Donnerstag, 29. Oktober 2020

White Helmets: the backgrounds of the founder's suicide

 Interesting Long Read in the Guardian about James Le Mesurier, former officer in the British army and founder of Mayday Rescue and the syrian White Helmets and how he was driven to suicide by russian and syrian disinformation:

"Just before sunrise in Istanbul on 11 November 2019, a determined thumping on her iron front door stirred Emma Winberg from a brief sleep. Blurry-eyed, she grasped at the empty space in bed next to her, pulled on a pair of trousers, fumbled with a bedside lamp, then ran across the bedsit to the kitchen next door. “James wasn’t there,” she said. “And that’s when I just knew.”

Winberg had slept briefly after an anxious night. As she drifted off, at about 4.30am, she had seen her husband staring at her from near the bedroom window of their third-floor flat. Now, startled awake, she dashed towards the same spot, her dread rising with every step. “I looked down and thought: ‘Thank God, nothing there.’ And then I looked left.”

Lying naked in the gloom below was James Le Mesurier, 48, a co-founder of the White Helmets, an organisation dedicated to rescuing civilians caught in the Syrian war. Worshippers who had been on their way to morning prayers at the nearby Kılıç Ali Paşa mosque now gathered silently around the body of a foreigner lying on a cobblestone lane. Plastic wrappings and bandages left by medics littered the scene. Not far away, freighters laden with cargo carved white wakes through the grey waters of the Bosphorus. Seagulls watched from a wall as the crowd of onlookers and police continued to swell. The autumn sun crept above the horizon."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Mittwoch, 21. Oktober 2020

Two NGO's raise the veil on the Syrian chemical warfare program

 Several national and international investigation authorities have received a thoroughly compiled and rigorously researched bulletin on the chemical weapon armory the Syrian regime tried to conceal. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the Syrian Archive expose in this 90-page bulletin how the Syrian regime betrayed the OPCW and other actors on the destruction of its chemical weapon stockpile it had committed itself. 

French newspaper Le Monde gives a summary of the key findings:

"The veil that has long obscured the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program, allowing it to escape its commitments to the international community in this area, is beginning to tear. On Monday, October 19, two NGOs at the forefront of the fight against impunity in the Syrian conflict, Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and Syrian Archive, submitted to several national and international investigative bodies a report of depth and of unprecedented precision on the operation of this program, which has caused the death of hundreds of civilians since 2011.

This 90-page document, of which Le Monde, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have obtained an exclusive copy, reveals how the authorities in Damascus played off the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , the body believed to have dismantled the Syrian chemical arsenal.

The report is based on analysis of open sources, on the use of data extracted from a United Nations register and above all on the testimonies of some fifty Syrian officials who have defected in recent years. Most were employed by the Center for Scientific Studies and Research (CERS), the state agency responsible for the development of Syrian conventional and unconventional weapons, which gives their words particularly valuable value.