“Truth Vanishes in a Cloud of Poison Gas”

19 May 2019 — Tim Hayward

“A huge international news story broke last week,” writes Peter Hitchens, in the Mail on Sunday today, “but I doubt you will hear about it anywhere else.”

In fact, while the story resounds around sections of the alternative media and Twitter, attracting also the concern of some well known people including Susan Sarandon and Roger Waters, mainstream journalists have ignored it.

This silence is a chilling testimony to the state of news reporting – and thus of democracy itself – today. For the significance of the story is hard to overstate. As Hitchens continues:

“It seems very likely that the decision we, France and the USA made in April 2018 to bomb Syria was based on a mistake as big as the fictional weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international body which examines alleged incidents of the use of poison gas, has just confirmed to me that a devastating leaked document from its Dutch HQ is genuine.

The document, written by one of the OPCW’s most experienced investigators, shows that it is highly unlikely that gas canisters found at the scene of an alleged poison gas attack in Douma, Syria, were actually dropped from helicopters – as has been widely believed and claimed. The claim is crucial to the case for bombing Syria.”

The document, leaked to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, can be downloaded from the group’s website.

As Hitchens continues, the OPCW is “a valuable organisation, containing many fine people, with a noble purpose”, but he, like Working Group members, is troubled by the question whether it has been “placed under pressure, or even hijacked, by political forces which seek a justification for military intervention in Syria?”

“Given that a decision between war or peace, affecting the whole planet, could one day hang on its judgments, I think the world is entitled to an inquiry into what is happening behind its closed doors.”

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