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Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013

National Coalition Of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces propaganda poster claiming President Assad is responsible for a Chemical Massacre in Syria
(main image discussed here.)
"Chemical Massacre" symbol used in activist propaganda
Subpages
The amount of things to discuss just doesn't fit on one talk page so we created a couple of subpages (content shouldn't be but can be redundant) All related material can be found in Category:Ghouta CW attack./Activist reports
/Locations
Jobar
Kafr Batna
Zamalka ghost house

/Proof of government guilt
/Rescue work
/Rocket attack
/Sources
/U.N. Investigator Response
/Victims Analysis
/Witnesses
MacDonald email leak
Thermobaric weapons

Material on on previous instances of alleged chemical weapons use can be found in Category:Chemical Weapons.

Analysis and opinion supportive of Western narrative See also /Proof of government guilt
Who Used Sarin in Syria? – Clay Claiborne, September 3, 2013

Debunking the Western narrative?
I will collect here references that try to debunk the the US / HRW / activist narrative of the events. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:10, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Assorted links
5 Ways 'Incontrovertible Evidence' on Syria is Controvertible – Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post, September 11, 2013
Getting to the bottom of the rebels’ chemical weapons use in Syria – Wayne MADSEN, 11.09.2013
U.S. MILITARY CONFIRMS REBELS HAD SARIN – F. MICHAEL MALOOF, WDN, September 12, 2013
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Have published a read-worthy letter to the President yesterday where they first remind him that the first open letter the organization wrote was to Bush on the day after Powell's UN show, ripping it to shreds. They point out that "the most salient fact" the available evidence shows is that there was some kind of chemical incident, but not one carried out by professionals with professional chemical weapons, and that the Brits and the US intelligence community understand that, while Obama is taken for a ride. Later in the letter:
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
Goes on with some examples I hadn't heard of. A couple of days ago they wrote a letter to Dempsey asking him to resign if Obama goes ahead without asking Congress. Hopefully people are finally listening. --CE (talk) 14:36, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Yossef Bodansky
Yossef Bodansky has published a third article, accusing the rebels and Saudi Prince Bandar of the attack. The people at Moon of Alabama have been trying to attack his persona; right-wing Zionist Iran / Saudi hater. Maybe, but his word carries a lot of weight in the right wing. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:06, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Bodansky: New granular evidence points to Saudi role in chemical weapons attack – Yossef Bodansky, WorldTribune.com, September 9, 2013
Never heard of the guy but that was a fascinating read. Ties a lot together. --CE (talk) 10:39, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree he's a bit suspect, arguably, but he seems to have good info sometimes that proves really interesting. Some was useful in tracking down the back story of the Lockerbie bomber (not Megrahi, now lives in Virginia). Will see about this article, in time. Petri, awesome work lately.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:31, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Mother Agnes
The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta – Mother Agnes Mariam, Version beta 11 09 2013 (PDF, 43MB)
Rebels in Ghouta admit responsibility?

Breaking: AP journalist publishes story claiming al-Qaeda and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan were responsible for carrying out the Ghouta gas attack! (See Tubes in tunnels? below)
EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack – By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh | MintPress News, August 29, 2013
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.

I don't know about the author or Mint Press, but I don't trust this report. Some odd writing , some really odd quotes. Maybe I need to re-read it, but first pass felt weird. They can point right at Bandar, and cite the spooky tunnels, which both make enough sense, but then they consistently claim there was an accident, in (9 towns?) at once, accidentally killing hundreds, or 1,000+, because of improper training? Right after the CW inspectors came? Was there a coordinated mass-handling of those mysterious canisters that night by the duped rebels, and then timers were set off? How many people would blame themselves and accident for that? It's a bizarre story and I suspect disinfo/propaganda, one way or another. I'm pretty sure whoever did whatever, they did it on purpose. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:42, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I shouldn't be quite so harsh. If one strips away the 8-9 towns and considers, as described, just one accident - and perhaps not coincidence but related to a plan to have them unwittingly release the gas, ... Maybe there was an accident involved, and those who survived it felt it was THE explanation. But instead, it would coincide with whatever other actions, by whoever, that led to however many deaths that this alone can hardly explain. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

There could have been more "accidents" and isn't it possible that these things had some radio (edit: or better time - one year red line) triggered release mechanism? Would be a cunning plan worthy of Bandar Bush - you distribute the stuff to your vanilla rebels who store it somewhere near their homes, so you can be sure there will be rebel areas affected when you release it. At least possible. Anyway, I share your general skepticism about the article to a degree, although the author seems to be kind of legit and could have the proper contacts. --CE (talk) 12:33, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

When I first read the article, it sounded so un-fucking-believable for mainstream media that I thought the author was Sorcha Faal of WhatDoesItMean.com. The fact is however, that Dale Gavlak is a respected journalist for AP. Quoting InfoWars.com
Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR).
It is likely Dale Gavlak will never again write anything for any mainstream media. The story however is as credible as anything the the mainstream press has ever printed. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:50, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

How can one believe the story when they say "rebels were responsible" and not believe it when it says "it was an accident". There is no contradiction here. The Mint Press article does not tell us what really happened – that we will have to find out by our self by investigations. It only tells us what the locals and rebels believe has happened. They also happen to be the only journalists reporting from Ghouta. What they tell us is that the rebel and locals are ready to admit to anyone who asks (except the UN investigators *) that it was their chemical weapons that were used. They are unwilling to admit or even believe that they were used intentionally, thus the psychological defense of "it was an accident". Openly admitting that their party is guily of genocide would amount to switching sides in the war.

(* No witness will tell the truth to UN investigators, as the UN team is always accompanied by armed al-Nusra or rebel minders.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:31, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Attempted debunk; focuses on the credibility of the authors, cites Brown Moses. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:45, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
DEBUNKED: Syrian rebels admit to AP reporter they mishandled the chemical weapons given by Saudi Arabia – Antonin Gregoire, September 3, 2013

That was a complete waste of time. Pseudo-skeptical douchebag shadowboxing. --CE (talk) 22:27, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Apologist theories
A number of apologist theories have been put froward admitting rebel participation but somehow avoiding guilt. At the moment I consider all of these BS by al-Qaeda apologist, a modern form of holocaust denial.
Only acting, children were not killed. (See Talk:MacDonald email leak)
"Accident"
CW in tunnels released by SAA artillery or thermobaric bunker buster rockets. [1]

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:32, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Quirico and Piccinin
Quirico: "E’ folle dire che io sappia che non è stato Assad a usare i gas", La Stampa, Sep 9, 2013
If I understand the auto-translation correctly, the La Stampa correspondent Domenico Quirico had been imprisoned by some FSA "rebels" and while he was in prison, he once witnessed through the half-open door a Skype conversation in English two people in the room, one of them had introduced himself as a FSA "general", the other unknown, had with a third unknown person, and part of the talk was that the gassings in "two districts" were a "rebel" provocation and the death toll exaggerated. The title of the article seems to quote the correspondent saying that he didn't say Assad hasn't done it, just reporting what he witnessed. --CE (talk) 16:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

This seems to be quite a big deal in Italy or at least at La Stampa, and I just saw that they have an English translation of the article. My summary was correct but I overlooked that there is a second witness to this, the Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin who was also imprisoned there, and he apparently made statements going further than what Quirico is willing to sign, hence the headline. Interesting. --CE (talk) 17:00, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Here is an article including video interview with the Belgian. Having been an FSA-"embedded" pro-rebel reporter with eight visits to Syria, he was "betrayed" by FSA who handed him over to Islamist kidnappers in Al-Qusair. He's been in custody of various groups for five months and suffered two "mock executions" and other abuse. He says it's very hard for him as a "rebel" supporter to do but he feels a "moral duty" to tell the world that it wasn't Assad who used chemical weapons in the Ghouta. Both were released Sunday evening. --CE (talk) 17:17, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't say it's "madness" to presume the rebel guys believing this was their own provocations know what they're talking about. That's better than most sources by far, more useful insights. It would be sloppy to presume it is true, but reasonable to consider it the best illustrated possibility by far. IF he/they actually heard that. And it could well be. Will look at this a bit more later. Interesting. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:08, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Seems like the Belgian guy is independent and free to say what he wants, while the Italian is a senior war correspondent of likely the most important conservative Italian newspaper, whose every politically incorrect fart is analyzed, hence the "defense". --CE (talk) 01:15, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Agree. Already commented on this on Pepe Escobar's Facebook page: The fear of Empire causes the La Stampa journalist Domenico Quirico to say "I heard it, but I never meant to hear it and I never said I heard it." Well, it is out now, and Quirico will never write for the MSM again. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:58, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Belgian Journalist Pierre Piccinin, freed after being kidnapped by terrorists in Syria: “It is not the Al-Assad government who has used the gas” (video)

Syria: Assad not Responsible for Ghouta Gas Attack, Says Freed Hostage Pierre Piccinin, International Business Times, September 9, 2013 - English language article about Piccinin's statements. It was the Farouk Brigade which held them hostage. Fits if it happened in Qusair. --CE (talk) 17:07, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Il racconto di Domenico Quirico "Io, tra bombe, fughe e umiliazioni", La Stampa, September 10, 2013 - He recalls his journey in Italian. One of SPIEGEL's worst propagandists wrote about it today and I was wondering if she omitted the overheard "admission" or if he did. Nothing in his article... --CE (talk) 21:29, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

French language RTL interview with Piccinin, September 9 or 10, 2013, English subtitles by Eretz Zen. Here he gets confronted with Quirico's backpedaling and thinks for a moment he has denied the event, but then understands that he only was too spineless to stand by the conclusion. --CE (talk) 23:59, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

‘Either rebels are responsible for the chemical attack, or Assad’s forces lost their minds’ - French ex-hostage, RT, September 13, 2013 - well, he's Belgian but other than that, interesting interview with Pierre Piccinin. He describes Al-Farouq as something different than FSA. Well, I guess he doesn't want all his illusions destroyed at once. --CE (talk) 21:09, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Rebel possession of chemical weapons See also Rebel possession of chemical weapons
Syrian rebel groups sought to buy materials for chemical weapons, prosecutors say – Dogan News Agency, Hurriyet Daily News, September 12, 2013
The indictment rejected the legitimacy of the suspects’ claim that they were unaware the chemicals they tried to obtain could be used to produce sarin gas.
The indictment also contained Qassap’s testimony where he confessed his links with the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades and moved to the city of Antakya following the instructions of its leader, Abu Walid. “After I arrived in Antakya, other rebel groups had come into contact with me. While some had asked me for medicine and other humanitarian aid supplies, others wanted to obtain military equipment,” he told prosecutors.

Murder investigation, part 2
Dead pigeons in Erbin on August 24. This photo by Ammar Dar is one of very few that indicate that toxic chemicals were released into the atmosphere – as opposed to closed spaces. (Discuss)

At this point we need to revert back to the core Assadist hypothesis. Hostages from Latakia, from Tal Abyad in Kurdistan, or from where ever were gassed in some confined space, then left dead or dying at the hospital. Some teargas was released here and there to cause panic. Drops of sarin were left somewhere for the UN team to find. The task now is to negate this hypothesis. We need to find real witness testimony and in situ footage.
E.g. Video of dead family killed in their home.Video of family member or neighbor, in situ, describing how the whole family was killed. Video of dead animals in situ.Video of the attack site, empty houses, without fresh bomb damage, abandoned in panic or cleared of dead bodies.Lists of victims with addresses.Any sign that the claimed victims ever lived in the effected areas.
So far I have seen none of this, except for the one fly-in-your-face fraud. I have not looked for new material after day #1, will start looking now.
It is interesting, that in the al-Bayda and Baniyas massacres in government controlled areas the "activists" were able to act as flies in the roof and film the massacred families in situ in their homes, even before the Assadist dumped their bodies on the streets. Yet, in this rebel controlled area activist are not able to provide any in situ footage.

Now, find the footage and prove me wrong! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:40, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Videos
Noirette has started analysing and collecting videos on Moom of Alabama. I will try to collect the remarks here: Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Noirette -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:58, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Syria: Chemical Weapons Expert Jean Pascal Zanders Says Gas Might Not Be Sarin, Urges Caution – Mehdi Hasan / HuffPost, 30/08/2013
Zanders, however, is much more sceptical and urges caution until the UN weapons inspectors on the ground in Damascus report back to the Security Council. "I do not doubt [the Ghouta incident] was a major event," he said, before adding: "If you look at all the [YouTube] images, you do not know where they were taken, you do not know when they were taken or even by whom they were taken. Or, whether they [are from] the same incident or from different incidents."
He continued: "It doesn't tell me who would be responsible for it. It doesn't tell me where the films were taken. It just tells me that something has happened, somewhere, at some point."

400 Zamalka victims missing? See also /Locations#Zamalka
The published lists of victims (see /Victims Analysis) say that largest number of deaths happened in Zamalka. however, no photos or video of the Zamalka victims, the attack site nor the mass graves has been identified. A video of the supposed Zamalka mass grave only shows 8 bodies. An abandoned house with another 8 victims was presented to reporters a day after the attack. These bodies were however planted at the site in an evident hoax. (see /Zamalka ghost house) It may however be that this house is at the center of the purported attack site and indicative of the type of "victims" that were found by the rescue workers.

The focus of the investigation should now be in finding and identifying footage and other evidence from the Zamalka area. If nothing can be found, there is a possibility that the claimed Zamalka victims never existed. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:30, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

The open letter our new member Pierpont posted contains links to a couple of videos apparently distributed in a "Feinstein Package" (talk about massacre porn). They are listed with sites - nothing from Zamalka. --CE (talk) 02:56, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

The "Feinstein Package" is here on senate.gov. --CE (talk) 03:23, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Fucking orgasm! Is there no way of watching this, but in full screen mode? I need to blow my load of Tomahawks now or my balls will explode! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:37, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

You guys are weird. I get it, but kind of creepy. On the 400 true, there isn't too much clearly claimed for visuals in Zamalka, with over 1/4 of the total alleged there. As far as I can tell, that's a pretty genius observation. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:40, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

BREAKING: Rescue team finds whole family dead in their house! See also: /Rescue work?

The dead do not seem to have any surviving relatives. These two in Erbin are the exception.

I would expect the activist cameramen to follow the rescue teams in the early daylight hours of August 21 as they move into effected areas in the recover bodies and search for survivors. (I mean, man, this is real hardcore massacre porn that could bring in the NATO invasion!) As far as I know no such video has been presented. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:04, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The subpage /Zamalka ghost house covers the only known in situ body recovery, but it is a fly-in-your-face hoax by the known massacre managers from Douma.

Planted bodies?
Moved to /Zamalka ghost house

Do Syrian sleep in winter overcoats?
One disturbing aspect of the videos (not these, but all the videos) is the all the victims I have seen are fully dressed. Some, as the ones in the Planted bodies? video, have thick, winter-type overcoats. Do Syrians sleep fully clothed?

One could try to explain this anomaly by claiming that all of Eastern Ghouta was under heavy bombardment and people had gotten dressed to seek shelter. In fact many of the Western news stories inadvertently claimed the chemical attack was preceded by shelling. I have not seen any real proof of this bombardment. It is just a word revolutionaries will repeat in every sentence. The area effected by the chemical attack is huge. Unless the whole Luftwaffe was blitzing them, the safest place for Syrians would be in their own beds. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:46, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Who keeps coats long after winter: the homeless, nowhere else to put it, don't want to loose it. Prisoners not issued uniforms - similar to the last, can take it off in the prison, but will put it on during field trips to abandoned buildings. Especially mothers, instinctively, to hide babies, food, etc. beneath. Any shield you're allowed, you'll bring it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:09, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The HRW report from August 21 says there was no fighting in Ghouta at the time of the attack and people were sleeping in their homes when they got "gassed". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:35, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

The Role of Basements Moved to /Rescue work#The Role of Basements

Alleged Proofs of Government Guilt Moved to /Proof of government guilt

It never happened? Three weeks old discussion highlighted after recent developments. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:36, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
The government has been sticking to the story "it never happened". (Maybe it did, they just never heard about it.) I would say the evidence is yet inconclusive. There is a huge number of videos, coming from seemingly independent rebel YouTube channels. Most, if not all of the videos are however hospital footage, with nothing that shows the victims or the attack in situ. I do not think the dead people are staged, but for all we know the victims could be (Kurd) hostages gassed to death in some "confined space".

The New York Times reports:
While the veracity of the visual evidence uploaded to YouTube could not be independently established, chemical weapons experts told The Times that the injuries seen in footage from the region did not appear to be consistent with the effects of a conventional chemical weapon like sarin or mustard gas and that the deaths might have been caused by the use of a weaker chemical agent in a confined space.

Russia Today says they cannot confirm the attacks happened:
A correspondent for the Russian TV channel RT Arabic succeeded in contacting local residents in the area of the alleged chemical weapons attack. RT reports, that the locals replied to the correspondent, that they have not witnessed any “poisonous attack” in the area, but that they could hear gunfire.

AINA TV says they were at or near the scene filming with their nine cameras, and saw now sign of the use of chemical weapons:
Documented evidence of the non-use of chemical weapons in Eastern Gouta today

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:03, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

(Cut part on Swedish expatriates analysis, moved here) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:04, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

It never happened? It very damn well could not have happened, in the slightest bit. But I do suspect it damn well did, at least a bit. And I'm damn friggin' mad about it, and behind on the alleged details. I suspect a poison gas was deployed somewhere, and also a large number of people, including kids, were murdered in the rebel-infested parts of Reef Dimashq. Locals "have not witnessed any “poisonous attack” in the area, but that they could hear gunfire," RT heard. I wonder if the kind of shells used were the same ones used on Alawite Aqrab in December, per opposition sources causing all the deaths that occurred there? Those two were sometimes snipers, and sometimes hacked open kids' skulls. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:39, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Didn't think it through, but the comparison might be better than I thought. The result of the alleged Akrab shelling was rebels in control of the area, 500 Alawite civilians in custody, 300 released, 200 unknown. Confined into a single house, they were denied food and water and had their air poisoned with the smoke of burning tires. Smoke, chlorine, sarin, what have you, and recalling that crossing the "red line" is a bonus... If civilians at gunpoint could be abducted and confined (yes) and if people rebels dislike enough or consider expendable still exist in Syria (yes, in abundance) then "the deaths might have been caused by the use of a weaker chemical agent in a confined space. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:25, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

It never happened? Big picture, above stands, but it seems at least something on the scale of the Houla massacre but with toxic gas happened, perhaps with some battles and dead rebels thrown in, and some creative bookkeeping allowing reports of 1,000 + gassed to panic everyone into "urgent" action. Syria will need to have a look and more carefully say what did and didn't happen. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:25, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Clay Claiborne comment of the government's non-admission of the attack occurring: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:26, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Why did Assad Regime first Deny CW Attack if Blameless? – September 9, 2013

I was about to comment but the closest thing to open comments he has is "OpenID". I'll check that out later. Answer is of course that they have very few intel on "rebel" hold territory and absolutely suck at propaganda. (No offense Clay, you are very welcome to add stuff that supports your position to this wiki, in fact we have been a bit late to refer the HRW report as we all basically share the same bias, if you allow me to use that rather useless word, and that makes us less useful for the audience we want to reach.)

Saw another post on his blog: Syria Doc "Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution" Released. Just released. That looks like we should watch it as just the cover and the description posted by Clay strongly reminds me of Kony astroturf. You remember Kony, don't you? --CE (talk) 22:19, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Matthew VanDyke was active in Libya, I and CL have been following his whereabouts for two years. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:35, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Latakia hostages? See also Talk:Latakia Massacres#Ghouta CW massacre connection?
Arabi Souri is now claiming that some of the child victims shown on video are in fact kidnapped Latakia massacre victims:
Some pictures of the children killed by 'Sarin chemical gas' in Ghouta (#Damascus Countryside) are for children kidnapped from #Latakia countryside and their families recognized them.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:48, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

#Syria Mother Agnes raises critical questions re death of children in 'rebel' held area Where did kids come from?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSCCBnnHgfs

Images fabricated?
Intl experts have strong proof images of chemical victims fabricated – Moscow – RT, September 10, 2013 08:09

Sources Moved to /Sources
See also: /Activist reports

What is the chemical agent? See also: Talk:Alleged chemical attack, March 19, 2013#The Alleged Agent(s)
28 Chemical weapons in Syria: who, what, where, when, why? – Martin Boland, August 2013
It’s not a simple matter to decide if a chemical attack has occurred. The inspectors will be looking for evidence to support or refute one of several possibilities:
a non chemical cause, such as mass hysteria
a chemical cause not related to chemical weapons
an attack using chemical weapons, but an improvised delivery system
a military chemical weapons attack using artillery or bombs.

Sarin?
Easy to produce:
Chemical weapons: 'Easy to make and disperse, impossible to get rid of'

Not sarin?
Médecins Sans Frontières claims that the cause of death is nerve agents. (See Victims above.) Others disagree.
If it isn’t Sarin, what is it? (dead link) – Background paper by Dan Kaszeta, 23 August 2013
Revision August 26: PDF
The number of people affected indicates to me that whatever toxic substance was used, a large volume of material is needed. Whatever this was, there was a lot of it.
There is still no firm, conclusive evidence as to what the exact method of dissemination was responsible for dispersal of the mystery toxic substance. Was it rockets, missile warheads, artillery shells, mortar shells, a chemical tanker, aerial spray, aerial bomb, or some other means? Was it a mysterious wall of gas that drifted into the area?

The Jobar Medical Point doctor explains that people died because they sought sheller in cellars. (Was this because of simultaneous shelling?) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:35, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Creepy. He might be looking at real symptoms and offering an explanation that fits. What fired-outside rocket pours enough gas to seep into enough cellars to kill 1,000 or even 500, unless they were all crammed in a few well-placed cellars near the impact? I'm remembering the basement "shelters" people were massacred in in Daraya, vs. the basement shelters rebels had forced people into to protect them from shelling or massacres (see here). See especially the last paragraph I just added. If there's sex segregation in the dead, ask why. If they were split up before death, get a chill. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:29, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

More to the point, "What is the chemical agent?" I don't know. But a heavy gas creeping low, sinking into basements and trenches, sounds like chlorine as WWI saw it, for one possibility. If this description is even acurate. He says the gas is heavy, he might know his gasses. As noted around, it doesn't seem to be a persistent chemical like sarin, properly deployed in a pro manner; as with Khan al-Assal, first responders aren't protected and suffer no ill effects. Maybe different chemicals were used in different areas under different conditions, so no one answer will cover it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Studying symptoms would help, as long as non-fake videos are looked at. This one seems completely real to me and fairly distressing (I've only watched a handful of videos so far). And FWIW, it seems to be a family together, not split up like prisoners. At least in this case. Not clear where this is. They say there's myosis, sarin-type pupil constriction. That's not in this video, but must be around. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

PDF: If it isn’t Sarin, what is it? Dan Kaszeta, Aug. 23 Revision August 26:

Many of the principal indicators of nerve agent poisoning are not widespread or are present in confusing manners:
a. Some victims appear to have miosis (pinpointed pupils), but some of them are clearly having a bright light shined in their eyes. Some of the supposed examples are not pronounced.

Etc... --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:55, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The link above is dead. Kaszeta published a revised version of the PDF today, which is here. --CE (talk) 17:02, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Syria: Chemical Weapons Expert Jean Pascal Zanders Says Gas Might Not Be Sarin, Urges Caution – Mehdi Hasan / HuffPost, 30/08/2013

Jean Pascal Zanders, who until May 2013 was a senior research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), told the Huffington Post UK that Syrian civilians were "asphyxiated" in Ghouta, east of Damascus, on 21 August, but "we don't know what the agent is. Everyone is saying sarin. There is something clearly to do with a neurotoxicant [such as sarin] but not everything is pointing in that direction."

Continues with Denis O'Brien letter to Congress here -
Source http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:Alleged_Chemical_Attack,_August_21,_2013
.
Tags: chemical weapons, false flag damascus, ghouta, obama terrorists, sarin, syria
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