the usual miasma of deceit

BBC backtrack on their own fake news as claims regarding Istanbul death of White Helmets co-founder are deleted
Damian Wilson,, NOv 12 2019

The death of the White Helmets co-founder, British mercenary James Le Mesurier, instantly led to suggestions of Russian involvement from the BBC. They deleted the rumours from Twitter too late, the fire of conspiracy was aflame. The war in Syria has claimed an estimated 400,000 victims since it began and now British military contractor James Le Mesurier, could join their ranks after his death in Istanbul last night. Or maybe not. The key supporter of the White Helmets, a group of first-responders who have been operating in the middle of the Syrian war, reportedly fell from his apartment balcony and died. The circumstances of his death are not yet clear. But that was enough to set off the conspiracy theorists who believe every unexplained death in the world is somehow connected back to shady Russian organisations working alone or alongside the state. That is how we end up with the BBC Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban suggesting that the dead man, widely reported online to have been a former MI6 agent, may have been murdered, a comment Urban based on the spurious grounds that “a former colleague told me.” To add balance, he further stated that “another well-placed source disagrees.”

What sort of intelligent, reliable, fact-based journalism is this? This the BBC! It seems these unsubstantiated comments from Urban were considered too much even for the BBC and the thread was removed from Twitter, but not before it had been retweeted nearly 400 times, giving it legs and a life that have already done the job of emulating fake news. Now, perhaps unwittingly, the BBC has poisoned the well for any future investigation. The existence of unnamed sources, the former colleagues who will never be named or found, the taint of something very wrong have just decimated any hopes of an objective inquiry into what actually happened. Because when such a senior journalist even suggests the whiff of scandal or intrigue around an incident like this, it is like a match to the touch-paper for social media nutters. No more evidence needed. This, the Twitterati has decided, is part of an ongoing Russian plot to rid the world of another of its enemies through murder.

And so the strange phenomenon of Twitter reinforcement begins. Any dissenting voices are simply drowned out making a real objective understanding of what is going on totally impossible. That is the peril of relying on Twitter, an unfiltered conduit between self-appointed guardians of the universe and the outright mad, as a primary news source. Despite the fact that the one source they are all using to back their wild accusations, Twitter comments from the BBC, has now been deleted, the influence it holds lives on and gathers pace. This is how it happens, time and time again. So while Twitter burns like a Californian hillside with rage at this potentially tragic accident, take a minute to consider who the victim is. James Le Mesurier was a former British army officer (maybe intelligence services) and had been working as a military contractor in some pretty dodgy places for many years. We used to call them mercenaries. While the liberals laud the work of the White Helmets, Scott Ritter wrote in 2016:

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 Pindostan and UK), the White Helmets serve as a virtual echo chamber for American and British politicians and officials.

So it seems the White Helmets are not the rescue angels some would have us believe. One thing we do know is that through his work and his shadowy connections Le Mesurier is a man who certainly knew a lot. Maybe about Russia, but also about the UK, about Pindostan and about Western involvement in the battle of Syria. And maybe that knowledge led to his death. Or maybe, more prosaically, he simply fell from his apartment balcony in a moment of disorientation in the middle of the night.

Narrative Managers In Overdrive After Death Of White Helmets Founder
Caitlin Johnstone, Nov 12 2019

James Le Mesurier, the founder of the White Helmets, has died. He was found to have plummeted from a height to the street outside his home, and authorities are reportedly calling it a suicide. Le Mesurier has a history with British military intelligence and was fundamentally involved with an extremely shady narrative management operation geared toward manufacturing support for yet another imperialist military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern nation, so obviously any claims of suicide should be taken with a grain of salt no smaller than a Buick. But it is worth noting that according to Middle East Eye, Le Mesurier’s wife told police that he’d been struggling with psychological issues for which he was taking medications and had previously been hospitalized. Le Mesurier’s home was reportedly only accessible by fingerprint and no video footage of anyone besides Le Mesurier and his wife entering or leaving has been found. Establishment narrative managers have been floating the possibility he was murdered by the Russian government. The Washington Examiner has published an article titled “Did Russia kill White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier?”, calling to mind Betteridge’s law of headlines which states that “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” The BBC’s Mark Urban tweeted out and then deleted a thread (screenshots here) in which he cites an anonymous source who claims to have known Le Mesurier’s flat well enough to be sure that it’s not possible to “fall” from his balcony, then meaningfully pointing to a “black propaganda campaign by Russia and Assad media.” He apparently didn’t consider the possibility of suicide until later, saying he deleted his thread due to “new information.” For more info on Le Mesurier and his White Helmet mates, I highly recommend watching this excellent half-hour video by James Corbett. It’s full of primary-source video footage indisputably confirming the organization’s ties to western governments and to violent extremist factions in Syria, and explaining how an allegedly “neutral” organization on the ground has been used to control the narrative about what’s been happening in Syria.

Pundits who’ve built their name on Syria narrative management have been expressing grief over Le Mesurier’s death, including Eliot Higgins, Charles Lister, Julian Röpke and Oz Katerji. Katerji, an especially aggressive imperialism proponent, was particularly stricken, acknowledging that this pervasively corrupt operative was actually a dear friend of his. Katerji tweeted:

Janine di Giovanni, who in 2016 authored a fawning puff piece on Le Mesurier and the White Helmets for Newsweek, tweeted:

Jonathan Cook criticized di Giovanni’s gushing hagiography, tweeting:

Craig Murray has flagged the fact that Wikipedia’s imperialist narrative manager “Philip Cross” has made dozens of edits to Le Mesurier’s Wiki page since his death. Cross, who I’ve reported on previously, has made a more-than-full-time job of constantly managing the Wikipedia pages of both pro-establishment and anti-establishment media figures in a very pro-establishment slant; an article by Five Filters which you can read by clicking here documents how the “Philip Cross” account has been working morning to night with precisely zero days off toward this endeavor. An article published by Murray last year documents the curious fact that although the serial Wikipedia editor had only about 200 followers on Twitter, he was followed by many high-profile narrative managers from huge British news media outlets like the Guardian, the Times and the BBC, as well as none other than James Le Mesurier himself. Murray wrote at the time:

Why then does James LeMesurier, founder of the White Helmets, follow Philip Cross on twitter? Why does ex-minister Tristram Hunt follow Philip Cross on Twitter? Why does Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon, follow Philip Cross on twitter? Why then do so the following corporate and state journalists follow Philip Cross on twitter?

To these questions I would add, why was Le Mesurier seen defending “Philip Cross” from someone voicing suspicion of him on Twitter after George Galloway offered a reward for information about the account? These questions have never been satisfactorily answered. And now this same account is frantically editing the Wikipedia page of his late fan James Le Mesurier. Some excerpts from the editing notes Cross has made to the page (note: according to Wikipedia, “RS” is short for Reliable Source):

  • not WH alone: “Unfounded conspiracy theories latched onto the White Helmets’ foreign funding and ties to Mr Le Mesurier” and (earlier in the article) “who has been the target of repeated online disinformation campaigns”
  • Alternet is not considered RS, the article is by Max Blumenthal
  • this is the Assadist line which has no usable sources & should not be given undue credibility
  • rumour/conspiracy theory spread by non-RS

The article also has an editorial discussion section about whether or not it’s appropriate to have a “criticisms” section on the page, and how much any criticisms should be limited. Cross is of course intimately involved in this discussion as well.

There is an immense narrative management campaign dedicated to controlling what people think about what’s happening in Syria, aimed not solely at advancing the long-standing regime change agenda of the Pindocentric empire, but at protecting the credibility of the warmongering government and media institutions who the public is growing increasingly skeptical of in a post-Iraq invasion information age. If people become doubtful in the propaganda machine which greases the gears of war, then warmongering itself will become impossible to carry out without waking the masses up from the narrative control matrix they’ve worked so hard to lull us into. Without endless war, the empire will crumble. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. Narrative control comes before any other priority the empire might have; before resources, before land, before even war itself. Our rulers and their goons will protect their ability to control the story of what’s happening tooth and claw. It’s up to us to see through their lies and bring an end to the lie factory.

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