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The Ghouta Sarin Story: Bullbleep Mountain or Veritas Valley? Episode 1: Getting the Rocket-Dose Right

The Ghouta Sarin Story: Bullbleep Mountain or Veritas Valley? Episode 1: Getting the Rocket-Dose Right

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Published by Denis O'Brien
A look at how many sarin-rockets would have been required to produce the casualties in Ghouta, Aug21.2013. Hint: lots.
A look at how many sarin-rockets would have been required to produce the casualties in Ghouta, Aug21.2013. Hint: lots.

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Published by: Denis O'Brien on Nov 09, 2013
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06/06/2014

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I am eternally indebted to
 Jon Stewart
 for the Bullbleep Mountain concept, which is applicable to myriad modern day contexts. At least I
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think that’s what he’s saying. Every time he says it, somebody hits that fu-[bleeeep]-ing bleep button.Amended on Nov09.2013 to remove reference to “CW-ghoul” at Mr. Kaszeta’s request.
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http://logophere.com/Syria/Syria%20Docs/Kaszeta%20Oct2013%20GB%20amount.pdf 
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-1-
The Ghouta Sarin Story: Bullbleep Mountain or Veritas Valley?
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Episode 1: Getting the Rocket-Dose Right
Denis O’Brien
LogoPhere.comAmended as noted below.
~ 
S
ometimes there's a man. An' he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there, and I'm talking about
Dan Kaszeta
 here, who self-applies the label one-time “Chemical Officer in the US Army,” which is, as I take it,someone who is paid by US taxpayers to figure out how to inflict an agonizing death on as many people aspossible if push comes to shove. Dan is making a name for himself by explaining to those of us who have never
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had the opportunity, desire, or need to drop sarin on our mortal enemies how to do it. Even those of us who haveno mortal enemies find the information morbidly fascinating in the wake of Ghouta, and Dan is becoming thego-to guy on the technical aspects of packaging and delivering sarin, or GB, as it it more commonly called in theArmy warfare literature, probably because "GB" is harder to misspell. In his latest effort Dan walks us throughsome calculations with the aim of coming up with a ball-park figure for how many actual rockets full of sarin hadto be delivered to Ghouta on Aug21.2013 in order to get the deadly effect that has been advertised by theinsurgents, the MSM, and Obama: to wit, 1429 fatalities. Not 1430. Not 1425. Not approximately 1400. No . . .1429, precisely. I will examine the origin of that ghastly, ubiquitous figure in a future Bullbleep Mountain/VeritasValley piece.~Dan’s piece, titled Managing the Deficit, is a tidy 5 page look at how an Army weapons guy would determine
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how many rockets would be needed to really screw the maximum number of sleeping people in Ghouta usingsarin. (Actually, Dan’s piece is only about 3.5 pages if you subtract the ads, which seem really out of place in anarticle like this. These ads are particularly offensive to an academic, and I found myself asking myself: Like, is thisa business promotion, a self-promotion, or an attempt to figure out the Ghouta mess? But I guess somebody’sgotta’ feed the monkey.)In addition to being confounded by its commercial aspects, after reading Dan’s piece I came away more confusedthan convinced by his calculations. But then I would have to admit to coming away confused just about any timenumbers start getting manipulated by people smarter than me, and anybody manipulating numbers is almost, bydefinition, smarter than me. But I stuck with it because I have to allows how playing with these rocket numbers is
 
http://brown-moses.blogspot.ca/2013/09/a-chemical-weapons-expert-responds-to.html
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http://logophere.com/Syria/Syria%20Docs/Secretary_General_Report_of_CW_Investigation.pd
5
http://logophere.com/Syria/Syria%20Docs/Ghouta%20Final%20ver01a.pdf 
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http://logophere.com/Syria/Syria%20Docs/Mother%20Agnes%20-%20ISTEAMS%20rpt%20Sep2013.pdf 
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-2-an interesting exercise and on the whole probably worthwhile, if for no other reason than to set some outer limitson what is possible. But at the end of the day the piece seems to move the ball up Bullbleep Mountain more thandown the field toward Veritas Valley.Here are a few comments on the particulars of Dan’s paper, and some of my own numerical monkeying around.
Assuming a sarin-rocket attack took place . . . not so fast.
Dan starts off by asserting that the evidence is clear that a sarin attack tool place in Ghouta on Aug21. This isconsistent with his Sep25.2013 interview
4
 by
 Eliot Higgins
 regarding the findings of the recent UN report,
5
which I have previously dissed as being as helpful as pigeon poop on the pump handle. In the Higgins
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interview Dan was adamant that a sarin-rocket attack took place.More specifically, when it came to the 140 mm rocket the UN investigated in W. Ghouta, Dan really dug in,saying the rocket must have carried sarin even without any supporting direct evidence by the UN because he wasnot able to think of any other reason that would account for sarin-related chemicals DIMP and IMPA beingfound in other samples at the scene. And that’s really weird. I mean a number of people have come up with otherpossible reasons – the most obvious one being that the insurgents (who set up the entire UN investigationitinerary) planted sarin in the areas they knew the UN investigators would investigate. Of course, Dan’s entitledto his opinion as well as his own lack of imagination, but anyone who says they can’t see the very obviouspotential of foul play must at least be living in the shadow of Bullbleep Mountain. And so Dan wades into hissarin-rocket article on the back of the assertion that a massive sarin-rocket attack actually took place in Ghoutaon Aug21.Of course, I can’t let this go because I couldn’t disagree more. For if by "sarin attack" Dan means "sarin-rocketattack," which is what his article is about, I would argue that not only does the evidence to date fail to supportthe conclusion that such an attack occurred and killed hundreds or thousands of people, but the currentevidence suggests rather convincingly that such a large scale sarin attack – by rocket or otherwise – did notoccur. I have argued previously, for instance, that there are certain unpleasant but clear clinical signs of organophosphate (e.g., sarin) toxicity that are absolutely unavoidable – fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence,uncontrollable vomiting. These are biological certainties, and if you look at scores of dead and dying "sarinvictims" like the ones we’ve been looking at for two months and don’t see a fair few of them displaying thosesigns, then you are not looking at a sarin attack. That’s just biological reality, plain and simple. It’s not a politicalstatement. It’s not conjecture or hypothesis. If you don’t see the clinical signs that we are not seeing, you need tolook for other explanations for what went down in Ghouta, and for what the UN reported, and for what is beingshown in the vids.Another obvious argument against an attack of the magnitude claimed by Dan and the insurgents is that we arenot seeing 1429 bodies. Not on CNN, not on MSNBC, not on YouTube. Not anywhere. We are not seeingvideos of any of the massive burials that would have had to have taken place – and I’m not talking jury-riggedburials of the type you see when the enemy has the bodies. Here, the insurgents claimed to have been massacredin their own turf, so they had control of their own bodies and would have given them proper Muslim burials. Sowhere’s the funerals? As Mother Agnes asks: Why didn’t we have constant burial announcements from the
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minarets? We see a couple dozen bodies wrapped in white and that’s pretty much it. As far as I know, the vidsshow dirt actually falling on just eight bodies, and they are all in the same hole. Where happened to the other
 
-3-1421?Logic suggests that if you’re going to video bodies wrapped and waiting for burial, you would hang around longenough to video the burial itself – that’s were the real drama is. And the reason I’m raising this point is that if  you look closely, a lot of those wrapped bodies have awfully good color and might not even want to be buriedquite yet. How is it the insurgents can upload detailed videos of pinpoint pupils and violently thrashing victimsand yet the most dramatic evidence of all – dead humans being buried – is no where to be seen? I mean, there is avideo out there getting a lot of traction showing a pile of dead goats in obvious rigor mortis. Is that supposed toconvince us that 1429 people died? And I don’t know about the goats, but some of the videos of human victimsare almost certainly faked. Sometimes it seems you can almost smell a foul wind blowing off of BullbleepMountain.And so, two months into this depressing analysis of what happened, I have altered my original position to thepoint I am now 180 degrees opposite Dan. No longer do I merely feel that it is not possible to know whether ornot a large-scale sarin attack took place in Ghouta; I feel it is almost certain one did not. That is not to say thatthe SAA didn’t lob a sarin-rocket or two into Ghouta, and it’s not to say the insurgents didn’t. After all, the UNMission went in there and found bits and pieces of metal with sarin or sarin indicators on them. But again I pointout, as others have, that in addition to rockets, an equally likely explanation for the source of the sarin is thatsarin was planted by the insurgents in places they knew the UN was going to investigate. I don’t know that this istrue, and I’m not asserting it as a fact; I am only saying that from what we know, this is as good a guess assarin-rockets. And as long as one or more alternative as-good-a-guess-as-any exists, skepticism is not justwarranted, it is obligatory, at least in Veritas Valley.But I realize that, even discounting a few obviously fake videos, there are still a lot of dead people in theremaining vids to answer for. And there are blood and urine samples collected by the UN Mission that testedpositive for something – we’re not told what. So I’m willing to allow that a bunch of people died somewhere andsomehow, which is precisely what has got me so upset that I spend waay too much time on this whole issue whilemy own monkey goes unfed. And I’m willing to allow that a few people may have been intentionally ormaliciously intoxicated by sarin. That’s a near certainty given the blood samples. But what is virtually impossibleis that the scores of "victims" I’ve seen on the videos – including the Feinstein Package of 13 videos relied on byCongress – were victims of sarin. In sum, the preponderance of the evidence I’ve seen is not sufficient to proveany sarin-rocket attack occurred, and certainly is not sufficient to prove that anyone died from such an attack.And the reason I’m saying all of this is that I want to explain why I’m playing the uber-skeptic and devil’sadvocate in looking at Dan’s incredibly interesting article on how many sarin rockets would have been needed tokill 1429 people in Ghouta. It is important to understand that a military-style analysis of the Ghouta event andexplaining how military experts would have done the job does not add one iota of evidence, it merely organizesthe evidence along one particular hypothesis – the hypothesis that there was a sarin-rocket attack. I believe Danis sort of setting the boundaries from a military perspective as to what was possible in the context of thathypothesis, and he is not arguing what actually happened. And while I am not able to follow his argumentscompletely, or even his conclusions, he seems to be knocking on the same door as a weapons expert that I amknocking on as a neuropharmacologist: this thing just ain’t adding up to a sarin-rocket attack. As he says: "I can’t make the numbers work and I’ve got a nagging suspicion that something strange is going on here." Me, too.
 Fatality and casualty numbers.
The truth is, it’s two months after the fact and nobody has a clue in hell as to how many casualties there were. Inthe absence of hard data, Dan takes rumors as to fatalities (200 to 1429) and rumors as to kill:casualty ratios (1:6to 1:10) and without sourcing those numbers he relies on them to obtain a rumor-based ball-park range of 1200to 14,290 casualties. By rumor I mean "information" coming from the insurgents, who, of course, benefit

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