Reporter resigns, says Newsweek 'suppressed' Syria chemical attack story
A Newsweek reporter has resigned after the American magazine refuses to publish his article questioning Western-backed findings about the origin of a chemical attack in Syria.
According to Press TV, last April, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published a report alleging that Syria had carried out a chemical attack against its southwestern city of Douma. The United States, Britain, and France later used the report as an excuse to launch a coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near the Syrian capital Damascus and the city of Homs in the Arab country’s west.
The reporter Tareq Haddad submitted his resignation on Friday after his editor refused to publish his article mentioning an internal OPCW email that had revealed inconsistencies between actual findings on the ground by the organization’s experts and the United Nations chemical watchdog’s final report.
“Yesterday, I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason,” Haddad tweeted on Saturday.
The email sent by an OPCW member was revealed by whistleblower website WikiLeaks in late November. In the communication, the inspector had accused the watchdog of doctoring the report, which had been compiled by its experts, who had visited Douma.
The author of the email had rejected as "highly misleading and not supported by facts” the OPCW claim that "sufficient evidence" was found to determine chlorine was "likely released” from cylinders the organization’s experts had analyzed at two different locations in the Syrian city.
Haddad, meanwhile, said he was threatened with legal action after asking his editor why his story about the damning leak had been refused.
“I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt. was removed [by the outlet], though it was factually correct,” he said.
Fellow journalists, however, lauded Haddad for his courage.
“Newsweek , Newsweek UK, do you have any comment on this tweet from your former reporter Tareq Haddad?” Peter Hitchens of Britain’s The Mail on Sunday paper tweeted. “Mr Haddad, please contact me at The Mail on Sunday in London,” Hitchens added.
Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the OPCW and the United Nations.
Several reports have previously suggested the use of chlorine against civilians by anti-Damascus terrorists and Western-backed "rescue workers" in an attempt to implicate Damascus and justify foreign military intervention in the Arab country.