Building the Public Opinion State. The Mechanism and The White Helmets

By Nicolás Canosa *

The media industry is working with great effectiveness as a fabric that makes it possible to advance in a direction that Rafael Correa, during his recent visit to Argentina, warned against as a danger: moving from the Rules of Law to a State of Public Opinion. This is a fair claim when analyzing the power relationships and the forms of nomination of Neocolonialism that wants, by all means, to end with the possibility that Latino America enjoys again a new wave of national-popular governments. It is also useful to get an insight of how the West builds the image of the Middle East.

By no means are we recommending here to watch any of these productions, except with the goal of analyzing how cultural imperialism materializes by building a State of Public Opinion that uses certain representations of governments and leadership opposing the interests represented by this media industry. Reading The Mechanism and the White Helmets in conjunction, it is possible to trace a comparative line between the events that happened in Brazil and Syria, since in both cases the action is based in beliefs and convictions built through the mass media in agreement with geopolitical interests defined beforehand, instead of being based on undeniable proofs by which they look to destroy the opponent.

The last two military actions announced by Trump in Syria, due to alleged use of chemical weapons, were carried on based on proof acquired by the NGO Syrian Civil Defense/White Helmets. However, Chief of the Pentagon James Mattis said that “I cannot claim that we have proof, although we had many presumptive evidence from the media and the social media that Chlorine or Sarin had been used.” (1)

The White Helmets, curiously enough, was the documentary awarded the Oscar to the best short movie in 2017, that portraits the heroic action by a volunteer rescue team in the Syrian conflict, where between 300 000 and 400 000 resulted dead and an estimate of 5 000 000 are refugees. Impossible to imagine such a chilling cipher for those of us who consider ourselves humanists and that feel and think of the faces, families, and the resulting pain in all its magnitude. Obviously, this production which enjoyed of a great repercussion in the western media and Netflix was among the main suggestions for the users because of the Oscar awarded, which was used to legitimize the White Helmets at the same time it destroyed the opinion about Russia in the conflict, claiming with frequency that “It’s the Russians” each time planes were heard or the bombs were dropped, as well as to pierce the image of the government of Bashar Al Assad.

The newspaper La Nation (The Nation), in an article titled “The White Helmets: the heroism in the Middle of the Tragedy”, leaves out to report that these groups are financed by Great Britain and the USA, and at the same time, there are multiple denounces of fake videos and the relationship of the members of this NGO with the terrorist organizations like the subsidiary of Al Qaeda in Siria. The Agency in the United States for International Development, in charge of distributing most of the non-military financial aid abroad, financed the White Helmets with 32 million of dollars, as it is claimed in the official webpage (2) of the Agency, that so much damage caused on our region and on the countries of the ex URSS (I recommend watching the documentary El peso de las cadenas (The weight of chains). The British hand is present since the creation of this Agency in Turkey, under the guidance of James Le Mesurier, an British veteran with wide experience in wars of aggression against Serbia in Kosovo, Irak, Lebanon, and Palestine itself in support of the Zionist forces. A military who went through commanding positions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of The United Kingdom, the European Union and even the UNO. (3)

The State of Public Opinion mentioned above is built mainly by the mass media mainstay of a central agent of the 21st Century: the financial oligarchy that aspire to be the global dominator. The judicial mainstay, as it became obvious in Brazil case, is another pillar for interventionism to settle on the countries that confront or collude with the interests of such agent and the western powers’ interests. The Mechanism is a clear example of the judicial power. It is not a coincidence that at the end of each chapter, they highlight the fact that the series is based on the work of the O Globo journalist Vladimir Netto, titled Auto Laundry, The Judge Sergio Moro and The Behind the Scenes of The Operation That Made Brazil Tremble. The judge Sergio Moro, who was trained in Harvard and is an admirer of the United States, is represented by the character named Rigo. In the Series, they didn’t dare to show that he sentences based on convictions and not based on undeniable proof.

In my view, the series has two fundamental goals, deeply connected to the conditions of possibilities I understand the financial oligarchy needs at the global level in order to consolidate itself as the main political agent of the century: first, to destroy the popular leaderships that look to distribute the wealth in a fairer way and secondly, to vilify politics as a main tool of social transformation. In both cases the main point is corruption.

The first goal is connected to what the director of the series José Padilha said: “Lula will watch the first season at home, but if there is a second one, he will be in jail” (4) The scenes where the actor representing Lula stays in an apartment are not innocent, since it is an apartment the reason why he is put unfairly in jail; neither is it innocent the scene where Dilma’s campaign and her ministers are connected to entrepreneurs and money brokers. In a second analysis, it is made evident how an imaginary is built that all politicians are corrupted, with no distinction of ideally, and that it is impossible to end with such a cancer that has taken over the Lusitanian country: corruption.
Finally, I recommend reading the article (5) by Dilma Rousseff where she approaches with more details the misrepresentation of facts and characters of this film production that allegedly is based on real facts.

(1) https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/268242-mattis-pentagono-evidencia-uso-siria
(2) See: https://www.usaid.gov/political-transition-initiatives/syria
(3) Recover from: https://www.telesurtv.net/bloggers/La-oscura-historia-de-los-cascos-blancos-20170310-0002.html / https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/263009-medios-promocionar-cascos-blancos
(4) Recovered from: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2119358-el-mecanismo-brasil-ficcionaliza-su-mayor-escandalo-de-corrupcion
(5) See: http://dilma.com.br/o-mecanismo-de-jose-padilha-para-assassinar-reputacoes/

* Director of International Relations at CENACK-Peronism Militant and member of the Commission of Regional Integration and International Affairs of Patria Institute (Instituto Patria).  

Translation: G. Raquel Pina