You can read 9 more articles this month
RUSSIA and the US were at loggerheads today over the credibility of a chemical-weapons watchdog after an inspector gave testimony at the UN that no attack had taken place in Douma, Syria.
Engineer Ian Henderson was part of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team investigating the alleged chlorine attack in April 2018, which was used as a pretext for US, British and French strikes on the Syrian capital.
In a Russian-sponsored UN security-council session on Monday Mr Henderson said that the scientific evidence suggested that there was no chemical attack as claimed.
Mr Henderson explained that he had led investigations at the OPCW for 12 years in his capacity as an engineer.
He told the hearing that he and others involved in the fact-finding mission (FFM) to Douma were surprised by the final OPCW report which was a “complete turnaround with what the team had understood collectively, during and after the Douma deployments.”
As reported in the Morning Star last year, a whistleblower said that the report had been “deliberately manipulated” in order to favour the “pre-ordained conclusion” that a chemical attack had been carried out by the Syrian government.
In December leaked emails revealed that OPCW chief of cabinet Sebastien Braha had issued instructions for an engineering report by Mr Henderson to be removed from the organisation’s secure registry.
The dossier, which was inexplicably left out of the OPCW final report, found that gas cylinders discovered at the scene of the alleged attack had been placed there manually rather than dropped from a government helicopter, as claimed.
Further leaked messages revealed that eight of the nine FFM inspectors who were following up their findings and analysis were dismissed and banned from further discussions.
The sackings came after an interim report of July 2018 said there was no evidence of chemical use in Douma.
Mr Henderson explained that the group “had serious misgivings that a chemical attack had occurred” and claimed the final FFM report “does not reflect the views of the team members who deployed to Douma.”
“In my case, I had followed up with a further six months of engineering and ballistic studies into these cylinders, the result of which had provided further support for the view that there had not been a chemical attack,” he said.
The revelation blows a further hole in the case for missile strikes launched against Damascus by Britain, France and the US shortly after the alleged chemical attack .
The US accused Russia of “a brazen disinformation campaign” and said it must defend the credibility of the OPCW.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.