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A NOBEL LIE: CNN’s Claim That ‘White Helmets Center in Damascus’ Was Hit by a Barrel Bomb

Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

Some will have noticed, in the frantic run-up to the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, CNN ran an incredible story claiming that, “White Helmets group says aid center hit by barrel bomb.” There report was also echoed by other mainstream corporate outlets. 

This headline story ran all day along the bottom of the TV screen in CNN’s news ticker and claimed that:

“A barrel bomb struck a center used by Syria’s civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, in the country’s capital of Damascus, the group said.”

“The group tweeted that the center and vehicles at the scene were destroyed Wednesday, and some volunteers injured in the attack.”

“We rush to the scene of attacks to save the greatest number of lives in the shortest possible time and to minimize further injury to people and damage to property,” the group says on its website.

CNN’s sole source for this headline story is… the White Helmets.

To date, no other news source can corroborate this incident.

This was the only photograph CNN produced for the story – a nondescript image of an abandoned hospital room, presumably supplied by the White Helmets, and which could be anywhere:


After looking closer at this story, it seems very likely that this was a planted news item, perhaps conveniently inserted on the eve the Nobel Peace Prize where one of this year’s nominees (and tipped to win the award) was the much-lauded western-backed ‘NGO’ commonly known as the White Helmets aka the fraudulently named ‘Syria Civil Defense.’

The first give away that this story was not genuine was that reporting of the event in question only existed on the White Helmets Twitter account.

The other problem with this ‘news’ is that nowhere does the White Helmets’ in-house media machine, explain exactly where in the city of Damascus this alleged incident took place. Certainly, Damascus is a big city so this is akin to reporting that a bomb was dropped on a building in New York, without bothering to specify exactly where in New York.

Is it really possible? Would a US media outlet run a completely fictional news story at such a sensitive moment in the Syrian Conflict, even as Washington and Moscow are inching dangerously close to war footing?

Does CNN feel any compunction to check whether a story is even true?

Assuming this is indeed a fabricated news story, and all indications are that it is, and it’s being streamlined right through the corporate media’s information syndicate the day before the Nobel Peace Prize was due to be announced in Oslo, Norway at 11 a.m. local time – one can rightly assume then, that this was one final PR push designed to garner public sympathy for Washington and London’s bespoke war heroes, the White Helmets, who were, “targeted by the regime,” or so the story goes.

Parallel Universes

As with so many other ‘barrel bomb’ reports, without any real details – time, location, visual evidence etc – there is simply no way to corroborate this story which unfortunately, is par for the course with just about every piece of media coming out of White Helmet media production hub.

In other words: it only exists in what the great American philosopher John Kerry infamously referred to as, “a parallel universe”, which in this case seems be a digital universe contained inside the White Helmet’s Twitter account and CNN’s newsroom, and apparently, there seems to be a worm hole connecting them to Kerry’s digital universe:

CNN then goes on to try and reinforce this latest fiction by recycling an 18 month-old interview at the White Helmet training center in Turkey, between CNN’s ‘medical expert’ Dr. Sanjay Gupta and James Le Mesurier, the British military intelligence officer (also active in Kosovo) turned mercenary contractor who founded the White Helmets.

CNN describes barrel bombs as, “The explosive-laden barrels are hurled out of helicopters.When asked about the highly contentious subject of the ‘barrel bomb’, Le Mesurier said:

“When one strikes, it can produce the seismological equivalent of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, the White Helmets’ James LeMesurier told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Just a casual check on scientific charts correlating Richter scale magnitude with corresponding amounts of explosives will show that anything above a 7.0 magnitude would require as much as 20 billion kilograms of TNT, or according to other charts as much as 10 megatons, something approaching the output a hydrogen bomb.

That’s sure a lot of barrel bombs.

What is even more comical is that CNN’s ‘chief scientist’ Dr. Gupta did what all CNN anchors do when conducting a staged interview – he simply nods his head in agreement while his guest rolls out one ridiculous statement after another.

PR OPPORTUNITY: White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier and TV’s Dr Sanjay Gupta.

Le Mesurier goes on to tell CNN that these ‘barrel bombs’ are somehow hitting people “50 times per day.” Where exactly he got these amazing figures is a puzzling thing in itself (although we’re not puzzled that CNN did not challenge or fact check them), but for anyone who has studied the colorful mythology surrounding the west’s barrel bomb narrative and how central it is to creating the impression in the west that “Assad is butchering his own people,” then it’s not surprising that the founder of the White Helmets would make such a over-the-top statement on global satellite television.

To date, finding actual evidence of the thousands of alleged “barrel bomb attacks by Assad” is almost as difficult as trying to locate one of Washington’s elusive moderate rebels.

What isn’t hard to locate, however, is bountiful evidence of US-UK and Gulf-backed ‘rebels’ firing their crude Hell Cannons indiscriminately into civilian areas in Syria, including into West Aleppo – which coincidentally fit a similar description in terms of structure and damage to the so-called ‘barrel bombs’ being constantly touted by everyone from John Kerry to Hillary Clinton to John McCain, and the White Helmets.

Follow the Millions

Le Mesurier launched his project through his UAE-based consultancy Analysis, Research, and Knowledge (ARK) and with the support of a Turkish NGO called AKUT. Presently, he manages the White Helmets and its incoming finances through a Netherlands registered NGO vehicle called Mayday Rescue.

To date, the White Helmets have received well over $100 million in funds and support from NATO member state governments of the UK (Boris Johnson just announced a new £65 million package), US, EU, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Ireland and others, concealed behind the generic heading of  “Emergency Health and Relief Support to the Population Affected by the Crisis in Syria”, through the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG-ECHO), formerly known as the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office. Both Qatar and Japan have also chipped in substantial funds.

This financial element is especially important considering the aggressive public fundraising campaigns employed by the White Helmets and their western-backed PR and fundraising vehicle, The Syria Campaign, which seems to be partly bank-rolled through the US-backed ‘Syrian Opposition’ in exile.

Any ‘NGO’ who manages to rake-in upwards of $150 million in western government funds in such a short space of time shouldn’t have to go begging to the public at large for additional millions, and yet, this is what they are still doing.

One should ask: where is all this money going? Even stretched over a ten year span, it’s more than any NGO would ever need. Surely, it doesn’t cost $100 million to train and equip 3,000 ‘volunteers’ comprised of “teachers, tailors, blacksmiths, bakers” (and candlestick makers, well, why not) as the group claims.

Is anyone else receiving any “training and equipment” through this White Helmet war chest? Remember Timber Sycamore? Considering the sheer volume of arms being pumped into ‘rebel’ hands in this conflict by the US and its NATO and GCC partners, then this should be a legitimate line of inquiry for any real journalist overing the Syrian war.

Here is a screenshot from one of the White Helmets fundraising websites, where they are using their failure to secure the Nobel Committee’s $1 million award as the impetus to solicit a further $1 million in crowdfunding donations:

‘WE NEED ANOTHER MILLION’: White Helmets using their Nobel defeat to raise more millions from clueless western punters.

Millennial-oriented media outlets like Mashable have also been enlisted to push White Helmets crowdfunding in the wake of a Nobel result that saw the award go to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. Mashable’s headline reads, “Nobel Prize loss sparks $1 million fundraising effort for Syria’s White Helmets,” while author Colin Daileda exclaims, “They missed out on the award and the money as Colombia’s president took home the prize, but an online campaign is trying to raise the cash anyway.”

“Over the past few days the outpouring of support for these heroes has been overwhelming,” Anna Nolan, director of The Syria Campaign, the advocacy group behind the fundraising, said in a statement provided to Mashable. “We are launching the ‘People’s Million’ campaign so people around the world can continue to show their love for these heroes.”

Nolan insists that, “every penny raised will go towards replacing their life-saving equipment, looking after injured volunteers and helping the families of those who have been killed whilst saving others.”

Then there are the numerous examples of the group circulating fake rescue videos, and fake photos, along with marquee claims of “Saving 60,000 Lives” in only 2 or 3 years. In fact, right before the Nobel Prize ceremony this week, the White Helmets raised this total to 62,000 (image above), claiming to have saved another 2,000 more civilians this month. I guess when you are competing for a Nobel Prize, every little bit helps.

It should also be noted that international hysteria surrounding last month’s attack on a UN Aid Convoy near Aleppo, was fuelled by among other things, highly misleading photographs and deceptive video supplied to the western media by… the White Helmets. Despite the shrill tantrums of UN Ambassador Samantha Power and the dull rantings of John Kerry, we now know that there was no Russian-Syrian airstrike on the UN Convoy, and real evidence points to a ground attack by Al Nusra/ISIS terrorists.

Even though the UN quickly walked back its previous suggestion that the incident was an airstrike, John Kerry and the liberal hawks stuck to the original narrative laying blame and condemnation on Russia. Not surprisingly, this narrative was automatically parroted by the entire US corporate media.

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter explains the deceptive game being played by US State Department and its White Helmets:

No mention was made of the murky role played by the White Helmets in fabricating a narrative about a Russian-Syrian airstrike against the Urem al Kubra aid convoy in a way that diverted attention away from Al Nusra Front—a designated terrorist group with which the White Helmets maintain a close relationship—and onto Russia and the Syrian government.”

‘ASSAD’S WMDs’? The chlorine bomb story was propagated by many outlets, including Democracy Now! (image above).

In addition, the White Helmets media team is also responsible for propagating another official Washington conspiracy theory: blaming Assad for “using chlorine bombs against his own people” in early September. If true, this well-timed White Helmets story would have had grave implications, as it coincided with the release of the UNSC sponsored report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 

Assured proclamations of “Assad’s guilt” led to Samantha Power’s premature victory lap, partnered by the US delegation, two weeks before release of the actual report summary.  Like so many before it, the final report turned out to be yet another highly politicized, sexed-up dossier probably orchestrated by Washington’s finest.

Ritter goes on to explain the real relationship between the White Helmets and its western sponsors:

“The White Helmets are useful only so long as they stay on message, and that message is delivered through a narrative constructed from carefully edited imagery put out by the White Helmets themselves. Simply put, if the White Helmets turn off their cameras, America will turn off the money.”

When you boil it right down, this R2P framed media campaign is not unlike feel good fraud known as “Kony 2012,” only on a much grander scale, and is much more insidious in its deception. This seems to be the West’s great new geopolitical social engagement technology – crowdfunding for war, and arguably, crowdfunding for terror.


There is also one more lie embedded in this CNN report. It’s a common lie used in promoting the White Helmets. CNN stated that, “A barrel bomb struck a center used by Syria’s civil defense volunteers.”

The problem here is that the White Helmets are not a certified civil defense organization, and are not even recognized by the International Civil Defense Organization (IDCO) based in Geneva.

This fact is routinely ignored by grandstanding US and UK officials and their corporate media surrogates.

As it turns out, the White Helmets stole the term ‘Syria Civil Defense’. This is a crucial piece of this puzzle because the entire White Helmets deception is predicated on this fundamental point, namely, a cynical attempt (supported by the US, UK and NATO states) to usurp the real civic state organization – and by extension, insinuating that Assad and the Russian are targeting the county’s own Civil Defense corps. Preposterous as that might sound, that is exactly the level of deception that CNN, NBC, the BBC, the New York Times, The Guardian et all, are operating on with their White Helmets narrative. It is the very least, it is journalistic fraud, and at its worst it is state-sponsored mass propaganda being dutifully disseminated the mainstream media.

As it turns out, there is a REAL Syria Civil Defense and they are actual volunteers who work daily in Syria’s various war zones, unlike the White Helmets, who only operate in ‘rebel-held’ (terrorist-held) enclaves – where few if any genuine civilians reside.

Unlike the White Helmets, the REAL Syria Civil Defense, serves all civilians across the entire country of Syria, and are the only civil defense organization officially recognized by ICDO.

No matter how much USAID and British Foreign Office-funded White Helmet PR is pumped-out by the likes of CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, and even Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, and promoted by a supposed anti-war organization Code Pink – they cannot change that fact.

PINK ELEPHANT: Supposed ‘anti-war’ charity Code Pink is an avid promoter of the west’s pseudo NGO in Syria.

Concerned western viewers need to awaken to the reality of this multi-million construct – the creation of a parallel shadow state inside of Syria – designed to first delegitimize, then undermine, and eventually replace the real SYRIAN sovereign state.

Time is running out. Washington and its partners are now doubling down on a bad jihadi bet, and anyone who is really listening can hear the drums of war beating louder than ever. That said, anyone who is playing along with the White Helmet public relations campaign is indirectly supporting this covert western project that has potential to destroy Syria.

If it’s successful in Syria, as it was to a large extent in Iraq before and later in Libya, expect western imperial planners to implement a similar template in other target nations.

The White Helmets project is a blueprint and its success or failure depends upon the gullibility or awareness of the public.

It is our call.



Report by Patrick Henningsen
AN INTRODUCTION: Smart Power & The Human Rights Industrial Complex

Open Letter by Vanessa Beeley
White Helmets Campaign for War NOT Peace – Retract RLA & Nobel Peace Prize Nominations

White Helmets and Mayday Rescue:
The Syrian Civil Defence: Wikipedia

21st Century Wire compilation of key information on the White Helmets:
Who are the Syria White Helmets?

21st Century Wire article on the White Helmets:  
Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception ~ the “Moderate” Executioners

Original investigative report: 
The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake White Helmets as Terrorist-Linked Imposters

Cory Morningstar report:
Investigation into the funding sources of the White Helmets, including Avaaz, Purpose, The Syria Campaign

Report by Scott Ritter:
The ‘White Helmets’ and the Inherent Contradiction of America’s Syria Policy

Open letter to Canada’s NDP Leader on Nobel Prize:
Letter to NDP from Prof. John Ryan protesting White Helmet nomination for RLA and Nobel Peace Prize.

21WIRE Report:
‘We Saved 60,000’ – Bogus Claim by Syria’s White Helmets Raises Even More Questions

READ MORE WHITE HELMET NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmet Files




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