Sep 24, 2013

Chemical Analysis

If this is your first time here, I recommend starting from the conclusion page.

In this post I will examine evidence relating to the chemicals used in the attack.

Of course, the most important evidence is the UN report which reported finding sarin in the Zamalka area and in blood samples. The report further provides more detailed results from two labs, but did not provide any analysis. So let's try and analyze it ourselves.

Stabilizers

Sarin manufactured for military use requires storage for extended periods and therefore contains chemical stabilizers. Alternatively it can be kept as two precursors (binary form), that are mixed when the projectile is in-flight. For this to work the projectile needs to have a barrier that is removed or broken at deployment, and then spin to mix the materials. Since the sarin UMLACA was determined to be a converted White Phosphorus weapon, and does not seem to be spin-stabilized, it is very unlikely to support this process.

Therefore, lack of stabilizers should indicate the sarin did not come from military storage and was prepared shortly before the attack. There seem to be three types of sarin stabilizers: dibutylchloramine, tributylamine and diisopropylcarbodiimide. None of them appear in the UN Report (Appendix 7). Furthermore, all chemicals listed are linkable to sarin by-products, sarin degradation products or traces of explosives (see more below).

In a comment, Gleb Bazov referred me to this report, showing Iraq had a process of mixing binary weapons manually before launch, thus avoiding the use of stabilizers. However, this seems like a non-standard and risky process, which could be attributed to Iraq's low quality nerve agent program. 


Sarin by-Products

Finding Sarin by-Products in samples is an indication of low-quality production. Sarin is produced through several stages, and each step requires matching exact quantities of the reacting chemicals. If this is not done professionally, remains of earlier steps will react with later stage chemicals, and produce undesired impurities in the final product, which will reduce its efficiency and shelf-life. Advance chemical weapons programs, such as Syria is believed to have, should produce sarin with very low levels of impurities.

A careful reading of the Appendix brings up an interesting find. While Lab 1 has a column marked “Degradation Products and by-Products”, Lab 2 reports “Degradation Products” alone (Degradation products are chemicals created from the exposure of sarin to the environment). Both labs then have a column for “Other interesting chemicals”. Interestingly, Lab 1 has nothing listed under “Other”, while Lab 2 has a long list of chemicals there. So since these chemicals are not listed as sarin degradation products, they may be the sarin by-products we're looking for.

To verify this claim, let’s examine some of these chemicals:
  1. Ethyl isopropyl methylphosphonate
  2. Isopropyl methyl methylphosphonate
  3. Isopropyl propyl methylphosphonate
  4. Diisopropyl dimethylpyrophosphonate (Update: this is more likely a degradation product)
  5. Dimethyl methylphosphonate
The other chemicals seem to be traces of explosives (specifically, RDX and TNT). See here a more detailed discussion of the many findings of Hexamine. See here a discussion of Hexafluorophosphate.

To try and make sense of these without getting too technical, let’s examine a very simplified sarin production process:
  1. Take Phosphorus
  2. Add Methyl groups (and Oxygen)
  3. Add Chlorine
  4. Replace the Chlorine with Fluoride
  5. Add Isopropyl Alcohol (aka Isopropanol)
Our final product has Phosphorus, Methyl, Fluoride and Isopropyl.

So since all our chemicals contain a methyl group (or ethyl - see below), isopropyl and phosphorous compounds, it seems that these are all remains of step 2 that didn’t react at steps 3 and 4, and instead reacted at step 5.

And just to make the evidence more compelling, Item 5 (Dimethyl methyl phosphonate) is actually the exact result of one of the steps in the production of sarin (i.e. it survived all later interactions).

Update

DDTea has provided a detailed professional analysis in the comments below (Thank you again!). His main findings:
  1. Sarin was indeed impure.
  2. The finding of an ethyl group in by-product 1 (Ethyl isopropyl methylphosphonate) indicates the isopropanol used in the last stage of production was "technical grade" (i.e. the cheapest).
  3. The last stage of production was done on site, thus avoiding stabilizers.

Eyewitness Reports

Another good indication for the sarin's production process are reports about odors at the site of the attack. When produced professionally, sarin is odorless (and colorless). Odors would therefore indicate impurities.

Zamalka victims provided numerous eyewitness reports, and they were near unanimous in their descriptions of weird odors. Examples:
  1. "vinegar and rotten eggs"
  2. "cooking gas"
  3. "overpowering smell"
  4. "insecticide"
  5. "unpleasant smell", "yellowish color"
  6. "the smell was quite strong that I could not recognize it at all. It was a little bit like the smell of burning"
  7. "rotten smell"
  8. "a smell of gas-like odor, or sulfur, but you do not feel the smell too much"
  9. "a strong sulfur-like smell, and a foggy white color"
  10. “strange smell”

Comparing this to the Halabja military chemical attack in 1988, which involved mustard gas (brown-yellow color, garlic smell), sarin (odorless), tabun (fruit smell) and VX (odorless), shows a much more "correct" depiction of odors:
  1. "sweet apples"
  2. "It was just like the smell of garlic."
  3. yellowish smoke smelling of "bad garlic" or "rotten apples"
  4. “pleasant smell in the air; smell of sweet apples, orange, and garlic”
  5. "We thought it was home gas, like garlic and gas from the kitchen"
  6. "it was like apples but also other kinds of fruit."
  7. "aroma that reminded me of apples"
  8. "It was similar to rotting garbage, but then it changed to a sweet smell similar to that of apples. Then I smelled something that was like eggs."
  9. "smelled like sweet apples"
The difference is even more interesting when considering that Iraq's nerve agents were later found to have high level of impurities.

In the Tokyo Sarin Attack, which used very low quality sarin, eyewitnesses reported either not noticing a smell or "odors like burning rubber or mustard".

Update: Further analysis found stronger evidence of low-budget production.

Conclusion: The sarin used in Zamalka was produced in an immature process, which is inconsistent with the Syrian regime's chemical program.

Did I miss anything? Please share your evidence and analysis and help me improve my conclusions. 



Appendix - Sarin Process

For those who like to get technical, here's an example of a full sarin production process. Click on each step's product for more details (from Wikipedia):
  1. White Phosphorus + Chlorine = Phosphorus Trichloride
  2. Phosphorus Trichloride + Methanol = Trimethyl Phosphite
  3. Trimethyl Phosphite + Halo-Methane = Dimethyl Methylphosphonate
  4. Dimethyl Methylphosphonate + Thionyl Chloride = Methylphosphonic Dichloride
  5. Methylphosphonic Dichloride + Potassium Fluoride or Hydrogen Fluoride or Sodium Fluoride = Methylphosphonyl Difluoride
  6. Methylphosphonyl Difluoride + Isopropanol / Isopropyl alcohol (+ Isopropylamine to neutralize Hydrogen Fluoride)  = sarin
Item 3 was the one found by the UN on site.

64 comments:

  1. The two precursors can be stored separately and then combined in a warhead shortly (days, hours) prior to launch so there would be no need for stabilizers to be present. This is a possibility as the UMLACA was not intended for this use but only possibly pressed into it given a lack of other alternatives?

    I have heard that Syria CW program hadn’t had much work done in the past few years. If true the precursors where likely aging already?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all possible. The chemical analysis by itself does not implicate the rebels. We will have to weigh all the evidence when we're done and think together what is the most likely explanation.

      Delete
    2. The usual two precursors are Methylphosphonyl Difluoride and Isopropyl alcohol / Isopropyl Amine.

      That is the final stage of synthesis is performed in-flight or just before.

      The reaction is exothermic causing venting problems.

      Most importantly Methylphosphonyl Difluoride is extremely toxic in its own right and requires suits and breathing apparatus for handling. It is also corrosive and requires stabilisers for some types of containers.

      http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+7668

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. This is a big post with a lot of information, so I'm going to go through this in pieces.

      Overall, I agree with your assessment that the Sarin used was not pure Sarin. Some of the peculiarities of this attack can be explained by noting the presence of these impurities. Also, based on available evidence, I believe that a binary weapon was used.

      I disagree with your assessment that an impure product is indicative of unprofessional manufacture. The amount of "schmutz" one can tolerate in their product is completely dependent on their application and budget. If a one-reactor process yields a product that's 90% pure for $ Y per batch, while a four-reactor process with intermediate distillation steps yields a 99% pure product for $ 4Y, then the simpler (and cheaper) process may be satisfactory. So this is a bad assumption. The real answer is, "It depends."

      Let's talk about some of the compounds identified by the UN report. This is interesting.

      1. Ethyl isopropyl methylphosphonate : The ethyl group really caught my attention. There is some ambiguity in this name though--is this an (Ethyl-O-P//) group or an (Ethyl-P) group (that is, is there a carbon-phosphorus bond or a carbon-oxygen-phosphorus bond?). This is an important detail because it can indicate where the ethyl group arose. Technical grade isopropanol often contains lower alcohols (methanol, ethanol) as impurities. If this is used in the final reaction, then some "Ethyl Sarin" (GE/Ethoxy methyl phosphonofluoridate) may arise. Another possibility is that GB was deliberately blended with GE.

      2. Isopropyl methyl methylphosphonate-- Appears to be an impurity from step 4 not going to completion. (Only 1 methyl-phosphorus bond replaced by Phosphorus-Chlorine rather than both in dimethyl methyl phosphonate)

      3. Isopropyl propyl methylphosphonate-- This is another headscratcher made all the more confusing by non-specific naming. Is that a second ISOpropyl group or is this an n-propyl group? If it's the latter, that again hints at technical grade materials being used.

      4/5. Diisopropyl dimethylpyrophosphonate-- It's less likely that this is a production impurity so much as an environmental degradation product. In organic chemistry, we'd call this an "acid anhydride:" two acid molecules that have condensed together to form a single molecule. This could form if some Sarin is partially hydrolyzed (i.e., Fluorine (-F) replaced by Hydroxy (-OH) group) and this reacts with a second Sarin molecule.

      6. Dimethyl methylphosphonate-- You hit the nail on the head. This is product from the third reaction you listed in the Sarin process. In Organic Chemistry, this is a named reaction: the Michaelis-Arbuzov Reaction.

      So what does all of this mean? Evidently, technical grade chemicals (i.e., chemicals bought in bulk for manufacturing processes) were used. Rigorous cleanup/purification was not used on the precursor chemicals, nor were they used on intermediate products in the process. At first glance, this could indicate sloppy work. But organic chemists and chemical engineers are always keen to make their processes as efficient as possible. They won't do extra work unless it's critical to product success. Only academic researchers and the pharmaceutical industry is concerned with absolute product purity.

      Delete
    5. (Source on impurities in isopropanol: The Purification of Laboratory Chemicals, 6th edition, Wilfred L.F. Armarego and Christina Li Lin Chai, Elsevier, 2009)

      Another interesting chemical noted in the UN report is Hexafluorophosphate anion. From wikipedia, this is formed by treating Phosphorus Pentachloride (formed by reaction of Phosphorus Trichloride and Chlorine gas, PCl3 + Cl2) with Hydrofluoric Acid and alkali halide (e.g., Sodium Fluoride) OR by Phosphorus Pentafluoride + Hydrofluoric acid. I suspect its origin is from residual phosphorus trichloride in step 2, which reacts with thionyl chloride in step 4 to produce PCl5, and then reacts with Hydrogen Fluoride in step 5.

      Based on the "rotten egg" and "pungent" odor, I strongly suspect that Thionyl chloride was used in this process (as opposed to another chlorinating agent such as Phosphorus Pentachloride). Both thionyl chloride and its breakdown product, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), have pungent, irritating odors. As SO2 is a common combustion product, this explains the "burning" smell.

      According to Dan Kaszeta, there are reports of a "rotting fish" odor. (http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Revised-Thoughts-on-Damascus.pdf) Rotting fish is characteristic of lighter amines (methylamine, ethylamine, propylamine...). There are a few places where these can be used in the Sarin production process, but the most likely place is in the final reaction between DF and Isopropanol. Amines, such as isopropylamine, serve as catalyst, solvent, and to absorb hydrogen fluoride (produced as a byproduct) and drive the reaction to completion (LeChatelier's Principle).

      This strongly indicates that binary Sarin was used. If this is the case, then that is also another statement on product purity. It also explains the lack of stabilizers.

      Binary Sarin is always going to be present as a mixture of the active nerve agent + solvent (isopropylamine) + byproducts. Hydrogen fluoride fumes, produced in this reaction, are visible as a white smoke. They are extremely irritating to the eyes. The amine will definitely have a strong smell and will readily vaporize. It, along with the Hydrogen Fluoride, will precede Sarin as the vapor cloud travels. (from wikipedia, note the very low boiling point of 30-35 C relative to Sarin, which is 158 C : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropylamine . This indicates isopropylamine has a higher vapor pressure and will volatilize more readily than Sarin.) This, then, would explain why the smell appeared to "Transform" from pungent/overwhelming/fishy to odorless/fruity.

      When considering all of this, though, it's important to remember that we're looking at residues almost a week after the attack. This gives us no information of the relative concentrations of these chemicals either in the mixture or in the product. The analysis will always be "biased" toward the heavier, less volatile, more environmentally stable components.

      So far, I can say the following with confidence:
      1- The Sarin used was, in fact, impure.
      2- The Sarin was produced by a binary reaction.
      3- Likely reagents used in the manufacturing process/binary reaction were technical grade isopropanol, phosphorus trichloride, a volatile amine, thionyl chloride, hydrogen fluoride (Sodium or Potassium Fluoride would require a filtration step and lead to reactor fouling. Again, working on the assumption of as robust and facile a process as possible with minimal clean-up steps.)

      Delete
    6. Another quick comment:

      If a binary agent was used, then that would explain the lack of stabilizers. Unitary Sarin has a short shelf-life, as the Iraqis discovered during the Iran-Iraq War. This led them both to improve the purity of their product and to use binary munitions. As Gleb noted, the binary compounds were mixed before launch. (see the following report declassified by the CIA: http://www.fas.org/irp/gulf/cia/960715/72569.htm )

      Most nerve agent production processes start with phosphorus trichloride. Starting the process from white phosphorus would be unexpected--and interesting. It suggests away that the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention could be bypassed: by diverting White Phosphorus from smoke/incendiary munitions to nerve agent production. If 600 kg of Sarin were required for the Aug 21 attack, then ~130 kg of White Phosphorus would be required to produce that much. If the "UMLACA's" are originally white phosphorus weapons, and they carry a warhead of 56 L, then a single such weapon would have ~100 kg of white phosphorus in it.

      Direct chlorination of white phosphorus, though, leads to a fair amount of Phosphorus Pentachloride, which would have to be separated from Phosphorus Trichloride and possibly recycled in the process. This could be another source of the PCl5 which manifested as a hexafluorophosphate residue detected by one of the OPCW labs. This reaction would require an inert atmosphere as well--so the reactor would have to purged with dry nitrogen gas for some time before use. A vacuum system may also be required. In fact, every step of the Sarin production process is sensitive to moisture.

      ...Will write more later, but I figure this is enough to digest for now.

      Delete
    7. DDTea
      Wow, by far the most helpful contribution I received so far. I'll need some time to process it, as my chemistry understanding is not as strong as yours.
      Just one thing to note: the fruity smells are from Iraq 1988, not from Zamalka. Let me know how that changes your analysis.

      Delete
    8. DDTea,
      I just had a thought. The amount of sarin estimated to have been used in the attack is based on the capacity of the warheads. However, it is very possible that the warheads were not filled to capacity.
      So two questions:
      - What would you estimate is the minimum amount of sarin distributed over 12 locations in a densely populated area that can seriously affect thousands?
      - To avoid damage to the sarin in-flight and to maintain rocket stability they would need to fill the warhead with something else. Would isopropanol do the job? Would it leave any special traces we should have seen in the UN report?

      Delete
    9. Another thing - what do you make of the UN reports repeated findings of IPMPA (isopropyl methylphosphonate)? Do they just mean IMPA (isopropyl methyl phosphonic acid), or is this something else? I noticed it is always detected alongside DIMP.

      Delete
    10. Answering your questions:

      "Just one thing to note: the fruity smells are from Iraq 1988, not from Zamalka. Let me know how that changes your analysis."
      -->Whoops, I missed that. My analysis/conclusion that binary Sarin was used remains the same.

      What would you estimate is the minimum amount of sarin distributed over 12 locations in a densely populated area that can seriously affect thousands?

      --> I can't answer that myself. But here's a relevant passage I've found:

      "A U.S. Defense Department model illustrates the problem. Releasing ten kilograms (22 pounds) of sarin into the open air under favorable weather conditions covers about one-hundredth of a square kilometer with lethal effects. Since population densities in U.S. urban areas are typically around 5,000 people per square kilometer, such an attack would kill about 50 people.
      Releasing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of sarin into the open air affects about ten times as much area and therefore would kill approximately 500 people. Releasing 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) into the open air would cover several square kilometers, killing about 10,000 people. "

      ("Terrorism, Asymmetric Warfare, and Chemical Weapons," Anthony H. Courdesman, published by Center for Strategic and International Studies, Feb. 14, 2001.)

      To avoid damage to the sarin in-flight and to maintain rocket stability they would need to fill the warhead with something else. Would isopropanol do the job? Would it leave any special traces we should have seen in the UN report?
      --> My experience with rockets and missiles is next to nothing, so once again I can't comment here. Isopropanol, by itself, would not leave any residues. It is volatile and would have evaporated by the time the UN investigators arrived on site.

      "what do you make of the UN reports repeated findings of IPMPA (isopropyl methylphosphonate)? Do they just mean IMPA (isopropyl methyl phosphonic acid), or is this something else? I noticed it is always detected alongside DIMP."
      --> IPMPA is the anion of a salt formed from IMPA. By analogy, Sodium Chloride (table salt) is the Sodium salt of Hydrochloric Acid. So seeing IPMPA alongside IMPA is expected. Both should be interpreted as environmental degradation products of either Sarin or Diisopropyl methylphosphonate ("DIMP," an impurity formed in the final step of sarin production).

      Delete
    11. Ok, I think I finally managed to understand everything you wrote. Amazing stuff. Thank you!

      A few follow up questions:

      >>If a one-reactor process yields a product that's 90% pure for $ Y per batch, while a four-reactor process with intermediate distillation steps yields a 99% pure product for $ 4Y, then the simpler (and cheaper) process may be satisfactory

      Indeed, but the lower quality product would eventually result in lower shelf life and would end up costing more. No? There must be a reason why Chemical Warfare scientists strive for zero impurities.

      You seem to discount the technical grade isopropanol finding. To me this shouts underground production. Do you see any way a military scientist would order the lowest grade possible, and for a chemical that is pretty cheap anyway? (except for false flag purposes)

      Ethyl isopropylmethylphosphonate was the most common by-product found. Does this tell you anything, or does it just mean it survived better?

      When you say binary, you mean it was mixed on site, not necessarily in flight. right?

      >>Seeing IPMPA alongside IMPA is expected
      The report doesn't mention IMPA anywhere. I'm guessing that means that when they got IMPA they wrote GB, since it has no other cause, and it is unlikely they found real GB a week after the attack. What do you think?

      Delete
    12. Going back to the technical-grade isopropanol. Since the attackers did eventually manage to manufacture sarin, do you think it means the people who prepared the Methylphosphonyl Difluoride are different than those that bought and mixed it with isopropanol?

      Delete
    13. DDTea,

      Perhaps you have some thoughts on this:

      Gleb,
      DIMP is a by-product of the production of Sarin. In good quality Sarin it would only be 2 or 3 pro cent compared to the amount of produced Sarin. That´s why I think the concentrations are very important! I found that DIMP can also by manufactured on its own (used in the military to simulate Sarin without the toxic effects), not only as a by-product. DIMP has as a metabolite: IMPA…. In the blood of the victims it would be detected identical to the IMPA from the Sarin agent. Sarin and DIMP have the same metabolite! IMPA is NOT unique for Sarin. It is a marker for Sarin and DIMP.
      I´m not saying DIMP was used in M. instead of Sarin. At least for completeness sake, we need to do the thought experiment. But I can´t seem to find anybody willing to think in the same direction. Must be me…
      I think the problem you have with the numbering is super important. If there is no traceable numbering of the samples, the whole dossier collapses! Anything is possible then.


      Posted by Grit | September 26, 2013, 2:55 pm

      http://qifanabki.com/2013/09/24/degrading-discourse/comment-page-1/#comment-55343

      GRIT also indicates that DIMP is used by military to simulate Sarin, relying on an NIH document.

      Now, all this applies to Moadamiya exclusively (for now, at least). But a question worth asking, in my opinion.

      Let's not forget - Moadamiya:

      1 positive sample: IMPA/DIMP
      4 disputed samples (Lab 1: 3 clean, 1 positive; Lab 2: 3 positive, 1 clean)
      8 clean samples

      If Lab 1, for instance, is taken as a gold standard (not obvious, but let's speculate for a second - see my discussion at http://qifanabki.com/2013/09/24/degrading-discourse/comment-page-1/#comment-55341), then 2 positive samples. That's a a big problem in a population of 13 samples - particularly when Lab 1 suggests that both metal fragment samples are negative.

      Thoughts?

      Delete
  2. Sasa, not sure if you have seen this, but here is a pharmacological report on the Ghouta incident - albeit it is pre-UN Report and considers only the videos presented to the US Congress as proof-positive of al Assad's culpability. Nevertheless, the conclusions are quite striking. Again, the focus is on the symptom distribution and presence.

    http://logophere.com/Syria/Syria%20Docs/Ltr%20to%20Congress.pdf
    Although many will damn me from briging up Mother Agnes Miriam, but this latest report reminds one of the points she was making. Here is her report:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/STUDY_THE_VIDEOS_THAT_SPEAKS_ABOUT_CHEMICALS_BETA_VERSION.pdf

    See if this is of interest to you and make your own conclusions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a discontinuity between the subjects in the video and the subjects selected by Liwa al-Islam and presented to UN inspectors for observation. There is no evidential link between anyone on the videos and someone examined by the UN.

      In my view there is reasonable doubt that the video subjects and UN subjects are from the same groups.

      As a consequence of this, it's not safe to compare UN results with video observations.

      Delete
    2. Gleb, read the two chapters on Nerve Agents in "Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare" as a direct refutation to the letter sent to Congress by that Pharmacologist. Small, human studies on nerve agents have been done and they do offer predictive value.

      Not every classic symptom of nerve agent exposure manifests itself in cases of acute exposure. Sometimes, unconsciousness and convulsions occur without miosis. Miosis is mostly attributable to vapor exposure to the eyes, so much so that one pupil may be constricted while the other is not (e.g., if a mask is leaking).

      I suspect that the diarrhea and involuntary urination is exaggerated.

      Delete
    3. DDTea

      You can't pick and choose which symptoms you approve of and then claim others are exaggerated.

      For your claim that vomiting, defecation, and urination as Sarin symptoms are exaggerated you need to provide objective evidence to the contrary.

      Every text reference I've read and the training I received in the Army consistently listed these as classic symptoms.

      Delete
    4. DDTea, I am aware of small-group human studies. I have examined at least one, as I can recall - specifically in relation to induced miosis through sarin in 5 individuals. It does not challenge the conclusions in the report on the videos.

      You are incorrect that unconsciousness and seizures can be experienced without miosis. I have already cited the scientific paper on the subject, but here it is again:

      Munro NB, Ambrose KR, Warson AP
      Toxicity of the organophosphate chemical warfare agents GA, GB, and VX: Implications for public protection. Environ. Health Perspect. 1994;102:13-37.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567233/pdf/envhper00389-0018.pdf

      Within seconds after exposure to low
      levels of nerve agent vapor, local effects
      may be observed in the eyes and the respiratory
      system of humans. Depending on
      the agent and the dosage, the local ocular
      effects may be a constriction of the pupils
      of the eye (miosis) lasting only several days
      or a prolonged miosis persisting for many
      weeks (39,40), pain, and/or dim vision
      (29).

      Plainly put, miosis must always be present. The only question is how long it lasts - days or weeks.

      Miosis is attributable to every type of exposure to sarin EXCEPT ingestion. No suggestion that it was ingested.

      Disagree with you on exaggeration of involuntary defecation, vomiting and urination. Also don't forget lacrination. For the high levels of exposure claimed, all must have been present in many patients, if not all. It is true that involuntary bodily functions (other than lacrination, which is typical) are symptoms of a very serious, near-death experience - but that is what is claimed, isn't it?

      And if the exposure was not so severe, but rather slight to mild (which would explain disappearance of miosis in one week and lack of involuntary bodily functions), then why were there seizures/loss of consciousness reported? Exaggeration? Other agents responsible? Some other explanation? I don't know, but the logic of both Dan's and the report above are very sound.

      Delete
    5. Charles, I specifically indicated the reports were pre-UN Report. Therefore they could not have challenged the UN Report on its results/merits/methodology. However, they provide further questions/discrepancies, which may illuminate frailties in the UN Report and the evidence gathered. That's all. More food for thought, cross-referencing and integrative analysis.

      Delete
    6. Thanks for sharing. Since the evidence for sarin use seems to be stong, I will put this on hold.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sasa, I suppose you have it already, but it does not hurt to share one more time:

    Dan Kaszeta, Questions and Answers about the UN Report and Clarifications of my interpretation of the Report

    http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/FAQ-on-D-Kaszeta-comments-on-UN-Report-25-Sep-2013.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sasa,

    Potentially very significant problem with UN Report methodology. Misattribution of samples for Moadamiaya between App. 6 and App. 7. See my discussion with Dan:

    https://t.co/vJBtUekECK

    No conclusions from me yet, but tonight or tomorrow morning.

    ReplyDelete
  6. UN Report Samples Mix-up / Mis-attribution – Moadamiya Samples
    ———————————————————————————–--------

    I should wait before I consider this all myself carefully and input in a discussion paper I am preparing, but I can’t resist … besides, I need someone else to provide a sanity check.

    (1) Put together pages 24-25 and pages 27-29 of the UN Report. Then try to correlate Sample #s in Appendix 6 (pp. 24-25) with Sample #s in Appendix 7 (pp. 27-29). Do they match up? Go carefully one by one – you will see multiple mix-ups/mis-attributions (no sinister implication, just very disconcerting).

    (2) Samples #2 and #3 in Appendix 7 (p. 27) are indicated to be “metal fragment.” However each of the Samples #2 and #3 has two sub-samples. I am not sure metal samples were split up – they were noted as “fragment.” In any event, no need for speculation – Sample #3 in Appendix 6 is identified as “pieces of fabric” – not “metal fragment”, as in Appendix 7. Which would make sense, given that there are two tested sub-samples for Sample #3 in Appendix 7.

    My conclusion is that both Sample #2 and Sample #3 in Appendix 7 are actually “pieces of fabric” – so they correlate to any of the Samples #3, #11 or #13. They are not “metal fragments.” However, where does that put the “metal fragments” – i.e. Samples #2 and #8 in Appendix 6?

    There are other mix-ups/mis-attributions as between the Appendices – but you can check those for yourself.

    (3) My primary concern on discovering this is how to fix it. How do we shift Sample #s to match-up Appendices 6 and 7? Which are which?

    It’s difficult immediately to pick a point of origin – Appendix 6 or 7. However, we can at least semi-reliably say that Samples #2 and #3 in Appendix 7 must correlate to Samples #3, #11 or #13 in Appendix 6. But which two are which?

    This is where the exercise may well come to an end. I will give it much further thought, but, at this moment, it is not at all clear to me we can reconcile the Sample numbers without access to the original test samples.

    And also consider – what if the mix-up is pervasive throughout all the environmental samples – both Moadamiya and Zamalka. Which are which then?

    (4) If the metal fragments are not Samples #2 and #3 in Appendix 7, which ones are they? What if they are any of the samples #3, #11 or #13 in Appendix 7 (currently attributed to pieces of cloth)?

    That would mean that NEITHER ONE of the metal fragments has ANY TRACE of Sarin or byproducts. This means that the 140mm shell was not contaminated with anything related to Sarin.

    Then what? If true, that could very well mean Sharmine Narwani was correct (albeit for a different reason). That means that it is quite possible that the rocket found in Moadamiya did not carry Sarin or byproducts. In that case, the whole theory of a Sarin attack in Moadamiya may well be shaken – not sure how much, but shaken nevertheless. Sarin may have been brought to Moadamiya in other ways – which reconciles with my personal concern about the 140mm munition.

    (5) I have no idea yet. I am continuing to analyze and will report to you further.

    (6) I am not going to mention my earlier allegations of a “shoddy report” – enough is enough. Let’s consider real problems.

    (7) Before you ask, I have already punted this to Dan, he noticed the discrepancies too – https://t.co/vJBtUekECK , but he retired from analysis for tonight. Will pick it up with him tomorrow morning.

    Gleb Bazov

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good timing. I'm just about to upload a post about all the holes in the UN report. Let me know once you feel confident enough that this should be added.

      Delete
    2. Still working on it. The lawyer in me getting the better of what little "journalist" I have in me :)

      Delete
  7. Sasa, I am continuing to work on a number of items I promised, but work takes its toll on my ability to be current with my research and analysis.

    By way of a question-clue: the UMLACAs in Zamalka survived quite well. If I am not mistaken, we have photographs (possible multiple instances) of UMLACA warheads bent and deflated, rather than shattered or even torn apart.

    Sarin is a liquid in its weaponized form. To be effective, Sarin requires aerosolization. How would effective aerosolization of Sarin occur if it is, essentialy, being "squeezed" or it "leaks" out of UMLACA warheads. Sarin is not a gas, puncturing a warhead would just leave a puddle, at best some Sarin would fly through the air, but effective deliver would need a burster-charge and the shattering of a warhead, followed by splattering of Sarin, preferably in the form of an aerosol.

    Let me know if you have a resolution to this conundrum for me. Am I wrong in my review of the UMLACA photographs?

    Thanks,

    Gleb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The UMLACA remains show the warhead exploded on impact. The container parts are visibly deformed inside-out, or found detached in the vicinity of the impact site.
      Most interesting is the site visited by the UN on the roof of a building and described in their report. In it warhead parts were found on the roof, while the rocket body was found in the floor below.
      I think it's clear the warhead detonates on impact.

      Delete
    2. The UMLACA seems to have either a graze/impact or just a simple contact fuse on the nose (if it does at all) with a booster charge. Some have suggested a proximity fuse - I'll speculate that that's most unlikely given the overall crude nature of the munition. Whatever nose fuze is used, it seems to be used as the initial bursting charge. That charge starts peeling back the payload canister wall from the top.

      I'm skeptical that - in an otherwise basic design - a Sarin-filled warhead could have a bursting charge in the nose sufficiently powerful to blow off maybe 2mm or 3mm thick walls without destroying most of the Sarin in the process.

      Sarin degrades at a lower temperature than it boils - maybe 150C or so? It's possible, but hardly trivial, to put together a sufficiently low-temp, low-brisance nose bursting charge that would work with any Gx or Vx agent. Possible, sure. But for a hand-welded, unguided lob rocket?

      The non-HE UMLACAs pictured to date also have what is clearly (to me) a second tail charge - an internal charge extending several 10's of mm from the rear plate up into the payload between the canister wall and motor tube. You only see the remains of the stubby threaded mount on spent warheads because the rest has detonated. This is the second backplate hole - the other being a filler hole with a square-head plug. The remaining stub is not an open pipe - it has a plug with several smaller holes. It looks like a wire bulkhead, but no electric cables are ever seen in the launch vids.

      I say that second port belongs to a fuze because almost all the spent warhead's motor housing tubes have a distinct, single linear dimple on the second port 'side' caused by a detonation. It takes a significant amount of force to make a mark like that in a metal tube. That could be explained by a fuel-air explosive detonation charge, but not by a simple liquid dispersion charge in a CW.

      It would make sense that this tail fuze would be a simple percussion type - exploding on impact whether or not the nose charge detonated. In a couple of the 'launch' vids, you can see someone unscrewing what I guess is the tail fuze arming cap just prior to launch. The rockets are seemingly positioned with that tail fuze down in the few cases where someone manipulates something on the rocket prior to launch.

      My primary argument is that a canister rocket of this type is unsuited for delivery of *any* type of nerve agent for mechanical reasons. Not to mention that you would have to be insane to manually DF-charge a hand-welded 50L canister of isopropyl (which will immediately start outgassing HF), screw in a gasketed, threaded plug and then screw in the tail fuze.

      I suppose you could use some exotic fuzing, fill with a CW payload and get it within a city block or two of someone you wanted to kill, but it has to be the most clunky, dangerous mechanism for doing so I've ever seen suggested. Sarin was used, but I would bet my bottom dollar that it was not by one of these things.

      I've read all the Brown-Moses posts, and am not convinced the UMLACA is anything but a simple, effective 3rd+ generation thermobaric warhead using existing stocks of rocket motors.

      Delete
    3. Thank you and welcome! Definitely some interesting ideas here.

      One thing I think you're missing is that the canister apparently has grooves that make it open up under a lot less pressure than you assumed. This is evident from the nice straight stripes it leaves behind in impact sites.

      Can you attach pictures and explain why you think there's a second charge?

      I feel that the FAE theory would require very strong evidence, which is currently absent. We have these rockets appearing exactly at the site of the mass sarin poisoning, with no White Phosphorus remains like they had before. Claiming they are not related will need very convincing evidence.

      Delete
  8. "...We have these rockets appearing exactly at the site of the mass sarin poisoning..."

    ...according to individuals who could not possibly have witnessed the impact and observed the dispersion and direct effects. The reports would be more credible if these were the only munitions used that night. Those neighborhoods in East Ghouta under intense shelling that night.

    "...with no White Phosphorus remains like they had before..."

    These rockets are also quite unsuitable for plasticized white phosphorous payloads or delivery. Making them would be pointless - the SAA has bunkers stacked with plenty of perfectly suitable WP weapons at their disposal.

    I mention the above not to be contentious, sasa. They are two huge logical leaps that seem to give anyone pause. In my mind, they are much stronger arguments for what these weapons were used for. I can speculate on the nuts and bolts of their mechanism, but do so with the following assumptions:

    - No army plays around with home-made ammunition if they already have thousands of warheads that do the same thing using standard weapons in their existing arsenal.

    - I question the reliability and precision of the ground reports regarding the incidents. Yes, they identified contaminated rocket impact sites and yes, there were CW victims from that area. I'll wait for reports that the hundreds of 82mm mortar, Grad rocket and 152mm artillery impact sites in the same areas that night that show zero contamination.

    In any case, here's the nuts-and-bolts stuff.

    Second Charge:

    This is where the second charge mounts on the inside of the canister:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HxnhxJTpPUU/Ui8rNh6JgcI/AAAAAAAAFb4/8rf2QVz2KPg/s1600/11.jpg
    from the Brown-Moses blog of Sep. 10th, "The Mystery Component Of The UMLACA" here:
    http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-mystery-component-of-umlaca.html

    The mount is flared out from the weapon's impact or detonation in the pictures. It would be a regular, threaded tube that is part of the maybe 550mm long assembly. John Ramsey's excellent diagrams on the Brown-Moses site show this tube with the mushroomed head as part of what is labeled a 'cable bulkhead', allowing a control cable to pass through the inside of the canister to the nose charge. Presumably for some kind of arming or timing control.

    The device presumably looks like this one found close to several UMLACA rocket remains:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mrfYkQsqYnI/Ui8hNh1WPeI/AAAAAAAAFa4/wz1QNihhI-s/s1600/Part+IB+3.jpg

    The pictured device doesn't seem to match the long, lengthwise blast dent almost always found on the central tube. Upper-right picture:

    https://lh3.ggpht.com/-MEtxkrdv2PA/UjWpVhMkYMI/AAAAAAAAFvg/x4SxGDwJL9g/s1600/Warhead+base.jpg

    and

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tdGk_5ZfG-Y/UhTnaqFVj0I/AAAAAAAAFCw/tL4t8uuhCbY/s1600/BSMsceBCYAAkUq5.jpg

    The second charge would only be on a liquid FAE warhead. It wouldn't be for dispersion, it would be for initiating the deflagration-to-detonation transition. These would not use ethylene oxide or any kind of self-detonating fuel - those are decades-old FAE compositions. 4th generation liquid FAEs have low-C fuel (gasoline or JetA) with a reactive explosion catalyst and finely-powdered reactive metals. Detonation starts at the interior of the cloud and progresses outward. Its a thermobaric explosion, not an incendiary one. It is designed to produce a long-duration overpressure wave.

    Thermobaric weapons can be constructed with plasticized powdered payloads, including 4th gen metal-enhanced compositions. I would guess the smaller, single-fill-hole UMLACAs are of this type. There would not be a second, interior charge. Those would be a single-event, nose-fused warhead. A video described these as TNT-filled (yellowish substance). Once again though, I would have to ask "What's the point?" of home-brewing a normal TNT-filled warhead. I would bother to make one only if I wanted something I couldn't get somewhere else - a 4th gen thermobaric rocket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. There are multiple videos showing UMLACAs in Zamalka the morning after the attack. They are in their impact sites and seem very authentic. There is not one video uploaded that day of a Grad or any other rocket.

      2. The UMLACA was clearly used with WP before. See here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68YeijuMHec

      3. There is clear incentive for SAA to produce the UMLACA: It's suited to their unique military situation (siege) with their short range and high payloads. The cost per kg of HE delivered is probably 10% compared to Grad. It is also possible they are depleting their standard munitions, which they need for a possible war in Israel.

      4. SAA are clearly using improvised weapons:
      http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.il/2013/08/proof-syrian-military-is-using.html

      As to the mystery component. No one knows what it is, but it's definitely not a thermobaric secondary charge:
      a. It was found intact in impact sites.
      b. It was found in the HE variant which failed to explode.
      Both shown here:
      http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.il/2013/09/the-mystery-component-of-umlaca.html

      My best guess is that it's a proximity sensor, and in the WP version it triggers the fuze at the nose, but not sure about it.

      Delete
  9. 1. Of course there were UMLACAs used in Zamalka - I don't question the authenticity of the videos. There are no videos of other rockets or mortar remains because they were destroyed on impact, which is the point I'm trying to make. How many explosive impacts in Zamalka the morning of the 21st? Three? A hundred and three? Surely you can't think the UMLACAs were the only explosives used the entire night in that neighborhood just because they're the only ones you can still see. That doesn't mean they were *not* used for Sarin, just that you likewise can't automatically conclude they *were*.

    2. White phosphorus does not leave a residue when it burns. The smoke is initially made up of white colored diphosphorus pentoxide particles. Those absorb any moisture in the air to become droplets of phosphoric acid vapor, which also looks like dense white smoke. Diphosphorus pentoxide doesn't drop out of the air or condense on anything. I don't think phosphoric acid vapor would dry. If you did manage to get any kind of accumulation on the surface of completely dry sand in extremely dry air, it would still turn to red phosphorus as soon as the sun hit it.

    The white deposit on and around the smoking Darya UMLACA is not proof that it had a white phosphorus payload. It could have - I don't know.

    3. The SAA's unique military situation is the opposition firing from thousands of protected positions in dozens of multi-story concrete buildings. This makes HE by any delivery method particularly ineffective unless you manage to put a round almost right in or the room being used. Anyone two rooms over or down the hall around a corner or on the floor above or below the impact isn't really affected.

    If you're trying to kill a lot of living things in a big concrete maze efficiently, you use a thermobaric weapon. The long-duration overpressure wave is still instantaneously lethal after traveling through several windows, rooms, down hallways, around corners and through staircases. There's some kind of limit of course, but I wouldn't what to be within a few rooms of that side of the building.

    Side note: Isn't Syria technically still at war with Israel? Maybe that was just internet babble.

    4. Agree that they're using improvised weapons - we disagree on the specific UMLACA payloads. Don't know much about the IRAMs, but I think throwing barrels of TNT out of a helicopter count as improvised.

    Re: mystery component - the secondary charge might look something like that, but I'm not suggesting that what they found actually *was* the spent secondary charge from a detonated warhead. I'm explaining the deformation that seems common on whatever is left of the central tube occurs over the second wire bulkhead port. That damage appears to happen before the tube is eventually folded over from the impact. Seems consistent with some kind of charge inside the tube detonating first.

    "...b. It was found in the HE variant which failed to explode..."

    I saw the single hole in the solid-fill rockets - I assumed it was a fill hole and not the wire bulkhead. No big plug on either rocket, so you may be right. I wasn't sure what to make of the black tire-pump thing at the beginning of the video. I saw the needle/rod on the table and assumed that was part of the fuse. It attaches to the tire pump at the red ring and protrudes out the front. The tire pump would have to fit inside the central tube they're digging out if that was the case. Wish they showed the whole tire-pump assembled.

    The only proximity fuses I'm familiar with are the simple electronic nose fuzes like this:

    http://www.miltech.gr/products-fusesproximity.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Chemical rockets tend to leave a significant part of the rocket intact. Since the UMLACA were the only intact rockets reported at the area, they are immediately suspect.
      Note that Zamalka is not on the front line, and it's definitely possible these were the only projectiles to land there - which is also what eyewitnesses report.

      2. You are describing an ideal situation in the lab. When burning on the ground, it can definitely create other chemical reactions and leave remains behind. Check out this video:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFsyVO9nTWQ
      Also - It is not just the remains. It's also the smoke that keeps emanating from the ground. This is very typical to WP.

      3. SAA uses HE heavily in this conflict. Thermobaric weapons are also used, but definitely not exclusively.
      Specifically, this video shows an UMLACA with HE.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eTytXsadVM
      This is evident by the short flash, indicative of a rapid reaction not requiring external oxygen.
      Compare this to FAE explosions, which are much longer:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjkYw6Mw8aQ)

      4. I guess I misunderstood. Can you help me identify the specific deformation you're talking about?

      Delete
    2. 1. I didn't know there were actual eye witnesses to the impacts. The HRW reports twelve 330mm chemical rocket sites. Someone should at least have a picture or vids of each of them by now.

      2. "You are describing an ideal situation in the lab." Well, no. I've never seen WP burn in a lab. I'm describing what WP impact sites I saw looked like when I was in the military. They were days old and there was nothing white - the residue looked more like tar. Your video link shows a relatively fresh impact. If there were pictures of it a day or two later and it had all turned black, I would agree that it was WP.

      While looking for an example, I found this (which obviously doesn't support my argument). This is the best video I have probably seen of WP burning on the ground.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL7VqtvQxcw

      3. Since solid thermobaric compositions are merely metallized enhanced HE compositions with the same fusing and bursting mechanisms, I would think that the SAA would want to use that to fill the solid UMLACAs. They obviously are not, which makes me wonder why they bother. No idea why they would be using a tail-fuzed bycycle-pump charge on that (if they really are). Those should be using a central detonator running back from the nose fuse.

      There was at least one thermobaric weapon (don't know if it was an UMLACA) used in East Ghouta that killed civilians on the 21st. ANAChannel has a video (not for the faint of heart) of what they call 'chemical victims', but they are unmistakably thermobaric blast victims. The ecchymosis (ruptured subcutaneous blood vessels) is obvious - these were not chemical attack victims. They look just like the thermobaric blast victims from the heavily censored Falluja Massacre. The US killed reporters that had too much information about the thousand Iraqi civilian deaths.
      Warning - Graphic:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mypx96MK5N0

      4. I'll try to put together a simple diagram.about the deformations

      Delete
    3. 1. Of course. There are multiple videos and images of impact sites. I don't have a nice playlist, but there are several linked in this site (see some at UN report), and at Brown Moses.

      2. No problem. The impact site in the UMLACA WP video is also new - it's still smoking. Looks exactly like the other WP site.
      Here is the umlaca wp video again:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68YeijuMHec
      And here's a known WP impact site (not umlaca):
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFsyVO9nTWQ

      3. The video you gave is 36 hours after the attack and shows classic signs of body decomposition.
      From http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/dying4.htm
      "A few days after death, ... the body becomes discolored, first turning green, then purple, then black. ... In addition to smelling up the room, that gas will cause the body to bloat, the eyes to bulge out of their sockets and the tongue to swell and protrude."

      Delete
  10. I've seen the videos and the UN report.
    - There are multiple videos of the plowed-field rocket from the 21st which has scorching and building damage consistent with FAE/themobaric warhead, although it was supposedly one of the chemical warheads.
    - The UN inspected another in an open area near a low wall and rubble. No scorching or WP residue that I recall. This may be one from an additional vid below, but the video is too short to tell.
    - Beyond those two, there were maybe two more (that I recall) claimed to have been from the 21st. The rest of the vids and pictures on Brown-Moses were not from East Ghouta on the 21st. The other bloggers that tried to associate the twelve sites with UMLACA vids or pics gave up after the first two or three.

    That still makes it quite a stretch to say that the Sarin absolutely came from twelve specific UMLACAs. I'll stick with 'maybe' came from them. I trust HRW is continuing their work and has collected more substantial information by now - maybe they have pictures and more specifics.

    2. That's what confused me about the first UMLACA video. WP munitions don't use fuze-quick or contact fuses unless their built by amateurs. WP is always air-burst at some height unless you have a properly-designed blowback nose charge. Without one, impact-bursting will just bury most of the WP. The UMLACA was either fuzed wrong or didn't detonate. The grazing angle in the video is so bizzare that I'm not sure any kind of fuze would have worked.

    If Assad is resorting to home-building weapons to save his existing stockpiles, then he probably isn't using his 'good' proximity fuzes on them - rendering them useless. If the nose charge is the same for all UMLACAs, then that isn't ever going to work for WP.

    3. Eccymotic blast trauma matches the other injuries and the immediate deaths of the victims. Surely you're not suggesting they died instantaneously while moving up or down the stairs from Sarin. It doesn't work like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Here are two more videos:
      http://www.itv.com/news/2013-08-23/we-smelt-a-strange-smell-eyewitness-accounts-of-damascus-chemical-attack/ (third one)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrmPdJhbxcA

      Not a stretch at all. Lots of UMLACA videos uploaded in Zamalka immediately after sarin poisoning, with little damage to the rocket or surroundings and no WP signs => UMLACA carried sarin. Would need strong evidence to convince otherwise, and I think you'll have to be honest and agree no such evidence stands up to scrutiny so far.

      2. I'm not knowledgeable enough about fuzes, but the impact site obviously has WP around an UMLACA. Definitely conceivable that the pump is a proximity fuze - and everything makes sense. no?

      3. Hard to tell what they're doing, but one reasonable scenario is that they ran up the stairs to higher ground as they were told, and fainted on the way.
      I don't see any injuries that are not attributable to decomposition.

      Delete
    2. 3. Sasa, What evidence is there that victims in video of the staircase of empty building are victims of chemical attack? They also could have been planted there, or maybe they did die there? We don´t know. Where is the delivery system? Or were they victims of a ´carpet bombing´ type of attack with Sarin missiles but then we don´t get to see the remnants of the missiles that must be littering the neighborhood. I don´t see how this video can be evidence of anything, beside of the fact that a lot of people are dying...

      Delete
    3. 3. There is no strong evidence they were specifically killed by a chemical attack (maybe except for some foaming signs). If this was the only evidence we had, I'd agree with you, but there are strong indications of sarin poisoning elsewhere, so it makes sense that's what they had.
      The UMLACA carried sarin story is supported by lots of evidence, and I haven't seen anything that refutes it so far.

      Delete
    4. - Sarin poisoning: yes
      - UMLACA carrying it: what is a lot of evidence? Reports of activists? the UN report? Do you have a list of evidence that is more than an indication? I don´t think video mentioned under 3 is a strong indication. What is the strongest indication you have?

      Delete
    5. The evidence is listed above. At 2AM lots of people suffer sarin poisoning, and within hours you get at the same site multiple sightings of the same rocket that is capable of carrying sarin, it is intact, with no signs of any other payload.
      No other rocket bodies are found there. No UMLACAs reported in this state anywhere else.
      The correlation is very clear. There is no way this is a coincidence.

      But if you like more direct evidence, then here you can see the UN chemical detector going off near the rocket, and the UN team wearing gas masks when near it, but not far from it. They also tell the locals to keep a distance.
      http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/09/un-inspectors-examine-unidentified.html

      Delete
    6. Cfr. the activist reports: there were also reports of victims from areas where now, we don´t think any sarin was used e.g. Moa´hay.
      Cfr. UN team: I guess finding of Sarin will be confirmed once definitive report is out. How could UN team have known there was Sarin before testing? Was their detecting device designed to detect Sarin? Did they also look for anything else? We don´t know of course because it´s not in the report...
      I don´t want to be difficult but I see missing links in the chain of evidence.

      Delete
    7. You're right that reports came from everywhere, but videos of intact rocket bodies came only from Zamalka. The weird M14 video was published only 4 days later.

      It is safe to assume the LCD 3.3 was set to detect sarin. Was it set to detect other chemicals? Maybe, but why go for the complex explanation, when the simple one fits the evidence well?

      Delete
    8. Always going for the simple reasoning can be dangerous. E.g. 90 perc of abused children are harmed by parents (=fictuous numbers, just e.g.), if you see an abused child, does that mean there needs to be no more criminal investigation? Let´s just go for the simple explanation, the parents did it!

      Delete
    9. Concerning the video with UN inspectors. What did their detector read? The rocket has been there for over a week in the sun, at night there will probably have been dew and still Sarin is detected? We know Sarin degrades very quickly. So maybe they measured the degrading or by- products and that gave a beep. But then you know degrading products are present, you´re not certain if Sarin was the origin of the degrading products. This rocket might as well been filled with DIMP and IMPA. We just don´t know again.
      Keep in mind that your most likely scenario is a false flag op of the opposition. Then for sure the most simple solution is not filling these weird UMLACAs with Sarin.
      I´m not saying the UMLACAs were not used as the chemical agent vehicle. I just don´t see enough evidence to accept it as a near certainty.

      Delete
    10. 1. Absolutely. I'm not offering proof that they were not used, just questioning the certainty that they were. It's not an attack on you, sasa - it's skepticism I'm morally obligated to exercise at the *conclusion*. My country was using that conclusion to speed the process (inevitable) of turning Syria into a "Deathcamp for Freedom and Democracy" just like they did to the victims in every other country they 'helped' in the last three decades.

      I'm not much at convincing anyone that things are not as simple as they seem. I really had high hopes for the UN mission, but that turned into junk science pretty quickly. This guy explains it better:
      http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/pharmacologist-shatters-un-report-on-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria-21-aug-2013/

      I'm afraid whatever contrary proof that exists isn't ever going to be made available to the average peon. What is so secret in Syria's response to the U.N. that we can't see it to discuss it here? How about Russia's report? Why isn't the world allowed to see the transcripts of intercepted Syrian commander's calls?

      It's irrational at all to have to argue over scraps of what we dig up on the internet to determine the truth, while 'important' people are privy to secret information ultimately collected at the common person's expense.

      So, I will give up on scrap collection. It must be thoroughly irritating everyone including you by now.

      2. I'm only familiar with electronic proximity fuzes. They don't need an antenna, but they do need to be on the front of the projectile and, AFIK, outside the metal casing to work. They send out a little electronic signal and listen for the echo from the ground. They're usually the screw-on nose fuse. Do you think the bicycle-pump is center-mounted and protrudes from the nose? I was picturing it as mounted on the cable port thing inside the canister - which would prevent an electric proximity fuse from working.

      There are other types of proximity fuses that could work from inside the can - something like ultrasonic, I guess. Nothing wrong with your reasoning - it would make much more sense to use some kind of proximity fuse.

      3. Another scenario is that the bodies were staged there for PR use then disposed of when no longer useful. The three children's bodies were later collected in a rug and unceremoniously dumped in an open grave while someone took a video. There is nothing reasonable about any scenario.

      Delete
    11. veritas

      Of course the less likely explanation should not be ignored. I'm just saying it needs stronger evidence, which was so far not found. I'll gladly change conclusions once it's found.

      Note that the most likely scenario is a rebel-attack, but not necessarily a false-flag. A mistake in targeting is also very likely.

      Delete
    12. 1. I think your frustration is unjustified. We managed to collect here more reliable evidence than all intelligence agencies combined. When US and Russia gave obscure references to launch locations within regime or rebel held territories (respectively), we managed to found the exact location. When they claimed an attack spanning 20 km, we showed it was limited to one neighborhood. There's no comparing the accuracy and reliability of our information to the biased disinformation they are feeding the public.

      What many people don't realize yet is that "top secret sources on the ground" is a myth from the cold war. It is meaningless in a world where every move is documented by three people and immediately uploaded.

      There is no shortage of information. The real problem is making sense of it. And that’s where an open discussion has the advantage: A diverse and unrestricted group is less susceptible to biases, and is not expected to serve the political interests of its employers.

      2. I was actually imagining the pump is just the sensor, connected to the plug with holes, and the wires going through these holes. The antenna is outside, and connected through these wires.

      3. Possible, but I generally prefer to avoid conspiracies without strong evidence.

      Delete
    13. Take a look at this fuze:

      http://64.78.11.86/uxofiles/gallery/RocketFuzes/data/images1/chin-rock-fuze-md21.jpg

      The target sensor (electronics, antenna) are all in the green tip - they labeled it the radome. The internal antenna is probably the size of a large coin. Most of the body is the fuze and booster.

      I don't think there would be any technical reason you couldn't mount just the antenna on the nose and run an antenna cable to the bottom plug to the sensor electronics and fuze.

      As a practical matter, the military usually keeps all the target sensor components together and runs the firing signal wire to a tail fuze in those configurations. The connections and wire are internal, of course. Keeping all the target sensor components together in one device lets you change the type by just screwing a different one in the nose. Nothing would need to be changed on the tail fuze.

      For the MD-21 proximity fuze pictured above, there's no way to change just the green target sensor tip - it's permanent. That fuze is always a proximity fuse and has to be screwed directly into the nose.

      This particular type of fuze was found on some 107mm rockets in Iraq:

      http://download.cabledrum.net/wikileaks_archive/file/us-ngic-proximity-fuzes.pdf

      Delete
    14. Interesting stuff. Thanks!
      Let's see if more information comes out that will make sense of it.

      Delete
  11. And the UMLACA solution is not a simple one: The amount of them found does not add up to the amount of victims; the experts don´t understand how the devices would be able to function and disperse the chemical agent; the 12 sites are not properly documented, how were these things filled....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good point which I'll try to investigate in the future.

      Delete
  12. I'm sure this qualifies as 'conspiracy theory', but in keeping with the original topic of this thread, I'll offer this:

    People have been at odds to explain the symptoms (or lack thereof) in what are suppose to be the clinics treating them. That seems remarkable with the children, especially the dead children. Other people have discussed the specifics - even CW people seem confused. Most of the children look more like they're just heavily sedated rather than nerve gas victims.

    I'm no expert on this. My CW training was the standard army medic training during the cold war, so take it for what it's worth.

    They talked a lot about atropine - soldiers had a couple of auto-injecting dosers of it in their gas mask bags back then. The general impression I got from the instructors was that when treating CW victims on a battlefield, we shouldn't assume they used their atropine because they were probably otherwise occupied - we should check their bags. When in doubt, dose them because a double-dose probably wouldn't kill them.

    That was only if we were pretty certain that nerve agents were specifically used *and* that soldiers that already used their atropine were not all dead. That last part was important because the fiendishly clever Soviet Union might spike their nerve agents with chemicals that would make an atropine antidote fatal. If they're trying to kill you with nerve agents, they don't want you to save yourself - that just ruins all their hard work.

    The additives that made atropine dangerous or lethal were nothing exotic - cyclopropane (an old anesthetic) and carbon monoxide are the only two I recall. The mechanism was to slow the heartrate and respiration or make the victim hypoxic. Atropine slows down the overactive nerve signaling caused by nerve agents. Together, they can result in cardiac collapse.

    I wouldn't have thought twice about medical people in Zamalka using some atropine, but was surprised to hear one interviewed doctor(?) saying that virtually all the victims were dosed. That's not normal, and certainly not for medical professionals. You don't mass-diagnose Sarin exposure and give everyone that shows up atropine because every unconscious person must have been exposed. It's irrational and immoral - atropine doesn't work that well to begin with and its unlikely to save a nerve gas victim that is already at the point of being unconscious.

    Then there's the videos of children with syringes nearby or on their stomach. That's kind of a marker so anyone else treating them knows they were already given atropine. We were trained to attach used auto-injectors to a soldier's collar in the field for the same purpose. The problem is with the horse-dose size of the syringes shown. Children should have been dosed with something like a few tenths of a milligram - they're particularly vulnerable to atropine poisoning.

    I'm also wondering about how a clinic that only has a few tables and tanks of oxygen is stocked with - I thing they said a thousand(?) - doses of atropine, and additional doses were available in a warehouse and retrieved later on. That's a lot of atropine for a small clinic cut off from regime hospitals in bombed-out neighborhood with a few thousand residents.

    If the medical people left in Zamalka are that easily spooked into over-administering atropine, then either side could have triggered the death of that many people - especially children - with a single hand grenade of Sarin and a few thousand liters (rockets, whatever...) of something like cyclopropane.

    It isn't so easy to dismiss this as an overly-complex explanation so the easy, simple one must be true. The easy, simple one (mass Sarin CW attack) still has offered nothing credible so far to explain the appearance of victims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually the theory that many deaths were caused by over administration of atropine is interesting. How much atropine is needed for that?

      I'm not surprised that they easily administer atropine. In the previous cases were the SAA used the unidentified irritant, opposition doctors always describe administering atropine.

      Delete
    2. For children, the dose would depend on the weight. It's in the tenths of a milligram range. I'm not sure if an initial 2 mg *adult* dose is lethal, but it introduces way too much medical risk and is offers little benefit over normal doses. In a clinical setting, a doctor would use epinephrine after the atropine if they needed a stronger effect. That's if you're sure the child was actually suffering from nerve agent exposure alone without atropine-lethality additives.

      If a child wasn't even showing the primary nerve agent symptom of miosis - pinpoint pupils - then you don't give them atropine just because everyone is running around screaming 'SARIN attack'. That would not only be stupid, but criminally irresponsible. Since we have little idea where each of these clinics are located or who staffs them, then I can't imagine we're ever going to hear anything credible on how they treated all those children.

      Adults are more tolerant of high doses. As I was cautioned in training though, you have to be careful about observing the effects. If people are going into ventricular fibrillation and their hearts stop a few minutes after getting your atropine 'cure', then it would be a good idea to stop curing people.

      There's no way anyone has the time or ability in a mass casualty situation to figure out what other garbage may have been added to the primary agent. I would hope that whomever is administering all this atropine at least understands the possibility that the attacker may be counting on them to do that. Several smaller doses spread out over time is a lot more work, but gives you time to make sure the atropine is not making matters worse. No victim is saved by a mega-dose - that's just junk science. If they're so full of Sarin that they die five or ten minutes after arriving, then it was already too late for atropine to do much good.

      Delete
    3. It turns out some of the medical treatment points had nothing at all:

      http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/reports/chemicaldamascussuburbs#.Umn-CnDUUeU

      Plenty of additional detail with locations and names.

      http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/reports/chemicalmassacrefollowup#.UmoBAHDUUeV

      So certain clinics had atropine, some ran out and resorted to using vetrinarian vaccine, and some did without. A much more descriptive map with these locations cataloged would help us understand the situation and build a better narrative.

      Google translate is sort of weak on Arabic. Anyone that can help me translate questions back and forth with them?

      If you're still reading this Dan, what's the best way to get protective gear to first respondents down there along with some CW training? Or just to get someone go to there and make that assessment?

      Delete
  13. A ´simple´ scenario that does´t need the complex UMLACA story could be the following:
    A number of victims in a confined space is attacked with a chemical agent. The real number is much lower than the official number. It also explains why we don´t have any video´s of victims in their homes. The victims are brought to the clinics and are administered atropine. Some might even be killed by an overdose of the medication. In the mean time the UMLACA´s which probably didn´t contain Sarin (much to corrosive due to the HF in it) are filmed as the culprits. This message is spread out in a concerted way by a few activists. The activists story is reinforced by MSM that wants to believe the activist version. The number of victims keeps increasing because the interested parties keep on raising the numbers. No mass funerals are filmed because the numbers don´t match the official story.
    When the UN inspectors came, the rebels had time to prepare for them. We don´t exactly know where they found the Sarin because the samples weren´t clearly numbered. In any case it is strange they found so much Sarin because one would expect it to be degraded after more than a week. So the Sarin must have been planted (I know, that is difficult to believe but we know that after a week the Sarin should have mostly been degraded, how do we explain that otherwise, it can´t have been the original sarin!). The victims seen by the inspectors who tested positive for Sarin really only tested positive for IMPA . The IMPA was still in their blood because a day before the inspectors came the where given a DIMP solution to drink.
    Difficult to believe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. A few comments:

      1. It is standard process to neutralize the HF with isopropylamine, so I don't think that's a problem. We even know that isopropylamine was ordered by Al-Nusra in Turkey.

      2. It's hard to conclude from the UN report what exactly the labs found. The full report coming out soon should help clear the facts.

      3. It's true that the numbering in the report is bad, but there is enough information in the text descriptions to match them up. They found sarin indications near the Zamalka impact sites.

      A few clarifications about your scenario:
      How did the UMLACAs get there?
      Were the impact sites also fabricated?
      What are the videos of poisoning from areas far from Zamalka? Victims of the confined space attack?

      Delete
    2. The full UN report (if it is good...) will definitively help us to rule out certain scenarios.
      The victims would come out of the confined space. The UMLACAs don´t explain the numbers we see in the videos (there are a lot of victims although very probable less than the official number).
      cfr UMLACA and Sarin found there: what is your opinion on the degrading time of Sarin? Do you have a logical explanation that apparently so much of it was still found after more than a week?
      In the scenario I suggested, it is not important how UMLACAs got there. The UMLACAs are not filled with sarin (to difficult and risky for rebel groups to launch them). Maybe the missiles were misdirected but because they were there, they were used in explaining the attack? Maybe that was not part of the script?
      The hardest part to believe in this scenario is that someone would be cruel enough to attack these people with CW in a confined space. It would have been a direct execution ...

      Delete
    3. My guess is that sarin was not found on site, and whenever IMPA was found they wrote GB. If I understand correctly the findings of IPMPA that are reported are a salt of IMPA but not IMPA. So since no IMPA was reported, I'm guessing that GB actually means IMPA. Let's see...

      I really don't see a problem with the sarin amounts. 60 kg in the street could definitely affect a few hundred people in 5-10 nearby buildings. 12 rockets and you get the reported numbers.

      Delete
  14. Your manner of writing about Chemical user course is really appreciable and admirable.I would like to thanks to share such a great info us and want to continue with your blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for sharing. Learn a lot from your Blog.I really enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I must say you've done a wonderful job by sharing your article with us. Chemical Analysis Labs

    ReplyDelete