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Channel 4's "Inside Idlib" - The Last Gasp of a Dying Campaign

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Republished from Off-Guardian

Syria's 'White Helmets': Fiction and Reality
Syria's 'White Helmets': Fiction and Reality
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Channel 4 just announced a new addition to their on-going "Iside Idlib" report: a 10-minute video which they claim is evidence of the Russian and Syrian governments committing a war crime.

The war-crime itself is said to be a "double-tap" airstrike, ie. An airstrike, waiting for the first responders to arrive, and then another airstrike. (The term actually originates from US drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan"I don't know if C4 had any special reports about that.)

Watch the video, do you see evidence of a war crime?

Here's what I saw:

  • Fairly quiet countryside.
  • Men in White Helmets running around some fig trees.
  • Men in White Helmets shouting in Arabic.
  • A dust cloud.
  • A damaged van/ambulance.
  • An injured man/a man pretending to injured/a dummy (You can never be sure with the WH).
  • More running and shouting.
  • One more dust cloud, much further away.
  • People in white helmets looking sad.
  • Here's what I didn't see:

  • Any Russian or Syrian planes.
  • Any Russian or Syrian military personnel.
  • Any Russian or Syrian military equipment.
  • Any evidence of the "first airstrike".
  • Any bombs falling.
  • Any evidence of a war crime.
  • If this is really the best they have, then they have nothing. It is, frankly, embarrassing.


    The written report that accompanies the video isn't much better it's essentially just a Cliff Notes version of Jon Snow's rather simpering commentary, but there's some interesting language to deconstruct, and omissions to take note of.

    An investigation by Channel 4 News has obtained evidence of possible war crimes in Syria

    I just love this beginning part. So up itself, so pompous.

    We KNOW there was no "investigation", they didn't dig this up or ferret it out the people who made it want it to be on TV. That's the reason they made it. Channel 4's "investigation" was checking their email.

    Either GCHQ directly dumped it into their inbox one morning, or some NGO proxy did it for them"either way, there was no "investigation". At best at best there were some fact checks AFTER they got the video, just to make sure they weren't going to make fools of themselves. (Spoiler alert: they did).

    As a general rule, with Western mainstream media, when they say "an investigation has obtained" they honestly do mean "someone emailed this to us". That goes double for bellingcat. That's just how it works.

    "with airstrikes that appear to deliberately target rescuers.

    Er"no they don't. There are five "airstrikes" in the video (according to them, I only saw 2 at most). Of these five, only one (allegedly) hit anywhere even vaguely near an ambulance. If the Syrian airforce have a miss-rate of 80% how on earth are they winning this war?

    Footage caught on multiple cameras allegedly shows a so-called 'double-tap' operation in Idlib province

    They keep coming back to this "multiple cameras" angle, I don't know why. I think it might be a pre-emptive defence against accusations of fakery, maybe? Which would be pretty revealing in and of itself.

    Oh, by the by, the "multiple cameras" are the go-pros and bodycams being worn by the White Helmets. I don't know if they always wear them, or if they just wore them to that scene. Either way, it's weird.

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    [Republished from Off-Guardian] 

    Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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