Disinfo: OPCW smears whistleblowers to defend sanitised Douma report

Summary

In response to a series of leaks concerning the OPCW’s report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma, the organisation carried out an internal review in which it smeared two whistleblowers who had given evidence that the OPCW had doctored its own findings on the incident.

One of the inspectors, reffered to as “Inspector A” and “Inspector B”, was former OPCW specialist Ian Henderson, who visited Douma as part of the agency’s fact-finding mission and has publicly blasted the “sanitised” report on the alleged Douma attack.

The other ‘Inspector’ was presumably a reference to ‘Alex’, an elusive whistleblower whose identity has not been revealed, and who has provided materials to WikiLeaks similarly casting major doubt on the OPCW’s integrity in its investigation of the alleged Douma attack.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW; lending credence to the claim that the 2018 Douma attack was staged; and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks in general.

The story is peppered with falsehoods and out-of-context citations lifted from the OPCW website. It conveniently omits the fact that the quoted remarks were not ad-hoc verbal attacks on the "whistleblowers," but were made on the heels of an independent OPCW probe (not an internal review) which took six months to carry out and was overseen by external investigators. 

The probe does not name the leakers but provides just enough information to disprove the claim that Henderson "visited Douma as part of the agency’s fact-finding mission." Inspector A "was not a member of the FFM" and "played a minor supporting role in the investigation of the Douma incident" (para. 13). Inspector B, on the other hand, "never left the command post in Damascus because he had not completed the training required to deploy to the field" (para. 23). It follows that neither inspector could have visited the site with a fact-finding mandate. See here for a comprehensive debunking of Henderson's claims.

Additionally, Sputnik never mentions that Inspector B "departed [from the agency] at the end of August 2018" (para. 25) and could not have possibly participated in the last seven months of the Douma investigation, during which "the majority of the [FFM's] investigative work was conducted" (para. 29). This fits the timing of Alex's leaked e-mail, which is dated 22 June 2018 and could not have possibly addressed the final version of the Douma report. In fact, the concerns raised in the e-mail were addressed in the final report, published in March 2019. See here for additional debunking by Bellingcat.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 183
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: false flag, Douma, OPCW, Chemical weapons/attack, Propaganda, Syrian War
  • Outlet: Sputnik News, RT (rt.com)
see more

The World Trade Organisation is under Trump’s control

This is a war without weapons. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) does not set the rules anymore – it is Donald Trump and the US Congress who do so.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a conspiracy theory, part of a well-established Russian disinformation narrative about a global elite secretly ruling the world, and specifically, a so-called ‘deep state’ in the United State that promotes aggression wars and prevents US reconciliation with Russia.

According to the first part of article IX of the "Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization", the WTO shall continue the practice of decision-making by consensus followed under General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade since 1947. The article says that "Except as otherwise provided, where a decision cannot be arrived at by consensus, the matter at issue shall be decided by voting. At meetings of the Ministerial Conference and the General Council, each Member of the WTO shall have one vote. Where the European Communities exercise their right to vote, they shall have a number of votes equal to the number of their member States".

White Helmets preparing false flag chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib

The White Helmets have finished filming a staged provocation implicating the Syrian army in the use of chemical agents, according to the Russian Centre for Syria reconciliation. The group’s video, which is ready to be disseminated on social media, will show fake casualties allegedly caused by a “chemical attack” by the Syrian government, the centre reported.

In March 2019, the OPCW issued a report on its investigation into the alleged 2018 chemical attack in Douma, saying that chlorine was “most likely” the chemical agent used in the incident but stopped short of apportioning blame.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory painting the White Helmets as terrorists and shifting blame for chemical attacks in Syria away from Damascus.

The claim is made without evidence and follows the pattern of unsubstantiated accusations regarding the White Helmets' complicity in chemical attacks in Syria. Available evidence on such attacks has yet to link a single incident to any other party than the Assad regime.

France was among the winners of World War II only because of Stalin’s will

German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, who signed the surrender act, was surprised when he saw France among the winners. This happened only because of the will of Stalin; the US and the UK did not see France at all among the winning states. France also managed to become one of the five founding members of the UN.

Disproof

Part of the conspiracy narrative on the role of USSR in World War II.

France and Britain declared war on Germany when it invaded Poland in September 1939 (at that time, the USRR acted as an ally of Germany and invaded Poland, the Baltic States and Finland in accordance with the Hitler-Stain Pact, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). After the Phoney War from 1939 to 1940, the Germans invaded and defeated France within seven weeks and forced the British off the continent. France formally surrendered to Germany although the French force, in-exile, led by General Charles de Gaulle continued the liberation of France by the Western Allies UK and US. The Forces of Free France took part in combat against Axis forces at several theaters of warfare, not least on the Eastern Front, where a unit of French airmen fought together with USSR aviators.