Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 17, 2018

Syria - Inconsistent, Incomplete And Implausible - The OPCW Report On Saraqib Is Another Disgrace

On February 4, two days before a UN Security Council meeting on chemical weapon issues, a Syrian army helicopter flew into Idelb governorate which is held by al-Qaeda. Escaping the quite effective air defenses of the terrorists it dropped two chlorine gas cylinders near a militarily irrelevant agricultural warehouse 40 kilometers away from the front line of the war. Eleven men of fighting age who are living in the al-Qaeda ruled territory were allegedly impacted by the released gas but none of them was seriously hurt.

The implausible story above is the base of a recent report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. All 'evidence' for the tale comes from organizations which tightly cooperated with al-Qaeda and other militant 'rebel' groups in Syria and are paid by 'western' governments opposed to Syria. The implausible story is repeated in the 'western' press without any journalistic skepticism.

The British Guardian writes:

The fact-finding mission by the OPCW on the Saraqeb attack determined that “chlorine was released from cylinders by mechanical impact on 4 February,” it said on Wednesday. The team’s conclusions were based on finding two cylinders that were determined as previously containing chlorine.
The incident is by no means the worst chemical weapons attack during the seven-year civil war, but it led to 11 people being treated for breathing difficulties. Western observers said the use of helicopters in the attack suggested Syrian government involvement since the opposition did not have access to helicopters.

Saraqib in Idleb governorate has been in the hands of the Syrian 'opposition' since late 2012/early 2013. In April 2013 Syrian 'rebel' forces alleged that a chemical attack with Sarin took place in Saraqib. However only one person died, allegedly from of Sarin intoxication, while no Sarin traces were found on two other affected persons.

On February 4 2018 new claims were made of a 'chemical attack' in Saraqib. The war front line is far away from Saraqib. No military operation has taken place there for years. The 'chemical attack' allegations came (us usual) at a political convenient time:

Amnesty International has accused the Assad regime of showing “utter contempt” of international law following a chlorine gas attack on the town of Saraqib Sunday. This latest chemical attack comes just one day before the U.N. Security Council failed to agree on a U.S.-proposed statement Monday condemning the continued use of chemical weapons in the war-torn nation.

The Amnesty International report is solely based on anonymous 'witness testimony' from propaganda organizations financed by countries which oppose the Syrian government:

Amnesty International spoke to a volunteer with the Syria Civil Defence who described arriving several minutes after a barrel bomb – the apparent source of the gas – landed in a field 50 metres from an agricultural warehouse. There was no sign of any military targets in the vicinity of the bombing in Saraqeb, which lies in the northwestern province of Idleb and is 41 km from the nearest front-line.

A second member of the Syria Civil Defence team in Saraqeb told Amnesty International that he witnessed the casualties being brought to a medical post. “When they arrived, I saw the rescue team also breathing with difficulty, and they collapsed. The doctors told me that the symptoms of the 11 people - including the three civil defence volunteers - were consistent with a chemical attack, probably chlorine,” he said.
The casualties, all of whom were men, have since been discharged.

The so called "Syria Civil Defence" is the White Helmets propaganda organization.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a intergovernmental organization with the task to implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. Its acting body is the Technical Secretariat which is currently led by the Turkish career diplomat Ahmet Üzümcü. It is financed by all 192 convention members.

The OPCW report on Saraqib to which the Guardian refers is headlined:


There is one immediate problem with the headline. It insinuates that an OPCW fact-finding mission IN Syria took place. However the report itself says that no OPCW fact-finder entered Syria to investigate the alleged incident in Saraqib.

The OPCW fact-finders interviewed 'witnesses' while being outside of Syria. Access to those witnesses was provided by shady "Non-Government-Organizations" which are financed by governments hostile to Syria. All environmental samples tested by the OPCW laboratories were taken by paid 'volunteers' of the White Helmets propaganda organization. There is no documented 'chain of custody' for the samples.

From the report:

On the morning of 5 February 2018, the OP CW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) became aware of allegations of use of a toxic chemical as a weapon in Saraqib, Idlib Governorate. The FFM assessed the credibility of the allegations based on information collected from open sources and information received from several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

1.2 The FFM interviewed a variety of witnesses including casualties, health workers, and first responders. The team also received environmental samples, which had been collected from the incident location.

Open source material of unknown origin, hearsay from witnesses provided by NGOs which claim that some of their own staff was affected in the incident, and environmental samples of dubious providence is all the OPCW had. That it would base any investigation or report on such weak grounds is already concerning.

The narrative in the report, given by the alleged 'witnesses', is implausible:

5.9 At approximately 21:00, eight men were taking shelter in a basement in the eastern neighbourhood of Al Talil in the city of Saraqib when they heard a notification via radio from a spotter that a helicopter had entered the airspace of Saraqib from the south-east. At approximately 21:15, witnesses reported hearing a helicopter flying above the city and the sound of two “barrels” falling and impacting in close proximity to their location. They also indicated not hearing any explosion.

5.10 According to witness statements, two cylinders (or “barrels” according to most witnesses) fell in an open field surrounded by building structures approximately 200 metres to the south-west of the Agricultural Bank in the eastern part of Saraqib (see Figure 3 below), and 50 to 100 metres to the south-west of the basement mentioned in paragraph 5.9 above.

5.11 Both impact points were in this open field approximately 200 x 200 metres in size, which is in a depression 3 to 4 metres lower than the surrounding urbanised area. The impact locations, as given by witnesses, are shown in Figure 3 below.


I have highlighted the points in the above quote that let me doubt the story:

  • There are no reports of any Syrian army or air attacks on Saraqib during the last several years. It has been in 'rebel' hands since late 2012/early 2013. The frontlines of the war are far away and have not moved for quite a while. Saraqib is out of reach of the usual battlefield artillery. There was and is no reason for anyone in Saraqeb to take "shelter in a basement" nor is there any reason to have "a spotter" in the area.
  • Just a day before the incident 'rebels' in Idleb shot down a Russian fighter plane. Would the Syrian army risk a helicopter and crew over hostile territory to drop two cylinders with a militarily ineffective gas into an open field far away from the front line and any military position? What for? The Russian air defense radars controls the air space over Syria. Where else should a helicopter have come from?
  • Many MoA readers will recognize this distinct sound of falling barrels (vid). But would one really hear gas canisters falling through the air while sitting in a basement 50 to 100 meters away?
  • The chlorine cylinders that allegedly fell from the air landed in a depression. Chlorine is heavier than air and hugs to the ground. Did the chlorine raise 3 to 4 meters to then creep into a house to then sink down into a basement? How? The description is inconsistent with documented U.S. military experiments (video) in which a large amount of Chlorine released in a depression does not rise beyond 60 centimeters from the ground.

  • Chlorine, like in toilet cleaners, has a strong smell in even very low concentrations. It effects health only in quite high concentrations. Walking away from a chlorine release and moving to higher ground is sufficient to be safe.

The further descriptions in the report by the 'witnesses' and of the alleged symptoms of the victims by 'medical personal' make likewise no sense.

The UK operated 'White Helmets', (erroneously called the Syrian Civil Defense in the OPCW report), took pictures of two damaged yellow gas cylinders laying in a field and provided various samples to the OPCW. The OPCW gave the samples to two of its certified laboratories to analyze.

Daniel Schulz, a German post-doc scientist specialized in cell biology, points out several problems with the chemical analyses documented in the OPCW report:

〕Daniel Schulz〔 @daniesch - 11:30 UTC - 16 May 2018

Funny enough, one of the designated laboratories found a lot of "Sarin" breakdown products while the other did not. Table 4

Also, puzzlingly, the report states adamantly that no explosion was heard by "witnesses". How do you explain finding TNT in provided samples then? - Table 4

In addition, recall Chemistry 101. Should Cl2 react with humidity in soil, an increase in Cl- ions is to be expected. But where does excess K+ come from? Almost like somebody poured KCl on the ground? - Table 6

Another startling inconsistency is Cl- content in wipes from the inside of cylinders (red) and how it mismatches with soil contamination (green). - Table 5


The OPCW report does not answer any of the questions raised above. It instead concludes:

7.4 The FFM determined that chlorine, released from cylinders through mechanical impact, was likely used as a chemical weapon on 4 February 2018 in the Al Talil neighbourhood of Saraqib.
7.5 The FFM also noted the presence of chemicals that can neither be explained as occurring naturally in the environment nor as being related to chlorine. Furthermore, some of the medical signs and symptoms reported were different to those that would be expected from exposure to pure chlorine. There was insufficient information and evidence to enable the FFM to draw any further conclusions on these chemicals at this stage.

The last paragraph is devastating. How can the OPCW say that chlorine was "likely" used as chemical weapon when it has no explanation, none at all, for the inconsistencies of the 'witness' reports and the samples it was provided with?

The credibility of the OPCW was already damaged in its investigation of the Khan Sheikoon incident. According to the report of that case half of the 'victims' of the incident arrived in hospitals BEFORE the alleged incident happened. The report noticed, but did not explain, that discrepancy.

Both of the OPCW reports, on Saraqib and Khan Sheikhoun, pretend to deliver clear scientific evidence. Reading beyond the summaries one finds that both are full of inconsistencies and implausibilities. Important questions raised in the reports themselves are not answered. Contradictions in the timelines and the documented evidence are left unresolved. No explanation is given why anyone could have ordered a military attack on targets of zero military value. The conclusions of both reports suggest a degree of certainty that is not justified at all.

Since 2011 the Turkish government of the wannabe Sultan Erdogan  provides support of all kinds for the radical 'Syrian rebels' who attack  the Syrian state. Turkey currently occupies the north-west of Syria and has at least twelve observation points in Idleb governorate. The Turkish government continues to be hostile to the Syrian government under President Assad.

That the ostensible neutral OPCW is led by a Turkish career diplomat while it investigates alleged chemical incident in Syria is already a very problematic constellation. That its reports of such incidents, based on hearsay, shoddy evidence and unverified open sources, then make conclusions that insinuate Syrian government culpability while ignoring serious discrepancies is a disgrace.

It is high time to bring that organization back onto neutral and scientific grounds.

Update - May 18

Michael Kobs asks additional questions about the evidence the OPCW used. He especially points out that the ruptured chlorine canisters have impressions at their top which are inconsistent with a damage due to a fall from the sky. They mechanical marks evident at the top of both cylinders as well as the form flow of the ruptures are consistent with the use of a hydraulic press.

Posted by b on May 17, 2018 at 19:29 UTC | Permalink


thanks b, for breaking it down and going into the details.. unfortunately most people will only read the headlines and trust that the headline conveys the truth of the details.. in propaganda like this - it doesn't work that way..

"spoke to a volunteer with the Syria Civil Defence" - for those in the know - speaking with a group funded by the uk/usa regimes to get dirt on the assad gov't doesn't cut it...

i don't think the OPCW cares about it's reputation anymore.. it probably relies on the same type of funding the white helmets rely on.. everything is about the punch line for the press at this point... they were never at the site, but rely on moderate headchoppers and the white helmets for these sources.. that tells one all they need to know about the OPCW at this point..

Posted by: james | May 17 2018 19:44 utc | 1

The story is quite farcical.

Why indeed would they go out of their way to drop two canisters of a very poor weapon in a field far from the frontline or anything significant.

Interesting article from 1999 (requires signup) discusses quantities needed to cause serious damage.

A 1993 analysis by Congress' Office of Technology Assessment concluded that a ton of sarin perfectly delivered under absolutely ideal conditions over a heavily populated area against unprotected people might cause between 3,000 and 8,000 deaths. Under slightly less ideal circumstances -- if there were a moderate wind or if the sun were out, for example -- the death rate would be a tenth as great.

And that is with a ton of sarin sprayed perfectly at low altitude. If the goal is to "sow terror amongst civilians to force them into submission" they need to go a lot further than this alleged attack.

Main premise of the article is that sanctions have killed more than WMDs which raises a key point. Chemical weapons, even perfectly delivered, aren't as scary as is made out. It is however a very effective means of making enemies out be uniquely monstrous.

Posted by: Bob | May 17 2018 19:45 utc | 2

All the thousands of civilians killed by US aerial bombing raids in Syria suffered from breathing difficulties also. They couldn't breathe because they were dead.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 17 2018 20:03 utc | 3

One adventure continues in our post-truth era where any organization can be corrupted to rubber stamp the conclusions of its funders/bullies/directors as long as they get to keep their paying jobs. The media has been the leader in this area, of course, and there are now very few people with enough courage (and the staying power to last in their jobs without being removed or forced to resign) in the UN, all international bodies, NGOs, etc. to stand up and state the truth.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 17 2018 20:05 utc | 4

Didn't Bolton just succeed in pushing a key opcw investigator to resign? Then this report comes out?

Posted by: paul | May 17 2018 20:17 utc | 5

The remarkable aspect of this story is the lengths to which the OPCW goes to establish a falsehood that nobody cares about any more. Nobody that is but the liars who manufactured this transparently false story for whom the OPCW provides, at the small cost of the total loss of its credibility, a justification.
What is wrong with these idiots? Don't they know that to preserve their ability to serve their imperialist bosses it is necessary for them occasionally to tell the truth?
Yet another international organisation committing suicide.
Of course the MSM will trot out the story as if it were credible but the number of people who accept MSM stories without checking them against news sources like this one is getting very small and marginal.

Posted by: bevin | May 17 2018 20:20 utc | 6

contact them and tell them what you think...

Posted by: james | May 17 2018 20:42 utc | 7

The best thing about this article in its relation to the 'Guardian' is: Us Americans don't have a monopoly on Morons. Bolton did not force out a key OPEW inspector. It was the leader of the international nuclear inspection over seeing the Iran nuclear affair. He was not forced out. He did not want to be associated with a lying bag of sh** like Bolton.

Posted by: ger | May 17 2018 20:52 utc | 8

The UK operated 'White Helmets', (erroneously called the Syrian Civil Defense in the OPCW report)...

The use of "Syrian Civil Defense" is indeed "erroneous", though not in the sense of an accidental or inadvertent mistake. Since OPCW is in on the con/scam, it uses the same mendacious terminology as complicit governments and their mass-media consent manufactories.

It's well known that Big Lies require constant repetition and reinforcement to catch on. Designated words, terms, and phrases are like individual tiles in a vast tapestry of Big Lie propaganda.

In a nutshell, by repeating the lie that the White Helmets = Syrian Civil Defense as often as possible, the uninformed, credulous, and submissive public will accept it as reliable fact.


It is high time to bring that organization back onto neutral and scientific grounds.

I hope you're familiar with the idiomatic expression, "From your mouth to God's ear!"

As we have seen throughout this century, all of the supposedly neutral scientific and technical organizations have become willing partners in the government/mass-media disinformation combine.

I won't bother digging up specifics, but after the mysterious events of 9/11/2001, both NIST and the NTSB-- highly-regarded, well-respected investigatory organizations-- produced highly compromised and corrupt "definitive reports" of the events. The Dutch organization entrusted with the MH-17 crash investigation did the same.

The OPCW's desperately dodgy work on the Skripal case-- remember them?-- speaks for itself; the present Syria report establishes that this "dive" wasn't a one-off fluke.

And then there are the sports-related organizations: the decadent IOC isn't a scientific/technical entity, but WADA's "McLaren Report" was another falsehood-riddled abomination that pretended to be based on rigorous scientific investigation.

Thus, the independent, impartial, dispassionate technical/scientific truth-seekers have all been fatally compromised-- and effectively "weaponized" for propaganda purposes. I see no prospect of undoing this disastrous status quo as long as the Big Liars remain in power.

Posted by: Ort | May 17 2018 20:54 utc | 9

This only ends when Syria (with the help of Russia's air force and Russia inteligence) retakes Idlib from the Turkish supported terrorists. But will Russia directly oppose Turkey?

Posted by: rcentros | May 17 2018 21:00 utc | 10

Note the following analysis for "9. Soil from the crater of cylinder 2 under a metal piece.":

Cr- 14,000 ppm Ca2+ 7400 ppm

The ratio of Calcium to Chlorine is approximately 1:2 in this sample. This the same ratio as in the compound calcium chloride (CaCl2).

Posted by: Maedhros | May 17 2018 21:20 utc | 11

Thanks for yet another solid piece! Please keep them coming. Appreciating this one very much, especially the scientist's take on the matter.


A: "Dude, that deafening Mil helicopter above us? Something's cooking!"

B: "Yeah, quick, we've got to move. Can't you hear it over all the heli noise? Two gas cylinders coming for us. Move, I mean it! Man, I can even hear the pilot chuckling. Bastard."


As I understand it, that sclerotic Turk may be called Director General of the Technical Secretariat. But he's really only their political head. However, head of the OPCW's very own lab in the Netherlands is one Marc-Michael Blum, a German. Smile for the camera! I take him to be really in charge of technical and scientific aspects, at least regarding individual and specific investigations. Like the one we're dealing with in this post of B's. Blum must be the master of all samples...

He describes himself thus: "(Bio)chemist who tries to save the world from the bad guys messing around with chemical weapons. (aka Senior Analytical Chemist at the OPCW Laboratory)"

Not exactly modest. Seen too many superhero movies?


Having had a look at the OPCW for the first time in my life, what with Ghouta, Douma, Salisbury and so on, I'm wondering. Is this the best mankind could come up with as an organisation? Why do the Russians (or the Syrians, Iranians) even put up with it? So many flaws. So fuzzy and long-winded, yet so ineffectual and inept. To be used as a political tool for anyone who dares to try so.

In the 20+ years of its (no doubt not inexpensive) existance, they haven't managed to establish one single designated lab in the whole of South America, Africa, or Asia (if you disregard China and count out Australia). Japan and their expertise with Sarin, no? No properly trained chemistry guys in South Africa or Brazil? Really?

That Swiss lab everybody's been talking about is a rare exception. It's part of Switzerland's Civil Defense, but not the military as such. Most of the other participating labs are tied in with the militaries of member states. Porton Down, Edgewood, and so on.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | May 17 2018 21:20 utc | 12

@ bevin | 6

"The remarkable aspect of this story is the lengths to which the OPCW goes to establish a falsehood that nobody cares about any more."

I think you nailed it, there. Exquisite!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | May 17 2018 21:23 utc | 13

paul @5:

IAEA, as reported by Reuters.

Posted by: Ian | May 17 2018 21:31 utc | 14

Probably 60 percent of North Americans whom have heard of Assad believe that Assad is a gasser of his own people. This recent false flag event and its "news accounts" reinforce that belief. Effective propaganda requires persistent repetition.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 17 2018 21:37 utc | 15

'Also, puzzlingly, the report states adamantly that no explosion was heard by "witnesses". How do you explain finding TNT in provided samples then? - Table 4'

A few options to choose from:
1. A dud with ruptured explosive charge - happens quite often.
2. Remnants from previous fighting - a) duds, b) partially detonated payload (happens every once in a while), c) unexploded explosive located in the 'dead zone' of an explosive fill (depending on charge geometry and fusing)
Ref. Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, Volume 21, 3/96, p.155-159, Fred Volk, Fraunhofer ICT, Detonation Products as a Function of Initiation Strength ....
3. Leakage from transportation, planting of IEDs .........
I figure there aren't many populated areas left in Syria that haven't been contaminated with explosive material of some sort.

'In addition, recall Chemistry 101. Should Cl2 react with humidity in soil, an increase in Cl- ions is to be expected. But where does excess K+ come from? Almost like somebody poured KCl on the ground? - Table 6'

Perchlorate production would be a possibility hard to dismiss.
KCl -> KClOx -> KClO4
a) Hastily produced potassium perchlorate would contain a significant amount of starting material KCl.
b) Pot. perchlorate used as an oxidizer in so-called, now obsolete HEX (high energy explosive) compositions.
Example HEX-24 - RDX, KClO4, Al, TAR.
On combustion these types of explosive produce a large amount of KCl itself.
Without data from static firing tests it is hard to tell if such an explosive formulation might be the cause of KCl contamination found on location, but still it is an option.

Another startling inconsistency is Cl- content in wipes from the inside of cylinders (red) and how it mismatches with soil contamination (green). - Table 5

Again, hard to tell. Without proper data of applied explosive formulations (with KClO4 as ingredient), their products of combustion and analytical data of firing tests it remains open for speculation.
Interestingly, they don't seem to have examined the metal matrix of the cylinders. If there were K- and Cl-compounds to be found within the metal matrix together with characteristic shock patterns, then the explosive fill hypothesis would gain some serious weight.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 17 2018 21:50 utc | 16

I saw that news about the supposed chlorine gas attack in Saraqeb, in the Idlib area, on George Monbiot's Twitter feed and almost immediately I could sniff the whiff of propaganda about it.

For one thing, the Idlib governorate is rebel-held (it's where all the jihadis are being bussed to, if they refuse to surrender to the SAA) and it borders Turkey. At this time, when East Ghouta has already been cleared of terrorists and the SAA is preparing to enter and clear Yarmouk, we should not be surprised that CW attacks that can be blamed on Damascus start occurring in areas close to Turkey, or that the jihadis bussed to Idlib might have carried ingredients for making CWs with them.

For OPCW to have been able to obtain "evidence" of a chlorine gas attack from "witnesses" and "samples" from "NGOs" in Saraqeb, in Idlib of all places, the organisation's inspectors had to have been embedded with the jihadis. Is it likely also that OPCW entered the area illegally without obtaining prior permission from Damascus? Is this why the head of OPCW is a Turkish career diplomat with no background knowledge or experience in chemistry?

Fortunately the majority of Monbiot's dwindling band of supporters recognised this and lambasted OPCW accordingly if not Monbiot himself.

Posted by: Jen | May 17 2018 22:19 utc | 17

this is just nuts..

Facebook hire...Atlantic council for work against propaganda.

Posted by: Karl | May 17 2018 22:35 utc | 18

I'm wondering: did the OPCW pose the first and most obvious question to the USA "coalition forces" and the Russian air force contingent in Syria i.e. Did Your Radars Pick Up A Helicopter Flying Over Idelb governorate On February 4?

After all, no helicopter = no case against the Assad Govt.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 17 2018 23:06 utc | 19

@ 6. Good comment, bevin.
Thanks to b. for continuing to dig and dig and dig even when others (like me) are flagging.

These false flags are getting boring. Big fuss and then it’s all dropped. The Skripals are so yesterday’s news. Not even a passing thought about what happened to Yulia, whose whole existence has been vanished. Like the Monty Python parrot she “is no more” in the sense of her own existence. That existence now belongs to others. She has been de-existenced.

Julian Assange has also been de-existenced. While Yulia sits in some suburb in the US Midwest watching the paperboy throw today’s crap on the lawn like in the movies maybe she will go out and read about Julian. Maybe it will give her solace that there is somebody out there definitely worse off than her. Except he chose the path of danger and she didn't. She just went to visit her Dad.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 17 2018 23:10 utc | 20

The UK operated 'White Helmets', (erroneously called the Syrian Civil Defense in the OPCW report)

I’ve noticed this “error” in MSM reports in recent months. They used to just call them “the White Helmets,” then they added “a Syrian Civil Defense organization.” Now they sometimes simply say/write “the Syrian Civil Defense” without even mentioning that they’re talking about the Turkish-based White Helmets.

And so, Western perspectives are shaped.

I now see that Ort explained this in much greater detail, but figured I’d post my shorter version anyway.

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 0:08 utc | 21

My comment is regarding both the current and the previous article. Despite all his failings as a person and as a President, if he got the NK peace deal, Trump would definitely deserve the Nobel Peace Prize (NPP) more than that bum Obama did, notwithstanding the stupidity of some partisan US dummies. Obama got NPP in advance for his Iran deal. But, war on Iran is a vital Ziocon interest and thus the Iran deal was very hard to sustain. We all love to blame Trump for withdrawing without trying to put ourselves into Trump's shoes, set on fire by every Tom, Dick and Harry Shlomo of Washington. Capitalist NK would be nice to have for the Ziocons, therefore a Korean peace deal would be much more sustainable, most of all because the sharks would try to squeeze into it a crack in the impenetrable NK wall.

I know that some will misconstrue my comment as a defence of Trump, but I have no respect for people who think that politics is an ivory castle.

I wish I had any idea how to defuse the Syria and Iran issue, because that is a much, much bigger issue than NK and its nuclear weapons. The Ziocons will really push the World into WW3 on that one without blinking.

Posted by: Kiza | May 18 2018 0:20 utc | 22

paul @5.

A recent “news” story about Bolton was that he had threatened and then maneuvered to fire José Bustani, the head of the OPCW back in 2002, to pave the way for the “fixed intelligence” to excuse Gulf War II.

BTW: You’re grammar is getting much better, but OPCW should be typed in capital letters. ;-) I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 0:27 utc | 23

Enuf on the false flags already. The game is rigged... we know that ...everyone who is paying attention knows that...what i'd like to know is what is Syria planning for Idlib province? I' guessing the rebels bussed from all over syria, must be getting in each others way, just from the crowding. I'm told Idlib is less built up and so is an easier place to prosecute war for the SAA ....which makes sense ....but then why would the rebels agree to be moved out of their built up fortified towns, for the open ground more favorable to tanks and airpower? My guess is that the rebels are using idlib to escape from Syria ...either to Lebanon or Turkey ...that makes some sense to me ....but i'd be interested in others opinions.

Posted by: Breadonwaters | May 18 2018 0:46 utc | 24

BBC posted a “cute” story titled:

“Micronation founder Eli Avivi dies in Israel”

After reading it, I suggest an alternative, true title would be:

“Terrorist who fought against British Army during WW II dies without ever having been brought to justice by rogue national sponsor of terror, Israel”

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 1:09 utc | 25

The aspect of this story which I find most amusing (in an alarming way) is that OPCW is touted as the exemplar of "World's best Practice" in scientific expertise and rigorous compliance with bullet-proof sample protection and investigative procedures, but nevertheless allows the course of its investigations to be guided by unidentified and anonymous witnesses with no confirmation of, or claim to, expertise of any kind.
Using the term "likely" to describe the detailed findings of a "rigorous" investigation renders the entire investigation inconclusive and therefore incomplete and irrelevant.

Trump did the world a favour when, overnight, he introduced the term Fake News to the Western vernacular. Imo it's only a matter of time until he broadens the application of the word Fake to such utterly corrupt and partisan organisations as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The easily circumvented, neutered & ignored United Nations should also be required to have its name preceded by the word Fake.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2018 1:17 utc | 26

Scott Bingeington @ 12: I do not find unusual that OPCW don't operate their own labs but instead accredit laboratories around the world (but principally in First World nations) to do testing for them.

I understand that when the OPCW received blood samples taken from the Skripals, the samples were divided among at least four laboratories including the Swiss lab. Each lab that receives their parts of the samples will not know which other three OPCW-accredited labs also received parts of the samples. This is to ensure that the results obtained from all four must be the same and have been tested free of contaminants or other interference.

I should think that the OPCW periodically reviews the accreditations of the labs and does not use the same labs or the same set of labs to do testing.

Incidentally in the document linked to below, MoA readers will see some OPCW-accredited labs are located in China, India, Iran and Pakistan.

If the OPCW does not use labs in Africa and South America, that may be because of issues with transport to and from places farther away from North America, Europe and Asia, the time taken to transport samples and results, and refrigeration and other transport / storage problems, especially in places with tropical climates.

Posted by: Jen | May 18 2018 1:22 utc | 27

Another old theme of mine is that declaring the War on Terror was like declaring a war on a screwdriver in your own toolbox. The toolbox can be in your own toolshed (screwing up a few locals never fails to remind the rest who is the boss) or in someone else's toolshed. Here it happens to be in the Syrian toolshed. The screwdrivers can be tuned up or discarded as unusable by the specialied toolshops such as the famous one, The Guantanamo Bay Toolshop and the many secret ones in Thailand in international waters and elsewhere.

All the rest is just optics manageable by the word & image prostitutes commonly called the Main Sewage Media. One can choose to accept the virtual reality created by the mind-prostitutes or one can try to fight it. Of the intelligent, some chose the former, others chose the latter, without my qualitative judgement which is better. Naturally, there are much more unintelligent votes worth as much as the intelligent votes, and way too much more than the intelligent & resistive votes, thus MSM always succeeds. This is a simplistic view of the human world, but you would be hard-challenged to dispute it.

Posted by: Kiza | May 18 2018 2:25 utc | 28


This is the Age of Shiney Candy-Apple Kool-Aid UnTruths.

It's all carefully scripted. It's focus-grouped on FB and the other Aggregators, then sold as topic lists. Who do people want to hear the UnTruth from? 15 minutes later, Trump pounds out another 24K UnTruth twerk, Sanders repeats it, BB flogs it, CNN reports it, the Media megaphones it. Then next day, Mr. Whipple quietly whispers, 'They lied to you!' But nobody is listening.

The best you can do is learn the Red Bolshevik code-talk, watch their web traffic. It would be nice to have a site volunteer watchers reporting on troop and air and sea movements at US 800 bases, ala Saker, but who would vet the watchers? Identify them, they end up dead.

In fact, we don't know what's psyop, what's honeypot, what's Big Lie, what's urban myth, and what's Truth. 'Syria' doesn't exist. It's a trope. Trump is a Mad Magazine cartoon. Villians gotta villian. Naming them encourages them. You can't affect it in the least.

"How Terrible is the Truth,
When there is no Help in the Truth?" Aescylus(?)

Best to just stand on street corners and lift people up. Learn what's going on in your neighborhood, and pitch in. Kids are SO far behind where they need to be to survive. There's a storm coming. Step away from the keyboard.

Posted by: Chipnik | May 18 2018 2:32 utc | 29

How long will we remember our own intelligent resisters, such as Rachel Aliene Corrie, Seth Rich and so on, not to mention the millions upon millions of desperate others who had no choice? The meek shell inherit the earth, with or without the AngloZionists.

Posted by: Kiza | May 18 2018 2:57 utc | 30

Hoarsewhisperer @25

My recollection was that the MSM began using the term “Fake News” regarding things The Donald said, not by Trump. So (to borrow a phrase from one of Martin Mull’s excellent record albums) “rather than think, I decided to look it up.”

Turns out “Fake News” has been used since
the late 19th century.

But, it was rarely used until late 2016, and did first come into use by MSM to describe doubtful “news” stories about Hillary Clinton that were making the rounds in support of Trump’s candidacy. Later, Trump picked up on it, and turned the barrel right back at the MSM.

I certainly agree that it’s great that/if more people are realizing MSM lies to us regularly about things big and small. But I fear that it’s being utilized to shut down free speech. I see that the GCC/NATO-funded Atlantic Council is being brought in by Facebook to help “police” postings to weed out “Fake News.”

So, Bellingcat/Higgins (who “discovered” the social media evidence to “prove” that Russia shut down MH17 and Assad “gassed his own people”) will be determining what’s true and what should be censored.

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 3:04 utc | 31

Hoarse@ 25 said:"Trump did the world a favour when, overnight, he introduced the term Fake News to the Western vernacular."

And if anyone understands the term "fake news", it would be DJT.

Posted by: ben | May 18 2018 3:15 utc | 32

Daniel @30,
But I fear that it’s being utilized to shut down free speech. I see that the GCC/NATO-funded Atlantic Council is being brought in by Facebook to help “police” postings to weed out “Fake News.”

This is exactly right. As b has also recently pointed out, the term is designed to portray all non-corporate controlled media as "fake" or at least probably so. Corporate news is held to be Real News even though it is actually more fake than almost anything. Just like no white dudes commit terrorism, no CNN anchors commit fake news. Only brown Arab or Muslim dudes can be terrorists, and only non corporate news can be fake news. If white dudes look like they are committing terrorism it is really something else, and if the Washington Post looks like it's printing fake news it must be doing something else. For CNN and the Washington Post are definitionally excluded from being Fake News sources, because they are establishment corporate entities, and only those can be trusted to tell us what Reality looks like.

Posted by: WJ | May 18 2018 3:34 utc | 33

Everything Trump-Russia related keeps coming back to Britain, with side allusions to the Ukraine. I wonder if the still vanished Joseph Mifsud met up with Strzok in London as well. He was the guy who supposedly linked up the hapless Papadapolous with "the Russians" in the first place, working this in between the high level British counterterrorism training sessions he was also codirecting, on the one hand, and the hot affair with a younger Ukrainian woman he also happened to having around the same time as the Papadapolous operation, on the other.

Gee, what should we make of all these British liaisons and occasional but key Ukrainian connections (be they in the form of Crowdstrike or Mifsud's since-abandoned mistress)? It's almost like we wouldn't know that Trump was colluding with the Russians without them!

Posted by: WJ | May 18 2018 4:03 utc | 34

Lochearn @19,
Beautiful comment, it created a vivid image in my mind of the two prisoners of our shared lack of conscience. This image I will enjoy for the rest of the day. One has to admire how the rullers call their sophisticated tyranny a freedom and how their MSM prostitutes promptly rebrand a washed out brand of White Helmets into "Syrian Civil Defence". You let your guard down for a second, you immediately get fooled by the pros.

Posted by: Kiza | May 18 2018 4:08 utc | 35

I must admit I am quite disappointed with the articles. The incidents they describe have now become so obvious fake and unreal, that even Hollywood would reject the script.
Fortunately they have now reached a level that even Joe Sixpack questions and regard with suspicion.
On top of that we have Trump threatening Kim Jung with a Gaddafi "agreement"....
Is this happening or is it another reality? I find it hard to comprehend, really...
If Trump can make such a statement, I cant see why I cant call for the total and utter dismemberment and destruction of both Israel and the US, followed by by quick and dirty show trials of the criminal governments in both countries.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 18 2018 4:54 utc | 36

Plus ca change, .....

France, 2018: Object: Iran War

On Friday, France hosts a meeting of 33 countries, all in the OPCW and members of an international group targeting toxic gas attacks. France launched the latter group in January.
The “Impunity Partnership” aims at preserving evidence of chemical weapons attacks, recording those responsible for attacks and imposing sanctions on those responsible.
“We won’t accept that Russia’s blockage leads us to having a situation where we have an incomplete system,” a French diplomatic source said.

US, 2001: Object: Iraq War

John McCain: There is some indication, and I don’t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.

David Letterman: Oh, is that right?

John McCain: If that should be the case, that’s when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

Posted by: WJ | May 18 2018 5:11 utc | 37

Dangerous and lunacy

Atlantic council & Facebook start working together!

Posted by: Karlone | May 18 2018 5:54 utc | 38

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, provider of (purely defensive, of course) chemical weapon training to jihadis since 2012 and tireless proponent of no-fly or safe zones in the Guardian, the Telegraph, for the BBC etc., in 2017:

"UN and OPCW (...) must be allowed to take all evidence into consideration, even that which has been collected not under direct OPCW rules for chain of evidence procedures, and we must get on with it as soon as possible."

The OPCW acted accordingly. Now we have reached the point where the OPCW takes ONLY evidence into consideration "which has been collected not under direct OPCW rules for chain of evidence procedures".

Posted by: Cherrycoke | May 18 2018 7:11 utc | 39

I agree with analysis, most of it. On the elemental analysis, the soil is likely to contain K+ (kalium, potassium) because it is needed to support life. Concentrations can be elevated from the use of fertiliser.
(Having worked in the gas industry, I know that chlorine gas is a rather dirty gas. It's being produced by chemical companies in bulk. What is used by gas companies cannot be much. So it is sold as a moist gas, making it more corrosive than when it is dried properly. Such cylinders of chlorine are not too difficult to obtain, if you have a license to handle it.)

Posted by: Hendrick Smit | May 18 2018 7:32 utc | 40

Thank you b
I dream of the day when I can here the truth on the main stream media, as you have given here. The effect that would have on elections can only b imagined! The knock on effect re funding there senseless wars. We need to make this happen.
I would subscribe to Moonolalabama tv!
(Am not joking)

Posted by: Mark2 | May 18 2018 7:40 utc | 41

I don't know why chlorine is for ever being singled out as a chemical weapon, because its no more a chemical weapon than say, bleach is. Swimming pools the world over use chlorine for pool decontamination and in the UK at least, its available to anyone who wants it. In the UK there has often been instances where the chlorine mixture has gone slightly wrong and kids end up with stinking eyes etc. The pool operators (often a janitor) don't get charged with using chemical weapons. As far as the OPCW is concerned, its joined the ranks of the MSM and is just another arm of state propaganda.

Posted by: john wilson | May 18 2018 8:05 utc | 42

None of these obvious fake flags necessarily matter as individual incidents.

They are instead stacked up and used more effectively at a later date. Propaganda built on propaganda built on propaganda. It's the exact same as the multiple unproven "facts" used to smear Putin. These reams of bullshit are wheeled out fairly often in the media until they are considered true. Media organisations do not permit any serious criticism of any of the individual episodes and even if they did, 'news' consumers will have already accepted the 'official' narrative as fact.

Compile, repeat half-truths and unproven allegations, add new propaganda, repeat, repeat, repeat, add new propaganda, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc, etc, etc.

Bullshit built upon bullshit built upon bullshit. The construction of reality. The creation of truth. The arranging of history.

Posted by: Matt | May 18 2018 9:36 utc | 43

bevin @6

"The remarkable aspect of this story is the lengths to which the OPCW goes to establish a falsehood that nobody cares about any more."

I guess they plan to use it in the future as a "previous OPCW documented case" in combination with the next false flag. This way Nikki Haley can claim in the UNSC that Syria has repeatedly used chemical weapons. The high profile cases have been discredited, but low profile ones that nobody cared about will become useful if they stay under the radar.

Posted by: Norwegian | May 18 2018 10:50 utc | 44

bevin says:

The remarkable aspect of this story is the lengths to which the OPCW goes to establish a falsehood that nobody cares about any more

what lengths? as the internet continues to accelerate the news cycle, boilerplate just gets more and more lucrative. i mean, investigations are expensive, and as you say, nobody really cares anyway. endless repetition seems to work quite well, its by-products of intellectual laziness and moral decay notwithstanding.

the panoply of non-productive jobs, superfluous, meaningless, time consuming drudgery, puts a real crimp in humanity's resourcefulness, its creativity.

but i guess that's the point, no?

Posted by: john | May 18 2018 10:54 utc | 45

Chipnik | May 17, 2018 10:32:00 PM | 29

I have a saying: Fear is a thief; don't let it steal from you.

Posted by: V | May 18 2018 11:32 utc | 46

Guys and Gals, you are losing sight of the forest by focusing on a few skinny trees. Try and see the big picture and focus more on solutions than just observing the train wreck

This is not to say b's post here are not important. They are as they serve to document for the historical record what is happening . OPCW is doing precisely the same thing to counter b's truth. A century from now we can only hope b's version survives. Sadly, I think Winston will send it to the memory hole. But we can hope.

Posted by: Pft | May 18 2018 12:06 utc | 47

Israel just attacked Syria again it seems..
Huge Blasts Heard Near Airport in Syria's Hama - Reports (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Posted by: Zanon | May 18 2018 14:47 utc | 48

The OPCW sounds like the ICTY (not ICJ) used to criminalize and judge (justify attacks against) Serbia in the 90s.* It's back to Sinclair's quote "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." The OPCW is a tool that takes in spotty, biased accusations and creates "official" reports.

*(now reading the book Fool's Crusade about the breakup/war in Yugoslavia. Lots of parallels for what we've seen since. Right wing in Croatia, imported jihadi proxies for Bosnia, demonized secular leader, false reports of genocide, etc.)

Posted by: Curtis | May 18 2018 16:16 utc | 49

Russian Defense Ministry: US tries to make OPCW voice accusations against Damascus

“It seems as if the OPCW simply has no convincing proof of the involvement of Damascus in a ‘chemical attack’ in Syria’s Douma that was used as a pretext for a missile strike of the US, the UK and France against Syria,” the ministry said. “That is why, the initiators of the missile strikes are trying to compel the OPCW into voicing any accusations against Damascus,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, these accusations will be used as the motive for giving new authorities to the OPCW, a purely technical agency today (fact-finding mission) – “establishing ‘the guilty party’ instead of the Joint Mechanism for Investigating Chemical Weapons Use in Syria that was discredited and ended its activity at the end of 2017,” it said.

The end goal of putting pressure on the OPCW member countries is Washington’s bid to turn this organization into “an instrument of political pressure on Syria under the control for US machinations,” the ministry added.

What the Russian referred to was an new initiative run through Macron whcih goes against the grain of the OPCW and the convention it is supposed to guard:

Chemical weapons watchdog may be given fresh powers in Paris talks

Under proposals being floated by French diplomats, the powers of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog could be expanded to include attributing responsibility for the use of chemical weapons, rather than merely investigating whether they have been used.

The previous UN-recognised system collapsed amid disagreements with Russia, with the west accusing Moscow of killing off the investigatory body in an attempt to cover up repeated war crimes by the regime of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The proposal to extend the powers of the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is due to be discussed on the margins of the Paris conference, which is being attended both by the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. The OPCW oversees the chemical weapons convention that came into force in 1997.

I do not see how Macron's proposal could go anywhere. Macron and a few toadies can not decide what the OPCW does or not. Why should the members of the CW Convention agree to changing the OPCW's neutral stand and convert it into kangaroo court under 'western' influence?

Posted by: b | May 18 2018 17:42 utc | 50

It is high time to bring that organization back onto neutral and scientific grounds.

It is time for Russia and China to call out OPCW and demand (1) the removal of Üzümcü and (2) the firing of all those directly responsible for both the "investigation" and the report. OPCW needs to be held accountable. When that gets blocked by the US and UK, they should try to persuade other members of OPCW to delegitimise OPCW until appropriate action is taken.

Regarding the chlorine canisters: the chlorine canister in Douma had minimal damage inconsistent with being dropped on a concrete floor from a hight of 5000 meters, whereas the (hydraulic press sabotaged) cylinder in Idlib had violent damage after being dropped on plain earth; in Douma chip marks were found on the staircase where the cylinder had been hauled up the stairs.

Posted by: BM | May 18 2018 17:47 utc | 51

I happened upon a term while reading Pepe Escobar's latest: Westoxification--rather fascinating term that helped build the ideological case for the Iranian Revolution.

Yes, this seems OT, but isn't when considering b's post here fundamentally revolves around the seeming acceptance by the West of what's charitably called misinformation. And that would be Craig Murray's latest dealing with an obvious intelligence operation to insert misinformation into key entries at Wikipedia. The lesson as shown so often by b is to read very critically and cross check significantly into any claim made by a toxic western government--which is the vast majority.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 18 2018 18:21 utc | 52

b @50
Why should the members of the CW Convention agree to changing the OPCW's neutral stand and convert it into kangaroo court under 'western' influence?

But doesn't your post show that the OPCW's supposedly neutral stance is *already* more or less a fiction when cases come before it that are deeply tied to US interests? The Idlib finding, the obfuscating statements surrounding the Skripal affair, the delayed report on the Douma "attack,"--don't all these show us that in certain instances at least the OPCW is already a kangaroo court?

The problem is that it is a kangaroo court that does not as part of its charter have jurisdiction to assign blame for, just statement of fact about, any alleged chemical attack. The US needs to be able to assign blame because it is planning to engineer a false flag chemical attack in the next year or so that will be used to justify war with Iran. Think Operation Anthrax 2.0--this time carried out most probably in the Middle East and not in the US. Hence the need for an official blame-assigning international chemical body.

Posted by: WJ | May 18 2018 18:43 utc | 53

karlofi @52. Thanks for once again posting a great link. Related to this Phillip Cross/Wikipedia issue, I came across this Jewish Telegraph article on Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales.

Key points:

1. He’s been to Israel more than 10 times.
2. He received a $Million Dollar “prize” from Tel Aviv University.
3. He picked the only people allowed to “edit” Israel entry.

“Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales likes Israel but stays neutral” [LOL]

Here’s a text exchange Wales had with a Lebanese writer that shows a bit more of the temprament that Craig Murray experienced:

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 21:22 utc | 54

The always excellent Off-Guardian did another piece on this Wikipedia issue.

on “Philip Cross” & life-bans author

I once again implore everyone to stay the f*ck away from Wikipedia - the most manipulated disinformation site on the internet.

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 21:29 utc | 55

WJ, I may not have this right, but as I understand it, the OPCW Charter generally disallows it from assigning blame. That’s why the “usual suspects” created the “Joint Investigative Mechanism” (JIM) for the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun “Sarin gas atttack.”

When reading the OPCW report, one sees all the information that made unbelievable the conclusion that the Syrian Arab Republic was responsible for gassing civilians. But the JIM made that conclusion anyway. And then “news” reports either used JIM and OPCW interchangeabl or just said that OPCW that blamed the SAR.

Of course, most readers didn’t catch this little bait and switch, but some of us did.

So, the proposed change would allow the now deeply infiltrated OPCW assign the blame as preordained.

BTW: I find the same with the NIST 9/11 Commission Report. Inside the many volumes they show that the Official Conspiracy Theory is impossible, but the Commissioners (basically, Phillip Zelikow) came to the pre-ordained conclusion anyway.

Posted by: Daniel | May 18 2018 21:47 utc | 56

Thanks for linking those other items related to Wikipedia's misinformation focus. I hope those with Twitter go to Murray's twitter and retweet. This all goes to show that when the Desperate get desperate they make ever more mistakes that can't be easily covered-up. Expose the devils to very bright sunshine and they'll turn to dust like the vampires they are.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 18 2018 21:57 utc | 57

@ 26 Hoarsewhisperer | May 17, 2018 9:17:23 PM

Try looking at the OPCW in the light of just another NGO, quasi-publicly supported, beholding to some political interest or agenda and able to promulgate some position which official sources cannot or are unable to justify through rational processes. Not knowing your experiences, before about late 1960's, NGO's were few and notable, e.g. Brookings Institute and the like. Like mushrooms in the dark days of the Nixon administration they proliferated, offering advise and council for a plethora of 'problems'. Now those are ubiquitous and overwhelm all governmental sources of information or fact, a tsunami of 'well considered opinions' mostly. The OPCW is just another one of these organisations, its integrity bought by the highest bidder long ago at its inception. After Theresa May and the Skripal incident this should have beed abundantly clear after the absence of ethical reporting over alleged chemical attacks in Syria. The OPCW is without credibility as is the management of Porton Down Chemical Warfare Facility. The British PM is shown to be a brainless twat and the British FM a thoughtless buffoon. No 'Novichok' nerve agent was in evidence on 4 March, neither military grade nor otherwise, the blather generated since should evidence that clearly, regardless what your lying eyes tell you from seeing actors dressed up in gear that hides their identity. It has all been 'fake news', brought to you by your governmental propaganda production company.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 19 2018 8:57 utc | 58

The OPCW has sadly become irrelevant.

Not even western media has bothered to comment on their report, likely because of embarrassment over the Skripal nonsense.


Posted by: Ant. | May 19 2018 21:03 utc | 59

@ 59 Ant. | May 19, 2018 5:03:48 PM

Of course OPCW is irrelevant, it is a sham copy of those institutions F.D. Roosevelt put together to create the New Deal. The OPCW is only there to provide sham answers to those questions the Neocon/Neoliberal nexus wants answered in the way the Neocon/Neoliberal nexus wants the answer to be. No fault will be found in authoritarians adopting, remaking and using whatever political tools known to work; academic knowledge has been replaced by thunk tanks [think, thought, thunk - slightly irregular format to sink, sank, sunk], edifices developed and supported to give a desired response legitimising some otherwise defective policy. You still pay heed to western slime media? OPCW has been a shinning example of the cancer destroying the social fabric.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 19 2018 21:44 utc | 60

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