On Feb 6th, Olivia Salon wrote about The White Helmets (of Syria) being the victims of a propaganda campaign. It was in The Guardian;
The film-maker behind the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Men in Aleppo has been targeted by a smear campaign that seeks to paint him as a terrorist sympathiser in the run up to the Academy Awards.
Director Feras Fayyad spent a year working with local journalists to follow a handful of volunteer rescue workers in the besieged Syrian city as they rushed towards bombed buildings to try and find people in the rubble. The resulting documentary has earned widespread critical praise and won awards including the Sundance grand jury prize.
However, the international recognition has been accompanied by an organized attempt to tarnish the film-maker’s reputation, following a playbook of Russia-backed disinformation and manipulation.
“It is like Russia wants to hack the Oscars like they hacked the US election,” he told the Guardian. Both Feras and Olivia seem to be playing a victimhood script out and “Russians Hacked The Oscars” makes a brilliant headline!
There is a link in the article above here stating that the white helmets are a humanitarian organisation. It states:
The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation made up of 3,400 volunteers – former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters – who rush to pull people from the rubble when bombs rain down on Syrian civilians. They’ve been credited with saving thousands of civilians during the country’s continuing civil war.
So who are the White Helmets?
They were set up in 2013, by an “ex” British military intelligence office, and financed primarily by the British government, they purport to be “first responders,” exclusively in terrorist-held areas of Syria. James le Mesurier, an ex-British military intelligence officer, with $300,000 of seed funding from Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., he runs/ran a seven-day course in Turkey for 25 “vetted” Syrians (Whatever vetted means, it is certainly open to some interpretation).
It is incredibly difficult to separate the White Helmets from various Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria. To date, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, has provided terrorist groups in Syria with over £40 million of British taxpayers’ money, in the form of non-humanitarian aid.
But why non-humanitarian aid? Are they not a humanitarian organisation? That is certainly how they are being sold and they have certainly not denied or refuted it.
In 2015, the UK Government announced £15 million non-humanitarian aid for White Helmets, plus a number of “UK trained 25 man teams” to “deliver training for new civil defenders.” The funding for the White Helmets was announced as part of a larger funding package which included:
- Over £67m of “support” to the “Syrian opposition”
- Over £3m to “support the elimination of Assad’s chemical weapons”
- Over £29m to “reduce the impacts of the conflict on the region”
In 2016, London Fire Brigade hosts Raed Saleh, leader of the White Helmets. Raed Saleh meets London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Peter Cowup, who organises for redundant Brigade rescue equipment to be supplied to the White Helmets. Here
As part of a £2.3 billion funding package to Syria, Boris Johnson announces a further £32 million in non-humanitarian aid. Here
In December last year, Philip Hammond waives VAT on the Jo Cox single, raising money for White Helmets. Jo Cox is the MP murdered by a lone man with strong anti-EU and anti-immigration beliefs.
In the film The Last Men In Aleppo, there is supposed to be an exposé of a Russian chemical attack. A point of note from the journalist, Vanessa Beeley, who has recently returned from there; the chemical attack is supposed to be chlorine gas, a very inefficient way of poisoning someone by gas. Also, it was meant to be East Ghouta, an area that is 100 meters from a front line, and one that is occupied by the Syrian Army and which houses a humanitarian corridor run by Red Crescent.
The Russians, allies of Assad, are gassing not only his own people, but also his humanitarian aid and his own troops!
We seem to be seeing a familiar narrative here. One I recall from the Iraq War with our very own Tony Blair. It runs like this:
- There is an oppressive regime that is hurting its people
- Civilians are being rounded up/killed
- A General demonization of dictator
- Sanctions are imposed (that only harm the long-suffering populace)
- Emotive images shared on social media (babies in incubators, wounded children, mothers weeping)
- They are using weapons of mass destruction
- We have a duty to intervene to prevent a greater catastrophe
There is definitely a narrative being pushed here, and I don’t doubt that a deep state is behind it. As always, this will only become apparent perhaps ten years after the event, as happened in the Iraq War, the Balkans and many other international conflicts.
I remember the Steve Jobs ‘Commencement’ lecture at Stanford University in 2005. He said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.”
He probably didn’t realize then how prophetic those words would be.