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White Helmets Implicated in Cash Embezzlement and Fraud Scandal

Any time you see the White Helmets in the news these days, it’s probably going to be for all the wrong reasons. This latest bombshell is no exception.

As 21WIRE has previously noted, this “urban search and rescue” organisation claims to be “impartial” in the Syrian conflict, even though it has receive nearly all of its support and money from Western governments, and has only ever operate in ‘rebel’ terrorist-occupied pockets in Syria. Incredibly, even though they are non-existent in Syria proper, the group is solicits cash donations from the public on their website.

As of April 2018, this organisation has claimed to have saved over 114,000 lives, and yet have never once released any records of proof of this wild claim.

But it’s claims like this which have been used to elevate the group’s public image and to pull in hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support and government patronage from the West.

Many have asked: where does all the money go? We’re told that all of the proceeds received are being funneled through a front organisation called Mayday Rescue, based in the Netherlands. However, beyond this, it is difficult to get a clear picture of group’s total financial expenditures since 2013. These are extremely large sums indeed, which left many unanswered questions.

Fortunately, this latest shocking embezzlement scandal may begin to provide some crucial answers.

NL Times reports…

According to the newspaper, Le Mesurier received 50 thousand dollars in cash for Operation Flying Carpet in on 17 July 2018. Four days later, around 100 White Helmets and their family members were smuggled out of Syria when Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reconquered parts of southern Syria. As the White Helmets rescued people from bombings by the Assad regime, it was feared that they would be in danger of captivity, torture and death in areas he controlled.

But fewer White Helmets could be rescued than hoped, the Volkskrant wrote, because the largest part of the 50 thousand dollars Le Mesurier took from the Mayday safe in Istanbul was not used for the rescue. And after that the money disappeared.”

James Le Mesurier in Istanbul.

In the spring of 2019, a British accountant asked for an explanation and received receipts from Le Mesurier showing that after the evacuation from Jordan, the money was handed over to another manager, who signed for it. After that Mayday established an Emergency Operation Center in Istanbul, in case more rescue workers had to be rescued, and the money is there in a safe. The British accountant accepted this, as there were receipts and all.

But when the Dutch accountant went to check in November 2019, he found that the money was missing and the receipts were fake. An involved employee told him that Le Mesurier asked that he and a colleague sign backdated receipts. The accountant met with Le Mesurier to ask him about it, and he acknowledged fraud, according to the Volkskrant. The money went into “remuneration benefits” – money he and fellow directors Emma Winberg (also his wife) and Rupert Davis paid out every month on top of their salaries. The accountant confirmed that the 50 thousand dollars went into the books as a personal bonus for Le Mesurier and advised the man to get a forensic accountant look at the books to investigate the risk of self-enrichment.

The next day, November 8, Le Mesurier wrote an email to the donor countries, admitting that the 50 thousand dollars disappeared as a result of “fraud”, but adding that there was never any malicious intent. “I take full and sole responsibility for that,” he wrote, according to the newspaper. He discussed his fears for a second investigation by a forensic accountant, that this may reveal “errors and internal failures” that could play into the hands of “Russia and the pro-Assad trolls.” He left the choice of how to proceed up to the donor countries, adding that he is willing to step down from Mayday if they require it and pay back any wrong expenses.

On Monday, November 11, Le Mesurier was found dead. He died in a fall from his and Winberg’s apartment above the Mayday offices in Istanbul. The Turkish police spoke to his widow and concluded that he most likely took his own life.

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21WIRE says…

What’s also crucial about this latest revelation is that members of the UK mainstream media establishment sought to blame a melange of external actors for the untimely death of Le Mesurier. At the time, such speculation was rife, as British mainstream journalists were openly drifting out loose talk of ‘state actors’ like Syria or Russia being responsible – even though Turkish authorities had already leaned towards suicide. Incredibly, top mainstream establishment pundits also attempted to blame Le Mesurier’s death as the result of a nefarious ‘Russian information campaign’ and insinuated that any dissenting alternative media coverage of him and the White Helmets was somehow being “a prelude to murder.” This very accusation was made at the time by BBC’s diplomatic, defence and Newsnight editor, Mark Urban:

Were these mainstream media journalists and other likely embedded intelligence mouthpieces, attempting to create a smokescreen at the time in order to deflect from the real scandal of financial malfeasance by the lauded White Helmets leadership? This does indeed seem to be the case after seeing these latest Dutch revelations.

At the time of the incident, former Army colleague of Le Mesurier, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, was doing the rounds in mainstream media, dropping in various inuendos and talking points. Among other things, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is also director of the Doctors Under Fire campaign group. He said this to Forces.net:

“I know James got a lot of direct vitriol from these people, as do a lot of us who are trying to help on the humanitarian side in Syria, but the White Helmets were the focus of much of the angst and derision from the Russians and the Syrians, and as the head of that organisation, I’m sure he got more of that than most.”

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is also the UK media’s ‘go-to’ source on anything chemical weapons related, and helped to shape the narrative on most of the high-profile chemical attacks’ attributed to the ‘Assad regime’ in Syria, including the alleged attacks in Khan Sheikhoun and Douma. It was later proven through a series of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies from members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based in The Hague, Netherlands – that Douma’s alleged ‘chemical attack’ was in fact a hoax, perpetrated in part by the White Helmets themselves. Not surprisingly, just as most US and UK officials have suddenly gone quiet on this issue, de Bretton-Gordon rarely comments on Douma anymore.

With this in mind, it’s important to note the scale and scope of the White Helmets public relations campaigning – all which is essentially designed to protect its fundraising ability. Since its inception in late 2013, it is clear that just through the known funding it had received from its main funders the US and UK governments, along with EU state funding and Gulf states like Qatar – that this supposed ‘search and rescue’ group has received well in excess of $200 million. If you added it all up, including solicited donations from the public, this may top a quarter of a billion dollars. Many have asked the question: where did all of the money go? Not surprisingly, both donor governments and media seem to be disinterested in this question. In 2018, when the wider public, and even the Trump White House too, began to really cop onto the fact that the White Helmets weren’t really what they were being marketed as, the press began running media cover pieces like, “UK may increase aid to Syrian White Helmets after Trump pulls funding.”

So aside from a motivation by Western mainstream media and politicians to protect the White Helmets’ image as a truthful source of information (in reality, they produced visual propaganda which was used to bolster the US, UK and Turkish-led proxy war against Damascus) coming out of Syria, there was also a clear financial motivation for its principle actors to protect its reputation and image.

Will this be the final death knell for this dubious propaganda vehicle created and funded by Western governments?

Clearly, their days are numbered. Presently, the White Helmets are only operating in the small Al-Qaeda-occupied province of Idlib in northern Syria. They also have offices in Turkey but these are mainly concerned with producing and disseminating images for western audiences.

Because of their overt western backing, along with the painful fact never reported in Western media – that they have only ever operated in Al Nusra/HTS/Al Qaeda controlled areas in Syria – the White Helmets are not liked, nor welcome by the Syrian population as a whole. Hence, their only support resides in the West and from other regional actors like Turkey, Israel and Gulf States, who themselves are engaged in destablising Syria and trying to overthrow the government in Damascus.

READ MORE WHITE HELMETS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmets Files

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