Doctor Rola Hallam, the humanitarian doctor for regime change in Syria, is still in action, setting up Hope Hospital, a crowd funded hospital near
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Discussion of the 2013 BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children on the George Galloway hosted Al Mayadeen programme Kalima Horra, broadcast 11 June 2018.
For fuller details of the points discussed see these links and video presentation:
The full Kalima Horra programme, with guests including former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, is below:
The focus this time was on the media’s propensity to embed its journalists directly with extremist militants and terrorist groups, such as ISIS and Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria). Presentations from the event are published on the Media on Trial website and YouTube channel and are linked to in the images below. A summary article can be found here.
By Daniel Margrain
For many years I have been following Robert Stuart’s exhaustive and detailed exposition of the BBC Panorama documentary Saving Syria’s Children that highlighted the aftermath of an alleged incendiary bomb attack on the playground of the Urm al-Kubra school near Aleppo in Syria.
The BBC team comprising reporter, Ian Pannell and cameraman, Darren Conway (who coincidentally were inside Syria when the alleged attack happened), reported on, and filmed, the incoming casualties arriving at the Atareb hospital on 26 August 2013. The footage formed the basis of the documentary.
Stuart contends that the filmed sequences were largely, if not entirely, staged. Scenes from the documentary were shown as part of a brief BBC News at Ten
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Since then evidence has emerged which demonstrates that senior White Helmets were present at Atareb Hospital on 26 August 2013, where they were filmed by BBC cameraman Darren Conway.
According to the blurb promoting his September 2017 presentation at the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham “Mounir Mustafa is the Deputy Head of the Syria Civil Defense”:
When the Syria conflict started, Mounir and his colleagues started an independent emergency response organisation in 2013- known today as the White Helmets.
“Captain” Ali Obied Abo Alkasem
In an Atareb White Helmets Facebook post of 18 August 2013, eight days before he was filmed by the BBC at Atareb Hospital, “Captain” Ali Obied Abo Alkasem is described as “Director of the Center for Civil Defense in the liberated area of Al-Attar.”
These days the Captain describes himself as
Emergency Trainer, Community Awareness and Support Civil Defense Officer with the rank of Captain Experience in planning, organization and training 
While the Captain’s Facebook profile image (above) depicts a statesmanlike paragon of the White Helmets professed principles of “Humanity, Solidarity, Impartiality”, other of his social media effusions somewhat dent this image:
Ghassan Al Mustafa
Images from the Atareb White Helmets and Ghassan Al-Mustafa‘s personal Facebook pages. Note in third image the logo of Hand in Hand for Syria, the UK charity featured in Saving Syria’s Children, an employee of which has been pictured posing with an array of munitions.
Like the Captain, Ghassan too struggles with the White Helmets’ professed creed of neutrality and impartiality: 
The Silver Fox
A ubiquitous figure in the Atareb White Helmets Facebook posts is an unnamed officer who, as previously noted, appears to have been on the scene during the aftermath of the alleged incendiary attack in Urm al-Kubra, Aleppo:
The Laughing Doctor
Memorably, this ostensibly dour humanitarian could barely suppress mirth when interviewed about the alleged incendiary attack just one day later by the Aleppo News Network:
The picture that begins to emerge is that, far from the random assemblage of locals and officials one might expect to attend an incident such as the one alleged by the BBC, many of those captured on film in the town of Urm al-Kubra and at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 more closely constitute a Who’s Who of UK and western backed anti-Syrian forces.
It is established that the BBC Panorama team of Ian Pannell and Darren Conway were embedded with “hardline Islamist” group Ahrar al-Sham throughout the recording of Saving Syria’s Children in August 2013. Ahrar al-Sham were co-founded by “one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted couriers” and just three weeks earlier had, along with both ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, been among “the key fundraisers, organizers, planners, and executors” of an attack in which at least 190 civilians were killed and over 200 – “the vast majority women and children” – were kidnapped.
In other scenes, figures which could resemble Western state special forces operatives are glimpsed and in one YouTube video a commander of the Ansar Brigade, Yusuf Zou’a (now deceased), expatiates upon the day’s events:
Can there really be any doubt remaining that the alleged Urm al-Kubra incendiary attack and its aftermath were a concoction of western state intelligence agencies aimed at furthering a regime change agenda in Syria?
 Independent journalist Vanessa Beeley has researched the real Syria Civil Defence, which was established in 1953, is a founding member of the ICDO (International Civil Defence Organisation) and which, unlike the White Helmets, works to rescue civilians wherever it can within Syria; the White Helmets operate exclusively in Jabhat al-Nusra strongholds, fleeing these areas along with Nusra militants once they have been secured by government forces.
In May 2017 renowned documentary filmmaker and journalist John Pilger described the White Helmets as a “complete propaganda construct” and more recently even the extreme right-wing Fox News has conceded that the White Helmets are “not always the most reliable” and possess “their own agenda”:
 Described by ITV News as a “brave accountant“, Abazeed prefers to describe herself on Facebook as a journalist. Whatever Abazeed’s professed profession, her social media postings leave no doubt of her affiliations:
 As are those of so many of his comrades:
Alfaj also celebrated the munition in images such as these:
Currently, Alfaj claims to work “at Qatar Red Crescent – Turkey Mission”.
 In a slightly later shot from Saving Syria’s Children we see that the Captain’s tunic bore the logo of the Free Aleppo Governorate Council:
A 2014 MENASource blog post states:
The Council formed in March 2013 to provide services and administrative assistance for civilians living in free areas of Aleppo Province.
A 19 August 2013 Facebook post shows the Free Aleppo Governorate Council logo being received by the Atareb White Helmets:
The virtually identical East Aleppo Council logo appears on White Helmets jackets found in abandoned White Helmet/Jabhat al-Nusra centres in East Aleppo by independent journalist Vanessa Beeley in May 2017:
In a December 2017 article White Helmets & ‘Local Councils’ – Is the UK FCO Financing Terrorism in Syria with Taxpayer Funds? Beeley writes:
The White Helmet group in East Aleppo was established by the president of the East Aleppo Council (EAC), [Abdulaziz] Maghrabi, who has clear affiliations to terrorist groups inside Syria. Maghrabi is also an active militant member of those groups, by his own admission.
 In his Facebook intro Ghassan describes himself as “Trainer at the Training Center at the Syrian Civil Defense“, although the hyperlink is to the Wikipedia entry for the Mayday Rescue Foundation. This is quite congruous. As Vanessa Beeley notes, White Helmets founder James 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.
Beeley observes of Mayday:
Its primary function appears to be as an intermediary “not for profit,” set up as a conduit to receive and transfer funds to the White Helmets.
Professor Dr Piers Robinson explains further:
The White Helmets receive funding from the UK government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and the US government’s USAID, Office of Transition Initiatives programme – the Syria Regional Program II. The UK and US governments do not provide direct training and support to the White Helmets. Instead, private contractors bid for the funding from the CSSF and USAID. Mayday Rescue won the CSSF contract, and Chemonics won the USAID contract. As such, Chemonics and Mayday Rescue train and support the White Helmets on behalf of the US and UK governments.
 It is possible that the three men in the ambulance were not themselves ISIS militants, but were using the ISIS emblem to demonstrate allegiance, and hence ensure their own security, within an ISIS stronghold. This then begs the questions of why the BBC Panorama team of Ian Pannell and Darren Conway were themselves able to move freely in ISIS territory, as was seemingly demonstrated by their unobstructed passage through an ISIS checkpoint in an earlier segment of Saving Syria’s Children.
Part 2 here
A fledgling incarnation of faux humanitarian organisation the White Helmets appears to have attended the alleged incendiary attack which featured in the BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children.
A Volvo fire engine marked in English and with no license plate was filmed at Urm al-Kubra, Aleppo on 26 August 2013.
From 57s to 1:02 in the video the vehicle is seen outside the residential apartment building which the BBC claims was the initial target of a Syrian fighter jet which then allegedly attacked a nearby school playground.  From 24s to 30s, in a chronologically later sequence, the fire engine departs Urm al-Kubra, heading west towards Atareb:
The vehicle is identifiable by dark patches on its side and rear shutters (click on gallery images to enlarge):
A reader of this blog believes he has located the White Helmets centre at Atareb , placing it less than 2km away from Atareb Hospital where alleged victims of the purported August 2013 incendiary attack were filmed by the BBC Panorama team of Ian Pannell and Darren Conway:
An individual interviewed following the destruction of the centre appears also to have been present during the aftermath of the alleged incendiary attack on the residential building in Urm al-Kubra in 2013 (see from 3:10 to 3:13 here):
Independent journalist Vanessa Beeley has conducted an ongoing investigation into the White Helmets. Beeley’s research comprehensively reveals the organisation to be a terrorist-affiliated “phony NATO shadow state construct, masquerading as a Humanitarian NGO”.
In May 2017 acclaimed documentary filmmaker and journalist John Pilger, whose career was the subject of a two-day retrospective at the British Library in December 2017, described the White Helmets as a “complete propaganda construct”.
It is now established that Pannell and Conway used Al-Qaeda linked jihadi group Ahrar al-Sham as security during the filming of Saving Syria’s Children, scant weeks after the group’s participation in the massacre and kidnap of civilians, and that Conway’s close-quarters footage of alleged victims arriving at Atareb Hospital features at least one vehicle prominently displaying the ISIS banner. 
With troubling questions hanging over the veracity of Pannell and Conway’s report, the apparent involvement of a nascent White Helmets in the alleged August 2013 incendiary incident further undermines the credibility of the BBC’s accounts of the supposed incident.
The chronology of events would appear to make such involvement a possibility. Beeley writes that the White Helmets
The Civil Defense Center was opened in al-Atareb in the beginnings of 2013. 
The British involvement in the establishment of the White Helmets is reflected in the takeover, in May 2013, of Atareb Hospital by the UK charity Hand in Hand for Syria. A number of serious concerns about Hand in Hand for Syria are noted here. 
 As observed here, in another video shot inside the apartment building in the aftermath of the alleged attack one of those present has no qualms about standing on what would appear to be part of the casing of the alleged incendiary shell – claimed by the BBC to contain a “napalm-type substance” – in his bare feet:
 Using videos made following the attack and images such as these:
 The identity and/or role of other uniformed and/or armed or professionally equipped individuals filmed by Conway and others at Atareb Hospital remains an open question:
Particularly notable is the presence at Atareb Hospital of former commander of the Ansar Brigade and commander of Jabhat al-Nusra ally Jaysh al-Mujahideen (Army of Mujahideen) Yusuf Zou’a:
Alfaj also posted these images on Facebook:
 Another organisation present at Atareb Hospital on 26 August 2013 is the Free Aleppo Governorate Council, which “formed in March 2013 to provide services and administrative assistance for civilians living in free areas of Aleppo Province”. (http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/a-real-syria-policy-starts-with-saving-aleppo)
 In 2014 a team of Syrian investigators researching the alleged 26 August 2013 incendiary attack reported that, under the auspices of Hand in Hand for Syria, Atareb Hospital was “facing very serious problems of administration, honesty, transparency and professionalism.”
3rd of July 2013
It is a question of public interest
If it is said that to be conceded a job at Alatareb’s Hospital you have to be a revolutionary and the owner of a certificate, how did they refuse revolutionaries that have certificates and accepted revolutionary people that do not have certificates or even experience to work in the hospital ……??????
The team’s report (Word download) is here.
1) Tuesday 30 January 2018 – Imperialism on Trial, Waterside Theatre, Derry. With Vanessa Beeley, Dr Marcos Papadopoulos, Neil Clark, former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford and Prof. Piers Robinson. More details here. Booking here
2) Wednesday 31 January 2018 – Imperialism on Trial: Exposing War Propaganda, Barnsbury Centre, 12 Jays Street, Islington, London, N1 0FE. More details and booking here.
Above excerpt from Q&A following Eva Bartlett’s December 2016 speech to the UN has gained almost 4.5 million views
Did BBC team responsible for faked footage of Syrian chemical attack travel under terrorist protection?
Most of our readers are now more than familiar with the bizarre events surrounding the BBC Panorama program Saving Syria’s Children. We’ve already returned to this story several times. The possibility that this program presented faked footage of a non-existent chemical attack by government troops on a school in Syria has been meticulously documented by independent researcher Robert Stuart over several years.
But a further twist to the story seems to show that the crew who filmed this questionable footage were being…
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From: Robert Stuart
Sent: Sun 17/12/2017 14:10
Subject: BBC cheek by jowl with ISIS
I was disappointed by your response to my concerns about BBC reporter Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway’s having apparently entered into a business relationship with al-Qaeda and ISIS linked jihadi group Ahrar al-Sham during the production of the 2013 Panorama special Saving Syria’s Children.
I felt that Jeremy Hayes’ reply to you evaded this matter by diverting into separate concerns I have previously raised with the BBC over this programme.
In the absence of your support, I have reported Pannell and Conway to the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.
I now wish to make you aware of evidence that Pannell and Conway were working in close proximity to members of ISIS during the filming of Saving Syria’s Children.
As detailed here, an ambulance plainly displaying the ISIS flag was among vehicles which transported the alleged victims of an alleged incendiary attack to Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013. The ambulance and two militarily attired and armed occupants were filmed at close quarters by Conway.
The ambulance was carrying a female alleged victim of the alleged incendiary attack. Conway filmed this woman being transported from the rear of the vehicle by five men, including the two men in combat fatigues who had travelled with her.
One of the “stars” of Saving Syria’s Children, Dr Saleyha Ahsan (who has more recently presented the BBC series “Trust Me I’m a Doctor”), has stated on Twitter that she carried the woman through the hospital. If so, this would appear to indicate that Dr Ahsan was in direct contact with the ISIS militants.
There are clearly very many troubling questions surrounding Saving Syria’s Children. How did Pannell and Conway come to be cheek by jowl, not only with al-Qaeda linked jihadis Ahrar al-Sham, but also with ISIS? Were western government agencies involved in the programme’s production and funding? If so, to what end? Were all the scenes transmitted genuine?
Award-winning US online magazine Paste has described Saving Syria’s Children as “a sham”. Tellingly, despite being informed of this the BBC has not, to my knowledge, chosen to pursue legal action against the publication.
A public enquiry into Saving Syria’s Children is now essential.
Address and telephone number supplied
The below information was submitted to Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry on 17 December 2017 – see BBC cheek by jowl with ISIS: email to Emily Thornberry MP
Scenes filmed by BBC cameraman Darren Conway for the 2013 Panorama special Saving Syria’s Children purporting to show incendiary bomb victims arriving at an Aleppo hospital feature an ambulance displaying the ISIS flag. 
The proximity of Conway and Panorama reporter Ian Pannell to the ISIS vehicle and its armed occupants at Atareb Hospital on 26 August 2013 contrasts markedly with an ostensibly tense scene shot the previous day in which the two-man BBC team passes through an ISIS checkpoint in apparent fear for their lives.
The ambulance was transporting a female alleged victim of an alleged napalm or thermite attack on the town of Urm al-Kubra, Aleppo. As discussed here, while the woman walked into the ambulance with composure and took an upright seat, following a 13 kilometre journey to Atareb she was filmed by Conway being ostentatiously carried out of the vehicle by five men, apparently screaming in agony.
Pannell and Conway have recently been reported to the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office over concerns that they entered into a business relationship with salafist jihadi group Ahrar al-Sham during the production of Saving Syria’s Children.
Ahrar al-Sham – described by the BBC as a “hardline Islamist group”  – worked with ISIS until January 2014. In light of the then partnership between the two groups it would seem reasonable to question whether the safe passage of Pannell and Conway’s Ahrar al-Sham convoy through an ISIS checkpoint (from 10:47 to 11:40 in Saving Syria’s Children) was not, at least to some degree, orchestrated. 
Award-winning US online magazine Paste has described Saving Syria’s Children as “a sham”. In October I gave this presentation outlining some of the concerns surrounding the authenticity of the programme:
 As discussed here, Ahrar al-Sham was co-founded by “one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted couriers”. According to Human Rights Watch, just 19 days before filming for Saving Syria’s Children began the group worked alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra as one of “the key fundraisers, organizers, planners, and executors” of attacks in which at least 190 civilians, including women, children and elderly men were killed and over 200 mostly women and children were kidnapped.
 Pannell’s words during this sequence are as follows:
Travelling around Syria has never really been more dangerous, both foreign journalists and foreign aid workers have been targeted, some have been killed. We’re just going through a checkpoint now, put the camera down a bit.
[Narration] Rival rebel factions now fight each other as well as the government. Lawlessness prevails and areas that were once safe can become dangerous almost overnight.
This is an ISIS group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is a group that’s affiliated with Al Qaeda. Increasing numbers of jihadis have come into Syria, they’re setting up checkpoints so it means that any foreigners in particular traveling around the country run the gauntlet of these checkpoints every few miles or so. And the worst thing about driving around is that you’re never sure what lies behind the next corner.