U.N Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack: Was it An Airstrike?

In October 2016 during an ABC interview, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop confirmed that the war in Syria is a proxy war between the U.S and Russia. This should be a cause for concern as Australian military forces are currently operating in Syria. Australian military forces, in particular the Royal Australian Air Force, began operations in Syria in September of 2016. There has been very little information provided to the Australian public with regard to the reasons for Australian military presence other than the typical ‘anti-ISIS’ rhetoric that we see in any western news media. If the Australian minister of foreign affairs has stated on the public record that the conflict in Syria is a proxy war between the U.S and Russia, why are we involved? Who exactly are we attacking? Are civilians being killed as a result of our actions? These are questions that all Australians should be asking themselves.

On September 17 a ‘UN red crescent aid convoy’ was reported to have been attacked and destroyed while it was unloading food at a warehouse in Urem al-Kubra, resulting in the deaths of around 20 people. A huge volume of reports and articles in various mainstream western news outlets including the Guardian, the BBC, CNN, the Washington post and others pinned the blame for the convoy attack on a Russian Air Strike. My personal reaction to this event was initially that of scepticism. The sudden torrent of news articles blaming Russia alone was enough to arouse suspicion in my mind, how could these news outlets know that this was a Russian air strike? There was no real evidence of Russia’s involvement of the ‘convoy attack’ in any of these reports, just pictures of burnt out trucks and an indication that the U.S government blamed Russia. In fact, the pictures provided in initial reports of the aid convoy don’t show anything conclusive.

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Image: Arab News

Immediately following the aid convoy attack, a report was released on the website ‘bellingcat’ where bellingcat’s director, Elliot Higgins, presented evidence in the form of photographs of the warehouse where the aid convoy was unloading. Higgins claimed to have received the evidence from the Syrian White helmet group. However the Syrian White helmets have been exposed as a fraudulent propaganda machine under the control of the U.S government among others (you can see this in my previous blog on the Syrian White Helmets). The photographs included what was described as being damage from an air strike and images of fragments of a Russian designed ‘OFAB-250’ air-to-ground bomb.

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Image: Bellingcat

However 21st century wire provides evidence that suggests the pictures were taken as a staged operation to create fake evidence. This includes independent analysis by Petri Krohn which suggests that it is unlikely that the damage seen in bellingcats photo-evidence was caused by an air dropped Russian bomb. According to Krohn “This really looks like something considerably smaller, mortar shell sized, did explode there, and this fin is thrown into the crater, and all converted into this photo-op scene.” Further to this, 21st century wire also includes evidence in the form of a video that was presented along with early reports of the attack from white helmets, which was supposed to have shown the actual attack in progess.

The main problem with this video is that there is no audible aircraft or helicopter noise. In other video recordings of air strikes from the ground the helicopter / aircraft noise is clearly audible (examples can be found here, here and here). The person that recorded the video embedded above, also claims in real time after separate explosions, that he knows the attack is being carried out by the Syrian forces and the Russian air force. However, it is unlikely that the witness that recorded the video, could have known who or what was causing the explosions. This is because it would be extremely difficult to locate and identify a military air craft flying at high speed in the night sky. There is no conclusive evidence that can prove who really attacked the red-crescent convoy. It is obvious that the claims being made by U.S officials that blame the Syrian and Russian forces are at least an exaggeration.

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Western Media Lies: Syrian White Helmets

The White Helmets’ is a 2016 short documentary that claims to portray the Syrian ‘White Helmets’ in their struggle to save civilians in war torn Syria, from bombs dropped by the Assad regime. The film claims to follow a non-government volunteer organization (NGO) known as the Syrian Civil Defence Unit and showcases a great deal of graphic footage. Much of this footage is intended to give the viewer the impression that the white helmets in the Netflix film risk their lives on a daily basis to pull civilians from collapsed houses destroyed by Syrian and Russian air strikes, particularly in the ‘rebel’ held areas in Eastern section of the city of Aleppo.

The White Helmets or ‘The Syrian Civil Defence’ featured in the Netflix documentary was established in March of 2013 in the Turkish city of Istanbul and was founded and is headed by James Le Mesurier. This Syrian Civil defence or White helmet group seen in the Netflix documentary and discussed in this blog post is actually a recreation of the ‘real’ Syrian Civil Defence created in 1953. The original Syrian Civil defence group is a volunteer organization that has been active for the last 63 years and are still undertaking fire and rescue operations throughout Syria to this day. This use of Netflix as a tool for the dissemination of western propaganda comes as no surprise considering the huge volumes of fabricated stories and evidence present in mainstream western news and media.

Perhaps the most widely publicized incident featuring the ‘White Helmets’ we see in the Netflix documentary, is the supposed rescue of a young boy named Omran Daqneesh. Omran was filmed being rescued by white helmets from the rubble of a destroyed house, supposedly hit by a Syrian Assad or Russian air strike that killed both of his parents. The story of Omran was widely circulated on western mainstream news media outlets and a high quality picture of Omran sitting in the back of an ambulance, on an orange seat, was featured heavily. However, it quickly became apparent that the whole incident was more than likely simply opportunistic propaganda perpetuated by mainstream western news outlets such as The Washington Post, The BBC and Time. It was also revealed that the man who captured the image of Omran, “Mahmoud Raslan”, was actually affiliated and photographed with a group of men that recorded themselves beheading a child.

Aside from the fact that many of the recorded incidents recorded by the Syrian White Helmet group that is portrayed in western mainstream media are suspicious for many reasons, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the white helmets seen in these videos and news stories are imposters with links and affiliations to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. There is also evidence to suggest that the Syrian White Helmets seen on Netflix and in mainstream was founded by British ‘ex’ military intelligence officer ‘James Le Mesurier’, who has been involved in other wars including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and has also maintained high profile positions in the UN, the EU and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office. These circumstances along with the fact that the Syrian White Helmets have received over $60 million in funding from various government bodies and agencies, including the UK Foreign Office and the United States Agency for International Development among others, generate a great deal of suspicion surrounding the reasons behind the creation of this ‘white helmet’ group and the real reason for its existence.

The reality of the situation is that the White Helmets we see on Netflix and in western news media is simply a propaganda tool designed to destabilize Syria and create a false perception of what is happening in Aleppo and Syria. According to Vanessa Beeley’s 21st Century Wire report on the Syrian white helmets, the white helmets were created and funded primarily by agencies of the U.S and British governments and serve as a destabilization and propaganda tool to enhance the image and public perception of the illegal United States military intervention in Syria.

In another article ‘Who are the Syria White Helmets’, Vanessa Beeley describes why the White Helmets are an important propaganda tool for the U.S government and its allies. The White Helmets are described as the most important component in the process of building a ‘shadow state’ in Syria. The white helmets are a highly important source of propaganda that enables a media and political campaign against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government. This demonization of Assad and the Syrian government gives legitimacy to the actions of the U.S and its allies in Syria.

According to a writer for the Activist Post, Brandon Turbeville, “the White Helmets should be considered nothing more than a branch of the Western destabilization apparatus, a wing of Jabhat al-Nusra, and an entirely discredited organization. Clearly, after examining the nature and reality of the organization, whatever claims made by the White Helmets should be immediately dismissed as yet another false statement in a long string of lies easily traced directly back to the United States and the UK”.

The fact that the White Helmets are essentially a well-funded propaganda tool under the control of the U.S government, among others, should be a cause for concern for anyone. The short documentary published on Netflix is blatant propaganda and lies and should cause one to question how and why this could happen. The white helmets have seen constant coverage by mainstream news sources since videos and images of the group first started appearing. If so much time and money is spent creating a web of lies surrounding one facet of the war in Syria by western government and intelligence agencies, how can we truly believe anything we see or hear in our mainstream news and media outlets?

Western Propaganda Reaches New Lows

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Omran Daqneesh

A recent example of propaganda or misinformation in regular news media is the story of a young Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh. You might have seen pictures of Omran circulating Facebook, sitting in the back of an ambulance after supposedly being recovered from a collapsed building after an air strike. Mainstream news outlets, including this Washington post story framed the story in a way to suggest that Syrian or Russian warplanes had bombed the boy’s house and he had subsequently been recovered by the White Helmets. The white helmets are a so-called NGO group who, according to mainstream western sources such as the BBC, are a collection of heroic volunteer Syrian civilians that help Syrian civilians with emergency and humanitarian aid.

However, according to  Vanessa Beeley, a peace activist and reporter working for 21st Century Wire, the White Helmets are actually closely affiliated with al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra who are funded by foreign countries including the British Foreign Office.
Soon after images of Omran started circulating, it was reported that the photographer ) who first took the images of Omran was found in photos which revealed an affiliation with two men that had previously beheaded 12-year-old Syrian boy, Abdullah Issa on camera.

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Compared to the viral spreading of the potentially staged Omran video, along with other inconsistencies in the story, doubt has been created in the minds of many as to whether there may be elements of the story that are fabricated or exaggerated to garner support internationally and discredit Assad.

 

Ghouta Gas Attack

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An unelxploded rocket in Syria

A good example of misinformation or propaganda that has passed through mainstream western news sources in recent times, was the well reported incident in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013. In this incident, up to 1,500 civilians were killed when a rocket containing military grade sarin gas was launched into jihadist held areas in Damascus.

The initial narrative from NATO and UN members including the U.S.A, Britain and France, was that the rocket was launched from within Syrian government held territory and thus could only have been launched by SAA forces. Even with an investigation from the UN into the attacks, there was no definitive evidence finding that the Assad government was actually responsible.

In fact, a large number of people have spoken out in disagreement and provided evidence that the rocket was actually launched by anti-Assad forces to generate foreign support against the Assad government.  For example Global Research cited a recent report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which states that the sarin gas used in the attacks was not linked to the former chemical weapons stockpiles maintained by the Assad government, which were destroyed in Norway in agreement with the Russian and U.S administrations in 2016.

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ISIL fighters targeted by an air strike

This narrative presented by the U.S government and various western news outlets wrongly suggested that the Assad government were the only ones capable of creating and using the sarin nerve gas in Syria. In reality, Seymour Hersh pointed out that U.S agencies had “evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaeda, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred, al-Nusra should have been a suspect but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.”

The gas attack is just one example of the media spin presented on behalf of the U.S and NATO in Syria. There are and will be many more examples of propaganda and lies which I hope to uncover and explain with this blog.