WikiLeaks published an email sent by a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who accused the organization of manipulating their report on an alleged chemical attack that was said to have taken place in the Syrian city of Douma on April 7th 2018.
In response to the alleged attack, the US, UK, and France carried out airstrikes on the Syrian government on April 14th 2018. The author of the email was a member of a fact-finding team the OPCW sent to Douma to investigate the attack.
The author accuses the OPCW of selectively omitting certain facts. The email, dated June 22nd 2018, reads, "Many of the facts and observations outlined in the full version are inextricably interconnected and, by selectively omitting certain ones, an unintended bias has been introduced into the report, undermining its credibility."
The OPCW team analyzed cylinders at two different locations in Douma. The OPCW report said they had "sufficient evidence" to determine chlorine was "likely released from cylinders." The author of the email called this claim "highly misleading and not supported by facts."
The email’s author says the samples they analyzed were in contact with a chemical that contained a chlorine atom, which could have been a number of chemicals, and "purposely singling one of chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous."
The OPCW report said there were "high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives … detected in environmental samples."
The email says, "Describing the levels as ‘high’ likely overstates the extent of levels of chlorinated organic derivatives detected. They were, in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities."
Videos of victims of the alleged attack appeared online and circulated news networks in the aftermath. According to the email, the original report had a section that discussed inconsistencies with the victim’s symptoms between what witnesses reported seeing, and what was seen in the video. The email’s author says this section was omitted from the redacted report.
The email states, "Omitting this section of the report (including the Epidemiology which has been removed in its entirety) has a serious negative impact on the report as this section is inextricably linked to the chemical agent identified. It either supports or detracts from the confidence in the identity of any possible chemical. In this case, the confidence in the identity of chlorine or any other choking agent is drawn into question precisely because of the inconsistency with the reported and observed symptoms. The inconsistency was not only noted by the fact-finding mission team, but strongly supported by three toxicologists with expertise in exposure to chemical warfare agents."
This email is the second leak from an OPCW member related to the alleged Douma attack. An unreleased OPCW engineering report was leaked to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media earlier this year. The Syrian rebels claimed the cylinders that the engineering team examined were dropped out of a Syrian government aircraft. The unreleased document does not corroborate the rebel’s story.
The leaked engineering report concluded, "At this stage the FFM (fact-finding mission) engineering sub-team cannot be certain that the cylinders at either location arrived there as a result of being dropped from an aircraft."
The engineering team suspects the cylinders were manually placed at the scene, "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."
11 thoughts on “OPCW Accused of Manipulating Syrian Chemical Attack Report”
It depends a bit on how you count the leaks. I think it is clear that the first leaker (Charles Glass revealed that it was Henderson) – communicated extensively with the working group(WGSPM) so more information was shared than just the report. I would speculate that there has been discussion with Henderson and possibly the second whistleblower on how to leak the mail and that a second channel was chosen. The working group has been treated as a leper by the meanstream because it was labeled as a Putin-Assad front. That is all you need to shut someone up. It is frighteningly easy. The whistleblower was actually dismissed because of the channel used too, which is inexcusable. So this time the channel is Wikileaks (and not the Intercept thank you very much). Now wikileaks is also labeled a Putin operation so it could be dismissed the same way, only this panel of informed people was brought together to discuss the issue and it is hard to dismiss them. That was a smart move.
I have followed the flemish press on this. The first leak was discussed in an article (Vranxkx on VRT) using the following approach: let’s ask all the trusted sources whether we should look into this leak. Oh, all the trusted sources say we can dismiss it and that we should not trust the WGSPM. And that perfectly fine with us because we are serious journalists who only work with serious sources. It is the worst kind of power-aligned group think.
The second leak is being ignored.
[edit: added references to WGSPM to make things clearer]
Bellingcat cherrypicks alterations but also never answers a bigger curiosity: was retaliation effective for anybody?
New left (inline NAP but as ends != means) like old (just in different means) talks of “justice” for the yezidi while i find it a tax waste w/ security blowback at the borders but it really matters little when it became far deadlier after a friggin’ graffiti incident, eh?
Assad’s been doing this since he succeeded the office but only became an issue in convenience maybe over Snowden or Benghazi or whatever
That said, let’s tease the possibility it matters:
The rebels owned chemical labs. U.S. alleged these were planted but let’s recall the left’s hands are hardly cleaner than Trump’s to shout victory. They began the war, pressured him to escalate deployments, called him a stooge if he ever attempted to depart
https://fair.org/home/media-erase-us-role-in-syrias-misery-call-for-us-to-inflict-more-misery Tisdall just lamented the Yemen move but months prior
In fact that bald widefaced, highpitch-voiced DNA campaign manager for Hillary went further when asked if possible this is another Blair case (or UK-ducks) that he knew for a fact it was valid
Despite what DissidentVoice claims, Irish state was what contributed to the fight as well. $4.5m is only a smigeon of the damage even to heritage, enabling further laws for merely non-battle dynamics too
I doubt Bolton vocalized the threat alleged by Bustani though. Assange is trustworthier (at least never claims a suicide is due to aortic issues from funding cuts), he’s not doing well either atm
Did you perhaps mean to write “…we SHOULD trust the working group”?
No, there are a few corrections I could make to the text but not there. The ‘we’ here is the journalists writing the article. The english version of the article is here.
The mainstream press, and readers who rely on it, can be generally be identified by the network of sources they consider trustworthy and which sources they consider untrustworthy. This network tends to align with power. The linked article demonstrates perfect alignment with the ‘trusted sources’. Mainstream press will not consider the working group propaganda as a trusted source.(EDIT: so don’t ask whether journalists are critical in their jobs,they are, ask who they are critical of)
Dissident journalism can be identified by their usage of a different network of trusted sources.
Thank you. The mistake is mine. I confused “working group” with the writers of the OPCW final report and overlooked the author’s plain reference to the WGSPM. Sorry I wasted your time. :-/
Thanks ,I added the references to reduce the confusion.
All NG0`s, organisations, Committees……even the UN is infiltrated and corrupted by the US and it`s western vassal countries.
The MSM is their propaganda tool…….all right out of J. Goebbels playbook.
I think one needs to be aware that there are degrees of corruption.
Well Bustani, the one who was threatened by Bolton was head of the OPCW at the time and was now in the panel talking to the second leaker. So how corrupted was the OPCW at the time ? Fairly decent I would think.
Åke Sellström led the OPCW team at the time of Khan Shaykhun and he has been quite critical of the OPCW , saying it has lost credibility. That period is only 6 years ago.
Now you have two leakers in the OPCW and a lot of people who agree with them. This is to the credit of the OPCW.
All organisations with authority are under pressure but some are in a better state than others. The current corruption of the OPCW cannot be maintained . We’ll see what happens.
” We’ll see what happens”
in the meantime, millions of people have been killed, countries have been destroyed, trillions spend on wars instead in infrastructure, a new cold war where more trillions will be spend……..all because of lies, baseless accusations, manipulations, corruptions and people who got all the time in the world while spending and wasting even more.
” We’ll see what happens”
And the OPCW was abused to create a situation which had strong potential for blowing up the planet. No exaggeration. When I say “We’ll see what happens” I mean I see potential for the OPCW to go back to functioning in a way which is trustworthy. Nothing more. For instance it can still be constrained far too much in where it is allowed to look and what it is allowed to investigate. Under Sellstrom they were not allowed to investigate whose sarin it was in Khan Shaykun.
The Director-General of the OPCW, Mr Fernando Arias, is a former NAT0 officer and installed by the US. Anti Russian/Iran/Syria sentiments and accusations have since then sharply risen.
A former Director-General of the OPCW, before the Iraq invasion in 2003, was threaten to resign by J. Bolton, because he wanted the inspectors to be given more time to find the WMD………that where not there.
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