Blowing the Whistle on "Irregular Behavior" at OPCW

And How the OPCW's "Fact-Finding" Might Enable Chemical Genocide

December 9, 2019

Despite the lack of updates here, the members of CIWCL(SUB) remain hard at work. However the biggest news of the last months reflects more on the work, courage, and integrity of others. We just play in a bit and compare well.

We were following on chemical weapons allegations in Syria at A Closer Look On Syria from early December, 2012). Since then, have worked with some great minds, like the late Denis R. O'Brien, PhD (neuropharamacology), leading to his masterpiece Murder in the SunMorgue (CIWCL hosting), regarding 2013's infamous Ghouta massacre.
Over the years, more cases and deeper research have just made the murky and horrifying picture clearer; it's likely we're seeing managed and marketed massacres of captives - mainly civilian religious enemies - male and female, from infant to elderly - quietly kidnapped by the foreign-backed Islamists. In these cases the genocide employs some sort of gas chambers, so that "Assad's chemical bombs" can be blamed for their deaths. 

O'Brien grasped that concept early on, and did a splendid job of explaining one of the gas chambers used for the Ghouta massacre, as it was seen on video in a basement in Kafr Batna. His diligent work also proved the on-site execution of at least one man who survived the gassing there (this was made into a rather dramatic video). In 2017's Khan Sheikhoun chemical massacre, at least a few child victims developed new and possibly fatal wounds after the "White Helmets" had rescued them, and perhaps for the same reason - "Assad's chemical bomb" didn't finish the job. In a 2014 incident, Assad's chlorine killed 7 men said to be prisoners, who seem to be low in labor value; the three seen are old, ill, and injured, lacking in chlorine signs, and probably dead from the holes someone poked in their hearts. The next day, a defeated Jaish al-Islam fled Adra Omaliya with all valuable possessions, leaving those used-up prisoners behind. Etc.

This sort of discovery has yielded a radical and grim view, as expressed recently by CIWCL co-founder Petri Krohn; the 35 civilian victims at Douma  "were killed with chlorine gas in a cellar and dragged upstairs for staged videos." Specifics aside, there can be little doubt the victims were captives deliberately killed somewhere by some chemical(s). And while this view still escapes most people - even informed observers - it is gaining in currency, even as hostile governments, controlled media, and agencies including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) continue to rubber-stamp often absurd claims from the foreign-backed Islamist opposition.

In May, 2019, the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda, and Media (WGSPM - CIWCL co-founder Adam Larson is a member) secured a leaked copy of an engineering report originally done for the OPCW's investigation of the alleged chlorine attack in Douma the prior April (the final report on that had only come out in March, 2019). The totally-suppressed and refreshingly logical report of Ian Henderson's engineering sub-team  (EST)  reveals the OPCW's own scientists felt the damage was not caused by an aerial attack but by manual staging - the scene was faked to impersonate an air attack rather than being the result of one. (EST report, ACLOS hosting, WGSPM companion article).

It should be noted the conclusions of Henderson's EST report had known precedent; for example, in their probe of an April 2014 incident, "location #1 was disregarded for further investigation” by the FFM when it became clear the giant crater was caused by buried explosives, not an impacting chlorine bomb. The other chlorine bomb that flattened half a house at location 2, however, seemed legitimate enough to blame on a helicopter as reported - even though people apparently lied about the helicopter link to the other damage.

And the specific findings about Douma had largely been reached by independent researchers during the long span the EST report lay suppressed in the dark. An image below compares a modeling by WGSPM member Michael Kobs of the alleged impact at "location4," showing it impossible, just weeks before the EST report was leaked to show its carefully-measured assessment to the same effect; that cylinder could not fit through that hole, and must have arrived on the bed some other way. (Another image below shows two likely marks to illustrate its path there.) 

The WGSPM article on this EST leak included this on the horrifying possible implications:  "We conclude that the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of at least 35 civilians to provide the bodies at Location 2." That was explained by  "a careful examination" of images of the victims - carried out by Adam - showing  mucus flowed "up" their faces, which "implies that they were hung upside down while exposed to the agent." Yet as noted their eyes appear "protected by something like swimming goggles," maybe to conceal their "prolonged exposure to an irritant gas" instead of the quick-killing sarin the Islamists tried to claim. (An image below shows the basic pattern in question)

The EST report's rejection, belated replacement, and total suppression prior to the leak in May makes sense in light of revelations by a second OPCW whistleblower in October. Code-named "Alex," he spoke at a well-attended panel discussion hosted by the Wikileaks-connected Courage Foundation. This explained the secretive process of the OPCW's Syria "Fact-Finding Mission" (FFM), including:
* suppression of findings and excluding contrary views,
* replacing entire reports without consulting authors,
* letting certain governments inject their own assessments into the process,
* ignoring conflicts between witness accounts, and
* fudging the science in various ways, on toxicology and ballistics, at least.

The clear implication is all this manipulation is what shapes the findings, while the science that's supposed to drive the process is simply twisted to fit the preordained conclusion.

Among those in attendance to hear "Alex" was Brazilian diplomat José Bustani, the first-ever Director General of the OPCW, who was famously forced from office in 2002 for refusing to play by the Americans' rules in the run-up to their war on Iraq. Regarding the Douma incident (which sparked a US-led missile attack on Syria)  and its investigation, Bustani's comments were quite strong; he said that "Alex" had revealed “convincing evidence of irregular behaviour" (though it might have become regular by then), that "confirms doubts and suspicions I already had" about the work of the OPCW and FFM in general. Reports from the media and even the OPCW had long seemed nonsensical to him, but "the picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing."

Of course it would be even more disturbing if they were, in the process, shielding and rewarding the true perpetrators of the deliberate mass-murder indicated by so much evidence. "Organization for the Protection of Criminal Warlords" would start being a more appropriate name.

General media silence over the agency's credibility implosion continues, but with greater difficulty and increasing protest. A journalist with Newsweek, Tareq Haddad, says just now (Dec. 7) "Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason." As he explains in follow-up tweets, he plans to publish the information he has anyway. 

This comes shortly after what might be a third whistleblower shared an internal e-mail with UK columnist Peter Hitchens in November, affirming many of the points raised in October. And as Hitchens writes elsewhere: "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."  

These revelations come as the OPCW's new "Investigation and Identification Team" sets out to review at least nine unresolved CW cases - including Douma - "for which the JIM (prior investigative body) has not reached a conclusion on attribution." The idea is to now pin the blame, in line with "international efforts" to harm and eventually replace the Syrian government using contrived moral pretexts. Or, as they put it, "to identify the origin of [chemical] weapons and those responsible for their use, with the aim of holding them accountable." (OPCW PDF)

Adam and collaborators are in the process of examining those incidents lacking in prior analysis. The IIT says it will consider "all available information" from whatever source, taking into account " the relevance, probative value, and reliability of the information, as well as the credibility of the source." As usual, we use primary sources in the search for whatever the FFM-JIM missed first time around - especially video evidence. And the camera still doesn't lie. A lot has been discovered, and more work remains.

- Update by Adam (speaking of himself in third person)
Two careful assessments agree the cylinder could not have arrived at "location 4" through that hole in the roof clearly caused by something else.
Two marks that might indicate how it DID arrive - at the doorway into the room, and on the bed frame. The latter includes scratches from the loose harness, might have corresponding marks on some jihadist's mangled toes.
An extraction of the clearest case of the "mask of death" pattern - unusual yellow-brown stains and skin n irritation across this area, "up" from the mouth and nose to and around - but not in - the eyes, and perhaps dripping off their foreheads as they dangled upside-down. 

The skin effect seems to depend on exposure time: it's worse where it was able to linger, as the image below tries to explain.