February 07, 2017
Hearsay Extrapolated - Amnesty Claims Mass Executions In Syria, Provides Zero Proof
A new Amnesty International report claims that the Syrian government hanged between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners in a military prison in Syria. The evidence for that claim is flimsy, based on hearsay of anonymous people outside of Syria. The numbers themselves are extrapolations that no scientist or court would ever accept. It is tabloid reporting and fiction style writing from its title "Human Slaughterhouse" down to the last paragraph.
But the Amnesty report is still not propagandish enough for the anti-Syrian media. Inevitably only the highest number in the range Amnesty claims is quoted. For some even that is not yet enough. The Associate Press agency, copied by many outlets, headlines: Report: At least 13,000 hanged in Syrian prison since 2011:
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian authorities have killed at least 13,000 people since the start of the 2011 uprising in mass hangings at a prison north of Damascus known to detainees as "the slaughterhouse," Amnesty International said in a report Tuesday.
How does "at least 13,000" conforms to an already questionable report which claims "13,000" as the top number of a very wide range?
Here is a link to the report.
Before we look into some details this from the "Executive Summary":
From December 2015 to December 2016, Amnesty International researched the patterns, sequence and scale of violations carried out at Saydnaya Military Prison (Saydnaya). In the course of this investigation, the organization interviewed 31 men who were detained at Saydnaya, four prison officials or guards who previously worked at Saydnaya, three former Syrian judges, three doctors who worked at Tishreen Military Hospital, four Syrian lawyers, 17 international and national experts on detention in Syria and 22 family members of people who were or still are detained at Saydnaya.
On the basis of evidence from people who worked within the prison authorities at Saydnaya and witness testimony from detainees, Amnesty International estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed at Saydnaya between September 2011 and December 2015.
There are several difficulties with this report.
1. Most of the witnesses are identified as opposition figures and "former" officials who do not live in Syria. Some are said to have been remotely interviewed in Syria but it is not clear if those were living in government or insurgent held areas. Page 9:
The majority of these interviews took place in person in southern Turkey. The remaining interviews were conducted by telephone or through other remote means with interviewees still in Syria, or with individuals based in Lebanon, Jordan, European countries and the USA.
It is well known that the Syrian insurgency is financed with several billion dollars per years from foreign state governments. It runs sophisticated propaganda operations. These witnesses all seem to have interests in condemning the Syrian government. Not once is an attempt made to provide a possibly divergent view. Amnesty found the persons it questioned by contacting international NGOs like itself and known foreign financed opposition (propaganda) groups:
These groups include Urnammu for Justice and Human Rights, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, and the Syrian Institute for Justice and Accountability.
2. The numbers Amnesty provides are in a very wide range. None are documented in lists or similar exhibits. They are solely based on hearsay and guesstimates of two witnesses:
People who worked within the prison authorities at Saydnaya told Amnesty International that extrajudicial executions related to the crisis in Syria first began in September 2011. Since that time, the frequency with which they have been carried out has varied and increased. For the first four months, it was usual for between seven and 20 people to be executed every 10-15 days. For the following 11 months, between 20 and 50 people were executed once a week, usually on Monday nights. For the subsequent six months, groups of between 20 and 50 people were executed once or twice a week, usually on Monday and/or Wednesday nights. Witness testimony from detainees suggests that the executions were conducted at a similar – or even higher – rate at least until December 2015. Assuming that the death rate remained the same as the preceding period, Amnesty International estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed at Saydnaya between September 2011 and December 2015.
From "between x and y", "once or twice a week", "suggests" and "assuming" the headline numbers are simply extrapolated in footnote 40 in a back-of-the-envelope calculation; "If A were true then B would be X":
These estimates were based on the following calculations. If between seven and 20 were killed every 10-15 days from September to December 2011, the total figure would be between 56 people and 240 people for that period. If between 20 and 50 were killed every week between January and November 2012, the total figure would be between 880 and 2,200 for that period. If between 20 and 50 people were killed in 222 execution sessions (assuming the executions were carried out twice a week twice a month and once a week once a month) between December 2012 and December 2015, the total figure would be between 4,400 and 11,100 for that period. These calculations produce a minimum figure of 5,336, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 5,000, and 13,540, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 13,000.
2. I will not go into the details of witness statements on which the report is build. They seem at least exaggerated and are not verifiable at all. In the end it is pure hearsay on which Amnesty sets it conclusions. One example from page 25:
“Hamid”, a former military officer when he was arrested in 2012, recalled the sounds he heard at night during an execution:
"There was a sound of something being pulled out – like a piece of wood, I’m not sure – and then you would hear the sound of them being strangled… If you put your ears on the floor, you could hear the sound of a kind of gurgling. This would last around 10 minutes… We were sleeping on top of the sound of people choking to death. This was normal for me then."
A court might accept 'sound of "I'm not sure" "kind of gurgling" noise through concrete' as proof that a shower was running somewhere. But as proof of executions?
Of all the witnesses Amnesty says it interviewed only two, a former prison official and a former judge, who describe actual executions (page 25). From the wording of their statements it is unclear if they have witnessed any hangings themselves or just describe something they have been told of.
3. The numbers of people Amnesty claims were executed are - at best - a wild ass guess. How come that Amnesty can name only very few of those? On page 30 of its report it says:
Former detainees from the red building at Saydnaya provided Amnesty International with the names of 59 individuals who they witnessed being taken from their cells in the afternoon, being told that they were being transferred to civilian prisons in Syria. The evidence contained in this report strongly suggests that in fact, these individuals were extrajudicially executed.
Former prison guards and a former prison official from Saydnaya also provided Amnesty International with the names of 36 detainees who had been extrajudicially executed in Saydnaya since 2011.
Those 95, some of whom may have been "executed" - or not, are the only ones Amnesty claims to be able to name. That is less than 1-2% of the reports central claim of 5,000 to 13,000 executed. All those witnesses could provide no more details of persons allegedly killed?
Amnesty acknowledges that its numbers are bogus. Under the headline "Documented Deaths" on page 40 it then adds additional names and numbers to those above but these are not from executions:
the exact number of deaths in Saydnaya is impossible to specify. However, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has verified and shared with Amnesty International the names of 375 individuals who have died in Saydnaya as a result of torture and other ill-treatment between March 2011 and October 2016. Of these, 317 were civilians at the time of their arrest, 39 were members of the Syrian military and 19 were members of non-state armed groups. In the course of the research for this report, Amnesty International obtained the names of 36 additional individuals who died as a result of torture and other ill-treatment in Saydnaya. These names were provided to Amnesty International by former detainees who witnessed the deaths in their cells
The "Syrian Network for Human Rights" (SNHR) is a group in the UK probably connected to British foreign intelligence and with dubious monetary sources. It only says:
SNHR funds its work and activities through unconditional grants and donations from individuals and institutions.
Now that is true transparency.
SNHR is known for rather ridiculous claims about casualties caused by various sides of the conflict. It is not know what SNHR qualifies as civilians - do these include armed civil militia? But note that none of the mostly civilians SNHR claims to have died in the prison are said to have been executed. How is it possible that a organization frequently quoted in the media as detailed source of casualties in Syria has no record of the 5,000 to 13,000 Amnesty claims were executed?
4. The report is padded up with before/after satellite pictures of enlarged graveyards in Syria. It claims that these expansions are a sign of mass graves of government opponents. But there is zero evidence for that. Many people have died in Syria throughout the war on all sides of the conflict. The enlargement, for example, of the Martyrs Cemetery south of Damascus (p.29/30) is hardly a sign of mass killing of anti-government insurgents. Would those be honored as martyrs by the government side?
5. The report talks of "extrajudicially executed" prisoners but then describes (military) court procedures and a necessary higher up approval of the judgement. One may not like the laws that govern the Syrian state but the courts and the procedures Amnesty describes seem to follow Syrian laws and legal processes. They are thereby - by definition - not extrajudicial.
6. In its Executive Summary the Amnesty report says that "Death sentences are approved by the Grand Mufti of Syria and ...". But there is no evidence provided of "approval" by the Grand Mufti in the details of the report. On page 19 it claims, based on two former prison and court officials:
The judgement is sent by military post to the Grand Mufti of Syria and to either the Minister of Defence or the Chief of Staff of the Army, who are deputized to sign for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and who specify the date of the execution.
It is very doubtful that the Syrian government would "deputize" or even inform the Grand Mufti in cases of military or criminal legal proceedings. Amnesty International may dislike the fact but Syria is a secular state. The Grand Mufti in Syria is a civil legal authority for some followers of the Sunni Muslim religion in Syria but he has no official judiciary role. From the 2010 Swiss dissertation Models of Religious Freedom: Switzerland, the United States, and Syria quoted here:
In Syria a mufti is a legal and religious expert (faqih and ‘alim) who has the power to give legally non-binding recommendations (sing. fatwa, pl. fatawa) in matters of Islamic law.
Queries which are either sought by a shari‘a judge or private individuals regard the personal status laws of the Muslim community only. In the Arab Republic fatawa are given neither to public authorities nor to individual civil servants, ..
Neither the Syrian constitution nor any Syrian law I can find refers to a role of the Grand Mufti in any military or civil criminal court proceding. The Amnesty claim "approved by the Grand Mufti of Syria"is not recorded anywhere else. It is very likely false. The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, is a moderate, recognized and accomplished scholar. He should sue Amnesty for this slander.
Syrian law includes a death penalty for certain severe and violent crimes. Before 2011 actual executions in Syria were very rare, most death sentences were commuted. Allegedly the laws were amended in late 2011, after the war in Syria had started, to include the death penalty as possible punishment for directly arming terrorists.
It is quite likely that the Syrian military and/or civil judiciary hand out some death penalties against captured foreign and domestic "rebels" it finds them guilty of very severe crimes. It is fighting the Islamic State, al Qaeda and other extreme groups well known for mass murder and other extreme atrocities. It is likely that some of those sentences are applied. But the Syrian government has also provided amnesty to ten-thousands of "rebels" who fought the government but have laid down their arms.
The claims in the Amnesty report are based on spurious and biased opposition accounts from outside of the country. The headline numbers of 5,000 to 13,000 are calculated on the base of unfounded hypotheticals. The report itself states that only 36 names of allegedly executed persons are known to Amnesty, less than the number of "witnesses" Amnesty claims to have interviewed. The high number of claimed execution together with the very low number of names is not plausible.
The report does not even meet the lowest mark of scientific or legal veracity. It is pure biased propaganda.
Note: An earlier version of this piece mixed up the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Both are registered in the UK and claim to provide accurate casualty data from Syria. Only SNHR is referenced in this Amnesty report.
Posted by b on February 7, 2017 at 04:41 AM | Permalink
These calculations produce a minimum figure of 5,336, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 5,000, and 13,540, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 13,000.
Proper methodology in the social sciences is to round 13,540 up to 14,000. Whoever wrote this report apparently didn't attend a quality high school or graduate from college.
Posted by: Observer | Feb 7, 2017 4:56:23 AM | 1
Instead there are proofs that white helmets are FSA!
And knowing White helmets are founded funded and handled by UK Foreign Office its direct proof that UK is incolved with FSA.
FSA is not opposition. Its an under cover foreign colonial army commiting atrocities against the Syrian nation.
Brits should think very carefully what does this mean for the quality and the ethics of the ppl they give the poweer to rule their country. Cause is getting more and more clear that these ppl tomorrow will treat Brits themselves as the are treating today Syrians.
Posted by: Helen | Feb 7, 2017 4:56:33 AM | 2
Mr Soros wants to inform us, via his AI employees, that he does not approve the current state of affairs in Syria. He wants the regime change, more war and eventually the gas-pipeline through Syria asap. HRW is surely already in the wings, MSM are busy promoting their masters statements.
Posted by: K | Feb 7, 2017 5:18:26 AM | 3
Even if these numbers were accurate, and I agree with you, it's BS hearsay from "activists" hired to help regime change the country so it's completely inadmissible not only in court but also it should be considered as such in terms of journalists reporting on it. But all that said, even if it were true... how many US-backed terrorists have they caught who were launching missiles at populated neighborhoods in Syria over the past 5 years? A max of 13,000 seems to me a low number. And a death sentence for such actions seems like an appropriate punishment, does it not? I mean, if some country sent tens of thousands of destabilization terrorists into Texas to try to change the political structure down there by bombing civilians on a daily basis, what sentence would they ultimately receive here? Though the facts are certainly bunk, I wouldn't blame Syria for executing that many mercenary "moderate" terrorists myself. they should hang all of em.
Posted by: willyloman | Feb 7, 2017 5:20:17 AM | 4
It's that whole "full spectrum domination" thing. The NeoCons have spent the last 20 years putting their guys in position at all institutions for the purpose of spouting NeoCon propaganda. After cleaning house in the Government agencies Trump still will have a world of BS artists to deal with. It's a big job, but my money is on Trump. He can dry up their funding by stripping them of their tax exempt status. That goes for all the NeoCon think tanks as well.
There's a whole lotta alligators in the swamp. Best is to starve them out.
Posted by: Secret Agent | Feb 7, 2017 5:25:20 AM | 5
only '36 names of allegedly executed persons are known to Amnesty' but they parlayed them to 5,000 ... or 13,000. hrw and amnesty are both a part of the global war of terror the us/uk began against the world's poorest peoples in the wake of the fake attribution of the 9/11 mass murder to osama bin laden. the two government-integrated ngos are in league with the western, 'christian' terrorist politicians - among them a nobel peace prize laureate - and share responsibility for the murder of at least 2 million - surely more - innocent people in central asia, the middle east, and north africa.
i spit everytime i hear the names 'amnesty international', or 'human rights watch'. high-priced hookers for the 'christian' terrorist governments of the west.
Posted by: jfl | Feb 7, 2017 5:39:52 AM | 6
Came across Amnesty report 6-days ago, stunned and cannot believe Dr. Assad is that barbaric and inhumane.
Posted by: OSJ | Feb 7, 2017 5:44:31 AM | 7
I notice that the report says guards at the Red Building weren't told of the fate of the prisoners they collected for transport.
Yet the report also includes eyewitness reports from the Red building guards that say they knew the fate of the prisoners.
Posted by: Jolly Jumbuk | Feb 7, 2017 5:47:00 AM | 8
Why would anyone >>> hang <<< 10000s of people?! Makes no sense to begin with. Stupid!
Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 7, 2017 5:59:02 AM | 9
the freedumb loving USA has executed 212 people since 2011...
it's hard to say how many have disappeared inside domestic 'black sites'
Posted by: john | Feb 7, 2017 6:26:36 AM | 10
Why are they bringing attention to Sednaya prison only now, after all those years? What changed? Possibly, Amnesty now feels safe not to be instrumentalized as a war party.
Politicizing human rights is a crime in itself. Human rights either apply to everybody or to nobody.
So to force the Syrian regime to justify what they do in prisons is necessary, same as asking the US what they do in Guatanamo and how that is compatible with US and international law.
Or you will repeat the situation, when Western countries use Syrian prisons and other "black sites" to do what they tell people they don't do.
In fairness to Amnesty - they also talk about Guatanamo.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2017 6:46:52 AM | 11
add - Human Rights Watch is a tool of US foreign policy - compare Guatanomo where they ask for European countries to take Guatanamo prisoners - Amnesty's statement is very different from that.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2017 6:50:46 AM | 12
Amnesty's report on Syria does not have any illusions about the respect for human rights of any party in the conflicts - and they do not try the "but one party is worse than the other" game.
And they name some well known names whose disappearance the regime could easily clear up
Those who remained forcibly disappeared since 2012 included Abd al-Aziz al-Khayyir, Iyad Ayash and Maher Tahan, members of the National Co-ordination Body for Democratic Change, who were arrested at an Air Force Intelligence checkpoint on 20 September 2012."
And yes, this was the Russian approved peaceful opposition.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2017 7:00:44 AM | 13
So, are we to believe that a government who has established several reconciliation commitees since at least 2013 and has given safe passage even to the most uncompromising militants with blood on their hands, has been so merciless to kill thousands of "people" (civilians? Insurgents? Defectors?) in a single prison?
Posted by: KerKaraje | Feb 7, 2017 8:39:51 AM | 14
@ Posted by: jfl | Feb 7, 2017 5:39:52 AM | 5
hrw and amnesty are both a part of the global war of terror the us/uk began against the world's poorest peoples in the wake of the fake attribution of the 9/11 mass murder to osama bin laden
Willing servants, indeed. Very 'selective', and turn a Nelsonian 'Blind Eye', omission, to the Empire, its vassals & its proxies ... activities. Repeatedly, demonstrably so ...
@ Posted by: KerKaraje | Feb 7, 2017 8:39:51 AM | 13
Key appointments and the leadership of HRW & AI and others have long been proven compromised ... why should anyone be surprised re this latest 'construct,' fraud re the highly false Syrian 'Civil War(?)' Psyop campaign. France, UK, US, KSA and the rest of the 'Usual Suspects' as well as 110% sustained effort from the MSM, have invested serious resources and capital throughout, why would they change track now ?
For all of the Trump-factions supposedly decisive executive actions re campaign promises since the 20th, where is the 'action' re the 'Great Threat' of ISIS, other than frequent empty rhetoric, and only re ISIS, in isolation, not a mention of Wahhabists or KSA ?
Minor indicators re ISIS so far, nothing more ... yet actual 'action' has been taken against Iran, which is actively expending blood & gold, fighting ISIS in Iraq & Iran. WTF ?!
Posted by: Outraged | Feb 7, 2017 9:04:19 AM | 15
You have to be realistic: the Asad government did, and does, kill people, and I am sure some (a few) of those statements are real. I have myself seen the gibbet in Damascus Citadel, cast aside in the courtyard from when the fortress was a prison.
But the figure of 13,000 is just way beyond anything within the bounds of reality. I am sure it would be physically impossible to execute 13,000 in Saydnaya prison in three and a half years. It is simply not a very big prison. There would need to be a continuous production line of death, which would have been obvious to everyone around. A sort of Auschwitz. But that is not what the witnesses are saying: they talk of discrete events.
But still, in spite of Trump's accession, the old propaganda comes out with no change.
Someone was saying the other day, I forget where, that the reason supposedly reputable organisations, like Amnesty, are forced to come up with this sort of stuff is because 80% of their funding is now government, and no longer public subscriptions. I no longer remember who it was.
Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 7, 2017 9:15:20 AM | 17
Correction!: ... fighting ISIS in Iraq & Syria.
Posted by: Outraged | Feb 7, 2017 9:20:55 AM | 18
I just wish more Islamist terrorists were hang since 2011, it would have saved thousands of civilians lives.
In any case, these criminals were looking for martyrdom, they got it and its now celebrated by the MSM.
Posted by: virgile | Feb 7, 2017 9:26:45 AM | 19
I thought I'd heard this song before and checked YouTube: and sure enough, there it was. The only major difference being that, unlike AI, the Andrews Sisters version was called Six Times A Week And Twice On Sunday. I'm betting AI left out the line that goes
"I get a kiss at the garden gate!"
Coincidentally, BBC is broadcasting this cockamamie bullshit as I type, enhanced with Rorschach-ish cartoons made of inkblots, which I've no doubt is NOT a coincidence.
On a more serious note, I'm so pleased that b picked up on the carelessness of gilding the lily by deploying the term 'extra-judicial. It's hard to believe that anyone conducting a planned program of E-J murder would be careless enough to leave ANY witnesses.
Why does the Christian Colonial Empire always prefer its Imaginary Villains to be unbelievably careless, inept, and stupid?
It's so-o-o fucking White Supremacist (excuse my French).
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7, 2017 9:45:11 AM | 20
For me, the "humanitarian NGOs" took the greatest hit on their credibility with Libya. Now it sounds like the old ones we used to trust are now teaming up with obviously biased "activists." Where's Curveball and some more WMD claims?
Laguerre (16) is right. The Syrian regime is no saint any more than our allies like Saudi Arabia. But this is simply more demonization/exaggeration for its own sake without a White House agenda for regime change.
This reminds me of the Syrian prison/torture picture tour of 2014. Where was the picture tour of the more horrific Abu Ghraib photos or tours of photos of prisons of our allies? Saudi beheading shots perhaps? Not on the demonization of a targeted regime agenda.
Posted by: Curtis | Feb 7, 2017 9:47:54 AM | 21
Last year Amnesty International's Lynn Malouf (and HRW) said it was Iraqi government forces accused of killing and torturing civilians.
Human Rights take a back seat in any war. And HRW/AI should know this but for some reason act with a bias. What happened to their independence?
Posted by: Curtis | Feb 7, 2017 10:05:27 AM | 22
After reviewing the MSM reports/articles so far, the common theme of the MSM reporting is particular emphasis on the reports dramatic/emotive part title, 'Human Slaughterhouse'.
There seems to be only a very small number of actual non-duplicate 'source' articles, ~20-24, they are then simply steno-graphed and re-published by other 'outlets', now over ~125,000 times ?
With very, very few exceptions, one being Al-Jazeera, these 'articles' do NOT permit comments. How very convenient and no doubt purely co-incidental ...
The UK Guardian likes the topic so much, they've published two major articles less than 10 hours apart, no comments allowed, the follow-up by that always reliable(not), Chulov.
Nah, no patterns to see here, it is all undoubtedly, perfectly objective, non-partisan, unco-ordinated, & legit ... /snark
Posted by: Outraged | Feb 7, 2017 10:08:26 AM | 24
Is #20 really putting "Syrian regime" on the same level with Saudi-Arabia? Jesus F*uckin Christ, your kind of people disgust me
Posted by: wrathofaton | Feb 7, 2017 10:12:30 AM | 25
Anybody is going to slam Amnesty who has a problem with human rights.
This here is Israel's point of view.
It is futile to discuss numbers as long as there is no transparency on what happens on Syrian black sites - except the testimonies Amnesty quotes.
"Following a year of research involving first-hand interviews with 84 witnesses (including former detainees, guards and officials) "
Amnesty's "agenda" is very much directed at human rights violations in Western countries
Coming out now on human rights in Syria puts a spade in the works of the normalization of the Syrian security state - which is clearly the way the wind is blowing with a new "war on terror".
Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2017 10:19:16 AM | 26
add - "fighting terrorism" is bound to increase surveillance and restrict the rights of all of us.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2017 10:20:14 AM | 27
Al Jazeera (Doha) has broadcast a version of BBC and AI's Human Slaughterhouse story ... immediately followed by an even longer report about Israel's Jews "legalising illegal settlements on Palestinian land" during which Amnesty International wasn't mentioned at all.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7, 2017 10:21:34 AM | 28
Thank you for the extensive summary, b!
Judging by Amnes(t)y's false constatations regarding Syrian Mufti's authority and capacity in the alleged extrajudicial executions, my conclusion is that AI (pun of the irony not intended) have mixed up Syria with Saudi Arabia.
Posted by: LXV | Feb 7, 2017 10:26:29 AM | 29
This morning I was listening to NPR (not a pleasant task) and they mentioned new atrocities being brought to light in Syria. I didn't get to the segment, but I assume it was about this report.
Besides being immoral and lacking any journalistic integrity whatsoever, is their reporting illegal? Does the prosecution of Hans Fritzsche post WWII serve as a precedent?
US prosecuted Nazi propagandists as war criminals
Posted by: Tobin Paz | Feb 7, 2017 10:27:01 AM | 30
More of the same "Regime Change" theater.
Despite our most recent regime change here in the U$A, it becomes more and more clear, that, with regards to Syria, there is no change.
Posted by: ben | Feb 7, 2017 10:29:13 AM | 31
Of course it is true. The dead were also cremated not buried. Some of the remains smuggled out of Syria by an anonymous activist.
Posted by: Anonymous Activist | Feb 7, 2017 10:41:52 AM | 32
Fritzsche was acquitted. Julius Streicher, on the other hand, was convicted and executed for crimes that in the U.S. would have been protected by the First Amendment.
Posted by: lysias | Feb 7, 2017 10:57:53 AM | 33
At least since the Kosovo War, human rights has been the excuse for U.S. military interventions. When human rights are violated by allies of the U.S., the U.S. does not intervene, quite the contrary.
Posted by: lysias | Feb 7, 2017 10:59:53 AM | 34
Thank you B, for the work done. It is a known fact that torture was commonplace even before the war in Syria, so it would not be surprising would the Syrian regime follow this path during war times. But this AI 'report' obviously is a propaganda piece placed timely to torpedo any change in the u.s.-Syria policy. The so called NGO's - even the formerly most respected ones - are not trustworthy anymore. That's really a disturbing sign of the times.
Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 7, 2017 11:00:43 AM | 35
I'd guess that these numbers are grossly inflated, but it's well known that Syrian prisons are much like, for example, Egyptian and Saudi prisons. How do we know this? Because, before the effort to bring Syira into the Saudi-Egypt-Israel axis failed, the U.S. regularly sent people to Syria to be tortured.
After 9/11, [rendition] was stepped up as a means of extracting intelligence from terrorism suspects, and in subsequent years hundreds of people are believed to have been "rendered" around the world through countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan and Morocco.
Some suspects have alleged they were tortured in the countries to which US rendition crews took them. In the words of former CIA agent Robert Baer: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt."
It's also worth comparing this Amnesty Report to the one on ISIS detention centers from 2013, which makes no mention of "extrajudicial" murder. Curiously, they also do not attempt to make any estimates of the number of people killed in ISIS detention. The contrast does make one wonder about theiir possible political biases.
Some of the prisoners whom ISIS forces brought into the Mabna al-Mohafaza in al-Raqqa were summarily “tried” and killed during his presence there, according to a former detainee who was held at the detention centre for most of October 2013.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2017 11:29:22 AM | 36
'Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.
Posted by: denk | Feb 7, 2017 11:55:57 AM | 37
Syria carried out mass hangings at military prison - Amnesty report
Amnesty International says in its newest report that a 'systematic campaign of mass hangings' killed up to 13,000 detainees in Syria's
Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 7, 2017 11:57:52 AM | 38
I enjoyed reading your counterpoints or alternative points "Somebody" thanks for the contribution.
Posted by: Au | Feb 7, 2017 12:03:39 PM | 39
Amnesty Int'l 1996 - 'Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.
It isn't 1996 anymore; Amnesty, Greenpeace, NPR, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, HRW - all were infected with CIA moles and ruined. Their real purpose is to aid global "Western" hegemony. Anyone that gives them any money is unaware of this fact.
"Shares the blame" - that's a bit of fluffing right there.
Sidebar: Radio Free Europe was always a CIA shop.
Posted by: fastfreddy | Feb 7, 2017 12:35:45 PM | 41
Amnesty would be shocked to find out that US Army Rangers and other US Special Forces do not take prisoners (except for enhanced questioning) when they are deployed into remote areas. SOP is to kill everybody and execute the wounded enemy people.
As Trump stated America does bad things too.
Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 7, 2017 12:43:31 PM | 42
None of the well-known Humanitarian Orgs. are to be trusted in any way. Nor are the smaller-lesser know ones who may be just as shady or even more so (using a ‘caring’ face to indulge in the worst of the worst.)
What has happened is that Gvmts and other powerful groups (Corps), but usually thru Gvmt. have outsourced, or privatised, some of their activities to what masquerades as ‘civil society’: NGOs, churches/religious groups, associations, charities, lobby groups at the UN, etc. - see also color revolutions…, thereby accomplishing a triple whammy:
a) outsourcing > they are not responsible (White Helmets for ex), and it is cheap!, effective move, saving money and guaranteeing distancing and ‘clean hands’…
b) appearing to support those who ‘care’ and are against invasions and war, thus reassuring the sheeples that civil society and their preoccupations are on the field somehow
c) deal amongst themselves in the shadows. (They can immediately cut off funding for x, y.)
The ‘Caesar photos’ are well known and have a long history, they pop up again and again!
(Just one link) PDF, March 2016. (a few disturbing pix….)
Posted by: Noirette | Feb 7, 2017 12:48:21 PM | 43
Before this Conquest by Proxy went off the rails; no doubt, Assad had to deal with plenty bad hombres; they didn't just show up all at once.
Of course, AI would bring up Guantanamo; if they didn't, they could never hide their hypocrisy.
Look at a map, "somebody". Syria isn't just Anyplace USA, protected by oceans, wealthy, with a toadying press, overpowering military and police, two virtually identical political parties etc. Syria is basically a one-stop shop in the middle of a desert. Damn right! There's a guard with a Kalashnikov and an itchy trigger-finger at the door. You were expecting a Wal-mart greeter?
Posted by: ruralito | Feb 7, 2017 12:49:00 PM | 44
US and allies plunged Syria into proxy war. They are ultimately to blame for the atrocities of that war.
Posted by: paul | Feb 7, 2017 12:51:34 PM | 45
All of your criticisms are valid, but you missed the big one. Permit me some gruesome calculations to illustrate.
14,000 bodies at an average mass of 75 kg/body = 1,050 metric tons, and a volume of 1,050 cubic meters. A trench two meters wide and with an effective burial vertical height of 0.5 meters would be one kilometer long.
Where are the mass graves? If incinerated, where was the crematorium? Why did US satellites fail to identify either?
Posted by: James Speaks | Feb 7, 2017 1:08:58 PM | 46
AI, HRW and ACLU - all accept SOROS funding and therefore acquiescent to his agenda
Posted by: marnie | Feb 7, 2017 1:22:19 PM | 47
@46, Right on! People speak of the what, 20 mil? Stalin supposedly slew but no one is asking to uncover the mass graves that 20 mil deaths entails. Ditto, the Unspeakable Mao. Documents can be forged, but not corpses.
Posted by: ruralito | Feb 7, 2017 1:36:44 PM | 50
One of the more suspicious things about this Amnesty report is its timing - right as neocons and neoliberals are exerting all their efforts to push the Trump administration into supporting the Bush-McCain-Clinton-Obama policies that have been such disasters throughout the beginning of this century. It should be clear by now that they're all on the same page on foreign policy, as Rand Paul notes today:
Neoconservative interventionists have had us at perpetual war for 25 years. While President Trump has repeatedly stated his belief that the Iraq War was a mistake, the neocons (all of them Never-Trumpers) continue to maintain that the Iraq and Libyan Wars were brilliant ideas. These are the same people who think we must blow up half the Middle East, then rebuild it and police it for decades. They’re wrong and they should not be given a voice in this administration.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2017 1:48:04 PM | 51
thanks b and to the many good and great comments made here. thank you.. in particular @41 fastfreddy and @45 paul.
the politics of international rights is clearly polluted.. if anyone needed more proof, this is it..
Posted by: james | Feb 7, 2017 1:52:21 PM | 52
Whoa, whoa there!
So what happens to the Obama approved factoid used by the early regime change apologists of:
"Assad emptied the prisons of jehadists so they could infiltrate the Syrian democracy movements, there by turning them into the wahabist terror groups Assad wanted to barrel bomb."?
Do I need a new administration points sheet?
How will Warisboring.com excuse actions taken against the Syrian gov. now?
Posted by: Wwinsti | Feb 7, 2017 2:14:47 PM | 53
AI and HRW have VERY different attitude and even language regarding crimes of Western imperialism and its pals Gulf royals and Zionist colonizers of Palestine versus the enemies of the first group. One could look and see for oneself.
Of course, Zionist colonizers of Palestine curse AI, but they curse Obama too - the same Obama who made them the biggest gifts of USA taxpayers' money and defended their crimes against Gaza, among others. Zionist colonizers of Palestine curse everyone who do not praise them 24/7.
Posted by: Lidia | Feb 7, 2017 2:56:37 PM | 54
Maybe the Syrian authorities can exhume the remains of Zahran Alloush and send it to Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, UK. Alloush was a terrorist commander released from Sednaya Prison in 2011 that used his support, fortune and freedom to try to etnically cleanse Syria from Alawites and Shiites. He was also known for putting Alawite prisoners in caged to use them as human shields.
Nice work b in fully exposing this UK run propaganda outlet.
Posted by: xor | Feb 7, 2017 3:17:07 PM | 55
The local lunchtime news had a segment complete with computer graphics of human shadows in a cell with the AI spokeswoman giving the graphic description of groups taken out to be hanged. Dramatic? Yes. Part of the factually challenged agenda? Yes.
Posted by: Curtis | Feb 7, 2017 3:51:28 PM | 56
Friedemann Wo 49
I think it was with the Libyan NGO corruption that I found out about some revolving door issues with State Department people going to NGOs and vice-versa.
Complaints in 2014 about HRW ties to USG
HRW insists they cover US abuses, too. The difference is nothing happens to US officials while these types of charges against others have a timing and emphasis that push an agenda for war and regime change.
Posted by: Curtis | Feb 7, 2017 3:57:51 PM | 57
Good point! Assad cannot catch a break. Keep and execute some prisoners and he's guilty of being a brutal inhuman dictator. If he releases prisoners, he's guilty of creating jihadist groups.
Interesting to read about two of those released:
"Upon their release, they emerged as leaders of two groups of armed fighters that were to become the most powerful actors of all in the Syrian uprising. Hassan Abboud’s group Ahrar al-Sham won backing from Qatar. Zahran Alloush’s Jaish al-Islam is backed by Saudi Arabia, where Alloush’s father Abdullah is a practising cleric."
And what of the question of support by Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Where is AI and HRW calling for actions against those two?
Posted by: Curtis | Feb 7, 2017 4:13:40 PM | 58
I suggest b is no longer quoting the SOHR or even HRW and AI, all of them are corrupted to the bone by global oligarchy and their government minions, playing gray propaganda game of mixing legitimate claims with pure fabrications.
In fact since advent of digital imagery a photo (video) lost its remaining fiduciary qualities meaning photo is no longer any evidence of the reality portrayed in the photograph. In analog times photo forgeries have been either extremely costly or difficult or they were easily spotted by experts in photography, not anymore.
Now with moderate money I can make QEII beheading Saudi King with his own sword looking believable.
No, all the NGOs including usurpers of world morality, human morality like corporate founded HRW and AI must be scratched from our construct of reality since they betrayed their mission in inhuman ways for decades now and after all, they all have been concocted by CIA/intel money, openly from phony Carter's human rights era against Soviets, while inhumane silence covered up crimes of western imperial powers.
Posted by: Kalen | Feb 7, 2017 4:20:12 PM | 59
On the more general topic of information operations in Syria, some new material has recently come to light that helps us to understand the relationship between these operations and the alleged chemical attacks in 2013-2014. Some of this material is covered in detail, with links to original sources, on a page on the ACLoS wiki.
In March and April 2013 there were reports in the British press that soil samples from alleged chemical attacks in Syria were being smuggled out of Syria in an "MI6 operation." for analysis at Porton Down (the UK's CW detection lab) From comments on various media by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HBG), a former colonel in the British army's chemical defence regiment, it's clear that he had a key role in this operation, at the same time as he was contributing as an "independent expert" to BBC and press reports.
Several interesting conclusions can be derived from matching HBG's comments to press coverage and official UK government statements:-
1. The MI6 operation to collect samples from Syria appears to have been set up in April 2012 with an injection of capital into HBG's companies, before there had been any suggestion that the regime was likely to use CW agents.
2. The soil samples collected by HBG were reported by Porton Down in April 2013 to contain sarin, but probably low-quality "kitchen sarin" similar to that reported by the Russian lab on samples collected at the same time. To cover this up, the official version was changed in May 2013 so that the soil samples became "physiological samples" (which don't reveal anything about sarin quality).
3. In Ian Pannell's BBC report on the Saraqeb incident in May 2013, HBG was presented as an independent commentator who had not visited the scene, but HBG's later comments make it clear that he and Pannell were present together. This ties the MI6 operation to the work of a BBC journalist whose report of an alleged napalm attack near Aleppo in August 2013 appears (from Robert Stuart's painstaking investigation) to have been fabricated.
All this is consistent with other evidence that the UK, and specifically MI6, has had a pivotal role in the information operations associated with the Syrian civil war, including the alleged CW attacks. From the Litvinenko poisoning (most likely the accidental result of opening a container of polonium used as a prop) to the Trump dossier, MI6's information operations appear to have become increasingly bizarre and reckless.
Posted by: pmr9 | Feb 7, 2017 4:41:53 PM | 60
Excelent work b.
Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Feb 7, 2017 4:47:29 PM | 61
Increasingly bizarre and reckless? Panic over the Trump victory?
Posted by: lysias | Feb 7, 2017 4:51:14 PM | 62
the media/amnesty like to use the word ' people' for those hanged. as if they are any citizens 'between 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed'
Posted by: brian | Feb 7, 2017 5:00:34 PM | 63
@17 'You have to be realistic: the Asad government did, and does, kill people, '
you mean the jihadi invaders
Posted by: brian | Feb 7, 2017 5:11:05 PM | 64
What government does not kill people?
Donald Trump was quite right in what he said about killers the other day.
Posted by: lysias | Feb 7, 2017 5:19:35 PM | 65
Grinding work this b, great job.
On first read it appears to me that the extreme extrajudicial number of 13000 has been arrived at far and wide in order to counter the extreme leniency that Assad has shown during this conflict with the goal of reconciliation. I understand it, but for me it's way too lenient.
So this is where we are with the fast paced shock media now. Though any sort of shit at the wall, hopefully some of it sticks before the next round of moist of fecal matter hits your newsfeed.
AI shilling for dead, bunkum establishment narrative...? We shouldn't be surprised at the desperate grasps of dying institutions in the internet age.
Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 7, 2017 5:41:59 PM | 66
If anything, Assad should answer questions on the foreign rendition program allowed to run on Syrian soil. But then, the heads of state from 50+ European, North American, Asian and African countries should also answers questions into why they were complicit in a systemic, global program of torture.
Uncomfortable, detailed infographic of every confirmed and suspected renditions flight pre 2013:
Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 7, 2017 5:59:18 PM | 67
They need to get rid of Assad (killed) so that he doesn't testify. They can't have another Milosevic boondoggle.
Posted by: P Walker | Feb 7, 2017 6:11:30 PM | 68
"From the Litvinenko poisoning (most likely the accidental result of opening a container of polonium used as a prop) to the Trump dossier, MI6's information operations appear to have become increasingly bizarre and reckless."
They can afford to be. There have never been any consequences. Not sure about this polonium as a prop because that sounds kinda bizarre.
Posted by: P Walker | Feb 7, 2017 6:15:08 PM | 69
Re HBG, much more recently we had this (written by him):
In it you will find a re-hashing of the barrel bombs, chemical weapons, white helmets etc...
It's worth having a look through the comments. Clearly the propaganda hasn't much traction there
Also note that the comments section was closed in the remarkably quick time of less than 3 hours...
HBG it seems is an adviser to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations...(UOSSM)
A check on their website (in a press release on Jan 26th)
"Dr. Khaula Sawah of UOSSM USA said, “Hundreds of thousands of lives are still in danger and we must not forget them, Wadi Barada is the new Aleppo, with a brutal besiegement and a brutal bombardment of the area..."
I can't find much info on who funds the UOSSM?
Posted by: Curtains | Feb 7, 2017 6:27:45 PM | 70
Commenter 'Pnyx' says at #35 above: "It is a known fact that torture was commonplace even before the war in Syria." Torture is illegal in Syria for many decades. Moreover it is Unconstitutional: The law against torture cannot be changed without a national referendum to change the Constitution. The Syrian Constitution in the version that came into force in year 1973 and remained in force until year 2012 says in Article 28: "No one may be tortured physically or mentally or be treated in a humiliating manner. The law defines the punishment of whoever commits such an act." The Syrian Constitution that came into force in year 2012 says in Article 53: "No one may be tortured or treated in a humiliating manner, and the law shall define the punishment for those who do so." The Syrian public and the Syrian government strongly support this item in the Constitution. The claim that the government security forces violate it with approval of supervisors is false. It is false propaganda disseminated by political opponents of the government (with the aim of undermining the honour and legitmacy of the government in the eyes of the Syrian public). The commenter ''Pnyx'' has been fooled by false propaganda. Likewise the commenter ''nonsense factory'' at #36 above is fooled and deluded. ''Nonsense factory'' -- terribly suitable appelative -- is spreading false info when he reports that during the years following 9/11/2001 the USA government sent terrorist suspects to the Syrian government to be tortured by the Syrian government and that the Syrian government tortured them. This report is effectively claiming the people of the Syrian government from top to bottom disregard their own laws. Whereas in fact the people of the government comply with their own laws. It is illegal for them to not do so, you know. If there's some part of the word "illegal" you do not understand or you think is side-steppable, you're fooled.
Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Feb 7, 2017 6:39:09 PM | 71
Thank you MofA for your informative article.
I added some personal commentary as a Syrian and some other information that is pertinent to countering these ridiculous claims. I cited all of the sources used. Here it is if you would like to take a look.
Here's one of the parts I added: "Before we even address these ridiculous claims, let me bring your attention to this report by Levant Report that was written exactly 2 years ago. “The mostly Orthodox Christian population tends to be presented as “pro-regime” in Western media reports – this perhaps because Syria’s most well-known political prison is located in Saidnaya. But the city’s Christian population believes that its very survival is dependent on the government checkpoints, tanks, and soldiers that protect it from the thousands of foreign-backed insurgents that are hunkered down in the surrounding Qalamon Mountains. Unlike the very politically involved Maronite’s of Lebanon, Syria’s Christian population tends to keep a low-profile, and has enjoyed the historical toleration shown by the secular pan-Arab Ba’athists and socialist nationalist politicians that have led the country for much of Syria’s modern period.”
Quite a contradiction right? Ok let’s take a look at this report that Amnesty International a NATO mouthpiece put together without providing any facts."
Posted by: Sarah Abed | Feb 7, 2017 6:58:01 PM | 72
A commenter above used the phrase ''a sort of Auschwitz''. I personally believe that the stories about Auschwitz are as fictitious as these recent stories about the Saidnaya prison. I don't expect or propose that you agree with me about that. We agreee that what did and did not happen at Auschwitz is a controversy for careful historians. I'd like to say that this Amnesty International report and the other Ammesty International reports about Syria over the past five years, and the credulous reception they've received in the mainstream, should be a lesson to everyone.
Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Feb 7, 2017 8:05:51 PM | 73
who needs proof when u have BRAND TRUST! Amnesty the brand u can trust!
Posted by: brian | Feb 7, 2017 8:08:19 PM | 74
B, you are on fy-ya! Great diggin'
Posted by: daffyDuct | Feb 7, 2017 8:08:45 PM | 75
Re: Posted by: P Walker | Feb 7, 2017 6:15:08 PM | 69
You can't be killed by a prop - because by their nature they are a prop - ie NOT REAL!!
Prop: "A prop, formally known as (theatrical) property, is an object used on stage or on screen by actors during a performance or screen production."
Acting - ie - NOT REAL!!
Posted by: Julian | Feb 7, 2017 8:20:49 PM | 76
Prof.Francis Boyle on the Dead Babies Report published by Amnesty International prior to Gulf/Iraq War 1.0.
Amnesty International: Imperialist Tool
This is exactly what happened. In January of 1991 the United States Senate voted in favor of war against Iraq by only five or six votes. Several Senators publicly stated that the AI/AIUSA Dead Babies Report and Campaign had influenced their votes in favor of war against Iraq. That genocidal war waged by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, inter alia, during the months of January and February 1991, killed at a minimum 200,000 Iraqis, half of whom were civilians. Amnesty International shall always have the blood of the Iraqi People on its hands!
Once it became clear that there never were any dead babies in Kuwait as alleged by Amnesty International, AI/London proceeded to engage in a massive coverup of the truth. For all I know, the same people at AI/London who waged this Dead-Babies Disinformation Campaign against Iraq are still at AI/London producing more disinformation against Arab/Muslim states in the Middle East in order to further the political and economic interests of the United States, Britain, and Israel. Because of its Dead-Babies Disinformation Campaign against Iraq and its ensuing coverup, Amnesty International will never have any credibility in the Middle East!
During the past eight years, about 1.5 million People in Iraq have died as a result of genocidal sanctions imposed upon them primarily at the behest of the United States and Britain, including in that number about 500,000 dead Iraqi children. While on the AIUSA Board of Directors, I tried to get them and AI/London to do something about this genocidal embargo against the People of Iraq, and especially against the Iraqi Children. Both AI/London and AIUSA adamantly refused to act despite the grievous harm that their Dead-Babies Disinformation Campaign had inflicted upon the People of Iraq. It was clear to me at the time that there was no way AI/London and AIUSA were going to take on Britain and the United States on behalf of the completely innocent People of Iraq.
Now we are told that there is something in the AI Mandate that precludes AI action against such genocidal economic embargoes. Of course this is nonsense. While I served on the AIUSA Board, one of our Board Chairs personally put me in charge of handling Mandate issues for the AIUSA Board. I know all about the Mandate. It was my responsibility.
Generally put, when AI/London and AIUSA want to take action on a matter because it will bring them publicity, money, members, and "influence," they pay no attention whatsoever to their so-called Mandate. Likewise, when AI/London and AIUSA decide for political or economic reasons that they will not work on human rights problem, they trot out their so-called Mandate to justify non-action
Or...how to beat the drums of war.
Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 7, 2017 8:52:07 PM | 77
AI, HWR, DWB.....
all were WMDECEPTION set up by tptb .
nonethess, they do have grunts doing regular human rights works.
The deception are engineered from above and intel agents have been exposed to infiltrate 'HR missions' on oversea missions.
This is how it works,
when they report on the empire's crime its often limited hand outs.
for exemple the 1996 was apparently limited to crimes of murkkan vassals like indonesia, turkey, columbia, saudis, india....., condoned or even abetted by washington, hence 'share the blame' .
the vastly worst crimes committed by the unitedsnake itself was ommitted. 
when they report on the 'crimes' of uncle sham's 'enemies',
its mostly distortions/exagerations or often downright fabrications. . 
here's the rule of thumb when dealing with such 'HR NGO',
When its story is about the empire itself, multiply it by a faction of 10. !
when its about the empire's 'enemies', take it with a huge pinch of salt.
, some time you could just ignore it outright when its so obviously B.S. !
The point here is,
even if the 1996 report was just a half truth,
that alone shows that uncle scam' place should be behind the dock to answer for crimes against humanities, it has no business prancing around acting as judge/prosecutor/executioner !
'Naxalites recently made headlines as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared them “the most serious internal threat to India's national security” and unleased Operation Green Hunt. Under Green Hunt 250,000 police, armed forces, and counter-insurgency teams have been deployed, while the US provides military intelligence and tactical guidance. The jungles are under a heavy siege:
checkpoints, army patrols, helicopter missions, gunfire battles that kill 40 civilians per week"
[that's 2007 figures, since then you could easily add another 5-10 M ]
genocides in sudan./tibet/ TAM ............
tipof an iceberg.
Posted by: denk | Feb 7, 2017 9:44:27 PM | 78
Minor indicators re ISIS so far, nothing more ... yet actual 'action' has been taken against Iran, which is actively expending blood & gold, fighting ISIS in Iraq & Iran. WTF ?!
Donald Trump is fast becoming Blowhard Chump. His fanboys are already stoking the flames of denial. Actual claims made include "Chump is only rattling sabers at Iran because he's buddies with BeBe Nutbaryahoo, he doesn't mean it" "Chump isn't really giving the KSA and the Wahhabi terrorist mills a free pass and punishing nations fighting against ISIS, he's actually playing a really intricate game of 11 Dimensional Chess
Here's hoping Putin doesn't abandon China and/or Iran to appease Chump. It is interesting and relevant that Assad, in a recent speech, made a point to say that Iran is Syria's #1 partner in the fight against foreign terrorists and has been helping from the beginning. Assad and Iran say absolutely no partitioning Syria...Russia is open to the idea.
Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Feb 7, 2017 9:46:02 PM | 79
Might help if you read the link.
A critical fact here is that a very peculiar property of polonium-210 is that, because it is an intense emitter of the heavy alpha particles, if a container enclosing the substance is opened, tiny amounts of the substance are liable to be 'kicked out'. A further implication of this property is that a sample of sufficient size will heat and put pressure on a container in which it is enclosed, so that leaks can result. Taken together with the fact that polonium is acutely toxic if ingested, these properties make it extremely dangerous to handle. In itself, this is one of a range of reasons why the notion that it would be deliberately chosen as an assassination weapon is not particularly plausible - while the possible of accidental contamination is everpresent if a container enclosing the substance is being handled by people who, for one reason or another, do not take proper precautions.
It is in fact less than entirely clear that without positing one of these two kinds of leak the version of how Litvinenko died endorsed by Lord Macdonald - which appears to be based upon the contention that Lugovoi deliberately inserted polonium into his victim's tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel in the late afternoon of 1 November 2006 - can be sustained. After all, if a vial of polonium had been supplied to Lugovoi by the Russian security services for use as a murder weapon, unless you postulate some kind of leak it is not immediately obvious why contamination should have been found anywhere except in the teacup and teapot, and inside Litvinenko's body. And it is certainly not obvious why Lugovoi and Kovtun should have been leaving extensive contamination both before and after they, supposedly, murdered Litvinenko.
As regards the scenario at which Lugovoi and his counsel appear to be hinting, a critical fact is that it has to have involved some action by Litvinenko whose significance is ambiguous. It does not seem very likely that the suggestion is that he was carrying around a leaking - and presumably extremely hot - container enclosing polonium. A far more plausible interpretation is that the supposed 'self-administration' is held to involve Litvinenko having opened a container. In claiming that they were 'victims of contamination rather than the authors of it', meanwhile, Lugovoi and Kovtun are implicitly suggesting that one at least one occasion on which Litvinenko did this they were sufficiently close for a significant amount of the polonium which was 'kicked out' to fall on them, causing them to begin to leave trails of contamination.
Suppose then that a container enclosing polonium had been brought to a meeting at which Litvinenko, Lugovoi and Kovtun and also others were present. Suppose - purely hypothetically - that Litvinenko wanted either to persuade some of those others of the existence of the kind of smuggling operation in which Scaramella claimed Selva was involved, or that an attempt was being made to frame him and his Chechen associates as nuclear smugglers. Obviously, if one simply produces a container, and claims that it has polonium inside it, one risks a sceptical response. However, microgram-sized samples of polonium have the very distinctive property of giving out a blue glow. So an extremely effective way of demonstrating that one actually had a sample of polonium might be to open a container.
To do this might be perfectly natural, if one was not aware of the danger that particles might be 'kicked out' and contaminate oneself and others present - and in so doing causing a potentially fatal health hazard to those in close proximity, and also, quite possibly, leading to their leaving trails of radioactive contamination elsewhere. If one was properly aware of the properties of polonium, and despite this opened a container enclosing the substance, then doing so could well constitute a 'self-administration' which had been done 'deliberately'.
Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 7, 2017 9:48:35 PM | 80
pardon me, that was supposed to be
Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 7, 2017 9:49:38 PM | 81
@46 "14,000 bodies at an average mass of 75 kg/body = 1,050 metric tons, and a volume of 1,050 cubic meters. A trench two meters wide and with an effective burial vertical height of 0.5 meters would be one kilometer long."
Maybe it's one hole, 0.5m wide, and one kilometre deep. You could put a tin roof over that and nobody would be able to see it from space.
Has anyone looked for a Syrian Soylent Green factory?
Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 7, 2017 10:09:01 PM | 82
That means Amnesty belongs to the list of FAKE news like CNN, Fox, etc. These are all bought-n-paid for shill organizations despite their high-sounding names.
Posted by: Rakesh Sharma | Feb 7, 2017 10:49:00 PM | 83
A far more plausible explanation of the Litvinenko poisoning was that it was done deliberately by British MI6 or Israel's Mossad, perhaps with the assistance of Litvinenko's employer, Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, in order to ramp up tensions with Russia by falsely accusing them of the crime. Some evidence in support of this:
1) Traces of polonium-210 were found in Boris Berezovsky's office, leading to an aborted investigation by the British police. This could have been where the poison was administered to Litvinenko.
Polonium detected at Berezovsky's office, Nov 2006
2) The only people with access to polonium-210, a radioactive element that decays with a half-life of 138 days, are those with access to a nuclear weapons program (a polonium button is a key element of a nuclear weapon, but as it decays over time, they have to be regularly replaced; hence a polonium production line is involved in every active nuclear weapons program - such as Britain's and Israel's.)
3) What kind of idiot would give their clandestine services approval to smuggle polonium-210 over international borders to commit an assassination? Why not a car bomb, instead? Or an icepick, for that matter? But if you wanted to create a "false flag" incident, a staged event, to blame on Russia? What could be better?
The Litvinenko murder is something of an enigma. To obtain polonium would seem to be the action of a sophisticated and well-connected person, but such an individual would also know that polonium leaves a radioactive trace whenever it is used or transported. Such a trail might surely lead the investigating authorities right back to the perpetrator of the crime.
I don't think Blair's government had qualms about murdering people to promote their foreign policy agenda. Look at the murder of British bioweapons expert David Kelly, who knew Saddam had no biological weapons, as another example:
To get back on topic, organizations like HRW and AI do a lot of factual reporting - but this also means that intelligence services are eager to use them as fronts for propaganda distribution when it really matters - HRW did this in Georgia in 2008, loudly claiming that Russia was the aggressor and needed to be sanctioned; this AI story looks like a very similar tactic.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2017 11:21:50 PM | 84
Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 7, 2017 11:42:44 PM | 85
@84 nf.. OT - speaking of espionage, britian and stuff like that, i see craig murray has a good story up that fits with your drift @84.. "As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of Israeli Spies in London Exposed"......
Posted by: james | Feb 8, 2017 1:14:57 AM | 86
Rand Paul made sense in the video below when he spoke about Trump's character:
No one is pushing Trump to tap Elliot Abrams for Deputy Sos. Trump wanted Bolton!!! No one is pressuring Trump to do anything; you're fooling yourself. Stop it. Trump is one of them! It's Rand Paul that is somewhat different, although I much preferred his father Ron; he has way more integrity than Rand.
Posted by: Circe | Feb 8, 2017 1:54:25 AM | 87
CBC [Radio] News, Dec. 22, 1990:
Amnesty International is telling a gruesome tale of life in Kuwait under the heel of Iraq .... The report is based on interviews with hundreds people, most of them Kuwaiti citizens who fled their country when the invasion took place. ... And that was the CBC News.[oral smirk]
G.H. Bush, CBC The National, Jan 6, 1991:
We risk paying a higher price in the most precious currency of all, human life, if we ...
To Sell a War, 1992 [CBC documentary]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaR1YBR5g6U ...
Posted by: Laurence | Feb 8, 2017 2:14:36 AM | 88
Can't believe I'm going to comment on this grotesque subject matter, but it seems to me that if someone is going to execute that many people the fastest way would be to shoot them especially if it was done extra-judicially why bother with the usual form of execution? If these allegations are true then the only reason they might resort to hanging is so that other prisoners wouldn't hear the shots?
It does seem strange to hang so many people; who does that? It's so barbaric. What a savage world the rulers have created.
The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel are responsible for all this shit. We can't have any more of this; we can't allow them to continue to turn countries into wastelands where people are killing each other like they're entertainment for the Empire. This three-headed Gorgon doesn't care who kills whom, how it's done and how many lives are lost as long as the end is satisfactory to their ambitions. The Empire has proven that Muslim lives are cheap. They pretend to care about Syrians, but to hell with the Lebanese, Iraqis, Yemeni and Palestinians. Count the lives lost in the wars on Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and in the Palestinian Territories - at least 2 million put together. Gorgon doesn't shed a tear for them. Yes, if this were true it's barbaric; but the figures seem pretty suspect.
I'm so sick of all this injustice; and now Trump's cabal want to go after Iran. I say, damn him, no more bloodshed...revolt!
Posted by: Circe | Feb 8, 2017 2:58:24 AM | 89
The last 25 years have taught me not to believe anything from any Western instition. They lie about everything - they won't stop.
Posted by: AriusArmenian | Feb 8, 2017 4:23:44 AM | 90
Never bothered to revolt under Obama
Posted by: Brian | Feb 8, 2017 4:29:55 AM | 92
Once upon a time I was a subscribing member of amnesty. The issue of their newsletter after the Gaza massacre didn't contain a single word about Gaza or Israel (and I looked very carefully) . That was the day I resigned.
I realized that all campaigning organizations with rents and wages to pay are relatively easily bought and have their owners agenda. Since then I have ignored them.
Posted by: jont | Feb 8, 2017 6:22:59 AM | 93
@Ghubar Shabih | Feb 7, 2017 8:05:51
Thousands of Jews were gassed in Auschwitz, but not millions. That genocide was organized by Nazis collaborating with Zionists, both (some not realizing it fully) at service of the Brutish Empire, that Hitler was great admirer and wanted an alliance with (writes about it in "Mein Kampf"). Thus he spared the UK on a number of occasions (Dunkirk, "Battle of Britain", "DDay"). Sent Hess on a secret mission for further instructions, but then was betrayed by the London masters. "6 million burned Jews" is a myth pushed for many decades before - crucial for Zionist plans to establish in Palestine the colony of the Brutish Empire called Israel. Ships with Jews trying to escape Europe were turned away by the US Zionists, who signed the "Transfer Agreement" with the Nazis in the 1930s in order to force European Jews into Palestine (read also "Perfidy"). George Soros got wealthy taking over the wealth of the Jews in Europe slaughtered by Himmler (a Jew). The allies could have bombed tracks to Auschwitz but did not (neither in other places). Many Jews skim the US, UK other countries today for false claims as "Holocaust victims". The term "Holocaust" ("burnt offering") was not widely used until late 1960, "Shoah" was used instead. Some widely publicized stories about Holocaust survivors" were unmasked as hoaxes.
Nazi SS general Reinhard Gehlen, who co-created CIA after war, started the campaign to also blame the Polish, who one of the greatest victims of the WW2, for the crimes of Germans. His Zionist friends joined in on the scam and want to extort from Poland ca. 65 billion U$D claiming fake "collaboration with the Nazis against the Jews". Hitlary Clinton promised them the money.
New film aims to set record straight over German Nazi death camps
Auschwitz was established to exterminate the Polish underground resistance, rather than European Jews, says German historian, Nikolaus Wachsmann.
Posted by: ProPeace | Feb 8, 2017 7:11:06 AM | 94
ProPeace: The allies could have bombed tracks to Auschwitz but did not (neither in other places).
They also could have bombed industries (instead they bombed citizens...)
(Secret Services Britain and Germany cooperated; see also Canaris/IG-Farben)
Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 8, 2017 10:33:48 AM | 96
" The Amnesty International "infographic" titled, "Shocking Facts About Who’s Arming Human Rights Abusers," portraying Russia's arming of Syria as "fueling the most bloodshed" is not "shocking" at all when one realizes the disingenuous human rights advocacy organization is run by US State Department officials and is funded by convicted criminal George Soros' Open Society Institute (annual report page 8) as well as the UK Department for International Development (page 8), the European Commission, and other corporate-funded foundations. The "infographic," in this context, clearly becomes a case of shameless, politically motivated propaganda using the Amnesty International "brand" to give it the legitimacy its increasingly distrusted sponsors lack."
Who still doesn't know the truth behind this foul bullhorn of warmongering propagandists, their lies and filth?
"Seek and ye shall find."
Posted by: No | Feb 8, 2017 10:35:30 AM | 97
nonsense factory 84
was Dr kelly's death to cover up something even more sinister than alleged wmd in iraq, ever heard of 'ethnic specific bio weapon' ??
'In June 1997, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that Secretary Cohen "quoted other reports about what he called 'certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could eliminate certain ethnic groups or races.'" Then after a later interview with the Defense Secretary in August 1997, it was stated again in Jane's Defense Weekly that "he also continued to insist that the science community is 'very close' to being able to manufacture 'genetically engineered pathogens that could be ethnically specific'
Posted by: denk | Feb 8, 2017 12:02:21 PM | 98
On the death of Dr. David Kelly, blogger Emptywheel made some interesting points about the simultaneous visit of Tony Blair to Washington on July 17-18, 2003: Tony's Surprise Visit.
Posted by: lysias | Feb 8, 2017 12:13:40 PM | 99
I have a recurring fantasy that we can get the MSM in the UK under the Treason legislation, eg "if a man do levy war against our lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King's enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere". Are they not giving aid and comfort to terrorists over and over again, and are they not our monarch's enemies?
Or there is Part 1 of the 2006 Terrorism Act, which includes offences related to encouraging terrorism.
Ah well! I can dream.
Posted by: Allan Saunders | Feb 8, 2017 12:25:30 PM | 100