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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Will Democracy Now support AG Barr's "Trumped-up charges"?

The Mueller Report found that the Russian Federation engaged in a sophisticated and robust program to interfere with the United States presidential election of 2016 with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the White House. It documented how this program operated on many levels: It included the use of hundreds of on-line operatives and thousands of advanced AI bots to spam the Internet from thousands of fake accounts with millions of fraudulent messages; it used polling data gathered by the Trump campaign to target those ads; it included live agents that operated inside the United States; and it included ongoing communications and co-ordination with the Trump campaign. Mueller's investigation led to the indictment of a number of top Trump campaign officials who conspired with the Russians, and the report documented at least ten instances of obstruction of justice by the president. Hundreds of federal, state, and local prosecutors have said that the only reason the president was not indicted is that Mueller was not allowed to indict him.

Although the Mueller Report was a damning indictment of Donald Trump, unless congress grows a spine, does its duty, and follows the law; it now looks like he may well weather the storm it has created. This situation owes a great deal to the way Trump's personal lawyer, United States Attorney General William Barr, stage-managed its introduction. He did it in a way that allowed Trump, and his Fox News echo chamber, to claim the report showed "No collusion; no obstruction," for weeks before we had even a redacted chance to see for ourselves.

Now the Trump cabal is preparing its counter-attack. He has long conflated his political opponents with his Justice Department investigators, while accusing both groups of treason, a capital crime. He has long led crowds of his deplorable fans in chants of "lock them up!" Recently, he told a rally, in response to this chant:
"We have a great new attorney general who will give it a very fair look"
These are extremely dangerous waters we are entering into. Anyone that has sampled Fox News, or other Trump media, regularly, knows that all along, they have been constructing an alternate reality in which the righteous Donald Trump is the victim of a Deep State conspiracy in the Justice Department and intelligence agencies. In their media, they have spent a lot of time weaving elaborate conspiracy theories out of "alternate facts" that damn those they consider Trump's enemies. These include former FBI directors, James Comey; former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein ..... all the way down to FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. These are, by and large, honest cops mainly guilty of doing their jobs. If Barr can succeed in carrying out Trump's vendetta against them, he will have gone a long way toward making those agencies corrupt tools of Trump's personal power. Another group that this right-wing star chamber has long advocated prison for is Trump's political opponents, starting with Hillary Clinton, John KerryChristopher Steele, and anyone having anything to do with his so-called dossier. If Trump succeeds in using the Justice Department to jail his political opponents, then we have taken a huge step towards dictatorship.

That is why we must defeat AG Bill Barr's attempts to give
the phrase "Trumped-up charges," a whole new meaning!

It saddens me to report that today I saw more clues that Democracy Now has bought into at least some of these right-wing conspiracy theories, and will be reselling them. They promoted these views, ironically, in a segment about how former Brazilian president Lula da Silva has been jailed by the right-wing on trumped-up charges.  Long-time Democracy Now host Juan González kind of just slipped it in while interviewing Glenn Greenwald:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, I wanted to ask you, in a broader sense, this whole issue of corruption in government, and prosecutors removing or being able to jail or remove elected officials or key political leaders—clearly, in a democracy, in an industrial or Western democracy, there’s two ways to remove a leader: You vote them out of office, or you get them indicted and jailed and removed that way. To what extent is this a signal to people around the world, in other countries, about the kind of skepticism that you should have about investigations coming at the top leaders? And, of course, I’m sure there are people in the—Trump supporters here in this country, who would point to the FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI counsel, as they were attempting to help remove Trump from office. But to what degree do you—is this a warning for people in other countries to be wary and skeptical, even in the face of what seems initially to be damning evidence against a political leader?
Glenn Greenwald on Tucker Carlson
I guess, since Juan González sees re-election or not as one of the two ways to "remove" an elected official, he sees only one way to remove a term-limited office holder, but I digress.

I have emphasized a portion of his statement so that you can see that this regular Democracy Now host is agreeing with the Trump cabal conspiracy charge that Strzok and Page were working to remove Trump from office. In the Fox News world, this is proven because they had significantly more anti-Trump than anti-Clinton texts on their phones. No wrong-doing in their professional roles is needed, and apparently, no "allegedly" or "they claim" is needed by DN either. Segment guest Glenn Greenwald, a new Fox News contributor, who was last a guest of white supremacist Tucker Carlson on Fox News only six days earlier, was happy to elaborate:
GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, I mean, look, Juan, you know, as you know, as you guys know, I’ve been one of the people, along with Noam Chomsky and Matt Taibbi and a few lonely others on the left, who have been skeptical of the Russiagate story, in part because we know that these agencies have a long history of lying.
Far from being skeptical, Glenn Greenwald has long been a supporter of Putin, and his involvement in US politics. Greenwald knows that just pointing out that these agencies have lied in the past is a useful device, especially if they are presenting facts now. Facts are stubborn things no matter who presents them, so sometimes the best they can do is represent them as coming from a source that has proven unreliable in the past. This technique has also been commonly used by supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They know it's easier to raise questions about facts coming from the CIA than those same facts coming from Syrians on the ground, but I digress.

Throughout the 2016 election year, Greenwald indirectly supported Putin's goal of getting Trump elected by focusing his criticism on Hillary Clinton and advising progressives to split the anti-Trump vote by voting for Jill Stein, who in the final count, was able to divert enough votes in three key states to put Trump over the top. This was the same road followed by Russian financed RT network. After the election he went on to support Putin by fighting any notion that Russia interfered in the US election, and to support Trump by backing his claims that the whole "Russiagate" thing was a hoax and an unlawful attempt to drive a duly elected president from office. Here is just one small example of the type of stuff he has filled the pages of The Intercept with in the past few years; in September 2017, Glenn Greenwald was bragging "Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart," he wrote:
LAST FRIDAY, most major media outlets touted a major story about Russian attempts to hack into U.S. voting systems, based exclusively on claims made by the Department of Homeland Security. “Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, officials said Friday,” began the USA Today story, similar to how most other outlets presented this extraordinary claim.
...
So, what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false.
And what did the Mueller Report ultimately find on that score?
In addition to targeting individuals involved in the Clinton Campaign, GRU officers also
targeted individuals and entities involved in the administration of the elections. Victims included U.S. state and local entities, such as state boards of elections (SBOEs), secretaries of state, and county governments, as well as individuals who worked for those entities.
...
GRU officers, for example, targeted state and local databases of registered voters using a
technique known as "SQL injection," by which malicious code was sent to the state or local website in order to run commands (such as exfiltrating the database contents).
...
For example, over a two-day period in July 2016, GRU officers [redacted] for vulnerabilities on websites of more than two dozen states.
I wish I had time to research, and present to you with many more example of how Greenwald's claims that what he called "Russiagate" was a hoax have proven to be false. But news has just broken on another story I have been blogging about recently, the "leaked" note from staff member Ian Henderson to the OPCW, so I'm afraid this will have to do.

Back on DN, Greenwald goes on to repeat one of the most fundamental and dangerous of the right-wing "Deep State" conspiracy theory claims:
And the FBI and the CIA and the NSA in the U.S. were vehemently opposed to Donald Trump and wanted Hillary Clinton, because they trusted her much more.
This is the Fox News technique, personified. Make a claim of preference or bias, with or without proof. Then say that the alleged preference translates directly to improper actions or abuse of power, as if no further proof is necessary. He continues this paragraph:
And so, there was a concern always, on my part, that they were abusing their prosecutorial powers to interfere in our domestic election in the United States in order to help the candidate they wanted to win and hurt the candidate that they wanted to lose.
So, Greenwald doesn't think the Russian Federation interfered in the US election to get Donald Trump elected, but he does think the FBI and the CIA and the NSA, i.e. THE DEEP STATE, interfered in our domestic election in a failed attempt to get Hillary Clinton elected. He must be getting fat stacks from Rupert Murdoch now that he is a regular Fox News contributor. He continues, trying to clean it up a little by telling us there was a "faction" in the FBI that was for Trump:
There were other factions in the FBI, by the way, who wanted Donald Trump to win desperately, and did their own abuse of power to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances and help Donald Trump win.
Would James Comey be in one of those factions? After all, his last-minute announcement that they were re-opening the Clinton investigation was damaging to her campaign, and may have cost her the election. At the same time, he kept silent about the ongoing FBI investigates into the Trump campaign. We would learn about those only after the election. But Comey was the FBI director at the time, so if his decisions were so detrimental to the Clinton campaign, just how was the FBI abusing its power to help her win?
So, there were two different factions inside these law enforcement agencies interfering in the U.S. election by abusing their power to help the two candidates they preferred,
In a very Trump-like fashion, Greenwald sees abuse of power on both sides. That means he sees abuse of power among those who have been investigating Trump, and is now positioning himself to support Bill Barr's Investigation of the Investigators. Greenwald end the paragraph:
which is an incredible—that was the real meddling that was dangerous in the 2016 election.
Translation: Now the real witch hunt begins, and it's becoming increasingly clear which side Democracy Now, Glenn Greenwald, and many other representatives of the white-Left will be standing.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for our posts on the 2016 US Election
Click here for a list of our other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of our other blogs on Libya

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Henderson's "leaked" OPCW Executive Summary: a searchable version

Today Idlib is under a murderous assault by Assad & Putin
The purpose of this post is simply to make a text version of the 15-page Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident - Executive Summary, allegedly produced by Ian Henderson, generally available on the Internet. Up until now it has been available only in an image PDF format that defies ordinary attempts to search or select text from it.

Once I decided that this document merits serious attention, the first thing I did was run it through my favorite Open Source Software Optical Character Reader (OCR) so that I could have a text copy to work with. So now, in the spirit of open source, I want to make that work product available to the world, even though I believe this document is being used by supporters of war criminals to attack the chemical police, and normalize the use of chemical weapons in the twenty-first century.

The group that originally posted it to the Internet, the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media claimed that they were communicating with unnamed "OPCW staff members." In posting it, they said:
A copy of a 15-page Executive Summary of this report with the title “Engineering Assessment of two cylinders observed at the Douma incident” has been passed to us and we have posted it here. Please download and share this document via your own server if you link to it, so as not to overload our server.
So, you see, what I am doing here is very much in the spirit of their request. Not only am I sharing this document on Google's dime, I'm making it even more accessible by making its contents searchable within a text editor, and once the search engines pick up this blog, on the Internet as well.

That it was "leaked" in this inaccessible form raises some troubling questions. Did they not have access to a document format version of this document? If so, why did they publish it in such a limited image format? 

Directly following the statement above they say:
We are studying this document, and encourage others with relevant expertise to contribute.
It's hard to understand how they have been studying this document, or expect "experts" to study it, when they can't even cut and paste from it. If they didn't receive it in a document format, they'd need to convert it to one before it could be studied serious. Now, I have saved them the trouble. They should thank me.

If they have only received what they have forwarded to us, and they have had no contact with Ian Henderson, how do they know the document is genuine? Contrary to the stories they tell, the OPCW has not validated this document. The OPCW said they didn't release it, and they are looking into it.

A document in electronic format can be subjected to checksum tests to insure that it hasn't been modified, and it can even be signed with a digital signature that could give us a high level of assurance about who produced it. None of that is possible with what we have, not the document itself, but a scanned image copy of the document. It's child's play to modify and scan a paper copy. All that it requires is a little cut and paste the old fashion way. If that's all the Working Group received, they are taking it on faith that it is genuine in any sense because they can't even verify that it hasn't been modified since Henderson produced it.

Clay Claiborne, Linux Systems Administer L2

On the “leaked” Henderson report, see also:

Lies, damned lies, and engineering sub-team reports
Where in the world is Ian Henderson?
More on the silent Ian Henderson and his "leaked" OPCW paper
Dr. Ted Postol rides again - right into the OPCW "leak" controversy
OPCW Word Games - Exposing the Politics of the Henderson "leak"

If you find any errors or typos in the document, please note them in the comment section and I will fix them, that being said, here it is:






UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
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- Executive Summary
DRAFT FOR INTERNAL REVIEW
Expanded Rev 1 — 27 February 2019

Introduction

1. This note relates to the incident of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma on 7 April 2018 in the Syrian Arab Republic.

2. As part of the fact-finding mission, information was gathered and assessed on two chlorine cylinders, observed at two separate locations in Douma. The FFM team visited both these locations:

  •  Location 2, where it observed the presence of an industrial gas cylinder on a top floor patio/terrace of an apartment block, next to a crater-like opening in the reinforced concrete roof leading to a room below.
  •  Location 4, where it observed the presence of a similar cylinder lying on a bed in a top floor room of an apartment, with a crater-like opening in the reinforced concrete roof above the room.

3. An engineering assessment has been conducted, using all available information, to evaluate the possible means by which these two cylinders arrived at their respective locations as observed. This report summarises the findings of the engineering sub—team.

Approach

4. The studies on the two cylinders were conducted using sources of information available to the FFM team, which included: open—source material (images and videos); observations and measurements taken by the FFM team at both locations; photographs taken by the FFM team at both locations; and engineering data from open—source information relating to the dimensions, design code, specifications, materials of construction and mechanical properties of the cylinders, sourced from the manufacturer's stamps and country of manufacture. -

5. Samples were taken by the FFM team at both locations. Whilst the results of analysis are obviously relevant for the overall investigation of the alleged incident, they were not the central focus in the scope of this element of the fact—finding mission. It was necessary, however, to make some assumptions; for example, about the likely contents of the cylinders, in order to provide inputs for the engineering assessment. These were necessarily defined as scenarios to be used in the development of hypotheses, as described below.

Hypotheses

6. To derive the inputs for an engineering assessment, it was necessary to develop hypotheses for what was thought (i.e. alleged) to have occurred. This needed to be done in a way that did not pre-judge the situation or lead prematurely to a mistaken interpretation of the facts. The situation was also complicated by the many sources of information and opinion about what was alleged to have

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occurred, including impressions and views of alleged witnesses, spokespersons, the media, representatives of States Parties, as well as the views of supposed experts in subsequent exchanges.

7. Keeping the above in mind, an attempt was made to define a set of assumptions and at least two clear opposing hypotheses for each of the two locations, to use as inputs for the baseline cylinder studies. The baseline studies were aimed at examining the two situations in terms of what is alleged to have happened in each case, as best as is currently understood. This was then tested against an alternative explanation. This methodology will be expanded if any new facts or information need to be ta ken into account.

8. Location 2 Hypotheses


  • Hypothesis L2-1: The observed object was of a standard design for a cylinder used for storage of liquefied chlorine. The cylinder, full or partly full of liquefied chlorine, was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter) from an unknown altitude, and fell onto the reinforced concrete roof of the terrace. The cylinder built up velocity during the free fall and the resulting impact pierced the roof, forming the crater that was observed in the roof. The impact resulted in fracture of the valve at the front of the cylinder, thus discharging the contents (the cylinder was found by the FFM team to be empty), and caused structural deformation of the cylinder itself. Other observations may have had influences in this hypothesis, i.e. the cylinder may have been fitted with a crude mild steel framework and fins (remnants of these were observed on the terrace) and the terrace may have been covered with an angle-iron frame and wire netting cover.
  • Hypothesis L2-2: The observed object is of a standard design for a cylinder used for storage of liquefied chIorine. The cylinder, full 'or' partly full of liquefied chlorine, orwempty, was in the possession of persons who placed it on the terrace next to a pre-existing crater.

9. Location 4 Hypotheses


  • Hypothesis L4-1: The observed object was of a standard design for a cylinder used for storage of liquefied chlorine, and was fitted with a crude mild steel framework and fins. The cylinder, mostly full of liquefied chlorine, was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter) from an unknown altitude, and fell onto the reinforced concrete roof of the bedroom. The cylinder built up velocity during the freefall and the resulting impact pierced the roof, forming the crater that was observed in the roof. The cylinder penetrated through the crater and was subsequently deflected laterally to end up on the bed in the room, in the position observed by the FFM team and shown in open-source images. The valve remained intact and the cylinder contents remained within the vessel.
  • Hypothesis L4-2: As for L4-1, but with the possibility that the cylinder had landed on the floor of the room underneath the crater, and had subsequently been picked up and placed on the bed by the first persons at the scene. There is no particular persuasion for this, or reason to believe that it occurred, but it may be best to acknowledge it as a possibility.
  • Hypothesis L4-3: The observed object is of a standard design for a cylinder used for storage of liquefied chlorine, and was fitted with a crude mild steel framework and fins. The deformed


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cylinder, mostly full of liquefied chlorine, was in the possession of persons who placed it on the bed in the bedroom. The crater in the roof was created (by unspecified means) either prior to or after the cylinder was placed on the bed.

Methodology — Location 2 study

10. The key observations at Location 2 were the cylinder, which showed a specific mode and extent of deformation, and the crater. Critical elements of this study were identified as (1) cylinder deformation, (2) the size, shape and characteristics of the crater, and (3) a relative comparison of the cylinder and crater, i.e. was there the match of an assumed impact between the two?

The study focussed on two main considerations; kinetic energy dissipation through plastic deformation of the cylinder, and through mechanical damage to the reinforced concrete plate (the concrete slab). It was decided to perform an engineering assessment of the coupled and uncoupled mechanical responses to the alleged impact.

11. In a first step the mechanical responses of the vessel and the concrete plate were uncoupled, i.e. the impact of the vessel on a rigid plate and the impact of a rigid body (with the geometry of the contact surface of the vessel) on a concrete target were studied separately. Consequently, in the first case, the total kinetic energy of the vessel had to be absorbed completely by the vessel itself, mainly by plastic deformation of the vessel material. In the second case, only the concrete plate would dissipate energy and slow down the rigid mass. This step was required to fine-tune the material model adopted for the concrete. The results clearly showed that both the vessel deformation and concrete crater of the observed impact event could not be caused by a perfectly vertical impact. An impact angle of approximately 20° was found to be required for results to bear any resemblance to observations. The simulation results, however, also showed that the defamation of the vessel and the penetration of the concrete plate cannot be
uncoupled, as there was a strong mutual interaction.

12. Therefore, in the next step, the impact of the vessel on a deformable concrete target was studied. For this impact case, vessel and concrete plate both absorb'energy. Next to providing insight into the relation between certain impact conditions and the resulting deformation and damage patterns, the simulations were also intended to address the question as to whether a vessel, dropped from an assumed height (a range of heights was tested, resulting in calculated impact velocities), gave rise to deformation and damage patterns similar to the ones observed in the images of the vessel/plate impact case shown in numerous images of the alleged incident. Further analysis of the results of the simulated cases focussed on the following:

  • deformation geometry of the vessel and how the vessel shape evolved during the deceleration process;
  • deformation and, if considered, damage pattern of the concrete plate; and 
  • evolution of the velocity of the vessel from its initial value until the end of the impact event.

13. Following this, the scope of the study was expanded to account for the influence of the steel reinforcing bars in the concrete slab. This required further consultation with concrete modelling

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experts to establish the rigorous integrated model which took into account all three mechanisms, i.e. vessel deformation, concrete defamation and damage, and deformation and damage on the rebar within the concrete slab. Commercial finite element code Abaqus/Explicit was used as the modelling platform.

14. In addition, expert assessment was provided on the appearance of the upper and underneath surfaces of the crater and surrounding walls and debris, by examination of multiple photographs of the scene.

15. After the simulations were run, results were compared with the actual observed deformation of the cylinder observed at Location 2. Additionally, both the simulation results and obsenled cylinder defamation were compared with images of previously-observed deformed cylinders from similar alleged incidents from 2014 to 2017, noting that in most cases these cylinders were reported to have landed on a supported concrete substrate (i.e. with soil or aggregate underneath).

Methodology — Location 4 study

16. An assessment of the situation at Location 4 prompted a different approach. According to hypothesis L4-1 the cylinder would have landed on the concrete roof, suffered deformation (along with the associated steel frame, wheels and fins) through impact and subsequent travel through the resultant crater, and landed on the bed. The appearance of the cylinder was apparently consistent with such an object having suffered a flat/horizontal impact with a horizontal surface; however the relative appearance of the cylinder and crater, the penetration through the crater, and the lateral movement of the cylinder post-impact within the room needed further analysis.

It was decided as a first stage to perform a scaled dimensional analysis of the scene at the incident, using images (taken by the FFM team), site observations and measurements, and subsequent reconstruction of the scene using scaled dimensions derived from photographs that included the scale of a tape measure. The study included the following elements:

  • Measurements were taken at the scene, and photographs (some including tape measure reference scales) were taken of the crater from the roof of the building. These were used to establish an accurate scale drawing of the crater.
  • Measurements, observations and photographs were taken inside the room; of the crater in the roof, the cylinder, walls, and objects of furniture and fittings within the room. These were used to establish a scale drawing of the deformed cylinder, to reconstruct pre-deformation cylinder dimensions, with un-deformed frame and fins, and to create a scale drawings of these taking into account that (in addition to deformation) the framework appeared to have been displaced backwards as a result of an impact.
  • A scaled 3-D model was generated of the pre-deformation cylinder and the crater, in order to examine the range of possible configurations upon impact, and predicted damage and deformation caused by subsequent travel through the crater.
  • An assessment was performed on the possible dynamics of the lateral movement (post-entry) of the cylinder within the room, examining the three mechanisms considered feasible; (1) incoming


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flight trajectory, (2) deflection off walls or objects in the room, and (3) transferred floor friction by a ”compressive-restitution” effect resulting from plastic deformation of the cylinder due to impact and subsequent recovery due to internal pressure (comparable with an ovoid compression-restitution model, the mechanism for altering direction in a bounce, the so—called ”rugby ball effect”).

Findings - Location 2

17. For the final simulations, a realistic damage model was adopted for the concrete, initially without steel reinforcement. Using the model under aforementioned assumptions, regardless of the inclination angle and initial velocity considered, the vessel not only fully penetrated the concrete plate, but still had a non-negligible velocity after penetration. Analysis of the evolution of the vessel deformation during the penetration of the concrete showed that the vessel shape observed in the observed (alleged impact) event could only have been caused by an impact, under an angle of 20°, with an initial velocity significantly lower than the ones considered in the simulations.

18. Based on these results, an initial part of the study was narrowed to establishing whether a concrete plate could stop a vessel dropped from a height assumed between 500m and 2000m. This question helped to select certain model assumptions. To explore all possibilities, in the final model all possible elements that could contribute to an enhanced energy absorption, and thus lower final vessel velocity, were adopted (i) although on the images indications can be found that hollow—core slabs had been used, a full solid concrete plate with a fairly heavy, strong steel rebar reinforcement was considered in the concrete, (ii) the mass of the vessel was lowered by ignoring its liquid content, (iii) the (estimated) full dimensions of the concrete plate were taken into account and (iv) boundary conditions favouring energy absorption were selected.

19. Despite these measures, results of these simulations showed that the vessel was again not slowed down to a standstill. Consequently, based on the simulations, the answer to the first basic question was negative. The simulation results thus indicated that the assumed drop heights, even the lowest one of 500m, were too high to be able to reproduce the observed impact event. Further analysis of the simulated and real concrete crater and vessel shape also revealed the following discrepancies:

  • In the simulations, steel rebar clearly affected the deformation of the vessel. Indeed, pronounced indents of the steel rebar were obtained. Although, steel rebar was visible in the images of the observed concrete crater, no traces of interaction of the cylinder with the steel rebar were observed on the cylinder.
  • The model was not able to reproduce the reinforcement response observed in images of the observed crater, more specifically reinforcement bars which are locally bent over an angle higher than 90° at a location away from the impact location. This might be assumed to have been caused by a high vertical velocity at the moment of bar/concrete failure resulting in hurling away of loose parts. High acceleration and velocities are typically for explosions.

20. Finally an assessment was performed on the mechanism of formation of the crater, if assumed by the cylinder, independent of the need to assume a starting kinetic energy (i.e. the velocity of the

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cylinder at impact with the concrete slab). The simulation results demonstrated that the observed non-penetration of the concrete slab by the cylinder, required the vertical component of velocity of the cylinder and the rebars, to approach zero at some point. The cylinder slows down until it is stopped by the rebar as the model clearly shows the concrete slab does not do this. In this regard the observed appearance of the cylinder and rebar were not consistent. The front of the observed cylinder shows no signs of impact with the concrete slab or rebar, and the appearance of the observed rebar does not indicate it having slowed the cylinder to a stop.

21. All the elements listed above point to the conclusion that the alleged impact event (or events) leading to observed vessel deformation and concrete damage were not compatible.

22. As mentioned above, the predicted cylinder deformation was not consistent with that observed on the cylinder observed at the scene at Location 2. The results predicted from the simulation were more consistent with images of deformed cylinders from earlier incidents of cylinders allegedly delivered from helicopters in the Syrian Arab Republic.

23. The possibility of the observed deformation of the cylinder being the result of an intermediate impact with (for example) the corner of the terrace wall, was not consistent with the almost complete lack of deformation on the rest of the cylinder, nor was it consistent with the subsequent impact that would have led to the creation of the crater (as mentioned In paragraph 20). Similarly, the influence of the possible presence of wire netting above the terrace was calculated by using the yield stress for mild steel together with estimated wire thickness. The potential "cushioning" effect was found to be negligible when compared with the energy of a cylinder falling from the lowest
estimated height.

24. Regarding the possible effect of the wire netting, a ”criss-cross" pattern was observed on the paintwork of the cylinder body, which was attributed by some observers as an indication of the cylinder falling through the wire mesh. This explanation however is inconsistent with the vertical, or near-vertical, angle of incidence of the cylinder that was assumed (and would have been required) to have created the crater in the concrete slab.

25. Experts were consulted to assess the appearance of the crater observed at Location 2, particularly the underside. The expert view was that it was more consistent with that expected as a result of blast/energetics (for example from a HE mortar or rocket artillery round) rather than a result of impact from the falling object. This was also borne out by the observation of deformed rebar splayed out at the underside of the crater, which was not explained by the apparent non-penetration and minimal damage of the cylinder. The likelihood of the crater having been created by
a mortar/artillery round or similar, was also supported by the presence of more than one crater of very similar appearance in concrete slabs on top of nearby buildings, by an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls, by the indications of concrete spalling under the crater, and (whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling.

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26. The presence on the terrace of mangled remains of mild steel framework and fins, and a rather flat truncated conical metal object, were not consistent with the appearance of the cylinder.' Examination of the cylinder did not indicate that it had been fitted with these, nor did it show signs of them having been stripped from the cylinder as a result of impact.

Findings — Location 4

27. In the scaled dimensional analysis on the Location 4 cylinder, pre- and post-deformation, compared with the crater in the roof, it was not possible to establish a set of circumstances where the post-deformation cylinder could fit through the crater with the valve still intact (whether or not an end—cap was assumed to have been fitted at the front end of the cylinder), and the fins deformed in the manner observed. The observed deformation of the cylinder and direction of apparent inertial deformation of attachments, were clearly consistent with a cylinder having impacted in a flat configuration on a horizontal surface, and not that of a cylinder having penetrated through a crater.

28. Open-source images showed the presence of a truncated conical metal object in the bedroom. By the time the FFM arrived at the scene, this object had been removed. Examination of the front of the cylinder did not show signs of this ever having been attached to the front end of the cylinder, nor of it being stripped off as a result of impact.

29. Examination of the cylinder, including paintwork, condition of the metal surfaces, and the mild steel attachments, indicated a significant degree of degradation (corrosion) as a result of weathering in the areas that had been damaged through impact. Whilst it may be speculative to consider it unlikely that an old, rusty, already-damaged cylinder would be deployed from an aircraft; the cylinder showed appearance of having spent some post—damage time being exposed to the elements, and would most likely not have degraded to such an extent in the case of it being inside the bedroom.

30. The deflection of the shower frame in the bedroom was primarily in the west ("left") direction; not consistent with the direction of required northward movement of the cylinder within the room to move from the as-delivered location under the crater, to the bed. The shower frame appeared to have been pulled outwards rather than impacted forwards in the direction of cylinder travel.

31. Regarding the post-impact movement of the cylinder laterally within the room (i.e. from a position directly below the crater, bouncing onto the bed), it was established that obstacles on top of the building precluded the possibility of this being due to incoming flight trajectory. Examination of walls in the bedroom did not indicate marks that would have indicated the "equal and opposite” forces required to deflect the cylinder in a horizontal direction. And the still—remaining projections of the valve at the front of the cylinder and fins at the rear, precluded the possibility of a direction-changing ”bounce". Therefore it was not possible to establish a set of circumstances that were consistent with observations, which could have resulted in that movement.


Page 7 of 15




UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate


Assessment

32. At this stage the FFM engineering sub—team cannot be certain that the cylinders at either location arrived there as a result of being dropped from an aircraft. The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.

33. In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.

lan Henderson


Page 8 of 15




UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate


Appendices:
1. L2 predicted and observed deformation
2. Preliminary sketch of L4 cylinder pre-impact
3. Preliminary sketch of L4 cylinder post-impact
4. Preliminary sketch of L4 cylinder superimposed onto scaled crater
5. Angles of incidence shown (from 3—D model)












Page 9 of 15



UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate

Appendix 1

Figures 1 & 2 (above): Predicted deformation; initial and final computational analysis
Figure 3: Observed cylinder at Location 2
Figures 4 and 5: Cylinders from previous alleged incidents


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UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate

Appendix 2

Figure 6: Location 4 Cylinder dimensions pre-lmpact




Page 11 of 15




UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate


Appendix 3

Figure 7: Location 4 cylinder dimensions post-impact
Figure 8: Cylinder at Location 4




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UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate

Appendix 4

Figure 9: Location 4 cylinder post-impact superimposed onto crater (baseline configuration, for illustrative purposes). Sketch from a scaled drawing
Figure 10: Location 4 cylinder post-impact superimposed onto crater, from dimensional model




Page 13 of 15




UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate


Appendix 5

Figure 11: Test case - nose-down angle of incidence
Figure 12: Test case - horizontal angle of incidence





Page 14 of 15




UNCLASSIFIED - OPCW Sensitive
Do not circulate

Figure 13: Test case - fin configuration at impact
Figure 14: Test case —tail down angle of incidence








Page 15 of 15




Unfortunately, I couldn't do anything to improve the poor quality of his "professional" illustrations.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for our posts on the 2016 US Election
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

OPCW Word Games - Exposing the Politics of the Henderson "leak"

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has not yet published a response to Ian Henderson's 15-page note titled, “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident- Executive Summary,” but his arguments are a virtual carbon-copy {Now there's a phrase that is quickly losing context in the digital age.} of the allegations made by the Russian Federation, and we do have OPCW's 21 May 2019 response to those.

In that response, they talk about the procedures they use:
As mentioned in previous FFM reports, all activities of the FFM are undertaken in accordance with the relevant procedures of the Secretariat, setting out guidelines for the conduct of inspections in contingency operations, including investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons. The FFM applied the Secretariat’s standard methodology in its investigation of incidents in the Syrian Arab Republic. This methodology is illustrated in the FFM reports.
The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission(FFM) Report on the incident of alleged use of toxic chemicals in Douma, Syria on 7 April 2018 is well documented, with a lot of notes and references. The response notes that:
In Annex 1 to the report, the FFM listed all reference documentation and procedures followed during the mission.
This can't be said of Henderson's 15-page “Executive Summary,” which requires us to take much on faith.

The OPCW response to the Syrian and Russian objections also references the unique limitations of the mandate and methods imposed on it by the United Nation, where State Parties with veto power are demanding that fact finding missions don't become fault finding missions:
The analyses of the FFM are based on the facts and data collected and corroborated by the team and not on assumptions. In this context, the FFM report on the Douma incident does not contain assumptions or statements about the use of a helicopter (or any other craft) and the height of flight. The report does not provide information outside of the mandate and methodology of the FFM.
The bold around not on assumptions” was added by the OPCW, not me. It is one of the very few places they emphasis a phrase in the 19-page response, so apparently that is something they feel strongly about. They make this point a second time in this 19-page response:
The FFM does not base its modelling or calculations on assumptions about the height from which the cylinder could have been dropped or the height of an aircraft. Therefore, in accordance with its mandate, the FFM did not comment on the possible altitudes of aircraft in any assumed operation modality.
And, just so there can be no misunderstanding, they repeat themselves a third time in the response:
As previously stated in Answer 8.1, the FFM report on the Douma incident does not contain assumptions or statements about the use of an aircraft or the height of flight. The report does not elaborate information outside of the FFM's mandate and methodology.
Henderson's 15-page “Executive Summary,” on the other hand, is rife with assumptions, and goes far beyond the limitations of the FFM's mandate and methodology. Consider these excerpts:
The cylinder, full or partly full of liquefied chlorine, was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter) from an unknown altitude,...
The cylinder, full 'or' partly full of liquefied chlorine, or empty, was in the possession of persons who placed it on the terrace next to a pre-existing crater.
And again, a second time, these documents tend to be repetitive:
The cylinder, mostly full of liquefied chlorine, was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter) from an unknown altitude,...
Unlike the FFM, Henderson feels free to make assumptions:
[T]he simulations were also intended to address the question as to whether a vessel, dropped from an assumed height (a range of heights was tested, resulting in calculated impact velocities), gave rise to...
Here he not only names helicopters as the source, he infers they were Syrian Air Force helicopters:
The results predicted from the simulation were more consistent with images of deformed cylinders from earlier incidents of cylinders allegedly delivered from helicopters in the Syrian Arab Republic.
He makes various assumptions about height, something OPCW called “information outside of the FFM's mandate and methodology," time:
a vessel dropped from a height assumed between 500m and 2000m
And time:
The simulation results thus indicated that the assumed drop heights, even the lowest one of 500m, were too high to be able to reproduce the observed impact event.
Again:
The potential “cushioning” effect was found to be negligible when compared with the energy of a cylinder falling from the lowest estimated height.
The word “helicopter(s)” doesn't appear once in the 106-page OPCW report on Douma, but it appears 3 times in Henderson's 15-page note.

There are also important word and phrase choice differences that point to very different methodologies:

The speculative phrase “most likely” is another one wholly absent from the 106-page OPCW report on Douma, but it shows up three times in Henderson's 15-page note:
“was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter)”

and a second time:

“was dropped from an aircraft (most likely a helicopter)”

and,

“would most likely not have degraded to such an extent”
The speculative word “may” is used only once in the 106-page OPCW report on Douma, where it is used to knock down speculation that the crater was caused by an explosive device:
The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.
Henderson's 15-page note, on the other hand, could also be called the May Report, not only because it was publicized ("leaked") in May, but because it uses the word “may” in the speculative sense five times:
“observations may have had influences”

“the cylinder may have been fitted with”

“the terrace may have been covered”

“it may be best to acknowledge it as a possibility”

“Whilst it may be speculative to consider it”
“Speculative” is another word that doesn't appear in the 106-page OPCW report on Douma, because, unlike our man Henderson, the analyses of the FFM are based on the facts and data collected and corroborated by the team and not on speculation and assumptions. Rather than honor the FFM's methodology in his note, Henderson chose language that favors political conclusions, and worst, conspiracy theories. Ian Henderson must have known that his paper went far beyond the mandate and methodology of the FFM, unless he's not the team leader he claims to be. Why would he do that if he wanted his note to be taken seriously within the OPCW, and taken as important input into their final report on Douma?

Even if it had been submitted in a timely fashion, Henderson should have known it risked rejection, and imho should have been rejected, on these grounds alone. When you couple this with its 27 February date, its phony confidentiality classification, and the fact that we don't know if OPCW even saw it before their 1 March report came out, this raises a very troubling question: If it wasn't written to affect the March report, why was it written?

Assuming, Ian Henderson wrote it, only he can answer that question, but as noted in an earlier blog post, he hasn't turned up still. So, we can't answer that yet. But we can make some observations about how it is being used, and the short answer there is that it is being used in a campaign led by supporters of war criminals to undermine and discredit the chemical weapons police.

This is a very dangerous game. Almost a hundred years ago, a worldwide ban against chemical weapons was established, and with a few notable exceptions, it has held. Now it is on something of a comeback, starting with Syria where more than 300 such attacks have been reported.

One of the reasons CW was allowed to be banned in the first place was that it was found not all that effective on the battlefield, where winds and positions can change rapidly, and the opposing forces are likely to be in good health and well prepared. Use against unprepared civilians, such as fixed neighborhoods filled with children and old people, is another matter entirely. Add to that the fact that when fighting uprisings and insurgencies in one's own country, a weapon that kills people without destroying property can be a very attractive option. For these reasons, this movement to normalize the use of chemical weapons in the twenty-first century must be nipped in the bud. This campaign to discredit the OPCW based on allegations that it “suppressed” or “redacted,” and “deliberately concealed” the “dissenting opinions” in the “leaked” engineering sub-team report, should be seen in that context. That is why I have awoken, as if from a slumber, to take on this “leaked” engineering sub-team report with the intensity I have. I have no idea what is driving those attempting to exonerate war criminals of specifically chemical murders.

Finally, to explain why I insist on putting “leaked” in quotes when referring to Henderson's 15-page note, I must turn to Google's handy dictionary function for some assistance with a few word definitions. We know that his note is UNCLASSIFIED, so:
un·clas·si·fied adjective (of information or documents) not designated as secret.
If unclassified documents are no longer secret, I have a hard time understanding how this word can honestly be applied to their publication and distribution:
leak noun 2. an intentional disclosure of secret information.
Maybe this is the word I am looking for:
hype noun 1. extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.
One can definitely call it the hyped Henderson note, no quotes needed!


Brian Whitaker, please make sure Chris Williamson MP sees this. I don't like to see a member of the House of Commons making a fool of himself, and our English is common enough that even he should get it.

Clay Claiborne, Linux Systems Administrator L2

On the “leaked” Henderson report, see also:
Lies, damned lies, and engineering sub-team reports
Where in the world is Ian Henderson?
More on the silent Ian Henderson and his "leaked" OPCW paper

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Dr. Ted Postol rides again - right into the OPCW "leak" controversy

Russia & Syria are bombing hospitals in Idlib now
Dr. Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was interviewed by Aaron Maté, 25 May 2019 for 20 minutes on Grayzone on what they insisted on calling the Leaked OPCW report suggesting the 2018 Syria gas attack was staged. The way they talked about this one attack, you should be forgiven for not knowing this was just one of more than 300 chemical attacks in Syria since 2012. Maté, says dozens were killed, so you should be forgive for not knowing that 70 were killed, and over 500 were injured. And since they made no mention of the current carnage Assad and his Russian patron are causing in Idlib today, even as Grayzone seeks to exonerate them for the war crimes they committed a year ago. Maté gives us this very inaccurate description of the controversy:
The Syrian government was accused of dropping gas cylinders that killed dozens in the city of Douma in April 2018. But a newly leaked engineering assessment from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) challenges that claim and says there is a higher probability that the cylinders were “manually placed.” That is the first time this judgment has been made public. It was excluded from the OPCW’s final report on the Douma incident, which was used to pin the blame on the Syrian government.
As I have explained in my first post on this subject, there is nothing about this document that says it ever was accepted as an OPCW document. There is nothing officially OPCW about it. The confidentially classification is not a real OPCW classification. There is no basis for claiming this 27 February note was excluded from the OPCW report that was months in production and published on 1 March. The note was dated only two days earlier, and we don't know when it was received by the OPCW or even if they received it before 1 March. You can't arrive too late to be checked-in, and then complain about being excluded. And, while the public only got a look at this 15-page note after it was published this April, the “judgement” that this gas attack was “staged” is one the Russian and Syrian governments have been making since the attack was first reported. Consider these statements:

This is the Russian Federation's judgement:
The existing facts more likely indicate that there is a high probability that both cylinders were placed at Locations 2 and 4 manually rather than dropped from an aircraft.
This is Ian Henderson's judgement in his “leaked” note:
In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.
Neo-Nazi Poster | Daily Stormer supports Dr. Ted Postol
The main point of this show was to marshal Dr. Ted Postol's expertise in defense of Assad. That has become something of a specialty for him. We never hear from him about the day-to-day “conventional” carnage that has been the Syrian civil war, and even chemical attacks that don't make the news, but when one does break through the noise and get broader attention, Dr. Ted pops up on white-Left websites and talk shows to exonerate Assad.

Dr. Ted first entered this controversial landscape after Assad massacred over 1400 with sarin in East Ghouta on the morning of 21 August 2013. He claimed Assad's army was too far away to have fired those rockets, and he had a bunch of fancy math to prove it. Later, it came out that he got assistance in developing his theories from Maram Susli, a pro-Assad troll and Infowars contributor that goes by the handles “Syrian Girl”, “Partisangirl” and “Syrian Sister.”

The people of East Ghouta knew where the rockets were coming from because ones with conventional warheads had been raining down on them for months. That's why the children were all sleeping in the basements where gas could get them first. For them, there was never any mystery about that where the rockets came from. But these sounded different when they landed. Almost like duds; Almost.


Dr. Ted set out to exonerate Assad of the sarin murders even though it was clear he had murdered ten-of-thousands by conventional means. Robert Barsocchini gave us this example of how Dr. Ted arrived at his conclusions:
Postol located the crater via satellite and examined it himself, concluding it reveals “absolutely no evidence that the crater was created by a munition designed to disperse sarin after it is dropped from an aircraft.”
Assad had to turn over most of his sarin in a subsequent deal to avoid military attack. With that in hand, the UN would report, 5 March 2014, that:
128. In Al-Ghouta, significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to manipulate safely large amount of chemical agents. Concerning the incident in Khan Al-Assal on 19 March, the chemical agents used in that attack bore the same unique hallmarks as those used in Al-Ghouta.
Levant
There were many Syrian CW attacks after Al-Ghouta, and so long as they weren't deemed noteworthy by the western media, Postol kept his Levant horse in the stable. Then on 4 April 2017, Syrian warplanes dropped sarin on Khan Sheikhoun and left ninety-two people dead. As usual, they claimed that they didn't do it. Again, they claimed it was a false-flag attack carried out by the opposition on its own people. Dr. Ted may be a rocket scientist, but I showed in my first post about him that he really didn't know what he was talking about when it came to chemical weapons:
For example, he clearly doesn't understand that sarin evaporates like water on a dry day because after noting:
The video evidence shows workers at the site roughly 30 hours after the alleged attack.
He then goes on to conclude that because they aren't using what he would consider adequate protection, the whole scene must be a fabrication:
The honeycomb facemasks would provide absolutely no protection against either sarin vapors or sarin aerosols. The masks are only designed to filter small particles from the air. If sarin vapor was present, it would be inhaled without attenuation by these individuals. If sarin was present in an aerosol form, the aerosol would have condensed into the pores in the masks and evaporated into a highly lethal gas as the individuals inhaled through the masks. It is difficult to believe that health workers, if they were health workers, would be so ignorant of these basic facts.
What utter nonsense! I asked chemical weapons expert Dan Kaszeta to name a common substance with evaporation characteristic similar to sarin and he responded “Water. On a very dry day, next to zero humidity.” The reason why he stated that last part twice is because how rapidly water evaporates does vary greatly with the amount of water already in the air, but it is always a very dry day for sarin, at least for parts of the world not under Assad's air force. For that reason alone, if sarin vapor was present in dangerous quantities, after 30 hours, in sunlight, outdoors, in a dry climate, it would be a physics miracle, and if sarin was present in an aerosol form, still floating over the road after 30 hours, it would be a good candidate for an investigation of the supernatural. That is what it would be. To use “ignorance of these basic facts,” to condemn health workers who are necessarily putting themselves at great risk without adequate equipment because they have been given no other choice is disgraceful.
Within a four day period in April of 2017, Dr. Ted publish three different versions of what “really” happened at Khan Sheikhoun, as he was forced to follow the shifts in the Russian/Syrian story.

His first versions were variations on the same theme; that terrorists had exploded a pipe-bomb on top of a pipe filled with sarin in the middle of the road. Where they would have gotten the sarin, and why they never used it on Assad's forces if they had it, he never explained. There were many problems with this first story that no amount of math could fix, and that was this: Both the Russians and the Syrians had a different story. They claimed they had bombed a terrorist warehouse where they were storing sarin. While Dr. Ted's version discredited the opposition, it also made the Assad forces and the Russians out to be liars. Eventually he had to come around. Near the end of April, he published “Russian Explanation of the Mass Poisoning in Syria Could Be True” in Truthdig.

Then the French came out with an independent report that also laid the blame at Assad's feet, and Dr. Ted had to take that one on too. When he did, he confused two separate attacks discussed in the report and blended them into one in such a way the we suggested he needed Reading Comprehension 101. It really was embarrassing.
Dr. Ted left Syria alone for a while after that, and moved on to proving North Korean missiles can't hit the lower 48 States......so no worries.

But now the OPCW FFM report on the Douma incident is pointing the finger at Assad again, so Dr. Ted is back on his Levant again. As the controversy around the so-called leaked OPCW report grows, it seems more forces are being thrown into the struggle. Dr. Ted showed up on Grayzone, 25 May 2019, and threw his expertise behind Ian Henderson's 15-page note. I will just comment on a few of the things he said to give you a feel. This is how he begins:
This document is a highly professional document that was obviously produced by a team of experts. It's written in an extremely careful way.
This is rich! Henderson's 15-page note is anything but professional. It's an“Executive Summary” with no references to the material being summarized. It has a made-up header that makes no sense. It is dated 2 days before the final document it is supposed to effect. It makes “assumptions” which are not part of the FFM method. It goes into specifics and finds fault in a way that goes beyond FFM's mandate. And probably most significantly, in the “professional document” category: It tells us almost nothing about who wrote it, and his professional qualifications. He gives us his name, Ian Henderson, and that's it. No title, or affiliation. Compare that to the way Dr. Ted signed his first apology for Assad's sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun. We don't just get his name, we get his signature, his title, his specific MIT affiliation, even his email and cell phone! Now, that's what I call professional! I'll bet Dr. Ted never signs documents with just his name. That Henderson did, and Dr. Ted Postol still leads by calling it a “professional document” is your first clue that this will be another Postol Instant Fact-Free Analysis.

He goes on to vouch for the precision of the “engineering sub-teams” math calculations:
[T]he reason the evidence is overwhelming is they did, first of all, very careful mathematical calculations to determine what the scene should look like if it occurred as it appeared.
This is nuts! Has he seen something no one else has seen? There are no mathematical calculations in the Executive Summary and no links or footnotes to any. He continues:
And this is critical because what the calculation indicates is that the cylinder would have had so much momentum that it would have gone through the roof — it would not have been on the roof, just sticking into in through this hole that had appeared to be the situation when inspected.
SAF Helo carrying bombs at low level
Can somebody please tell me what calculations he is talking about? There are no calculations in the 15-page note, only the claim that such calculations were made and the results. Is he just repeating what Henderson said they indicated while putting the gravitas of M.I.T. behind it?

BTW, the basic “assumption” that the Syrian helicopter would have had to be flying so high that any chlorine cylinder it dropped would go straight through the roof, as well as the Russian claims that Syrian helicopters never fly below 2000 meters is disproved by this picture of a Syria Airforce helicopter carrying barrel bombs over Aleppo in 2013.

How can the Syrians, Russians, Henderson, Postol, and all their supporters be so sure that if the helicopter in that picture was carrying chlorine cylinders, instead of barrel-bombs, and dropped one from that height onto the concrete and rebar roof we can see the corner of, that it absolutely, positively, “would have gone through the roof — it would not have been on the roof, just sticking into in through this hole”? If your math tells you that, get a new calculator. This is junk science in the service of war criminals. Postol also wrote:
They then took their observations — they had experts on the scene, and these are real experts; I want to underscore real experts versus a phony expert, I’ll have more to say about that shortly — and these real experts observed that the hole in the roof had all the characteristics of a hole created by either an artillery rocket, or a mortar shell. And holes of this kind have certain characteristics that an expert — a true expert, a real expert — would understand. And they describe those details so that someone like me can understand why their conclusion is that it was an explosive charge that created the hole.
That just flat out contradicts what the OPCW FFM team said in its report:
The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.
BTW, this is what a professional document looks like:

Dr. Ted knows that the methods used to collect data in any scientific investigation have to follow rigorous protocols, so he describes the method used by Henderson's engineering sub-team:
In the early part of the report they describe how they collected data. And they describe collecting data by their own observations; by interviewing various people; and by having discussions with what they describe as “supposed experts.”
Here is the section he must be talking about because it is the only place Henderson uses the phrase “supposed experts”:
6. To derive the inputs for an engineering assessment, it was necessary to develop hypotheses for what was thought (i.e. alleged) to have occurred. This needed to be done in a way that did not pre-judge the situation or lead prematurely to a mistaken interpretation of the facts. The situation was also complicated by the many sources of information and opinion about what was alleged to have occurred, including impressions and views of alleged witnesses, spokespersons, the media, representatives of States Parties, as well as the views of supposed experts in subsequent exchanges
I cited this same section in my first post on Henderson's “leaked” note, and wrote: “The method at work here makes a travesty of any concept of scientific investigation. How do you mix “information and opinion” like that?” Dr. Ted confirms that in this section they are describing how they collect data. So, it seems that what they consider data isn't just information; like their own observations; interviews with witnesses, and data gained from “supposed experts,” but also the sources Dr. Ted left out, the “data” gathered from “spokespersons, the media, representatives of States Parties.” This sounds very much like a scientific method heavily polluted by political concerns. From a Marxist perspective the equating of “information and opinion” is a fantasy construction in which mental processes (opinion) about reality can be put on a par with reality. It's the same “method” that leads Henderson to develop two completing hypotheses for what happened-one based on information from witnesses, and the other based on the opinion of the representatives of State Parties.

He goes on, about what he sees as the “smoking gun,” the fact that one of the gas cylinders didn't fall completely through the roof:
Now, you’re dealing with a brittle material in the case of the roof. And what you would expect is that if you hit the brittle material in the orientation of a vertical, falling cylinder, it would look like a bullet hole going through glass. In other words, you wouldn’t have a cylinder lying on its side. If the roof were so thick that you didn’t get a crater, then you could have a canister sitting on its side. But there would be no hole in the roof, for which the canister could then inject the chlorine.

And so, this is kind of a thought experiment that dovetails with the very serious computational, mathematical approach that was used in this analysis.
It is quite a “thought experiment,” indeed! To see a “very serious computational, mathematical approach” in Henderson's 15-page note. There is no math, and no data, and no references to any, only Henderson's assurance about the results. No wonder they need a Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology to co-sign for it.

In Conclusion

Dr. Ted thinks he can press science into the service of acquitting Assad of his crimes, but his application is always corrupt. His habit of riding to Assad's defense has made him one of the more notable atrocity deniers and holocaust enablers of the twenty-first century.


Here are my previous posts on Dr. Ted Postol:
05/12/2017Dr. Ted Postol misreads the HRW Report on Khan Sheikhoun
05/10/2017Are Scott Horton & Ted Postol holocaust enablers?
05/03/2017Reading Comprehension 101 for MIT Professor Dr. Ted Postol
05/01/2017Postol's Apostles & the normalization of chemical weapons use
04/30/2017Dr. Postol's "correction" shows he still needs Reading Comprehension 101
04/28/2017Please Re-Tweet as Ted Postol beats a hasty retreat
04/27/2017Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now says Assad now best for Syria
04/26/2017Sincerely yours, Theodore A. Postol
04/24/2017A valuable admission: Russia controls Syria & Putin runs the war

On the “leaked” Henderson report, see also:
Lies, damned lies, and engineering sub-team reports
Where in the world is Ian Henderson?
More on the silent Ian Henderson and his "leaked" OPCW paper

Clay Claiborne, Linux Systems Administrator, L2

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for our posts on the 2016 US Election
Click here for a list of our other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of our other blogs on Libya