Maand: april 2016

Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception – Part I



1-White-Helmets-Syria (3)
Vanessa Beeley

21st Century Wire

“The Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death.FUNDED by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.” ~ Cory Morningstar

In his recent speech Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Nasrallah, alluded to a multi-phase “soft war” which relies upon the mass media complex to disseminate propaganda and bias, propelling the Middle East into, primarily, a sectarian crisis before descending even further into regionalism and finally a devastating individualism.

Cory Morningstar’s body of work does more than any other to expose the bare bones of the non-profit propaganda industry that governs both our reactions – and inactions, through a network of multi-layered and multi-faceted media manipulation campaigns, of which the end result is mass thought control. She explains:

The 21st century NGO is becoming, more and more, a key tool serving the imperialist quest of absolute global dominance and exploitation. Global society has been, and continues to be, manipulated to believe that NGOs are representative of “civil society” (a conceptPROMOTED by corporations in the first place). This misplaced trust has allowed the “humanitarian industrial complex” to ascend to the highest position: the missionaries of deity – the deity of the empire.”

In aPAPER entitled, Foreign Aid and Regime Change: A Role for Donor Intent, written just prior to NATO intervention in Libya, Prof. Sarah Blodgett Bormeo describes the “democratization” process for target nations. Unwittingly or wittingly, Bormeo perfectly outlines the role played by NGOs in this process. Bormeo even goes so far as to pinpoint the lack of impartiality rife among NGOs large and small, the majority of whom, receive theirFUNDING directly from western government and major corporation sources – all of whom have a vested interest in the outcome of their NGO’s activities and ‘intervention’ in a particular location. Bormeo emphasises the importance of “picking winners” in this scenario, as opposed to respecting and supporting the will of the people in any sovereign nation.

Thus, it is possible that aid donors, in an effort to avoid further entrenching an “authoritarian” [my edit: this status is decided by donor] regime and perhaps increase the likelihood of democratization, channelFUNDS through NGOs and civil society organizations in authoritarian states.”

In this short video below, we are introduced to the US military’s symbiotic relationship with NGOs in countries [in this instance, Iraq] where the policy is to Induce Pacification & Advance Western Ideologies. NGOs are cynically used to “soften” cultures and render entire communities dependent upon foreign aid in order to facilitate “Democratization”.

In this role, and dependent upon their donor support, NGOs cease to be the neutral, unbiased ‘humanitarian’ organisations they publically purport to be, and instead become actual covert tools for foreign intervention and regime change.  By default, they are assimilated into the Westernmodus vivendi of “waging war by way of deception” and their purpose is to alter public perception of a conflict via a multitude of media and “marketing” channels.

Following this formula, let’s examine, once more, the role of the Syria Civil Defence aka,’The White Helmets’ currently operating in Syria and take a closer look at theirFINANCIAL sources and mainstream media partners in order to better determine if they are indeed “neutral” as media moguls proclaim these “humanitarians” to be.

White Helmets: Follow theMONEY

The White Helmets were established in March 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey, and is headed by James Le Mesurier, a British “security” specialist and ‘ex’ British military intelligence officer with an impressive track record in some of the most dubious NATO intervention theatres including Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Le Mesurier is a product of Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and has also been placed in a series of high-profile pasts at the United Nations, European Union, and U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The origins of The White Helmet’s initial $300k seedFUNDING is a little hazy, reports are contradictory but subsequent information leads us to conclude that the UK, US and the ‘Syrian Opposition’ [or Syrian National Council, parallel government backed an funded by the US, UK and allies] are connected. Logistical support has been provided and given by Turkish elite natural disaster response team, AKUT.

A further $13MILLION was poured into the White Helmet coffers during 2013 and this is where it gets interesting. Early reports suggest that these “donations” came from the US, UK and SNC with the previously explored connections to George Soros in the US.

However, subsequent investigations reveal that USAID has been a major shareholder in the White Helmet organisation.

The website for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) claims that “our work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting: economic growth, agriculture andTRADE; global health; and, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.”

In a USAID report update in July 2015 it is clearly stated that they have supplied over $ 16m in assistance to the White Helmets.

The USAID track record as a primary US Government/CIA regime change facilitator is extensively documented.  From South America to the Ukraine and in the Middle East, USAID serve a malevolent and ultimately destructive role in the dismantling of sovereign nations and their reduction to Western hegemony vassal states, as always, all in the name of freedom anddemocracy.

“The United States does not lack institutions that continue to conspire, and that’s why I am using this gathering to announce that we have decided to expel USAID from Bolivia”  ~Bolivian President Evo Morales

“USAID and NED are in theBUSINESS of “DemocracyPROMOTION which uses publicMONEY (from U.S. taxpayers) for secretive operations with the intention to support pro-U.S. governments with the help of political and social movements abroad. The goal is regime change.” ~ Timothy Alexander Guzman

With recent developments in Syria and as a consequence of  the Syrian Government requested Russian intervention, we have seen a scramble to justify the shambolic US foreign policy and its clandestine terror operations in Syria.  We have previously established the White Helmet connections to this US regime change operation and their undisputed exclusive integration into the Al Nusra and Free Syrian Army [Muslim Brotherhood] and even ISIS networks and strongholds.

SEE ALSO: Humanitarian’ Propaganda War Against Syria: Avaaz and The White Helmets

After RT and among others, exposed the gaping holes in White Helmet propaganda whereby the group recycled older photographs on Twitter in an effort to blame Russia for ‘civilian deaths’ – even before the alleged Russian bombing had occurred. Since then, the propaganda “war” has only ramped up.  The Russian involvement in Syria, did not only betray the US military deception, it also brought some heavyweight media giants of its own into the fray who set about de-constructing the Western media and NGO indoctrination that had, for so long, beenLARGELY unchallenged.

PHOTO: ISIS mercenary photographed outside White Helmet depot, in ISIS held area south of Yarmouk Camp.

At this point the London Telegraph went into damage limitation mode.  It published an article expounding the White Helmet humanitarian role in Syria but with admissions of UK Government “majority”FUNDING and that the White Helmets are embedded with ISIS (“in at least one ISIL held area”), claims previously vehemently denied but rendered indisputable after discovery of the photo showing an ISIS mercenary posing directly in front of a White Helmets depot located deep in ISIS held territory south of Yarmouk.

The Foreign Office is currently the largest single source of funding. It is an irony that if Britain does effectively become an ally of Assad, andSTARTS raids against Isil in Syria, it will be bombing from the air and paying for the bodies to be dug out on the ground. The White Helmets are also operating in at least one Isil-held area.”

Interestingly, the Telegraph stated clearly that the UK Foreign Office is the “largest single source ofFUNDING” for the White Helmets which may be perceived as an attempt to draw fire away from the USAID funding which still outstrips official figures released by the British Gov’t who “gifted” £ 3.5 million in equipment to “civil defence teams” in Syria [Report March 2015]. However, the British Government also committed to an additional £ 10m to “increaseCOORDINATIONbetween the Syrian Interim Government and civil defence teams” to beFUNDED by: UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF).

If an organisation isFUNDED by foreign governments who are directly involved in trying over-throw Syria’s government, how can they be rightly called an ‘independent relief organisation’?

It should be noted here also that although cries of ‘regime change!’ from both Washington and London have been muted since Russia entered the Syria conflict, both Washington and London have been supporting their own parallel, hand-picked ‘interim government’ for Syria since at least 2012.

So, with millions in hardCASH and equipment being invested into the White Helmets by US & UK donors who have a very clear regime change objective in Syria, it becomes increasingly difficult to perceive their role as anything other than donor-biased propaganda merchants and a ‘humanitarian’ extension of a clandestine terror operation allied to the NATO proxy armies in the region.

White Helmet Leadership 

James Le Mesurier has been portrayed as a Humanitarian maverick hero, miraculously in the right place (Istanbul) at the right time, just as the need arose for the formation of a Syria Civil Defence team, perhaps coincidentally, only a few months prior to the now infamous and universally (except for a few diehard propagandists) discredited Ghouta ‘chemical weapon’ attack in August 2013, an event which has already been proven beyond a doubt to be a false flag attack, as well as subsequent accusations levied at the Syrian Government which narrowlyFAILED to precipitate the NATO desired ‘No Fly Zone’.

However, when we delve deeper into the life and times of Le Mesurier we see that it was no happy accident that he was in Istanbul at this juncture.  As Sandhurst Military Academy’s topSTUDENT and recipient of the Queen’s Medal, his chequered career took him from OHR [Office of High Representative] in Bosnia to intelligence co-ordinator in NATO’s newly won prize, Kosovo. We’re told that Le Mesurier left the British Army in 2000 and joined the UN serving as deputy head of the Advisory Unit on ‘Security and Justice’, and Special Representative of the Secretary General’s security policy body within the UN mission in Kosovo. His career then took him to Jerusalem where he worked on implementing the Ramallah Agreement, then to Baghdad as a special advisor to Iraqi Minister of Interior, and to the UAE to train their gas field protection force, and later to Lebanon during the 2006 war. In 2005 he was made Vice President for Special Projects at private mercenary firm Olive Group, and in January 2008 he was appointed as Principal for Good Harbour International, both based in Dubai.

Le Mesurier is also the founder of Mayday Rescue, a “non profit” organisation providing SAR [search & rescue] training to civilians enduring conflict.  According to Mesurier’s own biography on the website, Mayday Rescue was founded in 2014, after he had established Syria Civil Defence/White Helmets.

A quick flick through the other Mayday team members reveals some very interesting connections…

Mosab Obeidat, previous Assistant Chief of Mission with the Qatar Red Crescent, one of whose officials, Khaled Diab was accused of supplying $ 2.2 m to secure arms for the terrorist groups in Syria. Details of this transaction and its exposure can be found in this Al Akhbar article from June 2013.

At least three other members of the team were a part of the Syrian “revolution” including Farouq al Habib, one of the 3 most prominent White Helmet leaders who was also a leader of the Homs uprising against the Syrian government and according to his testimony, was tortured by the Syrian “regime” security forces in 2012 for smuggling a journalist into Syria to “cover” the “peaceful protests”. Habib was a founder member of the “Homs Revolutionary Counci” (note that the CIA have been linked to nearly all ‘Revolutionary Councils’ in Syria) before fleeing to Turkey in 2013 (A more in-depth analysis of his anti-Syrian government testimony will be presented in Part II of this article).

In this photo taken by a mobile phone on Wednesday Sept. 24, 2014, Read Saleh left, the head of the civil defense units in the northern city of Idlib, and Farouk al-Habib, right, a media campaigner for the rescuers known as the White Helmets, sit on a panel to draw attention to their work in Syria as world leaders come together for the annual UN general assembly meetings, in midtown New York. ZEINA KARAM/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Le Mesurier is heavily involved in several organisations not mentioned in this article, but for the purposes of demonstrating that the White Helmets should not be considered impartial or neutral as they claim, we will focus on those that best substantiate that argument.

Both Olive Group and Good Harbour International areEXPERTS in private “security”.  Taken from Sourcewatch on Olive Group:

“Olive Security was founded in 2001 by Harry Legge BurkeOlive lends their quick success to strong relations in the government and military industry. Harry Legge-Burke is an ex-Welsh Guard, and a former aid to chief of defence staff Sir [Charles Guthrie]. He can claim Prince William as a skiing partner and his sister was a nanny to the royal children.

Iraq:  Olive were on the ground since the invasion began in 2003, and were able to deploy 38 former SAS employees within two days of the invasion’s completion in 2004

Jonathan Allum, Olive’s former director and co-owner, is also the son of Tony Allum, who is the chairman of the engineering company Halcrow and also the head of the UK government’s Iraq Industry Working Group. It was in the latter position that Tony Allum went to Washington to meet with Bechtel leaders, where he suggested, among other UK companies, Halcrow and Olive as companies worth considering for subcontracted work, all stemming from Bechtel’s $680MILLION contract with USAID. They were considered and contracts followed, though both Legge-Burke and Allum deny one had anything to do with the other.” 

In May 2015, Olive Group merged with Constellis Holdings, in whosePORTFOLIO we can also find Academi, previously the notorious Blackwater Group (Nisour Square massacre, Iraq 2007).  Taken from The Atlantic July 2012:  Post 9/11, Bush enabled the CIA to subcontract assassinations allegedly targeting Al Qaeda operatives.  Blackwater was awarded this contract.

Running operations through Blackwater gave the CIA the power to have people abducted, or killed, with no one in the government beingEXACTLY responsible.”

The CIA can no longer hide its Blackwater/Academi connections, especially after this week’s Wikileaks data dump of CIA director John Brennan’s emails, whose contact list included now spy chief Robert Richer at his Blackwater contact address.

The outsourcing of intelligence operations was in full-swing. What Bush initiated, Obama ran with, awarding Blackwater/Academi a $ 250m contract in 2010 to offer “unspecified” services to the CIA, thus maintaining the apparatus for “unaccountable” covert assassinations.

It is true that James Le Mesurier only joined Olive Group in 2005 and left them in 2008, but his involvement with them and their subsequent merger with Constellis and by default, Blackwater/Academi, gives a degree of valuable insight into the elite intelligence and Pentagon circles that Le Mesurier moved in prior to working for Good Harbour International and creating Syria Civil Defence (not forgetting the USAIDFUNDING & influence that underpins both Olive and SCD/White Helmets).

In 2008, Le Mesurier joined Good Harbour International, another private “security”EXPERTorganisation, whose CEO is none other than former terror advisor to the Bush administration, the Terror Czar himself, Richard A. Clarke.

The jury is still out on whether Clarke wasINDEED the “whistleblower” he fashioned himself as, post 9/11, or a merely a high-level gatekeeper who aided in preventing a full and detailed investigation into Bush and Rumsfeld’s roles in 9/11.

Patrick Henningsen, a political analyst and writer for 21st Century Wire believes the latter is more likely:

“On first glance, one might buy into the mainstream media’s characterization of him, but it’s more likely that Richard Clarke is not a whistleblower at all. While appearing to oppose the Bush administration from a safe enough distance, I believe his role was inserted into the mix in the period of  2004-2005 in order toVALIDATE the bin Laden mythology and help to portray al Qaeda as an organic,  independently run terror organization.  He also claimed that Bush and Rumsfeld committed war crimes, but this means nothing because everyone knows that no US official will ever face ‘war crimes’ charges in any court of law anywhere on the planet. It’s effectively a straw man narrative that distracts from the real scandal in the US which is that the entire premise of the war on terror is completely contrived.  Clarke’s ‘whistleblower’ status gives him brilliant cover from too much public scrutiny. I remain skeptical of his whole public narrative. He was, is, and always will be an insider.”

What is perhaps even more telling, is Clarke’s reported close ties with Israeli-US operative Rita Katz of the SITE Intelligence Group, another supposedlyINDEPENDENT, albeit ‘private’ intelligence firm located in Bethesda, Maryland, a stone’s throw away from CIA headquarters. SITE are said to be responsible for the media release of the harrowing ISIS execution videos, al Qaeda videos, and their credibility has been extensively questioned.

Katz’s long term working relationship with Clarke began before 9/11 when she and her research associate Steve Emerson were commissioned by Clarke to identify ‘Islamic radicals’ inside the Unites States. Over time, Katz’s relationship with Clarke blossomed into a much more extensive one that included regular briefings at both the Clinton and Bush White Houses.

“One of SITE’s founders, Rita Katz, is a government insider with close connections to former terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his staff in the White House, as well as investigators in the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to SourceWatch. Her father was executed in Iraq as an Israel spy, a fact that suggests a connection to Israeli intelligence.”
Mark Taliano

Wheels Within Wheels

This background on Le Mesurier should at least make us question the media portrayal of an affable, debonair and philanthropic leader of a civilian humanitarian mission.  His military & intelligence roots, the fact that despite working for OHR in Bosnia, no visible record of his employment can be found there, his private security-centric careerPATH, his appearance in Istanbul at just the right moment to partner USAID, the UK government & Syrian opposition in creating just the sort of “democratization” enabling NGO as described in our introduction, MUST at least cause us to doubt the transparency and neutrality of the White Helmets in Syria.

In addition, the White Helmet leadership consisting of known Syrian oppositionPROTAGONISTS such as Raed Saleh and Farouq al Habib must make us more cynical about the claims of impartiality and lack of bias and for those who will defend the “peaceful” revolution narrative upheld by Habib and Saleh, please take the time to read Professor Tim Anderson’s in depth analysis of events in Syria pre NATO intervention.

“I have seen from the beginning armed protesters in those demonstrations … they were the first to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed insurgents” – Jesuit priest Father Frans Van der Lugt, January 2012, Homs Syria 

“The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie. The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, have been going onVIRTUALLY since the beginning.” – Professor Jeremy Salt, October 2011, Ankara Turkey

Our presentation of the White Helmets as regime change propagandists & terrorist allies in this article will be further explored and verified in Part II.

“Existing soft power initiatives and agencies, particularly those engaged in development and strategic communications, must be reinvigorated through increasedFUNDING, human resources and prioritization. Concurrently, the U.S. government must establish goals, objectives and metrics for soft power initiatives. Furthermore, the U.S. government can better maximize the effectiveness of soft power instruments and efforts through increased partnerships with NGOs. By providing humanitarian and development assistance in areas typically inaccessible to government agencies, NGOs are often able to access potential extremist areas before the government can establish or strengthen diplomatic, developmental or military presence, including intelligence.” — Joseph S. Nye, former US assistant secretary of defence, June 2004


Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as aINDEPENDENT researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.

ALSO READ: Part II – Syria’s White Helmets: War By Way of Deception, ‘Moderate Executioners’

READ MORE WHITE HELMETS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmet Files


2014 – Human Trafficking as a War Crime: Why it Happens and How to Stop it – Otion Gjini

Bosnia War Crimes: ‘The rapes went on day and night’: Robert Fisk, in Mostar, gathers detailed evidence of the systematic sexual assaults on Muslim women by Serbian ‘White Eagle’ gunmen.


Robert Fisk,Monday 8 February 1993

THE WORST moment in Ziba’s life occurred when a dozen drunken Serbian militiamen stormed into the school gymnasium in which she and more than 100 other young Muslim women were being held along with their infant children. ‘They came in with guns and grenades and they screamed at us,’ Ziba’s friend Emira recalls. ‘The Chetniks shouted at us: ‘Look at how many children you can have. Now you are going to have our children. You are going to have our little Chetniks.’ They said they weren’t interested in women who were expecting babies because they couldn’t make them pregnant.’

Ziba, 26, mother of two, was among the first 12 women and girls to be selected by the Serbs at the Kalinovik camp. ‘They called us ‘bitches’ and one of them pointed at me,’ said Ziba. ‘My two children were clinging to me and I was forced to leave them. They thought I was going to be killed.’

Ziba and 11 other young women – the youngest, Sanela, was only 16 – were driven to Kalinovik’s only hotel. Five of the women, including Ziba, were from the eastern Bosnian town of Gacko, the rest from Kalinovik itself. ‘They made us clean the rooms in the hotel, made us wash the floors then they gave us food at some tables,’ Ziba recalls. ‘It was all planned for us. No one was shouting any more. They gave us bread and meat and water. After the food they told us to go with them to the rooms. Two Chetniks took me upstairs. They were both drunk, both dirty. They had huge beards which were filthy. I could smell the drink on their breath. I asked if I would see Yasmin and Mirnes (her two infant boys) again and one of them said I would. I was terrified they were going to kill the children while I was in the hotel.

‘Then one of the two Chetniks told me to undress. He said if I didn’t do what they wanted, they would cut my throat. I believed them. So they both raped me, one after the other. It took half an hour. Then they took me out and put me with the other women who had been brought back from the rooms. We were all told to clean the hotel again and after we had done this they took us back to the gymnasium. From that day it never stopped. The rapes went on day and night for a month.’

The day was 2 August and all but 10 of the 105 women held prisoner in the gymnasium were to be gang-raped over the following 26 days, some of them by as many as seven Serb militiamen. Their suffering was endured by thousands of other Muslim women in August and September of last year as Serbian forces ‘ethnically cleansed’ the Muslim villages of eastern and western Bosnia.

What makes the ordeal of the Kalinovik women so important, however, is the extraordinary detail which is emerging of their mistreatment. Senad Saric, a gynaecologist from Gacko who has performed seven abortions on the survivors, has compiled a complete list of the names and ages of all the raped women along with those of five girls who were taken away by the Serbs and apparently forced to work as prostitutes. They were never seen again. Survivors, living now in shell-damaged buildings in Jablanica and in the ruined city of Mostar on the Neretva river, have also recorded the names of young men who were brutally murdered in their presence and of the fate of at least 71 other women who were machine- gunned to death in a neighbouring village. They say that the local Serbian police in Kalinovik knew of the rapes and murders but made no attempt to help them.

At least one of the Kalinovik inmates kept a secret diary in which she recorded each day the humiliations heaped upon the Muslim women. The women have also been able to name some of their Serbian tormentors, all of whom belonged to the ‘White Eagles’ of Vojislav Seselj, identified as a war criminal by Washington but whose Serbian Radical Party gained a dramatic success in the December elections in Serbia. Many of the children who were held in Kalinovik are still traumatised by their experience. Several four and five-year olds were held to a table while knives were placed at their throats in an effort to persuade their mothers to part with jewellery and money. Emira’s elder boy, Hasan, trembles whenever his mother talks of the camp.

The horrors of the Bosnian war began for most of the women in early June and July when Serbian forces started arresting young men in the area of Gacko. Around 37 per cent of the region’s 10,000 population was Muslim, although Muslims formed the middle classes and constituted a majority inside the town itself. ‘We knew something terrible would happen because we saw the murders,’ another rape victim recalls. ‘One day, they arrested 120 young men and cut the throats of 10 of them in front of us. One group of people included an old man called Sharif Kapitanovic. He was 70. They cut his throat and sent the rest of the people to a camp in Bileca. Altogether they killed 136 people in Gacko, mostly men but some women and children.’ From his former patients in Gacko, Dr Saric has catalogued the murders of five elderly men and women in the village of Stolac, including a blind 89-year old called Rizvan Saric, along with his wife, and a man in his eighties named Juko who was beheaded with an axe.

As word of the killings spread to the nearby villages of Basici, Drugovici and Bahori, thousands of Muslim men and women fled in terror to the forests of the Zelengora mountains to the north. Many were rounded up – the men separated from the women and never seen again – the women put on buses, threatened with knives but sent on to the Kosovo capital, Pristina, and then to the Macedonian capital, Skopje, where the local authorities freed them and sent them to Muslim-held Bosnia via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Another group of more than 200 women were rescued by the International Red Cross as they were being driven to a mass grave.

These were the lucky ones. Still hiding in the mountains, hundreds of terrified Muslims planned to reach the Muslim front lines, one group walking by night towards another village called Stolac, the other group northwards towards Konjic on the Neretva. Ziba, Emira and the other 105 women who were sent to Kalinovik, set off for Konjic with their children and several old men and women.

Soada who, like her friend Ziba, is 26, says that they numbered 209 in all and were quickly caught by the Serbs. ‘They found 24 old men among us and sent them off to Oulog,’ she says. ‘We did not see them again. The remaining 185 of us were put on board six open trucks in the rain. The Chetniks told us they were going to look after us, that they would put us somewhere with rooms and bathrooms. So we began to relax. When we came to Kalinovik they put most of us in the gymnasium. A few guards stood at the doors with guns.’

At first the women were not mistreated. Emira remembers a Serbian girl who regularly came to smuggle fresh milk to the women. Food was adequate. The Serb guards spoke to them in what Ziba said was ‘a very friendly way’. But it was not to last. ‘Everything changed on 2 August,’ Emira says. ‘The guards were all replaced. They said they were Seselj’s men. They were filthy and shouted obscenities at us. Then a woman appeared with long brown hair. She said she was from the ‘White Eagles’ and that things were going to change for us. The girl told us to take down the babies’ pants to see if they had been circumcised. The men started talking ahout making us pregnant. That night the rapes began.’

Emira, who says she was one of the 10 women who escaped rape – she told the Serbs that she had a two month old baby – describes the rapists as both cruel and systematic. ‘After the first night, they came and selected some more girls, young ones in their teens. The Chetniks just pointed and said ‘You, you and you.’ The girls had to be dragged out of the room. They were crying and screaming for help but we could do nothing. This time they took them to the toilets beside the gymnasium, just outside our room. We could hear the girls shrieking. When the Chetniks came back next morning, they would ask for women by name. They took Sanela (the 16-year old) there many times. I can never forget these terrible things. Always the children would cry and scream when their mothers were taken from them.’

When the Serbs doubted the claim of two women that they were pregnant they took them to a hospital for a pregnancy test. Only after the test proved positive were they spared. According to five of the women, the leading rapist was called Bijelica; he was aged around 45 and came from Kalinovik. Another was named Dragon Lalovic. ‘The worst was Pero Elez from Miljovina,’ said Emira. ‘He was the one who selected the five prettiest girls and took them away. He took Almasa Jugo away in his own car, a red Golf. She was only 17.’

Ziba watched the other four being led from the gymnasium next morning; one of them had been kicked awake by a guard. ‘They took Amela Greljo and her sister Jasmina and Amna Kovac and Suada Prguda. They were very beautiful. There was no doubt why they took them. All we heard afterwards was that they had been taken to a brothel in Foca.’ Amna was 16, Suada 20. Amela was also 17, her sister only 16. Almasa’s mother, who was also raped, received a scribbled note from her daughter three weeks later. ‘I saw her letter,’ Emira recalls. It said: ‘Dear Mother, I’m OK. Don’t worry about me. Send me my dresses.’ Later, Almasa sent another note saying she was now called by a Serbian name.’

From time to time the women were moved to a schoolhouse next door but this in no way relieved the horrors of Kalinovik. They could hear other women and men in the floor above them. One of the latter, a veterinary surgeon named Suad Hasanbegovic, was repeatedly beaten by two guards nicknamed Bele and Mika. The women later saw him dragged to the wash room where, they say, he was drowned in a toilet bowl. Only occasionally did Seselj’s men show any compassion.

There appeared to be a systematic policy of extortion by terrorising the children. ‘The Chetniks would come in and demand money,’ one anonymous victim remembered. ‘They would take a four- or five-year old and force him on to a table and put a knife to his throat. The mother would be screaming but they would say they would kill the child unless we gave them ear-rings or jewellery. They came once and said they wanted 400 marks. One of them held a baby to the floor and placed a knife at its throat. The women were hysterical. But we had hidden enough money on us to find just enough to pay.’

The mass rape of the women continued until their release on 28 August. In the very last hours, Ziba who had remained unmolested after the initial assault on her, was taken to the toilets and raped again by two more drunken Serbs. The women were exchanged for Serbs in Croatian hands, early enough for those women who had been made pregnant – at least 15 of them – to have abortions in Mostar and Jablanica. ‘I do not need to tell you what I think of those men,’ said Ziba, now in a refugee house in Mostar. ‘You can imagine how I feel as a woman. You know why they did these things.’

Nor, if United Nations plans for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina are accepted, will Ziba and the other raped women ever return home. For Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen have seen to it that in a new federal state the area around Gacko will be awarded to her tormentors, the Serbs.

(Photograph and map omitted)



Hands off Libya: No to Western Intervention


Newsletter – 22nd April 2016


The Western powers are planning a major military escalation in Libya. The UN is trying to impose a new government on the country, despite the fact that both of the two existing and competing authorities have rejected their plans. The reason the West backs the man they call ‘Prime Minister designate’ Fayez al- Sarraj, is that they expect him to invite the West in to support.

This helps them avoid a public debate about intervention. On Monday, Michael Fallon made it clear the government disapproves of democratic scrutiny over going to war when he announced a promised bill to enshrine parliamentary debate on military action would be dropped. Their unseemly haste to intervene in Libya is driven by two things. Firstly, a desire to control the oil and gas fields and secondly, a plan to stop refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Libya by force. We need to widen our campaign against the government plans.

Stop the War is holding a public meeting on Libya this Tuesday 26th April at the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in Central London (235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP). Please join us to discuss the situation and how we can oppose another disatrous intervention.

Convoy to Calais – Saturday 18 June


Stop the War is part of an intitative to support refugees through a Convoy to Calais on June 18th. We are planning – alongside several trade unions including Unite, CWU and TSSA as well as campaigning organisations Stand up to Racism, the People’s Assembly against Austerity and War on Want – a mass convoy bringing food, clothing and other goods to the refugees in Calais. We see it as a focus for the very high levels of solidarity and support which have already been shown from trade unionists and campaigners in Britain.

The vast majority of refugees are fleeing war, from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. European governments have no answers to their situation, and have brokered a deal which involves deporting many back to Turkey. This week alone, hundreds of refugees died in the Mediterranean.

Everyone can take part in what promises to be a mass event, either by joining the convoy, collection goods and donations, and getting your organisation to support it where appropriate.

Join and share the Facebook Event widely. For any further information contact Maz People’s Chilcot Tribunal

The delay to Chilcot moved into farcical terrain when reports emerged of a parliamentary inquiry into what was holding it up. The establishment is clearly terrified of any revelations and reluctant to reopen discussions about the calamity of Iraq. There are reports of new protocols being used to limit revelations in the offical report.

In response, Stop the War Coalition is hosting a People’s Chilcot Tribunal to establish who was to blame for the catastrophes of the Iraq War. There will be testimony from a wide range of people including Ben Griffin, UN envoy to Iraq – Hans Von Sponek and Iraqi dissident Sami Ramadani.

Bookings will open in the next few days.

We have long warned of the growth of Islamophobia in Britain as a result of the war on terror. Latest examples this week include David Cameron’s attack on London Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan for alleged links with extremists; and the attacks on the first black and Muslim woman president of NUS. See Lindsey German’s article here. We will be doing everything we can to oppose this rise in racism.
15th Anniversary Conference: Mark these dates

This October is the 15th anniversary of the War on Terror which started with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. We will be holding an anniversary conference on October 8th and a gala evening onOctober 7th, plus many other events. Please keep these dates. Further details tba soon.

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Please help sustain our educational and campaigning work against the UK government’s war policies by becoming a member, by making a donation or by leaving a legacy.

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CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers At Risk

Socio-Economics History Blog


  • CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers At Risk
    Vice’s Jason Leopold (4/6/16) has uncovered documents showing the CIA had a role in producing up to 22 entertainment “projects,” including History Channeldocumentary Air America: The CIA’s Secret Airline, Bravo‘sTop Chef: Covert Cuisine, the USA Network series Covert Affairs and the BBCdocumentary The Secret War on Terror—along with two fictional feature films about the CIA that both came out in 2012.

    The CIA’s involvement in the production of Zero Dark Thirty(effectively exchanging “insider” access for a two-hour-long torture commercial) has already been well-established, but the agency’s role in the production of Argo—which won the Best Picture Oscar for 2012—was heretofore unknown. The extent of the CIA’s involvement in the projects is still largely classified, as Leopold notes, quoting an Agency audit report:


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