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Analyst: "It's not a recovery. It's just bad." | Main | Oh My: President of Prestigious Arts Society Says that False Claim of Having a Doctorate Was Due to a Rogue Low-Level Employee
June 05, 2013

French Foreign Minister: There Is "No Doubt" Syria Has Used Sarin Gas Against Rebels

No doubt?

I know a little more than this report says from reading stuff in French papers; I'll just add my paraphrases. LeMonde is the paper that has the most on this story; in fact, one of their reporters claimed to have filmed a gas attack. I'll link that video below the jump; you can decide how convincing you find it.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France 2 television: "We have no doubt that the gas is being used. The conclusion of the laboratory is clear: there is sarin gas."

Experts had analysed samples brought back from Syria, he said.

The samples are actually of urine of alleged sarin gas victims; when sarin metabolizes in the body, it creates two metabolites, which were reportedly found in the urine. Now, apparently, this test can be falsified. But they also claim to have blood samples of victims containing non-metabolized sarin (that is, actual sarin). They say these tests couldn't be falsified.

I think, but do not know, that the difference between these tests, as far as falsifiability, is that the metabolites are common-enough chemicals which you could just add to someone's urine sample, if you had a mind to, whereas to put the raw sarin into the blood, you'd obviously need actual sarin. (Though, of course, you could just add your own sarin to someone's blood, too, if you wanted to fake a test, and had your own sample of sarin-- which isn't some impossibility.)


Later, in his televised remarks, Mr Fabius went further, saying that in at least one case, there was "no doubt that it was the regime and its accomplices".

He'd been asked about the speculation that Sarin might have been accidentally released due to rebels targeting a gas depot; that is, accidentally blowing it up. He claims that's not possible. He says in one attack a regime helicopter was dropping submunitions at the time of the gas incident.


"A line has been indisputably breached," said Mr Fabius.

And yet... there is a peace conference scheduled for July, and we all know that will be a smashing success, so no one wants to make too much of this "indisputable breach."


"We must react, but at the same time we must not block an eventual peace conference."

Meanwhile, Professor Gutsy Call says...

Washington has said it needs more evidence before concluding that sarin has been used.

Meanwhile, a reporter embedded with some of the rebels claims to have filmed a gas attack, as I said. The article is here; Bing automated translation here.

The video is below. It's narrated in French but there are English subtitles.

Guerre chimique Damas by lemondefr

It's sort of hard to capture the visuals of what an invisible, intangible gas attack, but, that said, I don't see anything here except people putting on gas masks and then asserting a gas attack has occurred. Which of course is in their propagandistic interests.

Which isn't to say it didn't happen. It's just that whether it happened or not, they'd have an interest in saying it did, so what sort of proof is this?

I think we're all familiar enough with the work of "Paliwood" to understand that this sort of tactic is common.

The chemical proof may or may not hold up.

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:54 PM

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