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Who is James Le Mesurier?

by John Wight

James Le Mesurier

Who is James Le Mesurier, former British army officer and private military contractor who founded the White Helmets, the civil defence organisation operating exclusively in opposition-held parts of Syria? It is a question more and more people are asking as the function of the organization comes under increasing scrutiny.

Le Mesurier carries about him the inescapable whiff of Britain’s malign legacy of dirty wars, waged in Kenya, Aden, Ireland, Iraq, Libya, in other words wherever London’s blood-soaked imperialist foot has tread around the world. A product of Britain’s prestigious Royal Military Academy of officer training at Sandhurst, he served in various UK military/NATO military deployments over the past three decades, specifically Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Lebanon.

In a short bio describing Le Mesurier’s work with the White Helmets, we are informed how.

In addition to the White Helmets in Syria, Mayday is active in Mogadishu, developing the city’s emergency services network, and exploring the development of similar community-based resilience initiatives in other fragile and failing states .”

(my emphasis)

The question of why a given state becomes fragile and failing is of course neither asked nor explored, for doing so would dredge up the subject of imperialism, which for Western ideologues such as Mr Le Mesurier would be akin to a vampire being exposed to daylight.

In a wide ranging 2016 article, former US marine and UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, provides a forensic account of Le Mesurier’s background, including the time he spent in and around the murky world of private military contractors, who exist in the cracks of Western military deployments, able to operate beyond the inconvenient glare of public scrutiny and accountability.

Ritter writes points out that “the organizational underpinnings of the White Helmets can be sourced to a March 2013 meeting in Istanbul between a retired British military officer, James Le Mesurier—who had experience in the murky world of private security companies and the shadowy confluence between national security and intelligence operations and international organizations—and representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Qatari Red Crescent Society. Earlier that month, the SNC was given Syria’s seat in the Arab League at a meeting of the league held in Qatar.

So here we have a civil defence organisation being established in Syria by an ex-British army officer, a man with a background in the shadowy world of private security, in conjunction with a Syrian opposition group in exile. This civil defence organization, the White Helmets, receives funding from an array of states with a clear agenda of regime change in Syria, evidenced in the material, financial and political support they have given various armed opposition groups involved in the conflict.

In a 2015 speech Le Mesurier provides a précis of the roots of the conflict in Syria, starting with in 2011 a “volunteer uprising against the ruthless dictator, Bashar al-Assad,” before going on the assert that in 2012 the Syrian state turned its weapons on its “own people.”

Glaringly absent from this Manichean narrative is the fact that by 2012 various Salafi-jihadi groups, their ranks filled by thousands of extremists from outwith Syria, were rampaging across the country slaughtering and raping and terrorizing the very “own people” the Syrian army and its allies have been fighting to protect, save and liberate from the clutches of this latter day Khmer Rouge. And lest anyone has forgotten, the Syrian Arab Army is indistinguishable from the Syrian people, considering that its soldiers are drawn from the non-sectarian and multi-religious mosaic that makes up Syrian society.

Returning to Scott Ritter: “In this day of social media, it didn’t take long for photographs and video clips of known White Helmet members, in their distinctive uniform, openly celebrating with Al Nusra fighters in the aftermath of Syrian government defeats, and even carrying weapons, something their status as neutral first responders strictly prohibits.”

From the White Helmets’ own website, the lack of neutrality Ritter asserts is unambiguously expressed with the statement posted on its front page by Raed Saleh, the operational head of the organisation and himself a figure of some controversy. Saleh writes, “the UN Security Council must follow on its demand to stop the barrel bombs, by introducing a ‘no-fly zone’ if necessary.”

The barrel bombs referred to by Saleh, and emphasised by Le Mesurier as emblematic of the brutality of the ‘Assad regime,’ are inarguably indiscriminate and illegal under international law. But if we are judging the merits or demerits of a given side in a given conflict based on the use of indiscriminate weapons alone then regime change in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh is long overdue.

The brutality of the conflict in Syria is a reflection of the monumental stakes involved in the outcome. The conflict is in itself is a crime, but are we seriously suggesting that Libya is better, safer and more stable seven years on from the toppling and brutal murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi, courtesy of NATO aligning with various Libyan opposition factions, prime among them Islamists, in 2011? And are we seriously arguing that Syria’s fate would not be Libya’s fate in the event of the toppling of Bashar al-Assad? And, too, is anybody able to maintain with a straight face that Bashar al-Assad does not enjoy the solid support of the majority of the Syrian people, who understand that the conflict is not about saving their government but saving their country?

Scott Ritter again:

the White Helmets function as an effective propaganda arm of the anti-Assad movement…With their training, equipment and logistical sustainment underwritten exclusively by donations from Western governments (primarily the U.S. and U.K.), the White Helmets serve as a virtual echo chamber for American and British politicians and officials.

Given Le Mesurier’s background, along with the evidence of how the White Helmets operate, it is reasonable to assume that what we have is the cultivation of the very Third Force Washington and London have been extending themselves in trying to locate and sell as the ‘good guys’ since the conflict began, doing so with the objective of enlisting domestic public support for intervention and regime change in Damascus.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Mr Le Mesurier is sincere in his desire to alleviate the undoubted suffering of the Syrian people – though in his case clearly not all the Syrian people, what with White Helmets only functioning and operating in opposition controlled territory, places where neither he nor any Western supporter of the White Helmets would dare set foot, knowing the moment they did they would be abducted, tortured, and brutally murdered.

But if so, if Mr Le Mesurier is sincere, then he is Britain’s answer to Pyle, the idealistic and naïve American interventionist in French-occupied Vietnam created by Graham Greene in his classic novel The Quiet American

To wit:

He was young and ignorant and silly and he got involved. He had no more of a notion than any of you what the whole affair’s about, and you gave him money and York Harding’s books on the East and said, ‘Go ahead. Win the East for democracy.’ He never saw anything he hadn’t heard in a lecture hall, and his writers and his lecturers made a fool of him.

This piece was originally published by the American Herald Tribune on February 6, 2018 and is reposted here with the permission of the author.  John’s work appears regularly at RT, Counterpunch, the Morning Star, and he is a regular commentator on BBC Radio Scotland.

43 Comments

  1. Francis Lee says

    I am beginning to wonder who is controlling who in this game of blatantly faked chemical attacks. Initially I thought it was military intelligence from the usual suspects, the US/UK/France which seemed obvious, but it might well be the case that now the tail is wagging the dog. The Jihadis are well aware that all they have to do to get an American intervention is to fake such a chemical ‘outrage’ easy-peasy, and this they most certainly will do on an increasing scale of escalation since it comes with a propaganda bonus. Since the US/UK/France have now made such an overblown and obviously bogus issue of the whole business it now becomes mandatory for them to intervene, whether they like it or not, every time the jihadis blow the dog whistle. They seem to have painted themselves into a corner, and, as usual, made it almost impossible to row back. Hoisted on their own petard!

  2. AntonyI says

    I prefer John Le Mensurier way over this murky mercenary John: the former played sergeant Arthur Wilson in the golden UK comedy “Dads Army”.

  3. John O'Donnell, Brisbane says

    in the last century, military contractors were known as mercenaries. They were considered the lowest of the low as they fought and killed for money for the highest payer. When did these mercenary thugs became private contractors and who renamed them?

  4. Very interesting item on yesterday’s UK Column news. Martha Kearney on Radio 4’s Today programme was going to have Professor Piers Robinson on, but dropped him at the eleventh hour. They replaced him with Ammar al-Salmo, “manager” of the White Helmets. Does hosting terrorist propaganda put the BBC in breach of the “Prevent Duty” under the Counter-Terrorism Act? Or is that just to breed suspicion and paranoia in the classroom? Are they exercising their freedom of expression? Perhaps they could have some of the mothers from Foua and Kefraya who lost their children at the Rashidin massacre a year ago for balance? Oh, they memory-holed them because they tarnished the reputation of the White Helmets.

    (https://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk-column-news-16th-april-2018) From 17:35.
    https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/military-intervention-syria-high-risk-over-next-four-weeks

    First responders? The truth is, these bastards only turn up when there are freshly murdered children to film.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Why has no-one started a private prosecution of some, or all, the UK fakestream media sewers that have operated as propaganda services for child-crucifying and head-sawing death-squad killers? Why are Evil swine like the Fraudian cess-pool allowed not just to get away with it, but spew lies of ‘fake news’ at truth-tellers?

      • Cost? We have a two tier legal system: one for the “haves” and another for the “haves”. The “have nots” would not get a look in.

  5. Kathy says

    In the seventies and eighties Traveler groups, Protest movements and environmental groups were all infiltrated by state players.We now know that they even got involved in relationships and had children. Over the years they took over a lot of the early activist groups. This was done by creating friction, argument and mistrust among fellow members. Most of the original activists left due to these power games. These groups then started to receive funding from the state and lost the ethos they had set out with. At the same time groups such as Oxfam were being sighted and again the original more altruistic members who were becoming unhappy left and were replaced with professional charity workers and managers. It is not a great surprise that so many of these charities have now fallen into disrepute due the behavior of some of these workers. The likes of Branden Cox for example work their way through several of these charities and ultimately end up in politics. There was talk of the Red Cross having been so compromised that people had begun to mistrust them in some areas of the world. Now it seems the state have progressed to creating their own organizations and charities. The white Helmets for example. I do wonder about the murder of Jo Cox and if all was as reported there, but I hasten to add. This is only speculation on my part.

  6. Look up 77th Brigade (UK) and Mayday Rescue. 2015 was a big year for both groups.

  7. Medics Under Fire is another of Le Mesurier’s creations and it’s only other director Andrew John Duckworth was the money man behind it. I have not kept the links and have no time to do the research it requires but I did find that celebrities including David Beckham and Ant and Dec were investors through Duckworth shell companies. Anyone with the time and inclanation could well find a story there that could achieve some embarrassment to these celebrities and bring the dark truths to that sizeable audience that requires celebrity to read at all.

      • Like the billionaires fooled by Rockefeller into believing the big lie that the world is overpopulated.

        The likes of dumb Oprah Winfrey joined poisonous specimens like Bill Gates (population control & profits through vaccines) in joining the Billionaires Good Club to cure this non-existent problem.

        Less people are easier to control is the long & short of this satanic agenda.

        John Doran.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          The UN reported recently that global ecological collapse was ‘imminent’. Too much consumption, destruction, pollution, and people, particularly in the ‘rich world’. Sorry, but facts are facts. Do you have any personal theory as to what is the planet’s ‘human carrying capacity’?

          • Pollution and over consumption are the result of a total disregard for anything but profit resulting in cut corners and chronic inefficiency. Both can be fixed by a variety of methods including legislation and education. Overpopulation is a myth and the negative environmental impact is squarely a lack of foresight and adequate planning. This planet can happily accommodate and sustain a 20+ billion population and restore vast areas to pristine wilderness if the will was there to do so.

          • In my book, the UN is a club of dictators, totally subservient to the US which funds 25% of it & a lie factory.
            The UN funded & founded The Club of Rome, its depopulation unit which decided to operate behind the “Green” cloak of the most worthy agenda of environmentalism.

            Their most conspicuous “successes” have been the “Banning” of DDT in 1972 which has cost about 100 million lives in the 3rd world, mostly women & children, through the painful death of malaria.
            Kind of puts the much over-hyped holocaust into perspective, eh?
            This action was based on the faux “science” of Rachel Carson’s novel Silent Spring.

            The UN also sells the warming/climate change lies through the IPCC.
            The most pernicious organisation on Earth?

            The legalising of abortion in the US, after Roe vs Wade has cost about 50 million lives, another depopulation ploy.

            They’ve been crying “the sky is falling” forever, especially since the 60s. It’s all tosh.

            May I recommend two books:
            The Ultimate Resource 2, by economist Julian L. Simon, who was keenly interested in population & resources. He won a $10,000 bet against arch doomsters Paul Ehrlich & John Holdren 1980 – 1990.
            A terrific read.
            Also, Merchants of Despair by Robert Zubrin, a PhD nuclear engineer with 9 patents to his name or pending.
            A dark & difficult book, it reveals the stupid Malthusian & misguided Darwinian roots of the depopulation agenda. This manifests in forced famines in Ireland & India & much more.

            I read somewhere that Russian scientists calculated about 30 billion max Earth capacity, but personally, with increases in food & distribution technology coming on stream all the time, who knows?

            If the political will existed, all on Earth could be well fed & housed: we occupy only 3% to 4% of Earth’s surface. However the Western Empire is much more inclined to bombing, wars & chaos.

            John Doran.

            • Mulga Mumblebrain says

              Insane garbage. The population of thirty billion is particularly deranged and dangerous, too. That the Evil global elites intend committing genocide of the ‘useless eaters’, of which I too am convinced, DOES NOT nullify the SCIENCE behind the Limits to Growth Report (the main limit being pollution, which any fool can see was correct)and the IPCC Reports, which in fact have downplayed the seriousness of the situation. In fact, you and your type are the dupes of the Rightwing genocidists, who are the financiers of all ecological catastrophe denialist ignoramuses.

              • Your reply is, frankly, rude, hysterical & wrong.

                The Limits to Growth report was garbage. To give just one example of the “Science” of this “the sky is falling” tripe, it predicted oil would run out by 1992. Even the Club of Rome, which commissioned the nonsense backed away from it.
                Similar alarmist & stupid predictions were made for EVERY major resource. The much-hyped tripe amounts to fear porn.
                “Unless humanity relented & accepted severe limits to its aspirations, the end of the world was nigh.”
                Merchants of despair, page 116.

                I remember reading the Brit equivalent of these lies in 1972, when I was 19. A Blueprint For Survival was published by the Ecologist Magazine.

                These two ridiculous screeds demanded an immediate halt to economic growth, the end of industrial society, vast cuts in population & a return to agricultural only or hunter gatherer societies.
                So much for human progress: let’s all march happily backwards to the dark ages, shall we?
                Those who are permitted to live, that is.

                Pollution is largely the result of large corporations not cleaning up their messes.

                The Ultimate Resource in Julian Simon’s book is human ingenuity, which Simon demonstrates clearly for me, will eventually solve any problem.

                Nuclear power is a safe & clean technology, demonised & delayed by our Lords & Masters to enslave us to their ptofitable oil paradigm.
                The 1%s agenda:
                http://www.c3headlines.com
                Click on Quotes.

                You would do well to post longer on facts & shorter on insults & hysteria, IMHO.

                John Doran.

      • These celebs have investment gurus to manage their assets true, but that is no excuse. The shell companies I refer to were specifically designed to exploit loops in tax law regarding film production companies and have been shown in court to be illegal. I wish I did have the time and patience to follow this up but my life has near zero spare time as it is. I sincerely hope that someone will do what I can’t.

  8. MichaelK says

    The lavish funding, all for humanitarianism of course, is a way to channel money to the Islamists without the liberals getting their knickers in a twist about supporting radical, militant, fundamentalist, terrorists.

  9. Reblogged this on MUSO MUSINGS ON FATHERHOOD THEORY AND STUFF and commented:

    This James Le Mesurier character reminds me of Col James Steele

    http://therealnews.com/t2/story:15375:Days-of-Revolt:-America's-Death-Squads
    HEDGES: One of the things I’d like you to speak about is the mechanics of how it works. You had written, I think the first article I’d read that you wrote was about a death squad leader completely trained, funded, backed by the U.S. called Chele Medrano in El Salvador who was eventually assassinated by the FMLN rebels. And when we were in El Salvador, the head of the military group, Col. James Steele, who had been with some of the dirtiest army units in Vietnam, there was always that question as to the extent–we knew that there were, there was collaboration between the death squads, which were run primarily out of the hacienda police, the treasury police, and the national police. And then you had freelance squads run by the right-wing group [inaud.] Roberto D’Abuisson and others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Steele_(US_Colonel)

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

    From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington’s man behind brutal police squads
    In 2004, with the war in Iraq going from bad to worse, the US drafted in a veteran of Central America’s dirty wars to help set up a new force to fight the insurgency. The result: secret detention centres, torture and a spiral into sectarian carnage

  10. This James Le Mesurier character reminds me of Col James Steele

    http://therealnews.com/t2/story:15375:Days-of-Revolt:-America's-Death-Squads
    HEDGES: One of the things I’d like you to speak about is the mechanics of how it works. You had written, I think the first article I’d read that you wrote was about a death squad leader completely trained, funded, backed by the U.S. called Chele Medrano in El Salvador who was eventually assassinated by the FMLN rebels. And when we were in El Salvador, the head of the military group, Col. James Steele, who had been with some of the dirtiest army units in Vietnam, there was always that question as to the extent–we knew that there were, there was collaboration between the death squads, which were run primarily out of the hacienda police, the treasury police, and the national police. And then you had freelance squads run by the right-wing group [inaud.] Roberto D’Abuisson and others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Steele_(US_Colonel)

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

    From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington’s man behind brutal police squads
    In 2004, with the war in Iraq going from bad to worse, the US drafted in a veteran of Central America’s dirty wars to help set up a new force to fight the insurgency. The result: secret detention centres, torture and a spiral into sectarian carnage

  11. MichaelK says

    If I was organizing something like this for the military, I’d do it this way too. Tell one of my best men to get out of uniform, grow his hair, and become a born again ‘humanitarian.’ There’s a lot of mileage in fake humanitarianism these days. Today we have two armies and two security services, one which funded directly by the taxpayer and under nominal democratic control, and a parallel one that functions without any democratic control and is privately funded, sort of; even though the White Helmets are lavishly funded by western states. This gives them plausible deniability. And the twerps at the Guardian lap this crap up, lick their lips and ask for more, as the bourgeoisie is trained too.

    • Thomas Peterson says

      Who knows what the over $100,000,000 given to the White Helmets has been spent on?

      There’s no sign of them having much beyond helmets, uniforms and cameras to show for it.

      • Obviously the white helmets serves not just as a propaganda vehicle but as a front through which funds are distributed to the Islamist mercenaries.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The Fraudian swine, in my opinion, peddle their lies re. Syria and the War of Terror on Islam partly for ideological reasons, partly to protect their jobs, and, for many, out of tribal loyalty to the Zionist Oded Yinon Plan to vivisect Syria, or out of fear of being labeled ‘antisemitic’ for opposing it.

    • Aavaz has also raised considerable amounts of money for the White Helmets. I long have ceased to sign any of their petitions because of the dirt I discovered about them.

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