The abyss we live in when the concept of truth is abolished. (aka. The UK’s Guardian)

This is a story in the Guardian about the death in Istanbul of the ex British soldier who founded the White Helmets.

The White Helmets is a group in Syria who have been very lavishly funded by the UK’s Foreign Office [1] and by the US to produce stories favourable to the UK’s / Western narrative on Syria. The narrative is that Assad “must go” because he “murders his own people”. The White Helmets was set up to document these alleged atrocities. Along the way they have no doubt helped rescue people from burning buildings – all the while of course generating excellent footage for the Assad is murdering his own people line.

The White Helmets does not operate in the territory controlled by Assad. How could they given their connections to the British State (and other Western states) and given that the British state is a military enemy of Assad? The UK has a substantial illegal military presence in Syria [2][3] and for a long time was repeatedly siding with the political opposition in calling for Assad to step down as a precondition of talks. Thus the White Helmets cannot and do not report on atrocities carried out against civilian populations in regime territory including on atrocities carried out by forces supported politically by the West.

The White Helmets can no means be construed as a neutral “charity” or NGO. They are a tool of Western foreign policy. To understand this it is necessary to recall the line taken by then Foreign Secretary William Hague at the start of the Syrian conflict. He very clearly laid out that British policy was to put pressure on the Assad regime by documenting “war crimes” [4][5] which could be attributed to it. There was talk of war crimes trials.

The Guardian and Independent (and as far as I can see the UK press as a whole) have consistently promoted the White Helmets as some kind of neutral body – like the Red Cross. This is a patent lie. It is like painting a red cross on the side of a truck full of your agents and sending it across the front-line.

Russian state media in the form of RT has frequently reported on the White Helmets. They have consistently made two points. Firstly; they have reminded their readers that the White Helmets are funded by Western governments – an important point generally omitted in the UK press. RT has also claimed that the White Helmets are linked to jihadists. In this report RT reports on work by a Moscow based foundation (“Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy”) which claims to have definite evidence which links White Helmets to the most radical of the Islamist groups, which shows members of the White Helmets armed and which even links them to the illegal organ harvesting trade. Even the Western press has reported on the well-known case of a member of a White Helmet member assisting militants burying the mutilated corpses of Syrian government soldiers. [6] The editor of this site has no way of assessing all the claims made by the “Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy”. With one exception: this Foundation made a presentation to the UN in April 2019 [7] alleging – and supporting the allegation with evidence – that the 2018 Douma chemical attack was staged by the White Helmets. Anyone who has seen the video footage of this supposed attack cannot fail to notice certain strange anomalies. For example someone who is supposed to be a medical orderly is far more interested in shoving a baby in front of a TV camera than treating him or her. At the time of the attack White Helmets claimed that in addition to chlorine the attack had used nerve agents. “The Syria Civil Defence [White Helmets] and SAMS said the day after the incident that they believed those who died suffocated as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals, most likely an organophosphate – a compound grouping associated with pesticides and nerve agents, such as Sarin” [8] But the videos did not show people with the kinds of medical problems that nerve agents cause. The disputed OPCW report said that no evidence had been found of nerve agent use. [9] On that specific point alone then the White Helmets have been caught lying. But such lies are overlooked in the Western media… For this editor the video material is clearly staged. The OPCW report did find that the Assad government side had dropped chlorine munitions; though the findings are disputed by Russia – and not, it seems, without reason; a dissenting engineer within the OPCW disagreed with the finding that the chlorine munitions were dropped from the air [10]. That notwithstanding it is possible that the Syrian regime did drop chlorine munitions but an exaggerated film was made to maximise the propaganda, along with exaggerated claims. Even if the OPCW report is correct and the Syrian government did drop chlorine the contribution of the White Helmets is clearly propagandist.  At the very least you can’t just film the (alleged) atrocities of one side and claim to be neutral.

As well as funding the White Helmets have received equipment and training from the UK. [11] The training is apparently delivered in Jordan. UK special forces and MI6 have a base in Jordan. [12] The British government must communicate with the White Helmets to discuss all this money, equipment and training. Presumably the actual meetings are conducted not by Foreign Office staff posted out from Whitehall but by MI6 agents and SAS troops.

While this website can’t effectively assess all the claims made by the Russian Foundation for the Study of Democracy it is simply pushing belief to believe that the White Helmets could have operated in Syria for 8 years in areas controlled by militants including by Al Nusra (the Al-Qaeda franchise in Syria) and its offshoots, rushing to the scene of bomb attacks, without developing a close working relationship with the militants. All the while keeping in contact with their handlers/contacts in British intelligence.

In connection with James Le Mesurier himself we can note that James Le Mesurier was a former British soldier. It is hardly a conspiracy theory given that the White Helmets have been funded, trained and equipped by the UK to ask whether James Le Mesurier was perhaps operating at the behest of the British state. Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter who exposed the hoax which justified the illegal invasion of Iraq to Western audiences, long before it was fashionable for liberals to admit that Saddam Hussein had no WMD, i.e. when it was too late, wrote a piece in 2016 in which he claims that Le Mesurier had a history in “the murky world” of private security companies. [13] The Guardian rather coyly reports “He worked in various security consulting jobs before creating Mayday Rescue in 2014.”.

It is in this context that the Guardian’s reporting on the death of White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier can be seen not as truth-twisting or propaganda but as the denial of the concept of truth itself. Let’s consider some of the Guardian’s reporting:

White Helmet workers rush to the scenes of bombings to try to rescue the wounded from the rubble. They have also helped to document alleged war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons

Yes. “Rush to” – almost like Florence Nightingale. As for “document war crimes” -, yes, but the “war crimes” of one side only; so not a neutral organisation at all. And as we have seen above – even if the Douma chemical attack was launched by Assad’s forces the White Helmets lied about the nature of the attack. Lying does not, in any normal world, equate to “documenting”. As to whether they dressed up or set up the Douma attack attributed to Assad this web site cannot be 100% certain.

The group continues to operate in Idlib, the last opposition-held territory in Syria

Let’s be clear. Even Whitehall backed media organisation the BBC admits that Idlib is now largely controlled by an Al-Qaeda offshoot. [14] Is it really conceivable that the White Helmets are equally neutral between Al-Qaeda and the Syrian government given what we know about how Al-Qaeda is likely to treat people seen as stooges of their enemy? For example; do the White Helmets document those episodes when Al-Qaeda executes unarmed combatants who have surrendered with the same avidity that they document attacks by Syrian and Russian forces? Do they document them at all? Again – the White Helmets must have made some sort of accommodation with Al-Qaeda.

The Guardian has previously documented how the organisation has been the target of a disinformation campaign, conducted with the support of the Russian government, that positions it as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organisation.

Odd. Given that they clearly must be linked to Al-Qaeda. But the point here is not to criticise the Guardian for pushing the Western propaganda line. RT could be said to devote itself to pushing the Kremlin’s propaganda line which seeks to attenuate the links between the White Helmets and jihadists. It would be no different if the Guardian were to simply push the line of Western Imperialism which seeks to portray the White Helmets as benevolent “first-responders”. But it is the claim that the other point of view is “disinformation” that is significant. (It is also misleading to focus solely on Russian claims of links between the White Helmets and jihadists – the Russian information campaign also highlights the undeniable funding links between Western governments and the White Helmets).

The Russian point of view may contain elements of exaggeration. It serves a strategic purpose. It could be said therefore to be propagandist. But do the Guardian journalists who say that this is all “disinformation” and who tell a story about brave humanitarian workers “rushing to the scene of bomb blasts” really believe that they are, in contrast, providing their readers with “information”? As we have shown above even taking a very moderate line and not having any recourse to reliance on “Russian disinformation” it is absolutely impossible not to acknowledge that the White Helmets are an operational part of Western political strategy in Syria and, while it may not have been intended and may even be distasteful to their Western backers, the White Helmets must have some kind of working accomodation with Al-Qaeda.

To write propaganda for your state is one thing. To believe it is another. It is the delusional nature of the latter which is concerning. If you tell a lie you lie. But if you tell stories and believe them, saying that any other point of view is “disinformation” then you are living in a strange world of make-believe where truth isn’t simply assailed. It just doesn’t and never did exist. A vortex. An abyss. This is the world that George Orwell told us about. It has arrived. We are living in it. The Guardian, ironically, is quite literally Big Brother.

Notes

  1. FOI
  2. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/us-exit-will-mean-british-special-forces-leave-syria-kkn35qg23
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-air-strikes-against-daesh
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/aug/01/syria-violence-hague-stronger-pressure-assad 
  5. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-13250002
  6. https://www.newsweek.com/oscar-win-white-helmets-syria-volunteer-dump-bodies-rebels-628407
  7. https://russiaun.ru/en/news/sideevent_syria
  8. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43697084
  9. https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/news/2018/07/opcw-issues-fact-finding-mission-reports-chemical-weapons-use-allegations
  10. https://www.france24.com/en/20190613-chemical-weapons-body-probes-leaked-document-syrian-attack + https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/douma-syria-opcw-chemical-weapons-chlorine-gas-video-conspiracy-theory-russia-a8927116.html
  11. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-white-helmets-civil-defence-service-donation-uk-search-and-rescue-dfid-a7901091.html
  12. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/698369/sas-mi6-syria-wipe-out-isis-new-syrian-islamic-state
  13. Scott Ritter
  14. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45401474

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer