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OPCW insiders slam ‘compromised’ new Syria chemical weapons probe

Current and former staff members of the OPCW have denounced the organization’s IIT report alleging Syrian government sarin use at Ltamenah, criticizing its reliance on rumor, hearsay, “scientifically flawed” claims and the influence of unqualified, secret “experts” aligned with the Western-backed opposition.

by OPCW Insiders

On April 8, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released a report by its newly formed Investigation and Identification Team, a unit ostensibly established to identify alleged perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The IIT investigation examined three alleged incidents in the Syrian town of Ltamenah in March 2017. It concluded “that there are reasonable grounds to believe” that the Syrian army committed a sarin attack in two of the incidents, and a chlorine attack in the third.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the IIT probe, calling it “the latest in a large and growing body of evidence that the Assad regime uses chemical weapons attacks in Syria as part of a deliberate campaign of violence against the Syrian people. The United States shares the OPCW’s conclusions.

But missing from Pompeo’s remarks and the ensuing U.S. media coverage across the spectrum is the crisis of credibility consuming the OPCW and its senior leadership. The IIT report’s tenuous conclusion “that there are reasonable grounds to believe” the official version of events closely resembles the conclusion of an earlier OPCW report that is now the subject of major controversy and derision. A series of leaks show that OPCW leaders suppressed the findings of inspectors who probed another much more consequential alleged Syrian chemical attack, in the city of Douma in April 2018, which triggered US airstrikes.

The evidence collected in Douma undermined allegations of Syrian government guilt and strongly suggested a staged event by the armed opposition. Leaked internal OPCW emails and documents show that the Douma investigators protested the censorship of their findings, setting off an unfolding cover-up scandal that has called the OPCW’s impartiality into question.

The Grayzone has published a series of leaks from the OPCW’s Douma scandal, and plans to reveal new material that further undermines the official story. The article below reveals how the dissension within the OPCW ranks extends well beyond the Douma investigation.

Here, OPCW insiders offer a withering critique of the IIT report, blasting it as another hyper-politicized piece of bunk. The Grayzone can verify that the authors represent the view of, at minimum, a small group of current and former OPCW officials who took part in its drafting and review.

Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté, The Grayzone

Part 4 - Where do the IIT’s experts come from?

The OPCW has always operated on the principles of “equitable geographic distribution”. This however does not apparently apply to missions where the outcomes are more important to the key Western delegations. We see the composition of the IIT appears to reflect this bias, in that most of the investigators and analysts are of Western/NATO background.

But this is not the main point here. There appears to be a hidden, more devious and sinister modus operandi at play. Neither the FFM (fact finding mission), the JIM (joint investigation mission), or the IIT have been self-contained in terms of military, scientific and/or engineering expertise. 

The IIT is basically comprised of investigators without any background or expertise in chemistry, chemical weapons processes or technology, weapons systems or ballistics. They are therefore completely reliant upon their “approved” list of experts, who are called upon to provide all the technical analysis required by the IIT. One may innocently ask; where do these experts come from? 

Very obviously, they represent the same Western and NATO intelligence agencies, units, institutes, laboratories and individuals that have already become so heavily invested in “proving” the complicity of the Syrian government. Their professional reputations are not at stake if they provide dubious advice, because they remain nameless, faceless “experts.” Therefore their findings are never subjected to any peer review. One could argue that their insider reputation (within the FFM, JIM and IIT fold) is mainly enhanced by continuing to provide the desired goods to the OPCW.

This one-sided array of experts is in itself perhaps sufficient to invalidate the working and conclusions of the IIT.

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