US Propaganda War In Syria: Report Ties White Helmets To Foreign Intervention – MintPress
ALEPPO, Syria — A growing number of media reports praise the White Helmets, a group of first responders who save lives in Syria. But a recent report from an independent journalist claims the Helmets are more concerned with destabilizing the Syrian government on behalf of the group’s international backers than truly making a difference in Syrian life expectancy.
In March, CBS News praised the volunteer group: “When the bombs rain down on Syria, it is the White Helmets who run in to help. These brave volunteers claw and saw their way through the rubble to save those buried beneath.”
One White Helmet was quoted as saying that “everyone loves us in Syria” because the organization is nonpartisan and “works with all the groups.”
Similarly, in May, CNN claimed the group formed in response to the devastating use of barrel bombs by the government under Syrian President Bashar Assad, and was made up of “ordinary men who started to respond to the explosions, fires and attacks. Barbers, bakers, students and electricians, to name a few.”
Their simple common headgear, CNN reported, was simply a matter of thriftiness on the part of the suffering Syrian people: “Most had bought helmets that were white, instead of colored, simply because they were cheaper.”
The women of the White Helmets , also known as the Syrian Civil Defence.
But, according to Vanessa Beeley, a peace activist and reporter focusing on the Middle East for 21st Century Wire, the White Helmets are actually an invention of foreign interest groups hoping to destabilize the Syrian government by creating propaganda that supports military intervention by the U.S. and its allies.
According to her report, published on Wednesday, the group focuses its efforts only on areas held by al-Qaida and Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate also known as the Nusra Front. They ignore atrocities carried out by these groups, which are propped up by Western aid and weapons, while creating media-friendly images of victims of Assad’s bombing of rebel-held areas.
Beeley quotes journalist Rick Sterling, who called the group “highly effective manipulators”:
“White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention.”
Further, Beeley told Sputnik News that the White Helmets work closely with the PR firm Purpose, Inc. to lobby for military intervention against Assad. Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans also helped create Avaaz, a global “pro-democracy” group that’s been accused of furthering the U.S. agenda in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Writing for MintPress in March, Ramona Wadi noted that, “within the context of the Arab Spring, Avaaz had clearly aligned itself with U.S. interests, relying upon sensational rhetoric and dubious claims to garner support for NATO intervention in Libya and influence public opinion on Syria.”
Further, Beeley also reported that Avaaz can be linked to the Open Society Foundation, an NGO backed by George Soros, a wealthy investor frequently linked to acts of U.S. imperialism.
She also accused White Helmets of appearing in a Nusra Front video of a civilian execution, where they can be seen removing the body in a body bag after the execution. Although the video has since been removed from YouTube, she asserted that it provided further evidence tying the White Helmets to terrorist groups that are supported by the West with the goal of ending Assad’s control of Syria.
“If you want to understand why people are promoting a particular narrative, you have to trace it back to the roots of that narrative and who it serves,” she told Sputnik.
PLATO’S NOTE: Here below is Venessa Beeley’s report for your conveneince:
‘White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists, Disguised as ‘Humanitarians’ in Syria – Venessa Beeley/21st Century Wire
After four and half years of relentless propaganda being flung around western mainstream media by propagandists, NGOs and Empire serving mouthpieces, one wonders how this stream of effluent still manages to stick to the consciences of the public it serves to deceive.
Yesterday, a Facebook post caught our attention. A Palestinian person based in Gaza posted two photos of child victims in Syria. The photos were accompanied by the caption, “The massacres of Assad regime in Syria #Douma”. The subsequent barrage of comments consisting of the usual plethora of outpouring against Syrian President Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) provoked us to investigate further.
What we discovered was a highly organised, western-centric propaganda ring…
We discovered that both photos were taken by photographer Khaled Khatib, and were of “reported” Syrian Air Force ‘barrel bomb’ attacks, allegedly on unclassified areas of Aleppo. Bearing in mind, most of Khaled’s photos on Google appear to be of the immediate aftermath of such an attack, and one wonders why he does not specify the specific area and exact time, offering a verified claim of the attack being from barrel bombs, rather than the rather non committal “reported” tag.
Further investigation revealed that in reality, Khaled Khatib works for and with the ‘White Helmets’ and his photos are used extensively by the well known EU-backed and UK-based, one man propaganda band, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The SOHR is actually Mr Rami Abdul Rahman, who runs this propaganda feed from his house in Coventry, UK, and who bases the majority of his information on Skype calls to Syria. This information, however, is unilaterally used by the Axis of Interventionism [US, Europe in particular] to justify their proxy invasion of a sovereign nation and their clumsy, murderous 4 and half year-long attempt at the “regime change” of Syria’s elected government, engendering, in the process, the widespread loss of civilian life in Syria at the hands of their proxy armies. More than any other single information source, the SOHR’s propaganda dispatches are used to justify western policy of arming and supporting the multi-headed insurgency in Syria.
Thanks Eva Bartlett for the photo below:
The White Helmets are equally suspect. This is a quote from Rick Sterling’s excellent article on the “Highly Effective Manipulators”:
“White Helmets is the newly minted name for ‘Syrian Civil Defence.’ Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria. Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.”
“The trainees are said to be ‘nonpartisan’ but only work in rebel-controlled areas of Idlib (now controlled by Nusra/Al Queda) and Aleppo. There are widely divergent claims regarding the number of people trained by the White Helmets and the number of people rescued. The numbers are probably highly exaggerated especially since rebel-controlled territories have few civilians. A doctor who recently served in a rebel-controlled area of Aleppo described it as a ghost town. The White Helmets work primarily with the rebel group Jabat al Nusra (Al Queda in Syria). Video of the recent alleged chlorine gas attacks starts with the White Helmet logo and continues with the logo of Nusra. In reality, White Helmets is a small rescue team for Nusra/Al Queda.”
“But White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention. A White Helmet leader wrote a recent Washington Post editorial. White Helmets are also very active on social media with presence on Twitter, Facebook etc. According to their website, to contact White Helmets email The Syria Campaign which underscores the relationship.”
Now lets have a look at Mr. Khaled Khatib and his role in this propaganda chain. He appears to be exclusively embedded in Aleppo. I have been unable to locate any photos by him that are not from this region [on google search]. The majority of his photos are taken between January and June 2014. Now bearing in mind the mounting evidence of the civilian casualties and fatalities as a result of the “rebel” hell cannon, mortars, and snipers in Aleppo, it should be surprising that not one of his images records the devastation and bloodshed caused by these wildly inaccurate and lethal weapons employed by the so called opposition cells positioned all over Aleppo.
Instead every photo and every statement from this propagandist focuses only on the Syrian Government’s “reported” use of the legendary barrel bombs. “There is great danger for civilians from the Syrian army, the militias who are fighting with them, and ISIS,” said Khaled Khatib, a photographer with the Aleppo branch of the Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer rescue organization. “But the weapon that kills the most Syrians — by 90 percent — is the barrel.”
We have demonstrated that the White Helmets are an integral part of the propaganda vanguard that ensures obscurantism of fact and propagation of Human Rights fiction that elicits the well-intentioned and self righteous response from a very cleverly duped public. A priority for these NGOs is to keep pushing the ‘No Fly Zone‘ scenario which has already been seen to have disastrous implications for innocent civilians in Libya, for example.
Khaled Khatib is quoted by the Guardian as being reserved on the ‘No Fly Zone’, but vehement in calls for a radar or “early warning” system that will ensure that “civilians” can flee areas that are about to be bombed by the Syrian Government forces. Lets just examine this statement, echoed by The Syria Campaign director, James Sadri: “If we could only get warning that the planes were coming, we could warn families, tell people to run from the markets, get the children out of the schools, let the medical centers know so that they can take cover,” Khatib said. “Every airport in the world has this technology – it is common, it is civilian. Why can’t they share it with us?”
Hmmm so, this makes an assumption, regularly echoed by the HRW brigades like Annie Sparrow and Ken Roth – who have become increasingly rabid in their barrel bomb narrative, that the Syrian Government is going to deliberately target civilian areas like hospitals and schools. This seems absurd when one takes into account that most families in Syria have family members in the Syrian forces combating foreign proxy armies made up of terrorists and mercenaries. To suggest that these forces would be turned against their own families is delusional if not downright criminal and inhumane. Therefore we must assume that the Syrian forces are quite rightly targeting embedded terrorist cells, cells that are nested within civilian areas. We know that Aleppo has shrunk to one fifth of its size thanks to the infiltration of many areas by these mercenary fighters. This infiltration has driven many civilians into safe pockets within Aleppo away from terrorist strongholds. The SAA is marooned on the Acropolis Hill in the strategic centre of the Old Citadel in Aleppo and is surrounded on all sides by “rebel” encampments.
With this information in mind, we must ask the question, who would benefit most from this early warning system – the civilians or the “rebels”?
I have created a collage of the most dramatic of Khaled Khatib’s images, many of which are credited to AFP and Getty Images so we know they will be extensively used by the mainstream media to convey the “situation” in Syria. I will in no way detract from the very real suffering of the people of Syria caught up in a war not of their making and fuelled by Western arming, funding and logistic support for the “opposition” to the Government that is steadfastly resisting their interventionism.
However, I would ask anyone to view these photos with an impartial eye and to appreciate their importance as a propaganda tool. We know that Al Jazeera, for example has fabricated evidence before now and used artistic license to “create” images that pull on our heart strings. Even the BBC, the erstwhile reputed bastion of British media integrity has been caught out lying and deceiving on a terrifying scale when it comes to Syria. I leave it up to you, but here are some of Khaled’s images (graphic).
The final point that I would like to make is that during my investigation I noticed one important fact. Even when a report is written about an ISIS atrocity, we often will see Khaled Khatib’s photograph accompanying that report. I will give you an example. In March 2014, The Daily Star [Lebanon] reported on horrific mass executions carried out by ISIS throughout Syria, including Aleppo. ISIL jihadists conduct ‘mass executions’ in Syria: UN probe. Despite this article describing the hideous killings and torture of civilians by ISIS, the caption on the accompanying photo by KK reads ” The bodies of two children lie in the rubble of a residential building targeted by [yes you guessed it] barrel bombs launched by “regime” forces.
My marketing background alerts me to this insidious form of subliminal “advertising” that will ensure that the public psyche absorbs the message of “regime” atrocities in preference to the information regarding ISIS depravity. A brief check on other mainstream media reports demonstrates that this is not an isolated case. Some may argue that the media outlets have simply made a “mistake,” I would refute that argument..once maybe, ten times, twenty times is no coincidence.
Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a photographer, writer, and peace activist,and a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog Will The Fall.