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Murder in the SunMorgue — Discussion Page

Bloged in Middle East by Gutter Grunt Tuesday April 8, 2014 at about 11:30 pm

This is the place to comment on the report Murder in the SunMorgue .  To access the report, go to the portal page, which has links to all of the parts and the appendices.

If you want to direct a comment to a specific point of the report, please identify the part and the thought ID found in square brackets.  For instance, Part A [0020] is a discussion of the insurgent PR jocks in the Kafr Batna complex.

Questions, additional observations, alternative interpretations, corrections of errors would all be appreciated and would contribute to solving this mystery.


– Denis


  1. Durn, dude. This is one serious piece of work. Thanks.

    Will have to get back to you.

    Said by ChinaSyndrome April 15, 2014 at about 4:54 pm

  2. Denis –

    Here is yet another video of your Room #3. It shows the one guy you call M-014, but without his hands tied. Also 3 or 4 other victims — they don’t seem to be dead


    Said by RunAground April 15, 2014 at about 8:16 pm

  3. @ [2]  RA — thanks. I added that to my collection. If it disappears and you need an mp4 copy let me know.

    I don’t recognize any of those guys except M-014. Can’t tell if he’s still alive. The one guy flaps his arm and hits M-014 in the head but I can’t tell whether the head moved as a result of being hit or M-014 moved it.


    Said by Denis April 16, 2014 at about 11:05 pm

  4. On Apr16.2014 Charles Wood provided a number of very interesting points on Part A of MISM. I cut/copy them here — my responses are in a subsequent post.

    - Major roads to airport mostly open - sometimes subject to fire on military vehicles.

    - Defining ‘Assadists’ as Shia is not correct. Plenty are, but they have significant Christian, Druze, and Sunni members. It’s more City vs Country, Rich vs Poor, where the Country poor are strongly fundamentalist Sunni and the City folks are not particularly religious (discounting Hezbolla and other imported Shia who are religiously motivated but don’t blow themsleves up and don’t cut heads off and don’t impose Sharia)

    - Incorrect to describe the civil war as sectarian. It’s Rich vs Poor with one side sectarian. The other not. Syria has not seen any major inter-faith violence over the past centuries. Iraq is more into that.

    - Amusing aside on inter-sect violence. Tacitus on the investment of Jerusalem by the Romans:

    Templum in modum arcis propriique muri, labore et opere ante alios; ipsae porticus, quis templum ambibatur, egregium propugnaculum. Fons perennis aquae, cavati sub terra montes et piscinae cisternaeque servandis imbribus. Providerant conditores ex diversitate morum crebra bella: inde cuncta quamvis adversus longum obsidium; et a Pompeio expugnatis metus atque usus pleraque monstravere. Atque per avaritiam Claudianorum temporum empto iure muniendi struxere muros in pace tamquam ad bellum, magna conluvie et ceterarum urbium clade aucti; nam pervicacissimus quisque illuc perfugerat eoque seditiosius agebant. Tres duces, totidem exercitus: extrema et latissima moenium Simo, mediam urbem Ioannes [quem et Bargioram vocabant], templum Eleazarus firmaverat. Multitudine et armis Ioannes ac Simo, Eleazarus loco pollebat: sed proelia dolus incendia inter ipsos, et magna vis frumenti ambusta. Mox Ioannes, missis per speciem sacrificandi qui Eleazarum manumque eius obtruncarent, templo potitur. Ita in duas factiones civitas discessit, donec propinquantibus Romanis bellum externum concordiam pareret.

    “All the most obstinate rebels had escaped into the place, and perpetual seditions were the consequence. There were three generals, and as many armies. Simon held the outer and larger circuit of walls. John, also called Bargioras, occupied the middle city. Eleazar had fortified the temple. John and Simon were strong in numbers and equipment, Eleazar in position. There were continual skirmishes, surprises, and incendiary fires, and a vast quantity of corn was burnt. Before long John sent some emissaries, who, under pretence of sacrificing, slaughtered Eleazar and his partisans, and gained possession of the temple. The city was thus divided between two factions, till, as the Romans approached, war with the foreigner brought about a reconciliation.”

    - The entire section on Sectarian issues is simplistic Western orthodoxy and plain wrong. Lattakia is not pure Alawite – it’s a big mix. There are poor Alawite living next to poor Sunni. In fact all over the country it’s a mix. More Druze in the South. More Kurds in the North. More Alawite in the North-East.

    The insurrection is actually about perceived inequality between City and Country and particularly City and Country Sunni who have been getting it hard. The price of food across the whole region skyrocketed a bit before the ‘Arab Spring’ and was a major factor in all the uprisings. In Syria, the city folk spent a much lower percentage of income on food than country so they were less affected. Corruption and a bias towards country Alawites did have an effect. In general Alawites got more State support than Sunni villages.

    In terms of percentages, Christians, Druze, and Alawites make up ~ 25 % of the population. Their support is guaranteed. Then the urban Sunni make up another 40% of the population. Their support is pretty strong. That leaves 35% rural Sunni most of whom are presently uncommitted and then the actual fighters and the imported terrorists.

    The other factor is this is not a hot war. It’s only hot on YT videos and faked casualty figures. In reality most life goes on. The casualty rates are way lower than comparable civil wars and certainly far more people die of natural causes than of violence.

    - You probably need to include a bit about Syrian Support Group - the shadowy US approved supplier of ‘non lethal aid’, financial sponsor of the Brown Moses Site, obvious CIA front, and the first to identify the culprits and means of the Sarin attack on the morning of August 21 no-less http://www.syriansupportgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Release_-_East_Ghouta_Chemical_Attack.pdf (keep a copy it may go)
    Details are wrong but it’s an obvious propaganda/disinformation effort to promote a US intervention. Did anyone mention conspiracy theory?

    Said by Denis April 18, 2014 at about 9:23 am

  5. Re: [4]

    In defense of the report I have to respectfully disagree with most of the points Charles makes.

    His main point is that the report is wrong in presenting the Syrian conflict as sectarian, and that it is an over-simplification to see the Assadists as Shia and the insurgents as Sunni.

    Basically, my response is that I agree that initially the war was motivated by non-sectarian issues like Assad’s brutal repression of personal freedoms and economic issues, but since late 2012 when the extremists started pouring in from Iraq and Turkey, the war has turned violently sectarian. The violent jahidis trying to bring down Assad now outnumber the moderates like FSA by more than 2:1, not sure what the ratio was in Aug.2013. That’s why I favor the term “insurgents” over “rebels.” This is now an open sectarian war for the Levant. There is even open fighting between Sunni groups trying to bring down Assad. It requires, as I say in the report, a balancing of the hatreds to understand who is fighting whom, and as I say one can’t simply see it as Shia v. Sunni. On that point I agree with Charles completely.

    But I don’t see how there can be a one-sided sectarian conflict. When one side is so violently sectarian that they consider the other side – Alawites – as apostates, which is punishable by death, then the conflict is sectarian, regardless of the other side’s viewpoint or motives. Saying that only one side of the Syrian conflict is sectarian is a one hand clapping sort of argument that doesn’t make good sense to me.

    Charles points out that there is a mixture of religions in Syria, which is not in dispute. I get into the actual percentages in the Epilogue. But so far as I know, Druze, Christians, and Kurds are not playing a part in the conflict as organized groups. OK, sure, there may be a Druze here and a Druze there, here a Druze there a Druze, fighting for this side or that. But that is irrelevant unless the Druze as a group are having an impact in the violence – other than as victims. And I don’t think they are. This is Sunni (in general) vs Shia/Alawite (in general), and I think that simplification is both justified and helpful in understanding Ghouta. It certainly helps one understand the role of Sunni/Wahhabi third parties like Turkey, Saudi, and Qatar, without which there wouldn’t be a Syrian conflict.

    As for the Ghouta Massacre, having concluded that it was the result of a mass-execution by the insurgents, then that can only be seen as sectarian. Again, I refer you to the Epilogue. The Wahhabis are not killing children in Syria today in order to bring about economic or democratic reform.

    Charles’ assertion that “Syria has not seen any major inter-faith violence over the past centuries” may be true for the Ottoman Period when it was generally true for the entire Middle East, but Syria saw some of the bloodiest Shia/Sunni conflicts in history according to Tarek Fatah’s book Chasing a Mirage. Thousands and thousands of Muslims have died in sectarian violence in Syria right from the get-go. Ali ibn Abu Talib (Shia) attacked Muawiyah (Sunni), Muawiyah attacked Hassan (Shia), Damascus was sacked and the Umayyads were slaughtered by Shia. There were blood-baths by the violent Shia extremists, the Assassins, followed by bloody conquest by Saladin, a Muslim Kurd. Judging from my sources, it would be awfully hard to defend the proposition that Syria has been free of inter-faith violence over the centuries.

    I must also take issue with Charles when he asserts: “The other factor is this is not a hot war. It’s only hot on YT videos and faked casualty figures. In reality most life goes on.” Can’t buy that. I have seen too many images and photos of Aleppo and Ghouta bombed to rubble to agree that life is just going on for the Syrians. Upwards of 200,000 killed, 150,000 missing, 5 MILLION!!! refugees. That’s not my idea of life just going on.

    At the beginning of the American Civil War the total population was about 30 million and 600,000 or 2% were killed over four years. The population of Syria was about 22 million in 2011 and about 1% have been killed with no end in sight. Sure, for folks in Hartford, Connecticut, the American Civil War was not “a hot war” but try and tell historians that.

    Said by Denis April 18, 2014 at about 3:37 pm

  6. Since this is comment #1, I’ll say publicly this is a mammoth and valuable work here. Etc.

    I naturally took an interest in victim M-015, covered in part D - early I wondered about the blood, but not enough. That’s a great correlation you did, the narrative of his waking and lazy execution is compelling, and I agree this is an unusual throat-cutting/stabbing execution.

    But as for his having to be killed in situ/very recent due to the amount of blood - probably / mostly right but if he was sliced elsewhere (still problematic!) it could be when he was laid down, someone held his feet end up too long (watch caught on pants hem?) and gravity is a big part of that. Maybe the finer details clarify that’s not relevant, but just in case…

    And as for the other possible throat-slice, from the images there I wouldn’t make that guess. His face and chest are bloodied, throat only cleaned up is possible - I’ve seen that before. But that possible slice is a) not hidden like the other b) sort of a dark leathery color c) associated with that shiny object? I’d guess some necklace. But again, that’s just looking at this a bit, just now.

    More later

    Said by Adam Larson (Caustic Logic) April 19, 2014 at about 11:51 pm

  7. re: [6]

    Adam, I know you’ve done enough of this sort of analysis yourself that you can image how long I stared at the M-015 sequence trying to draw it together. I tired to enlist a couple of forensic pathologists in FL, but they blew me off. That’s what we need — some forensics folks.

    I would also guess that there are more photos floating in cyberspace of him being brought into the SM — those photographers never take just one.

    As you can see, someone above sent another video of Room #3 that I hadn’t seen. Almost completely different bodies, except for ubiquitous M-014. There is sure to be a ton of evidence regarding the KB complex out there. The only problem is that it is disappearing very quickly. The insurgents’ gambit having failed, once they realize their YouTubes could be used as evidence to hang them, it will be gone in a pooof.

    I’m finding this WordPress theme isn’t too good for comments.

    Said by Denis April 20, 2014 at about 12:13 pm

  8. Denis

    Congratulations on this massive and valuable report.

    Specific comments

    (1) This slide presentation by Zanders (nonproliferation.eu/documents/kickoff2/zanders.pdf) shows fatal sarin poisoning in Halabja. Although the victims showed deep cyanosis (lips, under fingernails) they had pink cheeks. Zanders explains this by the agent causing flushing. I would guess that in a child there is enough transdermal oxygen flow for blood in superficial capillaries to be pink. So I think you should assess cyanosis from lips and fingernails rather than cheeks.

    (2) A possible counter to your argument that lack of cyanosis is inconsistent with fatal sarin poisoning is that some victims might have received respiratory support before death. However I agree that there’s no evidence that any effective respiratory support is being provided in the DM.

    (3) It’s hard to understand what the gas cylinders are doing in the DM. Blue would usually indicate nitrous oxide, green possibly oxygen. Can you give any more details of the colour codes and shoulder markings? It’s possible that these cylinders, like the suction machine, have been looted from a medical/dental facility by people with no clear idea of how to use them. It would be much easier to make hydrogen cyanide on site by adding acid to a cyanide salt than to prepare gas cylinders.

    Said by pmr9 April 22, 2014 at about 6:17 am

  9. Re: 8

    pmr9 — excellent notes by Zanders. Thanks. His photos of Saddam’s Halabja 1988 attack present a picture a lot closer to what I would expect of a sarin attack, but I am not sure that attack was ever proven to be sarin.

    Zanders has been brilliant in taking a cautiously skeptical view of the Sarin Myth. In Appendix II, I cite quite a few of his comments in the media casting doubt on the Sarin Myth.

    Said by Denis April 22, 2014 at about 9:34 am

  10. Re: 8

    You raise some very helpful points that I need to think about, but here are a couple of off-the-cuff thoughts.

    Your point (1).
    As I note above, I am not sure that anyone has proven if or to what extent sarin was used by Saddam in the Halabja Massacre. It is certainly not possible to say that the individuals shown in Zander’s power point were or weren’t sarin victms, but, they sure look a lot more like what I would expect of sarin victims than anything we see in the Ghouta videos.

    The mixture of cyanosis and rubicundity you note is a characteristic of CN, which is one of the toxins that have been alleged was used at Halabja.  Given what we know of that massacre, those people were almost certainly NOT given any respiratory treatment before they died.
    I do not see in any of Zander’s photos anything that is even remotely close to the rubicundity presented by the KB victims.

    The right hand and right side of the face of the child in the orange sweater on pg 6 looks like the sort of livor mortis I would expect of sarin.

    And I agree w/ you that the fingertips and lips are the best places to look for cyanosis.

    Your point (2).
    Lack of cyanosis b/c victims were ventilated.  The point you raise is an important and interesting one.
    My guess is that there will never be any research or clinical data on human subjects to help us here, so all we have are pharmacological/physiological principles to guide us.

    First, we are talking about a population of over 100 victims, none of whom show cyanosis or dark-purple lividity expected of sarin. I do not think it’s plausible that if  those victims were dying b/c their respiratory muscles were paralyzed by sarin they all could have rec’d sufficient respiratory support to prevent or reverse cyanosis AND produce striking rubicundity and pink lividity. NOBODY in those KB vids is getting respiratory support except a couple of victims who get a couple of loose, ineffective pumps of a hand-held ventilator bag.

    Second, if a person has been exposed to sufficiently high levels of sarin to kill them, I think it is unlikely that — even if O2 were available — it could have been forced into their bloodstream to overcome cyanosis and/or cause rubicundity. For one thing, they would likely be convulsing and vomiting, for another their respiratory muscles would be paralyzed. Like I say, there are likely no data on this point, so it’s an opinion.
    Poisoning by agents known to cause these color changes is a far more parsimonious explanation.

    Your point 3.
    The gas cylinders

    I’m not sure that a common practices standard will help identify what was in those cylinders, but something was in them for sure. The standards may be different for Syria, and if not for Syria, then for pediocidal insurgents in Syria. To them, blue may mean HCN and green may mean CO.

    You may want to have a look at that “new” vid of Room #3 link provided by RunAground — post #2 above. It gives a good view of the valve of the blue (or “a” blue) cylinder in Room #3 — and it looks like the tank had the valve handle on it at that point. All of these cylinders w/ no valve handles and no devices attached tells me the cylinders were likely opened and the contents vented directly into the air.

    Said by Denis April 22, 2014 at about 10:26 am

  11. There’s a loud hissing sound in the new video of room #3 - at least for the first 33 seconds before the soundtrack cuts out. Sounds as if the gas cylinder is just being vented into the room. This suggests that they’re trying to play the part of emergency room medics, but have no clue what they’re supposed to be doing. There are many odd things in this video and I look forward to seeing your analysis of it.

    Said by pmr9 April 22, 2014 at about 3:17 pm

  12. Re: [11]

    Yes! You know, you can hear that hissing in other DM videos. Consider this possibility:

    There may be more efficient ways to generate HCN to execute people than buying tanks of it on the open market, as you point out. The same is true for producing CO — one can combine formic acid and sulpheric acid.

    Perhaps these rooms in the DM were used to gas the victims using your sort of Zyklon approach or a formic/sulpheric acid approach, and then bottled O2 was used as a part of the process of purging the toxin from the rooms.

    I have been looking for fans in the DM videos and haven’t seen them.  There are no windows.  Room #3 opens directly to the patio and Room #2 almost directly, as shown in my schematic. I think one would need a fan to clear the toxin, followed, perhaps, by filling the rooms w/ O2.

    The thing is this: if this was an insurgent PR stunt, then they would want to be able to show the world both dead victims and dying victims. They would want to stop the execution before everyone one was dead so they could take videos of the last ones alive and still suffering.

    Said by Denis April 22, 2014 at about 5:43 pm

  13. M-015’s fists:
    If you already noticed this, sorry - catching up (read most of part A, C start tonight)

    One of the victims of Lockerbie was found with a fistfull of grass, meaning she was alive after hitting the ground. Another actually had a pulse in the morning, but there it was the clenchinf of a surface as proof of life upon hitting it.

    M-015 is making fists the others aren’t, with a semi-relaxed fistful of his shirt. He was alive in this position when he did that. Right?
    see 0:53 in vid 011b

    Said by Adam Larson (Caustic Logic) April 26, 2014 at about 11:39 pm

  14. Opinions on this image matching?


    Said by Charles Wood April 27, 2014 at about 8:17 am

  15. @ 13
    This phenom is called cadaveric spasm. I bring it up in Part D [0050]. Yeah, his fingers went from from extended to clenched sometime between the time they took him to the SM and when SM-a was filmed — indicates he was not dead when we see him on that cot in Fig D-15, thus corroborating the blood evidence.

    I didn’t know about the Lockerbie example. The clutching plants is a common point made in the literature I’ve read. Bodies found in the water clutching water-weeds means they were likely being held under when they died, etc.

    Said by Denis April 27, 2014 at about 3:02 pm

  16. @ 14

    Charles, thanks for that link. It’s dated Mar27 but I wasn’t aware of it when I uploaded MITSM. I do mention the previous post from that blog in the Epilogue. See[0019]

    I don’t know what to do with an anonymous source like that, but it would be precisely the type of evidence we need to connect Ghouta to the Latakia kidnapping — and we would only need one indisputable case.

    I am a bit skeptical because all of these victims are said to have been kidnapped by FSA. We know Salim Idris made a big stink after the fact about how FSA played a part in the Latakia campaign, but I don’t think FSA admitted to kidnapping children — nothing like an admission like that to put Western taxpayers off funding them. But the post shows 7 victims from 3 areas, all kidnapped by FSA. Maybe if the areas were close enough to each other, but I don’t think FSA had that major of a role.

    Four of the 7 kids shown can be seen in the KB complex:

    Child . . . . From . . . . Ghouta location

    Haneen . . . Baloutah . . . Irbin
    Yosef . . . Inbateh . . . KB SunMorgue
    Amjad . . . Balouteh . . . KB SunMorgue
    Ziad . . . Balouteh . . . KB SunMorgue
    Tamer . . . Latakia . . . ??
    Talal . . . ??? . . . KB DarkMorgue
    Dalaa . . . Hambosheh . . . ??

    The first victim, Haneen, and the third victim, Amjad, are both said to be from Balouteh. But the photo associated w/ Haneen is from the Irbin videos and the photo associated w/ Amjad is from Kafr Batna SunMorgue — my video # SM-a, specifically. Seems like kids from the same town would end up in the same morgue if they were kidnapped by the same people. Maybe not. Just healthy skepticism talkin’ here.

    I will fire up my Microsoft magnifier and see if I can find any morphological features that could be used to connect the images. But even then I don’t know how to verify where the “before” photo really came from. I’ll also map the towns and see how large an area FSA would have had to have been operating in to be responsible for them all.

    Thanks, D.

    Said by Denis April 27, 2014 at about 3:58 pm

  17. Just a note. The only people with any serious experience with Sarin victims are Iranian military doctors. I’ve read the occasional report of their experience - particularly of the psychological casualties - and it may be worth while to see if there is any published research, especially on actual symptoms rather than extrapolations from animal studies.

    Said by Charles Wood April 27, 2014 at about 8:56 pm

  18. @16

    The group most in control of East Ghouta was Liwa Al-Islam. They are ‘moderate Islamist’ not ‘FSA’ (whatever either of those terms mean).

    I recall the kidnaps in Lattakia were by Islamists, not ‘FSA’ as such (did a see a Chechen in one video?). Then consider the hostage trading that often occurs between insurgent groups for cash and weapons.

    I’d suggest concentrating less on who captured and held them and more on getting evidential quality face-matches.

    As an aside, I’m warming to the theory that a radical Islamist group was the main perpetrator and that the ‘Liwa Al-Islam Volcano videos’ were an attempt to frame Liwa Al-Islam

    Said by Charles Wood April 27, 2014 at about 9:06 pm

  19. Oh man… that image matching stuff is at very least worth a good review. I’m glad I saw that, thanks Charles. The names are familiar - ACLOS page on Latakia very good. Names and stuff, especially on the talk page: http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Latakia_Massacres
    I’ll work this aspect some more, but not right now.

    Said by Adam Larson (Caustic Logic) April 27, 2014 at about 11:40 pm

  20. On Latakia, the details are at the page there - the areas are all close. 11 tiny mountain towns, pop. 37 to a few hundred, some just a few hundred maters apart. Nabatah, Balouta, Hamboushiya, etc. Some outlying towns managed to fare better. But that core up on Shieikh Nabhan mountain - all taken over, connecting roads, free-reign terror storm. Babies beheaded, people chopped in half hanging on trees, soldiers say and I believe. The dead rebels there are FSA, JaN and ISIS, per opp. records. The living should be too. Who did the fighting vs. capturing is another story, unsure.

    I’ve been skeptical of this link as too obvious, and while the top matches strike me as likely, this too isn’t totally convincing either. Better than what I’ve seen or heard of before. But why no real matches with family and government help and more photos? Can Haneen’s parents confirm she had a large birthmark on her left side (or is that a different Irbin girl victim?)

    Said by Adam Larson (Caustic Logic) April 28, 2014 at about 7:47 am

  21. I have looked as closely as I can at those pairs of photos and cannot conclude that any pair is legit. I can conclude that “Yosef” is not a match. The body has a very distinctive medial end to the L eyebrow that “Yosef” does not have. The rest are maybe-yes/maybe-no. I mean, to me, the lips of Dalaa look much thinner than the body’s.

    This is sort of like that Duck Dynasty looking guy that showed up in about 4 places in Ukraine and the NYT went bonkers. Not the same guy. People look like other people. I was constantly mistaken for both Howdy Doody and Alflafa on Our Gang until I was about 25. After that it was Norman Bates. There are, genetically speaking, only so many faces to go around.

    I agree w/ Adam. Photos on an anonymous blog are probably not going to be sufficient to make the connection. The ISTEAMS report did the same sort of thing, and it was totally unconvincing, thereby damaging credibility of the report.

    Corroborating evidence that can be verified, like a relative’s testimony, would be necessary. But that should be easily enough accomplished given all these great photos the insurgents uploaded.

    To me, the most suspicious fact connecting Latakia to Ghouta is that we know from the HRW report and the insurgents’ own videos that hundreds of women and children were kidnapped on or about Aug04. And yet, 9 months later, not a single one of those people has been released or exchanged. Not one of them, so far as I know, has surfaced. Where are those people?

    Said by Denis April 28, 2014 at about 1:48 pm

  22. @17

    Charles, good suggestion. I came across a few references to Iranian Dr. Abbas Foroutan, who published a summary of battlefield nerve agent cases in 2004, but it’s behind a PubMed paywall.

    Here is an Oct01.2013 GlobalResearch interview w/ Foroutan. Would have loved to have cited this in MITSM. He slams the UN Mission report — in a very polite way.


    Said by Denis April 28, 2014 at about 1:56 pm

  23. Comments on part B

    B0009. Most parts of Ghouta weren’t heavily damaged. There was sapper demolition in Irbin and Zamalka just East of the bypass and a lot of damage in Jobar West of it, but I’ve not seen signs of any major artillery damage elsewhere.

    B0010 Water would be from decontaminating the building. Bleach solution ideally(?)

    B0016 EXIF Data in photos? Find originals?

    B0024 Complaints about sloppy handling perhps not justified? Probably lots of volunteers on the day. Also no point in labelling those ‘known only unto Allah’

    B0039 It seemed like a good idea at the time? But wiser heads prevailed and the samples later vanished? Possibly indicating a disconnect between morgue workers and body procurers.

    B0045 Why basement? DM looks like an initial receiving point so most likely on ground level. Maybe beside a multi-level carpark. Attached Patio is unlikley to be underground

    B0045 Anybody with enough remnants on skin and hair to affect staff would have been well dead, as would their potential rescuers.

    B0057 Gas cyclinder colors - toxic have yellow shoulders.

    Fig B-062 Better image at http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/69409000/jpg/_69409265_69409264.jpg No useful EXIF data

    B0067 Any proof the Zamalka and Kafr Batna videos were actually two different locations? Or were they syndicated and uploaded by different activists and descriptions?

    Said by Charles Wood May 14, 2014 at about 9:58 pm

  24. My queries part way through part C. Stalled for a moment by the cyanosis question.

    Just a side note. It’s a pleasure to read the manuscript in the way it’s argued. My queries are constantly being sidelined because you answer the query in the next paragraph or so. It’s reminiscent of my court experience where a really good prosecutor makes me almost redundant as a defence expert by asking all the curly questions in lead rather than letting me brief the defence to ask them in cross. What queries/comments I have left here are a tiny fraction of what I started out with.

    C0001 Who pays the electricity bills in insurgent territory? Actually, it’s quite likely those institutions still largely work including bills and payment and cutting off for non-payment. The ‘war’ is greately exaggerated.

    C0002 There was a lot of hosing outside. It’s not as good as bleach solution in destroying sarin but it’s certainly O.K. to wash deposits off.

    C0005 In one DM video (3? with your smirk guy) there is clear sound of gasping / laboured breathing reministent of an Asthma attack rather than the expected depressed breathing from the abdominal muscle paralysis you expect from both Sarin and HCN.

    C0024 By the by I remember in Germany at one stage there was a great fear of waterpistols and quite a number of people would carry umbrellas even in the sunniest weather. They were to deflect a jet of HCN solution from a waterpistol squirting on the face and the HCN then being inhaled - the victim dying of breathing paralysis. Incidentally, splashing HCN solution on a face is a quite good way to kill someone. They don’t have to drink it.

    C0031 Going blue assumes the heart continues for a period after lungs stop working and Oxygen is used up in muscle activity. Is that a safe assumption? e.g. what is the half-life of Sarin vs neuroreceptors? Half-life of Neuro-receptor after Sarin reaction? Is it feasible that heart and lung stop pretty close in time?

    C0031 When the heart/lung system fails why doesn’t the skin get progressively bluer as the remaining Oxygen is used up by peripheral tissue (probably lame question)?

    - Interrupt - What independent evidence do we have that Sarin causes cyanosis?

    Said by Charles Wood May 15, 2014 at about 1:55 am

  25. @ 23 & 24

    Sarin and cyanosis

    Before addressing the issue as you’ve stated it – is there evidence sarin produces cyanosis – given the evidence we have, I would point out that the far, far more relevant – and far more important – pharmacological point is that sarin does not produce rubicundity in living victims, nor does it produce pink/red pallor mortis or livor mortis, and very few toxins do.

    It is virtually an a priori certainty that sarin cannot produce rubicundity. We know that given that sarin produces hypoxia/anoxia and given the way hemoglobin shifts to its blue form in hypoxic/anoxic conditions. So the far more important observation is that the living victims are red and the corpses are red, which means regardless of whether or not sarin produces cyanosis, it is excluded as the possible toxin, and I think that’s about as close to Q.E.D. as one could hope to get, at least in biology. Overall, distinguishing a group of sarin victims from a group of CO victims is about as difficult as distinguishing Bugs Bunny from Batman.

    When you ask for “independent” evidence that sarin produces cyanosis, I take it that you mean empirical evidence that goes beyond the a priori conclusions that are based on the physiological principles laid out in the paper. I am sure you have searched online for images of humans poisoned or killed with sarin; I have, too. But that approach is bound to be futile from the get-go and the absence of such images tells us nothing. And there are a couple of reasons I say that.

    First, there are no images. How could there be? In order to shut the respiratory system down to the point of producing cyanosis, the ambient sarin levels would have to be very close to lethal. Who is going to take the photos? Anyone with a camera would be just as incapacitated as the dying person being photographed – and just as cyanotic.

    When you refer to a clinical webpage comparing sarin and CO and there is no mention of cyanosis, I think what you’ve got is material written by a clinician. There would be very, very few physicians in the world who have ever treated end-stage sarin intoxication where they would see the cyanosis, and virtually all of them speak Japanese.

    Second, if Ghouta had been a sarin attack, it would have been the first one in history severe enough to cause major fatalities and that was photographed in color and in sufficient detail that one could study the subtle coloration of the living and the deceased.

    Tokyo, fortunately, was mostly a botched attack. The sarin was poor quality and the delivery technique was ineffective – certainly compared to exploding dispersal techniques that were supposed to have been used in Ghouta and that would have been required to pull off a CW attack that killed 1492. In Tokyo over 10,000 people were treated for low-level sarin intoxication; only 13 died. There are images of victims sitting or lying in the subway tube outside the cars, and they do not appear cyanotic. But to see the cyanosis you would have to see the 13 victims that died, or others that were close to death.

    That’s because in order to produce cyanosis, the sarin levels would have to be virtually lethal – high enough to paralyze the diaphragm and intercostal muscles so that the lungs no longer fill with air. If serious bronchorrhea was produced, thus plugging the airways with mucus, hypoxia (and hence cyanosis) would begin developing before the respiratory muscles gave out and certainly while the heart is still beating. The amount of mucus secretion – which would vary from person to person – would be one of the main variables in determining the extent to which cyanosis developed before the person died.

    There are allegations that Saddam used sarin on the Kurds, but there is no allegation that he used only sarin. So when you look at those grisly photos of Anfal or Halabja, there is no way to say “That one is a sarin fatality and that one is a cyanide fatality.” And I don’t know of any images of living victims, which means there could be no images of cyanosis.

    There are no empirical human data on how much sarin it takes to produce cyanosis because no one other than the Nazis would consider doing human experiments that show what symptoms occur at what doses – what are called dose-response curves. In your modeling you used figures from a pseudo-US Army site that purport to be ICt50’s and LDt50’s – but they are certainly extrapolated from animal studies. And I don’t know any animal model for cyanosis – maybe a hairless, albino mouse would work. But the human lethal dose for an individual would be very close to the dose that causes cyanosis because the cyanosis is caused by the suffocation that results in death. The Army Study Guide says the ICt50 for respiratory inhibition is about half of the LDt50. I’m not sure that makes sense. Besides, those are group measurements, not individual, and without standard deviations we have no idea of what the overlap is.

    And so, I guess what I’m saying is, if you demand to see images of cyanotic victims of sarin and experimental data before you’ll accept that sarin causes cyanosis, you’ll just have to remain a doubting Thomas, because I don’t think those images or data can exist, both for practical and ethical reasons, and certainly not on a population basis. But if you take that position, you’ll also have to go back and re-write the physiology and pharmacology text books that tell us sarin kills by producing anoxia and hemoglobin flips to the blue form in the absence of oxygen.

    While there may be idiosyncratic individuals with genetic anomalies, in a group of people dying from sarin, many or most of them will show signs of suffocation, which is what cyanosis is – a sign of suffocation. None of them will show red cheeks, ears or noses, which is what you see in the individuals in KB.

    Other comments.

    re: B0009
    You’ve made a number of comments that the damage in Ghouta was not extensive. Not sure where that info is coming from. Would love to see your sources and photos of business as usual in Ghouta just prior to Aug21.

    My position is informed by seemingly endless photos and videos of totally bombed out buildings. Some of the best are photos/videos of the UN Mission moving through the area and taking samples. The buildings in the background are totally wasted. I’ve uploaded a few examples:


    These views support Agnes-Mariam’s assertion that Ghouta was mostly a ghost-town prior to Aug21. What is the evidence you have to the contrary?

    While I can’t, and don’t, conclude that the entire Ghouta area was destroyed, the evidence I’ve seen suggests that much of it was. OTOH, we have two night-time vids outside the KB complex, and what we can see is intact. For instance, there is an iron fence clearly in view with rather delicate looking glass globe-lamps on the tops of pillars. None of the globes are damaged, suggesting no HE attacks in this area. But I still don’t understand how you can be so sure that most of the Ghouta area is intact.

    re: B0016
    Is there a way to capture Exif data from uploaded photos? That would be very helpful, especially if time stamped.

    We know DM is in the basement by fitting the vids together. SM-c shows the photographer leaving the SM at street level and going down a flight of stairs into a series of hallways. If you go from street level and down a flight of stairs, it is, by definition, a basement. That video stops in front of Room #2. All of the other rooms and the patio are inter-connected without going up any stairs. For instance, Room #1 is connected to Room #2 without any intervening steps, so Room #1 is in the basement too. The nice clear photo of the patio that you link to shows external stairs going down to the patio. I should have used the term “courtyard,” which evokes a better image of the open area set below street level. You mentioned the vid of the smirking guy – vid Rm2-b. At the very end of that video there is a view looking over a wall and down on a courtyard with the same tile pattern. Likely the same courtyard the next day.

    re: B0067
    The Zamalka videos I got from the HRW report, which says they were produced by a guy in Zalmalka. The logo says Zalmalka, according to GoogleTranslate. The floors, walls, abundance of examination tables and medical gear all suggest a different place than the KB complex.

    re: C0031
    In normal pallor mortis, the skin does just as you suggest. It becomes a greyish blue. The heart no longer pressurizes the system, the blood begins to flow by gravity toward the “oil pan” and the small amount that is trapped by friction in the capillaries gives up its oxygen, so the Hb flips to blue. If CO is holding the Hb in the red form, the cheeks remain pink for a very long time. The one victim M-014 is seen late at night and through the next day, and his cheeks remain in good color.

    The effects of sarin on cardiac function are complex. The vagus nerve slows the heart down through Ach receptors on the heart. Sarin would stimulate these receptors, causing a slowing effect. But the sympathetic nerves that cause the heart to speed up are controlled indirectly by Ach receptors, so there is a cardiac acceleration effect of sarin, too. The clinical observations reflect this confusion on what the net effect will be. Probably early slowing and later acceleration, or cycling. Too complex to predict from principles.

    Said by Denis May 16, 2014 at about 10:06 pm

  26. For EXIF data I use two methods.

    Exiftool for bulk analysis of directories of photographs


    And for quick checking of online images I use a Firefox extension Exifviewer


    If you use IE (fie on you) there will certainly be an extension, ditto Chrome.

    In general images that are resized for web-page use will lose EXIF data. Full size images generally will have it, some even include GPS data.

    As an aside, I’m working part-time now on the same thing for videos. The Matroska container format aka WebM supports text/XML segments inside the video file that work like EXIF. I’ve marked up a few videos using this including a number of the ANNA videos. Sadly to make this happen on a larger scale will require a published standard for the data - like EXIF has - and support from YT and Vimeo in *not* removing the mark-up data in the ingest process.

    Said by Charles Wood May 18, 2014 at about 7:40 pm

  27. Did comments really stop that long ago? Did we still never look into gas tank color issue? I never did, but it’s easy. Doesn’t mean much, as they can be re-purposed at will, depending on the details of how. But as I just added to this related and important blog post
    sky blue usually means oxygen, light green means either helium or hydrogen, just industrial uses or supra-medical uses for both (no business in a basic clinic that I see). C02 comes in silver cylinders.

    Said by Adam May 15, 2015 at about 6:19 am

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