The whistleblowers who accused the OPCW of covering up evidence on the Douma chemical weapons investigation have accused the watchdog of trying to “smear” their reputations, after it ignored them as disgruntled former employees.
In letters sent to the OPCW Director-General and obtained by The Grayzone, the two whistleblowers demand that their findings – which contradicted those that made it into the OPCW’s official report – get a fair and scientific hearing.
Veteran OPCW official Ian Henderson and an individual referred to as ‘Alex’ were sidelined from the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma in April 2018, after they produced evidence indicating the incident – which was used to justify US missile strikes – was in fact staged by anti-Assad jihadist militants.
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The OPCW dubbed the pair ‘Inspector A’ and ‘Inspector B’ and framed them as disgruntled former employees who simply “could not accept that their views were not backed by evidence.”
In his letter to OPCW Director-General Arias, Henderson (‘Inspector A’) defended himself and ‘Alex,’ writing that they both had “reams of documents” including performance appraisals, letters of commendation and others that reflect “a history of service at the highest level in terms of qualifications, skills, expertise, leadership, integrity and professionalism” at the chemical weapons watchdog.
“Does this not place the efforts by some to smear our reputations, on questionable ground?” Henderson asked, questioning why two top inspectors with “impeccable records” would suddenly “go rogue.”
“Our sole duty is to be true to the facts and the science, and once that has been achieved, we will gladly accept the proven and agreed scientific outcomes,” he added. Henderson also accused the organization of “sleaze” in seeking to diminish or cast doubt on his level expertise, given that he was described as one of the watchdog’s “best” inspectors in previous performance records.
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While the official OPCW report concluded that gas cylinders were likely dropped on Douma from the air (presumably by Assad’s forces),