The White Helmets: not so ‘unarmed and neutral’

The White Helmets, or ‘Syrian Civil Defence’, claim to be a private non-profit company registered in the UK.

They call themselves:

A global advocacy group standing in solidarity with non-violent Syrians and their struggle for a peaceful and dignified future.

They began their campaign 3 years into the Syrian insurgency…just when the Syrian army’s luck seemed to be on the upside…

We started on the 3rd anniversary of the uprising at a time when Syria was slipping off the media and political agendas of countries around the world. The violence has never been as fierce as it is now or the humanitarian needs as great. Now more than ever the world needs to engage on Syria.

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They only seem to operate in areas controlled by the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) such as Idlib…

and can be seen here cleaning up after a Nusra execution in Aleppo…

They were standing right off-camera with a body-bag at the ready.

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…notice the logo?

Watch the video for yourself… (graphic)

https://vid.me/e/uHCh

Here’s the post-execution statement they released:

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However the images below highlight the complicity between the so-called ‘NGO’ and Nusra.

They have huge media access and are behind most claims of ‘Assad’s chlorine barrel bombs’…

From the Guardian:

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Assad regime accused of 35 chlorine attacks since mid-March

Here they can be seen jubilantly waving the Nusra black flag…

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and here (minus a White Helmet uniform) holding a weapon:
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This time in uniform and armed:

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Who are they?

The Syria Campaign’s four listed ‘campaigners’ have worked for companies such as the BBC and Avaaz – both known for their rabid anti-Syria propaganda. The BBC disgraced itself with its ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ episode of Panorama (see Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children for more details), as well as numerous other outright lies on the conflict,

This image was actually taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq, 2003.

This image was actually taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq, 2003.

and Avaaz for its countless petitions calling for a no-fly zone.

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Basically they are what is now par for the course in these imperialistic proxy interventions: a shadowy non-governmental organisation funded by governments and their corporate cronies, and passing themselves off as being motivated solely by altruism. It was a letter signed by dozens of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch that resulted in the UN Security Council voting to implement a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, based on wild claims which all turned out to be false. We know how that turned out; unleashing a similar hell on the whole of Syria would be far worse.

https://thesyriacampaign.org/about/

 http://voiceproject.org/

Victory for the Syrian ‘Revolutionaries’ in Idlib

Syrian rebels have been celebrating, having a few days ago captured the city of Idlib after days of intense fighting – causing the government’s forces to withdraw completely in the face of collapse.

A statue of Syrian national hero Ibrahim Hanano.

A statue of Syrian national hero Ibrahim Hanano.

Hanano fought for Syrian independence and was imprisoned by the French.

Hanano fought for Syrian independence and was imprisoned by the French.

His statue was pulled down and destroyed when the militants took the city.

His statue was pulled down and destroyed when the militants took the city.

The operation was undertaken by the “Fattah Army” coalition of rebel groups, which included al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate,  the al-Nusra Front. Other factions within the Fattah Army umbrella included  Ajnad al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa, Jaish al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq,  and Faynad al-Sham. I can’t say I know much about any of these groups apart from al-Nusra, but having just Googled them, I see they’re all Islamist groups.

A source from within the Syrian military alleges that both Turkey and Jordan helped the militants capture the city, accusing both of planning the operation and supplying the insurgents with advanced communication apparatus. This information is likely to be accurate, as it was recently reported in some Arab media that Turkey was now directly helping the rebels. In February, the Turkish military violated Syrian sovereignty by leading an army convoy into northern Syria to evacuate a historic tomb, and the soldiers who were guarding it. However despite the media stating in their reporting of this incident that ISIS had earlier threatened to destroy the tomb, there had actually been no negative interactions between the two groups, and ISIS and Turkish soldiers had lived side-by-side peacefully for months. In fact Turkey has also allowed ISIS to use its territory to stage attacks, including on Kobane, and there is currently a black flag flying atop a Turkish village along the Turkish-Syrian border. Thus it is most likely that at least Turkey helped with the taking of Idlib.

The al-Nusra Front declared their conquest by tweeting: “Thanks be to God, the city of Idlib has been liberated,” in response to their new victory.

The head of the Free Syrian Army – General Salim Idriss – also seemed to endorse the outcome of Fattah Army’s campaign, as can be seen below.

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In a later tweet he then stated that the Nusra Front are only “al-Qaeda affiliated”, and must “defect,” in order to become good little moderates like himself.

Due to the source of amusement and ridicule these comments were to Syria supporters – with Idriss having previously aligned himself and the FSA with the goals of a liberal democracy – the Western-backed opposition, the Syrian National Coalition, ended up releasing a statement announcing that the Twitter account was a hoax, and that Idriss does not use social media in an official capacity. The Idriss account now states that it’s a parody profile.

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However it is interesting that the SNC or the “Secretary of Defense in the interim Syrian government” felt the need to distance  Idriss from al-Nusra and “extremism and terrorism,” when they themselves hailed the taking of the city, saying that it was an “important victory on the road to the full liberation of Syrian soil from the Assad regime and its allies.” They also made fresh pleas for more assistance from the West.

The statement is also a bit odd because many high-figures within the FSA have openly collaborated with ISIS and al-Nusra, and have been filmed doing so and talking about it. The SNC and their US, British, French and Gulf backers don’t really care about who’s “moderate,” they’re happy for anyone – no matter how ideologically insane – to get the job of removing the Assad government done. All this stuff about moderates is just PR for the domestic audiences.

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As for these supposed 5000 “moderates” that the US are going to be sending into Syria each year…anyone who is willing to take up arms against both ISIS and the Syrian Arab Army five years into a civil war has to be a complete nut-job. I’m also pretty sure that whoever’s doing the vetting process isn’t being too strict. Currently it seems like they (the US army) is having trouble finding recruits, having a total of 300 men at last count. However let’s face it, these guys probably aren’t going to fight ISIS at all. Just as the FSA told Theo Padnos – the American journalist who was kidnapped and handed over to al-Nusra by the FSA – they lied to the Americans about working and sharing weapons with al-Nusra, there’s nothing to stop this new group doing the same.

What does need to be said about these fresh recruits is that they could be a Trojan horse for the West to directly wage war on the Syrian government. The Obama administration is currently thinking up legislation that will protect these forces should they come under attack from the SAA, and this may include some US forces working alongside the ‘rebels’. It could also possibly include even more US soldiers being sent in as a result of such an attack. This all seems like laying a trap for Assad, as it essentially means America’s mercenaries are free to attack the Syrian army, but if they attack in retaliation, this will allow the US and its allies to intervene. And obviously, if these guys are causing bloody havoc in their country, the SAA will need to do something about it.

To return to Idlib…

It seems that some ‘revolutionaries’ are no longer satisfied with the way things are now being run there. For example:

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Isn’t this to be expected from a city taken over by Islamists? In the government half of Aleppo, nightclubs have started to reopen every night, and there are always people to be found there at 3am. On the rebel-held half of the city, restaurants and cafes are split into male only and family sections – just like in Saudi Arabia. I suspect things are about to get a lot worse in Idlib.

The video below was posted on May 30th:

(It shows Islamists engaging in Takbeers before being interrupted by SAA warplanes overhead, and is quite amusing – in fact it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys!)

I assume the barrel bombs have just begun to fall on Idlib.

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Idlib after government bombing

Taken on 3rd April 2015.

Taken on 3rd April 2015.

Co-conspirators in the Propaganda War on Syria: Liz O’Bagy and the Syrian Emergency Task Force

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The Syrian war has raged on for years now, and I doubt that anyone observing from the outside would have expected the country’s leader -Bashar al-Assad – and his Syrian Arab Army to still be fighting on today. Isn’t he meant to terrorise his people? That’s what Obama and the western media would like us to think – that he’s an evil dictator, the ‘new Hitler’ (before Putin was again), who slaughters peaceful protesters and gasses babies just for the hell of it. Sure there are some extremist elements in the opposition…Assad clearly took advantage of the chaos by stamping out the “moderate” rebels and allowing ISIS to flourish, thus sending the grateful Syrian citizenry running back into his open arms. However some quick research reveals a different narrative: one in which the UK media is guilty of not just providing a biased account, but has been actively collaborating in the fabrication of ‘evidence’, used to frame the Syrian government for abhorrent crimes against humanity. Here is the first in a long list of some of the dubious people involved in selling this story to the West:

Elizabeth O’Bagy

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Elizabeth O’Bagy is a former senior analyst at American think tank the Institute for the Study of War, who was fired from this role for committing job fraud. In August 2013 the Wall Street Journal published an impassioned editorial by O’Bagy, that described her numerous trips to Syria, and hours spent with the “moderate” rebels battling Assad’s army. An extracts read:

Moderate opposition groups make up the majority of actual fighting forces, and they have recently been empowered by the influx of arms and money from Saudi Arabia and other allied countries, such as Jordan and France. This is especially true in the south, where weapons provided by the Saudis have made a significant difference on the battlefield, and have helped fuel a number of recent rebel advances in Damascus.

Thanks to geographic separation from extremist strongholds and reliable support networks in the south, even outdated arms sent by the Saudis, like Croatian rocket-launchers and recoilless rifles, have allowed moderate rebel groups to make significant inroads into areas that had previously been easily defended by the regime, and to withstand the pressure of government forces in the capital. In recent months, the opposition has achieved major victories in Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa and Damascus—nearly reaching the heart of the capital—despite the regime’s consolidation in Homs province.

At this stage in the conflict, barring a major bombing campaign by the U.S., sophisticated weaponry, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon systems, may be the opposition’s best chance at sustaining its fight against Assad. This is something only foreign governments, not jihadists, can offer. Right now, Saudi sources that are providing the rebels critical support tell me that they haven’t sent more effective weaponry because the U.S. has explicitly asked them not to.

There is no denying that groups like Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have gained a foothold in the north of Syria, and that they have come to dominate local authorities there, including by imposing Shariah law. Such developments are more the result of al Qaeda affiliates having better resources than an indicator of local support. Where they have won over the local population, they have done so through the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Yet Syrians have pushed back against the hard-line measures imposed on them by some of these extremists groups. While I was last in northern Syria in early August, I witnessed nearly daily protests by thousands of citizens against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in areas of Aleppo.

Clearly we can see that O’Bagy was calling for the US government to – if not intervene directly – send advanced weaponry to these moderate groups in order to raise their chances against both the Assad regime and jihadist forces. Her knowledge of the political landscape inside Syria was then used as evidence by John Kerry and John McCain during a Senate hearing that discussed the possibility of US military intervention in the war-torn country. Not long after this, O’Bagy was dismissed from her position at the nonpartisan Institute for the Study of War – due to having lied about possessing a PhD, and for her undisclosed affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force – a State Department funded lobbying group that’s sole purpose is to advocate for regime change in Syria.

Syrian Emergency Task Force

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The SETF’s wikipedia page states:

The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is a United States based organization that advocates for the armed overthrow of the government of Syria.

The group’s primary activity is advocating for U.S. military involvement in the Syrian Civil War through congressional office visits, media awareness campaigns, and organizing junkets for key U.S. foreign policy decisionmakers.

The group’s website states that it recently organised a trip to Syria for Senator McCain (who also hired O’Bagy as an assistant) to meet commanders of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army, and posted this incriminating photograph:

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The man standing in the doorway is Mohammad Nour, a spokesman for the Northern Storm Brigade – a faction of al-Nusra Front, ie. al-Qaeda in Syria. It has been claimed that standing behind McCain is ISIS Caliph al-Baghdadi (though I believe this to be false). To the right is Mouaz Moustafa, the SETF’s executive director. Another photo shows these same individuals holding a meeting with Brigadier General Idriss Salem, head of the Free Syrian Army:

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These images highlight the lack of credibility in O’Bagy’s WSJ lamentations that there are truly moderate rebel factions inside Syria. Instead, all these various groups – FSA, al-Nusra, ISIS – are one and the same: made up of the same individuals and going under different guises at any given moment, existing only to destroy an independent and secular society.

A look at Moustafa’s profile tells us all we need to know about his desire to “help” the Syrian people:

Mr. Moustafa was born and raised in Damascus, Syria before moving to the US as a teenager. He is the current Executive Director for SETF, Political Director for UFS (United For a Free Syria), as well as a board member of the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS). As former staffer for Congressman Vic Snyder and Senator Blanche Lincoln, Mr. Moustafa spent four and a half years working in Congress before leaving to work briefly with Egyptian opposition. Mr. Moustafa also worked with the Libyan Revolution. During this period, Mr. Moustafa was the Executive Director of the Libyan Council of North America (LCNA), Political Director of the Libyan Emergency Task Force (LETF), and worked closely with top officials within the Transitional National Council (TNC). Mr. Moustafa joined SETF in the fall of 2011 to help advocate on behalf of the pro-democracy movement in his native Syria. Moustafa boasts an extensive network of Syrian activists, opposition figures, and FSA commanders with whom he is in regular contact.

These connections highlight not only that Moustafa is a serial lobbyist for regime change, but that he is inextricably linked to jihadist causes such as the Muslim Brotherhood. We all know how western funded regime change worked out for Libya. Additionally, other staff members of SETF include Toby Cadman, a British-based lawyer who previously served as defense attorney to members of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a Bangladesh militant group whose leaders were recently convicted of war crimes, including genocide and rape, by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal. Does not sound promising.

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On a somewhat contradictory note however, the Syrian Emergency Task Force has also been accused of being a front for Israeli interests (reblogged below); sectarian chaos in Syria has certainly been good for the Jewish state, most recently diverting attention away from Israel’s actions in Gaza.

What all this extremely confusing and contradictory information seems to suggest is that DC/Wall Street interests and Islamic jihad are colluding in a scheme that is mutually beneficial…the ousting of the Assad regime would leave Syria free to be carved up by the west for financial exploitation, whilst al-Qaeda extremists implement their new society based on Sharia law. It will also provide America with their long-desired ‘path to Persia’; all the while disguised to the public as a humanitarian operation.

Sources:

Elizabeth O’Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324463604579044642794711158

The Inside Story Of How A Fake PhD Hijacked The Syria Debate
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/09/11/2601151/exclusive-mccain-kerry-cited-syria-analyst-false-credentials/

Syrian Emergency Task Force:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Emergency_Task_Force

SETF: Meet the Staff:
http://syriantaskforce.org/index.php/about-us/washington-dc-staff

Did an Israel lobby front group organize McCain’s trip to Syria?:
http://thepassionateattachment.com/2013/06/04/did-an-israel-lobby-front-group-organize-mccains-trip-to-syria/

John McCain, Conductor of the “Arab Spring” and the Caliph:
http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html

Meet the Syrian Islamist Organization Controlling Senator McCain’s Agenda:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/meet-the-syrian-islamist-organization-controlling-senator-mccains-agenda/

Syria: As the bombs fall, the people of Damascus rally round Bashar al-Assad:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10770311/Syria-As-the-bombs-fall-the-people-of-Damascus-rally-round-Bashar-al-Assad.html

Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?”:
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/brookings-which-path-to-persia.html

The Truth Behind Syria:
http://truthbehindsyria.tumblr.com/

Friends of Syria:
http://friendsofsyria.co/