In another stunning revelation concerning the self-styled "independent" Syrian rescue and aid organization the White Helmets, Canada this week revealed that it has ended all funding for the controversial group yet without detailing why.
A bombshell new report in The Globe and Mailsays only that the government of Canada, dubbed "one of the staunchest backers of the White Helmets", ended support "shortly after the death of the group's British co-founder, James Le Mesurier, who committed suicide in November, 2019."
Le Mesurier had been mired in scandal and was subject of an in investigation over possible mishandling of donations which poured in from various Western governments and humanitarian groups. His suicide took place in murky circumstances: he was found dead reportedly from a fall on the street below the upstairs window of his apartment in Istanbul's Beyoglu district on November 11, 2019.
The White Helmets had also been caught on many occasions embedding with al-Qaeda in Syria and essentially served as their rescue arm (or "the Islamic State's fire brigade" as ISIS kidnap victim John Cantlie once observed), while refusing to work in government areas despite claiming they are a 'neutral' NGO.
But the reality all along was that this 'humanitarian rescue group' was a Western government-backed operation which served as an extension of the same external powers' drive to overthrow Assad via covert support to jihadists on the ground.
But Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, told The Globe and Mail that Canadian funding of the organization - including specific funding for clearing mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as money targeted at bringing more women into the organization - stopped at the end of 2019. Documents obtained by The Globe through an Access To Information request show Canadian support to the White Helmets was worth about $4-million per year, with final payments of just under $900,000 being made in March, 2020.
Independent journalist Aaron Maté, who over the years has done much reporting on the White Helmets, noted that the revelations in the new Globe and Mail report should be "a huge scandal" - but is likely to get little further mainstream media attention.