How much longer can the troubled OPCW organisation continue to operate with any credibility after the doctoring of its investigations to suit a western narrative in Syria continues to be exposed and shows it is far from an independent chemical weapons watchdog?
Readers may remember that previously, towards the end of 2019, leaked emails from two key OPCW investigators who were dispatched to Douma in Syria in 2018, revealed that their original remarks – which indicated that the Assad regime could not have orchestrated the chemical attack – were removed from the final edited report. This act alone was the starter’s pistol on a rebellion which is threatening to severely damage the organisation’s credibility in the field and confirms to many that the role of it is purely as an apparatus for the West’s agenda in the field of conflict around the world, against those who stand up to the giants of NATO.
A fourth whistleblower has now emerged from the farcical debacle which will surely reach a tipping point soon either threatening to remove OPCW’s Spanish chief – the main culprit who tarnished the two officers who kicked off the scandal in the first place – or for the organisation itself to have a world-wide identity problem which will manifest itself in many countries simply refusing to allow it entry into hotspots. It’s hard to see how Syria’s Assad would continue to allow OPCW inspectors into Syria following another chemical attack after the organisation has been “hijacked” by western interests who appear to go to extraordinary levels to falsify evidence to serve a narrative.
The latest OPCW official to step forward and support the findings of the two initial inspectors, whose scandal was revealed in a series of leaked emails in May 2019, has spoken of the culture of intimidation within the organisation and how the two inspectors have been dealt a grave injustice in their work and in their determination to salvage credibility for their employer.
“The mistreatment of two highly regarded and accomplished professionals can only be described as abhorrent,” the OPCW official wrote in an email to The Grayzone website. “I fully support their endeavours, in that it is for the greater good and not for personal gain or in the name of any political agenda. They are in fact trying to protect the integrity of the organisation which has been hijacked and brought into shameful disrepute.”
Central to the dispute surrounding the two officers who have had their conclusions dismissed by OPCW’s chief, is the discovery by one of the investigators that the gas canisters on the ground appeared not to have been dropped from an aircraft but rather placed there. This finding is important as it destroys the West’s assertion that the attack at Douma was made by the Assad regime which it alleges dropped the chemicals from a plane or a helicopter.
This incendiary finding was removed from the final redacted report which leans more on the Assad theory and keeps a safe distance from the distinct possibility that the entire attack was staged by western-backed extremist groups in the area.
One of the two whistleblowers and former inspectors is believed to be Ian Henderson, a 12-year veteran of the organization and weapons expert. According to the Grayzone, “Henderson led on-the-ground inspections in Douma and conducted a detailed engineering study of gas cylinders found at the scene” and concluded that the cylinders were likely “manually placed” rather than being dropped by air. The second officer is not named but it believed to be of higher rank who wrote one version of a final report, which was ultimately rejected for a redacted version which failed to acknowledge the findings of the two investigators – ultimately that it could not have been an attack by Assad’s forces.
Their work continues to draw wrath from the OPCW’s boss General Fernando Arias who remarkably seems to be conducting a smear campaign against them slamming their work as “erroneous, uninformed, and wrong,” believed to be what has sparked a new whistleblower – believed to be British – to come forward with startling new allegations which cast a shadow over the integrity of the organisation.
“It is quite unbelievable that valid scientific concerns are being brazenly ignored in favour of a predetermined narrative,” the email reads. “The lack of transparency in an investigative process with such enormous ramifications is frightful.”
Yet the culture of arbitrary vengeance against those who question the biased narrative or working practices of its chief, is deeply worrying, as the latest whistleblower reveals in the email.
“I am one of many who were stunned and frightened into silence by the reality how the organisation operates,” the official wrote. “The threat of personal harm is not an illusion, or else many others would have spoken out by now.”
It’s unclear what “personal harm” means. But even if it is punitive measures which mean blocked promotion or even constructive dismissal, it raises a number of questions as to the integrity of the OPCW itself which will reverberate around the world’s so-called democratic centres of debate and will spark a new debate among those corridors. Does the OPCW have any credibility left?
Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.