Brian has deliberately omitted the most damning information in the email here, like the investigator’s assertion that chlorinated organic chemicals on the scene were found to be at extremely low background levels you’d find anywhere, “in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1–2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities.” This crucial information was omitted from both the Interim and Final Reports.

He also deliberately omits that the OPCW’s Final Report on Douma asserted that there was “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.” This conclusion is contradicted by the email.

This information was omitted, allowing narrative managers like Brian to build the case after both the Interim and Final Reports that the OPCW’s findings implicate the Syrian government:

Narrative managers like Brian would not have been able to make such arguments had the OPCW indicated that the chlorinated organic chemicals found on the scene were found in trace background amounts. It didn’t. Because a narrative was being shaped.

This essay is nothing more than Brian saying “Y’know, if you squint at the facts just so, maybe the email doesn’t look so bad?” But it does look so bad. Read it here.

I write about the end of illusions.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store