Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 29, 2019

OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists' Research

Leaks from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) prove that the OPCW management ignored or manipulated reports its Fact Finding Mission had written about the April 2018 Douma incident in Syria.

The history of the Douma incident and the OPCW and media manipulation around it is available from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media under the headline: How the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled. Our own posts around the incident are linked below.

The OPCW management ignored that the technical, chemical and medical analysis of its own specialists exculpated the Syrian government from the allegation that it poisoned some 40 people in Douma by dropping Chlorine canisters from a helicopter.

The OPCW scientific staff found that dropping the canisters could not have created the damage that was found. Those canisters must have been placed by hand. The amount of chlorinated organic chemicals found at the two scenes was very low and it is very unlikely that they are the result of a reaction with chlorine gas. The medical symptoms of the casualties as was seen in various videos at the time of the incident were inconsistent with death by chlorine inhalation.


The OPCW management twisted the interim and the final OPCW report on the incident to make it look as if the Syrian government was guilty of dropping chlorine canisters. The detailed internal technical analysis was ignored. It was replaced by external analysis from unknown sources who claimed the opposite of what the OPCW engineers and chemists had found. The wording of the report suggests that high levels of chlorinated organic chemicals were found without giving the very low concentrations (in parts per billions) that were actually found. The internal medical analysis was eliminated from the official report.

OPCW emails and documents were leaked and whistleblowers came forward to speak with journalists and international lawyers. Veteran journalist Jonathan Steele, who has spoken with the whistleblowers, wrote an excellent piece on the issues. In the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens picked up the issue and moved it forward:

New sexed-up dossier furore: Explosive leaked email claims that UN watchdog's report into alleged poison gas attack by Assad was doctored - so was it to justify British and American missile strikes on Syria?.

The 'citizen journalists' of the U.S. government financed Bellingcat propaganda shop made a laughable attempt to refute the claims the whistleblower made. Caitlin Johnstone took it apart.

Hitchens also responded to the Bellingcat scam: Bellingcat or Guard Dog for the Establishment?.

Quoting Bellingcat Peter Hitchens (PH) writes:

However, a comparison of the points raised in the letter against the final Douma report makes it amply clear that the OPCW not only addressed these points, but even changed the conclusion of an earlier report to reflect the concerns of said employee.

Apart from the words ‘a’, and ‘the’, everything in the above paragraph is, to put it politely, mistaken. Bellingcat have been so anxious to trash the leak from the OPCW that they have (as many did when the attack was first released) rushed to judgment without waiting for the facts. More is known by the whistleblowers of the OPCW than has yet been released, but verification procedures have slowed down its release. More documents will, I expect, shortly come to light.

One, which I have seen, is very interesting. It is a memorandum of protest, written many months after the e-mail of protest published at the weekend. This was sent to the OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias (there is some doubt about whether it ever reached him) by an OPCW investigator (one of those who actually visited Douma), on 14th March 2019. It has reached me through hitherto reliable sources. This is nearly two weeks *after* the release of the ‘final’ report (on Friday 1st March 2019) which is supposed to have resolved the doubts of the dissenters.

In his discussion of the issue Hitchens also mentions this blog:

[The OPCW report claim] ‘Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4, along with residues of explosive. These results are reported in Annex 3. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing.’ resulted in some quite remarkable media reports. These are explored here:

Bellingcat and its supporters may not like the source, and I do not much like it myself, but it is a unique record, as far as I know, of the initial media response to the issue of the July 6 report. I have in fact checked its claims with Reuters and the BBC and they do not dispute what it says, though they say they later corrected the output.

It is sad, Peter, that you don't like this blog much but I am afraid I can do nothing about it.

A few hours ago Hitchens published another piece: In defense of journalism - ‘Citizen journalists’ are no such thing. In it he again takes on Bellingcat and other such 'citizen journalists' and 'researchers' to then reveal that he himself has now talked to an OPCW whistleblower:

Luckily for me I have had the backing of people who know deep down that journalism must take risks to be any good. Someone had to say ‘yes’ to me when I headed off at short notice a few days ago, on my complicated way to a safe house somewhere in a major city on the European continent.

Someone had to fork out for my train fares and my cheap station hotels. Someone had to have the guts to let me tell my story about what I found when I got there — which was an honest man in turmoil. His job was to tell the truth and he was being prevented from doing so. So I could help him. In four decades of journalism, I have seldom felt closer to the Holy Grail, truth that had to be told, and truth that would shake power. Here it was. A pretext for war had been manufactured by suppression of research.

The "pretext for war" can not refer to the missile strike F-UK-US launched on April 16 2018, 8 days after the Douma incident and before any OPCW inspectors had visited the site.

Hitchens must refer to an upcoming war that was supposed to be based on the now disgraced OPCW report.

There is indeed a possible path to war.

The original agreement for OPCW investigations in Syria stipulated that the OPCW would report the results of investigations to a Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) at the United Nations where the Security Council would then attribute guilt to either side of the conflict. The U.S. tried to use the JIM process to attribute dubious chemical incidents in Syria to the government. Russia vetoed those attempts. The U.S. then decided to circumvent the UN process.

In 2018 the U.S. and its proxies manipulated the OPCW statute and added the task of identifying the guilty party of chemical incidents to the OPCW's agenda:

[The decision] also calls upon the [OPCW] Secretariat to put in place arrangements “to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons in those instances in which the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases for which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has not issued a report”.

The decision further affirmed that whenever chemical weapons use occurs on the territory of a State Party, “those who were the perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved should be identified” and it underscored “the added value of the Secretariat conducting an independent investigation of an alleged use of chemical weapons with a view to facilitating universal attribution of all chemical weapons attacks”.

The manipulated OPCW report, which omitted the OPCW scientists' findings, will now be the basic document which the new OPCW attribution group, the Investigation and Identification Team, will use to find the Syrian government guilty. That guilty verdict can then be used to publicly justify a war on Syria without further UN Security Council interference.

This is what Hitchens means when he writes that "A pretext for war had been manufactured by suppression of research."

Russia, China and several other governments have protested against the change in the OPCW statute. The Russian statement to this year's Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) conference says:

The decision to vest the OPCW Technical Secretariat with functions to identify parties responsible for the use of chemical weapons adopted in June 2018 at the CSP-SS-4 in contradiction of the Convention is illegitimate. This innovation forced on the OPCW goes beyond the scope of the CWC and the Organization, the decision itself was adopted in violation of the Convention, and its implementation is nothing other than an interference with the exclusive competence of the UN Security Council.

As a clearly foreseeable result of this questionable decision, fundamental problems with its realization ensued, namely, the lack of transparency and accountability of the "attribution" mechanism, which is the Investigation and Identification Team, to the OPCW governing bodies. The States Parties have yet to learn about the terms of reference of this entity, its operating conditions, its criteria for selection of "incidents"to investigate or sources and modalities of its financing.

The OPCW scientists found serious evidence that the Syrian government can NOT be guilty of the Douma incident. Under U.S. pressure the OPCW management suppressed its scientists' technical reports or replaced them with those from "external experts" to make it look as if the Syrian government caused the incident. The new attribution group at the OPCW will use that manipulated report to find Syria guilty of causing the incident. The U.S. and others could then use that guilty verdict as pretext to launch a war.

We only learned of this plan because courageous scientists and engineers at the OPCW do not want to see their organization abused to find pretexts to wage wars on the innocent. They came forward and told the public what it needs to know. They deserve our gratitude.

Previous Moon of Alabama coverage of the Douma incident and its aftermath:

April 8 2018 - Syria - Timelines Of 'Gas Attacks' Follow A Similar Scheme (Update II)
April 9 2018 - Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation
April 11 2018 - Syria - A U.S. Attack Would Be Futile - But Serve A Purpose - by M. K. Bhadrakumar
April 11 2018 - Trump Asks Russia To Roll Over - It Won't
April 12 2018 - Syria - Threat Of Large War Recedes But May Come Back
April 13 2018 - Syria - Manipulated Videos Fail To Launch World War III - Updated
April 14 2018 - F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria - Who Won?
April 16 2018 - Syria - Pentagon Hides Attack Failure - 70+ Cruise Missiles Shot Down
April 19 2018 - Syria - Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?
April 20 2018 - Syria Sitrep - Cleanup Around Damascus - WMD Rumors Prepare For New U.S. Attack
July 6 2018 - Syria - OPCW Issues First Report Of 'Chemical Weapon Attack' in Douma
July 7 2018 - Syria - Mainstream Media Lie About Watchdog Report On The 'Chemical Attack' In Douma
May 13 2019 - Syria - OPCW Engineering Assessment: The Douma 'Chemical Weapon Attack' Was Staged
November 16 2019 - OPCW Whistleblowers: Management Manipulated Reports - Douma 'Chemical Weapon Attack' Was Staged

Posted by b on November 29, 2019 at 19:02 UTC | Permalink


Macron should take the unique chance of his row today with Erdogan to claim surprise at what has been going on at OPCW under Turkish governance.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 29 2019 19:29 utc | 1

Oh dear, why does Peter Hitchens dislike Moon of Alabama? Methinks there is some envy behind the dislike, that MoA can find, research and publish real, credible information and news without being subjected to interference, or being able to publish such news only on the condition that one covers puff pieces first or accepts being relegated to the back of the queue of news articles for the day.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 29 2019 19:35 utc | 2

another nail in the coffin

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2019 19:56 utc | 3

Thanks, b, and thanks to those with integrity at OPCW! What's missing from this report is the tie-in with BigLie Media's role in the attempt to manufacture a reason for war. Then also there's the entity responsible for changing the OPCW Statute--yes, I know b named the macro-entities, but within them resides one or several individuals who came up with the plan and its verbiage. They need to be outed and removed from whatever government positions they hold ASAP. Another question needing to be asked and answered: What did Trump know about all this and when did he know it? And what was planned to occur if NATO got the "authorization" it tried to manipulate? Did they really desire to destroy themselves by making war on Russia via Syria?!?!

I must also say I'm shocked that anyone at OPCW would think Peter Hitchens a reliable person to confide in. IMO, we really lucked-out.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 29 2019 20:04 utc | 4

Hitchens may not like this blog because he is jealous of your great journalism, which consistently outshines the imperial media for which he works.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Nov 29 2019 20:10 utc | 5

Remember the individual labs will also have records of the CloC concentrations omitted from the final report and thus represent an additional potential leak source.

Posted by: S.O. | Nov 29 2019 20:33 utc | 6

What a Christmas present to you Bernhard. You actually made an impact, that could potentially have prevented a major escalation into open war.
What better gain could there be for your work!

And yes, Hitchens may not like your blog, or may he not dare to say so. What matters is, that Bellingcat and his NATO paymasters must be crying and screaming at you.. Beautiful.

And this development just shows, what can be possible if one would combine true citizen journalism with the resources and reach of MSM. If one could combine the best of both, one could truely shake the corrupted, brainwashed powers that be, and force policy changes on even the most important issues.
A ray of hope.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Nov 29 2019 20:35 utc | 7

What if forgot: Please Bernhard, take now extra care. Bellingcat will now target you even harder. And the first laughable attempt to dox you (which i watched on Twitter years ago, which was pretty hilariously incompetent, as BC mostly is) will not be the last.
Now you truly got in their way, and they will already plan how to retaliate...
If we can help you, please ask!

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Nov 29 2019 20:39 utc | 8

Another brick in the wall of proof, that the power of organised $ almost always conquers truth.

Until that paradigm changes, humanity can not progress.

Posted by: ben | Nov 29 2019 20:44 utc | 9

Kudos and thanks to b for his leadership in this failing propaganda effort

Let me repeat ben's comment #10
Another brick in the wall of proof, that the power of organised $ almost always conquers truth.

Until that paradigm changes, humanity can not progress.

If/when you get into an inter-myth (left/right) discussion with with others I encourage you to stop and ask them whether they support global private finance. I suspect you will find agreement on this issue and will further chip away at the manufactured left/right meme that is a cover for the reality of top/bottom madness that is such a threat to our species evolving.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 29 2019 20:57 utc | 10

Hitchens has been doing similar things, and getting them published in the Mail, for a while now. It is not unlike the Tucker Carlson phenomenon in the US.
These guys are watching the wheels come off the imperial juggernaut. Perhaps even more significant is the fact that others at these very right wing media sources realise that, to save some of their credibility they have to hedge their bets and allow some of their journalists to practise their profession.
Meanwhile, at the New Yorker (circulation declining rapidly) Seymour Hersh, who was like b one of the first on this story, cannot find room for all the hagiography by the MI6 Press Department.

As to Hitchens' ritualistic disassociation from MoA, who would have it any other way?

Posted by: bevin | Nov 29 2019 20:58 utc | 11

This is a war crime, plain and simple, but there will be no justice forthcoming. May the bastards in (primarily) the US and the UK who perpetrated this rot in hell.

Posted by: cdvision | Nov 29 2019 21:35 utc | 12

bankers disease and OPCW

Posted by: snake | Nov 29 2019 21:39 utc | 13

kudos to you b.. you do excellent work... peter hitchens knows this too, even if he doesn't have the guts or character to openly admit it.. people speaking truth to power are very hard to find in the media these days...people correctly seek out alternative media, as the msm has become a cesspool..

kudos to the opcw whistleblowers as well..without them, this wouldn't be seeing the light of day.. this con job the usa-uk and ''coalition'' are trying to pull off, rewriting the opcw mandate needs to be confronted..their deception and lies are ongoing... until more in the msm step up to the plate - like peter hitchens, and especially jonathan steele, the msm will continue to be a conveyor of lies and bullshite only... moa is a rare exception in the realm of news, even if it is classified as alternative news..

i hope this path to war they are exploring here has a huge light shined on it.. these so called journalists can all rot in hell if they can't see beyond their paycheck..

Posted by: james | Nov 29 2019 21:44 utc | 14

Karlof1 @7

"yes, I know b named the macro-entities, but within them resides one or several individuals who came up with the plan and its verbiage. They need to be outed and removed from whatever government positions they hold ASAP."

A bit strange...these several individuals were acting on instructions from their several governments.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Nov 29 2019 21:48 utc | 15

To understand how brave these OPCW scientists are in their efforts to save their integrity, just watch how whistleblower Julian Assange is tortured and killed blatantly in the open for everyone to watch. My highest esteem for them, Assange, and also b, who doesn't stop publishing these crimes!

Posted by: Cemi | Nov 29 2019 21:51 utc | 16

Here is a key direct war propaganda-quote from the concluding paragraph of the OPCW's so-called ... "evaluation and analysis of all the information gathered":

[The investigations by the OPCW "provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine.The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine."

This is yet another attempt to energize Obama's 2013 'declaration': that a "red line" would be crossed by use of chemical weapons in Syria. From the Washington Post, 2013: "Because of our concern about the deteriorating situation in Syria, the president has made it clear that the use of chemical weapons — or transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups — is a red line for the United States of America. The Obama administration has communicated that message publicly and privately to governments around the world, including the Assad regime.”

Once the evocative 'red line" terminology had been used, all those who wanted more US military involvement in Syria were motivated to make the red line appear to have been crossed. The presstitute media began to frequently insert and magnify references and accusations re Assad and chemical weapons.

Given that the war waged against Syria has been a war of aggression, with multiple perpetrators, consider some of the defining characteristics of wars of aggression: From Nuremberg:

.. (a) Crimes against peace: Namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

.. (b) War crimes: Namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment, or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military
necessity ....

Meaningful use above of the word "preparation" and the phrase "participation in a conspiracy" in regards to wars of aggression includes mental/attitudinal preparation. The corrupt managers of the OPCW, too, are thus by definition war criminals. They have much company.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Nov 29 2019 22:06 utc | 17

@ cemi... that is very true... thanks for saying that..

Posted by: james | Nov 29 2019 22:30 utc | 18

Piero Colombo @16--

Thanks for noting the contradiction in my comment! However, there are times when planners come up with ideas they weren't directed to generate. The question was probably broad: How can we get Obama's Red Line to be seen as crossed by Syria? then the specific mechanism manufactured.

Thanks to Robert Snefjella @18 showing how those planners are genuine War Criminals. Which brings up an interesting question: Is the Federal government that runs the Evil Outlaw US Empire a War Criminal or are specific members of that government War Criminals. Leading to the next question: The governments of Italy, Germany and Japan were completely destroyed, their national constitutions rewritten and new institutions then established as a result of their perpetrating War Crimes: Should the Federal government of the USA likewise be destroyed, a new constitution written followed by the generation of new institutions? And if so, then what of the individual State governments; don't they also share the guilt of their parent the Federal government? How can it be held that the 50 individual states are innocent while the Federal government's guilty? I know that the Nuremburg Principles say it's the duty of all citizens to resist and attempt to thwart/prevent attempted War Crimes, but I don't believe there's a statute in the US Code that addresses those Principles; although, constitutionally IMO those Principles do apply.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 29 2019 22:59 utc | 19


Manufacturing a pretext for the U.S. missile strike on Syria in April 2018 is nowhere near the biggest of OPCW's crimes. The OPCW is an accessory, both before and after the fact to the crime of mass murder.

It should now be clear to everyone that Syrian "rebels" gassed thousands of hostages in cellars, most likely with chlorine gas, and then paraded the victims in White Helmets snuff videos. OPCW conspired in this crime in both encouraging the terrorists to more murder and by protecting them afterward by assigning blame to Assad and the Syrian government.

The worst of these massacres happened in Ghouta in August 2013 when 2000 civilian hostages (rebel claim) were gassed to death by rebels and their pre-White Helmets "civil defence". The OPCW was there to cover up the crime and to fabricate evidence to assign blame to Syria.

We have been documenting these crimes and hoaxes at A Closer Look On Syria from December 2012. OPCW was used from the beginning to manufacture consent for war. See for example:

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Nov 29 2019 23:16 utc | 20

Caitlin Johnstone gives a master-class in snark when she points her readers to Bellingcat's latest apologia.

Queue the money-shot: "Don’t worry about giving them clicks; that’s not where they get their money."

Comic Gold.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 29 2019 23:47 utc | 21

As to Hitchens' ritualistic disassociation from MoA, who would have it any other way?

Posted by: bevin

Well said...! Couldn’t put it better.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 29 2019 23:51 utc | 22

Petri Krohn @21--

Of course, the OPCW is already there! I highly suggest Caitlin Johnstone's article b linked be read, which can be found here.

We should expand on Petri's number of people involved in this crime to include all the paid disinformation artists noted in Caitlin's essay at minimum. What becomes very clear in all this is the total collusion with OPCW upper level management--those whom the whistleblowers and their allies within OPCW petitioned--in these crimes as Petri contends. Until they are visibly replaced, nothing issued by OPCW has any credence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 29 2019 23:52 utc | 23

Well done b. Hours later... still no mention at democracy now but lots of odd news and even a landslide in Kenya. No mention of the 'democracy never' strategies of the USA and its paid minions. Here is a story that is a free kick at the war machine and silence throughout. Sad.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 30 2019 0:13 utc | 24

OPCW has shown to be a pure political entity, used at will by few regimes in the UN to promote their agenda, b has done a tremendous job to humanity to bring the truth to the public worldwide. Syrians have paid the price for UN leaders support to global terrorism for too long. It must stop now.

Posted by: Canthama | Nov 30 2019 0:21 utc | 25

At the risk of derailing this thread by going to a meta level, so perhaps just read and weep, the corruption of the OPCW is precisely normal, in this sense: The challenge: find one high profile institution in 'the west' that is not corrupt. And here I can bring to mind a long list of institutions that have given clear signs of being corrupt, while of course all the time posturing as dignified protectors of their solemn nominal mission statement. I'm hard put to find institutional exemplars of courage and integrity.

The rot seems to be most apparent at the head, but surely many many minor minions contribute. I refuse to bow to the contention that this general corruption is the human condition; I've met too many good and gutsy little people.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Nov 30 2019 0:31 utc | 26

The problem with misinformation - like what Bellingcat and other media sources are spreading - is:

1) deep narratives that have been embedded in the Western psyche;

2) the concentration of media ownership;

3) the partisan warfare that everyone seems to ENJOY engaging in (and our media reinforces).

Sadly, it seems that the vast majority of the public has little real interest in knowing difficult truths anymore - or in holding their government accountable.

When I talk to people about propagandized issues like Russia, Syria, and the Impeachment hearings, the good-hearted and super-aware people that I am interacting with will calmly and pleasantly explain what is really happening - by regurgitating all the narratives that they have heard from MSM!

They have no desire to look behind the scenes or think for themselves. Everything is at it seems. Everything fits into their mental construction of the way things are. And they are energized by the political circus.

They feel very informed. They are just skeptical enough to know that the opposing forces (whether Democrat or Republican) will lie and cheat to gain power. And the are willing to overlook when someone on their side does the same - because it's in the service of the higher values that they agree with.

Until we agree and stand up for truth tellers and principles, we in the West will continue to be divided and defined by the establishment that has a strong interest in playing us.

It feels like we are on the precipice of a new dark ages.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 30 2019 0:49 utc | 27

It's time to rob the warmongerers of any opportunity to deprive them of any excuse by saying
F** off . You can't use any activity by gov to wage war against that gov

Posted by: KH | Nov 30 2019 1:55 utc | 28

Karlof1 @20

Thank you for formulating some central questions at a level that should worry us all.

1. "Is the Federal government that runs the Evil Outlaw US Empire a War Criminal or are specific members of that government War Criminals."

Those who know better will correct me but as far as I know only individuals are covered by international law. We in the US have no shortage of individuals to try for that.

2. "next question: The governments of Italy, Germany and Japan were completely destroyed, their national constitutions rewritten and new institutions then established as a result of their perpetrating War Crimes"
it seems that this was a (wise) ad hoc decision -- not part of the 1945 legislation

So "Should the Federal government of the USA likewise be destroyed, a new constitution written followed by the generation of new institutions?"

That would be very well earned indeed -- but why rewrite the constitution? It is not at fault as it is not being applied even though it's quite serviceable -- as far as constitutions go.

"I don't believe there's a statute in the US Code that addresses those Principles; although, constitutionally IMO those Principles do apply."
The constitution itself does indeed take care of that with Article 8 -- isn't then the absence of implementing legislation a high crime of the individuals in government?

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Nov 30 2019 2:55 utc | 29

Petri Krohn @21

They are already in the Hague -- next door.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Nov 30 2019 2:57 utc | 30

Re: 6/22/2018 email, Peter Hitchens makes the case for importance of citizen journalists in his 11/23/19 article linked above. He freely admits he's withholding names of senior OPCW execs to whom the email was addressed. He says "we know" the names but "have been asked not to publish" them. Perhaps he was doing the bidding of the folks who pay for his train fare and cheap hotels, or perhaps it was just the Queen who has legal power to prevent publication of anything she wishes.

[18th parag.] "It has been a long struggle. The original email of protest was sent to senior executives at the OPCW (whose names we know but have been asked not to publish) on June 22, 2018."

Posted by: chili palmer | Nov 30 2019 3:18 utc | 31

There is a subtle difference between the Roman goddess Veritas and the Greek goddess Aletheia - the goddesses of truths. This difference is, exactly the difference between the likes of Bellingcat/Hitchens and MoA.

Posted by: Innocent Civilian | Nov 30 2019 4:13 utc | 32

Piero Colombo @30--

Thanks for your well considered reply! Some further thinking on the point-in-question we're discussing leads to the conclusion that people like Belligcat are willfully/knowingly lying to misdirect from a crime of massive proportions with the intent to instigate an even bigger crime. Now, I don't follow Bellingcat et al's blogs, Twitters, Faacebooks, etc., and don't 100% know if they've ever been confronted with the above bolded accusation/recitation of their deeds; but if they haven't been told as much explicitly, that must be done posthaste--theirs is the crime of Goebbels. Too bad they lack the courage to fulfill the remedy he chose; that would save us all, although I suppose their testimony would be valuable to get at those who did the ordering--and those people are the ones needing removal from society and their ill-gotten booty returned to the global public it was stolen from.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 30 2019 5:12 utc | 33

@karlof1 #20:

Should the Federal government of the USA likewise be destroyed, a new constitution written followed by the generation of new institutions?

I'm not a U.S. citizen, but I would propose the following amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

1. The U.S. currency must be issued by a central bank. (In other words, The Fed must be abolished.)
2. All elections in the U.S. must employ ranked-choice voting (or a similar system). All election debates must be organized and conducted by the FEC; TV/radio networks must rebroadcast them in full without compensation. (This will lead to the creation of a multi-party system.)
3. Strong limits on concentration of ownership for media and advertising networks. A lifetime prohibition for U.S. intelligence services personnel and informants to be employed in U.S. media, ad networks, social media, or parents thereof.
4. Strong protections for personal data and communications, updated for the digital age. (No Patriot Act, no bulk collection; metadata collection, wiretapping, and hacking of a U.S. citizen can only be done after obtaining an individual warrant through a court.)

These fundamental amendments would transform the U.S. from an oligarchy to a democracy. Other amendments (free healthcare, public finances, workplace democracy) could then be proposed/debated/accepted/rejected in the course of a normal political process.

Posted by: S | Nov 30 2019 5:42 utc | 34

Congratulations again b in your advancement in the cause of peace. Whether there is an appreciation or not by a mainstream journalist pales in comparison to such substantive writings.

I hope those OPCW whistle blowers watch their step. There would be significant incentive to make an example of one of them a la David Kelly.

They might leak information about the UK poisoning case too. Hopefully.

It is time to reconstitute the OPCW management.


Posted by: bobzibub | Nov 30 2019 5:44 utc | 35

S @35

That's a good start. But I think more is needed.

How about adding:

> Banking regulated as a utility (natural monopoly);

> Universal Service (our all-volunteer army means no-one-that-matters cares about foreign policy);

> Healthcare as a right;

> Restoring checks and balances (elminating the 'Imperial Presidency')


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 30 2019 7:52 utc | 36

Karlof1 @34

Exactly! Warning such criminals, though, may be superfluous; they know what they are doing all right. Also, their crime seems to be more precisely the one Julius Streicher was sentenced for.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Nov 30 2019 8:08 utc | 37

"Chemical Weapons" is an effective emotional trigger ever since they were banned after WW1. As a matter of convention, as being gassed cannot objectively be much worse than being napalmed or crushed under a collapsing bombed building...but when we want to make an Evil Dictator out of someone, we accuse them of having/using chemical weapons.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 30 2019 10:17 utc | 38

It's only a matter of time, the Bellingcat pushed MH17 narrative will unravel too.

If you read the MH17 accident invesigation report carefully, you will find that the Ukrainian army operated heavy air defence systems in the eastern part of the Ukraine (page 239 of the report). The Ukrainian army has a large inventory of BUK missiles.

The Ukraine has a motive to put the blame on Russia. They had the means to shoot down MH17. The Ukrainian army has shot down an airliner before. The Ukraine should have been treated as a criminal suspect, yet they were immediately included in the Joint Investigation Team that does the criminal investigation(!). That's like the DEA inviting Pablo Escobar to join the team that investigates the crimes by the criminal organization led by Pablo Escobar.

The inclusion of the Ukraine in the JIT was a political decision. It is a political show trial. Due process?

Should the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) have investigated the accident in the first place? The answer is no. The Dutch were heavily involved in the February 2014 coup in the Ukraine. In 2013 the Dutch were the biggest sponsor of the anti -Russian propaganda channel Hromadske TV. Dutch military intelligence was running operations from the embassy in Kiev. The Dutch have a conflict of interest and should have no involvement in the accident investigation or criminal proceedings.

Caitlin Johnstone's article absolutely kills Bellingcat propaganda operation. Don't forget, the Integrity Initiative listed Bellingcat as a partner.

Bellingcat has an office in The Hague. Bellingcat sells expensive OSINT training to the Dutch police force.

You don't have to be a genius to understand that the official narrative can't be true.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Nov 30 2019 10:23 utc | 39

S at 35 <= Does your constitutional amendment proposal deny outsiders meddling in the Affairs of America? you offered the following:
1. The U.S. currency must be printed, sequentially numbered, established by a fixed immutable physical measure (like the number of square millimeters on the surface of a disc ( area in a circle with radius 10,000 miles) and, issued by the US Dept of Treasury, a central bank. (In other words, The Fed must be abolished. and a standard of value must accompany any coinage or currency that is issued). <= Snake says:Currency used to be on the gold standard.
2. All elections (city, county, state, and federal) in conducted by the U.S. A. in America must employ ranked-choice voting (or a similar system). All election debates must be organized and conducted by the FEC; TV/radio networks must rebroadcast them in full without edit, commentary or compensation. (This will lead to the creation of a multi-party system.) <= Snake says we used to have the must carry rule
3. Strong limits on concentration of ownership for media and advertising networks. A lifetime prohibition for U.S. intelligence services personnel and informants to be employed in U.S. media, ad networks, social media, or parents thereof. <= Snake says, laws used to prohibit monopolies (Sherman and Clayton Acts)..
4. Strong protections for personal data and communications, updated for the digital age. (No Patriot Act, no bulk collection; metadata collection, wiretapping, and hacking of a U.S. citizen can only be done after obtaining an individual warrant through a court.)
<=Snake says amendment IV=>The right of the people to be secure in their persons, homes, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.. ..

The Oligarchs avoid the IV amendment, and the Congress conveniently allows this avoidance when it fails to pass and enforce laws that prevent private interest from violating the constitution and the prosecutor stops the enforcement of the laws, when he or she refuses to prosecute..
Nothing is more germane to democracy and freedom than mind control, intelligence, and propaganda but both media and spying are private ventures and wrongful or fake propaganda have no legal stops.

No matter what the words say<= the Courts will interpret the words however the Oligarchs want. If as directed interpretation is not enough; congress will fail to pass laws that accord to the constitutional elements in the matter, the executive will issue some kind of order that effectively overrules or the prosecutors will not prosecute those who use private means to violate laws or constitutional protections.

Actually AFAICT there is no way to put a person in jail for violating the constitution. Without a law, the constitutional violators not only go free but can also take advantage of the protections found in the constitution.

Unless Article amended to protect the meaning of the constitution and the application of law under the constitution nothing will change nor matter your amendments, no matter campaign promises, no matter.. . I suggest some kind of mechanism is needed to deal with any interpretation of law or constitution, by any court, on any matter, where the interpretation itself is "arguably in doubt[, that is greater than one possible interpretations..]" (including meanings of the words in the constitution or meanings of words, or application of laws, statutes, rules, or orders by governmental authorities) the "matter in doubt " should be submitted for resolution to eligible voters (all domestically domiciled for at least the last six month Americans who are also citizens of the USA).

Before an eligible person can vote in a "Matter in Doubt" Election; the government should personally inform the voter of the "matter in doubt", administer a knowledge test to that voter that tests his or her understanding of the matter in doubt, before the voter is allowed to vote.

These fundamental amendments would transform the U.S. from an oligarchy to a democracy. Other amendments (free healthcare, public finances, workplace democracy) could then be proposed/debated/accepted/rejected in the course of a normal political process.

<= in my opinion you left out the most important amendment needed.. something that that would deny foreigners or special interest to use immigration or wealth or other means to place controlled puppets or special interest Trojans into one or more of the 527 elected positions that direct the powers given to those who animate the USA government. Americans are dependant upon the persons who occupy the elected positions in the USA to use the powers authorized to them by the constitution to protect Americans from foreign influence or criminal infiltration. Therefore an amendment is needed to close the massive "elected person security gap" the constitution has allowed.

Amending the constitution to prevent and to deny
1. any person who has been convicted of a crime, or
2. any person who holds any citizenship or position of any kind in a government that is not the USA (this applies both
to direct and to indirect interest as by or through a spouse or direct lineal descendant) or
3. any person who invests in, funds or operates a non governmental interest of any kind (including quasi
governmental interest), or any person who resides outside of America,

from occupying or serving in
1. any one of the elected positions (currently 527 in number) or
2. any person of the judicial position, or
3. any person from serving in any executive level position in any department or subdivision or agency of the USA or
4. any person who has an interest in or is an employee of, or who has been and employee or
5. any person who holds or held an equity interest in, or who served contractor to any part of the USA
for any of the consecutive past seven years, prior to occupying one the protected positions.

I agree the constitution is central to preserving America but as has already been demonstrated, it can be a very oppressive instrument in its present form. Humanity first, then America, then the USA, then whomever else.

Posted by: snake | Nov 30 2019 10:50 utc | 40

S @ 35:

You'd want to include the following as well:

a) all upper house and lower house politicians to be subject to term limits (no more than two or three terms in a row, and no more than a maximum total of four terms if there are breaks among them);

b) sources of all election funding to be restricted to government sources - all such sources to be made available to the public - a Secretary and Department to oversee and monitor election funding for all Federal governments;

c) access to the Internet to be declared a right or interpreted as an extension of freedom of speech;

d) corporate personhood to be abolished.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 30 2019 11:03 utc | 41

Today's events in London should serve to remind us that the OPCW was involved in attributing blame by inference in the "Salisbury poisoning" case at the very same time as it was dodging the truth coming from the Douma residents Russia brought to the Hague.
One wonders if there may be any whistleblowers in the OPCW who are concerned about the identification of Novichok/A234 and whether it came from Porton Down. This also reminds one of the report that a sample from the Al Nusra attack on Khan al Assal in March 2013 had been analysed by PD and found to be of Sarin different from that in Syrian military stocks.
The truth of this story, in some ways similar to the one told in "Official Secrets", is a scandal that should terminate any prospect of the Tories taking power in the coming election showdown. There are surely some spare cells in Belmarsh to accommodate the criminal regime...

Posted by: David Macilwain | Nov 30 2019 11:53 utc | 42

@43 (Novichok/A234)

The Swiss said they found agent BZ. Novi, which is vastly deadly, does not fit the descriptions from the scene...and there's the coincidence of the Chief Nurse and all that, and the hospital holding Skirpal said "nerve agent" (I believe) BZ is usually survivable, it's fast, and it is a "nerve agent" (so's LSD and heroin)

Then there's the disappeared "victims" kidnapped, or? Maybe they're with that good man Jeffery E on Prisoner Island...

OPCW is a con. Nothing they say is legitimate. This is understandable, as "they" "know where your kids live."

Posted by: Walter | Nov 30 2019 12:09 utc | 43

Intel Today interviewed Carla Ortiz who was filming a documentary in Douma at the time of the alleged chemical attack.

Intel Today — What is your conclusion regarding the latest allegation of a chemical attack by the Syrian Army in Douma on April 7 2018?

Carla Ortiz — There is not a single person in all of Douma who believes that this attack ever happened. In fact no one here understands why everyone keeps on asking this question.

Full interview can be read here:
Exclusive Q&A with Carla Ortiz from Ghouta, Syria

Posted by: Ludwig | Nov 30 2019 12:23 utc | 44

Excellent! Great job B!

Posted by: Shue | Nov 30 2019 12:38 utc | 45

@28 More despair from the Hare..
Crucial debunking of an intelligence services propagandist done by a veteran real journalist is but an exercice in futility as we are all doomed anyway. Why dont you go to Godlike Productions, you'll have tons of nice memes to play with..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 30 2019 12:50 utc | 46

A number of ideas for Constitutional revision have been proposed, but I can think of at four, off the top of my head, that have been overlooked.

Ban all political parties; everyone has to run as an independent.

Ban all electronics, computers, software, etc from all aspects of the election process. Votes are on paper ballots and hand counted. No voting machines of any type allowed.

Assert that money is not speech. It certainly isn't “Free Speech”, if anything its bought and paid for speech.

Voting is mandatory, as in Australia. If you don't like any of the candidates, you can just write in anything, Mickey Mouse or yourself, for that matter. In one of our local elections a few years back I thought both the Mayor candates were the proverbial bums, so I wrote in Vladimir Putin. It probably raised smile on the faces of the poll-workers who had to count it.

Leaving electoral matters aside, there should be a complete ban of dual passport holders.
Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Nov 30 2019 13:16 utc | 47

@S #35
It is ironic that the prescriptions you offer require tyranny to enact (or magic). And the question then becomes: why would the tyrant give way after acquiring the power? Of course, with magic - this isn't a problem.
As for the 4 points - I can't say I agree they will accomplish the goal of "true democracy" you believe they will.
1) Currency issued by a central bank. How is the ECB working out? How is the ECB different than the Fed? The name is irrelevant; it is the power which disposes the behavior.
2) Ranked choice voting: Again, Europe is a fine (counter) example. Ranked choice voting leads to center left and center right parties dominating initially, merging into a indistinguishable mass then becoming their own echo chamber. It is precisely this dynamic which is leading to the rise of ultra-right and ultra-left parties across Europe (mostly ultra-right).
3) Concentration limits on media ownership. This actually existed before 1996 - when Bill Clinton signed the bill deregulating it. Reagan was elected in 1982 anyway. I agree with the principle for other reasons, but the execution is problematic.
Concentration limits on media - would they matter if there aren't limits on financial contributions to political candidates?
Secondly, the issue with media today (and the reason for concentration) is less to do with ownership than it has to do with the advent of the internet and the changing of media business models. I suggest listening to the Joe Rogan interview of Matt Taibbi to understand what the internet has done to media. Summary: media is now in the business of outrage, just as clickbait web sites are. They literally make money by fomenting outrage - so the natural outcome is a channel tuned to every major demographic, poking their audience constantly to maintain "engagement".
4) Privacy protections. Also agree with the principle, but again, execution is problematic.
Not at all clear to me how GDPR or "super" GDPR protections promote democracy, but I do believe privacy matters.

In conclusion, I would note that the problem with sweeping prescriptions as you put forward is that they ignore the reality that the present oligarchy - both political and financial - is vested in the present system.
Why would these wealthy, capable and powerful people give it up?
A young person is poor and willing to upend everything because they have nothing to lose.
A middle age person has to support a family, and so is inherently going to be much more conservative.
An old person has nothing but what they have accumulated - they're not going to want any change, whatsoever, unless it is 100% going to be a win.
The overall population acts as a function of these tendencies as modified by the specific economic situation.
Today, from what I see, the US is in a terrible economic situation outside of the 1%. The young people have been misled repeatedly by "hope and change" promises followed by Sanders' political exile in his own party.
The middle class is getting ground down every day - Trump's presidency is evidence of that, while the old have been seriously getting hurt by zero interest rates, low to no Social Security COLAs and the ongoing health care debacle (they're protected from much of the medical cost by Medicare, but Medicare doesn't cover everything).
Is the time right for sufficient anger and discontent to lead to a major US political restructuring? Yes - again, Trump.
Is it going to be well thought out? No, and again, Trump.
Trump isn't the revolution. He's actually done a number of good things legislatively like health care pricing transparency and foreign policy "US is good illusion destruction", but he's not going to upset the domestic economic apple cart to a major degree, deliberately.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 30 2019 13:20 utc | 48

OT Hong Kong Protesters Singing U.S. national anthem

FOX news is getting their collective rocks off showing Hong Kong protesters waving U.S. flags and singing U.S. anthem. I very much hope that this inspires 'b' to analyze the crowd size and shed light on this NED inspired event.

How would we in the U.S. feel if people in Arizona were waving Mexican flags and singing their anthem in Spanish?

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Nov 30 2019 13:31 utc | 49

@Jen #42

1) Term limits. Sound good in theory. In practice, the states that enacted this found that term limits just mean the few competent politicians get turfed out regularly, while big money sponsors can always find a new shill.

2) Funding only by government. If you fear the swamp now, how much worse would it be if the bureaucrats are self funding?

3) Access to the internet a right.
How does this work in practice?
Does it mean that everyone gets free internet access? And at what speed?
With what kind of computer or other device? And what kind of monitoring?
The internet is, I think, a net good but it is a major cause of the economic and societal upheaval we are living in today.
The internet allows every niche to live in its own information bubble - a state which research has shown to radicalize.
The internet also directly enables offshoring. How much would companies be willing to offshore if they couldn't (in theory) control those offshore entities at a touch of a button?

4) Corporate personhood be abolished - and replaced with what? The issue isn't that corporations are persons - the issue is that laws applying to persons aren't being applied to corporations - so corporations are getting a free ride. There are lots of ways to fix this.

For example, in California the Housing California ballot initiative to reform Proposition 13 seeks to establish "split roll". Today, any property - whether owned by a human or a corporation - is taxed at the same rate with tax increases/decreases capped at 2% per year. This rate is far too low - which is why areas with high home values have many owners paying less property tax per year than families pay in monthly rent.

Under this new proposition, businesses will be split off from everyone else. Agriculture and small businesses are exempted from the split. These large businesses can then be assessed a fair market value on their properties and taxed at a different rate.
This is a very smart proposal as it specifically prevents the "grandma propertied taxed out of house" line originally used by businesses to front for Proposition 13 passing in 1978.

Proposition 13 is 90% a subsidy for the very rich. Case in point: I went to a known wealthy neighborhood in San Francisco. The 2nd house I randomly picked - Zillow shows it was purchased for $60 million in July 2019. But its tax basis is under $5.5M: Zillow data
The tax history shows $62K in property taxes in 2019, but it was under $30K in 2016.
A different house in the same neighborhood was listed at $6.8M, but didn't sell. Its property tax in 2019 is $4846 on a valuation of $370,860.
This person is literally stupid to sell this house when average monthly rent in a 2 BA/2 BD apartment in SF is $4500/month.
Zillow data

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 30 2019 14:35 utc | 50

The ancient Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot from the whole citizen body.

Posted by: lysias | Nov 30 2019 14:43 utc | 51

Nice idea...think about it. It's not "smart" it's a way to destroy a political alliance between rich and place their interests align. That's is the target...division and removal of nutzlossen by tax-created poverty

Without the political backing of wealthy property owners prop13 cannot sustain over time for anybody. Meantime cheap created fake money inflates the "value" of housing. Housing is a declining asset - you have to take care of it and that costs. The "capital gains" in housing are illusory or artificial. If you imagine that there are many homeless people now...take the political compromise of prop13 and break it...then watch. Our prop13 taxes now, Walter's proptax, is more than he used to pay to rent a nice place. W/O p13 he'd be obliged to sell out and buy an old boat - which'd be ok if he and wifie were young...

As for the big fellas, they'll hire lobbyists and guns and lawyers and perhaps even demolish any highly taxed asset...

Does sound like a smart does every successful con-job.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 30 2019 14:56 utc | 52

OPCW, Skripal... and also, albeit on a much more harmless scale, WADA.

As in the Skripal case, in WADA the UK is also acting as the American proxy. See the list of directors of the WADA board.

Posted by: vk | Nov 30 2019 15:02 utc | 53

It is disgusting that these criminals at the OPCW are not prosecuted and jailed. They have caused the death of innocents and have allowed criminals to go unpunished.
It seems that none of the UN organizations is immune to political corruption. These insider criminals should be exposed by the UN as its credibility is at stake. Until then no one ca believe UN reports

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 30 2019 15:09 utc | 54

@ 55 use searchterm> "opcw we know where your kids" Bolton was crude, some are not crude, and if they do not get a deal, somebody else will make a deal and you will find out you don't matter anymore, one way or another.

Yes, some are criminals, others are probably merely terrified by threats, and some blackmailed by nice men like Jeffery and his employers.

Of course if one insists on the boy scout oath...then there's alwsys suicide, so sad.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 30 2019 15:20 utc | 55

From the OPCW, to the OAS, to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and more - Western institutions and NGOs are now simply corrupt to the core, shamelessly shilling CIA propaganda in support of America's illegal immoral regime-change "exceptionalism." Just don't expect anyone in corporate media to notice or report on this.

Posted by: Gary Weglarz | Nov 30 2019 17:08 utc | 56

@Walter #60
Sadly, you have provided no information backing up your assertions or disproving the data I have posted.
The harms which Proposition 13 has visited upon California, over time, are very well documented:
1) Local school districts depend on property taxes for funding. The impact of Proposition 13 is to divorce school funding from inflation by divorcing property valuation (and associated taxation) from reality. This is easily seen: schools in SF are terrible, across the board, despite sky high valuations of the houses around them. The wealthy don't care because their kids get sent to private schools anyway, but society overall suffers.

2) The California state, local and municipal revenue mix - when you were younger - was 80% property tax and 20% other taxes (sales taxes, fees, income tax etc). The passage of Proposition 13 devastated local and municipal revenues and affected state level spending as well. The ever increasing income and other tax levels show this - the problem being that these other taxes fall disproportionately on the poorer part of the population. So not only is Proposition 13 forcing the state to find revenue other ways, it wound up getting more and more of its revenue from those least able to afford it.

3) The impact of rapidly rising asset prices is damaging the state demographically. Young people can't afford to live in their own state; there are many examples of 3 generations of families living in an ever expanding house (expanding to the borders of its land) because there is no other way for these generations to survive.

There are many other impacts - sprawl principally, but it is clear that you - in your heavily subsidized home - haven't tried at all to see what is happening around you.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 30 2019 17:56 utc | 57

@ vk | Nov 30 2019 15:02 utc | 54

OPCW, Skripal... and also, albeit on a much more harmless scale, WADA.

As in the Skripal case, in WADA the UK is also acting as the American proxy. See the list of directors of the WADA board.

I agree with you, except that I think that WADA's wholly corrupt perfidy is more pernicious and harmful than you imply.

A disclaimer: as a matter of temperament and inclination, I've never been athletic or competitive. The former may be a function of a "hobbit-like" nature that regards eating as a form of exercise, the latter the curse of general "over"sensitivity.

Also, in my younger days I followed home town sports teams (Philadelphia, PA, USA); but as my cynicism matured and intensified I became put off by the corporate and/or bloated authoriarian nature of professional and commercial sports organizations-- the obscene Olympics being "Exhibit A" for the latter.

I provide this background to demonstrate that I don't have a natural affinity for sports or athletes. Even so, I was appalled and outraged when WADA and the IOC began a sustained bureaucratic and propaganda campaign against Russia and Russian athletes.

Put slightly differently, when the Russian "doping scandal" erupted, I was willing to take it at face value, i.e. that those dastardly Russians were despicable cheaters who were finally getting a well-deserved comeuppance.

But I soon came to realize that ostensibly neutral overseers like the odious Professor Richard H. McLaren were operatives tasked with assassinating Russia's international sports reputation, using Russian athletes as scapegoats, and generally subjecting Russia's international sports presence to a war of attrition intended to perpetually and permanently "shame" and discredit Russia.

I have no doubt that WADA and the IOC are tools of the Western overclass, and that WADA's chicanery is a front in a xenophobic culture war intended to denigrate and punish Russia by branding it a treacherous "black sheep". The Western culture-warriors know that Russia retains a strong traditional sense of national pride, and thus is painfully humiliated by the WADA smear campaign ostensibly rooted in objective science.

It's no accident that these compromised sports authorities devised the "compromise" of allowing innocent Russian athletes to compete as "neutrals", i.e. stripped of the national affiliation that is central to international competition. It intentionally adds insult to injury.

I would much appreciate B.'s views on this culture-war "front". If my opinion is misguided and my high dudgeon is misplaced, I'd actually appreciate being (gently) corrected.

Posted by: Ort | Nov 30 2019 19:21 utc | 58

It is mind boggling how gullible people are. Typically I'd have used the word "sheeple". But I am talking about some of my otherwise highly intelligent friends with a very broad exposure to the world, who are also highly successful professionally. I distinctly remember how they had berated me for disputing that Assad cannot have gassed his people.

During the last two decades I have lost many friends simply because I have been astute enough to see through the unrelenting establishment spin. It is beyond me to tell them now "I said so". I only hope that they are honest enough to recognize their folly. But considering what I have experienced during the last two decades (that's when I had become politically conscious), I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Nov 30 2019 19:42 utc | 59

@all - I nuked a number of comments in this thread that referred to a totally off topic issues.

There are off topic threads for other issues.

Pleaee keep some discipline with regards to the topic. The comments become otherwise unreadable.

Posted by: b | Nov 30 2019 19:43 utc | 60

I meant to say -
I distinctly remember how they had berated me for disputing that Assad had gassed his people.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Nov 30 2019 19:44 utc | 61

@18 Robert,

True, the French, Brits & USA administration were looking for a pretext to destroy Syria (literally) in 2013, just as they had destroyed Libya.

In reference to the red line, the Obama administration had finally reflected on the Iraq experience - admittedly, under heavy pressure from senior officers in the Military, and with evidence from Russia the sarin was not of a type Syria had - and was ultimately forced to be less Gung Ho. Finessed publicly as:

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: snip "the potential use of chemical weapons within Syria. Given our concern that as the situation deteriorated and the regime became more desperate, they may use some of their significant stockpiles of chemical weapons.

What we say in the letter is that our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin. This assessment is based in part on physiological samples. Our standard of evidence must build on these intelligence assessments as we seek to establish credible and corroborated facts. For example, the chain of custody is not clear, so we cannot confirm how the exposure occurred and under what conditions.

We go on to reaffirm that the President has set a clear red line as it relates to the United States that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line that is not acceptable to us, nor should it be to the international community. It's precisely because we take this red line so seriously that we believe there is an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria.

We are currently pressing for a comprehensive U.N. investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what took place in association with these reports of the use of chemical weapons. At the same time as that U.N. investigation is underway -- and we're seeking to make it more comprehensive -- we're also working with our friends and allies as well as the Syrian opposition to procure, share and evaluate additional information associated with reports of use of chemical weapons so that we can establish the facts.

And I think the point here is that given the stakes involved, given how serious the situation is, and what we have learned, frankly, from our own recent experience, intelligence assessments are not alone sufficient. Only credible and corroborated facts that provide us with some degree of certainty can then guide our decision-making and inform our leadership of the international community."

etc. Note the insistence on a UN mandate, not an OPCW 'mandate'; note insistence on chain of evidence, not on poor intel or 'uncertain' assessments; note requirement for credible actions (chemical use when winning is incredible), note corroboration of facts, note "some degree" of certainty.

All these elements are missing from the 2019 OPCW work. With much of the filtering and distortion in the hands of the Brits in OPCW.

Given the Obama documented pullback (Officers were concerned over responsibility for 'war crime of aggression' due to unjustifiable 'cause' of war act), and given the later excellent work by Russia to defuse the situation and help document the destruction (to OPCW satisfaction) of chem weapons; then, knowing a cautious approach is necessary, how could such an obviously criminal action by these officials and countries even be considered, let alone take place?

Possibly by Brits 'helping' a very naive Trump to get around due UN process through politicization of OPCW, altering its mandate, stacking the admin with 'friendlies' (now war criminals).

Or Trump initiating the trick and the attack because he is impetuous and careless of the second and third order consequences.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Dec 1 2019 1:49 utc | 62

With the benefit of hindsight, this comment blow from the "Syria - Mainstream Media Lie About Watchdog Report On The 'Chemical Attack' In Douma" thread, which Peter Hitchens mentions above, is quite amusing in its arrogant denunciations:

"You people are just as fucked up as you always were. The OPCW report says it found the residual chlorinates on the god-damned cylinders in the building where the 34 casualties were found. If you at least took the trouble to read the report, maybe you wouldn't come across as such ignoramuses.

Posted by: Louis N. Proyect | Jul 11 2018 23:34 utc | 63"

Posted by: AK74 | Dec 1 2019 3:40 utc | 63

AK74 @ 63:

Someone obviously owes MoA and its barflies an apology but don't hold your breath waiting for it. Louis Proyect would need several million lifetimes just to apologise to everyone he has ever insulted 24/7 for expressing views and opinions that later turn out to be correct.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 1 2019 23:23 utc | 64

Ort @ 58:

For the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the 2018 Winter Games, Russian athletes were actually encouraged by the Russian government to compete as neutrals. In team sports they also competed in "neutral" teams. So the "compromise" ended up being used by Moscow to troll the IOC and WADA.

Now for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games there is talk of banning all Russian athletes from participating at all, clean or not. This shows you that the motive to exclude Russia from international sports participation was never based on ensuring fair, drug-free competition.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 1 2019 23:34 utc | 65

In June 2018 the OPCW Douma report was being eagerly awaited. It concluded there was no nerve agent attack. So the OPCW did a very strange thing. They dug up a report from a few years back detailing the use of nerve agent but with no fatalities and released it just prior to their Douma report. Obviously a propaganda ploy to counter the publication of negative test results from Douma.

Posted by: Peter Mo | Dec 2 2019 12:36 utc | 66

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