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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 06:56 PM

Syria nerve gas claims undermined by eyewitness accounts

Source: Guardian

New questions have emerged over the source of the soil and other samples from Syria which, it is claimed, have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, amid apparent inconsistencies between eyewitness accounts describing one of the attacks and textbook descriptions of the weapon.

As questions from arms control experts grow over evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a limited scale on several occasions, one incident in particular has come under scrutiny.

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According the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, "sarin is a nerve agent that is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents. It is a clear colourless liquid generally odourless and tasteless".

But eyewitness accounts of that attack, in which six rebels died and which were reported at the time by the Associated Press described "white smoke" pouring from shells that "smell[ed] like hydrochloric acid".

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According to the US and UK governments, "miniscule" samples recovered by opposition sources and passed on to western intelligence agencies have shown traces of sarin. No other agents have been mentioned.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/28/syrian-nerve-gas-claims-eyewitness

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:03 PM

1. A UN team is ready to investigate

 

Unfortunately, the Syrian government has not yet given them permission to do so.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:14 PM

2. Syrian Opposition Rejects Russian Chemical Weapons Experts

 

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Response to Purveyor (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 07:39 AM

10. Russians have to be a part of the investigation team. Russia will not support any Security Council

action if their experts have been excluded from the investigation. Their experts may be unbiased or they may not (you could say that about everyone) but their take on the evidence will be crucial to the value of the findings.

If they agree with the others (one way or the other) that will increase the weight of the findings. If they or the other experts determine that chemical weapons were not used (whatever political motivations we may read into any camp's opinion), the UN is not going to authorize any involvement. OTOH, if Russian experts are somehow excluded from the investigation, it is a pretty safe bet that Russia will not endorse any official findings and will continue to block UN action.

The Syrian opposition is going to have to relent on this. Just as the Syrian government is going to have to relent on allowing UN investigators into the country.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:05 PM

3. Chain of custody problems?

Who would've thunk it?

BO: "If they use chemical weapons, we'll help you, Syrian opposition."

SO: "Look, the people we've been fighting for two years, the people we hate, the people that we want to replace--they've used chemical weapons. Here are the samples we collected to prove that we're unbiased and telling the truth."

BO: "Looks serious. Can we investicate, Syrian Opposition?"

SO: "No. You have to trust us. We're unbiased and would never lie in overthrowing the slavering dogs that have oppressed us and whom we'd like to execute as soon as we hold the trials showing that they're guilty."

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:20 PM

4. Wild ass rumors have always been more than enough evidence for the US to to attack another country.

 

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:21 AM

5. But not this time thankfully. EOM

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Response to cartach (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 03:09 AM

6. The jury is still out. nt

 

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Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 07:32 AM

9. This time it is. For Obama's predecessor the jury would most definitely already be 'in'. n/t

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 05:42 AM

7. False flag.

The idea that the opposition turned sarin over to Western and/or Israeli intelligence is pure fantasy, black ops. It is a total false flag. The clearest evidence is that al Qaeda launched chemical bombs in Aleppo to terrorize people in secure areas. It was not sarin. And it's a tactic that is consistent with their many car bombings, shellings, etc., all designed to cause terror and disintegrate normal life.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 07:30 AM

8. "...it's a tactic that is consistent with their many car bombings, shellings, etc., all designed to

cause terror and disintegrate normal life." - I think Assad's use of aerial bombs, missiles, tanks and artillery have caused more 'terror' and done more to 'disintegrate normal life' than the car bombs and shelling from the opposition. The government has access to much more powerful weapons and has shown little reluctance to use them on urban neighborhoods. Whether civilians were directly targeted to cause terror or were the victims of 'collateral damage' does not matter too much to those affected.

You are right the gas used in Aleppo (which both sides deny responsibility for and the government has refused to allow the UN in to investigate) was not sarin. It does not prove that the opposition has access to sarin. If (a big IF, at this point) sarin was used elsewhere that will be a f------ big deal. There may still be nothing that the US or the UN can do about it, particularly if Russia blocks UN efforts and continues to supply heavy weapons to Assad. Even Russia has warned Assad not to use chemical weapons and supports an investigation into the possibility (perhaps just for PR reasons, but they do support it).

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Response to pampango (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 08:52 AM

11. And it may be the case that the Syrian gov. did NOT use saran. Of course that is not what the west

 

wants to know.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 09:33 AM

12. Oh, I think that is very much what Obama wants to know.

The UK, France and Israel may already be convinced but he seems not to want to "know" that the Syrian government used sarin gas unless there is much more conclusive evidence. It's kind of the opposite of Bush who did not want to "know" that Iraq did not have WMD no matter how conclusive the evidence was.

Bush used fear, emotion and supposition to base his policy on Iraq. All that is typical of republican behavior. Obama seems to want to find what the actual facts are and base his policy on Syria based on these, not on fear, emotion and supposition. Facts have a liberal bias.

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