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    « Vanessa Beeley on Syrian War Propaganda, The Veto, and War Crimes | Main | Alan Watts on Money and the Stock Market »

    The Farce of the White Helmets and Humanitarianism as a Pretense for Military Intervention

    The opening of our new naval base in Bahrain in the next few years will, quite literally, cement the Royal Navy’s commitment to the Gulf.  It will also enable us to reach further East. Every major financial centre in Asia-Pacific is on or near the coast. Every rising power in the region is investing in maritime power.  And as the economic pull of Asia-Pacific continues to grow, so too does our commitment to security in that region…  So the hard punch of military power is often delivered inside the kid glove of humanitarian relief or the mailed fist of maritime security. 

    -Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, at the Lord Mayor of London’s annual Defense and Security lecture in Mansion House on 21 July 2016. (Sounds like a bunch of royal shit.)

    From where, you ask, hast come this war?
    We’ve spun in it out of lies.
    And what of the fate of man on Earth?
    We hurl toward our demise.

    -Walter Lloyd Waterson, Journals of Late-Victorian European Military Expeditions: from the Pyrenees to Lower Saxony


    [Preface/Aside:  Most of the following transcript has been transcribed from the February 7, 2018 Liberty Report episode titled, “The NGOs Pushing a New War. With Guest Vanessa Beeley.”  I thought I was clever in devising a new method of transcription which involved me using the dictation function on my computer, listening to the audio of the podcast on my phone, and then dictating the interview to the computer. (Previously I would always transcribe audio by typing what I was listening to.) This method worked mediocrely (there were plenty of dictated typos which had to be corrected), but took much longer than I thought.   I did not “transcribe” the Liberty Report show in full – I stopped about 85% of the way in.] 

    The issue of the true nature of the White Helmets is important on several levels.  Although they are a relatively unknown organization (I’d wager that over 90% of Americans don’t even know that there is an organization called the White Helmets) and may or may not present a threat to a small fraction of the global population (“Why bother to waste your time on researching them if they’re harmless, praised as heroes, and confined to the tiny country of Syria?”), if allegations that they are a front for terrorists and murderers are true, then the White Helmets are symptomatic of far greater, more tenacious and nefarious threats which relate to pretexts for wars, mainstream media and Hollywood propaganda campaigns, and the brainwashing of millions of people into thinking that possible criminals and murderers are heroes.  If ostensible search-and-recuse organizations are able to galvanize interventionist military and regime change operations on the basis of humanitarianism, not only will such interventions result in the senseless deaths of myriad people, but these conflicts will invariably broaden and spiral out of control, and in the worst case scenarios evolve into nuclear weapons crises and possibly nuclear war.  As disturbing as propaganda-based pretexts for military intervention and the ensuing potential for nuclear war are, I am somehow (and this may be disturbing in its own right) less irritated by that than the latter of the aforementioned reasons why it is important to search for the truth on matters related to duplicitous entities: that men and woman who are actually performing evil deeds will not only get away with them, but will be lionized and praised by the public and often rewarded by financial institutions for their apparently heroic actions and seemingly pacifist inclinations, and business will proceed as usual.  If the White Helmets truly are a comprised of murderous sociopaths whom collaborate with fanatical terrorist organizations, and instead of being exposed and reprimanded they are glorified, venerated, and cheered-on by the public, then this speaks to a larger, ongoing societal dilemma of lionizing wolves in sheep’s clothing and being hoodwinked into thinking that bad people are actually good people.  Yet if the White Helmets are not the selfless volunteers they claim to be, and they are exposed as terrorists, then there is a chance that other inveterately evil entities engaged in similar charlatanism (those pushing for war, overthrowing democratically elected governments, facilitating weapons sales, ordering drone and missile strikes, supporting proxy-wars in which civilians are slaughtered, crafting secret torture and rendition programs, aiding terrorists, and occupying foreign lands – all to the mirth of weapons corporations and the military-industrial-complex) may also be called out and revealed, and perhaps eventually come toppling down, leading to a general subsiding of human madness in the world, which would in turn become a safer place for all creatures to live.

                Because mainstream and progressive news organizations fail to report with any critical analysis on the questionable activity of the white Helmets, we are left to rely on independent journalists like Vanessa Beeley and independent news programs like the Corbett Report and the Liberty Report, and even the frank opinions of the humorous Syrian citizen who goes by Treka, all of whom are included in the videos embedded below, to cobble together a more comprehensive overview of the supposed truth.  The below text excerpts are from a Corbett Report piece (which I have copied and pasted from 21st CenturyWire) titled, 'The White Helmets Are a Propaganda Construct,' as well as the Vanessa Beeley Liberty Report interview (which I have transcribed myself by dictating the interview to my computer).   The point that Corbett makes about the humanitarian-rescue model as “template” to be applied in other countries is crucial to understanding where the White Helmets fit into the bigger picture.  Vanessa Beeley commentary about this topic follows the Corbett Report excerpts.

    Excerpts from the Corbett Report:

    In the end, the point is no more that we should uncritically accept every statement made in opposition to the White Helmets than that we should uncritically accept every statement made in their favour. The point is that in a world where people were concerned about the real truth of the matter we would not be forced to rely on the on-the-ground reports of Beeley, Bartlett and the handful of other independent journalists who actually bother to visit Syria and talk to actual Syrians about what is happening in their country. In such a world, there would be many different journalists, researchers and citizens all trying to get to the bottom of what was really happening in the country.  But we do not live in such a world, and one thing is perfectly clear: we cannot rely on outlets like The Guardian and their fellow travelers like BBC News, Channel 4, CNN and other mainstream establishment outlets to report the truth on these matters.

    But the issue here is not merely one of PR and propaganda, as appalling as the uncritical reporting about the White Helmets has been. What is worrying is that the so-called Syrian Civil Defense is, as we have seen, not Syrian at all. Founded, funded and promoted by foreign governments, foreign contractors and foreign lobbyists and PR agencies, the White Helmets are not a spontaneous Syrian search-and-rescue operation, but a template. A template that, if successful, can and will be employed anywhere and everywhere that those same foreign powers want to destabilize targeted governments in the future.

    But I think what is interesting, why is this organization being protected to such an extent? I think it’s because the imperialist apparatus is defending the concept. We’ve already seen [White Helmets founder] James Le Mesurier recruiting in Brazil. We know that the White Helmets have appeared in Malaysia and in Venezuela, and in the Philippines. So you know, because this went through my head so many times, these are only 3,000 criminals and thugs that have emerged from the terrorist ranks or the Free Syrian Army “moderate extremist” ranks to become the White Helmets in order to continue to get paid doing the same job but under a different auspice.  Why are they being so heavily protected? But I think it’s more to do with the concept. It’s more to do with the importance of this concept going forward. As James Le Mesurier said very recently, who would you trust more than the fire brigade or a first response NGO? There you have it. That’s the key to why this group is so important.


    Daniel McAdams: You had a piece recently in 21st Century Wire about this new film glorifying the white helmets, the so-called “Syrian Civil Defense.”  Why don’t you let us know a little bit about what you wrote about, what the controversy is, and where you see things right now.

    Vanessa Beeley:  I think it’s important to break this down into two parts as I did with the articles myself.  First of all you’re quite right, this is another film like the Netflix White Helmets documentary that is showcasing this organization, and as you say promoting the fraudulently named Syrian Civil Defense - because there’s an existing Syrian Civil Defense that was established in Syria in 1953 - that’s number one.  But it’s also actually glorifying, or let’s say whitewashing at the very least the role of  Nusra Front in East Aleppo. Throughout this film as I’ve described in the article that I’ve just written reviewing or critiquing the film… throughout this movie the role of Nusra Front and associated terrorist entities who were occupying the areas of East Aleppo four and a half years, incarcerating Syrian civilians, using them as hostages, human shields, imprisoning them,  crucifying them according to civilian testimony particularly from children who had to witness these atrocities.  According to Last Men in Aleppo, Nusra Front don’t exist, the terrorist entities don’t exist, they’re never described, they’re never talked about.  The only criminal described by Last Men in Aleppo is of course the Syrian government and its allies, despite the fact that when I actually went to East Aleppo -  January this year -  I walked around the area where this film was made predominantly which was in Al Insari district of East Aleppo where the White Helmets Center featured in the movie is located.  And I’ve actually produced a film myself showing that that White Helmet Center is next door first of all, to the Nusra Front Center in that district of East Aleppo, right next to Abu Amara, which was another terrorist brigade -  actually the security agents for Nusra Front. There’s the usual graffiti showing the ISIS flag, showing the Free Syrian Army – so-called moderate extremist – flag  in the surrounding buildings to the White Helmets Center.  But then more importantly almost, if you walk from the White Helmet Center featured in Last Men in Aleppo, about 200 meters down the road you arrive at the Al Mashad Circle or area where in fact Nour Al Din Zenki - extremist organization supported by the United States government - beheaded the 12-year-old Palestinian child Abdullah Issa in July, 2016

    But then if we move onto the second part of my article series, what I’ve done is to delve into those who are enabling, processing, producing both of these movies on the White Helmets.   This comes to an organization called Doc Society, what used to be called BRITDOC.   This organization is responsible for the production of a huge variety of documentaries showcasing geopolitical events from a particular perspective.  But in the case of the White Helmets we’ve seen the Netflix documentary now Last Men in Aleppo that had, without question, lobbied for, advocated, and endorsed this organization without ever addressing the multitude of accusations being levied against  this organization – predominately by the Syrian civilians who have lived under their occupation and have described them as Nusra Front Civil Defense, but also evidence that’s been produced through their own video footage and the video footage coming from the Nusra Front  and affiliated organizations described in western media as “moderate rebels,  freedom  bringers,  democracy supporters etc.”   And so this organization Doc Society, which followed the whole process of the promotion in the production of these films, their founding partner is Channel 4, one of their major partners is the BBC, the Bertha Foundation, and Sundance Institute which most people in the United States were recognize as being Robert Redford’s organization.   Now these organizations have therefore been instrumental in this lionization of this organization, and fundamentally the white washing of the connections and affiliations to extremist groups inside Syria.

    DM: You know it’s interesting especially looking through your most recent article: there’s such a tangled web of NGOs and pseudo-NGOs, there’s this foundation in that foundation, is this by design and who’s really behind it?  I noticed you point out that the Sundance Foundation does have Open Society money this must be a massive operation why do you think they’re doing it?

    VB:   I’ve been considering this for a long time: why is the White Helmets as an organization being so dramatically defended and protected by these organizations -  by corporate and state-sanctioned media outlets,  by NATO- aligned NGOs including the UN,  and actually probably what will come up in the third part of the series is the Sundance connections,  not only to Open Socity Foundations, but Sundance sort of handed the baton over to an organization called Grasshopper Film, which is part of Grasshopper Global.  Now Grasshopper Global has clear connections to the UN Foundation, also to Walt Disney, I hasten to add.  But the UN Foundation, again, having done my research, that leads me actually directly back to the Clintons – to Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and their foundation, to the Clinton Global Initiative.   So it’s very clear to me that the White Helmets is not just the 3,000 volunteers inside Syria that come from extremists and terrorist organizations themselves.  This is a concept, and it’s a concept that I believe will be repeated globally.   We’ve seen James Le Mesurier, the creator of the White Helmets, recently recruiting for the intermediary that acts as a sort of conduit for the British government funds to go to the White Helmets, and that organization is called Mayday Rescue.  He was recently in Brazil, for example, recruiting for Mayday Rescue, so we know that was potential of them establishing a similar organization in Brazil.  We know that they’ve appeared in Venezuela, we know that they’ve appeared in Indonesia, and in the Philippines.  So were seeing the creation of a construct which is recognized to be a phony first response organization, but which is portrayed as a real first response organization, and as James Le Mesurier said, will gain the trust of the societies into which has been introduced.  So the construct is I believe it’s very important for the imperialist machine.

    DM:  Well, James Le Mesurier himself is a spook, isn’t he, isn’t that his background?  Sorry to be so crude about it but here’s a guy, he’s a spook, and it looks like what he’s coming up with is really Regime Change 3.0.  We saw very early on, we saw the Color Revolutions, and then we had to turn up a notch where you develop things like Otpor! for Serbia and the other various closed-fist organizations they trotted in Belarus and elsewhere, and now this seems to be a new iteration, it gets, unfortunately, more and more violent with each one. Am I right, is this sort of a new way to do regime change? 

    VB:   Absolutely.  I think it was the British first Sea Lord who said very recently that in future conflicts – we’ve heard about hybrid wars, we’ve heard about multi-spectrum wars, etc. -  but he made it very clear statement that in the future the military aspect of conflict is going to be... the military punch will be in the velvet glove of humanitarian organizations, he said it slightly differently but that’s pretty much what he was saying.  And you’re quite right about James Le Mesurier who has been present in most interventions arenas.   But let’s look at the parallels between also the KLA, for example, morphing to get Kosovo Security Core.  Now,  James Le Mesurier was definitely, to my knowledge and from his fairly shady, shadowy bios, was definitely present during that NATO intervention, for example.  I think we’re just seeing the development of that concept  to how it is now.   Also, interestingly, when I was in Syria this time and I was investigating the propaganda from day one, so from 2011 to 2013,  initially it was carried-out by the mainstream media itself,  i.e. CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, etc.  Then there started to be rumbles around 2013 when actually the terrorists carried out the first chemical weapons attack against the Syrian army and civilians in Khan al-Assal in March, 2013, which coincided with the Russian and Chinese vetoes on Syria, and with the creation of the White Helmets.   So for me what the media did at this point, knowing that they were probably going to be producing the chemical weapons false flags – they created the White Helmets and other embedded Al Qaeda affiliated media activists and journalists in order to provide a sort of plausible deniability for the media in using that propaganda.  

    DM:   It’s chilling and it really is kind of the marriage between the neocons who loves violent conflict overseas in the so-called humanitarianists,  and that brings in the Clinton Foundation.   This kind of thing has Hillary’s hands all over it.  It’s Hillary who weaponized the State Department and turned it into a regime change vehicle, she was a driving force behind the Libya liberation,  and she was heavily involved early on in Syria.  So this really has a mark of an unholy alliance between these two factions.

     VB:   Absolutely, and actually Clinton, as you pointed out quite rightly has her fingers in almost every one of these organizations either directly or indirectly.  I would need to go back through my research, but I believe she was involved in the Democracy Council, which in turn set up an organization called ACU, and ACU is another one of these organizations that is effectively siphoning money into the White Helmets, and into the local councils, into the Free Syrian Police, etc.

    DM:   Attacking the White Helmets is akin to attacking some sort of sacred relic – you take a lot of heat for attacking the White Helmets, yet you have so much evidence that they’re involved with people who were supposed to be against, supposed to be at war with… 

    VB:  It’s an extraordinary degree of stonewalling that goes on if anybody even raises questions about the White Helmets, and apparently that also happens if you raise questions about them in parliament itself.   Baroness Caroline Cox has been raising some very pertinent questions, for example, in the House of Lords and the responses have been at the very least obfuscating the financing of this organization, which has been basically coming from taxpayer funds within the Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund that has been putting around 200 million in the last three years into what is euphemistically called the Syrian opposition.  The recent article in the Guardian attacking those who are exposing the White Helmets as being no more than Russian trolls and agents -  I’m almost speechless in trying to describe how poorly researched this article was.  Eva Bartlett has done an extraordinarily good deconstruction of that article I would recommend reading it.   For example, yesterday the same author Olivia Solon who’s based in San Francisco -  never been to Syria to my knowledge and is a technology expert – in fact she was tweeting out about vegan dog and cat food the other day – she basically wrote another article yesterday and she’s put her twitter account again under protected status, but she wrote an article yesterday is accusing Russia of hacking the Oscars. 

    DM:   The thing that makes me the most frustrated is how just a second of reflection would seem to undermine the whole issue of something like the White Helmets.  Okay this is a story:  here’s a bunch guys, thy dress up, they put on helmets, and they rescue people that are stuck in bombed-out places.   Okay, that sounds great - a bunch of volunteers running around and rescuing people - why do they need a several-hundred-million-dollar budget?   I don’t get, are they driving around in Rolls-Royces?  Why do they need this much money?

    VB:  Let me give me an indication now, because one of the things I investigated this last trip to Syria was the accounts of the real Syria Civil Defense that are actually operating in over 80% of the inhabited areas of Syria.   So they’re serving 80% of Syrian civilians, when you bear in mind that probably 7 million internally displaced people are gravitating toward those areas that are government-secured.  The real Syria Civil Defense has almost exactly the same number of volunteers as the White Helmets claims to have.  It has an annual operating budget of $1.5 million.   The White Helmets has an operating budget, according to their job descriptions, of $35 million.  Now, this is just grotesque because the real Syria Civil Defense are actually doing the job at the White Helmets claim to be doing, they’re having their names stolen, they’re being targeted by the terrorists the White Helmets are working with.  I visited the real Syria Civil Defense depot in Aleppo and heard how the terrorists that the White Helmets were embedded with were targeting that center over ten times a day with mortars, with snipers.  Many of their crew members were assassinated, and if were talking about double tap, what they told me is that they would get called out to a terrorist attack on the civilians in West Aleppo, and then when they got there the terrorists would then target them as soon as they arrived.  What we should actually be seeing in western media is a complete inverse of what we’re seeing.  The double tap technology which they are constantly accusing the Syrian government of carrying-out against what are effectively terrorist organizations in Idlib - probably the biggest pocket of terrorism left inside Syria right now – there is double tap, those chemical weapons attacks are being carried out against the Syrian Arab Army and against the genuine authentic Syria Civil Defense.

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