Saturday 5 March 2016

Israel’s Extrajudicial Assassinations Include Children: 41 Palestinian Children Killed Since October 1

Global Research, March 05, 2016
IMEMC News 4 March 2016

Crimes against Humanity: The Torture of Palestinian Children
Defense for Children International (DCI), Palestine Branch, has reported that Israeli soldiers have killed 41 children in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, since the current uprising began in Palestine, on October 1, 2015. Sixteen of the slain children were killed this year. The IMEMC added the name of the child who was killed, along with her mother, in Gaza.

DCI said that, on February 5th of this year, soldiers killed Haitham Sa’da, aged 14, from Halhoul town. in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, while kidnapping his cousin, Wajdi Sa’ada. Also 14, and chased their friend, who was later taken prisoner.

Wajdi told DCI that he and Haitham, along with their friends, were walking near a bypass road used mainly by Israeli soldiers and settlers, before some soldiers hiding in the area opened fire on them. Haitham was killed after suffering gunshot wounds in his upper body, while Wajdi was taken prisoner.


“We never hurled stones on them, never attacked them, but a soldier jumped and punched me in my face. I fell down, and they ordered me to remove my shirt,” he said. “I was looking at Haitham; he was motionless, looked dead, and then the soldiers cuffed him, and left the area.”

DCI said Haitham was shot with a live round which entered his back, severing his spine and puncturing his lung, and exited through his mouth, and that the soldiers then cuffed and blindfolded Wajdi and took him to a nearby military outpost in Karmie Tzur colony, where he was forced to stand in the cold for more than 90 minutes.

The soldiers held the child until midnight and, then, started interrogating him, without any legal representation or even the presence of a family member.

“They had an interpreter; the interrogator asked me about what I was doing in that area,” Wajdi told DCI. “He then held me by my head and pushed it against a wall before he slapped me, pushed me, and left the room.”

“30 minutes later, he started threatening me, told me he would keep hitting me, place me in a cell for a very long time, and that I would be sentenced to a high term if I did not confess.” He added, “I never said a word, he made me watch a video recording on his computer, and the three of us were there on tape, but nothing in it implicated us of anything, including throwing stones.”

DCI said the interrogator tried to force Wajdi to say that he carried a Molotov cocktail, but he rejected their claims and demands. The interrogator then started shouting and banging his hand on the table, in an attempt to scare the child into making a false confession.
“I told them I did not carry anything; my hands were empty,” the child said. “Then, the interrogators forced me to sign some papers in Hebrew; I signed, but I never knew what they said.”

The next day, Wajdi was cuffed, chained and blindfolded; the soldiers forced him to walk in front of them while shouting and cursing at him, and then transferred him to the Ofer prison. He is now awaiting trial.

DCI also said that the Israeli army implements “shoot to kill” policies, reaching very dangerous levels of extrajudicial murder.

“Under International Law, the excessive use of force is only used against imminent danger, deadly situations, a serious injury or to prevent a serious crime that would likely lead to death or serious harm,” DCI stated. “The UN requires exerting all efforts to avoid the usage of firearms, especially against children.”

Another case DCI has been working on is that of Mahmoud Sha’lan, aged 16, from Deir Dibwan town, north of Ramallah, after soldiers killed him on February 26, near Beit EI settlement.

An eyewitness told DCI that he was waiting for the soldiers to allow him, and at least five other drivers in their cars, to pass through the Beit El roadblock. He said Sha’lan then started walking towards the roadblock, carrying nothing in his hands.

“We heard three gunshots when Sha’lan went behind a concrete room with one of the soldiers,” he said. “We then decided to turn around and leave, but that is when I saw the child laying on the ground, wounded. Then, a soldier fired two more rounds on him.”
Medical sources at the Palestine Medical Center told DCI that Sha’lan was shot with five live rounds; three in his chest and two in his arm.

DCI reiterated that the occupying force, under International Humanitarian Law, must provide protection to the people it occupies, must protect the children, and is obliged to conduct serious investigations into all crimes committed against those civilians.

“But, this rarely happened; since October 1, Israel never investigated any of the fatal shooting incidents against children,” DCI added. Israeli authorities even rejected demands from the victims’ families to perform autopsies.

Israel is still holding the corpses of two children identified as Masan Manasra and Mo’taz Oweisat.

DCI said that the children killed by Israelis since October 1, 2015, until this day, have been identified as;

1. Abdul-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, killed on October 5, 2005.
2. Ishaq Badran, 16, from Kafr Aqab in Jerusalem, killed on October, 10, 2016.
3. Marwan Barbakh, 10, from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, killed on October 10, 2015.
4. Ahmad Sharaka, from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp in Ramallah, killed on October 11, 2015.
5. Mustafa Khatib, 17, from Jabal al-Mokabber in Jerusalem, killed on October 12, 2015.
6. Hasan Mahani (al-Manasra), 15, from Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, killed on October 12, 2015.
7. Tareq Natsha, 16, from Hebron’s Old City, killed on October 17, 2015.
8. Bayan Asaliyya, 16, from Hebron’s Old City, killed on October 17, 2015.
9. Mo’taz ‘Oweisat, 16m from Jabal al-Mokabber in Jerusalem, from Hebron’s Old City, killed on October 17, 2015.
10. Bashar al-Ja’bari, 15, from Hebron, from Hebron’s Old City, killed on October 20, 2015.
11. Ahmad Kamil, 17, from Qabatia in Jenin, killed on October 24, 2015.
12. Dania Ersheid, 17, from Hebron’s Old City, killed on October 25, 2015.
13. Mahmoud Nazzal, from Qabatia in Jenin, killed on October 31, 2015.
14. Ahmad Abu ar-Rob, 16, from Qabatia in Jenin, killed on November 2, 2015.
15. Sadeq Abdul-Aziz Gharbiyya, 16, from Sanour in Jenin, killed on November 10, 2015.
16. Mahmoud Wadi, 17, from Sa’ir in Hebron, killed on November 13, 2015.
17. Ashraf Qatanani, 16, from Askar al-Jadeed refugee camp in Nablus, killed on November 22, 2015.
18. Hadeel Awwad, 14, from Qalandia refugee camp in Jerusalem, killed on November 23, 2015.
19. Ala Hashshash, 16, from Askar al-Jadeed refugee camp in Jerusalem, killed on November 23, 2015.
20. Ibrahim Daoud, 16, from Deir Ghassana in Ramallah, killed on November 25, 2015.
21. Ayman al-‘Abbassi, 17, from Ras Jerusalem, killed on November 29, 2015.
22. Ma’moun al-Khatib, 16, from Doha in Hebron, killed on December 1, 2015.
23. Mustafa Fannoun, from Hebron, killed on December 4, 2015.
24. Abdullah Nasasra, 15, from Beit Forik in Nablus, killed on December 10, 2015.
25. Noureddin Sabaghna, 17, from Qabatia in Jenin, killed on December 27, 2015.
26. Ahmad Kawazba, 17, from Sa’ir in Hebron, killed on January 5, 2016.
27. Ala Kawazba, 17, from Sa’ir in Hebron, killed on January 7, 2016.
28. Khalil Wadi, 15, from Sa’ir in Hebron, killed on January 7, 2016.
29. Adnan al-Mashni, 17, from Hebron, killed on January 12, 2016.
30. Roqayya Abu Eid, 13, from Anata in Jerusalem, killed on January 23, 2016.
31. Hussein Abu Ghosh, 17, from Qalandia in Jerusalem, killed on January 25, 2016.
32. Ahmad Toba, 17, from Kafr Jammal in Tulkarem, killed on February 1, 2016.
33. Ahmad Sa’ada, 14, from Halhoul in Hebron, killed on February 5, 2016.
34. Omar Madhi, 15, from al-‘Arroub refugee camp in Hebron, killed on February 10, 2016.
35. Na’im Safi, 16, from al-‘Obeydiyya in Bethlehem, killed on February 14, 2016.
36. Fuad Waked, 15, from al-‘Arqa in Jenin, killed on February 14, 2016.
37. Nihad Waked, 15, from al-‘Arqa in Jenin, killed on February 14, 2016.
38. Qussai Abu al-Rob, 16, from Qabatia in Jenin, killed on February 21, 2016.
39. Mahmoud Sha’lan, 16, from Deir Dibwan in Ramallah, killed on February 26, 2016.
40. Labeeb Azem, 17, from Qaryout in Nablus, killed on March 2, 2016.
41. Mohammad Zaghlawan, 17, from Qaryout in Nablus, killed on March 2, 2016.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army also killed Rahaf Yahya Hassan, 2, and her mother, Nour Rasmie Hassan, 30, who was five months pregnant, after bombarding their home in the Zeitoun neighborhood, in Gaza city, on October 11, 2015.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Turkey’s War on Free Expression. Journalists Imprisoned for Doing Their Job

Global Research, March 05, 2016
Journalists, academics, public figures, human rights activists, even young children criticizing regime policy risk imprisonment on charges ranging from insulting the president to terrorism, espionage or treason.
Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country. Istanbul-based Zaman and its English language edition, Today’s Zaman, is the nation’s largest circulation broadsheet.
On Friday, Erdogan seized control of its operations, continuing his war on free expression, tolerating no dissent, wanting critical voices silenced – using state prosecutors and rubber-stamp courts to serve his interests.
Press freedom in Turkey sustained another major body blow. New management and staff will replace current personnel. Friday was the last day Zaman and Today’s Zaman could comment freely.
It released a statement, expressing grave concern about what it called “the darkest and gloomiest days in terms of freedom of the press (and) rule of law.”
“Journalists are now frequenting courts, not their newsrooms.” Many are imprisoned for doing their jobs.
“Two TV channels from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, Benguturk TV and İMC TV, have recently been dropped from the state-run communications satellite Turksat” – the same crackdown used against other broadcasters to silence them.
Erdogan ignores constitutional law. Article 26 “safeguards freedom of expression and thought…”
Articles 28 and 30 guarantee freedom of the press, stating:
A printing house and its annexes, duly established as a press enterprise under law, and press equipment shall not be seized, confiscated or barred from operation on the grounds of having been used in a crime.
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, binding on Turkey, states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
Zaman and Today’s Zaman have been heavily “pressure(d)” by regime authorities “for more than two years,” its now ousted management said – using “accreditation bans, tax inspections, meddling with its advertisers and threats to its readers.”
We have now been threatened with confiscation through the appointment of trustees. We are deeply concerned about all these developments that undermine Turkey’s democratic performance.
We believe the only way out of this nightmarish atmosphere is to return to democracy and the rule of law. We are publishing our concerns to inform the Turkish nation, intellectuals who believe in democracy and the wider world.
Separately, Zaman reported police in riot gear used tear gas and water cannons on a crowd of supporters, forcibly storming the broadsheet’s offices, scuffling with staff inside.
Zaman’s daily editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici called Friday’s state-ordered assault on press freedom “a black stain” on Turkish history.
Zaman’s editor-in-chief Sevgi Akarcesme said “(p)olice did not let us inside our offices in our own newspaper building. This is pure despotism. They physically blocked me, both men & women,” she tweeted.
Staff inside were ordered out. The order came from Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace on request from the chief public prosecutor’s office.
It claimed Zaman follows orders from what it called the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETO/PDY),” allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey calls it a terrorist organization.
According to Zaman, “(t)his means that the entire management and the editorial board of Feza Media Group companies will be replaced by the three-member board named by the court.”
Addressing a crowd of supporters, editor-in-chief Akarcesme called Friday a “black day for democracy. Today we are experiencing a shameful day for media freedom in Turkey. Our media institutions are being seized…(T)he Constitution has been suspended.”
Washington remains unconcerned. State Department spokesman admiral John Kirby merely calling Friday’s action “troubling” shows contempt for press freedom – stopping well short of condemnation and demanding reinstatement of Zaman’s staff.
A previous article said since August 2014 elections elevated Erdogan from prime minister to president (formerly a ceremonial role), reign of terror governance followed.
He’s been systematically solidifying his grip on power, despotic rule by any standard, seizing Zaman his latest police state action.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Palestinians experiencing extreme cruelty, torture inside israel's gulags

File photo

Palestine Remix is an interactive tool that allows users to view or use parts of various Al Jazeera documentary films on Palestine to create their own productions. MEMO will be remixing one video every week, highlighting an aspect of life in Palestine or an issue related to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Our first Palestine Remix video takes a quick look at cruelty inside Israeli prisons and the domino effect it has on their day-to-day lives. The second video of our remix series will be published next week.

Having combined together various clips from the Remix database, we can see the different forms of maltreatment experienced by detainees during their imprisonment as well as the effects of their sentences on their lives after they have been released.

Prior to their sentencing, Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails face inhumane interrogation techniques, which often result in false confessions drawn out of torture and fabricated evidence created in order to justify the nature of the sentence. During their imprisonment, prisoners face long spells of solitary confinement and repeated interrogations, including physical torture such as standing for long periods, sleep deprivation, beatings and psychological torment by way of threats and abuse.

Female prisoners are often threatened with rape or fall victim to this gross form of torture. After their release, former female prisoners are sometimes ostrasised and excluded - as certain segments of their communities consider them as having 'lost their honour' during their time in jail.

Israeli occupation authorities also adamantly refuse to adhere to international standards regarding the detention of minors, by refusing them juvenile proceedings and continually arresting children as young as eight. As a result, minors and children are often tried in military courts and are subjected to the same torture techniques as adults. The children are repeatedly handed down long sentences.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

We Need More Amy Schumers!

By Gilad Atzmon

American Jewish comedian Amy Schumer has come under fire this week for atweet that has been branded “tasteless”, “offensive” and “disgusting.”

Earlier this week, the 34-year-old comedienne tweeted a picture of herself standing between two horn players holding a bass clarinet and a tenor saxophone, with the caption “a Jew with horns.”

Apparently some Jews were highly offended because they thought the joke “gives life to the antisemitic stereotype that Jews have horns.” The website Gossip Cop dedicated a whole blog post to the tweet, calling it “offensive and wrong….While comedy can provoke discussion, its purpose is not to perpetuate hateful and inaccurate stereotypes.”

I concur with Gossip Cop’s premise. Comedy should provoke discussion. And I hope that Shumer’s tweet will do so. But no one, not even the most rabid contemporary antisemite, believes that Jews have horns or tails. ‘Jews with horns' is not a stereotype: it is a satirical metaphor. It points to the abnormalities that are intrinsic to Jewish culture; especially choseness and Jewish politics. The Jews who are ‘offended' and ‘disgusted' by Shumer's tweet know very well that the crimes that are committed by the Jewish State in Palestine are vile and verge on barbarian. These crimes set the Jewish State apart from the nations. The Jews who are angry with Shumer are concerned that the metaphor of the ‘Jew with horns’ may cause some to examine the enormous power of Jews in the media, in banking, in political lobbying, inHollywood, in the creation of the Zioncon mess in the Middle East and incontrolling the opposition to that mess.

Since Jews enjoy fame for their humour, satire and comedy, Jews must also accept that occasionally they may find themselves subject to satire and ridicule. However, if humour and satire serve to ‘provoke discussion,’ then instead of trying to silence Amy Shumer, Jews ought to support Shumer and even beg her to throw more self mockery onto the boiling twitterati soup.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Iranian Commander: Saudi Aggression against Yemen Like Saddam’s War on Iran

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy commander said likened the Saudi-led aggression against Yemen to the war launched by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on the Islamic Republic.

It is not only Saudi Arabia but also the world, led by the US and its dirty puppets, who are fighting against the Yemenis, said Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi a local ceremony in Qom.

Saudi regime was the initiator of the war in Yemen, Fadavi said, adding war in Yemen is similar to the war imposed by Saddam Hussein against Iran.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi
During the 1980-1988 imposed Iran-Iraq war, it superficially seemed that Iraq was the side against Iran, but they were truly over 54 countries which were supporting Iraq, said Fadavi, IRNA news agency reported.

These days, he added, Yemen is also witnessing such a situation that Iran experienced.

Fadavi said that the US and the Zionist regime are major trail-blazers in taking military action against Yemen, noting that the news about the oppressed Yemen is not broadcast thoroughly.

During the past year, Saudi Arabia has not been able to take any effective step against Yemen, he stressed, adding the Yemenis have relied on power of God.

Saudi Arabia with the help of nine other Arab countries except Oman has been mounting massive attacks on Yemen since March 26, 2015.

Since then, thousands of Yemenis including children and women have been killed and tens of thousands have been displaced.

Referring to January arrest by IRGC forces of the American sailors who entered Iran's territorial waters illegally, Fadavi said none of world states, even members of the European Union (EU), dare to hold up the US non-military boats even for a judicial case.

However, he added, the IRGC naval forces did so and stopped the US military boats as a normal and routine mission.

The American sailors were freed after the country apologized to Iran for illegal entry.
Source: Agencies
05-03-2016 - 11:34 Last updated 05-03-2016 - 11:34

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!


Anybody remember 

“Curveball”, the slimy Iraqi who deliberately lied about Saddam’s WMDs in order to facilitate the invasion and destruction of Iraq?  

His real name is Raafid Ahmad ‘Alwaan Al-Janaabi. Now, we have somebody mysterious named : “Caesar”.  

THIS ARTICLE MUST BE SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD, AND MUST BE SHOWN TO TULSI GABBARD AND RICHARD BLACK.  To John Esq: I am counting on you to send this article to Senators Gabbard and Black.  Special thanks to Berl Jay Hubbell for sending this article to SyrPer:

This article is by Rick Sterling and is a must-read for anyone interested in the lying behind the Syrian conflict.  Here’s the link:

“The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations

By Rick Sterling

March 04, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Dissident Voice ” – A 30 page investigative report on the “Caesar Torture Photos” has been released and is available online here. The following is a condensed version of the report. Readers who are especially interested are advised to get the full report which includes additional details, photographs, sources and recommendations.


There is a pattern of sensational but untrue reports that lead to public acceptance of US and Western military intervention in countries around the world:

* In Gulf War 1, there were reports of Iraqi troops stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. Relying on the testimony of a Red Crescent doctor, Amnesty International ‘verified’ the false claims.

* Ten years later, there were reports of yellow cake uranium going to Iraq for development of weapons of mass destruction.

* One decade later, there were reports of Libyan soldiers drugged on Viagra and raping women as they advanced.

* In 2012, NBC broadcaster Richard Engel was supposedly kidnapped by pro-Assad Syrian militia but luckily freed by Syrian opposition fighters, the “Free Syrian Army”.

All these reports were later confirmed to be fabrications and lies. They all had the goal of manipulating public opinion and they all succeeded in one way or another. Despite the consequences, which were often disastrous, none of the perpetrators were punished or paid any price.

It has been famously said “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” This report is a critical review of the “Caesar Torture Photos” story.  As will be shown, there is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false.

Overview of ‘Caesar Torture Photos’

On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a sensational report burst onto television and front pages around the world. The story was that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment.

The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’. The story became known as the “Caesar Torture Photos”.  A team of lawyers plus digital and forensic experts were hired by the Carter-Ruck law firm, on contract to Qatar, to go to the Middle East and check the veracity of “Caesar” and his story.  They concluded that “Caesar” was truthful and the photographs indicated “industrial scale killing”. CNN, 

London’s Guardian and LeMonde broke the story which was subsequently broadcast in news reports around the world. The Caesar photo accusations were announced as negotiations began in Switzerland. With the opposition demanding the resignation of the Syrian government, negotiations quickly broke down.

For the past two years the story has been preserved with occasional bursts of publicity and supposedly corroborating reports. Most recently, in December 2015 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled “If the Dead Could Speak” with significant focus on the Caesar accusations.

Following are 12 significant problems with the ‘Caesar torture photos’ story.

1. Almost half the photos show the opposite of the allegations.

The Carter Ruck Inquiry Team claimed there were about 55,000 photos total with about half of them taken by ‘Caesar’ and the other half by other photographers. The Carter Ruck team claimed the photos were all ‘similar’. Together they are all known as ‘Caesar’s Torture Photos’.

The photographs are in the custody of an opposition organization called the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD). In 2015, they allowed Human Rights Watch (HRW) to study all the photographs which have otherwise been secret.  In December 2015, HRW released their report titled “If the Dead Could Speak”.  The biggest revelation is that over 46% of the photographs (24,568) do not show people ‘tortured to death” by the Syrian government.  On the contrary, they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of car bombs and other violence (HRW pp2-3). Thus, nearly half the photos show the opposite of what was alleged.  These photos, never revealed to the public, confirm that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces and civilians.

SyrPer shows this photo of Syrian soldiers murdered by the rat terrorists of NATO being used to show how the SAA killed civilians.  Pure hogwash.

2. The claim that other photos only show ‘tortured detainees’ is exaggerated or false.

The Carter Ruck report says ‘Caesar’ only photographed bodies brought from Syrian government detention centers.  In their December 2015 report, HRW said, “The largest category of photographs, 28,707 images, are photographs Human Rights Watch understands to have died in government custody, either in one of several detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.” They estimate 6,786 dead individuals in the set.

The photos and the but how they died and the circumstances are unclear. There is strong evidence some died in conflict. Others died in the hospital. Others died and their bodies were decomposing before they were picked up. These photographs seem to document a war time situation where many combatants and civilians are killed. It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased. Bodies were picked up by different military or intelligence branches. While some may have died in detention; the big majority probably died in the conflict zones. The accusations by ‘Caesar’, the Carter Ruck report and HRW that these are all victims of “death in detention” or “death by torture” or death in ‘government custody” are almost certainly false.

3. The true identity of “Caesar” is probably not as claimed.

The Qatari actor who posed as a defector before the buffoons of the U.S. Senate (Image: Yahoo and inserted by SyrPer) 

The Carter Ruck Report says “This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the code-name ‘Caesar’ by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family.” (CRR p.12) However, if his story is true, it would be easy for the Syrian government to determine who he really is. After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military 601 Hospitals during those years and then disappeared?  According to the Carter Ruck report, Caesar’s family left Syria around the same time.  Considering this, why is “Caesar” keeping his identity secret from the western audience? Why does “Caesar” refuse to meet even with highly sympathetic journalists or researchers?

The fact that 46% of the total photographic set is substantially the opposite of what was claimed indicates two possibilities:

* Caesar and his promoters knew the contents but lied about them expecting nobody to look.
* Caesar and his promoters did not know the contents and falsely assumed they were like the others.

The latter seems more likely which supports the theory that Caesar is not who he claims to be.

4. The Carter Ruck Inquiry was faulty, rushed and politically biased.

The credibility of the “Caesar” story has been substantially based on the Carter-Ruck Inquiry Team which “verified” the defecting photographer and his photographs.  The following facts suggest the team was biased with a political motive:

* the investigation was financed by the government of Qatar which is a major supporter of the armed opposition.

* the contracted law firm, Carter Ruck and Co. has previously represented Turkey’s President Erdogan, also known for his avid support of the armed opposition.

* the American on the legal inquiry team, Prof David M. Crane, has a long history working for U.S. Dept of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency.  The U.S. Government has been deeply involved in the attempt at ‘regime change’ with demands that ‘Assad must go’ beginning in summer 2011 and continuing until recently.

* Prof Crane is personally partisan in the conflict. He has campaigned for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal and testified before Congress in October 2013, three months before the Caesar revelations.

* by their own admission, the inquiry team was under “time constraints” (CRR, p.11).
* by their own admission, the inquiry team did not even survey most of the photographs
* the inquiry team was either ignorant of the content or intentionally lied about the 46% showing dead Syrian soldiers and attack victims.

* the inquiry team did their last interview with “Caesar” on January 18, quickly finalized a report and rushed it into the media on January 20, two days prior to the start of UN sponsored negotiations.

The self-proclaimed “rigor” of the Carter Ruck investigation is without foundation. The claims to a ‘scientific’ investigation are similarly without substance and verging on the ludicrous.

5. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is involved.

In an interview on France24, Prof. David Crane of the inquiry team describes how ‘Caesar’ was brought to meet them by “his handler, his case officer”. The expression ‘case officer’ usually refers to the CIA. This would be a common expression for Prof. Crane who previously worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The involvement of the CIA additionally makes sense since there was a CIA budget of $1Billion for Syria operations in 2013.

Prof. Crane’s “Syria Accountability Project” is based at Syracuse University where the CIA actively recruits new officers despite student resistance.

Why does it matter if the CIA is connected to the ‘Caesar’ story? Because the CIA has a long history of disinformation campaigns. In 2011, false reports of viagra fueled rape by Libyan soldiers were widely broadcast in western media as the U.S. pushed for a military mandate. Decades earlier, the world was shocked to hear about Cuban troops fighting in Angola raping Angolan women. The CIA chief of station for Angola, John Stockwell, later described how they invented the false report and spread it round the world.  The CIA was very proud of that disinformation achievement. Stockwell’s book, “In Search of Enemies” is still relevant.

6. The prosecutors portray simple administrative procedures as mysterious and sinister.

The Carter Ruck inquiry team falsely claimed there were about 11,000 tortured and killed detainees. They then posed the question: Why would the Syrian government photograph and document the people they just killed?  The Carter Ruck Report speculates that the military hospital photographed the dead to prove that the “orders to kill” had been followed.  The “orders to kill” are assumed.

A more logical explanation is that dead bodies were photographed as part of normal hospital/morgue procedure to maintain a file of the deceased who were received or treated at the hospital.

The same applies to the body labeling/numbering system. The Carter Ruck report suggest there is something mysterious and possibly sinister in the coded tagging system.  But all morgues need to have a tagging and identification system.

7. The photos have been manipulated.

Many of the photos at the SAFMCD website have been manipulated. The information card and tape identity are covered over and sections of documents are obscured. It must have been very time consuming to do this for thousands of photos. The explanation that they are doing this to ‘protect identity’ is not credible since the faces of victims are visible.  What are they hiding?

8. The Photo Catalog has duplicates and other errors

There are numerous errors and anomalies in the photo catalog as presented at the SAFMCD website.

For example, some deceased persons are shown twice with different case numbers and dates.

There are other errors where different individuals are given the same identity number.
Researcher Adam Larson at A Closer Look at Syria website has done detailed investigation which reveals more errors and curious error patterns in the SAFMCD photo catalog.

9. With few exceptions, Western media uncritically accepted and promoted the story.

The Carter Ruck report was labeled “Confidential” but distributed to CNN, the Guardian and LeMonde.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour gushed the story as she interviewed three of the inquiry team under the headline “EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime”. Critical journalism was replaced by leading questions and affirmation. 

David Crane said “This is a smoking gun”.  Desmond de Silva “likened the images to those of holocaust survivors”.

The Guardian report was titled “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees” with subtitle “Senior war crimes prosecutors say photographs and documents provide ‘clear evidence’ of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees”

One of the very few skeptical reports was by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science MonitorMurphy echoed standard accusations about Syria but went on to say incisively, “the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”

Unfortunately that was one of very few critical reports in the mainstream media.

In 2012, foreign affairs journalist Jonathan Steele wrote an article describing the overall media bias on Syria.. His article was titled “Most Syrians back Assad but you’d never know from western media”. The media campaign and propaganda has continued without stop. It was in this context that the Carter Ruck Report was delivered and widely accepted without question.

10. Politicians have used the Caesar story to push for more US/NATO aggression. 

Politicians seeking direct US intervention for ‘regime change’ in Syria were quick to accept and broadcast the ‘Caesar’ story.  They used it to demonize the Assad government and argue that the US must act so as to prevent “another holocaust’, ‘another Rwanda’, ‘another Cambodia’.

When Caesar’s photos were displayed at the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress, Chairman Ed Royce said “It is far past time that the world act…. It is far past time for the United States to say there is going to be a safe zone across this area in northern Syria.”

The top ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is Eliot Engel.  In November 2015 he said “We’re reminded of the photographer, known as Caesar, who sat in this room a year ago, showing us in searing, graphic detail what Assad has done to his own people.” Engel went on to advocate for a new authorization for the use of military force.
Rep Adam Kinzinger is another advocate for aggression against Syria. At an event at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2015 he said, “If we want to destroy ISIS we have to destroy the incubator of ISIS, Bashar al-Assad.”

The irony and hypocrisy is doubly profound since Rep Kinzinger has met and coordinated with opposition leader Okaidiwho is a confirmed ally of ISIS. In contrast with Kinzinger’s false claims, it is widely known that ISIS ideology and initial funding came from Saudi Arabia and much of its recent wealth from oil sales via Turkey.  The Syrian Army has fought huge battles against ISIS, winning some but losing others with horrific scenes of mass beheading.

11. The Human Rights Watch assessment is biased.

HRW has been very active around Syria. After the chemical attacks in greater Damascus on August 21, 2013, HRW rushed a report which concluded that, based on a vector analysis of incoming projectiles, the source of the sarin-carrying rockets must have been Syrian government territory. This analysis was later debunked as a “junk heap of bad evidence” by highly respected investigative journalist Robert Parry. HRW’s assumption about the chemical weapon rocket flight distance was faulty. Additionally it was unrealistic to think you could determine rocket trajectory with 1% accuracy from a canister on the ground.  To think you could determine flight trajectory from a canister on the ground that had deflected off a building wall was preposterous.

In spite of this, HRW stuck by its analysis which blamed the Assad government.  HRW Director Ken Roth publicly indicated dissatisfaction when an agreement to remove Syrian chemical weapons was reached. Mr. Roth wanted more than a ‘symbolic’ attack.

In light of the preceding, we note the December 2015 HRW report addressing the claims of Caesar.

HRW seems to be the only non-governmental organization to receive the full set of photo files from the custodian. To its credit, HRW acknowledged that nearly half the photo
s do not show what has been claimed for two years: they show dead Syrian soldiers and militia along with scenes from crime scenes, car bombings, etc…

But HRW’s bias is clearly shown in how they handle this huge contradiction. Amazingly, they suggest the incorrectly identified photographs support the overall claim. They say, “This report focuses on deaths in detention. However other types of photographs are also important. From an evidentiary perspective, they reinforce the credibility of the claims of Caesar about his role as a forensic photographer of the Syrian security forces or at least with someone who has access to their photographs.” (HRW, p.31)  This seems like saying if someone lies to you half the time that proves they are truthful.

The files disprove the assertion that the files all show tortured and killed. The photographs show a wide range of deceased persons, from Syrian soldiers to Syrian militia members to opposition fighters to civilians trapped in conflict zones to regular deaths in the military hospital.  There may be some photos of detainees who died in custody after being tortured, or who were simply executed. We know that this happened in Iraqi detention centers under U.S. occupation. Ugly and brutal things happen in war times. But the facts strongly suggest that the ‘Caesar’ account is basically untrue or a gross exaggeration.

It is striking that the HRW report has no acknowledgment of the war conditions and circumstances in Syria.  There is no acknowledgment that the government and Syrian Arab Army have been under attack by tens of thousands of weaponized fighters openly funded and supported by many of the wealthiest countries in the world.

There is no hint at the huge loss of life suffered by the Syrian army and supporters defending their country. The current estimates indicate from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand Syrian soldiers, militia and allies having died in the conflict. During the three years 2011 – 2013, including the period covered by Caesar photos, it is estimated that over 52,000 Syrian soldiers and civilian militia died versus 29,000 anti-government forces.

HRW had access to the full set of photographs including the Syrian army and civilian militia members killed in the conflict. Why did they not list the number of Syrian soldiers and security forces they identified?  Why did they not show a single image of those victims?

HRW goes beyond endorsing the falsehoods in the ‘Caesar’ story; they suggest it is a partial listing. On page 5 the report says, “Therefore, the number of bodies from detention facilities that appear in the Caesar photographs represent only a part of those who died in detention in Damascus.”

On the contrary, the Caesar photographs seem to mostly show victims who died in a variety of ways in the armed conflict. The HRW assertions seem to be biased and inaccurate.

12. The legal accusations are biased and ignore the supreme crime of aggression.

The Christian Science Monitor journalist Dan Murphy gave an apt warning in his article on the Carter Ruck report about ‘Caesar’. While many journalists treated the prosecutors with uncritical deference, he said:
Association with war crime prosecutions is no guarantor of credibility – far from it. Just consider Luis Moreno Ocampo’s absurd claims about Viagra and mass rape in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya in 2011. War crimes prosecutors have, unsurprisingly, a bias towards wanting to bolster cases against people they consider war criminals (like Assad or Qadaffi) and so should be treated with caution. They also frequently favor, as a class, humanitarian interventions.
The Carter Ruck legal team demonstrated how accurate those cautions were.  They were eager to accuse the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity” but the evidence of “industrial killing”, “mass killing”, “torturing to kill” is dubious and much of the hard evidence shows something else.

In contrast, there is clear and solid evidence that a “Crime against Peace” is being committed against Syria. It is public knowledge that the “armed opposition” in Syria has been funded, supplied and supported in myriad ways by various outside governments. Most of the fighters, both Syrian and foreign, receive salaries from one or another outside power. Their supplies, weapons and necessary equipment are all supplied to them. Like the “Contras” in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the use of such proxy armies is a violation of customary international law.

It is also a violation of the UN Charter which says:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”?

Isn’t it time for the United Nations to make reforms so that it can start living up to its purposes?  That will require demanding and enforcing compliance with the UN Charter and International Law.”

Rick Sterling is a retired engineer and co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be emailed at:

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