US State Department Cuts Off Funding For Syria’s White Helmets

White Helmets

 

The State Department has frozen funding to the controversial Syrian aid group known as the White Helmets, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which provided the sole evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly used chemical weapons on his own people in an April 7 attack on the city of Douma, according to CBS News.

Having not received U.S. funding in recent weeks, White Helmets are questioning what this means for the future. They have received no formal declaration from the U.S. government that the monetary assistance has come to a full halt, but the group’s people on the ground in Syria report that their funds have been cut off. –CBS News

The evidence provided by the White Helmets of the alleged chemical attack was used by the West to justify several airstrikes on Syrian scientific and military facilities throughout April – the first one conducted on Syria’s T4 airbase by Israel 48 hours after the White Helmets’ report. Many Douma residents, meanwhile – including Hospital personnel, say the chemical attack never happened.

The White Helmets are a 3,000 member NGO formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense. Established in “late 2012 – early 2013” after a group of 20 Syrians were trained and organized by former British army officer James Le Mesurier. The group then received funding from Le Mesurier’s Netherlands-based non-profit group, Mayday Rescue – which is in turn funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments.

The US has provided at least $32 million to the group – around 1/3 of their total funding – through a USAID scheme orchestrated by the Obama State Department and funneled to the White Helmets using a Washington D.C. contractor participating in USAID’s Syria regional program, Chemonics.

According to their website, the White Helmets have been directly funded by Mayday Rescue, and a company called Chemonics, since 2014.

Yet there’s evidence that both of those organizations started supporting the White Helmets back in early 2013, right around the time the White Helmets claim to have formed as self-organized groups.

Mayday Rescue, as we said, is funded by the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments. And Chemonics?

They are a Washington, D.C. based contractor that was awarded $128.5 million in January 2013 to support “a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria” as part of USAID’s Syria regional program. At least $32 million has been given directly to the White Helmets as of February 2018. –TruthInMedia

So the US, Dutch, British, Danish and German governments have been funding the White Helmets, a non-governmental organization, through proxies for around five years.

 

Shut It Down

Perhaps fueled by troubling reports that the White Helmets have been accused of staging incidents, the Trump administration has now frozen funding to the group, and has placed support under “active review.”

Now they are not getting any U.S funding as the State Department says the support is “under active review.” The U.S had accounted for about a third of the group’s overall funding.

An internal State Department document said that its Near East Bureau needed confirmation from the administration to green light funding for the White Helmets in Syria by April 15th or the department would initiate “shut-down procedures on a rolling basis.” –CBS News

“This is a very worrisome development,” an official with the White Helmets told CBS. “Ultimately, this will negatively impact the humanitarian workers’ ability to save lives.”

Or not, depending on how one feels about the White Helmets…

 

Questions over authenticity

Last week, Russian officials brought fifteen people to The Hague from the city of Douma, Syria said to have been present during the alleged April 7 chemical attack, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab who was seen in a widely-distributed White Helmets video receiving “emergency treatment” in a local hospital after the alleged incident.

“We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me,” said Diab, who was featured in the video which Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands says was staged.

The boy and his family have spoken to various media outlets, who say there was no attack.

READ FULL STORY HERE

ORIGINAL SOURCE IS ZERO HEDGE

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