“Unacceptable Practices at OPCW” – by José Bustani and international panel

“The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing” 

“I have always expected the OPCW to be a true paradigm of multilateralism. My hope is that the concerns expressed publicly by the Panel, in its joint consensus statement, will catalyse a process by which the Organisation can be resurrected to become the independent and non-discriminatory body it used to be.”

José Bustani, First Director General OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France

Panel Criticizes ‘Unacceptable Practices’ in the OPCW’s investigation of the the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria on April 7th 2018

The Courage Foundation convened a panel of concerned individuals from the fields of disarmament, international law, journalism, military operations, medicine and intelligence in Brussels on October 15th. The panel met with a member of the investigation team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international chemical watchdog. On this basis the panel issued the following statement:

Based on the whistleblower’s extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion.

We have learned of disquieting efforts to exclude some inspectors from the investigation whilst thwarting their attempts to raise legitimate concerns, highlight irregular practices or even to express their differing observations and assessments —a right explicitly conferred on inspectors in the Chemical Weapons Convention, evidently with the intention of ensuring the independence and authoritativeness of inspection reports.

However belatedly, we therefore call on the OPCW to permit all inspectors who took part in the Douma investigation to come forward and report their differing observations in an appropriate forum of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, in fulfillment of the spirit of the Convention. They should be allowed to do this without fear of reprisal or even censure.

The panel advances these criticisms with the expectation that the OPCW will revisit its investigation of the Douma incident, with the purpose of clarifying what actually happened. This would help to restore the credibility of the OPCW and work towards demonstrating its legally mandated commitment to transparency, impartiality and independence. It is of utmost importance to restore trust in the verification procedures relied upon to implement the prohibitions of the CWC.


Panel members:

José Bustani, Ambassador of Brazil, first Director General of the OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France,

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University; Visiting Professor, Istinye University, Istanbul

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief, Wikileaks

John Holmes, Maj Gen (retd), DSO OBE MC

Dr. Helmut Lohrer, MD, Board member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and International Councilor of its German Affiliate

Prof. Dr. Guenter Meyer, Centre for Research on the Arab World (CERAW) at the University of Mainz

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence (retd); member, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (website:  http://www.samadamsaward.ch)

Read the panel’s analytic points of criticism.


This entry was posted in chemical weapons, disinformation, guest blog, international institutions, journalism, media, OPCW, propaganda, Syria, UK Government, Uncategorized, war, White Helmets. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “Unacceptable Practices at OPCW” – by José Bustani and international panel

  1. Pingback: Flawed OPCW Douma Report: key criticisms | Tim Hayward

  2. Tony Kevin says:

    Very good. Now I want to see an OPCW whistleblower come forward to expose the tampering with the Skripals’ samples as reported from Spiez Lab by Russian foreign minister in Moscow, and promptly suppressed by OPCW executive. This exposes the British Govt Skripals fraud. It needs to come out. Tony Kevin.

  3. Paul says:

    The OPCW involvement in the Skripal case is of concern.

    How was it possible that the sample of (alleged) Novichok collected from the door handle of the Skripal’s home, which had been exposed to the elements for three weeks, was said by the OPCW to be of ‘high purity’?

    Para 2 of the OPCW technical report regarding Amesbury, says:
    “The TAV team deployed to the United Kingdom from 15 July to 18 July 2018 to collect biomedical samples and again on 13 August 2018 to obtain an additional environmental sample.”
    The 13th August visit was to collect a sample from the ‘perfume bottle’ – why was that not collected on the first visit? The police claim to have found the bottle on 11th July, so it should have been available during the OPCW’s first visit.

    I have no confidence that the OPCW reports in either case are true.

  4. Duncan says:

    Reader may also be aware that the often postponed Pre Inquest Review into the death of Dawn Sturgess has been postponed/cancelled/ again. In a dramatic turn, the Wiltshire coroner prepared a “press release” indicating that the Oct 18th event was cancelled. This press release was sent to the Met for approval/embellishing/editing. It never was released. The media have not commented.
    Stunning silence from the supine UK media.
    As a challenge, Google “Dawn Sturgess Inquest” and see where that takes you.

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