71

“Rising Tensions within OPCW”

Eric van de Beek
“Tensions within OPCW are rising”, says Russian envoy at OPCW, Alexander Shulgin. The suppression by the chemical weapons watchdog of its own engineers report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma “is only another detonator which could unleash the explosive trends in our organisation.”

On April 14, 2018, the US, France, and Great Britain launched a missile attack on Syria, in retribution for an alleged poison gas attack on Douma, Syria, at that time occupied by Army of Islam, for which they held the Syrian government responsible.

Although chemical weapons watchdog OPCW did not identify any culprit in its final report, published in March 2019, it suggested the Syrian army was responsible for dropping two cylinders on the Damascus suburb from the air. This now has become under debate.

In May of this year an internal document was leaked from OPCW to a group of British academics.

The author, Ian Henderson, concluded that there was a “higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft”.

Also, last month in Bruxelles, a panel of eminent individuals, among whom former OPCW-director-general José Bustani, met with a whistleblower of the investigation team of OPCW.

Based on the information the engineer presented, among which internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, the panel released a statement in which it expressed its concern over “unacceptable practices” in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma.

H.E. Mr. Alexander Shulgin, ambassador of the Russian Federation in The Hague and envoy at OPCW, has been expressing his doubts about the investigation from the start. He also has warned for a military conflict between Russia and US that accidently could arise as a result of unjustified accusations against the Syrian government about the use of chemical weapons.

* * *

At a press conferencein July 2019 you compared the three-party airstrike on Syria to the Cuban Missile Crisis. You said: “There was a smell of gunpowder in the air.” Why is it you think the situation was as dangerous as in 1962?

There were and there are Russian troops in Syria. And imagine what would have happened if the “smart missiles” of the Western coalition had accidentally flown in the wrong direction and hit our Khmeimim air base or any other Russian presence in Syria.

That would have been an attack on us and we would have to defend ourselves and react.

When the US announced they would launch an airstrike against Syrian targets, the Russian military warned the US that should any of their missiles fly towards any of our military bases they not only would be taken down but the carriers of these missiles would also be targeted.

The US president then send out this tweet “Get ready Russia. Because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!” We were actually on the brink of major confrontation between two nuclear superpowers. Fortunately we avoided the worst-case scenario.

Why is it you think the US, Great Britain and France immediately put the blame on the Syrian government and started their airstrike before OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) had even started its investigation?

That’s because their agenda was and still is to topple the legitimate Syrian government. And that’s why the Americans, French and British were not interested in any investigation into the Douma incident by the OPCW.

They needed only an excuse to carry out an act of aggression against Syria. By doing so, not only did they violate the UN Charter, but they also showed disrespect for the OPCW.

It was not the first time something like this happened.

The Americans have stated more than once they didn’t need any investigation by the OPCW. You will remember the US executed a missile strike on Syria in reaction to the alleged chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun in April 2017.

I remember being at the State Department in Washington, the day after the incident, as part of the delegation of OPCW. The lady we talked to was convinced Khan Sheikhun was “yet another crime committed by the Syrian regime”. I was the only member of the delegation to ask her a question: “Wouldn’t it be wise to wait for the conclusions of OPCW before taking action?”

But she just brushed aside my remark, saying: “We don’t need this. Based on our intelligence we are pretty sure what happened there.”

At the press conference you blamed OPCW for being responsible for the three-party airstrike. Why is that? The missiles struck Syria before the investigation of the FFM had even started and OPCW had spoken out.

Indeed, the FFM is indirectly responsible for this. This mission has more than once taken for granted dubious, so-called evidence, coming from unknown sources and presented to her by forces that oppose the Bashar al-Assad government.

Thus, a consistent background was created in support of the thesis advocated by the western countries that the “bloody regime” in Damascus was committing chemical crimes and should be held accountable. If the work of the FFM were truly objective, impartial, then the reports it had issued before the events in the Douma probably would not have appeared.

At the press conference you mentioned all reports about chemical attacks in Syria resurface against the backdrop of victories held by government forces.

Are you suggesting the Syrian government has never performed a chemical attack, and that all these reports are in fact false flags, staged by rebels to provoke military action by the US and its allies?

There have been reports by JIM, the Joint Investigative Mechanism of OPCW and the UN in Syria. In three cases they blamed the Syrian Government for chemical attacks, and in one case Islamic State. But we were not convinced at all the Syrian government was to blame for any of these incidents.

For instance in the case of Khan Sheikhun the point of impact of the cylinder did not match with the flight path of the Syrian plane that had supposedly dropped it. It was against all ballistic laws.

In another case [Sarmin] the diameter of the cylinder that had allegedly been dropped from high altitude into a ventilator shaft that was exactly the same as the diameter of the shaft. One in a million chance it really happened like that.

The Syrian government used to provide elementary reports to OPCW about provocations under preparation by the armed opposition. But these reports – to put it mildly – were not very well treated.

I remember once the director-general of OPCW agreed to send a special mission to investigate reports of the Syrian government about depots of ammunitions and chemical devices, discovered on territory liberated from the armed opposition, the terrorists.

This mission went to Syria, and when they came back there was a briefing, organized at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague. I vividly remember the chief of the mission saying: “We discovered lots of chlorine cylinders, but these cylinders can be purchased in any convenience store. As you know, chlorine is used to purify swimming pool water.”

Everybody was baffled actually.

He seemed to suggest Syria was a wealthy prosperous country with fully operational swimming pools everywhere, while at that time Syria was completely devastated, in ruins. It didn’t seem to matter to him that alongside these chlorine cylinders detonators and fuses were found. In his mind the cylinders were stored there just for domestic purposes, not to produce chemical weapons.

Since the engineers report that was leaked from OPCW about the Douma incident contradicts the official OPCW report you suggested a general briefing of OPCW with all experts who had worked on the Douma case. But the Technical Secretariat denied your request. Why?

I proposed such briefing during the March session of the Executive Council. A representative of the US delegation then took the floor saying he opposed a briefing, because it would encourage the Russian site to replicate Stalinist trials, with cross-examinations and intimidations of witnesses. The US delegation then suggested putting the question of a briefing to a vote. Given the fact that the Americans and their allies have a comfortable majority within the Executive Council our proposal was simply rejected.

Alexander Shulgin

What will be Russia’s next step towards the Technical Secretariat of OPCW to clarify the discrepancies between de official report and the leaked engineers report?

We have sent two verbal notes in which we asked to publish the results of the three reports of so-called independent experts, on the basis of which in the final report on Douma it was concluded that the chlorine cylinders broke a roof and hit the rooms from the air.

The first time our request was denied on the pretext of alleged need for protection from public exposure of those specialists who carried out this examination.

We made a second request, explaining that we did not ask to disclose the names of these people or their nationality, but just to disclose their reports, for all Member States to be able to read the technical calculations prepared by them in order to understand how convincing they are. A long-time has passed now; we are still waiting for an answer.

The amazing thing is: the Director-General of OPCW urges us to trust the findings from the FFM like the gospel word while at the same time putting the emphasis not on the conclusions of the experts of FFM but rather on the conclusions provided by three so-called independent experts.

The refusal of the Technical Secretariat to unveil the reports of these anonymous outside experts makes us question whether these reports ever existed.

If I understand you well you question the existence of these reports, but not the existence of the external experts? Do you know who they are? And have they ever been to Douma to do research at the alleged crime scene?

There has been no research of external experts in Douma and I may know the name of one of them. He has a rather dubious reputation in terms of his impartiality, and he is anything but a specialist in ballistics. But I can’t tell you his name. We are bound to respect the confidentiality rules of the Technical Secretariat.

Until June 2019 OPCW was not authorized to attribute blame for chemical attacks. This changed with the establishment of the Investigation and Identification Team (ITT). Russia disagrees. Why is that?

We do not agree with the creation of the attributive mechanism in OPCW because such functions are not provided for in the UN Chemical Weapons Convention. There is nothing like it and never has been.

Moreover as we have repeatedly stated, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is illegitimately authorized to identify those responsible for chemical crimes; it’s an intrusion into the exclusive prerogatives of the UN Security Council to designate perpetrators.

Only this body and international courts have the right to attribute and punish those responsible for the commission of the most serious crimes under international law.

In June 2018 the US and its allies literally pushed OPCW’s attribution decision to be voted at the Conference of States Parties (CSP). Less than half of the members of the OPCW voted ‘yes’, but because of the way votes are counted at the CSP the proposal to move the attributive mechanism from the UN Security Council to OPCW was nevertheless adopted.

Washington has long embarked on a slippery slope when it seeks to replace international legal norms with the so-called rules that it itself creates on the move in order to advance its geopolitical interests.

The reason behind taking the attribution away from the UN Security Council in New York and bring it to OPCW in The Hague was that Russia and China would no longer be able to veto initiatives from the western powers.

This was openly said by western delegations. And they didn’t even bother to present justifications for this based on provisions in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Russia is not against attributing blame to those who have used chemical weapons?

Not at all. We proposed the prolongation of the mandate of the Joint Investigation Mission (JIM), under the condition JIM would operate in strict compliance with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and under supervision of the UN Security Council. The western countries just bluntly rejected this proposal.

I understand you think OPCW has become a tool for the US to undermine the authority of the UN Security Council and the Chemical Weapons Convention?

Indeed. There is extreme politicisation in the way OPCW is acting. The Technical Secretariat has come under a very strong influence of the Americans and their allies. The practice of consensus driven decision-making has been completely forgotten.

Tensions are getting higher and the scandal around the FFM report is only another detonator that could unleash the explosive trends in our organisation.

For some time this was all happening behind closed doors and only national delegations knew of it. But now this is an open issue, outside of OPCW. And even Dutch parliamentarians here in The Hague are concerned about the OPCW situation.

They have sent a request to the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands asking what’s happening in the OPCW.

It is clear that is cannot continue this way.

We would like to hope that we can come back to the normal working practice, since the current OPCW leadership always says that our organisation should be our common home, where each and every one of us, each delegation has the right to state its concerns and problems – an organisation, where we can take into consideration our interests and speak on a basis of mutual respect, and discuss all our problems.

You explained the grip of the US on OPCW by the steadfast support of its many allies in the Executive Council. Are there any other explanations?

The former head of OPCW, José Bustani,declared that in 2002, in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, John Bolton, then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs,threatened him by saying: “We know where your children live.”

I’d rather not comment on that.

At the press conference you said: “He who pays the piper decides the tune.” You referred to the way the FFM in Syria is being financed, namely by the US and its allies.

The activities of the Fact Finding Team are funded by voluntary contributions, mainly coming from the US and other western countries.

Of course, it would be more correct to finance these activities from the regular budget of OPCW. But then it would be necessary to increase the annual budgetary contributions of the States Parties, which many developing countries strongly oppose.

So why doesn’t the Russian delegation financially contribute to the FFM?

We are of the view that the activities of the FFM are not in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. For instance, the members of the FFM are supposed to collect samples themselves at the place of the incident, and, all the more important, take custody of the collected evidence. Many times this basic procedure has not been respected at all. Questions I asked about this have not been properly addressed.

Also, I insisted upon the necessity for the Fact-Finding Team to be better represented geographically, not solely consisting of experts from countries hostile to the Syrian government. But this was turned down. The former Director-General said two years ago: “I will never invite Russians, nor Iranians, because they belong to parties fighting in Syria.” And so I asked him: “What about the other countries fighting in Syria?” But I received no reply to that question.

Still nothing prevents us from working with western countries to overcome the current situation. And hopefully we will resume the practice of consensus driven decision-making. Let’s be constructive and optimistic.

Originally published by Diplomat Magazine

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Martin Usher
Martin Usher

We (the US) have form in this arena. Those of us with long memories recall what happened to Hans Blix and his team of UN monitors who failed to find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. He — along with “the truth” — could be considered to be the first casualties of the Iraq War.

The OPCW, being a non-UN organization, should have been easier to structure and staff so it could arrive at the ‘right’ conclusions. Obviously it has failed.

Vierotchka
Vierotchka

More from The Greyzone:

18 Nov 2019

A second whistleblower from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has come forward to accuse top OPCW officials of suppressing critical evidence. The evidence undermines allegations that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018 — an allegation that prompted US-led airstrikes. The second whistleblower also says that three US officials took part in pressuring the OPCW.

We speak to veteran journalist Jonathan Steele, the first reporter to interview the second whistleblower.

Guest: Jonathan Steele, journalist, author, and The Guardian’s former chief foreign correspondent.

Jonathan Steele’s article:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/11/15/the-opcw-and-douma-chemical-weapons-watchdog-accused-of-evidence-tampering-by-its-own-inspectors/

mark
mark

The OPCW is one of a long list of international organisations that have been hopelessly compromised, subverted, politicised and delegitimised by US and Zionist threats, intimidation and corruption.

There are many others.
The UN itself.
“We are taking names” (of anyone who criticises Israel.)
The intelligence operation to gather blackmail material targeting UN diplomats.
The IAEA.
The replacement of El Baradei with the pliable US stooge Armano.
The ICC.
Threatened with military action by the Exceptional and Indispensable People.
Now officially just a kangaroo court to punish cheeky Darkies who fail to do as they are told.
All the bogus government orchestrated “NGOs” and “Charities”, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Red Cross, Save The Children, and countless others.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin

Excellent piece and along with links by other posters below i will add

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/11/opcw-whistleblowers-management-manipulated-reports-douma-chemical-weapon-attack-was-staged.html#more

bernard is always quick off the mark!

Louis Proyect
Philip Roddis

Just read it Louis. If I get the time I’ll compose a response to its many flawed arguments. For now these will have to do:

1. Your reversal of burden of proof is hidden only slightly by strawmannery. Those I respect offer false flag attack as a distinct possibility. (Your CounterPunch claims of flaws in their logic themselves show flawed reasoning.) Since Assad’s demonisation, by an imperialism bent on regime change across the middle east at terrible human cost, rests heavily on such as Khan Sheijhoun/Douma, it is for the US to produce evidence that Damascus was the perp.

2. Here’s one hell of a claim, drenched in the credulity of confirmation bias. You say in your piece that “In July 2017, Trump had cut off aid to Syrian rebels [and] ordered a freeze on funding to the White Helmets … [so] concerns about a false flag incident triggering a major regime change operation in Syria could only be raised by people who are not persuaded by facts or logic.” Zero evidence of Trump cutting off aid. (But much evidence of CIA elements, rogue or otherwise, funding pet projects through narcotics and gun running.) And you say those who won’t rule out false flags must be “people not persuaded by facts or logic”. You sure about that? We’re not speaking of what “Assad apologists” might think, but of the calculations of increasingly desperate jihadis. Your reasoning is flawed here as elsewhere.

3. I’m an admirer, not unconditionally but genuinely, of Trotsky but the appalling response of so many of the fragments and splinterettes of the 4th International seems to me to stem from their boneheaded refusal to let go of the puerile doctrine of permanent revolution. There’s no third game in town, Louis. It’s the last Ba’athism in the middle east – with all its very real flaws. Or it’s US imperialism unbridled. You and so much of the so-called far left appear to have made your choice but for god’s sake, please don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by pretending there’s some third possibility here. “International solidarity with the Syrian working class” my arse. I know that’s not gonna happen – and so do you!

4. You ready yet to apologist for that vile slur on Vanessa Beeley?

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect

You want evidence of Trump freezing aid to the White Helmets? Here you go:

https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-05-04/trump-freezes-funding-white-helmet-volunteers-part-larger-cut-syrian-aid

John
John

We know he briefly froze their assets (this after years of British and yank governments saying they had no contact whatsoever with the white helmets only to finally admit they set the group up) primarily to shut his twitter followers up for pointing out that the white helmets are scum! The best thing about you Ian you won’t side with a right winger in anything good simply because it’s a right winger so when the right wing decide to push anti paedophile stuff heavily you’ll be there telling your weird Trotskyist followers to support paedophiles as an “oppressed minority” and calling anyone with a brain a paedophobe for supporting the oppression of scumbags!

Philip Roddis

Have I overestimated you, Louis? Here’s what I learn from the link you offer:

“The US is currently reviewing its support for the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, and other Syrian assistance programs worth around $200 million. A State Department official told PRI that the review came at the request of President Donald Trump.”

What kind of evidence is that? “Well, if the State Dept says so it must be right!”

Note: even if true, the claim dates back to May 2018. By which time the white helmets were a liability. Too much so for overt support? Probably. Too much so for covert support? Possibly. Consider this from Craig Murray’s blog. The context is the death of James Le Mesurier but his point is relevant here:

“That the white helmets worked hand in glove with the extreme jihadists, and moved out wherever they moved out, is beyond dispute as a matter of fact, whatever the state of denial of the mainstream media. That there is now nowhere in Syria that people can go around executing Christians with impunity, and simultaneously now nowhere that the White Helmets can operate, is not the coincidence the mainstream media affect to believe …

“Having stopped being useful, Le Mesurier became much more of a liability after Turkey took over further control of former jihadist controlled areas in Northern Syria. The chances of Turkey obtaining both documentary and first person testamentary evidence of the relationship between the White Helmets, the jihadists, and western and allied intelligence services increased substantially.”

Not a bad motive, I’d say, for more arm’s length relations – and possibly none at all – with the white helmets.

Your reply is to a part, and not the most important at that, of one of my four points.

Three times now I’ve invited you to apologise for a tweet on Vanessa Beeley that was offensive by any norms of decency in behaviour towards a debating adversary. Your failure to do is a failure to man up.

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect

Whatever. The overriding consideration is that Trump did cut off aid to Syrian rebels in 2017, which had much more of an effect on facts on the ground than whether $4.5 million went to pay for White Helmet salaries and equipment. Who knows? With your way of understanding the world, maybe the $4.5 million went to pay for the sarin gas and the chlorine the White Helmets used to create false flags, supplemented I suppose by George Soros and the Rothschild Bank.

Philip Roddis

Whatever. The overriding consideration is that Russia’s intervention had much more of an effect on facts on the ground than anything Trump might say or do – especially when Trump isn’t, as in really isn’t, at the helm of his ship, is he?

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect

Of course it did. In fact, American intervention was largely responsible for handing victory to Assad.

Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2012:

U.S. officials say they are most worried about Russian-designed Manpads provided to Libya making their way to Syria. The U.S. intensified efforts to track and collect man-portable missiles after the 2011 fall of the country’s longtime strongman leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

To keep control of the flow of weapons to the Syrian rebels, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar formed a joint operations room early this year in a covert project U.S. officials watched from afar.

The U.S. has limited its support of the rebels to communications equipment, logistics and intelligence. But U.S. officials have coordinated with the trio of countries sending arms and munitions to the rebels. The Pentagon and CIA ramped up their presence on Turkey’s southern border as the weapons began to flow to the rebels in two to three shipments every week.

In July, the U.S. effectively halted the delivery of at least 18 Manpads sourced from Libya, even as the rebels pleaded for more effective antiaircraft missiles to counter regime airstrikes in Aleppo, people familiar with that delivery said.

Philip Roddis

How does this advance anything? One, Syria is a mire of claim and counter claim, a smoke and mirrors, layer-on-layer stack of spin from every direction. Two, it’s not even clear what point you’re making: the claims, unevidenced and largely unattributed – “U.S. officials say … people familiar with the delivery said” – can be read in all manner of ways.

To dive into what we can all agree is a sea of murk and confusion, and resurface with a handful of factoids, true or false, from 2012 is an unedifying fusion of cherry-picking with squid-inking.

And from my few engagements with you, I have to say this isn’t the first time I’ve had the sense of being underwhelmed.

Richard Steele
Richard Steele

You’re attempting to carry on a rational, fact-based discussion… So, it would seem that you have indeed overestimated him.
He doesn’t do that-whether this is due to deliberate malign intent or simple lack of ability, I can’t say. But I can tell you with certainty that you are wasting your time.

John
John

Philip Roddis accept facts Trotsky aided with japan and Germany in the 1920’s right trough to the late 30’s and they spied on Mao in China and all Trotskyist groups are controlled opposition! It’s about time you read Grover furr and Michael Parenti and stop repeating CIA lies about the USSR and Stalin in particular

Philip Roddis

Sorry John. I’m engaged in a wider and more important exchange with Louis Proyect. I mentioned as an aside my being “an admirer, not unconditionally but genuinely, of Trotsky but …”

That you pick me up on this, yet don’t engage with Louis – a far bigger fan – has more than a whiff of the pedant and the obsessive about it. Life’s too short …

Philip Roddis

We crossed posts John. At 4 pm I chided you for failing to engage LP . In fact you did just that almost simultaneously, at 3:59 pm.

All the same, yawn, forgive my not finding the time to engage you. The other part of my 3:59 reply stands. You come across as obsessive. I could be wrong – you may be a splendid chap – but, well, ships in the night and all that.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin

Utterly pathetic LP – getting panicky?

‘What is the evidence..?’ You posit

We could have asked James LeMesurier, but he seems to have ‘dropped off’ the stage.

But we could still ask Hamish De Breton-Gordon, he seems to be in BBC radio stations frequently.

Or we could ask the 3 unidentified ‘US’ guys who pulled in the OPCW inspectors to their bosses office to tell them they had ‘proof’ which override the inspectors conclusions – so that their report was changed.

Don’t bother replying to me – take it up with Phillip or bernard if you got the gonads.

John
John

Edited by Admin for content-free extreme ad hom

mark
mark

Counterpunch, Democracy Now, and others like them are just Faux Left Controlled Opposition and are even worse than the Guardian itself.

bevin
bevin

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘controlled opposition’ though I know what you mean by “faux left.’
As to Counterpunch it has certainly degenerated since Frank replaced Cockburn and there are lots of articles that anger me-I don’t bother to read Proyect’s stuff. Still there are often worthwhile pieces, the one by Steele on this very issue is a good example.
It seems to me that we have to be ready to accept that lots of websites are going to combine useful articles with cheap semi imperialist propaganda and stuff which is simply silly because it is produced not by agents or villains but by ignorant fools and/or show offs of the Proyect kind.

Philip Roddis

bevin I agree both with your assessment of CP and with the more general point of your final paragraph. I fear there’s too much readiness to decry villainy in others when the more likely explanation is that they – or even, god forbid, we – are simply wrong.

mark
mark

If I say “Soros funded” instead of “controlled opposition” does that make it any clearer?
Counterpunch and “Democracy Now” were breaking all records in shilling for a Libya style war against Syria to “get rid of the evil dictator Assad who gasses his own people.”
I gave up reading their lies and poison years ago.

Maga
Maga

Trump sends US$4.5 million in aid to Syria’s White Helmets
Published Oct 23, 2019
President Donald Trump has authorised US$4.5 million (S$6.1 million) in aid for Syria’s White Helmets group, famed for rescuing wounded civilians from the frontlines in the civil war, the White House said on Tuesday (Oct 22).

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/trump-sends-us45-million-in-aid-to-syrias-white-helmets

Cherrycoke
Cherrycoke

I remember your article, Mr. Proyect. Here is what I wrote to Counterpunch at the time:

“Dear people at Counterpunch,

Louis Proyect writes:

‘This time Trump did not even bother with a slap on the wrist over the Douma attack.’

It beggars belief that this demonstrably false statement is publicized in Counterpunch. For simplicity’s sake I’ll just quote Wikipedia:

‘On 14 April, France, the United Kingdom and the United States launched airstrikes against four Syrian government targets in response to the attack.’

Thereby risking WW III, I add.

One may argue that it was a very restricted strike, and Proyect obviously would have been in favour of a more lethal attack, but it is unacceptable to not even mention it.

As I am not a native speaker, I am allowing for the possibility that I may have missed something in Proyect’s article. Have I?”

The article now says:

“This time Trump’s slap on the wrist over the Douma attack was even softer. [etc.]”

Counterpunch did not reply to me, and neither does it indicate now that the article has been corrected. Why did you write such an obvious falsehood? A momentary fit of confusion? I am seriously interested in your reply.

Loverat
Loverat

Cherrycoke
Not quite sure you will get a reply. My experience of reading LP’s previous posts on these matters is that he probably believes what he says, or wants to believe it. However I think Philip Roddis touched on his motivation in one of his points above.

LP’s previous posts on these issues are littered with references to Assad’s political party and system and LP’s political ideology. His views are clearly guided by this than any evidence of a chemical attack on the ground.

I agree we should leave Syria alone to govern itself upon a system which may not be to LP’s liking but nevertheless has the support of the majority of its people for now.

LP is like Elton John or Peter Tatchell – they should stick to their pet issues at home and stop dictating to the rest of the world. That’s why the world is in its current mess.

Cherrycoke
Cherrycoke

As we say in Germany: Keine Antwort ist auch eine Antwort.

David G. Horsman

Congrats Louis. That was the worst and most incoherent article I read this month. Absolutely terrible; I cannot believe that got published. I shall seriously down rank Counterpunch and hope this isn’t your day job.

US = Terror Factory
US = Terror Factory

The West is making a fool of itself.

It is evidently clear, the whole thing of today’s Western Civilisation is proped solely by the duality of what is being said in Public and what is planned and executed in Secrecy.

Occasionally, there are glimpses of what is between the deception and reality, like this OPCW debacle.

JudyJ
JudyJ

As Frank Speaker and Gezzah say below, we cannot depend on our own acquaintances to recognise the truth; we know for sure we can no longer rely on so-called impartial organisations to reflect the truth; and we definitely know we cannot rely on the mainstream media to reflect or seek out the truth. Sad to say, many of us have now learnt to take this state of affairs for granted.

But what I cannot come to terms with is that Parliamentarians who, let’s face it, we have to entrust our lives to, not only metaphorically but also literally, have no conscience when it comes to seeking out or recognising the truth but are fully prepared to sacrifice the lives of innocents all over the globe to satisfy their own corrupt agendas or simply to avoid having to admit that they were wrong. I fear that, no matter how convincing the evidence and implications about the underhand behaviour in the OPCW, the scandal will just continue to be met with silence unless someone with clout in authority has the integrity or magnanimity to stand up and say “Enough!”. I live in hope every day but I’m not holding my breath.

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton

You can see how Le Mesurier would have been depressed. He would have been following all these OPCW whilstleblower revelations more closely than most…..as their finding were pivotal to the purpose/integrity of his White Helmets. So he would have realised….that everyone now knew…that Douma and the others were false flags…. impossible to claim otherwise… everyone knew he and his organisation was a fraud. From hero to zero.

Zoran Aleksic
Zoran Aleksic

Highly doubtful. If you and I are everyone in everyone who knew now, than your reasoning is valid. But, I’m afraid that everyone still is the everyone mesmerized by the beauty of our weapons, just as a certain msm anchor who would find sexual gratification in it. However, a thumb up for the thought.

Philip Roddis

This piece deserves the widest possible circulation. The many folk out there who still believe the lies on these ‘chemical attacks by Assad’ need to be countered not just because they are wrong but because, as Mr de Been makes clear, they are dangerously wrong.

Philip Roddis

Damn. Mr de Bee

    k

of course.

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell

Aaron Mate’s GrayZone interview with Prof. Ted Postal is revealing for several reasons, not the least of which is that Ted Postol alleges the involvement of Bellincat the bogus and pig-ignorant peer review of his article debunking the Khan Sheikhoun false flag, which the peer-review journal ultimately and scandalously rejected under US pressure. Worse, he strongly suspects that the OPCW falsified Douma report was produced by… Bellingcat. [See link posted by Vierotchka below]

Also, Jonathan Steele reports that the drafting team for the original Douma OPCW report were heavied by a visit of US officials who bullied them with the myth the chlorine tanks were dropped by Syrian aircraft. See: https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/11/15/the-opcw-and-douma-chemical-weapons-watchdog-accused-of-evidence-tampering-by-its-own-inspectors/

Caitlin Johnstone provides provides a good summary. See: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/17/the-hugely-important-opcw-scandal-keeps-unfolding-heres-why-no-ones-talking-about-it/

And everyone should view the eye-witness testimony in the Hague provided by the Douma hospital staff and patients that the bourgeois media and a lot of ‘left’ liberals either ignored or denounced as a put up job. See: https://www.rt.com/news/425240-opcw-russia-syria-douma-witnesses/

David Macilwain
David Macilwain

I think it was the efforts of Shulgin that got the Syrians to the Hague. What we should also remember is how the OPCW Douma investigation blended with the OPCW’s Skripal “investigation’//fabrications, with the scandal over the BZ and the Spiez lab occuring at the same time. This was, incidentally and uncoincidentally, when claims were made about Russians “spying” on the OPCW, when they were apparently just visiting. THe layers of deception are multiple.

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell

And given Ted Postal’s revelation of what he believes was done to him, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bellincat, the 77th Brigade and Integrity Initiative weren’t all playing their part in coordinating not only the narratives but in plotting the actual content of these false flags. It stands to reason after all, since each has publicly stated in their own way a common mission: at every opportunity help manufacture and ‘spin’ such events to generate and maintain anti-Russian (Chinese or Assad or the whoever-the-current-‘enemy’-is) hysteria.

The only fly in the ointment was the scientists, as they needed to be heavied by thugs in suits from one of the mysterious secret police agencies of the US because the likes of Bellincat et al. couldn’t cut the mustard with people who actually know what is happening. The scientists don’t the fate of David Kelly to be theirs either.

Love to be a fly on the wall in Porton Down.

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect

I’ll be taking apart all this stuff that began with Tim Hayward’s false-flagism earlier this year. It is totally ridiculous. Hayward admits that there were dead people in the building that was gassed and Aaron Maté supports Russian claims that there were none. These people accusing the OPCW of inconsistencies is a joke. Anyhow, if you really believe that the chlorine tanks were planted in the building by jihadists, you have to rise to a level of exactitude that is utterly missing from all the accounts trying to absolve Assad. I will deal with this in my article.

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell

Give it up, Sir Black Knight.

bevin
bevin

“I will deal with this in my article.”
All that will remain then is to find people to read it. Apart of course from Bellingcat, the Integrity Initiative and the 77th Brigade.

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect

So funny. In his interview with Maté, Postol claimed that Bellingcat accused him of being funded by China and Russia for an article he wrote about Khan Shaykhon that was rejected by a peer-review journal that included Postol on the editorial board. Postol just made this up. Bellingcat never said a word about that. No wonder the article got rejected.

Gezzah Potts

Don’t hold your breath waiting for widespread reporting on this amongst the presstitutes, or even the revelations of the second OPCW whistle blower.
Yes, I’m aware of the Jonathan Steele interview with Paul Henley on the BBC a few weeks ago; sort of an aberration, and that Henley didn’t try and shut Jonathan Steele down at the time.
When Trump along with France and the UK launched airstrikes on Syria after the Douma false flag, my ‘friends’ response was pretty much: ‘Animal Assad is getting his comeuppance’. Basically they just regurgitated soundbites they heard in the MSM, or read in The Guardian.
They didn’t have one clue how close the World came to nuclear war. Utterly oblivious.
If all this comes out about the OPCW suppressed report, along with more people knowing exactly who the White Helmets are, and what their real role was, then the cat will be set amongst the pigeons.
More and more people with ethics and a conscience will abandon the sewer of lies masquerading as News in the West. And hopefully that will hasten the demise of this truly Evil Empire.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

Unfortunately that won’t happen Gezzah.
I too find it remarkable that intelligent friends swallow the MSM lies hook, line and sinker. I put it down to the fact that I have more free time than they have, and I use my free time to look for the truth whereas they rely on the Guardian, BBC and Sky for a quick news update. Ignorance will destroy humanity.

Gezzah Potts

As you know, quite a lot of us here at Offguardian have the same issues with friends and family. As I told JudyJ the other day, it’s one of the main reasons why I come here.
I’m self employed, so can check news stories during work time.
Was also pointed out by one of our regulars; the more educated someone is, the more likely they will buy into the Establishment narrative and not want to rock the boat (put their creature comforts or even liberty at risk).
Have a good day Frank…

Philip Roddis

Gezzah your third para is uncanny. Not ten minutes before reading it, I’d just penned this aside to a post I’m writing on the Bolivia-lithium thing.

“the notion that a century of Western meddling in the Middle East has nothing to do with that black stuff under the sand takes credulity to a new low. And like a few other truly daft ideas, its biggest adherents are the intelligentsia. Working class folk of my acquaintance are not to be romanticised. But what they have, also in my experience, is a clear grasp, instinctive and raw but in rudely good health, of realpolitik. Their Latin may be lacking but they’ve a sound grasp of cui bono?

Gezzah Potts

Thanks Philip. A number of years in a Central American solidarity group helped: Guatemala, El Salvador, Death Squads, School Of The America’s, Fascist junta’s, the Contra’s… It really opened my eyes to the real United States.
Refer to Harold Pinter also.
Plus being involved in Trotskyist groups in Australia and New Zealand years back in late 80s and 1990s also opened my eyes, plus seeing what has been done to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
Yemen. Palestine. Iraq. Syria. The sheer cruelty of Neoliberalism and its dog eat dog ethos.
How could one stay silent? How could one look the other way? How could one pretend everything is just…. fine? NO. Its not Fine. Screw… ‘Fine’.
My factory job went to China years ago. Manufacturing = Globalisation = China or Indonesia. That also cemented the reality of the World for me.
I sell The Big Issue mag nearly every day at different locations here Philip. It lets me see society up close and personal – at the coalface so too speak. Always observing Philip, cheers…

Philip Roddis

In solidarity, bro.

Gerda Halvorsen
Gerda Halvorsen

100% agree with the free time and use of free time argument. Also with habit and laziness.

Got into a bit of a tiff with a circle of friends that pride themselves on being very progressive when they ran out to demonstrate and collect funds for the Kurds in northern Syria after the USA ditched them as allies. None of them have a clue regarding what the Kurds have been up to since the Iraq war, too busy with work, family and nights out at the pub. But 30 years ago the Kurds were the poster people of the left and nothing seems to have changed since, my friends are utterly convinced that the Kurds are the great innocents, supporters of women’s rights, direct democracy etc. etc. I wasn’t popular for trying to bring a bit of nuance into their black and white world view.

Indeed, ignorance will destroy humanity.

Willem
Willem

It also has to do with feel-good. The MSM has a lot of feel-good stories for sale, and they certainly can make you feel good for a short period of time. Alternative news is more about truth and it usually doesn’t feel good.

And it also has to do with breaking a story. Most newsbreaks come from the MSM (independent of whether the stories are true or not), alternative news can usually only react.

And it has to do with distribution. It is easy to turn off alternative news, while MSM news is literally everywhere.

And of course it is much easier to talk to one another about the winner of music shows, or the latest movie of whatever, than talk about how ‘we’ organise crime. Which is a reason why people do not really talk with eachother about alternative news, even though they may read sites like OffG as often as they read the Guardian

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Alexander Shulgin? Wasn’t he the guy that invented Ecstasy?

Vexarb
Vexarb

So now we see the UN too is struggling to free itself from the AZC hegemon, the Empire of Fiat Money and Fiat Truth.

“The natives are restless”. Bolivia, Argentina, even in France with Les Gilets Jaunes, even in Britain with a Socialist being elected against the odds; and now even within the UN bureaucracy the natives are restless, truth is struggling to find a voice. I hope some hitman of the AZC does not arrive to quell this unrest at the UN, the way Neal Kinnock arrived at the EC to discipline some budding whistleblowers and make the EU safe for corporate fascism.

Loverat
Loverat

This a massive scandal which is showing signs of snowballing. Just imagine, repeated fabrications by terrorists with chemistry sets which lets face it, could have caused world war 3. And a similar future incident still might. I don’t think the majority of people want that hanging over them and their children.

Watch the desperation on social media of the regime changers deflecting and smearing. And the very unwise journalists honouring the life ‘acheivements’ of founder of the Qaeda White Helmets recently deceased.

These people will be among those who receive the most flak.

Smart journalists are those that know this and that BBC Saving Syria’s Children will also blow up in their faces if they don’t act now. They now know or suspect innocent Syrian civilians have been victims of these fabrications and crimes against humanity.

Smart journalists and those wishing to sleep with a better conscious and ultimately avoid prosecution will do the right thing. A trickle of journalists now will turn into a stampede and we know who will be be left holding the baby. It wont just be politicians this time. Just watch, it’s already started.

mark
mark

There is no sign of the MSM hacks covering their backsides and leaving themselves some wriggle room by doing a bit of cautious backtracking.

We just see a doubling down with smear pieces from hacks like Alex Crawford and Lyse Doucet parroting the same tired old lies and Neocon talking points.

And government smear and censorship outfits like Media Bias, Propornot, and Integrity Initiative genuine truth tellers.

Antonym
Antonym

The OPCW is stationed in the Hague Netherlands. Be under no illusion at all about Holland being a neutral place: its 10 years and going PM Rutte is a globalist-egoist happily running after any carrot the EU top or the CIA dangling in front of him. The national MSM are in very few hands and totally on The track, old Pravda style. Most of the bureaucracy thinks: “Befehl ist Befehl”, just like during WW II. Fat salary checks combined with big mortgages do their dirty work.
There is a lot Rotten in the state of ..Holland.

JudyJ
JudyJ

One only has to look at the MH17 Inquiry to see where Holland’s interests lie. It’s followed much the same behavioural pattern as the OPCW.

Antonym
Antonym

Not Holland’s interests, Rutte’s interests.

JudyJ
JudyJ

Thanks, Antonym, I’m happy to stand corrected.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

Washington has long embarked on a slippery slope when it seeks to replace international legal norms with the so-called rules that it itself creates on the move in order to advance its geopolitical interests.

Washington is of the opinion that it already owns the entire planet. U.S. law is now planetary law and while you’re at it – the founding fathers talked about the entire Universe. The United States of Universe – Earth branch.

While recent democratically elected government overthrow performances were of questionable success, the audacity of the Coup D’État in Bolivia shows that the western regimes know that they get away with everything. Who is there to stop the U.S.+ regime from continuing what they’re doing in the ME, Russia and China – moving unhinged terrorists around the game theater to keep the fires burning and the corpses piling.

Encouraged by the Bolivian coup, con-warmongers will feel invigorated to get the Assad thing done. It’s on the list. The OPCW will be shaped up and the Russians and Chinese excluded.

U.S. aka ‘Uncle Sam’ aka ‘Uncle Tweet’ is like Al Capone.

What could go wrong?

Vierotchka
Vierotchka

Here is a very interesting video that was published on November 16:

Vierotchka
Vierotchka

The link featuer in the editor didn’t work. Here it is again:

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

Excellent, thanks for sharing this.

ttshasta
ttshasta

As Postal noted, if that bomb were dropped from 1000s of feet it would be in the basement, if it was dropped from 100s of feet as reported that helicopter could have been riddled with gunfire.
Poor stagecraft IMO.

Vierotchka
Vierotchka

It wasn’t even a bomb, it was an intact chlorine gas canister!

David Macilwain
David Macilwain

I was long struck by the failure of the OPCW to make note of whether there was any gas in the cylinder, whose valve was apparently undamaged. It seemed to elementary to turn the tap on to see what came out – which would surely have confirmed the presence of gas – yet they dont appear to have done so. So I was pleased to read from Shulgin and Steele about these obvious facts. SHulgin doesnt quite makeit clear, but the FFM visited a warehouse full of cylinders in Douma, described in the report, and showed a serious lack of imagination about what it was.

I’m sorry to see some comment on this excellent article sidetracked by the Phillip Cross of OffGuardian. It is however an indication that we are hitting where it hurts, and it’s going to hurt a lot more if I have anything to do about it.

bevin
bevin

An excellent and timely article. Thank you for bringing it to us. You will be aware that among the brave souls insisting that the truth about the OPCW is told, is Jonathan Steele, the long time Guardian reporter.

Antonym
Antonym

Is Johnathan Steele by any chance related to the much younger Christopher Steele?

Tutisicecream

No, but the interesting aspect of how the Guardian has been infiltrated is that Jonathan Steele was the Graun’s bureau chief in Moscow [from 1988-94 where he wrote excellent articles about Russia and continued to do so after that]. He was replaced as main writer for Russian analysis by Luke Harding sometime in the mid 2000’s, after that it was all down hill to the Mi6 shilling which we still have to this day…

Antonym
Antonym

From 1990 to 1993, Christoffer Steele worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 agent in Moscow, serving at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow.
Both UK Steeles in Moscow overlapping 3 years; if they weren’t “family” before, they were after.

Francis Lee
Francis Lee

Yes, Steele is one of the few Guardian ‘Journalists’ with any smidgen of integrity but he seems to have been disappeared. Others of that persuasion include Mary Dejevsky, and Larry Elliott.

bevin
bevin

Gary Younge used to be good too. Whatever happened to Seumas Milne? I used to agree with 90% of what he wrote.