Warning: This article contains photographs and descriptions that may be disturbing to some readers.
The White Helmets have been painted as heroes. Tales of their risky, life-saving operations have often garnered press. There was even discussion about whether they should be given a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. Yet their reputation has been tarnished by repeated stories that it is all a ruse. Accusations of staged rescues reached the United States along with claims from citizens in places like Aleppo. They insist that the White Helmets are nothing more than a branch of al-Qaeda known as the Nusra Front.
Over 60 dead and 100 injured in rebel-stronghold Azaz North Aleppo after huge car bomb. No white helmets here due to low propaganda value pic.twitter.com/XylqjJ9ecn
— The'Nimr'Tiger ?? (@Souria4Syrians) January 7, 2017
One of the most concerning aspects of the White Helmet controversy is how they are funded. Their true intent would be less of an issue if they weren’t operating on a budget from several countries; including the United States.
Obama and his liberal media lauded the efforts of the group. CNN called them “A glimmer of hope, of men and women in white helmets.” The gushing article goes on to describe an interview with 25 White Hats, all of whom had personally saved at least one life in the war-torn country.
With such positive publicity, few questioned that money sent to the White Helmets was being well spent on worthy causes. And there were significant amounts of cash. One independent researcher suggests; “100 million dollars from the US, 23 million via USAID; from the UK around now 65 million – it was originally 19.7 million pounds and Boris Johnson announced a further 32 million. France is supplying equipment. Denmark, Germany, Holland and even Japan through the international agency in Japan.”
Doubts continued to linger, however, especially after pictures were published that simply didn’t make sense. In December the White Helmets were on the scene as the water supply to the city of Damascus was tainted with diesel fuel. In addition, a water treatment facility was partially destroyed with explosives. Appearing to rush to the aid of civilians, the White Helmets placed responsibility for the crisis in the hands of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The Syrian government disputed the claim. A photo was released causing some to question who was really at fault.
It was pointed out that the captured image was quite strange: “This would be considered odd behavior if it were actually SAA that did the damage, but which makes perfect sense if they intentionally damaged the facility themselves after poisoning the Damascus water supply.”
The mystery deepened when the White Helmets were part of a group, presumably the perpetrators, offering access to the damaged facility under strict conditions. Aid would be allowed through but only if the SAA stopped the attack, lifted the siege, and a cease-fire was monitored by international groups. If the SAA was the cause and the White Helmets were part of the solution, this letter makes absolutely no sense.
Wadi Barada statement: we will let teams to fix water spring if SAA-Hezb stop attack, siege lift & monitor ceasefire by intl observers pic.twitter.com/w4URWcd1Nt
— Hassan Ridha (@sayed_ridha) January 3, 2017
With the recent chemical strikes in Syria, the stage was ripe for the White Helmets to “save” more innocent people. When videos and pictures began rolling in of the group rushing to the rescue of dying children, mainstream media took the bait and skeptics took notice.
Chairman of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDH), Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli immediately began scrutinizing the videos. What he found was shocking. Later, several doctors confirmed his findings.
Their investigation revealed that “the main highlighted ‘life-saving‘ procedure on the infant shown in the second video of the sequence was faked. Namely, no substance (e.g. adrenaline) was injected into the child while the ‘medic’ or doctor introduced the syringe-needle in a simulated intracardiac-injection manoeuvre.”
Their close examination had uncovered a bombshell. With this fact known, the conclusion was devastating. The child in the video, “if not already dead, might have died because of the injection procedure.”
A second video of the White Helmet’s life-saving efforts was analyzed by Professor Noli as well. He describes part of his process; “I studied the sequence frame by frame. I took screenshots of the relevant frames in sequence, which also indicated the position on the video in order to allow visualization of the full sequence.” He and his colleagues found several issues with the video.
- Dr. Leif Elinder, MD, a specialist in pediatrics: “The needle should be inserted in the left costosternal angle and aspirating while advancing the needle until the ventricular chamber is entered, where the active drug (adrenalin) is injected. The video clip does not show that this has been done.”
- Dr. Lena Oske, MD, GP, Chief Medical Doctor: “It is clearly observed that the medic seen performing the ‘injection’ in front of the camera, never injected anything. When he removed the needle from the child, there was an equal amount of fluid left in the syringe barrel, as it was then he inserted the needle.”
- Dr. Martin Gelin, a specialist in dental surgery, designer of various medical and surgical items: “The laryngoscope displayed in the video, positioned on the child’s left wrist/hand, is in my view an instrument for grown patients. Of course, this is only an estimation supported by the instrument size in comparison with the size/length of the child’s arm/hand. BUT, the blade is curved! Laryngoscopes for small children have a flat (or less curved) and smaller blade.”
A doctor from the UK who wished to remain nameless had this opinion; “I think that even from the very brief video, we can see that this child has a reduced level of consciousness: he does not vocalize, does not open his eyes, and his only movements are to turn his head to one side and to open his mouth before he stops breathing altogether. This looks like respiratory depression, rather than injury to the lungs; he appears to be too sleepy to breathe. I think the most likely diagnosis is a drug overdose causing reduced level of consciousness and respiratory depression. Opiates are the most likely class of drug to cause this. Chlorine causes acute inhalation injury, but does not (in any of the sources I have read) cause a reduced level of consciousness: the victim struggles to breathe until the end.”
Professor Noli came to the inescapable conclusion that the video was a fake. The reasons behind it are still unknown and could range from the somewhat benign (and doubtful) need for recognition to the villainous; the White Helmets were the killers, not the heroes they pretend to be. Somewhere in between lies the suggestion that this could have all been a public relations stunt to try and force military action.
Reasoning aside, the allegations against the group are too frequent and too severe to be ignored. With Obama gone, the U.S. can no longer send assistance to a group that may very well be terrorists themselves.