Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 15, 2018

Sarin gas realities

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 10:02 pm

Seymour Hersh: “It’s not hard to make sarin. You could mix it in the backyard. Two chemicals melded together.”

A photo of the sarin production facilities of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan that used it for a subway attack.




  1. The picture is of a factory. Also it’s not a gas.

    Comment by peteybee — April 16, 2018 @ 12:30 am

  2. You’re right. The cult actually built what amounted to a factory.


    Comment by louisproyect — April 16, 2018 @ 1:08 am

  3. The manufacture of Sarin does require an industrial type facility. The Aum Shinriko had lots of money and a member who was a highly trained chemical engineer, to run their Sarin production effort. Back in 2013, I was asked to write about “Sarin in Syria” and as part of my research read reports about Aum Shinrikyo. The technical reports I read about Aum Shinrikyo’s Sarin production were really quite frightening: yes it is essentially impossible for the do-it-yourselfer to mix up Sarin “at home,” but it is within the capabilities of a well-funded group/cult with some engineering associates, and the potential of such a group to do massive fatal damage (even city-wide) is very high. The best preventative is blocking access to the chemicals/materials needed, by some sort of government “materials control regime” as is done with items like dynamite, the types of fertilizer chemicals used by Timothy McVeigh, and nuclear/radioactive matter. My purpose in writing my 2013 articles was to provide some physical, technical and logical considerations about Sarin production (to a general audience) to help constrain wild political speculations about “Sarin in Syria.” I’ll give two links to my articles here; they should remain current on the chemical/scientific details about Sarin, and be most dated with regard to my own political/diplomatic commentary, which I could not restrain myself from including.

    One last point: While I have no doubt that most if not all Sarin attacks were/are committed by Syrian Government forces, it is quite possible that during the most desperate times, militarily, for al-Assad regime during the civil war, that in the fog of war government troops used chemical weapons without direct authorization by al-Assad himself (in every case of such attacks), or even realizing it in the heat of battle (gas-filled artillery shells look identical to explosive shells, the difference in type only distinguished by their serial numbers/codes). But, Louis’s basic statement, above, is absolutely correct: Seymour Hersh is being a completely misinformed doofuss here.

    Sarin In Syria

    14 May 2013


    (Reuters, 8 Sept. 2013) – Syrian government forces may have carried out a chemical weapons attack close to Damascus without the personal permission of President Bashar al-Assad, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday, citing German intelligence. Syrian brigade and division commanders had been asking the Presidential Palace to allow them to use chemical weapons for the last four-and-a-half months, according to radio messages intercepted by German spies, but permission had always been denied, the paper said. This could mean Assad may not have personally approved the attack close to Damascus on August 21 in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, intelligence officers suggested… Bild said the radio traffic was intercepted by a German naval reconnaissance vessel, the Oker, sailing close to the Syrian coast.

    Chemical Defanging of the Syrian Civil War Begins

    22 September 2013


    Comment by Manuel García, Jr. — April 16, 2018 @ 6:58 am

  4. 1. The picture is of a factory … .

    2. It is quite possible…that…government troops used chemical weapons without direct authorization by al-Assad … .

    1. Hersh says no factory is needed. So the photo of the factory that actually is needed must be wrong. Irrefutable!
    2. Poor Assad, to be so practised upon–even with the best of intentions by his own people. What a tragedy for these well-meaning souls!

    Well may ye weep, O Moderate Rebels … . Any chance of a lawsuit???

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 16, 2018 @ 11:44 am

  5. It turns out that chlorine is also something that you can’t mix in your backyard.


    Comment by louisproyect — April 16, 2018 @ 11:54 am

  6. FYI footnote: It appears that the term “moderate rebels” is reputed in some quarters to apply to alleged antigovenment forces in
    Syria that Certain People (who IMHO lack all credibility [http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/the-end-of-mingling-moderate-rebels-join-al-qaeda-in-syria-.html]) believe to be a thinly disguised arm of Al Qaeda under CIA sponsorship.

    How Certain Other People (O who could that be?) have latched on to this is a mystery for the ages–maybe it’s an attempt at satire–always dangerous for those who have little sense of humor. Cf, https://soundcloud.com/moderaterebelsradio.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 16, 2018 @ 12:47 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: