Over the past week, the Guardian has engaged in a variety of personal attacks on a number of independent journalists and academics – those who criticise the paper’s support for the ‘White Helmets’; a so-called ‘humanitarian’ organisation that operates in ‘rebel-held’ areas of Syria.
It’s not my purpose here to describe the genesis of the White Helmets, the way they are funded, their modus operandi, or the PR campaign that has accompanied two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, one victory at the Oscars, and a number of other awards.
All this information is available in other sources, two of which I will mention below. My purpose here is not to describe the story itself, but to warn you of something very important:
There are two versions of this story; but the media only wants you to hear one of them
The first version of the White Helmets story, is the one put forward by the Guardian, the BBC, & Channel 4, as well as the British and US governments. It goes something like this:
“The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation made up of 3,400 volunteers – former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters – who rush to pull people from the rubble when bombs rain down on Syrian civilians. They’ve been credited with saving thousands of civilians during the country’s continuing civil war.
They have also exposed, through first-hand video footage, war crimes including a chemical attack in April. Their work was the subject of an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary and the recipient of two Nobel peace prize nominations”.
Olivia Solon is ‘senior technology reporter’ for the Guardian and is based in San Francisco. She has never been to Syria.
The second version is very different. If you read Ms Solon’s article you will see it referred to thus:
“an extraordinary disinformation campaign that positions them as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organisation. The Guardian has uncovered how this counter-narrative is propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government (which provides military support to the Syrian regime).
The ‘disinformation campaign’ being referred to is what used to be called ‘investigative journalism’ in the day when such creatures were revered in the mainstream media – in the shape of guys like John Pilger and Seymour Hersh, who are now no longer ‘politically correct’. It is largely the work of two young reporters, Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, who work on the ground in Syria.
Anyway, here is the second version:
“In summary, this evidence points to the White Helmets being a U.S., U.K. and EU creation and not an independent NGO. It is a multi-million-dollar organization funded by governments that are involved and invested in the Syrian conflict. No one can rightly call this a grassroots Syrian organization.
…The evidence demonstrates that the White Helmets are sectarian — not impartial, as they claim to be. They are in many instances armed — not unarmed, as they claim to be. The promotional material produced for the White Helmets, such as the recent Netflix documentary film, is often produced outside of Syria, usually in Turkey, and with field footage supplied only by the White Helmets”
Vanessa Bartlett, “Investigation: White Helmets committing acts of terror across Syria”
Whatever I, or anyone else thinks: You need to make up your own mind – consciously and after reviewing the evidence. Clearly, the Guardian do not want you to have the opportunity to do this.
My hope is that the Guardian will respond to the invitation issued by Vanessa Beeley and Tim Hayward, Professor of Politics at Edinburgh University for a full PUBLIC debate. (You can read their invitation here)
Thus far, the invitation has been ignored/rejected by Ms Solon, George Monbiot, and the Guardian itself. They have instead continued to dismiss the criticism with deflection and personal slurs.
My thoughts on the need for a public debate are summed up in a tweet that I sent on Monday:
I have received no response from the Guardian reporters, which surprises me not one jot.
So…what’s my opinion on the White Helmets? They are the propaganda division of a US led proxy war on Syria, designed to bolster public support for the war, and build the case for ‘no fly zones’ – which would enable al-Nusra to consolidate territory under air cover.
In short, the White Helmets are the most obvious ‘crock’ I’ve seen since Colin Powell wiggled his little tube at the United Nations.
Does that make me an anti-imperialist? I hope so – that’s a badge of honour.
How about a conspiracy theorist? Do you mean like the time I said the CIA was funding al-Qaeda…and then Washington admitted that it had been funding al-Qaeda…do you mean like that? Oh yeah, I’m one of those.
How about a Russian funded troll? No, Ms Solon…I’m afraid I’m something far more dangerous than that…I’m an informed citizen. A retired UK business-person who has been round more blocks than you’ve had hot dinners. I can smell a crock from a mile away Ms Solon…and in my opinion…the Guardian is full of it.
On Tuesday the Guardian published an editorial entitled ‘The Guardian View on George Soros: The best of the 1%’
Here are some snippets:
“Many billionaires try to influence the politics of countries that aren’t their own. Most do so by stealth but George Soros is open – and usually right…
…George Soros is hardly the first billionaire to spend some of his money trying to influence the policies of countries where he does not live or have a vote: the papers that have led the charge against his funding of anti-Brexit organisations are all owned by such men even if none is as rich as he is…
Mr Soros has for years been the target of organised hate campaigns, often coloured with antisemitism, which seem to go far beyond the hostility aimed at other international power figures. Only Rupert Murdoch enjoys a similar reputation as a sinister manipulator of democratic governments, and he is the target of much less orchestrated loathing”
What’s my issue with this? Firstly, let me tell you what it’s not. It’s not about Brexit. If there is another referendum, which there usually is when the EUSSR doesn’t get its own way, it won’t be because of George Soros. It’s a sideshow for him anyway.
Is it because he’s Jewish? I don’t care if he worships in a synagogue, a church, a temple, or a casino. I don’t care if he’s black, white, yellow, or green. I don’t give a flying wotsit what he eats for dinner and I don’t care who he hangs out with. Got that identity junkies? I don’t givashit!
I care about this: Soros invests millions of dollars supporting ‘protests’ in countries where he doesn’t like the government. I don’t care if this money is ‘open’ or not. It is provided to organisations with the purpose of regime change.
Do you think that the Russian speakers being killed in the Donbass right now are grateful that Kiev’s ‘spontaneous revolution’ was openly funded by the State Department and George Soros?
Do you believe that there’s some grieving Father saying this to his family right now?
“Look on the bright side children – at least mummy died from a shell that was openly funded”.
And before anyone says ‘Soros isn’t paying for the bullets’ – when you work with the State Department and you spend $millions de-stabilising a government you don’t like, you know where that leads. His fingerprints are on those bullets as surely as if he’d bought them himself.
So…this piece is called ‘The Guardian: a cheerleader for US sponsored terror’…because that is exactly what the Guardian is doing – cheerleading for a group of terrorists funded by the west and lionising a guy that finances regime change with the full knowledge and support of the US State Department.
The Guardian, like the Washington Post, is a mockery of what it once was.
We met up with the broadcaster and film maker, Max Keiser, to discuss whether the American Empire is repeating history within the context of a global economy arguably at the point of collapse.
What is the British taxpayer not being told about the ongoing war in Syria?
We discuss the recent OPCW report to understand the true nature of power and the real meaning of contemporary events.