The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, is a non-profit organization consisting of nearly 3000 volunteers. It aims at urban search and rescue in response to bombing, medical evacuation, and evacuation of civilians from dangerous areas. In 2016, its film the White Helmets won the Best Documentary at the 89th Academy Awards, which marked a boom in this organization’s popularity. “I took a camera and started volunteering for (them) because I wanted the world to know what the White Helmets are doing and what is happening in Syria,” said Khatib, the press officer, in a CNN interview. Yet are people really seeing the real situation in Syria? In this passage, questionable details regarding this NGO as well as the involvement of the US’s interests would cement the argument that the White Helmets only serves as a US propaganda tool.
To begin with, the “altruistic” mission of the White Helmets is doubtful due to its debunked videos. At a Foreign Ministry press-briefing of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, the Director of the Information and Press Department, cited a report from The Indictor, a human rights magazine, raising cynicism about director-producers due to the murder of a boy because of the administration of a clearly fake adrenaline injection when the boy was unconscious from an overdose of opiates. The medical personnel, or actors, at this point, failed to push the plunger on the needle. According to the Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, the handling and treatment of the child was done in a manner that was “careless, dangerous and likely to cause serious harm”. Apart from unprofessional operations, footages from Jabhat al-Nusrah, a foreign terrorist organization designated by the United Nations Security Council and once an official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, indicated participation of known members of the White Helmets.
Furthermore, the White Helmets’ claim that it is a “nongovernmental and impartial” organization is contrary to facts. Firstly, let us dig deeper into the White Helmets’ leadership constitution. James Le Mesurier, the founder and director of the White Helmets, is a UK “security” specialist and "ex" British military intelligence officer; he is a product of Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and has also been placed in a series of high-profile pasts at the United Nations, European Union, and U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mosab Obeidat, the Project Director, had an official, Khaled Diab, who was once accused of supplying $ 2.2 m to secure arms for the terrorist groups in Syria. Identities of Le Mesurier and Obeidat contradict the “non-governmental” feature of the White Helmets. In addition, Syrian opposition protagonists also belong to the central force of this “impartial” organization. Raed Salah, the head of the White Helmets, was once convicted of incitement to violence by the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court and initially acquitted of incitement to racism. He repeatedly addressed “Hate Speech” containing radical indications. What is more, tracing the money flow, we have the right to question the White Helmets’ funding source. In a report released in March 2015, the UK departmental Minute set out the proposal to gift £3.5 million in equipment to Syrian beneficiaries operating within civil defense. However, funding from USAID (United States Agency for International Development) still outstrips that from the British government. In a USAID report updated in July 2015, it is clearly stated that USAID has supplied over $16 m in assistance to the White Helmets. USAID is a United States Government agency primarily responsible for administrating civilian foreign aid, with a tracking record as a primary US Government/CIA regime change facilitator in the name of “democracy and freedom”. In general, foreign aid increases the likelihood of democratization in aid recipient countries. (Sarah Blodgett Bermeo, 2011) Similarly, the US’s foreign policy aims at exporting “democracy” at the largest degree to Syria. With the direct involvement of foreign governments like the US and UK and radicals associated with Syrian opposition protagonists, in what way is the White Helmets independent, impartial, and free of outside intervention?
The fake “humanitarian” goals of the White Helmets result in debates about the forces behind it. Julian Assange, the founder of Wiki Leaks, mentioned in an exclusive interview with Russian Today about a cable from US Ambassador William Roebuck, stationed in Damascus, that discussed a plan for the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria: “So in theory it says 'We have a problem with Islamic extremists crossing over the border with Iraq, and we're taking actions against them to take this information and make the Syrian government look weak.'”
In the following passage, we are going to discuss how the White Helmets benefits the US as a propaganda tool and its role in the American-led intervention in the Syria Civil War. And we will come to the realization that the White Helmets is only a chess piece arranged by the US in a seemingly chaotic but very well-planned chess board.
First and foremost, many would say that the US foreign policy in Syria is a failure due to the worsening situation in Syria, but the Middle East turbulence is actually quite a success from the viewpoint of political beneficiaries of “regime change”, or in this case, the fall of current Assad administration. To illustrate, the creation of the White Helmets benefits two powerful forces: the military-industrial complex and the militant Zionist proponents of “greater Israel”. After the Cold War, US citizens celebrated the end of militarism and the dawn of “peace dividends”—a reference to the benefits that many would enjoy in the United States as a result of a reorientation of part of the Pentagon’s budget toward non-military social needs. However, it was the end of Cold War when beneficiaries of war and militarism started to view the multi-polar world as a threat to their economic gain. Records of militaristic think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century and the Jewish Institute also show that they are created to essentially serve as institutional fronts to camouflage the incestuous business and/or political relationship between the Pentagon, its major contractors, the top military brass, the Israel lobby, and other similarly hawkish bodies in and around the government. By portraying a chaotic and war-like situation through documentaries by the White Helmets, the United States constructs a delusion that justifies its business in war: budget in military purchase and profits for contractors. In this way, the US government finds logical pretexts for its“National Security Strategy” by conducting a self-fulfilling strategy: Manufacturing or creating its enemies like Assad’s Syrian administration. Just as US views peace in the Middle East as a threat to its interests, militant Zionist proponents of “greater Israel” perceive peace between Israel and its Palestinian or Arab neighbors perilous to their goal of gaining control over the “promised land.” Does this profile remind you of any leaders in the White Helmets? According to several UN’s resolutions, Israel’s return to its pre-1967 borders, or The Green Line, was urged to achieve peaceful situation. In the following document from UN Security Council (S/1264/Corr.1 on 23 February 1949), it was clearly stated that this line was a basis for the Egyptian-Israel relationship. However, Zionist proponents such as Raed Salah, the leader of The White Helmets, considers convulsion as an opportunity of the expulsion of Palestinians and to the expansion of Israel’s territory. Obviously, in this case, the benefits of US and of Middle East’s war-promoting force can both be maximized by the creation and later popularization of the White Helmets. Because of the convergence of two powerful groups’ interests, a strong political alliance was formed with a network of militaristic organizations like the think tanks mentioned before.
Apart from the gain of military-industrial complex, large US energy companies also benefit from the Middle East’s disarray. Genie Energy, a leading energy company linked with Dick Cheney the former Vice President and Jacob Rothschild the famous banker, was granted with the first oil-drilling license in Golan Heights by Israel, but Israel’s occupation of Golan Heights is actually illegal and opposed by United Nations. However, with the propaganda of the White Helmets and possibly involved news agencies like Fox News, Israel could expand its territory when the public is distracted by manufactured terrorism.
Ultimately, flaws in the White Helmets’ videos as well as the dubious constitution of its leadership have offered us evidence to question the true intention of the White Helmets. From the examination of the United States’ benefits from both political and economical perspectives, it is obvious that media propaganda such as the White Helmets has gradually paralyzed a global society which now embraces the portrait of warring state caused by Syrian regime and proceeded to accept the justification of the United States’ military actions in Syria. Many a politician has talked about the White Helmets with tears in their eyes, but we need to realize that the mainstream media has “bought time” for covert measures such as arming and training anti-government forces in Syria and operating surveillance flights over Syria to “spread democracy” as well as to fulfill political and corporate interests.
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