[Marxism] FYI - White Helmets at TIFF

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Wed Sep 14 10:10:02 MDT 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO & HAMILTON,
SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
Informational Picket at Toronto International Film Festival
The Syria Solidarity Movement (SSM) today announces that it will have an informational picket of the documentary film, “The White Helmets”, at the Toronto International Film Festival. The picket will take place on Thursday, September 15, at 10:30 am at the Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West at the corner of Peter Street, where the media/industry screening of the documentary will take place as part of Short Cuts Programme 11.
The SSM calls on TIFF not to show this particular documentary because the White Helmets organization, described in TIFF's promotional material as “a small group of volunteer heroes”, is a fraud. The documentary, “The White Helmets”, like the organization itself, is part of a propaganda offensive, directed at western audiences, in order to incite more violence against the people and government of Syria and to justify further military intervention by western countries against the sovereign state of Syria.
Background
For more than five years, proxy armies of the USA, its NATO allies (including Canada), and various Arab monarchies (such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar) have waged an illegal war and occupation in Syria, resulting in close to half a million deaths, turning 11 million Syrians into displaced people, and laying waste Syrian infrastructure. The goal of the operation is regime change. The White Helmets organization is part of this illegal operation and yet, in the documentary, is depicted as a positive force.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The White Helmets organization was founded by John LeMesurier, a former British army officer, later connected to the notorious Blackwater mercenary organization. It is well-funded by the same governments who are waging the current aggression against Syria. In the past 2.5 years, it received £19.7m from the British government and $ 23m from the US government. Millions more dollars in cash, equipment, and training were contributed by various European NATO countries (including $4m from the Netherlands). The White Helmets operate only in terrorist-controlled areas of Syria. The organization is, in fact, deeply embedded in the Nusra (Al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria) and ISIS terrorist groups. The White Helmet leader, Raed Saleh, was refused entry to the USA and deported from Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2016, because immigration officials found that he had “terrorist connections.” (1) Saleh has repeatedly called for a no-fly zone over Syria, the same tactic used by NATO in 2011 to bomb Libya into a failed state.
The White Helmets are first-responder poseurs. The REAL Syria Civil Defence was established in Syria in 1953 and was a founding member of the ICDO [International Civil Defence Org.] which is recognised by the United Nations. The White Helmets were only formed in 2013 by the UK, Turkey, and the US as part of their neocolonialist programme in Syria. The White Helmets are not members of the ICDO.
The SSM insists that TIFF should do the right thing and pull the “The White Helmets” from its Short Cuts Programme 11.
For further info, please contact Ken at 905-383-7693 or kenstone at cogeco.ca
-30-
1) http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/world/middleeast/leader-of-syria-rescue-group-arriving-in-us-for-award-is-refused-entry.html?_r=0




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