By Guy Crittenden
Some people might think the title of this article is "click bait" but I'm quite serious that the OPCW coverup and the media's failure to report on it signifies the end of journalism. Of course, by this I mean mainstream media, including corporate outlets like CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and also state media like the alphabet soup of brands: the BBC, CBC (in Canada), ABC (in Australia) and so on. Authentic journalism has survived (on life support) among a small coterie of independent, audience-funded journalists such as Australian blogger Caitlin Johnstone and the UK's Vanessa Beeley, and US journalist Aaron Maté plus a few deplatformed titans such as Chris Hedges and John Pilger who continue to speak truth to power (just not on mainstream programs, unfortunately). (For a more robust list of journalists worth following, I refer readers to my article on Solarian, "The New Left: A User's Guide to the Best Journalism.")
That mainstream media performs stenography for the perpetual state and its regime change narratives comes as no surprise to people who've been paying close attention.Yet the extent to which the entire corporate/state media apparatus has become an almost uniform extension of the surveillance state matrix is shocking, and would not be believed by most people. I could cite many examples as evidence, including the propaganda reportage of any military conflict you can think of — Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen etc — and also the coup d'etat (successful or attempted) in countries like Venezuela and Bolivia. And then there are lies of omission, including serious stories that are ignored, such as the 50-year ongoing genocide of indigenous people in West Papua (at the hands of the Indonesian military working at the behest of mining companies, mostly). Around a half million souls have perished there. When was the last time you learned about that from any newspaper, magazine, radio or TV show?
However, the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons' falsification of the findings of its own expert investigative team — in relation to a suspected chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria — represents a new level of corruption, at a hitherto exemplary agency that's a creature of the United Nations. Everything you need to know about this scandal is neatly summarized in the video clip below from Aaron Maté's Pushback program. The experts found that foreign militants in Syria staged the scene of a supposed chemical weapons attack, placing a large metal canister in the top floor of a building they claimed was dropped by a Syrian government helicopter. However, the crime scene was problematic for technical reasons the expert mentions in the video below, and some obvious blunders such as the hole in the roof not matching the size of the canister, and the cement rebar bending upward and outward — indicating an earlier mortar-type explosion and not a heavy canister punching down from the sky. Ergo the canister was "placed" in position. Oh, and there was no chlorine gas residue.
Let's remember, this was the supposed Douma attack that caused US President Trump to launch cruise missiles, without waiting for an OPCW investigation. Many of us presumed the OWPC is the "gold standard" of chemical weapons investigations, and were horrified by Trump's impatient actions. Now it's doubly horrifying that the OPCW is clearly not an independent investigative agency, and altered the report to fit Washington's narrative that Syrian President Assad is a "brutal dictator" murdering his own people (with poison gas, no less). The revelations (from dissident investigators within the organization) of malfeasance should lead to firings of senior staff at the OPCW and, if António Guterres does nothing about this, he should be removed as head of the U.N. But the public won't call for that if they don't even know about the falsifying of the report. And they're not learning about this because of Orwellian media silence. The situation — of the media providing cover for the OPCW — is so bad that one journalist quit Newsweek when the editors refused to run his story. This is a scandal in itself: the journalist's name is Tareq Haddad and you can read about his dismaying experience in this excellent article from The Grayzone. Caitlin Johnstone has also weighed in on this, with a very informed perspective in this article. In other related articles, Johnstone explores how the agitprop group Bellingcat helped spread the propaganda lies over Douma, and exposes further media complicity in papering over this scandal.
There was a time when the OPCW affair would have made the front page of every major newspaper and been the lead item on the evening news. Now, what should be called "OPCW-gate" is hidden from view, known only to consumers of alternative media who may or may not have the luck to stumble upon writers like Johnstone and Beeley. This is chilling on multiple levels: the media won't report this story because it works against the propaganda they've spewed about Assad and Syria for eight years now, at the behest of their corporate owners and spy agency minders. And it's especially concerning that a supposedly independent scientific agency that reports to the U.N. would falsify information to legitimate ongoing military actions against a sovereign nation fending off Islamic terrorists that the United States and the NATO countries (along with the Gulf States and Israel) fund, train and equip. If there's any silver lining here, it's that some experts came forward and exposed the OPCW's coverup. It would be nice if their bravery was acknowledged by the corporate media but, like the terrorists who planted that phoney cylinder, I'm not holding my breath.
Environment and business journalist and award-winning book author (The Year of Drinking Magic: Twelve Ceremonies with the Vine of Souls, Apocryphile Press) based in Innisfil, Ontario, Canada and Principal of Crittenden Communication. Contact Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org