Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 02, 2013

Media Claim Sarin Usage While "Signature Evidence" Is Not Viable

Several newspapers claim that U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said that there is proof of sarin gas used in the recent Syrian incident. These claims are false.

All these headline claims are false. From the McClatchy report this is what Kerry said:

“We have learned through samples that were provided to the United States and that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus (that) hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” Kerry said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

It is important to differentiate between sarin and mere "signatures of sarin". (UPDATE) The "signature" does not say much about what chemical exposure happened. The U.S. Army book Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare explicitly says that concluding on a chemical agent exposure from "signatures" in bio-samples is false (Chapter 22 (pdf)):

Assay of Parent Compounds

analyzing for parent nerve agents from biomedical matrices, such as blood or urine, is not a viable diagnostic technique for retrospective detection of exposure.

(/update) Sarin, a fluid at room temperature, evaporates and decomposes rapidly. A few hours after sarin exposure it is nearly impossible to find pure sarin samples on or within a human body. Sarin molecules react with other molecules and fall apart. What might be found in a biological sample of someone who was exposed to sarin are therefore only decomposition products of sarin. But the same decomposition products can also occur from exposition to other chemical substances. Especially exposure to typical farming insecticides, chemically organophosphates, is likely to create the same decomposition products that sarin exposure does.

Dan Kaszeta, a former Chemical Officer in the United States Army, is one of the foremost experts in chemical and biological weapons. As he explains in an interview:

A number of reports have claimed to have proven the use of sarin through tests on hair, clothing, blood, tissue, and urine samples.

At least one study shows that the presence of a nerve agent could be deduced by examining post-mortem blood samples for presence or lack of acetylcholinesterase, up to a week after death. A person who has died from Sarin exposure would have little or no acetylcholinesterase present. It should be noted that this would only indicate the presence of a nerve agent and would not specifically indicate Sarin versus any other nerve agent (or even organophosphate pesticide intoxication) nor would it conclusively indicate nerve agent as a cause of death, as other factors may have killed the victim, such as conventional trauma.
...
One of the decomposition products of Sarin in the human body is methylphosphonic acid. A study shows that this substance is detectable in urine by use of mass spectrometry. This particular substance is not specific to Sarin.
...
Is it possible other substances could produce false positives for sarin?

Yes. Generally, the more sophisticated and expensive the detection technique, the less scope for false positives. The false positives depend entirely on the detection method. IMS is often fooled by chemicals of the same molecular weight as Sarin. Organophosphate-based pesticides are very similar chemicals to nerve agent chemical weapons, so they may pose a false positive.

The hair and blood samples the U.S. tested came from the insurgents in Syria through an insecure custody chain of evidence. They did not test positive for sarin but showed decomposition products that may have come from exposure to sarin or may have come from exposure to insecticides or some other class of chemical substances.

It is also very important to keep in mind that even proven evidence of exposure to sarin, or any insecticide, does not say anything at all about how such an exposure might have happened and who might have been responsible for it. The indications that the insurgents in Syria might have been responsible are at least as strong as the indications of government use. The insurgents, who do want the U.S. to intervene on their side, also have a very strong motive to create such an incident.

It is irresponsible that headline writers and journalists fail to explain these contexts and claim "sarin usage" while the evidence thereof is inconclusive and while not even the U.S. government made such a indefensible claim at all.

Posted by b on September 2, 2013 at 9:44 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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@ Somebody 41

34) Look Israel has not been strategically viable for quite some time now at least since 2006, the US generals know this, they are not stupid.

I'm not sure how you can notice that and then fail to arrive at the logical next step, which is (from the US/EU/Israel POV) how can it be made viable? The blindingly obvious answer is have the US and EU destroy their strongest competitors.

Assuming, that is, that they can do it and at minimal cost to Israel. Which is the ONLY question and concern from the Zionist point of view.

If Israel's golems succeed in destroying Syria, then they maybe they will face some angry useful idiots who will fire a rocket once in a while. They will at that point get ZERO money or weapons from KSA, Turkey and Qatar, so even if they have some motivation to attack, they really wont have the means. The Israelis will have the benefit of watching several small militias and factions fight each other and their intel services will have no end of games to play, while their "IDF" can enter unopposed at will, perhaps create a "buffer zone," which eventually will be settled, thus requiring a buffer zone to protect the buffer zone.

OTOH, what they would face from a Syria that survives and rebuilds is, yes a quiet border, but also a relatively strong army with a huge strategic missile arsenal and air defense system allied with powerful forces such as Iran, Hizbullah and Iraq. None of whom are in the western orbit or amenable to western bribes and threats.

There is no doubt at all that Israel would prefer the first option IF THEY CAN GET IT, which is why there may be some dissenting voices against the currently crystal clear policy of sicking their attack dogs on Syria.

Their reasons for dissent are:

1) What if during the US attack Syria along with Hizbullah really does fire a whole bunch of missiles making life tough for a while?

2) What if they fire so many for so long that it is a replay of 2006 on steroids and the pain becomes so great that we are forced to call back our attack dogs?

3) What if Syria, with the help of Iran/Russia, manages to wound our attack dogs and they begin to realize that fighting wars on our behalf really isn't a percentage move? I mean the internet has changed a lot of things. There is an alternative to the brainwashing MSM, people talk openly of false flags. Sure, they are just talking about the 'rebels' for the moment but... Lots of people are beginning to think their governments may have been less than forthright on that whole 9/11 thing.

However, if they have concluded, as you have, that they are not strategically viable over the long term, then they will need to take some risks to fix that.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 2 2013 21:32 utc | 101

"I'm not sure how you can notice that and then fail to arrive at the logical next step, "

I know how.
He simply lies about it.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 21:38 utc | 102

My first coupla hours of maintaining an open mind about somebody is not going real well. I find mysdelf grimacing at the effort. Separating the wacko Hagee types from dual citizenship neocon types fropm the Israel Firster AIPAC types??? Thats like eating a pastrami sandwich without mustard. Then we have the insinuation that Obama "convinced" the AIPAC crowd to come on over to his side of the debate.....

Egads. Not sure I can do this. Two days??? Shit, I've barely made it two hours....

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2 2013 21:38 utc | 103

@103

no one to blame but yourself.

you set yourself up to fail, right?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 21:39 utc | 104

#104...

Hey, I can be self-deprecating without you underscoring the points I should make in doing so. At least extend the courtesy of letting me pick which crow I eat. And the dosage.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2 2013 21:45 utc | 105

97) Hmm, seems like Obama lobbying the Israel Lobby and not the other way around

Haaretz

But some Jewish leaders are wary of publicly supporting the administration or of deploying the pro-Israel lobby in Congress on its behalf. Many are concerned about stepping into the crossfire of a political war between Democrats and Republicans, of portraying Israel as a reason for the U.S. to go or not to go to war or of lending credence to claims that Jews hold inordinate political sway.

The history of suspicion and bad blood between Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and his U.S. supporters may also have some indirect influence on Jewish concerns. Some Jewish leaders will refuse to bolster Obama’s political stature and would like nothing better than to see him weakened, while others do not trust the president’s resolve and are worried that he will back down from an attack even if he receives Congressional authority, rendering Jewish groups with no tangible reward for having spent valuable political capital.

Some Jewish leaders are therefore grateful that the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday can serve as a valid excuse for stalling, though others believe that ultimately the Jewish community will have no choice but to offer support, even if tepid, for the administration’s efforts.

“There can be no doubt,” as one observer told me on Monday, “that if Congress casts a veto it will not only humiliate Obama but deal a significant blow to American standing in the world in general and in the Middle East in particular. I find it hard to believe that leaders who think of themselves as supporters of Israel will be able to stand aside and let such a catastrophe happen.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2 2013 21:47 utc | 106

#100....

"Even Parviziyi would have to admit that that kind of phrasing is disingenuous horseshit"

See, now I'm all confused, dammit.

Should I have said "genuine horseshit"????

This open-mindedness stuff is haaaaard work!

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2 2013 21:49 utc | 107

somebody #106

Great article.

Shows again that the lobby is there and silent as many of us have pointed out. Check the blackmail quote at the bottom too..

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2 2013 21:50 utc | 108

"complete and utter"?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 21:50 utc | 109

@94

somebody, if Israel's environment has "worsened in their view" why they hell doesn't Israel do something about it? They're stealing land, holding Palestinians in concentration camps, bombing their neighbors at will, destroying the cradle of civilization, with total disregard. They want the US military to bomb Syria and Lebanon and like SuperMan they will strike Iran... putting the entire ME in flames.

Israel has more nuclear warheads than the U.K. for dog's sake. Who has the WMD? Syria has CW, a poor man's deterrent... so mossad cooked up a scheme to make it look like Assad gassed his own people, while the UN Inspectors were there. Jeeezzz...

Well Israel better watch what they wish for... attacking Syria might evolve to Israel getting bombed. How's that thought strike you?

Posted by: crone | Sep 2 2013 21:52 utc | 110

my hasbara meter is about to explode...

Posted by: crone | Sep 2 2013 21:56 utc | 111

@110

"attacking Syria might evolve to Israel getting bombed. How's that thought strike you?"

My guess is he'd be delighted with all the overtime pay he'd get to bill Hasbara-Central, for posting non-stop here to try and justify Israel nuke-ing syria in retaliation

NuttinYahoo has already hinted quite heavily at using Nukes, the psychotic F-wit

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 21:57 utc | 112

Now that the Lobby has shown its face, does anyone know their position on the most important issue for American conservatives - the utter destruction of Israel along the lines of currently fashionable biblical interpretation?

Posted by: [Name Redacted] | Sep 2 2013 22:03 utc | 113

"As a matter of fact Israel saved Syria"

"That's like saying Netanyahoo is an angel of peace and believing it :)) I might not agree with hmm's language (cut ad-hominem's please!) but he is right."

No, it is not like saying any such thing about Netanyahu. It is a perfectly reasonable point of view which, if discussed sensibly could illuminate the discussion.

I don't agree with (somebody?) but I can certainly see what he means which is that the US is very sensitive about harming Israeli interests, whilst it is like a bull in a china shop in most of the world.
The point is to discuss these things rationally and to welcome eccentric and novel posts.

That is the least we can do for a blog which is consistently among the best informed, most original and intellectually incisive of the many commenting on these questions.

Part of the problem is the bitchiness of the language used. Both Don Bacon and Guest 77 make very valuable contributions, what a nonsense it is to devote valuable space to disputes about which comes closest to the truth, which is something best left to others and time to decide.

The great enemy we have is a general refusal, among the public,(and Rowan is wrong to dismiss the importance of public opinion or polling) to examine critical thinking, a tendency towards conformity and deference which gives Kerry's juvenile demagoguery more authority than b's patient examination of the facts.

It is surprising therefore to find posts insisting that all agree on the degree of Israeli culpability, as if the question was not complex and unsettled. It is both and those who want to understand the world will recognise that it is, and that it is better to welcome heretical posters, such as somebody, than, jeering like football fans, to drive away everyone who is not ready to get involved in slanging matches, tedious theologies of C19th scholarship, and humour free political correctness of the sort favoured by those who would suppress Gilad Atzmon's ideas.

Moon of Alabama is becoming very widely read and followed.

The worst thing that could happen is for it to become like Craig Murray's infested by petty name calling. In such idiocy trolls thrive and, like vermin, quickly eat into the credibility of all involved, which is greatly to the detriment of the victims of imperialism, such as the people of Syria.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 2 2013 22:03 utc | 114

101)
It is possible that this is Neocon ideology, seen from Germany it sounds like lunacy.
What economic or political sense would there be in trying to destroy a naturally fortified country of 80 million people to empower a small fraction of a population living in an area of nil strategic interest?
Could the reason for the enmity between Iran and the US be the fact that both are competing for influence in the same oil rich area?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2 2013 22:07 utc | 115

#106....

Somebody....

Ooohhhh maaaaan.....you really gonna make me do this?

It seems your argument is just downright slimey. You want to ignore the Israeli/AIPAC agenda, and argue your premise using Israeli deception as your foundation. You argue that because many members of the Israeli/AIPAC crowd want to HIDE their true intent, than we should surmise that that intent doesn't actually exist. Really, somebody, thats a despicable mindset, an extremely unlaudable position. Whats worse, I am beginning to think you don't even see how despicable such a stance is. And, at the risk of you throwing the 'ol "anti-semite" accusation at me, I must admit I find this kind of characterless debate used often by those seeking to defend the Israeli/zionist agenda, and AIPAC's role in bribing, blackmailing, and intimidating our politicians into subsidizing and supporting that agenda. Truly, (and Don Bacon will attest to this from our years of posting at The Washington Note), the most vicious, vulgar, and underhanded internet attacks I have suffered through online have been from thos such as yourself, who in defense of AIPAC, Israel, and the zionists are willing to engage in an "at all costs" defense of the indefensible.

Your argument here is a transparent con-job. And you know it. And that, somebody, is pure hasabara in its base form.

Two days? Nope. Two posts is more like it. I've had all the "open-mindedness" I can stomach.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2 2013 22:08 utc | 116

Russia paying chess .. .
"Russia is to restructure the €2.5 billion loan it gave Cyprus in 2011.

The repayment period will be extended and the interest rate has been decreased from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

Russia agrees to restructure €2.5bln loan to Cyprus

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 22:08 utc | 117

The simple fact is that current events in Syria are driven by Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar and not by Israel. Lighting up the western Middle East including attacks on Israel, which is the probable result of a US attack on Syria, is definitely not in Israel's interest.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 2, 2013 10:55:29 AM | 19


how can DB ignore israels very real role in all this advcoating war on syria , lauching its own attacks on syria and backing the jihadis

and guess what Saudi and israel are comrades in arms

so what is Bacons ploy here? shilling for israel?

Posted by: brian | Sep 2 2013 22:09 utc | 118

negotiating with terrorists? it just goes to show terrorism works!

Posted by: brian | Sep 2 2013 22:09 utc | 119

outrage by warhawk that US didnt bomb syria: show zionist hand
Horrowitwz calls Assad 'Butcher of Damascus' and he is outraged the UK parliament vioted aganist the crime of aggression aganist syria: conclusion HE wants UKUS to do what israel dre not: butcher syrians openly.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/perfidious-albion-hands-murderous-assad-a-spectacular-victory/ … who wants to be Butcher of Damascus?

Posted by: brian | Sep 2 2013 22:13 utc | 120

Re 115

"
What economic or political sense would there be in trying to destroy a naturally fortified country of 80 million people to empower a small fraction of a population living in an area of nil strategic interest?"


Now he's pretending that he's never heard of the Yinon Plan.

And "an area of nil strategic interest"?

"Lies" barely even begins to describe this complete and utter horseshit

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 22:14 utc | 121

@116

Almost every post he makes is a con-job of one sort or another. A more dishonest indivudual would be hard to find.

Describing his drivel as merely "heretical" is taking naivety to ridiculously absurd levels, imo

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 22:19 utc | 122

21) Look hmm I am prepared to read what you say about the geographic location of Israel being of strategic interest. Please explain.

I just googled the Yinon plan. Strategy for the 1980s. Yep, Balkanization. Brilliant strategy for Israel.
You need identities for Balkanization. What could that be? Nationalism? Difficult in the area of Sykes/Picot. Would not really end up with small entities. Leaves religion. That would be a sea of Sunnis, belligerent Shiites and a few Christians surrounding Israel. Would take a chunk from Israel also. Ok. Ethnicity. Presumably would unite a lot of people saying they are Arab. Kurds would get a huge country, too.

Apartheid Bantustans were fashionable in the 1980's but are not really an option in 2013. As I said, times are changing.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2 2013 22:34 utc | 123

I'll wait for you to first explain why it is of nil strategic interest. You made the claim not me.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 22:41 utc | 124

Sources: Israel doctored the intercepted Syrian communications to produce a different reading of the convo:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/29/verify-chemical-weapons-use-before-unleashing-the-dogs-of-war


Posted by: brian | Sep 2 2013 22:44 utc | 125

outrage in israel after UK parliament rejects supreme war crime attacks
http://www.timesofisrael.com/perfidious-albion-hands-murderous-assad-a-spectacular-victory/

Posted by: brian | Sep 2 2013 22:54 utc | 126

Posted by: bevin | Sep 2, 2013 6:03:17 PM | 114

Good post. I'd rather have the occasional "hasbara" that comes in a civilized tone and can be discussed and qualified by arguments than a thousand dumb and hateful one-liners. Also the flooding of back-and-forth personal insults makes it harder to skim for the few adult and reasonable opinions.

On the other hand, the current media propaganda about fabricated "evidence" are such obvious blatant lies that there's nothing much to discuss anyway. Whenever the warmongerers feel their time is right for action it will come, no matter what stupid cause they'll present us.

Posted by: peter radiator | Sep 2 2013 23:05 utc | 127

The repayment period will be extended and the interest rate has been decreased from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent."

What? The Russians aren't going to drive Cyprus into debt peonage and flog the interest out of its starving citizens decade after painful decade? They're not going to privatize it and starve it and harvest every last hope from it until there is nothing left but a broken, barren rock floating alone in the Mediterranean?

This will set a very bad example.

.......

Got to love the Russians for doing that. Erdogan must be livid.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2 2013 23:11 utc | 128

@127 Nicely put Mr. Radiator. This who is hasbara and who isn't stuff is getting tedious.

Posted by: dh | Sep 2 2013 23:13 utc | 129

Very important to have your lies told to you in a civilised tone alright

Anything else would be "just not cricket", and might disturb the evening distribution of soma at the old folks home

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2 2013 23:23 utc | 130

I like my soma with a bit of spice. Not repetitive pap.

Posted by: dh | Sep 2 2013 23:27 utc | 131

This is pretty phenomenal:

http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/09/01/which-syrian-chemical-attack-account-is-more-credible/

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2 2013 23:30 utc | 132

Pepe is a full on dada poet. What a badass.

"The deeply humanitarian Operation Tomahawk With Cheese"

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-04-290813.html

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2 2013 23:45 utc | 133

Interesting that Kerry is soooooo intent upon pre-empting the report of those UN observers.

First he attempted to stop them from investigating at all.
Then he attempted to disparage the chances of them finding anything.
Now he is rushing to push out his own finding before they can issue a report.

It really does look as if he is worried that their report will cause this whole exercise to fall into a great big heap o' nothin'.

Indeed, I can't remember a senior US official ever looking so worried about what a UN fact-finding mission might... you know... find.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 2 2013 23:51 utc | 134

@ 134 Attaching blame never was part of the UN mandate. That's Kerry's job. Sarin traces could mean anything.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 0:04 utc | 135

Dh...Radiator...Bevin....

There are varying reasons for posting at a blog like this. For myself, it is not only to exchange information and opinion. For me, the entertainment factor is a large incentive as well. I enjoy it. I am a tradesman, and have little opportunity to express myself through the use of the written word. Its a regret of mine, because I discovered late in life that I thoroughly enjoy puting words down on "paper". Creative in the trades, (fine finish carpentry, cabinets and furniture), I find that my God given gift of creativity extends to my efforts at communication as well. I am good at my trade. I would not presume to extend the same conceit when considering my writing. Perhaps lacking in skill, I suffer no such lack in my enthusiasum for the task. Hell, I have to enjoy it, because never having learned proper typing, at 61 years I employ a single finger in my efforts. Tap tap tap....

So, I'm sorry if I offend you with my amusement. If I had to simply stick to some sort of stoic back and forth with the "facts" as we each perceive them, the recreational aspect of posting would be lost in the effort. The personal banter adds flavor, and is simply, at least on my end, good natured sniping. Much like the casual and well intended sarcasm one might enjoy over a drink or dinner with a good friend.

I hope you'll lighten up and understand there are as many different ways of expressing opinions as there are actual opinions. Do your thing, and I'll do mine. I'll read these last two threads over, and see if I've crossed a line I'm unaware of. If so, I'll tone it down a bit. Or, barring that, I trust b's ability to monitor his own site, and decide for himself what he will abide as far as individual posting styles. Certainly, he doesn't seem to be shy in that respect.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 3 2013 0:09 utc | 136

#134....

Gee, I don't know. Seems to me the UN is pretty much gonna go with the program. Ever since El Baradai has been out, it seems the UN has been pretty amiable to the "Nasty Nasty Iran" format.

I have no doubt that they will produce undeniable traces of sarin on a number of artifacts. That'll be the science part. The marketing part will be when they endeavor to convince us that Assad is responsible. That will be done with media manipulated smoke and mirrors. Already the premier media maggots are positing accusations as facts. And when they do that there is a whole huge segment of our population that swallows it hook, line, and sinker. Just ask your friends, work associates, and nieghbors. The fix is in, and "we" are buyin' it.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 3 2013 0:22 utc | 137

I like your posts POA. I find them articulate and amusing. Like you I'm mainly here to keep myself amused. I don't kid myself that anything I say affects world events one way or the other.

My comment was addressed to hmmm. He made his point about 'somebody' several days ago. Now I just find his attacks boring. Of course that doesn't mean he'll stop doing it. He may even see it as a challenge.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 0:23 utc | 138

For me the curious thing is that none of those who complain about the tone, and the importance of what they like to term "civilised" disagreement ,have themselves made any attempt to dispute or correct any of the many many deliberatly false statements made by the man on this thread alone.

You could always yourselves join in the debate. You could always yourselves engage and refute any or all of the many false statements made, yet none of you have. I'd happily go quiet, for the most part, were any of the complainers to decide to bother to practice what they've been preaching

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 0:28 utc | 139

Who is preaching? I just prefer to make up my own mind about who is honest and who isn't. I don't need a constant barrage from the sidelines.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 0:31 utc | 140

You bevin and pr are.

If you don't like the debate then join in and participate. A bit harder than sitting there all passive and soma-sated while occasionally whining about the "tone", I know,

Simply whining about the tone while not otherwise participating is a bit lame imo.

As i said, not one of you bothered to engage the man regarding the many demonstrably false statements he has made just today alone. Complaining about how others do it, while doing absolutely nothing yourselves, is the internet equivilant to "jeering at football matches", a phrase one of the complainers ueed earlier

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 0:47 utc | 141

@135 True enough, the mandate of the UN observers has always been about the "what", and not about the "who".

But can I point out that it is perfectly possible for the "what" to demolish arguments regarding "who" was responsible.

Think about it....
Think about it....

There are three possibilities here:
a) This was Syrian army military-grade sarin, fired by the Syrian army
b) This was Syrian army military-grade sarin, seized from an overrun SA warehouse and subsequently fired by the rebels.
c) This was some home-brewed chemical weapon made by and fired by the rebels

Imagine if the UN observers report that, yes, a CW attack was carried out but, no, this was not "military grade" sarin but was instead some home-brew concoction. Such a finding is well within the mandate of those UN observers, and it would demolish all arguments that the Syrian Army was responsible.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 3 2013 0:48 utc | 142

Jesus, reading the comments here at MoA becomes fucking tedious when the children get to fighting. And for what? It's like Putin's Pig: "Much squealing and little wool."

Posted by: oboblomov | Sep 3 2013 0:55 utc | 143

They would fail terribly were it to have been military-grade sarinsupplied by either ZUSA, ZUK, or Anti-assimilation-land

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 0:56 utc | 144

@142 Good point but does it really matter where it came from or what grade it is/ The the magic word is Sarin. That is what Kerry and Co will try to fix in the public mind. And I would think the 'rebels' have access to the real thing.

@141. hmm. By all means keep your little feud with 'somebody' going as long as you want. It's b's problem not mine. I do think think the ad hominem stuff actually weakens your case but that's just my opinion.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 1:01 utc | 145

Well thanks for telling me what you think,. Doubt i could have survived the remainder of the evening without that vital info ;-)

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 1:11 utc | 146

Yeah dial it back a little. As far as I've read the original MOA closed up because of annoying commenters.

If this place goes away you'll have to go hang out with the cranks at information clearinghouse.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 3 2013 1:17 utc | 147

from Counterpunch: Debunking Obama’s Chemical Weapons Case Against the Syrian Government
...

... It is essential to also dispute the very notion that “social media reports” constitute credible evidence toDebunking Obama’s Chemical Weapons Case Against the Syrian Government be used in making a case for war. It is a long-established fact that US and other intelligence agencies are able to manipulate twitter, Facebook and other social media in whatever way they see fit. As the Guardian reported back in 2011:

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda…each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history, and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations ‘without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.’

It seems as if the United States is now using social media, a system over which they have control, to justify their pre-fabricated war narrative."

Posted by: crone | Sep 3 2013 1:23 utc | 148

@144, @145 Again, true enough. But I'll point out that if those were the case then Kerry (who would surely know) would be pressuring the UN observers to Come On, Already! Release That Damn Report!!! Do It! Do It! Do It!

Yet he isn't.

He was hell-bent on stopping those observers getting there in the first place and then, having failed in that attempt, he has been hell-bent on pre-empting and/or undermining their report wherever and whenever possible.

That isn't the action of a man who believes that the observers will release a report identifying that the attack was carried out by military-grade CW warheads sitting atop military-grade rockets.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 3 2013 1:33 utc | 149

Think for a moment about Putin turning down Bandar's "an offer not to be refused" and then think about the film the Godfather.

When the Putin wakes up in bed with the head of his favorite horse beside him, who are we to believe did the deed, the horse?

That's the storyline Kerry is spinning.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 3 2013 1:34 utc | 150

@149 Ban Ki Moon has been showing signs of independence lately. I don't know what's got into the man. Perhaps that 'no' vote in the British parliament has emboldened him?

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 1:53 utc | 151

@151
"Hurry up and get that report finished"-is all I have heard from Mr Banki

What signs of independence have you noticed? I don't do tv and rarely ever read anything about Mr Spineless, so if he were to momentarily display a vertebrae or two I'd probably miss it entirely

If he had actually be seen in posession of said vertebre, I'd be inclined to presume he either stole em or merely hired them for an hour

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 2:05 utc | 152

Well I could be wrong. My soma diet most likely.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 2:26 utc | 153

#142...

"Imagine if the UN observers report that, yes, a CW attack was carried out but, no, this was not "military grade" sarin but was instead some home-brew concoction"

Honestly, I doubt such a finding would ever see the lighht of day.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 3 2013 2:36 utc | 154

"Much squealing and little wool."

Thank you. You described your post perfectly.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 3 2013 2:38 utc | 155

POA @155

Oinking :-)

Posted by: oboblomov | Sep 3 2013 3:15 utc | 156

Not sure if it's a true prediction, but here is Nick Noe's prediction of the Syria/Hezbollah response:

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region
Almost all the myths of the past 2.5 years of the war in Syria have now fallen – so you have a good idea about the response to the US-led attack

In the beginning, despite warnings from many of us actually in the Middle East and closer to the actors involved, it was said that:

1) Russia would not really back Assad – that myth fell, as expected.

2) That Hizbullah would not get involved – that myth fell over time, as the existential nature of this conflict was revealed, as expected. I remember being chided on this at my LSE talk and by leading oppositionists last fall!

Listen to the podcast debate here:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2012/10/20121017t1830vNT.aspx

3) That Hizbullah was a paper tiger – that myth fell in Qusayr – although one could only have looked at the July 2006 War to know this since a force – hizbullah – essentially beat the 4th strongest army in the world – Israel – to a standstill.

4) That Assad would not go to extreme levels of violence to protect the regime – anyone who lived in syria and knew the regime – and hizbullah knew this VERY well – knows how cruel the regime has always been.

5) That Assad would fall quickly or at some reasonable point – this myth fell as people realized that the Resistance Axis architecture is deep and enduring and will not fall easily – even via decapitation as per the july 2012 assassinations.

6) That Syria did not have WMDS – I remember being chided on this at a talk in paris at AUP.

7) That the “samson” option was never possible – and that Assad or others would never introduce such weapons in the field… well they got introduced as expected when the whole edifice of everyone fighting in syria is degrading into hell.

8) That the US and allies would rapidly intervene – well it took some prodding, BUT the US congress may yet stand in the way….

9) That violent jihadists would not control the field – that myth is over

10) And my favorite – that if we had only attacked assad earlier, the outcome would have been just great – no jihadists, the regime falls, a nice sunni replaces him, iran and hizbullah are screwed, israel is unscathed and liberal feminists rule in Damascus, although they still believe in an acceptable form of “market socialism.”

BUT THE BEST MYTH has yet to fall – WHAT WILL HIZBULLAH AND IRAN DO in response to a strike?

The myth circulating now is the SAME, essential root from all the above: they are paper tigers and its better to act decisively and with great force and everything will be ok… or at least better than it is now.

Then you read… you talk to the actors, reflect on conversations with the actors and read what THEY have said and are saying.

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/96463-report-hizbullah-to-retaliate-from-homs-to-any-strike-against-syria

http://www.alraimedia.com/Article.aspx?id=461116&date=02092013 (translated by mideastwire.com)

These bits of the information war are NOT likely to be mere posturing.

The likely response is from WITHIN SYRIAN lands into Israel – and Israel will be forced to decide on escalation and escalation into Lebanon also.

This will be a fatal mistake – but the Israelis are likely to take the step and the Amerians are unwittingly or not paving the way for this liklihood.

A last Myth that will probably fall in this scene – That israel is well prepared in terms of missile defence and the homefront to adequately withstand the escalation.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 3 2013 3:28 utc | 157

@hmm | 139

"have themselves made any attempt to dispute or correct any of the many many deliberatly false statements made by the man on this thread alone."

You know I did in previous thread, but honestly there is not much one can do if opponent ignores facts, history and logic. Time is limited and precious, therefore I no longer read somebodies posts, and just skim through Don's.

@dh | 151
"Ban Ki Moon has been showing signs of independence lately. I don't know what's got into the man. Perhaps that 'no' vote in the British parliament has emboldened him?"

Ban Ki Moon sometimes shows tiny free will, but gets a call and immediately falls into the line. When some official asked UN inspectors not to start investigation, Ban said they will continue the mission for over two weeks, but as soon as he got a call from Obama, Ban instantly recalled inspectors from Syria.

It reminds me of incident where Ban expressed his worries about NATO bombing of Libya, he got a call and immediately retracted his words. Sounds familiar?

Posted by: Harry | Sep 3 2013 3:31 utc | 158

The UN inspectors have been asked via Ban Ki Moon to speed up their work. Martin Nesirky has said there is no timeline to complete the analysis. That's all I know.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2013 3:47 utc | 159

@Johnboy | 149

"He was hell-bent on stopping those observers getting there in the first place and then, having failed in that attempt, he has been hell-bent on pre-empting and/or undermining their report wherever and whenever possible.

That isn't the action of a man who believes that the observers will release a report identifying that the attack was carried out by military-grade CW warheads sitting atop military-grade rockets."

Thats the confusing part. What we know:

1. UN investigators were hand picked by the West, while Russia/China's experts participation was denied. It already screams as set-up.

2. US learned from their miscalculation in Iraq, where UN inspectors under Blix and Baradei showed steel-balls and refused to follow US directive. Blix was sidelined and Baradei replaced by subservient Amano. Therefore UN investigators in Syria should be in Amano's mold.

So why US so overtly tried to deny the investigation, if their puppets running the show?

I have only two possible explanations:

a) The evidence is so overwhelming terrorists did it, that even biased investigation would have a hard time spinning it. Or even somewhat biased inspectors would grow a conscience and refuse to follow US directive when facts tell completely different story.

b) Its a good cop - bad cop tactic. US plays a bad cop, while Ban a good cop, who "obeys the International law". In this case when findings comes out, the World would more readily believe it was "an honest investigation despite of US trying to stop it" and believes the credibility of UN's findings (just as US wishes).

Posted by: Harry | Sep 3 2013 3:56 utc | 160

I have to say, b, that you've been doing a remarkably good job of separating facts from factoids these past few weeks. I, for one, appreciate your hard work, dedication, and diligence.

There was a political party in Oz for a few years called the Australian Democrats. Their slogan was "Keeping the Bastards Honest!"

They were doing OK until their leader allowed herself to be bullied into supporting John Dubya Howard's GST (Oz'z version of VAT - a tax designed to force the disgustingly poor, and the not-so-rich, to cover the tax short-fall caused by the 1%'s reluctance to honour their financial obligations to the community whose resources enabled them to become filthy rich).

Anyway, MoA is doing a consistently better job of keeping bastards, scum, and other low-life, honest than the Oz Dems ultimately managed to do.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3 2013 4:02 utc | 161

from Haaretz

Analysis || Obama's critics in Israel should ask themselves: Why hasn't Netanyahu acted yet on Syria? Israeli leaders on the right denounce the world for not stopping Assad; let’s stop suggesting that others step into the line of fire.

... Snip

... Israeli leaders, especially right-wing politicians and pundits, have in recent days loudly denounced the rest of the world for not lifting a finger to stop the slaughter in Syria and oust Assad. Until not too long ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the defense establishment quietly backed Assad, viewing him as a shield against radical Islam in Syria. Now the mood has changed. Assad has become the new Hitler, and the world is silent, just as it was during the Holocaust. What is to be done?

Ostensibly, the solution is clear and simple. Israel has a strong army and a superb air force. If its leaders wanted to, they could easily use it to hit any strategic target in Syria, after years of precise intelligence monitoring and detailed operational planning. According to international reports, the Israel Air Force has already hit several targets in Syria this year, with exemplary precision and with no Israeli losses. Thus our leaders could order the planes to take off; the pilots know the route and the targets.

Yet even after the “red line” was crossed by using chemical weapons to slaughter civilians, the air force is conducting business as usual. No one has ordered it to put a stop to Assad’s murderous rampage by destroying his command posts, air force, armored divisions, missile bases and chemical weapons.

If the call for intervention in Syria stems from moral considerations, as its supporters claim, there’s no doubt that Israel, founded on the ashes of the Holocaust, should set an example for the world and send its air force to land a decisive blow on the “Syrian Hitler’s” SS units. The same strike could also hit the Hezbollah infantry units fighting nearby.

Of course there’s a risk, but it’s clear the United States would give full backing to such an operation and replenish the Israeli army’s ammunition stores. Destroying Syria’s strategic weapons and shattering its army, with international backing, would remove the Syrian threat from Israel for years to come and deprive Iran of an important ally in advance of a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities."

Posted by: crone | Sep 3 2013 4:23 utc | 162

According to the Oklahoman newspaper Post, citing U.S. military sources that the F-22 Raptor crashed in the north of Jordan, sources tell about the possibility of shoot down the F-22 Raptor aircraft by a Syrian missile

http://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/u-s-f-22-raptor-jet-crashed-above-the-sky-of-northern-jordan/

Posted by: Caroll | Sep 3 2013 4:29 utc | 163

Caroll @ 163:

That has been debunked in the previous page of this thread. Fwiw, that link you posted has as source a site that doesn't load due to server configuration issues. Convenient.

Posted by: Philippe | Sep 3 2013 4:42 utc | 164

157) Lysander, yep I agree. I think they know it and Obama will be left with the embarassment of the red line. However, there is always the danger of miscalculation and a stupid person sitting at the wrong desk.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 4:48 utc | 165

@ dh #51: "McCain obviously wants total war."

I don't think that's been a state secret or anything. And shortly after he dropped by for a few cold ones with his old friend Salim Idris, the Free Syrian Army made sure to announce that they would never, ever, ever associate with those nasties in al-Nusra (again,)so we can be absolutely sure that whatever McCain proposes here is in no way tainted by advice from radicals.

As indicated above, though, we have to be careful relying too heavily on news, though, since a lot of it is propaganda (if not faked entirely.) This, of course, means that the only data we can use to from our opinions about this situation must be pulled whole cloth from our imaginations. Fret not, this is a method which has been used by intelligence agencies for years so we'll get used to it, I'm sure.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 3 2013 5:02 utc | 166

Postscript: I'm going to need to lurk more, guys and gals. I think I'm developing some respiratory problems, foaming at the mouth, et cetera from the high concentration of media bombs. I haven't been able to identify whether the agent used is spin, propaganda, distortion, disinformation, psyops or just garden variety bs yet (there's psychological signatures of each of them.)

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 3 2013 5:23 utc | 167

166 :-))

CNN actually is beginning to apply logic

By intervening now to inflict limited punishment on al-Assad because chemical weapons have been used, the United States is erecting a precedent that could be exploited in the future by the more unscrupulous factions of the opposition looking to provoke further interventions. The knowledge that Washington will intervene if chemical weapons are used could create an incentive for their re-use by those who would benefit from such an intervention.

By seemingly spurning meticulous multilateral investigations led by the United Nations in a rush to fix the blame on al-Assad, the United States is signaling also that, in its opinion, only the regime is capable of carrying out large-scale chemical attacks. This template will produce deadly temptations. As the novelist Amitav Ghosh, who spent long years studying insurgencies in Asia, has observed, in civil conflicts "the very prospect of intervention" often becomes a stimulus for the "the escalation of violence" by the weaker side.

If limited use of chemical weapons can succeed in drawing the United States into the conflict in a way that 100,000 deaths by conventional arms could not, they could be viewed by al-Assad's adversaries -- particularly by the foreign fighters affiliated with al Qaeda -- as a blessing rather than a scourge. The effort to "liberate" Syria could become dependent for its success on the partial annihilation of Syrians with chemical weapons -- since they are the only agents of murder that can trigger a U.S. reaction

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 5:26 utc | 168

It has been pointed here, but no where else that I’ve read; the Assad Regime cannot be taken down without also taking down Hezbollah and Iran.

A cruise missile bombing campaign will increase the death count but will have absolutely no impact on the outcome on the ground. The oil sheiks financed Sunni rebellion was stalemated by the entry of Hezbollah and is beginning to be rolled back unless the war is escalated from the outside.

There are too many parallels with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed by Congress 49 years ago. Then as now, Americans are being sold a big lie. The only way to win is to invade Iran (North Vietnam back then) but this would drag the USA into WWIII with Russia. So it was then and is now; “this is all for nothing”.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 3 2013 5:50 utc | 169

@144 Bevin

I interrupt my orderly reading of all posts to say that I totally agree with you

I hope the day won't come when you'll be laughed out from MoA for hinting that something like "Us imperialism" exists

one must really be an Israel admirer to think that the scheme of things in the world is that Israel orders, Us obeys - but it does have the useful side effect of resolving any complex issue with simple snippets

Posted by: claudio | Sep 3 2013 7:16 utc | 170

ops that was #114 @Bevin

Posted by: claudio | Sep 3 2013 7:17 utc | 171

Anyway, AIPAC got sighted now! According to the NYT (abbreviated by me - RB): "Administration officials said AIPAC was already at work pressing for military action against Syria. One administration official called AIPAC “the 800 lb gorilla in the room” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, “If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, we’re in trouble.” Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 5:13:06 PM | 96
You're gonna love this! That graf has been edited! None of what you quote above is there any more! Hahahahahaha!

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 3 2013 8:37 utc | 172

172) :-)) do you think there will be a correction?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 8:49 utc | 173

If you go to NewsDiffs, here, and work backwards through the revisions, you will see that they scrapped the entire original article and substituted a completely new one under the same slug. The big man called from New York and said: "WTF are you doing talking about AIPAC, take that shit out or I'll buy your goddam paper and close it down." So they did.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 3 2013 8:51 utc | 174

Hollande and Fabius do not care but can someone explain how KSA wants a secular state in Egypt
(http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/1/80661/Egypt/BREAKING-AlJazeera-banned-with--other-channels.aspx
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/80639/Egypt/Politics-/Secular-political-forces-satisfied-with-Egypts-con.aspx)
and an Islamist one in Syria?

There was a debate about the possibility KSA and the millenarists in TA have a common interest. Should not be a question that a corrupt financial system and an opaque way of dealing with energy resources is in their interest.
Mentioned here the recent offers by the Saudis for a settlement (!)
http://susris.com/2013/08/02/analysis-riyadhs-piece-of-the-mideast-peace-solution/
with this link to the April 30th declaration, by Qatar/AL
`http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2013/04/30/Kerry-seeks-to-build-Arab-support-for-Israeli-Palestinian-peace.html

By the way, why can't the Gulf countries take a single Syrian or Libyan refugee, since 3 years? Not to speak of the Egyptians...

Posted by: Mina | Sep 3 2013 9:06 utc | 175

#172 that's interesting indeed. Anyone captured a screenshot of the original article?

Posted by: peter radiator | Sep 3 2013 9:13 utc | 176

#114 bevin - hear, hear....about MoA.

Posted by: Merlin2 | Sep 3 2013 9:13 utc | 177

176 Boston Globe still has the article online

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 9:26 utc | 178

#178 thx. Let's see for how long this will stand unrevised ;-)

Posted by: peter radiator | Sep 3 2013 9:37 utc | 179

@123

Zomebody, as i said earlier I am prepared to read what you say about the area around Syria & Israel being of no strategic interest. Please explain.

Or was that just one of the manymany many deliberately false statements that you like to insert into the nonsense that you post here?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 10:19 utc | 180

You know, Obama would be showing much more honesty if he tacked on a new bill for the Congress to vote on: a bill to change the name of the Department of Defence back to the old name of the War Department.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 3 2013 10:58 utc | 181

180) Map of US military bases from 2011

Hardly anyone there in the area you mention ... How come?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 11:22 utc | 182

Im sorry but that is not even close to being a reasonably coherent explanation of why you made the claim that the area around both syria and israel is of "no strategic value".

This comes as no surprse of course. It was clear from the moment you made such a ridiculous claim that it was just another in the long long line of nonsensical and patently false claims that you regularly and liberally sprinkle your frequently preposterous posts with.

Try again. This time you might wanna try using actual words

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 11:59 utc | 183

In fact, completely contrary to what you have just claimed, looking at the silly graphic that you have attempted to foolishly use as a very poor substitue for a coherent argument, I see several symbols indicating US Military encampents all around the very area you have just claimed is of no value.

In countries immediately bordering Syria I counted a minimum of 25 US Military encampments.

That is a minimum figure. The true is likely higher than that.

In fact in one of the nations bordering syria, in the silly graphic you posted as "evidence", it was actually impossible to accurately count how many US Military encampments there were, because there were too many symbols, clustered too close together

It appears, as so often happens when you actually bother to post anything backing up your dishonest claims, that in fact your so-called "evidence" is nothing of the sort.

Do you even look at this crap before you post it, or do you rely on hope that no one will actually question the absolute and dishonest nonsense you post here?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 12:16 utc | 184

184) sure, you just forget 800 miles through the desert. Why put something in that distance when you are already closer to the strategic oil well.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 3 2013 12:29 utc | 185

No i did not forget anything

On the graphic you posted, with all it's lovely colours and big big scary arrows, there are at least 25 US military encampments in the countries immediately bordering Syria

There are at least 2 symbols on that graphic indicating US Military encampments in Israel alone.

This completely contradicts whatever point you think you are making.

Blathering on about deserts in a very transparent but ultimately futile effort to distract from that, won't change the fact that you seem unable to make ANY kind of coherent argument to support the point in dispute here.

Perhaps you might want to consider trying a few more words next time, maybe. I find that is usually not a bad way to start out, if one were actually interested in, or capable of, cobbling together something even slightly resembling a coherent argument.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 3 2013 12:48 utc | 186

Thanks for quoting me

Posted by: Dan Kaszeta | Sep 23 2013 15:06 utc | 187

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