Syrian regime media says The White Helmets are 'Illuminati'

Syrian regime media says The White Helmets are 'Illuminati'
Pro-Assad media outlets - notorious for spinning elaborate conspiracy theories - have again attacked Syria's civil rescue team The White Helmets, accusing them of being part of a global conspiracy.
4 min read
17 May, 2017
Assad says anyone in parts of Syria not controlled by Damascus is a 'terrorist' [Getty]
Pro-Syrian regime media outlets are notorious for writing articles based on baseless conspiracy theories.

They shamelessly deny massacres and pin the "terrorist" label on people and organisations without even considering to verify their claims - or their dangerous implications.

The White Helmets are a group in Syria that save lives. There are approximately 3,000 White Helmet activists across Syria, who work to rescue civilians buried under the rubble.

Their humanitarian work has come under fire by Syrian regime loyalists and their allies and supporters in local and foreign media since it came to light that the group had received some funding from sources based in the United States. That the group has been celebrated in Western media also appears to be enough "proof" that these rescue workers - operating in areas controlled by the former Nusra Front - are part of an elaborate anti-Assad/al-Qaeda/CIA plot.

Fares Shehabi is a Syrian MP known for his sickening comments on social media - including advocating the killing of a seven-year-old girl in Aleppo.

He also used the attack outside Britain's Houses of Parliament in March, which killed several civilians, as an opportunity to mock the work of the White Helmets and the victims alike, in a tweet in which he later deleted after a backlash:

"We advice the British government to rely on the 'White Helmets' in rescuing civilians after 'moderate rebels' attacked London!” [sic]

More recently, a Syrian regime newspaper published an article defaming the White Helmets and perpetuating the conspiracy theory that they are a product of the "American and western military intelligence" - also implying that they are a part of "the Illuminati", because of their popular media coverage.

"A quick look at the origins of this group shows its connections and services to its operators. Informed sources indicate that they were founded in 2013 and are called the 'Syrian Civil Defense'. Allegedly, they are often the first to respond only in emergencies in areas controlled by terrorists," the article said.

To the Syrian regime and its supporters, any part of Syria that is not controlled by Assad is controlled by "terrorists".

Read also: Trump and Assad's fascist manual: 101 - fake news

"The Western media likes to propagate that White Helmets are made up of former bakers, builders, taxi drivers, students, teachers and, to a large extent, all but rescue workers," the article also said.

Watch the trailer for the White Helmets Netflix documentary

The article cited "documented information" to somehow convince readers that the founder of the White Helmets was "a graduate from the British Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and a former British military intelligence officer".

It claimed this man had a detailed relationship both with NATO and the notorious private security company formerly known as Blackwater, which was alleged to have committed heinous war crimes when hired by the Pentagon to carry out operations in Iraq.

The article continued to insinuate that The White Helmets are a mechanism for Western media to peddle an anti-Assad narrative through "fake" war crimes.

"It is not hard to predict that White Helmets are not the first responders at all unless their members are asked to wear white hats for a planned image, a promotional video, or to produce Western news propaganda for CNN or the BBC," said the report. "They have been paid to present themselves as the first 'respected' respondents when reports are needed on Syria."

Read more: Assad adopts Trump's 'fake-news' defence to dismiss war-crimes accusations

"Netflix recently launched a documentary film aimed at raising the White Helmets to the level of Hollywood stars in demagoguery like Madison Street. It is interesting to see that Netflix is ​​a major contributor to film, [which is] an investment centre for global capital."

This rhetoric echoes Illuminati conspiracy theorists, that mainstream Hollywood-style media is a part of a larger conspiracy to distract and brainwash the minds of the masses.

While this is not new of the Syrian regime, it has been met with anger. The Syria Campaign told The New Arab that the accusations were insulting and dismissive of the way people risk their lives:

"The war in Syria is fought not just on the ground but also online. The orchestrated campaign to smear the reputation of the Syria Civil Defense is part of a systematic attack by the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, to undermine those that provide services in areas outside of their control.

"The Syria Civil Defense is a Syrian organisation that has saved over 91,000 lives. Their bravery and commitment to their impartial life-saving work has made them a symbol of hope for millions inside Syria and won them the respect of individuals, humanitarian organisations and governments across the world. When the history books on Syria are written these courageous men and women will be remembered rightly as heroes."

Outrageous incitements against political opponents is nothing new in time of war; if anything the media has always played a central part during wartime. However, in the digital age, where information is instant and people are easily inclined to believe facts without verifying them, it is despicable, inhumane - and entirely expected - for the Assad regime to take advantage of this in its war effort.

Follow Diana Alghoul on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh