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Leaked OPCW report finds Douma chemical attack likely staged

TomoNews | May 29, 2019

A leaked document is casting doubt on the official narrative of the 2018 Douma gas attacks which were later used to justify American, British and French airstrikes on Syria.

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 9 Comments

Alleged Chemical Weapons Use in Syria Needs to be Investigated – Moscow

Sputnik – May 22, 2019

MOSCOW – Russia stands for investigating all reported cases of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday, adding that this investigation should aim to find the truth rather than bring new accusations against Damascus.

“We have the information that provocations using chemical substances are constantly being prepared by militants and terrorists. Our US colleagues and their allies remain unresponsive to this information. In the OPCW [the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], a so-called attributive mechanism has been created in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which now has to act, apparently, taking into account the principles that are politically formulated by Western countries in this field. We advocate the investigation of all cases with the use of poisonous weapons, but this must be an investigation and not just the pinning of labels,” Ryabkov told reporters.

He noted that the investigation should entail visits to the scene of the incident, interviews with witnesses and collection of uncontaminated evidence.

Previous such incidents only resulted in accusations against Damascus and no probes of this kind, the diplomat stressed.

“As a result, trust in the OPCW, once the most effective, successful international organization, which is universal in this area, has been undermined”, Ryabkov added.

US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Tuesday that Washington was collecting information regarding an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria over the weekend and warned the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad that it would quickly respond if Damascus’ involvement was confirmed.The Russian Defence Ministry said earlier in May that militants of al-Nusra Front terror group were preparing to stage a false-flag provocation in Syria’s Idlib province to frame the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian army for allegedly attacking civilians with chemical weapons.

Last year, the United States, United Kingdom and France used claims of chemical attacks in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun, Duma and Eastern Ghouta to justify missile strikes on Syria, without waiting for the results of an independent investigation. The Syrian government has denied any role in the attacks.

May 22, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment

Establishment Narrative Managers Struggle With New Syria Plot Holes

By Caitlin Johnstone | May 20, 2019

It has been about a week since the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) published a leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. The document, whose authenticity the OPCW has confirmed, contends that the official story which was used to justify an air strike by the US, UK and France about poison gas being dropped on civilians from Syrian government helicopters is scientifically implausible, saying “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.”

The document, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident”, was signed by a man named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018. The OPCW hid this information from the public, for reasons it has yet to attempt to justify.

The fact that a longtime OPCW-trained investigator wildly dissented with the OPCW’s official conclusions within the OPCW’s own investigation should obviously have been made public knowledge, and this revelation should obviously have made headline news throughout the western media. Instead, it’s been completely ignored. Only a few alternative media outlets and the usual Russian publications have covered it.

“According to ProQuest database, [Peter] Hitchens’ piece is the only mention in any UK corporate newspaper so far,” tweeted media analysis site Media Lens yesterday.

So there’s a total media blackout on this story from the usual plutocratic news outlets, which is a huge story in and of itself. Just as significantly, the less well-known propagandists who are typically the first to attack any argument which casts doubt on the “Assad is a child-gassing monster who must be stopped at all cost” imperial narrative have been incredibly feeble in their attempts to dispute this new revelation.

Bellingcat is a pro-NATO narrative management firm which has defended ridiculous Syria regime change propaganda like the Bana Alabed psyop, and is consistently elevated with fawning puff pieces and collaborative reports from major mass media outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times. As of this writing it has published absolutely nothing on the Engineering Assessment. Nothing for, nothing against. Nothing. The outlet’s incredibly shady founder, Eliot Higgins, has responded to this new revelation by pinning a tweet citing a completely baseless theory that the WGSPM “got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.”

“This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I’m hearing. Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee,” Higgins tweeted with a link to a Medium article by UK reporter and virulent Syria regime change cheerleader Brian Whitaker, adding, “This is why the Syrian Propaganda Group needs to work on verifying things it decides to republish, even if it fits with their attempts to deny chemical weapon use in Syria, otherwise they just get played by people with their own agenda.”

The silliness of this argument was pointed out by journalist Aaron Maté, who responded, “What ‘reporting’? He’s citing rumors that he acknowledges are ‘not confirmed.’ Regardless, the document comes from OPCW, as Whitaker’s update notes. The question now is whose findings are accurate — and there’s nothing in this article that challenges the leaked findings.”

Maté highlighted portions of the text that Higgins shared from Whitaker’s article, which I will put in bold here:

“One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM. The suggestion (again, not confirmed) is that this was a way of extending his contract at the OPCW. If true, it might explain how he appeared to be working with the FFM while not (according to the OPCW press office) actually being part of it.”

Even if all of the completely unconfirmed things Whitaker is speculating are true, it wouldn’t actually negate the importance of the Engineering Assessment; this is merely an attempt to divert attention from the message to the messenger. And, again, this was a post that Higgins pinned to the top of his Twitter profile. It was his very best argument.

It is not terribly surprising that Higgins has struggled to address this new revelation, partly because there’s not much ground upon which for him to do so, and partly because in the midst of an online debate in the wake of the alleged Douma attacks he already conceded that one of the gas cylinders may have been manually placed where it was photographed.

“Again, you’re assuming it was photographed in its original resting place and not moved. Keep up,” Higgins tweeted following the April 2018 incident in response to someone questioning the strange placement and circumstances of one of the cylinders. It was lying on an unbroken bed in relatively good condition and people were rightly perplexed as to why it hadn’t shattered the bed base upon impact.

Idrees Ahmad, a particularly loathsome anti-Assad regime change propagandist who has smoothly transitioned into an anti-Maduro regime change propagandist as well when the US empire focused its crosshairs on Venezuela, has had similar difficulty in addressing the leaked document. Ahmad flipped out and posted dozens of tweets in response to Susan Sarandon sharing my article about the OPCW’s admission that the Henderson report is legitimate. His arguments range in brilliance from falsely claiming that I am an “Australian fascist”, to repeatedly arguing that Henderson’s conclusions differ from the official OPCW report (duh), to repeatedly regurgitating Higgins’ aforementioned baseless argument about Henderson being a “disgruntled OPCW employee”.

So they’ve really got nothing. There is no actual argument to be made that the OPCW had any business keeping the public in the dark about a dissenting assessment about the Douma incident signed by a longtime OPCW investigator. Or if there is I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been looking in all the usual places one might expect such an argument to appear.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the Douma incident. The leaked document doesn’t by itself prove that the Engineering Assessment is correct and the official OPCW findings are incorrect, it just proves that there were other analyses which differed sharply with the official conclusions we’ve been permitted to see, and that we weren’t permitted to see those analyses. In a post-Iraq invasion world, this by itself is entirely unacceptable. And, rather than pushing for answers and accountability, the so-called journalists of the largest media outlets in the west are completely ignoring it.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

OPCW, Douma and the Post Truth World

By James O’Neill – New Eastern Outlook – 21.05.2019

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into effect on 29 April 1997. 193 Member States of the United Nations have ratified it. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the United Nations body charged with the task of monitoring compliance with the CWC. It is based in The Hague. Among its powers are the powers to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons, and (since June 2018) the power to assign blame.

The investigations are carried out by a Fact Finding Mission, which compromises a team of experts from the relevant scientific disciplines. Additional technical assistance is frequently sought from bodies external to the OPCW, typically university departments.

The use of chemical weapons, apart from being banned under the CWC, can constitute war crimes and/or crimes under the civil jurisdiction of the country where they are used. As with any forensic examination of a crime scene, the integrity of the investigation process and any conclusions reached must accord with the highest standards of professional practice.

The work of the OPCW has had a high profile in the past two years because of three well-publicized incidents. The first of these was the alleged use of sarin gas in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykun on 4th of April 2017.

Less than one week after the alleged attack, the United States government released his own intelligence report in which they expressed their “confidence” that the Syrian ‘regime’ had used sarin against its own people. On this unsourced and uninvestigated, much less forensically examined incident, the United States launched a barrage of cruise missiles against Syrian targets. That this response was itself a gross violation of international law was barely considered by the mainstream media at the time, so content were (and are) they in demonizing the Syrian government and in particular its President Bashar al Assad.

The OPCW report of the incident was no better than the US intelligence estimate. Without having visited the site, and without meeting minimum forensic standards such as determining a proper chain of custody, the OPCW in its October 2017 report nonetheless attributed the release of sarin gas to the Syrian government.

The second incident to receive wide publicity, expressions of outrage from western governments and large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats, was the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, in March 2018.

The UK government, again before any scientific investigation and a proper conclusion could be reached, announced in parliament the first of its many versions or what they alleged had happened. The manifold absurdities of the U.K. Governments explanation as to what happened to the Skripals is outside the scope of this article. They are usefully summarised by British researcher Rob Slane.

In the Salisbury case, the OPCW investigators arrived at the scene nearly three weeks after the incident and then produced a report that is a masterpiece of obfuscation. Without actually rebutting the UK government’s version, they also failed to confirm it. They would only refer to the “toxic chemical compound which displays the properties of a nerve agent” as being found in the biomedical and environmental samples provided to them by the UK government.

One clue as to the reason for this caution is that the samples analysed by the OPCW were said to be of “high purity”, something that is literally impossible if examined weeks after the event. As with Khan Shaykun, evidence and logic did not feature in the responses of either the western governments who expelled Russian diplomats, or the western mainstream media that blamed the Russians. Then as now, the official government version is the least likely scenario of several possible versions.

Had the OPCW properly investigated the incident, and perhaps more importantly released the full details of its investigation, including the real cause of the Skripal’s illness, the Russian blame game would not have travelled the distance that it has.

Only a month after the Salisbury events, and perhaps coincidentally, there was another alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government on civilians in the city of Douma.

Douma was an area held by the Al Qaeda linked terrorist group, Jaysh-al-Islam. The Syrian army was on the verge of recapturing the city. Jaysh-al-Islam had a powerful motive to try and enlist the support of the US led “Coalition” that has been illegally occupying Syrian territory since 2015. Australia is a member of that coalition, and the only justification given for that participation (by then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in November 2015) is simply nonsense from the viewpoint of international law.

At the time of the alleged attack, the western media were full of images of dead persons including children, the claimed activities of the so-called humanitarian White Helmets personnel, and pictures of two cylindrical objects purportedly used to spread the chemical agents that caused the death of the pictured victims.

The OPCW team began its on-site investigations in April-May 2018. It obtained expert assistance from two European universities as well as its own internal experts. The final report was issued on 1st of March 2019, long after western media and politicians had not only taken the view that the Syrian government was responsible, but that it ought to be punished. Part of that response was a missile attack by United States, United Kingdom and French forces long before the OPCW team had commenced, let alone concluded, their investigation. As with the Khan Shaykun missile attack a year earlier, this latest attack was also a breach of international law.

What the OPCW report failed to disclose were the conclusions of an internal report by its own experts of their assessment as to what had actually happened. That suppressed report has now been leaked. Its findings are devastating, not only to the credibility of the OPCW, already damaged by the Khan Shaykun and Salisbury reports, but also to the credibility of the western mainstream media and western politicians.

Both of these groups had sought to blame the Syrian government and its principal backers, Russia Iran and Hezbollah, in the most extreme terms, and utterly without regard to the most basic principles of international law, forensic methodology, and the need to establish an evidential foundation before taking precipitate action which in this case could have had catastrophic consequences.

The suppressed report was signed by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW staffer since 1998. Dr Henderson’s team applied the laws of physics and engineering to the results of their empirical observations. A detailed analysis of the Henderson report can be found in Paul McKeigue et al Briefing Note on the Final Report of the OPCW Fact-finding Mission on the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma in April 2018.

The OPCW team led by Dr Henderson inspected the locations where the aforementioned cylinders were found (and widely photographed) as well as the alleged associated damage to the buildings. They concluded that the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scenes were inconsistent with those cylinders having been dropped from an aircraft. That they were manually placed where they were photographed “is the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.

McKeigue et al referred to the findings set out in their earlier Briefing Note and concluded “these findings, taken together, establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged”.

Those conclusions raised a number of obvious questions. The first is, how did the victims, so graphically displayed, actually die? The forensic evidence clearly shows that these victims were undoubtedly hung upside down, their eyes blindfolded, and then murdered with exposure to a toxic chemical. Their bodies were then transported to the location where they were photographed, to form the pictorial backdrop to the allegations of a chemical attack by Syrian government forces.

The terrorists were the only ones with the means, motive and opportunity to murder these victims and then arrange the scenes for their propaganda purposes. It is an irresistible inference that in these staged scenes they were aided and abetted by the White Helmets. Far from being a neutral humanitarian group, the White Helmets, trained by the British, are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem.

The second question Dr Henderson’s report raises is in two parts: why did the OPCW suppress this report and not include its findings in the OPCW final report released in March 2019; and why have the western media, including Australia, completely failed to report both the fact of the suppression of the crucial evidence in Dr Henderson’s report, and the substance of the fact-finding missions conclusions?

It is a measure of the disgraceful state that the western mainstream media have fallen into, that they refuse to report, much less analyse, vital information that could easily have led to a major war between the United States and its allies (including Australia) and Russia.

At the time that the United States, United Kingdom and France were announcing their intention to attack Syria in retaliation for the Douma incident, the Russian military warned that if the missiles targeted their serviceman they would not only destroy the missiles but the carriers from which they were fired. There is no doubting their capacity to do so (Martyanov Losing Military Supremacy 2018). A full-scale war could easily have eventuated.

The final point is that any future OPCW reports must inevitably be treated with a degree of skepticism. The international community, and undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of the member states that signed the CWC are concerned that such an important body has been compromised in this way. It is not too difficult to infer that political pressure had been applied to all three of the investigations noted here.

It is too much to expect that our mainstream media and the politicians will issue a mea culpa after this latest exposure of their duplicity and sacrifice of principle and probity in pursuit of US geopolitical aims. Perhaps in the future however, they will be less quick to condemn and take actions that could so very easily lead to another war based on lies and imperial hubris.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Has OPCW Become a Four-Letter Word?

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

The information war between those who believe that OPCW investigations in Syria over the chemical attack of Douma in 2018 was staged – verses those who choose to believe the West’s blithe claim that Assad poisoned his own people – is more or less over.

In recent months a number of curious elements of the investigation have been questioned by cynics who don’t swallow the West’s assertion that President Assad was dropping chemicals – sarin or chlorine – on his own people, such as the delay in the reaction of the OPCW itself in getting investigators there on the ground, through to the obvious bias of the way the investigation was handled. There was always a whiff of something quite unsavoury about the probe into the Douma chemical attack, which we should not forget resulted in air strikes being carried out in April of 2018 by France, the US and the UK.

And now we know what it is and a great deal of the mystery around the OPCW and its investigation can now be revealed.

The report was doctored.

Evidence which has emerged this week shows how, critically, engineers who were commissioned to carry out studies more or less immediately after the attack, had their findings blocked from making it into the final report, which was an opaque dossier which failed to really nail Assad, but also carefully avoided any suggestion that the West had set up the whole thing, using its Al Qaeda mercenaries in the region, which had been actually seen a couple of weeks earlier being trained by UK special forces in how to go about using chlorine.

Originally many skeptics such as myself were astounded that so much time had passed before the OPCW seemed to move – given that western figures like the then UK foreign minister Boris Johnson spoke about “evidence” and being “certain” that Assad had carried out the attack.

We now know though why it appeared that they hadn’t sent investigators there on the ground immediately. They had. But their findings proved controversial and didn’t support the West’s narrative that Assad had done the deed.

According to an incendiary report just published by a mostly British academic Assad-leaning group, the engineers’ findings – that the cylinder tanks were almost certainly not dropped from the air – were completely left out of the final report. Crucially, if this element had been put into it, the West would have had to admit that it had really got it wrong on Assad and that its own governments were faking the theatre of war, not to mention the fake news which is fed to MSM outlets in the days after. Who could, after all, forget the BBC report from the hospital showing the victims in agony, which finally was revealed to be staged video footage handed to the BBC who took it hook, line and sinker.

But now the cat is fully out of the bag. The OCPW report itself was also heavily redacted.

“It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation. The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers” says firebrand maverick politico George Galloway on twitter.

But if this report is correct in its assertions, then we can be sure that most of what is being reported by western media is entirely false and part of a longer term strategy to build the case against Iran to carry out a strike “defending” the West. Just in the last few days there are reports of John Bolton planning to send 120,000 US troops to the region to intimidate Iran into accepting the demands of Trump over its weapons program. This coincides with an elaborate series of minor fake news stories over Iran presenting itself as a “threat” to the US, justifying a US aircraft carrier being sent to the Persian Gulf amidst tensions from reports of Iran moving troops to prepare itself to be on the receiving end of a strike. And then the oil tankers attacked off the UAE shores which the same fake news machine is hinting was done by Iran – which most seasoned hacks know could have easily been staged by the Saudis or Emiratis [or Mossad]. It’s interesting how no one was hurt in the so-called attacks.

But if the OPCW can get away with this report and its false assertion, then it’s hard to see how we can expect to understand what is really happening in the middle east if we are to rely on reporters working for western agencies who are happy to play their role in this nefarious ruse of Trump’s. If the truth about Douma is as ghastly as we are led to believe – i.e staged by the West so as to build the case against Iran and its proxies – then we shouldn’t be remotely surprised by the histrionics of tankers being attacked in the same region, with no casualties and Iran being accused, with no evidence. It’s hard to not be shocked by the implications of the doctored report and harder to understand how biased and poor western newsrooms have become over reporting on the region, with the BBC continuing to plummet in terms of standards of fact checking. The lack of on air corrections is also hardly edifying. We’re living in a new era, with a new syndrome. And it’s called O.P.C.W.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

OPCW Confirm Leaked Report is Genuine

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 16, 2019

The leaked OPCW report appears to have been confirmed genuine.

The report, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at Douma Incident”, came to public prominence a few days ago after The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media released their analysis of the text.

Since then it has gotten a lot of play all across the alternate media (you can read our original report here, but there were many others too).

It has received virtually zero coverage in the mainstream media, of course. And that doesn’t appear likely to change any time soon.

The report spells out, in unambiguous language, that the two chlorine gas canisters were likely planted, rather than dropped from a helicopter.

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 dropped.”

This finding adds to the pile of evidence which makes it appear very likely the whole event was staged.

The only question was whether or not the document could be confirmed genuine. And now it has been.

Peter Hitchens, for a long time the only mainstream voice to express any doubts about the “official narrative” on Douma, wrote to the OPCW to ask about the leaked report.

He wrote a column about it. We suggest you read it, but the most important passage, taken directly from an OPCW statement, is this:

Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.

Note the language. Nowhere is it disputing either the findings of the document, nor the veracity. Instead, they are “conducting an investigation” into its “unauthorised release”.

That is as close to an admission as makes no difference. For now, we can safely conclude the document is real, and the findings genuine.

That means, not only that the Douma “chemical attack” was likely staged, but that the OPCW knew this and chose to cover it up.

A very distressing series of events, and one that could easily have lead to an all-out war between Syria, Russia and NATO.

We welcome the OPCW’s admission that this document is genuine. However, we would suggest the question is not “How was it leaked?”, but rather “Why was it suppressed in the first place?”

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018

1 Introduction

In our Briefing note on the Final Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident, we noted that the FFM had sought assessments in October 2018 from unidentified engineering experts on the “the trajectory and damage to the cylinders found at Locations 2 and 4”. The Final Report provided no explanation for why the FFM had not sought engineering assessments in April 2018, when the experts could have inspected the sites with cylinders in position, rather than six months later when inspection of the sites with cylinders in position was no longer possible and the assessments had to rely on images and measurements obtained by others. We raised this as an obvious anomaly.

OPCW staff members have communicated with the Working Group. We have learned that an investigation was undertaken by an engineering sub-team of the FFM, beginning with on-site inspections in April-May 2018, followed by a detailed engineering analysis including collaboration on computer modelling studies with two European universities. The report of this investigation was excluded from the published Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission, which referred only to assessments sought from unidentified “engineering experts” commissioned in October 2018 and obtained in December 2018.

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.

We are studying this document, and encourage others with relevant expertise to contribute. We provide some initial comments below:

2 Commentary on the Engineering Assessment

The report is signed by Ian Henderson, who is listed as one of the first P-5 level inspection team leaders trained at OPCW in a report dated 1998. We have confirmed that as the engineering expert on the FFM, Henderson was assigned to lead the investigation of the cylinders and alleged impact sites at Locations 2 and 4. We understand that “TM” in the handwritten annotation denotes Team Members of the FFM.

In response to an enquiry on 11 May 2019, the OPCW press office stated that “the individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM”. This statement is false. The engineering sub-team could not have been carrying out studies in Douma at Locations 2 and 4 unless they had been notified by OPCW to the Syrian National Authority (the body that oversees compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention) as FFM inspectors: it is unlikely that Henderson arrived on a tourist visa.

The OPCW press office also attempted to suggest that the report of the engineering sub-team was not part of the FFM’s investigation. This statement also is false. The sub-team report refers to external collaborators and consultants: we understand that this included two European universities. This external collaboration on such a sensitive matter could not have gone ahead unless it had been authorised: otherwise Henderson would have been dismissed instantly for breach of confidentiality. We can therefore be confident that the preparation of the report had received the necessary authorisation within OPCW. What happened after the report was written is another matter.

2.1 Methodology

As we have repeatedly emphasized, evidence can be evaluated only by comparison of competing hypotheses. This is a corollary of the likelihood principle, which can be derived from simple rules of logical consistency.

We noted that a key weakness of the published Final Report was that no competing hypotheses were considered. Thus the Final Report stated that engineering experts were asked to provide assessments of the “trajectory” of each of the two cylinders found: implying that they were not asked to assess whether the holes in the roof and the positions of the cylinders could be accounted for by anything other than cylinders being dropped from the sky.

The FFM’s Engineering Assessment does not make this error: competing hypotheses are clearly set out in advance.

  • For Location 2 (cylinder on roof terrace lying over a hole), the alternative hypotheses are stated as:
    • (2-1) the cylinder containing liquid chlorine was dropped from an aircraft, pierced the roof to form the hole and the impact fractured the valve causing release of chlorine.
    • (2-2) the cylinder was placed on the terrace next to a pre-existing crater
  • For Location 4 (cylinder on bed), the alternative hypothesis are stated as:
    • (4-1) the cylinder fitted with frame and fins was dropped from an aircraft, pierced the roof to form the hole, fell through the hole and was deflected laterally to end up on the bed, while the valve remained intact
    • (4-2) the cylinder fitted with frame and fins pierced the roof as for hypothesis (1), landed on the floor below the hole and was placed on the bed
    • (4-3) the cylinder fitted with frame and fins was placed on the bed, and the hole in the roof was created (by unspecified means) either before or after the cylinder was placed on the bed

2.2 Results: Location 2

  • An impact angle of approximately 20 degrees from the vertical “was found to be required for results to bear any resemblance to observations”
  • A concrete slab could not have stopped a cylinder falling at such an angle from a height of at least 500 metres. The front of the cylinder showed no sign of interaction with the concrete slab.
  • If the cylinder had been stopped by the steel reinforcing bars (rebars), this would have left indents on the cylinder, but no such indents were observed.
  • Modelling the impact of a falling cylinder could not reproduce the bending of the rebars to an angle of more than 90 degrees to point away from the impact. This was more consistent with an explosive blast.

The results of the modelling studies were summarized with the following sentence:

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.

A criss-cross pattern on the paintwork of the cylinder body, that had been attributed by some observers to the cylinder falling through the wire mesh, was inconsistent with the near-vertical angle of incidence that would have been required to create the crater.

Experts consulted to assess the appearance of the crater took the view that it was more consistent with a blast (from a mortar round or rocket artillery) than with an impact from the falling object. Similar craters were present in concrete slabs on top of nearby buildings.

The mangled remains of the steel frame and fins found on the terrace were not consistent with the appearance of the cylinder, which showed no signs of having been fitted with such a frame or of the frame having been stripped from the cylinder as a result of impact.

2.3 Results: Location 4

  • The analysis of Location 4, where a cylinder was found on a bed, showed that the cylinder with intact valve and fins attached could not have fitted through the hole 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.

2.4 Conclusions of the Engineering Assessment

In summary:

  • The analysis at Location 4 showed simply that the cylinder with fins and valve attached could not have fitted through the hole.
  • The analysis at Location 2, using finite element analysis and computer simulation, was more complicated. This showed that the concrete slab could not have stopped the cylinder, that if the cylinder had been stopped by the rebars there would have been indents on the cylinder, and that an impact could not have bent the rebars through more than 90 degrees to point away from the impact location.

We note that several of the anomalies reported by the Engineering Assessment have been identified independently from open source images by members of the Working Group: these include the inability to fit the cylinder through the hole at Location 4, the presence of similar craters on nearby buildings at Location 2, and the incompatibility of the criss-cross pattern on the paintwork of the cylinder with a fall through wire mesh.

The results from both locations are summarized in paragraph 32:

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 being delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.

3 Implications of the Engineering Assessment combined with other findings

The conclusion of the Engineering Assessment is unequivocal: the alternative hypothesis that the cylinders were manually placed in position is “the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.

Our last Briefing Note listed two other key findings:

  • It is no longer seriously disputed that the hospital scene was staged: there are multiple eyewitness reports supported by video evidence
  • The case fatality rate of 100%, with no attempt by the victims to escape, is unlike any recorded chlorine attack.

Taken together, these findings establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged.

This raises the question of where and how did the 35 victims seen in the images recorded at location 2 die? The images show signs of acute inhalation injury with blood and mucus flowing from the nose and mouth of most victims. Even though faces had apparently been washed to remove most of the mucus, yellow staining of the skin remained.

A few weeks before the release of the Final Report, two journalists appeared to suggest that there had been an earlier chemical attack somewhere else in Douma, perhaps attempting to prepare a fallback position in case the Final Report were to indicate that the scenes at Location 2 and 4 had been staged. This is to say the least an implausible explanation of the staging at Locations 2 and 4 – why move the bodies of the victims to Location 2 for a staged scene, rather than show the real chemical attack scene if there was one?

As emphasized above, in a real chemical attack with chlorine or any other irritant gas, most victims would try to escape and non-fatal cases requiring prolonged hospital treatment would far outnumber fatal cases. The images of the victims seen at Location 2 show that they were evidently exposed to an irritant gas but were unable to escape. A careful examination of these images leaves little doubt that the victims were murdered as captives. The staining of the victims’ faces by mucus flowing from their noses and mouths shows in at least some cases the mucus flowed up their faces towards the eyes. This implies that they were hung upside down while exposed to the agent. Bizarrely, the eyes of most victims appear to have been masked so that the eyes were not affected by gas or mucus. In a few victims there are visible strap marks suggesting that the eyes were protected by something like swimming goggles. A possible motive for masking the eyes may have been to make it less obvious that the victims had suffered prolonged exposure to an irritant gas.

We conclude that the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of at least 35 civilians to provide the bodies at Location 2. It follows from this that people dressed as White Helmets and endorsed by the leadership of that organization had a key role in this murder.

We note that the Douma incident was the first alleged chemical attack in Syria where OPCW investigators were able to carry out an unimpeded on-site inspection. Since 2014, OPCW Fact-Finding Missions investigating alleged chemical attacks in opposition-held territory have relied for evidence on witnesses and materials collected by opposition-linked NGOs of doubtful provenance, including the CBRN Task Force, the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria, and the White Helmets. Even for the investigation of the Ghouta incident in 2013, the OPCW-WHO mission was able to visit the the alleged attack sites for only a few hours, and was under the close supervision of the armed opposition. For those who until now have been prepared to accept the findings of OPCW Fact-Finding Missions that did not include on-site inspections, the finding that the Douma incident was staged, based on a careful on-site inspection, should cast doubt on the findings of these earlier Missions.

4 The hijacking of OPCW

In our last Briefing Note, we concluded by asserting that “It is doubtful whether [OPCW’s] reputation as an impartial monitor of compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention can be restored without radical reform of its governance and working practices”. The new information we have removes all doubt that the organization has been hijacked at the top by France, UK and the US. We have no doubt that most OPCW staff continue to do their jobs professionally, and that some who are uneasy about the direction that the organization has taken nevertheless wish to protect its reputation. However what is at stake here is more than the reputation of the organization: the staged incident in Douma provoked a missile attack by the US, UK and France on 14 April 2018 that could have led to all-out war.

The cover-up of evidence that the Douma incident was staged is not merely misconduct. As the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of civilians, those in OPCW who have suppressed the evidence of staging are, unwittingly or otherwise, colluding with mass murder. We think that in most jurisdictions the legal duty to disclose the cover-up of such a crime would override any confidentiality agreement with an employer. We would welcome legal opinions on this, given publicly, by those with relevant expertise. OPCW employees have to sign a strict confidentiality agreement, and face instant dismissal and loss of pension rights if they breach this agreement. We would welcome any initiative to set up a legal defence fund for OPCW staff members who come forward publicly as whistleblowers.

5 Acknowledgements

We thank the OPCW staff members who have communicated with us at considerable personal risk. We undertake to protect the identities of any sources who communicate with us. Emails to our protonmail addresses, if sent from another protonmail account (free to set up), are secure. We thank also the other open-source investigators and journalists who publicly questioned the official line on the Douma incident and thus created the climate for OPCW staff members to come forward.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

OPCW likely to hold Damascus responsible for Douma attack, says Russian envoy

TASS | March 11, 2019

THE HAGUE – The incident in Syria’s Douma on April 7 of last year may become the first case of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) using its new attributive functions, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin stated during a press conference on Monday.

“We have to state that [when preparing a report on Douma], the OPCW experts did not dare to contradict the US, France and the UK, who chose to take justice into their own hands and avoid any other version besides their own, on the involvement of the Syrian government in what took place in Douma on April 7, 2018,” the diplomat said. “The OPCW report is rather vague on this: allegedly, there is an assumption that chlorine was used as a chemical weapon. However, the fact speaks volumes: at that time, Douma was under the militants’ control, therefore, the part about chemical weapons being used definitely prepares the international community to hold the official Damascus responsible.”

“It is likely that this will be one of the first conclusions of the OPCW Attribution team (prosecution team), created in the depths of the OPCW Technical Secretariat under pressure from the USA and in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the envoy said. “It is clear that the US and its allies will use these biased conclusions again, as the guilty have already been assigned. They will use them to carry out unilateral forceful actions against lawful Syrian officials.”

A report consisting of over 100 pages was spread among member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention on March 1. The report claims that on April 7, 2018, a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in Syria’s Douma as a weapon.

A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta. According to a statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, 2018, chlorine bombs had been dropped on the city, which caused dozens of fatalities. Many other civilians were rumored to have been taken to hospital.

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed this as fake news.

On April 14, 2018, the US, the UK and France delivered massive missile strikes at targets in Syria without authorization of the UN Security Council. Missiles hit a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the Republican Guard, an air defense base, several military airbases, and army depots. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes had come as a response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Keep politics out! International bodies should not be used to further anti-Russian agendas

By Neil Clark | RT | November 28, 2018

The recent hysteria over a Russian standing for the presidency of Interpol was only the latest example of how Cold War ideologues are seeking to politicize everything in pursuance of their obsessive anti-Russian crusade.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). And now the election for Interpol president. These international organizations, which do valuable work, should be free from geopolitics. The representatives of some Western countries, I’m afraid, think differently.

The problem, for the US and its closest allies, has been that international bodies don’t always do exactly what they want. Other countries, including horror of horrors Russia, also have a say in them.

That is most undesirable as only the voices of the self-righteous, self-appointed ‘world policemen’ should be heard. Then a geopolitical agenda can be pursued through these hitherto impartial and well-respected organizations.

Let’s take WADA first. World sport needs an anti-doping agency which is independent and will apply the rules and regulations equally to all nations, including, if need be, against the US. But the anti-Russian countries want an anti-doping agency that will single Russia out for special treatment. In July 2016, Reuters revealed how the heads of the US and Canada’s anti-doping bodies had drafted a letter to WADA calling for ALL Russian athletes to be banned from the Rio Olympic Games.

Just imagine if the Russian anti-doping agency had sought to get all US or Canada athletes banned, whether or not they had been found guilty of cheating. They would be accused of playing politics and being terribly unsporting. But it seems it’s OK if Uncle Sam and his allies do it.

It was a similar story with the football World Cup in Russia. That really got the neocons hyperventilating. The process by which FIFA awarded Russia the World Cup had to be ‘illegitimate’. The tournament must be taken away from Russia demanded John McCain and 12 other US Senators.

Russia is a football-loving nation which had never before hosted a World Cup. Its status as host nation was actually long overdue, regardless of one’s views of the policies of the Russian government. But for the Russophobes politics is everything. They never take a break from bear-baiting.

The OPCW has also been affected by the new outlook, whereby everything has to conform to the Western elite’s foreign policy goals.

The UK has pushed (successfully) for a change in the role of the chemical weapons watchdog. Frustrated that the OPCW has, up to now, only been able to say whether or not a chemical weapons attack has taken place, the UK government has managed to politicize the OPCW so that it now will be able to attribute blame for an attack.

We can only imagine the enormous pressure, public and private, that will be put on it to declare ‘guilty’ those who the UK and its allies wish to bomb. “The OPCW is a Titanic which is leaking and has started to sink,” Russian Industry Minister Georgy Kalamanov said. He wasn’t being overly dramatic.

Having ‘done’ the OPCW, the hawks then turned their attentions to Interpol and sabotaging the election of a Russian, Alexander Prokopchuk, as the agency’s president. Prokopchuk was regarded as the frontrunner for the job at the international police agency and rightly so.

He was already Interpol vice-president, the vice-chair for Europe since 2016, and well-respected by his colleagues.

But others were horrified at the prospect of a Russian winning. Financier Bill Browder tweeted a letter from twelve US Senators attacking the candidacy. Unsubstantiated claims were made that Prokopchuk was ex-KGB. If elected he would be ‘Putin’s puppet.’

“This is really quite an extraordinary situation, to find ourselves with the possibility of not just a fox in charge of the hen coop, but actually the assassin in charge of the murder investigation,” fumed MP Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the UK’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a former member of the Intelligence Corps.

There were threats to set up a rival organization to Interpol if Prokopchuk was elected.

But the smear campaign against him succeeded. Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin press secretary, spoke of “interference in the electoral process of an international organization”. Of course, as it was interference from the UK and the US it didn’t really count. Again, just imagine the uproar if Russian parliamentarians tried to block the election of a British or US candidate.

As if the interference was not enough, we’ve now got Browder calling for countries such as Canada to help kick Russia out of Interpol altogether.

If that sounds familiar, then think back to John McCain’s calls for a ‘League of Democracies’ (i.e. the US and approved allies), to get round Russia’s UNSC veto.

Russia’s great crime is not ‘human rights’ abuses, but the fact that it has effectively blocked the Western elite’s plans for regime change in Syria and has sought to reclaim its self-respect at home and abroad since the disastrous days of the oligarch-friendly Boris Yeltsin.

As a response, the war against Russia, and we have to call it that, has been waged on a number of fronts. Neocon think tanks and commentators urge Russian media, such as RT, to be taken off air and for more sanctions to be imposed.

They call for increased military buildup on Russia’s borders under the guise of ‘protecting European security’. They urge European nations to pull out of beneficial gas pipeline projects with Russia and buy US LNG instead. They cheer on the most anti-Russian forces in Ukraine.

They also seek to get Russia banned or sidelined in international organizations. Which is inimical to the whole notion of internationalism. As Mary Dejevsky wrote last week in the Independent, “what happened over the Interpol presidency should not be dismissed so lightly. It raises questions that deserve answers – questions that may not even be asked, now that a result has been achieved that is deemed satisfactory by the vocal Western world.”

Bodies that only include the US and its allies, or only follow the geopolitical agendas of certain countries, cannot be accepted as the norm. We need to hear all voices and not just the loudest ones.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

OPCW Votes Against Russian Proposal to Limit Power of Chemical Weapons Watchdog

Sputnik – 20.11.2018

Russia’s envoy to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin stated earlier in October that the organisation was doomed unless it reconsidered a decision that allowed it to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks.

The motion, proposed by Russia and China was voted down by the OPCW members, with 30 countries voting for and 82 — against it. Moscow and Beijing proposed establishing a special group that should broaden the scope of OPCW mandate.

“Thirty delegations voted for the Russian-Chinese draft decision, 82 against, 31 more abstained, and 10 left the site of the vote. Thus, 71 delegations did not support the western camp. This means that the split in the OPCW is only deepening,” Russian Deputy Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov noted.

He also stated that Russia was unlikely to join the new attribution mechanism of the organisation.

“The amount by which the planned budget of the OPCW is to be increased was to be spent on attribution, the creation of the mechanism and recruitment of new employees for solving tasks that are not typical of the organization,” Kalamanov said.

Commenting on the issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised the attempts to give the organisation the power to place blame.

“Opportunistic attempts to vest the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW… with the functions of a prosecutor are a gross violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, decisions of the UN Security Council and contrary to the position of the majority of states parties to the convention,” he said at a meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).

Previously, following the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, London demanded to establish an investigative commission eligible to assign blame for chemical weapons use. On June 27, the mandate of the OPCW was expanded in line with the UK motion, however, Moscow said it would not recognise it as legitimate since only the UN Security Council is eligible to make such judgments.

November 20, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment

False Western Narratives have Deepened Russia-West Estrangement

Literally No Evidence is Behind the Skripal Poisoning.
By Tony Kevin | 21st Century Wire | August 17, 2018

We have a situation now in which two major world governments, UK and Russia, both nuclear powers and permanent members of the UNSC, are upholding entirely opposed and contradictory narratives on two issues – the alleged Salisbury/Amesbury Novichuk poisonings, and the alleged nerve gas attacks by Assad Government forces on 7 April in Douma, Syria (on basis of false White Helmets-staged evidence). The latter allegation led to a US/UK bombing attack on Syrian Air Force bases.

On both issues, the US and French governments – also UNSC members and nuclear powers – have in solidarity supported UK government- sourced narratives , though in the former case there has been no UK judicial process, and in the latter case OPCW inspectors have found no physical evidence of use of nerve agents in Douma, and nor do local people’s accounts support the allegations.

In the Salisbury case, OPCW technical reports made public in Moscow on 14 April by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, detailing results of the Skripal samples analysis by the OPCW Spiez Laboratory in Switzerland, support a finding that the Skripals were probably poisoned temporarily with non- lethal BZ toxin , found in the Skripal samples, and that quantities of Novichok ( A- 234) lethal toxin had twice been added to the samples before they passed from British Govt to OPCW custody, in two clumsy attempts some weeks apart to create a false Novichok chemical trail. Lavrov commented, in strong language for him, that the fact Spiez Lab found these two doses of A-234 in the samples “appears to be utterly suspicious.”

Nevertheless, two days later on 16 April, the OPCW Executive Council , under Western pressure, decided unprecedentedly not to release the full reports of the samples testing by the four OPCW laboratories in Switzerland, thereby casting serious doubt on the professional reputation of OPCW. See here and here.

The second document contained a manifestly untrue statement by Mr Marc-Michael Blum, the Head of the OPCW Laboratory and leader of the technical assistance team that was deployed to the United Kingdom, that:

“The Labs were able to confirm the identity of the chemical (Novichok, or A -234) by applying existing, well-established procedures. *** There was no other chemical that was identified by the Labs ***. The precursor of BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the control sample prepared by the OPCW Lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW Team in Salisbury. This chemical was reported back to the OPCW by the two designated labs and the findings are duly reflected in the report.”

This is simply laughable. The OPCW defence was that Britain had requested a very restricted test looking only for Novichok, and that it was therefore correct procedure for OPCW to withhold publication of the full laboratory results. So there is no official confirmation or denial of Lavrov’s statement that the Spiez Lab had found that A-234 had twice been improperly added to the Skripal samples. And a blatant lie was told on BZ.

Lavrov on 14 April had stood just short of accusing the UK government of concealing evidence and tampering with samples. But his imputation was very clear. Clearly he was appealing to Britain and the OPCW to do the right thing on 16 April. They did not do so. His words, recorded on the Russian MFA website, went unreported in the West. They are the essential basis of the Russian counter-narrative.

On the alleged use of CW in Douma, an alleged child victim Hassan Diab testified in The Hague three weeks later on 27 April that he had never been gassed, but he had been cruelly used in a White Helmets staged propaganda film.

Then, much later, the OPCW reported on 6 July their inspectors’ findings that they had not found any organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products in Douma.

These are facts. But it appears that facts no longer matter. In the UNSC, the weight of numbers is with the three Western permanent members and their allies. China has been circumspect on the issue, saying almost nothing except calling for proper procedures to be followed in OPCW.

Russia and China continue to have rights of veto on any future UNSC resolution that might try to condemn Russia for allegedly behaving as an international outlaw in these two contested matters.

Is there any legal way Russia could be expelled from the UNSC over either or both of these sets of allegations? America and Britain seem hell-bent now on portraying Russia as an international criminal, but surely this should carry no credibility now with the majority of the UNGA membership outside the compliant NATO/EU/Australia grouping.

There seems no way in which the facts of Salisbury/Amesbury can be publicly established, as long as the UK Government continues to suppress and tamper with evidence, and as long as its Western allies and the OPCW Executive continue to give to the UK Government cover and support. Only the election of a Corbyn Labour Government might offer prospect of change, because Corbyn is a decent man who would refuse to sustain a UK government lie.

Russia will continue to press for consular access to their citizens the Skripals. They cannot let the issue be forgotten. So it will go on being a cause of major Russia-UK tension and bad blood, as the histories of the two series of events recede into mythology and contested narratives, and as distracting myths and legends accumulate around Salisbury-Amesbury.

Now, the US government is resorting with increasing recklessness to unilateral sanctions outside the UN system, announcing two tranches of increasingly severe sanctions against Russia, in August and November, unless Russia admits its crimes and promises not to repeat them. Russia has of course rejected these demands out of hand, as internationally illegal and without any justification.

If the US pursues this course it will lead to further distancing between the US and Russian economies. As Lavrov points out, many other countries will draw their own conclusions about the US’s reliability as an economic partner and reserve currency.

The most likely medium-term scenario is continued simmering anger and resentment on both sides, encouraging further polarisation of a ‘3 versus 2’ situation in UNSC. But I don’t see how Russia could be expelled or suspended from the UNSC.

The current situation suits Western Russia-hating elites. It is in their interest to delay and impede any moves to Russia-West detente, keeping tensions high but at a level just short of war, and keeping Trump on a tight leash for as long as he remains US President. So far, sadly, it is all working out according to this plan.

***

Feature image taken from John Laurit’s blog.

Tony Kevin, former Australian diplomat and author of ‘Return to Moscow’ (2017, UWA Publishing)

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

OPCW’s new power attempt to politicize its work: Syria

Press TV – June 29, 2018

The Syrian government has denounced a recent decision made by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the world’s chemical watchdog, to empower itself to assign blame for alleged chemical attacks.

“Syria expresses its deep concern at the methods of blackmail and threat used by Western countries, especially the ones involved in the tripartite aggression against Syria — the US, UK and France — to pass a resolution at the OPCW emergency session,” Syria’s official news agency, SANA, quoted a source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates as saying on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Hague-based organization passed by 82 votes to 24 a British-backed proposal, which enable the watchdog to hold responsible those who it thinks are behind alleged chemical attacks. Until then, the OPCW’s mandate was limited only to determining whether or not a chemical attack took place, not who was responsible.

Russia, which had strongly opposed granting extra powers to the OPCW, said it would not rule out leaving what it called a “sinking Titanic.”

The new decision would allow for the watchdog to be used as “vehicle to carry out violations against independent, sovereign states under the pretexts of chemical weapons use”, the source further said, adding, “The decision will only add new complications to the OPCW’s capacity to play its role, which will lead to its paralysis.”

Back in April, militants and activists linked to them, including the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, claimed that government forces on Saturday had dropped a barrel bomb containing poisonous chemicals in Douma, Eastern Ghouta’s largest town, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.

Damascus strongly rejected the allegation and said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group, which had dominant presence in the town at the time, was repeating the allegations of using chemical munitions “in order to accuse the Syrian Arab army, in a blatant attempt to hinder the Army’s advance.”

However, the US State Department issued a strongly-worded statement, blaming the Syrian government for purportedly conducting the attack.

The Hague-based OPCW is soon expected to publish the highly-anticipated results of its probe into the purported toxic gas attack in Douma.

The Syrian foreign ministry’s source further said that Wednesday’s decision “sets a dangerous precedent” by giving an “organization concerned with scientific and technical issues the authority to carry out criminal and legal investigations that are not its specialty.”

The source added that the Arab country reiterated its condemnation of the use of chemical munitions by “anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances.”

Militants belonging to a number of factions had held the Eastern Ghouta, an enclave in the vicinity of the capital Damascus, since 2012 and had practically held hostage its inhabitants, some 400,000 people.

Syrian troops and allied fighters from popular defense groups managed to fully liberate the enclave from the clutches of militants in April, after months of intense fighting with terror groups, which had used the area as a launch pad for deadly rocket attacks against residents and civilian infrastructure in the capital.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in early 2011, the Western governments have on several occasions accused Syria of using chemical weapons against militants. Damascus has denied the allegation, saying it is meant to pile more pressure on government forces and delay their success in the fight against terrorists.

In April last year, the US and allies in Europe said Syria and Russia, an ally of Damascus in the fight against terror, used chemical weapons against militants in Khan Shaykhun in the province of Idlib. Moscow and Damascus strongly rejected the allegation. However, US warships in the eastern Mediterranean launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat Airfield in Syria’s Homs province, which Washington alleged was the origin of the suspected chemical attack.

The Syrian government surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the UN and the OPCW.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment