June 25, 2019

Working Group Response to Smears

25 June 2019

Since its inception, a handful of individuals and organisations have sought to discredit the Working Group including Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and Fernando Arias (Director General of the OPCW).

We would like to take this opportunity to make clear the following:-

1) the Working Group is a collection of people who found each other from 2017 onwards through their shared interests in investigating the ‘information operations’ (to use the military term) associated with the Syrian conflict.

2) the Working Group has no funding of any sort – the total expenditure of about £500 up to June 2019 on website and publicity has been covered by founder members out of their own pockets.

3) the Working Group does not take any position for or against the Syrian government.

4) while individual members of the Working Group have their own reasons for pursuing these investigations, a shared concern is that the ‘information operations’ associated with the Syrian conflict, together with related programmes such as the Integrity Initiative, have undermined press freedom, the independence of academics and NGOs, and the accountability of government to parliament in the UK and other countries.