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SWEDHR Board of Directors ref. misattributed statements on White Helmets and alleged gas attacks in Syria

Professor Emeritus, med. dr.  Marcello Ferrada de Noli, chairman; Professor Emeritus, med. dr. Anders Romelsjö, vice-chairman; Chief physician, med. dr. Alberto Gutiérrez Mardones; Chief physician Ove Johansson, MD; Chief physician, specialist Dr Lena Oske, MD; Specialist Dr Leif Elinder, MD; Specialist Dr Martin Gelin, Dental Surgeon. On behalf of SWEDHR Board of Directors.

I

SWEDHR have performed several analyses around reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria, which mostly have been originated from claims by the White Helmets and associates. In the main, our conclusions were that the alleged evidence appear clinically and epidemiological flawed. For instance, in regard to the Khan Shaykhun incident, as put forward in a document by the SWEDHR chair recently published by the United Nations Security Council. [1]  We have also asked for independent, non-biased investigations done by meritorious scientists, instead of politically appointed investigators. In spite that was all we have centrally said on the ‘gas attacks’ issue, we have been unjustifiably attacked by some mainstream media in Sweden, led by Dagens Nyheter, [2] and elsewhere by Der Spiegel, [3] Le Figaro, [4] etc., and in social media –including deleterious references to our organization by Mr Kenneth Roth, [5] president of Human Rights Watch.

However, in recent weeks, the United States Defence Secretary, General (Ret.) Jim Mattis, announced in a press conference that they do not possess evidence of a sarin attack in Syria. [6] Days after, the French Defence Minister, Ms Florence Perly, declared that France has not confirmed evidence of chlorine attacks in Syria attributed to the government forces. [7] Both statements bring unequivocal support, and further credibility, to the conclusions on the very same issues we achieved at SWEDHR, published in April, May and November 2017, respectively (See Notes & References).

Concomitantly, our firm stance about the probe-issue regarding allegations on gas attacks in Syria, by no means contradicts our equally solid stance of considering the eventual perpetration of such attacks a hideous war crime. Neither our demand for a beyond-doubt evidence regarding the alleged responsibility of the Syrian government represents a per-default political endorsement. SWEDHR is by definition opposed to the notion of war. [8] Unlike HRW, we have not advocated for the bombing of Syrians, [9] or for a No-Fly Zone, such as the White Helmets and associates do [10] – which in practical terms would only enable the intensification of belligerent input from jihadists fighting for an Islamic State in Syria. [11] We have instead repeatedly advocated for a prompt settlement of the Syrian conflict via negotiations. We view the Sochi peace talks as positive and crucial in those regards, and we concur with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, that the progress made in Sochi may be also seen as contributing to the Geneva process. [12]

SWEDHR stances are absolutely independent, [13] we are not bounded to any political or financial interest; we do not receive any support, financial or otherwise, from any government, company or institution –as is the case of ‘stream human rights organizations’ such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty.  We demand respect for SWEDHR authentically independent commitment, and we will held in the future zero tolerance to libelous accusations in the mainstream media and social media which would contend otherwise. To this end, we are working for establishing the means for eventual legal actions.

As an example, the organization Reporters Without Borders, RSF, called the cancellation of the Swiss Press Club conference on the White Helmets of November 2017,  referring SWEDHR as an “organization that, according with our information, acts as a tool of Russian propaganda.” [14] We openly challenged RSF to either publish the evidence for such an allegation they made in a public letter, or otherwise “to shame”. [15] RSF did not reply.

II

SWEDHR doctors analyzed in March-April 2017 video material posted by the organization White Helmets on alleged life-saving procedures of infants [16] [17]. The conclusions of these analyses or whereabouts of its authors have unfortunately been distorted, as in the case of an article in Codastory.com propagated by Kennet Roth, [5] or a publication by Veterans Today, which we have already refuted. [18]

In recent weeks further misquotes of the SWEDHR doctors’ conclusions on the above-mentioned videos recirculated in social media. This quote, wrongly attributed to SWEDHR says, “Quote: The implication is that the White Helmets may have actually killed children and/or were using already-dead children ‘as propaganda props’.” Which is something SWEDHR doctors never have affirmed.

Instead, the conclusion by the SWEDHR doctors was:

“Lifesaving procedures on the children showed in the White Helmets videos were found to be fake, and ultimately performed on dead children… Which is not the same than affirming that the personnel seen in the videos caused the dead of the infant. In forensic terms, the actual cause of death, as well as the mode and the issue of intent, refer to different items than those treated in our analysis.” [17]

We would like to detail our stance on the White Helmets issue, in order to avoid further misuse or misreading of our investigations:

Even if we have contributed to expose fake life-rescuing episodes as shown in materials posted by the White Helmets themselves, our criticism differs from other authors or news platforms. As the SWEDHR chairman conveyed expressly on behalf of this board of directors at the Swiss Press Club conference of November 2017:

“The point for us has not been to demonise the individual participation of some well-minded volunteers deploying natural solidarity with civilians, which in a given moment are –tragically as in all wars– victims of a collateral damage. Neither is the case to criticise the humanitarian rescue-activity per se, in those cases in which that activity has been real. Instead, our analyses on the White Helmets materials aim to focus on two mayor issues pertaining the White Helmets as institution: a) The geopolitical significance of the White Helmets as an international construction in the propaganda war, and b) The using of this organization as a main source of information by UN investigative commissions.” [20]

We mean that although we do not deny that its individual ranks may have occasionally performed rescue maneuvers, we consider the organization White Helmets as mainly a political organization, with self-declared political aims, and with a war-propaganda purpose which coincides with the geopolitical interests of the powers that finance its operations. We find highly demonstrative that the White Helmets operate solely in territories in the main under the governance of militant jihadists formations, fighting for replace a secular government for a Sharia fundamentalist rule. [11] Which makes even more incomprehensible the support given to this organization by democratic, secular European countries such as Sweden. [21]

We hope the above clarifications will help to a more objective analysis about SWEDHR participation in this principal human rights debate, done in the context of a war which have costed nearly half million lives, and further risks a tragic geopolitical enhancing.

Notes and References

[1] United Nations Security Council, Official document S/2017/1010, 20 February 2018.
[2] Gasattacker förnekas med hjälp från svensk läkargrupp. Dagens Nyheter, 21 April 2017.
[3] Russlands perfider Feldzug gegen die Wahrheit. Der Spiegel, 21 December 2017. Rebuttal by SWEDHR in The Indicter Magazine, 22 December 2017.
[4] En Russie, une curieuse thèse reprise pour exonérer Damas”. Le Figaro, 13 April 2017. Rebuttal by SWEDHR in The Indicter Magazine, 15 April 2017.
[5] Kenneth Roth, promoting a libelous article on SWEDHR in the anti-Russia site Codastory. https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/8596954964991672.  On Twitter, 3
May 2017.
[6] Mattis warns Syria against using chemical weapons. CNN, 2 February 2018. See also, Transcripts of US Def Sec James Mattis Press conference Feb 2, 2018.
[7] Florence Parly : Le Service national universel doit être attractif pour les jeunes. Franceinter, 9 February 2018.  See also [English] video “France Defense Minister: No confirmation of chlorine attacks, Syria.” The Indicter Channel. YouTube, 9 February 2018.
[8] From “Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights – About us“: “SWEDHR work for Peace, and consider itself as part of the anti-war global initiative. We oppose war, and we favour instead the solving of geopolitical conflicts through peaceful talks or negotiations with the intervention of neutral mediators. We encourage the respect of decisions taken by International Tribunals. SWEDHR aims to contribute to the international Human Rights movement based on our research and professional experience in the health sciences.”
[9] In “Warmongering by Another Name“, it is found a sample with the following tweets authored by the President of Human Rights Watch, Mr Kenneth Roth:
  • “To justify #Syria inaction, top US general trots out age-old ethnic animosities line. Heard that B4? Bosnia. Rwanda.”
  • “Top general suggests US is more interested in a geopolitical partner in #Syria than saving civilians from slaughter. “
  • “It took chemical attack to convince Obama/Kerry that Assad isn’t interested in negotiated solution!? No more excuses.”
  • “If the appalling slaughter in #Syria won’t get Obama to act, maybe ridicule will:””
  • “If Obama decides to strike #Syria, will he settle for symbolism or do something that will help protect civilians?”
[10] Syria Needs a No-Fly Zone! Syrian American Council, 2016. The political associations between the Syrian American Council and the organization White Helmets is, for example, shown in the Facebook post, “SAC Hosts Official Syrian Opposition Delegation“, of 28 September 2016.
[11] Which rebel groups are fighting in Syria’s eastern Ghouta? Deutsche Welle, 9 March 2018
[12] Note to correspondents from Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy for Syria from Sochi. United Nations Secretary-General, 30 January 2018.
[13] SWEDHR Is Absolutely Independent. Article in the Journal of the Swedish Medical Association. The Indicter Magazine, 9 June 2017.
[14] Guy Mettan sommé d’annuler une conférence. Tribune de Genève, 23 November 2017.
[15] Prof Ferrada de Noli, calling Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to publish alleged evidence: https://twitter.com/ProfessorsBlogg/status/934190859049938945. On Twitter, 23 November 2017.
[16] White Helmets Video: Swedish Doctors for Human Rights Denounce Medical Malpractice and ‘Misuse’ of Children for Propaganda Aims. The Indicter Magazine, 6 March 2017.
[17] White Helmets Movie: Updated Evidence from Swedish Doctors Confirm Fake ‘Lifesaving’ and Malpractices on Children. The Indicter Magazine, 17 March 2017.
[18] “Statement by Swedish Professors & Doctors for Human Rights on misrepresentations referred in Veterans Today article on White Helmets“. The Indicter Magazine, 8 April 2017.
[20] Should UN consider White Helmets a politically neutral organization, and its allegations as credible sources by UN investigative panels on Syria? The Indicter Magazine, 30 November 2017.
[21] “Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?”  The Indicter Magazine, 25 November 2016.

March 19, 2018 - Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , ,

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