Intercepting The People’s Champions

Intercepting / Checking

Intercepting / Checking

Source: Syria’s White Helmets Risk Everything to Save the Victims of Airstrikes

“Anyone who thinks that The Intercept is or will be some sort of mouthpiece for U.S. foreign policy goals is invited to review the journalism we’ve produced in the 20 days we’ve existed.” – Glenn Greenwald (My bolding. See the link to the article from which that quote is taken at the bottom of the post, before the video.)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Murtaza Hussain follows:

========== == =
Raed al-Saleh says that before Syria’s civil war, he could never have imagined the position he is in today. A former electronics trader from the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour, Saleh, 33, is now head of the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer force dedicated to rescuing victims of bombings and shellings. The 3,000-member group, also known as the White Helmets, are first responders at the scenes of airstrikes by Russian and Syrian government forces, pulling survivors from the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings and homes.

Saleh spends most of his time between Turkey and opposition-held areas of northern Syria, but he is currently visiting the United States to promote the Civil Defense’s work as well as a new Netflix documentary about the group…

The group’s work has garnered international attention, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination as well as the Netflix documentary, which is titled “The White Helmets.”…

But the attention the group has received has also made it a target of the Syrian government and the Russian forces that support it. In recent days, Russian airstrikes reportedly struck three Civil Defense headquarters in Aleppo, destroying one of the few lifelines available to civilians in the besieged city. “They are not happy that there is a success story in Syria that is receiving attention from the world,” says Saleh. “They are targeting us because we have become a critical source of information about what is happening in Aleppo. We document the attacks against civilian neighborhoods, and we pass the messages from the ground to the world.”

Civil Defense is one of the only aid organizations still operating in these bleak circumstances. For supporters of the Syrian government, the group, which has received funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, has become the subject of lurid conspiracy theories, including accusations that it is part of a Western-orchestrated plot for regime change.
= == ==========

My three online responses to the above-linked article follows. The second comment, below, is in response to another poster (Mona) who warns us about another poster (craigsummers):

A Turkish NGO? Is it funded by the Gülen movement?

This report by you, Murtaza, is a big FAIL. Are we now seeing why billionaire, and frequent White House visitor (at least formerly), Pierre Omidyar, gathered together so many people’s champions under his First Look tent? (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.) The neoliberal/ neoconservative fire that was travelling underground for some distance has burst through to the surface it seems. What’s next? Will your colleagues defend you or disagree with you?


Lol. I figured that out after part of one of his posts! And scroll past him (or…) I do. And anyone like him.


There’s an interesting Canadian Dimension article by [John] Ryan about the White Helmets and the new neoliberal New Democratic Party here in Canada. See Off Guardian is proving to be invaluable. It’s alarming how many ‘progressive’ sites are suddenly tossing out turds. Thank goodness I’m discovering new ones (The New Cold War: Ukraine And Beyond, Boiling Frogs Post, Off Guardian for example) to turn to.

There is no shortage of information, now, about the White Helmets, who self-declare themselves to be the Syrian Civil Defense. The only problem with that, is that there is already a Syrian Civil Defense organization and it isn’t happy about the existence of the evil imposter. It existed long before this Western-supported Al Qaeda fake showed up. This is an example of the smart power imperialists exercise. It’s part of a basket of tools that includes hybrid war and color revolutions. And there is no doubt that Hussain, and those who support his reportage here, is aware of the evil he is aiding and abetting. NO progressive investigative journalist would not know that USAID is basically an imperial regime change operation.

Progressive media is dying everywhere. By ‘dying’, I don’t mean ‘not having success’. I mean that the failing org’s writers and/or editors and/or managers have gone over to the 1%’s camp. The genius of the dark forces at work here can be seen in how those turned progressives have been, and even continue to be (in some areas), against neoliberal/ neoconservative forces. And they can be ‘against’ that crowd in the most convincing manner – with articulateness, facts, stats and eloquence.

There’s an interesting argument (a little old now) online between Glenn Greenwald and Pando staff (Mark Ames and Paul Carr) that reveals some things about First Look (and it’s The Intercept operation), it’s billionaire owner, Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept’s founder and main writer) and the state of progressive media. I have read the published back and forths and feel strongly that Paul Carr has taken Glenn’s measure here and it [Greenwald’s integrity] is as wanting as Carr would have us believe. Which is difficult for me because I have admired Glenn since I discovered him. I think he’s done stellar work. But his dismissive, hypocritical, attitude toward our concern about his boss’s establishment credentials is a big FAIL. And I have no way of knowing, but if he is supportive of his colleague Murtaza Hussain’s pro USAID, pro White Helmets propaganda piece, then he’s really lost me.

“Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show” by Mark Ames, February 8, 2014

“Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.

“Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”

“These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

“Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests…

“Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.”

And so on. Ames, however, states that “This was by no means a US-backed “coup.”” To which I can only say ‘Huh?!’ See “The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine” by Michel Chossudovsky
“On the importance of keeping investors out of the newsroom, and not treating your readers like fools” by Paul Bradley Carr, March 1, 2014

“Of course, at no point in his piece did Ames argue that Omidyar should not be allowed to invest in foreign opposition groups, nor did the piece say Omidyar should feel ashamed for supporting the Ukrainian revolution. They’re his billions and he may do with them as he pleases.

“The point of the piece, aside from to convey facts to our readers, is that Omidyar and First Look have made statement after statement about how they aim to be a thorn in the side of the US government, and yet in several cases Omidyar has co-invested with that same US government to shape foreign policy to suit his own worldview. (A wag might point out that it’s far easier to put a thorn in someone’s side if you’re sitting next to him at an investment meeting.)…

“Courtesy of Rob Bates, here’s a video from 2007 of Glenn Greenwald attacking Politico’s Ben Smith over the ownership of Politico.

I think it’s relevant who owns any journalistic outlet. The reason for that is obvious. The reason is people who work for companies know who signs their paychecks and know the work they do ought to be pleasing to the people who sign their paychecks.

“He also calls Smith out for using the word “conspiracy” to demean Greenwald’s journalistic inquiries. Which is awkward given Greenwald’s own dismissal of Mark Ames’ “conspiracy theories that Omidyar can control which documents are or are not published.””

Note that I saw no link to a video.

“Revealed: Visitor logs show full extent of Pierre and Pamela Omidyar’s cozy White House ties” by Paul Bradley Carr, March 23, 2014

I think that the White House, whether it is under Republican or Democrat, they pretty much now [sic] who they are dealing with. There are outlets like The Daily Beast, or The Huffington Post that have risen up in the past decade, but they are very quickly just becoming part of the broader mainstream media, and with people that have spent their careers working for magazines or newspapers or what have you, and the White House believes they all speak the language on these things. With us, because we want to be adversarial, they won’t know what bat phone to call. They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post. With us, who are they going to call? Pierre? Glenn?”

“Scahill’s question is a good one — and it’s also very easy to answer: If the White House has a problem with First Look, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll pick up the phone and call Pierre Omidyar.

“After all, according to records made available under Obama’s 2009 transparency commitment, Omidyar has visited the Obama White House at least half a dozen times since 2009. During the same period, his wife, Pamela Omidyar, who heads Omidyar Network, has visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at least four times, while Omidyar Network’s managing partner, Matthew Bannick, has visited a further three.”

“On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence” by Glenn Greenwald, March 1, 2014

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One Response to Intercepting The People’s Champions

  1. Doug Colwell says:

    For an interesting view on Greenwald and the Intercept see the Rancid Honeytrap blog.

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