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In a recently released and conveniently timed report, complete with references to Nazi Germany and concentration camps, efforts to ramp up support for a “tough line” against Syria at the upcoming Geneva II conference and even possible military intervention, are once again moving into high gear. The report, compiled by three British war crime prosecutors and three “forensic experts” claims that it has demonstrable proof that the Assad government is guilty of torturing and killing over ten thousand people.
The report (accessed here) claims to show evidence of physical torture, murder, and starvation.
Of course, the Syrian government denies the veracity of the claims of the report and Western media outlets repeat the claims as incontrovertible proof.
A Syrian military police photographer has supplied “clear evidence” showing the systematic torture and killing of about 11,000 detainees in circumstances that evoked Nazi death camps, former war crimes prosecutors said.
Syrian officials could face war crimes charges as a result of the evidence provided by the photographer, who has defected, the three prosecutors said.
One of the prosecutors said the evidence documented “industrial scale killing” that was reminiscent of the World War II concentration camps of Belsen and Auschwitz.
The trove of harrowing photographs ratchets up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States and its Western allies say has committed war crimes against his own people during the civil war.
55,000 images provided by the photographer, who fled Syria after passing the pictures to Assad’s opponents, show emaciated and mutilated corpses.
Bearing signs of torture, some of the corpses had no eyes. Others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.
“There is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government,” the three prosecutors said in the 31-page report.
“Such evidence would support findings of crimes against humanity against the current Syrian regime. Such evidence could also support findings of war crimes against the current Syrian regime,” they said.
However, while the final determination of whether or not these claims are accurate is yet to be made, there exist ample reasons to question the assertions made in the report.
1. The Gulf State Feudal Monarchy Qatar is the sponsor of the report. Qatar is, of course, one of the major sponsors of the Syrian invasion (aka the Syrian “rebels”) and has played a massively important role in financing, training, arming, and directing the death squads currently being mopped up by the Assad government.
2. The source of the report. One would be justified in questioning the nature of the report since the sole source of the material comes by virtue of an allegedly “defected Syrian military police officer” who was apparently fine with photographing thousands of dead victims for over a year until now. Regardless of the possibility for such a “moral” conversion, taking information from a “defected” member of government forces once again returns us to the realm of the “activists say” school of journalism – a notorious method used by Western media outlets to promote the side of the death squads and only the side of the death squads as fact in popular reports.
3. Past claims of Assad’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” It is important to remember past experiences with Western claims against Assad for alleged “crimes against humanity,” all of which turned out to have been committed by the death squads, not the Syrian government. From theHoula massacre to the Ghouta chemical weapons attacks, the Syrian government has been exonerated by all credible evidence. The death squads, however, have been proven guilty by virtue of their own video tapes and Youtube accounts, guilty of some of the most horrific acts imaginable. While many innocent people have no doubt been killed in the crossfire between the military and the death squads, the Western media has done everything in its power to place the blood of each and every death inside Syria in the hands of the government.
Let us also not forget the other famous Codename, “Curveball,” that played a major role in the initiation of a previous and still ongoing conflict that was later admitted to be a fabrication. Being fooled by the same type of propaganda twice in ten years is indeed a humiliation too great for a country to bear.
4.) Possibility that the death squads could have killed the victims shown in the report. The victims shown in the report have clearly been abused and starved. However, before jumping to conclusions about just how these unfortunate individuals met their fate, perhaps it would be a good idea to look back at the context of the victims. As mentioned earlier, the death squads operating in Syria are no strangers to crimes against humanity, murder, and torture. In fact, they have been both the initiators of such depravity and overwhelmingly the largest proprietors of it.
Furthermore, the fact that the victims were starved does not necessarily mean that they were starved by the government. Indeed, it is important to remember that, due to the siege of a number of cities by both the military and the death squads as well as due to death squad cruelty and attempted cordoning off of specific areas, food shortage has been a serious concern in some areas for some time. There is also plentiful evidence of death squad groups killing innocent people and shipping their bodies to the places where cameras are set up, waiting for the recording of the propaganda piece. The Ghouta chemical attack is just one instance in which innocent civilians were captured and killed by the death squads and used as stage props for propaganda purposes.
Indeed, it is also important to remember that the death squads themselves are quite adept at keeping prisoners in atrocious conditions. Only a few months back, it was reported that the Syrian military was able to free a number of captive Syrian women from the hands of the death squads who had kept them in captivity in underground tunnels for months on end for the purposes of using them as sex slaves.
5.) The report was conveniently released just two days before the Geneva II Peace Conference meeting on Syria. After the retraction of an invitation to Iran to attend the peace conference, the Qatari-funded report was released just two days before the peace conference was scheduled to take place. With such evidence being studied and analyzed and a report being compiled, to believe that it was only a coincidence that the information was released two days before the conference is absurd. If this evidence was real and of such grave importance why are world leaders only learning of it now? If world leaders knew, why are we only learning of it now?
Considering all of the information provided in this article, taken in conjunction with the “convenient” timing of the release of the reports (convenient, at least, for the enemies of Syria), such reports should be taken with a large grain of salt.
The Western media has not only been wrong, but has lied on so many occasions in the past, that it cannot be expected to tell the truth now.
Recently from Brandon Turbeville:
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
Britain is complicit in most US wars of aggression. It’s no surprise when new information surfaces. More on it below.
The July 2002 “Downing Street memo” was leaked to The Sunday Times. In May 2005, it was revealed. Its authenticity never was challenged.
Secret Washington/UK collusion was exposed. So-called intelligence claiming justification for war on Iraq was cooked to fit already agreed on policy.
Smoking gun evidence said so. Bush, Tony Blair and their close advisors lied. They falsified evidence for war on Iraq. Nonexistent WMDs were claimed.
Then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was later asked why fictitious WMDs became a casus belli. “It was the only thing we could all agree on,” he said.
Subsequent Hutton report misinformation claimed Kelly committed suicide. He was murdered. Coverup tried to conceal it. Ravaging Iraq continues.
Bush and Blair bear full responsibility. Obama, Gordon Brown and David Cameron share it.
More information is now known. On January 12, London’s Independent headlined “Exclusive: Devastating dossier on ‘abuse’ by UK forces in Iraq goes to International Criminal Court.”
It’s titled “The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003 – 2008.”
“A devastating 250-page dossier” detailed evidence of beatings, burnings, electrocutions, mock executions, sexual assaults, cultural and religious humiliation, as well as threats of rape, death and other forms of torture.
High-level UK officials face potential prosecution for “systematic” war crimes. UK Army head General Peter Wall was named. So were former Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon and former Defense Minister Adam Ingram.
Evidence includes “thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) compiled volumes of damning evidence.
It reveals grave war crimes. The Rome Statute’s Article 15 calls for prosecutorial investigations “on the basis of information of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
“The Prosecutor shall analyse the seriousness of the information received,” it says.
An investigation will follow if a “reasonable basis” to conduct one is determined. If individuals involved are believed culpable, prosecutors will charge them accordingly.
The Independent reviewed lengthy dossier evidence. It called it “the most detailed ever submitted to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor on war crimes allegedly committed by British forces in Iraq.”
In 2006, the Court acknowledged the commission of war crimes, saying:
“There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely willful killing and inhuman treatment.”
It referred to fewer than 20 cases. Investigations didn’t follow. Hundreds of subsequent claims came to light.
Will UK political and military leaders be held accountable this time? Will or won’t they be prosecuted?
High crimes are indisputable. US officials are guilty of multiple crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.
No one was held accountable. America commits mass murder, torture and other high crimes with impunity.
Torture is official US policy. Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg. America maintains black sites worldwide. Dozens operate secretly. Numerous US allies host them.
Indefinite detentions, interrogations, torture and other forms of abuse are standard practice.
America is by far the world’s leading human rights abuser. No nation in history matches its ruthlessness.
Israel is a willing partner. So is Britain. Thousands of innocent victims suffer horrifically. Their ordeal continues.
Today’s Iraq alone reflects America’s genocidal legacy. Britain shares guilt.
The Independent called the “sheer scale and seriousness of the (new dossier’s) allegations” reason enough for a full investigation.
A formal complaint said “those who bear the greatest responsibility (for alleged war crimes) include individuals at the highest levels” of Britain’s government and military.
They include prime ministers, top defense officials, and general staff.
Damning evidence “justifies further investigation.” Criminal responsibility “of senior individuals within the UK military and government must be fully examined.”
Top level British commanders and government officials either ordered, “knew or should have known” about horrific crimes of war and against humanity.
Evidence shows “civilian superiors knew or consciously disregarded information at their disposal, which clearly indicated that UK services personnel were committing war crimes in Iraq.”
“(T)he the pattern of abusive treatment by UK services personnel in Iraq continued over almost six years of military operations.”
According to PIL’s Phil Shiner:
I think we easily meet the threshold for these issues to be looked at. I would be gobsmacked and bitterly disappointed if they don’t look at this.
Only a handful of low-level UK forces were prosecuted. One to date was convicted. Corporal Donald Payne was hung out to dry for the crimes of his superiors. He served a year in prison. It was for treating Iraqi civilians inhumanely.
Shiner said no one except Payne was held accountable. The complaint sent ICC prosecutors presents evidence too horrific to ignore.
It includes “systematic use of brutal violence, that at times resulted in the death of detainees, while in the custody of UK Services Personnel.”
It claims “evidence of brutality combined with cruelty and forms of sadism, including sexual abuse, and sexual and religious humiliation.”
It documents horrendous forms of torture and abuse. Nothing was too extreme to avoid. Bringing detainees close to death and back was practiced.
Clear patterns of abuse are undeniable. Mistreatment was systematic, widespread and lawless. ICC prosecutors are under mounting pressure to act.
Setting a precedent is vital. Last October, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom accused the Court of being “a political instrument targeting Africa and Africans.”
It’s an imperial tool. It targets victims, not Western perpetrators. America, Britain, other NATO partners and Israel were never held accountable. It’s high time that changed.
According to human rights expert Professor William Schabas:
Documented UK war crimes “throw(s) down the challenge to the court to show there are no double standards. There is definitely a case for an investigation…”
“(T)here’s no doubt” about UK forces committing war crimes. Higher-ups “should be worried,” he added.
Law Professor Andrew Williams said the complaint amounts to “a prima facie investigation mapped out for the prosecutor.” It’s “supported by sophisticated legal argument which adheres to (ICC) requirements…”
UK authorities are going all out to block ICC action. Foreign Secretary William Hague lied claiming no need for allegations to be investigated.
ECCHR secretary general Wolfgang Kaleck said:
With the current communication to the ICC, we want to move forward the criminal prosecution against those political and military leaders in the UK who bear the most responsibility for systematic torture in Iraq.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is the last resort for victims of torture and mistreatment to achieve justice.
Double standards in international criminal justice must end. War crimes and other severe violations of human rights must be investigated and prosecuted, regardless of whether they are committed by the most powerful.
Hundreds of Iraqis testified about monstrous torture and abuse. They revealed damning evidence. Examples documented make painful reading.
Horrific torture and abuse was standard practice. Hundreds of victims bear witness to what happened.
Coverup and denial no longer wash. It remains to be seen whether ICC prosecutors act responsibly. Doing so will be unprecedented.
America commits the same systematic war crimes. Occasionally, low level US soldiers are hung out to dry for their superiors. Professor Stjepan Mestrovic is a regular Progressive Radio News Hour guest.
He documented examples in his book titled The ‘Good Soldier’ On Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq.
Low level soldiers were unfairly convicted. Responsible higher-ups were absolved.
“(A) crime becomes a ‘war crime,’ said Mestrovic, “when it involved the government, which is to say, when a crime is the result of unlawful social policies and plans.”
Lawful rules of engagement (ROE) killings result from orders in time of war. Unlawful ones are war crimes.
Military commanders and high government officials bear full responsibility. Sociologist Emile Durkheim once observed:
“The immorality of war depends entirely on the leaders who willed it – the soldiers and even those government officials who had no part in the decision remain innocent.”
According to Mestrovic:
In America’s war on terror, “the open secret is that” low level soldiers are blamed. Higher-ups are absolved. The same holds in Britain.
Who are the real criminals in wars of aggression? Who’s guilty? Who’s innocent?
In his opening Nuremberg address, Justice Robert Jackson said:
The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people.
It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberative and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.
He called Nuremberg defendants “men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood.”
These were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders.
The same standard applies to America and Britain under binding international laws.
America’s Iron Triangle commander illegally ordered the killing of every military-aged Iraqi in sight.
Captured ones were imprisoned and tortured. Four low level US soldiers were wrongfully convicted.
Bogus charges included conspiracy, murder, aggravated assault, and obstruction of justice.
Orders issued were obeyed. Court-martials, imprisonments, fines, and dishonorable discharges would have followed otherwise.
Crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Higher-ups bore full responsibility. Culpability extended to the Pentagon and White House.
Mestrovic documented “hundreds of instances of deceit, chicanery, and dubious behavior on the part of the government” and high level military officials.
Operation Iron Triangle was one of many similar incidents. They occur in all US/UK/NATO/Israeli wars.
They occur in torture prisons. They occur out of sight and mind. Evidence obtained from victims and witnesses are damning.
Accountability is sorely lacking. Torture, abuse, and other crimes of war and against humanity continue daily. They do so out of sight and mind.
Imperial lawlessness operates this way. America bears full responsibility. Britain and other complicit partners share it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/
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