On July 22, 2018, Israel organized and facilitated an exceptional evacuation of White Helmet operatives from southern Syria, claiming the operatives were at risk from an advancing Syrian Arab Army. A number of NATO member states backed the move, calling on Israel to bring their intelligence assets to safety.
The White Helmets have been discredited and exposed as a British-government-incubated project by a number of independent geopolitical analysts, including Scott Ritter, Philip Giraldi, John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Eva Bartlett, Graham Porter, Rick Sterling , Cory Morningstar and many more.
This journalist’s extensive work has shown that the U.K. Intelligence-manufactured group of pseudo “humanitarians” — financed by the majority of member states within the U.S.-led interventionist alliance waging war against Syria — is nothing more than an auxiliary of the Al Qaeda generic offshoots in Syria. The White Helmet image has been professionally polished by a vast network of PR agencies, billionaire philanthropists, and media outlets aligned with their respective government objectives to overthrow the Syrian government and reduce Syria to a “failed state,” as they succeeded in doing with Libya.
Israel has a history of supporting terrorism in Syria since the start of the U.S. coalition war against the nation officially began in 2011. Israel has offered medical treatment to the various militant groups previously occupying areas of southern Syria. Stories abound of Israeli troops providing covering fire for groups dominated by Al Qaeda affiliates or rebrands as they came under attack from the Syrian Arab Army legitimately reclaiming territory lost to internationally-backed armed groups.
As journalist Sharmine Narwani pointed out in her article “Are Al Qaeda affiliates fighting alongside U.S. rebels in Syria’s south?”
If forced to choose, Israel prefers the presence of terrorist groups to Iranian influence […] Israel is so heavily [in]vested in keeping Syria and its allies away from its borders, it has actively bolstered al-Qaeda and other extremists in Syria’s southern theater.”
Israel’s evacuation of the White Helmets was an extension of its terrorist-supporting operations in southern Syria — and a response to a cry for help from a U.S. ally that has also supported proxy terrorism in Syria for the last eight years. Certainly Israel would not lift a finger to help any entity opposed to its existence in the Middle East, regardless of the pressure brought to bear by its allies in the U.S. or the U.K. It must also be noted that Israel and NATO member states did not offer the same humanitarian assistance to ordinary Syrian refugees gathered at the borders with Jordan and in Israeli annexed territory.
The following video footage of the Israel forces enabling the White Helmet evacuation process was published on Twitter by former Israeli security affairs expert Shai Ben-Ari:
During my time in the southern region of Syria, I visited numerous abandoned White Helmet centers located, as they always seemed to be, next to armed group centers or in shared complexes, usually former schools, hospitals or industrial buildings that had been converted into military headquarters and munitions factories.
I followed the route taken before me by the White Helmets as they exited Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before being transported to Jordan for their onward journey to asylum in the U.K., Canada, France or Germany. Locals in the area told me that a significant number of leaders and fighters from armed groups had been evacuated alongside the White Helmets with no opposition from Israel.
On September 20, 2018, I managed to enter a still-operating White Helmet center in Daraa Al Balad, south of Damascus, and interview White Helmet members as they continued to work in areas still under the control of armed groups during ongoing Russian-brokered reconciliation talks. One of the White Helmets, Abu Mohanad Al Mahamid, told me:
There are some [armed] factions connected with Israel; those factions were gathered by Israel in Quneitra and were told that you will [they would] leave with the White Helmets. By the way, the number of White Helmets in the southern area is 635, but those who left were 800. This means that there are [armed] factions who work with Mossad and they were extracted alongside the White Helmets… Not all those who left were White Helmets; there were people who left from Quneitra. There were terrorists; some left from the Yarmouk Basin.”
When asked to clarify who the terrorists from Yarmouk Basin were, Al Mahamid confirmed that they were ISIS fighters.
During the dramatic evacuation of the White Helmets, former U.K. Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford responded to a statement issued by U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Ford raised a number of questions regarding the extradition of the White Helmets, perhaps one of the most pertinent being this:
Might the British government have been afraid of this particular group being caught and interrogated, revealing perhaps the truth about alleged chemical weapons incidents?”
In December of 2018, Jordanian Member of Parliament Tareq Khoury demanded that the “dregs of White Helmets” still in Jordan be extradited as traitors to their homeland to face justice inside Syria.
“It is known they are traitors,” he said, adding:
Treason is a shameful and disgraceful act. Whoever betrays his homeland and his people will not spare the homeland of others. There are many stories throughout history in which traitors are eliminated by their operators when their dirty missions against their homelands are finished… I urge the Jordanian government to hand over those remaining [White Helmets] to the Sryian state to try them for betraying their homeland.”
Who orchestrated this exceptional rescue?
When the pedigree of those behind the White Helmet evacuation is more closely examined, Israel’s outsized role in the promotion and protection of the internationally financed group becomes more even more apparent.
Rewind to the hatching of the White Helmet “rescue” plan. On July 24, 2018, The Globe and Mail ran a story headlined: “How Canada’s woman in Istanbul began the daring rescue of the White Helmets.” The article outlines how White Helmets leader Raed Saleh approached Robin Wettlaufer, Canada’s Istanbul-based special envoy to Syria, for help.
Saleh has a history of being refused entry to the U.S. He was turned back at Dulles Airport in 2016 because of his suspected ties to extremist groups in Syria. This inconvenient fact was wiped from his immigration slate by former Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry and Saleh was subsequently allowed to enter the United States in September 2016. Kerry met Saleh during a closed-door session at the U.N., where the then-secretary of state had convened a meeting with members of the Syrian opposition, including members of armed groups. Incidentally, it was during these talks that Kerry famously admitted to the Obama administration’s support for ISIS in Syria in leaked audio published by the New York Times.
According to the Globe and Mail, Canada was being “hailed for its leadership” of the White Helmet rescue mission. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian foreign minister and former Globe and Mail editor, used a July NATO summit in Brussels to issue a plea on behalf of the White Helmets, which persuaded both Germany and Britain to accept a number of the high-profile “refugees.”
Former MI6 intelligence operative and creator of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, praised Canada’s initiative and singled out Wettlauger for praise. “Robin has been absolutely extraordinary; …the drive, the galvanization came from Canada,” Le Mesurier told the Globe and Mail.
As time passed, another individual was revealed to have been at the forefront of the Canada-led campaign. In October 2018, the Globe and Mail ran another story identifying Irwin Cotler’s role in the operation.
Renowned international human-rights lawyer Irwin Cotler is nominating Syria’s famed White Helmets, a group of volunteer humanitarian workers Canada helped rescue from the war-torn country, for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019.”
Cotler, the former Liberal minister of justice and attorney general for Canada, was a crucial element in the White Helmets rescue bid and was called upon to broker an agreement for the mission with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Why is Irwin Cotler so invested in the White Helmets?
Cotler’s history and connections reveal a high-profile global player who has consistently defended Israel’s appalling human-rights record in Palestine and is a tireless promoter of the responsibility to protect doctrine or R2P.
R2P is one of the most enterprising propaganda initiatives of the global powers aligned with U.S. supremacy and neo-colonialism. It effectively provides the moral justification to invade or attack any country whose government is deemed repressive toward its people.
Of course, those who decide what countries are repressive are the same ones with a history of militarily subjugating sovereign nations, plundering their resources, and in most cases ultimately reducing the quality of life for those same “repressed people.” This, on top of the years or even decades of bloodshed that leave behind depleted uranium and psychological trauma that will affect those “repressed people” for generations once the campaign has succeeded in reducing these nations to failed states.
The R2P doctrine has become one of the most insidious instruments used by global hegemons to manufacture consent for the myriad forever-wars of various intensities that are currently plaguing most regions of the world. It sells the “humanitarian value” of war and obfuscates hidden interests that are the true driver of modern-day colonization projects.
Cotler has hung the R2P Sword of Damocles over the heads of both Syria and Libya. In 2016 he accused Canada of “defaulting” on its responsibility to intervene in Syria, reinforcing the hyperbole used to facilitate another “humanitarian” war:
That doctrine [R2P] says that whenever there is a situation of war crimes and crimes against humanity and, God forbid, genocide, and the country in which it takes place is the author of that criminality, there is a responsibility to intervene and protect the innocent civilians. And I think we have defaulted on that — not just Canada, the international community — with respect to Syria.”
In 2011, Cotler argued that intervention in Libya to effectively bring down President Muammar Qaddafi would be a “test case for the UN Security Council and its implementation of the R2P doctrine.” History has since revealed that many of those “mass atrocities” so vehemently condemned by Cotler were little more than narratives designed to manufacture consent for the wholesale destruction of Libya by NATO member states.
The reality of Cotler’s campaigns for foreign regime change or intervention is that they almost always march in lock-step with neoconservative U.S. foreign policy. His “humanitarian” branding is but a thin veneer of hypocrisy that attempts to conceal his establishment policies — policies that almost always serve the interests of Israel.
Canadian author and journalist Yves Engler has waged a long-time campaign against Cotler’s crypto-neocolonialism. When former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin nominated Cotler for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, alongside Cotler’s own nomination of the White Helmets, Engler wrote an article titled “Canada’s Dershowitz, apologist for Israeli war crimes, nominated for Peace prize.”
In the article Engler lays out a convincing argument that Cotler is a serial apologist for Israel’s genocidal policies towards the Palstinian people. Engler reveals that Cotler was a long-time unofficial advisor to the former Israeli military chief of staff, General Moshe Ya’alon. Ya’alon is on the record saying that Israel “has a right to every part of the land of Israel.” In 2002, Ya’alon told a conference of rabbis in Jerusalem: “The Palestinian threat harbors cancer-like attributes that have to be severed and fought to the bitter end.”
Cotler’s own daughter, attorney Michal Cotler-Wunsh, was included in a joint list of Israel’s Resilience and Telem Party candidates headed by former Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon. Cotler-Wunsh was “born in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli military and obtained law degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.” The Cotler family connections to extreme right-wing elements of the Israeli ruling elite could not be stronger or better defined.
To launch the Telem Party campaign, Gantz released a video celebrating his role in the massacre of 2,200 Palestinians during the 2014 “mowing the lawn” bombing campaign in Gaza. For Gantz, “parts of Gaza [being] sent back to the Stone Age” was a victory for “peace” in the region. A “peace” that only Israel would benefit from. In his article, Engler points out that Gantz faces a war-crimes case in the Netherlands for his participation in the 2014 campaign that claimed the lives of civilians in Gaza and reduced much of the besieged enclave to rubble, destroying infrastructure and ensuring living conditions were reduced to sub-third-world status.
In his staunch defense of Israel, Cotler has described illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as “disputed territories” and justified the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon that left 1,200 mostly civilians dead. He has consistently attempted to derail investigations into Israeli war crimes — savagely attacking Richard Goldstone, who led the UN investigation of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which killed 1,400 Palestinians in Gazain 2008 and 2009.
Cotler and Venezuela
It should come as no surprise that Cotler’s support for U.S.-backed foreign interventions extends to the other side of the Atlantic as well. In Venezuela, he has been instrumental in furthering the U.S. agenda and undermining governance in an independent and sovereign state.
Cotler has gone so far as to state that “recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s leader is not a coup, it’s an embrace of democracy.” Cotler has called for the delegitimization of the Maduro government, and the sanctioning of top officials to hasten the demise of Maduro and to “speed the transition to democratic governance” in Venezuela. He described the Venezuelan government as being responsible for the “worst ever humanitarian crisis in the region,” while ignoring the U.S. role in creating and maintaining that “humanitarian crisis” through crippling sanctions aimed at undermining the Maduro government. This is such a textbook regime-change script and Cotler adheres to it without deviation.
In his exposé on Cotler, Engler claims that Cotler has been working with Guaido’s right-wing Popular Will Party for four years with the aim of ousting the Maduro government. Regional media outlet VenezuelaAnalysis pointed out that Cotler was “one of three international experts” responsible for a 400-page Canadian-backed Organization of American States (OAS) report on rights violations in Venezuela. The panel recommended OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro “submit the report to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC [International Criminal Court] and that other states refer Venezuela to the ICC.”
Cotler’s dedication to the “mobilization of shame against human-rights violators” is invariably directed against states and leaders who oppose U.S. global supremacy.
Cotler on Iran and Syria
In 2012 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that the U.S. State Department had reportedly removed Iran’s Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from the terrorism list. According to the article:
Iranian Americans sympathetic to the plight of MEK enlisted the support of a number of pro-Israel figures, including Nobel Peace laureate and Holocaust memoirist Elie Wiesel; Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz; and Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian justice minister. “ (emphasis added)
As an aside, earlier this year the White Helmets were recipients of the Elie Wiesel Award from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (HMM) for their “work” in Syria. Raed Saleh was available to receive the award on behalf of Al Qaeda’s auxiliaries and simultaneously picked up a check from the U.S. government for $5 million to “help us with acquiring ambulances and to help us with search and rescue operations.»
Former CIA counter-terrorism officer Philip Giraldi wrote a scathing article condemning the hypocrisy of the award, the irony of the taxpayer-funded HMM honoring what he called a “terrorist group … used in support of Israeli propaganda vis-a-vis Syria.” Giraldi concluded:
Perhaps, while they are at it, the museum’s board just might also want to check out Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named. Wiesel, who was a chronicler of Jewish victimhood while persistently refusing to acknowledge what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, notoriously mixed fact and fiction in his best-selling Holocaust memoir, Night. Ironically, the award and recipient are well matched in this case, as mixing fact and fiction is what both Elie Wiesel and the White Helmets are all about.”
Cotler, Wiesel’s comrade in defending the MEK and promoting the White Helmets, was responsible for the organization of three “Iran Accountability” weeks. In 2014 Cotler invited Maryam Rajavi, leader of the MEK, to appear in the program alongside UN human-rights officials and “pundits from a hawkish American think tank.” Cotler later argued that Rajavi’s inclusion in the event was “issue specific,” but his prior support for this brutal terrorist cult undermines such an argument.
Cotler employs blatant “human rights” double standards in his condemnation of governments in U.S. and Israeli crosshairs, while systematically ignoring the appalling human-rights records of governments or organizations included within the U.S. circle of power.
As in Syria, it seems that prominent neoconservatives will favor terrorist groups over legitimate governments that are perceived to threaten Israeli security in the region.
Cotler is also a member of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP). The ICJP has operated under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) since 2006. Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16), is chairman of the ICJP and vice president of the WJC. Engel is another vociferous supporter of the MEK.
Engel presented a “gift of appreciation” to Cotler during a dinner at the King David Hotel in 2015, on behalf of the WJC. “If one looks to this generation and seeks a role model, that would be Irwin Cotler,” Engel said.
Engel connects again with Cotler in his condemnation of the Syrian government and support for increased “humanitarian” military intervention in Syria. Engel was responsible for the Caesar Civilian Protection Act, which was ostensibly introduced to increase economic sanctions against the Syrian government based upon claims made by an alleged former Syrian military photographer in the questionable Caesar Report. That report was commissioned by the government of Qatar, a Gulf State heavily invested in the financing of terrorist groups and the White Helmets in Syria.
The Caesar Civilian Protection Act will effectively collectively punish the Syrian people for resisting efforts to destabilize their country and topple their elected government in the time honored tradition of U.S. Coalition sanctions that can only be considered siege warfare or economic terrorism. The orchestrators of this vindictive measure clearly have their roots in the neoconservative camp in the U.S.
There are now two more elements of Cotler’s influence on the global stage that I would like to examine in some detail. Cotler has been at the forefront of the new cold war campaigns to criminalize Russia, but that warrants an entire article dedicated to Cotler’s war against the Russian government’s perceived “culture of corruption and criminality.” Cotler was instrumental in introducing the controversial “Magnitsky Law” (Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act) in Canada to “fight Russian thuggery,” and for promoting the adoption of the Magnitsky Act by all aligned governments.
The Cotler-Dershowitz partnership
Alan Dershowitz, a controversial figure in his own right, has described Cotler as “his mirror image in Canada.” The Cotler-Dershowitz double act is a longstanding and powerful partnership with far-reaching influence among the world’s most powerful entities.
Alan "Needles" Dershowitz, says "Irwin Cotler is my mirror image in Canada" https://t.co/QWB912RWVx pic.twitter.com/d9zJQ7s3Qi
— William Owen (@Bill_Owen) June 19, 2019
Dershowitz, and American lawyer and academic, was heavily implicated in the recent Jeffrey Epstein scandal that has sent shock waves through the establishment ruling classes, exposing decades of depravity among the most powerful sectors of society and a blackmail cartel that profited from the sexual perversion of their billionaire clients from within capitalist, political and intelligence inner circles.
Dershowitz negotiated the “sweetheart plea” for Epstein that allowed him a “work release provision throughout his 13 months in Palm Beach County Jail” in 2008, when Epstein faced charges of sexually abusing under-age girls at his Palm Beach mansion. Dershowitz denied claims that an under-age child and a woman were forced to have sex with him by Epstein and his girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Award-winning journalist Whitney Webb is publishing a series of articles for MintPress News detailing the horrifying implications of the Epstein case and the origins of this underworld-sanctioned debauchery. I asked Webb for a comment on the Dershowitz connections to Epstein and his role in furthering the U.S./Neocon “humanitarian” war agenda.
She told me:
Alan Dershowitz is an individual deeply involved in the pro-Israel lobby and has close ties to influential figures in the U.S. and Israel like casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. In his pro-Israel activism, Dershowitz fits well with Cotler’s efforts to «shame» groups that run counter to their policy goals, and this has recently been seen in how Dershowitz has sought to initimidate and shame the young women who have accused him and his friend Jeffrey Epstein of rape.”
this argument would be SO different if it werent coming from a man who has been accused by several of Epstein's underage "sex slaves" who could not give consent in the traditional sense because they were basically enslaved.
— Whitney Webb (@_whitneywebb) July 30, 2019
In 2016 Dershowitz nominated Cotler for the Nobel Peace Prize. Like his “heroes” in the White Helmets — who have, themselves, been unsuccessfully nominated several times — Cotler has yet to succeed in his bid for the ultimate “humanitarian” prize.
While Cotler may promote his hawkish policies under the cover of “humanitarian” branding, Dershowitz has openly advocated torture under specific condtions and argued that non-lethal “torturous techniques of interrogation should indeed be legally authorized.”
Dershowitz seems to endorse torture if the government makes the decision to torture an individual under any “reasonable” pretext. This is effectively the legitimization of state torture, which could very possibly be used against anyone classified by the government as high risk.
The Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan
The Brussels-based Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan (JCFK) counts Dershowitz and Cotler among its pro-Israel members. The JCFK website declares its mission to support independence for Iraqi Kurdistan:
The Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan is committed to deepening friendship between the Jewish and Kurdish people worldwide, and supporting the further development and consolidation of relations between Kurdistan and the State of Israel, the only two democratic and pro-Western societies in the Middle East.” (emphasis added)
This project brings Cotler and Dershowitz into alliance with Bernard Henri Levy, a French-Jewish philosopher with a deadly reputation for fomenting and supporting neocolonialist projects around the world, but perhaps most notoriously in Libya. Levy has been a long-time supporter of Kurdish “independence.”
While it would take a separate article to fully explore the neoconservative weaponization of Kurdish independence to weaken, destabilize and partition target states, including Syria, Iraq and Iran, the involvement of these three empire builders in the “cause” and the marketing of Kurdistan as the other “democratic and pro-Western society” in the Middle East must indicate the direction in which this campaign is heading: the balkanization of the Middle East.
Bringing down nations and trafficking children
Cotler must be considered a “humanitarian” fraud when one takes into account the extensive damage caused to nations that have had to resist one interventionist war after another by his neocon-aligned policies. Policies designed to remove non-aligned governments and collectively punish the non-aligned citizens of those countries.
In his 2019 petition against the nomination of Cotler for the Nobel Peace Prize, Iranian-Canadian activist Mehdi Samadian states:
The petition organizers believe that Irwin Cotler has supported and advocated for political actors and policies instigating conflicts and prolonging instability at the international stage.»
Cotler’s protectionist campaign on behalf of the White Helmets should raise alarm bells among the legions of Palestinian movement supporters and ostensibly pro-Palestine journalists and talking heads who have promoted the concept of a grassroots “Syrian revolution” to their substantial Western audiences.
Whether wittingly or unwittingly, media personalities like C.J Werleman, George Monbiot, Nafeez Ahmed, Jon Snow of U.K. Channel 4, and many others have vehemently leapt to the defense of the White Helmets and joined the chorus of attacks and smears against journalists and academics who have dared to question the credibility of the organization financed by the U.S. Coalition that so clearly collaborates with the terrorist groups committing heinous crimes against the Syrian people.
Israel’s involvement in the evacuation of the White Helmets and the subsequent promotion of the group by personalities and governments heavily invested in expanding Israel’s interests must highlight who the organization serves in the region — and I do not believe it is the Syrian people, as their PR agencies claim.
Cotler’s “human rights credentials are a sham” according to Engler. Much has been made of his role as legal advisor to late South African President Nelson Mandela. Yet South Africa’s ambassador to Venezuela, Pandit Thaninga Shope-Linney, apparently denies this claim, thus stripping Cotler of his most potent “humanitarian” identity. According to Engler, Mandela himself does not name Cotler in his biography, although he does mention other lawyers by name.
Cotler has been merciless in pursuit of China for its alleged record of “gruesome organ trade.” Why then does Cotler not equally condemn Israel for its appalling history of organ trafficking and theft, particularly in Palestine?
In 2009, Nancy Scheper-Hughes was Chancellor’s Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley, the founder of Organ Watch and author of a number of academic books on organ trafficking. I have taken the following quote from an article by long-time author and journalist Alison Weir:
While Scheper-Hughes emphasizes that traffickers come from numerous nations and ethnicities, including Americans and Arabs, ‘Israel,’ she states, ‘is at the top. It has tentacles reaching out worldwide.’ … In a lecture last year she explained that Israeli organ traffickers ‘have a pyramid system at work that’s awesome…they have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere; they’ve got recruiters, they’ve got translators, they’ve got travel agents who set up the visas.”
What is perhaps even more disturbing and ominous is the fact that Cotler has not addressed the accusations of organ trafficking levied against the White Helmets themselves by the Syrian civilians who were forced to live under their occupation in areas of Syria formerly under the control of terrorist groups partnered by the very organization that Cotler nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019.
Cotler has not only defended the White Helmets, but he has also lauded them and invested his reputation in the whitewashing of their image. Cotler is a powerful sympathizer of the Israeli government and influencer with connections that reach into the darkest corners of state affairs in Canada, the U.S. and Israel. He has not chosen to ally himself with this fraudulent and criminal organization by chance.
Cotler’s mirror image in America is Alan Dershowitz, this, according to Dershowitz himself, accused of sexual abuse, defense lawyer for a convicted serial child-abuser and advocate for state-controlled torture. More recently, Dershowitz argued that “puberty is arriving earlier, particularly among some ethnic groups,” in light of which Dershowitz proposes that the age of consent in America should be lowered. Or, as Whitney Webb commented, “Alan Dershowitz is now making a ‘constitutional’ argument to legalize statutory rape.” Dershowitz is effectively suggesting that if a child reaches puberty at the age of 10, they are to be considered a legitimate target for sexual predators — interesting timing as the Epstein scandal storm gathers.
We can only speculate that there is a connection between the White Helmets, accused of multiple child abductions and organ trafficking, and the nefarious activities connected to one of their staunchest supporters: Irwin Cotler and his double-act partner Alan Dershowitz. It certainly warrants a deeper investigation.
Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist and photographer who has worked extensively in the Middle East — on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, while also covering the conflict in Yemen since 2015. In 2017 Vanessa was a finalist for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism which was won by the much-acclaimed Robert Parry that year. In 2018 Vanessa was named one of the 238 most respected journalists in the UK by the British National Council for the Training of Journalists. In 2019, Vanessa was among recipients of the Serena Shim Award for uncompromised integrity in journalism. Vanessa contributes regularly to Mint Press News, Russia Today, UK Column, The Last American Vagabond, Sputnik radio, 21st Century Wire and many other independent media outlets. Please support her work at her https://www.patreon.com/vanessabeeley Patreon Page.