Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 14, 2012

How False Human Rights Claims Create War

The Humanitarian War is a film by Julien Teil which shows the absurdity of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine that is now in fashion to launch colonial wars. I recommend to watch at least the first two parts.

In the first episode we can see the leader of Amnesty International France asserting that Gaddhafi paid black mercenaries to fight the rebels attacking his state. This was of course before Gaddhafi was overthrown. After that happened, the same person was on TV trolling concern about the plight of black Libyans being chased, imprisoned and killed by the rebels based solely on "rumors" of them being mercenaries. So who, one might ask, planted those rumors if not the head of Amnesty International France?

Yesterday Amnesty International claimed it had documented that "widespread torture" is used in Syria.

The London-based human rights group issued a report Wednesday based on interviews with 25 Syrians who said they endured torture in various detention centers before fleeing across the border to Jordan.

One wonder what those interviewees got for or what other interests they might have for coming up with those black mercenaries torture claims. And no, I do not doubt that some people get mistreated in Syrian prisons. But I do doubt the veracity of "widespread torture" that Amnesty claims based solely on witnesses which have an interest in making such claims.

In the second part of the film The Humanitarian War the head of the Libyan League of Human Rights, an organization linked to the International Federation of Human Rights, is interviewed. That League compiled a dossier of "humanitarian crimes" Gaddhafi was supposed to have committed. It included ten thousands of dead, hundreds of alleged rape cases and other ghastly stuff. That list was presented by the League in front of the UN's Human Rights Council and led to Gaddhafi's Libya being removed from that council and referred to the UN Security Council. The same list was used by the prosecutor of the International Cangaroo Criminal Court in his case against Gaddhafi.

But as that head of the League, Dr. Soliman Bouchuiguir, later admits in an interview all his numbers and cases were solely based on hearsay from the rebels National Transitional Council of Libya. Three of those council members and current members of Libya's provisional government are part of or related to his organization and are now directly profiting from making the false case against Gaddhafi.

Yesterday Human Rights Watch made a splash across the media claiming it had first hand accounts of witnesses that the Syrian army is mining the boarder with Lebanon and Turkey. Human Rights Watch claims that those mines are supposed to keep refugees from fleeing from Syria.

But there is nothing new to those land mines. Indeed it was the Syrian government which in November 2011 said that it was planting mines along its borders to keep smugglers from smuggling weapons, like these Kornet Anti-Tank-Guided-Missiles the rebels use, into Syria.

And what by the way did Human Rights Watch say when Israel mined its border with Syria to prevent civilian refugees from Syria from coming into Israel?

Of note - neither the U.S. nor Israel nor Syria is part of the Ottawa Treaty that would prohibit them from using mines. Unlike some of the news reports about the HRW finding claim, using those mines is not internationally prohibited.

Amnesty International as well as human rights organizations have been wrong with regards to Libya. One might even claim that they were the willingly tools used for the colonial destruction of the Libyan state.

Any claim such organizations make should be scrutinized very carefully. Anything they say that is without hard proof should be ignored. No policy decision or judgement, especially for war, should be based on their reports.

Posted by b on March 14, 2012 at 17:23 UTC | Permalink


Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Int., ICC, you name it they have all become tools used to justify wars by the West to scare other nations. Of course the latest is the big fad on Kony2012. What a joke, its like crying anti semitism by someone like Allan Dershowitz and Israel Firsters by friedman, after a while it is used to frighten people so they fall in line and not ask questions. Seems like if you want to deflect your own crimes, start a group to attack those crimes and then support the group so you can manipultae the message. If any of those groups were legitimate, G. Bush and Tony Blair would be in jail along with Netanyahou and others like them.
Haven't heard much from any of these groups in the past coupl eof days while 26 Gazans have been killed. Nor for that matter from the cowardly arab governments and arab league who are up in arms over Syrians getting killed but seem to not want to get involved in Gaza.

Posted by: ana souri | Mar 14 2012 18:30 utc | 1

It's a tactic . The Structured Delusion of Prop-agenda. And it works...

See my comment, here.

Boy, that didn't take long..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 14 2012 19:12 utc | 2

I suggest that we return to the good old humanitarian practice of taking in refugees ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 19:37 utc | 3

ana souri @ 1
There is the Bush thing, I believe have convicted both Bush and Blair for warcrimes, and they can not travel to every country without being apprehended for war crimes.
Maybe someone else knows more about this, There was some talk about indighting Obama too.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 20:00 utc | 4

Tariq Ali
"There is no such thing as a ‘humanitarian’ war."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 20:06 utc | 5

Both individual people and national governments act in their self-interest. They then cite certain moral/political/religious principles if they feel compelled to justify or rationalize their actions. Which they do out of self-interest rathr than principle.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 14 2012 20:13 utc | 6

ralph says, @6...

"oth individual people and national governments act in their self-interest."


there's no such thing as "the common good", "common good" is an alien concept, foisted on us by mealy-mouthed do-gooder girly men.

the only thing that counts is "dog-eat-dog", and may the mightiest dog win.

so rationalize murdering people ...maybe they've got something you want, or you lie about your actions (i dint do it!!!)... or maybe your culture has degenerated to the point that wisdom like yours is commonly accepted.

your wisdom is the basic building block of enduring cultures, isnt it?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 20:36 utc | 7


I was just describing how people and nations act and react, not passing judgement on it.

Sometimes people and even nations act out of principle against their own interests, but it really is the exception. And even "the common good" is often advanced simply as a rationalization or extra brownie point for something they would have done out of their own interest anyways.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 14 2012 20:40 utc | 8

Kony 2012 screening in Uganda results in anger, rocks thrown at screen

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 20:40 utc | 9

ralph says @8...

"I was just describing how people and nations act and react, not passing judgement on it"

about time you started exercising some judgement, isnt it?

you dont have to be a genius to figure out what "the common good" is.

we're all of us floating around on this little ball of dirt, we're all in the same leaky little boat, there's not a chance in hell we're gonna get a chance to move to another planet once we've trashed this one.

so we'd better start acting in the best interests of humanity... unless, of course, humanity isnt worth saving, because peple are just too goddamned selfish to survive.

you could make a case for that, i spose.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 20:51 utc | 10

why not email this TO amnesty International? they may like to know what they are doing

Posted by: brian | Mar 14 2012 20:55 utc | 11


I would like to see acting in the common good become the rule rather than the exception. It would represent a triumph of human reason and compassion over our base nature. Too bad the cards are so heavily stacked against it, biologically, socially and economically.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 14 2012 21:12 utc | 12

And yet.

If we roll back the clock to year zero of this blog, this is b's preferred world order:

-Uday Hussein forever!

-Qaddafi forever!

-Greater Israel forever!

-Georgia, Ukraine, Chechnya--Russian satellites forever!

-Mubarak forever! (this must be the logical consequence of non-intervention)

-Asad forever!

-Baathism forever!

-Taliban forever!

Of course, one must assume the (un)principle of non-intervention is not permitted to exert influence in the unfolding economic disaster in the Eurozone; so,

-German neocon comprador finance banking hegemony forever!

And, if you are starving in Africa, fuck you.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 14 2012 21:41 utc | 13

The idea of "common good" can best be understood in the works of anarchist theoretician Petr Kropotkin. In the present day context in those of Elinor Ostrom and her successors. The term can be used scientifically AND used for making a more human society.

Posted by: JohnE | Mar 14 2012 21:42 utc | 14 were(are) a figment of USuk geopolitical imagination, a momentary recrudescence of manufactured terror needed to justify interevention(s). George Bush blew up those ugly buildings.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 14 2012 21:47 utc | 15

floater @ 13

The best thing would be for an intervention in the USA, to stop that rouge state from bombing and executing in other countries.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 22:06 utc | 16

latest from amnesty FB site:
Amnesty International UK
‎6,500 dead. Thousands more injured. Nightmarish testimonies of torture. Lives shattered. The bloodshed in Syria must end now. We are calling on Russia - a key arms supplier to Assad's regime - to use its influence and pressure the Syrian authorities to end this brutal crackdown on largely peaceful protests. Please email the Minister of Foreign Affairs now and appeal for his help.

go and counter the lies

i cant help wondering what sort of clueless person lets themselves be manipulated by a group like amnesty..they are like the victims of conmen

Posted by: brian | Mar 14 2012 22:40 utc | 17

- Joseph Kony resolution introduced in House.

Two House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a resolution supporting efforts to counter the Lord's Resistance Army, hoping to build on the momentum created by a viral YouTube video spotlighting the atrocities of LRA leader Joseph Kony. The resolution, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. and Ed Royce, R-Calif., calls for, among other things, expanding the number of regional forces in Africa to protect civilians.


Wow, I guess Ed Royce, R-Calif, must really care about poor people in Uganda. I mean why else would he want to send US "advisors" into oil-rich Northern Uganda for? That Ed Royce, must really be a kind, gentle, California Republican with a heart of gold.... (end of sarcasm).

- If you are a Muslim living in London, you are forbidden from posting the following comment on Facebook, without getting arrested and facing 6 months prison time.


Story of his Arrest for Facebook Comment:

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 14 2012 23:00 utc | 18 were(are) a figment of USuk geopolitical imagination, a momentary recrudescence of manufactured terror needed to justify interevention(s).

Damn slothrop, that's the first intelligent comment, IMO, you've made in a long time. Continue in that vein and I'll recant on my recantation. But then again maybe this is just a manifestation of my cerebral lesions. I really hope the former.

Posted by: juannie | Mar 14 2012 23:01 utc | 19

'those ugly buildings.'

They were ugly and needed to be pulled. I just wish they didn't have to take all those lives with them. Not only the lives taken that fateful day, but all the lives taken thereafter with that as the pretext.

Posted by: Sultanist | Mar 14 2012 23:39 utc | 20

Again, the point is, I present to you in all its hoary contradiction and desultory application, alternative consequences offered by the USuk thesis.

There is no plan, man, except the usual default brutality.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 14 2012 23:59 utc | 21

So you explain all this by claiming the entire motivation by all the PTB, the elite that are presently in majority control and are pulling all the military industrial strings today, as brutality for brutality’s sake? Their psychopathic minds just delight in maximum suffering by as many as possible of their fellow human beings? If it were that simple I can see that it would explain a lot. But my damaged and feeble mind is incapable of comprehending such simplicity in such a complex and multifaceted and chaotic world. It kind of sounds to me as bullshit for bullshit's sake.

Posted by: juannie | Mar 15 2012 1:44 utc | 22

The plan is simple, resource hegemony. Not the first time in the history, won't be the last. To insure dominance of the dollar in world economics, aka the petro-dollar,a few lives mean nothing.

Posted by: ben | Mar 15 2012 3:00 utc | 23

juannie @ 22.

If it were that simple I can see that it would explain a lot.

That makes slothrop's proposition worthy of a more considered reaction than summary and derisive dismissal.

Make a couple of lists.
1. Why he's right.
2. Why he's wrong.

Haven't you heard of Schadenfreude?

The disgustingly rich need something to keep boredom at bay.
And let's not forget that they're psychopaths first and control freaks (megalomaniacs) second.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 15 2012 3:32 utc | 24

Interview with Chris Hedges. Somewhat OT, but, relevant:

Posted by: ben | Mar 15 2012 3:58 utc | 25

brian @ 17

Please use your influence to ensure a quick end to the bloodshed in Syria

Dear Minister,
I would like to show my support in these hard times, when the west are blocking any resolution in the UN.

Surely there must be a way to persuade the western countries to agree to condemn violence on both sides.

Russia and China seems to be the only reasonable actors in this case. While some complain with Russia supplying arms to Syria, my grievance is the west supplying arms to the terrorist opposition.

I don't know why the western actors have decided to overthrow the Syrian regime, but it is a undemocratic and unrealistic request, and completely unresponsible

Yours sincerely,

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 15 2012 4:42 utc | 26

Paranoia or fact? You be the judge.

Posted by: ben | Mar 15 2012 5:03 utc | 27

"the media is a proxy fuelling these wars .... this world is a chaos"

Posted by: somebody | Mar 15 2012 6:35 utc | 28

Paul Danahar ‏ @pdanahar

"Why is the rubbish piling up" I asked my driver in #tripoli "Because all the African people ran away" he said. #Libya!/pdanahar/status/179539443655516160/photo/1

Let me guess - Britain and France cannot compete with Gulf money funding milias in Libya.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 15 2012 8:40 utc | 29

recapping: how it works...

our real motive in syria is unseemly...

we have to secure pipeline routes from iraq and the persian gulf to the mediterranean, because we'll need pipelines to provide alternate routing, through syria, for the 16 or 17 million barrels of oil that normally go through hormuz every day.

so we need a pretext.

so we arm malcontents, maybe even import malcontents, sponsor an "uprising", and cause some casualties... the number of casualties is not too important because the number can be exaggerated by your tame malcontent spokesmen, and will be repeated as gospel by the tame western media.

it helps if you can kill a couple journalist, because that will get lots attention from the media.

this situation drags on long enough to mount a campaign that insists on "humanitarian intervention", and your real motive, building pipelines, is obscured.

good deal.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 15 2012 12:27 utc | 30

a reminder that bibi netanyahu,nine years ago, was expecting the imminent arrival of iraqi oil in israel.

nine years is a long time to hold your breath.

About 3,450 results for: netanyahu "iraq oil" "to israel" pipedream

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 15 2012 12:32 utc | 31

those ugly buildings.

A case of killing two birds with one stone. Combining the merely practical with the terrifying.

Slothrop, as I understand him, which is maybe not too well, has radical (for lack of a better term) view of the world, though it is as juannie pointed out it is rather uni-polar: So you explain all this by claiming the entire motivation by all the PTB, the elite that are presently in majority control and are pulling all the military industrial strings today, as brutality for brutality’s sake?

He can’t stand b’s non-interventionism and has it in for him. Whether this springs from hope/idealism I very much doubt, so the articulation is missing. Could it merely be principle? That sounds odd. He would surely accept that post-Saddam Iraq is a disaster, and it would have been better not to act, for everyone, the US, the W, the ME, etc.? Or not?

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 15 2012 17:07 utc | 32

It's not that hard, blackie. b prefers Russian-backed Arab totalitarian regimes who murderously repress any dissent. And besides, b's professed anti--interventionism is so riddled with contradictions that I understand why he doesn't defend it intellectually. Anti-USuk doesn't make any sense. Just look at how he's unable to enter the behavior of Germany in the European economic crisis into the calculus of USuk. Pretty pathetic.

brian, you dolt. Create HTML links for your web addresses.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 15 2012 17:35 utc | 33

slothrop, don't you have anything better to do? I would bother with your inane chatter if occasionally you had something positive to share, but you virtually never offer anything of value and only ever to inject or denigrate b and his views. Why is that?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 15 2012 17:49 utc | 34

Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge that b's ideas don't make any sense, unless you favor the preservation of totalitarian regimes, starvation in Africa, and Germany-led austerity aimed at destroying southern Europe? To name just a few crazy right-wing libertarian, reflexively anti-US bullshit?

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 15 2012 18:33 utc | 35

I don't think that it's merely a coincidence or a random toss of the dice that the Democratic leadership appointed a foreign policy team which is led by a motherly-looking figure like Hillary Clinton and a pair of girly-looking women like Susan Rice and Samantha Power. This all fits nicely into their neoliberal agenda to project soft power on the world's stage and use humanitarian reasons as an excuse to invade and occupy resource-rich nations throughout the neo-colonial world.

And because Republican foreign policy is based on neoconservative principles which project hard power on the world's stage and embrace red-meat patriotism as a pretext for military aggression, it's no surprise that the Bushies appointed a woman with well-defined biceps to be George Junior's Secretary of State. No doubt that it's a plus to have a woman like Condi Rice who's got a lower fat-to-muscle ratio than most American men to lead the rallying cries for war.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 15 2012 19:21 utc | 36

slothrop @ 35

corncobuk wrote
What is the wests obsession with calling for armed uprising in these countries? If we saw such an uprising here in the west would our governments act any differently? If you don`t want it in the west don`t encourage it elsewhere. It`s totally irresponsible

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 15 2012 19:48 utc | 37


I wouldn’t bother with you either except as contrary to what Unc$ says, I do occasionally think you have something positive to add here. However over the past several years it has become less and less. Maybe, just maybe, you are the lone voice crying in the wilderness and you have it all right and everyone else is blinded by our unrecognized folly. I don’t know just why I find it “so hard to acknowledge why b’s ideas don’t make any sense” to me but they do. There are few voices out there today who I find make any as much informed sense as b’s. And I do not, and don’t for a second believe he favors any of the travesties you enumerate. As I say, maybe I and most here are blind and don’t see that you alone have the truth, but in my heart of hearts and scientifically trained, and I believe rational and logical mind, I am convinced that you are off base and incorrect and b is a gem of great worth.

Now, I would enjoin you to either totally stop trying to denigrate b and only post when you have something that you believe is on topic and of value, or quietly leave on your own accord before everyone else here convinces b to evict you. You are making no impact here except to disrupt. If you continue on that course then we could conclude that that is your sole purpose in being here and I would ask b to accept my recantation of my already double recantation and kick your ass out.

Posted by: juannie | Mar 15 2012 21:20 utc | 38

The "Responsibility to Protect" (aka R2P) doctrine advanced by Samantha Power is the left-wing version of interventionist neoconservative ideology. Where the right intervenes ostensibly to promote democracy, the left intervenes ostensibly to protect civilians. Both sound principled in theory, but in practice the results are quite costly and bloody, and are likely to have all sorts of unintended consequences.

In the same way that money burns a hole in some people's pockets, commanding the world's most powerful military appears to have an intoxicating effect on political elites. With such power at their disposal, it's no wonder they can't resist the temptation to put it to use. The very fact that they possess such power probably entices them to intervene in foreign lands, despite the costs from such interventions dramatically exceed their benefits. It's therefore unlikely that R2P would have been hatched by elites in Leichtenstein, for example.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 15 2012 21:44 utc | 39

Hillary Clinton, motherly? If she were my mother, I'd wish I was an abortion.

Posted by: Sultanist | Mar 15 2012 22:14 utc | 40

Sultanist @ 40.

Yeah, and you wouldn't be alone.
There's a big difference between making motherhood statements (tut-tut, "How dare you disagree / think for yourself?"), and being motherly.
There's a well-co-ordinated psy-war being conducted by the West's so-called leaders against their subjects, and Putin and the Chinese are going to drive a stake through its heart(less).
It's an endless source of amusement for me to contrast Shrillary's abrasive and loud-mouthed brainlessness with Lavrov's exemplary brand of respectful diplomacy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 15 2012 23:16 utc | 41

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that stupid western UN-members refuse to put in some condemnation of violence on both sides. Hillary the warmonger has thrown her weight around to portray the rebels as total rolemodel innnocent hope of democracys. That is the whole deal, the west blame Russia and China, when it is the west that refuse to include condemnation of all violence in an US-resolution.
Anyway, the only UN-resolution the west are interested in is one that will pave the way for an intervention.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 15 2012 23:53 utc | 42

not "US-resolution", rather "UN-resolution"

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 15 2012 23:54 utc | 43

I didn't say Hillary Clinton acts motherly, Sultanist @ 40. I said she looks motherly. And in the political world as well as in the media world, looks overshadow actions by at least several solar masses. This is because both of these worlds revolve around marketing and advertising.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 16 2012 0:05 utc | 44

Charlatans are persons who are at the very least dishonest in the application of their theories to reality. b has over the past three years engaged in progressively disingenuous anti-USuk polemics contradicted by facts.

There are just way too many contradictions. Though I would like to admit that many of the things that b writes about, I agree with – and often I play the devil's advocate– the truth is the contradictions are mitigated only by increasingly bizarre conspiracy mongering. It's really too much

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 16 2012 1:07 utc | 45

Hillary looks motherly? Yeah, if your mother was the gorgon

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 16 2012 3:32 utc | 46

Coda. ( i read slothrop and the rest, this is all for now in this dead thread)


Decree of the Ministry of Labor: 25 and younger, salary, 510 Euros p. month, independently of job/sector/qualifications.

How this is applicable, is a mystery, because it is bound to contradict many, many, other laws / accords / signed conventions, etc. Certainly there will be exceptions, with ppl being paid more. This decree resembles that of an all powerful dictator or a military occupier.

Greece’s priority is to undertake competitiveness-enhancing structural reforms - Lagarde.

An article in Le Temps (bourgeois-right-mainstream-serious, CH) states that Russian and Turkish criminal orgs. (Mafia..) have entered Greece and are set to devour it, in the same way as they have acted in Serbia. It is argued in the article that the EU (directorate, upper reaches) turns a blind eye to the Mafia.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 16 2012 20:52 utc | 47

Anmesty in Action in Libya - see in this CBC video, from about 3.28. Libya researcher Diana Eltahawy for AI looks at some charred body photos on a PC screen and immediately jumps to a conclusion that Gaddafi did it, with not a scrap of evidence and in all likelihood some kind of faked human rights trap to plant evidence on the old regime. Pathetic and partial.

Posted by: felix | Mar 16 2012 23:28 utc | 48

Noirette @ 16 -- I think Greece is being used to clearly demonstrate to the troubled EU nations, indeed, to the people of the rest of the developed world that they too can be subjected to the full IMF-style austerity treatment. Presently, Greece's wealthier allies in the EU are in charge of enforcing that austerity.

Labor contracts, even constitutional laws be damned. The Big Banksters will get their money, no matter waht.

I cannot believe there has not been a total revolt against both the existing Greek government and the EU functionaries inflicting their death by a thousand billion cuts.

Are the Greek people waiting for the next elections, hoping for change? And if there is none, then they will be taking down their oppressors? Can they accomplish change by either method?

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 17 2012 23:38 utc | 49

And did they have to implement the sanctions on Iran? That one is going to hurt, if Iran was evil, they would cut the oil now.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 18 2012 1:32 utc | 50

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