by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 9, Safar, 1440)
The West has mastered the art of propaganda and hypocrisy. Terrorists are presented as peacemakers and those striving for peace and justice are accused of being terrorists. This applies as much to the terrorist outfit, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO) used against the Islamic Republic of Iran as it does to the inappropriately named group called White Helmets operating in terrorist-held areas in Syria.
There is nothing “white” about this heavily armed group masquerading as “rescue workers” when in reality they act in tandem with Western-backed terrorists unleashed on the people of Syria. Repeatedly independent journalists like the intrepid Eva Bartlett of Canada or Vanessa Beeley of Britain have exposed the misdeeds of this group.
While the group claims to be working to rescue Syrian civilians allegedly targeted by Syrian government forces, most people on the ground have not even heard of them. This is not surprising since the White Helmets operate only in areas controlled by Western-backed terrorists (euphemistically referred to as “rebels” to divert attention from their nasty deeds) to help the terrorists. More importantly, the group is not there to help civilians; its main function is to act as a propaganda tool for the West.
Far from being a rescue outfit, the group carries weapons and its members have been photographed standing, with broad grins on their faces, atop the bodies of dead Syrian soldiers. Do rescue workers indulge in such acts anywhere else in the world?
The White Helmets have also acted as an echo chamber for Western allegations that the Syrian government has used sarin or poison gas against civilians. The West has tried to legitimize such allegations by having the White Helmets peddle them first. This is the same technique used through the shop-front one-man outfit in Coventry, England, that goes by the pompous name, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Rami ‘Abd al-Rahman heads this one-man show. He is on the payroll of the British intelligence agency, MI6.
As the war on Syria gradually winds down, thanks to Syrian army successes on the group with help from friends such as Hizbullah, Iran, and Russia, the West has launched a mission to rescue the “rescuers”! Canada seems to be in the forefront. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced last month that her government had taken in scores of White Helmets and their families and more were on the way.
The Toronto daily, The Globe and Mail quoted on October 19 Ms. Freeland and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen as saying that “more White Helmets are going through immigration processing overseas and security screening will be completed before the refugees are allowed to fly to Canada.” The foreign minister told The Globe, “She has been personally engaged in the White Helmets rescue and resettlement.”
Citing concern for their safety, Ms. Freeland said she could not disclose where the White Helmets are and when they are coming to Canada. Officials would not even say where the White Helmets have, or will be, settled in Canada. Why such secrecy if the people allegedly rescued are genuine refugees? No such safety concerns were expressed in 2015– 2016 when Canada took in an estimated 35,000 Syrian refugees. In fact, the government went out of its way to publicize their arrival and brandished their presence as Canada’s contribution to humanitarian efforts. Canadians from all walks of life were encouraged to step forward and help the refugees.
It has also been revealed that Canada in conjunction with Israeli forces launched a night mission in July to evacuate 422 people — members of the White Helmets and their families — from Syria. Without missing the opportunity to berate the Syrian government, it alleged that the White Helmets faced increasing danger as Syrian government forces encircled them.
The truth is that Damascus has offered amnesty even to hardcore terrorists to surrender their weapons and resume normal life provided they eschew any further violence. There has not been one case where a former terrorist has been harmed in Syria. So why would the Syrian government harm so-called rescue workers, if they indeed were rescue workers? President Bashar al-Asad’s government offered the same amnesty to White Helmets as it had done to armed terrorists: surrender your weapons and return to civilian life.
Western allegations that White Helmets faced imminent danger, is sheer propaganda (outright lies). It is clear that the outfit’s mission was altogether different from what they have been projected to be, hence the need to whisk them out of Syria. They have been funded to the tune of $30 million or more per year. Funding has come from the US, Britain, Germany, France, and others. All these regimes have been involved in the plot to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government.
It seems Ottawa is not satisfied with merely bringing the White Helmets to Canada under the cover of anonymity. A pro-Israeli lawyer and former cabinet minister Irwin Cotler nominated the White Helmets for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. He claimed they were “the embodiment of what heroism and hope and the search for peace and our common humanity is all about.” Such soaring rhetoric would sound more credible if it were not for the fact that the war on Syria was launched to protect the illegitimate Zionist entity. The White Helmets were part of this diabolical plot. If the purpose was hope and peace, why was Syria subjected to a seven-year-long war in which hundreds of thousands of people died and millions more were rendered homeless?
Independent journalist Vanessa Beeley, who has been to Syria many times and narrowly escaped being killed by a terrorist-fired missile near Damascus earlier this year, wrote, “A young boy in the Bab al-Nairab district of East Aleppo (after liberation) told me that the White Helmets worked with the Nusrah Front in a shared building and collaborated in the imprisonment and torture of members of his family. If this is Cotler’s vision of ‘common humanity’ then we are facing a very bleak future.”
One could add another point. In September, Canada declared that what Myanmar had done to the Rohingya refugees amounted to genocide. It also rescinded the honorary citizenship conferred on Aung San Suu Kyi. Yet it has not deemed fit to offer sanctuary to any of the Rohingya refugees living in appalling conditions in Bangladeshi camps. Surely, these people deserve much more sympathy than the so-called White Helmets.
As Eva Bartlett reminded us in a Facebook page comment, “Why did the Canadian government refuse the entry of 100 injured Palestinian children from Gaza in 2014, a truly humanitarian effort, and yet will fast-track the entry of potentially dangerous men with potential ties to terrorists?” She also reminded us that Robin Wettlaufer, the Canadian official behind this evacuation effort, met with White Helmet leader Ra’id Salih (once denied entry into the US due to his potential ties to extremists, according to Mark Toner) in late-June, as the Syrian army was regaining territory in Daraa governorate. “Wettlaufer has held the Istanbul-based position of Special Representative for Syria, under Global Affairs Canada, from March 2014 to present, according to her LinkedIn page. In fact, she is the Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition, something noted in a December 2016 Global Affairs Canada video featuring Wettlaufer” and not the whole of Syria.
The difference is important. We must be careful about how people are packaged and presented. It is not as benign as it is made out.