'On 23rd October, The Courage Foundation released the landmark findings of its investigation into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) suppression of vital evidence in its investigation of the alleged 7th April 2018 chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.
The Foundation’s expert panel met with a member of the OPCW’s Douma fact-finding mission, who provided the an “extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports” – in its resultant report, the team were unanimous in expressing alarm “over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma”, and concluded each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation (including chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies) were flawed and bear little relation to the facts”.
“We became convinced key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favour a preordained conclusion. We’ve 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,” the panel said in an official statement.
The bombshell findings went entirely unreported in the mainstream media, however – until award-winning veteran journalist Jonathan Steele managed to slip a reference past the BBC censors five days later.
Steele was invited onto the World Service’s Weekend programme to discuss the elimination of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – but partway through, he made a startling intervention, noting he’d attended the briefing given to the Foundation by the OPCW whistleblower, one of the inspectors sent to Douma in April 2018 “to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people”, who “claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there”.
Amazingly, host Paul Henley didn’t change the subject or terminate the conversation, instead asking Steele for more information.'
Read more: Veteran Journalist Goes Off Script, Exposes OPCW's Douma Evidence Suppression on BBC