After leaving the army, he worked for a number of organizations, including a term as Vice President for Special Projects at private mercenary organization Olive Group
, which has since merged with Academi – formerly known as Blackwater
, the infamous US private military contractor. In a 2014 interview
with Men's Journal, Le Mesurier implied the founding of the White Helmets was largely serendipitous – he was holidaying in Istanbul, and felt compelled to help civilians in Syria after hearing harrowing stories of devastation from refugees who'd fled across the border. Vanessa doesn't buy this narrative for a moment.
"Given his background, I refuse to believe his presence in Turkey was coincidental, or his founding of the White Helmets spontaneous. It happened when the Syrian civil war was turning in Assad's favor, and the international push for regime change was running out of steam. The ease with which he secured significant subsidy from foreign powers is interesting to say the least," Vanessa told Sputnik.
By Le Mesurier's own account, he quickly raised around US$300,000 in initial funding from the UK
and US, among others, a figure that before long ballooned to over US$100 million when Western NGOs and Gulf states
start stumping up cash too. Other foreign backers include the Netherlands
($4.5 million), Germany
($4.5 million), Denmark
($3.2 million) and Japan
(figure undisclosed). Equipment and supplies have also flowed from a number of EU member states.
As of February 2018, the group's funding stands at over $150 million.