The alleged chemical attack on Douma in April 2018 was the pretext for airstrikes on Syria by France, UK and US. The final report on the alleged attack published by the OPCW left unexplained why its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) had made no engineering assessments during its visit to Douma in April 2018, when experts could have inspected the sites with cylinders in position, rather than six months later when inspection was no longer possible and assessments had to rely on images and measurements obtained by others. A Briefing Note by the Working Group on Syria Propaganda & Media highlighted this as an obvious anomaly.
OPCW staff members have communicated with the Working Group.
We have learned that an investigation was undertaken by an engineering sub-team of the FFM, beginning with on-site inspections in April-May 2018, followed by a detailed engineering analysis including collaboration on computer modelling studies with two European universities. The report of this investigation was excluded from the published Final Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, which referred only to assessments sought from unidentified “engineering experts” commissioned in October 2018 and obtained in December 2018.
A copy of a 15-page Executive Summary of the report entitled “Engineering Assessment of two cylinders observed at the Douma incident” is posted here. (Anyone who wishes to post their own link to the document is kindly requested to download the document and link from their own server, so as not to overload the Working Group’s.)
The Working Group has provided a commentary on the document: see ‘Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018‘, by Paul McKeigue, David Miller and Piers Robinson.
Some of the commentary’s key points:
- As the Working Group has repeatedly emphasised, evidence can be evaluated only by comparison of competing hypotheses. A key weakness of the published FFM Final Report was that no competing hypotheses were considered. The FFM’s unpublished Engineering Assessment does not make this error: competing hypotheses are clearly set out in advance.
- The conclusion of the Engineering Assessment is unequivocal: the “alternative hypothesis” that the cylinders were placed in position is “the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.
- These findings establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged.
- This raises the question of where and how did the victims seen in the images recorded at location 2 die?
- The conclusion appears inescapable that the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of at least 35 civilians to provide the bodies at Location 2.
Furthermore, we note that the Douma incident was the first alleged chemical attack in Syria where OPCW investigators were able to carry out an unimpeded on-site inspection. Since previous OPCW Fact-Finding Missions did not include on-site inspections, the finding that the Douma incident was staged may cast doubt on the findings of those earlier FFMs.
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This is great! But also, omitting this from their final report looks like a seriously incriminating fact.
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Concerning who actually killed those people in the building: I really don’t feel like reading the analysis of how they died but Moonofa pointed out at the time that the The Syrian Observatory for Human Right had reported a lot of people had died in a collapsing shelter: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-any-us-strike-will-lead-to-escalation.html
Has this hypothesis been considered and rejected? It doesn’t exclude the possibility of additional treatments after they died.
I remembered the hypothesis from moonofa but the reports of the day can be accessed directly , and this one http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88805 mentions 70 people died of suffocation as a result of shelters collapsing. That would be a source of corpses.
The Russian report ( https://netherlands.mid.ru/en_GB/web/netherlands-en/embassy-news/-/asset_publisher/9GJsWNI5Dp1x/content/presentation ) mentions two sources for the bodies. One testimony says one body was stolen and it was not killed by the rebels. But another testimony says the bodies came from Al Thoba, a prison run by the rebels. This is compatible with he hypothesis that the rebels killed the victims themselves. But how does this witness know this fact about Al Thoba?
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FWIW, below is a copy of a letter I’m emailing to Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry and Peter Kyle (my MP) – thought I’d share it if anyone else wanted to use it to contact theirs.
Brilliant work by the way – it seems like it was a long time ago since I helped a tiny bit to nudge you down this rabbit hole.
I am writing regarding the UK Government’s military intervention in Syria following the 2018 Douma alleged chemical weapons attack.
I do not know if you are aware, but a recently leaked document has thrown huge doubt on the evidence supporting that attack, the integrity of the international organisation charged with investigating it (the OPCW) and the (illegal) military reaction of UK, French and US Governments. .
The leaked document is an OPCW engineering assessment that casts serious (I would say terminal) doubts on both the OPCW’s official findings – and our Government’s representation of the cause for our military intervention.
The leaked report, produced by OPCW experts in collaboration with 2 independent Western universities involved an inspection of the Douma sites and analysis of images of chlorine cylinders that were allegedly dropped by Syrian Army helicopters to release gas that resulted in the killing of at least 34 Syrian civilians (no other cause of death was considered by the OPCW in their final report). With reference to evidence such as the minimal effects on the cylinders themselves and the hole in the concrete roof allegedly caused by one of them , the experts concluded that the scenes were almost certainly staged as the cylinders could not have been dropped from above.
Rather than include this damning assessment, carried out by their own, named experts who had inspected the Douma sites, in their final ‘Fact Finding Mission’ report, the OPCW chose instead to include a report commissioned some months after the event produced by anonymous (alleged) experts who had never visited the site. This latter report failed to even consider that the cylinders may have simply been carried up the stairs.
The implications of this could not be more severe – not only is there strong evidence that an incident that was used to justify a huge (100+ Cruise missile) attack was fake, but that the organisation charged with it’s investigation is colluding in the cover-up of this fact.
I am asking that you raise this issue with both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary for their comment as soon as possible and also would like to hear your comments on this apparent scandal too.
You can find more details of the leaked report and the work done to analyse it by a group of UK academics here (this blog is provided by Dr Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University):
Yours etc etc.
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Reblogged this on Rosettasister's Weblog.
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