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02 September 2013

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MRW

In the NY Times, this paragraph, the last paragraph:

“If someone tries to make gross violations of international law a norm, then we will create chaos,” Mr. Lavrov warned. “We will create a situation where the U.N. Charter and the principles under which all the nations of the world have signed up, including the principle of unanimous agreement of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the so-called right of veto, which the United States insisted on — then all of these principles will simply collapse.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/world/middleeast/russia-syria.html
------------------------

Compare with Times of Israel:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-unleashes-horror-in-jerusalem/

"Obama unleashes horror in Jerusalem"

"The Israeli political and security leadership is privately horrified by President Barack Obama’s 11th-hour turnaround on striking Syria — a decision he took alone, after he had sent his Secretary of State John Kerry to speak out passionately and urgently in favor of military action. It is now fearful that, in the end, domestic politics or global diplomacy will ultimately lead the US to hold its fire altogether."
[...]
"And it is profoundly concerned that the president has set a precedent, in seeking an authorization from Congress that he had no legal requirement to seek — and that Congress was not loudly demanding — that may complicate, delay or even rule out credible action to thwart a challenge that dwarfs Assad’s chemical weapons capability: Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons."

r whitman

I have been around scientists and engineers most of my life and have a fair background in chemistry but I have never seen the term "signatures" of Sarin used in a scientific context. Does this mean Sarin metabolites or is it just some stray peak that shows up consistently in a GC-MS analysis. I would appreciate some comment from a modern, up to date chemist.

MRW

"Grumpy cat begs to differ on Obama’s Syria declarations" [Image]
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/grumpy-cat-begs-to-differ-on-obamas-syria-declarations.html

Anon1

Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) is the term for such analysis. They collect samples of blood from victims and swipes of clothing or other materials to obtain 'hits' of Sarin from instruments programmed to recognize the characteristic of the chemical or its byproducts.

zanzibar

To the cynic in me BHO has proceeded not on the basis of any evidence but just enough plausibility to run a sufficiently robust deception campaign. That's relatively easy these days with the media fully co-opted in such endeavors just like the telecom companies and internet companies have been in the blanket surveillance of all Americans.

BHO must believe that he has enough votes in Congress as he put's together the warmongers in both parties into an "Imperial Presidency" coalition. It seems that the bill to authorize force is wide enough to drive several armies through. And vague enough to allow participation in every kind of hostility that the Imperator chooses.

The question is when does this escalate to include Hizballah first and then Iran? The other question is what is in it personally for BHO? He is vain enough to want a glowing tribute in the history books as the first "black" President. Wouldn't another ME quagmire detract from that?

ISL

Zanzibar: I think BHO realizes his own brilliant intelligence boxed himself into the stupid corner, and that the Republicans would love to impeach him just because.

So he is going to Congress and asking for the sky, while proclaiming that if congress doesn't give him the ability to attack any associated country or non-state actors on his say so (how about Britain? their parliament clearly shows it is associated, so a shot across the British bow should achieve Obama's political objective) he reserves the right to ignore congressional votes(!).

If congress gives him everything, he has a global carte blanche sans impeachment worries. If not, he can back out and blame congress, or ignore congress and be in exactly the position he is in today - ready to bomb and demonstrate that Al Qaeda is his indispensable frenemy.

At least if he brazenly ignores congress, we will learn if there is any hope of restoring constitutional democracy.

Walrus

It's detectable in soil for months. Reported link.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=too-late-chemical-weapons-syria&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciam%2Fbasic-science+(Topic%3A+More+Science)

WP

“[W]hat is in it personally for BHO?” It appears he thinks punishing Iraq really is a good idea and that it will enhance his legacy and dispel his fears that he will be viewed as weak.

While #43 spoke constantly of reading and studying and at least appearing to be trying to understand events around him, I have never even heard a rumor that Obama is a student of the Middle Eastern culture he has impacted so significantly. The words of his advisors do not impress me as to their knowledge of the Muslim world as they stumble repeatedly trying to impose the alien “democracy” upon a culture based upon entirely undemocratic beliefs and tribal principles. Thus, perhaps, being unread and culturally uninformed, Obama he is also profoundly unrӔd that he truly believes in his own heart that intervening in Syria will benefit US.

Circumstances like the present are exactly the reason the framers of the Constitution reserved the war-making power for Congress. History shows us that Kings have often made disastrous, ill advised, unrӔd decisions to attack the wrong foe that ultimately ruined their dominion. See, i.e, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86thelred_the_Unready.

History will not be kind to Obama whatever decision he makes.

toto

French intelligence says Assad did it:

http://www.gouvernement.fr/sites/default/files/fichiers_joints/syrie_synthese_nationale_de_renseignement_declassifie_02_09_2013.pdf


It's a short note and Google Translate works pretty well on it (the first few pages are background info, the Goutha attack is discussed near the end):

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gouvernement.fr%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffichiers_joints%2Fsyrie_synthese_nationale_de_renseignement_declassifie_02_09_2013.pdf

Augustin L

Col Lang what do you make of this ? Is the brass already testing Syria's air defense systems for the upcoming operation. F-22 raptor jet shot down, apparently, yes.

Augustin L

Here's the links with regard to the F-22 jets. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7f4_1377959586

Tunde

PL,
Just watched the flatulence being emitted by Messrs. Graham and McCain. They assert but cannot prove. Graham then mentioned that the US's enemies, er, adversaries were neck deep in Syria. When asked about how high a hurdle it would be to convince the American people to back military action, they concurred but harped on about the consequences to US prestige vis-a-vis Iran. McCain had the audacity to speak of the humanitarian angle (thousands have died, children etc) whilst advocating more lethality in an already barbarous civil war. He questioned the sagacity of the JCS.
Also, Hizb'ullah were in Syria. No talk about Iraq and her consequences; No talk about end states etc.

Cosmoskitten

@r whitman: There is a good discussion about this subject in Chapter 22 of "Medical aspects of Chemical Warfare" (ISBN 978-0-16-081532-4)

Available online at http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/Portlet.aspx?id=d3d11f5a-f2ef-4b4e-b75b-6ba4b64e4fb2

mbrenner

Toto

The original French account offers a detailed reconstruction of the attack but does not cite independent French intelligence sources.

WP

Obama did invite Thomas Friedman to spend a seminar weekend with him at Camp David some time last year. Expertise is in the eye of the beholder.

JohnH

What's in it for BO?

1) Change the subject from the NSA, where further revelations might force him to do something, which he obviously doesn't want to do.

2) Create the impression of strength, which was completely shredded by the fiasco of the coup in Egypt. In that case, his impotence was as self-inflicted wound, since he had Kerry, Hagel, and others promoting the (phony) narrative that there was nothing the US could do about the coup.

lally

Now the German BND is chiming in:

"Schindler also presented a previously unknown Proof: For the BND heard an interview of a senior representative of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, the Iranian embassy from. Here is the official Hezbollah, which is traditionally on the side of Assad and militarily supported him, have given to the use of poison gas. The official had said Assad had gone through the nerves to the command for the use of poison gas he had made a big mistake.

The new BND findings could win in the coming days to explosiveness. The U.S. has reported only in abstract, intelligence agencies had intercepted communications after the attack within the regime, which confirmed the use of poison gas, and from which speak concern about a possible review by the UN inspectors then present. The intercepted phone call from the BND could accumulate this evidence puzzle of western critical services.

Bundeswehr is prepared

On the significance of intercepted phone call, Schindler did not comment specifically on the deputies. The BND chief said only that one exchanges only with France directly over intelligence. But that this ultimately end up in the U.S., is obvious."

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiegel.de%2Fpolitik%2Fdeutschland%2Fsyrien-bnd-faengt-beleg-fuer-giftgaseinsatz-durch-assad-regime-ab-a-919965.html

Which Iranian embassy?

The BND only exchanges intel directly with France? Tell that to the Mossad.

CK

80 years ago France was important in Syria, and Lebanon. Their mandate ran from 1923 to 1943.
In real terms that is one generation. Their assets are a bit long in the tooth n'est pas?

Fred

This legal interpretation of the US Constitution by Mr. Horovitz, a foreign citizen, is incorrect.

Fred

Americans can find out every tidbit about foam fingers, who made them and just what Ms. Cyrus was doing with them in a matter of minutes; but apparently Obama has had the NSA so busy spying on Americans that it can not identify the Syrian Army unit that allegedly used the CW, the name of the official who allegedly gave the order to use CW or the name of the officer in charge of the unit that did the alleged firing. Or maybe Obama simply does not trust the citizens of the United States, or, more likely, he thinks he is our 'commander in chief' and it is our duty to 'obey' like good little subjects.

Karim

A German magazine has the following title:
"BND (German intelligence) intercepts proof that Assad regime ordered gas attack"
The subtitle reads: "The BND is certain that Assad's regime is responsible for the gas attack in Syria. There is no definite proof so far, but there are many indications. A phone call intercepted by the BND could be decisive"

The text then says that the BND intercepted a phone call between a high-ranking Hezbollah member and the Iranian embassy (presumably in Lebanon), in which the Hezbollah man "admits to the gas attack. He apparently said that Assad lost his nerve, and ordering the gas attack was a big mistake".
However, I strongly suspect that the conversation was nowhere near as clear as what is reported. Otherwise, it would not appear only in paragraph six of the article! In fact the first paragraph repeats what everybody else has been saying: The head of the BND told MPs that "definite proof is still lacking, but after a thorough plausability analysis his deparment assumes that the regime is responsible".
It seems the Germans are back to the usual pattern of public opposition and secret cooperation with US wars.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/syrien-bnd-faengt-beleg-fuer-giftgaseinsatz-durch-assad-regime-ab-a-919965.html

"Schindler präsentierte auch einen bisher unbekannten Beweis: So hörte der BND ein Gespräch eines hochrangigen Vertreters der libanesischen Miliz Hisbollah mit der iranischen Botschaft ab. Dabei soll der Funktionär der Hisbollah, die traditionell an der Seite Assads steht und ihn militärisch unterstützt, den Giftgaseinsatz eingeräumt haben. Der Funktionär habe gesagt, Assad seien die Nerven durchgegangen, mit dem Befehl für den Giftgaseinsatz habe er einen großen Fehler gemacht."

q

French journalists reported small chem weapons months ago. ..
Www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/05/27/chemical-war-in-syria_3417708_3218.html

WP

Even assuming for the sake of argument that Assad himself dispensed the gas, what real effect should that have on our action?

How is it in the national interest of the US for the FSA, fully dominated by salafist jihadis, to be in control of Syria? Furthermore, the FSA has already demonstrated the consequences of its heart felt desire to eliminate the Shia, Druze, Kurdish, and Christian minorities from their dominion. How is such ethnic cleansing humane or helpful to US? If, as John McCain so fervently hopes the FSA actually wins, Syria will still not be friendly to US.

The debate focusing on the "Moral" outrage over the use of chemical weapons is failing to address the real issue of what happens when our frenemie, Al Quaeda, gets full control of Syria. Should our Air Force should change its tail marking from USAF to AQM-AF for whom it will be flying and bombing. The real beneficiary of our actions attacking the Syrian regime will be the enemy upon whom we have squandered our personal liberties and bankrupted the country to detect and defeat.

Do not we have any reporter who will ask a few questions such as:
How much money is KSA spending to support AQM?
Is AQM the dominant player in the FSA?
How can we defeat Assad and not help AQM triumph?

I would like McCain, Graham, and Obama be forced to answer these questions. From what I see, the answers are question 1-loads of money. 2. Yes and 3. We cannot?

I simply do not "buy" the argument made by McCain that a failure to "stop" and to "punish" the use of chemical weapons will create a disastrous precedent. It will not.

What we are doing just seems stupid. I would like the committee to correct me if I am wrong.

b

On Kerry's "signature" issue:

The U.S. Army book Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare explicitly says that concluding on a chemical agent exposure from "signatures" in bio-samples is false (Chapter 22 (pdf)):

Assay of Parent Compounds

analyzing for parent nerve agents from biomedical matrices, such as blood or urine, is not a viable diagnostic technique for retrospective detection of exposure.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/medical-aspects-of-chemical-warfare-borden-institute-walter-reed-army-medical-center/1101608287?ean=9780160815324
http://docs6.chomikuj.pl/459131818,PL,0,1,Ch22_pg691-752.pdf

Jose

I am told, chemicals can be traced to original manufacturers by people who know what they are doing (who got the evidence for us?), like forensic evidence in the Court system, this article might help:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/09/media-claim-sarin-usage-where-other-stuff-.html

BTW, evidence points to Britain..lol

mac

Colonel:

I have attached a link to an audio purportedly of Rafsanjani discussing, among other things, the Syrian event of 08-21-2013. There appears to be some shift in the audio moments before the voice says, and I'm paraphrasing, that the Syrian people were attacked by their own government or hookomat with CW....

When this broke it was quickly retracted, but it is interesting nonetheless....

Mac

http://iranpulse.almonitor.com/index.php/2013/09/2735/alleged-rafsanjani-audio-blames-assad-for-chemical-attack/

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