Nov 29, 2013

Geolocating New UMLACA Video

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

HRI found this video showing another UMLACA launch.


The location seems like a perfect match to Qadam railway station. This image shows the location of the camera and the apparent launch direction - 100 degrees (East). 


The video gives the most accurate evidence so far of the conventional UMLACA's range, being launched here at a distance of 1.9 km (details here).

Following 1.9 km in that azimuth falls between an area marked as "Palestine camp" and the Al Tadamoun neighborhood, both marked here to be under rebel control. Al-Tadamoun is often mentioned as the site of clashes between government and rebel forces.

At 1.9 km and 101.3 degrees there is a large industrial building there, which might have been the target.

Some of you may remember we've already seen an UMLACA launch from Qadam station (this is very likely the larger version of the UMLACA - see discussion in comments):


Overall, an interesting finding, which agrees with our previous estimates. Thanks Mark/HRI!

Update:

Going over all the videos related to the Qadam station indicate it is under government control, and frequently attacked by rebel forces. A major attack occurred on January 27-30th, 2013, which resulted in rebel forces capturing at least part of the station. It is documented in the following videos:


Shows forces carrying the ISIS flag fighting in this area to the south of the station.



More fighting in the same area, and then capturing a few buildings inside the station (probably these).



More fighting inside the station (probably here).



This seems to be deeper inside, not clear where exactly.



This video is said to show regime jet shelling in the exact locations found above.

Update: In a comment below Charles Wood points to another video showing rebels inside the northern part of the station.

This brings up an interesting scenario: We have strong evidence of UMLACAs with incendiary warheads falling in Darayya a few weeks earlier (most likely launched from the nearby Mazzeh airport). Since we already know Qadam station is an UMLACA launch site, it is definitely plausible it too had incendiary UMLACAs and a launcher stationed there during the opposition raid. They could be the ones later repurposed to carry sarin and used on August 21st (as described here).
This is of course mere speculation, but it does provide a plausible example for the "captured UMLACAs" theory.

105 comments:

  1. Just a general observation. Any idea what that gray container is laying on the ground in the video. Also, it appears like they may have had some kind of spill and maybe attempted to wash down/flush the area with water prior to launching the 122mm type IRAM with the oversized warhead.

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  2. It looks like Eliot Higgins is backing away from his assertion that the chemical version has significantly different range to the HE version.

    This is something I've always asserted because they appear to have slightly different motors with the HE version having a larger (longer) motor.

    Latest from EH

    It's likely the same type of propellent, payload wouldn't make a huge different from what i've been told November 28, 2013

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  3. I'm not that good with figuring out oblique angle views but it looks like the launcher in the new video is firing at slightly less than optimal for range - perhaps 35 degrees compared to 41?

    Rough checks with some of the older models say it's not that sensitive to angle at that range - maybe 10% further range at best for ranges between 30 degrees and 45 degrees. I think this is because it's near maximum range so out of the linear region.

    Calculated average ground speed for the missile is ~120 m/s. Given estimated burn time of 3 seconds, total flight time 16 seconds, and known range 1900m, the models can be tweaked to fit. Actually, there is not much to do with my collection of model variants :-)

    (P.S. How the hell do you put marked up text and links into this blogging system?)

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    1. Due to the high drag coefficient all angles between 25 and 50 yield a very similar range. The higher the angle, the longer the flight time, but also more time for drag to slow the rocket.
      You can simulate this with the spreadsheet i published on the umlaca page.

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  4. Correction to your target. 1900m at 100 degrees is over the Palestine Rd in At Tadamon in what appears to be a commercial or industrial area.

    It's definitely not the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp, and probably not Al Yarmouk suburb.

    At Tadamon has been contested for some time.

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    1. So launch site is in contested area and targeted site is contested also? A questions arises then; Charles is very correct in that Tadamon has been fiercely contested for some time so why would the SAA/NDF (whoever) launch such a missile at an area they have troops in?

      OK two questions arise; Why would they launch a missile from a contested area?

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    2. Oh and I am also of the growing mindset that the flag on the launcher is not that of the NDF. (A lot of debate on this issue on social media with majority believing it isn't NDF flag)

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    3. The style of fighting seen in the Eastern Damascus fighting zones is temporary incursions in force by the SAA using infantry supported by tanks - followed by withdrawal. Especially on the main arterial routes it appears to be aimed at forcing the insurgents away from the roads to keep them open.

      In military parlance it's called 'aggressive patrolling' where the aim is to deny an area to the enemy rather than to occupy it.

      You can see this on the contest map where the main arterial routes are shown as contested inside a sea of insurgent occupied territory.

      Getting back to your question. The SAA routinely bombard areas for which they plan an incursion. They do not want permanent possession of the ground. Their aim is to prevent possession by the insurgents.

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    4. See update above: Qadam seems to be under government control most of the time.
      I agree with Charles: The government will attack contested areas when they know fighters' positions - you can catually see above a government attack on Qadam.
      Brown Moses brought an image of an NDF flag that seems like a strong match - I'm convinced.

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    5. Yes the government does attack contested areas which we have seen in the past whereby they withdraw troops, launch attacks then troops reenter.

      However my argument is that, again as we have seen, loading these volcanos into their launchers is quite a laborious task and not something that can be done on the fly. From my readings Qadam is contested and it makes little sense (to me) why they would go to all this trouble to use a volcano in a contested area to contested area when they have a plethora of other armaments at their disposal which would be much more beneficial in this scenario such as artillery to name but one.

      Over to you Charles, what's your thoughts?

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    6. The question "why would the Government do it?" is the very best question there is and the one with no good answer. The question is multi-faceted and includes why strategically as well as why operationally.

      Being a natural Devil's advocate, the best I can come up with is:

      Syria was not a signatory to the OPCW convention so not legally bound by it.

      CW had been used by Iraq as a tactical battlefield weapon without major criticism. Most CW countries had previously had fairly non controversial tactical CW doctrines, so tactical use by Syria was not radically different.

      The existing CW delivery systems were large size strategic rather than tactical, so they decided to improvise tactical weapons rather than buy in kit which suppliers would have refused to ship.

      The weapons they developed were short range so necessitated front line launches.

      Responding to your immediate question, contested and occupied do not mean someone is camping there. At any particular instant quite large areas will be empty of fighters.

      - Which then leads to the extraordinary situation of up to twelve very loud and bright missiles being launched from within 2.5 km of Zamalka and no-one noticed!! With night-time air conditions the launches would have been audible several kilometres away. The missile burn of 3 seconds was hundreds of metres in the air and visible for miles on the clear night! Yet not one report has been made of them. Not one facebook or twitter post. Not one video! Extraordinary!

      Are we even sure the missiles were fired on the night?

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    7. Thanks for that response Charles, I've grown to respect your opinions and expertise in the given areas since the formation of this blog. You call it as it is and I like that.

      This blog attracted my attention as I liked its approach. It is the first blog that I have ever came across that has carried out such an investigation into something so serious yet it was going unnoticed by the MSM - why? So I followed it strictly. And I did so with an open mind.

      That all said, I cannot for the life of me understand why the Syrian government would launch a CW attack in Damascus a few miles away from where the UN Inspectors were staying. The UN inspectors that the Syrian government spent months trying to get to come to Syria in the first place. Then a day after their arrival and after being repeatedly warned by the US and Russia that any use of CW would be crossing a red line they just went ahead anyway and launched some sarin rockets. That defies all logic in anyone's book. If something doesn't make sense it's because it's usually not true, as a good friend would say.

      Unlike other blogs this one has literally laid itself bear to be challenged on every single claim it makes. It's all here for anyone to read, challenge, prove wrong and have changed and I thoroughly enjoy following the information and posters here.

      I am learning a lot from you guys and I love the fact that you all seem quite neutral here.

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    8. "Are we even sure the missiles were fired on the night?"

      Was slow to pick up on that. Well the UN team did specifically say that evidence had been manipulated so how can anything be ruled out?

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    9. Your comment is my rock.

      "I cannot for the life of me understand why the Syrian government would launch a CW attack in Damascus a few miles away from where the UN Inspectors were staying"

      Every time I start to have doubts I go back to that.

      Could the Government have launched those missiles? On everything up to final delivery, yes - they had the capability. On final delivery contested to contested? Very difficult and dangerous but just possible. Would they? A resounding no! Not at Government level, not at Army level, not at unit level.

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    10. The dozens of eyewitness reports and the multiple UMLACA sightings in the morning of the attack are very strong evidence that sarin UMLACAs were fired at 2:00 AM. To claim otherwise implies wide-scale fraud involving hundreds of civilians - very unlikely.
      I would definitely expect that many people in West Irbin saw the launches. Would they volunteer to share that information with the world? probably not.

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    11. Charles, I have dissected the whole 'rouge element' within the government theory over in my head time and time and again and that makes even less sense to me too.

      Here we have a government that has held together all its structures and institutions over a 3 year period fighting against an insurgent force in its multiples of tens of thousands who have support from Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, US, Britain, France, Israel etc and yet through all this is actually winning and is still very much in tact. How could a rogue element have gotten hold of some sarin (non-military grade at that) and launched these attacks without the government and therefore Russia finding out? Why did the US have to blatantly lie in order to say it had evidence?

      Too many non-sensical questions that defy logic. Too many square pegs need fitted into round holes in order for this conspiracy to be believed. That is my growing position in this from one of "I'm not convinced".

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    12. Sasa, I think you got me wrong there. What I meant was that as the UN noted that evidence had been manipulated in rebel held territory, who could rule out some debris appearing in places where maybe it shouldn't be?

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    13. Definitely possible. What specifically do you find suspect?

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    14. sasa,

      I am aware of eyewitness reports (at least one) of incoming missiles sounding 'buzzing'. I am also aware of a report claiming launches at Baghdad Bridge. I have also seen a video claiming to be of a chemical launch at an unknown distant location - prescient of the cameraman and by appearances from an elevated position - the hills?

      What I can't recall seeing is any credible eyewitness report from Ghouta of the launches with at least the azimuth if not the range.

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    15. You're focusing so much on the issue of motivation you're completely missing the the issues of whether it's even been possible for opposition to have launched the attack. You guys were talking about moved missiles to Moaddamiyeh, about poor azimuth measurements, about how it's unlikely for government to have been launching the missiles from recently conquered places - and then Who Ghouta awkwardly places the attack on what it itself declared to be a frontline place.

      Now you're even saying "how do we know missiles were used on that night". What a brilliant question. I guess the rebels captured a bunch of government missiles, that they have to carry on truck, poured sarin on them, which they summoned by magic wand, and then strategically placed these sarine soaked missiles so heavy, that they have to be carried by truck, around the city, and apparently even made them explode and create craters good enough for UN to find these plausible.

      Good job, what a brilliant conspiracy theory. Completely plausible.

      It's such a damn hackeneyed, forced, lame attempt after all these fake Dale Gavlak articles and other nonsense.

      But going back to the issue of motivation, it's been several times said and analysed for example in lebanese newspapers at great length that the armoured division has been engaging in a very serious fight in the Zamalka neighbourhood, it's the place where rebels were gaining upper hand and threatening to enter directly the city centre. This is for example a conclusion the German BND, which has no dog or stake in the fight, agrees with. I would even wager the government has made a bet on disbelief that the sole owner of chemical weapons, who has never reported any of them missing, would launch such an attack on civilian population, that it has been devastating for years.

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    16. Anonymous,

      All you have to do is produce records of freedom fighters reporting launches at 2am within 2000m of Zamalka. That would quiet me down for sure.

      If you can't then sadly you fall into the realm of speculator rather than a provider of evidence.

      I made my statement to ask for the evidence that I consider is lacking. If it turns up then it will support one or more theories - or it may demolish them all.

      It's up to you to make a decisive move in this discussion.

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    17. What should they even report? Rocket launchers in a city in the middle of a war where explosions are daily occurence? Flashes of light taking place somewhere behind all that urban landscape? Good idea, let's send in some journalists - oh wait, we can't do that, the government isn't letting in any - to hunt for information which, if ever noticed, isn't proving anything anyway.

      Let's ignore the UN azimuth measurements in the meanwhile completely, because obviously the UN inspectors know a lot less about the scene than a web blog, not to mention the presence illuminati moving about all the sarine rockets, which opposition doesn't have. Good job guys.

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    18. I will gladly accept the UN azimuth, if anyone can explain the discrepancy with impact site 1 here: http://whoghouta.blogspot.com/2013/10/impact-site-analysis.html
      We rely on the UN heavily in other places. Here it's just obvious that they made a mistake.

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    19. Anonymous,

      You'd rather think that freedom fighters waking on August 21 morning and learning of mass gas casualties would perhaps remember the twelve massive massive rockets they saw launched at precisely the same time that gas casualties started to happen?

      We're not talking about just a few fighters. We're talking about any within at least 1000 metres of the launch site - probably 2000 metres. That means hundreds to thousands potentially and tens to hundreds actually awake at the time.

      As an aside, people in the target zone probably heard the missiles launch at least 10 seconds before they actually hit.

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    20. Sasa, nothing in particular. Just noting that the UN did say that evidence had been moved/manipulated in rebel held areas. Such an admission by the UN has gone unnoticed in the main (as I noted someone on Twitter mentioned). If the UN said that evidence was moved then all theories must remain valid.

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    21. Charles remark caught my attention: ´Are we even sure the missiles were fired on the night?´ And then Sasa´s reply ´To claim otherwise implies wide-scale fraud involving hundreds of civilians - very unlikely.´
      Maybe the reports of rockets by civilians were honest but wrong. It wil not be the first time that mass hysteria occurs and quite understandable seen the victims that were brought together in the medical centers. On top of that, seen the which hunt the Mintpress journos were submitted to, alternative information would not have been popular or accepted there. History is full of misrepresentation of facts, it´s well possible it also happened in Ghouta. Even more, we are already sure it happened in Ghouta concerning number of victims, range of rockets, location of attacks... Even reputed journalist participate in it!
      On top of that, all the Sarin found by UN on rockets (we assume the samples were taken at certain location seen the numbering was not consistent...) found after more than a week is also suspicious seen the degrading time of Sarin.
      I´m not saying the rockets were not used, but maybe we should´t discard the possibility that the rockets were not the vehicles of the Sarin. Maybe we should take the Mintpress article more serious seen the extreme courage these journos displayed in writing the story. You can´t say they did it out of opportunistic reasons!

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  5. Another thread of enquiry would be to google the names of foreign djihadists posted on the "Syrian Perspective" website. A lot of these people probably have facebook accounts and it should be possible to verify the nationalities. Many journalists look at this website with suspicion, but the numbers of Saudis/Qataris/Libyans/Tunisians, is certainly worth some attention.

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    1. Lost you. What does this comment refer to?

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    2. The videos posted by "Amer Mosa" point to an Egyptian djihadist (the title, as well as the pseudo, go into that direction).

      Syrian Perspective have been posting lists of foreign djihadists. I understand that your blog concentrates on the Ghouta events, but the silence of Western medias about these thousands of foreign djihadists would make it important to have a comprehensive list and whenever possible, links to FB and Twitter accounts.

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    3. Good idea, but unfortunately beyond the scope of this site. Let me know if you do this and have any interesting findings.

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  6. Two things are interesting regarding UMLACA launches from Qadam train station.

    1. Train station is in contested area:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Military_situation_in_Damascus_region_as_of_15th_of_September_2013.png

    https://twitter.com/Syria_AlHadath/status/369993683183370240

    2. There are reports of UMLACA launches from here to Al Sabeneh, 3km away.

    https://twitter.com/Hsn_Kh/status/370555468667555840

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    1. The Qaddam video (al Sabeneh) shown on this page and that you link to on twitter appears to show the 220/240 mm enlarged warhead rocket.

      Luccum has done an analysis and asides from the different smoke trail the missile is obviously very large

      Secondly, the Qadam railway yards are quite large, and what was contested months ago (and looks like the museum section) may not be contested recently

      http://luccum.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/different-tail.html

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    2. See above new analysis on Qadam.

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    3. Interesting analysis by Lucum.
      In the old Qadam video the rocket indeed seems to be the height of the red roof near it. Couldn't locate the exact building, but a similar building is seen in this photo:
      http://static.panoramio.com/photos/1920x1280/36253497.jpg
      The roof height seems to be more than one floor, so it would match the big-umlaca length of ~3.5m.
      This would also explain how it traveled 4km to Sbeneh.

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    4. Charles - could you please gmail me on sasa1wawa?

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  7. To update your update, this video was published on August 19 and shows insurgents fighting in the railway museum area - North of your previous videos

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dp3FIWlWs4

    33°28'37.04" N 36°17'33.39" E

    (Video originally supplied here by 'anonymous')

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  8. Have had my head stuck in social media the last week or so reading, watching, reading some more and watching even more.

    I revisited the claim made in early May 2013 by the UN's Carla Del Ponte when she said:

    "Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated."

    Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/uns-carla-del-ponte-says-there-is-evidence-rebels-may-have-used-sarin-in-syria-8604920.html

    I seen various attempts at discrediting what she said with things like "she got told off by the UN for saying that" and "she has been proved to be telling lies" (my paraphrasing). But that set me about trying to find out if she was indeed 'disciplined' or contradicted by the UN. But before I continue I'd like to point out that when she originally made that statement my ears perked up for about a week then I lost interest as I too believed she had spoken out of turn and her statement had been withdrawn. I fell victim to rumours.

    So over the last few days I started digging deeper and I uncovered an interview she gave with a "Euronews" some months after giving her above statement and she was asked by the interviewer if she regretted what she had said. If you haven't already, listen to her response from 04:17 here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvH435WWhO0

    For months sitting on the fence the more and more one looks at the evidence and information surrounding the 21/8 attacks the more I am drawn to question the official narrative.

    This is a very much looked over incident. Another is the Mint Press issue which Brown Moses and his colleagues set about trying to discredit only for Mint Press to vindicate itself with its recent clarifying statement which more or less rubbished the attempts made at trying to discredit it and firmly places the ball back in the court of its detractors. This issue of their recent statement has been conspicuously ignored by those that were so eager to publicly attack MP a few months back.

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    1. One comment by Greig on the BM blog attracted my attention.

      There is no report that the OPCW teams have collected or destroyed any of the 122m enlarged warhead missiles.

      It may be this will comes out in the next report, but, as far as I can tell the missile type is still in use - or at least the HE version.

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    2. Jim - nice find! Added it here: http://whoghouta.blogspot.com/2013/10/sarin-and-syrian-opposition.html

      Note that my analysis of the Mint story finds it to be unreliable: http://whoghouta.blogspot.com/2013/09/evidence-contradicting-regime-attack.html

      Charles - Interesting direction. If the "capture UMLACAs" theory is correct, then if the OPCW ever lists the weapons it destroyed, we should find there are no UMLACAs there.

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    3. Sasa thanks for the reply.

      Are you aware of the latest Mint Press statement?

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-syria-chemical-weapons-attack-and-the-role-of-saudi-intelligence-the-mint-news-report/5359154

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    4. I forgot to mention the latest Mint Press article links to the blog.

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    5. I wasn't aware of it. Thanks for sharing.
      The reports of pressure on the reporters are very interesting. However, it doesn't change the fact that the quotes they provided are very weak evidence for their claim.

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    6. "However, it doesn't change the fact that the quotes they provided are very weak evidence for their claim."

      I agree with that though I believe that through their latest statement Mint Press have vindicated themselves in that it wasn't them that made the claims but the two reporters. My point was that whilst the hounds went after Mint Press for simply carrying the story it now looks like that MP are actually the innocent party here and the hounds have all went into hibernation.

      But in true WhoGhouta fashion if the evidence isn't strong enough it doesn't make the cut. I respect that.

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    7. Yahya is an independent reporter who traveled to Ghouta in person. His interviews yielded something truly newsworthy: a rebel commander saying that they already had Saudi and Al Nusra-supplied chemical weapons in Ghouta days before the attack. Mint Press reported this because the U.S. had all but launched the first Tomahawks by then.

      Your assertion 1) that "...The quotes seem to indicate aggressive cherry picking, with very short excerpts followed by extensive commentary..." is a truly bizarre interpretation of reporting. He's reporting what he found and why it's important.

      The story was not prepared in a vacuum and wasn't intended to be an opinion poll among rebels about A vs. B. The story was about *new* relevant information reported directly by a well-known rebel commander and supported by other Ghouta interviews.

      2) "...When read alone, the quotes only tell the story of unidentified munitions received from Saudi Arabia which were handled improperly and exploded..."

      The quotes are appropriate and followed by other details that explain the significance of the reported information. Saudi Arabia and Bandar *are* the story here. Saudi Arabia does not need to ship cooking gas to the rebels.

      3) ... really?

      4) "...“We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons”. This is mentioned in a context that implies that the weapons were later revealed to be chemical, but when examined by itself there is no indication that this was indeed the original context..."

      The accidental detonation isn't being described as a source of the CW attack. In fact, one of the witnesses specifically says his son died in the weapon storage tunnel explosion *during* the attack, implying the two are distinct events but occurred around the same time.

      5) "...The only location information given is 'Ghouta', which includes areas very far from the chemical attack in Zamalka..."

      Ababneh and went to rebel-held areas of Ghouta to interview rebels - you don't seem to want to assume an ounce of intelligence on his part. Were you expecting him to provide a Google map of rebel weapons sites so you could fact-check?

      6) "...Eyewitnesses consistently report multiple rockets hitting the area immediately before the poisoning, which does not match the single explosion story..."

      It was only re-reporting of the original Mint Press article that 'added' the either/or condition when 'both' was inferred.

      If you are convinced that Yahya made this up, Gavlak helped him spin the story and Mint Press Editor Mnar Muhawesh purposely published this fabrication to trick people, than say so.

      Gavlak was completely blindsided. She lost her decade-long AP career due to the Saudi royal family mafia. She had to lawyer up, is probably broke by now and probably blacklisted from mainstream media forever. Bandar's agents are all over Ababneh in Jordan, attempting to lure him to Saudi Arabia (to his death) and threatening his family and friends unless he retracts his story and denies what Syrian rebels told him.

      Mean while, HRW is probably enjoying their new servers and other goodies thanks to a mysterious middle-east donor's generous contribution. There's big money in defending human rights - as long as they're the 'right' humans and their checks clear.

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    8. I'm not saying it was all made up. The only point is that the the quotes themselves are not sufficient evidence, and we cannot rely on a single source for such an important claim.
      If he publishes the recordings, then we're in a completely different situation.

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    9. Let's see now....

      1) A journalist's career ruined and a reporter tailed by Saudi death squads for doing their job, but whose statements are unreliable because they didn't publish tapes of the rebels squealing on the Saudis and geo-locations of the chemical weapons held for al Nusra

      - or -

      2) HRW's repeated and re-repeated Skype interview reports regarding details of specific East Ghouta supposed CW-missile impact locations which nobody in the area bothered to document on YouTube despite the importance, and locations that apparently didn't match up with any but a single UN site visited.

      So how is HRW's single-source of information better/worse than what Mint Press reported? They're not addressing the exact same issue, but both are pretty fundamental to anyone's consideration of the rest of the data.

      Like Jim Dobbins reply above, I noted Carla Del Ponte's statement. She was pounced on by main-stream media looking for what they assumed was Assad's guilt. She was answering pretty leading questions for days on end looking for what to expect in the final report. Questions almost to the tune of "Well, what did the UN find that proves Assad did it?"

      In a very diplomatic, lawyerly-like way, Del Ponte responded to questions of her inquiry's initial findings (May incident) by saying that they did not find evidence Assad used CWs. On the contract, there was evidence that the rebels did. She didn't offer specific, publicly-verifiable evidence with names and residential addresses - the sources would have been killed. Mainstream media all but dropped the story after she didn't implicate Assad. You don't find that strange?

      Now apply your standards of evidence to what Del Ponte has offered, and you can rightfully claim that her initial findings are unreliable - you and I can't verify anything. Common sense would say that she's probably telling the truth, which means there is *some* evidence the rebels not only had CWs in their possession during the East Ghouta attack, but had them at least three months prior to that in the Aleppo attack and pulled the same 'Assad did it' game.

      It's your blog, Sasa. Methodically examining individual bits of data is never the wrong way to analyze, it's just not the only way. I'm inclined to also toss in messy stuff like the patterns of deception thing or manipulated media because - historically - they have yielded something far closer to the truth.

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    10. "Common sense would say that she's probably telling the truth, which means there is *some* evidence the rebels not only had CWs in their possession during the East Ghouta attack..."

      I believe this Carla Del Ponte person in what she says and what she found and I agree with your point above.

      Carla Del Ponte's record is rock solid as was Dale Gavlak's. Dale trusted this Yahya character enough to work with him and bring his article to the Mint Press editor. And since then Dale has lost her job with AP, as you rightly pointed out. Yet we are to ignore these three people and what they say. The same way we are to ignore the fact there are Syrian rebels in Turkey being charged with being in possession of the chemicals to make sarin. Not chemicals to make some other deadly chemical but it just so happens it was to make sarin.

      We are also to ignore the videos of Liwa al-Islam allegedly firing the rockets carrying sarin on that fatal night. All this is to be brushed to the side in favour of a conspiracy theory that the government did it with no credible evidence to support it?



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    11. Paveway - I think both Yahya and the HRW skype interviews are not reliable by themselves. Carla's claim on the other hand were given more credibility due to her position, although nothing in the scenario relies heavily on her testimony.
      As to the biased reporting in the media - I couldn't agree more.

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  9. Before I get too many people thinking I'm a raving looney when I asked rhetorically whether the missiles were actually fired, here is an explanation.

    First, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Simply because we have no eyewitness evidence of the actual launches doesn't mean they weren't launched.

    Second, but quite important, why do we not have any eyewitness testimony? Those things are loud and bright and twelve of them in the space of perhaps half an hour would be very noticeable.

    It was a war zone - perhaps not very hot, but certainly the region was full of armed insurgents many of whom would be awake and on watch.

    The range confirmed again by this latest video places all possible northerly launch locations either on insurgent lines or at maximum 500 metres from them - and I assume for the exercise the range was between 1500m and 2400m.

    Alternative launch locations suggested by some are also on or very close to insurgent front lines.

    So. Open Question. Why don't we have eyewitness reports of the launches (as opposed to incoming)?

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    1. My guess would be that many people in Irbin noticed, but saw no reason to go public about it.

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  10. These volcanoes keep popping up in Syria...

    On August 28 ISIL promised a 'Volcano of Revenge' - somewhat coincidental to the SAA 'Volcano' name for the 122mm enlarged warhead missiles alleged to have delivered Sarin on August 21.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/28/us-syria-crisis-qaeda-idUSBRE97R08I20130828

    ReplyDelete
  11. The SAA was in violent and disputed possession of parts of 6th Tishreen.

    There were other locations within range of Zamalka that were in firm Government possession that would have been far preferable. For instance a big arc South and South-East of Ein Tarna in open fields was in perfect range of Zamalka - assuming a range of 1500m to 2400m. Even parts of the Old City were in range.

    Getting back to alternate locations, one report near the day says the missiles were launched from Baghdad Bridge

    http://wikimapia.org/24457892/Baghdad-bridge

    and a telecommunications factory in Qabun - location unknown. Possibly Syronics

    http://wikimapia.org/9569250/Syronics

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/08/21/assad-forces-launch-massive-chemical-attack-activists-say

    Baghdad Bridge is obviously out of range. Qaboun is almost all beyond 2400 metres - including Syronics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should point out the original report says the attack was by four 122mm Grad rockets at 2:20am from Baghdad Bridge and Qaboun (usnews added the telecom factory factoid)

      Ground truth is they were not 122mm Grad rockets (or not as known to the insurgents at the time) and they couldn't possibly have been fired from Baghdad Bridge. It is beyond reasonable they could have been fired from any part of Qaboun as the only parts close enough were contested.

      As the statement came from the "Syria Support Group" a US Government sponsored 'non lethal' support organisation for the FSA it sounds extremely likely this is a piece of CIA propaganda or disinformation.

      It's unlucky for them the story they concocted was full of holes.

      Original press release at http://www.syriansupportgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Release_-_East_Ghouta_Chemical_Attack.pdf

      Delete
  12. Sometime its good to take a step back and focus on the very basics surrounding these complex issues.

    A good example of this; Basic information was available, early on, for all to digest when trying to determine the estimated range of 122mm volcano. Everyone got way down in the weeds like this was some type of super complicated NASA project. Way, way back when, Charles Wood, compared the 122mm Volcano range to that of the SLUFAE and basically hit the nail on the head. I was in complete agreement and moved on to other things. They both have very similar sized motors (5 inch vs 122mm), similar oversized warheads, and as it amazing turns out very similar ranges (+ or - 1km or so), it was really that simple.



    Some more basic information/observations;

    1. Field Rocket/Artillery Crew; Crewmen will always, as a minimum, have a Gas Mask strapped on their body and other PPE available whenever handling, loading, or firing chemical weapons/warheads.

    a. With all the videos/pictures out there, I have only seen one video where Field Rocket/Artillery Crewmen (rebels) had gas masks and that was a very grainy video/might have been staged.

    2. The 122mm Volcano warhead is poorly constructed/sealed and liquid fillers such as Sarin , FAE, or other liquid fillers will most certainly eventually leak. The crewmen that store, handle, possibly fill, load, and fire the 122mm Volcano (with liquid filled warheads) would be well aware of this and would have the PPE readily available and also some basic materials to handle a small leaks/spills on site.

    a. There are also lots of videos/pictures showing impacted/functioned 122mm Volcano warheads with liquid splattered all over the ground and unprotected people walking through/standing in the liquid. Now, answer in your own mind, what do you really think that liquid could possible be(basic/simple answers)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you referring to the videos where smoke is still emanating from the rocket? The only thing that made sense to me was White Phosphorus. Do you have another idea?

      Delete
    2. Yes, that video is the one that shows a 122mm Volcano that malfunctioned and splattered liquid in the immediate area surrounding the impact point. I have seen a couple different videos (I think) of this particular item/event and one of the videos shows folks walking around with no masks on. This particular 122mm Volcano warhead malfunctioned (fuze/burster was late to the party and/or the burster low ordered). Smoking craters/impact points are not unusual, particularly when you are on scene quickly and there is delayed functioning/penetration of the warhead (they don't call them smoking holes for nothing). There are also a couple of other videos that show liquid on the warhead components/ground. The possible types of warhead that have been discussed for the 122mm Volcano are ; HE, Sarin, WP, and FAE. Now, what could that liquid be if folks are not wearing gas masks or any other type of protective gear? My best guess.

      1. HE; Its not HE.
      2. Sarin; Highly unlikely.
      3. WP; Its not WP.
      4. FAE; Ethylene/Propylene Oxide. Out of the four warheads listed so far this would be my best guess but I am still highly skeptical.
      5. Other liquid fillers; Possible/TBD.

      One more note/something to keep in the back of your mind; When HE warheads detonate, almost with out exception, they produce a billowing darkish/grayish/blackish rising cloud/plume. When FAE (Ethylene/Propylene Oxide) warheads detonate they produce a billowing white/whitish rising cloud/plume. With FAE detonations you will have an initial darkish cloud (this is from the burster). You must wait for the post detonation(FAE) cloud to rise somewhat before it whitens up.

      Sorry its so long, sometimes I ramble.

      Delete
    3. The videos were analyzed here:
      http://whoghouta.blogspot.com/2013/09/analyzing-previous-umlaca-attacks.html
      Everything was a perfect match to a WP warhead. Why did you determine it's not WP?

      Delete
    4. jody,

      I have thought that any liquid remnant could be some sort of incendiary.

      Look at the Liven's projector if WW-I they more or less perfected the concept of throwing a large can of stuff a short distance. Just about anything that could be loaded was used at some time or another. HE, WP, Smoke, irritant chemicals, poison chemicals, incendiary liquids. You name it, it got projected.

      I'm guessing the brown liquid splashes were a heavy hydrocarbon incendiary fuel. As a secondary choice they could be a red-phosphorus / solvent combo.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livens_Projector

      Delete
    5. Sasa, I am making this observation that this was not WP based on my own experience/old foggy memories. I have never seen anything like what's in that video that I could relate to WP. In my past life I dealt with just about any scenario you could dream up when it comes to WP over and over again; supporting WP live fire events, clearing WP impact areas, disposing of WP warheads, dealing with leaking WP warheads, lots of R&D/annual smoke week/month events, and I even pissed on a leaking WP round once to put it out. Also, keep in mind its a very complex/difficult/dangerous process to load/fill a warhead with WP, particularly when its an improvised warhead your trying to fill.

      Charles, I tend to agree with you, it may be some other type of incendiary fuel or maybe even a training or register of fire round.

      Another Note; Low explosive typically produces white smoke. When you see these smoke signatures you can get a good general idea of what type warhead/explosive class (High/Low Explosives) is being used. You can even tell what type booster/burster is being utilized if you look closely. With WP warheads, containing HE boosters/bursters, it is sometimes difficult to see that initial black smoke from the HE burster because the WP smoke almost instantly masks it but if you look closely you will get a glimps. With FAE warheads its easy to see the HE burster black smoke since there is somewhat of a delay between the burster functioning and the cloud detonators initiating the FAE cloud which is then followed by a rising whitish plume. etc.

      Delete
    6. Interesting. These two videos show a very similar payload used in a different delivery device.

      This seems to be the exact same material, probably an aerial bomb?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFsyVO9nTWQ

      This material seems a bit different.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDWKNqCBKuo

      Does this help identify it?

      Delete
  13. Thanks for this.

    I have wondered at times on the sealing of the missiles. I guessed that the outer shell and outermost of the internal tubes were more or less contiguous. Then there will be a seal on the top where the front plate joins.

    Obviously the shell and base, internal parts are fabricated separately but must be sealed somehow. My only knowledge (soon to be experience) is about wet-wings for aircraft where they use seriously nasty sealant goo to cover all joins for the fuel area. They sometimes even pump in sealant and slosh it around.

    My guess is the missiles are fabricated as a warhead assembly that's then sealed with goo and with a central hole for the motor to be inserted - and somehow bolted to the payload without breaking the payload seal.

    In an improv situation some of the seals may be abandoned and the crew have to risk contamination. I thought about that with your comment about wash-down but I don't think that instance was a chemical warhead.

    ReplyDelete
  14. First video looks like WP, I wish they had a wider view. Second video looks like ZAB type incendiary bomblets (thermite/magnesium = puddles of molten residue burned into the ground). Some of these type bomblets also have a PTTF delay with a small burster to scatter the molten metal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. don't you find the first to be very similar to the two umlaca videos?

      Delete
    2. Sasa; The first, original video, has liquid splattered all over the place. The liquid is all over the ground/wall. There is no evidence of scattered burned out chunks of WP or scorched earth/walls and like I said earlier the smoking hole/crater is not unusual in any way. I also have never seen liquid splattered around a WP warhead detonation site, ever.

      The first of the new video shows things that would be consistent with WP, scorched earth and burned out chunks of WP and NO liquid. It would be nice if the video covered more of the surrounding area. Also, there are other type warheads that may leave a similar type foot print. The smoking hole was not a factor in me drawing this conclusion.

      The second of the new videos; These burn spots are from ZAB type incendiary bomblets. Also, there are dozens of video/picture and lots of available information on this type (ZAB) ordnance being used in Syria.

      Delete
    3. What about the second original video:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68YeijuMHec
      Don't you find it very similar to the first new one:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFsyVO9nTWQ

      Delete
    4. Sasa, my observations could be wrong so feel free to give me your best shot. The main difference between these two videos (the latest ones in your above post)is; The second video shows lots of chunks of WP or thickened incendiary that have completely burned out and no evidence of liquid. The first video, 122mm Volcano, does not show these same burned out chunks but does show evidence of liquid. Both videos show scorched earth in the surrounding area. If you look closely at the 122mm Volcano video you will see evidence of liquid. The area right around the impact point (within 5ft or so) shows that splashed liquid was initially (at time of impact) present. There is also evidence that this liquid (puddle) ignited and burned shortly after warhead/rocket motor impact ; Note the bubbly earth, scorched rocket motor, and whitish burnt earth and also note that when this liquid burned it was very clean with little to no post burn byproducts/residue evident. Here is an easy (I could be wrong) question; What filler best fits this clean burning profile.



      Now lets focus on ONLY the 122mm Volcano warhead with possible WP, FAE, or other incendiary type fillers. This is a short simple guide on some things that may help you determine warhead type per particular incident and is solely based on my opinion/observations. Expect to encounter situations that include all types of warhead/component malfunctions, particularly since this is an improvised munition. Sources needed to validate this would be all videos/pictures/info currently available.

      Very General Guide;


      1. 122mm Volcano with WP warhead.

      a. Scorched earth/impact area; Yes

      b. Burned/unburned chunks of WP or thickened incendiary material; Yes

      c. Evidence of liquid filler if warhead malfunctions in any way; No

      d. Blast damage (above and beyond warhead burster/booster); No



      2. 122mm Volcano with FAE warhead.

      a. Scorched earth/impact area; Yes

      b. Burned/unburned chunks of WP or thickened incendiary material; No

      c. Evidence of liquid filler if warhead malfunctions in any way; Yes

      d. Blast damage (above and beyond warhead burster/booster); Yes



      3. 122mm Volcano warhead with some other type incendiary filler;

      a. Scorched earth/impact area; Yes

      b. Burned/unburned chunks of thickened incendiary filler/material; Yes

      c. Evidence of liquid filler if warhead malfunctions in any way ; Yes

      d. Blast damage (above and beyond warhead burster/booster); No

      Delete
    5. There does seem to be some liquid involved. Any idea what it could be?

      Not sure I follow your claim about blast damage. The sites seem mostly undisturbed. The only signs we see are the small craters and the material spread around the area.

      Delete
    6. Sasa, I am not talking about the particular videos we are discussing presently. There are numerous other videos that show blast effects damage around the impact/functioning point of non-High Explosive (HE) 122mm Volcano warheads. These videos show blast induced damage to nearby structures/walls/area around the warhead functioning point and also show scorching/flash burns on the ground/structures. This particular warhead can also simultaneously produce scorching/burning effects and liquid contamination without evidence of blast damage. This can happen due to certain types of malfunctions/component failures/timing is off.

      In my humble opinion, there is only one 122mm Volcano non-HE warhead that could possibly produce this type of simultaneous damage from a single warhead functioning event. This particular type warhead would requires perfect functioning/timing to produce these effects simultaneously. The non-HE warheads that I have seen discussed are; CW, WP, FAE, and warhead with some other type of incendiary filler. Now which one of these non-HE warheads could produce both blast damage and scorching/flash burns simultaneously?

      Delete
    7. Jody,

      Missile 197 - one of the UN ones - is in an open area with extensive scorching around it. There is nearby blast damage that sasa wava says could be old.

      Focusing on that one, what is your opinion?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK2F1SPnlDI

      Delete
    8. Charles, you know as well as anyone on this site that it can be very difficult to tell if the damage we see in one specific videos was caused by a particular item. This type of damage can be hard to verify because most of these cities/areas have been blasted/shelled/bombed/rocketed/ etc for a couple years.

      With that being said, I think this video shows evidence of a successful 122mm Volcano FAE warhead detonation event. The video even seems to shows the horseshoe shaped, earth scorching footprint that would be expected from a lower angle of attack/FAE warhead functioning point (apx 45 degrees).

      Delete
    9. Hi jody,

      Sorry for probably difficult or unanswerable questions.

      Assuming it was around 50-60 lites of fuel, approx what radius would the blast damage be - that is fascia damaged/removed?

      Would there be debris ejected backwards into the field area?

      With an FAE explosion is there any sooting? Or just scorching and blast? i.e. would the missile be covered in soot?

      What do other types of FAE transports look like after the explosion? blown to smithereens? Seriously mangled? Or substantially intact other than ground impact damage?

      If the blast damage was caused by conventional HE shells would there be obvious craters and/or ejecta trails?

      Delete
    10. In the other 7 impact site videos (other than 197), there is no blast damage beyond what you'd expect from a heavy steel rocket body hitting the ground. Even in 197 it looks unrelated.
      This makes me very hesitant to attribute it to FAE.

      Delete
    11. Do you have links to the other 7 impact site videos? I have managed to find videos for
      '197',
      'UN Site',
      '165',
      unknown location https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FilC4CIvWk, Al-Jazeera with 200m perforated plate.

      Incidentally the AJ one appeared to be in an area of some damage and the UN one was next to a gap in a damaged wall

      Delete
    12. you have 5 in 'the conclusion' under 'background evidence', and 2 more in al jazeera.
      I agree there is some damage, but exactly what you'd expect from 70 kg flying at 500 km/h, but much less than a 60 kg FAE payload.

      Delete
  15. Sasa, I don't blame you for being skeptical. Most nation states like the US and Russia can't get FAE warheads to function optimally a good percentage of the time. A improvised 122mm Volcano FAE warhead would have to have everything go perfect for it to produce highly noticeable blast effects and timing/angle of attack are critical. The optimum angle of attack is 90 degrees of the target surface. When you start getting shallower angles (example 45 degrees) the FAE cloud formation is impeded by the ground. Also, building walls/tall structures impede FAE cloud formation. As a result of factors such as low angle of attack, tall structures in the target area, improvised warhead, and other FAE system complexities I would suspect that you would rarely see highly visible evidence of blast damage. Most likely these FAE warheads are functioning in what I call varying degrees of fissile with only minimal evidence of blast damage. Also, keep in mind that most of the videos are focusing in on the impact site/point and it would be nice if we had more wide angle coverage.


    Charles, I will have to leave the conventional HE ordnance for another time. A little of my background with FAE ordnance, I worked on the BLU-73 (duds) and CATFAE/BLU96 programs/projects. Now I will try to answer some of your questions.



    1. Structural damage estimate for 122mm Volcano FAE warhead (50/60): I am going of old memories only. The structures we see damaged in the videos are made of unfilled/unreinforced CMU. This type of structure is very susceptible to damage from relatively low PSI values. I would estimate the damage radius for this type structure would be 150ft (+ or - 50ft) for an optimally functioning 122mm Volcano FAE warhead. See attached videos of SLUFAE/CATFAE detonation events for comparison.

    2. With an FAE explosion is there any sooting? Never noticed any.

    3. What do other types of FAE transports look like after the explosion? blown to smithereens? Seriously mangled? Or substantially intact other than ground impact damage? They all look about the same. All the FAE warheads I know of are thin skinned with a central type burster. The outer skin is designed to separate at predetermine weak points and will be of the same general shape/size. The nose plate/fuze/baseplate will separate and be easily identifiable. If a rocket motor was part of the system it will be present and look pretty much like a expended 122mm Volcano motor. The burster tube will be pretty much destroyed. I have also never seen much of the weapon system being ejected to far rearward.

    Sasa/Charles; Read this document it contains most of what you may need to know about FAE warheads etc; http://www.mineactionstandards.org/fileadmin/user_upload/MAS/documents/technical-notes/TN_09-30_04_2001_FAE_Version-1-0.pdf

    SLUFAE; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjUwkNaJgJs&feature=player_detailpage

    CATFAE; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ENL498PTK8&feature=player_detailpage


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think for Zamalka we can be very certain these were not FAE, since eyewitnesses didn't report any loud explosions, and in this video we see dry vegetation completely unscorched:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmP6wPdTIUM

      As to whether the original design was FAE or incendiary, I think we need more opinions on which of these payloads is more likely to leave black and white material around the impact site and emanate smoke for a long time.

      Anyone?

      Delete
    2. Sasa, I would not expect to many loud reports (bangs) from an improvised FAE warhead (I already explained its complexities). What I would expect from and improvised FAE warhead is lots of fissile with little to no report. I am not basing my observations on any of the videos linked to the Aug 21 attack (I am just siting back/staying out of that conversation for the most part). Also, I believe there are at least 3 or more possible types of warheads being fitted to the 122mm Volcano and FAE is only one of the possibilities.

      This video shows what you would expect to see (footprint/residue)
      after a typical WP bursting warhead event. This video shows the WP projectile fragments (large/bulky chunks/pieces). WP events typically don't produce complete impact area surface burn coverage (like a big completely scorched circular area) , they produce most of there target area surface burns by scattering burning chunks over a wide area (lots of little black burning/burnt pieces).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIJdn-x43jg

      Delete
    3. I see what you mean. So my current understanding is that it was some other type of incendiary, which is more liquid, and may or may not contain WP. Thanks for helping me understand this better.
      FAE still doesn't seem to be a good match so far.

      Delete
  16. How should I image the Sarin dispersal for the impact shown in above mentioned video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmP6wPdTIUM)? The Volcano hits the ground and the Sarin is dispersed at impact? Part splaches meters (100ms?) around the impact site, part of the Sarin stays in the crater caused by impact?
    Sorry for asking beginners questions, but I have a hard time imagining the events.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still setting up the computer model, but for very brief explanation, 55l of Sarin (one warhead) fully vaporised turns into 10 cubic metres of gas - the size of a quite small bedroom.

      This parcel of gas is then transported downwind at 18 km/h - a running pace. As it goes it progressively expands sideways and a bit upwards. It gets expanded by buildings and trees and any other obstructions that cause swirls in the wind.

      Some distance downwind - and I'm still working out that number but probably 500m-2000m at night, it has expanded enough to no longer be lethal. Actual volume at that point is the same as a large football stadium but flatter and wider. (600,000 cubic metres).

      The whole process will take somewhere between 3 and 10 minutes and most casualties will be further down-wind. People near the splash and upwind won't be affected.

      That's in ideal circumstances as varying amounts will be absorbed into surfaces on the way or neutralised by alkali soils, and some will be in liquid form that evaporates at a rate too low to cause fatalities (i.e. hours afterwards)

      Delete
    2. In the case of the rocket shown in video, do you expect the 55 l to be fully vaporized? Why would it? Is there a ´vaporizing´ device?

      Delete
    3. In my computer modelling I'm assuming a liquid fraction of 50% - that is 50% vapour and 50% liquid - and that's just a guess.

      However, the liquid will quickly evaporate so the effect is an elongated plume of gas with most at the far down-wind end. The lethality effect is cumulative so a bit of late arriving gas is not a problem.

      A side-effect of being part liquid is that the kill zone downwind will be narrowed. So instead of being perhaps two football stadiums wide at the end of the lethal zone it's only one wide.

      I also forgot to note that while the gas in Zamalka would have been terrible, it's looking like the people in the next suburb Hazeh would have been most affected.

      Vaporising device? Not as such. The dispersal charge would blow most of the liquid into a volume around the rocket impact trajectory. Much of it would be instantly vaporised in the blast. The rest turned into aerosol or dumped as a pool on the ground.

      Delete
  17. The Sarin would be stable enough to survive the ´dispersal charge´? When is the dispersal charge activated? When the rocket hits the ground? Wouldn´t it explode in the crater then? Or is it a device exploding just above the surface?
    I´m trying to understand the physics. The container filled with Sarin hits the ground at 500m/s (?), it has an inertia downwards (I am comparing with a water jet out of high pressure cleaner), if the dispersal charge does´t go off before the rocket hits the ground, the Sarin will be pushed in the crater and soil and get dispersed only a little I would think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simulation says velocity when hitting ground is 111m/s. The booster charge is at the tip of the warhead, so it contradicts this inertia, but no one has calculated whether the charge size is enough or what exactly would be the cloud size.
      We also don't know if it explodes on contact, or if it has a proximity sensor (possibly the 'bicycle pump').
      It won't damage the sarin - that's the standard dispersal mechanism for sarin.
      In any case, even if it just creates a puddle, it could be effective enough against unprotected victims. That was the original way CW was used - just opening canisters upwind from the target.

      Delete
    2. Prox fuses are in the nose. The 'bicycle pump' appears to have some other use. Prox fuses can be very small and would also be used in FAE and WP versions.

      If it was a contact fuse then a significant fraction of the Sarin would end up in the ground and create a hot-spot that would be very obvious to the UN inspectors. This hasn't been reported.

      There is also the Al-Jazeera video showing a 200mm perforated steel dish. This dish appears to have been part of the forward internal assembly of the missile (see jody wave comments). The fact it's not damaged indicates the detonation was above ground and very likely a low impulse bursting charge rather than HE .

      Incidentally, the 'it must have been the Regime' crew constantly refer to a possible 'nosecone version' in attempts to stretch the possible range.

      The fact is no nosecones have been seen on any volcano splashes, particularly not in any Zamalka splash.

      Delete
    3. If it´s a puddle, it will be enough to kill unprotected civilians when there is a hit inside a populated area, but will that puddle in the middle of the field seen in the video be enough to kill eg 40 civilians (500/12rockets)? Especially if the puddle is in the crater and also considering the degrading time at relative high ambient temperatures.
      Opening the canisters upwind was never used with Sarin (I think?). Would that work on a battle field with 2 buckets of Sarin (circa 50 liters).
      The Tokyo events with the plastic bags was in a confined space and "only" a few tens of victims...
      Wouldn´t the dispersal mechanism be very important here to get the amount of registered victims?

      Delete
    4. Charles,
      Someone suggested that the proximity antenna is in the nose (seen in some videos), while the electronics are in the bicycle pump inside the warhead.
      Since the steel dish was only found in one site, which had lots of other debris, I hesitate to attribute it to the rocket.

      Delete
    5. veritas,

      Good point about sarin not used in the 'open canister' method. On the other hand, it wasn't used at all during the period when this method was used.

      As to the puddle efficiency - I guess it depends on its area. That would determine how much can evaporate into the environment. Let's see what Charles comes up with.

      Comparing to Tokyo: They used 7 liters and killed 13 (injuring hundreds), That's 2 fatalities per liter. Zamalka is 1-2 fatalities per liter. The differences:
      1. Tokyo had far better medical care than Ghouta. In some cases they didn't even have atropine.
      2. Tokyo was a confined space.
      3. Tokyo had no dispersion mechanism. Zamalka had something, although we're not yet sure how effective.
      4. Tokyo was 30% purity. No idea about Zamalka.

      Overall, i think the numbers make sense even with a limited dispersal mechanism.

      Delete
    6. Sasa,


      1. Are we sure that the high fatality rate was not partially caused by the atropine? On the videos you see people injecting victims óver and over´. Total chaos, no one registering who already had their Atropine dose and who not, did they take into account the weight of the patients... The side effects of an overdose do somewhat coincide with what we see in videos...
      2.Confined space in Tokyo was VERY confined: a crowded metro carriage.

      Charles,
      You don´t think it was a contact fuse . Why would we need to see a ´hot spot´in the ground? What do you mean with hotspot? Sasa thinks the dispersal charge is at the front so coming in contact with the earth, the Sarin would be dispersed and not injected in the crater.

      Sasa and Charles,
      Can I conclude that you both think it was not a proximity fuse since no nose cap has been found?

      Addition to a possible scenario:
      People came running to the medical centers out of panic because affected (non letally) by Sarin. Due to overdose more were killed than would have without treatment...
      So bad dispersal of Sarin and the high fatality is not necessarily in conflict.

      Delete
    7. Based on this it's hard to kill with atropine
      http://www.rxlist.com/atropine-drug/overdosage-contraindications.htm#OD

      I'm not yet sure there was no proximity fuse. In some videos we see what could be a proximity antenna at the tip.

      Delete
    8. You´re right, an eventual atropine overdose doesn´t seem lethal according to several internet sites. I seem to remember one of the blog contributors with direct experience mentioning the danger of atropine overdose...
      But doesn´t it seem strange that a week after the events there are no patients anymore that need follow up? No one with drips etc... The patients seemed to have walked away the following day or to have died. Not much in between. Maybe this can be explained by the war situation

      Delete
    9. Interesting point. I indeed don't recall seeing a video from hospitals that is a few days after the attack. Anyone?

      Delete
    10. The medical treatment given to the children in the videos still bothers me. Sorry to bother you further with this. The main injections I see with the children seems to be intravascular. What are they treating the children with? I looked up the references for the atropine and it is all intramuscular. I can't find anything about what happens if given intravascular. A lot of the children have these central lines in their necks and on top of that, they are getting, or seem to have had an intravascular injection in the arm. Has the medical treatment given to the victims been covered in your blog?

      Delete
    11. Jumped to conclusions concerning atropine again, intravascular is mentioned on internet. I don't know how to delete comments so I rectify this way...
      Still wonder what else was injected and might have had an effect on previously injected atropine. Doesnt seem logical in chaos to go for central line and intravascular injection if only atropine is administered.

      Delete
    12. I didn't look into the treatment at all so far. Please update if you find anything interesting.

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    13. Wouldn't it be interesting to have 'a medical treatment' page?
      I have been looking for a video I found with a lot of 'injections' on little children. I can't find it anymore but the 'cut up' version of it is found in this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj5nGUwlieU
      The footage with the little children (starting from around 1min) comes out of one single video showing treatment of the same little children for minutes on end. What I notice is this 'center line' in the necks of the children, the arm tied for finding blood vessels, canules (or what is it called, I'm not a medical person) in the arms, and continuous injection of children (also intramuscular) without checking vital signs. On top of that, they are lying on the floor in a dark spot. No one seems to be keeping track which child got which treatment, different persons seem to be injecting at random with very little monitoring of heart rates (not many stethoscopes to be seen...)
      Could a medical first aid doctor give an opinion on this footage? Maybe someone knows how to find the original non-cut up video of the children, that would be handy...

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  18. The dispersal charge as cody wave pointed out is designed to burst the pre-scored cannister. It's not big enough to rip it into rough shards and it's not the same as conventional bursting charges that are a rod of explosives down the centre of the payload cannister. The intent appears to have been to release the liquid into the airstream to be broken up into small droplets and vapour - hence an airburst is required.

    If it was a contact fuse it was too small to 'blast the sarin back in the air'. The bulk of the liquid would still impact the ground, creating high concentrations on the immediate surface and in the crater where the missile shaft embedded (a hot-spot).

    Nose-cone? There is ZERO evidence of a nose-cone from multiple strike records. Nor has it ever been seen on any launches including the Liwa al-Islam ones. A nose-cone is purely hypothetical and appears to be raised be people with a pre-formed view that the range of the 122mm volcano is far longer than it actually is (not that a nose-cone helps much at all)

    Bicycle pump? The device is connected to the base not the nose. Conventional artillery and mortar ground nose proximity fuses are quite small and do not need external electronics. The only use I can think of is as a secondary bursting charge in case the nose-fuse is a dud (we have at least one example where the liquid volcano landed without detonation)

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    1. How do you know the charge is too small to achieve good dispersal?
      The bicycle pump is indeed connected to the base, but there could be a wire from there to the antenna at the tip (pure speculation here).

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    2. Based on the lack of damage to the blast plug and surrounding tube the charge was not very large or violent. It would have been good enough to rupture the pre-scored cannister but not much more.

      If the intention was primary dispersion of the liquid it would have been larger mass and in a linear form down the centre of the cannister - as in conventional CW munitions.

      Of course, it's all a continuum as the charge would obviously have dispersed some liquid in its own right. The discussion is 'how much'. I contend not that much and it was mostly done by aerodynamic forces.

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    3. Just one other comment on the 'bicycle pump'

      It may possibly be designed to pressurise and aerate the liquid - but not enough to rupture the cannister. The design of the unit with multiple holes in it says it's a gas generator.

      Purely hypothetically It's designed to turn the liquid into a fizzy mix with lots of dissolved gas. When the bursting charge ruptures the cannister the liquid not only gets torn up by aerodynamic forces, but any remnant droplets or bulk liquid froth to dramatically increase the liquid surface area.

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    4. Interesting idea, but then why was it found in the HE version?

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    5. I've heard a theory that it's to stiffen the cannister for launch in HE and CW variants.

      I don't accept that. Steel strength is measured in hundreds of mega-pascals while gas is of the order a few thousand hectopascals.

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