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Channel 4’s “Inside Idlib” – The Last Gasp of a Dying Campaign

Kit Knightly

Channel 4 just announced a new addition to their on-going “Iside Idlib” report: a 10-minute video which – they claim – is evidence of the Russian and Syrian governments committing a war crime.

The war-crime itself is said to be a “double-tap” airstrike, ie. An airstrike, waiting for the first responders to arrive, and then another airstrike. (The term actually originates from US drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan…I don’t know if C4 had any special reports about that.)

Watch the video, do you see evidence of a war crime?

Here’s what I saw:

  • Fairly quiet countryside.
  • Men in White Helmets running around some fig trees.
  • Men in White Helmets shouting in Arabic.
  • A dust cloud.
  • A damaged van/ambulance.
  • An injured man/a man pretending to injured/a dummy (You can never be sure with the WH).
  • More running and shouting.
  • One more dust cloud, much further away.
  • People in white helmets looking sad.

Here’s what I didn’t see:

  • Any Russian or Syrian planes.
  • Any Russian or Syrian military personnel.
  • Any Russian or Syrian military equipment.
  • Any evidence of the “first airstrike”.
  • Any bombs falling.
  • Any evidence of a war crime.

If this is really the best they have, then they have nothing. It is, frankly, embarrassing.

The Report

The written report that accompanies the video isn’t much better – it’s essentially just a Cliff Notes version of Jon Snow’s rather simpering commentary, but there’s some interesting language to deconstruct, and omissions to take note of.

An investigation by Channel 4 News has obtained evidence of possible war crimes in Syria

I just love this beginning part. So up itself, so pompous.

We KNOW there was no “investigation”, they didn’t dig this up or ferret it out – the people who made it want it to be on TV. That’s the reason they made it. Channel 4’s “investigation” was checking their email.

Either GCHQ directly dumped it into their inbox one morning, or some NGO proxy did it for them…either way, there was no “investigation”. At best – at best – there were some fact checks AFTER they got the video, just to make sure they weren’t going to make fools of themselves. (Spoiler alert: they did).

As a general rule, with Western mainstream media, when they say “an investigation has obtained” they honestly do mean “someone emailed this to us”. That goes double for bellingcat. That’s just how it works.

…with airstrikes that appear to deliberately target rescuers.

Er…no they don’t. There are five “airstrikes” in the video (according to them, I only saw 2 at most). Of these five, only one (allegedly) hit anywhere even vaguely near an ambulance. If the Syrian airforce have a miss-rate of 80% how on earth are they winning this war?

Footage caught on multiple cameras allegedly shows a so-called ‘double-tap’ operation in Idlib province

They keep coming back to this “multiple cameras” angle, I don’t know why. I think it might be a pre-emptive defence against accusations of fakery, maybe? Which would be pretty revealing in and of itself.

Oh, by the by, the “multiple cameras” are the go-pros and bodycams being worn by the White Helmets. I don’t know if they always wear them, or if they just wore them to that scene. Either way, it’s weird.

If they always wear them…well, they must be expensive, and given the White Helmets are just plucky little volunteers that’s a hell of an investment. (Also, if the white Helmets are always wearing portable cameras, you’d think – five years into their existence – they’d have some pretty solid evidence of war crimes in Syria by now. But apparently this is the best they’ve got. Funny that).

If they put them on for this event especially, well, that’s obviously fishy.

Evidence of this kind has rarely been seen before; a complete incident caught on multiple cameras.

…there they go with the multiple cameras thing again. It’s really nothing like as compelling as they seem to think it is.

Oh, and “evidence of this type” has been seen MANY times before.

I can’t tell you how many videos of dusty men screaming into walkie talkies I’ve seen. Each and every one labelled “daring rescue caught on camera” or “Syrian war crimes exposed”. This is no different. (In fact, it’s worse, because the field of fig trees is actually quite nice, compared with Indistinguishable Pile of Rubble #6).

It’s not a “complete incident” either, because even by their own admission we never saw the initial “strike”, supposing it actually happened.

But, if proven, the so-called “double-tap” tactic is a war crime.

Yes, and the Flat Earth theory if proven, would totally and irreversibly change our understanding of the universe.

“If proven” is a great phrase that way…it sounds serious, like it means something. It carries the implication of “and it will be soon”, but what it actually means – is that it’s not even close to being proven yet.

The war crime isn’t proven to have even happened, let alone to have been carried out by the Russian Syrian Air Force. And it won’t be proven, because the video has no evidence in it.

The footage is barely evidence, let alone proof. It could be recreated with 2 Go Pros, a barrel of dust and some discount fireworks.

White Helmets

Interestingly, though he’s obviously a man sincerely concerned about human rights and truth and all that good stuff, Mr Snow leaves out a fair amount of information about the White Helmets.

For example, he says that “Assad’s government considers [the White Helmets] enemy combatants.” But he doesn’t say what that’s the case.

Just to fill you all in, Assad’s government “considers the White Helmets enemy combatants” because they are directly funded by the American and British governments and because they regularly support – and even take part in – terrorist activities.

He says that “over 250” of the White Helmets have been killed, but doesn’t say that they claim to have a staff of over 3000 (paid) volunteers.

So, despite being just “carpenters and bakers”, and despite being constantly deployed to war-zones, and despite being the victims of the murderous Assad regime’s nefarious “double-tap” tactics….only 8% of them have been killed. In five years. Less than one per week.

Considering the sheer number of hospitals the Syrians and Russians are alleged to have bombed – well into triple figures by now – that’s actually remarkable. Almost impossible, you might say. Those white helmets must really work.

My favourite part is when Snow has to describe the trick of “smearing mud on the ambulances to hide the White Helmets logo”, without once pausing to question:

1) Where these plucky little ex-bakers managed to get all these modern ambulances customised with their own logo.
2) Why they don’t just stop painting the logo on in the first place.

Just reflect for a second – they have a logo.

How bonkers is that? They’re supposed to be a destitute resistance movement, helping the poor victims of Assad’s brutality. Volunteer bakers and carpenters and school teachers who just want to help…and someone, at some point, is supposed have said “Guys, we should get a logo done,”.

That’s insane.

Did the French Resistance get a logo designed and then tool around occupied Paris in vans with their name painted on the side?

It’s just so…Western. So focus group. So public relations. So modern. The logo has to exist because that’s the brand. They need the logo to help sell the message. It’s the only way they know how to work.

It’s been done to death, but the White Helmets – as the media paint them – just don’t make any sense. They are a narrative beyond ridiculous, that simply can’t exist in the real world, and watching media pundits earnestly describing the Looney Tunes madhouse they’re trying to sell us has become funny.

*

I honestly don’t know what the point of this exercise was. It says nothing new, it shows nothing new. It’s a news story from two years ago, warmed up and repackaged.

The public is well past the White Helmets’ schtick, we all know what they are by now. The White Helmets are what you get when you give Al Qaeda a makeover. The result of a Western PR agency tasked with rebranding the unrebrandable.

This fight is over, and our side won. I don’t know what C4, or whoever supplied them this video, were hoping to achieve, but I can tell you they won’t achieve it.

This is the best evidence they have, the best they’ve ever had, they say that themselves. And it’s nothing. The information war for Syria is over. The White Helmets’ PR push failed. Turns out Assad didn’t have to go after all.

It’s really time the UK media woke up to this fact.

At this point it’s just getting sad.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: featured, latest, Other Media, Syria

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Igor
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Igor

Kudos for the most appropriate usage of Flat Earth Theory.

Steve Hayes
Reader

“the “multiple cameras” are the go-pros and bodycams being worn by the White Helmets. I don’t know if they always wear them, or if they just wore them to that scene. Either way, it’s weird.” There is nothing weird about it. The White Helmets were created by “former” MI6 officer, James le Mesurier in 2013, using British state funding, as a propaganda organisation for the regime change operation. Boris Johnson, when he was the Foreign Secretary boasted on the BBC that the Foreign Office had provided the White Helmets with £68 million from the non-humanitarian aid budget. The civil servants must have cringed. The White Helmets only operate in “rebel” (ie, jihadi) held territory. They have participated in war crimes and crimes against humanity and, according to civilians in previously “rebel” held territory, never helped civilians, but acted as part of the jihadist groups. As for Channel Four, they have disingenuously “fact checked” Eva Bartlett, labelling her a propagandist, promoting disinformation, for having the audacity to provide accurate information about the war on Syria.

James Connolly
Reader
James Connolly

Who knows what C4 think they’re playing at with this wild hectoring return to Syria. Maybe they think they can influence Boris Johnson into persuading Trump to effect regime change in Damascus and Moscow. Their uber-pc liberal fundamentalist agenda seems these days to be even more fanatical than the Guardian’s. The ringleader, Jon Snow, comes across as a baffled, pith-hammered British exceptionalist. I saw him embarrassingly smacked down by some Chinese government spokesman and informed of Britain’s total irrelevance. (Jon having just told him China must abide by Jeremy Hunt’s strictures on HK or face grave repercussions). I expect the evil of China to be an even more pronounced theme of C4 News in the years to come.

Brian McGowan
Reader
Brian McGowan

I believe this happened very near the last hospital in Aleppo.

Malcolm
Reader
Malcolm

Why do the White Helmets have ‘The White Helmets’ written large in English on their backs? Presumably for the muppet media watchers to be able to identify them.
If you were a genuine humanitarian response unit, surely you’d have it in a language the local population could read?

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

And, as Vanessa Beeley has often highlighted, they operate entirely without the use of a generic emergency telephone number and do not keep any official written records of the circumstances of ‘rescues’ and the names of people ‘rescued’ or purportedly retrieved from bomb sites/’chemical attacks’.

Unlike the real Syria Civil Defence Forces comprising 50,000 genuine brave volunteer emergency workers across all areas of Syria under government control (they would be killed if they ventured into terrorist controlled areas), and whom receive no recognition and not a penny in funding from the West. They’re the ones who tirelessly have to pick up the remains of children murdered in government areas by the scummy pals of the likes of Alex Crawford of Sky News, such incidents being completely overlooked in the West.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_Defence_Forces

https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/05/12/massacre-of-children-in-syrian-christian-town-of-al-suqalibiyah-on-borders-of-north-homs-and-idlib/

https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/03/26/exclusive-real-syria-civil-defence-describe-terrorist-double-taps-and-chemical-weapons-attacks-in-Aleppo/

ursel doran
Reader
ursel doran

White hats are paid by the CIA. Trump cut off their funding once after, IMHO, he finally understood their reporting smoke bombs as poison gas. He got pushed to turn their money back on. Maybe these guys are impostor White hats?
“Truth is the first casualty of War,”

Tutisicecream
Reader

Am-dram thank you man, ISIS travelling troubadours of the snuff, medical macabre video genre with their Oscar award winning director who happens to be on the US of A’s most wanted list… for er, terrorism.

Apparently Jon Snow (in an example of dumbed down media inaction) stared at the footage so long… he finally was able to confirm it was authentic. Him and Elliot Higgins no doubt.

Quelle surprise that he needed to confirm the provenance of the whole shoot, why would anyone question its authenticity? Unless of course nobody really takes any notice anymore of such a shit show of reporting, funded as it is to the tune of £140 million by the British tax payer. I’m sure Boris Yeltsin, I mean Johnson the soon to be next (unelected) dictator of Albion, will agree this is money well spent no doubt!

Still it is the silly season (both faked and flaky) and we can expect more of this and for it now to be extended into the foreseeable future.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“Apparently Jon Snow (in an example of dumbed down media inaction) stared at the footage so long… he finally was able to confirm it was authentic.”

If you aren’t watching Jon Snow conducting a mostly reactive interview or fronting a low-key field report then the only thing you are watching for sure is Jon Snow, Teleprompt Reader.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“Apparently Jon Snow (in an example of dumbed down media inaction) stared at the footage so long…”

Unless you are watching Jon Snow conducting a mostly reactive interview or fronting a field report where he is the main editorializer, which you weren’t here, you are only for sure watching Jon Snow, Teleprompt Reader.

jjc
Reader
jjc

I recently watched a 10 minute report from Sky News, filmed in Idlib with the Sky reporting team apparently embedded with HTS fighters. The reporter speaks of a deconfliction zone between HTS and Syrian forces, then follows HTS fighters into that zone, and then describes the Syrian response as aggressive and escalatory. Did not hear any mention of “al-Qaeda” or “UN designated terrorists”.

Jen
Reader
Jen

If that Sky News reporter was not wearing a special vest or clothing marking him as “Press”, then he was a fool to have followed the terrorists he was embedded with. They could have been using him as bait for SAA and Russian forces.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

Jen

I’m presuming @jjc is referring to the recent series of reports filed from Idlib by al-Qaeda propagandist Alex Crawford. She was scurrying around with the terrorists wearing a black hijab (“as a mark of respect for the culture of her Idlib associates”) and was then affronted that the Syrian army didn’t appear to recognise that she was a journalist. Her broadcasts were just as laughable (if the implications for peace in Syria weren’t so serious) as the subject of this article. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was terrorists who were firing mortars at her and her reporting team as a false flag rather than the Syrian army.

She should have taken note of Channel 4’s Alex Thomson’s feedback from his similar experience in Syria in 2012, and she might have had second thoughts about her exploits. But perhaps she has some sort of deranged desire to be a martyr to the al-Qaeda cause. She was also famous for supporting terrorists in Libya.

https://www.channel4.com/news/by/alex-thomson/blogs/hostile-territory

Jen
Reader
Jen

Noted, thanks for the information.

Maggie
Reader
Maggie

So channel 4 are intending to hash all the propaganda up again, in the hope that most people will have forgotten the truth.. So, here it is again.
ex SAS James le Mesurier recruited, trained and armed the ‘White Helmet’ mercenaries, funded by USAID.. part of the left over remnants of the AlQaida. (who have miraculously disappeared?)
https://www.mintpressnews.com/james-le-mesurier-british-ex-military-mercenary-founded-white-helmets/230320/
https://www.syrianews.cc/beloved-white-helmets-mass-behead-syrian-soldiers/

Then closer to home…. 911, 7/7, The assassination of OsamaBinLaden, Boston Marathon. Sandy Hook, Woolwich ‘beheading’, Charlie Hebdo, Ariane Grande Concert, Westminster Bridge. etc..
https://aanirfan.blogspot.com/2017/05/manchester-arena-false-flag-ariane.html
First concert where all the doors but ONE were locked at the end of the concert?
EVERY concert I have ever been to, ALL the doors were opened fifteen to thirty minutes before the end to avoid a crush at the end.
The False Flags just keep getting more and more obvious, but the ‘sheep’ just keep on believing.
The most appalling thing is that some innocent people do die in order for them to make their point, and they could not care less..

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Jonathan Jarvis
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Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/in-video-russian-warplanes-raining-hell-on-hts-militants-during-al-hamameyat-battle/

By comparison…real battlefield video from annanews..english subtitles.joint Syrian and Russian air force fighting HTS who do things like station tanks in in olive groves etc

Guy
Reader
Guy

It’s a comedy of errors .Anyone that has done the slightest research on the white helmets and their founder James Le Mesurier , will know that the org.is all bull$hit ,created to smear the Assad government and their allies ,Russia,Iran and Hezbollah .Their tactics are getting old already .Time to move on and face the facts .They lost .That is Israel and its hosts lost .

Sav
Reader
Sav

Noticed that after the Douma staging and even a BBC journo stating it was fabricated, the White Helmets sorta went low key. In the last CW claim, which they then said was a mistake, the White Helmets were not featured.

This has been produced to bring back a brand that has taken a hard hit.

Jen
Reader
Jen

The idea of the White Helmets having their own brand logo is no more bonkers than the Libyan resistance who overthrew Muammar Gadhafi’s government in 2011 setting up their own central bank before they thought of other things like how to govern a “newly liberated” nation.

lundiel
Reader
lundiel

Or that a ship containing 6,000,000 royalist flags just happened to be passing Benghazi on the day a suicide bomber blew himself up in a “peaceful demonstration” outside the police station.

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

Just in Time:- Transport & Logistics
By Clinton Foundation, your Benghazi specialists…

“We came, we saw, he died …” with a right royal rectal rogering
& Jolly Rogers in remembrance of repeated requests for backup, in vain,

R.i.P. Ambassador Stevens.

Somebody must have an invoice for those flags and the shipping agent must legally most certainly know from whom the shipment came …

different frank
Reader
different frank

Wait for it.
Wait for it.
Lights. Camera. Action!
The white helmets amateur dramatic trope.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

In the latest Channel 4 propaganda piece, I also love the frenetic dramatic sounding of the vehicle horn on an ambulance which seemingly has a loud siren and is passing through a deserted area, bereft of any people or other vehicles. Presumably that too helps to convince the Jon Snows of this world and his fellow Channel 4 investigators of the footage’s authenticity.

TFS
Reader
TFS

You know Kit, many people and many canaries have died trying to raise the populace from its slumber.

My particular fav’s are Aaron Russo (Mad As Hell) and Geroge Carlin.

As to the media’s corruption, I can take you back to 1965, and book by Harold Wiesberg – Whitewash (The Report on the Warren Report, 1965). Its preface , pages v-viii are a open and shut case of media censorship of the most digusting kind.

Also, take the Smithsonian Channel documentary on the collapse on the twin towers on 9/11
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=smithsonian+9%2F11

What to see the problem with it?
https://www.google.com/search?q=9/11+west+tower+collapse&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiIsba-6bHjAhUZQEEAHQzaAcEQ_AUIECgB&biw=1920&bih=888#imgrc=dN8R2fqTJUe70M:

Yep, thats right, the top of the tower fell off, and they are still peddling their rubbish animation as the Truth.

lundiel
Reader
lundiel

Right. Mohammed, the star of the show, has very good reason to be seriously pissed at his compatriots. First, they go and hide in the trees, telling him to draw the jet away from them, then they come and get him and dump him in the middle of the road to give the jet another clean shot at him. Its hilarious, poor old Mohammed was probably told: “You’ll be the star of our documentary film”.

lundiel
Reader
lundiel

Why are the Russians/Syrian airforce targetting a deserted property in the middle of agricultural land over and over again when there is a village/town less than 20 miles away?

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

Great commentary. I particularly enjoyed the stuff about the White Helmet logo and analogy with the French Resistance. This then reminded me of episodes of Allo Allo I have been watching recently. The WH and all the involved parties would make great material for an Idlib version.

different frank
Reader
different frank

How many Last Hospitals in Aleppo.

Godfree Roberts
Reader
Godfree Roberts

Bravo! Great commentary!!