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Monday, July 16, 2018

Irritated Eyes...

July 16, 2018
rough, incomplete

On the advice of Qoppa999, I make this dedicated post.

Irritated Eyes...
… Are They White or Red?
I'll start with the points addressed in my critique of a New York Times video report on the visual evidence they pretended supports government guilt. 
Idiot expert on corneal burns: 
… Another supposed expert (Jennifer Knaack) thinks chlorine causes corneal burns that make the eyes appear white? What a moron. The literature has been pretty clear for over a century, but a bit more mixed the last few years in Syria; the acid created when chlorine contacts the water in the eyes causes a mild to severe redness in the eyes. In more severe cases, from what I know, they'll start melting, get really red and pour blood. The point where the whites are still white is at little or no exposure, not at severe exposure like they heard. Whiteness over the whites is generally the point the Douma victims are at.

The added whiteness over the pupils she seems to be referring to, I think, is a simple phenomenon they call "clouding." It's a basic thing that happens to all dead people and animals, like rigor mortis. 
...
This eye claim has previously been made by supposed chemical expert Keith Ward. In an article run by Bellingcat, he decided "the vast majority of the clinical signs and symptoms (such as the corneal opacification...)" are, of all chemicals around, "most consistent with exposure to high levels of chlorine, although they do not completely rule out that a nerve agent might have also been involved." What a moron. He clarifies they refer to clouding, and are unaware this is just a sign of death. … He's also cited in the NYT repot at 9:24, testifying to the frothy mucous clue, but not the eyes. Instead, Knaack is brought on to address that. Did Ward decide to drop that point, forcing them to find someone less qualified to repeat what they had heard around … from the likes of Mr. Ward?

This BBC article takes reports from locals of "corneal burns" and/or "cornea irritation" as signs of chlorine, seen/reported on patients and those found in the home - who only display clouding, which should NOT be seen on living patients.

French Intel report
https://publicintelligence.net/fr-syria-chemical-attack-douma/
"French experts analysed the symptoms identifiable in the images and videos that were made public," and tallied:
Suffocation, asphyxia or breathing difficulties, (observed for sure, or inferred from claims and the wearing of masks?)
Mentions of a strong chlorine odour and presence of green smoke in affected areas, (they observed mentions? Or just passing on claims?)
Hypersalivation and hypersecretions (particularly oral and nasal), (the noted and evident foam)
Cyanosis, (noted, evident)
Skin burns and corneal burns. (observed? mentioned? No explanation or description what it looked like)
No deaths from mechanical injuries were visible. All of these symptoms are characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid (the solution of hydrogen cyanide in water).

* this image search for cornea irritation shows what I'm saying: this means red eyes, not ones that are cloudy as if one were dead.
* here's one easily found online explanation of post mortem eye clouding.
* Here's another list of the basic signs of death, one of which is "Clouding of the cornea." Explained: "The transparent window of the eye begins to cloud quickly after death."

Some images show an additional red-black band across the white of the eye I've rarely seen or noted. Digging around, it seems they call this tache noir (black spot): if the eyes are left open after death, I guess from not blinking/moving and moistening like usual, the exposed part darkens that way (in the dark or only in the sun or light?). This may be the cause of the dark spots on the eyes of the boy whose left eye is shown below (small, in the lower right corner). That also is not a chlorine burn. 

There are injuries to the eye that cause scarring that appears opaque like the Douma victims and all other dead people. Glaucoma causes similar. I've seen cloudy-eyed people blinded by chemical release in Bhopal in the early 1980s. But that, I believe, is scar issue that appears after the initial injury has healed. But dead people don't heal.

What the injury looks like, before and shortly after a related death: bloodshot red, like after the swimming pool but worse in a severe (deadly) case. Chlorine causes acids, which burn less severely than an alkaline would (per this graphic and other sources), but enough to show up visually like the eyes on the left here.  Compare this to eyes that simply show death (middle row) and then to the Douma victims (6 samples, and they're representative).
The conclusion to draw from this is the seen victims are dead, and it's not from regular chlorine exposure. (but perhaps irregular exposure: if they were wearing goggles, for example, red eyes could be avoided even with exposure to chlorine or another caustic agent. But that, clearly, would be abnormal, and no one reported that. Oddly, there are visual clues pointing to it anyway.)

Below, the boy displaying tache noir in larger form, to note the dark spots and clouding to show he died (and had his eyes open about this wide the whole time since). We can also note the lack of red to suggest chlorine did it. But the orange stuff that wound up in his airways suggests it included blood, from inhaling chlorine or similar. So what could be different between his eyes and lungs? (note also an overall yellow color - possibly just lighting, but see below)


...In Alleged Chlorine Attacks, Images and Words
From the visual record in Syria, we could almost conclude the opposite of the expected is true - but the frequent verbal nods to eye redness show how some are aware this is what's supposed to happen. Here's a partial review of chlorine attacks …

April 21 2014, Telmines - a boy who eventually died, white eyes being rinsed for good measure, but blood in the airways (filling the suction tube with pink foam, also across his cheek - that comes up in Douma, 2018 as well. Hm. yellowish color?
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/search?q=2014+chlorine+attacks

March 16, 2015 Sarmin:  Dr. Mohamed Tenari, local director of Syrian American Medical Society, US-backed director of terrorist-affiliated Sarmin field clinic, who claims he tended to the family of 6 who died "said most of the victims came in without physical wounds, but had acute respiratory problems and burning, bloodshot eyes." (Guardian)

But the ones who died don't have these. The evidence suggests the three young children shown on tear-jerking video died from a depressant drug overdose and/or medical malpractice/murder. Their eyes are white. They don't cough or breathe at all visibly - they're comatose.  At right, Aysha al-Taleb with eyes white, corneas looking clouded over - she may be dead here, but not from regular chlorine exposure. Her infant brother Mohamed (white eyes below) breathes just enough to say he's alive but barely breathing. He at least is comatose, in a way few things but a drug OD will cause. http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-killed-talebs.html
http://theindicter.com/white-helmets-video-swedish-doctors-for-human-rights-denounce-medical-malpractice-and-misuse-of-children-for-propaganda-aims/
http://theindicter.com/white-helmets-movie-updated-evidence-from-swedishthe wearinf og masks-doctors-confirm-fake-lifesaving-and-malpractices-on-children/

https://twitter.com/Qoppa999/status/1018960526448189440

Also, Dr. Tennari is not present in these scenes, when he claims he was. He first described the victims as strangers or displaced people rom another town, then decided they were family friends he had recently visited. 
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2015/06/syria-chlorine-allegations-where-was-dr.html

Aug. 2 2016 Saraqeb:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/02/chlorine-attack-syria-dozens-ill-saraqeb-idlib
Ibrahim al-Assaad, a doctor who treated the victims, describes patients "having bloodshot eyes,”
images?
Came as a real chemical attack by Islamists hit Aleppo's Old City, killing several, including soldiers and civilians. (barely noted or ignored in the MSM reports hyping the opposition-claimed attack on this day).
http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Alleged_Chemical_Attack,_August_2,_2016

Aug. 19, 2016 Saraqeb: "We suspect it was chlorine because of the smell and the nature of the injuries – suffocation and burning, red eyes." https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/chlorine-filled-gas-canisters-dropped-syrias-civilian-population-rebel-held-idlib-province-1573933

Aleppo 2016 Chlorine attacks
Aug. 10 and 11: some of the many children with no engorged capillaries in the whites of their eyes, but allegedly exposed to chlorine released by the nefarious regime. You cane tell by the costume (oxygen mask).


Sept. 6:
A man found on the street alone, driven to a clinic - he has red eyes and a realistic cough - filmed by On The Ground News (OGN), by terrorist-supporter Bilal Abdul Karim. He does provide some valuable reporting of the visual kind, like this very rare evidence of chlorine actually contacting someone's eyes. It does happen. But why does it get filmed so rarely, despite all the exuberant efforts?  (to be fair, I haven't really dug for all photos and videos, and am likely missing a good number. But still … why so many white eyes mixed in?)

Three of the many white-eyed children filmed at a clinic that same day, treated for the horrible chlorine exposure from that same attack, or perhaps a nearby one with even less factual basis. 


At right is, apparently, one of the two fatalities of the Sept. 6 attack. That's a good guess, but either way, he's in an extra bad state after the chlorine attack he's shown as a victim of, not breathing anymore, and staring blankly. It ripped up his lungs, but none of it got in his eyes? 

December 9: Abu Rajab, the former administrator at al-Sakhour hospital, said that he heard a thump near the entrance of the al-Hayat clinic in Kallaseh at about 8 p.m. on December 9. Soon, he said, a very strong smell started spreading in the clinic. “It quickly became very bad,” he said. “It felt like I had a fire in my chest, my eyes became red. I couldn’t breathe properly. It smelled like chlorine.”
Abdallah Mahmoud, an administrator working in the al-Quds hospital, said that the hospital treated 47 injured civilians. Their symptoms included red eyes, difficulty speaking and breathing, and coughing.
https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/13/syria-coordinated-chemical-attacks-aleppo
real release in a nearby district the prior day (Dec. 8) captured on video, again by OGN
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/02/assessing-hrws-latest-chlorine-report.html

Habit, April 3, 2017: (just hours before the Khan Sheikhoun alleged sarin attack, chlorine reportedly dropped on nearby Habit village. Three strangely "displaced" children photographed after surviving the chlorine attack - just now washed down, and already any eye redness they had has disappeared entirely. One has watering eyes, but that must be from sadness. It seems a newborn/unborn brother of these kids, and maybe his/their mother, died in the chlorine attack, but they weren't reported that way at the time. Their fathers - two brothers of disputed/unclear name -  had already died, allegedly from Russian bombing while they were working on a hospital in Latamnah, and not as slave labor.
http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Alleged_Chemical_Attacks,_March_25-April_3,_2017#April_3.2C_Habit

Douma, a year later: covered above, no red eyes. Four more cases from the weeks before that, both in the same besieged Eastern Ghouta area:

Jan. 30 al-Marj
https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/02/14/new-visual-evidence-chlorine-gas-attacks-eastern-ghouta/
On Monday 30/01/2017 at 4:00pm Damascus time, The emergency department of Al Marj received injured civilians as a result of a poisoned gas attack (probably chlorine gas).
The number of injured was 11, this includes 3 who are in a critical health situation and they had the following symptoms:
Breathing difficulties
Eye and nasal irritation
Nausea and vomiting
The injured who came to the hospital said that the exploded bombs contained green gas with a very bad smell.

Feb. 9 Irbeen
https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/02/14/new-visual-evidence-chlorine-gas-attacks-eastern-ghouta/
On Feb 9th 2017 in the morning, we received several cases that had the following symptoms: eruption, absence of consciousness, vomiting and irritation in the eye. These symptoms are the result of the chlorine gas exposure.

Feb. 25, 2018, Shifuniya: 
https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2018/03/15/syrian-forces-bombard-eastern-ghouta-chemical-weapons-fourth-consecutive-time-since-beginning-2018/
"We don’t know if it’s the chlorine gas or another one. "
"...we, my family and I, started to inhale a strong and strange smell, following which I blacked out, and fainted."
Dr. Saeed Hanafi, a medical centre staff member in Douma, said to STJ:
“The injured who were taken to medical points had a chlorine-like odor, they suffered from dyspnea and the irritation of bronchus and conjunctiva (eyes)."
Kids shown in masks - one set of eyes that might be faintly pink.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/horrific-pictures-show-child-victims-of-chlorine-gas-attack-in-syria-a3775596.html


"There was a child among the injured whom we couldn’t save because he was in the centre of the targeted area the time of the attack … we initially suspected to have involved chlorine, as the child’s features and face indicate that he was suffocated..." The first boy who died, just the all white eyes (probably clouded too, but hard to tell from this view). Douma Coordinating on Facebook.
The small scrapes on his nose are explained as part of some unrelated wounds from falling debris, which isn't what killed him. 

"Another child named called Ahmad al-Ahmad, 10 months old, died on the morning of 1 March 2018 of dyspnea." He's shown around, app. eyes closed. A woman was said to be critically ill at first, likely died as well. https://gulfnews.com/news/mena/syria/syrian-child-suffocates-in-apparent-chlorine-attack-1.2179200

March 7, Hamouriya:
“Findings show that a basement was targeted by a rocket … whose impact caused a minor explosion sound,” Syria’s opposition directorate of health for Damascus said in a statement, adding that the substances emitted caused “coughing, red eyes and throat congestion”.
But then they decided this wasn't chlorine, just some confusion.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43300293
Here's one story as to why they changed tune halfway through.
https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/07/02/false-flag-fail-how-syrian-civilians-derailed-white-helmets-chemical-stunt-in-eastern-ghouta/
Note also closeness in time to the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury. Something went wrong, and they tried again a month later in Douma.

...In Alleged Sarin Attacks, Images and Words
Pure, military-grade sarin is free of smell and color and caustic properties, but in Syria, a dirty kind is used that's yellow, smells foul, and like chlorine, burns the eyes and airways - this is grounds for some confusion, and other grounds have appeared, causing lots of confusion. Anyway, we should see about the same as for red eyes, and we do - a mix of possible exposure and probable non-exposure, but oddly with more realistic red seen than in the chlorine cases where people realize it should appear. 
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-sarin-evidence.html
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/11/sarin-and-foul-irritants-in-syrian-cw.html

12-22-2012, Daraya: a yellow gas is reportedly released on SAA soldiers, causing 7 to die in short order. Never clarified, but likely first dirty sarin attack of the war. Eye situation unknown.
3-19-2013, Khan al-Assal - eventually confirmed as a sarin attack, clearly launched by opposition forces against SAA soldiers and primarily Shia civilians: the first widely-noted CW attack of the war. Itching is noted, suggesting the common irritant properties we would see. Red eyes are not mentioned, but likely.(UN report)
https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/report.pdf

April 13, 2013, Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/11/what-happened-night-of-april-1314-in.html
"those injured suffered hallucinations, severe vomiting, nose bleeding and eye burning, one of which lost eye sight." (SOHR Facebook) Policeman Zargos: "when we went inside we saw the children dead and the Kurdish police who had arrived before us were on the ground foaming something white from their mouth. Their eyes were so red.”

None of the people seen as victims on video seem to have red eyes or bleeding noses, and they aren't vomiting. Are they stand-ins? This guy - not the best frame, but I recall his eyes seemed fine and white, no better faked than the shaving cream "foaming from the mouth" special effects. (white eyes, on this and another guy: Qoppa999 2 women and 2 children reportedly died. Then later they noted 9 men also died, including one already on record as a survivor, and one of their wives. Islamists had just conquered the Kurdish-majority district. One of the female victims apparently had her feet lashed and beaten by the nerve agent.

April 29, 2013, Saraqeb:
That Aleppo attack was allegedly delivered by grenade, dropped from a helicopter - same grenade blamed two weeks later in Saraqeb, killing Maryam Khatib. This allegedly her dilated pupil, surrounded by a sea of almost pristine white.

August 21, 2013 (Ghouta attack):
Witnesses to the Ghouta incident reported varying smells: "something like vinegar and rotten eggs" or "like cooking gas," along with "redness and itching of the eyes." (Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/22/syria-chemical-weapons-eyewitness
“Then came the smell, which burned eyes and throats, like onions or chlorine”
https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/world/middleeast/blasts-in-the-night-a-smell-and-a-flood-of-syrian-victims.html
eye irritation photo, from a UN report


April 4, 2017, Khan Sheikhoun
A 14-year-old girl "saw an aircraft drop a bomb on a one-story building a few dozen yards away. In a telephone interview Tuesday night, she described an explosion like a yellow mushroom cloud that stung her eyes. “It was like a winter fog,” she said. (New York Times).  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/world/middleeast/syria-gas-attack.html?smid=tw-share
Many report seeing this fog, some kind of fog appears suddenly on video shot just after the allged jet attack. It's said to smell strange and foul, like sarin does here. Eye redness isn't mentioned much or at all, just the feeling (stinging/burning). As it happens, few if any red eyes are seen among those filmed dead and dying. But there may well have been a low-level release of something similar, by way of a special effect.
A surviving victim with miosis, no redness from chemical exposure, no profuse tears like you'd expect with sarin. Bright light involved, likely cause of constricted pupil. Shown to us by Shajul Islam, an active force in blurring the lines between chlorine and sarin attacks, and a spirited advocate of kidnapping and such in the name of an Islamic State, but not very smart when it comes to medical issues.
3 dead children and one seen gasping, likely to die - somehow, exposed to something, but no sign of anything stinging their white eyes. Mainly they display little to no symptoms, as if suffocated, or killed with a gas that leaves no outward sign.

Someone else in Khan Sheikhoun with no outward signs, White Helmets media activist Anas Al-Diab. But he never died, and got a chance to tell his story, unlike those kids whom he and others spoke for.  Here he is as seen just after his horrible exposure, and as he describes himself even longer after it. (credit Qoppa999). So, some of what he says on the victims' behalf is untrue, and this is just regarding his own eyes.


Harasta, 11-18-17: 
Severe respiratory failure, vomiting, eyes irritation &heart acceleration
blurred vision, unconsciousness, contracted pupils, shortness of breath, nasal secretions, vomiting, and headaches.
A later UN CoI report, A/HRC/37/72, Feb. 1,  addresses the claims, finding the government probably gassed the rebels a little with an organophosphate, perhaps sarin.
"a small dose of chemical agent was released on the Harasta frontline."
There had been chlorine attacks  reported in the preceding days.
"At first, we thought chlorine is the gas used in the attack," two medics told them, based apparently on eye irritation and breathing problems and the precedent, with no one mentioning a chlorine-like smell. They were discharged as ok but several hours later, about 15 injured came back with the same symptoms.
http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2018/03/alleged-cw-attack-in-harasta-nov-18-2017.html
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/02/syria-witness-testimony-reveals-details-of-illegal-chemical-attack-on-saraqeb/
The Syria Civil Defence said that barrel bombs containing chlorine gas had been dropped by helicopter and caused the casualties to gasp desperately for air, suffer severe irritation to their skin and eyes, vomit and collapse.
... a medic said "They couldn’t breathe, they were coughing non-stop, they had red eyes and some were vomiting severely"
Note: vomiting can occur with chlorine, but it's secondary, from too much coughing-retching. The actual nausea feeling plus widespread vomiting is more consistent with sarin, where it's one of the core symptoms (part of the SLUDGE-M syndrome). They should also have diarrhea, drooling, etc. (if genuine), but not all of that might be evident or get mentioned.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

OPCW Leading A Scientific Revolution

Or Everything You Learned about Chemical Weapons is Wrong! 
July 8, 2018
(rough, incomplete)
edits 7/11, 7/15 …

No Nerve Agent in Douma? 
Still largely on break mode and not doing fresh research or much writing, I'm reviewing now a larger bottlenecked back-burner project to trace the emergent allegations of chlorine-sarin combined attacks. From the end of 2016 and all though 2017, up to the Douma attacks in April this year, the strange entanglement of chlorine an sarin clues was growing in clarity, despite its uncertain logic and the dubious record of supporting clues.

The OPCW's Douma results were much anticipated, expected to solidify this growing, and possibly cartoon menace. But now their work appears to not do this - the OPCW finds no indicators of sarin or any organophosphate nerve agent in places it would.

https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-issues-fact-finding-mission-reports-on-chemical-weapons-use-allegations-in-douma-syria-in-2018-and-in-al-hamadaniya-and-karm-al-tarrab-in-2016/
https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1645-2018_e_.pdf
As the report explains (only briefly reviewed so far) over 100 environmental samples in total were collected and transported to the OPCW Laboratory. To speed things up, 31 samples were selected - those deemed the most important or fragile - for the "first round of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories." "The results of analysis ... of the prioritised samples ... were received by the FFM team on 22 May 2018," and form the basis of the report we're looking at.
"No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties. Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4, along with residues of explosive. These results are reported in Annex 3. Note: "Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing."
So it's not a final answer, and about 2/3 of environmental samples haven't been tested, or reported on yet. But for the 1/3 thought to be most telling to come up clean is pretty firm already.

We already knew this much about the victims: no sarin on the surface - unless this White Helmets responder died. (old graphic, prophecy seemingly not fulfilled) (add 7/12: and the not washed part is probably wrong after all. See here. So like most, she's ostensibly contaminated, but has been suspiciously washed at least in the face and hair... )

And for no biological sample positives, this means the local terrorists who would be staging this had no sarin for even token doses, or chose not to use it, or had their plans to do so disrupted. Modern tests can say if it really was sarin, but the tiniest trace too small to feel will register; the OPCW apparently does not measure for quantity, making fakery still very easy. A lack even of breakdown products in the samples suggests the plotters didn't even use the older IMPA powder method. (or maybe they did - IMPA in urine samples was cited by someone …maybe for a prior incident?)

This may leave some potential wiggle room, like if the unnamed nerve agent people saw signs of ... is not orgahophosphate-based(??) But it seems so far they in fact rule out something that would help make the accepted story of the Douma incident make sense ... if it ever did make sense to mix chlorine and sarin in the same weapon or deployed in the same space. All of these are open questions as far as I know - which is actually a good bit, if not enough to be definitive.

Briefly, some of what I was going to say, and where we are now, in part ... I'm still drafting now, but here's a comment space for new report, old ones, incident details, etc.

Sarin in Saraqeb? Pretty Harmless if so...
Back in May Eliot Higgins at Bellingcat was left wondering "whether chlorine-Sarin attacks are the Syrian government’s dirty chemical weapon secret." That was in reference to OPCW findings about a Feb. 4 incident in Saraqeb/Saraqib.
https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-fact-finding-mission-confirms-likely-use-of-chlorine-in-saraqib-syria/

The story there was a helicopter attack at night time, two yellow chlorine cylinders hit an open field, sickening 8 men sheltering in a nearby basement and 3 White Helmets responders, but killing no one. It was reported at the time as a simple chlorine attack. Upon release of the OPCW's report in May, a number of clues came under scrutiny. Among these:
- an unusual cloverleaf pattern on the nose end of the canisters
- missing valves on both of them
https://twitter.com/HRIMark/status/997163329926950913
- unexplained explosives residue
- spread and topography issues make it hard to belive chlorine would drift to the basement indicated.
https://twitter.com/Deus_Abscondis/status/996821167678763010

And most interestingly, the signs of both sarin and chlorine appearing side-by-side: 11 patients all complained of breathing problems, consistent with chlorine, but also some symptoms only consistent with a nerve agent: costricted pupils, a reported loss of consciousness by some of those exposed, nausea and vomiting (only occasional/secondary w/CL, but a primary sign for nerve agents). Oddly, all complained of crepitus (air pockets in the joints that cause popping), and it was mentioned in the report. That's not a CW signs I've ever heard of. Sarin being more complex, effecting nerves and thus muscles, it might cause tension, resulting joint issues most people don't even notice. I don't see how chlorine could cause it.

And the environmental samples collected from the site tested positive for chemicals that happen to be standard breakdown products of sarin. But oddly, they did not find the chlorinated forms of these compounds, as they did for other recovered organic chemicals. They also did not comment on how these compounds - nor the explosives residue - got there and what that would mean.

I'll be a genius and suggest this is the still-unrevealed whole story - probably fictional. Some unknown device or 4 devices - that cause a cloverleaf imprint when pressed - had been secured to the nose end. That's now missing along with the valve, but they'll say it had a small explosives charge rigged to blow on impact and separately release some sarin.

But so far, it's just an unexplained mystery. But it's one of some interest and potential in relation to other and more prominent events, like the deadlier attacks in Khan Sheikhoun and Douma, and to the course of future CW allegations.

Same Expected for Douma
At the time, Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins noted these sarin indicators are
"...particularly interesting when it is alleged in the Douma chemical attack ... that not only was chlorine used, but reports from multiple groups, including the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), UOSSM, and White Helmets allege an organophosphate (which would include Sarin) or nerve agent was used in the attack, and the US government has also stated they believe both chlorine and a nerve agent, likely Sarin, was used in Douma."
If the OPCW-FFM investigation in Douma does confirm the presence of DIMP, IPMPA/IMPA, and MPA it would add weight to the allegation that Douma was not only a chlorine attack, but also a Sarin attack, raising the question of how many other chlorine attacks that have taken place over the last 4 years which also included the use of Sarin."
Some examples:

https://www.defense.gov/portals/1/features/2018/0418_syria/img/United-States-Assessment-of-the-Assad-Regime’s-Chemical-Weapons-Use.pdf
"The symptoms described in reporting from media, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other open sources—such as the WHO—include miosis (constricted pupils), convulsions, and disruption to central nervous systems. These symptoms, in addition to the dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries reported, suggest that the regime also used sarin in its attacks on April 7."

Or, if no sarin, that the reports were false.

https://www.reuters.com/article/mideast-crisis-syria-chemicalweapons/update-1-chemical-weapons-agency-examining-douma-attack-scenarios-idUSL8N1RM2GG
Reuters, April 9
Professor Raphael Pitti, a doctor who viewed videos taken at the scene, said patients appeared to have had convulsions more typical of sarin poisoning. “Everything suggests that during the second attack, chlorine was used to conceal the use of sarin at the same time,” Pitti said.

April 12 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/u-s-has-blood-samples-show-nerve-agent-syria-gas-n865431
"WASHINGTON — The U.S. now has blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack ...The samples suggested the presence of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent, two officials said. Typically, such samples are obtained through hospitals and collected by U.S. or foreign intelligence assets on the ground. The officials said they were "confident" in the intelligence, though not 100 percent sure.
The Assad regime is known to have stocks of the nerve agent sarin, and has previously used a mixture of chlorine and sarin in attacks, say U.S. officials."

French Intel report
https://publicintelligence.net/fr-syria-chemical-attack-douma/
"French experts analysed the symptoms identifiable in the images and videos that were made public," and tallied:
Suffocation, asphyxia or breathing difficulties, (observed for sure, or inferred from claims and the wearing of masks?)
Mentions of a strong chlorine odour and presence of green smoke in affected areas, (they observed mentions? Or just passing on claims?)
Hypersalivation and hypersecretions (particularly oral and nasal), (the noted and evident foam)
Cyanosis, (noted, evident)
Skin burns and corneal burns. (observed? mentioned?
No deaths from mechanical injuries were visible. All of these symptoms are characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid" (the latter is the solution of hydrogen cyanide in water. Chlorine is not mentioned as a plausible explanation for people dropping dead like that).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/witness-to-syrian-chemical-attack-bodies-cold-and-stiff-mouths-foaming/2018/04/10/3787693c-3cc5-11e8-955b-7d2e19b79966_story.html?utm_term=.69ffc922dfd8
The look of the bodies “is pretty much consistent with a nerve-agent-type exposure,” said Alastair W.M. Hay, a professor of toxicology at Leeds University who has been studying the human impact of chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein’s gas attack on Iraqi Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1989. “That’s suggestive of something that was very toxic, and people have pretty much died where they were when they inhaled the agent. They’ve just dropped dead.”


“It’s just bodies piled up. That is so horrific,” said Hay, the Leeds professor, expressing shock as he watched the video online during a telephone interview Tuesday. “There’s a young child with foam at the nose and a boy with foam on its mouth. That’s much, much more consistent with a nerve-agent-type exposure than chlorine.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/witness-to-syrian-chemical-attack-bodies-cold-and-stiff-mouths-foaming/2018/04/10/3787693c-3cc5-11e8-955b-7d2e19b79966_story.html?utm_term=.69ffc922dfd8

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/11/syria-douma-patients-chemical-attack-symptoms-who
This centers on World Health organization statements about patients in Douma with chemical symptoms. The article was amended on the first day "to clarify in the text and page furniture that the WHO’s statements were based on reports from its partner agencies and not its own verified evidence." As for what they reported: "Medics on the ground in Douma... said the symptoms, which included frothing at the mouth, suffocation, dilated and constricted pupils, corneal burns, central cyanosis – a blue tinge to the skin – and a chlorine-like odour, were consistent with exposure to
an organophosphorus compound. Sarin gas is such a chemical." Well, it doesn't smell like chlorine, or cause dilated pupils, and there are zero images to support the claim that living patients suffered these symptoms, in line with open and widespread release. Rather, we only see them on the few who died, who could have been gassed in a basement here or somewhere and staged. But it's true, this description, and also the different reality, points away from a simple chlorine attack.

Did the OPCW confirm these pretty confident reports? I was expecting they would, as it's quite easy to do, even with purely fake means. But somehow, it seems here was nothing.

Why the Opposition Story Needed Sarin (or Should Need it)
That's very interesting, because some kind of nerve agent is the best way to explain how so many died from just one weapon. That need was clear from the start, to those informed enough. Adam Taylor, Washington Post: "Mohammed Marhoum, a medical worker, told The Post that he saw symptoms he had never seen before, including twitching, abnormal pupils and foaming at the mouth. “We believe the gas used was chlorine and another kind of gas,” he said. Outside experts have said that the speed with which the victims died suggested that a nerve agent was used. Chlorine usually takes longer to work."

No prior chlorine attacks have killed 35-43 people at once, let alone the 100+, 180 or 200+ some expected or had confirmed dead in the first days. The worst is about six at once (a family of 6 killed twice - a Taleb family in Sarmin 2015, and a Baytounji family in Aleppo, 2016). These death tolls were in themselves implausibly high, and a different cause of death is strongly suggested in both cases (see links). A realistic average death toll from a chlorine tank dropped from the air would be one, rounding up a bit.

(Here's my report compiling all incidents up to early 2017 - PDF link - does not cover Khan Sheikhoun or anything since. There are some omissions and errors to fix in time, so double-check. But it's a handy resource - check death tolls for chlorine attacks and none is higher than these two stray cases of 6).

In Douma, there are 34 or 35 people dead in one apartment building, all strangely clustered (see count and basic mapping here: we think the full 35 bodies reported are all visible in the limited tours shown on video, with no stray people in the majority of rooms we don't see (body #6 being the one we and others dither over counting). That's all in one building the people were allegedly free to leave. But only a few did, reporting how the chlorine made them pass out, after they saw everyone else die, and other nonsense. There are a total of "at least" 43 people generally accepted as killed, 35 at this place, apparently 8 at the other site with a chlorine bomb (the one taking a nap on an intact bed). 34-35 verified at one site is nearly six times the usual - and already implausible - high end. This may not be ridiculous, but it's very unusual and requires an explanation. So far everyone acts like it's natural, considering Assad's evil.

Why do people so rarely die? The damage caused by chlorine exposure is mechanical: when the yellowish gas contacts water, it forms hydrochloric acid and other acids, which will irritate and damage wet tissues like the lungs, eyes, etc. A mild form happens at wswimming pools, in the shower, etc., with chlorinated water. breathing molecules in the air, obviously, would be unpleasant, depending on the concentration. This damage is cased only during actual exposure. Exposure can be severe but usually isn't, and it's usually short; people find breathing chlorine uncomfortable, painful, and even scary, and they leave as soon as possible. They often rush from the scene, in fact. Any damage is done, and the after-effects then play out; injured lungs, filling with mucous and perhaps blood, will complicate breathing. The patient either slowly recovers or slowly dies, almost always somewhere well away from the gas incident. When the few die, it's usually hours or even days later.

Important point: not only does chlorine not kill instantly, it also does not cause paralysis or unconsciousness, limiting its ability to kill at all. (explained here) Activists have increasingly reported that in Syria it does, and this is why so many die; they pass out first thing and thus keep breathing the stuff until it's too late. Well, that gets accepted, but it makes no sense anyway. If the victim is knocked out by something else, trapped under rubble, tied up or locked into the gas-filled room, then they surely can die in time, and be found at the site. But as with prior cases, no one here appears knocked-out from the bomb's violent impact, nor tied up (here), or locked in or pinned down.

The best source I have for my own findings is this analysis focused on retention of consciousness, also giving various details on real chlorine exposure incidents in war and peace, realistic effects and death tolls.

So what else can make people drop in piles running up to the exit but before they can get there, just from breathing chlorine (that is, in reality, not in activist lore)? It's a previously unknown property for chlorine; the best scientists should be brought on board, not the ones working the case so far. The thinking has been maybe that's the "dirty secret" of sarin hidden in the chlorine. But in Douma, we hear chlorine is the only thing that (apparently, and probably) turned up.

Keith Ward has been a or the prominent expert on chlorine-induced high casualty estimates for Bellingcat and the New York Times, besides HRW and Amnesty. He may be trotted out again to explain why chlorine alone makes sense. His prior analysis for Bellingcat leaves much to be desired. Here he uses some math to decide what sounds patently absurd to me: "even if only 1% of the contents of a cylinder (1 pound) of chlorine made its way into the lower floors and basement of the buildings attacked, that would be sufficient to fill a large space with a concentration of chlorine that would cause death to those sheltering therein within a matter of minutes. ... Chlorine is less lethal than nerve agents. But its level of lethality suffices to explain the high death and casualty tolls in the recent attack on Douma, Syria."

It should be noted that any span of time can be measured in "minutes," so we can't say he's flat wrong. But he's uselessly vague on that point, at best. He doesn't give a reason why the victims would stay put through these minutes to die right there, rather than leaving the scene as people normally would.

How can I doubt an expert? He also thinks the way eyes get opaque or cloudy after death is from chlorine, when it's really just from being dead (see above link and comparisons here). Chlorine burns are red, as anyone with any knowledge knows (post forthcoming). Does he lack that basic knowledge, or is he willfully ignoring it?

to be continued...

Friday, June 29, 2018

NYT: One Really Stupid Attempt to Demonize Assad

Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, April 7, 2018
NYT: One Really Stupid Attempt to Demonize Assad
June 29, 2018
(rough, incomplete)
last edits July 3, 7, 12...

For some reason the New York Times had to come back and easily slap down the blatant "lies' by Russia and Syria over the April chemical massacre in Douma. They came back on June 25 with a video report including a detailed visual analysis, complete with helpful narration and dark, though-simulating mood music. This has nothing to do with the Douma massacre story having fallen apart and needing repair, no, no... It's just that damn Russian disinformation warping minds, and their noble need to set the record straight on issues of war and peace. The paper of record, they call it, and they bring all the confidence of that to this endeavor.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/25/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-douma.html
One Building, One Bomb: How Assad Gassed His Own People
By Malachy Browne, Christoph Koettl, Anjali Singkvi, Natalie Reneau, Barbara Marcolini, Yousur Al-Hlou and Drew Jordan
New York Times June 25, 2018
Some the visual explained, valuable for those not familiar with the evidence here:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/douma-syria-chemical-attack-augmented-reality-ar-ul.html

Browne calls this "the most detailed reconstruction of the attack so far." Note how it took seven authors worth of work and thinking! He explains how it was done working alongside open-source investigators Bellingcat and digital imaging experts at Forensic Architecture. Together, as usual, they answer some narrow but relevant technical questions about where and what, then distort the relevance of that and find ways to reach the preconceived conclusion: Assad dunnit.

But after reviewing their pseudo-forensic case, I have to wonder are they idiots or are they deliberately trying to fool us? I suppose it's the latter as usually, but it's also - more so than usual - the former. Host Malachy Browne, his co-authors, their cited experts, research staff, someone in there … is wrong on pretty much every point, to bad effect. Of course that's no surprise, but this case is especially glaring, a low point in the abuse of reality that truly deserves a rebuttal

I've been on break from research/blogging (this mostly-Syria stuff), and mainly staying that way for the moment. But I'll take this on and explain that bold assessment in the space below. It's taken a little assembly I'm not really done with yet, but it's taken long enough. Best to strike while the iron is … above room temperature, hopefully. As usual, this is rough (content and formatting, links, etc.) and will be improved over a couple days, with more improvements intended but perhaps never gotten to...

4 Reasons Why it HAD to be Dropped by Assad
The Times video report focuses on one of the two large chlorine gas cylinders shown as responsible for the April 7 attack, the building it crashed it into, and the 34/35 bodies (all those clearly known of) that were just found there. (NYT counts 34, we count 35, presuming a dark shape that seems human is (probably adult female), but it's debatable - 35 total is reported either way.)

"Our conclusion is it HAD to drop from the sky," Browne proclaims at 6:00. And it's the physical evidence, not power politics, that forces this choice, which they hoped to make for as many minds as possible. These are their four "Key pieces of evidence." (scroll down for small text and images below the video)
1) Indentation near the nose
2) Black corrosion from chlorine gas
3) lattice imprint on the bomb ("most importantly")
4) bomb's rigging found in the debris

Let's deal with these in another order, 2 briefly and 2 in more detail, along with just a few of the things they messed up or ignored here, and probably not on accident.

Point 4, rigging: The crumpled metal pieces they show do seem to assemble into the same kind of metal harness seen on the other chlorine canister blamed for this attack, and on others in the past. These have fins to stabilize the canister and make the nose point down, hooks so they can be suspended and then dropped from a helicopter and, in the case of the two Douma cylinders at least, small wheels on long axles along the bottom side, so it could also be rolled out of a chopper. So they conclude "clearly it was designed to drop from a helicopter."

But that's not really clear, as they ignore the obvious option this was designed to create that illusion. This design impression/illusion/fact matters, as they note at 4:30, because that would prove the government side did it, perhaps the Russians; again, rebels got nothing at all in the air. Case closed. If it really "HAD to drop from the sky." 

As for the quality of this possible costume - not bad. Perhaps overdone - the tiny wheels plus harness seem redundant. But that's subjective and from this alone, government guilt is suggested.

But luckily for NYT it's not alone - there's a wealth of evidence in support. As happens when you're on the true track, every turn confirms it. Like that telltale indentation near the nose; critics claim this thing is damaged nowhere near enough to have fallen from a helicopter, usually 2km or higher above the ground. Of course the way it punched a hole but then just stopped and tipped over doesn't seem right either.

But the Times investigation points out there is a dent (the one shown at right). There is, but compared to other cases, this damage is extremely mild, considering the alleged fall. See at right a fairly extreme example of another alleged helicopter-dropped chlorine tank. The norm is somewhere in between, averaging well to the distorted end. This thing looks more like it was dropped on a large rock from maybe truck-bed height,  before they dragged it upstairs and arranged it on the balcony.

To the extent it's asymmetrical, this dent is suggestive of an angled, not a fully vertical impact, if an impact at all. That is if it same down, it was fired or hurled from the surface, not from the air. In no cases, as far as I know, is an aircraft proven. If canister like this can be hurled, they can be hurled unknown distances, maybe long. If one is launched almost straight up, it will come down from pretty high. I'm no expert but it seems to me this could explain every case we've seen. Except those we can see where launched at shallower angles... (see here). Or perhaps explosives are used in some cases to achieve distortion levels too high for that. It's all pretty unknown and unclear. Let's recognize that.

But the Douma one (as well as the other Douma one we'll gloss over here) appear more likely to be set in place after being carried or dragged up the stairs, not launched or dropped.

The Lattice "Imprint"
One of the other big clues the Times uses to prove it came crashing down may actually help show how it was simply set in place. At 5:50 in the video report, they mention "most importantly" the grid pattern "seared" into the yellow paint, which matches "exactly" the square pattern of a section of latticework it apparently crashed through. Right after relating this, with dramatic musical intonations, is where they drop the bomb; "Our conclusion is it HAD to drop from the sky."
But this point is so incredibly stupid … or am I incredibly stupid to miss how it does make sense? Let me explain how I see it and then tell me if I'm missing anything. I've seen others claim this and ignored it in pity. I forget what idiot claimed this. But now a whole team of people at the paper of record put their names on it...

Below is an image from the NYT video - they propose these crossed lines are caused directly by the metal lattice we see crumpled in the foreground and its grid of crossing bars. They think this was stretched above the balcony. Across the outer railing makes more sense to me, but it could be like they say. We can see a chip in the roofline right at the balcony's corner. Maybe it also tore through this material before impacting just below that. So far so good...


See lower left in the above image for its square grid pattern. That is a nice visual match to the red-circled area, but so what? Does a falling bomb pause and notice "what a nice pattern? I'll have it tattooed on my side?" and then get that tattoo before it busts through the stuff head-first? No, no ... direct physical contact is mentioned. Does it come in nose-down, find the grid red hot and then pause to lay on it sideways long enough to have the pattern "seared" directly into its paint? And then continue its crash down?

No, if it's definitely falling from a regime helicopter, it will come in nose down and punch right through this stuff that way. They say "our analysis suggests that this imprint was made by the force of impact", but seemingly forget that impact is a violent event involving 3-dimensional movement, as in through the lattice. The contact will be passing, and the nature of the passing determines any marks left behind. The grid might imprint the nose end somehow before it splits apart to let the bomb through. The marks from that would be long lines down the cylinder's sides, running lengthwise - scratches dug in by the loose bars of the torn grid, not "imprints" that are "seared" in. They won't be like the marks we see.
Note: crude graphic. The curving lines would actually be straight, I suppose, just slanted; a curve would be caused by that plus a change in the ratio between forward movement and rotation. See below.

The grid we see - if it's even from that lattice - could be burned into the paint if the metal were hot (but why? heat of impact? But that would have movement too, no time for searing...). More logically, it could be rusted in from sitting on the lattice in the rain, but both require laid-on-top contact for some span of time in order to get this grilled sausage look.  It's got nothing to do with anything like a bomb crashing down - as they seem to realize, usually nose-first. Between them, they really don't seem to know what the hell they're talking about here. You can tell the cylinder crashed from the sky through that lattice because it looks like it laid sideways on that lattice?

Hello? 3-D world calling NYT research crew, reporters, experts; Your bodies live here. Those of the Douma victims used to live here. Do you care at all about how things actually happen here? You claim to...

Here are some other possibilities (basic idea, obviously). Possibly the first option (corrosion version), or the last option if repeated and mirrored backwards in one area, would explain what we see. What Browne et al. are certain happened would leave marks more like the second option.

Now there is a similarity in line widths/grid proportions here, and I suspect that lattice is involved - or about three bars of it anyway. If you look, you'll see this grid pattern is sort of fragmentary: there are exactly two lines angling one way near the front, then 2 lines the same length angling the same way, then another 2 the same way with one bending and a third appearing now, at the back of the canister. Then crossing those, two lines about the same distance apart, running perpendicular to the third set. There only does it look like a grid. But what if that's an illusion, and we just see two sets of angled marks, from two different episodes of manual pulling and rotation, maybe separated by days? Here's what I specifically propose:

In fact we know it was pulled an rotated between one early images (below, left: black side down) and all later ones (right, TV4, black side mostly up), perhaps just the degree evidenced in heave 4; this might be the mark of that shift.  (the full scrape isn't seen, so that "total rotation" (not marked as such) is actually a minimum. So is the other one marked in red. Should update that...).

If so, the other marks would be the same thing but in reverse and with a longer pull, about the canister's length, at least. This is likely from the initial planting. The smoke stains here (see below) show this is mainly on the underside in its planted position, so they probably didn't notice the scratching.

Perhaps my reasoning is off (maybe backwards in some regard) on that specific reading. But unless the reasoning above that is flawed (please let me know if so!), … Duh! That's their grilled sausage theory of impact. Paper of record, folks.

The Black "Corrosion"
While suggesting burning along those black scrape marks, this ludicrous NYT report ignores the actual sign of fire and heat here; one end of this non-grilled sausage is coated in black soot like you see after a fire (visible on the underside above), like it tipped into the grill, or down a chimney. But they decide to call this something else, as they ignore the smoking gun clue it's part of.

At 8:11 they address this important "black residue." A metals expert told them chlorine mixes with water, or here frost, and corrodes the metal, creating "a dark compound." That, they decided, is what coats the canister on the underside, where it frosted over during gas release (that it did - they call this auto-refrigeration).

Indeed, chlorine plus moisture - that in the air even - will create hydrochloric and other acids, which will oxidixe metals, creating new compounds with different colors. Generally, that's called rust, but that word is avoided in the report. Cartoon writers know about it (but the passing out part is incorrect). So do others (see "bleach" - same idea: "The oxidizing properties of bleach accelerate rusting; iron loses electrons more readily in the presence of bleach than in plain water.") In most cases rust is not this type of dark.

The color of rust varies with the metal; orange with iron, green with copper, etc. Any black metal at this swimming pool suffering from chlorine corrosion to the metal fixtures? No, it's all sort of orange-colored. I believe these gas canisters are usually made of steel, which is made primarily of iron. So its rust will be what we call rust color, not dark/black. In cases I've seen previously, chlorine canisters exposed to their own contents wind up that color (at the bare metal parts). In fact this one the NYT report refers to rusted orange. Below is a color-enhanced details from Russia 1 footage. There's your "dark compound" that chlorine caused, and it's not black at all (on valve cap threads, a stray wire, and the metal slat). Over there is the black stuff, and it's something else. 


In fact the black material appears on top of, and would derive from, the yellow paint, not the metal itself, in the Times/Bellingcat scenario. They didn't ask a paint and coatings expert what chlorine would do to that. So are we left in the dark? Does it turn black on exposure to chlorine? No. In every chlorine case yet seen, paint stays yellow, while bare metal parts turn rusty orange-brown.

Here's a closer view of the black side. If this is soot as I suspect, it should deposit pretty evenly, but we see an odd parted-hair pattern. Some of this may be streaking from the smoke's original deposition, but it seems mostly this is from some from light rain. Scattered droplet shapes of clean yellow can be seen on the upside, with rivulets of white dust down the sides, wiping the soot away too in streaks that converged in the middle, ran to the lowest point, and dripped down (so that hair-part was its straight-down side during this rain). See light gray streaks here on the lower half to prove running dust. Also the frost of auto-refrigeration would melt and run away the same way, perhaps explaining this effect even more than the rain does.

Does chlorine-darkened paint rinse away like this, to reveal another layer of still-yellow paint beneath it? Uh, no. This something else, black and unexplained, on top of the cylinder, at least the part that was sticking down in that hole after the attack/staging.


Coincidentally, this black stuff they have no good explanation for looks just like another thing they don't mention - the soot stains from a fire set on top of the rubble (after impact) but before that first camera crew arrived. Does someone setting a fire under the bomb help prove it fell from a regime aircraft? Nope. Ignored.

The smoke clearly comes from a fire that somehow broke out in the southwest corner of the room beneath the canister, the corner closest to right below the canister. Above, the burned material ispartly visible on the bottom edge of the image. Below is a Reuters photo facing south:
Swedish TV4 facing northwest
There a few ways of reading this scene, but here's the best by far: a pile of fabric or something flammable was laid ON TOP of the pre-existing rubble, doused in accelerants and lit up, perhaps with more fuel added later. It seems the window was open, sucking in a lot of oxygen to fuel this. The lower south wall is very deeply charred, suffering great heat. The south and west walls here are coated in black soot up to the ceiling, across that and the upper walls all around the room (just what's smoke vs. shadow isn't totally clear, but it's at least partly smoke.). What this means is smoke pooled up here as it waited to exit the main functional chimney here - that hole in the ceiling mostly filled with the chlorine cylinder. Most or all of it would finally escape that way, sticking to any surface it passed on the way.

Most crucially; this fire was set before the first seen video, taken at 10:06 pm on the night of the attack (per data shared with NYT, see 11:44 in the video). By then the ceiling appears dark, and the upper walls also get black, along the same lines we would later see more clearly. So the fire was set after the alleged impact (atop the rubble allegedly from that) but before the "first responder" video - an odd time to be setting fires beneath just landed CW bombs. As for planted ones, it depends whether there's a good reason to do so...

Explaining that in images… marking the smoke lines as seen later (may appear a bit different in different lighting, etc.). On the left, the way the curve relates to the corner (vert line). On the right, tracing those two wires, the starts of a faintly dark area vs. a darker-yet area (app.)

10pm video still, rotate-skewed to match other scene, with its own apparent dark patches outlined in white (and wires in black for reference as they washed out in enhancement). Corner on left can't be called, but the curves of the burn line match. Bands on right side look curved here, straight later, so I call straight with a mild illusion. Bottom view has the above image overlaid after careful matching. I didn't get the line-up completely right, but close - the effect is minimal. (was tricky - decided curtain/window edge illusion (right curtain pulled down before other views), etc.)
Here with just the images and judge for yourself. Check the videos if you want. (the links are … around. I got rusty)
The part that's darker doesn't look much different at all, despite the lighting and perspective differences. Clearly, this is the same smoke-staining, there already at 10 as chlorine is actively pouring from the canister (it's frosted-over). That was allegedly dropped anywhere between 7 and 10 pm - accounts differ, apparently for good reason. The Times report heard this frosting can last, vaguely, for "hours," depending on the conditions. Early evening in early April would be middle conditions, FWIW. (Or actually pretty warm, as Charles Wood finds - 27C at 7pm, 22C at 10pm (see comments)).

The canister should be there, in its own impact hole, after impact. Right? Well the fire was set after impact, and has deposited its smoke and stopped burning by the 10pm video. So the canister's bottom side should already be soot-covered too, just hidden underneath that frost we see. Host Browne reasons "where we once saw frost we now see corrosion." Oops, the order is backwards. After the melt, we see something right there that looks just like that hidden smoke-stain we should expect. Where there's smoke there's fire, but the NYT/Bellingcat investigation ignored the fire and called the smoke something else - that had to be poorly made-up

Why The Fire?
So ignored or not, the clues are clear - the locals lit a fire under the alleged chlorine-sarin bomb as a first order of business after it landed (or was set in place, depending). Maybe it was to melt the frost, thinking that was the problem causing the chlorine? They are Islamists, quite likely idiots. What's the big deal?

Well, none of them seems to have dropped dead anywhere near their fooling around right beneath the chlorine-sarin device blamed for the sudden deaths of dozens on the floors below. So did they set the fire before the gas came out? Were they protected? Was the gas not so deadly (just plain chlorine?) Or is it a combination answer?

And as it happens, there's a good reason someone might set such a fire, depending on the time and their reasons. Recalling the frost means it's releasing its gas, we can note it did this at least partly after the fire. Fire then gas: is that why? I think so.

After positioning the canister - and most or all of the bodies (see far below) - they could use fire to get the chlorine out to complete the scene and document a true frosty release atop of "in-situ" dead people. Here's how: they position the valve so the fire's heat will melt away the softer-metal fusible plug. This is set below the main outlet, designed to release gas in case of a fire, to prevent an even-more dangerous explosion. (here  shown is the poured variety - another kind can be screwed in or out). As you can see, if that were to vanish, gas would start escaping, even if the valve was screwed tightly closed.

This crude method has advantages; Unlike smashing the valve off, that can be done without jarring the thing loose to finally fall in on your head. Unlike simply opening the valve, it can be done without risking a possibly fatal facefull. It has a crude time delay; set the fire, leave, and wait.

The downsides are the right heat level may not be achieved, and it looks obvious - in fact just like this - to anyone paying attention. The crime scene will be coated in smoke (photo above: did they really try scrubbing it off as it appears in that one spot?). 

Also, the soot-coated valve assembly will have an extra and telltale hole in it.  We can see the valve is gone later (see views above, around). Russia 1's argument that we can see the screw threads where the valve was manually removed are incorrect; the threads seen there are for the outer safety cap that's never on these things when they're used or staged as alleged CW weapons. The threads in question are on the inside of that neck and never seen that I know of.

In fact, those odd metal slats laid beneath the cylinder have no clear explanation, aside from how they cover the valve hole, blocking any useful view so we can't see how it went away. There are three possibilities:
- broken off (it'll be partly there, snapped off near the base - any fragment left barely sticks out, never visible - not likely)
- popped out by overpressure (stripping the threads - very unlikely - esp. considering the fusible plug)
- manually unscrewed. I suspect this is how, and the reason is to hide the clues it held; the scorching and the wrong hole in the side that the gas finally came out of.

Considering that, the unusual absence of the valve assembly here is further evidence supporting this release-by-fire hypothesis.

So far the best counter-argument I hear is the fire doesn't matter enough to mention, and coincidentally this abnormal yellow paints turns black on contact with chlorine - at least the outermost coating of it does. Also punching through a lattice head-first leaves a mark like you had the lattice design tattooed on your belly. So you can see why I stick with my line of reasoning here - clearly, because Putin orders it.

Other Errors and What They Ignored (in part)
Idiot expert on corneal burns: I'll pass over the foam issue for now, as raised by one of the Times' experts. The copious foam from many victims' mouths and noses seems legit to me, at least in part if not totally (some details are debatable, I'm unsure). It argues somewhat against sarin of the sudden-death type (the kind suggested by how everyone fell where they were, which has nothing to do with chlorine - in a sudden death, you don't breathe enough to even produce foam). This proves the people were exposed, probably, to one of the many kinds of poisons that can cause lung damage and mucous secretions, etc. to trigger this foam (which is fluids in the airways, filled with the air one is trying to breathe, locked up inside bubbles). This pulmonary edema is caused by (among other things including sarin) irritants, chlorine included. Perhaps chlorine did cause it. But as for other signs...  

Another supposed expert (Jennifer Knaack) thinks chlorine causes corneal burns that make the eyes appear white? What a moron. The literature has been pretty clear for over a century, but a bit more mixed the last few years in Syria; the acid created when chlorine contacts the water in the eyes causes a mild to severe redness in the eyes, which we don't really see at all. In more severe cases, from what I know, they'll start melting, get really red and pour blood. The point where the whites are still white is at little or no exposure, not at severe exposure like they heard. Whiteness over the whites is generally the point the Douma victims are at.

The added whiteness over the pupils she seems to be referring to, I think, is a simple phenomenon; they call "clouding." It's a basic thing that happens to all dead people and animals, like rigor mortis. I'm not sure what causes it, but it sets in quick. (I'm not sure why the activists showed us the victims' eyes so much, when they don't even support the case (no redness).) How is Knaack considered an expert in these things, when she's not even aware of what chlorine does to eyes vs. what any kind of death does? I'm not out to harm anyone's reputation, but hey, she's the one clearly speaking past her expertise, for some reason (which would be what?)

Add 7/7: This eye claim has previously been made by supposed chemical expert Keith Ward. In an article run by Bellingcat, he makes a ludicrous claim that "even if only 1% of the contents of a cylinder (1 pound) of chlorine made its way into the lower floors and basement of the buildings attacked, that would be sufficient to fill a large space with a concentration of chlorine that would cause death to those sheltering therein within a matter of minutes." He also decided "the vast majority of the clinical signs and symptoms (such as the corneal opacification and the frothing from mouths and nostrils, due to pulmonary edema, seen on dead bodies) ... are most consistent with exposure to high levels of chlorine, although they do not completely rule out that a nerve agent might have also been involved." What a moron. He clarifies they refer to clouding, and are unaware this is just a sign of death. Period. Ward is described as "an Affiliated Faculty member at George Mason University. He received his B.S. in Physics from Texas A&M and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University. He was on the Chemistry Faculty at the University of Wisconsin before serving as a civilian scientist for the US Navy, DHS, and the FBI Laboratory. Since retiring, he occasionally provides technical assistance to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, specializing in chemical and biological defense topics." Huh. He can blame regimes ok. Good prosecution 'expert witness' type. He's also cited in the NYT repot at 9:24, testifying to the frothy mucous clue, but not the eyes. Instead, Knaack is brought on to address that. Did Ward decide to drop that point, forcing them to find someone less qualified to repeat what they had heard around from the likes of Mr. Ward?

This BBC article takes reports from locals of "corneal burns" and/or "cornea irritation" as signs of chlorine, seen/reported on patients and those found in the home. But this image search for cornea irritation shows what I'm saying: this means red eyes, not ones that are cloudy as if one were dead. We hear some kind of burn was seen on the living, but where we can see (the dead victims in the house), we see clouding, and little to no redness. The conclusion to draw from this is they're dead, and it's not from regular chlorine exposure. (but perhaps irregular exposure: if they were wearing goggles, for example, red eyes could be avoided even with exposure to chlorine or another caustic agent.)<end 7/7>

Add 7/12: I could stand to have better sources on this, but here's one easily found online explanation of post mortem eye clouding. Here's another list of the basic signs of death, one of which is "Clouding of the cornea." Explained: "The transparent window of the eye begins to cloud quickly after death."

Some images show an additional red-black band across the white of the eye I've rarely seen or noted. Digging around, it seems they call this tache noir (black spot): if the eyes are left open after death, I guess from not blinking/moving and moistening like usual, the exposed part darkens that way (in the dark or only in the sun or light?). This may be the cause of the dark spots on the eyes of the boy whose left eye is shown below (small, in the lower right corner). That also is not a chlorine burn. 

There are injuries to the eye that cause scarring that appears opaque like the Douma victims and all other dead people. Glaucoma causes similar. But that, I believe, is scar issue. It appears after the initial injury has healed, whereas dead people don't heal. What the injury looks like, before and shortly after a related death: acid burn to the cornea: like after the swimming pool but worse in a severe (deadly) case. cornea burn, chemical: can cause opacification, but also causes severe redness, capillaries engorged with blood - chlorine causes acids, which burn less severely than an alkaline would (per this graphic and other sources.)

Feel free to compare.
Below, the boy displaying tache noir in larger form, to note the dark spots and clouding to show he died, and the lack of red to suggest chlorine did it. But the orange stuff that wound up in his airways suggests it included blood, from inhaling chlorine or similar. So what could be different between his eyes and lungs? <end 7/12>

7/16: Eye stuff expanded into a broader post on the subject.

Lack of rational motive: The report argues that Assad had the motive for this chemical massacre, as his forces conquered Douma the next day - probably because of the attack. Many have wondered why Assad would make such a move and risk re-crossing president Trump's "all kinds of red lines" and incur fresh military strikes or other fallout, when he was on the verge of victory here anyway. 

But Browne at al. seem sure rebels here, led by the Saudi-backed Army of Islam, were prepared to hold out, despite the fact they were totally surrounded, split in half, and many had already surrendered and left the area. Some others did put on a show of refusing to surrender (and I suspect it was just a show, planned along with their false-flag CW event), shelling Damascus April 6 as a provocation for return shelling and, it's thought, this chemical attack. This is what we're to believe broke their will; they couldn't risk any more dead babies from gas attacks, and had better just fold.

Well if so, that's some unexplained change of heart. Consider how the same basic guys in August 2013 claimed 1,700 civilians were killed by Assad's chemicals, and they insisted at the time they'd never surrender, no matter how many (of their hostages?) wound up gassed/executed (like the one guy and that other one, at least). There should be a no-fly zone, but either way, they swore the fight would go on until God willed otherwise.

They were not surrounded, cut-off, and starting to surrender at that time. On April 7, 2018 they were, and suddenly they also cared this much about whoever those people are? Is it the closeness of defeat improving their ethics, or is this just a coincidence since they were still miles from that? Or is it just more sold and bought bullshit?

Clues the victims were massacred, planted here: At 8:45 the report explains the "most damning" clue  - the 34/35 dead victims are actually verified to be at the building with this shady chlorine tank staging stuff they messed up so badly in reading. And the videos "show that this was a lethal chemical attack," not just some kind without a bunch of dead people piled fairly near the exit/entrance of a building that seems mainly uninhabited.

But there are a lot of clues they blur out or gloss over suggesting those poor folks were killed deliberately (yes, with toxic gasses, not guns) and then planted here. Consider as the terrorists surrendered and were given safe passage to Idlib, etc., they were not allowed to bring any chemical weapons they might have, nor any hostages (both of which they were known to possess, in somewhat uncertain kinds and quantity). Would they just leave and free these, or take a last chance to use them - hostages and poisons together - to score more points against their hated Assad? To save space and slow the alienation of weaker readers, I'll just direct you to victim analysis if you're curious which of these clues I've noted here (there are other clues too, but mine are very interesting, if incomplete).