The email protested against deviating facts and the great disparity between the reports which the independent experts prepared after they examined the ground at Douma and the officially endorsed published report on which Western countries based their accusations against the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, and the US, Britain and France conducted a tripartite air strike on Syrian territories on April 14, 2018 in which more than 100 missiles, including nearly 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles, were fired in retaliation for the supposed Syrian army use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons.
The leaked email, sent by an expert who examined the ground at Douma, said that investigations on the ground at Douma have produced no hard evidence that the alleged gas attack took place. This was one of the key facts OPCW deliberately suppressed in the published officially endorsed version of the report.
The email pointed out at several facts left out in the official report. It said that the independent scientists official report has been slashed so severely that it hid the fact that the traces of chlorine found on the site were merely tiny trace elements, in parts per billion, in forms that could have been found in any household bleach. In addition, it suppressed a total mismatch between the symptoms allegedly displaced by victims at the scene and the effects of the chemicals which were actually found. The symptoms seen on harrowing videos shown at the time of the incident simply did not match the symptoms which would have been caused by any material found at the site.
In addition, another leak cast grave doubt on claims that gas cylinders found at the Douma site had been dropped from the air by Syrian aircrafts. Scientists proved these claims were wrong. An OPCW engineering and ballistics expert, Ian Henderson, said the two gas cylinders found in Douma and examined by Fact-Finding Mission had been ‘manually placed’
OPCW hid all these crucial facts and redacted the reports of the independent scientists so that the Syrian government is the supposed culprit of the attack at face value. The scientists had made no attempt to prove any party involved rather than the other. They simply pointed out that they doubted the attack had ever taken place.
OPCW disregarded all scientists doubts and published a report that was shorn of many findings at the last minute. Such a move was met with protests from scientists, including the email sent to OPCW officials. Thus, OPCW turned out to have been oriented as it offered the independent scientists to tell the truth about the tiny traces of chlorine, though the report would still be heavily redacted. The scientists accepted. However, even this promise was then broken and this vital fact has been left out.
In the absence of proof, OPCW’s report was taken at face value by international news agencies with the Syrian army being portrayed as the responsible for the chemical attack on Douma. It had been a long struggle, dating back to the previous year, between the independent scientists and OPCW officials. In the end, a leaked email unveiled the scandal.
The veteran journalist, Jonathan Steele, from US website Counterpunch (formerly published several violations by OPCW) wrote an account of a whistleblower who he codenamed ‘Alex’
‘Alex’ said the scientists protesting against the doctoring of their work, were invited to a meeting with three American officials who were ‘cursorily introduced without making clear which US agencies they represented.’ He recounted that the three exercised pressure on the scientists to say that the Syrian regime had conducted a gas attack.
Both Counterpunch and Daily Mail confirmed they asked OPCW for explanations but have not received any responses so far. In consideration of such leaks, OPCW can no longer be said to be objective or independent as its annual budget of roughly £75 million is supplied by member states, with much of the money coming from the US and EU and NATO members, many of them heavily committed to supporting the armed factions in Syria.
Western governments continue supporting the armed groups although a large percentage of them belong to terrorist designated organizations such as al-Qaeda so that the Syrian army could appear to have attacked civilians.
Western countries used this pretext to carry out an air strike against Syrian territories by the US, France and Britain in a scenario that is similar to the Iraqi invasion in 2003 when US then Secretary of State,Colin Powell, showed photos he claimed to be of weapons warehouses in Iraq, but later it turned out it was a false pretext for invading Iraq.
In addition, in 2002, in the lead-up to the Iraq war, the OPCW’s then director, the Brazilian Jose Bustani, attempted to send a team of inspectors to check whether Iraq really had WMD, to be then forced from office by intense pressure from US ambassador to the UN John Bolton who has pushed towards invading Iraq so that the Syrian government would fail militarily.