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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Black Sarin?

November 7, 2017
(incomplete)
edits Nov. 8

With some if not all alleged sarin attacks in Syria, there's been a strange dark fluid  associated with it. From reports, it seems this is the sarin itself, splashing out of rockets and bombs delivered by Syrian government forces. Of course, pure, military-grade sarin is a colorless, odorless liquid, but this stuff is said to smell foul and appear black. That's now an accepted feature of "Assad's" sarin, as used in several attacks since 2013 that, on review, tend to be false-flag events launched by terrorists. French inteligence analysis of samples from Saraqeb, 4-29-2013 found the air-dropped hand-grenades contained sarin of only 60% purity. They don't mention a color, but witnesses there described a "horrible, suffocating smell." 

To start, there are 4 incidents I can list where possible black liquid sarin appears, and on review I may be able to add more. That's not many, but there have only been so many sarin attacks, and a few specifically don't seem to involve the kind of area-splashing that lets us see the color of it. Maybe in comparing this fluid as seen and reported there are clues, patterns, inconsistencies to discover.

Ateibah 3-19-2013
Adra 8-5-2013
Latamnah 3-30-2017
Khan Sheikhoun, 4-4-2017

Note: this black fluid aspect is something I've seen liot Higgins cover as a likely clue (see here for one example). I'm not sure it is, but there's enough of a case to assemble this post to lay it out and see.

Ateibah 3-19-2013:  a black fluid was said (not seen) to come out of a rocket, have a foul smell, and to cause direct health problems including lung damage. I don't know of any imagery from the site to support that, but given the following, it could be. It may not be what killed seven people. (ACLOS)

The area was under control of Saudi-backed  Jaish Al-Islam, who seem likely suspects in two even earlier alleged CW incidents in November, 2012, that killed one "displaced" child each. This Ateibah attack killed one displaced infant, and 5 civilian men, three of who seem to be from a Christian family, by their rare, Aramaic name. Also, the attack coincided with a sarin attack on Syrian soldioers and largely Shi'ite civilians in Aleppo, and apparently a planned CW attack in Homs cit that was barely reported then forgotten. It was a big day, March 19. There are clues that Jaish al-Islam's sponsors in Saudi Arabia ordered it up.

Adra 8-5-2013: In Adra, East Ghouta Damascus suburbs, a sain rocket attack was blamed for a plume said sicken hundreds, but to kill no humans (Eliot Higgins (Brown Moses) discusses it here). AN ITV News report (August 5, 10:43 PM) explains "Syrian rebel fighters have alleged that the Assad regime launched "a series of chemical attacks" on the Damascus suburbs of Adra and Douma yesterday morning. Residents reported that the attack took place during morning prayers yesterday, and approximately 400 people were showing "signs of exposure to chemical toxic gases." (Yesterday will be Syria time, hours ahead and already in "tomorrow.")

Adra is a large area, some of which was rebel-occupied at the time. Other parts were government-secured and sheltered many minorities, whom rebels murdered and abducted in a huge raid and massacre in December, 2013. Adra is next to Douma, and any "liberated" parts would be under control of the same Jaish Al-Islam mentioned above. They would lead the December massacre, who may have been behind the prior CW incidents mentioned above, and who may well have committed the Ghouta massacre a few weeks later. That incident would use several rockets of the kind that used for this prelude incident.

The alleged sarin apparently splashed all over a wet dog, who already appears abandoned and under-nourished. It's not clear of this fluid is black, at this relative thinness. It appears colorless, but... The poor creature starts  out still as their video begins, but quickly starts twitching and then in seconds, convulsing and kicking about as fast and violently as physically possible. It's quite hard to watch.  With the warning: Adra 5 8 2013 A rocket that was carrying chemical materials and shows around the animals died after the chemical

I've never seen any human victim convulsing remotely like this. The people filming it, breathing the same area (or are they wearing gas masks?) seem to be completely unaffected. That and the apparent sequence suggests the poison was splashed right on this dog well after any rocket impact, and just for this video. Possibly sarin but likely some other liquid nerve agent, it's quite deadly, like what they say came out of the rocket nearby, but here the guys with the cameras seem to have it to splash around at will. 

The video cuts at severe convulsion, perhaps before it got even uglier. Next we see after the animal is dead, and has been moved for some reason to a spot in the middle of an intersection (or it might be a different dog). The supposed sarin rocket laying there, as if just laid there, and a dead cat also laying nearby. The pavement is black here, if not wet-seeming (foreground: dead dog - left distance: a dead cat - left off-frame: the rocket). 
Looking the other way from over by the cat: the dog and the rocket over by the curb. 

The color enhanced composite view above shows that black has a blue-ish hue, but there are also patches with red, and areas where it mixes into purple ... in fact, a strange damage area (seems old, unrelated to the attack) seems to be the reddest. This is over by the dead cat. I don't know what to make of this.
Brown Mosess: "In the case of the 3 videos from Adra on August 5th, they are linked directly to an attack that took place on the same day, with videos of the victims of the attack showing the same kinds of symptoms.  I spoke to a doctor in Damascus who claims to have treated victims from both the August 21st attack and August 5th attack, and he claimed the symptoms where the same in both attacks."

One of his 3 videos is the one with the dog being poisoned. Per the other 2, there were apparently 3 or more rockets used, all of the same "volcano" or "UMLACA" style famously used for the Ghouta attack. The one next to the dog and cat seems pretty straight. Two others are badly bent: #138 and 15x (bad still for that - it's obviously 155 as shown here). Both shown on videos dated August 5, The bent portion of tube that's discolored: that will be inside the chemical tanks. One looks a bit like its stained by motor oil, something greasy and dark. The other looks sort of rusty. It may have landed similarly,  with this being the original down side. How it got what looks like drizzles of chocolate syrup is unclear, but might be the remaining fluid running down the sides and pooling along this bottom edge. A similar case of dark drizzle is examined in this Brown Moses post, that also shows a better view of the rocket by the dead dog: it has the same dark/greasy-looking metal as these in the same area, forward of the payload tank end-plate. As Higgins described it "the tube of metal where the payload would have been looks black and shiny, possibly covered in a black liquid." I tend to agree on that point.

Ghouta 8-21-2013: not an example?
The Ghouta attack a few weeks later and not far away had an alleged 12 such rockets used, with at least 8 or 9 seen manged afterwards. These sites tend to have a clear blackening of the ground with each rocket hit. But it never looks wet, and usually appears scorched as if by fire (see right). A close-up on grass at one impact site is clear on that point (below). 

Besides at the famous field impact 1 (UN-OPCW visit) and 2 (rocket #197), similar burn rings can be seen with a rooftop where rocket landed, and there are circular scorch-marks near the pile of dead sheep and goats. It might even be part of why they're burnt and why some of them seem torn up. Whatever caused that fire, by the way, would destroy any sarin it might have carried. The damage and burn ring patterns suggest these were fuel-air explosive weapons, not sarin rockets. That's still a minority view but I hold to it. The fuel used in those - not sure, but it might be black and oily, like what the Adra rockets held. The Ghouta rockets and dirt tested positive for sarin days later, but that could be after it was splashed there, like it might have been splashed on that poor dog, by some well-connected Islamists from Douma. So this doesn't count. (So does Adra 8-5 count?)



So 2 possible cases in 2013, not so clear. Phase II in 2017, it's clearer. Is it new, or just newly seen?

Latamnah 3-30-2017: When an alleged sarin bomb was dropped in a gully between orchards, some 170 militants and farm workers hanging out nearby claimed sarin exposure, but none died. The blamed device is an air-dropped bomb with some scraps left - one laying in the bomb crater has the same kind of filler cap seen on a scrap in the crater in Khan Sheikhoun days later. (ACLOS, Bellingcat) The alleged jet-dropped bomb caused vegetation to become strangely flattened and blackened over a wide area, but not seeming burnt - as if by a tsunami of black water that was flowing strongly to the north. (below: the area was also coated with dirt afterwards, apparently from a follow-up explosive bomb or shell) Any inherent hue to this black stuff refuses to pop out under enhancement. Below is just contrast-adjusted to clarify the scene.




Khan Sheikhoun, 4-4-2017:
After this alleged jet bombing with sarin killed nearly 100, there's a strange black fluid splash all around the supposed release. Here an enhanced view shows it has a blue-ish hue, like ink, here seeming blue green or cyan. These densest patches are along the south edge of the crater (note one small patch of the same blue on the other side, but mainly it's this thick only on the south side, extending south and southeast, or towards the camera). Here's an enhanced view from the other side. That long thin streak to the south was probably a fatter shape until someone apparently drove right through that spot.

Those blues spots here appear wet, meaning the sarin has not evaporated yet? That would mean it would still be drifting up in molecules - uite a few of them - into the air. But it might be light enough a paper mask and not staying long would suffice to not die. Some reporters and others who visited the site report falling ill. Is this blue stuff something else added later? No. Its splash pattern goes with the general black, with the same directions of greater spread, because it's all from inside the same rocket (see below).

Reporter and propagandist Hadi Abdullah filmed the area with a drone, providing a nice overview of the scene for a clearer than usual reading of the size and shape of this black splash. From an enhanced view, note the shape of the darkest patch around the crater; it extends most to the lower right and least the opposite way. The denser scatter of displaced road fill goes the same way, more or less to the southeast.

Below is a larger view, also enhanced. The broader dark patch extends much further south thatn north. The other directions are less clear: on the left, we can see where it's splashed across the concrete island at a certain angle, across both levels. From there, it's less clear. On the right it surely extends into the soil, perhaps making it look redder? It's hard to say how far it extends - it just doesn't show up as clearly as it does on the asphalt.

The longest direction of spread will be the direction of travel of the delivery device, if it were traveling. That's not clear yet - it could be from right up the highway, from a bit from the right of that or, more likely, a bit or two to the left (note again the darker patch around the crater).

The highway runs about 19 degrees N-NE on the compass, so the firing direction suggested for this sarin rocket is, basically, from the north. It was said to be a non-propelled gravity bomb that fell from a jet, but the radar shows the nearest jet was, at the best moment, about 4km to the south, passing on an east-west flight path. Even if it were possible for that bomb to drift so far on the wind before hitting, it clearly would come in with a northerly heading on a slant from the south. But all that black sarin clearly splashes in roughly the opposite direction. Huh.

In Review
(forthcoming)


18 comments:

  1. Got it. Did Syria produce their own Sarin wholly from scratch? Or, did they import any of it or the chemical constituents of Sarin from external sources? Black Sarin's got me thinking black market. Remember the Turkish journalists who got into trouble for reporting on consignments of "Sarin chemicals" coming into Turkey from East Europe?

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    1. Hey. I suppose Syria would import most but not all the chemicals needed.

      Terrorists would import it whole, import all materials needed, steal some and import the rest, whatever.

      Black does have many connotations, including black markets, Wahabbi Islamism, death, etc. That's probably a coincidence. But black markey it will be, at least if purchases are recent (since '97?).

      Not sure what journalist that was that got in trouble for that story. I guess that's not a story that I followed. Whole newspapers have been shut down so the sultan can try and keep his secrets.

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  2. How do you think the amount of liquid seen compares between Latamneh and Khan Sheikhoun?

    Crater seems around the same width and if the 'cap' is comparable, similar device? More liquid at Latamneh?

    https://imgur.com/kCMdDnW

    Also wondering why in the videos the White Helmets are seen walking south from the muddy area? They think any remnants will have flown directly away from the town?

    I thought Latamneh was now only 70 victims too- perhaps 100 arrived too early?

    A popular field either way. We'll see if the first patient of the day causes multiple hospitals to fall into "chaos" with their records again.

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    1. Good, question. It appears comparable in spread area, but the Latamnah scene is hard to put bounds on. It should be a smaller and less clear spread, of course, with plants and dirt absorbing it where pavement just lets it splash over and keep going, and lets it show evenly later.

      Good picture. See one was ... well, and the other was like "hey look at us, dead babies, no protection, help us, etc." So you only break out the suits later, when you got your sarin detector out to go beep beep beep off the charts regime sarin attack. After the babies are dead and the sandals-wearing guys finish hauling them off.

      Latamnah Victim numbers vary a lot. HRW heard a total of 169 just at SAMS clinics. It's almost exactly 2x the number UN-OPCW heard, 85 including medics. Medical staff with 2nd contamination is given as 9 in both counts, and the rest is unclear. So it's confused. No reason given for either number of people to be out there. Bellingcat was told cumin farmers were out thinning their plants. The same shady star witness who saw the coma kid step outside and fall down is their source.

      So here, oppo. supporters get to pass on rebel claims there was no rebel presence nearby to target, so it was clearly an attack on civilians. But as it happens, some maybe huge number of fighters came to be nearby, maybe all rushing to help...

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    2. New FFM report is interesting http://undocs.org/S/2017/931

      My first thoughts: if the casualties are all fighters in nearby caves, the White Helmet lied to Bellingcat when they said "the land which was targeted was far from headquarters (of rebels)"

      There is only one 'different' bomb but gravel from a second crater further south is positive for sarin? Not the crater next to the alleged remnants and liquid?

      Very rusty remnants... need to study but if 07SDS is the previously seen 'cap', then the location found does not match where it is seen lying in the video in the crater.

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    3. 07SDS definitely looks to have been moved. Maybe something someone official should be aware of?

      Maybe someone could do a more professional version of this:

      https://imgur.com/BIHgV5V

      https://youtu.be/pq_Ne3CnkKA?t=65
      https://youtu.be/TwUat45Vg4o?t=221

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    4. In fact the locations of the metal parts given may be completely meaningless as they weren't collected until 5th and 30th of July - if they didn't spot 07SDS they could all have been moved by then.

      This sarin had "no odour" too which is very different from Khan Sheikhoun. What happened to those impurities? Very strange.

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    5. My other silly question is if the 2 pin filler cap is unique to an air dropped Syrian chemical bomb and there was one bomb dropped, why are there 2 filler caps (both with sarin)?

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    6. Higgins thinks no mixing device found because it is premixed as suggested by chemistry:

      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/928013417004363776

      but someone else says latest evidence shows this one has 2 filler ports, which means binary munition

      https://twitter.com/gregkoblentz/status/928769914466422785

      so... different for 2 attacks? I'm confused, are people just making things up?

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    7. Not sure about 2 filler caps - is that another one on 03SDS?

      True on lack of smell - everyone seems to say this, an it's unusual. Strange symptoms as well - narcolepsy and death-like sleep, hallucinations and speaking gibberish? Not usual sarin signs.

      Rusty remnants: why use really old stuff? But it looks really old. Maybe the unknown chemical? It causes stronger than usual burning sensation... might it rust metal like chlorine does?

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    8. As for the Hell Cannon theory, I kind of agree. The tail assembly doesn't seem quite right, and the rest is sort of vague. Still no air bomb matched. And if one is, it could be configured to be fired from a Hell Cannon etc. or launched with a catapult, etc. And it might be an unknown improvised device with nothing around to match it to. Or improvised with some recognizable air bomb parts.

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    9. this 07SDS ... I thought it was part of 01, but I guess just laid with it. Alone then, it looks strangley square, not torn out, but cut out on straight lines at 90-degree angles. This would be very odd, except there's also 11SDS that looks like 3 rectangular plates cut the same way but connected at the bottom. Suggested is, I guess, some perforated plates designed to break apart like this, with the filler cap set in the middle of one plate? I don't know how normal this is.

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    10. I wasn't sure about the other 'filler cap'.

      I do wonder why the countries who have been accusing the Syrian gov don't just provide the radar track for this 6am plane on the 30th. Would really help to prove/disprove, if it dropped 4 bombs along the valley it should also go straight over the town.

      Would also question why the local armed fighters moved into ground level caves after the valley has supposedly been bombed constantly with chlorine.. and with no spotter to warn the people in the caves.

      Perfect place to release sarin/set off an IED and safely watch from the high ground though.

      Possibly significant, KS environmental samples were received by the FFM on April 12th and 13th - the sarin-positive Latamneh gravel was also the 12th. Maybe delivered together?

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    11. By "ground level" I mean of course "at bottom of the valley"

      Rusty remnants make me think of the 2000 repurposed chemical bombs the Syrian gov said had been used in 2013. If true, in theory aging remnants of actual Syrian chemical bombs could be found wherever they were dropped 4 years ago.

      I'm not sure if they have been mentioned since the OPCW last said they had no samples http://www.nrttv.com/EN/Details.aspx?Jimare=14292

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    12. ..and by extension, if hypothetically the government had taken the trouble to hide those 2000 purpose built chemical bombs and drop them now, the remains would be those of a bomb with at least a decent build quality (to be worth keeping and as they would need no modification)?

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    13. Even the man who filmed a lot of the later Khan Sheikhoun videos has one showing their collection of remnants in Hish

      https://youtu.be/mgjV5rylHGs?t=181

      Similar tail fin anyway (though I strongly believe if the OPCW couldn't identify the parts as unique to a certain bomb, people on the internet certainly won't be able to). If they kept the collected remnants, they would certainly have a good selection of 2013 era bomb parts to put in a field in Latamneh.

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    14. Higgins seems to have declared it an M4000 all by himself but the OPCW weren't even interested in the spring he was trying to ID it seems

      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/917061633394008064

      and Bellingcat couldn't identify the fuse "used on a large number of aerial bomb types by numerous nations" which doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

      Munition parts "consistent with application in a chemical weapon" is not "unique to a Syrian chemical weapon" and it is interesting that the FFM doesn't describe the Latamneh 'caps' as Syrian chemical filler caps. I wonder what else they are 'consistent' with.. obviously something or it would be a 'slam dunk'.

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  3. For the record, there doesn't seem to be any messages for the Latamneh plane. The plane is simply assumed this time (to go with 0 scientifically verified casualties)

    https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=from%3Asentry_syria%20since%3A2017-03-30%20until%3A2017-03-31

    I think the Rootclaim hell cannon round theory is wrong btw, all of the remnants have been identified and provided by the White Helmets, there is no way in the world they would knowingly hand over bits of hell cannon rounds fired by their friendly armed groups.

    The FFM don't seem to have asked for any green metal parts seen in videos that aren't consistent with a chemical munition (e.g. to maybe try and match the paint and rule other parts out) so that makes me think the they have just asked the White Helmets for parts consistent with an air dropped chemical munition.

    I suppose it is like the JIM 'verifying' the plumes video and then asking their expert if it was possible to have dropped one bomb rather than all the bombs the plane would had to have dropped and via the path on the radar track: ignore anything that might rule out the theory.

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