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?


Author: syriadebunked

University of Wollongong. Communication & Media Student.

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