Day: December 8, 2013

Whose sarin?

 

Skeletal formula of the (S) enantiomer of the ...
Skeletal formula of the (S) enantiomer of the nerve agent sarin, C 4 H 10 FO 2 P (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seymour M. Hersh: “Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack.” (LRB 8 December 2013).

Germany’s President Joachim Gauck becomes first major political figure to boycott Sochi Winter Olympics

‘The German president has become the first major political figure to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. According to German weekly Der Spiegel, Joachim Gauck last week informed the Kremlin of his decision, which is understood to be a response to the Russian government’s violations of human rights and harrassment of the opposition.Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor who played a key part in the East German protest movement before the fall of the Berlin Wall, has declined any official visits to Russia since coming to office in March 2012 and repeatedly criticised the country’s “deficit of rule of law” and “air of imperialism”. ‘ (The Raw Story).