Who Do You Trust?

4 Mar

Blog Post #315

WARNING! This post contains political content. Read at your own risk!*

As I was composing my blog post for last night, I wanted to include a link to the official trailer for White Helmets. The documentary is about the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) also known as the documentary,  White Helmets, an organization that rescues civilians after bomb attacks — saving lives and getting victims to medical services as quickly as possible. An NGO, comprised of about 3000 unarmed volunteers who risk their lives to save others. The film won the 2017 Academy Award for the Best Documentary Short.

I first heard of the White Helmets when I was reading about Trump’s travel ban — I discovered an article written about ways people could help those that were affected by the crisis in Aleppo.

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One suggestion was to support humanitarian organizations through donations. Choosing from the listed NGOs, I decided to donate to three organizations: the White Helmets, Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee.

As I was searching for the official trailer of the documentary, I noticed an article from Global Research – Centre For Globalization, claiming that the film was a war propaganda vehicle. My heart sank. I had supported them — did I get duped?

I read the article and it cast a few doubts. I did more digging and was led to another site:  Collective Evolution where I found another article debunking the White Helmets.  From that article, I followed a link to a viral YouTube video featuring an independent Canadian journalist, Eva Bartlett, who condemns mainstream media for their “inaccurate reporting” of the war in Syria, focussing especially on the White Helmets, even going so far as to accuse the organization of “recycling” child victims.

Another link from the Collective Evolution led me to the site RT — Question More with yet another article about the “truth” about the SCD (White Helmets).

Reading these articles, raised some red flags. Their accounts while seemingly plausible had one thing in common. The articles/websites seemed to be pro-Russia and showed a lot of acrimony directed at the US, the UK and mainstream media— and quite a bit of innuendo.  So, I continued digging.

This what I found:

Global Research – the Centre for Research on Globalization, is known for publishing common conspiracy theories and is considered to be pro-Russia and anti-NATO, according to Wikipedia. 

Collective Evolution, while not favouring any political group or doctrine, is known to be anti-science and to publish articles that are unverifiable and akin to propaganda. Rational Wiki calls Collective Evolution a “a woo-mongering click bait website”  It is also considered a misinformation site by some.

Eva Bartlett is journalist who writes for various conspiracy sites like Globalresearch.ca as well as Russia Today or RT as it is now called.  She claimed, in a video of her UN panel discussion, that the White Helmets “recycled” child victims in their videos. This claim has been proven false by Channel 4 News and by Snopes,  the fact checking site.

RT is a Russian state-funded international TV network, formerly known as Russia Today. RT operates cable and satellite television networks aimed at audiences outside of Russia, including the US and Canada and produces internet content in various languages. RT is generally considered to be a perpetrator of Russian propaganda.

After all this fact checking, I’m more comfortable about my decision to support the White Helmets. I am sad that I had to question the information in the first place, especially since I first read about them on Upworthy, a website that I have always trusted.

It took quite a bit of time to discover some clear information regarding the people and the websites that were putting forth the negative “facts.” In this era of “fake news”, I’m more wary than ever of all information that I find on the web, both for the opinions and facts that I believe in and those that I do not. I will be doing a lot more checking and verifying than before. Corroboration is a good thing and I suppose that we can never be 100% positive that we are getting the whole truth.

I do know that I want to believe that an organization like the White Helmets is real and does what it says it does — save lives! I feel that, after investigating, I can believe it.

Below is the official trailer of the Academy Award winning documentary short — The White Helmets. I’m looking forward to watching the film.

Tell me — who do you trust?

*Opinions are my own unless cited

 

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