Oct 10, 2015

60 Minutes' Review of the Ghouta Attack

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

A few days ago, CBS' 60 Minutes aired a review of the Ghouta attack. Following is my quick analysis:
  1. Despite the claim of new evidence, I could not identify any new videos. The new evidence must therefore be the eyewitness reports.
  2. The show seems to be relying on Western Intelligence reports to claim government culpability, saying the rocket attacks originated from government held territory. This claim by the US has since been completely refuted.
  3. The show claims the rockets were of a type used by the government. This is known to be correct, although it is irrelevant when determining culpability, due to the numerous rebel raids on army depots. Actually, these rockets were not part of the Syrian chemical weapons program, and were most likely repurposed incendiary rockets. Such a weapon is therefore a much better fit for a false flag attack than for a government attack.
  4. The eyewitness reports do not add any new information relevant to determining culpability. There is however one interesting report: The opposition activist from Moadamiyah describes hearing muffled rocket hits, and a strong burning sensation in his lungs. This strengthens our conclusion that no chemical attack occurred in Moadamiyah: Sarin is highly lethal, and by the time a victim can inhale enough sarin to feel lung irritation, he has long been unconscious or dead.
    If we are to believe the claims of muffled hits and lung irritations, a white phosphorous or non-lethal gas attack is far more likely. Both of which have been used often by the Syrian government (while there is no evidence of previous use of lethal chemical weapons).
  5. Despite the numerous mistakes, the show does deserve some credit for leaving significant room for doubt regarding culpability, and even ending the interview with Scott Cairns of the UN investigation team, with the following:
    60 Minutes: “Why would anyone launch the largest chemical weapons attack in decades, while [UN] chemical weapon experts are in town?”
    Cairns: “I ask myself this a lot... I don’t know... I don't think we'll ever truly know.”
    Not many shows on a US mainstream channel would dare to do so. Kudos.