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 this past 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.
Here's British journalist Jonathan Steele on the BBC saying he was in attendance at the OPCW/Douma panel and witnessed a new OPCW whistleblower say his findings were suppressed on the absence of evidence for chlorine gas use on the scene in Syria. pic.twitter.com/JRdGAEnlVf
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) October 27, 2019
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.
PH: This 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.
Huge news: a *2nd* OPCW whistleblower has emerged over Douma attack in April 2018. 1st WB leaked an engineering assessment that challenged OPCW conclusion of Assad gov't responsibility. This new WB was *on the ground in Douma.* Both WBs want to speak out. https://t.co/tHkYdEwk4O pic.twitter.com/2tQHvpIpws
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) October 27, 2019
Steele appears to be referring to a Courage Foundation panel meeting which convened in Brussels on October 15th, 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.
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 CNN staging a fake, scripted interview featuring a seven year-old Syrian girl blaming Assad for a chemical weapons attack, to the BBC’s manipulative and transparently bogus Saving Syria’s Children documentary, to the US-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 UK 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.
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Chico / October 30, 2019
We are living in the Matrix. Sociopaths have constructed it to control us. It’s working.
Neville J. Angove / October 30, 2019
It is surprising (or not) that so many screenwriters have swallowed the fake news about Syrian gas attacks (as well as emphasizing the majority practises non-heterosexual activities).
Jak Siemasz / October 29, 2019
Your response please to:
Gezzah Potts / October 30, 2019
Jak Siemasz….. How sad you believe the garbage put out by this disgusting propaganda outfit. You’re either very gullible or you’re a paid troll. If it’s the former, I kindly suggest you wake up.
Gezzah Potts / October 29, 2019
Bit off topic, sorry…. BREAKING News *** Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone was arrested in a Swat style raid on his home on Oct 25th, held in jail for 2 days, and denied access to a phone, or contact with his Attorney.
It was due to a trumped up (no pun) charge of assault laid by a Venezuelan opposition figure 5 months ago.
If anyone here dosn’t think we are heading for a Fascist dystopia…. then think again.
Look at what they’re doing to Julian Assange, look at what just happened to Max Blumenthal, look at the cyber attacks on various dissident websites and Facebook pages, look at things like PropOrNot….
These evil bastards want our voices silenced.
ron campbell / October 28, 2019
Mr. Danny Haiphong says:
The United States ruling class worships at the alter of endless austerity and war. Common sense under the dictates of United States. empire sanctifies narratives of American exceptionalism and demonizes any challenge to corporate power. Ruling institutions in the United States ideologically condition workers and oppressed people to worship at the very same alter as the rulers who rob, imprison, and force them into an alienated existence. Capitalist property owners and their hirelings in Washington,D.C. have complete control and influence over the so-called “mass media,” which is nothing but a profit-driven enterprise that regurgitates the so-called common sense of the ruling elites. The same could be said about the university system and the education system at large.
Ort / October 28, 2019
The OPCW’s Douma and Skripal “investigations” are compromised and fraudulent; like the “Joint Investigation Team (JIT)” MH-17 investigation, they’re part of a series of Western official whitewashes, cover-ups, and decoys. FWIW, here’s a comment on the subject I wrote earlier this year in response to a similar story about JIT’s shenanigans:
Such investigations are the latest iteration, or a special case, of a related phenomenon: regulatory capture. As accurately defined by Wikipedia: “Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.”
Roman poet Juvenal’s timeless question comes to mind: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (Who watches the watchers?)
The gradual capture of US government regulatory agencies metastasized during this century. However, apart from a government’s domestic regulatory agencies, there are nominally-independent private international and intergovernmental authorities established to oversee financial, scientific, and technical endeavors in accordance with objective high standards– e.g., NIST, OPCW, and in finance, the “Big Accounting” agencies.
When the Enron scandal broke, there was major collateral damage: one of the “Big Five” accounting firms, Arthur Andersen, proved to be so complicit and culpable in Enron’s fraudulent skulduggery that it was forced to go out of business; its vaunted trustworthy independence proved to be a self-serving myth.
These ancillary agencies are, or were, trusted to provide independent, dispassionate investigation and scrutiny, without fear or favor, in their various disciplines. This high-minded mandate notwithstanding, the above-mentioned scientific and technical authorities have issued shamelessly contrived, thoroughly politicized reports on controversial events, e.g. NIST’s report on the still-mysterious events of 9/11/2001, the OPCW investigation into the fake “Syrian chemical weapons attack” in Douma, and the entirely bogus allegations of the use of “Russian military-grade chemical weapons” in the Skripal farce.
The Mueller Report in the US and the JIT investigation of the MH-17 aircraft downing also exemplify this metastasizing, malignant “Ministry of Truth” ethos.
All of these ostensibly scrupulously neutral reports corroborated dubious or frankly incredible official government narratives used to justify the governments’ heinous policies and practices. And, except for the OPCW Syria cover-up, the common denominator is that the reports all directly accuse the Russian government of heinous criminal conduct.
I would say “now pull the other one”, but everything pullable has long since been pulled.
ron campbell / October 28, 2019
Some quotes from two articles and their links for your perusal:
Whenever Washington,D.C.s political class has descended into name-calling and smearing based on clueless prejudice and paranoia, and whenever the stark truth of the United States of Americas criminal war-making is roundly rejected – indeed twisted to demonize truth-tellers like Ms Tulsi Gabbard – then we surely know that the USA now stands for the United States of [Mental] Asylum.
It is no secret that just as China began outpacing the United States of Americans in African investment in 2007. Rather than acting intelligently to increase genuine infrastructure funding as the Chinese had done, the United States Deep State not only continued its outdated debt-slavery practices, but created AFRICOM as a military arm across the continent.
Khatika / October 28, 2019
The best cover for crime is to establish watchdog organizations that condone your crimes. A perfect example is the SEC. Another is the credit rating agencies. All colluding together.
EricT / October 28, 2019
The OPCW fabricators and collaborators are WAR CRIMINALS and all of them should hang.
Pat K California / October 28, 2019
Here are a few other items you could stand to archive: Robert Fisk and an American reporter, Pearson Sharp, both drove into Douma within a few days of the alleged chemical weapons attack … and found no indication, from talking to dozens of residents, that any chemical attack had taken place:
Plus, I have a memory of one little boy who appeared in the bogus video. He was later found in Douma and testified that he had no idea why he was being hosed down with water all of a sudden by a bunch of guys wielding video cameras. I’m sure links could be found to this little boy, too.
John / October 28, 2019
Well what did you expect. It is all part of the most corrupt “Intergovernmental” panel in the world. The OPCW is subsidiary to the UN. It is the same as the IPCC on climate change. It is aptly described as “a famously corrupt body in which most votes are controlled by kleptocracies and outright dictatorships. Most of the member-states, as they’re called, are rated as either “not free” or “partly free” by Freedom House” It is “dominated by despots with appalling human rights records.” Other organisations have described it as a “diseased body of unelected and corrupted socialist/globalists”,” No matter how undemocratic, sparsely-populated, or terrorism-promoting a nation happens to be, it can be a member of the UN” – What do we then expect from such a bunch of globalist Marxists?
pretzelattack / October 29, 2019
the opcw has zero to do with the ipcc, and the un is far from “marxist”–they do seem to have been captured to some extent by the neoliberals/conservatives, though–by getting rid of honest people by threatening their children, for example, and installing hacks.
rod coombes / October 28, 2019
I am appalled at how the BBC has dissolved into a government propaganda machine over the past ten years.The daily four items of ‘Islam Bad’ agenda became clockwork bit now we can a hear how ‘journalists’ at the BBC actually create state-controlled narrative pieces.It’ a joke, and a tragedy.America and Britain most certainly work in unison on these ‘narratives’ as part of the so called public conditioning as to the Special Relationship, which is clearly pro-Zionism.I am surprised Bamford managed to escape their control.
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg / October 29, 2019
This is exactly what the BBC was created to be. That’s its function. It enjoyed a brief period of editorial distance from state policy, but Tony Blair brought them to heel. I seem to recall a threat to funding and some protests by journalists. They quesioned the Iraq War narrative and Tony and Gordon tugged hard on the leash. A Brit would remember it better, I’m sure.
Elisa / October 28, 2019
OPCW still has credibility?
Interesting that BBC has a ‘memory hole’ policy where content gets removed quickly. Got to make sure that no plebes come along and discover that Oceania used to be at war with EastAsia who became great friends over one night, while Eurasia suddenly became our friends. Kinda like how Al Qaida used to be our enemy.
Roy / October 28, 2019
You really hit the ball out of the park this time. How soon will the Zionists be here to hound you? Keep it up! Never slow down.
Amy Abeyta / October 28, 2019
Caitlin, you rock.
ron campbell / October 28, 2019
It will not help Mr. Assange but it might comfort some of his supporters that his betrayer is catching hell right now. They call him ” Judas “.
Ort / October 28, 2019
Since I’m a devoted JRR Tolkien fan, I call the vile, odious Lenin Moreno “The Jailor of Mordor”.
Lloyd / October 28, 2019
We must respond, we must respond, we must respond… quick before the truth comes out! 1. Why do evil people with evil intentions resort to false flag attacks? 2. Because they always work to manipulate things their way!
Robyn / October 28, 2019
If only we had a whistle-blower to tell us what happened to the Skripals. There may be more light thrown onto it but the Durham investigation tracking down the origins of Russiagate. We live in hope …