In April 2018, Western Governments, mainly the USA, the UK, and France, kicked up a furore over airstrikes in the Syrian Civil War on the rebel-held town of Douma. The accusation against the regime of Bashar al-Assad was that the airstrikes, aimed at soldiers of the Jaysh Al-Islam militant group, had involved the deployment of chlorine gas canisters. Pictures of local children choking and foaming at the mouth were sent around the world.
Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron responded by launching airstrikes against Syria without authorisation from the United Nations, which is of course illegal.
The UN was waiting for an investigation to be carried out at the site of the airstrikes by agents of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The ‘retaliatory’ airstrikes may have hampered that investigation, especially as one of the sites hit by British planes was reputedly an abandoned factory that ‘just happened’ to be what the OPCW agents had been planning to use as a temporary base from which to work.
Early analysis by Robert Fisk of The Independent, who interviewed medical personnel in Douma, found that there were no symptoms among the victims consistent with exposure to chlorine gas. Instead, they all showed symptoms of hypoxia i.e. they had been breathing in too much brick dust thrown into the air by conventional warheads.
When the OPCW team of engineers, headed by Ian Henderson, a South African weapons inspector of over twenty years’ standing at the organisation, carried out their analysis of the strikezone, they found clear indications that what evidence there was of chlorine being used in the original attack appeared to have been planted manually, and not dropped from aircraft.
Since that time, people at the top of the OPCW have gone to extraordinary lengths to bury Henderson’s report; the findings were not even mentioned during an address to the UN Security Council on the Douma attack in the spring of 2019. Henderson’s report was leaked online a few weeks later, and the OPCW, while admitting it is genuine, have increasingly turned to attacking and trying to discredit Henderson – their own long-serving agent.
The growing worry is that the political neutrality of the OPCW has been compromised, and that it is now tailoring any findings in relation to Syria, to conform to US and British anti-Assad narratives.
This week, the OPCW’s original Director-General, José Bustani – forced out in 2002 for refusing to endorse US narratives about ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ in Ba’athist Iraq – addressed the Security Council in an online conference. He expressed great alarm at the organisation’s damaged credibility, and possibly corrupt misconduct. Western mainstream media has blacked out all coverage of Bustani’s testimony. However, thanks to Aaron Maté of the Grayzone, the full text is available. Please click here to learn what Bustani has to say.
Grayzone have also provided a video summarising the whole of the Security Council conference; –
Note how blatantly the US and British ambassadors evade discussion of the evidence and just relentlessly cast unproven aspersions on the motives of the whistle-blowers.
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