Warning

Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

On the Limits of Tariq Bhatti's Chemistry Analysis

December 14-15, 2019

A Possibly Excellent Work, But...
Twitter-based anti-Syria hacktivist "Iridium Tea" - formerly Bellingcat commenter DDTea - is now going pro, it seems, publishing under his name Tariq Bhatti as an expert chemist for Bellingcat (he claims to be a PhD candidate in the field). At the same time, he's withdrawing from public discussion on Twitter, putting all his tweets behind a privacy barrier, making it harder to assess his previous record. As I'll show, this was a smart move for someone trying to build a career as a reputable researcher.

Mr. Bhatti's debut argues for a real chlorine gas release in the 8 April, 2018 Douma incident, at both of two locations, laboring to explain recent claims that relevant compounds were only found at normal, background levels. Mr. Bhatti clearly put a lot of work into this, discussing the molecular mechanics involved, the different kinds of chlorinated compounds, positive vs. negative ions, etc. This is the article:

Chlorine’s Unique Fingerprints: The April 7, 2018 Douma Incident Through A Chemistry Lens
December 12, 2019, By Tariq Bhatti
https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2019/12/12/chlorines-unique-fingerprints-the-april-7-2018-douma-incident-through-a-chemistry-lens/

I'm not at all an expert chemist, and cannot verify his work here. And I'm in no position to debunk it, since I actually harbor serious doubts the low-level / no-release claims he tackles. I've noticed these doubts seem to be shared by no one else among those who question the opposition's narrative. But it was not long ago that all visual clues had convinced many or most of us most that there was a chlorine release. It couldn't explain all the deaths, and it clearly came from no helicopter, but the cylinders were put there and seemingly opened up, so that at least some chemical traces could be found. That never HAD to all be true, but it did SEEM to be true.

But then OPCW FFM whistleblower "Alex" said in October - and it seems others there agree with him - the levels of chlorinated compounds they found were no higher than normal. This of course suggests that was probably no release; the valves were never opened or, perhaps, they contained something unusual the FFM never found, or never reported finding.

Now, I find it hard to doubt the whistleblower(s) on this or any point. But I find it harder yet to abandon the clear logic of what I've seen, as compiled here. Therefore I abandon none of it outright, and declare confusion - some review is in order. I've been getting flak and cold shoulders over this stance, but I have to hold it, as it seems NO ONE ELSE is; nearly everyone leapt on the exciting claim and ran with it, seeming to just ignore all the conflicting evidence without even trying to find an alternate explanation for it.

I might still be shown wrong on this count, and I'm including a space below for any additions to that effect that might emerge. But for now, as far as I know and follow, Bhatti's analysis actually sounds good, and might be helpful for everyone to heed. Of course it could be bogus, and I just can't see that in all those details. I admit I didn't even try. But where it seems to me someone at Bellingcat does good work - and it's usually in some narrow area of limited relevance - I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

But even more so than usual, this possibly excellent work is of limited relevance. What Bhatti doesn't get to in that article is the point - what all this molecular stuff has to do with the incident at Douma. The driving issues with this contested chemical release was moral and legal, not chemical. People were killed, and someone had to pay. But there's no mention of injury or fatality or the details thereof, like suffocation, incapacitation, etc. It's all just to argue for the presence of chlorine.

But that gas is hardly ever fatal, not almost universally-fatal as alleged in Douma. He's working with Bellingcat, and we know their agenda. His own record is pretty clear to anyone who's encountered him - he suffers from a need to maintain accusations against the Syrian government, at whatever cost to truth and logic. It's not included in this article, but Bhatti still thinks - as many others think - the chlorine was delivered by Syrian Air Force helicopter, and it's just what killed those people. This flies in the face of much evidence I could relate, But let's just keep it to the related fields of chemistry and toxicology. It's about molecules AND what they do, and if he's to weigh in on both aspects - as he already has - folks should know he either doesn't know that much of relevance, or he's terribly dishonest and agenda-driven, or some of both.

A Partial Record of Bhatti's Twisting of Science
As an example of his faith-based approach to science, I still like Bhatti's bold claims about a fire set beneath the gas cylinder at location 2, among fabric set on top of the rubble linked to the cylinder's impact. The smoke stains are clear on there being a blaze in that corner, but he insisted in a discussion just over a year ago that it was sparked honestly by the chlorine, claiming that gas "starts fires," as if this is a widely-known fact. But it's never been seen in other chlorine incidents in Syria, maybe because, as the Chlorine Institute says, and as all other sources I've seen agree, "Chlorine is neither explosive nor flammable." They add that it "will support combustion under certain conditions," but Bhatti claimed the only condition needed was chlorine gas, contacting some combustible material that had landed naturally on top of the concrete rubble. And his claim was soon contradicted anyway by the OPCW's Fact-Finding Mission, whom he usually defers to; they heard the fire was intentionally set, to decontaminate the room.
FWIW this is probably untrue. I think they set that fire to release the gas by melting out the fusible plug in the valve assembly, and/or to speed up the release - to help contaminate the room and the whole place. That is still open to debate, but "chemistry expert" Tariq Bhatti failed that debate.

I also like his musings on rust. It's a chemistry issue, so let's hold him to account for it. Some moron working with a New York Times "investigation" decided some of the soot from that fire that deposited on the cylinder's underside was actually rust, or a "dark substance" that can appear on metals under corrosive conditions - i.e. darker-than-usual rust. Tariq agreed, noting rust comes in a variety of colors.
The issue was black rust and whether this could be it. I found on research this happens, but mainly in low-oxygen environments, like underwater, on the rebar inside concrete bridges - conditions inapplicable to the Douma incident. And something they all missed, it's tricky: rust happens on metal. This black stuff is on the paint, and it wipes off and rinses right off in the rain, revealing unchanged yellow paint beneath. The actual rust we see is where you'd expect; on the bare steel at the cylinder's neck and on metal items close to it. The color of the rust: regular orange-brown, due to the high iron content of the steel (below: color-enhanced a bit to clarify the issues).


I've had several discussions with Bhatti as Iridium Tea over the year, the most recent being just a few days ago, leading him to mute me just before putting his whole account as non-public. So I can't link to the points he raised then or previously, but they include:

* He repeatedly showed videos of much, much larger one-ton and multi-ton containers emptying chlorine in a violent torrent, to "illustrate" how deadly the Douma cylinder would be, ignoring the gross irrelevance of that comparison. I didn't note just which video(s) he showed, but it was from this series, or similar: Jack Rabbit tests in remote Utah desert, w/multi-ton containers - sizes not all clear.

- upward release, 60 seconds to empty huge vessel - cropped screen-grab at right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1OMcXxPvuU

- downward release, said to use 20 tons, shown below - extremely thick gas over a wide area. The release runs app. with no edits and regular speed from 0:09 to the end at 4:05, when it's still sputtering but nearly done. So 20 tons released in 4 minutes. (note: the color here is very vivid due to its density, and a more orange than usual, I guess from the low angle of sunlight scattered by all those particles to a lower, redder frequency - the effect is worse on the left side than on the right, suggesting such an optical issue.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnZWTSG9Rc8



I'm not good with volumes, never tried to settle it yet, and the clear answer didn't pop right up in a quick search, so I just asked Michael Kobs. As he tells me, the cylinders have a volume of 120 liters, but usually aren't filled all the way "because Cl2 expands at higher temperatures. You may fill it 88% at 6.5bar at 20°C. … So a cylinder of the Douma kind can be filled with about 168kg Cl2." This is about what the mysterious American officials said to "Alex" and co. - 170kg of chlorine was in each of the cylinders Assad dropped on Douma (via Jonathan Steele - but "the inspectors left Fairweather’s office, feeling that the invitation to the Americans to address them was unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality," and they went on to find, whatever the volume, the cylinders were not air-dropped, and their gas was apparently not released). I know we're doubting the claims of nefarious US officials, but they probably had the volume about right.

168kg = 360 pounds. Compared to the 20-ton test Bhatti used as an example, he's showing 111 times the amount of gas. And it's released in a deliberately torrential manner over just 4 minutes, clearly through some large-gauge opening, rather than a passive leak through an opening about a centimeter wide.

* Struggling to make the above relevant, Bhatti speculates the gas release was very quick like those Jack Rabbit test videos show, so most of it would be present at once, rolling in a fast "front" that would hit the victims with massive damage at all at once, sealing their fates and blacking them out with its sheer intensity. But he also likes the frost seen on the cylinder. I agree that (probably) shows it's still actively leaking its contents. The problem is, the video metadata and posting timeline say it was only filmed at or around 10:06 PM. This is some 2.5 hours after the alleged attack, when the leak would have started. To me the frosted area says it's mostly empty, but not far past the shift from the liquid-drip to gas-venting release (that would be where the level of liquid drops below the exit point). As I gather, from discussions with Michael Kobs and it making sense, this last part goes rather slow compared to the initial release. We can say a cylinder this size emptying in probably 3 hours or more is a pretty slow average speed. To be fair, the open question is how fast the first portion would release compared to the rest. But adding this to the above on those desert tests, let's compare the average rates anyway: 40,000 lbs. in 4 minutes vs. 360 lbs. in 3 hours, or 180 minutes. The one test had 111 times the amount released in 1/45th of the time. As I calculate it, that means Bhatti's example flow is 4,995 times greater than the average flow expected at Douma. Now how applicable can that be?

* Bhatti claimed people would only have "seconds" to flee before they were "incapacitated" by this fantasized tsunami of deadly gas - probably leaning on the rambling of Mr. Ward (see below), but also citing the battle of Ypres in World War I; he said just the other day thousands died "where they stood" when the Germans released chlorine gas on them, so "clearly they were rendered unconscious." This is the one I got a screen-grab for, here along with my initial response. But we'll come back to this in more detail. (it was not a good deduction)
* He claims decades of literature (back to the 1920s/WWI era) supports his impression of chlorine as a knock-out gas, but provided no examples. Maybe he read a novel where someone got confused by the chloro-connection with chloroform, a real knock-out substance. I only know of sources that contradict him on balance (see below).

For the less-informed reader, here's the short version of how chlorine harms and kills: it turns to corrosive acid on contact with water, so it burns the eyes and airways. That's all it directly does - nothing neurological like paralysis or seizures, or losing consciousness. The lung damage simply causes fluid to fill the airways, killing by a usually slow suffocation the victims tends to stay awake through.

* Just a few days back, Bhatti finally dug up a few sources that mentioned things like "High concentrations may cause unconsciousness." It may, but infrequently enough that it didn't come up in any of the cases I studied here, including one w/8 deaths. And the definition of "high-level" probably is far above what existed at Douma. Most lists of symptoms do not include loss of consciousness, because it's not a regular one at all. When it does come up, it's explained so: "headache and loss of consciousness are probably due to the hypoxia caused by pulmonary edema." (CDC) An oxygen-starved brain (cerebral hypoxia) causes headache and then unconsciousness, and finally death. But that situation will usually require some minutes to develop, and won't explain 35 people dropping in place rather than trying to escape the gas. But judging from the accepted version of the Douma incident, as Bhatti seems to be, that or paralysis must be very common and the rest of the world needs to revise its science.

* He has researched the fluke cases where chlorine might kill swiftly, like "laryngospasm" - interesting to learn about. Usually, it's a reflexive closing of the larynx that prevents breathing. As I gather, it's rare, frightening, and usually temporary. It's also something some people and not others are prone to. It does not sound likely to be even a partial answer for Douma, and if it were a partial answer, I'm sure that part would be small, irrelevant. It's the kind of thing someone fairly smart but desperate to support the Jihadists' narrative would dig up, and it helps show how even such a sharp and motivated person cannot find anything better.

He recently noted "instant respiratory arrest" occurs "at 2000ppm" - from studies on dogs, I believe he said. That's hella high, and probably true. It's highly doubtful such levels were reached at Douma.

The fastest chlorine can kill is the speed of suffocation, and only in rare cases of sudden and total airway damage, or persistent laryngospasm, or anything else that makes breathing itself suddenly and totally impossible. Even then, unless the person is paralyzed by shock (quite possible AFAIK), most people could still move and struggle to both escape and breathe. It remains a poor fit with this issue noted by the FFM: "The victims do not appear to have been in the midst of attempting self-extrication or respiratory protection when they collapsed, indicating a very rapid or instant onset." They didn't even consider that might be because they were corpses already. Corpses don't protect their airways or try to escape from places. Like it or not, that is consistent. Simple chlorine poisoning is not consistent.

Bellingcat's Prior Tries on Chlorine Lethality
Black-out and thence death from chlorine is common as heck in the poorly-researched claims out of Syria (several cases noted at the same article of mine linked above), and it might be some need to support those claims drives Mr. Bhatti's insistence on being wrong here. But occasionally the opposition's scriptwriters (?) display a bit more respect to the known science. For example at Latamnah hospital 25 March, 2017, it's said some 30 people escaped fine and lived after a chlorine cylinder punched through the roof and filled the place with gas. They say only the surgeon and his patient died because Dr. Darwish refused to reschedule the surgery. It is said that they never fled on their own, so the doctor, the boy, and as assistant who survived had to be "rescued" by the White Helmets. But otherwise, it's a fairly logical story in that regard. (detailed incident analysis here)

In Douma, there would be about the same volume of gas, and probably much better ventilation; things were so bad at the hospital, people said, because it had poor air circulation. But Location 2 in Douma had doors and many windows, many of which had their panes broken out. Yet we're told the fatality story is upside-down from Latamnah: some 30+ people did NOT escape and dropped dead, and just a few (with dubious stories) claim to have survived.

And the area to spread in was probably larger and more varied in Douma. The hospital has a partial mapping from videos by Kobs (included here), but I haven't tried scaling either, let alone comparing them in detail. But in Douma, the spread was a bit like this (my rough graphic below based on Forensic Architecture model used by the New Tork Times for a video report). The gas basically would enter the 3rd floor at ceiling level near the north end of the building, dripping down as liquid (compressed gas) that evaporates into a low fog, slowly filling that level to the point it started rolling down the stairs at the south end. Then it would split between drifting into floor 2 and rolling further to floor 1. There it would again split 2 ways: some into that level, and some out into the street, as the basement does not connect internally. Then of that gas in street, some would drift down to the basement before the people sheltering there could smell it and start reacting.
The darker green lines along the side show these levels, drops, and branch points. The curves up front show the drops (imagine they're inside) and then the street spread. That does go out - it has to in order to go down. The down arrow to show this didn't fit, but it would sink down there. Lime-green indicates the basic area this gas had to spread out in prior to the basement.

Here's the entrance, to help show this disconnect, showing the reverse direction allegedly taken by 30+ people in a badly failed escape - there's no way for people or (much) gas to get from the ground floor or above down to the basement without first moving out into the street. All that "confined space" stuff loses nearly all its meaning at this point - unless one illogically runs back inside.

Considering all that and what's known about the effects of chlorine, a realistic death toll from an attack on the scale alleged at Douma is somewhere between zero and maybe 3 or 4, depending. I could explain that in detail, or just note the opposition's scriptwriters (?) even make a nod to this reality. Most chlorine attacks since 2014 included zero deaths, and even when people pass out and die, it was usually 1-3 or maybe 4 of them (it was somehow 3 at Latamnah hospital). A record of six killed at once reached twice, in a tie for deadliest chlorine attack before Douma broke that ceiling badly. As reported, "more than" a "verified" 42 people were killed. And there's an alarming insider tally of 187 people killed that's credible in that running tallies from many sources claimed up to estimates of 180, 190, and 200 killed before they stopped climbing. And no one wants to say how many "more" than 42 died, and why the rest could never be "verified." So this represents a 7-fold or even a 31-fold increase over the previous highest death toll. It's astounding.

Adherence to low death toll with chlorine was finally abandoned, but not easily. Recall how as the numbers grew in the first days, activists kept claiming sarin was involved. That was back when they were still tying to have the story make a bit of sense, which has been out the window for a long time. Still, the FFM and allies like Bhatti and Higgins at Bellingcat keep the faith in this absurd new science.

And they have help from other professionals like Keith Ward, a FBI scientist type, now consulting with Human Rights Watch, etc. If he's the type I suspect, an expert "prosecution witness" type of "expert" that often help put innocent people in prison and on death row, he knows what the client wants to hear, says that, and pretends that science agrees.

With Ward's help, Bellingcat was able to publish within weeks a "possible explanation for the high casualties and deaths" from the incident - the little-known "lethality of chlorine gas." (There's a reason it's little-known - it's not real) This may be why Bhatti didn't need to mention it; Eliot Higgins will write the overview citing him for the molecular science to prove the chlorine gas, and Ward's analysis to explain the deaths as plausibly caused by that gas. Then he can just defer to the FFM's second-try forensic "experts" to link the gas with a regime helicopter, thus pinning the blame on Assad (it's the FMM's mysterious mandate not to blame anybody that makes their constant blaming of one side seem so credible, I guess?).

But let's pause on Ward's analysis, as it seems pretty similar to Bhatti's own. (The points covered below were first addressed as Ward raised them for a ludicrous New York Times "investigation.") This moron Keith Ward doesn't even know about standard post-mortem opacification of the sclera, or he pretends not to know. Because when he saw it on the corpses in Douma, he declared this "corneal opacification" along with some other points were all "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."

However, all credible sources I've found agree with this one that the symptoms of chemical burn to the eye include redness, and do not include opacity. "Cataracts" do appear as a later "complication." That's scar tissue, and the dead don't heal. Their eyes would be plain red, and then cloudy from basic death. But they're not red, just cloudy. (Small size-image here can be popped out for a better look)

Clouding sets in quickly on open eyes; NIH.gov says "Cloudy eyes can occur as soon as 10 min post-mortem if the eyes are open. If the eyes are shut, the cornea becomes cloudy after 24 h." The same source adds that "Tache noir" or "black spots" (dark spots on the sclera/cornea) "can occur as soon as 1–2 h post-mortem." Tache noir is seen on at least one victim, in later views but not earlier ones. In context, that suggests a very recent death (in the image above, the same eye is shown at right, earlier at top, later at bottom, with someone else's in between - this is just a clue I hadn't put a time aspect on previously).

An honest non-moron with an inkling of relevant knowledge would take this as a sign the victims were dead, and NOT from chlorine exposure. An even smarter analyst like myself might see the clues that exist and conclude they died from whatever (only specific clues eventually ruled out chlorine), and it just never hit their eyes because of the goggles someone fitted them with for some bizarre reason. (see "Douma's mask of death")

Perhaps based on the same kind of ignorance, Mr. Ward crunched some numbers - quite poorly, I suspect - to decide if just "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." The actual volume seems to be more like 360 pounds, not 100, so 1 pound would be less than 1/3 of 1%. So implicitly, he claims that one cylinder contained enough gas to kill all those people in "minutes," and to do it 300 times over.

Also, I showed the spread route above. He doesn't get the layout or, for whatever reason, he does not mention "out in the street" as one of the places that would need to be fatally filled with that one pound of gas. Hence: "this moron Keith Ward."

The Empty Trenches at Ypres
This is classic. Tariq Bhatti, the chemical detective, knows or deduces "Cl2 killed thousands where they stood" in the WWI 2nd Battle of Ypres, on 22 April, 1915, so "clearly they were rendered unconscious." That's not clear, just the inference of a die-hard Douma reality-denier.

I did a quick check to suggest "thousands killed" just by the gas is probably correct, but "where they stood" is the issue. If the fatalities at Ypres mainly dropped in place, we would have a strong support for Bhatti's impression. But Dr. Arthur Hurst, who treated many victims, wrote in his 1917 classic "Medical Diseases of the War," in a chapter 10 dealing with chlorine gas: "When a man lives long enough to be admitted into a clearing station, he is conscious, but restless." Hurst does note that "in severe poisoning unconsciousness follows" but the prevalence of this is unclear, and it seems little was known about why; "nothing more is known about the cases which prove fatal on the field within the first few hours of the "gassing," except that the face assumes a pale greenish yellow colour." (probably the same color seen all over location 4 at Douma)

As for those who died in "the field" - this includes fields and trenches, which they were in to avoid being shot or shelled so easily. I had taken fear of shooting as a reason they didn't flee, but that was inferred. With the distances involved, and bad visibility with the gas, shooting by the enemy would be unlikely. In fact, men shooting themselves sounds like more of an issue (keep reading).

The problem was the scale of release: I read that 150, 160, or 168 tons of chlorine was used - some 833-933 times what the Douma cylinders would each hold. This was deployed from canisters moved into place days in advance, waiting for a strong favorable wind. When the Germans opened those tanks, a huge area of land was covered by the combined plumes. The gas filled the trenches and the air right above them, pretty densely, it seems, up to about nose-level. The air would be so filled to the right, left, and forward, with no escape except maybe up a tree or onto a barn roof. Or one could have run towards the German lines, where you might live to get out of the gas eventually, but then be at the gas tanks, close and visible enough to be shot (which might be a welcome relief at that point).

Here is an aerial photo of this type of attack, at the Somme the following year. Is it any wonder some people never escaped the gas? And a side-note on why Ypres 2 is the most-cited example for fatality: it was a surprise attack, not well-prepared for. The scale of destruction was alarming, and in quick order a crude gas mask was devised and put to service. Just the first couple of attacks could be that devastating. At the Somme and in other cases, soldiers could just sit in the trenches with their masks on and wait out the fog. Hence the switch to the sneakier phosgene and to sulfur mustard, which gas masks couldn't fully protect soldiers from. (Sarin and similar nerve agents were only devised during the second world war.)
I found a few witness accounts from Ypres published at Chemical and Engineering News. Willi Siebert, a German soldier sent in after the gas, described what he saw: "All of the animals had come out of their holes to die. Dead rabbits, moles, and rats and mice were everywhere. The smell of the gas was still in the air. It hung on the few bushes which were left. ... It was unbelievable. Then we saw there were some English. You could see where men had clawed at their faces, and throats, trying to get breath. Some had shot themselves. The horses, still in the stables, cows, chickens, everything, all were dead. Everything, even the insects were dead."

A.T. Hunter, Canadian Soldier, said "Many fell and died on the spot. The others, gasping ... fled." How many fell on the spot? Few enough that, as Siebert put it in the part snipped from above: "When we got to the French lines the trenches were empty but in a half mile the bodies of French soldiers were everywhere." That would be where they died, not "where they stood" but where they were running, crawling at the end, through a half-mile of thick, non-stop, pea-soup colored corrosive fog, with melting eyes and lungs. Clearly they would have preferred sudden unconsciousness, but reality denied it to them.

Some died in the fields, enough that it was described as "everywhere" over a half-mile span. Others would die in the hospitals. Dr. Hurst noted little was known about those cases and what they went through. But for those who died later under observed conditions, he wrote "Before efficient respirators were in use about 5 per cent. of those who reached the clearing stations died within forty-eight hours. Of those who reached the base hospitals between 1 and 2 per cent. died in the second or third week from broncho-pneumonia or other pulmonary complications." I'm not sure, but I think this means 96-97% of those who made it to the hospitals survived. That sounds high, but the problem was quite a few - most of the thousands killed - never did make it that far. Many survivors would be left blinded, or with crippling respiratory issues, but they lived.

If thousands died and that many also lived, it means an enormous number of exposures. The number is known, or estimates are, but I'm done with fresh research for now. The scale of this gas attack makes it grossly irrelevant as a comparison for the Douma incident. But even with that massive distortion, Mr. Bhatti was still unable to scrape up the desired supports for the invented chlorine properties he insists on promoting.

"I might still be shown wrong" ...
… to have doubts about the very popular no-release notion, or I might see a serious challenge to it short of proof - something worth adding to nuance my position. This is A space it might go in if I see it and get around to adding it here. Otherwise, see OPCW Whistleblower: Chlorine Levels, the main place I'm tracking the issue and more likely (almost certain) to be updated, if such an update seems warranted.

44 comments:

  1. Why another 'rebuttal' by Bellingcat..

    To paraphrase slightly as the tweets are protected but
    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1161171018662187008

    Mr Tea 'wants nothing more in the world than to see Assad face justice' and is proud to be considered one of the anti-Assad activists. Not my go-to person for dispassionate and objective chemistry opinions and he doesn't even have the sample test results. Would they accept a Syrian government chemist's analysis? Obviously not.

    If BC really believe the OPCW did an honest and thorough investigation, the OPCW could prove that themselves. Friends and family with photo evidence of the victims when alive still notably absent.

    Anyway, most interesting is what is and isn't included in that original report on Wikileaks ('imprints' and such clearly shoved in later). Analysis 7.81 onwards makes logical sense here in terms of the real lethality of chlorine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not EAGER to be the guy who says "hey, that Bellingcat guy is right," but for the reasons given, not driven to be any other type of guy on this point. NOT being so driven, I could well be missing some problem that's glaring to an expert chemist or to someone who isn't an expert but ferrets out the answer anyway. Or just knee-jerk reactions, whatever - it'll be useful to hear from some of the many who are more motivated to dispute the conclusions, like you, Andrew, thanks.

      Not dispassionate sure, but that may not matter. They can be right on a point like, the date of the event, say. We don't need to disagree with them so totally we decide the date must've been faked. So on that spectrum of points we could agree on - this one's quite out from the date but for my part so far, this could be one of them. I just have to stay undecided + confused, all things considered.

      The interim report, yes … I'm looking into that now and will post on it fairly soon.

      Delete
    2. He is certainly wrong about March 25 and any 'frost' covered cylinder in the bedroom. Totally agree with your point on the other cylinder and I think he has ignored the conditions. His contributors aren't exactly trustworthy either.

      Can't add anything regarding his interpretation of the chemistry just that these are questions for the OPCW not BC and for a chemist rather than a chemist/activist.

      Delete
    3. You wrote, "(he claims to be a PhD candidate in the field)"

      This statement says more about you than it says about me. I'll let your readership make up its own mind based on the following reading:

      https://news.rutgers.edu/young-scientist-works-make-difference-through-power-chemistry/20191107

      https://chem.rutgers.edu/news-events/past-news/515-basf-fellowship-presentation

      https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00247

      On the Chemjobber blog in 2013, I described myself this way:
      "(B.S. Chemistry + 2.5 years in industry as an analytical chemist doing routine QC, methods development, technical services, R&D support, competitive analysis, and other stuff for 3 different companies.)"
      http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2013/07/ask-cj-should-i-take-this-qc-position.html

      I've used the same internet handle for maybe 15 years to establish continuity with my past sciencemadness posts. I've been honest with my credentials this entire way. But it seems you're motivated to these petty comments by little more than a desire for character assassination. Even when you see exactly who I am, you cannot let yourself trust your own eyes. As I said, this says more about you and your relationship with the truth than it does about me.

      Delete
    4. Tariq, hi. I wondered if "claimed" would set you off, decided to leave it. I didn't mean to say you aren't a PhD cadidate, just that I can't verify the claim. Unless you're past candidate by now, I suppose you still claim that? I could change the wording. And as I said, AFAIK your work looks good, suggesting real knowledge of how these molecules work with each other. It just seems like this knowledge has limited and twisty connections to the macroscopic level of reality where chlorine is not a nerve agent, is not flammable or a flame, actual volumes are what they are, not 5,000 times greater if you wish it would be, etc.

      And are you saying you're not the same person as DDTea? Or not the same as Iridium Tea? Or does "same handle" mean tea-related names? It is quite possible I'm still confused on that point.

      Delete
  2. Andrew, thanks. Tariq never mentions loc. 4 cylinder - Mark brought that up. Just loc. 2 cylinder is mentioned for frost, and I agree on that. He and I both brought up 25 March, and he did it wrongly, or off-script, as I just noted there. Thanks for the prod.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Nobody bleaches their chandelier. Only a gas has the requisite mobility to cause contamination across multiple levels like this. And sometimes there actually is a smoking gun—or fuming, frost-coated gas cylinder."

      The chandelier is L4

      Delete
  3. Also, Andrew, if what the duck man Clyde says is funny/worth seeing, please paste the text. His weak ass blocked me on first contact long ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clyde's tweets:

      "Nobody claimed sarin was used in Douma. Forty six victims showed classic signs of chlorine poisoning. Plus forensic chemical evidence indicating chlorine gas.
      Argue chemistry with me if you must."

      "What about the other evidence? You know, the soil samples and wood samples collected that showed high concentrations of chlorine were present? Or the symptoms of the victims?
      It all adds up to a damning indictment of the regime, from where I'm standing."

      Delete
    2. Thanks needed the Lol. Classic chlorine = so TOTALLY whatever I say, however disconnected from reality it is. And ESPECIALLY then! But mainly they did just say "stronger agent," which is little more than a hint, really. Which hint was taken by U.S. officials as basis (?) to declare they found sarin residues in samples they got.

      And you know what, maybe they did. Would they really make that up? Maybe. But just as maybe some samples is the ONE place they got some sarin, and the fact of just one place made them want it to be zero.

      And then … the samples are in dispute.

      But then just to cap it off, again those classic symptoms like just dropping dead with yellow-brown mask stains all around their non-reddened eyes, as seen at Google-searched WWI battle where like a million died!

      Delete
  4. One of the details softened for the published FFM reports but preserved in the leaked draft is this relevant gem of wisdom they decided to protect us from:
    8.7 The high number of decedents in the one location (allegedly 40 to 45), most of whom were seen in videos and photos strewn on the floor of the apartments away from open windows, within just a few meters of an escape to un-poisoned or less toxic air, is inconsistent with intoxication by toxic choking agents, even at very high concentrations.

    https://wikileaks.org/opcw-douma/document/FirstdraftInterimReport/

    ReplyDelete
  5. https://twitter.com/PatrickHilsman/status/1206507045282811905

    Leaving the building is now an "unlikely assumption" of how people behave under bombardment

    8.60 "People located in basements attempted to go upstairs or leave the buildings, despite the intensive shelling" "According to witnesses, they self-extricated or were helped by family members and neighbours to go upstairs in search of fresh air, to go outside"

    8.63 White Helmets found "most casualties had self-extricated" (neighbours)

    All the witnesses say that is what they did https://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2019/11/douma-basement-shelter-confusion.html

    Witnesses in the final FFM report, press and the White Helmets say that is exactly what people did. When the expectation people will try and escape appears in the leaked report it is suddenly an "unlikely assumption".

    Fig. 15 (final Fig. A.7.7) also shows that their independent experts contributed precisely nothing to the possible trajectory inside the room.

    7.62 + 7.63 (final 8.65) show that from the start witnesses only ever saw a "yellow" cylinder that night on the balcony, not an 'icy white' one. (On my own on this one I know, if someone produces a nice clear photo or video of frost.. but 'blobs' on video have also been declared UFOs, bigfoot, loch ness monster etc. I'll try not to mention it again.)

    The corrosion observation 8.16 looks like it was added later

    If, instead of Latamneh, Saraqeb is going to now be some kind of sarin/chlorine combination attack (with no delivery method?), Eliot Higgins was actually considering cross contamination
    https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/1097908885468471297

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...frosty-white cylinder-shaped objects have been seen as non-frosted (yellow?) cylinders, a patch of moonlit clouds, a weirdly angled wall randomly lit (both as seen through a hole the shape of the blob) …

      Bring it up as often as you can tolerate. I still love that convoluted discovery process and the amusement I get at how people can keep kidding themselves. I saw a hole until Irealized its exact shape. Cylinder, but oddly white, 99% sure. Then the frost thing would explain the white, so 99.5% sure, and say 97.5% sure it was frosting, 2% sure it was the kind of unexplained optical illusion I'd speculated before.


      described as yellow: from placing it, or knowing the color - they described the gas color pretty well streaming out as the thing fell from the chopper, so whatever.

      Saraqeb was clear the guys got sarin symptoms off the stuff in the bomb. X-contam. cannot explain the story FFM et al. heard. Might seem to from a vague couple of reports, but no, those militants and their kin across town claimed something that was supposed to be mostly sarin in nature.

      The Mechanism of that is mysterious (as is the logic-feasibility of dual use, and the nature of compounds turned up). Another mystery is the cloverleaf imprint. I'm forming a hunch these two mysteries go together.

      Other points - I'll be catching up. Lost a lot of time today.

      Delete
  6. https://twitter.com/beyondpartypolt/status/1206714222291369990
    "The copper wire was “as clean as a whistle” – no Copper Chloride found.
    Therefore it was NOT EXPOSED to copious volumes of chlorine gas."

    I'm not sure this is right as 8.5 and Annex 5 describes only testing 44 samples "of greatest probative value". So I think the mistake here is the copper wire wasn't actually tested rather than it being 'clean'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, that seems baseless - maybe he forgot the next picture showing it clear? I suppose not, but asked. (I could check + see, but eh. will wait to see if he has anything).

      Delete
  7. https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/1206696767078752258

    Going into a *ground floor* apartment is now escaping to "elevated locations".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well relative the street-level plume they'd know about second, it would be …. not below it. Maybe something (hm?) made going up deeper into plume seem a bad idea, to the majority by weight. so they compromise - higher or level-to the source of their woes down in the basement.

      Others went with "higher!" but not as many. They're heavy. Just to the nearest sink w/any space, and "whew, I am done lugging myself around. Just a quick wash up now - these horrid stains! I don't want to look bad for any cameras that show up … ugh, I haven't washed in weeks - and oh, wait, is there anyone here I should embrace in a last hug? And then maybe later on a I'll hug a different person?" Okay, that could go maybe not much further. But point is, yeah it all lines up and shit.

      Delete
    2. Yes, lines up perfectly.

      No need for next door to unlock their apartment a few meters away either- where they definitely live- as the neighbours have taken the door off ready for visitors to pack into their hallway with a bicycle. There are people choking and dying (some pre-emptively on a stretcher) in the street but the apartment is 3 steps up and the witnessed "yellow to green cloud" on the ground floor is deadly but not unbearable to walk into. Too unbearable to rescue any of the victims later on of course when they had to set the building on fire. "Victims would instinctively have retreated and exited the building" is a completely unrealistic assumption, right after the same people had retreated and exited the same cloud from the basement. Patrick Hilsman wouldn't.

      And self-confessed liars Jaish al-Islam say it happened so what is not to trust. With Russia spending 2 weeks moving a table lamp and adding a small cup to the shower for nefarious reasons (I couldn't get the exact details).

      Delete
    3. https://twitter.com/PatrickHilsman/status/1208885161020002304

      "The OPCW report unequivocally undermines the US logic for airstrikes by finding Chlorine was used. Absurd that the US would pressure OPCW into contradicting them"

      https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/united-states-government-assessment-assad-regimes-chemical-weapons-use/

      "A significant body of information points to the regime using chlorine in its bombardment of Duma, while some additional information points to the regime also using the nerve agent sarin."

      "Photos of barrel bombs dropped in Duma closely match those used previously by the regime. These barrel bombs were likely used in the chemical attack. Reliable intelligence also indicates that Syrian military officials coordinated what appears to be the use of chlorine in Duma on April 7."

      Delete
  8. This must be the copper wire

    https://youtu.be/z1T8HZYv_ZE?t=226

    but I'm still not sure where that has come from. Are there leaked extra lab results too?

    Obvious thought for 8.16 "At Location 4, the team observed visible signs of corrosion on the metallic objects present in the apartment" maybe because there is a shower in the room. Steam etc.

    I don't see where Mr Tea takes into account the conditions for frost (i.e. temperature - like a decent summers day here in the UK) or considers the shower as cause of corrosion. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking the bent wire stuck in the mangled harness as if to hold it together during the carrying. It looked pretty corroded.

      The leaked report has a table of samples + returns, nothing more detailed than we've seen, no PPM measures. But it does say this:
      53 Copper wire attached to the roof, hanging from the ceiling lamp 20180425178809 Collected by the FFM.
      No other wire mentioned there, so ok.

      Delete
    2. There's a lot of corrosion that appears in just days after that cylinder is seen there and presumably no one runs the shower. Would be odd to look at old + lighter corrosion instead.

      I re-checked Weather Underground and it doesn't seem to say what it did before or I read wrong. Temperature was close to 80 F even that late? And wind directions are all over. Needs review.
      https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/OSDI/date/2018-4-7?req_city=Damascus%20International&req_state=RD&req_statename=Syria&reqdb.zip=00000&reqdb.magic=429&reqdb.wmo=40080

      Also Loc. 2 only shows poss. cylinder frost, and that had a fire that exposed the same area to smoke and heat … but it's actually not certain how long prior to that video. It could be days. But the temp seems way too high for natural frost.

      Delete
    3. Yes, something has changed on wunderground.com and the history page now gives a 404 error but other sites still have the original readings (+FFM table 1)

      If in 8.16 they are "unable to establish whether the corrosion was related to a corrosive substance or to natural factors", my interpretation is that they are including *all* metal corrosion and are unable to differentiate between old and new. This corrosion observation doesn't appear in the original leaked report either -inspectors on the ground originally 'forgot' this or was it added later by someone else?

      The location with no casualties has *all* metal objects corroded but the location with supposed greater release of molecular chlorine doesn't.. which seems backwards if any corrosion is going to imply chlorine. So it would be logical to look at other differences, the whole observation is maybe a bit of a sleight of hand. One definite difference: the shower and possibly a number of years.. could easily corrode the drawer handles, lamps etc.

      Delete
    4. Checking on non-cylinder metal items from loc. 2:
      The "Metal bar at cylinder" I'm thinking of is corroded + rusted. But
      metal fragment from the terrace, Metal object from the terrace, Exposed electrical wires from room under the cylinder (most comparably located), and 2 nails and 2 screws from basement wall are all unclear to me. Probably to you too? Those items numbered 20180421190912, 916, 918, 927, and 937: all have no specifics given for findings in either version of the interim report or in the final one. So it's not clear anything's backwards in that area.

      Delete
    5. No results for "chandelier, the bedside lamps, pipes, and drawer handles" either so I think it must be a purely visual thing. 8.16 also has the "no visible signs of a bleach agent" reportedly not the observation of inspectors on the ground so maybe all via an independent expert. Maybe an OSINT expert...

      For Micha's frozen valve
      https://twitter.com/MichaKobs/status/1207926064267309056

      No idea if they opened it (they certainly moved the thing around mid video so who knows) but for dust on the underside, my 3 observations - first it looks a lot like the rest of the dust to me fwiw and secondly we know for a fact that the valve isn't 'clean' (smears pillow, sticky for dust?). Third, I don't think this can be frost because it is still there when filmed by Russia
      https://imgur.com/p8QRQhc

      Delete
  9. Top tweet archived:

    http://archive.is/DyGtR

    http://archive.ph/2f4c3
    "Ted Postol is absolutely a crackpot conspiracy theorist using his MIT credentials to dazzle the credulous."

    No Bellingcat-chemist would ever use their credentials to try and "dazzle the credulous" of course.

    ReplyDelete
  10. https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1209405381082001408

    "Also: frosted gas cylinder at loc. 4."

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1209412907542421505

    "Facts: leaking Cl2 cylinders found; High levels of Inorganic metal chlorides found; COC's found across multiple rooms and floors; fins were removed from a cylinder (tampering); OPCW denied access for 2 weeks; SAA impeded access to relevant apartment.

    Cause of death: no physical injuries visible even after rigor mortis and livor mortis appear. COC's found on victims clothing. Bleaching visible on victims clothes in video, consistent w/ Cl2 contacting moist body areas."

    If the chemistry is such a unique fingerprint of proof, why include all these other things that he must know aren't true. And know that the rest of us know aren't true. Can accept Patrick Hilsman is just completely thick but Mr Tea surely is not.

    ReplyDelete
  11. https://twitter.com/N_Waters89/status/1210583532231413762

    The "someone" referred to is suddenly Henderson and not the external consulted experts or "two highly-esteemed institutions" involved because... Bellingcat.

    And there was no subsequent new information for other toxicologists because they never dug up the victims but let's pretend there was different evidence available because... Bellingcat. Ignore the first group because they are... German?

    BC will be trying to invert the meaning and 'amplify' a 'counter article' as their one and only strategy I guess. Bunch of liars 'confirmed'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Henderson is a correct reading. This comes the day after circulation of EST rev 1 on 27 Feb. Braha seems ignorant that before his tenure, under Fairweather, this EST report was drafted for the FFM but rejected and scrubbed. Sounds like Braha's never seen it, and doesn't know Henderson was ever a member (or is underlining how he's not anymore). But Henderson is in the discussion and responds (didn't fully get what everyone's saying just yet)

      Germany was my best guess for where the June experts meeting would be. Cool bonus. New post on that just now, good spot for further discussion.

      Bellingcat has been pretending chlorine release has become the only issue - prove that, link to their old work on its made-up lethality, the FFM on proving air delivery, and bam! you got … nothing, actually, as I'm working to show. And I'm really enjoying all this sustained and timely assistance.

      Delete
    2. The two universities would also be "outside FFM authority", "secured network" and "not part of the FFM". Although someone does seem to have had a problem with involving their own inspectors. All those toxicologists (who were so terrible that they were the OPCW's first choice) were all 'confused' of course.

      Because "the toxicologists were only briefed on poisoning symptoms and shown footage of victims. Not on the chemical forensics/environmental analyses". Weird they considered chlorine then wasn't it? Damn them for trying to get an objective and independent professional opinion on the symptoms and victims.. why didn't they show them the results for the bit of wood from upstairs and give them a nudge. Looking forward to Mr Tea also transforming police lineups with some subtle hints about who to pick.

      Delete
  12. Tea on Douma

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1058053497403379713
    "You realize much of JAI's leadership was collaborating with Assad forces, right? They weren't actual extremists"

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1130040606196211712
    "You mean after Jaish Al-Islam rejected a surrender deal, meaning the regime would have to storm Douma city in urban combat? That's what precipitated the chlorine attack. JaI surrendered the very next day."

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1130041830324789253
    "the civilians themselves pressured JaI into surrendering."
    (The civilians could pressure JaI into surrender but not to stop arbitrarily arresting and torturing them...!)

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1129575972762804224
    "It's a modern Holocaust."

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1130041230476369921
    "It was not manually placed there. If it were, then it would not be caked in concrete dust."

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1170838334790340609
    (on loc.4 with intact closed valve)
    "Henderson failed to consider self-propulsion of the gas cylinder from venting. It's a glaring oversight."

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1138236647827529733
    "They dont know where the fumes are coming from."
    "Maybe the concentration was > 1000 ppm?"

    https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1056680405238202370
    "Because a venting gas cylinder is as loud as a jet engine. Maybe there wasn't a visible fog at that point either?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He wants nothing more than to see Assad hated or dead or whatever. Obviously he's willing to cash in any credibility he might have to feed every anti-Assad lie that scurries past his toes.

      But on the people pressuring JaI: they could do this sometimes. In August, 2015 they pressure the army to move out of Douma proper and base on the outskirts. They obliged, then 4 FAE rockets were fired on 3 markets and an intersection, forming a perfect arc, from a spot on the southern outskirts, 820m from each impact. Jaish al-Islam said a gov. jet did that, killed 100 men and boys, after JaI attacked an army base - since JaI had no presence in Douma then, that proved the regime hit the local on purpose over their support for JaI and vice-versa - hurting loved ones.

      But in this case the main people persuading the to surrender for good was of course the SAA.

      Delete
    2. No consequence free criticism of JaI then? But then...

      https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1159162735973847041
      "No one is worse than Assad"

      https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1129575235068596224
      "Literally nobody in Syria is worse than Assad by any objective metric. Until you understand that key point, you do not understand Syria."

      (ISIS will be upset when they go above and beyond to be worst. Or there is something disturbingly wrong with the Tea metric?)


      https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1056268360617521152
      "I've been gassed with chlorine, among other things, in my home lab as a kid. I'm alive and well today. It's possible to recover."

      https://twitter.com/iridium_tea/status/1138234619428556802
      "I fell to the floor, eyes clenched shut, and could not inhale a full breath."


      He didn't faint though apparently. And presumably escaped.

      Delete
    3. Unless the global coalition of all the countries listed here (which doesn't even include Syria, Russia etc. also directly fighting to destroy ISIS) are 'confused' too.

      Robert Fisk reports the leaks and it is "ghoulish false flaggery". Bhatti even likes the following tweet from one of the many nutcase garbage accounts saying "Investigators on other hand prevented from access Douma site until much later & after clean up". The 'clean up' that doesn't involve any cleaning up and that leaves "chlorine's unique fingerprints"... or does Bhatti not actually believe what he wrote for Bellingcat?

      Delete
  13. This appears to be the great clean up conspiracy from Bellingcat's not-so-much-'ecosystem'-as-comment-cesspit then:

    https://feitoffake.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/both-locations-in-douma-had-changes-possibly-to-hide-cylinders-were-dropped/

    So "to hide cylinders were dropped", the grand plan over 2 weeks for 2 cylinders and 2 sets of fins was to remove... just the one set of fins. But not right away. Syria and Russia first let all the journalists film the fins on the balcony before removing them.

    An anti-Assad activist couldn't possibly have walked off with them to hide some damage discrepancy from inspectors of course, a lowly soldier couldn't possibly have had the job of putting up the tarpaulin and didn't know the scrap metal was important so moved them etc. etc.

    And the balcony cylinder was moved... but not REmoved... to hide that it had been "dropped"?

    Then at the location with no victims:

    Dust was cleaned off the cylinder... to... hide that it had been "dropped"... even though dust is still on everything else in the room.

    The bedside lamp has been moved... and that hides the cylinder had been "dropped".. somehow...

    A viscous liquid was added to the room, entrance and also on the gloves. And the gloves had the highest reported level of chloride so the viscous liquid wasn't exactly 'cleaning up' that. Russia was even first to point the gloves out and the FFM also sampled (so the liquid won't be a mystery to them) but does not claim this evidence of a 'clean up' at all. Can't imagine why.

    All this with both cylinders having been already demonstrably moved while they could still be filmed by anti-Assad activists (i.e. before Russia and Syria arrived) who also documented the alleged original positions.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Here is the video that plays in the background of the Russian Hague presentation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_WX10kqwbo

    It has the gloves, other angles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gloves, stains on bedroom wall etc. aside, this is the south east end of the basement I don't think has been shown anywhere else

      https://youtu.be/S_WX10kqwbo?t=148

      The only candidate for 32SDS "Water tank wood support in basement (level -1)" that I've seen, both bits of wood badly water damaged as there has clearly been a leak. Bathroom to the right?


      7 pairs of shoes although I don't think one pair matches

      https://youtu.be/S_WX10kqwbo?t=147


      One of those maybe the same as the shoe on the steps in front of the ground floor apartment entrance

      https://youtu.be/8TElceE3aLI?t=88


      Not clear where the other victims' shoes have gone.

      Delete
  15. Twitter search actually works with Sentry Syria for a change, the messages referenced by NYT etc. are the ones with archives. Enough 'proof' for a helicopter for whenever you like. Below that for Lataminah March 24, 30:

    https://justpaste.it/6m23u

    ReplyDelete
  16. https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/1215913703587172352
    "we'll be publishing a lot more on the OPCW whistle-blowers and their claims on Douma soon"

    Nearly a year after the final FFM report that Higgins thought was "very long and detailed" including a "very detailed analysis of the bedroom" (it is a nice blue arrow), he has suddenly had an epiphany that Bellingcat suddenly has 'more' to add.

    So either they've got something worthwhile this time like maybe tracking down surviving relatives/friends who have proof such as photos with the victims to tell their story. Or satellite photos to verify the time of the roof damage.

    ..or just more garbage attempts to discredit without ever speaking to whistle-blowers or anyone else actually involved.

    Have you ever thought of switching the blog to just blame Putin for everything? You get money, awards and an award winning documentary (even though it only has ~250 ratings on IMDB so hardly anybody seems to have actually watched it).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/1214922988811886592
      http://archive.is/GzNT2

      Award winning


      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/1216142538417037312

      According to Higgins, Bellingcat are "the only ones actually bothering to check" if the OPCW whistleblowers are "correct". So not looking very promising.

      I'd like to see the results for the control samples: 8.5 states two batches (31 + 13) of samples - the 44 shown in Annex 5 - but these do not seem to include the control samples taken. Bhatti doesn't mention control samples in his article even though they are surely the best (only?) way to determine comparative levels.

      Delete
  17. New BC mess, some straight up lies included, for shame. Who wrote this?
    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2020/01/15/the-opcw-douma-leaks-part-1-we-need-to-talk-about-alex/

    Author "uses this frothing as an indicator the gas they were attacked by was primarily made up of chlorine rather than phosgene" is not true- it is determined by "cyanosis" and "the pallor" as specified, *not* froth.

    Later on in the book they describe the differences:

    https://archive.org/details/medicalservicesd02macp/page/n433

    "In pure chlorine cases this deepened to the intense violet of fullest cyanosis. But in phosgene poisoning the stage of full venous congestion and deep cyanosis was often omitted". The victim of "phosgene poisoning" on the left suffered "profuse frothy expectoration": phosgene causes the frothing.

    It also explains that they associate coughing more with chlorine than phosgene, hence conclusion of more chlorine than phosgene (why comparing phosgene chlorine mixture with Douma anyway?)

    Won't go through all the other things ("the progression of corrosion of the framework" made me laugh-no longer in the order presented by FA), I thought that was just one of the more interesting things (that BC made up).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://archive.org/details/medicalservicesd02macp/page/390

      Foaming after 4 hours via phosgene


      https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/phosgene/basics/facts.asp

      "Following exposure to high concentrations of phosgene, a person may develop fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) within 2 to 6 hours."

      Delete
    2. http://archive.is/qW3ok

      (from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/832454-overview )


      "Prognosis

      One of the hallmarks of phosgene toxicity is an unpredictable asymptomatic latent phase before the development of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. Typically, the latent phase lasts 3-24 hours, but it may be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 48 hours after phosgene exposure. The duration of the latent phase is an extremely important prognostic factor for the severity of the ensuing pulmonary edema.

      Patients with a latent phase of less than 4 hours before the onset of pulmonary edema have a poor prognosis."

      Delete
    3. Maybe of interest (many chlorine incidents, effects, effect of high concentrations on dogs)
      https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/19361/cdc_19361_DS1.pdf

      Delete

Comments welcome. Stay civil and on or near-topic. If you're at all stumped about how to comment, please see this post.