White Helmets: A tool for ‘regime change’ in Syria that’s too important to stop funding?
Washington’s decision to resume funding for White Helmets after a brief freeze highlights how important the controversial group is for the US-promoted regime-change agenda, journalists and Syrian conflict observers have told RT.
“The Pentagon planners have probably finally realized just how important the White Helmets are to the regime change operation,” Mike Raddie, co-editor of BSNews and an anti-war activist, told RT. “The fact that they have been so successful in proving fake imagery and fake evidence… just means that they can be relied upon whenever there is a need for a pretext for another missile attack or even a full-scale invasion.”
The anti-war activist recalled how the so-called Syria Civil Defence units, better known as the White Helmets, have been instrumental in the justification of the US strikes on Syria in April of 2017, and the trilateral strikes by the UK, France, and the US in April 2018.
US to shell out $6.6mn for White Helmets ‘vital operations’ weeks after promising funding freeze
The strikes, Raddie stressed, were all conducted as a hasty ‘retaliation’ against the Syrian government at times when the international community was horrified by fresh footage of alleged chemical incidents, conveniently provided by the likes of the White Helmets.
Calling the self-styled volunteer organization a clearly “belligerent party” with links to al-Qaeda terrorists, Raddie noted that the supposedly patriotic grassroots group has been actively calling for a “no-fly zone, which obviously means full invasion.” Thus, he believes, the State Department decided to release some $6.6mn in previously frozen funding for the group, just in case another pretext for a strike against Syria or a similar intervention is needed.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist who has recently visited Syria, believes Washington never really intended to cut off the group’s funding. “The funding freeze largely was a fake funding freeze,” Beeley told RT. “The funding freeze, in my opinion, was actually a way to secure further and more diverse funding for the White Helmets.”
The investigative journalist pointed out that in April, after the US announced the freeze, Raed Al Saleh, Head of the Syria Civil Defence, the White Helmets, came to the US to receive an award at the Sedona Forum 2018, hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership. That event was attended by US top leadership, including Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, and John Mattis, Secretary of Defense.
While nothing official was announced, following that meeting the White Helmets were allegedly awarded contracts with Turkey and Qatar, Beeley said. Furthermore, she noted that British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to maintain and even increase the funding for the White Helmets. “The British government has directly financed the White Helmets to the tune of almost 39 million pounds,”according to Beeley.
While the money is allegedly intended for the group to carry out its humanitarian work on the ground, Beeley, who has recently returned from East Aleppo and East Ghouta, says she could not find a single person to confirm that the White Helmets actually rescued civilians.
“I’ve heard that the White Helmets were there to work as agents for the terrorist groups, to help them when they are under attack by the Syrian Arab Army and their allies,” she stressed. Thus Beeley “strongly disputed” the State Department’s claims that the group saved some “100,000 lives” in Syria and has demanded proof to support that assertion.