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US Rejects Moscow’s Plan for UN Investigation into Syria ‘Chemical Weapons’ Claims

The United States continues to suppress and block any international effort to verify or investigate what actually happened at last year’s alleged chemical weapons event in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. This week, after Russia proposed the implementation of basic due process in order to actually investigate and verify US claims of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley snapped back and accused Moscow of trying to ‘protect Assad’ from war crimes accusations.

Back in April of 2017, it was the US and UK officials who called to block a UN independent OPCW on-site investigation into the Khan Shaykhun ‘sarin attack’ in Syria’s Idlib governorate. Based only on internet claims of “Assad’s Sarin attack”, the US then launched a cruise missile strike against Syria.

In retrospect, the world (those who were actually paying attention) witnessed a truly incredible and unprecedented event: a western country launched war on another country based solely on one or two YouTube videos of a claimed event – with absolutely no forensic investigation.


SELLING THE NARRATIVE: Nikki Haley posing at UN with photo prop supplied by US and UK-backed “rebels” in Syria.

Not surprisingly, US mainstream media, led by the New York Times, launched a campaign at the time to target and discredit anyone who dared to challenge the US ‘sarin attack’ narrative from April 2017, and accused any dissenters of being “conspiracy theorists” and somehow in league with “the regime”.

As award-winning US journalist Robert Parry explained at the time, by adopting their officially sanctioned gate-keeping position, the New York Times and other major US media outlets effectively ruled-out any further skepticism toward the U.S. government’s unfounded claim that Syrian President Assad had dropped a ‘sarin bomb’ on Idlib. Parry stated:

“In the old days of journalism, we were taught that there were almost always two sides to a story, if not more sides than that. Indeed, part of the professional challenge of journalism was to sort out conflicting facts on a complicated topic. Often we found that the initial impression of a story was wrong once we understood the more nuanced reality. Today, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, the major U.S. news outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, apparently believe there is only one side to a story, the one espoused by the U.S. government or more generically the Establishment. Any other interpretation of a set of facts gets dismissed as “fringe” or “fake news” even if there are obvious holes in the official story and a lack of verifiable proof to support the mainstream groupthink. Very quickly, alternative explanations are cast aside while ridicule is heaped on those who disagree. So, for instance, The New York Times will no longer allow any doubt to creep in about its certainty that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad intentionally dropped a sarin bomb on the remote rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province in northern Syria on April 4. A mocking article by the Times’ Jim Rutenberg on Monday displayed the Times’ rejection of any intellectual curiosity regarding the U.S. government’s claims that were cited by President Trump as justification for his April 6 missile strike against a Syrian military airbase. The attack killed several soldiers and nine civilians including four children, according to Syrian press reports. Rutenberg traveled to Moscow with the clear intention of mocking the Russian news media for its “fake news” in contrast to The New York Times, which holds itself out as the world’s premier guardian of “the truth.” Rather than deal with the difficulty of assessing what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, which is controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and where information therefore should be regarded as highly suspect, Rutenberg simply assessed that the conventional wisdom in the West must be correct.”

When interviewed at the time, Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad said:

“We formally sent a letter to the United Nations, we asked them in that letter to send a delegation in order to investigate what happened in Khan Shaykhun.” He added, “Of course till this moment they didn’t send, because the West and the United States blocked any delegation from coming, because if they come, they will find that all their narratives about what happened in Khan Shaykhun and then the attack on Sha’irat airport was a false flag, was a lie.”

Assad went on to explain how when actual previous chemical attacks were carried out against the government forces by western-backed ‘rebels’ in Aleppo a few years ago, Damascus had explicitly asked the United Nations to send an investigation delegation “in order to prove what we said about the terrorists having gases used against our army …. and later many incidents happened in that way, and they didn’t send any delegation. It’s the same now,” said Assad.

In reality, the majority of real reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria point to the western and Gulf-backed ‘rebels’ possessing and using them – not the Syrian government. Indeed, this has also been casually admitted by the US State Department as well, as reported by Zero Hedge:

“And yet last Wednesday, for the first time, the US State Department casually dropped an important admission into its official Syria travel warning for American citizens: that the core rebel group currently operating in northwest Syria not only possesses but has used chemical weapons – to the point that the State Department considers it a major enough threat to publicly warn citizens about.”

Amazingly, again this week – the US is blocking any moves that would require accountability and actually proving chemical weapons charges – and preserving their preferred status quo which is to allow any US-backed claim of a ‘chemical attack’ to first be litigated in the western media before being accepted ipso facto in the absence of any further inquiry or investigative due process.

In other words, if the event narrative reinforces a US and UK foreign policy stance, then it is automatically deemed as true and cannot be questioned or queries from that point on.

RT International reports….

The US has firmly rejected a Russian-drafted Security Council resolution seeking to establish an objective investigative mechanism to probe all allegations of chemical attacks in Syria “based on impeccable and irrefutable data.”

“We want to rise above the differences and propose [the] creation of a new international investigative body,” tasked with establishing facts and seeking those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria “based on the impeccable and irrefutable data obtained in a transparent and credible way,” Russia’s permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expired in November following a number of failed attempts by the UNSC to extend its authority. Moscow has repeatedly criticized JIM’s handling of the investigation of chemical attacks in Syria, including the April incident in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province.

Moscow believes that JIM’s investigations were full of “systemic deficiencies” and speculations, lacked hard evidence, while its conclusions were often drawn from statements made by questionable sources. The main point of contention is that the team did not honor the basic chain-of-custody principle, which required OPCW to obtain on-site biomedical and environmental samples.

The United Nations Security Council meeting was called by Russia to discuss the situation in Syria, including fresh accusations against the Syrian government over an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, however, fervently rejected the Russian proposal, shifting gears to accuse Moscow of trying to shield Bashar Assad from the alleged crimes the US continues to pin on him not bothering to back it with evidence.

“When Russia doesn’t like the facts, they try and distract the conversation. That’s because the facts come back over and over again to the truth Russia wants to hide – that the Assad regime continues to use chemical weapons against its own people,” Haley told the Security Council.

“The United States and the international community are not going to be fooled. We remain steadfast in pursuing accountability for those who use chemical weapons,” she said before leaving the meeting.

The immediate and passionate rejection of Moscow’s initiative is quite telling and proves that the establishment of a professional and independent investigative mechanism is the last thing Washington would like to see, Nebenzia noted.

“The fact that our resolution was outright dismissed says volumes. This once again reveals the truth, that we sadly already know. The United States of America does not need an independent, professional mechanism. Not only that you reveal the truth, but you show your true colors in front of the international community.”

Earlier on Tuesday during an international conference in Paris, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed the Syrian government for the alleged chemical incident in East Ghouta. Just ahead of the ‘International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons’ 24-nation meeting, reports surfaced of a possible chlorine gas attack on Monday, in which more than 20 civilians were allegedly injured. The reports have been produced by controversial pro-militant sources, namely the White Helmets and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), and have not yet been independently verified.

The lack of evidence did not stop the top US diplomat directly accusing Russia of allowing chemical weapons-related incidents in Syria. “Whoever conducted the attacks Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in eastern Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria,” he stated.

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