HomeArticleSyria Spinmeisters Fumble Attempts To Narrative Manage OPCW Leaks

Syria Spinmeisters Fumble Attempts To Narrative Manage OPCW Leaks

It’s been over 72 hours since The Grayzone published new leaks further exposing how the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been lying about its investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria two years ago.

These new documents make it abundantly clear that OPCW leadership were just plain lying when they claimed that a ballistics expert named Ian Henderson was not a part of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Douma and played only a “minor supporting role” there. Henderson disagrees with the organisation’s official findings implicating the Syrian government in a chlorine gas attack, finding instead that the gas cylinders on the scene were “manually placed”, indicating that the crime scene was staged and the dozens of civilians killed were the victims of a still-unsolved mass murder.

The silence on these revelations from the OPCW and its usual narrative managers has been deafening.

Peter Hitchens, one of the only high-visibility journalists to cover the OPCW scandal, tweeted when the documents first emerged: “I have today formally requested OPCW public affairs to comment on these allegations, which call into question an important statement made by the organisation’s chief and retailed by lapcat Bellingcat about the status of Inspector Ian Henderson.”

“No reply yet from OPCW public affairs, to my query about Greyzone allegations, devastating if true both to official position of OPCW and to lapcat Bellingcat,” Hitchens tweeted a day later.

This silence makes it clear that the OPCW, Bellingcat, and all the other empire-aligned propagandists responsible for managing the mainstream narrative about Syria have opted for the strategy of simply not responding to the damning leaks in order to avoid drawing attention to them. This is actually a very clever (albeit sociopathic) tactic, because western mass media have already clearly demonstrated a collective conspiracy of silence on the OPCW scandal, which is its own scandal in itself. They know they can keep these leaks out of mainstream attention, thereby nullifying their massive implications for western imperialism going forward, simply by ignoring them.

You can understand their frustration, then, when an immensely popular celebrity uses her giant platform to amplify this highly unauthorized news story.

Actress Susan Sarandon has highlighted the latest revelations in the ever-mounting OPCW scandal on Twitter, and the frantic reaction from Syria spinmeisters makes a perfect illustration of the primacy of narrative control for western warmongers.

War reporter Janine di Giovanni, whose promotion of imperialist narratives and fawning puff pieces over the White Helmets propaganda operation have seen her showered with access and awards by establishment institutions, admonished Sarandon to “refrain from talking about Syria”, making no other argument than the fact that the two have mutual celebrity acquaintances.

“Susan, you are one of my favorite actresses,” said di Giovanni in a now-deleted tweet. “We have friends in common in France via Louis Malle. Please, please refrain from talking about Syria – those of us who worked on the ground documenting war crimes for years (NOT on the regime side) find it excruciatingly. Please stop.”

Again, this is an award-winning professional reporter who frequently publishes in some of the most high-profile outlets in the world like The New York Times and The Guardian. The fact that someone so elevated and so esteemed would find it perfectly normal to publicly cite her friendship with celebrities as a reason for a Hollywood actress to be silent about western imperialism tells you everything you need to know about the state of journalism today, and the “authoritative sources” that are being amplified by Silicon Valley tech giants over voices which actually challenge power like The Grayzone.

When di Giovanni was called out for her freakish behavior, her response was to accuse every single one of her critics of being “Russian trolls” and delete her post.

Di Giovanni babbled about Russian trolls and cited her friendship with mutual celebrity friends of Sarandon because she did not have any actual facts or arguments to cite against the information Sarandon was sharing. This is because such facts and arguments do not exist. There is no legitimate reason why people should not be publicly discussing and amplifying important authentic documents, so all they’re left with is various iterations of “shut up”.

And indeed if you look at what people are saying about Sarandon’s post on Twitter right now, that is all you will find: mountains of vitriol and precisely zero facts or arguments. These people have no interest in truth, only in controlling the narrative about what’s happening in a nation that has long been targeted for regime change by the US-centralized empire.

“I’m sorry it has come to this, Susan. But having explained to you many times why your conspiracy theories are wrong, dangerous, and hurtful, I can say without a shadow of doubt that you are an idiot without a conscience,” said the despicable Idrees Ahmad, whose narrative management on Syria is so insanely aggressive that it has literally seen him threaten oppositional journalists with menacing phone calls in order to scare them away from reporting on Syria.

A quick glance through Ahmad’s previous tweets to Sarandon reveals that the reasons he has been giving her for why her “conspiracy theories are wrong” are actually “reasons” which are debunked in the very article Sarandon just shared.

“Ian Henderson, a disgruntled OPCW employee, sent his speculative assessment to the ‘Working Group’. But when the working group tried to establish his credentials, the OPCW confirmed that he was NOT part of the Fact Finding Mission,” Ahmad tweeted at Sarandon when she shared an article of mine on the Henderson leak last year.

“Did you read the OPCW statement where it says the man who wrote it is not part of the fact finding mission? Which means he had no direct access to evidence or the site,” Ahmad tweeted to Sarandon elsewhere.

Ahmad has no interest whatsoever in truth or facts, but only in trying to mitigate the damage done to the establishment narrative control agenda that Sarandon’s tweet caused. Which will surprise no one who knows anything about him.

The only narrative manager who to my knowledge has made any attempt at all to even address the contents of the new OPCW leaks has been Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins, who took the somewhat bizarre approach of telling people that they cannot see the evidence that is directly in front of their faces.

“No, it doesn’t show he was in the FFM, this issue is addressed in the OPCW report, he was asked to support the work of the FFM, but he wasn’t part of the FFM,” Higgins tweeted about Henderson under Sarandon’s post.

This claim is of course directly refuted by the leaked mission personnel list in the Grayzone article Sarandon shared which very clearly and explicitly lists Ian Henderson as “FFM” under the column labeled “Title”.

So it’s been a very revealing ride. We were lied to about Syria, and the narrative managers responsible for manipulating public perception of that lie have been falling all over themselves trying to conceal this obvious fact. Here’s hoping the truth keeps coming into the light, and that those with platforms large enough to punch through the propaganda matrix continue to do so.

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Latest comments

  • The OPCW scandal goes well beyond the OPCW itself and ultimately incriminates the nations that were pushing to frame Syria for “Weapons of Mass Destruction” usage in order to justify their April 2018 bombing and broader terror war against Syria, which has been ongoing since 2011.

    Those war criminals are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France–with help from other war criminal entities like Europe or the Anglosphere nations.

    In general, the America-driven OPCW lies against Syria are a rehash of similar WMD lies used against Iraq (like the Niger Yellowcake uranium nonsense); Iran (with its *civilian* nuclear program); and North Korea (the NK atomic bomb “threat” is a pretext for America to advance unrelated geopolitical agendas like the containment of China and Russia).

    Even the current Western allegations about the COVID-19 pandemic and the Wuhan biolab are merely a recycled variation of America’s WMD propaganda meme in general.

    It seems that WMDs are America’s and the West’s favorite Weapons of Mass Deception to rationalize their crimes around the world.

    This is the bigger picture that the USA and its Coalition of the Killing allies want to obfuscate.

  • These dudes seem to be really really really used to believing that there is such a thing as a secret. You know, like ‘classified’ as ‘secret’ or, ‘top secret’ or, ‘super duper totally not joking secret’ or, whatever.
    However, the fact is that there is no such thing as a secret. Their ‘super duper top secretness’ is exactly like a crerpy ass peeping tom trying to hide behind an open window after they have been caught being a creepy ass peeping tom. Everybody, and their mommies, can see them.

  • Yes Caitlin

    This is important, but not many are paying attention anymore.

    Understandable that the focus is on COVID-19. I have been concentrating on educating myself re: retro viruses, corona virus’s specifically. Have read 5 books since this whole thing started.

    Read a book by Laurie Garrett 20 years ago “The Coming Plague : Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance”. All these books (The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe); (Spillover: animal infections and the next human pandemic by David Quammen); (Influenza : The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Spanish Flu Pandemic by Jeremy Brown); (The Next Pandemic by Dr Ali Khan) and others have the same message.

    ALL virologists and Drs in the field knew this was coming and were “crying in the wilderness” trying to sound a warning. Not only did Laurie Garrett warn of coming plague; she warned of the collapse of global public health in a book so titled.

    So what did I learn that’s useful ? I learned that a vaccine for COVID-19 is a pipe dream. Won’t happen. Researchers have been trying to come up with effective vaccine for SARS and MERS since those outbreaks without success. In fact , based on reading the aforementioned , I would bet that COVID-19 emerged from a lab in Wuhan working on that project (funded by USA).

    Also learned that corruption, the quest for riches, has permeated the scientific community. Lots of hope for vaccine ! Can you imagine the monetary value of a vaccine patented and advertised as a protection against a global scourge ? Doesn’t matter if it works.

    Anyone who reads the history about the controversy re: who discovered aids virus and who benefited from patent will understand that this will be much more brutal. Not only individuals , but major Pharma , Health Insurance and even sovereign Nations will be invested !

  • Ms johnstone I hope you, and your readers, like this-I sure did.
    O say can you see by the rot cellulite. . .what so cynically we made. . .while Trump’s teeth were gleaming. . .Whose broad ass and psych scars were so putrid with spite. . .And the shithead’s mad glare. . .the shellac holding his hair. . .gave voice to all blight. . .and our flag was threadbare. . .
    Let’s see. . .Yes, now that the Reaper is really reapin’, really groovin’, really “rockin,” as Little President Jared said our “economy” will be doing by July. . .now is the time to reopen everyfuckingthing. Hey, baby, it’s like Bush said after 9/11—“go shopping!” Reopen all those coffee joints, all those small businesses that received zero aid from the so-called federal government because it was all lapped up by the long, lascivious, lupine tongues of the rich, like skimming fat off a stew. Please read this article here:
    ‘Let the Fish Fry Proceed!’ By Rip Rense
    https://thiscantbehappening.net/let-the-fish-fry-proceed/

  • How do we know Assad didn’t personally fly in wearing a jetpack and put the canister there himself? Has Susan Sarandon considered that? Hunh? Hunh? /facepalm

  • this is nice: nothing fake in here. it’s all kinds of stuff. love it. thank you ladies: you were heroes…like the original one who was a greek goddess. une Femme for the ages. lookher up. Hero.
    nothing is good about Syria except for the children. kids aare always good….at least good enuff.
    moms and dds i dunno.
    but one thing for SURE, is this might be the death knell of all MONARCHIES! U.S. of A-holes wasa founded upon the idea of no more monarchies and here we are buddies with Shahs and Shreeks and Salmans posing as friends in some inter-tribal or inter-religious war vs. their own neighbors…murderers Reign ’round islam.
    point out to me the fine example of Islamic Democracy and i’ll buy you a beer.
    AND if we wanted to destroy Assad–can you dig that name? I see to words in there tht summarize it all.
    We could blast his friggin’ castle into polvo if we wanted. polvois dust and to which they shall return if they live in a desert. me i prefer water… just drop my into some bucket and dump me onda street i wanna fly when i die. but instead we blast the people into dust bins. over and over we finance and supply this pointless slaughter for future wars more wars after those wars and some more wars after that one or why else do we even have a Military Industrial duplex or triplex that some dead general who became president warned us about back in 1952 or so. i dunno.
    does Is-real get it? you make war war will find you. you people already got your asses kicked once real bad and i hated that..so may jewish friends who now say we won’t let them up–EVER!–so they can kill us off again!
    referring to the Gazan prisoners i guess who live in the wolds all-time largest concentration Camp EVER…where even their caloric imports are controlled, and freedom is just another word for barely Breathing i guess.
    The religions of the middle east are all sick as far as i’m concerned and i think Jesus was trying to tell us that in so many ways. until, under ROME, his new one also became sick. pro’bly more Xians over there pulling triggers than any other…single white paternal male god believers…doing more killing. for sure…in cultures where woman can’t vote, gotta wear what we men tell ’em to…and stay barefoot and preggers in da kitchen. while us men folk go out and blow up da school yards too.
    Wanna see a good movie onthe subject? order THE STONING OF SORAYA M.

  • CIA’s whistle-blowing site Wikileaks is all unverified information.
    Majority of mainstream news is untrue,as are fake left blogs(RT most of Zerohedge )that also put out half truths to swallow lies for beliefs.
    Anyone here that does not know Govts are pathological and lie …
    well .

    • Which information that WIkileaks has provided has proven to be false? Has it released documents that were not been authentic?

      • @David: DFTT

      • Nothing Wikileaks has published has EVER been demonstrated to be false.

  • Imperial overreach was on full display this week as the United States government demanded that a pair of United States citizens – former Special Forces soldiers leading a 60-man invasion of Venezuela with the goal of fomenting a coup and-or capturing or killing that countrys elected president – be released from arrest and returned to the United States. This great article can be read here:
    US Wants Release of Two Special Forces Veterans Who Led Failed Coup Invasion of Venezuela by Dave LIndorff!
    https://thiscantbehappening.net/us-wants-release-of-two-special-forces-veterans-who-led-failed-coup-invasion-of-venezuela/

    • I think after they do their time they should have to walk to Juarez and swim the river.

  • You know, Ms Johnstone back when this nonsense started, a Canadian blogger/journalist Eva Bartlett was there, in Syria. For a brief moment, she was on the CBC; I figured recognized as pretty creditable. She said whatever happened, a chemical attack was NOT it. She posted videos on her blog, which I now follow, because it looked pretty authentic to me. Then, all this controversy started, and the OPCW narrative and I don’t think I had even heard of you. Ms Bartlett has been called terrible names and Elliot Higgins given an awful lot of credibility for google live action maps he interprets from his London flat. Ms Bartlett travels and writes what she sees; I noticed a Canadian reporter on t.v. reporting on Venezuela from Washington. I figured if Canadian reporters aren’t even going to assess situations from their actual locations, I am going to take everything they say with a grain of salt. I am sure things can be stage managed because I am surprised at my own suspicion of things, but, like I said, Ms Bartlett’s blog looked okay to me. And, I kind of look at all reporting that way. If I have a bias, it is just towards fellow Canadians; I read blogger Steve Cowan because he sounds incredibly smart but, unless I can interpret what is written, I trust nothing from anyone. In particular, I don’t trust MSM stories from anywhere else in the world when they all seem to come from New York, Washington, London, Jerusalem and Hong Kong despite where they’re reporting on. I guess the biggest clue to me about the OPCW narrative is the controversy cycles around bureaucrats in Brussels. Shouldn’t one of the story tellers be in or come from Syria? The one guy who admits to being in the country is the one under scrutiny.

    • Eva Bartlett on Syria…

  • This was a blatant hoax, one that a fifth grader could expose in ten minutes using the internet. The purported choline gas cylinder landed precisely in the center of a bed. It managed to fall through a reinforced concrete roof but was not even scratched. The alleged victims barged into Douma’s hospital with their own videographer in tow shouting “Chemical weapons attack” despite not manifesting any symptoms. Some appeared well before the alleged attack took place. Not only was it staged, it was amateurishly staged.

    From the blowing up of the Maine, the attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, the babies tossed from incubators and the weapons of mass destruction, the lies never stop and, thanks to our complicit media, they always get the job done. Thank you, Susan Sarandon, for telling the truth and exposing yourself to the abuse that always ensues.

  • Here in the Evil Empire of the United States it is ” Mother’s Day ” and we are supposed to appreciate and pay tribute to our wonderful mothers that brought us into this world and raised us. ” Motherhood ” in today’s world means many different things to many different people. I am an old man and when I was a small child women were put on a pedestal when they married and had children; those cherished days have been replaced by our ” nuclear family ” that is not a family at all. To those wonderful women raising our families we can never thank you enough; you are the bedrock of our society!

    • I, too, am an old man and remember those days. Families were much stronger back then, but we shouldn’t forget that a lot of women found that “pedestal” rather confining and demeaning. Thus many women went to work to prove a point and to seek more self-fulfillment.Today, of course, many women have to work for quite another reason: because the one-income family, below the level of the upper middle class, is no longer economically viable. The only ones on the pedestal now are the rich and the “persons” into which corporations have morphed.

  • We’ll put these tools in their place.

    Spread a truly dangerous virus—an ideological one.

    November 2024.

    We are coming. Expect us.

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/k1omyaf0r73shvk/Twenty-Twenty-four.pdf/file

    “. . . a leftist Trump. . . be afraid. . . ”
    —Neera Tanden

  • Yaaaawwwn. Wow. The gangs of Psychopaths In Charge are lying. Their Mockingbird Media cohorts are covering it up. I’m shocked. NOT!! It would be a true shock if any such ever exposed any truth at all about any of their sins. I will be surprised if Susan doesn’t get pilloried into submission.

  • I wouldn’t get carried too far away or distracted. the opcw must acknowledge that the cylinders were manually placed

    • Which will happen about the same time that NIST acknowledges that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. Let’s not hold our breath.

  • Idrees Ahmad is a lying sack of shit. May his remaining years offer him only pain and failure.

  • And the lies will just keep on coming because ” The Empire ” never backs up; never backs down; and never ever admits to anything wrong or sinister. No matter how much evidence there is revealing the truth ” The Empire ” will continue to ignore it and just keep repeating the lies forever. When OPCW reaches the point of total humiliation they will change the name of the organization and just keep on telling lies for the owners and the masters running the Evil Empire!

    • So rather than rip down the curtain let’s burn the Wizard’s palace to the ground—preferably with the Wizard still inside of course

      • Attractive idea–a part of me would love to light the match–but then again there’s that voice of Nietzsche, warning us about becoming like the monsters we fight.

        • The ” owners and the masters ” would absolutely just love it if we unwashed masses took up arms against them. They would have us killed on sight and never have to deal with anything we ever had to complain about. Violence is their weapon of choice; they love it because they are the most violent of all. Non-violence is the only tool that we have and we must use it wisely.

          • “Nonviolence is, in reality, a debate between self-defense and masochism. If you think I’ll bleed nonviolently, you’ll be sticking me for the rest of my life. But if I tell you I’ll fight back, there will be less blood. I’m for reciprocal bleeding.

            You don’t have a peaceful revolution. You don’t have a turn-the-other- cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution. Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall, saying, `I’m going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me.’ No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms singing `We Shall Overcome’? You don’t do that in a revolution. You don’t do any singing, you’re too busy swinging. I’m not going to beg for anything I deserve—I’m gonna take it.”

          • We need new words, a new national narrative, a new vision of where we are, what crimes we committed to get here, how we have managed to bring the planet to the brink of destruction and, finally, how we can salvage what remains and forge a new identity, a better and more sustainable story.

            Until then, the next few years will be messy. But filled with promise.

            The American working classes are uninterested in taking up the world- historical role that Marxist theory assigns to them. All they want is plenty of full time jobs at a living wage. Give them that, and revolutionary activists can bellow themselves hoarse without getting the least flicker of interest out of them.

            Every so often, the affluent classes lose track of this, and try to force the working classes to put up with extensive joblessness and low pay, so that affluent Americans can pocket the proceeds. This never ends well. After an interval, the working classes pick up whatever implement is handy—Andrew Jackson, the Grange, the Populist movement, the New Deal, Donald Trump—and beat the affluent classes about the head and shoulders with it until the latter finally get a clue.

            This might seem promising for Marxist revolutionaries, but it isn’t, because the Marxist revolutionaries inevitably rush in saying, in effect, ‘No, no, you shouldn’t settle for plenty of full time jobs at a living wage, you should die by the tens of thousands in an orgy of revolutionary violence so that we can seize power in your name.’ My readers are welcome to imagine the response of the American working class to this sort of rhetoric.

            But, one works at least 50 hours a week, including commute or cumulative small amounts of time thinking about work related shit, or time spent getting ready for work. We make constant sacrifices, but the wrong ones. Our sacrifices are funneled in such a way as to both increase the entrenchment of the status quo and sap our resources for attempting to overturn the existing order. We are clearly willing to sacrifice, even if we may not realize it. Our freedom and futures depend on us redirecting those sacrifices to where they are needed most, where they can be the most effective agents for change.

        • Indeed.

          We don’t live in a world full of monsters. We live in a world full of people, and some of them look like monsters to you. The problem with killing the monsters is that underneath the fog of hatred and fear most of them are still just people. So when you go monster hunting, if you’re not careful, you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good.

          It is much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy. You have to cling to this sort of image, because if you don’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happen because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told their children bedtime stories, are capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people. It is so much easier to blame it on Them. It is bleakly depressing to think that They are Us. If it is Them, then nothing is anyone’s fault. If it is Us, what does that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.

          There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.

          Evil is no faceless stranger living in a distant neighborhood. Evil has a wholesome, hometown face, with merry eyes and an open smile. Evil walks among us, wearing a mask which looks like all our faces.

        • And we prefer the “non-scorched-earth” option. But you throw it away from the start and you’ve pulled an Obama.

          A porcupine has quills for its own protection, it does not go around stabbing people for no reason. Nor do its quills, however impressive they may seem, guarantee invulnerability. They display a message, they provide a defensive shield, they can be used as a weapon, they can continue to do damage even after the porcupine perishes. They make there be a cost to an attack; violence comes with a price.

  • Multinational organization answer to no one and never will. They should all be dispersed starting with the WHO, United Nations, NATO and all the rest. Stop looking for justice, it eill not be found.

    • We agree. They have been corrupted (or rotted from the start) by corporations and their paid-for imperialist politicians. Let’s punch some real fascists where it really hurts.

      Justice must be seized by the people.

  • From a “magic bullet,” to the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” when I was a kid, to the more recent completely fabricated war propaganda of the Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD’s, Gaddafi’s viagra fueled rape camps and Assad is gassing his own people for kicks – it’s ALL WAR PROPAGANDA – 24/7 & 365 days a year.

    All brought to us by a system so throughly amoral, lawless and violent that most of us can’t really get our heads around the idea that those in our esteemed leadership positions, smiling broadly for the cameras, could be so completely vile, corrupt and horrific as human beings.

    It is worth remembering we’re talking about a global Western oligarchic class that considers the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children – “worth it.”

    • Yup, I live with that vile excrement every day with what were once my closest friends and family members the police, fire and the courts totally filled with psychopaths. The truth is these things are even more vile than you will ever be able to believe. They are not human, they even say so themselves. To them we are just something for them to serve to their kids as something to eat.

      • But isn’t the terrible truth that they ARE human? Humans have been capable of doing, often been eager to do, horrendous things to each other (not to mention Mother Earth) since they crawled down from the trees. Ethics, philosophers have said, are easy to preach but hard to justify objectively. I’m reminded of the disturbing story, perhaps apocryphal, from the Middle Ages, about a pope who wrote a letter to a “barbarian” warlord. “Why,” the pope asked, “are you mercilessly pillaging one peasant village after another.” “I don’t understand the question,” the warlord answered. “Others have things I want, and I can take them.” There may be good responses to make to the warlords then and now–I certainly hope and believe there are–but they don’t come readily or convincingly from purely objective arguments.

  • Public bullying by paid “thought leaders” usually works pretty well.
    Why isn’t Susan Sarandon shutting up?
    There must be other ways to get to her.
    How IRRITATING!
    GRRRRR….
    She’s old, now, vulnerable. Who does she care about?
    Wouldn’t want any harm to befall them, right?

    (“Dammit, Janet, I love you!”)

  • Good for her. She’s smarter than I thought!

  • Higgins is not to be trusted. He tried to kill Joe Turner.

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