from Sputnik News:
Le Mesurier, a former MI6 officer, created the controversial ‘urban search and rescue’ organisation in 2013. The White Helmets have been repeatedly accused of staging fake attacks in the conflict in Syria in a bid to prompt a Western-backed military intervention in the war-torn country.
A law enforcement source has confirmed the death of James Le Mesurier at his home in Istanbul. However, the source added that at this time, it remains “unclear whether he was murdered, or committed suicide.”
Earlier, the White Helmets organisation has confirmed to Israeli public broadcaster KAN that the group’s founder had been found dead in his home.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 11, 2019
Earlier, an anonymous diplomat was quoted by Reuters as saying that Le Mesurier’s body had been found early Monday morning in the city’s Beyoglu district.
Sözcü, a major Turkish daily newspaper, reported, citing police sources, that Le Mesurier may have killed himself, and that he had been taking anti-depressant medication for some time ahead of Monday’s incident.
Sabah, another major Turkish paper, also reported, citing law enforcement, that police consider suicide the most likely cause of Le Mesurier’s death, with the former spy possibly jumping to his death from the balcony of his 3rd floor apartment. No traces of gunshot or knife wounds were found his body, police told Sabah.
A source close to the investigation later said that there was no evidence of any unauthorised persons being near his residence at the time of his death.
Le Mesurier’s wife was quoted by Sabah as saying that she and her husband had dinner together on Sunday. “After that we took sleeping pills and went to bed. A few hours later I woke up from the ringing of our doorbell. It was the police. They told me that my husband had fallen from the balcony and died.”
Police are continuing their investigation.
Founder of Terrorists’ ‘Propaganda Arm’
Le Mesurier, a British private security specialist and former UK military intelligence officer, founded the White Helmets in Turkey in March 2013. Before that, he served as an intelligence officer in other theatres of conflict, including a stint in Pristina, Kosovo soon after the NATO intervention in 1999. In the 2000s, he went on to serve as vice president of special projects at the Olive Group, a private mercenary organisation which later merged with Blackwater-Academi into Constellis Holdings.
In a 2014 interview, Le Mesurier said that he spontaneously raised about $300,000 in initial funding from the UK, the US and other countries and trained 25 vetted operatives to create the White Helmets after witnessing the suffering in Syria, with the group soon accumulating over $150 million in cash after Western NGOs, Gulf countries, several European countries and Japan sent money and supplies to help the group. The group continues to enjoy widespread publicity and support in Western countries, and is a UK-registered non-governmental organisation.
Syria considers the White Helmets a “terrorist organisation,” citing the group’s regular operations in areas controlled by jihadist militants, including al-Qaeda offshoot the Nusra Front,* as well as its creation of video fakes which seem designed to prompt Western military intervention in Syria. Independent journalists have repeatedly accused the group of serving as ‘al-Nusra’s propaganda arm’, given its alleged ties to the militants.