The White Helmets is an interesting organisation. If you listen to the mainstream media, its actions may be interpreted as being that of a completely apolitical, neutral humanitarian organisation with daring volunteers who operate in a battlefield too harsh for the likes of better-known NGOs. A selfless group of good Samaritans. Whether this is actually the case is debatable.
The White Helmets have their own website, were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, received a prize from the “Right Livelihood Award Foundation”, have an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary and unlimited positive media coverage. Snopes gives it two thumbs up, so you know they’re legit (though it does little more than a cursory examination of a single article).
Not bad for a Syrian grassroots movement… but there’s a minor caveat, at least according to Mayday Rescue, an organisation that seems dedicated to funneling money to the White Helmets. Funding for the White Helmets largely comes from foreign sources, including the governments of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany. Money and support also flows in from the United States Government.
Another foreign government link comes from a surprising source: the distinctly non-Syrian founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, was a former British Military Intelligence Officer and “private security specialist” (mercenary). It should be noted that it is hard for an organisation to remain impartial when its funding and its founder come directly from the governments of specific Western nations.
Regardless of what I have to say, perhaps an actual video of the White Helmets at work would demonstrate the extent of their impartiality in the conflict (Warning, NSFW, includes footage of an actual execution):
It’s a disturbing extremist execution video, but towards the end, several men wearing the iconic White Helmets uniform enter the scene cheering — they carry a stretcher for the murdered victim whose corpse is unceremoniously covered with a large blanket.
This is a government-funded non-governmental organisation like no other; impartial in their service to extremists everywhere. Perhaps, though, they are concerned about the unsanitary nature of leaving a corpse out to rot, and patiently watch the execution of infidels so that the corpse can be removed post-haste.
Snopes might not view a single recording as “evidence” of assisting terrorists, but other videos that seem to depict White Helmets rescue workers behaving dubiously do exist (such as White Helmets waiting to clean up after an Al Nusra execution as seen in the image above). These videos are not as well-scripted as the ones produced by the White Helmets themselves, but they should suffice.
This ISIS propaganda video created with the assistance of John Cantlie (abducted with James Foley, remember the beheading video? He’s been with ISIS making propaganda videos for four to five years now, though his current condition is unknown) shows the White Helmets with their iconic headgear working with ISIS (skip to the 7 min 56 seconds mark); though, in this case their insignia cannot be seen:
Of course, being impartial means helping everyone — including ISIS… with their propaganda videos.
Then there’s this video that seems to show the White Helmets rescuing a man trapped beneath rubble. However, the man and the rescuers wait motionless for the cameraman to get into position before springing into action. An Oscar-worthy performance:
Then there’s this video of a White Helmets volunteer who was filmed helping extremists unload beheaded Syrian soldiers from a truck. The volunteer has since been fired by the White Helmets; though, whether it was from a tank or a mortar is unknown:
Then there’s a video of a White Helmets volunteer apparently punching a man who is being carried off for his execution:
This video has RT featuring several video snippets of the White Helmets: 1) posing as already seen above; 2) waving an ISIS flag amidst celebrating extremists; 3) admitting that they dispose of Syrian soldiers’ bodies by throwing them in the trash; and 4) showing that the leader of the White Helmets was denied entry to the US because he is “suspected of ties or relations with extremist groups”. (Basically the US government is happy to fund a man with potential terrorist connections and happy to shower him with positive media coverage, but is hesitant to allow him to set foot on US soil.)
Perhaps Snopes and the mainstream media as a whole are correct to say that there is no evidence proving that the White Helmets support terrorists or that they act on the behest of foreign governments. At the very least, though, these videos should show that there are too many instances of White Helmet operatives behaving in a manner that may not be considered ethical, yet continue to receive far too much tax-payer money.