Friday, February 10, 2017

Assad Abu Khalil — Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch

Mouin Rabbani sent me this message about Amnesty International: "I haven't read the Amnesty International report on Syria, and don't intend to, so can't comment on the accuracy of its claims. The more important point is that while the Syrian regime is certainly capable of the alleged crimes, I would not rely on Amnesty for verification. This after all is the same organization that (along with HRW) in 1990 spread false propaganda about Iraqi soldiers ejecting prematurely-born babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and leaving them to die on the floor in order to loot the incubators. That story, as you may recall, came at a crucial time in the war debate, and perhaps more than any other helped persuade otherwise well-meaning individuals in the US and elsewhere in the West to support the Bush campaign to go to war. Not less importantly, Amnesty subsequently refused to apologize for its role in this sordid affair."
The recent Amnesty International report on alleged mass executions by the Assad regime presents no evidence and is documented by sources outside Syria, making the claims dubious, especially when the sources are anti-Assad and have a motive to provide disinformation. Characteristically, the Western mainstream media has reported the allegations as if confirmed by the credibility of the sources.

Angry Arab News Service
Amnesty International and Human Rights WatchAssad Abu Khalil | Professor of Political Science, California State University, Stanislaus

See also
Of course, those media are talking about the Saudi and UAE regimes but they deliberately use this general language to conflate those dynasties with Sunni Arab people.
How could anyone who knows anything about the Arab world claim that Sunni Arabs are now pro-Israel?

There are many misconception about the Muslim Brotherhood and the proposed ban: it shows you how much Gulf regimes now have influence--not as much as Israel, but still--over US foreign policy. There are two countering lobbies on this: Egyptian, Saudi and UAE potentates are lobbying for the ban, while the Qatari, Turkish and Tunisian potentates are lobbying against the ban. I think that the Israeli lobby is not very active in the ban because the Muslim Brotherhood has been quite friendly toward Israel (especially in the branches in Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, and even Egypt). The ban represents the meeting point between the Egyptian, Saudi and UAE potentates and the anti-Islam advocates in the US. While I oppose the ban (when the organization Friends of the Israeli Army is not only legal but tax deductible) there are many misconceptions about the Brotherhood. Remember that it was ALL Gulf regimes AND JORDAN who advocated, armed, and financed the organization for the many decades of the Cold War and it worked very closely with Western powers in their war on socialism and communism. Israel had friendly relations with the Brotherhood in those years. And the notion that the brotherhood "renounced violence" as some newspaper are writing, applies only to the Egyptian branch of the Brotherhood. Also, how could the US ban the brotherhood when it is sponsored by allies of the US to this very day? Finally, the irony is that the Brotherhood would be banned while the most sinister and fanatical version of Islamic ideologization, meaning the Wahhabi ideology, remains not only legal but friendly in the US. It was not the Brotherhood which radicalized US mosques and Western mosques (not that I like the reactionary and misogynistic and exclusivist ideology of the Brotherhood) but the Saudi Wahhabi ideology which is responsible for the radicalization of mosques and Islamic centers worldwide.
The Muslim Brotherhood: the ban


Pearce Tournier said...

Angry Arab posts this quote, mentioning both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the title, but it was ONLY the latter which spread the false reports about the behaviour of Iraqi troops in Kuwait. As I recall it, Amnesty International had nothing to do with that sad episode, and does its job quite well. I conclude that the attack against Amnesty International is pure propaganda (which Angry Arab implicitly acknowledged by shoving HRW into the title).

Of course the Assad régime has been summarily executing thousands at Sednaya Prison and elsewhere! This, or behaviour of the like, is what started the war. Hell, until recently, the West (western countries not just the US) used to use the Syrian and Egyption régimes to do their torturing for them!

None of which changes the fact that the tales about Syrian Régime's purported atrocities in East Aleppo were also mainly propaganda, by western interests and governments, and that the US supported both ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham against the Assad régime.

Tom Hickey said...

Credible evidence please. "Of course" is not evidence.

Pearce Tournier said...

Well, we know that long before the war, Sednaya was regularly used a based for widespread torture and summary killings. For instance, in 2009, before the war in Syria erupted, here is a report on killings in Sednaya prison:

All reports, pretty credible to me, suggest that thousands have gone into the prison, and numerous family testimonies say that many are not coming out!

Amnesty International and others have many reports of torture and violence from those who did make it out.

Now, I concede, I have not seen anywhere an eyewitness report of thousands of hangings, nor has a mass grave, widely rumoured, been found. Given the history and brutality of the Assad régime, I still think the only logical conclusion ("of course") is that it has killed thousands in Sednaya.

I think, à la Bosia-Herzegovina, that mass graves will be found once hostilities end, unless the Assad régime remains firmly in control.

Pearce Tournier said...

By the way, I checked, and Amnesty International WAS also deceived in 1990. So I take that back.

Tom Hickey said...

The problem is that a lot of these "facts" are based on inference rather than evidence but are reported as "fact."

It's rather elementary in propaganda dissemination to get a credible anchor for propaganda and many ruses are used to do this. Then the allegations are spread throughout the media echo chamber as confirmed fact.

I don't know enough to know whether the reports involved here are true, or whether the reports about "Russian hacking" that "directed by Putin" are true, but I do now that they are not known to be true based on the documentation provided.

In this environment, almost nothing is true at face value. Even if there is some truth involved, it is often hype to the degree that the presentation is actually false.

I am finding it difficult to come up with credible sources now for this reason. The fog is thick.

Tom Hickey said...

Speaking of credible anchors, The New York Times and Washington Post often cite anonymous sources in government or officials speaking "of the record" to spread supposedly confirmed information based on their role as "papers of record." This opens the door to unverifiable government propaganda, such as in the lead up to the Iraq intervention promoted by "star reporters."

Pearce Tournier said...

On the balance of probabilities, everything we get through print and electronic means, or by word of mouth, could be false, but manifestly much and perhaps most of that information is not. I agree with your point about the propagandist propensities of the major media. But criticisms of them also have to be questioned.

Much of the substance if not all the details of the Amnesty report was provided in last year's report of the UN Human Rights Council "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Deaths in Detention in the Syrian Arab Republic".

I don't thing one should downplay the horrific abuses of human rights by all sides in the Syrian conflict.

Tom Hickey said...

UNHRC Election Becoming Part of Propaganda War Against Russia

Bob said...

There are photographs of people tortured to death by the Syrian regime. Some of them were shown to the public at a UN exhibit a few years ago. Whitewashing the crimes of the Baathist regime is to be expected from its supporters.

Tom Hickey said...

Again, please link to evidence.

Bob said...

Tom Hickey said...

Coalition for a Democratic Syria, through which the photographs came, is a Syrian opposition group. Not exactly objective.

Looks fishy to me.

Tom Hickey said...

Consortium News
How Propaganda Feeds War on Syria
Rick Sterling

This report is a critical review of the so-called “Caesar Torture Photos” story. As will be shown, there is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false.

Barbara McKenzie
After the Failure of the Caesar Photo Hoax, Amnesty Tries Again

I don't know who is right here but it is not a "slam dunk," to paraphrase George Tenet.

Bob said...

More links at end of article:

Tom Hickey said...

Mick Krever and Schams Elwazer, CNN (20 January 2014). "CNN EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime". CNN. Retrieved 5 November 2014.

"may prove" says a lot.

This looks to me a lot like "Killer Putin."

Tom Hickey said...

Notice that I am not saying that Assad and Putin are good guys any more than I am saying that Western leaders are good guys.

I am saying that there are things that have been well established, and things that have not been well established.

In In my view and that of law, the criteria for being established should be very high in capital cases.

Tom Hickey said...

Another one

US Cooks Up New Syrian Atrocities Amid Syrian Talks
Tony Cartalucci

Bob said...

We won't find out about the latest atrocities until later. Washington and Moscow are selective in their concern about human rights abuses. So what if they're killers, as long as they're OUR killers.