Read in conjunction with the article by the Institute for Public Accuracy, Caitlin Johnstone examines in detail the truth behind this extraordinary and murky story.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Published on the author’s blog, May 22, 2019
The Institute for Public Accuracy published a report today about the leaked engineering assessment from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria which directly contradicts the findings of the official OPCW report on the matter. Until the unauthorized release of this internal document the public was kept entirely uninformed of its existence, despite the serious military consequences of the questions it raises; the official story that the Syrian government had dropped chemical weapons in Douma was used to justify an airstrike on Syria days later.
MIT professor Theodore Postol provided IPA with a basic analysis of some of the data in the engineering assessment, adding that he “will have a much more detailed summary of the engineering report later this week.”
“A second issue that is raised by the character of the OPCW engineering report on Douma is that it is entirely unmentioned in the report that went to the UN Security Council,” Postol concludes after his analysis. “This omission is very serious, as the findings of that report are critical to the process of determining attribution. There is absolutely no reason to justify the omission of the engineering report in the OPCW account to the UN Security Council as its policy implications are of extreme importance.”
“A leaked OPCW document challenges claim that Assad used chemical weapons in Douma in April 2018, the basis for US military strikes,” tweeted journalist Aaron Maté of the new IPA report. “So far, Western media has ignored it, w/ only exceptions at the margins. Ted Postol is a leading expert; this should be impossible to ignore now.”
Hours later, the US State Department issued a statement once again accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, and now when you search Google for information on chemical weapons in Syria, the results you get look like this:
So that’s convenient.
The State Department’s release actually reads like a government trying to regain control of an important narrative. It begins with an unsubstantiated allegation of a chlorine gas attack by the Syrian government this past Sunday, and warns that the US and its allies will respond militarily if chemical weapons have been used. It condemns the Syrian government’s offensive to recapture the Al Qaeda-occupied Idlib province, then veers off into sheer narrative management, accusing the Russian government of lying about the White Helmets and citing the OPCW as a trustworthy source of authority:
Russia’s recent allegations against the White Helmets and others are part of a continuing disinformation campaign by the Assad regime and Russia to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting. Similarly, on November 24, 2018, the Assad regime and Russia attempted to fabricate a chemical weapons attack near Aleppo and blame it on opposition forces. At times, Russia and the Assad regime have made these false allegations as a pretext in advance of the Assad regime’s own barbaric chemical weapons attacks.
The facts, however, are clear: the Assad regime itself has conducted almost all verified chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in Syria—a conclusion the United Nations has reached over and over again. The former Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigation Mechanism repeatedly verified and reported the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. The Assad regime’s culpability in horrific chemical weapons attacks is undeniable.
As I wrote the other day, the fact that the OPCW kept the engineering report from receiving not a whisper of attention severely undermines the organization’s credibility, not just with regard to Douma but with regard to everything, including the establishment Syria narrative as a whole and the Skripal case in the UK. Everything the OPCW has ever concluded about alleged chemical usage around the world is now subject to very legitimate skepticism, and now the State Department is trying to use this same dubious source in its narrative control campaign against a government long targeted by the US empire for regime change.
#Assad once again proving he's either a total fool or just the biggest troll in history.
— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) May 22, 2019
“Assad once again proving he’s either a total fool or just the biggest troll in history,” Off-Guardiantweeted sarcastically in response to the State Department’s allegations. “In the midst of the scandal over the OPCW repressing evidence that the Douma chemical attack was staged, Bashar just goes and does another one.”
“The US can’t attack Iran so it’s going to unleash its impotent rage on Syria,” tweeted journalist Sharmine Narwani. “One false flag CW attack by US-trained terrorists coming up.”
The notion that the Syrian government would use chemical weapons at this stage in the game is even more nonsensical than it was at the time of the Douma allegations in April 2018. President Bashar al-Assad has recaptured far more territory from the western-backed extremist factions, the eventual full recapture of the nation by Syria and its allies is a foregone conclusion barring direct military intervention by the US empire, and now the western imperialists are even beginning to lose the narrative war as well. There’s no reason to believe Assad would use chemical weapons at this point in the game unless you sincerely believe that he gains some sort of sexual gratification from committing war crimes that is so powerful it overwhelms his most basic survival instincts.
Chemical weapons, particularly chlorine gas, are not an efficient way of killing people. As Moon of Alabama once put it, “Chemical warfare is ineffective. That is why everyone agreed to ban it.” There is nothing about chemical weapons that is inherently more horrific than, say, nuclear weapons; the difference is that they’re just not a very efficient way of killing a large number of people, whereas nuclear weapons are. The Syrian government and its allies have been securing military victory after military victory over the occupying militias which had taken over large territories, and they have been doing so using far more effective conventional munitions. Assad would stand absolutely nothing to gain and absolutely everything to lose by using chemical warfare now.
A leaked OPCW document challenges claim that Assad used chemical weapons in Douma in April 2018, the basis for US military strikes. So far, Western media has ignored it, w/ only exceptions at the margins. Ted Postol is a leading expert; this should be impossible to ignore now: https://t.co/jaQlyjKy6g
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) May 21, 2019
At this point you almost wish America would just pick a target and stick with it. The US war machine is like a belligerent drunk at a pub with a broken bottle in his hand, menacing customer after customer while everyone silently prays he has a few more drinks and passes out on the floor. From Iran to Venezuela to Syria and more, the agenda to bully all the world’s nations into allowing themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire is causing conflict after conflict all around the globe, with devastating consequences for the civilians caught in the crossfire.
You may be certain that Syria remains a geostrategically crucial location for the empire because they keep working on manufacturing consent for interventionism there. They work to manufacture that consent because they need that consent; if everyone saw their government doing horrific things they widely disapproved of, the illusion of freedom and democracy would be shattered, and they’d lose their ability to propagandize the masses. Without the ability to propagandize the masses, they could not rule.
So the good news is that we can slow them down by using truth to disrupt their use of their narrative control arsenal. The bad news is that they’re as depraved and determined as ever.