BBC “Trying to Limit Damage” After Fake News of Syrian Chemical Attack – Journo

Thursday, February 14, 2019
By Paul Martin

SputnikNews.com
14.02.2019

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati tweeted on Wednesday that the video of people treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma had been fabricated. Sputnik has discussed the development with Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist who specialises in the Middle East and Syria in particular.

Sputnik: This doesn’t really look good though, does it, for Mr. Dalati. Why do you think he decided to speak up now? He is now contradicting himself basically.

Vanessa Beeley: Well, yeah, and effectively this is a damage limitation operation. One of their own, so to speak, James Harkin, who is a mainstream journalist, he writes in the Internet and he also writes for the Guardian, and the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall I believe it was, almost immediately after the alleged attack in Douma, which has, of course, been largely discredited by the OPCW report that has told us that no organic phosphates were used, there is still an element of doubt over whether chlorine was used. But the OPCW report itself has already negated the use of sarin in this attack.

But when Harkin himself is saying that this event was staged, then, of course, the BBC and Louisa Loveluck of Washington Post are immediately, in my opinion, trying to limit damage.

Sputnik: What do you think the BBC is going to do next? Do you think that they are going to have an official statement out on this? What can we expect?

Vanessa Beeley: I guess we should be waiting for Riam Dalati’s full investigation. He’s told us on Twitter that he’s been looking into this for six months and he’ll be providing further details soon. So we should be waiting to see whether the BBC will retract its previous statements; I mean it put out a very misleading report even on the use of chlorine after the release of the OPCW interim report. It basically stated on its leading report that chlorine had been used, it later changed that but it didn’t retract its storyline.

And I’ve just checked, for example, the Telegraph, on its timeline of chemical weapon attacks or alleged chemical weapon attacks inside Syria, it’s still stating that it is alleged that sarin was used in Douma. So, that is still standing on the Telegraph website.

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