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Archive for the ‘Midle East’ Category

The White Helmets: Effective Anti-Assad Propaganda

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For some time now the mainstream media, such as the BBC World Service or CNN, have been pushing stories about Syria’s not-so civil war which feature the good work done by a shadowy organization known only as the White Helmets . . . “When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defence rushes in. In a place where public services no longer function these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need – regardless of their religion or politics. Known as the White Helmets these volunteer rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth. As the conflict in Syria worsens, ordinary people are paying the highest price. More than 50 bombs and mortars a day land on some neighbourhoods in Syria. Many are rusty barrels filled with nails and explosives, rolled out the back of government helicopters — bakeries and markets are the most commonly hit targets. When this happens The White Helmets rush in to search for life in the rubble – fully aware that more bombs may fall on the same site. These volunteers have saved 40,823 lives – and this number is growing daily”, as the dedicated website announces in quasi-poetic terms.[1]

Rick Sterling

In contrast, a critical voice like Vanessa Beeley (writing for the 21st Century Wire) relates that “[a]fter 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 [, 31 August 2015], 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 . . . 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”.[2]

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The lone voice broadcasting from Coventry or the Syrian Observatory is a well-known opponent of Damascus, or as I wrote in 2014, “a propaganda outfit frantically feeding anti-Assad messages into the global news stream’.[3] For her part, Beeley states that 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”.[4]

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Beeley then continues as follows: “[n]ow 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. Let’s 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’?”.[5]

Vanessa Beeley

 

[1] “The most dangerous place in the world” White Helmets. https://www.whitehelmets.org/.

[2] V. Beeley, “White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists, Disguised as ‘Humanitarians’ in Syria” 21st Century Wire (01 September 2015). http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/09/01/white-helmets-new-breed-of-mercenaries-and-propagandists-disguised-as-humanitarians-in-syria/.

[3] C. Erimtan, “The New Cold War: Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine” RT Op-Edge (08 May 2014). https://www.rt.com/op-edge/157704-new-cold-war-victims/.

[4] V. Beeley, “White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists”.

[5] V. Beeley, “White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists”.

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Medya Mahallesi (4 Aralık 2015)

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04.12.2015 – Medya Mahallesi – 1-2. Bölüm. Konuk: Hüsnü Mahalli / Yurt Gazetesi Yazarı.  

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Ayda Erbal: Lost in Translation

‘Ayda Erbal, an adjunct professor of politics at New York University, presented a paper, “Lost in Translation: The Monument’s ‘Demolishing’” at the conference The Armenian Genocide’s Legacy 100 Years Later at the Hague.[1] The conference was organized by Alexis Demirdjian of the Centennial Project Foundation, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies. Published on Mar 9, 2015′.

The conference organisers published this disclaimer on the website: “The use of the word genocide is not meant to be determinative of the legal responsibility of parties to the conflict nor is the aim of this project to establish that the 1915-1923 actually constituted acts of genocide. Rather, the word is used as an academic concept since the events are commonly known under this label.  The objectives of the Conference and the book are purely academic and are not aimed at promoting activism relating to the proving or disproving that the events which took place between 1915 and 1923 constitute acts of genocide”.[2]

[1] “The Armenian Genocide’s Legacy 100 Years Later” Centennial Project Foundation. http://www.centennialprojectfoundation.org/#!conference/cnxv.

[2] “The Armenian Genocide’s Legacy 100 Years Later”.