Second Whistleblower Emerges from Investigation into Douma Chemical Attack

Caitlin Johnstone flags a report about another member of the OPCW investigation who says his findings, which contradicted the official conclusions, were suppressed.   

By Caitlin Johnstone

During a recent BBC radio interview, award-winning journalist Jonathan Steele said that he attended a briefing by a new whistleblower from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation into an alleged 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria, who claimed that the OPCW suppressed his findings which contradicted the organization’s official conclusion that a chlorine gas attack had taken place. This, according to Steele, is a second whistleblower coming forward on the OPCW’s Douma investigation, the first being the leaker of an Engineering Assessment document which surfaced in May contradicting the OPCW’s official ballistics report which the organization hid from the public.

I have archived an audio recording of Steele’s statement here for posterity, since the BBC removes its content after a month. I have also compiled a timeline of relevant events here so that people can properly appreciate the significance of these new revelations.

Steele made these comments unbidden by the show’s host Paul Henley. They read as follows (thanks to Tim Hayward of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media for the transcript):

Jonathan Steele: I was in Brussels last week … I attended a briefing by a whistleblower from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He was one of the inspectors who was sent out to Douma in Syria in April last year to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people. He claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there …

Paul Henley: And?

JS: … and he found that there was no difference. So it rather suggested there was no chemical gas attack, because in the buildings where the people allegedly died there was no extra chlorinated organic chemicals than in the normal streets elsewhere. And I put this to the OPCW for comment, and they haven’t yet replied. But it rather suggests that a lot of this was propaganda…

PH: Propaganda led by?

JS: … led by the rebel side to try and bring in American planes, which in fact did happen. American, British and French planes bombed Damascus a few days after these reports. And actually this is the second whistle blower to come forward. A few months ago there was a leaked report by the person who looked into the ballistics, as to whether these cylinders had been dropped by planes, looking at the damage of the building and the damage on the side of the cylinders. And he decided, concluded, that the higher probability was that these cylinders were placed on the ground, rather than from planes.

PHThis would be a major revelation…

JS:… it would be a major revelation …

PH: … given the number of people rubbishing the idea that these could have been fake videos at the time.

JS: Well, these two scientists, I think they’re non-political – they wouldn’t have been sent to Douma, if they’d had strong political views, by the OPCW. They want to speak to the Conference of the Member States in November, next month, and give their views, and be allowed to come forward publicly with their concerns. Because they’ve tried to raise them internally and been – they say they’ve been – suppressed, their views have been suppressed.

Steele appears to be referring to a Courage Foundation panel meeting which convened in Brussels on Oct. 5, the findings of which were published the other day by the Courage Foundation and WikiLeaks, though it’s possible the briefing he refers to was a separate Brussels event around the same time. I’ve been unable to reach Steele for comment but will update with clarification if I can contact him.

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They are lying to us about what’s happening Syria. Shortly after the political/media class began blaring that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had killed dozens of civilians with chemical weapons in April of last year, Grayzone‘s Max Blumenthal wrote the following in an article for TruthDig:

“In 2007, journalist James Bamford recalled how Americans had been subjected to ‘a long line of hyped and fraudulent stories that would eventually propel the U.S. into a war with Iraq — the first war based almost entirely on a covert propaganda campaign targeting the media.’ The dirty war on Syria represents an extension of that strategy, with the mainstream media operating hand in glove with insurgent-allied influence operations like the White Helmets to cultivate public support for another war of regime change.”

Indeed, the narrative manipulation campaign against the Syrian government is historically unprecedented in its depth and scale. From bizarre narrative management operations posing as rescue services, to the BBC’s manipulative and transparently bogus “Saving Syria’s Children” documentary, to the U.S.-centralized empire’s increasingly evident influence over the OPCW, we’re seeing evidence of a campaign to distort the public understanding of what’s going on in a foreign nation the likes of which we’ve never before seen.

Stay skeptical and remember Iraq. These new reports which keep surfacing on unacceptable practices by the OPCW are just one more piece on a mountain of evidence that whenever the political/media class and their hypnotized victims try to bully us into accepting the official narrative about a longtime target for regime change, we should stand firm and insist on an amount of proof which rises to the level required in a post-Iraq invasion world.

The OPCW has a lot of questions to answer, especially since its findings have been cited as authoritative and conclusive in other high-profile events like the U.K. Skripal poisoning, as well as other incidents in Syria. Journalists like Steele and La Repubblica’s Stefania Maurizi have reported that the organization has been snubbing their requests for comment. Let’s hope the OPCW stops dodging journalists and moves toward bringing transparency and accountability to its processes.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” 

This article was re-published with permission.

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14 comments for “Second Whistleblower Emerges from Investigation into Douma Chemical Attack

  1. Dario Zuddu
    November 1, 2019 at 04:55

    A truly great contribution.
    Thank you, Caitlin, and all the investigative journalists and brave whistleblowers who helped to expose this.
    We have known for a long time that the Syrian opposition and MSM press propaganda had manipulated the narrative concerning real or alleged chemical attacks in Syria.
    Nobody remembers anymore – and certainly MSM does not encourage anyone to – that MIT ballistics specialists, not Assad or Putin, demonstrated conclusively that the notorious chemical attack in Ghouta of August 2013, immediately attributed to Assad by Western hysteria, and which was widely expected to trigger a US led invasion, could not possibly come from government forces, which were not close enough to the hitting point at the time.
    As Bamford correctly suggests, the public should get accustomed to the idea that false flag operations have always been used to provoke politically motivated conflicts and are actually a routine strategic tool deployed by most professional intelligence and military organizations.
    Incidentally, we owe to James Bamford the discovery of the official government documents regarding the notorious Northwoods operation, an early 1962 plan of highly provocative, including murderous activities devised to get a pretext to invade Cuba.
    Concerned readers may want to have a look at it to get an idea of how governments actually operate.

    • November 2, 2019 at 04:38

      We all new it was bullshit! Well summed up Dario.

  2. Fran Cisco
    October 31, 2019 at 15:16

    After so many decades and the millions of murders of the Pox Americana, isn’t it time for most of the nations of the world, just about all those outside North America and Western Europe, to move their United Nations well away from the USA?

  3. Raymond Comeau
    October 31, 2019 at 11:49

    Why, when lies like this ( by an Organization like the (OPCW) are exposed, aren’t that Organization and its members arrested and jailed for telling lies to start or continue a war against an innocent country.

    This behavior has been going on for years (if not centuries) and ‘we the people’ are forced to accept the lies. The USA is famous for its lies which are used to start wars or continue wars. Alle the liars should be outed and jailed for life.

    • Hank
      October 31, 2019 at 14:23

      Yeps . . . pretty frustrating to be an island in a sea of ignorance! And then to have that sea of ignorance scream “conspiracy theorist, un-American, loony tunes” when you try and present fact-based DOCUMENTED evidence! That’s what happens when you drop a turd(Hillary Clinton) into the punch bowl of America! At least I was correct in voting for someone like Trump mainly because he was the only horse that could keep Hillary’s fingers off the Red Button! Imagine what her administration would have done if it came to staging false flag chemical attacks. Syria would have been carpet-bombed the likes we would have never seen in history I am sure. Even Trump’s response of missiles sent into Syria I feel was a compromise to the war dogs wanting full escalation. Only a moron would believe that Assad/Putin would offer a “justification” for an all-out attack on Syria when Syria was finally WINNING over the nightmarish scenario imposed on it by USA/Israel and Co. for almost eight years, and in close proximity to UN Weapons Inspectors! People that run in marathons and get near the finish line in first place generally don’t break the rules to disqualify themselves right in front of the race authorities. But dim-witted and dumbed down American allows these grotesque and obvious lies to be promulgated as “official truth” and that is totally sickening to this INFORMED American taxpayer!

  4. Jeff Harrison
    October 31, 2019 at 11:30

    “Let’s hope the OPCW stops dodging journalists and moves toward bringing transparency and accountability to its processes.”

    Not much hope for that, Caitlin. The fix is in the American empire’s narrative must be accepted.

  5. October 31, 2019 at 10:40

    The United States in its recent years of hyper-aggressive behavior has worked hard to either silence or compromise major international organizations.

    The UN in general, UNESCO in particular, the ICC, OPCW, WTO, and more.

    The ICC was actually threatened. The United States owes the UN about a billion dollars in back dues.

    The barbarians are at the gates of international organizations and cooperation, and the flag they fly is the good old Stars and Stripes.

    • Steve Abbott
      October 31, 2019 at 15:31

      Not to neglect the UN agency for human rights, who have opted to produce politically biased reports on Venezuela while delaying, burying, and finally neglecting the reporting of its own raporteur, Alfred de Zayas.

  6. Dfnslblty
    October 31, 2019 at 09:59

    Thank you CJ.
    “Stay skeptical and remember Iraq. ”
    And for your archiving.

  7. Noah Way
    October 31, 2019 at 09:55

    A whistleblower – squash the story, launch the drones, send Seal Team 6!

  8. Sally Snyder
    October 31, 2019 at 08:08

    Here is an article that looks at how the Pentagon treats the whistleblowers in its ranks:

    Washington does whatever it can to ensure that its narrative remains intact while the truth remains well hidden from sight.

    • evelync
      October 31, 2019 at 14:09

      It seems to me that we – the taxpayer and voter/citizen who are not part of the power structure – are considered the real enemy from whom the truth must be concealed at all costs, especially when wrongdoing needs to be kept quiet.

      I’ve concluded that the overriding agenda of the power apparatus including intelligence agencies serves the banking sector and the fossil fuel sector,and other powerful groups – e.g. the banana consortium in the 19th century. That’s why war is always the answer; third world countries are brought to their knees by/for the banking sector; and coups are frequent to put a compliant crony in office….

      Shortsighted predatory foreign policies that are unsustainable and make us less safe are not open for public discussion.
      Treat us like mushrooms – keep us in the dark and shovel shit on us from time to time…..

  9. Eugenie Basile
    October 31, 2019 at 04:40

    Conclusion: The OPCW is just another propaganda tool of the warmongering hawks.

  10. exiled off mainstreet
    October 30, 2019 at 23:39

    Caitlin Johnstone has done effective work exposing the exercise of imperialist influence against these nominally independent international organizations.

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