Please note this post does not directly relate to BBC Panorama “Saving Syria’s Children” which remains the main focus of this blog.
|Sent:||07 October 2015 16:07:44|
Dear Mr Elliott,
I wish to complain that the above print and web article breaches the Guardian News & Media’s Editorial Code, which states (p8):
“The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”.
I. An image in the article is captioned “An unverified photo of an unexploded barrel bomb alleged to contain napalm gel.”
As several comments below the online version of the article note  the image in fact quite clearly shows an opposition “Hell Cannon” mortar device. Numerous images  and videos  of these munitions, which are fashioned from domestic cooking gas canisters, in the hands of opposition fighters in Syria can readily be found online.
II. A correction to the web article states:
This article was amended to [sic] 13 August 2015 to remove a description of the Syrian Civil Defence as “aligned to the opposition”. The SCD argue that they are a neutral organisation and not aligned to any political group.
Rick Sterling, co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement, observes :
White Helmets is the newly minted name for “Syrian Civil Defence”. Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria. Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.
The trainees are said to be ‘nonpartisan’ but only work in rebel-controlled areas of Idlib (now controlled by Nusra/Al Queda) and Aleppo.
The White Helmets work primarily with the rebel group Jabat al Nusra (Al Queda in Syria). Video of the recent alleged chlorine gas attacks starts with the White Helmet logo and continues with the logo of Nusra. In reality, White Helmets is a small rescue team for Nusra/Al Queda.
But White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention.
Numerous images and videos posted online make shockingly and abundantly plain the partisan and non-peaceful character of the Syrian Civil Defence/White Helmets. 
I suggest therefore that the amendment of the original, accurate, description of the Syrian Civil Defence as “aligned to the opposition” also breaches the Guardian Editors’ Code in respect of accuracy.
http://m.liveleak.com/view?i=fd8_1430900709 – “Syria – So-called “White Helmets” facilitate an al Nusra execution”
https://youtu.be/DE6yIIzxaBE?t=10m22s – Haj Abu Ahmad of the Civil Defence Force is translated as follows:
(From 10:23) “Glad tidings have reached us in Jisr al-Shghor on the hands of our mujahedeen brothers, may Allah strengthen them and make them steadfast on the correct way, and soon Insha’Allah the strongholds of the Assad regime in Latakya and Damascus will be liberated”. (Still images here http://on.fb.me/1EtnlBF and here http://on.fb.me/1X6iQTL).
(From 11:11) “Now we secure the families and transfer them to a safe place, outside of Jisr al-Shughor and we also search for injured civilians, as for the dead bodies, we put them in bodybags after identifying them so we can send [news of them] to their families. Finally we collect the bodies of the Shabiha (Assad regime militia) and throw them in the trash.” (Still image here: http://on.fb.me/1FcDMNw).