Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2015

HRW's Kenneth Roth Continues Unfounded Accusations With Another False Picture

Last week we found that Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth used an image of destruction in Gaza caused by Israel to accuse the Syrian government of indiscriminate use of "barrel bombs". We wrote:

This is thereby at least the third time HRW is using a wrongly attributed pictures to depict current enemies of U.S. imperialism as having causing the damage the U.S. empire and/or its friends have caused.

That is not mere bias by HRW. It is willful fraud.

After our post and many protests on Twitter Kenneth Roth retracted and deleted that tweet. He posted:


Not being happy about having to retract the accusing tweet he sent out a new one again accusing the Syrian government of causing the depicted destruction through "barrel bombs":


The picture is, of course on must say by now, not of destruction caused by Syrian government "barrel bombs".

For this tweet Kenneth Roth appropriated an AFP picture taken by George Ourfalian and distributed by the the Gettyimages agency.


The caption of the original Getty image reads:

A general view shows destruction in the Hamidiyeh neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as local popular committee fighters, who support the Syrian government forces, try to defend the traditionally Christian district on the third day of intense battles with Islamic State group jihadists on April 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GEORGE OUFALIAN

The destruction in the picture is of a neighborhood attacked by anti-Syrian Jihadists and defended by pro-Syrian forces in support of the government. Is Kenneth Roth insinuating that the Syrian government caused that damage by "barrel bombing" its supporters? Or did rather the "moderate rebels" he seemingly supports destroyed those buildings.

Judging from the pattern of image usage by Human Rights Watch and Kenneth Roth we can safely assume that the second is the case.

And while Kenneth Roth is waxing about "barrel bombs" in Syria, which are no different than any general purpose air delivered bomb, we are still waiting for his tweet against the use of U.S. made thermobaric bombs by the Saudi government in Yemen where such weapons against hardened structures are incidentally killing and maiming many innocent people.

With his very selective accusations and false pictures Kenneth Roth has turned Human Rights Watch into a mere outrage-for-profit public relation agency on the payroll of "western" governments and various Gulf dictatorships.

Posted by b on May 15, 2015 at 6:16 UTC | Permalink


To be fair, all this was posted already on the 9th of may by another blogger:

Should give credit to them.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15 2015 6:51 utc | 1

Netanyahu's narrow win by only 24% of the Israeli population, generally those 26% of Israelis who are former-Soviet Khazars from the Berlin Wall immigration wave, the so-called 'White Israelis', and his appointment of hard-right ethnic cleansers into key military:judicial positions means that picture of Gaza/Allepo will be repaated over and over again as the ZIRPists crush Freedom and Democracy with odious illegal debt in the form of 'structural adjustments' to health and human services budgets, as the world races madly ahead into the typhoon of Oil War 3.

Posted by: NoReply | May 15 2015 7:12 utc | 2

Agreed. I simply don't understand what's so heinous about "barrel bombs" of between 500kg to 1 tonne when you compare those to "iron bombs".

Is it because General Dynamics or Raytheon don't make a profit of several thousand dollars, as they do for every "iron bomb"?

Or is it because you don't need a jet fighter-bomber to deliver them, thus denying Lockheed Martin or Boeing several million dollars in war profiteering?

It can't be because "barrel bombs" are inherently inaccurate, since the same thing is true of "iron bombs".

So what's the problem, exactly?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 15 2015 7:27 utc | 3

Roth's cowardly, infantile bullshit is beginning to remind me of another cowardly, infantile bullshit artist - Joe McCarthy. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long for Roth to continue emulating his hero all the way to the grave.
McCarthy, faced with irrefutable exposure and shame, committed suicide - to the eternal gratitude of his many (falsely accused) victims.

Is there a Nobel Prize for what McCarthy did and what Roth is Hell bent on doing?
McCarthy was a Christian. Which Moral Compass guides Roth?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 15 2015 8:24 utc | 4

In other news, looks like the CIA's sponsored coup in Burundi's hit a brick wall.. All the mutineers/bought soldiers have been captured/killed..

Interesting times... :)

Posted by: Zico | May 15 2015 9:02 utc | 5

The US has patterned a distinct template of regime change that’s visibly discernable in Macedonia, after having of course been perfected in Syria and Ukraine first. When a country is targeted for asymmetrical attack, the US deploys a Color Revolution attempt in order to promote ‘soft’ destabilization (which as can be seen from the Syrian and EuroMaidan innovations, actually involves quite a lot of bloodshed). Should this tactic fail to dislodge the democratically elected and legitimate government, then the US begins pursuing an Unconventional War (terrorism and insurgency) to pile on the pressure and hope that it’s enough to topple the authorities. The final scenario in all cases is to provoke a conventional military intervention if the previous two regime change attempts are unsuccessful, although such a force is nowadays expected to be disguised as a ‘humanitarian intervention’/’responsibility to protect’/’anti-terrorism’ operation.

The US succeeded in overthrowing Ukraine’s government with a Color Revolution, but this didn’t come to pass in Syria, hence the escalation to an Unconventional War. The same thing is happening in Macedonia right now, even down to the ISIL-trained fighters. The Color Revolution is flailing, ergo why it’s morphing into an Unconventional War. The US has purposely resurrected one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the Balkans, the Kosovo Liberation Army, in order to incite ethnic divisions between Albanian and Slavic Macedonians and facilitate its regime change plans. At the same time, however, it’s taking a somewhat novel approach by keeping the Color Revolution on life support and attempting to integrate it into the Unconventional War.

The strategy here is to apply dual mechanisms of pressure that can engage in ‘friendly competition’ with one another in seeing which can overthrow the government first.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 15 2015 10:23 utc | 6


' McCarthy, faced with irrefutable exposure and shame, committed suicide ... '

That caught my eye. Hadn't heard that one before. Wikipedia says ...

' McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was acute hepatitis; it is widely accepted that this was caused, or at least exacerbated, by alcoholism. '

OK .. alcoholism is one means of suicide ... or do you have some other information in hand? I'm sure Joe McCarthy drove some others to suicide ...

He was a good Catholic boy ... sent on his loathsome mission by Fr. Edmund Aloysius Walsh, S.J ... who founded Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

The Jesuits at Fordham gave another good Catholic CIA Boy - John 'Torture & Drones' Brennan an appreciation day a while back, as well.

Poor Ray McGovern - another good Catholic CIA Boy and Fordham alumnus, one who still takes that stuff seriously, apparently - was beside himself at that last - tears of rage, tears of grief ...

Posted by: jfl | May 15 2015 11:58 utc | 7

In general HRW is a sewer of disinformation. The presence of HRW usually means that a US government regime-change operation is underway.

Posted by: Gareth | May 15 2015 13:25 utc | 8

@ 3: "So what's the problem, exactly?"

No problem, just more semantics, in the never ending propaganda war by the Empire's mouth pieces.

Posted by: ben | May 15 2015 14:04 utc | 9

@okie farmer #6
I'd just like to point out that there was a Color Revolution in Ukraine before the Maidan: look up Orange Revolution.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 15 2015 14:31 utc | 10

The UN has used false pix as well, about Syria. I sent them an e mail and received no reply.

Here is another well-known one, taken up by Vera Graziadei (blog, she didn’t discover it.) A grieving mother at Odessa (massacre in the House of Unions) is pictured as a victim of Putin’s policies, care of Human Rights Watch.

The point is that they don’t care if they lie. They know that first images stick, and almost nobody will bother to read a correction, or chase up the original pic etc. Shock value, first impressions, belief in the MSM, that is all. It works.

Posted by: Noirette | May 15 2015 14:57 utc | 11

My favorite is a picture proving that Russian regular army invided Ukraine: (the actual photos distributed by Ukrainian officials to US senators had Caucasus mountains in the background and were few years old).

I guess Kenneth Roth should write "I < stroke>stand< /stroke> lie uncorrected".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 15 2015 15:15 utc | 12

I suppose they wish to divert attention from the actual cluster bombs Saudi Arabia is using against the civilian population of Yemen, which the US is aiding and abetting and profiting from. As the Pope has taught little children recently, there are people in this world who profit from war. My memory of barrel bombs goes back to the invasion of Baghdad, Shock and Awe - that is, if barrel bombs are the same as bunker busters - the sparks generated by depleted uranium in that horrific spectacle are burned into my memory. Pinochet had nothing on Cheney.

Posted by: juliania | May 15 2015 15:20 utc | 13

McCarthy was onto something,he just called them Commies,when in fact they were all Zionists.
A misidentification issue.Such is the way of those who by deception rule.And Roth is a member of that collective.

Posted by: dahoit | May 15 2015 15:27 utc | 14

Posted by: jfl | May 15, 2015 7:58:17 AM | 7

It came from a doco The Real American - Joe McCarthy (2011) which claims that soon after his fall into disgrace he told an associate that his doctor had warned "Your next drink could kill you" upon which he produced a bottle of whisky from his coat, poured himself a generous measure, and quaffed it.

The difference between the doco & wiki's version is purely cosmetic. The doco didn't mention an Official Story controversy surrounding his death.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 15 2015 15:32 utc | 15

@10 ǝn⇂ɔ... okies ot post says that too.. first the colour rev, then if that doesn't work - unconventional war..

Posted by: james | May 15 2015 15:44 utc | 16

B seems to be getting desperate to dispute Assad's war crimes while attempting to paint a Dorian Grey like picture of a benevolent autocrat. This picture of Aleppo shows the result of three years of SAA aerial bombardment not a recent battle. Calling the Syrian rebels anti-Syrian not anti-Assad is clever but hardly informative. Claiming that barrel bombs are no different than other bombs contradicts what the Russians and Chinese affirmed when the voted to condemn their use in the UN but it does at least admit their use.

I have many problems with HRW but they have investigated and condemned the use of cluster munitions by the Israelis and the Ukrainian Army on civilians just as they condemn the use of barrel bombs in Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 15 2015 17:12 utc | 17


Yes. Bombs are bombs. There is a war going on in Syria, and bombs are being dropped. A shocking precedent!

Posted by: chuckvw | May 15 2015 17:34 utc | 18

Yeah, HRW "investigated and condemned" in very different words the crimes of USA allies than ones of USA foes. One could compare.
By the way, "Ukrainian Army" actually includes the bunches of Nazis, who openly praise Ukrainian SSmen (the same). USA support them.
Now, if Wayoutwest is SO much against autocrats, what about USA relationship with the ME royals? The ONLY reason USA and HRW are against Assad is NOT him being "autocrat" or his crimes, but his support for anti-Zionist Resistance - the difference between him and USA best buddies. Of course, Wayoutwest whitewashes USA/HRW real intentions.

Posted by: lidia | May 15 2015 17:46 utc | 19

The "barrel bomb" is an alliterative rhetorical device deployed soon after the Ghouta false flag incident didn't pan out the way it was intended, thanks to Kerry's faux pas and Lavrov's deft diplomacy. The U.S. needs to operate behind a R2P smokescreen and the whole WMD/sarin/dirty bomb -- take your pick -- had been tapped one times too many and was falling on the deaf ears of a increasingly jaded public. Enter the catchy double 'b' barrel bomb. That's been milked good and plenty. It is experiencing a renaissance of late as it is matched with chlorine gas, i.e., barrel bombs of chlorine are rolled out of Assad's helicopters -- mysterious helicopters that only Assad possesses -- onto the helpless opposition. Babies are dying. The U.S. has a right to protect them. Or something like that.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 15 2015 18:50 utc | 20


@10 ǝn⇂ɔ... okies ot post says that too.. first the colour rev, then if that doesn't work - unconventional war..

The progression has been "colored" a bit, with a few adjustments for particular countries and new terminology ("color revolutions, regime change,") but basically remains the same since Kermit Roosevelt, the infamous grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, orchestrated a CIA/MI6 conceived coup d'etat against Iran's democratically elected government of Mohammed Mosaddegh, which became the classic model used by the US for all subsequent "regime change" operations, to use the modern euphemism.

First, enter the "economic hit men" or e.h.m.'s, making huge loans to poor countries unable to pay them back, getting more indebted with new loans to avoid default; in the meantime those countries are subjected to further exploitation of their resources, political blackmailing and subservience to the empire. Second, failing the hit men, enter the CIA jackals organizing a coup d'etat (long list) using all the tools at their disposal, i.e. the military, NGO's, trade unions, etc. Third, if the coup d'etat fails, enter the CIA goons, the real hit men, with assassinations, plots, targeted killings, etc. Finally, if assassinations and plots fail, an invasion is justified by whatever means (Gulf of Tonkin, Weapons of Mass Delusion), and the US army is sent to "restore order and democratic values, blah, blah, blah," same old, same old garbage.

The sequence doesn't have to follow the same order in all cases, and the methods have been modified and refined over the years, but the substance remains the same, as described by John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 15 2015 18:55 utc | 21

@17 wow.. it is all about assad, and never about the fucking usa war mongering nation... regime change programs around the globe - iraq, libya, syria, ukraine, yemen - you name it.. there is nowhere the usa can go without murdering and maining innocent people, but then with best friends like israel and saudi arabia - it is what one would expect along with an assorted group of western leaders that bow down 24/7 to the same military industrial-financial complex 24/7 - yourself included.. hope you get paid well for your bullshit.

@21 lone wolf.. thanks. i have never read the book, but heard it is good..

Posted by: james | May 15 2015 19:38 utc | 22


@21 lone wolf.. thanks. i have never read the book, but heard it is good..

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

There you go, bro, for download.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 15 2015 19:55 utc | 23


What I've learned by examining HRW's reports is that their investigators on the battlefield produce excellent evidence about these incidents. OTOH the reports produced from these investigations are often very biased even though they include good information.

Some people will reject the valid information in the reports because of the spin that the writer of the report uses but that doesn't mean the evidence isn't valid.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 15 2015 20:05 utc | 24

Wayoutwest says:

This picture of Aleppo shows the result of three years of SAA aerial bombardment...

and this picture of Hiroshima shows the results of a one day one bomb USA aerial bombardment.

...'cause not all bombs are created equal, right?

Posted by: john | May 15 2015 20:06 utc | 25


I agree that the BB's are being used as a rhetorical tool but that is because Assad has been warned to stop using them but has instead increased their use. They are real and were reported with video evidence a full year before the Ghouta gas attack which had no connection to BBs. By continuing to use these IED bombs that are illegal for use in densely populated urban areas Assad opens himself up to these rhetorical attacks.

There is no mystery about who has air power in Syria and no mystery about who and how the massive destruction in Aleppo or Homs occurred.

I agree about the US and R2P but that doesn't change the facts about Assad's war crimes against civilians in this conflict.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 15 2015 20:47 utc | 26

@WayOutWest - "I agree about the US and R2P"

No you don't, you dog's dick. You support not only the US every chance you get, you fawn over ISIS like an infatuated teenager.

You're a monster. Behind all of your utterly phony concern for "war crimes against civilians" you're actually a fiend who has wet dreams over all the blood "brilliant" (your words) those ISIS butchers has spilled. You're just exactly like the United States - a two faced fraud. A completely transparent hypocrite. A someone who has reveled in sectarian bloodletting since your first posts here.

If you had any honesty, you'd admit you're just a typical crummy fascist and get it over with. Maybe you're so blind and stupid you believe you're own tripe but no one else around here does.

Posted by: guest77 | May 15 2015 23:59 utc | 27


(...)OTOH the reports produced from these investigations are often very biased even though they include good information.

What a convoluted, deformed, distorted, perverted, wormy, writhed mindset can produce such a drivel?

Some people will reject the valid information in the reports because of the spin that the writer of the report uses but that doesn't mean the evidence isn't valid.

What a twisted blockhead!! He is unable to see the contradictions on his own statement, a spin over a spin over a blatant lie.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 16 2015 2:22 utc | 28



Posted by: Lone Wolf | May 16 2015 2:28 utc | 29

@Anonymous @1 "To be fair, all this was posted already on the 9th of may by another blogger:

Should give credit to them."

I did not know that. But credit to them for being much faster on the Roth "correction".

Posted by: b | May 16 2015 15:07 utc | 30

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