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    Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, take a selfie with their certificates after taking part in a training session in the rebel-held eastern Ghouta area, east of the capital Damascus, on November 22, 2016

    Heroes or Zeroes? Questions Raised About Upright Image of 'White Helmets'

    © AFP 2017/ AMER ALMOHIBANY
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    Now that Aleppo is wholly liberated from jihadists and thousands of civilians are freed from terrorists' captivity, a Norwegian blogger asks what happened to the so-called Syrian Civil Defense, also known as "the White Helmets," who are self-credited for rescuing non-combatants and were recently nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    According to Norwegian blogger Pål Steigan, who lashed out against lavish Norwegian contributions to the morally dubious cause, the whole White Helmet business is "a downright fraud" from beginning to end.

    "When East Aleppo fell, there wasn't a single White Helmet anywhere to be seen. They had all vanished into thin air, together with the narrative of the heroic Syrian uprising that the mainstream media has been expelling for years," Pål Steigan wrote.

    According to Steigan, the White Helmets are in fact none other than al-Nusra's propaganda department, with a budget of at least $100 million, funded from the United States and other countries supposedly at war with terrorism. The supposedly independent Syria Campaign, which involved shock content to request a full-blown Western campaign against Syria, was in fact yet another propaganda vehicle for the White Helmets. However, when East Aleppo fell, the White Helmets were gone without a trace, as were other "humanitarian" organizations which largely benefitted from EU and US help.

    Norway alone funneled millions upon millions of dollars in tax money and private donors through the Norwegian People's Aid (NPAID), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC).

    "What did appear were massive food and medicine storages, which together with depots of weapons and chemicals were enough to keep the war going on for years," Steigan wrote, claiming that the terrorists used civilians as human shields and fully controlled the supplies that were intended for the civilians.

    According to Steigan, the EU now intends to revamp its support of "terrorist friends." The EU is poised to eschew its previous rhetoric insisting on the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and instead aims to push through a transfer of power to the Syrian provinces, which would in effect allow establishing further jihadist enclaves across the war-torn nation.

    The White Helmets (SCD) was founded in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2013 by former British officer James Le Mesurier. Training and courses were provided by the Turkish Search and Rescue Association. In the ensuing years, SCD grew to a full-fledged organization of some 3,000 volunteers operating from over a hundred local civil defense centers across Syria. SCD is supported by the aid agencies of a number of external donor governments, such as the UK Commonwealth Office, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and, most notably, the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    By their own account, SCD was supposed to have rescued 73,350 people, yet judging by its own imagery was found to have been rescuing the same "victims" at different occasions. Additionally, SCD members were found to take sides in the ongoing conflict, carry arms, sport Islamist imagery and disrespect corpses of Syrian soldiers.

    Meanwhile, the process of glorification of the White Helmets goes on. Celebrity actor George Clooney is reportedly engaged in developing a feature version of the eponymous documentary about the White Helmets. "The White Helmets" previously landed on the 2017 Oscar shortlist for documentary shorts.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    White Helmets, Pål Steigan, Syria, Middle East, Aleppo, Norway
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