At the UN Security Council, the US, UK, France and allies have blocked the testimony of Jose Bustani, the OPCW’s first Director General, on the chemical watchdog’s Syria cover-up scandal. The Grayzone has obtained Bustani’s prepared statement and is publishing it in full.
Jose Bustani was invited to brief the Security Council on the OPCW’s cover-up of an investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018. The US, UK, and France bombed Syria after accusing the Syrian government of dropping toxic gas in Douma. OPCW inspectors later found evidence that undermined the official narrative, but were censored by their superiors under US pressure.
As the OPCW’s first Director General, Bustani experienced first-hand the costs of challenging pro-war narratives. In 2002, he was personally threatened by John Bolton and ousted as OPCW chief after he facilitated inspections that stood in the way of the Bush administration’s drive to invade Iraq.
In his comments, Bustani voices support for the OPCW inspectors and urges the current Director General, Fernando Arias, to let them air their suppressed evidence in a transparent manner.
“At great risk to themselves, [the inspectors] have dared to speak out against possible irregular behaviour in your Organisation, and it is without doubt in your, in the Organisation’s, and in the world’s interest that you hear them out,” Bustani says. “Regardless of whether or not there is substance to the concerns raised about the OPCW’s behaviour in the Douma investigation, hearing what your own inspectors have to say would be an important first step in mending the Organisation’s damaged reputation. The dissenting inspectors are not claiming to be right, but they do want to be given a fair hearing.”
Full transcript below.
Mr Chairman, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, your excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
My name is José Bustani. I am honoured to have been invited to present a statement for this meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the Syrian chemical dossier and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. As the OPCW’s first Director General, a position I held from 1997 to 2002, I naturally retain a keen interest in the evolution and fortunes of the Organisation.