OPCW Final Report on Douma Chemical Attack


Media organization coverage of the report varies, of course.

‘Chlorine ‘likely’ used in alleged Douma chemical attack, no nerve agent – OPCW‘s final report’, RT.com, March 1, 2019

“The chemical arms watchdog refrained from identifying the party responsible for the incident, despite earlier being granted such powers.

There are “reasonable grounds” to believe that “the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon [took] place on 7 April 2018,” the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said.

“This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine,” according to the report.” [March 1 OPCW Final Report: (pdf, 106 pages)]
“The FMM also stated that it “did not observe any major key precursors for the synthesis of chemical weapons agents, particularly for nerve agents such as sarin, or vesicants such as sulphur or nitrogen mustard.”

The OPCW experts came to these conclusions after on-site visits to collect environmental samples, interviews with the witnesses, and analysis of other data.”

On April 19, 2018 RT.com had reported:

Containers with chlorine from Germany and smoke grenades produced in Salisbury, UK were found in the liberated territories of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has stated.

“In the liberated areas of Eastern Ghouta, Syrian government troops have found containers with chlorine – the most horrible kind of chemical weapons – from Germany, and also smoke grenades produced – please pay attention [to this] – in the city of Salisbury, the UK,” Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

The findings undermine “the faith in humaneness” of some states’ leadership, who “give such orders and make such decisions,” Zakharova added.”

“Western leaders’ allegations that the Syrian government was behind the Douma attack were based on “open sources” and information on social media, including the reports of so-called civil defense group, the White Helmets. The group is believed to be linked to militants and operates in the areas under their control. 

The airstrike occurred just ahead of the arrival of an OPCW fact-finding mission tasked with establishing whether any chemical attack had taken place. The team of chemical-watchdog experts still can’t reach the site of the purported attack, as militants have hampered their work, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.”

Most versions are like this:

‘Chlorine was used in attack on Syrian rebel town of Douma, watchdog says;  Chemical weapons inspectors confirm gas cylinders were fired at a housing block in the deadly assault in April 2018, the Guardian, March. 1, 2019

WaPO.com: ‘Chemical weapons watchdog says chlorine was used in Douma’ Mike Corder, AP, March 1, 2019

…but then, belying the headline:

“THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The global chemical weapons watchdog said Friday it found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used as a weapon in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma last year.”

Some outliers:

Moscow Bashes OPCW Report on Alleged Douma Attack as Justification of Aggression’, sputniknews.com, March 5, 2019

“We are concerned that the mission prefers to completely ignore the substantial information provided by the Russian and Syrian parties confirming that this chemical incident had been staged by the pseudo-humanitarian organisation White Helmets“, the ministry said.”

The ministry also expressed concern that the information provided by a number of Western journalists on the staged nature of the incident had been ignored. The vague conclusions of the report suggest that the document was seeking to justify the airstrikes by the US-led coalition shortly after the reports on the Douma attack, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the evasive conclusions made by the OPCW experts about the fact that there are “reasonable grounds” that chlorine had been used as a chemical weapon in the city of Douma, unfortunately suggest that the only purpose of the report was to justify an act of aggression, held on 14 April 2018 by the United States, the UK and France in violation of the UN Charter against a sovereign state.

The OPCW investigation was launched after the White Helmets group published a video of the reported attack in Douma, which is located in the Damascus neighbourhood of Eastern Ghouta. The video allegedly showed local residents, both adults and children, being treated in the hospital after what they claimed was a chemical attack.”

‘The OPCW FFM’s Report on the April 7th 2018 Douma Chemical Attack Versus The Open Source Evidence’, March 1, 2019, by Eliot Higgins, bellingcat.com (the home of online investigations)

[If you choose to read it, your eyes might cross…and get stuck that way forever…]

“Bellingcat’s research for this publication was supported by PAX for Peace.

Li’l bit redundant there, but Pax for Peace’s partners and alliances tab is here

But oh ho; Tony C. dug into those 106 pages:

‘OPCW Syria Report Cripples Western “Chemical Weapons” Narrative ‘, March 4, 2019, Tony Cartalucci, jounal-NEO.org

“Despite attempts by the Western media to hail it [the Final Reprt] as “proof” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Douma – the report says nothing of the sort.

In fact, the report fails to link any of the alleged 43 deaths to apparent chlorine found at the scene of the alleged attack.

Claims of the attack were made by US-backed militants on the eve of their defeat – with the Syrian military retaking Douma the following day. Initial reports claimed sarin or chlorine chemical weapons were deployed through the use of two yellow gas canisters modified as bombs.

No sarin of any kind was found by OPCW inspectors.

While the report suggests two modified yellow gas canisters were used in the attack and that they appeared to have been dropped onto two buildings (locations 2 and 4), the report also mentions that OPCW inspectors found a nearly identical canister in a workshop used by militants to construct weapons.”

Cartalucci quotes the report extensively, first:

‘Many of the signs and symptoms reported by the medical personnel, witnesses and casualties (as well as those seen in multiple videos provided by witnesses), their rapid onset, and the large number of those reportedly affected, indicate exposure to an inhalational irritant or toxic substance. However, based on the information reviewed and with the absence of biomedical samples from the dead bodies or any autopsy records, it is not currently possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical.’
“In other instances, the OPCW report would cite witnesses – including medical staff who allegedly treated victims of the supposed attack – who expressed doubts of the presence of any chemicals at all.

“The report would state (emphasis added):

A number of the interviewed medical staff who were purportedly present in the emergency department on 7 April emphasised that the presentation of the casualties was not consistent with that expected from a chemical attack. They also reported not having experience in the treatment of casualties of chemical weapons. Some interviewees stated that no odour emanated from the patients, while otheTr witnesses declared that they perceived a smell of smoke on the patients’ clothes. 

Some witnesses stated that many people died in the hospital on 7 April as result of the heavy shelling and/or suffocation due to inhalation of smoke and dust. As many as 50 bodies were lying on the floor of the emergency department awaiting burial. Others stated that there were no fatalities in Douma Hospital on 7 April and that no bodies were brought to the hospital that day.
“The conflicting witness reports, the lack of any evidence linking chlorine to even a single death on April 7, and other inconsistencies and contradictions make it impossible to use the report’s conclusions as “proof” that the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical attack on the eve of its victory in Douma.”

In his lengthy Similar Canisters Found in Militant Workshop section, he provides ample evidence that the OPCW investigators glossing over evidence calls into question both their diligence and agenda, and that Western media organizations have dismissed the canister along with ‘“a number of 20-litre metallic drums, some fitted with crude cord-type fuses, which appeared to have been filled with plastic explosives to serve as improvised explosive devices’ as a set-up by the Syrian Arab Army.  You can easily imagine what he’s written in his:

‘Chemical Weapon Attack in Douma… Cui Bono? paragraphs, including asking why in the World of Carmen Sandiego would the Syrian government would have done such a thing, most especially in the middle of a major military offensive it was on the literal eve of concluding in complete victory.  On the other hand, the White Helmets (Tony calls them simply ‘militants’) would have great incentives to use images of suffering people, including children as a major propaganda tool to…attack Syria ‘in order to save the children’.  Which is, of course, exactly what happened, and has occurred before in many other venues: military aggression based on convenient, if irrational lies.  He finishes:

“That the Western media is still attempting to sell WMD lies regarding Syria after being caught fabricating them to justify war in neighboring Iraq should be at the forefront of the global public’s mind when considering their “interpretations” of this latest OPCW report regarding Douma, Syria.”

Good job, Mr. Cartalucci, and thanks.
From the Twittersphere:

Bonuses: ‘Britain puts new roof on Skripal House of Horrors (by George Galloway)’, RT.com, March 4, 2019

‘Salisbury poisoning: One year on, still no evidence of Novichok nerve agent use disclosed to public’, March 4, 2019, RT.com

“British authorities said both Sergei and his daughter Yulia – a Russian citizen who came to visit her father – had survived the attack, and were eventually released from hospital. Sergei has not appeared in public. Yulia issued one public statement through the British police, and appeared in a strange television interview with Reuters in May, asking for no Russian officials or family to contact her.

Russian diplomats were never given access to their citizens. The embassy in London described Yulia’s statement as suspicious and possibly not genuine. Her cousin Viktoria thought the same, and tried to get a visa to visit the Skripals in the UK. She was denied.

From that point, the Skripals vanished. Their relatives have heard not a peep, and there were even rumors they had been relocated to the US and been given new identities.”

Double agent Skripal & daughter have ‘not spoken to family in Russia since poisoning’ – niece to RT’,  Jan. 11, 2019, RT.com

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

tonight's lullaby is from john gorka. i wish you all restorative sleep.

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wd.
Until the morrow.

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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

wendy davis's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly

instead, but they must serve a purpose...although this morning trying to fathom carl jung's 'all characters in your dreams are aspects of yourself' is chilling.

maybe tonight better dreams may come, or if not, i can heed their cloaked instructions. but i do thank you for the wishes, dapper dude. ; )

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snoopydawg's picture

....so let's demolish the house. Oh wait, let's just replace the roof instead. Thee most deadliest nerve agent ever that kills people on contact failed to even make them sick for over 4 hours, but then not only made the Skripals sick, but also the police officer who came upon them. But not the nurse who had experience with lots of very bad things. Or anyone who had contact with them at the hospital when they thought that they had been exposed to fentanyl.

The two guys who put the most deadliest nerve agent ever on the doorknob also were careless with it and their hotel room had it everywhere, but the two dudes and the lady who came to their room did not get dead from it either. And those two dudes were very conspicuously seen putting it on the doorknob because they did it during the middle of the day and then they walked around Salisbury being caught on every surveillance camera and then they flew directly back to Russia.

Gah! How does this make any sense and when are the people who believe that Russia did the deed going to pull their heads out of their buttocks?

Sorry for this flippant comment Wendy. It's just amazing how many people will believe anything if it confirms what they already believe.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

necessary, amiga. it just defies belief that so many actively *want* to swallow such an ongoing irrational narrative that satiric flippancy is natural for any sane person. but thanks for hitting the key spots. (just deleted a recent bellingcat post on RT laughing at their 'burly russians the airport proof')

loved a couple of those posts by george galloway, one with a hundred rational Qs, quoting Alice: "why, some days i believe a hundred impossible things before breakfast", or close to that.

can't get enough o' that novichock, novichock, novichok...♪♫

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wendy davis's picture

bring more on the White Helmets, thinking that everyone would have know about their dastardly deeds and affiliations. the Netflix Video about them...even won an Oscar ! amy and juan had lauded them! and so had maz hussain at the intercept!

anyhoo, most of the short demonstrative videos on youtube have come under new scrutiny, and have been disallowed or require 'signing in' to prove one's age, wth? but vanessa beeley and eva bartlett have exposed them over and over for years, and both write at 21stcenturywire.com, which site has an entire Tab on the evil bastards.

i did choose thee two, but they weren't the ones i'd been after, esp. ones that showed them 'rescuing' and dragging kids out from under the rubble of bombed buildings, then the director calling: 'lets take that again!'. etc. but i'll bring these for now.

THE CONDENSED CASE AGAINST THE WHITE HELMET IMPOSTERS IN SYRIA

i'll also add iain davis's report today: ‘OPCW Douma Report Indicates US, UK, France May Have Attacked Syria on False Pretext’, March 6, 2019, 21st century wire

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wendy davis's picture

Twitter account this a.m:

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wendy davis's picture

Integrity Initiative: The Sinister Chain of Events Leading Up to Salisbury’, sputnik news. after citing a lengthy and informative history (steele dossier, buzzfeed series, other players, allies, and funding sources); his murders deemed suicides section is almost satire... he gets to the recent heart of the matter at about the half-way mark:

“In 2007, covert recordings revealed three Georgian national security service officials plotted to kill ‘Georgia's Richest Man' at the behest of then-President Mikheil Saakashvili. In one recording they debate means of execution, and one operative suggests they use a poisonous substance which will "kill a person two hours after touching it". "You smear [it] on the door handle," they say — the precise method by which Sergei and Yulia were contaminated with novichok, according to UK authorities.

Whatever the meaning of that parallel, BuzzFeed's series is highly significant, for it was fundamental to cementing the notion of frequent Kremlin-directed murders on British soil in the public consciousness in the year prior to Salisbury. Almost inevitably too, it was widely invoked following the Skripals' poisoning as evidence, if not proof, of Russian state involvement.

Among those seeking to associate From Russia With Blood with the attack was none other than BuzzFeed's Heidi Blake herself. Her various Twitter postings on the subject would be documented by Integrity Initiative in regular roundups of social media activity relating to Skripal — and an Initiative briefing document (likely circulated to journalists), Russian Lies and the Skripal Case, referenced the series, calling the "evidence" presented by her team's investigation "compelling".

So it was on 13 March 2018, nine days after the Salisbury incident, then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced British police and MI5 would reinvestigate the numerous ‘suspicious deaths' detailed by BuzzFeed — a development the outlet reported rather triumphally. However, a mere four months later, Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed police had determined there was "no basis on which to re-open any of the investigations". Fittingly, in December an inquest concluded Alexander Perepilichnyy, one of the ‘BuzzFeed 14', had died of entirely natural causes.

Whatever the truth of the matter, in November that year Blake led an hour-long ‘Investigative Masterclass' at an event the organization convened at London's Frontline Club — Tackling Tools of Malign Influence."

oh, laird, huuuge snip, then a few bits and bobs:

“Nonetheless, on 22 January [2018] General Nicholas Carter, UK Chief of General Staff, offered perhaps the most hawkish speech on Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union. Speaking at a Royal United Services Institute event, Carter described the country as the "most complex and capable state-based threat to our country since the end of the Cold War", and warned hostilities could start "sooner than we expect", particularly as he — ironically — claimed the Kremlin had "[convinced] ordinary Russians the West is a threat.…We have been made to appear as the enemy". [snip]

“Not long after the speech, Operation Toxic Dagger was launched — a vast three week effort in which 40 Commando Royal Marines, Public Health England, the Atomic Weapons Establishment and Porton Down's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory collaborated to prepare Britain's armed forces for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear operations by creating "realistic exercise scenarios based on the latest threat information".

“The endeavour included "company-level attacks and scenarios concerning CBRN vignettes, concluding with a full-scale exercise involving government and industry scientists and more than 300 military personnel", with a "chemical decontamination area set up not merely to treat ‘polluted' commandos, but also wounded prisoners".

It was convened on Salisbury Plain — several of the Royal Marines taking part would be seconded to Operation Morlop, a multi-agency ‘clean-up' effort launched in Salisbury in the wake of the poisoning of the Skripals, less than a fortnight after Operation Toxic Dagger was completed."

whoooosh, nice job, kit.

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wendy davis's picture

but another place to store these for my lame-ass memory, more tweets on the skripals:

and i'd been trying to remember who craig murray had said was under a D-notice news embargo, and ta da! found it both on twitter and at his blog.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

The Democrats are so corrupt and hypocritical that they cannot even take the thing they want most — Trump's Impeachment.

He bombed a sovereign nation (the US had no troops there) that was not a threat to the US — and refused to wait for evidence and already had expert testimony from a credible source that it was not a chemical weapons attack.

No nation wants a President like that. Such a crime is a disgrace on the heads of all Americans if it goes unpunished.

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wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

a president like that, esp. amerikans. but once again, syria was a proxy war w/ russia in the end, and even though never declared or allowed particularly, the bombings were by way of an R2P, which is very popular if there's enough barely plausible disinformation, as well as the interim OPWW report was still very fuzzy, as i remember it, although it may be referenced in the iain davis exposé. as i remember it, Dems were very happy about the bombings, and most all were convinced that 'dictator assad had gassed his own people', remember?

added to which, Dems certainly hadn't minded other nefarious R2P projects, including turning libya into the militant islamist hellhole it is today. but hadn't the islamists begun in iraq, traveled to libya, then to north-eastern iraq and some to africa?

but in this piece i was beginning to read, b at MoA had thought that russia-gate was over, and now he sees that it ain't over. the 'fishing expedition' link is to the WaPo, so if ya ain't got no more free reads there. right click and choose Private window. that usually gets you in.

but as well, shit's breaking again in venezuela, tragically; where will it end? anyhoo, i'd fallen asleep, and still a bit muzzy, so none of this may make sense, amigo.

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wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

haven't returned, i'd also like to add that most of the msm coverage was akin to: ‘Chlorine was used in attack on Syrian rebel town of Douma, watchdog says' (Dem/CIA mouth-pieces), and who reads past headlines?

i'd looked to NYT coverage, nada, but then remembered bellingat's:

"The New York Times and Forensic Architecture worked together on an investigation into the attack that was published in June 2018; One Building, One Bomb: How Assad Gassed His Own People included a detailed reconstruction of the attack sites produced by Forensic Architecture (with video):"

"The New York Times and Forensic Architecture investigation confirmed Bellingcat’s earlier analysis, adding additional key details, such as reconstructing the badly damaged metal frame found detached from one of the chlorine cylinders and proving it would fit perfectly over the chlorine cylinder. Most notably, it identified markings on the chlorine cylinder documented at one site, which were consistent with it having hit a metal mesh structure as it fell onto the balcony with a metal mesh structure found near the chlorine cylinder, fitting perfectly with the markings on the cylinder. This further confirmed the chlorine cylinder had been dropped from the air, not placed at the scene as some had alleged.",

yada, yada, 'syrian human rights watch' (one dude in the UK in a basement).

but srsly, can any politician be trusted after conceding that 'dictator assad gassed his own people', no matter what they say next, if "I do not support regime change", or dictator maduro should accept the (trojan horse) humanitarian aid convoys', but next says: i do not support guaido as pres of venezuela!"

or today's heroine ilhan omar who'd spoken correctly about the power of AIPAC. why did she not go full monte and call out Israel's war on the palestinians as war crimes?

me, i like verisimilitude, not equivocations that only half enunciate a position.

"I am not an evil man; just a practical one." a character in war and peace?

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

by sam husseini mentioned this a.m. on twitter: 'Rep. Omar's Choice', and he's very nuanced in his considerations of what omar's words meant/seemed to have meant...and hadn't spoken to, but he's in agreement with my contention that she should have widened the discussion.

the choices he mentions are: fold, continue w/ the current pattern, which he critiques by way of pros and cons...for her.

but his Get Specific, Expand the Critique (in which he mentions she's not the first to speak against the power of AIAPC in recent history, but i'll paste in some of those paragraphs:

"Much of Rep. Omar's comments to date have been about herself, about her relationship to Jews and Jewish constituents. What they have been insufficiently about is actual Israeli and U.S. government policy towards the Palestinians and others.

For example talking about U.S. policy being literally "all about the benjamins" is highly dubious. Money is certainly a needed ingredient, but the U.S. government’s backing of Israel more than anything has to do with geopolitics, most obviously Israel effectively crushing Arab nationalism in 1967, preventing the development of the region along lines remotely responsive to the people of the region.

Rep. Omar can highlight such critical aspects. Some are timely: The recent UN report on Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

Some are long crying out for public discussion: The U.S. government refuses to acknowledge -- as a matter of policy -- that Israel has nuclear weapons. I know, I've asked numerous politicos about this. In 2011, when Mike Pence was on the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- the same committee Rep. Omar is on now (and what AIPAC is quite clearly aiming to get her off of) -- his response was nearly comical. (w/video)

With Rep. Omar being the center of much attention just now, her highlighting Israeli criminality and nuclear threats to humanity itself could have an immeasurable positive effect. Indeed, perhaps the most potentially profound of Omar's recent tweets are ones like this: "I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks."

This all depends on how you define the U.S. and how you define Israel. I increasingly don't see countries. I see forces. And what many mean when they talk about a "special relationship" between the U.S. and Israel -- whether they acknowledged it or not -- is the settler colonial pattern they have both followed.{ [snip]

That is, the most gruesome part of the Old Testament was used as justification for settlers in what would become the U.S., killing and robbing the native inhabitants. And the same mentality is now used once again in the land of Canaan. At a very high standard, Rep. Omar cannot claim that she is free from anti-Israel bias if she singles out Israel's settler colonialism but engages in mythology regarding the U.S.'s settle colonialism and continued imperial politics. This includes a worldwide system of bases, divide-and-rule practices in the Mideast and elsewhere, a renewed explicit commitment to the Monroe Doctrine now targeting Venezuela to mention a few.

She did confront some of this when recently questioning U.S. envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams, a criminal abettor of genocide. She questioned Abrams far more strongly than any of the other congressional representatives, but when he claimed the U.S. government wanted democracy [in venezueala], she extraordinarily agreed.

"The criminal rot of imperial polices that is highlighted by the U.S.-Israeli "special relationship" rests on lies and ridiculous absurdities and is therefore vulnerable, but it runs deep and it will take a very determined critique to dislodge. Many are now saying #StandWithIlhan, but a huge question is how firmly she will stand."

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snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

The media was orgasmic over Trump bombing Syria for the false flag and the kos kids were upset that the bombs only hit empty buildings.

We sane people don't want a president like him, but the rest of the insane people certainly do.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

"what do you think of western civilization, mr. gandhi?"

"i think it would be a very good idea."

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wendy davis's picture

tonight's lullaby:

g'night.

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