Canada Ends Funding for Terror Linked ‘White Helmets’ -Tied to False Flag Gas Attacks in Syria

By VT Editors -April 22, 2021

From the Globe and Mail:

Canada has ended all funding to Syria’s famed White Helmets rescue group, with the final cut being the severance of $70 a month in stipends to 43 people who were left behind in a Jordanian refugee camp following a Canadian-led evacuation in the summer of 2018.

Canada has long been seen as one of the staunchest backers of the White Helmets, a group of civilians who earned global prominence by racing towards the front lines of Syria’s horrific civil war to try and rescue as many people as possible. The White Helmets have been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives, and the Canadian government has repeatedly boasted of the millions of dollars in annual aid it had provided to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group.

But Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, told The Globe and Mail that Canadian funding of the organization – including specific funding for clearing mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as money targeted at bringing more women into the organization – stopped at the end of 2019. Documents obtained by The Globe through an Access To Information request show Canadian support to the White Helmets was worth about $4-million per year, with final payments of just under $900,000 being made in March, 2020.

And now the real truth…

VT: We might also add that any NGO, and that means “non-governmental organization” that is paid by governments is 100% fake.  The White Helmets went past 100% as we will prove below.

FORGET OSCAR: GIVE THE WHITE HELMETS THE LENI RIEFENSTAHL AWARD FOR BEST WAR PROPAGANDA FILM

21st Century Wire

by Patrick HenningsonThis has to be historic low for Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In your average lifetime, everyone will get their share of war propaganda films. In America, it’s a kind of sacred tradition, where Hollywood does the job of revisionism, paving over an otherwise uncomfortable history with a new coat of stain. It’s necessary – not just to make us feel better about ourselves, but also to cover-up any inconvenient truths and high crimes of the state.

To be honest, when I first heard about this film being promoted by Netflix, I wasn’t surprised at all because ever since the Syria conflict began in 2011, the establishment media has gone out of its way to falsely promote it as a “civil war”, and have used the NGO known as the White Helmets which calls itself the ‘Syria Civil Defense’, as its primary media protagonist in furthering that narrative.

The fact that a documentary about The White Helmets received an Oscar Award simply confirms what a glorious bubble the entertainment industry resides in, and how easy it is these days for a documentary film to used for the purposes of propaganda and made to reinforce a mainly US-UK foreign policy project.

To Hollywood, it’s a feel good documentary, designed to make us feel good about a dirty war in Syria. But this is a level of distortion and spin that would make even Joseph Goebbels’ head spin.

In his essay published at Global Research, Dr. T.P. Wilkinson explains the liberal obsession with cosmetic revisionism:

“The “wrong war” thesis is elemental to what Carroll Quigley called “liberal imperialism” in his history of the Anglo-American establishment.[2] Liberal imperialists, to which the faux gauche (the descendants of Fabianism) also belong, do not oppose empire. They simply want it to be more aesthetically appealing, and lost wars are most un-aesthetic. So what is the liberal imperialist’s answer to unappetizing military defeats? It is cosmetic surgery.”

Expensive war propaganda in Hollywood is nothing new. High profile films like Zero Dark ThirtyAmerican Sniper and Argo were all released to much fanfare. Each of them fulfilled a role in forming a more perfect American narrative, and in some cases completely rewrote history altogether. But these were meant to be theatrical releases so naturally there’s a generous dose of artistic license taken by the director. Nothing unusual there. It’s what Hollywood does. These films also had some distance between the present day and wars which had already lapsed.

A veneer of integrity is always important. Hollywood still purports to put a lot of currency in the truth. During this year’s Oscars, The New York Times ran a TV ad (above) for the first time since 2010 entitled, “The truth is. . .”

This campaign is meant to decry fake news and its ugly cousin ‘alternative facts’ to show what high standards the mainstream media has – which demonstrates the delusional world the in which the establishment exists.  Earlier this month, I wrote an exposé showing exactly how the New York Times has been America’s perennial leader in running fake news for the purposes of advancing a war agenda. It’s ironic that this advertisement would run on a night when an Oscar would be given to one of the most egregious propaganda films of all time.Last Sunday night, The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, took home an Academy Award for best documentary short. Unlike Argo, or American Sniper, this was a film about a war which is happening now, but this was not a conventional documentary film. The footage was provided by a terrorist-affiliated NGO based in Turkey, operating in Syria, and who is primarily funded by the US State Dept, the British Foreign Office, the Netherlands, and other NATO member and Gulf states to the tune of over $150 million and whose chief remit is producing US-led Coalition propaganda images for mass media consumption. The film, funded and distributed by Netflix, seems to be an extension of that remit.

Watch the film’s trailer here.

Normally we think of documentaries as films that are supposed to speak truth to power, but this film does the opposite. It reinforces an Anglo-American establishment power structure responsible for one of the most violent, dirty wars in modern history. It reinforces a collection of lies placed on heavy rotation by the political and media establishments since the conflict began.

In every way, Syria is the wrong war. For the US and the UK, there’s much at stake – the legacies of two paradigmatic political figures, Barack Obama and David Cameron, along with the reputations of other architects of the west’s dirty war on Syria, like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and British Foreign Minister William Hague. Back when the war was getting started, both Clinton and Hague were busy front-running their “Friends of Syria” whistle stop tour around the Middle East and Europe, securing Gulf cash commitments while grooming their hand-picked ‘opposition’ government in exile, holding court in various 5 star hotels in Paris, London and Istanbul. The US had tried this only a year earlier with Libya, and at the time in 2011-2012, they had every reason to believe that the Libyan formula could be repeated in Syria. Those hopes were dashed by early 2013, when it became apparent that Libya was officially a failed state. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of extremist foreign fighters and jihadi soldiers of fortune began pouring into Syria. It was an invasion. This was the West’s proxy army, ready to decapitate the government, dismember the state and destabilize the region – with the full blessing of Washington DC and its partners.

The Troika of Washington-London-Paris then doubled down by pouring billions of dollars in lethal weapons to various fighting groups laying in waiting in Turkey and Jordan, as well as those already active in Syria. There were a number of well-documented arrangements, but one of the most successful working models was for the CIA and its European NATO partners illegally supplying the weapons funnelled through Jordan and Turkey – and all paid for by Saudi, Qatari cash. All the while, the public were told by the US-led Coalition all of this was for the “moderate rebels” in Syria. These were meant to be the “freedom fighters” that Ronald Reagan referred to back in the 1980’s. As it turned out, these freedom fighters in Syria were a chip of the old block from the violent, psychopathic US-backed and CIA-trained paramilitary death squads which would wreak havoc and terrorise El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. In Syria, they are much worse in fact, as they employed  a potent brand of warped, radical Salafi and Wahabist religious fervour as the central axis of their self-styled, Medieval nihilistic raison d’etre. Yes, these are the moderates, backed by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, every other NATO member state, and of course, Israel, who has skill fully stayed out of the media firing line. It’s a collective project. Their mission: ‘regime change’ in Syria – to overthrow by force – the government in Damascus.

As dirty wars go, none is more filthy than this one. As the US and the UK are running point on public relations for this criminal enterprise, their big challenge has been selling it to their electorates. In order to justify the dirty war, a narrative has to be constructed and maintained. This requires a relentless negative public relations campaign demonizating the Syrian government and all of its agencies. The following talking points are therefore reinforced:

  1. Syria’s peaceful ‘Arab Spring’ uprising happened in 2011, and was violently squashed by the government.
  2. Assad is a brutal dictator, and is illegitimate.
  3. The Syrian government and its armed forces are deliberately killing their own people.
  4. The US-NATO and Gulf-backed armed ‘rebel’ opposition is legitimate.
  5. Syrian and Russian Airforce are only killing civilians, and not militant and terrorists.
  6. Terrorists do not exist in Syria, only “moderate rebels” and Syrians ‘fighting for freedom’.
  7. Therefore, Assad must be removed from power and replaced with a US-approved government.

Add to this, the entrance of Russia in the fall of 2015 at the lawful invitation of Damascus, and Russia can now be added to the demonization campaign.

These talking points are then repeated and recycled, over and over, and held up as justification for US-led, crippling economic and diplomatic sanction against the Syrian state, and the destructive policy of flooding the region with arms. In the summer of 2014, an added bonus for the US was inserted into the mix – the emergence of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham). The appearance of ISIS allowed the US to fly air sorties over Syria, allegedly to fight ISIS, although after 3 years the US has produced little if any verifiable progress in ‘defeating’ ISIS. In truth, the US had hoped that ISIS, along with the other al Qaeda affiliates, would somehow do the job of destabilizing Syria and overthrowing the government of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, on-script western media operatives and politicians alike still referred to them as “rebels” and “armed opposition” – violent radical terrorist groups like Jabbat al Nusra (Nusra Front), Arar al Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Jaish al-Fatah (The Army of Conquest), along with some radical remnants of John McCain’s ‘Free Syrian Army’. This was all part of the public relations con.

But that wasn’t enough. Washington and London needed a face for the evening news. They needed to personalize the conflict in order to help maintain the illusion of a “civil war” in Syria. This is where the White Helmets come in. A merry band of men, comprised of “ordinary citizens, from bakers to teachers to painters,” all donning the White Helmets to save humanity in this moment of turmoil. Raed Saleh, the group’s spokesman says his organization is guided by a verse in the Qu’ran: “To save one life is to save all of humanity.” No doubt a beautiful line, but like so many aspects of the White Helmets – it’s been applied cosmetically. Who would dare be so insensitive as to challenge such a perfect story? For war planners in Washington and London, the White Helmets provided the PR cushion they needed to help sell a filthy proxy war to western audiences. By creating and managing their own ‘first responder’ NGO, the US, UK and its stakeholder partners have been able to leverage public sympathies – enough to keep the project going, until the war was either won or lost, or until someone caught on to the scam.


In his article in Counterpunch back in April 2015, Rick Sterling summarized the White Helmet roll-out and basic agenda:

“In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project which has received glowing publicity from HuffPo to Nicholas Kristof at the NYT. White Helmets have been heavily promoted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (U.S.IP) whose leader began the press conference by declaring “U.S.IP has been working for the Syrian Revolution from the beginning.”

For the last 3 years, the White Helmets have existed for the singular purpose of producing thousands of propaganda segments – videos and images which reinforce the US-led foreign policy narrative for Syria. The brutal dictator Assad using his airforce against his own people, along with his evil Russian partners. Both are callously snuffing-out the fledging and therefore, the White Helmets’ primary financiers – the US State Dept (via USAID), the British Foreign Office, The Netherlands, along with other EU member states and Qatar. Since at least 2011, each of these nation stakeholders has had a vested interest in overthrowing the Syrian government and destabilizing Syria. In 2014, a number of independent researchers in the west began to catch the White Helmets’ unmistakable stench of dupery. Cory Morningstar’s article, “SYRIA: AVAAZ, PURPOSE & THE ART OF SELLING HATE FOR EMPIRE” (April 2014), and Rick Sterling’s piece for Counterpunch, “About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria,” and also the work of researcher Petri Krohn’s notable wiki site ‘A Closer Look at Syria‘ – first cracked the facade. They were followed by extensive investigations by Vanessa Beeley who has since produced a formidable volume of research and analysis on the White Helmets and other similar NGO projects, all of which are readily available on 21st Century Wire.

Any researcher working on a White Helmets documentary would have had access to all of this information, through a simple key word search.

Interestingly, mainstream media defenders of the White Helmets such as Michael Weiss, a senior fellow at NATO’s own propaganda think tank the Atlantic Council, as well as editor at the dubious Daily Beast, claim that criticism of the White Helmets is a Russian plot organized by Putin himself. Weiss’ conspiracy theory is expected considering his employer’s affiliation, but such typical hyperbolic accusations belie the fact that the first individuals to expose this pseudo NGO are not Russian, but rather independent writers and researchers from the US, Canada and Great Britain and why not – because it’s their tax dollars that is funding the White Helmets. It’s also worth noting that in December 2016 when the Nusra terrorist hold over East Aleppo was collapsing, it was Michael Weiss who is responsible for circulating bogus reports, including that women in East Aleppo were committing ‘mass suicide’ to avoid ‘mass rape’ by Assad’s soldiers. “Seventy-nine of them were executed at the barricades. The rest — everyone under 40 — were taken to warehouses that look more like internment camps. They face an unknown fate,” he said. “This morning 20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.”

Weiss’ source for these sensational reports: terrorists in East Aleppo. This was just one of many fake news stories disseminated in the mainstream media. Weiss then went on to repeat the fabricated story to a global mainstream audience on CNN’s Don Lemon Show.

In reality, and according to countless first-hand on the ground eye witness testimonies collected by 21WIRE and other media outlets, as the Syrian Army began liberating East Aleppo, the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ promoted by Weiss and other western media operatives were using residents as human shields, and in some cases shooting residents who attempted to flee terrorist enclaves prior to government forces liberating the eastern half of the city.

With direct funding to the White Helmets from US-led Coalition countries already well in excess $150 million – international stakeholders expect a return on their investment. That return comes in the form of dramatic ‘search and rescue’ videos, some of which may have even been produced in Turkey, and which were then sent in  a highly coordinated fashion to the editorial desks of CNN, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and others. At no time have any of these western or GCC-based ‘journalists’ ever queried the authenticity of the staged video and photographic productions supplied by the White Helmets. Mainly, their videos have been produced to promote a No Fly Zone, or ‘Safe Zones’ in Syria by creating the false impression that somehow Syrian and Russian air forces are targeting civilians in a Blitzkrieg fashion, using crude “barrel bombs”. Outside of the White Helmets propaganda, there is scant evidence of these ‘barrel bombs’ supposedly dropped by the ‘Assad Regime’ every day according to the White Helmets.

In the run-up to the White Helmets’ failed Nobel Peace Prize bid in October, CNN even went so far as to plant a fake story about a barrel bomb hitting a “White Helmets Center” in Damascus. Increasing attention has also meant that some people are beginning to question the group’s incredible claim at the time that it had somehow saved 60,000 lives since it started in late 2013. In one letter first published at Canadian Dimension, retired academic John Ryan, PhD, a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg, challenged this narrative, saying:

“It is the White Helmets themselves who have claimed that they have rescued 60,000 civilians; this has not been verified by any other source. Despite such a classic conflict of interest, searching for independent evidence and disqualifying self-serving claims from belligerent parties in Syria has been ignored in much of the western media. As such, this claim by the White Helmets without any verification is next to meaningless.”

Despite the questions, the group continued to raise this figure by about 10,000 every two months. They now claim to have “Saved over 82,000 lives” since they were formed in 2013. Where are the list of names, dates, times, locations and medical reports – so as to corroborate and cross-reference the casualties with the alleged Syrian and Russian airstrikes? What’s the problem – can’t $150 million buy a little bit of administration for the White Helmets? At no point have they ever been able to produce any data to back up there outlandish numbers claims – so we can only conclude that this claim, like so many other claims by the group, are fraudulent. But when has Hollywood ever let facts and data get in the way of a good war propaganda story?

In addition, the White Helmets claim that they have trained some 3,000 ‘volunteers’ throughout Syria, and yet their training facility is actually located in neighboring NATO member state Turkey, on the outskirts of the city of Gaziantep. This is the same Gaziantep that’s been described in reports as “the home to ISIS killers, sex traders…”

‘CIVIL DEFENSE’ FRAUD

Vanessa Beeley’s investigation eventually took her to Syria, where she was able to track down the REAL Syria Civil Defense organization. The US and UK creation of the “White Helmets” required that they steal the name “Syria Civil Defense” from a real existing civil defense group based in Syria. Unlike the fraudulent western construct, the REAL Syria Civil Defense was founded 63 years ago and is a registered member of the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) based in Geneva. For the REAL Syria Civil Defence you dial “113” inside Syria. The White Helmets have no such number because they are not a real ‘search and rescue’ organization. Their whole existence is a fraudulent construct. Beeley spoke at length to the REAL Syria Civil Defense and what the crew told her was shocking. During the ‘rebel’ (terrorist) invasion in 2012 of East Aleppo, future members of the White Helmets arrived accompanied by armed terrorists to attack the real Syria Civil Defense headquarters. They stole equipment, killed and kidnapped real civil defense volunteers as part of their operation to loot and destroy the existing institution.

Real civil defense workers also detailed how terrorist ‘Hell Cannon‘ attacks had besieged the Old City of Aleppo, which lies right on the border with the Al Nusra front lines and was a regular target for the ‘rebels’ continuous indiscriminate attacks against residents. Resident testimonies have echoed the same story: while Hell Cannons terrorized the civilians of Aleppo, the White Helmets did nothing – probably because they were with the terrorists who were launching these attacks. Terrorist Hell Cannons use an assortment of containers – gas canisters, water heater tanks packed full of explosives, glass, metal and any other limb-shredding materials – these were fired indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods throughout Aleppo. These crude artillery guns also just happen to have the exact destructive footprint as the alleged “barrel bombs” which the White Helmets and western media are repeatedly saying are being fired by the “The Regime” (Assad) against civilians.  If the White Helmets are to be believed, Assad’s Barrel Bombs have an impact the equivalent of 7.6 on the Richter scale. This outrageous claim was actually made by White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier on CNN. In fact, 7.6 on the Richter scale is the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb, we begin to get a picture of the scale of the lies which the western narrative has spinning and which they have come to reply on in order to prosecute this dirty war. Preserving this and other key pieces of fiction is central to the US, UK and George Soros funded public relations management of the White Helmets – and essential to their entire Syria narrative which has been described by American writer Rick Sterling as something akin to a “Feel Good Hoax.”

Forget about actual ‘search and rescue’. That’s not the primary function of this ‘NGO’. If you need to know one thing about the White Helmets it’s this: marketing. A central part of the marketing campaign is images of men with beards looking up at the sky – presumably waiting for the next barrel bomb, or the media’s favorite term – the “double tap” (apparently, this is when a sinister Assad or Putin pilot returns immediately after an airstrike just to have another crack at the White Helmets).

ALWAYS LOOKING UP: ‘Waiting for the next barrel bomb.’

In most of their videos, you will also see a large number of bearded men in jeans and T-shirts just standing around on the sidelines, always watching the camera, or looking busy – as if they are cognisant that filming is taking place. When we showed some of these videos to real first responders we were normally met with shoulder shrugs and cynical laughs. People who actually work in this trade will tell you that filming on a first responder call is a luxury no worker really has – aside from maybe a GoPro helmet cam. It’s just not something anyone in their right mind would think about very much if there were really people in need of assistance – and yet, this is all the White Helmets do, all day, every day. They film and produce well-edited emotive videos. Another aspect real first responders will point out to us is that most of the time, the White Helmets often look like they don’t know what they are doing – indicating either a lack of training or experience – which seems to at least contradict their lofty claims of rescuing 82,000 people  in three and half years – certainly that would provide more experience for 2,900 ‘volunteers’ than any other search and rescue worker on the planet. In other words, the White Helmets mythology and pantomime is not very credible to any serious observer. But it seems to be good enough for a Netflix audience, and sadly, good enough for the Academy, too.


AWARD-WINNER: “We got the shot! No need for any first aid spinal procedure here.”


STAGED: Many of the White Helmets’ child ‘rescue’ images are simply ridiculous. 

The other mandatory feature in the White Helmets marketing imagery where men with beards are running to or from a scene, they’re always carrying children over their shoulder. Again, when we showed many of these images to actual rescue workers, we were met with puzzled looks. Firstly, why does 99% of the White Helmets marketing imagery only feature small children? Are there not any adults out of the “82,000 saved” to be rescued from the rubble? The White Helmets claim they were only operational in early 2014, so that’s an average of 75 persons per day, everyday. Considering the amount of people they claim to have trained, spread out over Syria, and where actual air sorties have been flown – it seems like a near mathematical impossibility. As the White Helmets provide no incident data for the alleged 82,00 persons saved, there is no way to validate there sensational narrative. Also, you will rarely, if ever see the $150 million British-trained rescue crew ever use a spinal injury backboard – opting instead to just yank the children by the arm and throw them over the shoulder. When we showed these images to real first-responder workers, they were deemed not credible. So it’s safe to conclude that the White Helmets only care about one thing: pictures and videos – wired via satellite to CNN, the New York Times, or the BBC’s news desk.

SMART POWER & THE NGO COMPLEX

Still, despite the group’s obvious links to the US and UK governments, and to known extremists and terrorists – the western media continues to entertain this NGO as if it were a legitimate ‘Civil Defense’ organization. The pseudo NGO strategy is part of an over-arching western strategy which is related to the term Smart Power (following on from Soft Power) where western governments create shadow state organizations designed to co-opt and ultimately usurp actual state agencies – in effect weakening the real civil body by replacing it with a fake version of the original.


DECEPTION: Early on, the White Helmets used images of women in order to market crowdfunding campaigns to gullible western audiences. 

In the calculus of war planners in the US, UK and France, even if they were unsuccessful in toppling the Assad government in Damascus, these fake NGOs would still be operation in “rebel” areas in the hopes that they might be viewed as legitimate civil organizations and would then replace the real ones.

After 5 years, the US or European authorities could then cite these organizations as legitimate deliverers of public service, thus giving western governments a much-needed foothold in governerates inside the target nation, in this case, Syria. Similar projects have been undertaken to replace municipal police forces with the “Free Syrian Police“, as well as western and GCC-sponsored projects in terrorist-held Idlib to create uniformed civil cleaning staff, and so on. Why doesn’t Netflix make a documentary exposing that? If they did, that would be real filmmaking; instead what we get is more public relations promotion for a failed Western foreign policy.


LA LA LAND: White Helmet filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel basking in the glory of a job well done. 

By now, it should be obvious how this propaganda cycle has been functioning, although apparently, not obvious enough for Netflix’s award-winning filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. The fact that their beloved White Helmets stole their name from an existing, legitimate and internationally recognized first-responder agency show be cause for alarm. For any journalist researching the White Helmets, you would think the first port of call would be to speak to the official certified civil defense body. This is what 21WIRE and Beeley did. Why didn’t Natasegara and Von Einsiedel bother to check this obvious line of inquiry? The fact they didn’t might be proof that the intention on their film was not to make a legitimate documentary, but rather to glorify to US-led narrative of the ‘moderate opposition’. By definition, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s work cannot rightly be called journalistic but propagandist. By promoting a pseudo ‘NGO’ funded by western government, and by giving succor to extremists, their film is directed against the Syrian people – which exactly characterizes the US and UK foreign policy in Syria since 2011.

If Natasegara and Von Einsiedel deserve any reward today it should really be the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best Propaganda Film.

But even Nazi war propaganda filmmaker Riefenstahl could hardly image propaganda on this scale – a third sector NGO and integrated media arm,  attached to dozens of governments, paramilitary military units, intelligence agencies, hundreds of corporate media outlets, and with a multi-million dollar crowd-funding facility. If nothing else, the White Helmets operation is impressive in its scope. It’s the west’s template for building a Shadow State in target nations. If it’s successful in Syria, this formula will be recreated in other marginal hot zones around the globe. That’s why the White Helmets are being guarded so closely by the western establishment.

DOUBTS OVER AUTHENTICITY

Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kizner was one of many journalists who expressed disappointment over the Academy’s selection:

There is also the problem of obvious staging in many of the White Helmets’ supposed video rescues. The following is perhaps one of the most ridiculous. As with so many of their videos, the editing is highly misleading. In the following “Rag Doll” clip, we first see two separate views of the three men working on the rescue site – and then the edit suddenly cuts to the miraculous rescue of charming little 4 year old girl – supposedly emerging from under tons of concrete and rubble from a collapsed building. Miraculously, she is not crying and looks immaculate, while holding an equally clean rag doll. Then the edit cut jumps, and a little 3 year old boy suddenly appears from the exact same spot. Both children appear to have sustained no injuries, nor any visible cuts or bruises, and no dust. Not bad for being buried under tons of concrete, gravel and dust. Incredible, but par for the course in the completely improbable “first-responder” reality show that is the White Helmets.Watch:

After reviewing this video, it’s difficult to deny that it has all the hallmarks of a staged production piece, designed to tug at the hearts of a western public – conditioned to accept this ‘first responder’ narrative as sacrosanct, for fear of appearing callous in the face of this media-driven, multi-million dollar No Fly Zone’ public relations campaign. This is not the only fraudulent video released by the White Helmets, but even the existence of one fraudulent rescue video should be grounds to question all the group’s material.

Again, the whole purpose of these video and photos is to influence public opinion against the Syrian and Russian governments. Therefore the core mission of the White Helmets media campaign is influence western and Gulf audiences. Its objectives are as follows:

  1. To create public disfavour against the Syrian government.
  2. Maintain crippling western sanctions against Syria.
  3. Gain sympathy for jihad, recruit new fighters from Europe, GCC, Asia and other regions.
  4. Fabricate ‘evidence’ used to implicate the Syrian government and its allies in war crimes.
  5. Reinforce the narrative that Syrian and Russian Forces are deliberately targeting civilians,hospital and schools – and not terrorists.
  6. Blame Syria and Russia for war crimes (when in actuality, these crimes are committed by rebel-terrorists, White Helmets). 

SYRIAN CURVE BALLS

Back in 2003, one man was responsible for delivering the WMD lies that helped to fabricate the US and UK case for invading Iraq. His name was “Curveball”. His motives weren’t exactly straight forward: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

In Syria, the west have been constantly farming a series of curve balls – on call and ready to deliver whatever the US State Dept or the British Foreign Office need in order to grandstand in front of the UN Security Council or on the floor of Parliament.

The New York Times reported that during March and April on 2015, the White Helmets claimed that at least 20 ‘barrel bombs’ containing chlorine were dropped in six towns in northwestern Syria. It almost sounded as if the the US and UK were so desperate to establish Assad as crossing the Red Line, that they would go so far as to fabricate a case that chlorine bombs were used by “the regime”:

“Frustrated with the Security Council’s impasse over the issue, rescue workers and doctors are now working to bring evidence of chlorine gas attacks directly to the French, British and American governments for testing. The aim is to give states a solid basis for action against the attacks, in the Security Council or through quieter diplomatic pressure, said James Le Mesurier, the British director of a nonprofit group, Mayday Rescue, that trains and equips the White Helmets, Syrian volunteers supported by the British, Danish and Dutch governments.”

At the time, White Helmet founder Le Messerier was heavily involved in trying to fashion together a chemical weapons case against the Syrian government. In 2015. The NYT stated:

“Going directly to governments that have pushed for Mr. Assad’s ouster creates its own challenges. His allies may dismiss their evidence as politically tainted and can point to recent chlorine attacks in Iraq for which the government there blamed insurgents, not to mention the discredited American claims of an Iraqi chemical weapons program that were used to justify invading Iraq. To deter allegations of tampering or falsification, Mr. Le Mesurier and three Syrian doctors involved said they systematically documented the chain of custody from collection to handover. They have plenty of cases to work with. Since March 16, in Idlib alone, the White Helmets have documented 14 attacks with 26 suspected chlorine barrels that sickened scores of people.”

In the end, none of  this stuck, most likely because the White Helmets’ ‘evidence’ was either fabricated, or the ‘rebels’ (terrorists) themselves were the actual perpetrators of chlorinemustard or sarin attacks – a fact which was born out through multiple investigations already. Once again – more fraud perpetrated by the White Helmets on behalf of the US and UK governments.

In September 2016, the White Helmets were also instrumental in trying to assign blame for an incident where a UN Aid Convoy was attacked outside of the town of Urm al-Kubra, west of Aleppo. The west were quick to blame it on the Russian and Syria militaries – despite the fact there was no evidence to implicate them.

As if by magic, the White Helmets were the first on the scene videoing among the flames. A Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse was also said to have been hit. 21WIRE later reported that indeed, the White Helmets had helped to stage the said ‘Russian Bombing’ scene outside of Aleppo – which was automatically accepted by the western mainstream media, John Kerry, Samantha Power and others, as ‘proof’ of Russian and Syrian guilt.

HOLLYWOOD ‘CHANGE AGENTS’

One of the White Helmets documentary’s biggest advocates is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney (image, left). In the run-up to the Oscars, Clooney, along with his wife – celebrity human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, personally campaigned on behalf of the film. It turns out, Clooney’s interest is more than just that of an liberal activist. AP reported that Clooney is in the process of producing a feature-film version of the “White Helmets.” He stated:

“The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that’s a good use of celebrity, I think.”

As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Clooney seems to relish in his role of celebrity humanitarian. Unfortunately, fellow members of the Council include an impressive line-up of war criminals and other dignitaries, like Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, as well as a chief architect of the collapse of Libya and the dirty war in Syria, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, judging by Clooney’s devotion to the White Helmets, it’s pretty clear that he is either ignorant of what he is supporting, or worse – he is using his public profile to push a Deep State agenda. In September 2016, Clooney managed to get an audience with John Kerry and the US State Department in order to promote his new “anti-corruption” NGO called, The Sentry. Not surprisingly, the establishment’s globalist information outlet the Daily Beast was on hand (along with a prime segment which aired on CNN) to get the word out. Editor John Avlon writes:

“Getting Americans to care about human-rights atrocities half-a-world away is hard. Getting them fired up about confronting the corruption that fuels those slaughters is an order of magnitude harder. But that’s what actor George Clooney and human-rights activist John Prendergast are aiming to do with their new project,The Sentry.”

The Sentry, is supposed to help the poor people of South Sudan by ‘taking aim at government corruption.’ Clooney goes on to demonize the South Sudan government as utterly corrupt and redeemable only by way of the international community’ – presumably through the International Criminal Court in the Hague. What Clooney will not tell his fawning public is the CIA’s role in fomenting unrest in Sudan prior to its rather convenient partition in 2010. We say convenient because splitting the country effectively cut-off port access and therefore oil pipeline access for South Sudan of which China has been a major partner on the exploration of energy. This was followed by a dirty war in South Sudan with much of the evidence pointing to the CIA. TeleSur English reports:

“The CIA is using a mercenary warlord named Riek Machar, who has a long history of ethnic massacres and mass murder to his credit, to try and overthrow the internationally recognized government of President Salva Kiir for the crime of doing business with rivals of Pax Americana, the Chinese.”

Again, we hear the familiar tropes about ‘child soldiers’ and ‘mass rape’, and how, “we must act now” – all part and parcel of the neocolonial “helpless Africa” narrative. Clooney’s partner John Prendergast delivers emotive plea:

“The war erupted, it was a fire that just raged across the land…They’ll use attack helicopters. They’ll use rape as a tool of war. They’ll recruit child soldiers and go in and send them as cannon fodder into villages to kill people. The worst human-rights abuses being committed in the world. And this is what South Sudan has dealt with because of this fallout between these thieves over the last 2½ years.”

Watch global policeman Clooney, flanked by his celebrity friend Don Cheadle, unveiling his “forensic investigation” implicating the government of South Sudan:

Interestingly, Clooney’s Sentry Project is nested under the globalist think tank, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies and bankrolled by John Podesta’s Center for American Progress – a Washington DC-based think tank with ties to the military industrial complex. Peace activist and author David Swanson outlined Sentry’s precarious connections to America’s defense industry here.Here, we can point out that the policy of ‘evicting Chinese influence’ from Africa was included in the military directives outlined in US AFRICOM immediately after its official launch in 2007-2008. Similarly, billions in direct Chinese investment in Libya was thwarted by NATO’s illegal abuse of UN Resolution 1973 which led to the complete collapse of the Libyan state. Very quickly, we can see that Clooney’s celebrated “crusade against corruption” is very likely part of a public relations smoke screen to conceal US clandestine efforts to isolate Chinese interests in the Sudans, while nudging forward US and transnational corporate policy in South Sudan, with the ultimate goal of regime change in that country. 

You can’t help but be reminded here of another similar Deep State public relations ploy centered around the exact same location back in 2012. There’s no better example of how Hollywood’s do-gooder war is waged than Kony 2012, described in Atlantic Magazine as a viral video campaign which “reinforces a dangerous, centuries-old idea that Africans are helpless and that idealistic Westerners must save them.” Like with Clooney’s Sentry Project, KONY 2012 leveraged the power of media and celebrity to manufacture public consent through an emotive public appeal, and collected millions in public donations in the process. In this case, the antagonist was the illusive warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army. The only problem was, at the time in 2012 no one had actually seen Kony in 6 years. Still, the campaign lobbied president Obama to deploy US forces to Uganda “find Kony” in order to “saving the children”. Despite the collapse of the project following a very public meltdown by the charity’s founder, Jason Russell, the US still went and deployed US military assets to Uganda under an expansion of US AFRICOM operations in Africa. Mission accomplished. The genius of this was that it concealed the genocide and crimes against humanity carried out by President Obama’s good friend and Uganda’s ‘President for Life’ Yoweri Museveni, whose crimes have since been well-documented in powerful independent non-CIA film production called a Brilliant Genocide. It turns out that Museveni is guilty of all the things and more – which the west had laid on the ghost of Kony. A brilliant deception. Of course, the irony of this is mostly lost on Hollywood’s humanitarian jet-set, all of whom thought KONY 2012 was such a great idea when it was first launched.

What Kony 2012 achieved on a ‘activist’ and public relations level is exactly what The White Helmets documentary is doing – an expensive smokescreen to hide the real horrors of a conflict, namely, the destructive policies of western governments and their local ‘partners’ which foment trouble and strife. In the case of Syria, it’s the US, UK, Turkey, France, and GCC support of violent, armed extremists – who the White Helmets are exclusively embedded with. The cynical use of the classic American gospel hymn, “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the documentary’s theme song by filmmakers Natasegara and Von Einsiedel speaks to level of manipulation of the narrative (see the bottom of this article, with numerous photographs of White Helmet ‘saints’).

Regarding the White Helmets project, Clooney revealed something else in his rhetoric when he remarked:

Clooney said that as a celebrity, “I can’t change policy … but I can make things louder.”

This is an example of the power-activist political set in Hollywood.

We find similar language in an interview with White Helmets director Joanna Natasegara in 2016, at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Malaysia while promoting her Oscar nominated film Virunga and its new foundation. Natasegara refers to herself as an “Impact Producer” (aka Change Agent) using documentaries to make a big impact by reinforcing or pushing a narrative. In many ways, this is antithetical to the whole process of filmmaking, especially in the research and discovery stages, and in the investigative aspects of historical documentary filmmaking – which is about documenting events but also about looking below popular political narratives to gain deeper insights, and not pushing political or policy outcomes. Power-activism is personified by numerous online marketing campaigns calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria. At the Oscar ceremony, both Natasegara and Von Einsiedel called for ‘an end to the war in Syria’ which everyone can agree on, but it rings hollow next to the words of persons like US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard and Tima Kurdi, the aunt of 3 yr old Alan Kurdi who washed-up on a beach to become the face of the tragic face of the migrant crisis. Both Gabbard and Kurdi appeared on global media this week calling for the US and its Coalition allies to STOP sending arms, cash and support to extremists and terrorist ‘rebels’ in Syria. Only this can bring an end to the war and allow refugees to to return to Syria said both Gabbard and Kurdi. This plea is real and reflects the facts on the ground, as opposed to the fake narrative constructed by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel, which carefully whitewashes all clandestine involvement by US, UK and its partners (who created and are funding the White Helmets) which has aided in the systematic destruction of Syria over the last 6 years, not to mention the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands. It is no coincidence that many members  of the White Helmets have extremist ties, and the fact that this is being covered-up by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel who are literally portraying the group as “saints” – speaks to the level of deception involved in this story. Now we can see Natasegara’s modus operandi with making the White Helmets film; it’s not so much about documenting history in the conventional sense, so much as it is about ‘making an impact’ politically – on behalf of the governments who created the White Helmets, which veers into the area of propaganda again.

Watch Joanna Natasegara in an interview here from the 2016 IACC Conference:

On the surface, Natasegara appears to be waging the classic international liberal crusade by fighting against mining, oil, and poaching, in the poor, permanently ‘developing’ countries like the Congo. No one will argue that the level of corruption in African countries can be extreme in some cases, but what are the real causes of institutional corruption in those lands? Indeed, “Stopping” them (corrupt officials) in Africa, but doing little to stop them at the actual corporate level in London, Belgium, New York or Washington DC. In fact, many of the biggest corporate donors to these ‘good causes’ projects are connected to the very same corporate behemoth that activists purport to be fighting against. This cycle of power activism feeds into the cycle of neocolonialism – in what researcher Cory Morningstar so rightly refers to as “the wrong kind of green.” As it turns out, the IACC is funded by none other than Transparency International (T.I.), one of the main players in the globalist “anti-corruption” syndicate, which is very much linked to the work of Hollywood activists like Clooney. In the past, T.I. has been accused of cooking its own books in its anti-corruption investigations, including an incident in 2008 where the organization used falsified data to try and frame the Chavez government in Venezuela during one of its anti-corruption investigations. This is a good example of NGO smart power being used to undermine a target nation. Clooney and Natasegara are just two of the many public faces who represent this network.Back in 2016, when the Panama Papers story broke, seemingly out of nowhere, the mainstream media utterly failed in analysing what they were really looking at. Yes, there’s plenty of corruption and shady shell companies in Panama (but no word of the giant offshore corporate maze located in Delaware), but was the endgame of that supposedly independent ‘investigation’? Amid all the mainstream media hype and ‘anti-corruption’ grandstanding, researcher James Corbett was one of the only people who asked the right question: “So why does this new mega-leak seemingly only expose those in the State Department crosshairs or expendable others and not a single prominent American politician or businessman? And what does this have to do with the OECD’s plan for a global taxation grid?” (LISTEN to my full interview last year with James Corbett here)

Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl.

Natasegara also goes on about using “activists” and “citizen journalists” to achieve the desired ‘impact.’ Here she is alluding to the scores of Syrian “activists” and the White Helmets, who have supplied western media outlets with the images our governments want in order to reinforce the official narrative. Natasegara is promoting the exact tool she utilized in the deceptive Netflix project where all of the alleged stock ‘rescue’ footage was supplied to producers by the White Helmets themselves. Natasegara claims to have trained 21 year old White Helmet ‘activist’ Khaled Khatib in Turkey before sending him into Syria to shoot much of the footage. NPR claims that he ‘risked his life’ to shoot the film for Netflix. Khatib was later blocked from entering the US to attend the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles. So the Netflix producers had no way of independently verifying what they’ve been given – effectively relying on al Qaeda affiliated individuals to supply them with made-to-order ‘rescue’ footage.

How can they call this a documentary?

In this case, it didn’t seem to matter to Joanna Natasegara and her co-producer Orlando Von Einsiedel whether its real or staged, so long as the White Helmets narrative was achieved.

Despite the claims by Netflix producers, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel – purpose was to reinforce the US-led Coalition fake narrative on Syria which has never resembled the facts on the ground. The US-UK establishment could not have hand-picked better tools for this job than Natasegara and Von Einsiedel. If they were real filmmakers interested in the truth, they would have paused to question why this group was founded by a senior British Military intelligence officer, James Le Mesurier, why it is based in Turkey and not Syria, and why the group only operated exclusively in Al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria), Arar al Sham (al Qaeda affiliate) and ISIS-held areas in Syria, why are White Helmets members routinely pictured with weapons, and with terrorists. The answer is simple to anyone with half a brain and who is being honest: the White Helmets are composed of mainly partisan extremists. That’s a fact.

Still, all of this is noticeably missing from Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s storybook version of the White Helmets, which is inexcusable considering how there’s no shortage of readily available evidence pointing directly to White Helmets’ ties to terrorists. One has to assume that the filmmakers knew about the extremist links and the US-NATO funding of the group but chose to ignore this in favor of producing their expensive piece of propaganda, and as we saw this week, both were all too happy to lap up the awards – even though the fiction they created has aided in giving political cover to illegal weapons transfers by the west and GCC states and has also been instrumental in wrongly demonizing the Syrian government while further legitimizing US-led Coalition-backed terrorism in Syria.

Concealing the White Helmet fraud under the seemingly innocuous guise of “Free Speech”, “Free Press” or “Citizen Journalism” is the absolute dereliction of any journalistic inquiry or responsibility in vetting the footage supplied by the White Helmets.

“Freedom for journalists has to be absolute. There is no such thing as restrictions on media that work,” said Natasegara.

Apparently, Oscar winner Natasegara was not too keen on free speech after Youtube artist Tyranny Unmasked posted a video critical of the Netflix White Helmets trailer. It appears that Natasegara used YouTube’s communitarian censorship system to take down the video critical of her film. Watch:

Being British, one might hope that Natasegara could apply these lofty polemics to the UK – and ask why the government still controls journalists and press through the archaic practice of issuing D-Notices, or the government’s aggressive stance towards whistleblowers with UK authorities threatening imprisonment for simply handling leaked material, or perhaps even the Leveson Inquiry’s attempt at allowing state control over what’s left of the UK’s free press. Similarly, the anti-corruption crowd might consider challenging Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowing which saw freedoms roll back at a record clip over the last 8 years. Certainly, that’s no shining city on the hill, or a role model for the seemingly lowly, poor and hopelessly “corrupt” developing world nations that the globe-trotting Natasegara is after. Only last year, we learned how the Pentagon hired elite UK public relations firm Bell Pottingerpaying them $540 million to produce, among other items, fake al Qaeda propaganda videos – to further prop-up a failed US and UK foreign policy facade. Perhaps Natasegara, or Clooney could do an “anti-corruption” film explaining how many starving children could be fed for a month or how many schools could be built, or how many water wells could be drilled – with $540 million dollars of US taxpayer money.

That’s only one example to demonstrate how the NGO operatives ignore the mountains of institutional corruption in the US and Europe, and the destructive murderous military industrial juggernaut – in favor of trying to yank the rug out from under a government located in some poor African, Asian, or Middle Eastern country which the US and its partners have their eye on for regime change.

CROWD-FUNDING TERROR

One of the saddest parts of this whole story is also that the power of marketing and propaganda means that tens of thousands of unwitting members of the public have been duped into donating their hard-earned money for this dubious NGO. If the wider public knew what Aleppo residents already know – that the White Helmets function as a support group alongside known terrorists groups like Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki & ISIS and others (all known extremist groups operating inside of Syria),  the White Helmets would not be celebrated as humanitarian, but rather, they’d be condemned as a multimillion fraud, customized by the West in order to give cover to the illicit practice of arming and supporting ‘rebel’ terrorists by the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.

By all accounts, White Helmets video and photo propaganda has been instrumental in aiding in the recruitment of new terrorists – new fighters from the West, Middle East and Asia – who see the contrived news reports in their countries of origin and believe the false narrative being portrayed by mainstream media news agencies. In this way, you could say that because the media are not vetting any of this material and are defaulting into a Western foreign policy bias by spinning all of their stories into emotive productions that reinforce a NATO and GCC-led ‘regime change’ and completely contrived “moderate rebel” narrative – the media are complicit in helping to drive the recruitment of terrorists internationally. By anyone’s definition, they are providing material support and comfort to known violent, religious extremists terrorists. When you break it right down, that’s exactly what is happening here. Undoubtedly, Hollywood is guilty of this.

Lastly, to see the White Helmets fundamental terrorist connection, one need look no further than to its ‘President’ Raed Saleh.

TERRORIST CENTRAL: Raed Saleh photographed with his close associate Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of White Helmet Centre in terrorist-held Idlib province (Photo: al-Haj Yussef Facebook page)

Last month, 21WIRE investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley reported on White Helmet leader Raed Saleh’s close partner, Mustafa al-Haj Yussefleader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders. On the 1st June 2014, White Helmet deputy Yussef called for the shelling of civilians during elections in Damascus.  He declares that this murderous act would be the “greatest declaration of revolution” .  

Is this the words of a “neutral, impartial, humanitarian”? Here we can see the White Helmets calling for direct violence against civilians who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to vote – in their own country. See the full story here.

So to even suggest that the White Helmets are “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” is tantamount to fraud. The fact that filmmakers Natasegara, Von Einsiedel and Netflix are using this false statement in their film and public relations material demonstrates outright deception on their part. 

It crucial to reiterate that the White Helmets are not a Syrian creation, but rather a product of US, British and NATO intelligence special project to use western conceived and western-funded NGO organizations to assist in the stated US-led Coalition foreign policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by producing western and GCC-oriented propaganda designed to undermine the Syrian government and state. Founded by British military intelligence officer James Le Mesurier, a graduate of Sandhurst Military Academy. It is believed that all totalled including undisclosed funding and solicited donations, that the group has received well in excess of over $250 million dollars since coming online in late 2013. 

The following is list of known funding sources for the White Helmets as of October 2016:

To anyone who bothers to look, the White Helmets extremist links are undeniable. Watch as Al Nusra and jihadi spokesman acknowledges the White Helmets as “Mujahadeen”:

Based on the evidence presented, and the images inserted below, one can safely conclude that at the very least, filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel and Netflix did zero due diligence when researching this multimillion dollar film production. Of course, that’s being generous. It seems more likely that they were fully aware that the White Helmets are attached to the multitude of extremist and terrorist groups – and conveniently ignored this fact in favour of constructing their propaganda narrative. Hence, a case could be made that these filmmakers and their distributor have knowingly provided promotion and political support to known terrorists – which is in direct violation of numerous US, European and International laws.


White Helmet operative, seen here at a “moderate” extremist, Free Sryian Army, meeting in Idlib, clearly demonstrating political affiliation to a widely proclaimed non “moderate” militant group, unable to function without support from better armed & funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front.  (Photo: Screenshot from video

Not only are the White Helmets embedded exclusively with extremists – they ARE extremists. Certainly, it is the choice of White Helmets members to also join extremist terrorist fighting groups, but by doing so, the White Helmets cannot rightly claim that their members are either neutral, nonpartisan, or ‘unarmed’. To claim otherwise constitutes cunning and deception on the part of the White Helmets and their promotional agents, including Netflix corporate marketing, and the film’s producers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. If Netflix were to take this issue seriously, after reviewing readily available evidence they would remove this film from their distribution chain, and Natasegara and Von Einsiedel should return their award to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

The following are a series of over 50 visual exhibits which clearly indicate that the White Helmets are not neutral, and whose ranks are in fact filled with extremists, including those with memberships in US-Coalition-backed internationally recognized terrorist fighting groups operating throughout Syria… 

White Helmet members are clearly pictured together with violent terrorists, and also taking part in heinous terrorists acts, as well as war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

Photos below were censored by Google

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

As shown previously, a White Helmet speaking on behalf of the Western-backed ‘Opposition” pseudo state, in front of the “moderate” militant, Free Syrian Army, French colonial, “Syrian” flag:

White Helmets with armed opposition acting in the role of ‘victim’ in the notorious staged “Mannequin Challenge” video:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet are armed:

White Helmet with Terrorist disposing of mutilated bodies of Syrian National Army soldiers:

White Helmet are armed and embedded with “rebel” (terrorist) fighters:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet with TerroristAl Nusra Front flying the terrorist flag:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

US-UK funded White Helmets operatives gloating while taking part in kidnapping, torture and execution of Syrian National Army soldiers, a violation of Geneva Convention on war crimes:

White Helmets pictured here working alongside with Nusra-ISIS terrorists:

“Hand in Hand with Al Nusra” (al Qaeda in Syria):

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Possible White Helmets involvement of the Terrorist (by Nour al-Din al-Zinki) execution and beheading of 12 year-old Abdulla Issa:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets embedded exclusively in ISIS and Terrorist-held areas:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets ARE militants:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Rebel media operative demonstrates support for ISIS in Syria:

By Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

It’s late July, 2018. In the Middle East, 800 men and their families are heading for Western Europe, Canada and the US, to be resettled as refugees. The true story behind their evacuation by Israel and their proposed “resettlement” as heroes is one of the most devious and frightening tales of our time.

Sources also tell us that among the 800 are top ISIS commanders who will soon be living in Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States, doing what terrorist commanders do, organizing cells and murdering innocent civilians, just like they did in Syria and Iraq and just like the White Helmets had done all along.

The White Helmets are an enigmatic group, lauded as volunteers and life savers, servant of mankind, they were organized by Britain’s MI6 as a black propaganda and anti-Assad organization funded by the governments of Britain, the US, Germany and others. They are not an NGO. There is nothing “non-governmental” about them.

Essentially, they are terrorist mercenaries.

With up to 30,000 opposition fighters inside Syria giving up arms and either rejoining Syrian society under the Damascus government in the last 12 months, or for some being resettled and perhaps continuing the fight, the 800-man force known as the White Helmets is unique.

Perhaps this is why they had to be “disemboweled” from Syria though an illegal military incursion that to the trained observer also demonstrates the curious close relationships between ISIS, al Qaeda and the Israeli Defense Forces, almost as if they were one in the same and the White Helmets were simply just another ISIS or al Qaeda organization.

It was the White Helmet’s fabricated stories of gas attacks and “barrel bombings” that drove Donald Trump to calling the elected Syrian leader “animal Assad” and launching multiple strikes on Syrian territory without UN authorization or NATO consensus.

It was the same Trump advisors and the same Donald Trump who now says he believes President Putin that, not so long ago, took the word of perhaps the sleaziest of all CIA terror operations, the White Helmets, a CIA he now says has always misled him, has always been useless, as justification for attacking Syria.

Why then did Trump attack Syria when the information he based his decision on was, by his own admission, “fake news” from his political enemies. Taking it one step further, not just fake but crazy as well, with Syria triumphant on the battle field. Syria had warned the world that the White Helmets were preparing a provocation in order to justify an American defense of ISIS against a Syria more united than ever under President Assad.

That news was everywhere, certainly across the international and alternative media that Trump is known to monitor nearly 20 hours a day on his smart phone. How did he miss it?

Trump and Putin

One thing the world now knows beyond a doubt is that Donald Trump believes Vladimir Putin. But if this is true, which we know it to be, then Trump’s actions regarding the White Helmets are bizarre and even criminal. Let us take a closer look.

On July 18, 2018, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They asked that Israel send IDF units well into ISIS and al Qaeda held territory, into Syria, in violation of the 1974 cease fire agreement.

There, the IDF was to, in less than 4 hours, screen 800 adult males claiming to be “White Helmets,” along with their families, load same onto busses and drive them to CIA controlled training camps in Jordan about 50 miles south of the recently liberated Syria city of Daraa.

The planning and execution of this effort, in less than 24 hours, was both incredible and heroic. Israeli forces met absolutely no resistance from ISIS or al Qaeda but were, rather, greeted with full cooperation and open arms.

Let us remember that, only a week ago, American President Donald Trump met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Trump was effusive in his praise of Vladimir Putin, particularly in his trust of Putin and Trump’s belief that Vladimir Putin is an honest man.

This being the case, one can’t help but wonder why President Trump would ask Israel to rescue the White Helmets from the Syrian Arab Army. Moscow has stated for many months that the White Helmets are, in fact, a terrorist organization and has offered proof at both the United Nations and at The Hague backing its assertions.

In fact, the White Helmets, supposedly a civil defense NGO made up of Syrian volunteers, has long been exposed by journalists like Vanessa Beeley, Nahed al Husaini and Carla Ortiz as guilty of the murder of thousands of Syrian civilians through staged gas attacks and bombings.

The White Helmets, lauded by American leftist and Hollywood actor, George Clooney, have been cited in the media, particularly in Russia, Iran and Syria, but other nations as well, as among the most dangerous terrorists in the world.

Why then, as Trump has stated he values Putin’s opinion so much, and this is a case where Putin’s opinion is backed up by significant and irrefutable evidence, has Trump done something so stupid?

You see, it isn’t just that Trump and Trudeau asked Israel to send troops into Syria in violation of UN agreements and Syria’s sovereignty, a war crime in itself, but Trump and to a lesser extent for Trudeau, knowingly asked Israel to aid terrorists who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

It gets worse.

According to the German newspaper, Bild, the White Helmets, 800 so far, will be sent to Germany, Britain, Canada and the US. There is considerable evidence that this is an army of “800 little bin Ladens,” with many trained bomb makers, nearly all jihadists and most minimally need to be adjudicated as to their crimes against the Syrian people.

Additionally, one might well note that no screening process was employed whatsoever. We are certain that Israel simply loaded anyone who showed up onto a bus.

Let’s take a second and picture this. We have 800 families who traveled to an embarkation point deep inside the ISIS enclave in Southern Syria, an enclave shrinking by the minute.

ISIS fighters are all around, flags and guns, many carrying their head chopping swords, others with cameras and phones, recording and uploading events to their YouTube channels and Facebook accounts that are never cancelled no matter what kind of material they post.

Along side them are IDF units, in uniform, armed, standing side by side with ISIS fighters while dozens of busses are driven in from Jordan.

Does anyone find anything wrong about this picture? Do I have something wrong here?

How was this going to be sold to the public when these ISIS terrorists show up at the Toronto or Indianapolis airports and are rushed through customs and into their new lives, paid housing, free medical care for life, government checks in the mail, their children not seized, no danger of deportation and detention.

Does anyone find anything wrong with this picture as well?

Refugees are beginning to return to Syria as the Damascus government clears out the last of the terrorists from all but Idlib Province. There, al Qaeda and the White Helmets are still active, holding a civilian population in terror, rounding up political prisoners, executing hundreds and planning more chemical attacks so that President Trump will protect their reign of terror.

This is the simple truth of it.

Why America Uses Terror

Few are aware to what extent the American military, the highest paid in the world, was decimated during the contrived War on Terror. Hundreds of thousands were maimed, more wasted away in endless “deployments” while tens of thousands killed themselves.

Pentagon funds are better spent on missiles, aircraft carriers, and mercenaries while Washington political insiders rake off billions in graft.

War had to change, false flag terror, fake aid and refugee groups, fake news and standoff missile attacks while sanctions, blockades and assassinations took their toll. Key to America’s war, or perhaps more appropriately, the war America is fighting on behalf of globalist interests, is a group known as the “White Helmets.”

A Syrian child, living under ISIS terror, is dragged off the street. Bleach is poured on his head by, of all things, a fake first responder wearing a strange white bicycle helmet. His parents are terrified, other children kidnapped in a similar war are found dead, mutilated after being hacked and bashed, then dragged around repeatedly before video teams from Reuters and Aljazeera, fake atrocity victims to justify American military action against Syria.

The child is then dragged into a local hospital where a doctor, held at gunpoint, pretends to examine the terrified child while filming goes on.

Sometimes the filmed victims are paid, even filmed coming back to life, other times real Sarin gas is used, smuggled into Syria from Georgia and Ukraine, according to Serena Shim of Press TV, by mercenaries working for Google Idea Groups, a US State Department contractor.

Serena Shim was murdered on October 19, 2014.

Ensuing chemical weapons investigators find themselves followed, their families threatened and risk financial ruin and smears of any imaginable kind, in particular, being arrested with child pornography placed on their computers.

Protecting the White Helmets, a terror organization now spreading around the world, the story we will be telling here, is what President Trump calls the “fake media.” Behind it all, of course, is Donald Trump himself and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Background

For weeks now, counter-terrorism organizations around the world have been engaged in efforts to identify members of an organization celebrated by Hollywood as among the most honored and revered of our time. We are, of course, speaking of the White Helmets, accused by Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, and independent investigators and journalists as a terrorist organization, the “Propaganda Ministry” for both ISIS and al Qaeda.

The White Helmets, a fake NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), totally funded by spy agencies from the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, has, for years, staged chemical attacks killing thousands, staged fake bombing attacks and produced propaganda videos promoted by the mainstream media.

Time and time again, slam dunk proof has been submitted to the UN, the ICC at The Hague and to world media that this organization has committed unspeakable atrocities and its membership is a revolving door of terrorist leaders, crisis actors and Western paid propagandists.

Evacuated by Israel for Reassignment as “Terror Cells”

On July 22, 2018, the Associated Press published the following story about the alleged rescue of a very controversial organization known as the White Helmets. The story itself is beyond understanding, a travesty of falsehood, fakery and fabrication, a narrative that defies imagination.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation.

The evacuees, who were hemmed in from one side by advancing hostile Syrian troops and from another by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, were transported to Jordan, from where they are expected to be resettled in Europe and Canada in the coming weeks.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israel’s military said the overnight operation was “an exceptional humanitarian gesture” at the request of the United States and European allies due to an “immediate threat to the (Syrians) lives.” It posted a video online showing its soldiers handing out water bottles to the evacuees.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“These are people who saved lives and whose lives are now in danger. I authorized bringing them through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian gesture,” Netanyahu said.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the rescue of “these brave volunteers” and cited the United Nations, Israel, and Jordan for helping with the operation.

The statement from spokeswoman Heather Nauert also called on Syria’s government and its ally Russia “to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria.”

The “evacuation” of the White Helmets is part of a larger program of building and organizing a blend of terror groups like the Gulanites that threaten Turkey, the newly deployed ISIS sent to Afghanistan by the CIA or the MEK, a bizarre terror cult the US has deployed against the people of Iran.

Decades ago it was the “contras” and the death squads that killed tens of thousands in El Salvador and up to 300,000 in Guatemala.

Coming to Your Neighborhood

Not all terrorists will continue their Saudi paid and American supported wars in the Middle East and South Asia. In order to foster compliance on the part of NATO and other governments, domestic false-flag terror attacks, even in the United States such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, must continue.

The targets, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy will be foremost on the list with Iran blamed, of course. Such attacks are under planning right now, and the perpetrators who used to be smuggled through Kosovo into Italy and north, are now being flown into Europe and North America as “heroes.”

Normally heroes receive medals, awards, and parades but these heroes, the White Helmets, arrive by the dark of night with fake identities and fat checks from spy agencies. Their “heroic” efforts aren’t over, there are more children to kill, more chemical attacks to stage, more death, more deceit, more false flag terror and a war on Iran to bring to fruition.

ABOUT VT EDITORS

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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Syria rejects ‘fabricated’ OPCW report on alleged 2018 gas attack in Saraqib

Source

By VT Editors -April 15, 2021

Press TV: Syria has dismissed as “false and fabricated” the results of a probe by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into an alleged chemical attack in the northwestern city of Saraqib on February 4, 2018.

On Monday, the OPCW released the findings of its Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which blamed the Saraqib incident on the Syrian government.

“The report reached the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, at approximately 21:22 on 4 February 2018, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force under the control of the Tiger Forces hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder. The cylinder ruptured and released chlorine over a large area, affecting 12 named individuals,” it claimed in a report.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the OPCW’s “misleading report,” written by “an illegitimate and incredible team,” fabricates “facts” to incriminate the Damascus government.

“This report has included false and fabricated conclusion which represents another scandal for the OPCW and the inquiry teams that will be added to the scandal of the reports of Douma incident in 2018, and Ltamenah in 2017,” it said.

“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns, in the strongest terms, what has been included in the report of the illegitimate so-called ‘Investigation and Identification Team’ and rejects all its context.”

The ministry also stressed that the Syrian government categorically denies using toxic gases in Saraqib or in any other city or village, affirming that the army has never used such materials during most difficult battles carried out against armed terrorist organizations.

It further reiterated that Syria categorically rejects the use of chemical weapons at any time or place, saying, the country “has never used any chemical weapon and can’t use it.”

Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the United Nations and the OPCW.

It believes that false-flag chemical attacks on the country’s soil have been staged by foreign-backed militants in a bid to pressure the government amid army advances.

https://if-cdn.com/dM0G7Br?v=1&app=1

Revelations suggest that the OPCW may have intentionally doctored its findings about alleged gas attacks in Syria to avoid implicating the foreign-backed militants.

Damascus has repeatedly urged the chemical weapons watchdog to avoid politicizing Syrian issues.

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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NO TIME FOR ISRAEL TO CELEBRATE ELECTION “VICTORY”

South Front

Israel had no time to enjoy the successful election and Benjamin Netanyahu’s slim victory when Iran reportedly reminded Israel of itself.

On March 25th, while sailing from Tanzania to India, the Israeli-flagged ship “Lori” was allegedly struck by missiles in the Gulf of Oman.

Tehran was immediately accused, and the strike only caused material losses, but no casualties. Photographs of the damaged hull of the ship were shared on Twitter, but little else in the way of evidence.

This alleged incident is the third in a presumed exchange.It began on February 26th, when the Israeli-flagged MV HELIOS RAY suffered a number of explosions, in the Gulf of Oman. It was blamed on Iran.

Then, on March 11th, an explosion struck the Iranian-owned SHAHR E KORD off the coast of Syria. Tehran called it a terrorist attack, but not specifically blaming Tel Aviv.

On Syrian soil, approximately 15 unidentified gunmen attacked posts of the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Corps and Iranian-backed forces in southern Raqqa, according to the Eye of the Euphrates. They infiltrated the government-controlled area in southern Raqqa with three trucks. The unknown militants abandoned their vehicles and attacked the position near the village of Maksar. At least 9 Syrian and Iranian-backed fighters were killed, and 6 others were captured.

In northern Syria, the situation is becoming increasingly chaotic. Despite a Russian-Turkish agreement to open humanitarian crossings in Idlib, but no such luck.

Ankara immediately denied agreeing to anything of the sort, and even if it didn’t, militants blocked the crossings.

Syrian authorities reopened the Saraqib and Abu Zindain crossings on March 25th. However, both remained blocked by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Turkish Forces in the fashion of how they impose the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib undertook no action in assisting the opening of the crossings.

In Iraq, the situation is stacked even more against the U.S. and its allies. On March 25th, five US supply convoys were attacked in different parts of Iraq. Three of the attacks were carried out by pro-Iranian groups, while two are still unclaimed.

These attacks continue to be non-lethal and rather cause only material damage.

These groups, as well as all other Iranian allies are a part of the unofficial Axis of Resistance. Yemen’s Ansar Allah are as well a part of it.

In recent days, the Houthis (as Ansar Allah is more commonly known) were accused by Saudi Arabia of being cowards.

While that accusation was sinking in, Riyadh’s forces targeted al-Hudaydah with heavy artillery.

This is explicitly prohibited under a ceasefire agreement, and still violations take place almost hourly. The Saudi-led coalition continues its heavy airstrike activity, and is being steadily pushed back on the ground by the Houthis.

More retaliatory actions are likely expected by Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in the coming days and weeks, since the Iranian-aligned bloc seems to be making progress.

THE U.S. CONTINUES TO SMUGGLE OIL WHILE TURKEY COMPLAINS TO RUSSIA IT CAN’T

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

The intensity of the conflict in Syria’s northeast refuses to die down, as more and more strikes are carried out targeting each involved party’s  interests.

For its part, MSM reports on all of these, but many of them are presented in a light, much different from reality.

On March 23rd, a video emerged showing the Damascus government forces conduct a strike on Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The shelling targeted the terrorist fortifications and depots. MSM, in conjunction with various Western-backed organizations such as the “International Rescue Committee”, shifted the story and claimed that a civilian hospital had been struck.

As such, the narrative is this – the “Bloody Assad Regime” is back at it, targeting civilians and killing its own people.

As might be expected this media campaign is part of the attempts by the US to rebrand HTS as a “former terrorist” and now reformed organization, in order to have another ally, in a different part of Syria.

The Damascus government’s recent punishment of HTS and the Turkish-backed militants in northeastern Syria is happening with Russian support and is part of a wider push to liberate more areas of Syria.

Ankara is dissatisfied with this, even summoning the Russian Ambassador to complain about the severe strikes that Moscow had carried out on terrorist targets.

The Turkish side insists that artillery and air strikes on positions and infrastructure of Turkish-funded terrorists in Greater Idlib violated the ‘de-escalation agreement’. No mentions were made of the violations that are frequently carried out by these same terrorists.

Turkey would like to continue to enjoy the smuggled oil it used to receive from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The United States, still benefits from that smuggled oil. On March 23rd, a convoy of more than 300 tankers left Syria’s Hasaka region and entered Iraq.

Washington’s oil repatriation is not proceeding without a hitch either. On March 23rd, several rockets hit a US military base near the Conico oil field in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV reported that the US suffered casualties. Little else is known.

Being subject to rocket strikes, and having convoys hit by IEDs was commonplace in Iraq, but it appears that it has now also come to plague Washington’s forces in Syria.

The profits from that smuggled oil could potentially be used to cover a recent loss by the US – an MQ-9 Reaper was downed in Yemen, by Ansar Allah.

Despite officially not supporting the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the Biden Administration appears to still be up to Washington’s old activities.

The Houthis, as Ansar Allah is commonly known, are riding high due to their recent successes and continue their regular drone strikes on various Saudi positions and infrastructure behind enemy lines.

The Abha Airport, alongside other locations in the south of the Kingdom, is subject to frequent attacks.

Riyadh is providing ample opposition, carrying out approximately 30 or more airstrikes each day. Still, it would seem that the Saudi-led coalition is being steadily pushed back.

THE DAY IMPUNITY WAS PUNISHED IN IDLIB

South Front

The Turkish-backed militants in Greater Idlib, and in northeastern Syria in general are being given no quarter.

On March 21st, the Russian troops enforcing the ceasefire regime in Idlib carried out a rare strike – they launched what seemed to be a 9K720 Iskander missile and hit an unspecified target near the village of Salwah. The ballistic missile reportedly targeted the headquarters of the al-Sham Corps, one of the largest Turkish-backed factions.

Shortly thereafter, Su-35 and Su-34 warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on the town of Saramada in northern Idlib that is located near the border with Turkey. They targeted a gas factory owned by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). A shipping office, owned by the terrorist group, was also targeted by Russian airstrikes. Dozens of trucks were damaged or destroyed. The town of Bsanqul in southern Idlib was also subject to an air raid.

The Russian strikes were almost certainly in response to a violation of the ceasefire agreement – a rocket attack was launched from Idlib and struck Aleppo city. Two civilians were killed and many others were injured. Property damage was also reported.

The Russian operation was one of the most severe since the ceasefire agreement was implemented. It is likely an attempt to deter the Turkish-backed factions, as well as HTS from carrying out any more expansive operations.

Still, Turkey is unlikely to give up on its interests, and on remaining in northeastern Syria. It has occupied parts of the Aleppo countryside, and almost the entirety of Afrin for more than three years.

The Turkish-backed factions are there to smuggle oil and gas, which is being provided by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Since, under Damascus’ pressure and as a result the Syrian Arab Army’s attacks that tap was shut off, Turkey and the factions it backs are left to fend for their own interests. As a result, on March 21st, the SDF clashed with militants near Hasaka, and several of its members were injured. One civilian was killed in the fire exchange between the two factions.

The Turkish factions also need their ranks refilled, and are now carrying out “mandatory recruitment” in Ras al-Ayn and its outskirts.

This is a clear signal that despite the significant efforts by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian support, Ankara is nowhere near giving up on pursuing its goals, and is willing to go to great lengths to achieve them.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Threatening Syria’s First Lady Shows NATO’s Depravity

Threatening Syria's First Lady Shows NATO's Depravity - Islam Times
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

March 18, 2021

Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter, Finian Cunningham writes.

This week marks the 10th anniversary since the United States and its NATO allies launched a devastating covert war of aggression for regime change in Syria. Ten years on, the Arab nation is struggling with war reconstruction, a struggle made all the more onerous because of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

Syria and allied forces from Russia, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah won the war, defeating legions of mercenary terrorist fighters who were armed and infiltrated into Syria by NATO. Nearly half a million Syrians were killed and half the pre-war population of 23 million was displaced.

But tragically the war is not over yet. It has moved to new hybrid phase of economic warfare in the form of Western sanctions and blockade on Syria.

The barbarity of Western sanctions on Syria have necessitated the cover of distractive media narratives.

This explains the sensation of British media reports that Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is being investigating by London’s Metropolitan police for war crimes. Asma (45) was born in London, was educated there and holds British nationality. Although she has Syrian heritage.

Now British authorities are mulling stripping her of nationality and seeking her extradition over charges that she aided and abetted war crimes, including preposterously, the use of chemical weapons against civilians. There is practically no chance of a prosecution, but that’s not the British aim. Rather it is all about smearing the Syrian leadership and distracting the world’s attention from the real issues: which are the criminality of NATO’s war on Syria and the ongoing economic warfare to destroy the nation into submission.

Irish peace activist and author Declan Hayes who has travelled extensively in Syria during the past decade commented: “Britain’s legally ludicrous accusations against Asma al-Assad have a number of objectives in mind. They are there to delegitimize Syria’s 2021 presidential elections; they are there to scare expatriate Syrians and British humanitarians; they are there to deflect from NATO’s well documented war crimes; and they are there to deflect from the mercenary collusion of a cast of media, political and NGO characters in NATO’s war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.”

Asma married Bashar in 2000. Before the war erupted in March 2011, she was eulogized in Western media as the “desert rose” owing to her feminine beauty and quietly spoken graceful persona. The daughter of a cardiologist and having had a career in investment banking before she become Syria’s First Lady, Asma al-Assad later showed herself to be no wilting flower. She refused to leave Damascus and go into comfortable exile with her children when the war was raging.

She remained loyally by her husband’s side and took on the role of consoling the nation, often visiting families of slain soldiers and civilian victims of NATO’s terror gangs.

No doubt the stress resulted in Asma suffering from breast cancer for which she was successfully treated in 2018.

President Assad and his wife stood by the Syrian nation when the jaws of defeat were looming during the early years of the war. When Russia intervened in support of its historic ally in October 2015, the tide of the war turned decisively against the NATO plan for regime change. Assad was singled out for regime change because of his anti-imperialist position against the U.S., Britain, France and Israel. His alliance with Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah put a target on his back for destruction, as former French foreign minister Roland Dumas disclosed. Dumas revealed that the British government had war plans on Syria two years before the violence erupted in March 2011. In this context, the so-called “uprising” was a carefully orchestrated false flag.

The mysterious shootings of police and protesters in the southern city of Daraa – which served to smear the Assad government internationally – were the same modus operandi used by NATO covert forces which carried out the sniper murders in Kiev’s Maidan Square triggering the February 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine.

Western media headlines this week marking the 10th anniversary since the beginning of NATO’s war on Syria have been ghoulish and nauseating.

There is a sense of gloating over the misery and hunger that the nation is facing.

headline in Associated Press labels Syria as the “Republic of Queues”, reporting almost gleefully on how civilians are struggling with food and fuel shortages.

Nowhere in the media coverage is there a mention of how the American CIA and Britain’s MI6 ran Operation Timber Sycamore to arm and direct mercenaries to terrorize Syrians. Absurdly, Western media still claim that Syria’s war rose out of “pro-democracy uprisings” which were crushed by a “ruthless Assad regime”.

Barely acknowledged too is the fact that the United States, Britain and the European Union are strangling a war-torn nation with barbaric sanctions preventing reconstruction. The criminality of economic terrorism is the corollary of a failed criminal covert war of aggression.

The abominable reality of Western policy towards Syria has to be covered up. Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter.

SAA Decimates Stolen Syrian Oil Facilities Run by Erdogan and al-Qaeda

ARABI SOURI 

SAA Destroys Erdogan Stolen Syrian Oil Facility Northern Aleppo countryside

SAA units fired a barrage of surface-to-surface missiles targeting and destroying illegal oil storage and refinery facility run by the Turkish Madman Erdogan and a collection of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups in northern Aleppo countryside.

The late Friday night bombing of the facility comes after repeated warnings to the NATO member state Turkey and its terrorists to stop the looting of Syrian oil.

This is not the first of such an attack against the illicit, yet profitable, business for the family of Erdogan who mostly sells the stolen Syrian oil to Israel for peanuts along with the illegal organ trafficking and stolen Syrian wheat.

Erdogan and other NATO proxies operating in Syria deprive the Syrian people of food and oil and smuggle them abroad and burn what they cannot smuggle from the early days of the war on Syria while shouting all over the world NATO is helping the Syrian people achieve ‘democracy’ and ‘freedoms’. There are more than 16.5 million Syrians living in the provinces under government control suffering from the war waged against them and sanctions imposed on them by the hypocrite western regimes and their regional stooges and terrorists.

Storage and primitive oil refining facilities in Tarhin and Al-Homran between Al-Bab in the northeastern Aleppo countryside which is under Al-Qaeda and the Turkish Army control, and the city of Manbij which is under the Kurdish SDF terrorists’ control.

It’s no secret anymore that the US-sponsored Kurds are an essential tool in the US-led war of terror and war of attrition against Syria, just like the different terrorist groups that sprung out of Al-Qaeda Levant aka Nusra Front aka HTS aka the Free Syrian Army, one of which became the infamous ISIS terrorist group.

Kurd SDF Official Defects and Exposes the Group’s Relationship with ISIS

https://syrianews.cc/kurd-sdf-official-defects-and-exposes-the-groups-relationship-with-isis/embed/#?secret=e3oNcx4OTA

The Syrian oil is pumped out by NATO’s preferred ‘secular’ proxy the Kurdish SDF terrorists and smuggled to Turkey in the north through ISIS and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups and to Iraq in the east of Syria under the protection of the Oil Thieves Regiment of Biden Forces positioned illegally in Syria.

Erdogan will be losing a lot of potential income from this massive blow to his illegal business in the regions his Al-Qaeda and Turkish army occupy in northern Syria, but he didn’t invest from his family’s own money in the first place, this will be just depriving him and his terrorist groups of a tiny percentage of the funds he uses to finance his military adventures abroad all the way from China and Indonesia in the east to Germany and the UK in the northwest of the planet. He can still rely on the deep pockets of the gas-station state Qatar and the oil he’s looting from Libya for his war crimes.

This bombing by the Syrian Arab Army, yet to be confirmed, sends messages in multiple directions, to Israel that Syria’s capabilities are building up and will reach a point of losing patience from the repeated Israeli bombings; to the ‘diversified Biden junta’ in the White House: the world has changed a lot since Trump took over and showed the world your reality, and to terrorists like Erdogan, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Kurdish SDF separatists that the time of their war crimes is coming to end sooner than they were wishing for.

Stealing Syria’s Oil: The EU Al-Qaeda Oil Consortium

https://syrianews.cc/stealing-syrias-oil-qaeda-oil-consortium/embed/#?secret=8PDJb3lVLN

Trump Protesting Syrian – Russian Oil Agreements by Terrorist Attacks on Syrian Oil Facilities

https://syrianews.cc/trump-protesting-syrian-russian-oil-agreements-by-terrorist-attacks-on-syrian-oil-facilities/embed/#?secret=Epn2pgjxxj

Syria: Oil Pipelines Sabotaged in Tartous Marine Terminal

https://syrianews.cc/syria-oil-pipelines-sabotaged-in-tartous-marine-terminal/embed/#?secret=ObCKkVfG0S

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The video is also

on YouTube and BitChute.https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1zEOtoDz70ELk1FTHjOjeeL1BFxJTbBk7&hl=en

SAA Destroys Erdogan Stolen Syrian Oil Facility Northern Aleppo countryside
Tochka spent surface-to-surface missile - Aleppo countryside

Erdogan and other NATO proxies operating in Syria deprive the Syrian people of food and oil and smuggle them abroad and burn what they cannot smuggle from the early days of the war on Syria while shouting all over the world NATO is helping the Syrian people achieve ‘democracy’ and ‘freedoms’. There are more than 16.5 million Syrians living in the provinces under government control suffering from the war waged against them and sanctions imposed on them by the hypocrite western regimes and their regional stooges and terrorists.

Storage and primitive oil refining facilities in Tarhin and Al-Homran between Al-Bab in the northeastern Aleppo countryside which is under Al-Qaeda and the Turkish Army control, and the city of Manbij which is under the Kurdish SDF terrorists’ control.

It’s no secret anymore that the US-sponsored Kurds are an essential tool in the US-led war of terror and war of attrition against Syria, just like the different terrorist groups that sprung out of Al-Qaeda Levant aka Nusra Front aka HTS aka the Free Syrian Army, one of which became the infamous ISIS terrorist group.

Kurd SDF Official Defects and Exposes the Group’s Relationship with ISIS

https://syrianews.cc/kurd-sdf-official-defects-and-exposes-the-groups-relationship-with-isis/embed/#?secret=e3oNcx4OTA

The Syrian oil is pumped out by NATO’s preferred ‘secular’ proxy the Kurdish SDF terrorists and smuggled to Turkey in the north through ISIS and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups and to Iraq in the east of Syria under the protection of the Oil Thieves Regiment of Biden Forces positioned illegally in Syria.

Erdogan will be losing a lot of potential income from this massive blow to his illegal business in the regions his Al-Qaeda and Turkish army occupy in northern Syria, but he didn’t invest from his family’s own money in the first place, this will be just depriving him and his terrorist groups of a tiny percentage of the funds he uses to finance his military adventures abroad all the way from China and Indonesia in the east to Germany and the UK in the northwest of the planet. He can still rely on the deep pockets of the gas-station state Qatar and the oil he’s looting from Libya for his war crimes.

This bombing by the Syrian Arab Army, yet to be confirmed, sends messages in multiple directions, to Israel that Syria’s capabilities are building up and will reach a point of losing patience from the repeated Israeli bombings; to the ‘diversified Biden junta’ in the White House: the world has changed a lot since Trump took over and showed the world your reality, and to terrorists like Erdogan, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Kurdish SDF separatists that the time of their war crimes is coming to end sooner than they were wishing for.

Stealing Syria’s Oil: The EU Al-Qaeda Oil Consortium

https://syrianews.cc/stealing-syrias-oil-qaeda-oil-consortium/embed/#?secret=8PDJb3lVLN

Trump Protesting Syrian – Russian Oil Agreements by Terrorist Attacks on Syrian Oil Facilities

https://syrianews.cc/trump-protesting-syrian-russian-oil-agreements-by-terrorist-attacks-on-syrian-oil-facilities/embed/#?secret=Epn2pgjxxj

Syria: Oil Pipelines Sabotaged in Tartous Marine Terminal

https://syrianews.cc/syria-oil-pipelines-sabotaged-in-tartous-marine-terminal/embed/#?secret=ObCKkVfG0S

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NATO Supremacists Continue anti-Syria Chemical Hoax UNSC Meetings

 MIRI WOOD 

Syrian Ambassador Jaafari addressing the supremacists at the UNSC

NATO supremacists klansmen running the United Nations held their umpteenth chemical hoax anti-Syria UNSC meeting on 3 February. The UN press corps had immediately chosen not to publish a release on the bad infinity meeting, seemingly too busy in sharing the announcements of various new (temporary) permanent members engaging in ring-kissing meetings with Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres (a small photo gallery of the SG’s colonialist leanings found here).

These monthly reruns are held under the guise of implementing UNSCR 2118, which was passed on 27 September 2013; UNSCR 242 that was passed in 1967 not only does not require monthly meetings on implementation, but also does not require any resolutions to condemn occupying forces from treating wounded terrorists, nor to condemn occupying forces when they bomb from the region, nor to condemn presidents who illegally make presents of the occupied region.

state-of-art-medical
When it comes to terrorists on the occupied Golan, Israel spares no US taxpayer expense in state of art medical care

Before taking a perfunctory glance at the hypocritical arrogance of the P3 Security Council member supremacists, and their customary vomiting up lies and then eating their own, and each other’s emesis, like ravenous dogs, the following article will serve as a refresher course from the first threats to use chemical weapons against Syria, beginning 5 December 2012. It was published 2 March 2017, one month and two days before Jahbat al Nusra terrorists staged its heinous murders of mostly children who were kidnapped, for the supremacists and their media dogs, in Khan Sheikhoun.

True History of FSA Chemical Weapons Threats against Syria

https://syrianews.cc/true-history-fsa-chemical-weapons-threats-syria/embed/#?secret=27AGpDFILd


Let us take a short trip down memory lane, followed by an amnesia antidote on the chemical terror attack leading up to UNSCR 2118 (2013), possibly the resolution that incited the most excitement among the supremacists running the United Nations — that bastion of peace and security that continues to inversely unleash mayhem throughout the world.

Western P3 supremacists France, Britain, and the US have extensive histories as the world leaders in genocide, and also in deployment of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical ones. France called its nuclear bombings of Algerian tribes, Gerboise Bleue; Britain gassed Russia and also “uncivilized tribes” in Iraq; America’s Truman chuckled before telling his people that he had used the country’s two nuclear bombs against Japan, and the US has consistently used white phosphorus as an alleged incendiary device. By naming the chemical weapon white phosphorus ”incendiary device,” it becomes exempt from being considered a chemical weapon. Human beings destroyed by them are merely ”collateral damage,” oh well.

Photos of Algerian survivors of France nuclear bombings seem to be in permanent lockdown.

Let us now do a short decontamination of the NATO supremacists’ convenient amnesia:

  • The US joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. The US still has over 3,000 tons of CWs that have somehow not yet been destroyed. There was no UNSC resolution when the US joined; therefore there is no ability to hold monthly meetings for its implementation.
  • In December 2012, threats of unleashing chemical attacks were uploaded to social media. The threats came from within Turkey. The criminals used rabbits in two fatal experiments; the first appeared to have used VX. In the second, the savage demonstration, the claim was made that a quick-acting poison would be used to pollute the Alsinn water supply to Lattakia. Dr. Jaafari requested a UN investigation, which was ignored (comparing the 21 December 2012 rabbit video with the original Khan Sheikhoun snuff porn video uploaded by the al Qaeda White Helmets on 4 April 2017, this author states with reasonable certainty that this was the same chemical poison.
  • On 19 March 2013, terrorists unleashed weapons-grade chlorine on Khan al Asal. Two dozen soldiers and civilians were murdered. Ambassador Jaafari’s request one day later, for a UN-OPCW investigation was sabotaged by the British and French ambassadors. OPCW investigators sent to inspect Khan al Asal five months after evidence would have been degraded arrived just before the 21 August Ghouta attack, and were diverted.
  • In May 2013, American illegal in Aleppo, Matthew VanDyke emailed former ladies’ undergarments salesman cum unemployed couch potato and gamer Eliot Higgins that terrorists had ”small quantities” of chemical weapons, and were prepared to use them against civilians, to blame on the Syrian government. 
  • In early August 2013, moderate FSA terrorists — including criminals from Qatar’s al Jazeera — raided villages in Lattakia, slaughtering men, and kidnapping women and their children. Some of the abductees were identified by their corpses shown after the terrorist chemical attack in al Ghouta, 21 August 2013. Terrorists later complained that they did not know that the missiles from al Saud contained chemical agents, that Prince Bandar should have sent instructions on how to use them.
  • The world stood on edge as Obama and other western supremacists considered the obliteration of the S. A. R., because Western-supported terrorists had used chemical weapons. Syria acceded to the CWC on 14 October 2013.
  • The UN-OPCW held several meetings high-fiving each other for the speed at which Syria’s CWs were collected and obliterated (some photos, here.). Nobody mentioned that the UN-OPCW came under missile fire via Madman Erdogan, though, while at the Lattakia port — daintily described as “volatile security conditions” in the 4 June 2014 UN news report on OPCW-UN Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag’s address to the Security Council.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry — whose ‘slip of the tongue‘ opened the door to Syria joining the CWC to avoid being Libyanized — told Meet the Press in 2014: “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.” 
  • As literature has taught us there is no good outcome to making a deal with the devil (the best possible outcome is a regrouping during postponement– in this case, western supremacists — the P3-headed demon lead by Trump, bombed Syria on 7 April 2017 because a Brit illegal whose medical license was permanently revoked, told CNN that Syria had bombed Syria with chemical weapons. Almost one year later, the tripartite war criminals again bombed Syria, based on the lies of malignant sociopaths in Douma, who kidnap, murder, and one who somehow was in possession of a Syrian woman’s dead fetus.
White Helmets
How did a White Helmet come into possession of a dead fetus & why does this pervert play with the body?

On 20 January 2020, an Arria Formula meeting was held on Douma, because the NATO supremacists refused to give a Security Council audience to the OPCW’s own Ian Henderson, who led the investigations (Syria News reminds our readers that the SAR immediately requested an investigation by UN-OPCW, and that the investigations were postponed after members came under sniper fire by the same terrorists who had slaughtered dozens of Syrians in Douma, uploaded what should have been recognized as their crimes, to social media, while screaming ‘chemical weapons.’). This was the same SC that refused to hear Jose Bustani in October 2020, on the pretense that he had not participated in the investigations, after which the OPCW censored people with questions, but limiting comments to its Twitter account, to the insider elite tagees.

OPCW has sold itself to NATO warmongers & functions as press liaison for al Qaeda in Syria.

Upon digesting the above, it comes as no surprise that the tripartite aggressor UN representatives — speaking for the world’s leaders in genocide, colonialism, and all other forms of supremacy — were the unified, barking rabid dogs of war, unabashedly unashamed by their hypocrisy and arrogance. The UK — the country whose Tony Blair has not only never been indicted for his war crimes involving his WMD lies about Iraq — lied that “Syria’s declaration…can still not be considered accurate & complete.” France — which never forgave Syria for ejecting French occupiers — again announced its support of al Qaeda in the SAR, functioning as press liaison to terrorists of Ghouta, Khan Sheikhoun, Ltamenah, Douma. The US — which released al Baghdadi from an Iraqi jail and sent him to Jordan with a $10,000,000 slush fund to train DAESH savages — demanded Syria to be held accountable for the terror inflicted on the country by the degenerate criminals it has trained, armed, and deployed into the country.

Utilizing his unique and uncanny skill of throwing those proverbial pearls before swine while maintaining the protocol of true diplomatic language, Dr. Jaafari again meticulously explained reality to the P3 NATO klan supremacists — and to their dancing House Servants — that Syria joined the OPCW 2013, that Syria relinquished all of its chemical weapons stockpile, that Syria has engaged in full cooperation with the OPCW.

Nonetheless, the barking hyenas continue to use these bad infinity “chemical files” as another criminal weapon — “political blackmail” — in the criminal foreign war imposed upon his country.https://www.youtube.com/embed/ky6yXqXSlRg?start=2&feature=oembed

Syria News reminds our readers that on 22 November. Syria’s President Dr. Bashar al Assad appointed Dr. Jaafari as Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister.

Though it was beginning to look as though His Excellency, Minister Dr. Jaafari were to give new meaning to Permanent Representative, this 3 February address to the NATO junta supremacists ruling the United Nations, was his final act of pearl-throwing.

— Miri Wood

Postscript:

Due to circumstances beyond her control, the author was unable to issue this essential report at an earlier time.

Dr. Jaafari took his oath of office on 14 February.

Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mekdad attends Dr. Jaafari’s swearing in, by President Assad, 14 February.

Recommended reading:

Syria’s Jaafari to UNSC NATO Klan: Let My People Breathe

https://syrianews.cc/syria-jaafari-to-unsc-nato-klan-let-my-people-breathe/embed/#?secret=IasWRsHfCX

Kurd SDF Official Defects and Exposes the Group’s Relationship with ISIS

https://syrianews.cc/kurd-sdf-official-defects-and-exposes-the-groups-relationship-with-isis/embed/#?secret=jHkMXVsMLR

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Russia Showcases Operations Of Its Combat Drones In Syria. Time To Push Idlib?

South Front

Russia released a video showing its Orion combat drone carrying out strikes on targets in Syria. This marked the very first time such footage was being released. It shows the drone’s operation, lock-on and launching of a payload on a militant target. The Orion is a long-flight duration attack-reconnaissance UAV, that can also carry out airstrikes. According to the report, this type of UAV has carried out 38 sorties, including 17 strike missions.

Meanwhile, a new electronic surveillance system has been spotted at the Russian-operated Hmeimim Air Base. The Avtobaza-M can determine the parameters of signals and types of radars, track air and seaborne objects by their electronic signature and support higher air defense command and control posts with data.

Despite the ISIS threat in central Syria, the focus of the key players is evidently shifting towards Idlib. The US and its ally-to-be Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) will begin active movements soon.

Russia reported that HTS is preparing to stage a chemical attack, similar to those that led to US missile strikes back in 2018 and earlier. More than once, the US-led coalition carried out strikes on Syrian government forces, in punishment of alleged chemical weapons usage.

This sense of urgency is also felt in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The government forces are opening a civilian corridor to evacuate civilians from Greater Idlib.

This is likely because an offensive is on the way, the SAA is preparing, likely together with Russia and some Iranian support to push on the biggest militant stronghold left in Syria. To prime the location, the SAA carried out heavy shelling, killing or injuring at least 5 militants in the process.

This is likely an ideal moment to push for Idlib, because Turkey is focused in Northeastern Syria, and so is the US. The SAA has deployed large amounts of forces in that region, which is out of the way.

It also moved its short-range defense systems to Iraq, which makes it an even more opportune moment for the SAA and Russia to push to push in another direction, and namely Idlib. The following days will show whether this evacuation of civilians is, indeed, a preparation for an offensive.

The ceasefire regime and the demilitarized zone are largely non-functional, despite Russia’s efforts to implement them. Turkey, the other co-signatory, is focused on fighting the Kurdish in the north. Even without that distraction, it seldom paid any attention to adhering to the rules set out in the deal.

The Syrian Arab Army, and its allies, likely need to push before HTS are completely rebranded as “moderate opposition” and their ties to al-Qaeda are forgotten. Additionally, this needs to be happen before ISIS pushes further out from central Syria.

ARRANGING THE MIDDLE EAST NARRATIVE TO PUSH THE AGENDA FORWARD

South Front

The United States is returning to a level of activity in the Middle East unseen in nearly 4 years. This development has become obvious over the weeks since Joe Biden became US President, firstly with a large deployment into Syria, and subsequently with smaller ones.

On February 9th, the Pentagon said that it was no longer in Syria to protect and exploit oil fields.

It is now back to hunting ISIS. Back to the square one of 2014 and the Obama era. ISIS somehow obliged by ramping up their activities throughout Syria.

It is a mystery that they were able to make such a sharp and sudden resurgence. It should also be noted that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces allegedly have about 10,000 ISIS terrorists imprisoned.

This statement of intent denotes a massive shift in posture for the US.  When defending the oil fields the US troops were mostly static, when hunting ISIS they can, once again, roam around and carry out various operations.

It appears likely that Idlib is now also in focus – US combat drones were observed surveying Greater Idlib. Idlib is a mixed bag – it has Turkish troops, Russians, the Syrian Arab Army along with terrorists and the moderate opposition, although confusing these two groups can be forgiven. The newest, future, US ally is there – the soon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

An indication of expected escalations and attacks are the Russian and Syrian military drills being carried out near Aleppo during effective wartime. Russia, separately, carried out a naval drill near Tartus.

And, as if by design, long-range missiles attempted to strike Russia’s forces at the Hmeimim Air Base. Drones occasionally attempt to infiltrate its airspace, but missiles are a rare sight.

Meanwhile in Western Daraa, the rebel leaders submitted to Damascus, likely fearing the upcoming chaos and wanting to choose a side.

Finally, the Biden administration is also working to secure Israeli support. The State Department said it doesn’t endorse Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, but doesn’t oppose it. It also provided a $9bn weapon sale as consolation. Tel Aviv is likely to use these weapons to counter its nemesis – Iran. It does so by targeting alleged Iranian interests in Syria.

Syria remains the lynchpin of US Middle East policy but the US posture in Iraq and Afghanistan has also changed. Withdrawing from the region is now out of the question – ISIS is making a resurgence, and there are other groups targeting American forces and convoys.

In Afghanistan, specifically, if the withdrawal does not move forward, the Taliban are also likely to begin targeting the US again.

The democrats are back in control and back to spreading democracy in the Middle East.

Israel Strikes Syria To Celebrate Whitewashing Of Al-Qaeda In Idlib

South Front

 04.02.2021 

You can read this article in German. LINK

Israel is becoming increasingly assertive in its strikes and raids, allegedly against Iranian positions, on Syrian soil.

This is more than likely owed to the fact that US activity is at a low-point following Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Israel feels threatened by the slim possibility that the Iran Nuclear Deal will be revived. As such it is left to fend for itself and it appears to be doing so quite ferociously.

In the late hours of February 3rd, the Israeli military launched a large-scale attack on southern Syria. The Syrian Arab Army General Command said that that air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missiles were launched in a heavy barrage.

According to local sources the barrage targeted Damascus International Airport, Mezzeh Military Airport, a Syrian Arab Army base near the district of Kiswah, and a series of military sites in Daraa and al-Quneitra.

The Syrian military says that some of the missiles were intercepted, others caused only material damage.

Israel’s primary targets in the region are Iranian positions, or those of pro-Iranian groups and proxies. This includes Hezbollah targets, to limit the efforts of its Lebanese neighbor.

It is plain to notice what has changed in the most recent attack – it was launched from Israeli soil. In usual practice, the Israeli air force encroaches on Lebanese airspace to carry out its raids.

On February 3rd, however, an Israeli drone was targeted by a Hezbollah anti-aircraft missile. This is a rare occurrence, even if it only targets a drone. It means that the airspace encroachment is becoming more dangerous.

This is a testament to Hezbollah’s increasing capability in limiting Israel’s freedom of action.

The increasing Israeli activity in both frequency and scale, are providing a window of opportunity to ISIS terrorists throughout Syria, and predominantly in Homs and Deir Ezzor.

In the early hours of February 3rd, a surprise attack by an ISIS cell resulted in the deaths of at least 12 pro-Syrian government fighters.

There has been an increased intensity of ISIS attacks in recent weeks. It is quite self-evident that this arose amid Israel’s continued attacks on Syrian Army positions and civilian infrastructure under the pretext that they host Iranian forces.

Even if the Syrian Arab Army is preoccupied with defense, its allies in the form of Russia and Iran are picking up the slack.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is set to establish a tribal force in Deir Ezzor. The main aim of this force will be to support the Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the region and to serve in a style similar to the “ISIS Hunters”. Despite Israel’s “best efforts” Tehran’s influence in Syria is growing, and this is more evidence of that.

A region that has received less attention in recent weeks, due to the general chaos, is Idlib.

Russian warplanes continue pounding the al-Qaeda-linked “moderate opposition” in the area, attempting to put a stop to its adventurism beyond the demilitarized zone. The ceasefire must hold and Moscow attempts to limit militants’ attempts to compromise it.

Meanwhile, the terrorists in Idlib are being whitewashed, and presented anew as “freedom fighters”. PBS Frontline presented the head of Jabhat al-Nusra (currently Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) as a reformed hero, working towards peace. For years he had a $10 million bounty on his head for leading the world’s No 1 terrorist organization. That appears to be no more, he is now a hero fighting against suppression.

The chaos in the Middle East is growing, amid increasing Israeli activity and renewed attempts to whitewash known terrorists by MSM. Despite Damascus’, Moscow’s and Tehran’s best efforts, the situation has the potential to get much worse, before it gets any better.

الفرصة الذهبيّة لوليد جنبلاط

ناصر قنديل

لم يفاجئ وليد جنبلاط أحداً من اللبنانيين برسمه معادلة جديدة لتخيير حزب الله بين اثنتين، فهو دائم الحركة على هذا الخط ذهاباً وإياباً، ويملك قدرة الاستدارة التي لا ينافسه عليها أحد، ويفسّرها بالتأقلم مع المتغيرات، او بالقفز من المراكب الغارقة، كما وصف انقلابه على سورية عشية الحرب الأميركيّة على العراق، ثم عاد فوصف بالتعبير ذاته نعيَه للحركة التي قادها وأسماها بثورة الأرز، متجاوزاً حساسيته المفرطة ضد الرموز التي تختصر لبنان بعناوين يعتبرها خاصة بالمسيحيين، قبل أن يسارع إلى شرعنة محميّة أرز الباروك مانحاً الأرز صفة العبور بين الطوائف والرمزيّة الجامعة، لكن جنبلاط شديد الانتباه الى أنه تهرّب من استعمال معادلته السابقة التي كان يعرضها على حزب الله بدلاً من معادلة اليوم «الحياد أو قاعدة الصواريخ»، فهو لا يريد لأحد أن ينتبه أنه خلع معادلته السابقة «هانوي أم هونغ كونغ»، لأن فضيحة نموذج هونغ كونغ التي كان من دعاتها وروّادها والمبشّرين بها تتجسّد بصورة مأساويّة في يوميات اللبنانيين الذين سرقت مصارف «هونغ كونغ» ودائعَهم، ونهبت الفوائد المرتفعة لفلسفة هونغ كونغ مقدراتهم تحت شعار تثبيت سعر الليرة، التي صارت اليوم بلا سعر، وطارت معها مداخيل اللبنانيون الذين دعاهم جنبلاط لتجنّب نموذج الإفقار الذي تمثله هانوي ووعدهم إن فعلوا وسمعوا نصيحته بالحصول على نموذج هونغ كونغ، وهو يريد أن ينسحب خلسة من نموذجه المتداعي الذي لم يسقط لأن اللبنانيين خالفوا جنبلاط وساروا وراء نموذج هانوي، واقتصاد المقاومة والتوجّه شرقاً، بل لأن اللبنانيين صدّقوا وصفة جنبلاط بنبوءة هونغ كونغ وسلّموا أمرهم لعرّابيها في المال والسياسة والمصارف، فقرّر التسلل هرباً من الذاكرة، والقفز مجدداً من مركب غارق جديد.

يعود جنبلاط لدعوة الحياد، لأن ليس فيها شبهة هونغ كونغ، متمنياً أن يُصيب اللبنانيين نسيان آخر وفقد ذاكرة ثانٍ ،غير نسيانهم لترويجه لكذبة هونغ كونغ، بأن لا ينتبهوا إلى أنه صاحب معادلة أخرى، بعد الخروج السوري من لبنان وليس قبله، وبعد انقسام 14 و8 آذار وليس قبله، والمعادلة كانت الإصرار ثم الإصرار على صناعة تفاهم وطني مع حزب الله يقوم على حفظ السلاح كمصدر قوة لا بديل عنه في مواجهة خطر العدوان، ويضيف محذراً من دعوات الحياد التي كان يرفعها بعض حلفائه في 14 آذار، ويقول من موقع المختلف مع حزب الله محذراً من خطورة وصفة الحياد، «يحيد لبنان ولاحقاً كما أراكم وكما ترونني يطلب من لبنان مجدداً الالتحاق بحلف مشابه للسابع عشر من أيار»، وجنبلاط يعلم أكثر من سواه أن المناخ العربي الذي يدعو الى التلاقي معه اليوم من موقع دعوته المستجدّة للحياد هو الفلك السائر في مسارات أقل ما ستطلبه من لبنان هو نموذج مشابه لاتفاق 17 أيار.

يعرف جنبلاط أن الحياد كذبة لا تقلّ آثامها عن كذبة هونغ كونغ، والكذبة الجديدة كالقديمة لا تملك أجوبة عن أسئلة اللبنانيين، ماذا عن مصير اللاجئين الفلسطينيين ومشروع التوطين؟ وماذا عن دور لبنان الاقتصادي في ظل التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، والتفاهمات التي تطال المرافئ والمصارف؟ ولبنان كما وصفه ميشال شيحا مرفأ ومصارف، كما يعلم جنبلاط علم اليقين بأن وصفة الحياد هذه لن تتحقق كما لم تتحقق وصفة هونغ كونغ فلكلتيهما مهمة واحدة هي ذرّ الرماد في عيون اللبنانيين لاستعدائهم على سلاح المقاومة، لكن لا إمكانات واقعية لأصحاب هذه النماذج الوهمية على خلق معادلات تحاصر السلاح، وقد زاد جنبلاط علماً بذلك بعد التطورات التي قالت إنه فقد دور بيضة القبان المستندة الى إمساكه بموقع الجبل الجغرافي في ربط بيروت بالبقاع والبقاع بالجنوب وبيروت بالجنوب، والممسك بخيوط منع أو تمرير الفتنة بين السنة والشيعة، وهذه كلها قد اختبرت وتبخّرت، لذلك قرر ذات يوم ان يخفض سقف طموحاته ويرتضي رسم سياساته على خطوط نقل وتسويق الترابة الى سورية، ولما اصطدم بأن حزب الله لا يتاجر، نام واستيقظ على حملة منظمة قادها ضد مؤسسة القرض الحسن ليقول متوهماً لحزب الله لقد ضبطتك متلبساً بالجرم المشهود، قبل أن يخرج السيد حسن نصرالله، ويطمئنه أن لا مرابحة في مؤسسة القرض الحسن، وبالتالي لا مصلحة للباحثين عن مرابح بالدخول على خطها، وجنبلاط يعلم أيضاً أن الأيام المقبلة حبلى بالكثير من التطورات، وها هم الذين يثق براداراتهم يبشرونه بالانشغال الأميركي عن المواجهة مع إيران وحزب الله، بل من بينهم اليوم كثر هم الذين يحذرونه من أن رفع العقوبات الأميركية عن إيران قد لا يكون بعيداً، كما بشّروه قبل خمسة أعوام بقرب توقيع الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، فلماذا يجازف جنبلاط وهو لاعب على حافة الهاوية محاولاً تقليد نموذجها الأصلي في سورية، وفقاً لوصف هنري كيسنجر للسياسة السورية، لكن جنبلاط عندما يلعبها يفعل من دون مجازفة، فلماذا تغيير العادات السليمة في الزمن الخطأ؟

الناصحون يقولون، إن هذا الأسلوب في التخاطب مع حزب الله لا يُجدي، وإن من يقدم أوراق اعتماده للخليج في زمن تخبط حاكم الخليج في ظل الشعور بوحشة التخلي الأميركي، يصحّ فيه القول «يطعمو الحج والناس راجعة»، ويقول هؤلاء ربما يكون سوق المشتقات النفطية الذي يملك فيه جنبلاط خبرة لا تقلّ عن خبرته في سوق الترابة، هو الفرصة الذهبيّة لجنبلاط، فالعرض الإيراني ببيع لبنان المشتقات النفطية بالليرة اللبنانية لا يزال قائماً، والخشية من العقوبات الأميركية يجب الا تخيف جنبلاط، وهي في طريق الزوال، وربما «تنقش معه» ويستطيع إضافة لتجارة المشتقات في لبنان أن يشرعن بيع المشتقات الى سورية بدلاً من التنديد بالتهريب، فهل يفاوض جنبلاط على الوكالة الحصرية للمشتقات النفطية الإيرانية؟ ولكن هل ينبّهه المستشارون الى انه لا يحتاج في هذه الحالة لرفع السقوف، ويمكن له دقّ الباب ليسمع الجواب؟

البعض يظنّ أن رقصة جنبلاط الأخيرة ليست تجارية بل أمنية، وتتصل بمشاغباته حول التحقيقات في تفجير مرفأ بيروت، وحملته الهوائية التي لم يهتم لها أحد بتوجيه الاتهامات لسورية بالوقوف وراء صفقة النترات الى لبنان، فهل يعلم جنبلاط ما لا يعلمه الآخرون عن أدوار لبنانية متورطة في شراء النترات وتخزينها لحساب الجماعات المسلحة في سورية التي سماها ذات يوم بالممثل الشرعيّ الوحيد للشعب السوري داعياً لشرعنة سيطرة جبهة النصرة على جرود عرسال، متحدثاً عن نصرة لاند اسوة بفتح لاند التي قامت في منطقة العرقوب أواخر الستينيات من القرن الماضي؟ وهل كان طريق النترات هو من نصرة لاند إلى الداخل السوري؟

MYSTERIOUS AIRCRAFT POUND TURKISH OIL SMUGGLERS IN SYRIA. US SUPPLY CONVOYS ARE BLOWN UP IN IRAQ

South Front

The first month of 2021 was marked by a new round of violence in Syria. The situation was especially complicated in Greater Idlib, northern Aleppo and in the central desert.

On January 8, ISIS terrorists launched a large attack on government forces in the eastern countryside of Hama. After a series of clashes with the Syrian Army and pro-government militias, terrorists captured a number of positions near the towns of Rahjan and al-Shakusiyah. As of January 12, ISIS cells retreated from these positions under pressure from the army. Nonetheless, at least 19 government troops and 12 ISIS members were killed in the clashes.

Meanwhile in the eastern countryside of Homs, ISIS cells destroyed a pickup of the al-Quds Brigade, a Palestinian pro-government group, with an improvised explosive device. According to pro-opposition sources, at least 44 pro-government fighters have been killed in the clashes in the desert area since the start of the year. The number of the eliminated terrorists is reportedly over 35.

Sources affiliated with Russia-linked private military contractors claim that the deterioration of the security situation in western Deir Ezzor is a result of the withdrawal of a majority of Russian specialists from the area.

At the same time, Iranian-backed forces continue their work to expand the Imam Ali Base near al-Bukamal. The base, operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is allegedly designed store precision-guided missiles in a network of underground tunnels in the area. The base was repeatedly targeted by Israeli and even US strikes in 2019 and 2020. Despite this, the strikes did not cause any major impact as the base’s military infrastructure has been steadily expanding.

January 9 also became the first day of 2021 when the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out strikes on terrorist targets in Greater Idlib. Strikes hit several hills in outskirts of the town of Kabani, which is known for being stronghold of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkistan Islamic Party. A day earlier, forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham shelled Syrian Army positions in northern Lattakia injuring several soldiers.

These developments coincided with some strikes by some ‘mysterious aircraft’ that once again bombed Turkish-linked oil smugglers in northern Aleppo. This time the infrastructure of the smugglers was destroyed near the village of Tarhin.

The situation in neighboring Iraq is also not stable. Just on January 9, 3 supply convoys of the US-led coalition became targets of IED attacks in the central and southern regions of the country. These attacks are a logical continuation of the ongoing standoff between the US-Israeli bloc and the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance. Iranian-backed forces in Iraq conduct these attacks as a part of their campaign to force the US to withdraw its forces from the country.

While some expect that a Biden administration would be less interested in an increase of confrontation with Iran, there are no indications that the sides can fully settle their contradictions in any way in the nearest future. Therefore, the entire region will remain a battleground for the warring blocs.

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How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

January 02, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

It’s one of those quintessential journeys that make people dream: Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad by train. Let’s call it ITI.

Soon, in early 2021, ITI will become a reality. But, initially, just as a freight train. The deal was recently sealed at the 10th meeting of the transport and communication ministers of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) in Istanbul.

ITI’s official name is actually the ECO Container Train. Trial runs started in 2019. The 6,500 km overland journey should now take 11 days – compared to the roughly 45 days across sealanes for trade between Western Europe and Pakistan.

ECO is a very interesting – and strategic – organization, virtually unknown outside of Asia, uniting Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, the five Central Asian “stans”, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.

Some of these players are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); some are part of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); and almost all of them are partners to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

They have come up with a ECO Vision 2025 that emphasizes connectivity as a springboard to “social and economic development”, privileging trade, transportation, energy and tourism. ECO seeks to de facto integrate West, Central and South Asia plus the Caucasus. For all practical purposes, ECO straddles most of the New Silk Roads developing across a large part of Eurasia.

That pesky Sultan, again

The ITI/ECO Container Train will be yet another layer of connectivity running in parallel to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, centered on the Caucasus, and as we have seen in a previous Turkey/New Great Game column, a key plank of Ankara’s trade strategy.

Soon, ITI/ECO will also link with the European rail networks via that 76-km long engineering marvel – the undersea Marmaray railway tunnel in Istanbul. Of course opportunities abound for branching out to parts of the Middle East. By the end of the decade, ITI/ECO may well go high-speed rail – think Chinese investment.

The fascinating counterpoint to the Marmaray undersea tunnel is the Trans-Caspian: the actual connection between the BTK in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

As you can see here , the strategically designed layout of the ports allows instant roll on-roll off from the cargo trains to huge freight ferries.

Iran, for instance, is building a roll on-roll off shipping port in Bandar-e Anzalī on the Caspian Sea – which will be used to export merchandise but also oil and gas transiting via Russia or Kazakhstan, both Caspian nations, and thus bypassing any further blockade imposed by the US.

The interlink of ITI/ECO with BTK will solidify yet another important East-West trade corridor. Apart from the northern corridors linking with the Trans-Siberian, every East-West trade corridor across Eurasia goes through Turkey. That gives President Erdogan a wealth of options – as Beijing knows too well. The Xian-Istanbul corridor is as important as the Xian-Kazakhstan-Russia corridor.

Our previous Turkey/New Great Game column provoked serious debate in Istanbul. Political analyst Ceyda Karan remarked Erdogan “has only one card: Turkish geopolitics. He doesn’t care how many soldiers will die in Libya or Syria. He doesn’t care about the Turkish people”.

Esteemed Professor Korkut Boratav, now a nonagenarian eminence in macroeconomics, wondered how I could “ascribe those important roles to our chief”, referencing Erdogan.

Well, it’s all about playing geoeconomics. Erdogan certainly has leveraged his Rolodex across Eurasia, in terms of foreign policy, going no holds barred in the manipulation of all sorts of proxy gangs practicing all manner of extremisms. But ultimately what The Sultan really needs is trade and foreign investment in his battered economy.

So trade connectivity is essential. But the problem always remains his own strategy. Supporting, feeding and weaponizing an army of ISIS/Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Uighur/Caucasian jihadi proxies is not exactly a sound business strategy.

Erdogan seems to be everywhere – Libya, Azerbaijan, the Turkish-northwest Syrian border. Strategists in Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Islamabad of course are asking questions: what for, exactly?

There’s no realistic geoeconomic scenario for him to bypass Russia. He may use Azerbaijan as a sort of de luxe messenger between Turkey and Israel – and perhaps, subsequently, profit from Israel’s courtship of Persian Gulf monarchies. After all, as far as allies in the Arab world are concerned, the only player he can really count on is Qatar. Follow the money: Doha by itself won’t finance an economic boom in Turkey.

Let a million trade corridors bloom

Silly rumors about the demise of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are greatly exaggerated – considering they are a sub-section of American propaganda. CPEC is a complex, very long-term project whose implementation, according to the Chinese timetable, has not even started.

What Islamabad must be aware of is how much sexier, in comparison, is Tehran, when seen with Beijing’s eyes. Pakistan counts mostly on Imran Khan’s efforts. Iran has a wealth of oil, gas, gold and an array of crucial minerals. As India famously shot itself in the back – once again – by de facto abdicating from investing in Chabahar port in Iran, China stepped in. The $400 billion China-Iran deal is way more comprehensive than CPEC, at roughly $64 billion.

Back on the road, the good news is Iran-Pakistan seem to be focused on increasing connectivity. It boggles the mind that until recently there was only one crossing along their 900 km border. Finally they decided to open two more border gateways.

This is hugely important, because the first gateway is in ultra-sensitive Sistan-Balochistan province – constantly susceptible to Salafi-jihadi infiltrators – and only 70 km away from strategic Gwadar port.

As far as tourism goes – what the Chinese describe as “people to people exchange” – that’s an extra dimension, because Pakistanis can now easily cross the border, reach Chabahar, and then go by train to Iran’s holy sites Najaf and Karbala.

Finally, there’s the all-important Russian factor – which always commands Erdogan’s undivided attention.

Arguably Moscow’s top strategic priority is to decouple the EU from any US/NATO-imposed Dr. Strangelove impulses. So a EU trade alliance with Beijing – now in progress, via their investment treaty – cannot but be a win-win, as it spells out closer European integration with the Eurasian century, driven by China but with Russia, crucially, positioned as the premier security provider.

And as President Putin once again made it clear in his year end’s vows, BRI and the EAEU are increasingly merging.

Quite a few readers have noted that Russia has now achieved the tripartite capacity that Kissinger once declared essential for US strategic leadership: mastery of weapons exports; control of energy flows; and agriculture exports. Not to mention diplomatic finesse – widely respected all across Eurasia and the Global South.

Meanwhile, Eurasia goes with the flow: let a million trade corridors – Trans-Siberian, BTK, ITI/ECO – bloom.

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

December 28, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

When it comes to sowing – and profiting – from division, Erdogan’s Turkey is quite the superstar.

Under the delightfully named Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration duly slapped sanctions on Ankara for daring to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems. The sanctions focused on Turkey’s defence procurement agency, the SSB.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s response was swift: Ankara won’t back down – and it is in fact mulling how to respond.

The European poodles inevitably had to provide the follow-up. So after the proverbial, interminable debate in Brussels, they settled for “limited” sanctions – adding a further list for a summit in March 2021. Yet these sanctions actually focus on as-yet unidentified individuals involved in offshore drilling in Cyprus and Greece. They have nothing to do with S-400s.

What the EU has come up with is in fact a very ambitious, global human-rights sanctions regime modeled after the US’s Magnitsky Act. That implies travel bans and asset freezes of people unilaterally considered responsible for genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.

Turkey, in this case, is just a guinea pig. The EU always hesitates mightily when it comes to sanctioning a NATO member. What the Eurocrats in Brussels really want is an extra, powerful tool to harass mostly China and Russia.

Our jihadis, sorry, “moderate rebels”

What’s fascinating is that Ankara under Erdogan always seems to be exhibiting a sort of “devil may care” attitude.

Take the seemingly insoluble situation in the Idlib cauldron in northwest Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria – honchos are now involved in “secret” negotiations with Turkish-backed armed gangs, such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya, right in front of Turkish officials. The objective: to boost the number of jihadis concentrated in certain key areas. The bottom line: a large number of these will come from Jabhat al-Nusra.

So Ankara for all practical purposes remains fully behind hardcore jihadis in northwest Syria – disguised under the “innocent” brand Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara has absolutely no interest in letting these people disappear. Moscow, of course, is fully aware of these shenanigans, but wily Kremlin and Defence Ministry strategists prefer to let it roll for the time being, assuming the Astana process shared by Russia, Iran and Turkey can be somewhat fruitful.

Erdogan, at the same time, masterfully plays the impression that he’s totally involved in pivoting towards Moscow. He’s effusive that “his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin” supports the idea – initially tabled by Azerbaijan – of a regional security platform uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Erdogan even said that if Yerevan is part of this mechanism, “a new page may be opened” in so far intractable Turkey-Armenia relations.

It will help, of course, that even under Putin pre-eminence, Erdogan will have a very important seat at the table of this putative security organization.

The Big Picture is even more fascinating – because it lays out various aspects of Putin’s Eurasia balancing strategy, which involves as main players Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the assassination of Gen Soleimani, Tehran is far from cowed and “isolated”. For all practical purposes, it is slowly but surely forcing the US out of Iraq. Iran’s diplomatic and military links to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon remain solid.

And with less US troops in Afghanistan, the fact is Iran for the first time since the “axis of evil” era will be less surrounded by the Pentagon. Both Russia and China – the key nodes of Eurasia integration – fully approve it.

Of course the Iranian rial has collapsed against the US dollar, and oil income has fallen from over $100 billion a year to something like $7 billion. But non-oil exports are going well over $30 billion a year.

All is about to change for the better. Iran is building an ultra-strategic pipeline from the eastern part of the Persian Gulf to the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman – bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, and ready to export up to 1 million barrels of oil a day. China will be the top customer.

President Rouhani said the pipeline will be ready by the summer of 2021, adding that Iran plans to be selling over 2.3 million barrels of oil a day next year – with or without US sanctions alleviated by Biden-Harris.

Watch the Golden Ring

Iran is well linked to Turkey to the west and Central Asia to the east. An extra important element in the chessboard is the entrance of freight trains directly linking Turkey to China via Central Asia -bypassing Russia.

Earlier this month, the first freight train left Istanbul for a 8,693 km, 12-day trip, crossing below the Bosphorus via the brand new Marmary tunnel, inaugurated a year ago, then along the East-West Middle Corridor via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, across Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

In Turkey this is known as the Silk Railway. It was the BTK that reduced freight transport from Turkey to China from one month to only 12 days. The whole route from East Asia to Western Europe can now be travelled in only 18 days. BTK is the key node of the so-called Middle Corridor from Beijing to London and the Iron Silk Road from Kazakhstan to Turkey.

All of the above totally fits the EU’s agenda – especially Germany’s: implementing a strategic trade corridor linking the EU to China, bypassing Russia.

This would eventually lead to one of the key alliances to be consolidated in the Raging Twenties: Berlin-Beijing.

To speed up this putative alliance, the talk in Brussels is that Eurocrats would profit from Turkmen nationalism, pan-Turkism and the recent entente cordiale between Erdogan and Xi when it comes to the Uighurs. But there’s a problem: many a turcophone tribe prefers an alliance with Russia.

Moreover, Russia is inescapable when it comes to other corridors. Take, for instance, a flow of Japanese goods going to Vladivostok and then via the Trans-Siberian to Moscow and onwards to the EU.

The bypass-Russia EU strategy was not exactly a hit in Armenia-Azerbaijan: what we had was a relative Turkey retreat and a de facto Russian victory, with Moscow reinforcing its military position in the Caucasus.

Enter an even more interesting gambit: the Azerbaijan-Pakistan strategic partnership, now on overdrive in trade, defence, energy, science and technology, and agriculture. Islamabad, incidentally, supported Baku on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan have very good relations with Turkey: a matter of very complex, interlocking Turk-Persian cultural heritage.

And they may get even closer, with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) increasingly connecting not only Islamabad to Baku but also both to Moscow.

Thus the extra dimension of the new security mechanism proposed by Baku uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia: all the Top Four here want closer ties with Pakistan.

Analyst Andrew Korybko has neatly dubbed it the “Golden Ring” – a new dimension to Central Eurasian integration featuring Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the central Asian “stans”. So this all goes way beyond a possible Triple Entente: Berlin-Ankara-Beijing.

What’s certain as it stands is that the all-important Berlin-Moscow relationship is bound to remain as cold as ice. Norwegian analyst Glenn Diesen summed it all up: “The German-Russian partnership for Greater Europe was replaced with the Chinese-Russian partnership for Greater Eurasia”.

What’s also certain is that Erdogan, a master of pivoting, will find ways to simultaneously profit from both Germany and Russia.

Leaked files show how UK govt spent millions exploiting Syrian women in cynical PR offensive

RT

18 Dec, 2020 15:17 

Leaked files show how UK govt spent millions exploiting Syrian women in cynical PR offensive
FILE PHOTO: Women stand as they wait their turn to cast the votes inside a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Douma, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria July 19, 2020 ©  REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. Follow Kit on Twitter @KitKlarenberg

A swath of leaked documents reveals the lengths to which the British government went to paint the Syrian opposition in a flattering light. They also confirm that women unknowingly formed part of this effort.

The leaked UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) documents reveal a variety of covert ways in which London sought to not only propagandize women in Syria, but to exploit them as weapons in a vast information warfare campaign waged at home and abroad.

The papers are among bombshell files released by hacktivist collective Anonymous, which expose a number of cloak-and-dagger actions undertaken by Whitehall against Damascus. Women figured prominently in a number of the plans, which cost the FCO millions of pounds over many years.

‘Outreach initiatives’

The propaganda value of women in conflicts has long-been well understood and cynically exploited by governments.

A leaked US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) memorandum from March 2010 on covert means of increasing flagging support for NATO’s Afghanistan mission noted women in the country “could serve as ideal messengers” in “humanizing” the military occupation, due to their “ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory.”

“Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women…could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the mission,” the document noted. “Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences.”

Over a decade later, Afghanistan remains one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman, by some margin.

Roughly a year after that CIA memo was authored, A Gay Girl in Damascus, a blog purportedly written by Syrian-American lesbian Amina Arraf, garnered significant mainstream attention. Widely hailed for her “fearless” and “inspiring” eyewitness reporting, the author was lauded as a symbol of the “progressive” revolution erupting in the country.

In June  2011, Amina’s cousin announced on the blog she (Amina) had been kidnapped by three armed men in the Syrian capital. In response, numerous Facebook pages were set up calling for Amina’s release and ‘liked’ by tens of thousands, #FreeAmina trended widely on Twitter, journalists and rights groups begged Western governments to demand her release, and the US State Department announced it was investigating her disappearance.

Six days later, it was revealed ‘Amina’ was in fact Tom MacMaster, a US citizen residing in Scotland. While corporate news outlets hurriedly rushed to forget all about the hoax they’d so comprehensively fallen for, their appetite for dubious ‘human interest’ stories emanating from the crisis evidently wasn’t diminished.

‘Huge global coverage’

In July 2019, an image of two young Syrian girls trapped in rubble in opposition-occupied Idlib attempting to haul their sister to safety as she dangled off the precipice of a dilapidated building, their father looking on in horror above, spread far and wide on social media.

The photo, snapped by a photographer for Syrian news service SY24, went viral the world over. Unbeknownst to the overwhelming majority of observers, though, SY24 was created and funded by The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), founded by Richard Barrett, a former MI6 counter-terrorism director.

In a file submitted to the FCO, TGSN boasted of how “campaigns” it broadcast via SY24 generated “huge global coverage,” having been seen by “many hundreds of millions of people,” and “attracting comment as far as the UN Security Council.”

SY24 content was produced by a network of ‘stringers’ in Syria that TGSN trained and provided with equipment, including “cameras and video editing software.” The firm drew particular attention to a team of female journalists it had tutored, “who provide about 40 percent of all SY content,” and were part of “a broad ‘network of networks’” enabling TGSN “to drive stories into the mainstream.”

TGSN also established a dedicated centre for training female journalists to produce content for SY24 in Idlib, “accessing stories that male journalists cannot,” which were then shared on social media. It boasted that almost half of SY24’s followers were women, “a remarkably high ratio for Syria-focused platforms.

‘Communications surges’

Carefully cultivating an entirely misleading image of an inclusive, credible ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition was of paramount importance to the FCO – it helped whitewash the barbarous nature of the various ‘rebel’ factions London was backing in the region, while simultaneously engendering support among Western publics for regime change.

In order to engage the “international community” to this end, TGSN, in conjunction with ARK – a shadowy “conflict transformation and stabilization consultancy” headed by veteran FCO operative Alistair Harris – planned“communication surges” around “key dates” such as International Women’s Day.

In a particularly elaborate example of such a “surge,” the pair collaborated on a campaign, ‘Back to School,’ in which young Syrians returned to education while Idlib City Council, opposition commanders, and other elements on the ground concurrently engaged in a “unified” communications blitz, using “shared slogans, hashtags and branding.”

Rebel fighters were sent to “clear roads” and “enable children and teachers to get to schools,” all the while filmed by the pair’s voluminous local journalist network, footage of which was then “disseminated online and on broadcast channels.” Ensuring “female teachers” received sizable coverage in the Western media was a key objective of the campaign.

In many of the leaked files, ARK boasts of the huge network of journalists it trained and funded in Syria, who would cover such PR stunts; their reports in turn fed to the firm’s “well-established contacts” at major news outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, New York Times, and Reuters, “further amplifying their effect.”

‘Thrust by tragedy’

However, other documents make clear ARK well-understood the immense difficulties inherent in promoting the role of women internally and externally during the crisis.

One file on “[incorporating] the role of women in the moderate opposition” notes Syrian women in rebel-occupied areas faced “an almost overwhelming variety of problems,” and “the space for women to participate in public life has contracted significantly as the conflict has progressed.”

As a result, ARK said it was “extremely aware of the risks of promoting women’s participation beyond currently accepted social norms…given the potential to hinder message resonance or result in a backlash against female participation.” It therefore proposed to “subtly reframe the narrative of women…increasing the amount of coverage of their initiatives and opinions as the context allows.”

One such means of “subtle reframing” was Moubader (which translates to “a person who takes initiative”), a media asset comprising a “high-quality hard copy monthly magazine with widespread distribution across opposition-held areas of Syria,” with a website and Facebook page boasting over 200,000 likes as of December 2020.

Moubader was established by ARK in 2015 specifically to achieve “behavioural change” in readers, at Whitehall’s request. “Given the importance of broadcast television as a trusted source” in Syria, ARK also sought FCO funding to develop a Moubader TV programme to “leverage stories and values to maximum effect and reach an even wider audience.”

Documents submitted to the FCO by another psyops contractor, Albany, similarly noted women’s access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity had “been debilitated” during the crisis, with issues such as early marriage, child military recruitment, and “transactional sex” exacerbated. The UN defines the latter as “non-commercial sexual relationships motivated by an implicit assumption that sex will be exchanged for material support or other benefits.”

Still, Albany considered so many Syrian women having been “thrust by tragedy into head of household and breadwinner positions” over the course of the crisis as a golden opportunity to propagandize them and, in turn, their families, while promoting the ‘inclusive’ nature of the opposition, by creating and partnering with female civil society organizations and journalists.

ARK likewise believed women to be a “critical audience” given the number of Syrian households headed by women –“up to 70 percent”– so sought to ensure they were well-represented in all its domestic and international “broadcast products,” as well as on social media.

‘Jihadis You Pay For’

Unsurprisingly, the files make no acknowledgement of the fact this increasingly hostile environment for women in Syria directly resulted from foreign efforts to destabilise and depose its government.

Islamic State, (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and al-Nusra are rightly notorious for their monstrous treatment of women in the areas which they occupied, which included widespread rape, sexual violence and abduction.

However, many armed opposition groups, backed by foreign powers, whether openly Salafist or not, imposed stringent restrictions on women in the areas they occupied, requiring them to wear hijabs and abayas, doling out extreme punishments for failing to comply, imposing discriminatory measures prohibiting them from moving freely, working, attending school, and more.

There are indications FCO contractors were in close quarters with such activities. For instance, in December 2017 BBC Panorama documentary Jihadis You Pay For alleged FCO cash distributed on its behalf by Adam Smith International (ASI) in Syria ended up in the pockets of Free Syrian Police (FSP) officers who’d stood by passively while women were stoned to death.

The program focused on the Access to Justice and Community Security (AJACS) program, under which ASI funded and trained FSP, an unarmed civilian force set up to reestablish law and order in opposition-controlled areas.

In a perverse irony, leaked ASI files relating to the project indicate it, too, sought to exploit women for propaganda purposes, applying a gender policy to AJACS “which [aimed] to encourage female participation in justice and policing,” and boasting of how, of the 1,868 police officers it trained under the scheme, six – 0.32 percent ­­– were female.

Quite some revolution. As Human Rights Watch notes, prior to 2011, women and girls across the country were “largely able to participate in public life, including work and school, and exercise freedom of movement, religion, and conscience.” While the Syrian penal code and laws governing issues such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, contains provisions discriminatory to women, the country’s constitution guarantees gender equality.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

ALSO ON RT.COM

Russian Forces Blow Up a Terrorists’ Command Cave in Idlib Countryside

  ARABI SOURI

Russian forces engineers blow up a cave used by terrorists in Idlib

Russian forces engineers operating in Syria blew up a cave formerly used as a command center by the ‘Izzat Army’, a NATO-sponsored terrorist group, in the province of Idlib.

The cave in the city of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib countryside was used by the ‘Izzat Army’ as their headquarters, ‘Izzat Army’ is one of the thousands of the Free Syrian Army umbrella of terrorist groups.

A video report by the Russian Military TV Zvezda aired footage showing the cave with long corridors that diverge into separate rooms; the total area of ​​the cave is not less than 1,000 square meters. To build it, they used technology, and all the dirty and hard work, as is customary among the radicals, was performed with the help of slave labor.

The video is also available on BitChute.https://www.bitchute.com/video/sURkgbb4kzJ7/

The terrorist group stuffed the cave with massive quantities of weapons, munition, food and medical supplies, and comfort means for sleeping and other things. The idea was by the terrorists to use this cave for a very long period of time avoiding aerial strikes by the Syrian and Russian air forces before they hastily fled the region when the Syrian armed forces with their allies advanced toward them, just like the terrorists in all other areas with their large numbers fleeing the battlefields when faced with the determined owners of the land, the Syrian Arab Army men and their allies.

Russian engineers blow up a cave used by terrorists in Idlib
The cave was so big an army truck could move easily inside it

It took the engineering units of the SAA and the Russian corps more than a month to clear the cave of all explosives planted in it by the terrorists.

The Syrian Arab Army and allies cleaned Khan Sheikhoun from NATO-sponsored terrorists and from the Turkish army personnel in August last year, 2019. The SAA and its allies were advancing further north to clean the rest of Idlib before halting their military operation after the Turkish madman Erdogan begged the Russian President Putin for a ceasefire and pledged to implement the Astana agreements and withdraw his forces (the Turkish army and Al Qaeda terrorists – Nusra Front ‘HTS’ and others) from the province without showing his people they were defeated by the Syrian forces. Erdogan, the hypocrite anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood he is, of course, is yet to fulfill his pledge to this date despite the withdrawal of some of his forces

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حسان اللقيس ومعركة الجليل

Hezbollah Drones Capture Footage of Zionist Military Command Sites in Galilee, Shebaa Farms: Israelis Concerned about Nightmare Scenario (Videos)
Mission Accomplished: Hezbollah Drone Flew over Galilee, Returned Safely

التعليق السياسي

تعمّد الإعلام الحربي في المقاومة الإسلامية إحياء ذكرى استشهاد القائد المقاوم حسان اللقيس الذي يُعتبر مؤسس سلاح الجو في قوات المقاومة، والمبدع في قيادة وتطوير جهاز الطائرات المسيّرة، عبر تضمين الحلقة الأخيرة من وثائقي التحرير الثاني قسماً خاصاً عن الطائرة المسيَّرة للمقاومة التي حلقت فوق منطقة الجليل أثناء المناورة العسكرية التي أجراها جيش الاحتلال قبل أيام وبثت في الحلقة مشاهد قامت الطائرة المسيّرة بتصويرها لمنطقة قيادة جيش الاحتلال في الجليل بالتفصيل.

القادة الميدانيّون وقادة غرف العمليات في المقاومة وهم يشرحون تفاصيل الإنجازات العسكرية التي أنجزتها المقاومة، والخطط العسكرية التي قاموا بوضعها، كاشفين عن مستوى من التفوّق والرفعة في العلوم العسكرية، لكن الأهم كان ما قالوه عن علاقة حرب التحرير الثاني بالحرب المقبلة في الجليل، وجاء كلام رئيس المجلس التنفيذي في حزب الله السيد هاشم صفي الدين عن هذه الحرب المقبلة رسالة واضحة لكيان الاحتلال عن انتقال حزب الله من مرحلة توازن الردع الى مرحلة اللاتوازن مستعيداً الوضعية التي كان عليها الأمر معكوساً لصالح جيش الاحتلال قبل إنجاز تحرير العام 2000.

قادة جيش الاحتلال لا ينكرون ما قاله قادة المقاومة عن تفوّق المقاومة في مجال قدرة الاشتباك، وفي المعنويات، وبالمقابل بلوغهم مرحلة توازن في قدرة النار مع جيش الاحتلال ما يجعل أي مواجهة مقبلة بين المقاومة والاحتلال محسومة لصالح المقاومة، ولم تكن خافية المكانة التي يحتلها سلاح الجو في الجهوزية المتقدّمة للمقاومة قياساً بأحادية السيطرة على الجو لصالح جيش الاحتلال، وإذا كان ما هو ظاهر من هذا السلاح هو الطائرات المسيّرة فإن قادة الاحتلال يتحدّثون عمّا هو أهم.

أسرار التحرير الثاني - الحلقة التاسعة - المشاة بالمشاة | شبكة برامج قناة  المنار

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The Smearing of Robert Fisk…Now That He Can’t Defend Himself

DECEMBER 3, 2020

Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth - www.jonathan-cook.net
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism [ MORE ]

BY JONATHAN COOK

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar.

What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Anyone who challenges Katerji’s establishment-serving agenda gets called names – sometimes very rude ones. Fisk is just the latest target of a Katerji hatchet job against any journalist (myself, of course, included) who dares to step outside of the Overton Window. That these “serious” journalists think they can hang their defamation of Fisk on to anything said by Katerji, most especially the thin gruel he produces in his latest article, is truly shameful. If their concerns really relate to journalistic integrity and reliability, Katerji would be the very last person to cite.

Katerji’s prime area of western narrative enforcement is the Middle East – perhaps not surprisingly, as it is the place where there is an awful lot of oil that western states and corporations are desperate to control. But one should not ignore his wide-ranging efforts to boot-lick wherever he is needed on behalf of western establishment narratives.

Here he is desperately trying to breathe life into two fairytales: that the election of the leftwing Evo Morales as Bolivia’s president was fraudulent, and that Morales was forced to resign last year rather than that he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup. Notably, Katerji was clinging to these discredited story lines as late as last month, long after even the liberal corporate media had abandoned them as no longer tenable.

Katerji was also, of course, an enthusiastic recruit to evidence-free establishment smears that Labour was overrun with antisemitism under the leadership of the leftwing Jeremy Corbyn, the very same anecdotal claims promoted by the entire corporate media.

Not only that, but he even had the gall to argue that he was speaking on behalf of Palestinians in smearing Corbyn, the only leader of a major European party ever to champion their cause. Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, like most other politicians in the wake of the Corbyn episode, has all but disappeared the Palestinians from the political agenda. Katerji must be delighted – on behalf of Palestinians, of course.

But Katerji’s beef with Fisk derives chiefly from the fact that the Independent’s foreign correspondent broke ranks with the rest of the western press corps over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Katerji is part of what – if we were being more brutally honest about these things – would be called the west’s al-Qaeda lobby. These are a motley crew of journalists and academics using their self-publicised “Arabhood” to justify the intimidation and silencing of anyone not entirely convinced that ordinary Syrians might prefer, however reluctantly, their standard-issue dictator, Bashar al-Assad, over the head-chopping, women-stoning, Saudi-financed jihadists of Islamic State and al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria; or who question whether the western powers ought to be covertly funding and backing these extremists.

Exercise any doubt at all on either of these points and Katerji will lose no time in calling you an “Assadist”, “war crimes denier”, “antisemite”, “9/11 truther” and worse. Then in yet more evidence of a circle jerk, those establishment blue ticks, even ones beloved by much of the left, will cite his smears as proof that you are indeed an Assadist, war crimes denier, and so on.

Here are just a few examples of Katerji engaging with those critical of the imperial western narrative on Syria, so you get the idea:

Back in 2011 and 2012, in what looked like the possible eruption of an Arab Spring in Syria, the arguments of Katerji and co at least had an air of plausibility. But their real agenda – one that accorded with western imperialism rather than an Arab awakening – became much clearer once local protests against Assad were subsumed by an influx of jihadi fighters of the very kind that had been labelled “terrorists” by the western media everywhere else they appeared in the Middle East.

Inevitably, anyone like Fisk who adopted a position of caution or scepticism about whether the majority of Syrians actually wanted a return to some kind of Islamic Dark Age incurred the wrath of Katerji and his cohorts.

But Fisk infuriated these western al-Nusra lobbyists even further when he visited the town of Douma in 2018 and raised serious questions about claims made by the jihadists who had been ruling the town that, just before Assad’s forces drove them out, the Syrian military had bombed it with chemical gas, killing many civilians. The story, which at that stage was based exclusively on the claims of these head-chopping jihadists, was instantly reported as verified fact by the credulous western media.

Based solely on claims made by the al-Qaeda franchise in Douma, President Donald Trump hurriedly fired off missiles at Syria, in flagrant violation of international law and to cheers from the western media.

Fisk, of course, knew that in discrediting the evidence-free narrative being promoted by the western press corps (who had never been in Douma) he was doing himself no favours at all. They would resent him all the more. Most of his peers preferred to ignore his revelations, even though they were earth-shattering in their implications. But once the official watchdog body the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report into Douma many months later, implicitly backing the jihadists’ version of events, Fisk’s earlier coverage was snidely dismissed by fellow journalists.

Sadly for them, however, the story did not end there. Following publication of the OPCW’s Douma report, a number of its senior experts started coming forward as whistleblowers to say that, under pressure from the US, the OPCW bureaucracy tampered with their research and misrepresented their findings in the final report. The evidence they had found indicated that Assad had not carried out a chemical attack in Douma. More likely the jihadists, who were about to be expelled by Assad’s forces, had staged the scene to make it look like a chemical attack and draw the US deeper into Syria.

Of course, just as the corporate media ignored Fisk’s original reporting from Douma that would have made their own accounts sound like journalistic malpractice, they resolutely ignored the whistleblowers too. You can scour the corporate media and you will be lucky to find even an allusion to the months-long row over the OPCW report, which gained enough real-world prominence to erupt into a major row at the United Nations, including denunciations of the OPCW’s behaviour from the organisation’s former head, Jose Bustani.

This is the way frauds like Katerji are able to ply their own misinformation. They sound credible only because the counter-evidence that would show they are writing nonsense is entirely absent from the mainstream. Only those active on social media and open-minded enough to listen to voices not employed by a major corporate platform (with, in this case, the notable exception of Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail) are able to find any of this counter-information. It is as if we are living in parallel universes.

The reason why Fisk was so cherished by readers, and why there was a real sense of loss when he died a month ago, was that he was one of the very few journalists who belonged to the mainstream but reported as though he were not beholden to the agenda of his corporate platform.

There were specific reasons for that. Like a handful of others – John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges among them – Fisk made his name in the corporate media at a time when it reluctantly indulged the odd maverick foreign correspondent because they had a habit of exposing war crimes everyone else missed, exclusives that then garnered their publications prestigious journalism awards. Ownership of the media was then far less concentrated, so there was a greater commercial incentive for risk-taking and breaking stories. And these journalists emerged in a period when power was briefly more contested, with the labour movement trying to assert its muscle in the post-war decades, and before western societies were forced by the corporate elite to submit to neoliberal orthodoxy on all matters.

Notably, Pilger, Hersh and Hedges all found themselves struggling to keep a place in the corporate media. Fisk alone managed to cling on. That was more by luck. After being forced out of Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper for breaking a disturbing story in 1989 on the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane, he found a new home at Britain’s Independent newspaper, which had been recently founded. As a late-comer to the British media scene, the paper struggled not only to make money but to create a distinctive identity or gain any real visibility. Fisk survived, it seems, because he quickly established himself as one of the very few reasons to buy the paper. He was a rare example of a journalist who was bigger than the outlet he served.

Readers trusted him because he not only refused to submit to his peers’ herd-think but endlessly called them out as journalistically and intellectually lazy.

Those now trying to tarnish his good name are actually inverting the truth. They want to suggest that support for Fisk was cultish and he was hero-worshipped by those incapable of thinking critically. They will say as much about this piece. So let me point out that I am not without my own criticisms of Fisk. I wrote, for example, an article criticising some unsubstantiated claims he made during Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

But my criticism was precisely the opposite of the blue-tick crowd now traducing him. I questioned Fisk for striving to find an implausible middle ground with those establishment blue ticks (before we knew what blue ticks were) by hedging his bets about who was responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. It was a rare, if understandable, example of journalistic timidity from Fisk – a desire to maintain credibility with his peers, and a reluctance to follow through on where the evidence appeared to lead. Maybe this was a run-in with the pro-Israel crowd and the corporate journalists who echo them that, on this occasion, he did not think worth fighting.

The discomfort Fisk aroused in his peers was all too obvious to anyone working in the corporate media, even in its liberal outlets, as I was during the 1990s. I never heard a good word said about Fisk at the Guardian or the Observer. His death has allowed an outpouring of resentment towards him that built up over decades from journalists jealous of the fact that no readers will mourn or remember their own passing.

Fisk’s journalism spoke up for the downtrodden and spoke directly to the reader rather than, as with his colleagues, pandering to editors in the hope of career advancement. In the immediate wake of his death, his colleagues’ disdain for Fisk was veiled in weaselly language. As Media Lens have noted, the favourite term used to describe him in obituaries, even in his own newspaper, was “controversial”.

“It turns out that the term ‘controversial’ is only applied in corporate media to political writers and leaders deemed ‘controversial’ by elite interests.

“This was unwittingly made clear by the big brains at the BBC who noted that Fisk ‘drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy’. If Fisk had drawn ‘controversy’ from China, Iran or North Korea, the ‘weasel word’ would not have appeared in the Beeb’s analysis…

“In corporate media newspeak, ‘controversial’ can actually be translated as ‘offensive to power’. The term is intended as a scare word to warn readers that the labelled person is ‘dodgy’, ‘suspect’: ‘Handle with care!’ The journalist is also signalling to his or her editors and other colleagues: ‘I’m not one of “them”!’”

The journalists who now claim Fisk was a fraud and fantasist are many of those who happily worked for papers that readily promoted the gravest lies imaginable to rationalise an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation. Those publications eagerly supported lies supplied by the US and British governments that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda – claims that were easily disprovable at the time.

Journalists now attacking Fisk include ones, like the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who have been at the forefront of advancing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against Corbyn. Or, like the Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson, have engaged in another favourite corporate journalist pastime, ridiculing the plight of Julian Assange, a fellow journalist who puts their craven stenography to shame and who is facing a lifetime in a US super-max jail for revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even the Guardian’s Jason Burke, who claims to have experienced Fisk’s lying first-hand while working for the Observer newspaper in 2001 (as was I at that time), has been unable to come up with the goods when challenged, as the pitiable Twitter thread retweeted here confirms:

Noticeably, there is a pattern to the claims of those now maligning Fisk: they hurry to tell us that he was an inspiration in their student days. They presumably think that mentioning this will suggest their disillusionment was hard-earned and therefore make it sound more plausible. But actually it suggests something different.

It indicates instead that in their youthful idealism they aspired to become a journalist who would dig out the truth, who would monitor centres of power, who would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To do, in fact, exactly what Fisk did.

But once they got a footing on the corporate career ladder, they slowly learnt that they would need to adopt a more “nuanced” approach to journalism – certainly if they hoped to progress up that ladder, earning the right to their blue tick, and gaining a big enough salary to cover the mortgage in London or New York.

In other words, they became everything they despised in their student days. Fisk was the constant reminder of just how much they had sold out. His very existence shamed them for what they were too cowardly to do themselves. And now in death, when he cannot answer back, they are feasting on his corpse like the vultures that they are, until there is nothing left to remind us that, unlike them, Robert Fisk told uncomfortable truths to the very end.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

Syria: The complicated scene

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.

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