[Marxism] Fwd: Who are Syria's White Helmets, and why are they so controversial?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 29 16:36:40 MDT 2016


The joint Russian-Assad regime campaign against the the White Helmets is 
not just fought with bombs and missiles. Russian and Syrian state 
outlets are circulating “information” meant to tarnish the volunteers as 
allies of terrorism, dedicated only to the assistance of jihadists. As 
President Assad told the Associated Press in September 2016: “They use 
different humanitarian masks and umbrellas just to implement certain 
agendas.”

The theme has been eagerly taken up by those who view the Syrian 
conflict as a conspiracy of American “imperialism”.

That the White Helmets receive assistance from the US government’s 
Agency for International Development – something they have not denied – 
apparently means they’re American puppets, even though they draw a range 
of support from around the world. The fundraising support they get from 
a PR firm somehow proof that they are the vanguard of a proxy war fought 
by a US military-industrial complex.

Blogger Vanessa Beeley has switched her focus from Israel and Gaza to 
wage a vitriolic campaign against the White Helmets as “first responders 
for the US and NATO al-Nusra/al-Qaeda forces”. Never mind that the White 
Helmets explicitly stand against violence and extremism; ignore the 
absurdity of the idea that the US – which is bombing the jihadists of 
Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, and which has been in a misconceived “War on 
Terror” against al-Qaeda for a decade and a half – is suddenly allied 
with those groups. The sight of volunteers celebrating with rebels in 
the city of Idlib is apparently evidence that the White Helmets are 
“al-Qaeda”.

Max Blumenthal, another writer who has challenged Israeli policies in 
Palestine, frames the White Helmets as “driven by a pro-interventionist 
agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups 
that back them”. Never mind that the White Helmets’ “crime” is to call 
for zones protecting civilians; ignore their firm declaration that they 
don’t affiliate with any government or NGO. To Blumenthal, they are a 
Trojan horse for “70,000 American servicemen” to invade Syria.

Having started the cycle of disinformation, Russian state outlets can 
complete it by citing “investigative journalists” such as Beeley and 
Blumenthal to deride the White Helmets as a “controversial 
quasi-humanitarian organisation” and – invoking the magnate George Soros 
as conspiracy master – a “Soros-sponsored” operation “cooking up lies”.

full: 
https://theconversation.com/who-are-syrias-white-helmets-and-why-are-they-so-controversial-66580



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