose their willingness to collaborate, that is quite normal. Someone who is scared of giving blood is not pressured to do so.)
As I wrote before, it is likely that some minor CW attack incident took place on 21 Aug.
However, this report, possibly correct and genuine, if in some ways misleading in its language and composition, is very slim, and tells us nothing at all about:
- the no. of deaths, their burials, etc. (Note: the dead are never mentioned at all. Families - neither...)
- the no. of ppl affected, even as an estimate
- the precise localities where this all took place, about impact zones, about what happened there, etc.
- clear timing
All it evidences is that some small number of soil samples (under 30) and some ppl, survivors (less than 34) tested positive for Sarin.
Posted by: Noirette | Sep 17, 2013 10:27:59 AM | 38
Thanks for pointing to the video. So Turkey would expect us to believe that it was hit and then flew 2 miles inward to finally crash...the video indeed shows it falling like a rock (straight down). I haven't heard anything about radar evidence and would have expected Syria to file a complaint against turkey at the UN or somesuch.
@somebody #32 & anonymous #31
interesting video though it doesn't show any of those umalka's only a houwitser shooting. Though Liwa al Islam is the name of the group that circulated for a while after the attack as being the culprits.
Posted by: Gehenna | Sep 17, 2013 3:47:42 PM | 39
I had a look at the videos. I think it is what Brown Moses calls UMLACA. This may be the smoking gun video. We would need to know the original upload date though. Or where did this videos come from? Cell phone of some killed jihadist.
Posted by: Petri KrohnI | Sep 18, 2013 4:34:32 AM | 40
Please have a look at the results of the analysis of the environmental samples in the UN report page 30ff: both laboratories found sarin in almost all of the samples collected in Zamalka/Ein Tarma, while also both laboratories found no CW warfare agent in any of the samples from Moadamiyah.
UN report: No CW agent was found in environment samples from Moadamiyah
The key result columns are highlighted. What's your idea why no CW agent was found in any of the samples from Moadamiyah while there was plenty of Sarin found in all of the samples from Zamalka/Ein Tarma?
Posted by: Bandolero | Sep 18, 2013 8:06:45 AM | 41
UN report. Sarin use. (see also above, Bandolero, others)
-- Leaving aside interviews with docs, the symptoms of the affected, and the rockets. --
30 enviro samples (henceforth SAMPLE) were taken from 3 impact sites, Moadamiyah, Zamalka and Ein Tarma.
The report treats the last two together, as one place, because both are in East Ghouta - Inspectors went there on the same day.
Sarin / its degradation chems / other chems like stabilizers were identified “in a majority of the samples.” 2 labs analyzed the samples. The results from the 2 labs diverge sharply, with one lab consistently finding more evidence for CW.
The analysis list results contains 42 items (henceforth ITEMS) and it is not possible to link these 42 item analyses and their ‘codes’ to the list of the 30 samples in unequivocal way. NO unique code, label, number is used. (So the items have no geographical origin.) One can read the description of the sample in one table and item in the other, included in both lists. However, these descriptions only match up in part. For ex. the 42 items list contains descriptions like ‘soil sample’ and ‘metal fragment’ which don’t appear in the sample list, because the sample list descriptions are e.g. ‘a soil sample taken from the corner of the balcony.’
The larger number - 42 - appears to be explained by the inclusion, in this set, of parts of rockets / ordnance and samples from humans, such as ‘hair’. (There is no hair in the sample list, no parts of rockets...)
> Strange, scientifically not acceptable.
Nevertheless, I made the following “eye” count of the 42 items.
Tested positive for the presence of sarin (GB in the tables): 16 (severe lab) - 11 (other lab)
No results at all found by both labs: 17
remainder: some suspicious (?) chemical substance found by one or both labs. (I’m not a chemist and can’t judge these.)
80 survivors were interviewed. 34 gave blood, 15 gave urine, 3 gave hair samples.
Positive identification of sarin was made for “almost all” of these 34 survivors, by 2 labs (29 positive blood from one lab, 31 positive blood the other lab. Urine was only analysed by one! lab - 14 positive.)
The 80 survivors were chosen by Docs in Moadamiyah and Zamalka. (Nobody from Ein Tarma.)
Survivors were chosen - as is proper - on the criteria of having clear, severe symptoms, and so on, by the local Docs. The 34 chosen for forensic analysis - again as is proper (as one is trying to prove a positive, not attempting any impact or statistical study) were so on similar criteria. (Plus I would suppose their willingness to collaborate.)
As I wrote before, it is likely that some CW attack incident took place on 21 Aug. Note the reports has some survivors talking about multiple dead. Ex: 2 bros in Zamalka who say they are the only two survivors of 40 ppl in their building.
This report is in some ways misleading in its language and composition, and is very slim. Not to mention the a-hem odd treatment of enviro samples.
To me, it looks likely that the conclusion that no or few positive results were found in Moadamiyah is sound - that was my intuition right away - but it is impossible to prove or even be ‘sorta certain about’ as the number of the sample (even with a date) cannot be matched to the item.
Posted by: Noirette | Sep 18, 2013 8:25:07 AM | 42
Posted by: Noirette | Sep 18, 2013 8:37:38 AM | 43
Weapons expert in the Siberian Times
A leading Russian expert has acknowledged that the propulsion unit on one of the rockets responsible for the deadly Syrian chemical attack indicates it was manufactured at a secret Soviet plant in Siberia. However, the remnants of the 'antique' weapons provide new evidence the 'sarin' blast was the work of rebels and not the Damascus regime.
President Assad's military machine would not have used this 'ancient junk' for a chemical attack when they have far more modern missiles, it was claimed.
The first missile was 'a 140-mm M-14-series rocket projectile from an old Soviet-made BM-14-17 multiple-launch system dating from 1952', said Ruslan Pukhov, director of Russia's Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. The numbering shows it is from Sibselmash plant in Novosibirsk, which during the Cold War was 'one of the USSR's main producers of various types of unguided rocket projectiles.
'The code 4-67-179 means the 4th batch in 1967 by factory 179,' he said.
Pukhov claimed it was 'unlikely' the USSR had sold chemical weapons to Syria but said that in any case 'an old munition has clearly been improvised to take chemicals.
'We know that the Syrians took the BM-14-17 out of service long ago and M-14-series projectiles for that weapon are long past their storage deadlines.'
The Russian expert said: 'If they wanted to use chemical munitions then they probably would not have wanted to risk it with antiques like these and instead would have gone for the BM-21 Grad, for which they probably do have chemical munitions.
'But the insurgents could have found this ancient junk after capturing some military storage depot.'
The second projectile identified by weapons inspectors looked to be 'home made'.
Blaming the Assad opposition for the attack, he claimed: 'The Syrian army is unlikely to be making and using such primitive munitions.'
Posted by: somebody | Sep 18, 2013 10:04:18 AM | 45
"The code 4-67-179 means the 4th batch in 1967 by factory 179," he said."
when one actually looks at the stupid "Siberian times" story (written by the stupid "Siberian Times Reporter", cos there's only one apparently) one can quite easily see that the code "4-67-179" comes from nowhere - no such code exists except in the mind of the person that wrote it.
the images in the stupid story itself actually confirm this - they show that the last 5 digits of the code are"97-179"
which suggests that the whole stupid Siberian Times story is BS.
Given who posted it, does that surprise anyone?
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 10:28:14 AM | 46
Text of the UN-Report including images as given by NYT - the original UN Document has problems opening on most computers
Engravings on the bottom ring of the engine - Cyrillic letters 4 25-67-179K
as described by the Siberian Times
Posted by: somebody | Sep 18, 2013 11:00:26 AM | 47
the only visible serial numbers in the image you just linked is, in both the diagram and photograph, 97-179 - nowhere on that image are the numbers "69-179" visible.
anybody can click on that link you gave @46 and see that clearly for themselves,
On page 18 of the UN report, it claims that there is an engraving, but the contents of that engraving are impossible to see on the provided photo on pg 19 of the N report - the ONLY numbers visible from the UN photos are "97-179"
What both you and the one-man operation Siberian Times (and the UN inspectors themselves, I spose) are claiming is NOT supported by the available photographic evidence.
What both of you are proposing is two separate (but curiously very very similar) numbering systems stamped on these munitions - one ending "67-179" and the other "97-179" - but there is no photographic evidence presented showing anything other than the numbers "97-179"
the only other numbers visible in those photos are "w - 25 - [possibly]5" - absolutely no appearance of the string "67-179" no matter what the UN report claims
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 11:48:35 AM | 49
"the original UN Document has problems opening on most computers"
bullshit - I have dl'd it onto 3 different computers with 3 different Operating Systems, and opened it using at least 2 different PDf viewers on each computer, (including Adobe Acrobat)- and never had a problem with it yet
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 11:52:24 AM | 50
48) good for you - you can read the text then - the UN-inspectors typed it out
Engravings on the bottom ring of the engine - "Cyrillic letters" 4 25-67-179K
Posted by: somebody | Sep 18, 2013 11:58:09 AM | 51
"w - 25 - [possibly]5
should read "4 - 25 - [possibly]5"
The number that follows "25" looks much more like a "5" than a "6" - the most visible part of the the last visible digit is almost identical in the shape to the "5" that precedes it.
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 12:00:34 PM | 52
The photo evidence they provided does NOT show that at all
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 12:01:31 PM | 53
It clearly only shows the string 97-179
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 12:02:35 PM | 54
52 :-)) You are suggesting that the UN inspectors typed wrong numbers into their report so that an ex-soviet weapons specialist could identify the ordnance as an obsolete rocket from 1967 probably found by rebels on a scrap heap?
Never mind what you can see in the image, they typed it out in appendix 5 page 18 of the report. You do realize that it is possible to read rusty stuff by scientific methods even if you might not be able to detect them with your eyes?
Posted by: somebody | Sep 18, 2013 12:19:42 PM | 55
"Never mind what you can see in the image,"?
The image is in fact the only thing that can be described as "evidence"!
"You do realize that it is possible to read rusty stuff by scientific methods even if you might not be able to detect them with your eyes?"
I do know from handling and installing replacement metal parts for various pieces of equipment, that if a serial number cannot be clearly photographed, then it is quite likely that any by-eye-transcription one might make of said serial number is likely to contain at least ONE wrong digit.
Of that I am 100% sure.
"it is possible to read rusty stuff by scientific methods" - we're back to relying on guff about "scyentifikal" methods, are we?
What "scyentifikal" methods did the inspectors use?
If they had to resort to "scyentifikal" methods how come NONE of them are even mentioned, let alone detailed, in the report?
What evidence have you got that they used "scyentifikal" methods to read that alleged serial number?
None whatsoever, that's what.
Pretty sure "scyentifikal" methods is just one of those many many instances where you just make-shit-up in order to appear to know what you are talking about
Posted by: hmm | Sep 18, 2013 12:36:31 PM | 56
Why don't you two forget about the number and step back one pace. Then you can agree that the rocket is indeed an ancient soviet model.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 18, 2013 2:07:23 PM | 57