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So did we actually learn anything at all from the UN report? I take it we still don't know if the sarin was military grade?
On my own reading I completely missed his:

NYTimes Finally Finds Concern Over Impunity for War Crimes, But Only Assad's War Crimes | emptywheel

From the way that the UN report is written, it is impossible to determine whether the two rockets for which these flight paths were determined actually tested positive for sarin, or if they even were tested at all.

And of course, as the inspectors note, the site was anything but undisturbed.
All around pretty disappointing.
by generic on Tue Sep 17th, 2013 at 01:45:50 PM EST
From the UN Report

Information about munitions:
23.    Information gathered about the delivery systems used was essential for the investigation. Indeed, several surface to surface rockets capable of delivering significant chemical payloads were identified and recorded at the investigated sites. These were carefully measured, photographed and sampled. Samples later confirmed to contain Sarin werr recovered from a majority of the rockets or rocket fragments. For more detailed information and assessments see Appendix 5.

Environmental samples collected in Zamalka / Ein Tarma on 28 August 2013
Between 14:14 and 14:38 a number of samples were taken from the rockets and fragments.

The time necesary to conduct a detailed survey of both locations as well as take samples was very limited. The sites have been well travelled by other individuals both before and during the investigation. Fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the invetigation team.

As with other sites, the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the Mission. Time spent on the sites was well used but limited. During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.

U.N. report photo shows confirmation of sarin in Syria attack

(Reuters) - The U.N. investigators studied five impact sites and were able to determine the likely trajectory of the projectiles at two sites: Moadamiyah and Ein Tarma.

Eliot Higgins, who blogs under the name of Brown Moses and has been tracking videos of weapons used in the Syria conflict, wrote that he has not seen the opposition using the munitions identified in the report: a variant of the M14 artillery rocket and a 330 mm caliber artillery rocket.

But Amy Smithson, a chemical weapons expert at Monterey Institute, said the August 21 attack bore "so many hallmarks of a military trained in chemical warfare doctrine" and not an untrained force. She said the army has chemical delivery systems the rebels lack.

Brown Moses: Who Was Responsible For The August 21st Attack?

The HRW report also mentions the use of artillery shells Soviet era BM-14 launchers for 140mm rockets. These have been around a very long time and used extensively in the Algerian civil war, Egypt and Sudan (etc.). IMO these 140mm rockets could be launched from homemade artillery. There are videos of rebel forces launching this diameter rocket, see one here.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Sep 17th, 2013 at 03:39:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 11:03:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - Syria: UN Report Does Not Point To Chemical Attack Origin

Specifically the first site the UN commission visited was near Moadamiyah, south of Damascus. The investigators took blood and urine samples from some people they met on their visit there. Those samples proved positive for exposure to Sarin. But all environment samples taken in Moadamiyah proved negative (Appendix 6 and 7 of the UN report. Sample 1 to 12 taken on August 26.) If those person found in Moadamiyah would have been exposed in Moadamiyah the environment there would also have been exposed. But the UN team found that this was not the case. The person must have been moved to Moadamiyah after having been exposed elsewhere. The 140 mm rocket the UN team assessed in Moadamiyah can thereby not be implicated in the chemical attack.

Emphasis mine.

by generic on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 12:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MoA is, sadly, not a reliable source. He's gone so anti-everything that it's impossible to filter out fact.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 01:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, his problem is that at some point he started believing Assad's bullshit.
I'm not quoting him as an authority on anything though. It's a verifiable fact that all the environment samples at the first site turned out negative. I've also found no mention in the report whether the two missiles that were in condition to estimate a trajectory were tested on sarin.
by generic on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 01:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems he'll believe anything so long as it's anti-conventional wisdom, which isn't a great filter to have, since the people on the other side are often also vicious wankers.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 02:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, whatever he believes, he tries to make the best case for it he can. This one is quite solid.
by generic on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 03:21:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown Moses blog

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 04:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently that's not quite true. Sample 14 is described as a metal fragment taken from the roof in Appendix 7, but in Appendix 6 it is described as "a piece of the rocket".
by generic on Wed Sep 18th, 2013 at 05:40:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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