Monbiot, Solon, Boffey et al: Guardians of Al-Qaeda’s PR Wing
Introduction by Mike Raddie (BSNews)
In the past few months, well researched and constructive criticism of The Guardian’s relentless eulogizing and promotion of the ‘White Helmets’ has been met with childish smears on social media and ridiculously ill-informed hit pieces by journalists who have never set foot in Syria, let alone spoken to those people who would know about these things. Civilians who had survived the five years of terrorist occupation of eastern Aleppo – where the White Helmets myth first sprang forth into the western media – have told many independent journalists, including us at BSNews, that they had never heard of the White Helmets. The one or two that had heard of the group described them as “al Nusra’s fire brigade”, noting they were never seen helping ordinary civilians.
For our part at BSNews, we are planning to travel to Syria once again in the coming weeks and will not only show our support and solidarity with the defiant people of that great country but will bring back the stories of those our media regard as ‘unpeople’. For the Guardian, the majority of civilians in Syria who, incidentally, support their government, don’t deserve a voice, their lives are of no matter, they are unworthy victims. As I wrote last month following a devastating and cowardly western-backed terrorist attack on children as they were leaving school, victim worthiness can be accurately and repeatedly measured in the column inches or air time afforded to the dead and injured or in the descriptions our beloved and trusted journalists bestow upon them. Our victims remain unknown and unknowable because our terrorism and the corporate media supporting it rarely permits us to learn the names or see the faces of those it kills.
Thankfully, there are independent analysts out there, like John Schoneboom, willing to dedicate time and effort to deconstruct this war propaganda and offer a sense of what the corporate media has, once again, been driving us toward – another deadly ‘regime-change’ war in the Middle East.
WHITE HELMETS: The Guardian Protects UK FCO Destabilisation Project in Syria
Originally published: December 20th, 2017
Today in Too Long Don’t Read : It’s hard to tell what’s going on in the world, isn’t it? Whom do you believe when there are competing, totally irreconcilable narratives out there? Are the White Helmets heroes or villains? The mainstream narrative has them as a neutral, unarmed, grassroots (and Oscar-winning) humanitarian group with no political affiliations, nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Independent journalists, notably Vanessa Beeley, Eva Karene Bartlett, Patrick Henningsen, and Khaled Iskef, among a few others, suggest a radically different picture, in which the White Helmets are nothing more than a propaganda front for terrorist groups like the Al Nusra Front.
The Guardian, in defense of the heroic narrative, just published a piece by Olivia Solon that turns the propaganda charge against the critics of the White Helmets and refers to them as “a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government.”
I read this article with great interest, wondering whether it would actually back-up its claims and refute the allegations head on. That is what it would do if it were actual journalism. It would give a fair accounting of the allegations and assess the evidence behind them. If it found the evidence lacking, it would say why, it would offer context, additional evidence, show why the supposed facts were wrong, etc. That would be journalism.
Solon didn’t do that. She mentioned only one video, the so-called Mannequin Challenge piece, and dismissed it as simply the stupid mistake the White Helmets and their apologists said it was. As for the few cases of White Helmet involvement in terrorist activity that Solon did acknowledge, she dismissed these as a case of a few bad apples that left the overall courageous heroic narrative intact.
Watch White Helmets “Mannequin Challenge” spoof rescue video:
How can we tell what’s going on in the world? I feel that one way is to examine the way narratives are defended, and the way challenges are treated. What Solon has done is not journalism. Her work does nothing to examine or investigate seriously. It only tries to dismiss and defame with tired old negative buzzwords like “conspiracy theory” or new ones like “Russia” — never mind that the three main journalists she offers in support of her Russian operation CONSPIRACY THEORY are from the UK, Australia, and Canada.
There is no substantive analysis at all. Nothing. Meanwhile she uncritically and with a straight face describes the US-backed mayhem-generating team of mercenaries and fanatics as an effort to “stabilize” Syria. The piece also contains serious errors, e.g., Patrick Henningsen is NOT an editor at Infowars. Since it is not true, somebody had to have made it up. Is that an innocent mistake, or a cheap attempt to discredit? All of this tells us something about Solon and the Guardian and our media generally and these are clues to what is going on in the world. Look at what is and is not there. Listen to the dogs that are not barking here.
What else did she leave out? Was it anything important? I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a skeletal, condensed list of some of the important, credible allegations and facts that, to my mind, deserve more attention and investigation than the glib, contemptuous dismissals offered by the likes of Olivia Solon.
These are all taken from articles by Vanessa Beeley except where noted. If I’ve gotten anything wrong I hope she or someone else will correct me. Now, if you believe Solon, you’ll dismiss all of it in one fell swoop: “Well that’s Beeley! She’s appeared on RT for god’s sake!” And that is exactly the desired effect, I presume, of articles like Solon’s. To cancel out reams of evidence by impugning the messengers with what amounts to fear-mongering and slander.
But the thing is, you don’t have to take Beeley’s word for it. If you follow the links to her articles, you can see the photos and the videos and find the documentation yourself. For now, just have a look at the list. It’s simplified. You’ll have to follow the links if you want more details. But just have a look. These are things Solon couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t deal with in her hack job hit piece. There may be alternative interpretations of some of the photos and videos, and they might make an interesting argument. Solon unfortunately chose not to do that, however, and while she couldn’t be expected to cover everything in one newspaper article, see if you think credible journalism would ignore all of this:
THE CONDENSED CASE AGAINST THE WHITE HELMETS
All from Vanessa Beeley’s two articles unless other sources are mentioned:
1: White Helmets were started and largely trained not in Syria but in Turkey and Jordan, by James le Mesurier, a former British military intelligence officer who went on to become Vice President for Special Projects at the Olive Group, “a private mercenary organization that has since merged with Blackwater-Academi into what is now known as Constellis Holdings.”
2: White Helmets receive substantial funding from the US, the UK, and the EU, at least $150 million over 3 years, from the same parties that are supporting the rebels/terrorists. No political ties?
3: White Helmets only ever operated in territory controlled by terrorist groups like Al Nusra Front, ISIS, and Nour Al Din Zinki, the latter are notorious for filming themselves torturing and beheading a 12-year-old boy. When those groups are forced to move, the White Helmets move with them, often in the same buses, as when they abandoned East Aleppo.
4: The White Helmet leader, Raed Saleh, is tied to extremists, a fact acknowledged even by the State Department’s Mark Toner. Saleh was actually deported from the US out of Dulles Airport in April 2016, with no reason being disclosed. He is a close colleague of Mustafa Al Haj Yussef, another White Helmets leader, whose social media accounts show him openly declaring allegiance to Ahrar Al Sham, calling for unity with Al Nusra, advocating the shelling and execution of civilians and other equally charming practices. Actually a recent survey of social media activity carried out by the Syrian War Blog has conservatively identified 65 White Helmet operatives who have professed their membership of, or alliance with, extremist groups like Ahrar Al Sham and Nusra Front or even ISIS.
Also, Clarity of Signal – Massive White Helmets Photo Cache Proves Hollywood Gave Oscar to Terrorist Group
5: The White Helmet group in East Aleppo was established by the president of the UK-funded East Aleppo Council (EAC), Abdulaziz Maghrabi, often photographed with, offering support for, and maintaining active militant membership with terrorist groups Abu Amara and Nusra Front.
6: White Helmets in Idlib were photographed taking part in demonstrations and calling for the “burning and destruction” of the towns Kafarya and Foua, which resisted occupation by the terrorists and suffered a siege that deprived its citizens of food, water, and medicine in addition to attacks that killed some 1300 residents. White Helmets also participated in luring children evacuated from these towns off their buses to their death by a truck bomb in an event known as the Rashideen Massacre.
7: Muawiya Hassan Agha was present at Rashideen, and he later became infamous for his involvement in the execution of two prisoners of war in Aleppo. For this rogue bad appleness he was supposedly fired from the White Helmets, although he was later photographed still with them. He has also been photographed celebrating “victory” with Nusra Front in Idlib. There have been at least three other executions on video that show White Helmet involvement, not just being present and immediately cleaning up, but celebrating, mistreating bodies, and otherwise not acting in a manner consistent with being a neutral humanitarian group.
8: Videos show White Helmets participating in Nusra Front operations, e.g., joining in the beating and encirclement of a Syrian civilian, thoroughly mingling in with heavily armed Nusra terrorists.
9: The main White Helmets center in East Aleppo was integrated into the Nusra Front compound, and was adorned with a variety of graffiti and flags affirming the White Helmet affiliation to various terrorist groups, but predominantly Nusra Front.
Watch video by Pierre Le Corf showing the proximity of White Helmet centre in Sakhour to Nusra Front headquarters:
10: Numerous civilian witnesses from Aleppo were unfamiliar with the term White Helmets but knew the group as the Nusra Front Civil Defense and reported its participation in executions and atrocities.
11: On multiple occasions, the White Helmets have been exposed staging rescue scenes for both photo and video, recycling images in multiple propaganda pieces.
12: Swedish Doctors for Human Rights analyzed a White Helmets video report and concluded “the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes…[including measures that] would have resulted in the death of the child, if not already dead.” The implication is that the White Helmets may have actually killed children and/or were using already-dead children “as propaganda props.”
13: The White Helmets have been filmed describing Syrian Arab Army bodies as “trash” and one particular video shows them flashing “V” signs while standing on bodies of Syrian soldiers piled onto a truck.
14: Many photos show White Helmet operatives carrying arms or posing, armed, with rebel groups including Nusra Front. At least one of them, Mo’ad Baresh, who was killed fighting against the Syrian Army, was an active rebel/terrorist while also a member of White Helmets.
15: The White Helmets claim to have saved over 90,000 lives but there is zero documentation of these lives — no names, no records of any kind.
16: The White Helmets’ critics cannot be described or dismissed as comprising only “fringe” voices. Eminent prize-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger described the White Helmets as “a complete propaganda construct.”
These are all things that can be looked up and verified, much of it is in photographs and videos, other bits are first-hand accounts from Syrian people via reporters who bothered to go there instead of reprinting Pentagon press releases. Solon and the Guardian do not even hint at the existence of a body of evidence like this, let alone debunk it.
If they had only tried, and made an honest effort, then an informative debate might have ensued. I am all ears for counter arguments. Let us subject all of this to scrutiny, by all means. Maybe there are errors, mis-translations, missing context, mistakes. If truth is what we’re after, we confront criticism squarely, not weasel away from it or ignore it.
The once-respectable Guardian declines the invitation, preferring to smear and ignore, a choice that speaks sad volumes about the paucity of arrows in its quiver. The whole thing suggests, I think, that we ought to consider that what has happened before — in the Cold War, in Vietnam, in Iraq — is happening again: that people with an interest in war are offering a narrative of lies for hearts, minds, and resources. To put it another way, we might want to consider seriously the possibility that they are gaslighting the hell out of us.
John Schoneboom is an author currently working on his PhD project at Northumbria University, Surrealpolitik and Cultural Gaslighting.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WHITE HELMETS BY READING THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES:
Geneva Press Club Event:
“They Dont Care About Us”: The White Helmet True Agenda
BBC and Guardian Whitewash of UK FCO Funding Scandal in Syria
What to Expect From BBC Panorama and Guardian’s Whitewash of UK Gov’t Funding Terrorists in Syria
White Helmets Evidence Presented at Geneva Press Club:
Vanessa Beeley Presents Exposé on White Helmets at Swiss Press Club in Geneva
‘Global Britain’ – UK Funding a Shadow State in Syria
‘Global Britain’ is Financing Terrorism and Bloodshed in Syria and Calling it ‘Aid’
White Helmets – Hollywood Poster Boys:
WHITE HELMETS: State Sanctioned Terrorism and Hollywood Poster Boys for War
21st Century Wire:
New Report Destroys Fabricated Myth of Syria’s ‘White Helmets’
Initial Investigation into White Helmets:
Who are Syria’s White Helmets?
21st Century Wire article on the White Helmets:
Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception ~ the “Moderate” Executioners
Who Funds the White Helmets?
Secret £1bn UK War Chest Used to Fund the White Helmets and Other ‘Initiatives’
Original investigative report:
The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake White Helmets as Terrorist-Linked Imposters
Irish Peace Prize Farce
Tipperary’s White Helmets Peace Prize: A Judas Kiss to the Antiwar Movement and Syria
White Helmets Executions
WHITE HELMETS: Severed Heads of Syrian Arab Army Soldiers Paraded as Trophies
CNN Fabricate News About the White Helmets
A NOBEL LIE: CNN’s Claim That ‘White Helmets Center in Damascus’ Was Hit by a Barrel Bomb
White Helmets Links to Al Nusra
WHITE HELMETS: Hand in Hand with Al Qaeda and Extremist Child Beheaders in Aleppo
Report by Patrick Henningsen
AN INTRODUCTION: Smart Power & The Human Rights Industrial Complex
Open Letter by Vanessa Beeley
White Helmets Campaign for War NOT Peace – Retract RLA & Nobel Peace Prize Nominations
Staged Rescue Videos
(VIDEO) White Helmets: Miraculous ‘Rag Doll Rescue’
White Helmets Oscar Award Farce:
Forget Oscar: Give The White Helmets the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best War Propaganda Film
Open letter to Canadian MPs from Stop the War Hamilton (Canada):
Letter from the Hamilton Coalition to Stop War to the New Democratic Party in Canada ref the White Helmet nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize:
Open letter to Canada’s NDP Leader on Nobel Prize:
Letter to NDP from Prof. John Ryan protesting White Helmet nomination for RLA and Nobel Peace Prize.