20 December 2019 — Strategic Culture Foundation
The credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on the line after a series of devastating leaks from whistleblowers has shown that the UN body distorted an alleged CW incident in Syria in 2018. The distortion by the OPCW of the incident suggests that senior directors at the organization were pressured into doing so by Western governments.
This has grave implications because the United States, Britain and France launched over 100 air strikes against Syria following the CW incident near Damascus in April 2018. The Western powers rushed to blame the Syrian government forces, alleging the use of banned weapons against civilians. This was in spite of objections by Russia at the time and in spite of evidence from independent investigators that the CW incident was a provocation staged by anti-government militants.
Subsequent reports by the OPCW later in 2018 and 2019 distort the incident in such a way as to indict the Syrian government and retrospectively exculpate the Western powers over their “retaliatory” strikes.
However, the whistleblower site Wikileaks has released more internal communications provided by 20 OPCW experts who protest that senior officials at the organization’s headquarters in The Hague engaged in “doctoring” their field reports from Syria.
Copies of the doctored OPCW reports are seen to have suppressed important evidence casting doubt on the official Western narrative claiming that the Syrian government was to blame. That indicates the OPCW was engaged in a cover-up to retrospectively “justify” the air strikes by Western powers. This is a colossal scandal which implies the US, Britain and France wrongly attacked Syria and are therefore guilty of aggression. Yet, despite the gravity of the scandal, Western media have, by and large, ignored it. Indicating that these media are subordinated by their governments’ agenda on Syria, rather than exposing the truth as independent journalistic services.
An honorable exception is Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson who has given prominence to the scandal on US national TV. So too has veteran British journalist Peter Hitchens who has helped expose the debacle in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Apart from those sources, the mainstream Western media have looked away. This is an astounding dereliction of journalistic duty to serve the public interest and to hold governments to account for abusing power.
Major American news outlets have been engrossed in the Trump impeachment case over his alleged abuse of power. But these same media have ignored an arguably far more serious abuse of power with regard to launching missiles on Syria over a falsehood. That says a lot about the warped priorities of such media.
However, their indifference to the OPCW scandal also reflects their culpability in fomenting the narrative blaming the Assad government, and thereby setting up the country for military strikes. In short, the corporate media are complicit in a deception and potentially a war crime against Syria. Therefore they ignore the OPCW scandal.
That illustrates how Western news media are not “independent” as they pompously claim but rather serve as propaganda channels to facilitate their governments’ agenda.
An enlightening case study was published by Tareq Haddad who quit from Newsweek recently because the editors censored his reports on the unfolding OPCW scandal. Haddad explained that he had important details to further expose the OPCW cover-up, but despite careful deliberation on the story he was inexplicably knocked back by senior editors at Newsweek who told him to drop it. There is more than a hint in Haddad’s insider-telling that senior staff at the publication are working as assets for Western intelligence agencies, and thus able to spike stories that make trouble for their governments.
Given the eerie silence among US, British and European media towards the OPCW scandal it is reasonable to posit that there is a systematic control over editorial policies about which stories to cover or not to. What else explains the blanket silence?
The scandal comes as Western powers are attempting to widen the powers of the OPCW for attributing blame in such incidents. Russia has objected to this move, saying it undermines the authority of the UN Security Council. Given the scandal over Syria, Russia is correct to challenge the credibility of the OPCW. The organization has become a tool for Western powers.
Russian envoy to the OPCW and ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin says that Moscow categorically objects to expanding the OPCW’s functions and its powers of attributing blame. The extension of powers is being recommended by the US, Britain and France – the three countries implicated in abusing the OPCW in Syria to justify air strikes against that country.
The Russian envoy added: “The OPCW’s attribution mechanism is a mandate imposed by the US and its allies, which has nothing to do with international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention’s provisions. Any steps in this direction are nothing more than meddling in the UN Security Council’s exclusive domain. We cannot accept this flagrant violation of international law.”
Thus, the OPCW – a UN body – is being turned into a rubber-stamp mechanism by Western powers to legalize their acts of aggression. And yet despite the mounting evidence of corruption and malfeasance, Western corporate media studiously ignore the matter. Is it any wonder these media are losing credibility? And, ironically, they have the gall to disdain other countries’ media as “controlled” or “influence operations”.