Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Re: Amnesty International

Perhaps we could get a moderator to change the title to also include "Human Rights Watch"

angelburst29 said:
In August 2012, Tom Malinowski, then Washington Director for Human Rights Watch, sent an email to the Obama administration officials, marked by Clinton and her team as a "worth a read."

In his letter Malinowski called for the implementation of a no-fly zone in Syria that would allow the Free Syrian Army (FSA) "to establish governance over territory" it seized from the government forces.

Malinowski admitted that jihadists had been fighting alongside the FSA. "The FSA is using them 'because they are crazy fighters'," he noted.

He argued that the US should help the FSA to establish a "safe zone" in the North and provide the opposition forces with the international support.

"Planes in the sky, as we saw in Libya, would send a dramatically stronger signal (in addition to tangible force), while allowing the Syrian rebels to retain ownership of their struggle on the ground," he continued.

"This should be accompanied by working with rebel authorities in the protected area on institution-building, justice, and humanitarian assistance. Whoever will deliver this combination will have influence over Syria for years to come," he stressed.

Regarding the above mentioned director for Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinovski, it turns out that he was one of those revolving doors officials.
Wikipedia:
Tomasz P. Malinowski (born 1965)[1] is a U.S. diplomat and the current Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Malinowski was born in Poland
Career:
From 1994 to 1998, Malinowski was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, as well as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.[3]

From 1998 to 2001, Malinowski served as Senior Director on the National Security Council at the White House, where he oversaw the drafting of President Bill Clinton's foreign policy speeches and strategic communications efforts around the world.[2][3]

From 2001 to 2013, he was the Washington Director for Human Rights Watch.[2][3] In this position, Malinowski repeatedly criticized various policies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.[4] Malinowski had opposed indefinite imprisonment without trial, supported the acknowledgment of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov as a dictator, and praised the honesty of State Department officials regarding Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as revealed in the United States diplomatic cables leak by Wikileaks.[1][5]

During the 2004 U.S. presidential election cycle, Malinowski donated $500 to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.[1]

On July 8, 2013, President Obama nominated Malinowski to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.[6][7] Malinowski testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 24, 2013,[8] and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2014

A most damming letter about Human Rights Watch and also Malinowski comes from former Nobel Laureates:
https://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2014/07/13/nobel-laureates-slam-human-rights-watch/


Nobel Laureates slam Human Rights Watch
July 13, 2014

In a May 12 letter published on AlterNet (and on the HRI site), two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and over 100 scholars, journalists and human rights activists called on Human Rights Watch to close its revolving door to the U.S. government.

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire

On June 3, HRW published a response from executive director Kenneth Roth on its website, arguing that their “concern is misplaced.” In a June 11 debate on Democracy Now!, HRW Counsel and Spokesman Reed Brody similarly rejected their recommendations. Now, Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel join fellow signatories Richard Falk (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories from 2008-14) and Hans von Sponeck (UN Assistant Secretary General from 1998-2000) in demanding that their proposals be taken seriously, and additionally, that HRW remove former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana from its Board of Directors.
Nobel Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Nobel Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel



The letter is published in full below with original hyperlinks. The photos and captions were added by HRI.

Dear Kenneth Roth,

While we welcome your stated commitment to Human Rights Watch’s independence and credibility, we are dismayed by your rejection of our common-sense suggestion for strengthening them: bar those who have crafted or executed U.S. foreign policy from serving as HRW staff, advisors or board members—or, at a bare minimum, mandate lengthy “cooling-off” periods before and after any associate moves between HRW and the foreign-policy divisions of the U.S. government.

Before addressing your letter’s objections to the three instances of HRW’s advocacy that suggest a conflict of interest, we would like to reiterate that they were “limited to only recent history,” and that other cases could have been raised as well. One obvious example of HRW’s failure to appropriately criticize U.S. crimes occurred after the 2004 coup d’état against the democratically elected government of Haiti. The U.S. government essentially kidnapped Haiti’s president; thousands of people were killed under the ensuing coup regime; and deposed officials of the constitutional government were jailed.

In the face of what were likely the worst human rights abuses of any country in the Western hemisphere at the time, HRW barely lifted a finger. HRW never hosted a press conference criticizing the coup or post-coup atrocities. In contrast to HRW’s appeals to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Democratic Charter for Venezuela and Cuba, HRW never publicly invoked the Charter in the case of Haiti, even as Articles 20 and 21 afforded multilateral measures “in the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime.” HRW never placed an op-ed about the overthrow in a prominent newspaper. (In 2004 The New York Times alone published at least five HRW opinion pieces and four HRW letters on other subjects.) It is reasonable for outside observers to question whether this lack of response from HRW to such large-scale human rights violations had anything to do with U.S. foreign-policy priorities.

The very existence of such questions regarding HRW’s advocacy should be reason enough to impose sharp restrictions on HRW’s close ties to the U.S. government. Given the impact of global perceptions on HRW’s ability to carry out its work, simply the appearance of impropriety can impede HRW’s effectiveness. Closing HRW’s revolving door would be an important first step to allaying or preempting concerns that HRW’s priorities are compromised.

Concrete evidence of a revolving-door phenomenon between HRW and the U.S. government renders crucially incomplete your admission that “it is true that some served in the US government before or after their involvement with Human Rights Watch.” We provided examples of those who served in the U.S. government both before and after their involvement with HRW, a norm widely recognized to generate perverse incentives and undermine an institution’s reputation for independence.

For instance, you may disagree with our view that a former official of the Central Intelligence Agency—one of the world’s greatest institutional human rights violators over the past half-century—has no standing to advise on human rights issues for your organization. Surely you must concede, however, that a conflict of interest was raised when Miguel Díaz, the ex-CIA analyst in question, exploited the eight years of experience and relationships he accumulated within HRW’s advisory committee for his subsequent role as the U.S. State Department’s “interlocutor between the intelligence community and non-government experts.”

Your colleague, HRW Counsel and Spokesperson Reed Brody, seemed to misunderstand the nature of our proposal, arguing in a June 11 debate on Democracy Now! that “Miguel Díaz never worked at Human Rights Watch,” and that the organization is “a big tent—we’ve got people on the right; we’ve got people on the left.” In fact, our letter suggested prohibitions or cooling-off periods for “any associate,” including advisory-committee members like Díaz. Secondly, our proposals would not impact political diversity; rather, they would make it more difficult for those previously employed by human rights-abusing organizations like the CIA from adversely influencing HRW’s priorities or damaging HRW’s reputation.

It is important to further clarify our request, as Brody made two mutually irreconcilable claims: that “there is no revolving door,” and that “this revolving-door policy, if we implemented it, would have changed one person at Human Rights Watch.” Both statements are untrue. A cooling-off period, which all HRW associates would accept, would have prevented both Díaz and former HRW Washington director Tom Malinowski from almost immediately entering the U.S. State Department (Malinowski is now Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor), and would have also applied to Nik Steinberg, a senior researcher in HRW’s Americas division as of May 2014.

mala2.jpg

Tom Malinovski, speech writer to Madeleine Albright who said the deaths of 500k children in Iraq “worth it.”

Just one week after you received our May 12 letter, Mr. Steinberg announced that he was leaving HRW to take a position with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, which he described as an “extraordinary opportunity.” This is disturbing from a human rights perspective, because Ms. Power’s July 17, 2013 confirmation hearing was riddled with kissingerprovocative comments, including her evidence-free claim of an Iranian “nuclear weapons program,” her promise to “never apologize for America,” and her commitment to “work tirelessly to defend” Israel. After assuming her post, she advocated in favor of a U.S. strike against Syria in 2013, defending it as “legitimate” while tacitly acknowledging its illegality. She later declared that the United States has “nothing to apologize for” in Afghanistan, despite its record of numerous atrocities. Most recently, Ms. Power engaged in a coordinated media event with Henry Kissinger, whom Mr. Brody once referred to as a war criminal.

kissinger.jpg


HRW’s proximity to Ms. Power damages HRW’s stated independence in light of her declarations that “the United States is the greatest country on Earth,” “the leader in human rights,” and “the leader in human dignity.” Shortly after leaving HRW, Malinowski similarly lauded the “bipartisan consensus for America’s defense of liberty around the world” and the “exceptional” nature of the United States at his own September 24, 2013 confirmation hearing.

Mr. Roth, we are deeply worried that Mr. Steinberg’s announced transition to Ms. Power’s office—a week after your receipt of our letter—is just one of many more revolving-door episodes that will continue to create perverse incentive structures within the organization. How can we expect HRW associates to be completely unafraid to hold human rights violators in the U.S. government accountable for their offenses and crimes when they are hoping to work for some of these very same functionaries immediately upon leaving HRW? That is the question that you must answer, Mr. Roth, in light of the transitions of Malinowski, Díaz and Steinberg to the U.S. State Department.

If you nevertheless object to prohibiting the involvement of U.S. foreign-policy officials at HRW or instituting cooling-off periods for them, we suggest, in parallel, an even narrower proposal: bar the participation at HRW of those who bear a direct responsibility for violating solano natointernational humanitarian law. Javier Solana, currently a member of HRW’s board of directors, served as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Secretary General during its 1999 military campaign in Yugoslavia. NATO’s use of cluster munitions and its bombing of civilian targets in Yugoslavia led HRW itself to conclude that the organization “committed violations of international humanitarian law.”

solano-nato.jpg

Solana is therefore a poor choice for HRW’s board of directors.
His removal from your board would signal HRW’s good-faith effort to bolster its independence and credibility as an advocate for human rights. When Mr. Brody was asked on Democracy Now! to respond to the argument that “those who bear direct responsibility for human rights violations should not be on the board of directors of an independent human rights organization,” Mr. Brody said, “I would agree with that.” We hope you concur with your colleague.

We will now address in turn your responses to the three cases of problematic HRW advocacy mentioned in our letter:

First, you objected to our concerns over the 2009 statements made by Tom Malinowski as HRW’s Washington director to the LA Times. He contended that “under limited circumstances” there was a “legitimate place” for renditions. You argue that our letter “mistakenly claims he was supporting unlawful CIA renditions,” and that “Malinowski was certainly not endorsing the CIA’s illegal rendition program, which entailed transferring individuals without due process protections to countries where they faced torture.” You further define renditions as simply “the transfer of a person in custody from one jurisdiction to another, which is legal under certain circumstances,” and cite extraditions as a legitimate form of rendition.

We appreciate your attempt to clarify Malinowski’s statement, which at the time provoked public consternation from law professors specializing in constitutional law and international law, such as Darren Hutchinson and Kenneth Anderson. This reaction arose because the LA Times article in question focused exclusively on CIA renditions and President Barack Obama’s executive order, which preserved them through a redefinition that allowed the transfer of suspects on a “short-term, transitory basis.” All CIA renditions, whether long- or short-term, whether they lead to torture or not, deny suspects the right to legal proceedings in which they can challenge their transfer from the country in question. Unlike commonplace extraditions, CIA renditions—extraordinary or otherwise—do not guarantee the detainees’ right to legal counsel or access to the court system of the country where they are seized.

In our previous letter to you, we cited Obama’s “preservation of renditions” as a serious human rights concern, and hyperlinked to a widely cited Open Society Justice Initiative report from 2013 which observed that Obama’s 2009 “executive order did not repudiate extraordinary rendition,” and that “it appears that the Obama administration did not end extraordinary rendition.” In light of this and the fact that the LA Times solely focused on an executive order pertaining to CIA renditions, Malinowski’s comment on their “legitimate place” was troubling and remains so, especially given his now-senior position within the Obama administration. Controversy around the practice persists, as exemplified by the headline of a 2013 Washington Post news article: “Renditions continue under Obama, despite due-process concerns.”

Malinowski’s subsequent statement to the LA Times was perhaps even more dubious, for additional reasons. As HRW’s Washington director, he paraphrased the Obama administration’s claim that designing an alternative to “people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured” was “going to take some time,” without questioning whether a gradual approach to ending such abuses was justifiable or even legal. For an organization that operates under the principle that human rights are absolute rights, not rights to be traded away for expediency or other political goals—which is the only way that a credible human rights organization can or should operate—such a statement should be deeply alarming. In fact, the Obama administration did proceed to “take some time,” sustaining the use of such “foreign dungeons” for years—likely up to the present day.

Numerous eye-witness testimonies led to articles by Der Spiegel in 2009 and the BBC in 2010 that reported on torture conducted under Obama’s presidency at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where detainees have had no right to habeas corpus. A 2011 Nation investigative piece detailed the conditions of an underground “secret prison” in Somalia used by the CIA, which serves as a destination for U.S.-assisted renditions. U.S. officials are said to conduct joint “debriefings,” or interrogations, at the site. The report’s author, Jeremy Scahill, found that the prisoners were unable to be seen by the Red Cross, and “they are not ever presented with charges.”

We note with interest that none of the HRW reports on rendition that you listed and hyperlinked to in your letter refer to torture, CIA renditions, or long-term detention without due process that have occurred under the Obama administration. While we welcome HRW’s call for criminal investigations regarding Bush-era human rights abuses, it appears that HRW has not advocated for criminal investigations into any of these Obama-era abuses. In fact, two HRW researchers have publicly fretted over the U.S. handover of the Bagram base to the Afghan government due to concerns over Afghanistan’s use of torture, without ever mentioning Obama-era, U.S.-directed torture at the same base. There may be some legitimate reason for HRW’s very different positions regarding the two administrations, but combined with the existence of HRW’s revolving door, they reinforce a reasonable suspicion that Malinowski’s inappropriate comments in 2009 as an HRW employee were influenced by his intention to serve in the Obama administration, and that HRW’s decidedly more muted position today on Obama’s policies is perhaps related to its ties to the administration.

Your second point pertains to our argument that in light of HRW’s 2012 letter to President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela questioning the country’s suitability as a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council, HRW had reason to write a similar letter to President Obama expressing reservations over the U.S. position in the same council. In our previous letter to you, we cited the U.S. record of human rights abuses that include a secret, global assassination program and the illegal detention of individuals at Guantánamo Bay. You have countered by avoiding a discussion of comparative abuses between the two countries, and have instead argued that for HRW, a “central concern on council membership is whether a government takes the council and its special procedures seriously,” and that Venezuela, unlike the United States, does not.

However, under no objective standard was this a “central concern” of the 2012 letter to Chávez signed by your colleagues José Miguel Vivanco and Peggy Hicks that we originally cited. After asserting in their introduction that “Venezuela currently falls far short of acceptable standards” in “promoting and protecting human rights,” Vivanco and Hicks outlined specific “policies and practices of [the Chávez] administration” and argued for their reversal. Their letter then dedicated the next 10 paragraphs to arguing that Venezuela has failed in the areas of judicial independence, media freedom and civil society. Before concluding their letter, Vivanco and Hicks devoted only one paragraph to “cooperation with the Human Rights Council.”

Given the broad scope of the content and priorities of HRW’s letter to Chávez, HRW simply has no tenable justification for its continued support of the U.S. presence on the UN Human Rights Council. Aside from its far grimmer human rights record than Venezuela, “[t]he United States is the only country to vote against all the Council’s resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” admits HRW. “The US rejection of any resolution focusing on Israel and the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] and Israel [sic] exposes its double standards.” HRW’s own finding, coupled with the U.S. role in blocking the implementation of the Council’s recommendations of the Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes during the Gaza attack of 2008-09, certainly weakens your letter’s claim that “on balance, the United States has played a constructive role at the Human Rights Council.”

It is not too late for HRW to demonstrate its independence from the U.S. government by writing a letter to President Obama outlining the most egregious U.S. human rights violations that should be reversed in order for the country to serve as a credible member of the UN Human Rights Council. HRW’s letter could demand an end to the Obama’s extrajudicial “kill list,” an authoritarian U.S. policy for which a Venezuelan analogue is nonexistent and inconceivable, and the letter could also condemn U.S. intransigence within the Council, particularly toward Palestinian human rights.

Our third and final example questioned HRW’s lack of opposition to Obama’s consideration of a missile strike on Syria in 2013—a violation of the UN Charter’s prohibition on the

image027.jpg


HRW refuses to recognise the UN Charter or Nuremburg Judgements which could be used against the US leaders for crimes of aggression.

unilateral “threat or use of force” in international affairs. We appreciate your clarification of HRW’s mandate, “which is to monitor governments’ adherence to international human rights and humanitarian law.” We would urge HRW to consider expanding its purview to adopt the UN Charter as a foundation for its legal determinations due to the inevitable human rights violations that occur as a result of a war of aggression, considered the “supreme international crime” by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

We express our concern, however, that HRW’s stated neutrality on matters of war and peace is compromised by your public statements of questionable judgment. At the height of intense pressure for a U.S. bombing campaign on Syria in late August of 2013, you all but advocated military intervention on social media, while maintaining plausible deniability in the context of a climate of warmongering. A sampling of your tweets include:

To justify #Syria inaction, top US general trots out age-old ethnic animosities line. Heard that B4? Bosnia. Rwanda. trib.al/qSzrz1N
Top general suggests US is more interested in a geopolitical partner in #Syria than saving civilians from slaughter. trib.al/WElNRGM
It took chemical attack to convince Obama/Kerry that Assad isn’t interested in negotiated solution!? No more excuses. trib.al/viu2scd
If the appalling slaughter in #Syria won’t get Obama to act, maybe ridicule will: trib.al/gp7HDo1
If Obama decides to strike #Syria, will he settle for symbolism or do something that will help protect civilians? trib.al/hl6QhA1

Such behavior is unbecoming for the head of a major human rights organization and runs counter to the spirit of HRW’s official neutrality toward the impending intervention in Syria. We encourage you to demonstrate greater tact and responsibility in light of the near-inevitability that U.S. missile strikes would have led to violations of international humanitarian law, including the killing, maiming, and displacement of many innocent civilians—as shown by the U.S. bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999, and of Iraq during the 2003 invasion and subsequent years of war.

HRW’s official abstention from endorsing or opposing wars also appeared to be broken by Tom Malinowski’s March 27, 2011 article in The New Republic on NATO’s Libya intervention. The piece was originally titled “Why Isn’t Obama Getting Credit For Stopping An Atrocity?” and contended that “NATO acted more quickly [than in Bosnia] to stop atrocities in Kosovo.” In the case of Kosovo, “we could see and feel the difference Clinton and NATO had made.” Malinowski then celebrated NATO’s intervention in Libya as “the most rapid multinational military response to an impending human rights crisis in history” for which “we should be grateful.”

As Washington director for HRW at the time of the article, Malinowski offered no disclosure of his previous responsibilities in foreign-policy speechwriting as the Senior Director of the White House’s National Security Council during Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Nor did his sanitized portrayal of those actions include his own organization’s inconvenient conclusion that “NATO committed violations of international humanitarian law.” Malinowski’s piece also omitted the clearly unconstitutional nature of Obama’s military intervention in Libya. Furthermore, he excluded evidence that the NATO coalition quickly had moved away from the scope of the civilian-protection mandate provided in UN Resolution 1973 and toward the aim of regime change, which conformed with Obama’s comments weeks prior that “it’s time for Qaddafi to go.”

More egregiously, the following year—months after your organization’s report, “Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya,” examined eight NATO strikes that killed 72 civilians—Malinowski offered unalloyed praise for the NATO intervention. He argued that “Barack Obama’s administration made its most unequivocal stand on behalf of an Arab Spring uprising” in Libya, where the destabilizing consequences of the administration’s support in arming rebel forces continue to be felt. Completely ignoring the issue of civilian deaths at the hands of NATO (confirmed by HRW itself), Malinowski claimed in this October 2, 2012 Foreign Policy article that “recent events have reinforced, not weakened, the rationale for supporting political change in the Arab world.”

Advocacy divorced from HRW’s own empirical findings, unconditionally applauding U.S.-NATO military actions in Libya and endorsing their suitability elsewhere, is a predictable outcome for a former Clinton official who became HRW’s chief lobbyist in Washington, and who may have aspired to a position in the Obama administration as he wrote such statements. However, such advocacy is unhelpful to HRW’s stated concerns over NATO’s airstrikes and its failure “to acknowledge these casualties or to examine how and why they occurred.”

We are heartened, Mr. Roth, by your expressed willingness to “speak out, as we have done” in Kosovo and elsewhere. But HRW’s track record for holding NATO accountable for its violations of international humanitarian law is wholly inadequate. Javier Solana initiated a war in violation of the UN Charter in 1999 and presided over the deliberate NATO bombing of a Serbian television station, a war crime that killed 16 civilians including a make-up artist, a cameraman, an editor, and a program director.

In your May 1999 letter to Solana, which mentioned that bombing, you urged that “these issues be scrutinized promptly and rigorously,” and that “disciplinary or criminal investigations be launched.” NATO implemented none of your suggestions and has held no one to account for that atrocity or for any other crime in Yugoslavia. And yet Solana was awarded a position on HRW’s board in 2011. It is hard to escape the conclusion that HRW’s admonishments of NATO’s behavior are toothless, and that Solana’s subsequent leadership role at HRW signals to former and future NATO leaders who violate international law that they should be undeterred by HRW’s objections and inquiries.

Finally, you responded to our emphasis on HRW’s ties to the United States by mentioning the involvement of former government officials of Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and other countries at HRW. But our focus is HRW’s ties to the foreign-policy divisions of the U.S. government, which, unlike the foreign-policy arms of many of the governments you cite, are continuously engaged in massive human rights abuses. This is a consequence of the status of the United States as the world’s sole military superpower, which frequently violates international law with impunity, and, as in the case of its invasion of Iraq, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. As a recent poll showed, the rest of the globe sees the United States as “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” by a wide margin, so HRW’s unabashed closeness to that government is understandably viewed as an extremely political decision.

One of us would be delighted to meet with you whenever convenient at your New York offices to discuss these matters further and to personally deliver a petition signed by over 15,500 people so far along with their individual comments in support of the following demand:

The credibility of a global human-rights organization depends on its independence. Human Rights Watch has done important, critical work, but it can do better. It should implement at least a five-year “cooling-off” period before and after its associates move between HRW and the U.S. government’s foreign-policy divisions. Human Rights Watch associates should concentrate on protecting human rights. They should not have conflicts of interest with past or future careers in branches of the U.S. government that may themselves be involved in human-rights violations.

We eagerly await your reply, and believe that HRW’s implementation of cooling-off periods for its associates and its removal of Solana from its board of directors will represent valuable first steps toward greater independence. Thank you for engaging with us on issues that we believe are essential to the pursuit of human rights throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Mairead Maguire – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1977)

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1980)

Richard Falk – United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (2008-14)

Hans von Sponeck – United Nations Assistant Secretary General (1998-2000)

Keane Bhatt – activist, writer


This piece has been reprinted by Human Rights Investigations with permission from Keane Bhatt – original article published on Alternet.
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Re: Amnesty International

Forgot to add a picture of Tom Malinowski:
Tom_Malinowski_2014.jpg

Just another soulless puppet in the service of the empirial war machine.
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Eric Draitser has written a couple of articles that tears Human Rights Watch apart, by exposing their policies in a number of countries.

The first is: http://journal-neo.org/2014/08/01/hrw-human-rights-watch-or-hypocrites-representing-washington-part-1/

HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocrites Representing Washington (Part 1)


Unlike previous centuries and epochs, modern warfare is not restricted solely to the battlefield. Rather, it extends into the information sphere where the dissemination of propaganda and the construction of narratives are of equal importance to weapons and soldiers. For today, the legitimacy of a war in the eyes of public opinion in many ways determines victory or defeat. It is here, in the realm of public opinion, that an organization such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) becomes indispensible to the Empire, not so much for the facts that it presents, but the narrative that it shapes.

Put another way, HRW serves as intermediary between the facts on the ground and the western public who rely on the organization (and similar NGOs such as Amnesty International) to accurately tell the story of a given conflict. It is precisely this position as an “information middleman” that makes HRW both relevant and dangerous for the simple fact that the manner in which it presents information, along with the critical facts it chooses to omit or otherwise distort, can have a tremendous impact on how the world views a conflict and, consequently, how the world responds.

By examining the way in which HRW documented, investigated, and presented findings from the conflicts in Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, it becomes clear that the organization, though theoretically objective and “disinterested,” is in fact an integral part of the western imperial system. Though HRW has done some good work, and likely will in the future, this cannot be taken as evidence that the organization is somehow not a part of the Empire. On the contrary, without HRW and similar organizations, Washington and its allies would not be able to champion themselves as “defenders of human rights,” “beacons of democracy,” and “humanitarian powers.”

HRW on Israel/Palestine


In analyzing HRW’s findings and, perhaps most importantly, the way in which they are presented, one conclusion becomes inescapable: when the facts are damaging to the western powers, HRW dilutes the impact of its own conclusions, and when its findings advance the western agenda, HRW exaggerates them. What can one call such obvious service to power under the guise of truth-telling? Words like cynical, insidious, and treacherous certainly come to mind.

On the subject of Israel/Palestine, HRW has consistently placed itself in the “condemn both sides” camp. That is to say, it makes an equivalence between the violence and barbarism of Israel’s colonial-style occupation of Gaza and the West Bank on the one hand, and Palestinian armed resistance on the other. The cynicism is painfully obvious. By making such equivalence, HRW effectively reduces the scope and scale of Israeli crimes which are, objectively speaking, far more widespread, systematic, and devastating.

As renowned Palestinian journalist and Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani wrote in 2009:

In the years since 2000, HRW pursued a consistent — and consistently effective — formula: criticize Israel, but condemn the Palestinians. Challenge the legality of an Israeli aerial bombardment, preferably in polite, technical terms, and vociferously denounce the Palestinian suicide bomber in unambiguous language — especially when raising questions about the latest Israeli atrocity. In HRW publications, explicit condemnations and accusations of war crimes were almost wholly monopolized by Palestinians. With Israeli citizenship a seeming precondition for the right to self-defense, the right to resist was for all intents and purposes non-existent.

Rabbani here correctly points out not only the false equivalence between the violence perpetrated by Israel and the armed resistance of the Palestinians, but also the question of legitimacy and legality in regard to the latter. HRW portrays Palestinian resistance, in whatever form it takes, as illegitimate and a violation of international law, often referring to the rockets and, when it was still applicable the “suicide bombers,” as war crimes. In contrast, HRW very rarely, if ever, expressly uses the term “war crimes” to refer to any of the atrocities committed by Israel that undoubtedly are such.

Perhaps here it would be relevant to point out that, according to international law and UN precedent, all Israeli so-called “self-defense” (bombing civilian targets, laying siege to Gaza, etc.) constitutes war crimes. By contrast, the Palestinians have a legal right to resist their occupation by a foreign power by any means necessary. Indeed, this point has been reiterated countless times by the United Nations. One particularly relevant example comes from the 43rd resolution of the 37th UN General Assembly held in 1982 against the backdrop of Israel’s vicious war on Lebanon which, “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

Though certainly not the only example of international law and UN precedent legitimizing the armed resistance of the Palestinian people, the above resolution makes it quite plain that the argument that “Hamas rockets constitute a war crime” is little more than a rhetorical flourish from those who attempt to make an equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian violence in order to justify the former by discrediting the latter. It goes almost without saying that such faulty reasoning must be rejected entirely.

But this issue of rhetoric and language is also crucial to understanding how HRW is able to criticize Israel without actually condemning its atrocities or exposing it to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In response to the most recent round of Israeli crimes, renowned scholar and activist Norman Finkelstein wrote:

In its first press release on 9 July 2014, Indiscriminate Palestinian Rocket Attacks; Israeli Airstrikes on Homes Appear to be Collective Punishment, HRW stated that “Israeli attacks targeting homes may amount to prohibited collective punishment.” In its second press release on 16 July, Unlawful Israeli Airstrikes Kill Civilians; Bombings of Civilian Structures Suggest Illegal Policy, HRW states that “Israeli air attacks in Gaza…have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end the unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property.” It then proceeded to legally define the meaning of war crimes, but artfully avoided accusing Israel of committing them…In these statements HRW doubly distanced itself from alleging Israeli war crimes: first, it qualified the weight of the incriminating evidence – “appear,” “may,” “apparent,” “may be,”; second, it recoiled from explicitly charging Israel with war crimes and instead settled for lesser or vaguer charges – “collective punishment,” “violation of the laws of war,” “unlawful attacks.”

As Finkelstein correctly notes, the language that HRW employs is, at least superficially, supposed to provide a veneer of objectivity by using qualifier words such as “may” and “apparent.” However the reality is that such language is deliberately designed to allow HRW to avoid correctly ascribing terms like “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” to Israeli actions. In this way, HRW dilutes its own findings, pleasing the powerful corporate and political interests in the US that fund it.

Indeed, here it is important to reiterate how HRW creates a false equivalence between Israeli war crimes and Palestinian “war crimes.” HRW has gone on record saying that “Hamas rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes… As the governing authority in Gaza, Hamas should publicly renounce rocket attacks on Israeli civilian centers and punish those responsible, including members of its own armed wing.”

So, let’s just be clear here. Israeli bombings of Palestinian civilian targets through systematic campaigns “may” constitute “collective punishment” (not war crimes according to HRW’s language), while Hamas rocket attacks “amount to war crimes.” The transparently hypocritical use of double-standards in terms of language exposes a deeply rooted bias in HRW against the justness of Palestinian resistance. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Hamas’s military (and political) tactics, the legal and moral righteousness of their resistance cannot be disputed by anyone objectively evaluating the conflict.

More to the point, HRW accusing Palestinians of war crimes implies yet another distortion perpetrated by the Empire and its media and NGO toadies: that the conflict in Gaza is a “war.” This is no war, it is a one-sided slaughter. One could point to the casualty figures, the absence of an army, navy, or air force on the Palestinian side, the complete lack of indigenous economic activity to support a “war economy” in Gaza, or any of the other myriad material reasons why this is not a war.

If one is being honest, then it is clear that it is the western media (which includes of course Israeli media) which distorts the reality of the situation, calling it a “war” so as to justify the horrific crimes being committed. Because, as is self-evident, only under conditions of war can Israeli actions be justified in the minds of westerners. This is willful self-deception of the highest order. Indeed, self-deception is one of the most potent weapons that Israel’s supporters, along with HRW, have at their disposal.

HRW on Ukraine


The armed conflict between the US-sponsored regime in Kiev and the anti-Kiev rebels in the East of the country has devolved into a bona fide civil war. However, it should be noted that, though the term “civil war” is used to describe the fighting, it should not be taken to mean that there is equivalent force on both sides. Rather, the Kiev regime has the full force of an organized military with air power, heavy weapons, tanks, artillery, and a host of other military materiel. In contrast, the anti-Kiev forces possess very few of these same weapons, with no air power whatsoever, despite the continued allegations of Russian support. And so, as with the so called “war” between Israel and Hamas, the conflict is far more one-sided than most media is willing to admit.

This point about unequal force is critical to understanding just how HRW, though seemingly condemning the use of rockets by the US-backed Ukrainian military, in fact provides an important service to the western narrative on Ukraine. Specifically, HRW presents a “condemn everyone equally” perspective which unjustifiably condemns the rebel forces with as much fervor as it does Kiev’s military. In so doing, HRW once again makes false equivalence, thereby distorting the true nature of the conflict in the eyes of western observers.

In its report Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians, HRW documents the use of “Grad” (Russian for “hail”) rockets by both sides in Ukraine. The report noted that “Unguided Grad rockets launched apparently by Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias have killed at least 16 civilians and wounded many more in insurgent-controlled areas of Donetsk and its suburbs in at least four attacks between July 12 and 21, 2014.” In this initial assessment at the opening of the report, HRW is correct in pointing out that both sides of the conflict have been using such weapons, at least according to a number of independent reports from the region. However, again one must return to the question of equivalence between the two sides. In other words, are both sides equally accountable for the death and destruction wrought on the civilian population?

According to HRW and the language of the report, the answer is yes. Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at HRW noted that, “Grad rockets are notoriously imprecise weapons that shouldn’t be used in populated areas. If insurgent and Ukrainian government forces are serious about limiting harm to civilians, they should both immediately stop using these weapons in populated areas.” Though of course one would agree that the use of such weapons by either side harms civilians, it presupposes that each side is equally responsible. Naturally, one should note that it is the Kiev regime’s military which is launching these rockets against a civilian population, while the rebels are using such rockets against military positions held by the Ukrainian army. This simple fact, conveniently left out of HRW’s report, should significantly alter how the issue is perceived. Rather than a war between two equally criminally responsible parties, there is undoubtedly an asymmetry in the violations of the rules of war.

To be fair, there are portions of the HRW report which do intimate, though perhaps stop short of explicitly stating, the fact that Kiev bears the majority of the blame. The report states, “Human Rights Watch called on all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, particularly Ukrainian government forces, to stop using Grad rockets in or near populated areas because of the likelihood of killing and wounding civilians.” Indeed, the use of the phrase “particularly Ukrainian government forces” does suggest that Kiev is more culpable than the rebels. However, HRW quickly negates whatever value can be drawn from the above statement by following it with “Insurgent forces should minimize the risk to civilians under their control by avoiding deploying forces and weapons in densely populated areas.” Such a statement is patently absurd considering that the war is undeniably being fought in densely populated areas (Donetsk alone has about a million residents).

How can HRW genuinely tell rebels who are protecting their homes, their families, and their communities, not to fight in densely populated areas? The Ukrainian air force and military have been shelling civilian areas with far more than just the Grad rockets (artillery, aerial bombardment, and possibly white phosphorous bombs), and HRW expects the rebels to simply allow this? Again, the report presents an equivalence between the force employed by both sides, an utterly disingenuous argument. The report notes, “Human Rights Watch said that insurgent forces have failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid deploying in densely populated areas, thereby endangering civilians in violation of the laws of war.” In other words, though HRW condemned the use of the rockets by Kiev’s military forces, ultimate responsibility lies with the rebels who are “endangering civilians.”

This is backwards thinking. It is the equivalent of Israeli military spokesmen who argue that Hamas is responsible for Palestinian deaths because of where they place their rockets. The sort of mental gymnastics required to evaluate the situation in this way perhaps best illustrates what HRW is doing. Rather than assigning blame to Kiev where it is deserved, HRW condemns fervently the rebels for the actions of Kiev. In this way, HRW bolsters the western narrative that the “pro-Russian separatists” (as the western media is fond of calling them) are the ultimate cause of the conflict and the civilian deaths. This is not the first time that HRW has blamed the victims of aggression for the crimes of the aggressors.

and: http://journal-neo.org/2014/08/06/hrw-human-rights-watch-or-hypocritical-representatives-of-washington-part-2/

Human Rights Watch or Hypocritical Representatives of Washington? (Part 2)

As I noted in Part 1 of this article, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an integral part of the West’s propaganda machine. I noted that “HRW serves as intermediary between the facts on the ground, and the western public who rely on the organization (and similar NGOs such as Amnesty International) to accurately tell the story of a given conflict.” But of course the function of HRW runs far deeper than simply presenting information in a biased way. Rather, HRW shapes the narratives of conflicts, narratives which become solidified through repetition, and which eventually become regarded as undeniable facts.

Moreover, the language HRW employs, far from being simply stylistic choices, is deliberately utilized to obscure the reality of war zones in the service of the Empire. This is undoubtedly the case with the Israel/Palestine conflict where Israeli actions are never outright war crimes, while Palestinian ones are. It is equally true of Ukraine. This is also the case in Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, countries where HRW has played a critical role in constructing narratives in the interests of its financier and corporate paymasters, not to mention of course the US foreign policy agenda.

HRW on Libya

In both Libya and Syria, HRW has played a critical role in propagandizing the western public against the governments of those countries, thereby justifying the imperialist assault on them. More than simply “collecting the facts,” HRW cobbled together a completely distorted, and in many cases utterly dishonest and factually wrong, narrative which has buttressed the case for “intervention” in Syria, as it did in Libya.

At the outset of the war against Libya, HRW was one of the most active agitators against the lawful government of Muammar Gaddafi, publishing a seemingly endless stream of reports alleging everything from “unlawful killings” to “systematic rapes” by Gaddafi’s military and security forces. These reports, each of which heavily relied on “eyewitnesses” and “sources” which have later been discredited, played a central role in building the case for supporting both anti-Gaddafi extremists and western military intervention in Libya. In this way, HRW’s distortions and outright lies led directly to the war and the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Libyans.

In its report Libya: Governments Should Demand End to Unlawful Killings (February 20, 2011), HRW alleged that Gaddafi’s forces were wantonly killing peaceful protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director bombastically stated that “A potential human rights catastrophe is unfolding in Libya as protesters brave live gunfire and death for a third day running…Libya is trying to impose an information blackout, but it can’t hide a massacre.” This is precisely the sort of outright lie that led directly to the war in Libya. Not only have subsequent investigations revealed that the claims of “massacre” were complete fabrications, but also the fact that Libyan security forces never killed protesters, but rather engaged solely with armed terrorists, making every attempt to avoid any civilian casualties. Of course, by the time these findings were released, Gaddafi had already been brutally assassinated, his government toppled and replaced by NATO proxies from the so called National Transitional Council (NTC).

In his 2013 report on Libya published by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Dr. Alan Kuperman wrote:

Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period.

Interestingly, HRW was the original source of the “more than 2,000 deaths” claim which only later did they reduce to the 233 figure. Reading the text of HRW’s reports from early 2011, one gets the impression that Libya’s security forces were, in the words of HRW’s leadership, “massacring” innocent Libyans. But, as Kuperman and others have noted, this is an outright lie as the violence was, in every documented case, initiated by the so called “protesters.” Indeed, this fact is critical because the case for war in Libya was made on the basis of “imminent massacre” in Benghazi and elsewhere, while the only source for this was HRW itself and its “sources.” In this way, HRW played a leading role in making the case for war, and directly contributed to the deaths of countless Libyans.

Additionally, HRW was one of the principal sources of the now debunked myth of Libyan soldiers “systematically raping” women in Benghazi. This mythology stems from the curious case of Eman al-‘Obeidy, a Libyan woman from the eastern city of Tobruk who, quite conveniently, stumbled into a hotel filled with journalists to tell her story of rape and torture at the hands of Gaddafi’s soldiers. At the height of a destabilization and war, this woman arrives in front of a horde of western journalists, making herself into a cause célèbre for the West and its anti-Gaddafi agenda.

In its news release Libya: Allow Eman al-‘Obeidy to Leave Tripoli, HRW simply repeated the story that al-‘Obeidy had told to CNN and a number of other news outlets. The release stated that:

On April 4, 2011, in two phone interviews with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, al-‘Obeidy confirmed that Libyan authorities had freed her after she was examined by a doctor. She told Cooper that the medical evidence supported her allegations that she had been raped and tortured. Al-‘Obeidy also told Cooper that men poured alcohol into her eyes and used rifles to sodomize her when she was detained at a checkpoint in Tripoli on March 26. She said that she had escaped when a woman who was detained with her untied her hands and feet while the soldiers were asleep.

A close reading of the above passage should immediately raise questions about the credibility of these claims by HRW. First and foremost, there is absolutely zero independent corroboration of al-‘Obeidy’s story. Instead, HRW simply repeats her claims and expects readers, and the western public generally, to simply take her word for it and, by extension, HRW’s word for it, since they are implicitly validating the claim. The medical evidence itself was not presented, but rather simply al-‘Obeidy’s claim that the evidence supported her allegations. Such an obvious bias flies in the face of all accepted norms and practices of journalism where the alleged victim’s assertions can never be cited as evidence.

Of course, this journalistic malpractice was part of the broader campaign of demonization of Gaddafi which ultimately led to his assassination and the destruction of Libya. Political observers should remember the claims of Viagra being issued to Gaddafi’s soldiers, along with other outlandish allegations nauseatingly repeated by the western media and leaders such as former US Secretary of State Hillary “We Came, We Saw, He Died” Clinton. HRW in many ways served as the scaffolding for the construction of a false narrative on Libya, one whose impact is still being felt today as the people of Libya have been predictably plunged into a brutal civil war.

HRW on Syria


As with Libya, HRW has played a prominent role in the ongoing propaganda campaign against Syria – a propaganda campaign that in many ways has as its ultimate goal, regime change. So, just as with Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, and Libya, HRW serves as a nominally “independent” appendage of US foreign policy and the Empire’s media machine. A simple examination of just a few of the many reports and news releases on Syria concocted and disseminated by HRW demonstrates quite clearly its role as cheerleader for the Empire.

Within a few months of the outbreak of violence in Syria, HRW positioned itself as a leading international voice condemning the “crimes” of the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, and calling for international action to stop it. In its ostensibly “comprehensive” report ‘We’ve Never Seen Such Horror’: Crimes Against Humanity in Daraa, and the accompanying press release, HRW combined unsubstantiated allegations with significant leaps in logic to paint a portrait of one-sided massacres against innocent protesters being conducted by the Syrian security forces.

In the very first paragraph of HRW’s press release accompanying the report, the organization states that, “Systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces in the city of Daraa since protests began there on March 18, 2011, strongly suggest that these qualify as crimes against humanity.” A number of important questions must be asked before we simply accept this obviously biased interpretation of events on the ground.

First, one should be quite skeptical of the phrase “systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces,” as such language would imply a codified, ongoing, and organized pattern of killing and torture. One would expect there to be manuals, interrogation/torture training, and/or a bureaucratic chain of command ordering such actions. None of this is present in Syria, and HRW makes no such claim and provides no such evidence. On the contrary, one primary piece of evidence upon which this assertion relies is the imprisonment of a small group of young Syrians arrested for painting anti-government graffiti in the city of Deraa. Now, one would think that these young men must have undergone some sort of barbarous treatment at the hands of the Syrian security forces who tortured them with impunity. However, what HRW conveniently fails to mention is that, as Time magazine reported, the governor who ordered their arrest was sacked by Assad, and the teens were immediately released.

This incident, presented in the western narrative as the event which precipitated the early anti-government protests in Daraa, is one of the only independently verified aspects of the HRW story. Most of the report relies on interviews with victims of abuse in Daraa governorate under the direct supervision of the same governor who was summarily stripped of his post by Assad. However, the report frames the testimony as being evidence of a nationwide policy of “systematic torture” for which there is absolutely zero evidence. Considering the timing of this report (June 1, 2011), it is clear that HRW was once again the leading edge of the regime change agitation.

Second, what exactly does the phrase “strongly suggest that these qualify as crimes against humanity” mean? HRW is not an international court, they have not evaluated evidence refuting the claims of the “eyewitnesses,” nor have they investigated the supposedly “systematic” nature of the “torture and killings” in Syria. And so, it’s quite obvious that the phrase is yet another vacuous rhetorical flourish that is more editorial commentary than it is factual reporting. Considering that this was within a few months of the unrest beginning in Syria, such statements should cast serious doubt on HRW’s vaunted position as an objective human rights NGO. Quite the contrary, it seems that HRW made itself into the avant-garde of the Assad/Syria demonization campaign expertly picked up by the dutiful western corporate media.

Third, HRW provides absolutely no refutation, or even mention, of the competing claims as to the events leading to the beginning of the unrest. It provides nothing to contradict the reports and photographic evidence of the UK’s Daily Mail, and other news outlets, which showed AK-47s, hand grenades, explosives, and other weapons recovered from a mosque in Daraa which supposedly was attacked by the Syrian security forces because it housed protesters. In other words, HRW selectively included facts that bolstered the western narrative of a brutal dictator killing his own people, while it omitted facts that supported Syria’s claims that the violence was initiated by armed terrorists whom the security forces engaged. In this way, HRW fabricated yet another false narrative in order to propagate the myth of Syrian crimes and support a regime change operation.

HRW’s report on the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, a suburb east of Damascus, is yet another example of a blatantly biased report that has been utterly discredited since it was published in the summer of 2013. It should be noted here that the timing of the report coincided directly with the US attempt to initiate a bombing campaign and “humanitarian intervention” in Syria. Almost as if by magic, HRW helps to make the case for yet another imperial aggression against a sovereign state. Many who called attention to the similarity with the lies propagated about Libya and the subsequent war that destroyed that country were shunned and met with silence and/or derision.

The report Attacks on Ghouta: Analysis of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria makes the claim that the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack on Ghouta. The report states:

Based on the available evidence, Human Rights Watch finds that Syrian government forces were almost certainly responsible for the August 21 attacks…The scale and coordinated nature of the two attacks; against opposition-held areas; the presence of government-controlled potential launching sites within range of the targets; the pattern of other recent alleged chemical weapon attacks against opposition-held areas using the same 330mm rocket delivery system; and the documented possession of the 140mm and 330mm rocket systems able to deliver chemical weapons in the government arsenal – all point towards Syrian government responsibility for the attacks…Human Rights Watch has investigated alternative claims that opposition forces themselves were responsible…and has found such claims lacking in credibility and inconsistent with the evidence found at the scene.

Well, there you have it. HRW, in its rigorous investigation, clearly determined that Damascus was responsible for the attacks. Of course, they fail to mention that not a single HRW researcher was ever present on the ground in Ghouta, and that their “evidence” relies on Skype interviews with “10 witnesses and survivors” of the attack. So, in their supposedly damning report, they cannot independently verify a single claim that they included in their dubious report. And yet, despite not being present on the ground, they were able to determine that only the Syrian government could have carried out the attack?

And this assertion came at the most opportune moment for the US and its western allies as they geared up to bomb Syria. The transparent collusion between HRW and its paymasters in Washington is astounding. However, the story of course does not end there. The claims made by HRW in its report have all been refuted in the months since, with a number of investigations discrediting the “findings” as little more than imperial propaganda.

In a comprehensive report released in January 2014 (more than four months after the incident and HRW’s bogus report), former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and Prof. Theodore Postol of MIT effectively debunked the claims of HRW and the US government, showing conclusively that US intelligence and HRW’s conclusions regarding the incident were grossly inaccurate. The report, entitled Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013, notes that:

The Syrian improvised chemical munitions that were used in the August 21 nerve agent attack in Damascus have a range of about 2 kilometers…[The evidence] indicates that these munitions could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the “heart”, or from the eastern edge, of the Syrian Government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013…The UN independent assessment of the range of the chemical munitions is in exact agreement with our findings…this mistaken intelligence could have led to an unjustified US military action based on false intelligence.

Essentially, the report completely discredits the findings of both the US Government and HRW, the latter of course mirroring the former, as it so often does. The “intelligence” and “data” that HRW cited was either faulty or, as many have argued, deliberately falsified and/or exaggerated to make a case for military intervention. In this way, HRW served, once again, as the avant-garde of the Empire’s strategy of regime change.

Of course, it should also be remembered that Pultizer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh published his absolutely critical piece The Red Line and the Rat Line in which he wrote:

“The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons…Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing… which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its program, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort…Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusra Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’”

So, Hersh’s reporting finally firmly established the fact that the rebels were indeed capable of carrying out the attack on East Ghouta, and that they had help from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and possibly other regional actors. And so, not only did they have the motive (to blame Assad for using chemical weapons while international investigators were in Syria, thereby justifying a military intervention and regime change), but also the means and opportunity. Of course, no apology or retraction was ever offered by HRW or the US Government. And it is unlikely that one is forthcoming.

HRW on Venezuela

HRW has also played an important role as propagandist for US foreign policy in Latin America, a region that perhaps more than any other, has sought to assert its independence from the US-dominated Empire in recent years. In particular, Venezuela has been a top target of HRW ever since the late Hugo Chavez entered the political scene in 1999. Indeed, Chavez and Venezuela, a country that underwent a democratic revolution peacefully and reaffirmed its political orientation with no less than 15 separate elections, were made into pariahs by the supposedly objective HRW.

Seemingly every year HRW publishes its World Report in which it almost never fails to attack the government of Venezuela and, until his death, specifically Hugo Chavez. Aside from these, HRW has published numerous reports detailing the “crimes” of the Venezuelan government. Perhaps the most infamous of these was the 2008 report entitled A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, an utterly cynical and dishonest attempt to demonize Chavez and his government using distortions and outright lies.

The report, which was denounced by many individuals, organizations, and countries internationally, was egregiously biased and admittedly was a tool of subversion. The lead author of the report, Jose Miguel Vivanco admitted publicly that “we did the report because we wanted to demonstrate to the world that Venezuela is not a model for anyone.” Of course such an admission was hardly surprising considering HRW had been openly hostile to Chavez’s government from its very inception.

Focusing only on isolated, and in some cases unverified, allegations of violations of the rights of citizens, the report attempted to portray Venezuela as a country with no regard for human rights. That this is a most obscene lie is undeniable considering the fact that Venezuela under Chavez provided universal health care to all citizens, free education, eradicated illiteracy, greatly reduced poverty and nearly eliminated extreme poverty, embarked on massive public housing programs, and much more. Of course, these are not the sorts of human rights that HRW is interested in. Rather, HRW focuses solely on the alleged “violations” that bolster their political agenda which, by extension, is the agenda of Washington.

Indeed, the 2008 report was denounced by some of the most prominent intellectuals, scholars, and journalists in the world, including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and Vijay Prashad among many others. In just a small excerpt of a strongly worded open letter addressed to HRW’s Board of Directors, the individuals mentioned above along with more than one hundred others, wrote:

The report’s overwhelming reliance for factual material on opposition sources of dubious reliability also undermines its credibility and makes it difficult for most readers to know which parts of the report are true and which aren’t. The most cited source with regard to political discrimination is the newspaper El Universal. This is not only a stridently opposition newspaper, it has also, for the years during which it is cited, repeatedly fabricated news stories.

The authors correctly noted that the report relied on dubious sources to provide the “facts” that would fit the pre-conceived narrative that Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution are bad, and that members of the opposition, comprised of wealthy bourgeois former ruling class elites aligned with Washington, are the victims of state repression.

HRW continued with this sort of demonization in 2013 when, upon the sad passing of Hugo Chavez, the group issued its report Venezuela: Chavez’s Authoritarian Legacy, yet another outright distortion of the legacy of one of the great leaders in the history of Latin America. The press release accompanying the report begins by stating, “Hugo Chávez’s presidency (1999-2013) was characterized by a dramatic concentration of power and open disregard for basic human rights guarantees.” Such a blatant disregard for the facts – the expansion of basic human rights, rather than the alleged disregard for them, being merely one example – illustrates quite clearly the fact that HRW, rather than an objective party, had a clear anti-Chavez, pro-US position, and it invested significant resources in propagating that position. Such shameful pandering is, sadly, unsurprising for such a discredited organization as HRW.

Human Rights Watch is undeniably an appendage of US foreign policy. It is in many ways part of the “soft power” arm of US power projection, a means of delegitimizing, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing countries that do not play ball with the US. From Ukraine to Libya, Syria to Palestine and Venezuela, HRW has shown itself to be treacherous, and a willing servant of Empire. It is for this reason that well-meaning people around the world, not to mention government and political organizations, must recognize HRW as the enemy, rather than an ally.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Accusations that Russia was behind the attack on a school in Syria's Idlib province recently made by Human Rights Watch are simply another information attack, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday.

Accusations Against Russia in Attack on Syrian School More Information Attacks
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611071047130470-syra-idlib-school-attack-hrw/

Nov. 11, 2016 - On October 26, as many as 22 children and six teachers were killed in an attack on a school compound in Idlib, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). On Sunday, Human Rights Watch published a statement accusing Russia and Syria of "war crimes" based on the testimony of alleged witnesses of the incident.

"Publication of yet another 'war crime' accusations by Human Rights Watch after more than a week, when some phone 'interviews' of seven aggrieved people are provided as new 'evidences' do not stand up to any scrutiny and is yet another information attack," Konashenkov said.

He added that the Russian Ministry had already published evidences that the school's buildings had not been bombed.

According to the Russian official the area where the school is situated has been occupied by terrorists from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group, formerly al-Nusra Front, which is outlawed in Russia, and only "liars" or "crazy people" could say that the jihadists would allow secular schools to continue their activities.


Russian reconnaissance means have registered a US attack drone in the area where a school in Syrua's Idlib had been bombed, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

Russia Registered US Attack Drone in Area Where Idlib School Was Attacked - MoD
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201610271046810904-idlib-school-russia/

A US' MQ-1B Predator drone has been seen in the area, the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

No Russian aircraft entered the area over the Syrian Idlib, where the alleged strike took place, he added. Moreover, Russian UAVs have not registered any signs of the destruction of the school's roof or shell craters, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said. A Russian drone has been sent to the area Thursday morning, he added. "According to a photo made by a Russian UAV, the school's roof is not damaged and there are no bomb craters in the area near the school. Similar information may be requested from our American colleagues. Russian reconnaissance means registered a US' MQ-1B Predator attack drone."

Video footage published in media showing the alleged strike on the Idlib school have been fabricated, the ministry added.

"Video footage published by a number of foreign media outlets of an alleged strike on the residential area of Hass [in Idlib] consists of more than 10 pieces pasted together, being shot at different times of the day."

Moreover, Konashenkov added that the school's fence has not been damaged at all, while if an aerial bomb exploded, "the fence and all the walls of the buildings would have been destroyed and damaged by shrapnel, while the furniture would have been swept away by the shock wave."

According to the spokesman, the photo published by the AFP agency showed that the nature and the extent of the damage sustained by the school were not similar to the destruction caused by airstrikes.

Earlier in the day, the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake said that as many as 22 children and six teachers were killed in an attack on a school in Idlib. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the attack on a school in Syria's Idlib and called for an investigation into the bombing. She also said that international media "launched an attack" on Russia by claiming that Moscow and Damascus are behind the bombing without presenting evidence.

The UNICEF has fallen victim to another hoax by the White Helmets NGO, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman added.

"Before making statements, UNISEF officials should check the sources of its information," he said, adding that such a respected organization should not undermine its reputation.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi accused on Thursday a prominent human rights watchdog of publishing false reports on the situation in Mosul, which expose local residents to danger.

Iraqi PM Slams Amnesty International for 'False' Reports on Situation in Mosul
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611111047316400-abadi-slams-watchdog/

Earlier in the day, Amnesty International said that fighters wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms had tortured and extrajudicially executed residents in villages they captured south of Mosul and urged the Iraqi authorities to investigate these reports. The watchdog added that deliberately killing captives and other defenseless individuals was prohibited by international humanitarian law and was considered to be a war crime.

"The president of the council of ministers Dr. Haider al-Abadi expressed his surprise about the Amnesty International report concerning killings that happened in Mosul and conveyed false information that it was the government forces… The truth is that they were local residents who killed Daesh militants," a post in Arabic on Abadi's Facebook page was quoted as saying by the Rudaw news agency. According to Abadi, Iraq holds the watchdog "fully responsible" for "endangering the security" of Mosul residents, as such reports make citizens flee their homes.


Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office,
called on Iraqi authorities to launch investigation on reports that fighters in Iraqi police uniform tortured and executed civilians in the villages located near Mosul, in order to bring those responsible to justice and to prevent repetition of war crimes.

Watchdog Urges Iraqi Authorities to Investigate Tortures, Killing of Civilians
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611101047297452-amnesty-iraq-execution/

Nov. 10, 2016 - Iraqi authorities should look into reports that fighters in Iraqi police uniform tortured and executed civilians in the villages located south of Mosul in late October, a prominent human rights watchdog said Thursday in a statement.

"Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style," Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office, said as quoted in the statement.

According to the statement, some ten men and a teenager from the villages of Na’na’a and al-Raseef villages in the Shura and Qayyarah sub-districts of the Nineveh province suffered torture and six of them were executed on the suspicion of having ties with Islamic State group (ISIL pr Daesh, outlawed in Russia).

The Amnesty International group earlier reported that Iraqi men, dressed as Federal police officers, involved in conducting counter-insurgency operations, executed some 16 men and male children on May 27 near the city of Fallujah, located in the Iraqi province of Anbar.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Notice that the last two articles are "exactly a year apart but by one day difference" along with a current publication, that emphasizes the propaganda meme "Japan Must Stop Secretive Executions" by Amnesty.
They must work by some type of a timetable, where Amnesty does "a hit piece" and builds on it - at regular intervals - to give the meme added roots in main stream media? Going by the "one year anniversary" so to speak, there should be another publication dated 6 - 24 or 25, 2016 but I haven't located one yet?

Amnesty International's Syria researcher stated that US-led military invasion in Iraq and the political vacuum that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein made a major contribution to the rise of the Daesh jihadist group.

US-Led Invasion, Power Vacuum in Iraq Contributed to Rise of Daesh – Amnesty
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611111047326246-us-iraq-daesh-amnesty/

11.11.2016 - The US-led military invasion in Iraq and the political vacuum that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein made a major contribution to the rise of the Daesh jihadist group,
Neil Sammonds, the Amnesty International's Syria researcher, told Sputnik.

"After the US-led overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein they had a massive vacuum of power, and while he was a terrible dictator and all sorts of horrible human rights abuses took place there, there was also very strong level of control and there was no room for jihadi terrorism there. But after the overthrow of the government and after hundreds of thousand of soldiers became demobilized that fueled aggressive jihadi organizations," Sammonds said. He added that the Syrian government was also partly responsible for the spread of the extremist group as it had been supporting anti-US forces during the Iraq War while in the early days of the protests of 2011-2012, Damascus allegedly released from prisons many jihadist fighters who later joined Daesh and the Nusra Front. Besides, support of the Sunni Mujahideen by the United States during the Soviet–Afghan War could also play a role in the rise of the Daesh.

"Some of jihadi fighters have come to Syria from North Africa, Afghanistan and other places. In 1979, you had the Afghan Mujahideen fighting against the Soviet-backed government there, and the United States was happy to be supporting them in a way," Sammonds said adding that "more important has been the role of Iraq and the Syrian government itself."


Japan must end the use of capital punishment, instead of executing death row inmates secretively and at short notice, a prominent rights advocacy group said Friday.

Japan Must Stop Secretive Executions of Death Row Inmates – Amnesty Int'l
https://sputniknews.com/asia/201611111047336565-japan-secretive-executions/

11.11.2016 - Japan came under criticism after reports that another inmate was executed earlier in the day at a Fukuoka prison. The 45-year-old was hanged for committing murders in 2004 and 2011.

"The Japanese government cannot hide the fact that it is on the wrong side of history, the majority of the world’s states have turned away from the death penalty," Amnesty International’s Hiroka Shoji said in a statement. He urged the nation’s Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda to act on calls from the UN and Japanese lawyers to end executions, which are conducted in secrecy. Convicts are usually given a few hours’ or no warning, and their families and lawyers are notified about the execution when it is already too late.


Japan's government distracts the public by using convenient timing and circumstances to carry out executions, a human rights group said, following another capital punishment action in Japan on Thursday.

Japanese Authorities Distract Public to Proceed With Executions
https://sputniknews.com/asia/201506251023835697/

Back-dated 25.06.2015 The execution of Tsukasa Kanda, convicted in 2009 of robbery and homicide, took place amid the government’s controversial plans to extend Japan’s military contribution to international forces, Amnesty International said.

"With the country looking the other way, Japan’s authorities decided it was politically convenient to resume executions. To take a man’s life in this way is the politics of the gutter," Hiroka Shoji, an East Asia researcher at Amnesty International, was quoted as saying by the watchdog. Kanda's execution is the 12th to be carried out under the current government since it took office in 2012.

The government has a choice between continuing to take Japan down a regressive path, or ending executions and demonstrating it values human rights," said Shoji.

Japan was one of only 22 states to carry out executions in 2014, taking three lives. A total of 129 people are currently awaiting execution, according to Amnesty International.

Shoji added that Japan was isolated and out of step with the vast majority of countries that have abandoned this "ultimate, cruel, inhuman and degrading" form of punishment. According to Japanese government surveys, the death penalty in the country has an overwhelming public support of 80 percent.


Amnesty International said Thursday Japan’s decision to continue its secret executions policy despite growing concern about the country's use of the death penalty is a scar on the justice system.

Amnesty International Says Japan’s Secret Executions a ‘Stain on Justice System’
https://sputniknews.com/world/20140626190711683-Amnesty-International-Says-Japans-Secret-Executions-a-Stain-on/

Back-dated 26.06.2014 Amnesty International said Thursday Japan’s decision to continue its secret executions policy despite growing concern about the country's use of the death penalty is a scar on the justice system.

Masanori Kawasaki, 68, convicted in 2008 of the murder of three relatives, was hanged early on Thursday morning at Osaka detention center. The execution, the first this year, is the ninth since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government took office in December 2012. “It is deplorable that not long after fundamental flaws in Japan’s criminal justice system were so blatantly exposed, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has chosen to sign another death warrant,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International. “Instead of sending more people to the gallows there needs to be urgent reform of a justice system that at present is not worthy of the name,” Rife said, also calling for a full public debate on the use of the death penalty in the country. Executions are shrouded in secrecy in Japan and usually come only with a few hours’ notice, while some prisoners are not informed at all, and their families learn about the execution only after it has taken place. Japan and the US are the only countries in the G8 that still use capital punishment. Last year, only 22 countries or one in 10 countries worldwide carried out executions.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Hiroka Shoji, an East Asia researcher at Amnesty International, initiated a campaign called ADPAN
(Anti Death Penalty Asia Network) in 2010:

Unfair trials | ADPAN - Anti Death Penalty Asia Network
https://adpan.org/tag/unfair-trials-2/

Secretive executions can’t hide the fact that Japan is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the death penalty, Amnesty International said after a death row inmate was hanged on Friday.

Japan: Man hanged as secretive executions continue
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/japan-man-hanged-as-secretive-executions-continue/

11 November 2016 - “The Japanese government cannot hide the fact that it is on the wrong side of history, the majority of the world’s states have turned away from the death penalty.” Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.


The Japanese authorities’ reprehensible execution of two people today, continues to place the country on the wrong side of history, Amnesty International said.

Japan: Two hanged as chilling executions continue
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/03/japan-two-hanged-as-chilling-executions-continue/

25 March 2016 - “These disgraceful executions demonstrate a failure of leadership by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.” Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.


In response to the announcement that the Japanese and South Korean governments have reached an agreement on the issue of Japan's World War II military sexual slavery system, Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International said:

“Comfort women” deal must not deny survivors justice
http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/comfort-women-deal-must-not-deny-survivors-justice

Dec 28, 2015 - "Today's agreement must not mark the end of the road in securing justice for the hundreds of thousands of women who suffered due to Japan's military sexual slavery system. The women were missing from the negotiation table, and they must not be sold short in a deal that is more about political expediency than justice. Until the women get the full and unreserved apology from the Japanese government for the crimes committed against them, the fight for justice goes on."


Amnesty's Hiroka Shoji faces both cultural barriers and a forest of red tape when it comes to placing refugees

Helping refugees find a home from home in Japan (Photo - Hiroka Shoji )
http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/life/helping-people-find-home-away-home-488366/

6 May, 2011 - Hiroka Shoji’s looks are so deceptive, you might be fooled by the diminutive 29-year-old’s demure appearance and pleasant smile. But make no mistakes -- being Amnesty International Japan’s Refugee Officer requires nerves of steel and the drive to stand up to armies of gray bureaucrats entrenched in some pretty old-fashioned attitudes to the modern world.

Since joining AIJ less than two years ago, Shoji has had her hands full following the plight of the hundreds of asylum-seekers who apply for refugee status. “One thing we are working on,” Shoji says, “is improving the system in order to raise the recognition rate that right now is extremely low, especially when compared to other countries. “ (Article continues.)
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Note: Just like Amnesty International - HRW published 2 articles on 11.11.2016.

Daesh terrorists used toxic chemicals in at least three attacks on the Iraqi town of Qayyarah some 37 miles south of Mosul, which led to a number of civilian injuries, according to an independent expert.

Daesh in Iraq Used Chemicals in At Least Three Attacks on Town South of Mosul
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611111047332091-iraq-mosul-daesh/

11.11.2016 - Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) militants used chemicals in at least three attacks on the Iraqi town of Qayyarah some 37 miles south of Mosul, which led to a number of civilian injuries, a prominent rights watchdog said on Friday.

According to an independent expert on detection and effects of chemical warfare agents, who reviewed the video and photo evidence and accounts of victims of the three attacks, at least seven people showed signs consistent with exposure to low levels of a chemical agents, such as Sulfur Mustard or similar blister agents, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement. “ISIS attacks using toxic chemicals show a brutal disregard for human life and the laws of war… As ISIS fighters flee, they have been repeatedly attacking and endangering the civilians they left behind, increasing concerns for residents of Mosul and other contested areas,” HRW

The use of chemicals in these attacks violates the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention and would be considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the customary laws of war.

The watchdog organization advised the Iraqi government to warn civilians of the use of chemical weapons, clear contaminated areas of civilians, provide treatment for victims or seek international assistance and cooperation from Chemical Weapons Convention member countries.

The attacks took place in September and October in Qayyarah, which the Iraqi government forces had liberated from the terrorist organization at the end of August. According to media reports, on September 20, Daesh launched projectiles containing chemicals at the Qayyarah West airbase, however, a coalition spokesperson tweeted that laboratory tests concluded that "no mustard agent present in munitions fired." Daesh has previously used blister agents in Syria in August 2015, according to a United Nations investigative committee.


Iraqi and Kurdish forces have separated and detained at least 37 men as they fled with their families from Mosul and the town of Hawija, about 75 miles to the south, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said in a press release.

Rights Group: Iraqi Arabs, Kurds Capture Men Fleeing Mosul as Terror Suspects
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611111047317692-iraqi-arabs-kurds-capture-men/

11.11.2016 - Human Rights Watch noted it had spoken to 46 relatives and witnesses, who described security forces seizing men at checkpoints, screening centers and camps for displaced people. None knew where the men were being held nor had there been any contact with the detainees.

"When detainees are held without contact with the outside world, in unknown locations, that significantly increases the risk of other violations, including ill-treatment and torture," Human Rights Watch Deputy Middle East Director Lama Fakih said in the release on Thursday. Following the liberation of other Iraqi cities, including Fallujah, Iraqi fighters in uniforms posted a series of videos on the internet of prisoners being tortured as suspected terrorists or collaborators.

Following the liberation of other Iraqi cities, including Fallujah, Iraqi fighters in uniforms posted a series of videos on the internet of prisoners being tortured as suspected terrorists or collaborators.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the ISIL terrorists have staged chemical attacks in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul in the face of advancing Iraqi troops who are trying to retake the city.

HRW: ISIL Terrorists Use Chemicals While Fleeing Mosul
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950822000751

As ISIL militants flee, "they have been repeatedly attacking and endangering the civilians they left behind, increasing concerns for residents of Mosul and other contested areas,” Lama Fakih, the HRW’s deputy Middle East director, said on Friday, press tv reported.

“ISIS [ISIL] has sought to paint itself as protector of Sunni Arabs in Iraq, yet it is willing to use chemical weapons on them in their own homes,” Fakih said, using an English acronym for Daesh.

According to the New York-based organization, ISIL launched at least three chemical attacks on the town of Qayyarah South of Mosul in September and October after the town came under Iraqi control in August.

The attacks inflicted burns on at least seven people, which point to the use of chemical warfare agents known as “vesicants.”

Two of the civilian-populated targets attacked by the group have been identified as a family garden and an area in the vicinity of a café.

“ISIS attacks using toxic chemicals show a brutal disregard for human life and the laws of war,” Fakih said, noting that deployment of such weaponry amounted to “war crimes.”

On Friday, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the terrorist group was reportedly stockpiling ammonia and sulfur agents in Mosul possibly for use as chemical weapons.

Daesh captured Mosul in 2014, when it launched its terrorist campaign against Iraq. It then named the city its so-called headquarters.

A large-scale offensive is underway by Iraqi military forces and volunteer and Kurdish fighters to retake the city, which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said will be liberated by yearend.

On Saturday, Iraqi Kurds said they had identified the bodies of 52 ISIL ringleaders in the town of Bashiqa near Mosul. Iraq’s al-Sumariah TV said they were among 100 ISIL elements killed in the battle of Bashiqa on Monday.

ISIL and other similar terrorist groups have also been accused of using chemical weapons in neighboring Syria.

On Friday, the Russian military said it had found signs of the use of chemical agents by the militants against the Northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
(HRW) The ISIL terrorist group pounded the town of al-Qayyara in Nineveh province with missiles containing lethal chemical substances, injuring several civilians lethally.

Iraq: ISIL Hits Nineveh's Al-Qayyara Town with Chemical Missiles
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950825001436

Tue Nov 15, 2016 - The residential areas of al-Qayyara town came under ISIL's chemical missile attacks at least three times.

The ISIL's missiles contained toxic mustard gas.

A sum of seven Iraqi citizens, including a five-year-old child, were critically wounded in the attack.

On Sunday, a local source reported that the ISIL attacked a village in the Central Iraqi Salahuddin province with the shells of chlorine gas, killing at least three people.

The source said terrorists fired at the village over 15 mortar shells containing chemical chlorine, Al-Sumeriya reported.

"The ISIL attacked a village in Al-Shirqat region with more than 15 mortar shells, some of those containing toxic chemical chlorine. As a result of firing three people were killed, two were wounded, among them women and children. Material damage was done, as well," the source further added.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on the weekend that ISIL militants had used chemicals in at least three attacks on the Iraqi town of Qayyara some 37 miles South of Mosul, which led to a number of civilian injuries.

The use of chemicals in these attacks violates the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention and would be considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the customary laws of war.

This report is questionable. It keeps quoting, "Local sources" and "social media activists" and "reports said" - yet gives no identifying "named source" for these allegations? It may be a spin off from HRW or Amnesty?

Syrian People's Nightmare: Trafficking Children's Organs
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950825001207

Local sources in Idlib province told al-Akhbar newspaper that during the past two weeks, 15 people have been kidnapped from different districts, most of them children.

Also, social media activists have released tens of messages and warned the Idlib residents of the possibility of abduction of their children and trafficking of their body organs by the terrorist groups, saying that most of the kidnapped children have been transferred to Turkey.

Local sources in several districts of Idlib have reported that over 10 children have been abducted in different parts of the province, including Kafarouma, Jidar Bekalfoun, Atma, Jisr al-Shaqour and al-Fayqa by the militants.

Also, a local source in Sarmada town North of Idlib said that "a number of militants driving a white van abducted a 10-year-old child but they faced the residents' resistance and were arrested but sources said that they were freed from Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) prison the same day".

According to reports the exacerbation of security situation in Idlib has forced the residents to flee to Hama province in fear of their children's lives.

Reports said last month that the ISIL is mutilating and selling the body organs of Iraqi children to compensate for its financial loss and shortages.

Local sources reported that after starting the academic year in Iraq, 11 children were kidnapped in different parts of al-Qae'm town in the Western parts of al-Anbar province and their families then found their mutilated bodies with no heart, kidneys, eyes and other transplantable organs.

The sources added that none of the parents of these children dare to file a lawsuit against the ISIL or report the abduction of their child for the fear of the terrorist group's retaliatory measures.

Media reports also said in March that the ISIL terrorist group is using organ harvesting as a way to finance its operations and save the lives of injured members.

The Spanish daily El Mondo reported that facing the increased number of wounded members in the Syrian army and popular forces' attacks, the ISIL is using the body organs of its captives for transplantation.

According to the report, the ISIL also forces the prisoners in Mosul jails to donate blood and postpones the execution of those sentenced to death to use their blood as much as possible.

The ISIL doesn’t merely use the organs of its captives and prisoners' bodies for transplantation to its members but it sells them to other countries as a lucrative business, it added.

Medical sources told El Mondo that the personnel in one of hospitals in Mosul have seen corpses of at least 183 people whose organs had been taken out of their bodies.

According to the report, the ISIL has set up a medical team in Mosul headed by a German physician which exports the body organs to Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan region for transplantation to its members or selling.

Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Alhakim had made the same revelations last year, saying that the ISIL is trafficking human organs and has executed a dozen doctors for failing to go along with the program.

Alhakim based his claim on the discovery of dozens of bodies left in shallow mass graves near the city of Mosul, currently an ISIL stronghold. Surgical incisions, along with missing kidneys and other body parts lead to an inescapable conclusion. "We have bodies. Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts,” Alhakim revealed. He further described the carnage:

"When we discover mass graves, we look at the bodies. Some of those bodies are killed by bullets, some of them by knives. But when you find pieces of the back is missing and the kidneys is missing, you will wonder what it is."
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
ISIL militants killed more than 300 Iraqi former police three weeks ago and buried them in a mass grave near the town of Hammam al-Alil South of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

HRW: Over 300 Former Iraqi Policemen Buried in ISIL Mass Grave near Mosul
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950827000836

Thu Nov 17, 2016 - Local residents near the site of the mass grave told reporters the ultra-hardline militants buried victims who had been shot or beheaded, Business Insider reported.

The residents said they believed up to 200 people were killed in the weeks before ISIL withdrew from the town.

Human Rights Watch said some of the former policemen were separated from a group of about 2,000 people from nearby villages and towns who were forced to march alongside the militants last month as they retreated North to Mosul and the town of Tal Afar.

The rights group quoted a laborer who said he saw ISIL militants drive four large trucks carrying 100 to 125 men, some of whom he recognized as former policemen, past an agricultural college close to the site which was to become the mass grave.

Minutes later, he heard automatic gunfire and cries of distress, he said. The next night, on Oct. 29, a similar scene was repeated, with between 130 to 145 men, he told HRW.

Another witness, a resident of Hammam al-Alil, said he heard automatic gunfire in the area for approximately seven minutes, three nights in a row.

"This is another piece of evidence of the horrific mass murder by ISIL of former law enforcement officers in and around Mosul," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch

"ISIL should be held accountable for these crimes against humanity."


A re-run of this article - only this time it includes Director-General of the Syria Coroner's Office Hossein Noufel

Syrian People's Nightmare: Trafficking Children's Organs
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950825001207

Coroner's Office: Body Organs of Over 15,000 Syrians Sold in 6 Years
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950827000373

Thu Nov 17, 2016 - "We have accurate information that over 25,000 surgical operations have been conducted in the refugee camps of the neighboring countries and in the terrorist-controlled areas in Syria since 2011 to take out the body organs of 15,000 Syrians and sell them in the international black markets," Dr. Noufel said.

He pointed to the high prices of human body organs in the black markets, and said, "A kidney is sold $10,000 in Turkey while the same kidney is sold for $1,000 in Iraq, but in Lebanon and Syria the price of each kidney is $3,000."

Dr. Noufel said that other human body organs such as spleen and cornea are also sold in the black markets.

According to latest reports, the children who have been rescued from the camps of Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, a senior al Qaeda-linked cleric and the religious leader of Jeish al-Fatah terrorist group, are now threatened with the danger of trafficking their body organs by the terrorists.

Local sources in Idlib province told al-Akhbar newspaper that during the past two weeks, 15 people have been kidnapped from different districts, most of them children.

Also, social media activists have released tens of messages and warned the Idlib residents of the possibility of abduction of their children and trafficking of their body organs by the terrorist groups, saying that most of the kidnapped children have been transferred to Turkey.

Local sources in several districts of Idlib have reported that over 10 children have been abducted in different parts of the province, including Kafarouma, Jidar Bekalfoun, Atma, Jisr al-Shaqour and al-Fayqa by the militants.

Also, a local source in Sarmada town North of Idlib said that "a number of militants driving a white van abducted a 10-year-old child but they faced the residents' resistance and were arrested but sources said that they were freed from Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) prison the same day".

According to reports, the exacerbation of security situation in Idlib has forced the residents to flee to Hama province in fear of their children's lives.

Meantime, a media source said on Wednesday that the ISIL has set up a market in Turkey which sells human body organs stolen from the mutilated bodies of the Iraqi people who have been kidnapped by the terrorist groups.

A media source said that the ISIL transfers the frozen body organs from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Tal Afar in Nineveh and then to Raqqa in Syria. The cargo then is sold to the Turkish mafia.

According to the source, all types of body organ that could be transplanted are sold in the market, specially kidney and heart.

Based on the report, kidney is sold at a price of 5,000 Iraqi dinars (4,000 US dollars) while a heart is worth 6,000 dollars in the Turkish market.

Reports said earlier this month that the ISIL is mutilating and selling the body organs of Iraqi children to compensate for its financial loss and shortages.

Local sources reported that after starting the academic year in Iraq, 11 children were kidnapped in different parts of al-Qae'm town in the Western parts of al-Anbar province and their families then found their mutilated bodies with no heart, kidneys, eyes and other transplantable organs.

The sources added that none of the parents of these children dare to file a lawsuit against the ISIL or report the abduction of their child for the fear of the terrorist group's retaliatory measures.

Media reports also said in March that the ISIL terrorist group is using organ harvesting as a way to finance its operations and save the lives of injured members.

The Spanish daily El Mondo reported that facing the increased number of wounded members in the Syrian army and popular forces' attacks, the ISIL is using the body organs of its captives for transplantation.

According to the report, the ISIL also forces the prisoners in Mosul jails to donate blood and postpones the execution of those sentenced to death to use their blood as much as possible.

The ISIL doesn’t merely use the organs of its captives and prisoners' bodies for transplantation to its members but it sells them to other countries as a lucrative business, it added.

Medical sources told El Mondo that the personnel in one of hospitals in Mosul have seen corpses of at least 183 people whose organs had been taken out of their bodies.

According to the report, the ISIL has set up a medical team in Mosul headed by a German physician which exports the body organs to Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan region for transplantation to its members or selling.

Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Alhakim had made the same revelations last year, saying that the ISIL is trafficking human organs and has executed a dozen doctors for failing to go along with the program.

Alhakim based his claim on the discovery of dozens of bodies left in shallow mass graves near the city of Mosul, currently an ISIL stronghold. Surgical incisions, along with missing kidneys and other body parts lead to an inescapable conclusion. "We have bodies. Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts,” Alhakim revealed. He further described the carnage:

"When we discover mass graves, we look at the bodies. Some of those bodies are killed by bullets, some of them by knives. But when you find pieces of the back is missing and the kidneys is missing, you will wonder what it is."

Search for: Director-General of the Syria Coroner's Office Hossein Noufel brings up one more article with that name. Notice - the numbers in these reports are always rounded off (15, 000, 30,000, etc.)

Coroner's Office: Over 30,000 Unidentified Dead Bodies of Foreign Terrorists Left in Syria
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950602001373

Tue Aug 23, 2016 - "There are over 30,000 unidentified dead bodies in Syria's mortuaries," Dr. Noufel said.

He said that the majority of the bodies belong to terrorists from Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon as well as European countries, including France.

Earlier in August, a German research center's report revealed that a sum of 360,000 foreign nationals have fought against the Syrian government in Syria since the beginning of the outbreak of the crisis in the Arab country in March 2011.

Over 95,000 of the terrorists have been killed so far while 90,000 other are actively fighting against the Damascus government, German-based Vril Research Center reported.

It noted that 360,000 foreign terrorists fighting against the Syrian government are from 93 different races, saying that 21,500 of them are American and European terrorists.

"The Saudis have the highest number of casualties in Syria so that 5,990 out of 24,500 Saudi terrorists have been killed since March 2011," the report said.

Also in May, new documents by a human rights watch disclosed that a Syrian-Saudi man has been the mastermind behind the infiltration of over 6,000 terrorists from the European countries into Syria.

"Tarrad Mohammad al-Jarba, originally a Syrian who later obtained Saudi nationality, has been an ISIL commander in charge of recruitment of fresh forces from the European countries and transferring them to the battlefields in Syria," documents by the watch said.

"Tarrad was in Saudi jails for at least four years. He further escaped the jail and went to Syria to join the ISIL," the documents went on to say.

Al-Watan paper, meantime, has claimed that al-Jarba is not the real family name of Tarrad.

Tarrad is the relative of Hareth al-Zari, the ex-secretary general of the Iraqi Muslim Ullema, who was killed in Jordan last year.

Tarrad is the relative of Hareth al-Zari, the ex-secretary general of the Iraqi Muslim Ullema, who was killed in Jordan last year.

Daily Telegraph also had previously found out that the 36-year-old al-Jarba's real name, who used in many cases the family name of al-Haraki, was Abu Mohammad al-Shamali.

The Telegraph added that al-Shamali was responsible of transferring over 6,000 terrorists, one third of the total number of non-Syrian terrorists, into Syria in two years of 2013 until 2015.

The Telegraph went on to say that the family names of al-Jarba and al-Haraki can be seen on the top of recruitment forms of fresh forces heading to Syria battlefields.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi informed earlier this month that thousands of terrorists crossed the border into his country in early May or the last day of April.

"Around 6,000 terrorists have crossed the border and entered Syrian territories in recent days," al-Zoubi said.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Amnesty: UK 'utterly disingenuous' about human rights in Bahrain
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/21/amnesty-uk-utterly-disingenuous-about-human-rights-in-bahrain

Monday 21 November 2016 - British ministers have acted like overexcited cheerleaders for Bahrain’s woefully inadequate human rights reforms, Amnesty International has said, ahead of an expected visit next month by Theresa May on the sidelines of the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit.

Ministers ought to be confronting the awkward reality that the institutions set up in Bahrain with UK support “are seriously flawed and widely seen as a PR exercises”, Amnesty said.

The report, based on 90 interviews with Bahraini human rights activists, said it is “utterly disingenuous” of the British government to pretend it is delivering substantial human rights reform in Bahrain.

There is controversy over the value and independence of two UK-supported human rights institutions.
Britain also has longstanding military links with Bahrain and is establishing a new military base in the kingdom. The Foreign Office said the two institutions show the government in Manama is willing to respond to western pressure.

The bodies, the ombudsman of the ministry of interior and the special investigations unit within the public prosecution, were established in 2012 following a fierce crackdown by the Bahraini government on protests the previous year.

The then foreign secretary Philip Hammond said Bahrain had been making significant reform, telling the House of Commons it was “a country which is travelling in the right direction”.

However, Amnesty said the special investigations unit has failed to take prompt action to protect detainees from torture, investigate their allegations effectively or ensure their access to medical care.

It pointed out that although it was obvious Hussain Jawad, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist, was at risk of torture following his arrest in February 2015, the ombudsman’s office “failed to carry out a prompt visit to check the conditions of his detention”.

Jawad later said he was blindfolded, beaten with his hands cuffed behind his back and threatened with sexual abuse in order to extract a confession.

Amnesty also said the ombudsman’s office delayed an investigation for two years into the torture allegations of Mohamed Ramadhan, an airport security guard sentenced to death after being convicted of involvement in a bomb attack, despite receiving information from his family and an international NGO.

The special investigations unit has prosecuted 93 members of the security forces, but only 15 low-ranking officials have been convicted, Amnesty noted. No senior officers or officials who oversaw the serious human rights violations during the 2011 uprising have faced prosecution.

Out of nearly 200 cases Amnesty has recorded since the uprising, fewer than 45 have been referred to trial. The organization pointed out that neither human rights body has gained the public’s trust, partly as a result of a perceived lack of independence and impartiality.

Both are viewed as being too close to the interior ministry and other government institutions, and having failed to keep families and victims adequately informed of progress in their investigations.

In the most widely known case, Nabeel Rajab is facing up to 15 years in prison for free speech offences that include writing an article critical of the government in the New York Times.

Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs, Allan Hogarth, said: “It was a welcome move when Bahrain set up these two bodies back in 2012, but it’s utterly disingenuous of the UK government to pretend they’re delivering substantial human rights reform in Bahrain.

“Instead of acting as overexcited cheerleaders for Bahrain’s woefully inadequate reforms, UK ministers ought to be confronting the awkward reality that these UK-backed institutions are seriously flawed and widely seen as a PR tool of the Bahraini government.”

Amnesty said authorities have placed severe restrictions on the right of Bahrainis to participate in demonstrations and other forms of peaceful assembly. There is an indefinite ban on all public demonstrations in the capital.

The security forces regularly disperse unauthorized protests, which mostly occur in Shia villages when protesters demand the release of political prisoners, sometimes using excessive force including teargas and shotgun pellets, it said.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Amnesty International

The Saudi-led international coalition forces are intimidating medical staff in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz by deploying the armed forces near medical facilities, an international watchdog said Wednesday.

Saudi-Led Coalition Threatens Medical Workers in Yemen's Taiz – Rights Group
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611231047750582-yemen-saudi-coalition/

23.11.2016 - On Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemeni government announced the start of a 48-hour ceasefire in the crisis-torn country. The ceasefire took force at noon local time (09:00 GMT). However, soon after its start, media reported that both sides were violating the truce.

On Monday, spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the armed conflict in Yemen had clearly resumed as the both sides reported ceasefire violations, including airstrikes and ground clashes.

"There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Houthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Ta’iz. By positioning fighters and military positions near medical facilities they have compromised the safety of hospitals and flouted their obligation to protect civilians under international law," Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International Philip Luther said in a statement.

Luther added that he strongly condemns the actions of the anti-rebel forces as they violate the international law by intimidating the medical professional and preventing them from conducting life-saving work.

Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries has been carrying out airstrikes against the rebels in Yemen.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and "Hand in Hand for Syria" works within the same framework and funding that's behind Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch organizations.

"Human Rights" Front Groups - (Humanitarian Interventionalists) - Warring on Syria
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/the-syria-campaign/

Fall, 2015 by Eva Bartlett

This page will continue to expand as more so-called “Human Rights” groups are outed for propagating anti-Syria war rhetoric and false allegations against the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army. As it is, the list of players is quite extensive. Below, I’ll list the known HR front people and groups (many, if not most, with links to the US State Department and criminals like George Soros). As Rick Sterling wrote in his “Humanitarians for War on Syria” (March 2015):

“A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.

The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria.”

The Players:

–Avaaz: “Avaaz is an online lobby organization founded in 2007 by Jeremy Heimans (now CEO of Purpose) and others. Start-up funding was provided by George Soros’ foundation. …they have been prominent in promoting neoliberal foreign policies in keeping with the U.S. State Department. …Avaaz very actively promoted a No Fly Zone in Libya. They are now very actively promoting the same for Syria. In-depth research and exposure of Avaaz can be found here. The titles give some indication: “Faking It: Charity Communications in the Firing Line”, “Syria: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire”, “Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps for Militarism”. Avaaz justifies its call for No Fly Zone in part on White Helmets. Given the close interconnections between Avaaz and Purpose, they are surely aware that White Helmets is a media creation. This calls into question their sincerity.” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

“Avaaz is the operational name of “Global Engagement and Organizing Fund,” a non-profit organization legally incorporated in 2006. Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, described as a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org, “an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.”…The silent voice behind Avaaz, that of Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of 3 key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur, Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello, and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department….In addition to receiving funding from the Open Society Institute, Avaaz has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as their foundation partner. This admission by founder Ricken Patel is found on the www.soros.org website. The Open Society Institute (renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros, who remains the chair. …Avaaz’s stance on both Libya (now annihilated) and now Syria is in smooth synchronicity with the positions within the U.S. administration, positions such as those vocalized by the likes of war criminals such as Hillary Clinton (of “We came. We saw. He died. Laughter…” fame). The ugly iron fist of war is gently being spoon-fed to the public by way of a very dark velvet glove – that being Avaaz.” [citation from: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I]

–Amnesty International: “Amnesty does take money from both governments and corporate-financier interests, one of the most notorious of which, Open Society, is headed by convicted financial criminal George Soros (whose Open Society also funds Human Rights Watch and a myriad of other “human rights” advocates). Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, for instance was drawn directly from the US State Department …Amnesty International’s website specifically mentions Nossel’s role behind US State Department-backed UN resolutions regarding Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire… Nossel’s “contributions” then are simply to dress up naked military aggression and the pursuit of global corporate-financier hegemony with the pretense of “human rights” advocacy.” [citation from: Amnesty International is US State Department Propaganda]

–Hand in Hand for Syria: “The UK Charity Commission’s website states that Hand in Hand for Syria exists for “the advancement of health or saving lives”. Until July 2014 the Facebook banner of Hand in Hand’s co-founder and chairman Faddy Sahloul read “WE WILL BRING ASSAD TO JUSTICE; NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES”. The image was removed shortly after it was commented on publicly. Also on Hand in Hand’s executive team is Dr Rola Hallam, one of the two medics featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. … On 30 August 2013, the day after the BBC’s initial report on the alleged Aleppo incendiary bomb attack, Dr Hallam appeared on BBC’s News night programme expressing her profound disappointment at parliament’s rejection of a military strike against Syria. Dr Hallam’s father is Dr. Mousa al-Kurdi. According to a 2013 article by Dr Saleyha Ahsan – the other Hand in Hand for Syria volunteer medic featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ [3] – Dr al-Kurdi is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”. [citation from: UK Charity Which Shares Syrian Opposition “Aims and Objectives” Benefits from Alan Kurdi Tragedy]

–Human Rights Watch: “Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an integral part of the West’s propaganda machine. HRW shapes the narratives of conflicts, narratives which become solidified through repetition, and which eventually become regarded as undeniable facts. Moreover, the language HRW employs, far from being simply stylistic choices, is deliberately utilized to obscure the reality of war zones in the service of the Empire. This is undoubtedly the case with the Israel/Palestine conflict where Israeli actions are never outright war crimes, while Palestinian ones are. It is equally true of Ukraine. This is also the case in Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, countries where HRW has played a critical role in constructing narratives in the interests of its financier and corporate paymasters, not to mention of course the US foreign policy agenda. In both Libya and Syria, HRW has played a critical role in propagandizing the western public against the governments of those countries, thereby justifying the imperialist assault on them. More than simply “collecting the facts,” HRW cobbled together a completely distorted, and in many cases utterly dishonest and factually wrong, narrative which has buttressed the case for “intervention” in Syria, as it did in Libya….Human Rights Watch is undeniably an appendage of US foreign policy. It is in many ways part of the “soft power” arm of US power projection, a means of delegitimizing, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing countries that do not play ball with the US.” [citation from: HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocrites Representing Washington (Part 2)]

–Ken Roth: “Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, has been vocal in his support for a full scale war on Syria in the name of humanitarianism. Roth has repeatedly called for intervention against the legal government of Syria, having recently tweeted statements such as “Like Sarajevo, could Douma market slaughter finally force Assad to stop targeting civilians?” (@KenRoth, Aug 16). The implication of the statement is quite clear: there should be military intervention, such as the US-NATO war on Yugoslavia and later Serbia, in order to stop the “slaughter” of civilians. It should be noted that this tweet was posted within hours of the news of the incident in Douma long before any investigation. Roth, and by extension his organization Human Rights Watch, further discredits whatever vestiges of impartiality he and HRW might have had with inane tweets such as “Douma market killings show how Assad chooses to fight this war: deliberately against civilians,” (@KenRoth, Aug 16), an obviously biased, and utterly unsubstantiated allegation. Roth could have absolutely no knowledge of either the identities of the dead, or the Syrian government’s motives, when he released the tweet the same day as the attack. He reveals himself here to be little more than a lackey for imperialism, , a war hawk masquerading as a human rights defender.” [citation from: The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?]

“Last week we found that Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth used an image of destruction in Gaza caused by Israel to accuse the Syrian government of indiscriminate use of “barrel bombs”. We wrote: “This is thereby at least the third time HRW is using a wrongly attributed pictures to depict current enemies of U.S. imperialism as having causing the damage the U.S. empire and/or its friends have caused.That is not mere bias by HRW. It is willful fraud.”[citation from: HRW’s Kenneth Roth Continues Unfounded Accusations With Another False Picture]

–Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders: “Doctors Without Borders is fully funded by the very same corporate financier interests behind Wall Street and London’s collective foreign policy, including regime change in Syria and neighboring Iran. Doctors Without Borders’ own annual report (2010 report can be accessed here), includes as financial donors, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, and a myriad of other corporate-financier interests. Doctors Without Borders also features bankers upon its Board of Advisers including Elizabeth Beshel Robinson of Goldman Sachs. Complicating further Doctors Without Borders so-called “independent” and “aid” claims is the fact that their medical facilities are set up in terrorist held regions of Syria, especially along Syria’s northern border with NATO-member Turkey. In an interview with NPR, Doctors Without Borders’ Stephen Cornish revealed the nature of his organization’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, where he explains that aid is being sent to regions outside of the Syrian government’s control, and that his organization is in fact setting up facilities in these areas….In other words, the Wall Street-funded organization is providing support for militants armed and funded by the West and its regional allies, most of whom are revealed to be foreign fighters, affiliated with or directly belonging to Al Qaeda and its defacto political wing, the Muslim Brotherhood. This so-called “international aid” organization is in actuality yet another cog in the covert military machine being turned against Syria and serves the role as a medical battalion.” [citation from: “Doctors” Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claims are Aiding Terrorists]

–Physicians for Human Rights (PHR): “ They make bold but sometimes inaccurate assertions….A recent PHR press release is headlined “New Map shows Government Forces Deliberately Attacking Syria’s Medical System.” It looks slick and impressive but is inaccurate. For example, one of the most dramatic attacks on a Syrian hospital was the suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo. Yet the PHR map shows the attack having been carried out by “government forces.” Readers are encouraged to look at the 3 minute rebel video of the suicide attack which leaves no doubt who was responsible.” [citation from: About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria]

–PURPOSE Inc.: “This is an international PR firm. CEO is Jeremy Heimans, a co-founder of Avaaz. President is Kevin Steinberg, previous CEO of World Economic Forum USA (antithesis of World Social Forum). Their website describes their goal: “Purpose builds and accelerates movements to tackle the world’s biggest problems.” In this case the “problem” is reluctance to take over Syrian skies and land. For a hefty fee, “Purpose” will dupe the public and break down that reluctance. Toward that end, Purpose created “The Syria Campaign”.”” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

“Purpose Inc. (with its co-founders) is a favourite of high-finance websites such as The Economist and Forbes and sells its consulting services and branding/marketing campaigns to Google, Audi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others that comprise the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions. In 2012, it raised $3m from investors. “Ford Foundation, which has given Purpose’s non-profit arm a grant, reckons it is shaping up to be “one of the blue-chip social organisations of the future.” Purpose, like many other foundations, such as Rockefeller (who initially incubated 1Sky which merged with 350.org in 2011), also serves as an “incubator of social movements.”” [citation from: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire]

–“The Syria Campaign”: “The Syria Campaign began in spring 2014…The Syria Campaign is managed by Anna Nolan, who grew up in northern Ireland and has very likely never been to Syria. In addition to promoting the White Helmets, Syria Campaign promotes a new social media campaign called “Planet Syria”. It features emotional pleas for the world to take notice of Syria in another thinly veiled effort pushing for foreign intervention and war. According to their website, The Syria Campaign received start-up funding from the foundation of Ayman Asfari, a billionaire who made his money in the oil and gas services industry. …One of their first efforts was to work to prevent publicity and information about the Syrian Presidential Election of June 2014. Accordingly, “The Syria Campaign” pressured Facebook to remove advertisements or publicity about the Syrian election. Since then Syria Campaign has engineered huge media exposure and mythology about their baby, the “White Helmets” using all sorts of social and traditional media. The campaigns are largely fact free. For example, the Syrian election was dismissed out of hand by them and John Kerry but taken seriously by many millions of Syrians.” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

–White Helmets/”Syrian Civil Defence: “This is a new organization, highly publicized as civilian rescue workers in Syria. In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project. …White Helmets work in areas of Aleppo and Idlib controlled by Nusra (Al Queda).” “White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention. A White Helmet leader wrote a recent Washington Post editorial. White Helmets are also very active on social media with presence on Twitter, Facebook etc. According to their website, to contact White Helmets email The Syria Campaign which underscores the relationship.” [citations from: About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria & Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

-...- -...-
UPDATED to include a different type of front “group” (one-man show) that purports to present information on Syria:

–The SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights): “In reality, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in England’s countryside. According to a December 2011 Reuters article titled, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called “Syrian opposition” and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad…One could not fathom a more unreliable, compromised, biased source of information, yet for the past two years, his “Observatory” has served as the sole source of information for the endless torrent of propaganda emanating from the Western media…. The New York Times also for the first time reveals that Abdul Rahman’s operation is indeed funded by the European Union and a “European country” he refuses to identify…Abdul Rahman has direct access to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, who he has been documented meeting in person on multiple occasions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.” [citation from: EXPOSED: Syrian Human Rights Front is EU-Funded Fraud]

(Note) Multiple related articles and photos at the end - reflecting information above.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Fury over £234,000 salary of the top boss at "Save the Children": Charity chiefs' huge wages must be reined in, say MPs
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550648/Fury-234-000-salary-boss-Save-Children-Charity-chiefs-huge-wages-reined-say-MPs.html

Back-dated 2 February 2014

* High earner, thought to be Jasmine Whitbread, among 20 earning over £100k
* Another nine on six-figure salaries at charity's UK arm
* Surpassed by highest paid employee at Marie Stopes - who earns £290k
* MPs today condemned the pay rates and secrecy surrounding figures

Fresh demands to curb the salaries of fat cat charity bosses were made yesterday after it emerged that
Save the Children is paying its top employee £234,000 a year. The individual, believed to be chief executive Jasmine Whitbread, is among 20 employees earning more than £100,000 at the charity’s international body. Another nine are on six-figure salaries at the charity’s UK arm.

Former City executive Miss Whitbread recently starred alongside actress Dame Helen Mirren and artist Tracey Emin in Marks & Spencer’s ‘Britain’s leading ladies’ fashion advert campaign.

That huge pay packet is considerably more than the £142,500 a year paid to David Cameron, whose wife Samantha is an ambassador for Save the Children.

But it is surpassed by the salary of the highest paid employee at Marie Stopes International, who earns more than £290,000 a year.

A second employee at the birth control charity is paid more than £200,000 and in total 11 people are on six-figure salaries. Charities are not required to detail by name how much their top executives are paid, and many express the sums in bands, disguising the true figures.

Neither Save the Children, which boasts of being ‘committed to being fully transparent to children, our donors, supporters and the public at large’, nor Marie Stopes will reveal the identities of their high-earners.

MPs condemned both the pay rates and the secrecy. Priti Patel, a member of the Commons public administration select committee, said: ‘Taxpayers and individual donors who bankroll these charities will be shocked to see the size of these colossal fat cat salaries.

‘They deserve to know how decisions are made about salaries and who is paid them. The culture of secrecy that exists in some charities must come to an end.’

Charlie Elphicke MP said: ‘Think charity and you think volunteers rattling their collecting tins, vocation, compassion. You don’t think mega-salaries. It’s unacceptable and it has got to change. Charities should be open and transparent.’

Anger erupted last year after an investigation into Britain’s 14 leading foreign aid charities, which make up the Disasters Emergency Committee and receive hundreds of millions of pounds from taxpayers, revealed spiraling pay rates.

Save the Children International refused to discuss its executives’ pay rates or identify the highest-paid employee – who, according to the charity’s 2012 accounts, received $386,893, a drop from $393,012 for the previous year.

All questions were referred to the charity’s 2012 annual report and accounts – which do not identify individuals against salary bands.

According to its most recent accounts, Marie Stopes International’s highest paid employee received between £290,001 and £300,000 in 2012. American Dana Hovig was its chief executive from 2007 until May 2013, when he left to join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The charity said: ‘As a global social enterprise, we establish remuneration to attract the best talent from the global market. As part of our commitment to transparency, we publish list remuneration figures.

‘Out of respect for team members’ privacy we do not list individual salaries by name or position.’

Save the Children International
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Children_International

Save the Children International, formerly known as the International Save The Children Alliance, is a worldwide non-profit organization which aims to improve the living of children. There are 30 Save the Children member organizations around the world. The Save the Children Alliance was founded in Geneva in 1977 by a number of Save the Children organizations, to co-ordinate their work. Since 2010 it has been known as Save the Children International.


A prominent children rights advocacy group urged Wednesday the parties to the Syrian conflict to agree a 72-hour ceasefire to evacuate sick and injured civilians, as well as to deliver humanitarian relief to eastern Aleppo, amid reports of continued attacks on the residential areas of the city.

Children Charity Calls for Truce in Aleppo Amid Attacks on Residential Areas
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201611231047750868-aleppo-children-attacks-truce/

Nov. 23, 2016 - According to the children charity, the Sunday’s attack on a school claimed lives of at least seven children and demonstrated that "the very places they [children and aid workers] should feel safest have become deadly."

"It is a moral outrage that the death toll of Aleppo’s children continues to grow and seems only set to get worse, whilst so little action is being taken to end the bombing and hold warring parties accountable for these attacks on civilians. Parties to the conflict must come together to agree an immediate ceasefire, and to evacuate civilian casualties and get life-saving aid into the area," Syria Director for Save the Children Sonia Khush said in a statement.

At least ten civilians were killed and 30 more were injured on Sunday after radical militant groups from the eastern part of Syria's Aleppo shelled the city's residential areas.

Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a major battleground in Syria, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Eastern Aleppo is held by militants, encircled by government forces, and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city. On Wednesday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said that between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians were still held by terrorists in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.
 
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