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Caitlin Johnstone

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

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The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now hemorrhaging evidence that the US and its allies deceived the world once again about yet another military intervention, which should be a front-page story all over the world. Yet if you looked at American news media headlines you’d think the only thing that matters right now is indulging the childish fantasy that Donald Trump might somehow magically be removed from office via supermajority consensus in a majority-Republican Senate.

CounterPunch has published an actual bombshell of a report by journalist Jonathan Steele containing many revelations about the OPCW scandal which were previously unknown to the public. Steele is an award-winning reporter who worked as a senior foreign correspondent for The Guardian back before that outlet was purged of all critical thinkers on western imperialism; he first waded into the OPCW controversy last month with a statement made on the BBC revealing the existence of a second whistleblower on the organisation’s investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

If you haven’t been following this story you can click here for a timeline of events to fully appreciate the significance of these new revelations about the Douma incident, but just to quickly recap, in April of last year reports surfaced that dozens of civilians had been killed in that city by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad. This immediately drew skepticism from people who’ve been paying attention to the narrative manipulation campaign against Syria, since Assad had already won the battle for Douma and had no strategic reason to employ banned weapons there knowing that there would be a military strike in retaliation from western powers. True to form, a few days later the US, France and the UK launched airstrikes on the Syrian government.
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Bolivia’s New Puppet Regime Wastes No Time Aligning With US Foreign Policy

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The Washington-recognized interim government which just ascended to power via US-backed military coup in Bolivia is already shifting the nation’s foreign policy into alignment with the US-centralized empire, severing important ties with two governments which have resisted absorption into the imperial blob.

“Bolivia’s caretaker government isn’t wasting any time overhauling its foreign policy, announcing Friday that it will expel hundreds of Cuban officials and break ties with longtime ally Venezuela,” The Miami Herald reports. “In a series of statements, Bolivia’s new foreign minister, Karen Longaric, told local media that about 725 Cubans — including doctors and medical staff — would begin leaving Bolivia on Friday.”

“In that same interview she also said she’d be recalling Bolivia’s diplomatic staff from Venezuela,” Miami Herald adds. “Later, asked if she would maintain ties with Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, she said, ‘Of course we’ll break diplomatic relations with the Maduro government.’”

Of course they will.
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'No No You Guys, THIS US-Backed Military Coup Is Perfectly Legitimate!'

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I just keep tripping on how dumb this latest US-backed military coup is. It’s in Bolivia in case you’ve lost track, which would be perfectly understandable since US-backed coups have become kind of like US mass shootings — there’s so many of them they’re starting to blend into each other.

I mean, for starters the justifications for this one are so cartoonishly reachy and desperate it boggles the mind a bit. The main argument you’ll see in favor of the coup is that Evo Morales was elected after Bolivia’s high court ruled that he could run for a fourth term, but the (democratically elected) court ruled against a 2016 referendum on presidential term limits.

That’s it. That weird, pedantic appeal to a particular interpretation of bureaucratic technicalities is the whole entire argument in support of a literal military coup backed by the United States.

And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this was: the military ousting a government is precisely the thing that a coup is. The coup’s Christian fascist leader Luis Fernando Camacho openly tweeted that the military was actively pursuing Morales’ arrest prior to the ousted leader’s escape to Mexico, a tweet he later deleted presumably because the admission makes it much harder to call this military coup anything other than the thing that it is. The Grayzone has published an article documenting this coup’s many ties to Washington. Put it all together, and you’ve got a US-backed military coup.
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The USA’s History Of Controlling The OPCW To Promote Regime Change

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You wouldn’t know it from today’s news headlines, but there’s a major scandal unfolding with potentially far-reaching consequences for the entire international community. The political/media class has been dead silent about the fact that there are now two whistleblowers whose revelations have cast serious doubts on a chemical weapons watchdog group that is widely regarded as authoritative, despite the fact that this same political/media class has been crowing all month about how important whistleblowers are and how they need to be protected ever since a CIA spook exposed some dirt on the Trump administration.
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Expert Panel Finds Gaping Plot Holes In OPCW Report On Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack

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The Courage Foundation, an international protection and advocacy group for whistleblowers, has published the findings of a panel it convened last week on the extremely suspicious behavior of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its investigation of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. After hearing an extensive presentation from a member of the OPCW’s Douma investigation team, the panel’s members (including a world-renowned former OPCW Director General) report that they are “unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018.”

I’ll get to the panel and its findings in a moment, but first I should provide some historical background so that readers who aren’t intimately familiar with this ongoing scandal can fully appreciate the significance of this new development.

In late March of last year, President Trump publicly stated that the US military would soon be withdrawing troops from Syria, causing some with an ear to the ground like independent US congressional candidate Steve Cox to predict that there would shortly be a false flag chemical weapons attack in that nation. This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun.
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Truth Is A Kremlin Talking Point

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In response to a statement during the Democratic primary debates by presidential candidate Andrew Yang that both Russia and the United States have engaged in election interference, liberal pundit Molly McKew tweeted, “I now retract any vaguely nice thing I ever said about Yang knowing technology things because he answered the question on Putin with moral equivalency and a Kremlin talking point.”

If you’re in the mood for some depressing amusement, just type the words “Kremlin talking point” without quotation marks into Twitter’s search engine and scroll through all the results which come up. Just keep on scrolling and observe how this label, “Kremlin talking point”, gets bleated by mainstream empire loyalists to dismiss subjects ranging from the rigging of Democratic primaries to criticism of US regime change wars to endless US warmongering to concerns about new cold war escalations to disliking John McCain to criticism of Nancy Pelosi. Any criticism of the status quo which cannot be labeled false or misleading gets labeled a “talking point” of Russia/Putin/the Kremlin by those who support and defend the status quo of US-centralized imperialist world hegemony.

Yang’s statement about US intervention in foreign elections is indisputably true, of course. Both alternative and mainstream media outlets have thoroughly documented the fact that the US government’s own data shows them to have interfered in scores of foreign elections, far more than any other nation on earth. This includes an interference in Russia’s elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it. Former CIA Director James Woolsey openly admitted on Fox News last year that the US still interferes in foreign elections to this very day.
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How To Defeat The Empire

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One of the biggest and most consistent challenges of my young career so far has been finding ways to talk about solutions to our predicament in a way that people will truly hear. I talk about these solutions constantly, and some readers definitely get it, but others will see me going on and on about a grassroots revolution against the establishment narrative control machine and then say “Okay, but what do we do?” or “You talk about problems but never offer any solutions!”

Part of the difficulty is that I don’t talk much about the old attempts at solutions we’ve already tried that people have been conditioned to listen for. I don’t endorse politicians, I don’t advocate starting a new political party, I don’t support violent revolution, I don’t say that capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction and the proletariat will inevitably rise up against the bourgeoisie, and in general I don’t put much stock in the idea that our political systems are in and of themselves sufficient for addressing our biggest problems in any meaningful way.

What I do advocate, over and over and over again in as many different ways as I can come up with, is a decentralized guerrilla psywar against the institutions which enable the powerful to manipulate the way ordinary people think, act and vote.

I talk about narrative and propaganda all the time because they are the root of all our problems. As long as the plutocrat-controlled media are able to manufacture consent for the status quo upon which those plutocrats built their respective empires, there will never be the possibility of a successful revolution. People will never rebel against a system while they’re being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen.
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How To Make Sense Of Foreign Protests, Conflicts And Uprisings

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, our government-funded media outlet, has published an article titled “Australian expat living in Hong Kong throws off business suit to join protest movement“. The entire story is in the headline: some random guy, who ABC keeps anonymous but for the name “Daniel”, has joined the protests in Hong Kong. That’s it. That’s the whole entire bombshell newsworthy news story.
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