Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I’ve been ruminating on this news item all morning. I saw it buried beneath a Daily Beast article about Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend getting heckled by angry far-right audience members for refusing to do a Q&A at his book event. Junior does, of course, deserve every antagonism he receives, but I also suspect the schadenfreude of that event will bury a lot of other news this morning.
James Le Mesurier was in his 40s when he was found dead on the streets of Istanbul just outside his home this morning. On November 8 the Russian foreign ministry was promoting a narrative that Le Mesurier was a former MI-6 agent connected with terrorist organizations, and one of the more prominent articles to come up in my cursory search this morning makes less incendiary but no less critical judgments about the organization’s motives. This article comes from a consistent contributor to both RT (the Russian state-run news agency) and the American Herald Tribune (a conspiracy purveyor whose editor has strong ties to InfoWars’ Alex Jones).
I don’t know for certain what Le Mesurier was or was not involved in outside of his public record. This is not an assertion that Le Mesurier was any kind of saint or that the White Helmets (SCD) were a morally upright organization. He was a former British Army officer; and the world of private security, volunteer defense forces, and mercenary outfits is made of thorns and fog, compounded further when the theater of operations is in a place like Syria where the ongoing tragedy of the civil war cannot be defined in any black-and-white manner, only in terms of alliances and power brokerage. The SCD and Mayday Rescue could have saved as many innocent lives as they claim and could also have failed to live up to the tenets of neutrality and humanitarianism that they claim. There were people in the region who trusted them, people who would not, and those who didn’t care what color helmets were being worn by whoever was digging their injured child out of a collapsed building.
What I know is that the American withdrawal from northern Syria in October has reshaped the dynamics of the region to favor further cooperation between Russia and Turkey, a policy that both nations had been pursuing since summer of 2016, right around the time the Trump campaign was scheduling meetings with Russian political attaches in New York and preparing to accept the nomination for the American presidency.
I know that three weeks after Russia and Turkey cemented their agreement to carve up governance of northern Syria at the expense of our formerly supported Kurdish allies, a critic of Putin’s regime was found dead on the streets of Turkey’s largest city. That’s the part I’m having trouble getting out of my head.