The truth is lost in Syria’s propaganda war
by Peter Hitchens
15 July 2018
Back in April I was treated with something very like contempt because I refused to be rushed into supporting a Western attack on Syria.
This illegal assault was supposedly justified because of alleged gas attacks by the Syrian government in Douma.
As I said at the time, there was no independent evidence that this had actually happened, and also no good reason to rush into action.
The area affected had at that time been under the control of a savage Islamist militia, and so Western journalists and diplomats could not safely go there.
But lurid and distressing reports on the supposed atrocity were prepared by media organisations hundreds or thousands of miles away on the basis of material provided by propaganda sources. They were given great prominence.
Now, almost unreported, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has produced its first report on Douma. The OPCW is not perfect, and has sometimes got carried away, but on this occasion it has been properly cautious.
In April, a major and rather self-important Left-wing national newspaper wrote that unidentified doctors ‘said the symptoms had been consistent with exposure to an organophosphorus substance’.
Now the OPCW says: ‘No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties.’
Lots of other things remain unresolved. The whole report, and a discussion of it, can be found on my blog. But those who scorned me when I urged caution owe me an apology, I think.
Read more: Mail Online – Peter Hitchens blog