It has been about a week since the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) published a leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. The document, whose authenticity the OPCW has confirmed, contends that the official story which was used to justify an air strike by the US, UK and France about poison gas being dropped on civilians from Syrian government helicopters is scientifically implausible, saying “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.”

The document, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident”, was signed by a man named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018. The OPCW hid this information from the public, for reasons it has yet to attempt to justify.

The fact that a longtime OPCW-trained investigator wildly dissented with the OPCW’s official conclusions within the OPCW’s own investigation should obviously have been made public knowledge, and this revelation should obviously have made headline news throughout the western media. Instead, it’s been completely ignored. Only a few alternative media outlets and the usual Russian publications have covered it.

“According to ProQuest database, [Peter] Hitchens’ piece is the only mention in any UK corporate newspaper so far,” tweeted media analysis site Media Lens yesterday.

So there’s a total media blackout on this story from the usual plutocratic news outlets, which is a huge story in and of itself. Just as significantly, the less well-known propagandists who are typically the first to attack any argument which casts doubt on the “Assad is a child-gassing monster who must be stopped at all cost” imperial narrative have been incredibly feeble in their attempts to dispute this new revelation.

Bellingcat is a pro-NATO narrative management firm which has defended ridiculous Syria regime change propaganda like the Bana Alabed psyop, and is consistently elevated with fawning puff pieces and collaborative  reports from major mass media outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times. As of this writing it has published absolutely nothing on the Engineering Assessment. Nothing for, nothing against. Nothing. The outlet’s incredibly shady founder, Eliot Higgins, has responded to this new revelation by pinning a tweet citing a completely baseless theory that the WGSPM “got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.”

“This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I’m hearing. Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee,” Higgins tweeted with a link to a Medium article by UK reporter and virulent Syria regime change cheerleader Brian Whitaker, adding, “This is why the Syrian Propaganda Group needs to work on verifying things it decides to republish, even if it fits with their attempts to deny chemical weapon use in Syria, otherwise they just get played by people with their own agenda.”

The silliness of this argument was pointed out by journalist Aaron Maté, who responded, “What ‘reporting’? He’s citing rumors that he acknowledges are ‘not confirmed.’ Regardless, the document comes from OPCW, as Whitaker’s update notes. The question now is whose findings are accurate — and there’s nothing in this article that challenges the leaked findings.”

Maté highlighted portions of the text that Higgins shared from Whitaker’s article, which I will put in bold here:

“One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM. The suggestion (again, not confirmed) is that this was a way of extending his contract at the OPCW. If true, it might explain how he appeared to be working with the FFM while not (according to the OPCW press office) actually being part of it.”

Even if all of the completely unconfirmed things Whitaker is speculating are true, it wouldn’t actually negate the importance of the Engineering Assessment; this is merely an attempt to divert attention from the message to the messenger. And, again, this was a post that Higgins pinned to the top of his Twitter profile. It was his very best argument.

It is not terribly surprising that Higgins has struggled to address this new revelation, partly because there’s not much ground upon which for him to do so, and partly because in the midst of an online debate in the wake of the alleged Douma attacks he already conceded that one of the gas cylinders may have been manually placed where it was photographed.

“Again, you’re assuming it was photographed in its original resting place and not moved. Keep up,” Higgins tweeted following the April 2018 incident in response to someone questioning the strange placement and circumstances of one of the cylinders. It was lying on an unbroken bed in relatively good condition and people were rightly perplexed as to why it hadn’t shattered the bed base upon impact.

Idrees Ahmad, a particularly loathsome anti-Assad regime change propagandist who has smoothly transitioned into an anti-Maduro regime change propagandist as well when the US empire focused its crosshairs on Venezuela, has had similar difficulty in addressing the leaked document. Ahmad flipped out and posted dozens of tweets in response to Susan Sarandon sharing my article about the OPCW’s admission that the Henderson report is legitimate. His arguments range in brilliance from falsely claiming that I am an “Australian fascist”, to repeatedly arguing that Henderson’s conclusions differ from the official OPCW report (duh), to repeatedly regurgitating Higgins’ aforementioned baseless argument about Henderson being a “disgruntled OPCW employee”.

So they’ve really got nothing. There is no actual argument to be made that the OPCW had any business keeping the public in the dark about a dissenting assessment about the Douma incident signed by a longtime OPCW investigator. Or if there is I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been looking in all the usual places one might expect such an argument to appear.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the Douma incident. The leaked document doesn’t by itself prove that the Engineering Assessment is correct and the official OPCW findings are incorrect, it just proves that there were other analyses which differed sharply with the official conclusions we’ve been permitted to see, and that we weren’t permitted to see those analyses. In a post-Iraq invasion world, this by itself is entirely unacceptable. And, rather than pushing for answers and accountability, the so-called journalists of the largest media outlets in the west are completely ignoring it.


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16 responses to “Establishment Narrative Managers Struggle With New Syria Plot Holes”

  1. First of all with regards to the topic of Establishment Narrative Management, it behooves all concerned to understand that the present incarnation of The Five Eyes are the originators of most, if not all, of their host government’s internal and external propaganda.
    As usual, this Caitlin Johnstone article stands on its own merits, so I would like to commend this latest offering on the topic of corporate MSM political meddling here in the USA by Matt Taiibi;
    Thanks again Caitlin, for everything you do.
    As Usual,

  2. The folks ” working inside the deep state ” have a grasp of just how bad it actually is!!! This article only scratches the surface:

  3. John Edward McClain Avatar
    John Edward McClain

    I am a fifty year professional mechanic, engineer, electronics tech, with two decades in the Marines working on avionics, and every other aspect of helicopters and jets.
    I laughed my ass off, at the “proclamation of government weapons” the moment they were displayed, (and of course, it was only a moment), they were literally, two 20 pound propane tanks, with a four foot piece of pipe welded on to provide a “tail”, with four pieces of steel plate welded at the opposite end, and four pieces of 3/8ths rebar, bout a meter long, as stays from the tank, to each “fin”.
    If the government were using chemical weapons, they’d be mass produced, with U.S. on them, like found in Iraq, exactly as we supplied, you don’t think they really lied, did you? They just didn’t say how they knew, what was there, because they gave it to Hussein to use against Iran.
    People have to want to believe in “the white helmets”, “the gas bombs”, “gas attacks”, because anyone with any experience watching film or movies of the Great War, knows exactly what actually happens with such attacks, you don’t wear flip flops to clean them up.
    It’s time to quit even taking the fake news, seriously, and get on to ridiculing their vapid efforts that aren’t even up to juvenile, quality. As a teen, I was better at making “fake bombs” than whoever made those for the U.S. government. I won’t swear to the diameter of the rebar, but every other spec was dead on.
    He apparently was the only inspector there, willing to see, and say what he saw. It’s that simple, and we have to shove it down throats, and play the videos forcibly, if necessary.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    Vanceboro, NC, USA

  4. Caitlin. Thank you for your work, you are an inspiration.

  5. The demons of our age-some of whom disguise themselves as politicians-delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism. Overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness. – John W. Whitehead

  6. The details Caitlin reveals of the operations of the “Ministry of Truth” are fascinating, but entirely predictable. Once one understands the venal motives of those putting out the “news” it is entirely logical how they go about concocting their false version of reality designed to manipulate the thinking and behavior of the mostly noncritical public. Too bad it’s so difficult to educate that public to develop critical thinking. The blind are leading the blind over the cliff and into their extinction……

  7. Don’t forget that the August 27, 2013 gas attack in Ghouta was also questioned by credible critics, namely Theodor Postol and Richard Lloyd:
    Dr. Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus of science, technology, and national-security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who once served as a scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon.
    Richard Lloyd was an experienced member of the U.N. weapons inspection group.
    In a letter Postol also questioned the Khan Shaykun incident which was the excuse for the targeting of multiple Syrian sites with cruise missiles, as concluded by a hasty Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report on that matter, interestingly not corroborated by intelligence ‘community’ analysts.
    Here is an excerpt:
    Dear Larry: I am responding to your distribution of what I understand is a White House statement claiming intelligence findings about the nerve agent attack on April 4, 2017 in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. My understanding from your note is that this White House intelligence summary was released to you sometime on April 11, 2017. I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017. In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4. This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House. However, if one assumes, as does the White House, that the source of the sarin was from this location and that the location was not tampered with, the most plausible conclusion is that the sarin was dispensed by an improvised dispersal device made from a 122 mm section of rocket tube filled with sarin and capped on both sides. The only undisputable facts stated in the White House report is the claim that a chemical attack using nerve agent occurred in Khan Shaykhun, Syria on that morning. Although the White House statement repeats this point in many places within its report, the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity. The report instead repeats observations of physical effects suffered by victims that with very little doubt indicate nerve agent poisoning. The only source the document cites as evidence that the attack was by the Syrian government is the crater it claims to have identified on a road in the North of Khan Shaykhun. I have located this crater using Google Earth and there is absolutely no evidence that the crater was created by a munition designed to disperse sarin after it is dropped from an aircraft. The Google Earth map shown in Figure 1 at the end of this text section shows the location of that crater on the road in the north of Khan Shaykhun, as described in the White House statement. The data cited by the White House is more consistent with the possibility that the munition was placed on the ground rather than dropped from a plane. This conclusion assumes that the crater was not tampered with prior to the photographs. However, by referring to the munition in this crater, the White House is indicating that this is the erroneous source of the data it used to conclude that the munition came from a Syrian aircraft.

    Assessment of White House April 17, 2017 Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017 Page 2 of 14 Pages
    Analysis of the debris as shown in the photographs cited by the White House clearly indicates that the munition was almost certainly placed on the ground with an external detonating explosive on top of it that crushed the container so as to disperse the alleged load of sarin. Since time appears to be of the essence here, I have put together the summary of the evidence I have that the White House report contains false and misleading conclusions in a series of figures that follow this discussion. Each of the figures has a description below it, but I will summarize these figures next and wait for further inquiries about the basis of the conclusions I am putting forward herein.
    There are 12 more pages.

  8. This is identical to the leaked Podesta emails situation. Nobody contests that the leaked emails were genuine. But incredibly, nobody in the MSM wanted to really discuss the details of the emails and their tremendous ramifications then, and they still don’t today. The only thing that the MSM was interested in was just exactly WHO leaked them and to boil in oil whoever leaked them. Very embarrassing for the DNC and the Deep State and their MSM.
    The same was true when the audio of the Victoria Nuland / Geoffery Pyatt conversation (in which Nuland tells Pyatt who the next prime minister of Ukraine is going to be) was revealed to the world. NOBODY in the MSM was really interested in the blatantly obvious “medding” by the US in Ukraine’s “democracy”. The one and only thing the State Department wanted to denounce was whoever it was that recorded the conversation and leaked it. Very embarrassing for the State Department.
    This is why heroes Manning and Assange are in jail and Snowden is living somewhere in Russia. No doubt the OPCW head honchos are hoping to jail whoever it was that leaked the genuine documents that prove that this gas attack was staged. Very embarrassing for those honchos AND the US AND the UK And any other heads of governements who promoted this outright lie. Do you think that all those lying bastards would apologize to Mr. Assad?
    Now, wouldn’t it be the icing on the cake if Corbyn becomes the next UK PM and reveals that the whole Skripal affair was also a staged event by British agents? Talk about em-bare-assing! Do you think that the UK government would apologize to Russia?
    And wouldn’t it also be nice if Christopher Steele is finally nailed down in a chair in front of some Congressional committee and asked under oath who his contacts were who gave him the details published in the so-called Steele Dossier, and Steele either says that he made up the whole fucking thing, or he paid somebody with a Russian last name to make up the wildest ass story he/she could imagine. And then, in the latter case, the committee (or Mr. Putin’s intelligence agencies) track down that person with the Russian last name and “ask” that person from just exactly where HE obtained that information, etc. ,until the exact source of that fairy tale is revealed, once and for all. Do you think that the US governemnt would then apologize to Russia?

  9. I am glad that I do not have to travel all over this planet explaining to people that it is the ” United States Government ” and not the ordinary populace that continually perpetrates these very evil schemes to control the world!! Hopefully the people of these United States will some day pry our government away from the clutches of Israel!!!

  10. A great introduction into the ‘rabbit hole’ and the true nature of the Anglo-Zionist empire.

  11. Another chemical/biological weapon narrative that is almost certainly manufactured is the alleged Skripal attack.
    Glaring inconsistencies in the original reporting, the fact that both Skripals survived, an obsequious media too quick to point the finger at Russians and resistant to all counter-narratives—are all strongly suggestive of a false flag op by covert operatives on behalf of the MIC.

  12. My problem is, if the MSM don’t cover it most people will continue to believe ‘Assad gassed his own people’ because they’ve heard it uncontested over and over. Presentation of that lie as fact was one of the reasons I stopped listening to or watching the ABC. And vilification of Susan Sarandon by the MSM will continue so that the honest reporting and analysis by journalists like Caitlin can never carry the day. Despair!

  13. For those who may not know Vannessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett has been doing excellent work on the ground exposing the lies of the Syrian war.

    Chemical weapons accusations are among the most overused war propaganda tactics during the war on Syria. From late 2012 to April 2018, NATO’s mouthpieces have screamed bloody chlorine or sarin. But time and again, they’ve been revealed as intellectually-challenged, supremely-unoriginal liars, to put it politely. Less shrill voices have pointed out the many occasions where so-called “rebels” had access to sarin, control over a chlorine factory, and motives for an attack to occur, among other prudent points.

    1. Yes, Orlando, you make a very important point. I have been feeling sorry for Vanessa and Eva because they have been heroically reporting from Syria for years and uncovered these MSM lies (and others lies), but they’ve barely made an impression. In fact, in one of the most outstanding hypocrisies of recent years Reporters Without Borders tried to silence Vanessa by attempting to have her conference presentation on the White Helmets cancelled. Despair!

  14. Jason Bermas, producer of Loose Change, Invisible Empire, Fabled Enemy has a new documentary on the greatest false flag of the 21st century > “They Danced That Day” > every epiphany is permanent

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