wednesday october 2, 2013
As Obama was ready to teach Syria a lesson via Tomahawk cruise missiles, Human Rights Watch stood virtually alone in the world on the president’s side. The human rights group was not busy trying to help the victims or promote international diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. They were instead feverishly engaged in a convoluted effort to prove that the missiles that purportedly carried the poison gas could only have come from Syrian government positions. They had no investigators on the ground, yet they determined independent of facts that the Syrian government must have been responsible. This is the job for a human rights group? To help a president make the case for war?
Human Rights Watch even repeated the lie that the UN inspectors’ report on the August 21 incident “points clearly to Syrian government responsibility for the attack.” It does no such thing, and in fact the UN had no mandate to determine responsibility for the incident. But this was the US administration’s line and HRW was determined to repeat it — even as the rest of the world gasped in disbelief.
When the Russian effort to head off a US attack on Syria — which would no doubt have killed far more than it was claimed were killed by poison gas on August 21 — was finalized by a UN resolution providing for the destruction of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons and facilities, one would think a human rights group would cheer that diplomacy triumphed over war. No so Human Rights Watch. The organization’s UN representative Philippe Bolopionblasted the agreement, stating that it “fails to ensure justice.”
At that point, even President Obama was happy to have avoided a military conflict in Syria. Not Human Rights Watch.
The organization has not let up, however. A recent report by Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross and her Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights painstakingly refutes much of the photographic evidence presented of the attack. Being on the ground in Syria, she has also interviewed scores of victims of the insurgents’ attacks. Her organization’s report raises serious questions about whether the YouTube videos presented by the US government as the main US evidence of Syria government responsibility for the attack was manipulated or even entirely faked. Mother Agnes Mariam, dubbed by the BBC as “Syria’s Detective Nun,” finds her work attacked in a recent BBC articleby…you guessed it, Human Rights Watch!
Peter Bouckaert, “emergencies director” of Human Rights Watch, who is not on the ground in Syria, brushes off Mother Agnes Mariam’s work, stating flatly that “there’s just no basis for the claims.” He continues that, “she is not a professional video forensic analyst.” Of course she never claimed to be. What she claimed is to have working eyes, which noticed — among other anomalies — that several of the purported victims of the attack were seen at several different locations at supposedly the same time and that it does not take a “professional video forensic analyst” to recognize that is impossible.
Human Rights Watch is a protected, pro-US regime NGO. They want to be the only voice on human rights issues and thanks to their favored status and enormous budget they have much weight on these issues. But how many times can they promote torture and war before people stop listening to their lies?